Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Cooking Hiatus

You may not believe this, but I've had little or no creative energy to cook in the past couple weeks. I've been eating an inordinate number of easy meals (grilled cheese, scrambled eggs, etc.). This is not my usual self (as you well know). I have ideas for what to cook, but no energy to implement them.

Honestly, I think I'm still getting used to working full time. Not the work itself--I'm used to that--but rather the limitations that working full time puts on my free time. There's simply no way to fit everything I want to do into the free time I have. And yet sometimes, I feel paralyzed. There's so much I could do, I'm not sure what I should do. I've talked about this before on the blog. So you can see that it continues to be a struggle for me.

However, I didn't intend to write a blog about this topic. I mostly set out to write a blog to process what I've been feeling and experiencing recently. Writing has always helped me process my life. Tonight, I mostly want to write about some lovely meals I've had in the past couple days that were provided for me.

On Friday and Saturday, I was at a women's retreat for my church at Camp Spaulding, which is a Presbyterian camp and retreat center north of Spokane. On Friday afternoon, my friend Margaret and I drove the 45 minutes north to camp. It was snowy at camp in contrast to wet and rainy Spokane. The lodge is a beautiful place with four-person rooms that include bathrooms. (This is my kind of roughing it!) There were about 45 women from Colbert at the retreat, which tells me that time for seeking Christ in fellowship with other women is a deeply felt need. I'm now praying that God would be faithful to bring about new and deeper relationships amongst the women who were there.

We got to enjoy dinner on Friday and breakfast and lunch on Saturday at the lodge. The food was wonderful. On Friday night, we had stuffed chicken breasts, a big salad, rolls, fresh fruit, and, for dessert, German Chocolate cake. The breakfast was rather atypical for a camp meal, but it was delicious. Pumpkin scones with pumpkin butter, parfaits with yogurt, frozen raspberries, and granola, and bacon. I had so much at breakfast, I was hardly hungry for lunch. I did find a little corner of room in my stomach and boy am I glad I did! Lunch was a pureed squash soup with pumpkin seeds on top, artichoke dip with fresh slices of bread, and a big salad with lots of good ingredients. Dessert, a necessity on a retreat, was big, soft ginger cookies.

I decided to write about the meals with such detail because of the detail that was put into each meal in the first place. I think it's a beautiful picture of the Kingdom of God to serve meals with such thoughtfulness, generosity, and creativity. I also loved the time of fellowship around the table. There's something so satisfying and unifing about eating a good meal with friends around a table.

The other meal I want to write about is my Monday night dinner with the Colbert Children's Ministry committee. We were at one committee member's house, and she prepared a feast: tortellini with pesto, spaghetti with clam sauce, rotini with tomato sauce, turkey meatballs, white rolls, and a salad with romaine, black olives, sliced cucumber, and an Italian dressing. For dessert, we had brownies with either peppermint or vanilla ice cream, hot fudge or caramel, and spiced nuts. This meal particularly brings out the creativity. I would never have thought to add spiced nuts to your basic brownie/ice cream combo or turkey meatballs with a pesto pasta.

Perhaps some of my unenthusiasm recently is that I only cook for myself. I am definitely more motivated to cook when I'm making food for other people. I'm praying that in the coming couple weeks, I can be creative with my meals, but still allow myself some grace when all I feel like eating is peanut butter and jam on toast.

But whether it's toast or stuffed chicken breasts for dinner, I'm praying that we can all be thoughtful, generous, and creative in our approach to the Christian life and our relationships with others. May food be just the start!

P.S. Thanks to my housemate for the fresh, gooey brownie I just ate. Yum. Not healthy, maybe, but certainly generous and thoughtful. :)

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