Some ways God’s been blessing me this past week:
- Seeing a rainbow near my house during a brief break in the clouds.
- Getting to hold a 1-mo. old baby for an hour at my church.
- Watching a movie with a ten-yr.-old who wanted me to sit very close and cuddle her.
- Receiving a hug from a First Nations lady who I’d just met at Jacob’s Well.
- Eating a caramel apple with Danice at the UBC Apple Festival. (She got a gross candied one...)
- Gifts of baking from two different people this week (I don’t have an oven!)
- Being called “beautiful” by two different men on the bus in the past two days. Both were definitely drunk and probably homeless (I’ll take compliments wherever I get them!) All I did to provoke these compliments was to say hi to them. Maybe saying hi makes you beautiful.
- Sharing excellent meals with two different groups of friends.
Let me expand on that last one. I grew up in a family that put a priority on eating together. This was so built into me that I took it for granted. Now that I’m away from family, I realize how deep a blessing it is to eat meals with other people. Eating by myself seems so much like filling up a car with gas – it’s just refueling of my body, and I don’t enjoy it nearly as much, even if I like the taste of the food. But eating with other people makes me feel very Kingdom-y. I’ve heard it said that community meals can be a way of announcing the Kingdom, so long as we’re welcoming everyone in and sharing what God’s given us… it’s a foretaste of the Feast we’ll all be sharing together one day.
Since coming to Vancouver, I’ve heard (and used!) the word “community” ad nausea. But as much as the word is overused at Regent, I can’t say how important it’s been to find places to belong and people to share life with, especially coming from a big family. Fortunately for me, many of these communities love eating together. Jacob’s Well has harvest parties. Regent has Tuesday soup lunch. Kits church always has excellent post-service food. The photos are from a backyard dinner party Tora threw for a bunch of Regent students in September. My good old Wednesday morning prayer group has always included a sort of potluck breakfast. Lindsey Fox (who hosted the best meal I’ve had in months at her house last night) pointed out that “companion” comes from the Latin words “with” and “bread”, referring to the person you share bread with.
This is what I am realizing as I’m paying so much to learn theology… I need to learn a lot of other things besides theology to live the kind of Christian life I want to live: a life that’s closely tied to the earth and to community. These are things that don’t even cost money to learn. Things like gardening and wrapping presents and being hospitable and planning for long trips with people. And especially cooking. I have a poor track record with cooking… ask my siblings about the infamous wieners and beans fiasco a few years ago… These are all things I could have learned growing up with my mom, had I put more time and focus into them. Mom, I’m coming home for Christmas, and I want to learn more from you…
To end this post, I will be helpful and offer you some cooking tips I’ve picked up in the last month. Well, they’re not really about cooking, per se. They’re more about microwaving and condiments. They will show you that I have a lot to learn about REAL cooking. Here are my tips nonetheless…
1. Get this… you can make a baked potato in a microwave in under 7 minutes. I suppose it isn’t actually baked, it’s microwaved. But hey, in this oven-less house, that’s not bad. If I had known this microwave trick I would have had a lot more starch in my system last year. Don’t forget to poke a fork in them first, though. Fun fact: the Brits call these “jacket potatoes”, which I kind of fancy. Special thanks to Lindsey and her grandma for this tip. (And happy birthday Lindsey!)
2. Peanut butter is good on just about anything. Mostly ice cream. I rarely eat ice cream without mixing in a spoonful of peanut butter and chocolate chips and chocolate sauce. But I’ve also learned that it’s delicious on waffles (with syrup), sandwiches (my grandpa used to eat peanut butter and lettuce sandwiches) and rice cakes, and it’s funny to watch dogs and cats eat it. Special thanks to Danice for expanding my peanut butter horizons.
3. The piece de resistance… Frank’s Hot Sauce. This cayenne-pepper-based phenom is a welcome condiment on nearly any food. It is especially delicious on cheggels (cheese-egg-bagels) and in yaki soba. There’s something supernatural about it that blends into every flavor. Special thanks to our roommate last year, Bryanna, who had a bottle of this wonderful stuff in the fridge, which Danice and I would constantly use behind her back.
Well, I’m getting hungry with all of this talk of eating… time for some yogurt-covered raisins. I’m off to the Sunshine Coast tomorrow morning – I’ll let you know how sunshiny it is there…