Love with a side of Fried Chicken

Today I woke up with all the energy of the Proverbs 31 woman. I shoveled out the back steps, front steps, and the front walkway and I’m thinking once I finish writing this I’m going to whip up a wicked good breakfast.

Last night as I was making deep fried chicken for my family I was talking on the phone with my best friend. And we were talking about the lack of direction in our lives, she’s about to start a masters program and I’m seeking employment that I might actually love. I made the comment that I love to spend time with friends, eat good meals, and I’m pretty handy at writing after musing about how some times the things that fill us most aren’t the things we’ll be getting paid for. Originally my post was going to be about job searching some things I’ve learned along the way, encouragement, some suggestions to making a standout resume.

Instead my thoughts drift to the stuff of life that really matters.

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good (Romans 12, NKJV)

So last night a good friend of ours came over and brought over his deep fryer. We made deep fried chicken, sweet potato fries, and deep fried Oreos (and green beans, we weren’t totally unhealthy). It was so good to have honest conversations, good food, and pure fun. It was awesome to know I was filling people body and soul and then to wake up this morning feeling so full of life (since I went to bed early instead of watching a movie late at night with the rest of them).

I prayed and decided to shovel. In times past I would have passed it off and figured some one else would do it. Or just try to make people do it with me. But I was invigorated thinking this is something I can do to make my family’s lives easier. This is something I can make sure when people come into my home they won’t slip or get stuck. The mailman will appreciate it. The delightful mastiff who lives next door will be able to walk a little easier. So thinking of all these people (and animals!) I shoveled and I greatly enjoyed myself.

I guess my point in all of this is that the evil I don’t always abhor is negativity, ingratitude, and bitterness. I forget that though caring for Miss J drains me most days, it is good work that I’m doing and that every day I get to come home to a place of peace. That though some of my friendships can give me such great dissatisfaction I have many wonderful friendships. That community is built in our churches, schools, and workplaces, but even more it’s built in our homes and involves such simple things as opening your door, saying yes to the deep fryer, and simply letting yourself be known.

Jesus inspires me to know people and see them fully, to love them where they are, and to bring them deeper into what is good in life. Over and over again we see him enjoying life with people, having conversation, showing up where people are (both figuratively and literally). I want to be like that. It seems I can’t quite control when I’ll have my next job, or how other people will respond to me, but I can do my part. Open my home, offer what I have to share, and be intentional even when it’s hard.

How are you sharing warmth and goodness this winter?

All the glitter,

Juanita

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Who I want to be

You know what I want to see happen in 2016?

I want to be like my grandmother. 

You see I spent the long New Years weekend at my grandmothers. She’s almost 9o now. She’s one of the greatest woman I know. She was the one who taught me to pray, how to care for a garden, and how to properly make a bed. She’s encouraged me in my dreams, in my writing, in cooking, and to do things that I’m afraid of. She had her concerns about my getting married, but when she knew I wasn’t going to change my mind she 100% supported us.

Even though she gets tired more quickly than she used to she goes to church most weeks, goes out to do things, and has a bevy of friends she keeps up with. She always has time to talk with me and give me advice and helps me to pursue things that will help me grow: emotionally and financially.

She reminds me that God, family, and good meals are some of the most important aspects of life and you should value and appreciate them from a young age. That if all you have in the last years of your life are family, good memories, and a sound mind, that’s more than enough to be grateful for.

She tells me that, “You either die young, or you grow old so you might as well do it gracefully,” and she lives it out. She is constantly grateful for her body, her mind, her spirit despite the sometimes frustrating aspects of aging.

Her house is always open to me and there are many people who are welcome to a visit and a meal with her anytime.

To put it simply my grandmother is a woman of grace, character, and strength who has loved God and others simply, but profoundly throughout her whole life.

If I grow up to be just a bit like her I will have lived well, so my hope for 2016 is that I continue to grow in truth, grace, godliness, and compassion that I will be a woman that other woman can look up to.

That’s all, what are your aspirations for 2016?

All my glitter,

Juanita