Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Space Between...And Green Chile

"The space between 
the tears we cry,
is the laughter that keeps us coming back for more."
~Dave Matthews Band

Harmony and dissonance.
Tension and resolution.
Relationships keep us on our toes, don't they?
The dynamics are beguiling to say the least.

And when I say relationships, I mean ALL relationships.
Parent/child. sibling/sibling. 
It wouldn't be preposterous to say all familial relationships in general, would it?
Spouse/spouse. Friend/friend. The list goes on...

We struggle to keep the peace at times.
Our hearts can be rooted in different places,
but at the core we are all the same.
We have different perspectives,
and it certainly can get messy now and then, 
but at the end of the day, 
we all long to love and be loved in return.

There are moments in my own life when I feel so overwhelmed,
not unusual considering the ages of my children.
But as small as they are, when I take a step back,
I recognize that right now so many things can be solved
with a cookie. Or a nap.  Or a hug.
As hard as this season of my life is, 
I acknowledge that I'm going to look back one day 
and realize that this really was the easy part!
When my heart is discouraged, I try to remind myself of that.

Is there is a relationship in your life 
that is in a volatile state at the moment?
I want to encourage you to return to that place in your memory.
Even if just for a moment.
That place where you shared laughter and understanding.
Where you shared a favorite meal, or a favorite song.
Where you shared smiles and silliness.
That place that, in spite of your differences, 
keeps you coming back for more...
That place where you're reminded of why you love them, 
and always will,
even if that means loving them from afar.

Praying that, if possible, the kinks will be ironed out soon, and that in the meantime, your heart will find rest.

"Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Green Chile
I shared the recipe for green chile last year 
( CLICK HERE for the recipe).
but thought you might enjoy seeing pictures of the process. 
This is a recipe that reminds me of family, 
and regardless of how complicated familial relationships can be, 
it reminds me of the good times we share. 
When I make chile, it always makes my heart smile.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I was born to do this...

"I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, 
but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times."
~Bruce Lee 

The Olympics are dominating our television set,
and at times, it's hard to pull ourselves away.
We find ourselves glued to the action.
The behind the scenes. The back stories.
The triumphs. The disappointments.
Michael Phelps. Ryan Lochte.
Missy Franklin. Lolo Jones.
The list goes on...

There's a unification that occurs during these events...
For a moment in time, 
people of different gender, race, creed, 
and political views come together
not to "offer" their opinions on every topic under the sun, or debate them,
but to cheer on our fellow countrymen (& women) as they strive for excellence.
To be the best in the world.

There is something that stirs in our hearts as we watch these athletes 
pushing themselves, their will, their determination, their bodies to the very limit.
The focus. The dedication. The caliber. The commitment it takes to get to this platform is undeniably inspirational.

I think there's something inside of all of us that desires to put ourselves to the test. 
To reach for the stars. To rise to the occasion. To bring people together.
To hone in on our talents, and shine.

What are you impassioned about? 
What makes you come alive?
What awakens your inner man?
Do you write? Write! Do you create? Create! Do you build? Build!
Repeat after me...I am not afraid...I was born to do this.
Now....do it! 
Then do it again. And again...and again...
(repeat 10,000 times)

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
We ask ourselves: Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others."
~ M. Williamson

Keep Shining Sweet Bellas!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I'm Sorry...

"Never ruin an apology with an excuse."  
~Kimberly Johnson

"I'm sorry."
Two simple words, but such powerful words indeed.
They have the power to heal. Restore. Reconcile.
The power to acknowledge. Validate. Conciliate. 
To bring peace. Mend. Harmonize.

Have you hurt someone? 
Directly or indirectly? 
By word or deed?
Or lack thereof?
I have. 
I think we all have at one time or another.

Sometimes we try to complicate an apology.
Give a list of reasons why. Explain. Justify.
But what I've come to learn is that more often than not,
people do not want the explanation,
they don't care about the details...
they just need the apology.
Simplicity. Sincerity. Authenticity.
It truly is a healing salve.

G.K. Chesterton said "The injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; 
he wants to be healed because he has been hurt."
Sigh. Thanks for keepin' it real Chesterton.

Sweet Bellas, if there's an unresolved issue in your life,
and you've been wanting to make things right, 
Now is the time.
Keep it simple. 
Keep it sincere.
Don't worry about how it's received,
sometimes it takes time for the wound to heal.
Don't let pride get in the way,
Just do your part. 

"So if you are offering your gift at the altar
and there remember that your brother has something against you,
leave your gift there before the alter and go.
First be reconciled to your brother,
and then come and offer your gift."
~Matthew 5:23-24

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Love Pat...

"Be kind, for everyone you know is facing a great battle."
~ Philo of Alexandria

Venti please.
Make it a java chip.
With extra whipped cream.
An extra 1,000 calories? Whatever.
'Cause it's been THAT kind of week.
And it's only Tuesday.

My thoughts are so jumbled tonight. Locked up. Trapped.
As I try to dig and sort through them, my mind is going in a million different directions.
All of the interesting things I had to share are quite simply... gone with the wind.
Maybe it's exhaustion spilling over from yesterday.
Or since last week for that matter.
Really all month is more accurate.
Ok all year.
Oh who am I kidding, more like the last 5 years.

Yesterday it was really starting to peak.
That feeling that you are just spinning your wheels.
You know...."that feeling."
The feeling that with every step forward, you take two steps back.
Like you are never going tackle the pile. Never get on top of it.
Just stay buried...perpetually...forever.
For every corner of the house you clean
the children are making new messes behind you.
For every item you cross off "the list'
three more are right there to replace it.
That moment you were trying to savor,
explodes right in your face. In a millisecond. 

But then something happened.
My sister called.
The chaos in the background was eminent.
Siblings arguing.
One tearing up the other's homework.
A request denied. A tantrum building. A reprimand delivered.
And then it came. Like a gentle breeze on a scorching day.
In a soft tone, and with sincerity in her voice,
she said, "You're doing a good job. I'm proud of you."

My friend Diane would have smiled and called that
 "a love pat from the Lord."
And it truly was. 
I could feel my inner man exhale.
In the simplicity of that moment, came reassurance.
Maybe I'm not completely dropping the ball.
Maybe accomplishing what was necessary for the day was propitious. 
Maybe this was a perfect teachable fragment in time.
A tangible reminder.

The world is upside down. Encourage one another.
Fires are burning. Storms are raging. Political and social unrest is rampant.
Encourage one another.

Sweet Bellas, never underestimate the power of an encouraging word.
It can breathe life into a weary soul.
Wipe the sweat from a brow.
Deliver fresh air amidst a suffocating moment.
Bring hope when it's needed most.

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up."
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Good Stuff...and Veggie Pizza

"Every man dies.  Not every man really lives."  

Moms are experts at rushing. 
Waffles, check. Dog bowl filled, check. Snacks packed, check. Extra diapers, check. 
Keys ready, coffee in hand, out the door, check check check. 
Some days I feel like I'm in my own fictitious race to the end of the day.
Frantically trying to tackle "the list." 
My adversary is in my head 
and talks smack to me all day long.

"Speed it up," I hear her say. 
"You're dropping the ball girlfriend."
What, you've run along side her too? pish.

Allow me to let you in on a little secret.
When we're flying through our days at warp speed,
we miss all the flavor,
all the juicy details.
I mean, the really good stuff.

The sound of your daughter's voice 
as she tells a story to her brother
while hiding under the kitchen table, 
changing her inflection with each character.

The smell of homemade pasta sauce filling the air, 
just like grandma's house.

The symphony of wind chimes mingled 
with birdsong outside the back door.

That look in his eye, when he's watching you 
the same way he did when you were dating.

Wasn't it just yesterday when we were playing "M.A.S.H."
on lined spiral notebook paper,
in our bubbly teenage handwriting, 
dotting every "i" with a heart,
daydreaming about our future.
Now you're living it,
take time to drink it in...sip slowly.

Make a gratitude journal.
Forget about the checklist and
each night, before bed, write down 5 things 
you are thankful for that day.

Take a break from the "to-do list" and surrender to fun.
Complete reckless abandonment.
Have a water balloon fight toss in the backyard.
Make pizza.
Dance in your living room.
(nothing like some bubbles 
& the hokey pokey to get the day started)
Lay on the grass and find pictures in the clouds.
I promise, if you sit down to your 4 year old's tea party,
or you build a rad fort with your 2 year old,
you won't regret a single moment.
I've shared this quote before,
but I never tire of hearing it.
"It's not that life is so short,
it's that we wait so long to begin LIVING."
(Author Unknown)

Veggie Pizza 
I didn't create any special recipe here.
I used already made wheat dough from Trader Joe's,
mozzarella cheese that was already shredded,
 and sliced & diced fresh veggies & basil from the fridge.
The kids rolled out the dough,
tossed flour to and fro,
and giggled often.
We scattered cornmeal on a baking pan,
positioned the dough, spooned on the sauce,
placed a pinch-ful of cheese in our mouths in between
each sprinkle over our masterpiece,
carefully placed the toppings, and
cooked it for 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees.
No frills. Pure simple fun.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Once Upon A Time...2 Year Blogoversary & Salmon Salad

"I dare you to move..."

Has it already been TWO YEARS since Mangiabella arrived on the scene?
Ai yai yai. Did someone hit fast forward while I wasn't looking???
To celebrate, I whipped up a wonderful summer salad.
Cool enough to beat the heat, and light enough to keep the waistband in check.
But don't worry...it's not sissy, it's sassy, 
and these bursting flavors are sure to keep the party going.

Now I must confess my husband was not on board with this dish.
Can't appreciate a good black bean 'n' corn anything to save his life.
What's up wit dat??? Crazy Cat. 
But I'm strangely addicted to his ridiculousness.

Before I divulge all of the inner workings of this succulent salad, 
I thought you might like to know how it all began.
You know. The "birth story". 
Every blog has a "birth story."
And here's mine.

Once upon a time, in the not too distant past,
two hip youngsters with a penchant for spontaneous adventures
 were smack dab in the middle of their odyssey.
All sorts of twists and turns in the road, unforeseen obstacles blocking the path,
arrows flying in every direction.
We're talking one CA-razzzzzy expedition.

Many MANY things transpired during that time, but to summarize,
The Lord took us on an excursion that was exhausting.  And exhilarating.  
All at the same time.
The things we learned. The faith walk we were on 
was like nothing I ever could have anticipated.
We are well acquainted with "the 11th hour."

My husband likes to say that hindsight is 20/20. I couldn't agree more.
It's fascinating really, to look back and see how, very simply put,
Every moment. Every morsel.
It was then that HE began to do divine surgery on my heart.
And it was then that I finally began to learn what true faith in HIM was,
faith for day to day basics, and I was so green.
I thought I Had faith to move mountains,
but I quickly learned that I had much to learn in that department,
and it took several years for the Lord to rebuild me from the inside out.

As I mentioned in earlier posts, I never did well with not knowing.
The fear of the unknown was a burden to say the least.
I had "white knuckle syndrome" to the max.
But that whole journey changed everything.
And now....flash forward years later.
I've come to embrace and even relish the understanding
that true "surrender" means giving up attachment to results.
That no matter how it plays out, good bad or indifferent...
that I know that I know that I am going to be ok.
And even if everything falls apart, trusting and knowing
that HE will do something new. And HE did...

Then...I entered a recipe contest on a whim.
I'm not even 100% sure of why I entered that contest.
I mean, the thought of the $25,000 grand prize 
was definitely something we could benefit from.
That goes without saying.
Several people had been nudging me to "just do it."
I had just finished reading "Waking the Dead" by John Eldredge, 
and finally felt inspired enough to go for it,
as though I had a new motivation fueling me.
Not so much a motivation to win.
But a motivation to shine.
To stop sitting in the shadows.
To stop back burnering all the talents
and just begin somewhere. anywhere.
The catalyst.
One baby step was all I needed to awaken the rest within.

I began to enter other contests, and meet new people. Put myself out there.
And suddenly, I thought that maybe the devotional emails I was sending
to my girlfriends should get out to more people.
Maybe others could be inspired to not just be alive, but AWAKE.
Maybe I could encourage others to step out of the day to day drudgery
and marvel at something, even if just for a moment.
And maybe, just maybe, I could use my creativity and enthusiasm
to nudge others to express THEIR talents as well.

I would have never thought in a million years
that just stepping out of the comfort zone
would spark all of this. The domino effect had begun.

My original intention in creating this blog 
was to chronicle the adventure of making a cookbook 
that my husband had been trying to get me off of my hiney
to do after all these years. 
But one of my truest friends, one who is older and wiser than me,
told to me not to go that route even though it felt safe.
That I needed to be sharing the kinds of things I was already sharing
with my girlfriends in my emails.
That's what would keep it personal. Real. 
She told me that all I needed to do was keep shining, 
and the rest would follow.

I really chewed on that a bit. It was all so intimidating.
I mean, there are tons of blogs out there.
I wasn't sure I had anything relevant to say,
anything of value to contribute.
But the Still, Small Voice inside said otherwise.

Thus, Mangiabella was born.
With the hopes to inspire others to devour life with me.
Devour my food. Devour my words.
And with the hopes that my appetite for getting the most
out of this life journey would be contagious,
that it would make others hunger and thirst.

There was really no other plan.
And I still have no idea where any of this is going,
but it doesn't matter...no attachment to results.
However it all plays out, good bad or indifferent,
And....HE already is....

Happy Blogoversary Mangiabella!

and as always...

Keep Shining Sweet Bellas!
Salmon & Asparagus Salad w/ black bean 'n' corn salad & a side of
 grilled avocado on Mediterranean Pita Bread
On a bed of spring greens with diced grape tomatoes and cucumbers,
I laid a filet of Salmon that had been covered with
olive oil, salt & pepper to taste, and the juice of half of a lemon, then steamed in foil on the grill.
You can also steam in oven at 400 for appx. 15 minutes.
Then, I spooned black bean & corn salad on top,
and sprinkled a little feta cheese.
To make the black bean and corn salad,
I mixed a 1/2 cup of sweet corn,
1/2 cup of black beans, drained and rinsed,
1/2 of a red bell pepper, diced
2 Tbsp of purple onion, diced
2 Tbsp of olive oil
salt/pepper to taste
juice of one lime
1 Tbsp of cilantro
a generous pinch of cumin.
I roasted asparagus spears
@400 in the oven with olive oil,
lemon juice, salt/pepper.
To grill the avocado,
I cut it in half, removed the pit.
placed face down on grill for 10 minutes.
spooned out the meat of the avocado into a dish
mashed it with the juice of a lemon
salt to taste
and slivered a large pinch of fresh basil leaves.
The pita bread was toasted on the grill.
Complete deliciousness.


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