“If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?”
reblogged from humansofnewyork
Yesterday was a good day.
Interesting class, productive work, good food, great conversations with friends, and a good night in the clinic. There have been many fun aspects to my new marriage. One of them has been getting to know the kitchen a little better (shout out to my friends at ThreeHappyEaters, who have been totally inspiring for this). I cooked before, just not so intentionally. It’s become such a fun place for Chris and I to experiment and sharpen our culinary skills (one of our goals for this year). Plus it’s just really fun to make stuff together. All that to say, the relational and creative aspect of it has been the main focus for me at least. If it doesn’t taste great, it was fun trying, and if it was a success that was great too. But yesterday, I was just straight up proud of the result! My friend Liz was coming over for dinner and I’d been craving a chicken pesto pizza so I decided to try it. I couldn’t seem to find a recipe that sounded good to me so I thought I’d take the advice of a few recipes and put it together. I was so happy with the results. So I’d like to share it with anyone that might read this. I wasn’t thinking about posting this when I made it so I don’t have super-cool step by step photos. But here’s the recipe!
What Ya Need
Betty Crocker Pizza Dough Mix
1-2 thin chicken breasts
Shredded cheese of choice (I used a pizza blend as well as a mozzarella parmesan blend)
A little bit of tomato sauce or red pizza sauce
1 garlic clove
1-2 tablespoons of oregano
1 tablespoon of garlic salt
What Ya Do
Chop up chicken into bite sizes and marinate in italian dressing for at least 15 minutes
Place in skillet with garlic until done
Follow instructions for Betty Crocker dough (add 1/2cup water) also add oregano and garlic salt (I love a well spiced dough!) Mix well and cover for 5 minutes
Heat oven to 450
Roll out dough to desired size and place in oven for 5 minutes to set
Take out and begin layering toppings: little bit of tomato sauce, desired amount of pesto, chicken, salt & pepper to taste, and cheeses.
Place in oven for 10-20 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is melted depending on your oven (it only took about 12 for mine)
That’s it! Have fun if you try it!
In 13 days, I will be Lauren Brakebill, the wife of Mr. Christopher Michael Brakebill, the love of my life, my very best friend. In 13 days we will commit our lives to love and serve each other in front of God, family, and friends.
THAT is what excites me most. It’s not the fact that I’m getting married in an amazing venue. Or that the decorations are going to represent us SO well thanks to the expertise of Mr. Samuel Franklin and the dedication of my mother. It’s not even the fact that we get to have mini grilled cheeses and mini corn dogs at 9pm (which I’m REALLY excited about). What excites me most is that I will, with confidence, look into the face of a man who has shown me more sacrificial love than I thought I could know, and tell him,”I do commit myself to you as your wife.” And he will look at me, with confidence, and commit to be my husband.
And you know what? At thirteen days away, after all the busyness and the pure craziness that is wedding planning, it’s a straight-up victory that I can say that! Because let me tell you, it is HARD to be a bride-to-be. Let me just show you what I found on google a few months ago.
I just had to laugh but this is our reality. So that begged the question,”why is it that so many people feel this way?” I called my dear friend Carrie Jo and we had a nice long chat. She is a wedding photographer and speaks with brides (and their mothers who are just as, if not more, stressed) on a daily basis. Here is what she had to say,
“The running theme I’ve noticed that most every bride experiences is the juggling of everyone else’s expectations. As if meeting your own disney princess expectations isn’t hard enough, it’s near impossible to meet the expectations of your mother, your soon-to-be sister-in-law, your MOH, and that long-lost friend who congratulates you on Facebook. As if that weren’t enough, you’d be surprised how every vendor has an opinion on exactly what’s ideal for YOUR wedding. From what I’ve seen, the hard part is that you actually have to sift through it all because some of what they each have to say is helpful… and the rest is just their opinions that don’t match up with your desires.”
And I thought,”YES! That’s it exactly.” You have desires for your own wedding obviously, but so do so many people that care deeply about you and your fiance’. So then came the question,”Who’s day is this? Is it ‘my day’ like so many say? Is it just mine and my fiance’s day? Is it a day for the families and witnesses? Or is it some combination of all of those?” I’ve found that the answer to this is crucial and can determine your perspective for the entire process.
I think the answer can be different for each couple. For us, it is a combination. It is so about us and our love and commitment. It is also about honoring, thanking, and celebrating with those who have made us who we are and ultimately, who we are together. Now knowing that doesn’t magically get rid of the 20 things still left on my to-do list. What it does do, is make it worth it. It also frees me up. I think before the moment I realized it wasn’t all about me, my bridal identity was all wrapped up in how the wedding would look to others. Would it represent who we are? Will people think we’ve spent too much? Will it be unique enough? Will people think all my ideas came from Pinterest (gross, I hate even admitting that one). And thanks to recent technology, will people forget to use our super-awesome hashtag?! (#rambillwedding) It took no time at all, I had totally lost sight of my two mantras for wedding planning: Jesus is still Lord, and we’re still gonna be married. I swore I wouldn’t forget them, yet I had. I needed new perspective and I needed it fast.
Thankfully, right about that time, Mr. Brakebill himself moved into town! Shortly after we began pre-marital counseling. Talk about a come-to-Jesus meeting! If that won’t give you perspective on what this whole thing’s about then Lord help ya. I felt like I was finally planning for my marriage verses planning for the “big event.” Which, let’s be real, is SO much more important. I could really get on a soap-box here but I shan’t. Bottom line, all the little things I previously found to be so important, just melted away into the background. Because it is so much more exciting to know the heart of the love of your life than it is to pick out table linens and flowers.
With that, I’d like to give a few pieces of advice I found helpful along the way. Some are perspective-keepers, some are just practical planning tools.
So here I am, a recovered Bride-to-Be,
Ready to Wed,
It’s been a month since Easter, and that has been well enough time for me to reflect on those sweet 40 days before the day we celebrate the resurrection of Christ and our relationship with God the Father.
I didn’t grow up in a denomination that recognized Lent or followed the traditional Christian calendar (besides Christmas and Easter of course). I am very thankful for the type of Christian upbringing I received, and there’s a lot more to that statement that doesn’t pertain to this entry. So, another time. But for now all you need to know is that it was good, it was awesome, and the Good Father DEFINITELY knew what He was doing by placing me in it.
With that said, this was only my 3rd year being a part of a church that did follow the traditional Christian calendar and recognized, nay, encouraged Lent and it’s practice. I am no expert in the matter but I do know this: Lent is a season to slow way down, examine the parts of our heart in which we don’t ever want to look, hold them up to Jesus and realize that yes, even that, is covered by the Cross.
The tradition of Lent does this by abstaining from some food, some drink, some thing in our life that we (a lot of times unbeknownst to us) are addicted to in some form or fashion. The whole addiction thing honestly probably isn’t realized until you’ve gone a while without it. Addiction has such a strong negative connotation to it. It’s usually reserved for things like drugs, sex and rock n’ roll… wait that’s not right… alcohol, there we go. But if we’re being real and by we I mean me, and I am, it is my most humble and well-thought-out opinion that everyone, e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e is addicted to something.
“GASP” you say, “Nay! not I! I have avoided the three cardinal addictions!”
Yeah, well no, you avoided the obvious ones. I could prove it to you now but I shant. All the not-so-obvious ones are hiding. And they do a darn good job of it too. Like the white hard spots on a questionably dated loaf of bread. It’s not green enough that you’re sure it’s mold and it’s kinda the color of the bread, just enough that it blends in if you’re not looking for it. I am not an expert on this so that’s all I will say for now. This is an area of the human struggle to sanctification and wholeness with Christ that I am particularly interested in because I believe it is these addictions that pull us away forcefully from Him always, daily, hourly. So come back to me on this after I’ve had a class or two on it. (which will hopefully be soon wink wink to anyone from RTS that might have miraculously found this blog).
So I told you this was only my 3rd year in a church that practiced Lent. I did not tell you that this was the 1st year I actually decided to practice it myself. And even then, I didn’t really. I just couldn’t feel good about anything that came into my head to give up.
Coke? nah, I have to have that at all Mexican restaurants and we go to Soccer Taco like once a week.
Sweets? I don’t eat sweets enough, not even daily, to give that up and it lead me to focus more on the Lord.
Meat? eh that didn’t feel good either, probably because it’s half of my usual diet
Starch or fried foods?? Well, there’s the other half.
And really, none of it felt like it was what I was supposed to do. It all felt like a forced thought.
There’s a back story, but basically through a couple conversations and a recurring struggle in my life since high school I decided to focus on self-control with taking care of myself during the Lent season. Basically stewardship of the body and soul I had been given. I was giving up complacently living with myself. I didn’t know what it would look like. Working out more? Eating better? Getting enough sleep/rest but not being lazy? Easy right? But these are the things that anyone trying to be healthy struggles with constantly. There are VOLUMES of books about “X Easy steps to be the freaking champion at X.” And there are new ones all the time so what does that tell you? It’s not freakin’ EASY. It’s not on the surface. No amount of mental information will magically change the way you live the patterns in your life. It goes deep and until we can tap into that deep place, we’ll never be able to overcome it.
Weeks went by and nothing really felt magical, I didn’t really feel like I was searching my soul here. And then, within the span of a week and a half, my God changed my heart. It started with a documentary. That is where I will leave you for now. NOOO! CLIFFHANGER! OH THE SUSPENSE!
IRONIC PS: as I am writing about addictions and such, there is an AA meeting going on a the coffee shop I’m sitting in. Yeah. I hope to lead something like that one day.
Because I love smart humor, things that make me think, and alliteration.
Tiny Fey is one of my favorite people in the celebrity world. I respect her. She’s very honest and from what I can read (from Bossypants http://www.amazon.com/Bossypants-Tina-Fey/dp/0316056871 which she wrote) and watch on 30 Rock (which she writes) she’s a very “real” person. More later on what is ”real.” Mrs. Fey has great takes on serious issues and presents them in a way that is light and as real as she is. AhOOOO oooo Witty Woman (ok, that was a poor excuse for a pun based on an Eagle’s song. But I do not apologize.)
I think this quote from Bossypants is just so true. More on women and the battle between thin and thick later. For now, I’m going to eat a thin mint. Not really, I just said that for the sake of irony.
I found this today. Mmm! Martha! That’ll preach. You know what else will? What Paul said on this matter and that is what I will leave you with:
“for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
The secret he speaks of is Christ. You know the saying “the only things for sure in life are death and taxes?” My boss likes to say “the only things for sure in life are death, taxes, and change.” Our cirumstances will always change, the people in and out of our life will always change or at least they are subject to change. So how can you put your hope or your joy or contentment into circumstances and people and still have stability? You can’t. That’s what Paul and Martha are both saying. It’s your disposition and it’s where your hope and joy lie that matter most for happiness and true fulfilling purpose. Christ never changes. How God the Father feels about you will never change either if you are His.
All for now,
Many times in my “adult” life (I put the word in ironic quotes because I’m using it in it’s technical form) I have found myself with what I like to call Ramble Brain. I’ll have thoughts that start small and end with what feels like a 20 minute rant/slippery slope by a 5 year old. Sometimes Ramble Brain can produce something significant, only to be forgotten in 20 more minutes. I do wonder how many significant epiphanies or life-altering Ah-Ha! moments have been lost in the recesses of my over-active brain.
I’ve tried to tell myself, “you’ve GOT to write that down later.” Ramble ramble ramble ramble…. NEVER happens. So I’ve thought for a while now that I might actually put it on the World Wide Web in the form of a (gasp!) BLOG aka our eternal journal. (I like that because it rhymes). While I love to write, like actually write (in an awesome journal Chris Brakebill bought me at the Fish Market in Seattle), this is more accessible and my hand might fall off if I wrote all the things I plan to write about on here. Old school awesome writer dudes must’ve had some major nasty arthritis or crampy hand. Or maybe, what they wrote about was just plain worth it. I don’t think what I have to say is, but I do want to remember it and shoot if you take the time to read it too, that’s great.
OK OK enough about why I’m doing this. I’m now going to explain the title.
A Pensieve Named Desire
If you’ve read Harry Potter, I have 2 things to say to you: 1. congratulations on a journey well-spent. 2. You know what a pensieve is and you may stop reading here and move on to the next paragraph. If you have not read Harry Potter, I have 2 things to say to you as well: 1. As a wise friend once told me whilst convincing me that I should “It’s a magical journey about friendship, loyalty and the fight for good to triumph over evil.” And 2. you should be ashamed you’ve waited this long to read it. But alas, I will explain to you what a pensieve is.
Wait, I know exactly who can explain this to you.
Harry Potter: “What is it?”
Albus Dumbledore: “This? It is called a Pensieve. I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind.”
The penseive is a stone bowl filled with a silvery white liquid. The user extracts a memory from himself or someone else with a wand, then drops it in the pensieve for later retrieval. Dumbledore explains that it helps keep his mind from becoming too crowded with old memories, and to experience a particular memory again when needed. So yeah, this is my pensieve, without the magic and stuff.
OK so onto the “Named Desire” part of the title. This is Tennessee Williams:
He wrote some plays. And by some I mean some very significant plays. I was first drawn to him mainly because his name is Tennessee and well, if you know a Tennessean, we like our state. We’ll advocate pretty much anything with our name on it. (amiright?) But he wrote things like The Rose Tattoo, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and a Streetcar Named Desire. He liked to write pretty dark disfunctional family and relational stuff. As a highschool girl, I appreciated all the drama. Anyway, in a Streetcar Name Desire, the main character, Blanch DuBois, who struggles with delusions of grandeur due to said drama, moves away from Mississippi to New Orleans to be with her sister and brother-in-law. As she enters town in a streetcar on a streetcar route named “Desire,” she is shocked by how different this life looks to the one she previously lived on the plantation. That’s all you need to know about how it connects with me.
In 2009 when I graduated from Berry College, anything was possible. I had dreams I had desires. I think I had this picture in my head (delusions of grandeur?) about how great my life would be now. I was a college graduate, I was important, people wanted me as their employee, I deserved a great job I could have pride in (according to the collegiate world) and I deserved to be married in a year post graduation. (that’s what graduates do right?)
BAM! It took me 2 years to get a job that required any degree and uh yeah its 2012, not married yet. Pretty much I got slapped in the face by life and gently Fatherly patted on the face by God (He doesn’t slap, He encourages). Slaps can be good. I sure am thankful for them. They wake you up to reality. The past 3 years have been full of changes and good sweet hard times with the Lord and my life. I can’t explain to you how thankful I am for the journey He’s put me on (the streetcar route if you will, and you will).
You know in the movies when people are like “I just need to go FIND myself.” (eat, pray love blah blah blah). Sometimes I think that’s a bunch of bull. But maybe that’s just because it wasn’t the case for me. If you get nothing else out of this particular Brain Ramble, hear this: sometimes you don’t have to go somewhere exotic to fine-tune who you are and who you are made to be, more than likely it takes you staying right where you are and pushing into the difficulties because they truly will bring up the truth in you. Those horrible emotions and awkward feelings you have about yourself and anyone else? THEY WILL NOT KILL YOU.
All for now,
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