Saturday, February 21, 2009

My Daughter, Myself

Joy was in good spirits most of the day, but she started acting out a little this evening (throwing things, refusing to help clean up, etc.). As I did my best to remain positive and respond effectively to each situation, I realized I was having a much easier time feeling affection for Daniel than for Joy. I think a big reason for that is that my relationship with Daniel is much less complicated at this point.

I think Daniel’s sweet, he finds me comforting, and I don’t have to worry about how to discipline him or teach him good principles. By contrast, many of my interactions with Joy involve her pushing her limits and my buttons, and my struggles to teach and promote good behavior aren’t always effective.

While I might wish my relationship with Joy was as sweet and simple as what I share with Daniel, I can’t help thinking that my relationship with my Heavenly Father is more like what I experience with Joy. I’m a basically good child, but I repeatedly try His patience in some ways. Yet He loves me anyway, and if I hope to become more like Him, I need to cultivate a similar ability to love despite challenges, not in absence of them.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

More Faith Than Fear

The next few days are going be crazy and unpredictable. Since there's no way to plan how to handle them effectively, I've been trying to not think about them at all. Surprisingly, I discovered that stressed me out more. Then I remembered a principle from Tuesdays with Morrie.

Morrie was slowly dying from a chronic disease, but rather than mentally fleeing fear, he acknowedged it whenever it reared its head then he consciously set it aside. I'm trying to do likewise, acknowledging that the next few days will be demanding, but also putting faith in God, in myself, and in the family and friends committed to helping us through. After all, worry contributes nothing useful, and it robs us both of the anticipation of the future and enjoyment of the present.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Baby and I are Home

My little bundle of boy arrived earlier this week. We're both doing fine and happy to be home. My feelings vacillate between eagerness to get back into life and a lethargic yearning for more naps. Consequently it's hard to say whether I'll be posting a lot or a little in coming weeks. We'll just have to take things as they come, as always.

In the meantime, gentle readers, I hope all's well with you.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Adventures in the Kitchen

A few weeks back I published a post on how my perception of myself has evolved. One significant aspect of that change has been my defining hobby. I used to read voraciously in high school, and though I had less time for pleasure reading in college I continued to define myself as a bookworm. These days I still enjoy books, but I rarely make time to read them and I'm embarrassed to say that I regret that more on principle than because of some deep yearning in my soul. If I have any defining hobby these days, I would have to say it's food and the preparation thereof.

That's not to say I'm some gourmet with super-refined taste. I wouldn't even say I'm a foodie--I enjoy eating, preparing, and learning about food, but I'm not full-time obsessive about it (yet?). I just enjoy good food, and find that cooking is a creative outlet that works in my schedule. I usually feel too busy to attempt reading anything longer than an internet news article or blog post, but since I have to feed my family every day I figure I might as well use that time as an opportunity to experiment and create something we will (hopefully) enjoy.

I've learned some interesting things along the way. For example, I recently discovered that bacon actually does play a meaningful role in some dishes, including a chicken chili recipe from which I always used to omit it. I've also learned that bottled lemon juice in no way compares with fresh squeezed, that red and green bell peppers actually taste very different (when I first started cooking, I assumed people just chose one over the other because they liked the color), and that pouring water on unbaked apple crisp can actually produce tasty results (a.k.a. my new favorite dessert). I'm curious to see what longstanding assumption I unexpectedly debunk next week.

Don't expect me to host a cooking show any time soon, though. I often tell people that if I started one, it would be billed as a comedy with viewers betting on what I would drop, spill, omit, or burn next. Most of my dishes turn out all right in the end, but it would be woefully inaccurate to call my preparation style either elegant or efficient. Oh well--what really matters is that the result tastes good and I had a good time making it.