Today is the last day of February. As if to make sure that we experienced enough snow this month, the weather has done just that. I woke up this morning to a beautiful winterscape out my window with the lawn, driveway, street and neighboring houses all covered in snow. I'm thankful that I really don't have to go anywhere until later, as I really just want to sit and enjoy the beauty of the falling snow. Something about the flakes gently coming down just soothes me and is so peaceful. I'm reminded of fond memories of playing in the snow with my dog as a child, sledding in the yard and all those other fun winter activities that shape a part of my memory. Recently, snow causes me to think about snowshoeing and skiing, which are some of my favorite snow adventures as an adult. I'm reminded of Colorado, and get more excited about being there with my family and friends. I leave one week from today! Hopefully I will take some pictures of the snow in the yard and post them later today.
In honor of national pancake day, shrove Tuesday or fat Tuesday, I've decided to post a bit on these delightful breakfast treats. Pancakes are one of those things that I automatically associate with Saturday mornings (and usually my Dad coming home from running ready to eat them, cause that's what Army families do on Saturdays, didn't you know?). I've tried many different, delicious pancake recipes over the years, and have a repertoire of quite a few winners. Here's the most recent addition, which is superb - enjoy!
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes 1 c flour 1 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp salt 3 Tbsp sugar 3/4 c ricotta cheese 3/4 c milk 1 egg 1/4 c lemon juice 2 Tbsp melted, cooled butter 1 tsp vanilla 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest 1. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small mixing bowl. 2. Combine the wet ingredients in a mixing bowl. 3. Mix together the wet and dry ingredients, gradually adding the dry mixture to the mixing bowl.
4. Cook on griddle over medium heat 2-3 minutes per side.
We like to eat them with maple syrup and fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, oh my!). If you're feeling especially indulgent, add a little bit of whip cream on the side!
I am a first born. This position comes with certain quirks and qualities, as I've discovered while reading the Birth Order Book, by Dr. Kevin Leman. Here are a few things that I've learned while reading the book: #1 As a first born, I am a perfectionist. This quality is actually really frustrating for me. I tend to have unrealistic expectations of myself and others. This would probably also explain why I end up disappointed and thus angry. #2 As a first born, I am an artful procrastinator. Procrastination actually ties into the perfectionist part, believe it or not. I procrastinate when I don't think I can do something to the high standards that I have set for myself. Therefore, I end up waiting until the last minute to complete a project that I'm afraid I won't do well (I know, it doesn't exactly make sense.). #3 As a first born, I often have a hard time saying "no" and end up taking on too much. If any of you know me well, you are probably saying "no kidding!" Last year I worked 20 hrs/week as a graduate assistant, was actively involved in student government, was a full-time graduate student and managed to be part of a Bible study. When did I sleep, you ask? From 11pm-5:30am. #4 I have a huge fear of sharing who I really am because I'm afraid of being rejected. This plays out in many aspects of my life...I won't go into a lot of detail. #5 As a perfectionist, little things drive me crazy. In college, I remember asking my roommate to please not leave the closet door open, because it bothered me to have it block the bathroom door. Can you believe that? I really need to keep working on not sweating the small stuff. #6 As a first born, I grew up fast. I attribute a lot of this to being a first born and that I was also the more social child in my family. I interacted with a lot of adults, especially since I didn't have a sibling for the first 3 1/2+ years of my life. I've also somehow felt this need to make sure my family is ok and take care of people, which I also consider part of growing up fast. #7 Avoid relationships with other first borns and only children. I find this extremely hilarious! Most of my closest friends are first borns or first born girls, who often display the same tendencies as other first borns. I think that I have enough experience negotiating and peacemaking (thank you, RA experience), that I do a better job of being friends with those in my same birth order. However, I do have strong opinions, and I need to be conscious of not plowing people over with those thoughts. The book also recommended that first borns avoid marrying other first borns or only children, and instead that the "ideal" match based on birth order is a first born sister of brothers and a youngest born brother of sisters. I find this really perturbing, because I really don't want to "mother" any man and have to challenge him to grow up. Believe it or not, I actually get kind of tired of being the "responsible" one. Picture this -> I was the first born of 2 youngests and have a younger sibling. I feel like I somehow ebbed responsibility from my first breath. Can I for once have someone else take on that role? Thanks Birth Order Book!
"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God." - Corrie Ten Boom
I came across this quote in my Bible study the other day and was struck by the certainty with which she appears to have made this statement. One of the verses that I love is Jeremiah 29:11 - "I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future." The quote and the verse intertwine so beautifully. The future may seem uncertain in my eyes - finding a job, moving, finding a place to live (& hopefully roommates!), making new friends and simply starting over. The Lord knows all of this and more. I want to rest in His peace as this huge time of transition approaches in my life.
For as much fuss as I made about Valentine's day earlier this week, I really have enjoyed it after all! The evening before my dear friend, Kelly, and I made dinner together (fajitas & yummy tiramisu that I made a couple of days ago!), and then attended the Kansas City Symphony. The performance consisted of works by Beethoven and Mendelssohn, including part of an opera called Leonore by Beethoven, which was sung in German. I loved it! I woke up on Valentine's day and did some yoga, which reminded me of how much I really enjoy the practice of sun salutations every morning (must do this more frequently). Then we had awesome Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with fresh blueberries and strawberries! The flowers I received from Kelly and my Dad (thanks!) are beautifully arranged in a vase in my bathroom, and have just been so cheerful to gaze at while I'm brushing my teeth and getting ready for the rest of the day. Cathy and I went to see "Confessions of a Shopaholic," which wasn't at all like the book, but still really entertaining and gave me lots of laughs! This evening we went to Sushi House and had amazing crazy lobster, godzilla, philly, spicy tuna and crunchy rolls (pictured below are the lobster and crunchy rolls). For those who may believe that sushi is "unsafe" to eat west of the Appalachians and east of the Rockies, this would have seriously changed your opinions! We ate in a little room that we had to take our shoes off before entering, and basically sat on the floor. The evening was so much fun and will definitely be a lasting impression for a great Valentine's day!
These memories will stick with me for so long. I've really thought quite a bit about my "last" memories of Kansas City as this year has continued to progress. My last Kansas City 1/2 Marathon, last Plaza lights, last time going to Starlight and Theater in the Park. These experiences have been such a part of my life and routine in Kansas City the past 2 1/2 years, and it will be sad to leave. However, I know that God's plans are perfect, and that He will give me new experiences and opportunities as I transition to life in Colorado. I can't believe I start that whole process in less than 3 weeks now!
I realize that my recent posts have been a bit on the reality check and sarcastic side. Lately, I've been learning so much through my interactions with the Lord, that I wanted to share just a glimpse of this with you. I've been going through an amazing Bible study with my dear friend, Kelly, that has really reached into my life and helped me examine my heart and fostered a deeper intimacy with the Lord. The study is called "a heart that dances," and was recommended to me by a very wise woman, who's opinion I value so much. This week's study is looking at the life of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and some of the truths that can be learned from her experiences. In one of the introductions, a brief summary of Catherine Marshall's life was also provided, including a piece of a prayer of relinquishment that she wrote while sick with tuberculosis. Something about the concept of relinquishing really struck a cord with me, and I sat down to write one of my own. Here's my prayer of relinquishment:
Lord, I come before you with this heart to hand over. I've tried to do things my way time and again. I've done everything in my power to get what I so desperately want, and I've failed miserably. So now I come before You and ask to know You and be used by You. Whether broken or whole, single or joined, do anything you like with my life. Lord, trusting You is something that I want to come naturally in my life, like breathing. My own devices have failed me, and now I come crawling back to You, withered and disappointed. Give me back hope and faith in Your unfailing love. Give me You above all else, and do with my life as you wish. You owe me nothing, but love me fiercely anyway.
*Disclaimer: the following statements were made by a romantic who hides behind cynicism.
If anyone has known me for a while, they understand that I have a rather strong, depths of my stomach churning feeling towards the holiday that shall not be named. I mean really, can we dispense with the pleasantries and call it singles awareness month? Because that's how I feel most of the entire month of February. Nothing like being reminded by the entire US Marketing sector that I will not receive any of those things (except maybe a card from Mom - thanks!), or the "love" that they are meant to show. MSN has a great article that sums up many of my feelings on the subject of the day that shall not be named: Check it out by clicking here. The next article on "10 Things We Hate About Valentine's Day" is pretty entertaining as well. As much as I love to hear what everyone else will be doing on that day, I am firmly committed to going to see a movie alone and probably studying, or at least trying to make myself feel remotely productive on a day where I have no plans. Since I'm not allowed to date guys who are not into me (which makes me wonder if anyone is left, just like the girl said in the movie), I will not be doing anything in that scene. So, Happy Valentine's day to all you happily in-relationship people! Now for my own top 5 reasons why Valentine's day is great for me not to be in a relationship: 5. I can wear my pajamas all day, even to the movies, if I so desire. 4. I get to pick what I want to eat and how late I want to sleep - no pressure. 3. I don't have any heightened anxiety about what this day "means." 2. I can pick whatever chick flick I want to go see that day. 1. I bust out the Valentine's day Bible verse that I've had since high school. "This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." - 1 John 4:10. Just in case you couldn't remember the realdefinition of love.
Blogging, as some of you know, has not been my forte in the past. I struggled to write something that resembled updates when I lived overseas. After a long hiatus, I've decided to give it another shot. Not that I can contribute anything exceptionally witty or informative, but I do hope to bring some insights and amusement to a few.
Today, I went and saw the movie "He's just not that into you." I read the book last year (thank you Jamie, who did not need such a book, being already happily married), and learned some tough truths. If he's not calling, texting, emailing, dating or marrying you, HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU! Let's give some hypothetical scenarios, just to clarify. If you send text messages or leave a voicemail without a response, ever, he's just not that into you. If he gives you a whole bunch of reasons why this is really bad timing to meet someone and start dating (i.e. he's in training, going on a trip or whatever lame excuse he gives), he's just not that into you. If he calls you to hang out after his fiancee dumps him, he's looking for a rebound, and, you guessed it, he's just not that into you! A guy who really is into me will make it happen, no matter what the extenuating circumstances. As hard as it is to face the facts, I am doing myself a favor by recognizing these things now. I am totally worth having messages returned (and him calling me in the first place!), actually being in a relationship that is called dating and not a limbo phase called "hanging out" or something random like that. So, from now on, I refuse to do anything resembling dating with someone who is not that into me! *Note: Some of the hypothetical scenarios may be based on actual fact.