The Brussels Sprouts of Life

Judy walked in from a grocery shopping expedition ... it is amazing when you are on a diet and getting older how little you eat—and the importance of each component of every meal. (If you haven’t noticed, you will.)

As I watched her empty the small grocery cart, I was amazed at the stalk of Brussels Sprouts. Amazing what you learn every day: Yes the name has an “S” on the end ... they are sprouts from Brussels.

For some reason I always figured they were somehow like little cabbages and grew in the ground. The reality reminded me (other than color and size) of the stalks of red peppers we see hanging in our stores and Hispanic food shops. Brussels Sprouts 2Or, the stalks of bananas hanging on the roadside huts I viewed in Laos recently. I found that Brussels Sprouts originated in Northern Europe and were brought to the America’s by French Settlers in Louisiana. California is now the growing capital.

First of all, initial impressions—and my feeble attempts to connect what I saw with my preconceptions. Brussels Sprouts … uhgh! I put them in the same category as spinach and liver. Hated the smell, texture, and taste, I thought. Nevertheless, Brussels Sprouts can be a metaphor for one of the most important lessons of life“things are seldom as they seem.” I found this true even with a high school classmate who I disliked intensely while we were in high school, only to “discover” him as an adult and become friends.

Another axiom, “All that glitters is not gold” is the flip side of the Brussels Sprout message. I shared a recipe touted by a cooking aficionado with Judy that we are going to try, "Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower with Meatloaf Balls." We even followed the instructions to allow the Sprout to cook evenly and all the way through. (Just thought of drying coffee beans … "even drying" applies to coffee beans too. Even drying must be a priority with all foods. Ha! Just applied the lesson in two different areas. That is a good thing!)

So where is the connection between Brussels Sprouts and retirement plans? Retirement plans are what I’m supposed to be writing about, you know. Key, informative, and challenging messages to Retirement Plan sponsors and ministry leaders. We digress … back to Brussels Sprouts and retirement. Here are some of the applications and connections:

  1. Like stinky tofu (see prior blog), not everything that initially scares us—or puts us off—is bad for us. (i.e. Once begun is half done.)
  2. Understanding how to prepare it is important. (i.e. Educate Now)
  3. Connecting it to other meaningful foods (or activities) adds significant value. (i.e. Future Funded Ministry)
  4. An appreciation for those who prepare it. (i.e. Plan Sponsors and Envoy)
  5. A willingness to try it and stay with it, bringing joy and flavor to life and for a lifetime.

Well, hope that wasn’t too much of a stretch for you … just the way my mind works. One of the reasons for writing a blog. Sharing thoughts and insights that prompt you to chuckle, think a little, and apply insights to your own life.

Let me know your thoughts and comments. Our dialogue continues.

Living with Trusted Advice together

Bruce

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