Thursday, March 27, 2008

Brain Thoughts

So I'm watching Barefoot Contessa right now, and Ina Garten is slicing up spinach and gruyère puff pastry rolls in her big gorgeous Hampton kitchen in preparation for an art show for a friend. I mean... who LIVES this way?! And who ARE all these people? And who has enough money to buy such outrageously large logs of cheese to just... have around? Oh yeah, Ina Garten.

I don't really have anything particularly enlightening or intellectual to say today, but some things have been whirring around in my thinker for the past little bit, so I thought I'd share. Aren't you so glad you're here? ;-)

First of all, I bought a microplane zester a couple weeks ago and can I PLEASE tell you how it seems like the whole world has opened up since I got this seemingly benign little tool in my greedy little palm? How have I lived without this jewel in my culinary dower until now?! All previous personal cooking conquests seem archaic compared to the glory I have now that I can add zests to just about anything I want. Pancakes? A little orange zest is just what it needs... Creamy soup? Some freshly-shaved nutmeg will give it that certain something... Steamed lentils? A drizzle of olive oil and some lemon zest would be perfect! I mean, seriously. If you eat, get thee to a Sur la Table, post haste! You have no idea what you're missing.

Speaking of pancakes, this is one of my favorite movie scenes of all time. The look on Macaulay Culkin's baby face at the end just makes my heart sing.

Also, will someone please buy these for me? I wear a size nine.

Or this:

The picture is PAINFULLY boring, but rest easy-- it is much cuter on... Oh, and I'm a size 4.

I promise I'll send you cookies and sing your praises.

Also, I think I'm due for a reeaaaally good dinner. It's sort of like how every once in a while you just need to be kissed where you feel it down to your knees... Like, little friendly pecks and goodbye smooches aren't cutting it anymore-- you just need someone to lay one on you so your knees buckle, the hair on the back of your neck stands out, and your toes curl! (Not that that has ever happened to me, but every once in a while I get that feeling like I just need someone to make a woman out of me.) Anyway, I have that itch regarding food recently. Like all my meals have been good and filling, but they haven't quite satisfied that deeper, unctious, gut-stirring yearning for something truly fantastic and satisfying. Something's got to give.

You should be kissed often… And by someone who knows how!

(from...? anyone?)

And now I'll leave you with another of my favorite movie scenes. Because... "When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." Gah.

Oh! And P.S., does anyone have an idea for a dessert that's appropriate for an afternoon softball game? I mean... Tea parties I can handle. Outdoorsy softball games? Not so much.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Missing It

I've realized something about myself lately... More often than not, I posess a complete lack of skill when it comes to recognizing what's perfect for me. As I look back on my life thusfar, and think about gifts and blessings bestowed on me that truly mattered-- things that really make my heart sing-- they weren't things I even liked at first.

When I was very young-- probably four or five-- I came home from playing at the playground with my dad one day to find a three-story dollhouse sitting smack-dab in the middle of my little girl's bedroom with a Barbie bride propped up against the fading floral of my bedskirt. I was shocked-- Mommy had only just let me start playing with Barbies, and I had been wanting a Barbie house and Ken doll to make my domestic doll dreams complete. As I dashed toward the cardboard house (that wasn't actually a Barbie house, but some other sort of doll domicile), and fingered my new Barbie's frothy white wedding dress, the following words tumbled out of my mouth... The same words that still make my heart ache with selfishness and regret to this day...

"But where's the Ken doll? I wanted a Ken doll!"


Needless to say, my pre-preschooled mind didn't care to comprehend the fact that my mother had spent the afternoon out seeking a way to bless me, and wanted to truly blow my mind when she saw the big beautiful house sitting in Goodwill that afternoon. Despite our family's near financial destitution, she sacrificed somehow, because she hoped my heart would be delighted by this wonderful new toy. The off-brand Barbie sitting in a box of toys nearby seemed to be the perfect accompaniment, so she bought that too-- she just wanted to knock my socks off, and saw a way to do it. But none of this entered my mind as I squatted my chubby little legs and peered into the rooms of this new toy-- all I could think was, But it's not all I wanted. It's not complete!

I remember my momma being hurt and leaving the room after a while, as I sat and tried to make do with my seemingly incomplete blessing. But as the years wore on, that dollhouse traveled with us to a newer, bigger home, and that formidable structure-- probably three and a half feet tall with big white plastic pillars to hold up each level-- became one of my favorite toys and the focal point of my bedroom. Whenever friends came over, they always asked to play with it, and marvelled at how big and spacious it was compared to their own cramped, pink plastic Barbie pleasure-domes. It really wasn't until I was fully entrenched in pre-teen angst many years later that it made its exit to the garage play area (where visiting friends still continued to ask to play with it).

I missed it. I had my heart so set on wanting the complete package-- Barbie, Ken, house (is there a psychiatrist in the house?)-- that when something different showed up, I missed it completely. It wasn't until I gave up my preconceived hopes for what I thought would make me happy and started to interact with what had been given to me-- this huge, special, unique house that none of my friends had and that was way better than anything Mattel could ever manufacture and came straight from my momma's desire to delight me and nothing more-- that I realized this was what satisfied my heart.

It's happened over and over again since then, with more gifts, people, ideas, relationships... It seems like in every facet of my life I get blinded by what I think I want, when the blessing that will make my joy complete often gets placed, unnoticed, right in my lap. But here's the thing, I don't think I'm alone in this. Think of how many times you forgot to return that lame Christmas gift, only to realize how much it came in handy a few months later... Or how many times you turned down a prospective date, only to finally acquiesce and have a truly great time! What about when you didn't get that job or promotion or get into that school you reeeeaaally wanted, and discovered your true passion in the puddle of anguish you bathed yourself in?

I think the key is to stop looking up, and start looking here. I know for me it seems like my gaze can be so set in one direction, waiting impatiently and self-righteously for something to come along that meets my standards of happiness, that when something does come down the road and isn't what I had in mind, I push it aside and wait for my "real" blessing to show up. Joy doesn't always look the way we think it should. And thank God for that! I'm realizing that my Father loves me too much to give me what I think I want... And he knows I love surprises too much to let me have what I want, when and how I want it! He gives me what I need, what I truly long for. He made my heart, so only he knows how best to delight it-- and he does, if only I'll open my eyes and let him.

All of a sudden the world opens up... What joy is there hiding for me in my life as I know it? What unrivaled, perfect blessing is waiting for me in my everyday rhythms? What treasures lay in the shallow recesses of my existence, just waiting to be mined?

It's time for a new focus.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Something substantial is on its way, but until then here's a little snack to tide you over.  I mean...  Who even has MOVES like this?!?!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Ack! I got tagged, and never responded! Better late than never... Here we go!

Ten (More) Random Things About Me:
(I'm running out of random factoids here... Yeah right. I have enough oddball qualities to fulfill a lifetime of these MeMe's.)

I really, really enjoy cereal. But I'm very particular about my cereal regimen. Generally I mix two, usually three, different kinds of health-nut cereal (some form of Kashi is always involved), add toasted pecans or walnuts or almonds, and drizzle with honey before soaking in whole milk. I used to do sweetened soymilk, but then I started reading that it's really, really bad for you... So I stopped. Sometimes if I'm feeling frisky I'll put a little dollop of cottage cheese on top as a sort of protein-rich garnish to swirl around with my GoLean. Mmm... I'm getting hungry...

I've never held hands with a boy. Or a man, for that matter. (But I've met less of those...)

I seem to be in a constant battle regarding the length of my hair. Right now it's just about shoulder length, and I'm trying to grow it out to at least past my shoulders, but there are days where I reeeeaaally just want to hack it all off and get back to this:

4. Dustin Hoffman kissed me on my twentieth birthday. I bawled like a freaking baby. ...And then he wiped my tears and gave me a hug. I mean... That's been a hard birthday to beat.

5. I'm pretty sure grocery shopping is my favorite kind of shopping. I mean, I feel like if someone were to give me an unlimited spree on Rodeo Drive that MIGHT trump my beloved trips to Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, but I don't know for sure... (Anyone want to help me find out the truth?)

6. I would rather worship than do anything else. But after that, I'd rather act, then be with people I love, then bake. That is my hierarchy.

7. I wish I were surprised more.

8. I wear earplugs every. single. night. when I sleep. You know those people who need a little white noise to rest easy? I am not one of those people. I sleep best when the environment is most like a vacuum of noise and light. Perhaps like one of those ocean-bottom-dwelling fish?

Speaking of which...
9. Ocean-bottom-dwelling fish FREAK. ME. OUT. As does the deep bottom of the ocean, for that matter. I can't even watch those National Geographic shows about submarines that go down and find buried ships... *shudder* Even the last scene in Titanic was a stretch...

10. I read about 50 food blogs a day via GoogleReader. I actually probably shouldn't admit that in public.

Okay, and now the really fun part! I tag:

Mike (leave yo' answers in the comments, boo!)
and Daisy!

Aaaaaand, go!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Worth It

"It's gonna' be worth it... It's gonna be worth it all."
-Misty Edwards

Something has come together.

My eyes have been opened, and I see His goodness, His gentleness and His joy. I see His rich love for me and feel the overwhelming weight of His glory-- and I am nearly sick with awareness of my own rebellious, prideful, adulterous heart. A bumper sticker I saw a few weeks ago read, "Life is beautiful." I laughed out loud in my car. I wanted it to be true, we all want it to be true... But it's not. Life isn't beautiful, life is pain.

But He is beautiful.

And He is worth it.

This incomprehensible, impossible, overwhelming treasure that has been stored up inside of me is worth all the pain my soul has known. And the promise of knowing Him more and getting to explore and discover more of my Lord's heart... It is worth it.

All the nights I cried myself to sleep, soul so deep and black it felt like pain was swallowing me from the inside out... All the days I walked around feeling like shattered glass-- one wrong move and everything would fall apart... Every morning I wake up and have to mourn her all over again because I get so used to her being alive in my dreams, and each tear that will stream down my cheeks on my wedding day when she's not there to kiss me and tell me how beautiful I am and sit next to my daddy as I am united in love... The moment my heart breaks as I grasp the air, reaching for her hand when I become a mother myself... All my pain and all my scars and all the wounds to come...

I am here to tell you that it is worth it.

This treasure is worth it.

He is worth it. He's worth it all.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Whew! I'm back! Please pardon my extended absence... I've been laid out sick all week, which one would think would be just perfect for dreaming up all kinds of new and fantastic blog entries to type up and send into the blogosphere, but really has only been good for creating new and disgusting materials for adding to our world's landfills. Awesome.

Last Saturday morning (early afternoon if I'm being honest) I awoke with a wee scratchy in my throat, and a teensy bubble in my sinuses, and I knew something was a'brewin'. As I went through my day, I noticed watery eyes and lots of sinus pressure start clouding up my head, and I knew something nasty was on the horizon. But how and when did I get sick? I mean, it had struck so suddenly! Friday night I was out on the town, taking a fabulous cooking class feeling healthy as a newborn pup (those are healthy, right?), and then less than 12 hours later I was besieged with sickness! What on earth could have transpired? And then I remembered...

A week before I had been out to lunch with some friends after church, and this lovely man I'm just getting to know was sitting across from me. He's been recovering from the plague that's been sweeping the nation for the past, like, month, and we were all talking and laughing and eating and having a wonderful time when suddenly it happens...

My new friend is telling a story, and right in the middle of it, right as he's expounding on some important point and we're all listening attentively, everything slows and time seems to almost stand still. Suddenly the world dims and I see this teensy, infinitesimal little orb of spit leave his mouth. It's perfectly formed, tiny as a fleck of dust, but sure as the seitan tacos on my plate, it's there. As it leaves his lip, this droplet of disease begins to make its way toward me, its path making a perfect, golden arc, illuminated by the sunshine, straight for my face. I can't look away, I can't stop it, I can't catch it mid-air, all I can do is sit transfixed as it flies toward me through the air, a whirling comet of disease hurling toward me in slow motion. I watch it the whole time, frozen, but then I blink and it's out of my sight. And I know that I know that I KNOW it has landed on my bottom lip.

Time has now resumed just as suddenly as it slowed, and I am now back and sitting with my friends at lunch with a tiny droplet of my new, very sick friend's spit now sitting on my bottom lip. What is the PROTOCOL for such a situation?! Should I have daintily wiped it away? It was so small I could hardly feel where it landed! How does one account for screaming and crying for a disinfecting swab while furiously wiping one's lower lip for no apparent reason in the middle of a new friend's story? And even if I had, would wiping the microscopic, germy dot have done any good after it had landed and already started to seep its disease into my pores? I may never know.

Fast forward to a week later when I'm laid out on the sofa watching Throwdown reruns on the Food Network for the third night in a row, wondering if I've been this sick since I had pneumonia in seventh grade and trying not to think about how much effort it's going to take to blow dry my hair after I actually muster the strength to shower... Oh well.

I knew I was feeling better when I made myself some (freaking amazing, if I do say so myself) pancakes Saturday morning. Pancakes make it all better. Really.

Even being outrageously sick because someone else accidentally spit on you? Yes, even that.