Sunday, January 20, 2008

A life well lived is like the perfect risotto...

I'm a slow learner. I'm also impatient. Mix those two qualities together and it can get ugly. But lately God's been teaching me that sometimes the best things in life, the most valuable lessons learned, take patience. Faithfulness. A willingness to stick it out in order to see something simply divine.

Life's a lot like the perfect risotto actually. I'm a huge fan of this scrumptious Italian dish, and order it in every Italian restaurant I visit. But it has taken me a while to perfect it from scratch at home. Not because it's hard, but because it requires something I lack. Patience.

Risotto isn't something you throw together quickly, nor is it something you can guess at, fake or compromise with. The perfect risotto, takes precision, focus, strength, and patience. Just like life. We can't muddle our way through and expect great rewards in the end. We can't take huge chances, live spontaneously and give up when the going gets rough, and still find success and happiness. No, life is messy.

I'm grateful that the head chef of my life is the Author, Perfector, and Finisher of my faith. I'm thankful that the One writing my journey is patient, precise, and wise. Through Him I'm learning to patiently tend to the journey He's blessed me with. To rest in the stillness and rely on His strength to carry me through when I get tired. It's an uphill battle at times, but in the end what I hope others see is a full-bodied life that reflects the tender care of it's maker.

A life well lived is like the perfect risotto: full of flavour from the journey, confident in it's completion, and comforting in it's simplicity.

(White Wine Risotto with Pan Seared Scallops a la Shari!)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

All You Need is Love?

Last year around Valentine's day I wrote a post called "All You Need is Love?". I've thought a lot about this since, and was reminded about it again today in something I was writing for work.

This Christmas, I was reminded of a simple but powerful truth through my three-year-old nephew. As my extended family gathered around the dinner table one night and prepared to say grace, my nephew confidently asked if he could be the one to pray. With a quick glance around the table at the amused smiles on the faces of the grandparents, uncles and aunties, my sister-in-law consented and then quickly added, "but don't forget to thank Jesus for the food OK?" He nodded his head in agreement, squeezed his eyes tightly shut, and lifted his little face toward heaven:

"Dear Jesus," he said passionately, "how I love you!"

While what followed next was completely unintelligible to most us around the table, it was the way he chose to open his prayer that intrigued me. It amazed me that in one small opening statement, my three year old nephew grasped the simple truth that so many adults fail to understand. The truth that all that matters in life is loving the One who created us.

Back in 1991, during a conversation with some friends, the question of knowing God’s will came up. In response, one of the guys in the group said that he believed the answer was summed up in the greatest commandment - "to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind and all your soul." (Matthew 22:37) Going on he explained that if you truly love God with all that you have, everything else would fall into place.

I have thought about that conversation a lot through the years, and was again reminded of it upon hearing my nephew’s heart-felt prayer. Loving God doesn't suddenly mean you’ll have all the answers to life. Nor does it mean that the journey will be easy. Instead, loving or delighting (Psalm 37:4) ourselves in the Lord means focusing so much on Him that we see nothing else. Loving the Lord with all our hearts, minds and souls means finding pure joy and peace in His presence. And as we do this our plans and desires for our life gradually align with His own. What He wants for us becomes what we want.

My three-year-old nephew may not yet fully understand what loving God with all his heart, mind and soul means, but his simple “how I love you” prayer is 100% on the mark. Loving God fully, completely, and passionately with eyes tightly shut as we hang on for the ride of our lives means that all our needs – including the food we so often forget to thank Him for – will be met. He alone should be our desire, our delight and our love. All we need is an all consuming love for Him, and everything else will fall into place.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:34-40)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

To Blog or Not to Blog

I came across a great article on Focus on the Family's website today, that made me think more critically about why I blog. I could certainly relate to many of the sentiments in the piece!

As I attempt to focus this year on being more disciplined in all areas of life, I never really thought of my "blogging life" until I read this article. Great food for thought as I move forward this year.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Couldn't Have Said it Better...

I've thought a lot about my role as a pastor's wife, but never really could put my thoughts into words. Fortunately, I came across a blog that said it for me! Check it out: The Role of the Pastor's Wife....

Friday, January 04, 2008

A great read...

I've recently become "addicted" to reading a blog written by a friend and her husband. At the suggestion of a friend of theirs, they started a "He Said/She Said" blog with daily posts on everything from 80's fashion, advent, microwaves and more. Each they both weigh in with their perspectives on the chosen topic, leaving the reader pondering their poignant thoughts or laughing hysterically at the "mars and venus" approaches to the most mundane of things.

Check out their blog entry for January 3rd on Cereal. It's well worth the read.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2008: A Year of Discipline

My husband and I have a little tradition that started a few years ago. Being the reflective type, my husband usually spends the days leading up to a new year, thinking back on the year past, and deciding what goals and dreams he has for the new year. As I listened to him share his thoughts one year, it occurred to me that many of his goals had a theme. Thus birthed a different kind of "new years resolution" for us, to pick a word that best sums up what we want to acheive, practice, learn, etc. in the new year.

This year our theme is: Discipline. It is our desire to focus more on being more disciplined in all areas of life. To work harder on our spiritual disciplines (prayer, worship, study). To learn discipline in the areas of our physical lives (exercise, diet, stress, sleep). To practice emotional discipline - learning to better control our anger or impatience (for example). Even to focus on relational discipline (the practice of setting aside time to deepen friendships, build intimacy, etc.).

There can be joy in the journey of living a more disciplined life. Thus we/I commit 2008 to be a year of discipline as I hone my skills, deepen my faith, fall more in love with my husband, and improve myself in all areas. Let the discipline begin...