My Gift is Not…

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My gift is not hospitality. It’s just not. Hospitality is opening up your house when there are dishes in the sink,  laundry in the wash, just enough food for one person (not even prepared), and lovingly opening up your home/ place to people to just come in and be welcomed.

Hospitality is not about making everything look perfect and be perfect (because perfect is not a thing), and being a complete crazy person until all is the unattainable perfection. Unfortunately I know what hospitality should be, but still yearn for the Instagrammable everything. As much as I wish true hospitality was a gift I excelled in, I’m still learning.

My last Women’s Day dinner was, once again, a lesson in true hospitality. I wanted it to be perfect. A good menu. Beautiful decor. A list of friends- not too many, but not too few. I planned everything. EVERYTHING! And as always, plans change. I did not plan to sit for 40 minutes in traffic leading up to the dinner- 40 minutes of precious prep time that all I could do was sit and fume.

FUME.

I got to the house, and starting going crazy like a mad person! A few friends showed up early (planned), and I put them to work. SO thankful for sweet friends who will just pick up my mess and love me anyway. I should have been more thankful in the moment, but instead I was upset that they weren’t moving fast enough or having any sense of urgency. When other friends showed up early, I was even more mad that people had the audacity to come early- who does that- who shows up early? In the land of manana… no way. I chose myself, over love. I chose selfishness over being grateful to have such encouraging, serving women in my life who came early to help out.

Even as I reflect on the evening I have to remind myself to not be upset that no one got the ‘perfect photo’ of the beautiful table… or the best photo of the great decor. I have to remember the great conversations; the mingling of different friend groups; the time each woman gave up to spend their evening with me. THAT is the point of a great dinner party- not the food, not the money spent, and definitely NOT photos taken (but still, guys, come on…in a room full of millenials NO ONE TOOK A FREAKING PHOTO OF THE TABLE?)

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I know that I want to be more hospitable. I want a spirit that just opens her heart and home to all, regardless of the aesthetic of the photos that could be taken. I’m praying for it. I’m searching for it. I’m trying for it… but until then I’ll just rely on the love of friends and their graciousness. ❤

Be reminded that behind the nice photos there is usually someone who sat in terrible traffic, cooked throughout the dinner party, and is still upset (weeks later) that nothing went as planned. 😉

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busy weeks

These past few weeks have been so full of networking and people (which I am so grateful for!).

They’ve been wonderful and overwhelming; wonderful because of all the people and opportunities these events bring (from intimate dinner parties with the New Mexico Energy Forum to larger non-profit networking events with Albuquerque mayoral candidates and planning large events)… overwhelming because of… all the people. People drain me (but like, in the best of ways). Making small talk constantly drains me. New situations terrify me.

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When my new people meter gets tapped out I am SO unproductive. I feel terrible at work, when I’m suppose to be working, but I just can’t give 100%. I know it sounds lazy and like an excuse, and maybe to some extent it is, but when it’s go, go, go 5 days a week, I need a stay, stay, stay day. THANKFULLY, I was at lunch the other day and realized that a stay day at a coffee shop or at home was needed, called my supervisor to make sure it was ok. She was more than encouraging to take a mental health afternoon; and made me feel 0% guilty about not returning to work. ❤

It’s so important to make sure you’re giving 100% (something I’ve been guilty of not doing), but to do so you have to take a stand to make sure you’re ok. So sometimes giving most of your energy most of the time to one thing means giving 0% some of the time, in order to get yourself on track.

(in fact, now that I type this, I remember that our CEO came into my office a few times last week and said that I didn’t seem 100%, and I should leave early, or take a coffee break, or just walk around the office until I could focus, and at the time I was a little perturbed that she didn’t think I was doing a “good enough” job, but now I’m just thankful that she even recognized exhaustion and encouraged taking a break.)

Am I Creative?

short answer yes. i am made in the image of a CREATOR, we are called to create as well- or to re-create.

“Creativity is the human impulse to take what God has made, shape it, and make it new. “ -Mike Cosper

(https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/creativity-is-rooted-in-creation)

I guess I struggle with this because I’m not good at drawing, painting, dancing, singing, ect… so what kind of creative am I?

“What has often been said of theology is true of creativity too: It’s not a question of whether a Christian or a church will have creativity; it’s what kind of creativity they’ll have.” -Mike Cosper

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I picked up Gail McMeekin’s book “The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women,” the other day and there are SO MANY great journaling prompts in it. I hope to use it to rediscover my zeal for ‘creativity,’ and to find out how the creative process can be used to obtain goals, live a life more full of joy, and break up the mundane that life can sometimes be.

McMeekin starts off week one by instructing you to ‘acknowledge your creative self.’ Our creative self is in us, alive, and waiting to emerge; buried underneath rejection, mistakes, and suffering. There are like seven writing prompts in chapter one (you know, for the 7 days in a week)… all of which have to do with your history- creativity as a child, your creative heritage/ lineage, and what you think your gifts are. I won’t write them all here (buy the book).

Definitely will not be journaling everything here, but keep checking back to see if I have any creativity revolutions! *(praying I discover I’m secretly a painting prodigy, or something like that…) 😉

the power of poetry

Earlier in September I, very randomly, went to a book signing at a local bookshop. The book turned out to be a book a poetry, the author a young lady around my age. She wrote poems to the women in her life… some who she knew well, others only for a brief moment. Each of these women were significant to her, and she wanted to speak to their abilities & gifts that she witnessed.

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What a beautiful sentiment. To acknowledge the qualities we see in others, oftentimes these are intimate sentiments those individuals don’t even know about. Because of this event, I decided to write emails to a few girlfriends, ‘witnessing’ to them.

You are the glue that binds truth and spontaneity in my life.
without your encouraging spirit beside me, I would be turning in circles in my journey with Christ.
Your voice can bring me to tears and lift me up in the same breath.
Thank you for being a little crazy and making me a better person.
you are the Sam- Wise to my Frodo (and sometimes the Merry to my Pippen).
you speak truth with gentleness and empathy into my life.
no one can listen the way you do with your ears and your heart.
you are my kindred spirit, walking with me, and always pointing me to Christ.
Thank you for being a little crazy and making me a better person.
My honey-boo-boo, you are the purveyor of honesty missing in my life.
Your need to dream is inspiring, even more so your ability to put dreams to reality.
The future is brighter because of you, knowing our paths will cross again.
You are the motivator to the extreme, and your wandering spirit is much missed.
Thank you for being a little crazy and making me a better person.
Those are just a few of the emails I sent out. Literally that’s all that was on them. The response I received back from these women was incredible. Phone calls/ texts/ emails back came in right after I sent them. Words of encouragement are powerful. Lifting one another up is powerful. Even letting people know you’re thinking about them when they’re not right in front of you is powerful. Poetry is powerful.
I challenge you to write to a few friends, just write down the uniqueness of their friendship (I know, irony, I used the same last line for alllll the poems. BUT REALLY, each of my friend’s “crazy” is important to me, and they all make me a better person). Let people know they are loved!

Lavender Shortbread Cookies

This past week I’ve had some time on my hands to try new things (thank you Pinterest). I’ve discovered I love brussel sprouts (particularly with pancetta and/or sriracha and honey sauce)! Also new this week was a peach pie crumble. Both of those new recipes were SO DELICIOUS, but my favorite one was probably the lavender shortbread cookies. Maybe I loved it so much because it has chocolate, or maybe because I was baking them for an “Anne of Green Gables” night with the girls, but whatever the reason it’s my new go to lavender recipe.

Lavender is SO easy to cook/bake with. I’ve been obsessed with it for some time, and luckily enough live right next to an organic lavender farm. BUT the lavender I used in these cookies come from Provence, France- I have some pretty sweet friends. ❤

The recipe is pretty easy and from Forgiving Martha. The only difficult thing about the recipe is it doesn’t say where to put in the lavender. I put it in with my dry ingredients. I also ran the lavender through the food processor first (I’m not a huge fan of eating whole lavender chunks, but this is just a personal preference step). Another thing I changed was the type of chocolate I used. I did half semi-sweet, and half dark-chocolate and melted those chocolates together to receive a little bit more of a bitter chocolate taste that I think pairs nicely with the lavender. 🙂

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I don’t have a double boiler (or microwave) to melt the chocolate, so I used an egg poacher in simmering water.

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My chocolate dipping skills could use some improvement.

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I think I made about 50 two-bite cookies with this recipe.

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I always leave a few cookies w/o chocolate for those people who, for some unknowable reason, don’t like chocolate.