My heart feels a little weighty today. Not heavy in a very sad way, but definitely full of emotion. It’s as if something’s been brewing for a while, and today is the day for a good cry, a good release.

Maybe it’s a little heartbreak over sad news that’s splattered all over the web and TV? Maybe it’s the product of two months of hard effort putting the house on the market, and the great relief that has come with receiving an offer? Maybe it’s because I am eager to see my sisters? Or because I’m on the brink of a great accomplishment?  It is, perhaps, the culmination of all things. It’s both lovely and deep. I think it’s a healthy feeling – one that isn’t displacing gratitude and overall contentment with my life.

While I don’t know what’s causing my heart to feel this way, I have great clarity in the moment. How does that work? I really can’t explain it. I have a strong pull, almost magnetic, to invite God’s spirit, the Holy Spirit, inside my home. To sit with me at the kitchen table as I write. To stand next to me as I cook dinner at the stove. To sing over me as I put the tiny king down for his naps. It’s a beautiful, addicting longing – and I don’t want it to go away. Today, it’s the only thing that makes this weightiness bearable.

This song doesn’t say a whole lot, but it pulls at me. It’s perfect for the moment. A song that’s sung to an anchor. A song that’s grounding when I feel feel my emotion will carry me up, up, up and away. A song that reminds me that someone greater is in control.

p.s. I’m so thankful for songwrighters. The world needs more of them.

I’m Speaking Less

I never thought about the fact that being a stay at home mom would mean that I speak considerably less than I used to during the day. Well…at least I speak on a more simple level. Much of the day’s dialogue goes something like this: “Do you want a banana, baby? B-A-N-A-N-A. Bananas are yellow. They’re yummy”.  I definitely miss social interaction during the day, and I really miss having a dear friend to talk to over coffee, etc., but this season of quiet has and continues to stretch me in many good ways.

I’ve noticed a few things. One, I’m especially aware of my missteps over words. I’ve never been a confident speaker. In fact, my Aunt Jenny used to repeat “Your words are important” to me when I was younger. Every time I saw her, she’d say this phrase in response to a time I told her what I was saying was “stupid” and nonsensical. For some reason, I’ve always battled being self-conscious about public speaking…or speaking in general. This is exaggerated now that I speak to adults less often than when I worked in an office.

Two, I am more intentional about communicating with people…whether it’s “Thank you” notes, e-mails, phone calls, etc. I really value communicating with people more than ever. I also have more flexibility in my schedule to communicate in writing than I have since college.

Thirdly, I’ve realized a deep need for expression that goes beyond basic conversation. My days are full of opportunities for reflection, planning, and meditation. I walk the tiny king about 4 or 5 miles each day, and relatively few technical or complex words are spoken by me from 6:30am-7pm. I thirst for a chance to release my thoughts and emotions, but in my experience, there aren’t enough opportunities for release in conversation, and back to issue no.1– I don’t really relax in conversation anyway.

Thankfully, I have outlets. Namely, I have my journal, which I’ve started using more regularly again.  And..I have my piano. That’s right. I’ve started playing regularly. It’s like water to my spirit, and it’s becoming something I must do, like running used to be for me. I’ve even started writing a song (It’s been years since I’ve written a song).

Who knows? Maybe forced quiet will result in more meaningful, deep output from me? I don’t doubt that quieting down and learning to reflect is good for me. Maybe my intellect suffers a bit, and maybe I’m not the most sociable among my peers, but I treasure these days of sweet, simple exchanges with my son and the inspiration that comes during our quiet wanderings.

Serendipity & Lemon Tahini Sauce

tahini

One of the many jobs I held in college was that of a hostess and waitress at a tiny cafe in downtown Cary, North Carolina named “Serendipity Deli”. It was a unique spot that honestly would’ve fit well in a town like Berkley, California. My fellow employees, of which there were only 6, were an interesting mix. The waitresses were all hippies, including one really sweet woman in her 60’s (we’ll call her Cheryl), who, in my memory, was always eating raw cucumbers behind the counter and talking about her fondness for animals. The other two hippie waitresses were young and fun. Eventually, my sister Jessie worked there too, which made the co-worker situation even more fantastic. We’d get to the cafe on Saturdays, turn up the music, and float around the place in our graphic t-shirts and flowy skirts. Two Moroccan men ran the kitchen, where they’d make anything from gazpacho to banana cream pie. I recall the relationship between the waitresses and the kitchen staff oscillated between being very friendly and very tenuous. I guess every workplace needs a little drama? The mix of personalities was colorful and I liked it.

Aside from the people, my favorite thing about Serendipity was their lemon tahini dressing. The veggie “garden” pita sandwich with lemon tahini dressing was a cafe favorite- and for a good reason. The depth of spring triggers fond memories of the days when I worked with good people and was carefree enough to be thrilled about earning a few extra bucks from pouring wine and taking sandwich orders at the local, offbeat cafe. It also sparks cravings for light, healthy foods that will fuel more time outside. I figured I’d try my hand at replicating the lemon tahini dressing, which I’ve rarely seen on a menu since.

Pour this over salads, sandwiches, or even dip chicken kebabs in it. Don’t let the pricetag of tahini discourage you – for $6/jar it’ll last you a long time, and you can use it to make your own hummus, too!

Lemon Tahini Dressing

3 servings

4 Tbsp tahini

2 tsp olive oil

2 tsp water

1 lemon, juiced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped

  1. Mix ingredients together-  add water for a thinner consistency
  2. Spread on sandwiches or pour over salads
  3. Store in fridge
p.s. I realize this is an abrupt return. I’ve spent many months getting my bearing as a mother of an infant. I temporarily lost my passion for writing– or at least became very self-conscious about it. I knew it wouldn’t be good if it was forced. In the last week, my head has been filling up with things to share and recipes to attempt, and a voice in my head keeps saying “write, write, write”.