“I’ll have what she’s having!”

Souvenirs

“I’ll have…”

I’m one of those people who always orders the same thing from the menu.

I say, “Why mess with perfection?”

I like what I like and the possibility of ordering something new and not liking it deter me from venturing out from my “norm.”

Why fix it if it ain’t broke? Right?

But, I have this friend–

She is a “skilled orderer.” Her mother, Grace, raised her with a love for food, an adventurous palate and infused her with passion and skill at mixing and experimenting with all manner of flavors, tastes, textures and variety. She’s been all over the world and knows what to order in every region. Not only does she have a published book titled “Souvenirs: A Creative Collection of Art and Cuisine”  that  fabulously pairs her recipes with her amazing artwork, but every time she cooks dinner, it’s a party for the taste buds.

Whenever we go out to eat, people’s senses are peaked and their eyes follow as the waiter walks by delivering her plate to the table. I giggle as they grab their waiter and point to her plate, trying to covertly ask what it was she ordered.

And, as the aromas from across the table make my mouth water, I watch with envy as she savors her choices.

Her husband is a wise man (for many reasons!) After years of sticking to what he was used to ordering and then sampling off her plate, (and eventually eating all of her food,) he has changed his ways.

Now he just closes his menu, nods and says, “I’ll have…whatever she’s having.”

But I don’t have the same tastes as she does.

But I don’t like hot and spicy.

But I’ve never heard of that ingredient.

But I can’t even pronounce that.

But, but, but…

So, I end up ordering the same thing.

And I miss out.

Isn’t this how we often end up doing life?

Playing it safe; sticking with what we know.

Saying, “That might work for you, but I am just this way…I have always been this way…I always order this.”

And we end up missing out.

But not anymore.

My friend is always gracious and allows me to sample everything she orders. And my taste buds burst out in celebration!

It has taken me some time, and I often think of all I have missed up to this point, but as I grew in trust, I’ve been encouraged and emboldened to try new things as we dine together.

 

And God is cooking up something in life for each of us that is so much more that we could ever ask for or imagine (or order!).

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Bigger plans than that thing you always do.

And the beautiful thing is–He doesn’t expect us to do it on our own. He brings people into our lives to help us along the way. People who will inspire and encourage, or just another soul who has walked in our same shoes for awhile and who understands.

God knows us inside and out and figured out we would need a helper to move us forward into areas that frighten us.

He brings people into our lives that challenge us, hold our hand along the way and embolden us to try new things.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating that all things are good choices for all people. Discernment and trust are key factors. (My friend always asks about my allergies and preferences before cooking up her magic!)

 

But, when we place our trust in Him, seek Him and ask Him for help, He will align himself with us, reminding us we are not alone. He will encourage us, guide us and light the way for our path.

“You hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel.” (Psalm 73:24)

“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”(Matthew 28:20)

He invites us to spend time with Him; to savor His Words of healing, wisdom and direction. He asks us to dine with Him; to take and eat of the bread of life and sip from an everlasting cup.

“I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” (Revelation 3:20)

So, the next time you hunger to try something new, or you find yourself salivating with envy over someone else’s choices, just close your eyes. Listen for God’s whispers of faith and focus your eyes on Him.

Breathe deep; smile and envision the café scene in When Harry Met Sally…

Open your eyes, and say it with conviction, “I’ll have what He has for me!” 😉

 

Dedicated to my fabulous, foodie friend Heidi Rosner. –Thank you for encouraging me in so many things!

Check out Souvenirs and all of her artwork at Celebration of Fine Art in Scottsdale, AZ through March! (or at www.HeidiRosner.com)

Or, better yet, just share some food with her! 😉

Advertisements

Are you a PRINCESS?

Princess

Are you a PRINCESS?

A dear friend of mine’s husband is the most amazing father. Although he coaches both of his sons’ little league teams and is consistently a #1 provider, husband and all-around fantastic guy, it’s the relationship with his young daughter that gets me the most. I love witnessing the affection and adoration he shows for his young and impressionable, but tough and sweet little girl.

“Who’s the most beautiful girl in the world?” He asks as she blushes and looks up at him.

“Emmie-loooo is the most beautiful girl in the world!” He gives her a squeeze. “Next to mommy, of course.” He winks at her and kisses his wife.

She is his little princess.

Does he realize the tremendous impact of his behavior? As this young lady matures, it morphs into what she believes about other male relationships and in how she expects to be treated.

When do we stop thinking we are worthy to be adored, respected and treated like a princess?

“There could never be a more beautiful you
Don’t buy the lies, disguises and hoops they make you jump through
You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do
So there could never be a more beautiful you”  –Jonny Diaz

 

But, maybe you never learned it from your father.

And if we don’t learn these things from our parents, as a youth often times we are influenced by fairy tales. Disney has capitalized on this concept. Just admit it: Who didn’t have dreams of prince charming? Who else also wanted their personality to be so serene that all the animals of the forest would flock to you? Who didn’t want a prince to show up with perfect shoes and to rescue them from evil step-mothers and housework?

On some level we identify with these stories.

My favorite fairy tale was the “Princess and the Pea” by Hans Christian Anderson.

http://www.fairytalescollection.com/HansChristianAndersen/ThePrincessandthePea.aspx

Before I was even a teen, I was into makeup. I spent hours in front of a mirror playing with the color palettes attempting to reproduce looks like the girls in the magazines. I painted my fingers and toes a different color every night. (Yep—CRAY-CRAY!!)

Deep down, with my not-even-necessary training bra and my plain face, I thought people might mistake me for a boy. As I grew into my teens, I believed others wouldn’t see me as beautiful without the powders, liquids and gels. Accompanied by the hours spent feathering my hair and the latest Mary Kay cosmetics, I carried these false beliefs into my high school years.

I tried all the techniques, tricks and tips I had to be what I thought made up “beautiful.”

What I would’ve loved was to be like the “Princess and the Pea.” When the raging storm washed away all the outside trappings and evidence to the eyes that she was royalty, there was another test that would prove she was who she claimed.—Despite the other’s inability to see who she truly was, this test, if passed, would reveal her true identity!

No looks, no make-up, no perfect hair—Just a test! Even if the face and body that God created her with was washed away, this test would reveal her royalty!

I love this because –I am really good at tests!

But…

The thing about fairy tales is–they are not reality.

I am certain the prince doesn’t know how to do his own laundry.

Wild forest animals are NOT that friendly and, seriously—a GLASS SHOE?

That princely carriage turns into a pumpkin and the housework NEVER goes away!

Here’s the TRUTH:

God created you in His image (Genesis 1:27)

God knitted you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13)

You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)

Embrace the YOU-niqueness of YOU!  As Jonny Diaz’s song tells us: There could NEVER be a more beautiful you–

“So turn around

you’re not too far
To back away

be who you are
To change your path go another way
It’s not too late, you can be saved

If you feel depressed with past regrets
The shameful nights hope to forget
Can disappear, they can all be washed away

By the one who’s strong, can right your wrongs
Can rid your fears

dry, all your tears
And change the way you look at this big world

He will take your dark distorted view
And with His light, He will show you truth
And again you’ll see through the eyes of a little girl”

–Jonny Diaz

With God as your father, you are adored. There is NOTHING you can do to change how beautiful you are to God.

When you know Jesus as your Savior, you are an heiress into His royal family.

You are always His princess.

No pea required.

GARAGE SALES–A Necessary Evil??

Image

GARAGE SALES – A Necessary Evil???

There are two types of people: “garage sale people” and “non-garage sale people.”

Garage sale people plan their day, their weekends and their vacations around the best times and places to go “garage selling.” They rent a vehicle or borrow a neighbor’s truck and hit the neighborhoods. They’ve watched the papers and internet for the best ones and arrive pre-dawn with cash-in-hand and their best poker-face ready to negotiate that overpriced dollar sticker down to a quarter. Even if they don’t necessarily want the item, it’s the thrill of the bargain. (And I am pretty sure they all watch “Antiques Road Show” for the hope that they might have just snagged an old Victoria Vase worth $29,000 paying only $2.00 when it was marked up to $15.00)

I am not one of those people. I don’t even look twice at a “garage sale” sign. I actually speed up if somehow, by pure mistake, I end up in the vicinity of one.

A garage sale–People seeking to obtain some value by placing their trinkets and treasures on display — out of the area usually used to store a dirty car, old motor oil and unused bicycles. I get embarrassed as I rifle through old VHS tapes and mostly junky jewelry, as though they are exposing me to their most intimate moments and memories. Was that the first piece of jewelry he gave her in 5th grade? Was that the movie she always watched when she missed her ex-husband?

I loathe the possibility of tarnishing someone’s memory of an item by requesting it for less money.

Garage sales stress me out. My blood pressure is rising as I consider putting on a garage sale four months from now.  Strangers sifting through my belongings (or those of a loved one) and then demanding a lower price just for the thrill of it.  Degrading my trinkets with my memories attached, even that gruff-looking, ratty bear dressed in a clown suit.–I was only asking a dollar.– Seriously, you only want to pay ten cents for it?

I sometimes think I would actually pay twice the price to avoid a “haggle,” and I would certainly rather give things away than risk tarnishing a memory.

But isn’t ten cents more than nothing? What really is the purpose of a garage sale?

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

My fiancé and I, after nine years and four years, respectively, of living on our own, will be joining lives and merging households in six months. In six months. 135 days from now two very different tastes will be merging, two separate sets of kitchen utensils and cookware will be looking for its place, five bathrooms of towels, five bedrooms of sheet sets, pillowcases and duvets will be searching for a place to land. We will have two washers and two dryers…

Not to mention my collection of snow globes, Precious Moments figurines and stuffy’s (I tend to horde these!) from my past. Then there are his “umpteen” medals and t-shirts from road races and triathlons, his extensive sport shoe collection and, in truth, way larger collection of clothes than any man I know…  What to do???

A time for a garage sale.

.

.

.

.

.

(Sorry, I just passed out from the dread.)

..

I am back and grasping for air as I sum up:

I know that getting rid of these “extras” and selling off the “excess” cannot take away a single one of my memories. I know that my sister, who gave me the plush, emerald green Ralph Lauren towels 14 years ago will understand. Decisions must be made to clear space, to clear the way. And not to mention the cost of a wedding.–Ten cents is more that nothing…

As I place the stickers on my items, I will keep telling myself that all my friends and family who bought me the wonderful snow globes,(each signifying special and memorable places and times,) will be honored to know how I cherished them through all these years.

I also know how happy they are for me to have met this phenomenal man and they understand that room needs to be made for this new life. I know that clearing out the shelves and boxes, and closets and drawers opens me up to this new beginning and clears the spaces in my heart for my new love; it refreshes the rooms for my new life to begin with him.

I know it is time.

 

“I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.” –Ecclesiastes 3:14

So, for you “garage sale people,” consider this your official notice: there will be a massive MOVING SALE taking place in the month of May in the towns of Peoria and Scottsdale. Everything MUST GO!

Except for the snow globes; I changed my mind.

Oh…and the towels…I decided to donate them to a pet shelter.

See you there 😉

Dedicated to Mr. and Mrs. Todd and April Reilly who merged their lives January 11, 2014.

Congratulations! (Sorry I missed the garage sale!)

Again and again and again

Image from crossfitmf.com

Image from crossfitmf.com


I just heard that the first Monday of the first week of the year is touted as “the most depressing day of the year.” The first Monday after all that holiday time off, celebrations and festivities and then**Ka-BLAM!**–Most “New Year Resolutions” are already broken, those Christmas pounds are pushing at your pants and it’s back to “the old grind.”

Depressing.

But–Congratulations to us all! We made it through the most depressing day of the year already.

Maybe.

No lies—I have no doubt that this year will hold a cornucopia of events for us all.

Some good. Some bad.

Life is tough. Divorce, dead end jobs, relentlessly cruel bosses, mean store clerks, jerky drivers, taxes, financial woes, health struggles, and so on and so on…
Yet nothing leaves a bigger void than the loss of a loved one. Whether it be a sudden, unsuspected loss, like the quick tearing off of a bandage, or whether it is a lengthy illness, stretching out a loved one’s pain. Both are equally painful and both resulting in a galaxy-sized hole in your life.

My “energizer bunny” father and my joke-telling, sweet grandfather passed away within a month of each other. And several of my friends have experienced similar losses. One after the other; again and again and again; leaving void upon void that aches like the ghost-like pain of an amputee.

Part of you gone forever.

How do you honor that? How do you honor them?

“Maybe not in life, but in imagination. Because that’s what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again and again.”—Walt Disney

This quote is from Saving Mr. Banks. The story details how Walt Disney, struggling to keep a 20 year promise to his daughters, fought to get the rights from Pamela Travers to her book “Mary Poppins” so he could turn it into a musical movie. I am glad I saw this movie many years after my losses. For me, this story overflowed with the relationship of father-to-daughter, daughter-to-father and that complex, yet special bond.
“Pamela” didn’t want to give over the rights to “Mr. Disney” because the characters were family to her. And through the movie, we discover they truly are her family.

And Walt Disney’s musical movie wasn’t what she had in mind to honor them.

It would seem, giving up the rights of her story to him meant letting go of what illusions she created to honor her family.

And my illusions are that, even if this “based on the true story” movie didn’t contain all the facts, it did honor those it was about. For me, those two hours in the theater were spent endearing me to “Pamela” and the love she had for her father; of discovering the man behind Walt Disney (his father, Elias) and the tenacity of Walt in his promise to his daughters, as well as remembering my own father and weeping about loss with those who have had this same struggle of how to honor their memory.

Life stops for no one. I mean, how does one grieve in the three days of bereavement leave some jobs allow? Even the “moment of silence” offered up at memorials passes away and is too quickly replaced with the hustle and bustle of this supersonic paced world we must return to.

We need a place to lay things to rest.

“That is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don’t have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn’t have the specific ritual you are craving, then you are absolutely permitted to make up a ceremony of your own devising, fixing your own broken-down emotional systems with all the do-it-yourself resourcefulness of a generous plumber/poet. If you bring the right earnestness to your homemade ceremony, God will provide the grace. And that is why we need God.”
–Elizabeth Gilbert from “Eat, Pray, Love.”

So, whether it’s for a divorce, a job loss or a freshly opened wound created by a death; and whether it’s in a movie theater, a church, or the tallest tower of an Ashram in India; I pray that you invite God in, and find peace in honoring the losses in your life.
Again and again and again.

Dedicated in Memoriam of Harry Herbert Hyde who left this life on 12-30-13

PERSPECTIVE

Long Road (2)

Perspective

Today; the first day of 2014; a new year.  

I relish new year’s day and new year’s eve; not for the festivities, the holiday from work, the guaranteed kiss at midnight; nor for the over-booked, over-priced menus at all restaurants that evening ;). Like standing atop the highest peak and looking out across an expansive valley below; this holiday can bring a different perspective.  For me, it’s a time for reflection: to look back on a year and wish it “good riddance!” or to revel in the accomplishments, goals reached and struggles overcome; often both.

January 1 holds in it a clean slate. If you didn’t waste yourself too much the night before, it is a day to behold the promise of new goals, a fresh start and the endless possibilities for the next 365 days!

Or not. It really is just a day. Probably a day of recovery with many people swearing, “I will never again…”

The more precious time I get on this planet, the more I sense God speaking to us through His creation I realize the importance of perspective.

Perspective.

 

I took these pictures from the same location just a few months apart.

Isn’t this how we can feel sometimes? Like there is so much beauty bouncing around life in a kaleidoscope of hope and opportunity, yet other times life is a foreboding, dangerous and dark place.

But it is the same place; just a different time.

I am not one who typically relishes the unknown of what change can bring. I am a planner and seek to control the outcomes. But every season of life contains a bounty of change, so I cling to the constant:

“For the Lord is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Jeremiah 33:11)

As I write down my hopes for this new year, my resolutions for change, and I wipe away the failures and flops of 2013; I envision the possibilities that this road holds as spring sprinkles her magic dew and new life down her path. I can hardly wait to see the buds blossom into a wide array of fruits and fulfillment of purpose as summer breaks through. And I vow to remember that, regardless of dark days, looming fog, or storms that seem they won’t let up, a new season is often just around the corner; His love is an enduring constant that will carry me through those seasons.

So, whatever season you find yourself in, may your perspective be filled with hope and newness, and may you cling to the promise of His enduring, faithful, unchanging love as you travel down your path.

 Happy New Year!