Wednesday, July 18, 2012


"Satisfactory in quantity, quality, or degree."
Yes, there has been plenty of quantity.
The quality has been superior to that of past encounters.
And the degree has been sweetly intense.
It's been good.
Good. The word I've used in failed attempts to encompass the character of God.
Good. The answer we give when passively asked how the day was.
A word so over-used,
Yet under-applied.
Good is flexible.
But right now, good is happy.
Good is experience and fruition and laughter.
Good is waking up and falling asleep pondering that joyful notion
That I've found something special.
He is good.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Cooking: spiritual?

I'm missing my kitchen at the's sort of where I learned to cook. Alex and Mindy, my dear roommates from that season of life came over the other night and asked me, "When exactly did you learn how to cook?" I had to think about it for a moment. My mom did teach me the basics of cooking...that mixing wet and dry ingredients separately really is important, that a nonstick pan must be treated with love, that a clean kitchen is a happy kitchen. I love my mom for frequently interrupting my culinary escapades with that non-verbal, yet very vocal sigh of concern. You may not think so, Mom. And I probably never appreciate it in the moment, when I'm trying to get something done the fast way rather than learn. But you are a teacher, in our home and by your soul.

And while I love the guidance lessons from Mom, when I think of how I really began to enjoy the art of cooking, I must must attribute this to the Lord. "I think the Holy Spirit taught me to cook", I told Alex and Mindy. As I've mentioned often here at myHandH, my experience of the Spirit of God is usually gradual, peaceful, and process-laden rather than extremely emotional or verbal or clear. So when I say that he taught me to cook, I can vividly remember coming home after long days of work or class and finding an inexplicable inner peace in experimenting with food. The non-spiritual would step in here and say that I taught myself to cook. However, I fully believe that God is present in our everyday. He often speaks to me most tenderly in the kitchen when I am alone, creating a new recipe, soaking in the quiet things of life. It is he who whispered, "My delight is in you!" as I discovered that a salad dressing needs 1 part acid to 2 parts fat...that natural sugar substitutes really can taste good...that meat can be tender without making you sick.

But here lies the problem: I want to be able to share this alluring art. I want to be so skilled and comfortable in the kitchen that I can easily and graciously and augustly guide my friends and guests through meal prep. And I believe that I will one day get to this place. I sure hope I will, at least. I've recently discovered new insecurities (huh all over the place, but let's just stay in the kitchen today) in sharing my passion with others. I know that one day, I will be a wife and mother and will have people running around, leaving me with but a trace of those precious memories of solitude at my college apartment. I will gain the skill of multitasking in time, I really will. If you've followed my tone up to this point, you're getting that cooking is more than just a necessity for me. It's a creative outlet and a spiritual exercise at which I hope to always be improving. But I must remember that wifehood and motherhood are not here yet.

Cooking may not be as much of a solitary activity for me anymore. And while I despise the learning curve in anything that I fancy myself "good at", there is grace and there is still (usually) a tasty meal at the end of the experience. I can still slip away and cook in silence, though I'm learning to love having others around me. I'm finding my place in this new season of life. My place as a daughter, an independent woman, a friend...and I am blessed to say that cooking is a part of each of my roles. May it be that I again hear the Lord so truthfully whispering over my heart: "I delight in your learning! I delight in your efforts!" Because he really, really does.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Of bodies and trends...

Can we talk about the body? I don't mean the body of Christ. I mean our bodies: those physical things in which we all live.

I have a very average sized body. I am of average height. In fact, according to Epcot at Disney World, 5'6" is the average size of a woman throughout the world. {I remember learning this when I was 14 and the only thing that interested me about my family's road trip through Florida was it's end at Disney World. Boy, did I soak it all up.} Actually, I'm a bit tall for an American woman, but in Norway, Slovenia, or Austria, I'd be the average Jane (according to "human height" by Wikipedia). I am also of average weight.

(Accept it, self. just drink that in.)

So, can someone tell me why this girl of average height and weight cannot find clothes that fit? Yesterday, I found myself at one of my least favorite stores: Forever21. I couldn't quite remember why it was a least favorite...was it because it's way too trendy for my classical style? Or because they blast their music too loudly? Or because the options are overwhelming and insurmountable? Maybe...but then I got to the dressing room and remembered. Certain stores simply do not make clothes for average sized women. One either must be miniature, with not a curve on her body, or have a perfectly proportioned full-figure. I am neither of these things. I am right smack in the middle of this spectrum, as are MANY OF THE WOMEN IN THE WORLD.

Don't let me bore you with my rant because it's going somewhere productive (I hope). Not only am I saddened by the cheap materials, outsourced labor, and overall quality used by massive trend-stores. I am saddened by the scripture found on the bottom of Forever21's bags. John 3:16 is a completely life-giving, truth-filled scripture and I find myself paradoxically struggling to find life and truth when I am in a place that promotes trend and trend only. Ironically enough, I was even wearing the one thing I do own from this store when I walked in yesterday. I had bought this pink dress a few years ago and guess what: I felt totally...let's just say "not with the times" in it. That's how quickly trends come and go!

Forgive me, Forever21 lovers and employees alike because it is not one person or idea with which I'm angry. I'm not even angry. I simply need to get it out in the open that average women need more. More than just trend. More than just affordable prices. We need something that makes us feel beautiful, not just "with it". Am I right?

Perhaps I should pursue my recently-awash dream of shopping thrift stores and American-made clothes only...or start sewing my own threads. Well neither of these are likely to happen and I know that I know that I will step foot into a trendy store again at least once in my life. I probably just need to be more prepared.

This all makes me wonder if there will be shopping on the new earth...I hope to God that there won't.

Monday, June 25, 2012


{the BIG frames}

Well, I suppose it's time. Time to get some of my lofty ideas down on *paper*...

I am currently in a state of trying to distinguish between summer and life. Now that I've graduated, my life for the next few years or so is expected to be as it's been for this first month of freedom. However, I know things will change and I know I will get into more of a routine once regular work picks I am trying my best to embrace this summer break, as it were, so that I am refreshed for whatever that new pace may end up being. Do you follow? It can be hard not knowing...

Nonetheless, I am endlessly enjoying my life in the garden, my life of stories, my life as a nanny. And last weekend, I was given the opportunity to stay at a beach resort by myself. I could have taken a friend, but I quite honestly desired the alone time {even though these weeks in which I'm dwelling are nothing BUT alone time, as my family is overseas}...I struggled with knowing whether my quick decisions about solitary activities were healthy. This is how the process looked:

I wonder if I'm really ok being "the confident" woman some may see me as. Am I? Jetting down to a beach resort because it's free and there and I totally have the time right now...and yes, I almost feel that it would be more enjoyable alone.
I'm the girl who lived in two places at once to keep myself sane during a hectic semester...the girl who hikes down the mountain, away from her friends, to eat a $10 veggie platter at the Ahwahni...the girl who very quickly chose the BIG glasses frames, thinking she could pull them off.
So much of me is independent...and while I am good with this, I don't really want to be taking pride in it, nor do I want to suffer loneliness because of it.
Lord, would you show me where to place my independence in my walk with you? And would you remind me that it is a walk with you...thank you for guiding me through these thoughts.

So here I sit, another day off and another day for job searching, garden growing, and story emerging...and all the while, I have *independently* made myself busy with quite a few social engagements this week because, hey it's good for me, says my walking companion.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What I'm Into, June 2012

I'm back! Not feeling in the mood to recap an entire two months or so, I'll just offer the basics: I am a B.A. or, I have a BA at least. And I moved into my new 'cottage' in the backyard of my parents' house. This evening, I think I'll do a "What I'm Into" to get back in the swing of things.

So, June 2012~ WHAT I'M INTO

On my nightstand: Just finished "Fairest" and am making my way through a couple other half-finished FUN books from January or so. My new nightstand has a fabulous lamp...I haven't had a bed-side lamp in a while.

TV show worth watching: Ooo, I am currently into Bunheads, Tia & Tamara, Touch, and The Next Food Network Star. Summer! Time for TV!

Movie I've seen: A Hallmark Hall of fame (aka, still cheesy but not as lame as regular Hallmark movies) called Firelight.

In my kitchen: The beginnings of PRODUCE. That's right, the yard is just starting to explode with fresh apricots, tomatoes, zucchini, and green beans.

In my ears: CDs, for I have a new(ish) car and found a fascinating CD collection that's kept my ears busy for a while...Laura Hackett, Civil Wars, Natalie MacMasters...

Friday, May 4, 2012

...I'm just dying to say, "Come and get it, boys!"

Yeah. There are some questionable connotations to that statement. It's just my silly exclamation that the dating fast is over. However, no exclamation point needed, for it's an anticlimactic finish and I knew it would be. I had no dates planned on May 1st; I did not wear anything extra special to draw attention. No, no. This was not the break-fast I was even going for.

Sure, there's a really quiet, subtle disappointment that nothing magical happened on the day I was "free" to date anyone I pleased. But mostly, I've been sitting in a state of matter-of-fact gratitude for the lessons I've learned over the past three months. And I mean to share those lessons with you!

I've learned that I must kick this habit: giving in to my compulsion to initiate. I am an activator by nature and have said this before: flakiness kills me. If we're going to hang out, let's decide when (right now). However, I know I need to leave lots of room for being pursued because I know that I must marry a man who is also a strong initiator.

I need to pray more. I want to pray more. I also want to obtain a higher level of confidence in my hobbies and talents, especially in regards to the home (because hi, I am passionate about the home).

I apparently need to find an individual who is diligent, who laughs a lot (at himself and at me when I am my unconventional self), who is open to health consciousness and not afraid of whole wheat flour or real butter, and who is theologically kind. I say apparently because these are characteristics that came to my mind throughout the fast.

I've left a lot out.

I do not want this to sound like a personal add.

But these are just a few of the many discoveries I've made about my own needs and desires over this three month period. I'm glad to be done writing about my love life because for the few posts that I did, it felt very unnatural and vulnerable. (Can you hear my wobbly voice?) Thanks to the girls and kind people who supported me in this unexciting, yet important fast.

Friday, April 20, 2012

I got a vision!

This title is emphatic. This title is charismatic. This title is not me.

But then again, it so is. It feels unnatural for me to say, "I got a vision." However, there is truth in the statement because about one month ago, as I was writing, I received a very vivid picture-analogy for the tone of this season and the next in my life. In my blogger bio (insert right arrow), you'll see that I've found God speaks to me as I write. More than that, though, I recognize God's voice in my life through any sort of process. As I write, as I speak to others, and as I talk myself through something, his marvelous wisdom sometimes peaks through and I'll catch myself feeling astounded that "I" just made that connection or said that insightful thing. I struggle in communicating this notion because it sounds so special; it even sounds prideful. That is probably my own insecurity speaking, though. Nonetheless, I'd like to counter this discovery by listing all the ways I've not experienced the Holy Spirit speaking to me. He usually does not speak to me when I sit quietly with my Bible open, or when I close my eyes and wait for an answer to a specific question, or through signs or wonders or songs or poetry. Usually, that's not the case. It's process that my soul responds to so well and I've found comfort in this. I am humbled by this too because who am I (??) to be the vessel of God's voice in my own life? I know I am unworthy, holy God. You are too good.

With that said, if you buy it (because I'm still afraid that people won't for some reason), I'd like to share one of the beautiful things God revealed to me. I had an idea for a piece of writing actually. I was feeling sarcastic and fed up and just blurted out something like: "It's as if I'm on these starting blocks for a race and I'm the only one who can't handle running!" Moments later, I was in my journal, scribbling this analogy when something in my spirit was calmed and truth began to emerge. The shift proved heavenly and my tone for the coming seasons took shape. Join me, if you would:

March 19, 2012: "I've got to say this season, this last semester of college, is strange. I feel like I'm in perpetual pre-transition...and I guess I am, really. I feel like I'm positioned on the starting blocks for my life's race and when graduation day hits, the gun will go off and...
and I'll start my slow, steady walk. I'll be walking and I fear that people around me will be running, sprinting! I'll be looking over my shoulder, asking the coach, "Really? This is the plan? I'm doing everything right?" I'll look down at my hands; I'll touch my face just to make sure it's all real.
I just pray that I find other walkers. I want to find others who are waiting on careers, working for money, maybe living with their parents again too. And I hope that in my steady pace, you equip me with enough strength and joy to celebrate with those friends who will be running...
running because they have solid jobs, or cool internships, or marriage to jump into. May you use me in this coming season? May I meet interesting, worldly people at a fulfilling job; people who need to meet you? May you give me space in my walk to come in behind younger women and help them in their race?
...And maybe (literally) I'll finally take up regular walking again. And crocheting and book-writing.
And may I not get lost in today's season. May I remember that I'm not actually just sitting at starting blocks, waiting for something to happen. I'm actually jogging toward those blocks as I faithfully finish up school work. So please remind me of your presence and make it real to me, Jesus. Thank you for this picture. So much.

I'm still saying thank you. I'm even going to try to get some visual representation of this picture to put in my new home so that on the extra slow, confusing days, I'm reminded that there is purpose in the walk. Hallelujah!