Episode 14: A chat with Ed Cyzewski

Episode 14: A chat with Ed Cyzewski

Shownotes for Episode 14: How-to pair wine and chocolate for a great party + a chat with author, Ed Cyzewski

BANANA CART?
(Your ears are not fooling you. In Columbus, Ohio at 9:30 pm a man rides a bike around and rings a bell as he sells frozen chocolate covered bananas. Too funny. And it sounds delicious, if not suspicious. That’s why I’m featuring chocolate in the wine segment today! Enjoy it. It’s bananas, after all.)


Want to try the practice of EXAMEN?

In this episode Ed and I chat about one of his favorite spiritual practices. It’s been very transforming for me too. It’s the practice of Examen (typically pronounced: EGGS-Aye-men).

This age old practice of reflection, mindfulness, and prayer to begin and end one’s day goes back ages in Christian History and is reflected in spirit throughout the bible. Like in David’s sentiments in the Psalms (like Psalm 119) and in Isaiah 26:9.

“My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you…”

So today I offer you my personal version of the Examen practice!

I call it “The Daily Sharpening Ritual”
–It’s the perfect way to supercharge and renew personal and spiritual awareness in your life.

It’s a simple but effective worksheet makes the practice easier to sustain. I hope you give it a try.
The practice takes just 3-5 minutes each morning and just before bed.
• You can see surprising changes in awareness in only 5 days.
(Simply print out 5 copies and follow-through for 5 days!)

Both EXAMEN-like worksheets below work like an Examen practice, but the 2nd one features prayer more fully in addition to reflection and mindfulness.

Check them out to see which one you like best. Print out both if you’d like:

SharpeningPRAYER• The SHARPENING Ritual 

• The SHARPENING Ritual
(PRAYER-centered VERSION)

(Enjoy these resources with my compliments…tipping what you can is optional.)


How we find spark:

We are in this together. As you listen and become part of what is happening here, it will be obvious that I spend a lot of time and a bit of money doing the show: website, paying for media hosting, producing it, editing, adding music, finding and speaking with guests, more editing, more research, and all the rest to bring you something of value in the Spark My Muse podcast.

Lots of heart, sweat and occasionally tears for your enjoyment and inspiration. You get to decide what that means and what it’s worth.

 

So, I invite you to just listen, read, and contribute what the episode is worth to you.

 

• If nothing, I apologize. Please, come back and listen again soon.

• If you think it’s worth one dollar, five dollars, twenty-five dollars, six hundred billion-gazillion dollars…you see where I’m going with this…, or offer something of equal value that is not monetary, simply contribute what it has been worth to you. HERE.

(or contact me here if it’s not monetary. Be creative!)
Thank you!
With Love,
~Lisa

 

WINE SEGMENT

 

MINUTE 2:30

Best tips for the tastiest pairing Party of chocolate and wine!

A how-to.

A chocolate and wine tasting party is so much fun.

• It’s ideal for groups of 3-12 people.

• Have each person bring some wine and provide samples of high quality chocolate and let the fun start!

It’s the acid:
One of the tasty things you can do is pair chocolate and wine. Both chocolate and wine have higher levels of acidity which makes them a naturally delicious match.

Well-paired wine and chocolate work together to make each one taste better. Delicious qualities come out in both the wine and the chocolate and even form a third taste. A careful selection is needed.

Here are some ideas of which wine to pair with which kinds of chocolate treats.

TIP 1

The most  important tip to remember is to keep the wine sweeter than the treat it’s pair with.

(If you don’t it can make the wine seem less tasty and flavorful or heighten its bitterness. yucky.)

TIP 2

Make sure you have high-quality chocolate. 

Many supermarketers have a premium chocolate section and you probably only need one bar of each kind or just a good quality box assortment. Baked good work as well and you can search online too.

TIP 3

Taste test the chocolate ahead of time: Pick out certain fruit flavors, determine the sweet and bitter components they have, check for nuttiness qualities and levels of acidity. If the chocolate has a creme center this will take on added complexity that might pair well with fruit-forward wines. 

TIP 4

A rule of thumb is that darker wines tend to pair better which darker chocolate and should be served first: More full-bodied, (heavier feeling in the mouth) dark and drier (not a sweet style) red wine pair well with the more bitter chocolates that have a higher cocoa %.

White wines tend to pair well with milk chocolate blends and chocolates that have sweeter and fruitier flavor notes.

TIP 5
Remember TIP #1 one …keep the wine SWEETER than the chocolate!

MAKING A MATCH
Pick your wines according to the flavors you’ve tasted in the chocolate,
 and ask your guests to bring a specific variety of wine.

Here are some specific ideas for the kinds of wine you may want to serve, but you can feel free to experiment and see if your palate prefers something different.

Bittersweet chocolate (70% to 100%): This chocolate type enters the bitter range with deep intensity. Good choices include Bordeaux wines (merlot, cab franc, cab save), Beaujolais, Shiraz, Port, Malbec.

Dark chocolate (50% to 70%): Pair this with more robust wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, off-dry chamborcin and Port. A Chianti can match well with chocolate around 65 percent cocoa content.

Milk chocolate: Try Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Muscat, and dessert wines. Champagne is also a natural match for milk chocolate. The crisp, dry flavour of the bubbly contrasts perfectly with the creaminess of a simple milk chocolate tablet. Be careful of the higher sugar levels in milk chocolate, as these may cancel out any fruitiness in dry red wines, leaving them tasting bitter.

White chocolate (which is really cocoa butter) : Match with Sherry, Muscato (a.k.a. Muscat) a fruity Chardonnay (un-oaked), These wines will pick up on the buttery, slightly oilier tones of the cocoa butter. Vidal Blanc, Niagra blends, catawba blends.

Champagne or sparkling wine goes well with all chocolate types. It is a variety that compliments many kinds of wines. Many fortified dessert wines work well across the chocolate spectrum as well because they tend to be sweeter.

PARTY TIP
To keep every one sharp and feeling well, Offer your guests some bread or light fare before you begin and keep the wine samples to just an ounce. 

HOW TO TASTE THE PAIR
1. Take take a small sip of wine and note the aromas and tastes. Some hosts offer guest a sheet to jot down their observations.

2. Then bite into the chocolate and note what it happening as you taste and eat it.

3. Then you sip the wine again and note the new flavor notes and changes that the chocolate brought to the wine. It’s amazing how much the taste of the wine will change according to what it is paired with.

4. Don’t rush through the pairing. 7-10 minutes per pairing is about right. Allow people to really luxuriate on the experience and talk about the flavors and taste combinations they are experiencing.

AMBIENCE TIP
This is not a consumption event, it’s a sensory group experience where enhanced awareness is key. Relax and take your time. Chocolate and wine are luxury items.

THE TAKEAWAY
It’s a great lesson for life too. The point isn’t to bulldoze through life and get it out of the way, but to really notice what is happening and take it all in deeply. Downshift to a better appreciation of encounters with others, with our surroundings, and ultimately with ourselves and to God who makes a home within us.

• Enjoy yourself and let me know of the pairings you came up with  (in the comments section) and how your pairing experimenting went, or what your plans are. I’d love to know. You can post pictures at the Spark My Muse Facebook page too.

Do you have questions? Leave them here, use the voice mail feature, or use the contact page and I’ll try to answer them in future episodes.

 


Sparking your Muse…
a chat with Ed Cyzewski

edc200_thumb

Visit Ed’s website.

 

 


Interview notes

11:00

Ed talks about his upcoming Christian Writer’s Survival Guide book

12:30

The practices of prayer and writing are connected in so many ways.

12:30

Contemplative prayer

Spiritual Direction

and how Ed is learning more about Holy Spirit and waiting on the Lord

14:30

From my experience…”Type A” or productive person’s view of prayer is active or proactive (maybe not involving much listening to God) (Lisa)

15:00

Apophatic prayer – God is found in the silence more than I thought (Lisa)

15:30

“The Creative process and prayer require us to enter with hands open”.

16:00

For both (writing and prayer), you can’t force the outcome…

16:15

Submit to the process.

Do the work.

17:00

“[A] general principle is to create space to allow inspiration and good writing to happen.”

Maybe (it can happen) in retreats or in different ways.

19:20

My favorite podcast Krista Tippet’s show On Being Onbeing.org (Lisa)

Pico Iyer-  (paraphrase) “So much information is coming in but we have less space to process it.” -Pico Iyer The Art of Stillness

20:15

Never a moment wasted because of technology…but at what cost?

21:00

(Ed) on not having times for his brain to slip into neutral..

21:30

Ed says walks helped clear his mind, and he had to detox and ween from media.

22:30

We have a loss of self and fear of quietness.

22:45

40 Day Ignatian retreat bringing a terrifying and alone sense after 2-weeks until she found God in the quiet.

24:00

Ed’s method for unplugging and creating space:

Relent technique-going offline after 5pm and weekends.

25:30

Leaving my phone in my car when I go for walk to eating out. (Lisa)
• I’ve experienced less anxiety (to my surprise).

27:00

(Ed’s sarcasm) College students in the 1990s would die all the time, every week, because they didn’t have cell phones. Funerals every week for the mobile phone-less.

27:30

In the 1980s my dad got collect calls from “pick me up”. (Lisa)

29:10

UK study showing that teens are more anxious because of tech and over-connectedness.

29:40

Maybe because the media (they are using) is socially consequential and not neutral: like watching tv or listening to radio. (Lisa)

32:00

From his upcoming book:

Allowing space to grow and learn. His spiritual practice of Examen.

The app he uses: Examine App

The practice helped him come up with writing topics.

33:30

The practice showed him the imbalance of his life.

 

35:10

Contemplative writer’s Facebook on group

37:00

Kirsten Oliphant

Andi Cumbo-Floyd

37:50

The group has lots of generosity there like a support group.

39:20

How Ed keeps a balance in mood and outlook when the stories he writes about are negative and make him angry.

How he uses a generous redemptive approach and giving his anger time to dispute so he can write with redemption in mind, inspired by Richard Rhor.

40:00

God wants to redeem everyone.

40:30

…Controversy and hit pieces build a quick blog audience…but the challenge is to be redemptive and to still confront in love when necessary…

41:00

“I’d rather be an Atheist than attend the Village Church” (his angry article)

42:40

Trying to encourage others to be redemptive and holding back if he can’t do it in a redemptive way. Waiting is important.

43:30

How we change. Example: Women in Ministry and how Ed’s mind changed.

44:20

“God is all about the long game.”

(It’s not helpful to create animosity)

44:50

(Lisa) “The power of heightening Empathy (to solve problems). Sharing stories helps.

The job of a person who is called to communicate for something bigger than themselves is to ask…

‘Am I able to show people something that they haven’t seen, but  then once they see they know it’s true. And they can’t unseen it’.”

“And to feel it too…what that (other) person is feeling.” -Ed

(If you’d like to have Ed back to discuss how writing can be “soul-killing” and what to do about it, please let us know and leave a comment! Was the show too long? Too short? Ed and I decided we are curious about this, so let us know.)

:)


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BREAKING NEWS:

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When Your Wine smells like Wet Dog Fur (Wine Series)

24-wet-dog-photos-2014-09-26-bk01_zMmm.

Nothing like that wet dog stench!

What might make a wine get this sort of stink?

That answer in a minute.

First, I’ll explain this series…

As you may know I work at Spring Gate Vineyard. In well under a year we went from zero to being the industry leader in central Pennsylvania with our winery, tasting room, and events.

I went from knowing very little about wine to explaining our wines (about 29 as of now) in detail hundreds of times per week. I’m no expert, but I’ve learned a lot.

I think it might be fun to not just share with you some of the ways to better understand, enjoy, and understand wine for yourself, but also tie in some deeper truths about living and life that go along with viticulture, winemaking, wine appreciation, and enjoyment.

Want to ask a question about wine? Ask away!
Use the voice mail feature! (or leave a comment)

Now about that wet fur stuff…

If your glass or bottle of wine ever is a hint “poochy” smelling, then oxygen is to blame. Other stinky smells that come from oxidized wine are wet newspapers, burned marshmallow, or stewed fruit.

Some oxygen brings out the full aroma (bouquet) of the wine when it is first opened. This is called aerating the wine. That’s why people will swirl a small amount of wine in their glass before they sip it. The smell and taste improve with some air.

But, if wine has been opened for more than a few hours it goes stale. You can get about 24 hours of “not too oxidized wine” if the bottle is sealed and the air is pumped out with a wine pump like this inexpensive one that pays for itself after two uses.

Additionally, a bad seal on the cork might be the problem. Either way, the wine is not unsafe to drink, it is however not very enjoyable, no matter how much of a dog lover you are.

• WINE TIP
Don’t drink wine if it’s brown in color and make sure to not store it in a hot place. Most wines need to be kept around 45-60º depending on the variety. Reds can be a little warmer and whites should stay a little cooler to keep their optimal flavor.


 

The Life Lesson I learned:

I can get a bit “corked” too, sometimes too, right? Have you ever felt like you’ve been overexposed to other people, too much busyness, and negativity? I have. A little interaction can bring out our great aromas (our best selves), but too much will make us go stale and unpleasant. It’s best to seal ourselves off after a bit and recuperate so we can be more enjoyable to friends and family too. :)

 

Dispatch from Prison: The Question I Couldn’t Answer

inmatereading

“Why don’t people from your church come and help you here? It says it the Bible to visit us…”

A man asked me this question at the end of class.
He was an inmate: a lifer.

Prison is a place of lasting aloneness. A place where you are reminded that you are forgotten.

Trying to overcome it is a big deal.

Volunteer groups are cherished by inmates like fresh air. They thank us each time we come.

I didn’t know how to answer him. I sort of felt crushed.

Not just that he would ask, but that the truth was so simple and unreachable.

He suggested I speak to my church and invite them to participate. I already had.

“It does say that is the Bible. You’re right. I don’t know….

I’m sorry,” I told him.

 

“What keeps them from coming?” another man asked.

 

“Maybe because all people know about prison is what they see in movies. Maybe they are afraid.” I said.

That comment incited and 3 page letter the prisoner brought back the next week to help convince people from our church that they were not violent and they were also Christians who love the Lord, were re-paying their debt to society, and wanted the support and Christian brotherhood.

But, nothing like that can be taken out of a prison. (It’s a felony.) He had to keep his correspondence. I thought he was going to cry when he explained that he needed to keep what he wrote. Abandonment? That was probably what I was on his face.

It’s heartbreaking.


 

But, I also wondered if some of the reasons were really a greater indictment on Christians and human nature.

• Laziness

• Lack of compassion

• Self-centeredness

• Distain for outcasts

Could this be it?

If I asked people from my church, face-to-face this time, what keeps them from being involved, they might say,

“I’m just too busy.”

Or “I’m not really interested in that (in them).”

Or, “I don’t like criminals. They deserve to be where they are and we shouldn’t make things easier for them.”

or maybe,

“I’d rather be doing two million different things than that!”

And whatever the reasons, good or not, they hamper the work of Love.

 

 

 

Save-the-Date: Next Trip to Narnia

Here’s what some of the previous retreat-goers said about the experience:

 

retreafolks

To learn more or sign up, join the Retreat list click HERE.

JESCTR

 

THE STORY…

Suppose you found a place…like Narnia…a magical parallel place…

This happened to me, and the only way it makes sense to tell you about it is to tell you that the land of Narnia comes to mind.

I spotted no White Witch, but I’m certain that Aslan was on the move!

I keep going back and it keeps getting better.

I’ve tried to sketch out something of what it’s like with my words. My strings of syllables are full of adjectives and I start to gush and make a fool of myself.

These words and my intensions fall short. Maybe a photo will help, I think. No, not really.

I try to tell people about it and say “come and join me”. Several of my closest friends knew to trust me and come “in faith” and it turns out that you sort of “catch something” while you’re there that draws you back again and again.

Yes, I can say, it’ll be restful, or I can say, it’ll be refreshing, or life-changing, or amazing…and of course I sound a little crazy because I’m making such a big deal about it.

But, I hope it doesn’t seem so absurd.

When you are really thirsty, water sounds wonderful.

Yet, it’s only when you taste it that you are satisfied.

Maybe you have some kind of deeper thirst. Then come!

 

~ABOUT THIN PLACES~

A “thin place” is where you see this dominion of the kingdom of God come into clearer focus.

And dominion doesn’t refer to a location per se, or sometimes at all.

 

There, the world as you know it grows strangely dimmer and smaller. You notice a threshold that separates heaven and earth too much. It seems much thinner.

This thin place can even be manifest in a person.

When you are near him or her, you sense something greater at work in a richer and more powerful unseen reality. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know it’s real. There is weight there.

The epitome of that is, of course, the Son of God. Jesus was the thinnest place of all when he walked among us.He is our model. 

But a thin place is a location too, right?

Yes, sometimes a you sense a thin place in a location that has been somehow, or intentionally, consecrated and set apart for apprehending the deeper realities of existence. A house of worship. A garden. A home where love abides. A bookstore. A mountain perch. A bench at the beach. Everyone has probably felt a thin place, at some point.

(If you have, let me know where in the comments section)

 

The retreat center were I go at least 3-5 times a year is one such thin place. If you haven’t gone to a place like this, it’s nearly impossible to convince you that being there, just being, will improve your life.

I’m left “pitching the benefits” to you, like a giddy salesgirl, because conveying the actual experience is so obtuse and ethereal.

Postcards, paper ones or verbal ones, never really share a place properly. 

I have a plan to return soon
Your story will unfold in new ways there.

I’ll be the guide. I’ll show you the grounds and acquaint you with the places for quiet reflection and rejuvenation, and provide you with some devotional reading and prayer material to guide your time, if you want the structure. I’ll get you started and you’ll have nothing else to do but enjoy yourself. 

Are you thirsty?

We’ll meet for a (provided) hot lunch at 12:30, than after we will “gather the graces” we’ve been given, and leave for home when the time seems right. It could be the half day that changes your life. The cost is a tiny $15.

Let me know if you’re interested by signing up HERE, and I’ll prepare a spot for you and send details.

To be on the update list, click HERE.

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