What Are Your Cravings Telling You?

If I didn’t have writing, I think I’d weigh a thousand pounds. Rather than eating my feelings all the time – which, let’s be honest, I still sometimes do – writing is a much healthier environment for processing my thoughts and emotions than a bag of sweet potato chips or a bar of dark chocolate.

When the craving to snack strikes, that typically means I need to write. If I’m not hungry but I’m salivating over salted almonds, there’s probably something behind that.

If I want to pour myself a glass of bourbon, first I need to pause to appraise my feelings. In my more clear-headed moments, I ask myself:

  1. Why do I want it? 
  2. Should I write or go for a walk or do anything else instead?

(If you’re wondering, the answers to those questions are usually “because it tastes good and I like it and maybe I just want to soften the edges this hard day a bit.” And “yes, I should probably do any of those things before sitting down with a glass of bourbon – alone.”)Ginger lemon tea

Bourbon in good company is great. Bourbon alone requires discernment.

I don’t just ignore my cravings, though. That rarely works. If I try to stuff them in a drawer, they become like little gremlins, banging and shouting to be let out. They make a mess. In my mind, in my heart. It’s not pretty. And usually, I just end up frustrated and caving in and having that handful of almonds or that third cookie that I don’t really need but just want for the crunch. Continue reading

The Invitation: “Taste and See”

DeathtoStock_NotStock2It’s a little scary how easy it is to miss Jesus. Even though he’s “Emmanuel” – God with us at all times – it’s all too easy to misunderstand his character and his purposes. To fail to see what he’s doing in our lives and how he’s inviting us to simply connect with him.

This is true both for those who do and those who do not claim to put their faith in Christ. Today, people’s views of Christ and Christianity are either watered-down or polluted to the point of unrecognizability. When we miss the power and perfection of Christ, we miss the gift of “living water” that God is offering to our parched lips. Continue reading

Summer in the City Sangria

Get excited, people.

Get excited, people.

In celebration of summer, I thought it only appropriate to share a truly fabulous sangria recipe that’s guaranteed to make your day supremely sunny. Even if it’s not. Like here in SF. Yesterday the wind was howling, the sun never broke through the fog, and it was probably just barely above 60 degrees. That’s our summer.

But I digress. We’re talking about sangria. Not just any old sangria, mind you, this is watermelon-strawberry sangria. Made from fresh from juicy watermelon and ripe strawberries. This is the good stuff, people. Guaranteed to brighten even the gloomiest of days.

The recipe is incredibly simple and, as Joy the Baker notes, as long as the concoction stays pink, you can pretty much use any combination of fruits you like. Pink is a requirement here. When I made this with my wonderful family over Father’s Day weekend (thanks for appreciating our pink concoction, Daddy!), we used watermelon, strawberry, orange and lime. So, that’s what I’ve noted in the recipe below. Continue reading

Shavasana: Finding Rest in Friendship

RestOne of my favorite things about writing is how the words often turn out quite differently than I anticipated. In the process of putting words on paper a computer screen, I’m able to create something new out of the shards and fragments of my days, the confusing thoughts, the unexpected joys. So, here’s to hoping you discover something about yourself along the way too…

One of the best – and, to be perfectly frank, worst – things about getting older is realizing that you are responsible for…well, pretty much everything. Bills, finding and keeping a job, feeding yourself. Okay, that last one can be pretty great.

On the positive side, you’re also responsible for deciding what you want to do with your time. For me, that’s brought so much freedom. I can now decide what kind of music I want to listen to, food I want to eat, books I want to read, people I want to surround myself with, and so on without (much) fear of judgment. I’m not going to pretend like I don’t still worry a bit about what other people think of me, but that pressure has greatly dissipated over the years. Even since first moving to San Francisco in 2010, I experience less of the fear of missing out that can really suck the joy out of life. When you’re constantly worried about a better experience, how can you possibly enjoy where you are?

As I’ve learned to be more content with my present circumstances – whatever those may be – I’ve learned to appreciate my friend time. Because when it comes down to it, that’s what I want most: quality time with a small group of good good people. “My pack,” as a dear friend’s mom would say.

But even when you know this is what you want, it can be tough to find in adult life. Particularly in big cities. While walking through Noe Valley yesterday, I overheard a girl saying to a friend on the phone, “I miss those days in New York when we all just got together throughout the week. I just don’t have a crew here. But then again, I might not have that if I were back in New York anyway.”

I feel your pain.

San Francisco is such a transient city. People move in and out in a continuous cycle, which means it can feel like you’re constantly making new friends. Thankfully, I’m grateful for the gift of sweet friendships that have survived (and thrived) despite the distance or shifting priorities that marriages and moves inevitably require. This has required intentionality. And that’s why it’s so important to know what I want, what my heart most desires, what I find to be deeply satisfying – my own personal brand of cool.

My friend time typically looks like some combination of eating, exploring, laughing, sitting, talking, and praying. It doesn’t matter where we are or what we’re doing exactly. Whether we’re sharing dinner at one of our homes apartments or catching up over cocktails, we’re just glad to be together. And that’s the purpose of friendship, isn’t it? Sharing life with people who “get” you. These are the friends that “stick closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

Regina and Cassie

Friends make my life so rich.

But what do you do when you don’t know what you want?

That I understand as well. Because even though I am learning so much more about myself, this world, and how to love people better every day, I still struggle with making decisions and “owning” them. That worry mostly stems from whether I’m making “the best” decision possible, and really, that’s rooted in selfishness. It’s like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. We’re back to the original sin here, people. Adam and Eve were so obsessed with perfection, with having the best, with knowing everything – they wanted to be God. And that’s where I need to acknowledge that I am not God, and that even while I’m settling more into this skin and soul that God has given me, he still knows what’s best.

Yoga this week was a lesson in letting go of the need to make perfect decisions. Our usual instructor was out, and the substitute was obsessed with “setting an intention” and “reconnecting with our purpose” throughout the practice that day. Intention and purpose are very good things, don’t get me wrong. But in that hour on the mat, I became so consumed with questions like, “Am I being purposeful enough?” “Do I have enough intention at work?” “What if I’m not seeking big enough things?” It was completely counter-productive. And in the final resting pose of Shavasana, I heard God say so clearly to me, “Your purpose is to submit. Just submit.”

In that moment of clarity, I felt nothing but gratitude for the fact that I get to submit to someone who knows what’s best for me and, even better, is actively working to make that happen in my life. Sometimes what’s best isn’t what appears to be most fun or attractive or cool. But a little – or a lot – farther down the path, I always come to realize that it’s absolutely best.

In that posture of submission – Shavasana – I can rest and receive. I am filled with his love which overflows in an offering to him. For his glory, for the love of others, and for life. Abundantly.

So, what’s your purpose, your intention? What are you being called to submit? I’d love to know. Feel free to share in the comments below.