Traditional Tuesday – Spring

It’s officially spring! I love this time of year. It has to be my favorite season, along with winter, fall, and summer. I love each season for a different reason. Did you catch the rhyme there? Spring, though, has always been extra special to me. Even though I know January 1st is the official New Year, my year doesn’t seem to start until spring. It’s a time of renewal and birth. When I see the buds on the trees and the birds’ eggs in the nests and the grass becoming green again, it reminds me of all the wonderful things in this world.

I’ve thought for days about what kind of traditions I keep in spring. Writing these posts has made me realize that I don’t have a lot of traditions for certain times of the year. That being said, I have figured out one thing that I do consistently each spring. This beautiful tradition involves windows, a blanket, and a good book or my favorite movie. Each year around this time, when it is beginning to warm up a little outside, I open up the windows, curl up in a nice blanket, and either read a book or watch a favorite movie of mine. I love the feel of the slightly too chilly wind. I love the sound of the neighbor kids laughing as they race each other down the street. Sometimes, I love standing by an open window watching the squirrels run across the trees’ branches and the birds building their nests.

I would like to add a few more traditions for this time of year. With my love for spring and since it’s a time of renewal and birth, it only makes sense to enjoy this time of year with a new tradition or two. Do you have any suggestions? I would love to learn about your spring traditions! What do you like to do around this time of year? Do your spring traditions include cleaning? Fishing? Gardening? Or maybe baseball?

Running into the Darkness

I’m not sure the percentage but I’d be willing to bet that many of you had a fear of darkness at one time or another. No one had to plant the idea in our heads; we didn’t have to watch a scary movie. The fear of not being able to see what might be there in the shadows is a scary thing. I cannot count the number of times the little boy I babysit will call out in his young speech: ” Awi come turn on the wights pwease! It scawy….” Remembering the fear I struggled with for years, I often reply: “Honey, nothing is there that will hurt you, you can do it. I know you can, you’re a strong boy.” Sometimes he’ll get the courage and race into the darkness towards the light switch, and other times he chooses to go somewhere else. My heart soars with hope every time he chooses to be courageous. I am often reminded by my little friend how life looks from the big picture. How many times I have asked God in my young understanding: “God, will you show me where this is going? Will you show me what I need to do when I get done with this so I can plan things? Will you shed some light on the subject, I don’t understand and it’s scary?” How many times has He asked me to charge into the unknown?

Three Things Thursday

Three Things Thursday is going to be where I tell you, my wonderful audience, three things that I like. If my post inspires you to try something out please let me know! I’d love to know about your experiences as well!

Here are today’s three things:

1) http://shereadstruth.com/

She Reads Truth is a phenomenal devotional website. They start out with themes. For instance, right now they are themed “Lent” and are going through a set of devotionals that discusses repentance, remembering Christ our Savior’s suffering, and returning to Him as our Redeemer. Each devotional starts out with scripture, sometimes it’s a chapter, sometimes they grab fragments from several chapters. Next, they write a short-long bit about a story related to the topic, how God is working on them through this set of devotions, etc. Oh, did I mention that there are several women that write for this blog? This is one of the best parts for me. I love seeing different scriptures and how other people relate to them.

2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uI7X3XUTmX0

These two young ladies, Chloe and Steph, approach the world of makeup with a humorous twist. This almost eleven minute video is worth your time! It brought me to tears the first time I watched it because I was laughing so hard; I still laugh every time I watch it. I cannot wait to see where these girls go with their lovely videos!

3) Homemade Chicken ‘n’ Dumplins

Prep time: depends on how fast of a cook you are…

Ingredients:

  • Two 10.75 oz. cans of Cream of Chicken soup (one of the bigger cans is fine too)
  • 2-3 Chicken breasts cooked
  • Water (equal amount to the Cream of Chicken soup)
  • Two 7.5 oz. cans of biscuits, I use Pillsbury Buttermilk biscuits
  • Pepper

Directions:

  • Cook and cut up chicken into little chunks.
  • Put Cream of Chicken soup and water into a pot. I usually measure the water with the cans from the Cream of Chicken soup.
  • Add chicken to pot. Bring pot of ingredients to a boil.
  • Pull apart biscuits into little pieces and put into boiling Cream of Chicken soup. I usually put a little bit of flour in a bowl and drop the biscuits in there before pulling them apart; this tends to make it easier and less sticky.
  • Cover and cook for twenty minutes (or until the dumpins, biscuits, are cooked).
  • Pepper to taste.

I usually pair this with fried potatoes.

Traditional Tuesday

As an education major, my classes consist of a lot of cultural competence discussions. One of the topics within cultural competence is about how each person has a culture. The way you eat, what you listen to, the way you dress, the holidays you do or don’t celebrate, those are all aspects of your culture. This have been a particular struggle for me. Being a mostly middle class European American seems really “uncultured”. In order to overcome this struggle I have created Traditional Tuesday. When I can, I will post on Tuesdays about traditions that I partake in.

With my birthday being this month, my first Traditional Tuesday will be about the birthday traditions in my family.  It is important to note that my family and I do not celebrate Christmas because this small fact seems to have influenced our birthday celebrations.

My first birthday tradition is cake! Each birthday since my fourth birthday I have had a chocolate chip cookie cake. If you’ve never had a cookie cake, you must find you nearest cookie cake maker and treat yourself to some great yumminess. I buy my cookie cakes from the Great American Cookies Company. I’m not saying you have to buy from them; I’m just saying, I’ve been eating their cookie cakes for sixteen years and they haven’t failed me yet. Like most birthday cakes, my cookie cakes are usually decorated with icing. I’ve had Dr. Seuss’s cat in the hat decorations, despicable me minions jumping on a piano, balloons, and even a license. My latest request was a rainbow. Cookie cake is the best!

My next birthday tradition started when I was very little. This is where I think the not celebrating Christmas has influenced a birthday tradition. Every birthday my parents ask me what I want for my birthday, and I try to provide them with a list of what I would like. Sometimes they buy these gifts up to two or three months before my birthday. My parents then wrap the presents and set them out in the living room. The presents just sit there, waiting until my birthday to be opened; I do usually end up persuading my parents to let me open them a little before my birthday though.

Another birthday tradition my family and I keep started when I was sixteen. My parents had a rule that I was not allowed to officially date until I was sixteen. This basically meant that going on dates without chaperone was not accepted until my sixteenth birthday. On my sixteenth birthday, my daddy was my first date. During my freshman year of high school, I had experienced the wonderful cuisine of Greek food from a local restaurant at an extracurricular academia event. I decided that’s where I wanted dad to take me. This restaurant is an absolute delight! Going by the name of Mythos, this restaurant serves traditional Greek cuisine in a very elegant way. Every year since my sixteenth birthday, my dad and I go to Mythos and enjoy a lovely meal. The only difference is my mom joins us too!

I love birthdays. They have always been a special thing in my family. I would love to learn about your traditions! What are some of your birthday traditions? Do you celebrate birthdays or are they just another day? Let me know below in the comments!

A Renewed Spirit

I sit here, bundled up in a blanket, a cup of freshly brewed coffee in my hand. I keep staring at this blank screen, hoping maybe words will start popping up on their own. Maybe the twenty six letters of the alphabet will start mingling and create a wonderful post for this blog. I haven’t posted for a couple of months, and to be honest, my excuses are lacking. I could say I haven’t had time, but I’ve spent hours looking up inspirational blogs. I keep thinking that another blog will have the hammer to knock down the proverbial wall of blocked thinking. Yet despite my efforts, the screen remains blank. I’m sure all writers come to a point where they want to scream at the pen. When one is accustomed to words spilling out on the paper it is hard to accept the fact that to write, sometimes, you have to try harder. The problem I’ve come to notice these last few months isn’t just the lack of creative writing; the problem has been in each area of my life.

I’ve become bored and unimpressed with this beautiful life that I have. My schoolwork isn’t where it could be, my exercising habit is gone, and I have no inspiration. My average day once I get home includes food, sweatpants, and far too much time spent pinning great ideas. This revelation of reality hit me about a month ago when I visited the high school where I graduated. I talked with my high school teachers; I saw friends that I hadn’t talked to in years. As the conversations made their way to life and where we were at now, my teachers and friends ooed and awed over all I had done. I smiled and acted like I understood as they congratulated me on my accomplishments and gave their encouragement. The ride back home was long. I replayed everything that was said and I wondered if maybe they were right, maybe my life has been awesome. Don’t misunderstand me, I know that is the right answer. I know I have a wonderful life with great opportunities. My heart, however, betrays these right answers when it sees my friends working overseas, getting married, and succeeding at their goals.

It is easy to fall into this jealousy trap. Yes, I just mentioned it. I’m calling it out, right here, right now. When you live life, looking at others, saying something like: “It’ll look good on them but not me…” Or “What I’m doing isn’t that big of a deal…” Or “One day, I’ll make a difference…” I’d say you might need to double check your heart. I’m not saying you are having a fight with jealousy; I do know that when I double checked my heart, though, I found these tiny bits that were not needed there. I have a wonderful family, great friends, a fun coffee shop that I frequent, good schooling, new opportunities popping up all around me, influential connections, and two fantastic jobs. My life is wonderful. And yet, I look around at the mountainous terrain I live in and complain because it’s not a beach. Instead of seeing the beauty in falling fluff we call snow, I gripe and complain about having to wear a jacket. I am known among my friends as the child-like, motherly figure. I take care of each friend, praying for their safety, and giving advice when needed. In the same breath, though, I gleefully dance around when my favorite song comes on, I’ll walk around the store giggling with a good friend over a silly joke we saw on Pinterest, I’m that girl, the one that gets overly excited about the smallest things. The last few months have been hard, and that gleefully dancing girl only comes out by force. Psalms 51:10 says: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (KJV) This scripture has become my prayer; I need that renewed spirit to see the beauty around me. God has given me a beautiful life with some really neat opportunities. The ball is in my court though, I think it has been for a while.

I’ve been too busy watching my friends succeed, that I didn’t even realize they were playing a different sport. Comparing our lives to each other’s is like comparing hockey and basketball and thinking you’ll get similar results. Each person is different, and while some things might be similar, there will always be major differences. Those differences are what make us who we are. People don’t go to a hockey game expecting the players to dunk an orange ball into a hoop; you were not given this life to become a mimic of those around you. Make your own path and see the beauty in it. Enjoy this life that you have been blessed with.