Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Feast Day.

During Lent, traditionally, Sundays are 'feast days.' On those days the fast can be broken in some way. So far I haven't taken advantage of the feast days because I thought for sure it would make it much harder to go back to fasting. 

{feast day: coffee with whip cream. fasting: just black coffee again.}
{feast day: butter on hot crusty bread. fasting: carrot sticks again.}

Just saying. It would be harder. 

But then Lew's birthday came and I made raised doughnuts with chocolate glaze and sprinkles. I decided I would have a feast day.

I'm not sure if doughnuts were created for coffee, or coffee for doughnuts... either way, they're the perfect couple. The perfect couple. 
I can't remember making doughnuts before that were quite so wonderfully amazing. They were so good, they made me use an adverb to describe them, and I almost never use adverbs. Seriously, they were that good. Especially with the coffee. 

After consuming one, {and photographing all the others} I walked out into the clean air to milk the goats. This incredible sense of well-being washed over me. It could be partly due to the sugar and caffeine racing through my veins, but not entirely. 

This last week, God has sent encouragement my way. He's sent it in bursts like the Spring rain. This refreshment has come in words, written and spoken. Loving, truthful, words. It's come in prayers. It's come in singing old hymns. In smiles. In morning coffee with Dad. In old pictures.

And it came in a feast day, with doughnuts. 

It was hard, this morning, to ignore those doughnuts wanting to be chomped. But, coffee is still wonderful alone, and I'm still thankful I took a feast day.

I'm thankful to be basking in the bursts of encouragement. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Giving up.

Giving up is not my usual stance. Because I tend to hang on till my knuckles are white, rather than letting go.

March 5th was the first day of Lent. Lent can be a tradition, a ritual, a mere formality. But to me, Lent is an opportunity to conscientiously give something up. An opportunity to choose to let go of something that's easy to hang onto.

I love food. I love to create it, photograph it, smell it; eat it. I love everything about it. And so, for my first Lent I'm giving up some of the foods I love best. Butter, bread, cheese, all leavened things, refined sugar, and meat. {I'm keeping coffee and chocolate, because I feel that it's important to remain somewhat sane throughout this time of Lent}

Starting out, I felt overwhelmed. Second-guesses ran through my head as I baked crusty loaves of twisted bread. And when I made a beautiful batch of citrus cupcakes topped with perfect meringue frosting, I began to think this whole Lent thing is pretty over-rated. 

But now. I'm crossing over into my third week of Lent and I hold a bit of perspective. It is in fact possible to live without the full scope of beautiful food. It's not easy. But then again, I wasn't signing up for easy, and I knew it wouldn't be...but I don't think I knew how hard it could be.

I'm a baker and a cook. A passionate baker and cook. And let me tell you, to not taste my cake batter goes against every fiber of my being.

Every single one.

But, it is possible to make cupcakes and not try the batter. It really is. I would have never known that, had I never tried.

I have to smile at myself, because in the grand scheme of things, my giving-up for Lent is pretty small. 
It really is. Because a few continents away, there are thousands, maybe millions of people who've never tasted butter cream frosting. Not even once. They're thrilled when they get to eat a meal. And I realize, the number of gifts I take for granted, is staggering.

I give-up for Lent, to gain perspective and grow in thankfulness. But I also give-up so that in some very, very, small way, I can try to emulate the perfect example of my Savior who gave up everything for me; for you.

I'm still counting the weeks left till Easter morning. And there are still mornings, and afternoons, and evenings when I crave a hunk of bread with butter.

But I'm thankful.

Thankful to be in the third week, and thankful for a chance to give-up what I thought I needed.

But mostly, I'm thankful for Christ, my Savior. I'm thankful for His abundant grace that seeps through every crack of my life.