Lessons of Love

Last night I breastfed my son while I cooked. Yes. Cooking. Breastfeeding. Same time. Why? Because that’s what I do now: feed my baby, feed my man. Sometimes at the same time. This is my life and I love it.

I think about this blog often. I think about the parts of me and my life that I’ve shared. I think about the 40+ drafts that I started but never finished. I think about how much time I put into changing and customizing the theme on a blog that I barely use. But mostly I think about how much my life has changed, how much have changed, from when I first started this blog. It’s amazing the difference 5 years can make.

When I started I was in my mid-twenties, finally figuring out what it is to love myself. I had many setbacks, but I guess I learned all that God wanted me to learn about loving myself because then he gave me two other pe12068717_1208620305821387_1235914117348423205_o (2)ople to practice this whole love thing on. So that’s what I’ve been up to these days, learning lessons of love.

And not the feeling of love. There’s some of that, but one of the lessons has been operating in love without always having the feeling of it. Communicating, compromising, caring for and about others, whether I feel like it or not. I cook, I clean, I wash stuff (dishes, baby butts, occasionally clothes), for the sake of people that aren’t me! I mean, what is that?!  I’ll tell you what that is, it’s love. Bam.

By no means is this love thing easy, but the days when I get it right I grow more and more beautifully Bernadette.

“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.”  – Galatians 5:13

 

 

 

The Pot

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This is “The Pot.” It was my boyfriend’s pot, but now it is our pot. And for the past couple days, the pot has inspired me to cook. I’m not sure what it was, but something about this pot spoke to me. “Use me,” it said. And so I did.

Naturally, the first thing that came to mind to cook was soup, given the rainy nights and all. So I made a lentil soup from a recipe that I created by combining a buncha different recipes I found online. I thought it was pretty tasty. But since I don’t have any pictures of it, no point in posting the recipe. Besides, the boyfriend suggested adding garlic so maybe I’ll post it when I try it again with the garlic.

Anyhow, the next night was still rainy, so I went for another soup. I had some kale that I wanted to use so kale soup it was. And if you know anything about me and my eating habits, you know I love me some kale. The soup was simple, but it was tasty.

Another successful dinner with The Pot.

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Love Beautifully ♥

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These are the homemade Valentines cards I made for all of my “Valentines.”
             One is missing from the picture, but it was cute too, I promise.

I was never that into Valentine’s Day. And if I’m being honest, I’m still not a fan. I mean, why wait till February to bring out the chocolate??? Chocolate was made to be enjoyed year round! And don’t get me started on the idea of celebrating some saint that I still can’t find any conclusive information on anyway; I’m sure to offend someone if I start going down that path.

BUT, all that having been said, I have a good friend who loves Valentine’s day. For her it isn’t the chocolate or some saint, but she sees it as a day to intentionally celebrate the love that you should be giving and receiving everyday. So, in love, I decided to set aside my indifference toward the day and be as excited to celebrate love on February 14th as she was.

I responded in the way that I usually do when I have an overflow of emotional energies, I decided to make stuff!

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What my place looks like when I decide to “make stuff.”
It was in this state for over a week!

While a lot of people focus on romantic love on Valentines, the group of women I live in fellowship with are all single so we decided that we wanted to celebrate the love that we have for each other and not focus on romance. We reject the idea that being single means Valentines day turns into “Single Awareness Day.” It’s truly unfortunate that there are so many that see it that way. The Bible says that God is love. Single, married, divorced, widowed, God’s love is unchanging and is worth celebrating at any opportunity!

So we had ourselves a great evening of love and laughter (they put us in a private room, they already knew, lol). Truth be told, we probably had a better Valentines day than even a lot of couples out there. Why? Because in our singleness we’ve learned something many people miss:

To Love Beautifully is to celebrate all forms of love.

For Old Time’s Sake

If I didn’t recognize it already, yesterday my line sister outright said it: “you stay busy.”

Yes, yes I do. It’s not even on purpose, but I have so many great people in my life and so many varying interests and commitments and events that there’s always something going on. It’s great, but what it means is that I have to constantly rearrange my priorities. Often, cooking finds itself on the chopping block (get it? hehehe). I still cook for myself, but most times they’re uninteresting meals that consist of a buncha stuff that I throw together in a pot or pan.

But a few nights ago, I decided to ditch my workout to cook some veggie burgers. I had carrot pulp that I saved after juicing and I always wanted to try making veggie burgers with leftover carrot pulp so I gave it a go. I looked up a few recipes online, but didn’t find a specific one I wanted to use. Instead, I just took ideas from here and there.

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Mmmm, all those yummy veggies mixed all up in there!

To give it more volume, I mashed in some black-eyed peas with the carrot pulp. I would have rather used black beans, but I didn’t have any. I had black-eyed peas. So that’s what I used. I was making steamed broccoli and corn as a side, so I figured may as well add some of that to the mixture as well. I chopped up mushrooms and threw them in and some bell peppers and garlic too. I thought to add chopped onions, but by this time I was getting tired of cutting and mashing so I skipped the onions.

To help it stay together I put some flaxseed meal in a little bowl with water, let it thicken a little then used it as the egg substitute. I didn’t measure anything out, but I think I should have because I ended up needing more.

Lastly, was the seasoning. I kinda just pulled stuff out and threw it in:

Black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, cumin, hot sauce, smoked paprika, liquid smoke, a little ground ginger, a lot of Mrs Dash Original and Mrs Dash Onion & Herb

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Confession: I ate a small piece of one after taking this picture

This is what they looked like when they were almost done. When I tried to turn them over, they started to fall apart, so I let ’em cook a little longer before attempting to flip again and they were fine. Guess I got a little impatient. Oh, and I realized about half way through the preparation process that I had no bread of any sort, so I just ate them as patties with my broccoli and corn on the side. It was good. I was happy. Who wants to workout when you can eat instead?

Chillin’ in Chile

I went to Santiago, Chile for work. It was awesome.

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Food.
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More food.
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Food and agua “sin gas” at El Huerto, my favorite restaurant in Santiago
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Off to work!
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Really old building. Maybe capitol?
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My room in Hotel Neruda
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View from my hotel room balcony
One of my two favorite – oh look, a llama – restaurants in Santiago.
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Me being cute in front of a really old church
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Me: still cute. Church: still old.
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Metro art. I love the art at metro train stations around the world.

“Where you go….”

If you’ve ever written a blog, chances are you’ve run into a number of questions while writing or preparing to write: Is this thought something I’m willing to share with the world? What should I use as an introduction? How in-depth should I go? And a whole host of other questions that come up. I’ve found that some posts just kinda write themselves, while others require me to really think about some of these questions. This post is in the latter category.

I could keep it short and simple and just share my excitement at having received my first passport (because I am quite excited!), but there’s so much more behind the occasion I almost feel that I would be doing myself a disservice by not divulging more details. But then, how far do I go? At what level do I write? Just how personal do I get? (if you didn’t notice, these are essentially the same question).

I guess (being a Libra and all), I’ll take a middle-road approach. I’ve mentioned before that the end of 2010 was difficult for me. Well it seems some wounds take much longer than a year to heal. So be it. But I truly believe part of the healing comes from moving outside myself and gaining perspective by being a “healer” (coincidentally, our pastor just talked about this on Sunday – go figure). And so I’ve tried to find ways to support others and help where I can, here and there. But there’s a part of me that tells me it’s not enough. Where I can, here and there isn’t going to cut it.

There’s a song that we sing at church that has been on repeat in my mind. The chorus begins with “Where you go, I’ll go.” And that’s the message on my heart right now: “Go.”  I am increasingly being led to REALLY MOVE outside myself and my small circle of influence, to GO and seek those in need. This is where my passport comes into the picture. Before, that could have been on my heart all it wanted to be, but there was only so far I was gonna get. Now, as the passport paperwork says, “With [My] US Passport, the World is [Mine]!” (I thought that was cute). Now, I ready to answer that call Christ has on my life to go and to serve, where ever He calls me.

Search for a Church: Revisited, Part 2

So a while ago I posted about looking for another church. I’m proud to report that I found a place that I absolutely love!

Last night, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the pastor and his wife’s ministry there. As I was listening to the stories people shared and watching the faces of the many people in attendance, I could feel the overwhelming love that the pastor and his family has for the church and the love that this church family has for the pastor and his family. I’m glad that I was there to be a part of it.

Tonight, I gathered in fellowship with 250 women from the church family and let me tell you, we had a blast! There was food, fellowship and FUNNY! They brought in an improv comedy team that did a fantastic job! It was really a great time!

The last two nights have been lots of fun, but the best part is: I get to go back for more fun tomorrow. It is truly a JOY to be a part of a church family where you can feel the love everyone has for each other and has for God. I am so grateful that God brought me to a place that I am excited to go to every week! Multiple times a week in fact. Just in the short amount of time since I’ve started attending this church, I have met so many great people who have taken me in and embraced me like I’ve been a member for years. We have a wonderful head pastor whose love for Christ and the Word is evident every time he gets up to speak! And his wife, who is an associate pastor, is great. I even had to confess to the pastor that she was the reason I came back after visiting once. She is such a warm, welcoming woman, that if he was married to her, I knew he had to be legit.

Anyhow, if it seems I’m really geeked about my church, it’s cause I am. In fact, the whole purpose of this post is to BRAG about how wonderful my new church is. I think I’ve accomplished this goal.