Sometimes It’s Not Easy As Pie

IMG_0814Orange barrels. My life right now is a maze of orange barrels. Literally my town is littered with orange barrels. It’s closed roads and reroutes. I can’t leave my house in either direction without seeing a “Road Work Ahead” sign. I never know what to expect when I venture down Mack Hatcher.

And I wish I was only navigating construction zones on the road and not in my life. But that’s also turned into one big construction zone. For two years I’ve known the plan which is to finish nursing school. But now I only have a rough idea of what should happen: less than one more month of classes, finals, pinning, NCLEX, and then it’s fingers/toes/elbows/legs/eyes crossed a job as a RN. I have a sketch but the getting there . . . That’s a maze of confusion. And the timeline is even blurrier. Where should I apply? What kind of nursing do I want to try? Or in a tight market what can I get? Experience anywhere would be great but is it too much to hope I also like going to work? Quite frankly it’s a little daunting.

Sometimes it’s not easy as pie. Maybe that’s way I find myself gravitating towards the kitchen. Why I’ve made a grand total of six pies in the past month. Now in fairness, some of those where for an early Thanksgiving meal.  But I keep coming back because I know when I’m baking, I can follow a recipe and turn butter, sugar, flour, and love into something less than perfect but still pretty spectacular.

Like apple pie.

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Or a Reese ice cream pie concoction.

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It’s also probably why I find myself already watching Hallmark Christmas movies. Are they cheesy? Of course. But it’s kind of nice to know at the end of the movie everyone will wind up happy- well at least the ones on the nice list. And I like predicting, with high accuracy, the outcome. Sometimes I can even guess the dialogue. It’s not award-winning TV but it doesn’t require a lot thinking. It’s just serendipity and fluff.

And in this season that’s whirling by faster than the leaves are blowing off the trees, I’m trying to take the day as it comes. Do what’s required at this step. Thinking ahead as needed but trying not to lose focus on now. In this month of thanks, I’m trying to be grateful for the little things. The simple things:

A recent exploration of quaint Bell Buckle, home of Moon Pies and RC Cola, with my mom.

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 This beautiful birthday bouquet.

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Playing with my dogs on a gorgeous fall day.

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Seriously, dogs are great for reminding you of what’s good in the world. How could you not love this face?

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Or not find yourself taking her cue to just kick back and relax?

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It’s watching the sunrise unfold over Nashville that makes getting up at 4:30 for clinical tollerable

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Or discovering the neighborhood kids have decorated the trees.

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It’s a happy mug that reminds me, “We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?”

IMG_0805Complete with a T.A.R.D.I.S. tea pot to make any tea time a happier timey-wimey-ier place.

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It’s going to a 90’s themed Halloween party. It’s discovering you can, in fact, buy scrunchies at the store- which I may or may not have in my hair at this very moment. It’s being grateful I don’t have this 90’s haircut anymore.

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It’s getting the very first letter actually written by my Compassion child.

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Finding the moon through the leaves at the end of a long day.

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It’s birthday celebrations, laughing with my classmates, grabbing lunch with a best friend. It’s gathering with my small group- excuse me- Missional Community group on Wednesday nights. It’s a hundred little things that remind me to breathe. To take each curve as it comes. So when like today, I became the proud owner of a full set of new tires I’m just happy the guy alerted me to my low back right tire before I end up stranded on the side of the road.

It’s not simple. It’s certainly not easy as pie. It’s most definitely not a Hallmark movie. The future is still this blurry looming thing but I find myself echoing the words of Anne Shirley:

“Oh, I’ve dozens of plans, Marilla. I’ve been thinking them out for a week. I shall give life here my best, and I believe it will give its best to me in return. When I left Queen’s my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does.” ~ L.M. Montgomery Anne of Green Gables

And that’s enough for tonight. Now’s the time to rest and be still. To let go and let God. For tomorrow holds the next step and most graciously His mercies are new every morning.

One of My Favorite Fall Meals

Last weekend autumn started blowing into my little corner of the world. The humidity is tapering off. Driving with the windows down is once again a feasible non-sweaty option. And I found these leaves starting to change:
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I’m kinda excited about fall, in case you couldn’t tell. Last week I was house/cat-sitting for this cat named Ellie:

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In this photo she has stolen my class notes and when I tried to retrieve them, she hissed at me. I let her keep them as long as she wanted because sometimes when she hisses, she is saying that she will definitely bite me. She’s a bit temperamental but she eventually curled up on my lap so we’re still pals. Besides, subliminally I was begging her for a study break.

I invited my friend Naomi over for dinner, one night while invading Ellie’s territory. With the evenings being cooler, I decided to make her one of my favorite fall meals: Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili, Cheddar Corn Muffins, and The Best Fudgy Brownies. We happily chatted while we ate and then I introduced her to Call the Midwife, a seriously great show on BBC. Oh, BBC, how do you manage to make such fantastic television?

So, since I can’t make you all dinner (even though I’d love to), I thought I’d share the recipes and then you could make it yourself sometime. Continue reading

It’s Really Not My Fault I Can’t Decide What to Have for Dinner

It shouldn’t be that big of a deal. I know that. I really do. I’m not trying to decide whether or not to invade Syria. I’m not picking out a wedding dress. I’m not attempting to determine if I should donate my kidney or if I’ll need it in my old age. But still I hem and haw and go back and forth.

What do you want for dinner?

How many times has this question been tossed out over the years? Better question: how many times have I actually had an answer? Sometimes I just know. I’ve got a craving for a particular place. Or I’ve decided to whip up a recipe I found online. But far, far too often my answer is the one I know offers zero help, “I don’t care.”

So, we go through the list of places we frequent in the local area or we toss around things we could make. And I can usually quickly veto what I do not want. “See, ” my dad says, “You do care.” Of course I care, I just don’t know what the best, right option for dinner might be.

Because I don’t want to make the wrong choice. Isn’t that what all this dinner dilemma is about? If I’m just providing my own meal, then I can usually quickly pick out what I want no sweat. There’s no one else’s tastes and preferences to factor into the equation.  I don’t have to concern myself as to whether or not they will like my choice. This makes everything easier.

But it’s not just about factoring other people into the equation. When we finally land on a place to get food, then comes the decision on what to get. Do I want this or that? Do I want my “usual” or do I want to try something new. If I try something new and it’s not good, will I regret not ordering what I know I really love?

I know I’m not alone in this. There’s a restaurant called I Don’t Care for goodness sake:

I’ve noticed this seems to be a much bigger problem in the female population. I’m not trying to be discriminatory here, it’s just what I’ve observed. I mean sure I’ve seen guys debate a few times but not to the level that gals do. Continue reading