Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Muffuletta, Starburst Jelly Beans, and Hannah

Happy Friday!

Sometimes we just need to take a moment and invite the heart of a high school student back in and picture ourselves nearly running to our cars on Friday after classes are over. I remember that feeling of not running but feeling like I could scream and jump and dance at the beginning of a blessed weekend. WOOOOOHOOOOOOOO! The truth is that my mom life doesn't make Saturday look much different than Tuesday but still - a kick in our heart perspective can do us a lot of good from time to time! So FRIDAY I welcome you with joy, a little thrill and an open heart.

May I continue to just warm up my typing fingers? After all, a two month plus break from blogging makes jumping back in a little stark. So I thought I'd just share some thoughts from my week. Wish I could hear yours. If there's one solitary thing that irritates me it's a one sided conversation. So even if you don't comment or email or message or anything - just talk back to me in your own mind. It will be fun!

First, I'd like to tell you about something not-too-fancy but yummy that I recently ate: the Muffuletta sandwich from McAlisters. Truly, it was no gourmet sandwich. In fact, it was nothing compared to the original sandwich which can be found at Central Grocery store in New Orleans. But I just found myself loving it entirely. It was turkey (I subbed that for the normal ham), provolone cheese, and Gambino's olive salad with a thin slice of salami capping the whole pile off. It was different and it was good! Certainly not everyone's taste buds would love olive salad but mine DID!

Not my exact sandwich, but you get the idea:

I'd also like to report that on Monday (day after Easter), I had a half a bag of Starburst jelly beans left. I threw the bag away. Let's celebrate the little victories people.

I wonder what you've been wishing you could eat recently? Sometimes I just find myself thinking about things that I haven't had in a while and plotting when I will fit each thing in :). On my list now: Pho Ga and Bun Cha Gao from Viet Huong, French Drip sandwich from Charlestons, a croissant from Stone Horse, a mix from Braums (vanilla with Oreo and Heath), and Chicken Sagwala from India Palace. Thinking I'll need some time to make it all a reality, ha!


Oddly enough my random thoughts blog post seems to mostly have to do with food. You know - I asked the Lord to put something on my heart for this post and clearly - food it is. Don't you kind of love the thought of God Almighty totally enjoying a meal or dish with you???

Have you cooked anything new recently? I'd love some new recipes to throw in my mix. My requirements for recipes are as follows: it can be a little lengthy in required ingredients, but my total prep time cut off is 30-45 minutes. Not that you can tell from the above thoughts, but it needs to be not too heavy on cheese, creamy things, butter, etc. But it MUST be HIGH on taste. I'm specifically feeling a good salad recipe could be appreciated. But, I love Italian, French, Asian, American, soups, salads....yum. So seriously - shoot me some of your favorite recipes! Next time I should post the recipe I have for peanut chicken. It's so yum. That is - if you like nuts, lots of curry, tomatoes and chicken :). Also - I'm on the hunt for a good chicken and rice recipe. A few years ago, I tried a pretty basic recipe and it was - well, basic. And a little bland. I like interesting things. But I remember loving chicken and rice casserole as a kid and I'd love to rediscover it. Thoughts?

Prepare yourself as my thoughts are now transitioning off of food.

I had a frank conversation with the Lord this week that ended up being quite fruitful. I was a tad frustrated. With the Bible. Frustrated with my interactions with the Bible. Frustrated with feeling like I was going through the motions but there was no mojo. Done with the no mojo. I told Him that I NEEDED Him to show me what to read. I told Him I was desperate. I want to know Him more and more. I want to learn Him through His word. I want to discover the Scripture....but I'm not in a Bible study right now, I am not feeling a reading plan, and I am done with (for now) randomly opening the Bible and seeing what pops out. It is time to dig but I don't want to dig out of my own ideas - I want Him to show me what to dig into. We aren't always in the place. I have enjoyed so many studies, reading plans, etc. But it's just a different season. Well, He answered. It was a quiet answer that one could argue may have been my own thoughts.... read the story of David. The whole story from start to finish. So I started a few days ago.

David's story begins in First Samuel - around the sixth chapter. It seemed natural to start at the beginning of First Samuel and lo and behold, He met me there. It was alive. He was there. It was the story of Hannah and her very real experience of being barren while her 'sister wife' had child after child...and on top of that antagonized Hannah about it. Can you even imagine? It's hard enough to wait when others are not having to wait at all - but then to be blatantly antagonized over it? Brutal. Hannah's prayer of thanks as she gives Samuel to the Lord absolutely captivated me. She speaks from a healed heart. But she also says some startling things about Him.... one statement alone grabbed me:

1 Samuel 2:6 "The Lord kills and brings to life."

Well, that's a little offensive. The Lord kills? Doesn't that mess with our theology? But, the truth is that when you've been allowed to walk through loss or trial, you come to realize that although many of us don't admit we expect a pain-free life, we are shocked and shaken when the pain comes. I mean, it's just shocking! But one thing, I know to be true: this God is a man of mystery. He is not to be formulized, reduced to very many 'always' or 'never' statements.

This woman who had born years of grief over a barren womb could say - that yes, the Lord does allow things to die BUT He also brings things to life in a way that only He could. Who is like our God? There is no rock like our God. There is no one who can bind up and heal hearts like He can. Oh man. If you're looking for a story to read, 1 Samuel 1-2 are calling your name!

There is beauty that words cannot capture in both death and life. God is the God who cares in our loss and in our gain. The night may last for a while, but the morning comes. It does come. It does.

I do sincerely hope that your weekend is delightful. That you and me both decide to be a little thrilled by it and to kick our heels up. That you eat something really enjoyable. And that you find Him. That you knock down His door if it's been a little quiet recently. Because this we know - He's longing to be with us.

Happy weekending y'all!

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Typing Fingers Have Returned....

If you are reading this post, bless your heart. For real. I can make no guarantees that it will be five minutes worth reading but it does warm my heart to think of you sitting there and grimacing through with me.

I'm not even certain what I will write about today. But something urged me to the point of writing today so here I am, and here you are. Once again, I say with all sincerity, bless your heart.

It's Good Friday - a truly beautiful day of remembering if you are a Believer. You'd think that I'd have something poignant to say about this weekend we call a holiday but is so much more than that. I wish I did! My heart is moved today.

Although I will say - on an Easter candy note - why, oh why, are Starburst Jelly Beans SO GOOD? My top three Easter candies are those, the malted milk robin's egg things, and a Reese's Peanut Butter Egg. Praises!

There's so much I wish I could say but the words just won't flow today. This post is my proverbial - get back up on that horse effort. It's time to write again and I have simple belief that the words will start to flow if I let the fingers type....but it may take me a few tries.

I wonder how you are today. Are you grabbing a brief moment of solitude while reading in the midst of a harried day? Or has it been a beautiful day of calm? My day has been more on the calm side - if you can believe it! My dearest Mom took Liam for the day so that I could work on cleaning my floors, make homemade lemon bars for a Passover meal at our house tomorrow (what - didn't you know that lemon bars are a sacred element of Passover???), prepare an Easter basket and wrap a girlie birthday present for my niece who turns one today. It's so funny what a nice day it's been even though I've been working. Those infrequent days of quiet are true mommy treasures. An opportunity to think a little more clearly, listen a little more intently, and vacillate between worship at IHOP and Pharrell's Happy. A girl on her own can do these things!

Speaking of Easter baskets...what a thing they have become! I think my apple falls not far from the tree of my mama :). She always did Easter baskets and they were a lot of fun...candy, eggs, and goodies...but most of the gift element had to do with something that would be spiritually encouraging. For us - that meant years and years of Adventures in Odyssey! Caleb and I fell asleep listening to those tapes for years. So now - I just can't bring myself to go out and buy special toys to fill the Easter basket! This year, it's a paperback version of The Beginner's Bible 'The First Easter', a kids book version of the story of David and Goliath, and then...some fun sidewalk chalk. And that's it! LOL. Well...I must correct that. Starburst Jelly Beans and my friend Libby's amazing cookies will be making an appearance. Seriously - these are the best sugar cookies...hands down. I'd like to think myself some low level of expert in all things sweet - so take my word for it. Wink wink!

I pray wherever you are - that you have the opportunity to consider Jesus today. Maybe you've walked with him for years or maybe everyone's talk of Jesus has become easily disregarded over the years. Either way - just consider considering him today. Consideration can be the beginning of something beautiful.

May your weekend be full of grace and peace. I am going to be reminding myself of those two words as I prepare my home for a Passover celebration tomorrow night....sometimes my ugliest moments occur when getting my house ready to host! Let's just go ahead and put this down on screen - I'll be back next Friday with my typing fingers. Thanks for helping me ride again even though the ride was all ramble.

Much love,

PS...Go ahead and find yourself a Reese's Peanut Butter Egg this weekend. When all is said and done, it will be worth it ;).