Food Hospitality, or Romanticizing Indulgence

This is the time of year I review old things and resolve to do new things.  I was really into this in, like, 2009 and other random years but didn’t feel compelled to list out every crazy thing I did in 2013, because actually everything I did was crazy.

The smaller task would be to list out all the beautifully ordinary moments that existed in the year. Things that come to mind: grilled pizza on the twinkle-lit deck this summer, meaningful meals with friends between each trip, the one or two football games we were able to catch wrapped in blankets with chili in the crockpot, hanging four strands of snowflake lights on our sliding door and watching the snow pile up, snuggles with nieces, selecting our favorite photos to send as a thank-yous to helpful friends, and feeling my little nephew kick.

I am also totally clueless about 2014, so I have not resolved to anything yet. When we return from Cuba, our fellowship with World Next Door will be over, and beyond March is a giant question mark. All my resolutions this year would be all the previous years’ resolutions combined, and also the ordinary ones like clean eating and exercise.

But last night as I was stuffing face in this Cuban pizza shop in Miami, Continue reading Food Hospitality, or Romanticizing Indulgence

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Let’s go.

Hey 2013 75

Dear B,

Say Yes. The world (and grandparents) will give you a million reasons to say No. Most reasons will be logical and rational. In fact, you could live your whole life saying No, and you would be justified, safe, and successful in your niche. But in 2013, say Yes. Pay attention, and walk through each door God opens- even the scary ones. Allow God to lead your heart and keep saying Yes even when it’s a little bit crazy. You are a little bit crazy, you know.

Detox. Detox from brownies and cookies and pie and chocolate-covered anything. Detox from sadness and grief. Detox from the black hole of the internet that beckons you to Google and infertility forums instead of praying and friend-calling.  Detox from E! and TLC and the DVR. Detox from sloth (Yes, you. Your pants don’t fit, pal.) Detox from discouragement. Detox from ingratitude and discontent. Detox from expectations. Detox from consumerism. Detox from noise.

Steep. Steep in these things to extract and absorb their flavors: vitamins and minerals and nutrients. Steep in fruit smoothies and salads and probiotics. Steep in hope and comfort and truth. Steep in friends and prayer. Steep in encouraging books. Steep in gratitude with every tiny little gift, wherever you find it. Steep outside, where air is fresh and things are alive and real. Steep in Body Works Plus Abs, or at least steep in Yoga. If neither of those, steep in the elliptical and stretching. Steep in laughter. Steep in releasing, letting go, surrender. Steep in satisfaction. Steep in mindfulness, quietness, mediation. Steep in beauty and creative expression.

Our plan for 2013: Say Yes. Detox. Steep.

Love,
B.

Lets get this party started.

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Dear B,

Wear less sweatpants. This is the beauty of a tropical climate. You own a thousand cute outfits that are perfectly wearable year round. Hello?

Do not wait until the last minute to read an entire semester’s worth of articles. You are paying a trillion dollars for this education, so you might as well learn actual theories and not just Marva Lewis’s notes on attachment via overhead (read: iChat).

Get more than 6 hours of sleep per night. This will likely mean limiting midnight back-to-back episodes of Chelsea Lately and Sex and the City. You will manage.

Remember the athletic center you are forced to pay $900 a semester to use? Go to it. Your friends used to have to come pick you up because you rode your bike too long and too far. Figure out where that bike riding joy went and reinstate it. Except, don’t ride yourself silly in New Orleans. You will get kidnapped.

Do not drink Diet Coke for breakfast. Start each morning with a giant glass of water. End each day with a giant glass of water. If you must have the Diet Coke, at least buy it from the machine where Molly won $1.25 and haunted house tickets.

Stop writing emails on Ambien. If you send an email after 10 pm, there’s a good chance it was written under the influence (cough, Judy Lewis). You are not more hilarious on Ambien. You simply have no filter. Find the tool on gmail that screens for irresponsible emailing and enable it.

Stop being so afraid of new things the first time around. They always turn out just fine.

Be patient. Timing is everything.

Clean your apartment so you can begin hosting the over-promised, under-delivered hot tub reading parties and Sex and the City Sundays. Your home should be your place. That means you should be able to walk through it without having to scale piles of clothes.

Purchase cleaning supplies and hangers.

Be intentional with keep-in-touch-Sunday even when other things try to crowd it out. Relationships are most important. Don’t forget.

Ski. You know you want to.

You are about to become an intern again. Be yourself and trust that who you are is good enough, cool enough, nice enough, honest enough, funny enough, pretty enough, smart enough and competent enough.

Embrace the next eight months and try everything. You’ll never get this season back.

Graduate! It’s sort of the point.

Allow God to lead your heart. He did a fantastic job in 2008, and if you pay attention, your whole life could be as amazing.

Love,
B.

2008, we did the best we could.


January
Moved to Belize. *Carry-on bag wouldn’t fit in the overhead compartment. Attendant made me take out bulge on top, which happened to be a Ziploc gallon-sized bag of underwear. Held underwear on lap for duration of the flight.

Lived on an Iguana reserve. Learned how to do laundry with a hose. Experienced Belizean wedding and funeral in the same week. Set out to teach everything I knew about conflict resolution, drugs, and AIDS. Learned everything I know about love. Got accepted into grad school.

February Caught a parasite, hiked to the top of a ruin, swam in a cave, experienced my first Belizean election and confirmation. Fought a piñata. Lost.

March Overcame fear of spiders. Discovered a new love for choco-bananas. Played with a monkey. Met real Guatemalan Indians in Guatemala. Bought skirt from them. Watched the Ruta Maya river race. Said goodbye to the Caribbean. Understood that life would never be the same.

April Got a niece! Heart opened a little wider. Fell in love with her.
Turned 27. Panicked. Cut my own bangs.

May Got another step-family. Danced! Celebrated! Laughed!
First laid eyes on my new city, New Orleans. Stabbed my foot with a parking lot spike.

June Went back to work at Boys and Girls Club. Happy to find that I still loved the kids. Got shingles. Thought I was dying.

July Sold everything I owned on Craigslist. Moved out of Fort Wayne (ten years!) Received Carrie Bradshaw as a parting gift.

August Moved to New Orleans. Found the two-story target, which I had previously thought was an urban legend. Took a family vacation to Destin. Came back. Became acquainted with city life. Loved it. Went to Tulane for student orientation after a month of waiting. Got evacuated for Gustav at lunch.

September Stayed evacuated for two and a half weeks. Went back to school. Dropped ten pounds for lack of friends.

October Made friends! Gained ten pounds. Heard that Taylor Fort Wayne would be closing. Felt orphaned. Dressed up like a ninja and fought pirates on Jackson square.

November Watched history unfold in the TSSW building with snacks and wine. Found out Bry and Jess are pregnant again. Went to Belize. Delivered school supplies. Painted a cafeteria. Provided flood relief with two armed guards on the Guatemalan border. Became acquainted with Big Mac and Quarter Pounder, the tarantulas. Realized I had not overcome fear of spiders. Had the sweetest reunions I could ever imagine at San Marcos School.

Learned that a plan is usually unfolding around me even when I am not still or patient enough to see it. Discovered that if I feel lost even for a second, all I have to do is ask for help. Understood the beauty in a prayer that goes, “Hi God, I’m an idiot and I don’t trust myself. Could you make this one clear for me?” Trusted completely. Found out I am purposed. Convinced Tulane I am purposed. Doing last semester internship in Belize!

December Wrote a thousand papers. Failed a final. Got all A’s!
Watched snow fall in New Orleans. Saw Lily take her first 3 steps.
Went to Chicago. Smile.