navigating life's shadows with chocolate & reluctant yoga

Live Well and Celebrate You!

Live Well and Celebrate You!

Many people think that what’s written in the Bible has mostly to do with getting people into heaven, getting right with God, saving their eternal souls. It does have to do with that, of course, but not mostly. It is equally concerned with living on this earth, living well, living in robust sanity. In our scriptures, heaven is not the primary concern, to which earth is a tag along after thought. “On earth as it is in heaven” is Jesus’ prayer.  Wisdom is the biblical term for this on earth as it is in heaven everyday living. Wisdom is the art of living skillfully in whatever actual conditions we find ourselves! Intro to the book of Proverbs written by Eugene H. Peterson

I found myself the other day in what I would like to refer to as a “sweet spot”. For the first time in a very long time I rose with not one thing on the agenda ( list, plan, outline, or the like, of things to be done, matters to be acted or voted upon). You see, the night before, my Mom had called and out of the blue wanted to pick up my sweet Chocolate and Vanilla for a sleep over. Due to her and my Dad’s very hectic schedule this does not happen often, so when it does, we grab hold of the opportunity as though it were our last and we go with it. The girls were beyond excited and to be honest, I did not initially share in that same excitement. I was happy for them, don’t get me wrong but the thought crossed my mind, “now what will I do tomorrow if I’m not caring for them?”

I spent the first hour of my morning sipping hot tea, reading and reading some more. An entire hour without one interruption? Had I just died and gone to heaven? I didn’t have to reread the same line twenty times to actually comprehend what I was reading. There was a flow and a rhythm to the context of the story line and it hit me, that was because I was reading without someone constantly needing me for something. I paused for a moment to ask forgiveness to all of the sweet authors that I had falsely accused of not knowing how to write a book that flowed. It wasn’t their writing after all, it was the fact that I hadn’t read an hour straight without interruptions in ages. It was phenomenal and I was grateful.

I then found myself finishing a sewing project that I had started over a month ago. I am a self taught sewer. I don’t feel right calling myself a seamstress just yet as much of what I sew, if looked at closely, would not pass inspection. However, I love the world of colors, fabrics, textures and more. I look for every possible chance to create something for the home with my humble, beginners sewing machine. Most often it is hard to find the time but not on this particular day. This day, all of the hours were mine. It wasn’t two hours later and my project was complete and divine it was! My very own window seat. A place to sit and read, sip hot anything or simply stare out the window and think of nothing.

I swept the kitchen floor, not because it was on a list but because I could. I threw in a load of laundry that I did not transfer to the dryer until hours later. I organized a kitchen cupboard which inspired me to read a Better Homes and Garden magazine. I thumbed across the most divine looking cake on page 180. I grabbed a pen and wrote the ingredients on my left palm.  I took Selah, our black lab for a brisk walk around the lake at a faster than normal pace as I didn’t have to look back to make sure everyone was keeping up. After the most wonderful walk, I grabbed my keys and drove to the grocery store and proceeded to purchase every ingredient written on my palm. Walking through the aisles I was pert near giddy at the thought of making a cake just for the good enough reason
of eating it.

Minutes after returning home I got out nearly every kitchen baking tool I had and began to whip up the most amazing dessert I have tasted in quite some time. It was so amazing that I will share it with you at the end of my story. As I was artistically creating in the kitchen, a sweet sister of mine popped over for a visit. She sat at the counter while I continued creating.   We talked of everything and nothing and the hands of time slowed for just a bit so I could be present to those moments. Thirty five minutes later the cake was done baking and I was ready to add the berries and cream. I grabbed my phone, captured its beauty and grabbed a handful of forks.  Within seconds the first bite was taken and then it hit me,  I heard the words, “today is a Celebration of You.” “This is what I had in mind when you rose this morning.” This day was a celebration of me, a celebration of Christ through me. Today, I practiced wisdom. Today I practiced the art of living skillfully in the actual condition I was in!
I found very quickly that I was able to wear the hat “being alone for a day” and wear it well. I swiftly remembered the wonderful things I love to do and I did them. It isn’t about how many hats I wear, its about how I accessorize. Tomorrow I will wear the hat “Mommy” and I will wear it with honor and be intentional about accessorizing well. Well hatted women accessorize according to the occasion!Robust Living: strong, healthy, hardy, rich, being alive, not dead, in actual existence, active, thriving, vigorous, strong, a living faith, burning, glowing, flowing freely as water!!
Pistacchio Honey Cake with Berries and Cream

1 cup flour
1/2 cup Cornmeal
1/4 cup pistachio nuts, ground
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp orange juice
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, chilled or cream cheese, softened
1 cup whipping cream, chilled
2 Tbsp honey
1 pint strawberries, halved or sliced
Preheat oven to 325. Butter 9 x 1 1/2 inch round cake pan. Line bottom with parchment paper. In medium bowl combine flour, cornmeal, ground pistachios, baking powder and salt. In large mixing bowl beat butter. Add 1/2 cup of honey beat 3 minutes til fluffy. Slowly beat in eggs one at a time. Add 3/4 of flour mixture. Mix in milk and remaining flour mixture. Pour in batter. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. In small saucepan heat remaining 1/4 cup honey and orange juice. Poke warm cake with toothpick and pour in warm mixture. Cool Cake. Add cream and 2 Tbsp honey, beat to soft mounds. Spoon on cake, drizzle with additional honey, top with strawberries and chopped pistachios.




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