Harsh Reality

As soon as you begin school, the famous question that gets asked is,

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I remember hearing this question a thousand times throughout my childhood. Teachers and parents would ask, and we were all expected to somehow know what we wanted to spend the rest of our lives doing at such a tender age. As a kid, big decisions like that are fleeting. One day I would want to be a doctor, another day I would want to be a lawyer, some days I felt like I wanted to be a psychologist, and once I even wanted to be the first female president of the United States. You can say I was pretty ambitious!

I always had a knack for writing but felt like my occupational dream needed to be more grandeur. I had an innate ability to connect with others and was empathetic to the core, which lead me to the decision to pursue law. Initially, I wanted to be an immigration lawyer because my grandparents and relatives lived overseas and I felt the pain and struggles of so many other children, who at such a young age like myself, had to grow up living worlds away from the people who meant the most to them.

In high school, college, and university, I kept my major as English but had the goal of taking the LSAT after graduation and attending law school. I remember my parents paying ridiculous amounts of money for those LSAT courses, in hopes that I would fulfill my dream and be a successful member of society. After taking a few of the full-length practice tests in my LSAT class, I knew I was in for trouble when I saw there were logical reasoning sections, which, in other words, meant math and logic games, also known as the dreaded word problems we all hated in school. Math was the only subject that I really ever struggled with my entire educational life. I always ended up excelling and receiving A’s but mostly because my dad had a degree in math and was a genius. Back home, he learned algebra ridiculously early in elementary school.

I struggled with the logic games like crazy. I surrounded myself with a wealth of resources, such as the Logic Games Bible, but no matter how hard I studied, my mind simply couldn’t wrap around and grasp the fundamental concepts of the logic games. The first time I took the LSAT, my score wasn’t nearly high enough to get into the schools I had my heart set on. The second time, my score had improved but was still getting me no closer to the schools I wanted to get accepted to. Despite that, I still held on to a tiny shred of hope. I went to the primary school I had my eyes on and met with the Dean of Admissions. I told him about my interest in the school but admitted that my score was lower than the average student’s. I still remember how unsympathetic he was. Sometimes, you hear remarkable stories about how someone in a position of power took a huge leap of faith because they saw potential in that individual but that didn’t happen here. Stories like that are so foreign to me because I feel like I have worked tooth and nail for every accomplishment I’ve achieved in my life. I was never thrown any miracles. My successes in life have been strung together with good old-fashioned hard work and perseverance.

The Dean simply looked at me and said in a very straight-forward manner that I basically didn’t have a chance. And, that was that. My childhood dream was crushed, my parents’ money was wasted, my efforts and their efforts were all fruitless. And, for what? Because I couldn’t pass the math section of the LSAT to get into the school I wanted? It seemed absurd. I was a smart student but according to law school’s standards, apparently not smart enough. I could have persevered, not given up on my dream, went to some out of state law school that would accept my score (and, there were a few that would) but I wasn’t willing to put any more sweat, blood, and tears into this than I already had, which lead me to believe that I never truly wanted to be a lawyer bad enough or else I wouldn’t have given up my so-called, “dream” without a fight.

It took years to come to this last conclusion and be at peace with my decision to not pursue law school. For years, I felt the guilt of failing — a feeling that really had been very unfamiliar to me up until that point. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, as cliche as that sounds. Now, although I am not a lawyer, I work at one of the top companies in America and have a work-home life balance, which is so important. I think to myself that God had something better in mind for me, that it wasn’t written in the stars for me to be a lawyer because I may have spent even more of an investment into the field, only to end up hating it. My own LSAT teacher became a lawyer, passing the LSAT with a nearly perfect score, but ended up retiring after a few years and starting a music band. When I found that out, it lessened the sting. Let’s not forget about John Grisham who quit his law profession to be a writer.

There are three points to this story:

  • Point #1: Life doesn’t always go as planned. You may have one plan for your life but God may have an entirely different one in mind for you.
  • Point #2: Life isn’t fair, but as the famous quote says, it’s still good.
  • Point #3: Everything happens for a reason.

I leave you with one of my favorite poems of all-time by an unknown confederate soldier. I hope it resonates with you as much as it has (and still does) for me.

Unanswered-prayer

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Cinnamon Bun Muffins

The aroma of gooey cinnamon rolls baking in the oven is probably one of the most heavenly scents ever. During my teenage years, I worked at a department store and remember the sweet, overpowering smell of them baking at the Cinnabon that was all the way on the other side of the mall. Back then, I didn’t have a metabolism to worry about, so, I indulged in them whenever the craving hit me. Now that I’m older, though, and don’t have quite as quick of a metabolism, I’ve realized that while cinnamon rolls are, in fact, still amazing, that their accompanying calories are not.

Needless to say, when I came arose Elana Amsterdam’s recipe for Cinnamon Bun Muffins, I was ecstatic, especially since she used basic ingredients that I had laying around in my pantry.

Here are how mine turned out. Aren’t they lovely?!

CB1 CB2

One batch of these was gone in just a day, which didn’t stop the inner fat kid in me from making subsequent batches. I love that they’re in muffin form, too, which makes them portable and easy to grab in the mornings when you’re on the go.

Head on over to her page for the recipe (in case you resisted the urge earlier and haven’t already)! And, don’t say I didn’t warn you about how incredible these taste. They will be sure to become a favorite in your home and win your tastebuds over.

Grilled Tri-Tip and Oven Roasted Red Potatoes

Picture this: succulent, thinly sliced pieces of tri-tip that have been grilled to perfection and crispy oven roasted red potatoes, drizzled with melted butter. Are you drooling, yet? What if I told you that you can make this dish in as little as 45 minutes? These days, I’m all about coming up with effortless dinner ideas because being both a wife and a mommy can make you pressed for time. If you are following the Paleo diet, you can still enjoy this meal by omitting the potatoes.

Time is ticking, so let’s get started!

Ingredients:

  • 5 red potatoes, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds marinated tri-tip roast, thinly sliced into 1/2 inch pieces

Preparation:

Wash and scrub the skins of the potatoes with soap. Dry. In a large bowl, add the quartered potatoes, dried parsley, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Toss to coat. Transfer to a sheet pan and spread in an even layer.

TT 1

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes, take out of the oven, flip potatoes with a spatula, and place back in the oven for 15 more minutes. Remove from the oven, add a few dashes of more salt, and drizzle the melted butter on top.

Place the sliced tri-tip on a heated grill (I used my George Foreman) and grill for 5 minutes for medium rare or 7 minutes for well done.

TT 2

TT 3

Remove from grill.

Serve with potatoes.

TT 4

Ooh la la! Who doesn’t love some meat and potatoes? Dig in!

New Name, Site Redesign, & A Little About Me

Sunshine

Hi, everyone!

In case you were wondering (or hadn’t already noticed), I wanted to give you a heads up that I’ve changed the name and address of my blog!  It is no longer Sara’s Eats but rather, as you can see, it is now Sunshine & Sapphires. I initially started this blog as a creative outlet to share my clean eating recipes, however, as time passed, I decided that I wanted to expand my blog to cover a broader range of topics, instead of such a narrow one. What lead to this decision? Allow me to start from the beginning …

One of my passions in life has always been writing. Ever since I was in elementary school, I was known as the little girl who would sit on the edge of the Bark Box with a blank notebook and pen in hand, creating make-believe stories. The world was truly my canvas, and the sky was the limit as far as my imagination was concerned. I filled notebook after notebook up, and would spend my leisure writing letters to my favorite authors, as well as sending them my manuscripts (all, of which, at that tender age kindly got rejected, and understandably so.) I remember spending much of my childhood at the public library in my hometown, which was surrounded by a beautiful pond with cool, glistening water and a million ducks that would be waddling around. At the time, that library seemed enormous to me, and I felt like a grain of sand that occupies just one tiny fragment of a warm, sandy beach, and a must bigger picture.

As I grew older, my passion for writing stayed with me. In high school and through the duration of college, I majored in English, graduating from a university with my degree in English. However, as I became an adult and immersed myself into a world of work and responsibility, my passion, inevitably, seemed to take the back burner. But, I’m a firm believer that our hearts ultimately lead us back to whatever we are inherently passionate about and so, here I am, sharing my story with each of you.

I am a wife to my wonderful husband that I’ve known for nearly a decade, a mother to my beautiful baby boy who is my heart, a daughter to my loving and supportive parents, a friend to many, and last but definitely not least, I am a writer. My new blog will be about a variety of topics, instead of primarily food. Some days I will share recipes with you, other days I may share weight loss and fitness tips, or just musings about my every day life. Something cool I really want to do with my blog, once I receive enough responses to get that going, is to have a weekly, “Dear Sara” column, so to speak. I’ve toyed with this idea for years. It would be like a Dear Abby scenario, where my readers can e-mail me anything that is on their minds: relationship advice, dating questions, you name it! The e-mails will be featured on my website but it goes without saying that the identity of the readers writing in to me will be kept anonymous. If you would like to take part in my, “Dear Sara” column, you can send me an e-mail at sunshineandsapphires@gmail.com

I want to personally thank all of my followers for staying loyal and continuing to follow my blog, even though my updates have been so infrequent these past few years. I hope to change the frequency of my posts, especially now that I can really express my creativity on such a wider scale.

I look forward to providing you with fresh, exciting content for 2015!