Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Simply Holy

I know I have broken your trust and promised posts and not delivered....I'm not sure why you're reading this right now with the spotty history that I have exhibited...but I am done with excuses and explanations.  (if i don't promise anything I can't let you down!)  :)  I will say that sometimes the desire to Blog doesn't perfectly translate into post.  But on to the meat and potatoes-leaving behind the old and surging on to something new and exciting.

Not long ago I was accused of blasphemous speech as a result of my over usage of ‘holy vocabulary’.  It was said that by over using such words as “heavenly” or “glorious” I was degrading their value to common place adjectives.  Saying, for instance “this cheesecake tastes heavenly” or “that sunset is glorious” (which I admittedly do often) was sacrilegious.  This person asked… “do you really think so little of heaven or glory to throw them around so lightly?”  Which got me thinking…

As I ate a delectable pain au chocolat from the Bouchon Bakery in Yountville this morning I contemplated this description dilemma…   it was a crisp, buttery, flakey exterior with a soft doughy center graced by two smooth rich decadent dark chocolate logs whose sweetness was perfectly complimented by the saltiness of the excessive amounts of butter used in its preparation.  And… after a moment’s pause I could not think of another word other than….mmmmmmm…..heavenly.   


The glistening grape leaves of gold and garnet with spatterings of chartreuse heavily hung on the vines…. The play of shadow and sun light through billowy cumulous clouds in a sapphire sky... The kaleidoscope of colors (and enticing smells) at a local Farmer’s Market… the bite of the autumn air on your nose whilst your body is kept cozy with a soft plum pashmina… all these are simply…glorious.


And though I may be guilty of sometimes using these terms without always fully thinking through their meaning, I firmly assert that they should be used more and not less.  For in all these things that I find delight is the Glory of God.  In all these things that tickle my tongue with happiness or amaze my eyes with the splendor of creation is His holiness… a piece of heaven in this life on earth.  What better way to describe the wonders around than to do so through acknowledging He who blessed us with them all.  Heaven is in the smallest and simplest things… His glory is reflected in the common place every day that we may rarely notice.  More often than not we take God out of the world around us by merely acknowledge “its” beauty and not His role in making it so.  Everything from Him is holy and we are to bask in the enjoyment of it! 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


So I know it may seem as though i have failed at my first attempt of consistency with blogging.... and in actually I have... BUT i do think i have some rather compelling excuses that may cause you to extend a wee bit o' leniency and grace in my direction.

1) I was off galavanting in Shanghai and experiencing the magnificent World's Expo!!  (hhmmmm maybe not the most compassion eliciting argument to start with...)
2)So- to the real hinderance: my computer.... died.  I am still in shock. I actually felt physically ill.  I am quite despondent.  a year's worth of photos... email contacts....essential information...  GONE.  all  gone.
  I'm having trouble coming to grips with the severe reality of this predicament.  i'm currently using my roomie's computer to convey my sentiments to you- (so that you know that I have some sort of explanation for my absence, and hopefully will take pity on my in my dire situation).  the ONLY thing that I can take solace in right now is: the brevity and fragility of material things has no lasting effect on the purpose and fulfillment of my life.
  I think that God has been trying to teach me a bit of a lesson.  maybe I was becoming too comfortable with my easy access to the world on the other side of the Great Wall.  too prideful in my pictures.  too attached to things other than HIM. 

So here I am.  Stripped of my comfort.  Trying, desperately trying, to remind myself of the many blessings and the bounty in my life.  I feel pathetic to be having such an extreme reaction to the simple crashing of a piece of technology. but in honesty, by heart does ache.  my head spins everytime I realize something else that is irreplaceable is unrecoverable.  I want to let it go and be joyful and praise the trials knowing that God is up to something. ... maybe I'll get there soon.  but for now- i'd take a plane ticket home and a magic "undo" button that will bring back all that was lost.

hopefully new posts with pictures and things will come soon...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Meet my 朋友!

I forgot to announce that I was given the honor of guest blogging on my fantastic foodie friend's fabulous food forum... (a little too much alliteration?).  A couple weeks ago I filled in for her while she was busy being responsible taking the GRE.

You can check it out here...   and, I highly suggest becoming a follower of "I ate everything".  You won't regret it- the recipes alone are worth it, not to mention you will fall in love with Stephie's charming wit and jovial candor!  Enjoy!

isn't she just scrumptious! 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Art Here... Art There... Art Everywhere!

I have decided to really invest in improving my blogability.  I know I have said this before, but now I’m making a schedule!  I plan to post something once a week... every Sunday evening to be exact.  The reasons are many but mostly just boil down to my need to create… something…anything!  Expression is good for the soul.  Usually, my need for well written, thoroughly processed thoughts has stifled and squelched my freedom to scribble down my life unashamedly.  “Perfectionism is the archnemesis of creativity” (Found Art-71).  SO- through more consistent random thoughts and tangential wanderings, I am hoping to fight back against this villain for freedoms sake!  … here we go… 

Blogging makes me acutely aware of my surroundings.  It makes me think of every experience, every meal, every encounter as a potential post.  Anything has the potential to have significance and meaning.  It makes me actually ponder my experiences and think about connections.  As I was “making art” out of my breakfast this morning, (for the sake of a later post) I was whisked back to my freshman year of college, sitting in my mandatory (aka miserable) writing class – Culture, Art and Technology- learning about what makes art, Art.  The answer: ascribed meaning.  The only thing that makes anything art is the value that someone assigns it.  I had turned my breakfast into art by seeing the beauty in the crimson strawberries and the tasting the nostalgia in the hint of cinnamon… My mind then wandered to the value of connections.  Beautiful personal experience found in foreign spaces. 

I just finished reading a book about one woman’s discovery of beauty in unlikely places.  Her words deeply resonated with me as I saw many of my own thoughts, hurts and experiences mirrored in her unpretentious journalesque writing.  The more I thought about it, I realized that a lot of valued literature is nothing more than the modest scribbles of common experience connected to deeper wonderings.  Julie Powell’s random thoughts on cooking is now a well known book and movie.  A young girl’s personal diary of life during WWII became one of the world’s most widely read books and an inspiration of hope.  These creations of the written word remind me that art is imbedded in our connection with other people’s experiences.  The way that my heart shares space with yours through common memories…. the way reading about your journey can ignite the flame of my own nostalgia… the way reading your hope, pain, love, joy, mourning unite us- world’s apart- through the fragility (and yet strength) of humanity…

The criteria for art is not anything pompous or sophisticated.  It does not have to be universally adored or survive the criticism of others.  It just has to be real.  Honest.  Even vulnerable. We just need to be “willing to strip all the way down to [our] true self and listen and look for God in [our] world.” (Found Art -73).  This is my art.  These are my experiences.  This is me.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Tasty Thai

On our first evening in Phi Phi we ran into an overly informative dive instructor that gave us the lay of the land.  He divulged the hidden gems of island to us, telling us the best places to eat and when to go.  Sadly we only made it to one of his suggestions- the un-named Pad Thai shack boasting the best pad thai on the island.

  Set behind a lively wet market, down a small side alley, this hole in the wall establishment was easily identified by the handwritten accolades dripping from the ceiling and walls.  People from every country imaginable had left notes testifying to the quality of these delicious pan fried noodles.


The Land of Enchantment was even represented!

One essential ingredient in this tasty Thai dish... garlic. Loads and loads of garlic. 

as we sat savoring our dinner the owner sat peeling clove after clove of garlic in preparation for future orders.  I wonder how many heads of garlic this place goes through a day... 

I made it a habit to try Pad Thai everywhere we went.  My final assessment of this "Best PadThai ever"... B+.
the robust garlic flavor slightly overpowered the sweetness of its sauce, however the chicken was tender and flavorful and the bean sprouts crisp and earthy.  The noodles were perfectly fried, the lime added a bright citrus burst and the peanuts brought a little somethin'somethin' extra to the consistency!  

Best Pad Thai I encountered... Railay Beach (west), Krabi.  ...simply perfect!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Culture = Food!

Last year I learned a valuable and life changing lesson from fantastic foodie friend.  Culture IS Food! Why stick to the touristy "hot spots" and see a bunch of foreigners when you can sit at a wonderful cafe with the locals and really ingest their culture.  

It's true that food is cultural... but there is a difference between “food=culture” and “culture=food.”  In the first, food is just another aspect of a cultural experience like language or architecture.  In the second, the essence of culture boils down to food.  What people eat, how they eat it, where, with whom, when.  What better way to discover the true lives of people than to enter into their culinary culture.  

Night Food market- great people watching and incredible munching

Eating is more than a means of sustenance...Relationships, politics, social structure, can all be understood around a dinner table (or, in Asia, on stools at outdoor market).  It is for this reason that I now LOVE to search out the best and more traditional tastes of the lands I visit.  I am not to the point of fully abandoning the "big sights" altogether, but eating with the locals holds a lot of weight in my travel itinerary!  

Lok Lok in Penang

Cuddle Fish anyone?

Seafood Laksa- Singapore

My favorite place in Singapore!  Lau Pa Sat food market- everything and anything available to eat!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Conflicted Enjoyment

(the first of many posts on my recent escapades around SouthEast Asia)

I just returned from the wonderful opportunity of traveling around Thailand and Cambodia with one of my best friends. It was an incredible experience: standing in awe of breathtaking nature, savoring unique and tantalizing flavors, being adventurous and crazy... However, mingling with my fascination and wonder was burden and heartache.

The sights of SouthEast Asia revolve around its vibrant culture-intimately tied to its ancient spirituality. I spent days visiting Buddhist temples and shrines. They are beautiful. Ornate. Overwhleming. Glimmering with mirrors and colored glass. Enrobed in Gold Leaf and lavished with intricate engravings. While I can stand and appreciate the artistry of these places and be intrigued by the diversity of cultures around the world, I could not help but sit in the weight of hopelessness embodied by these gilded buddhas.

I found it difficult to enjoy the grandeur of my surroundings when they represented empty promises and powerlessness. My heart broke as I stood in the midst of people purchasing and offering sacrifices, prostrating themselves and praying. I understand cultural differences and love the diversity of this world- but being in so many places of worship to false gods burdened my soul for the Truth to be known and His power and abundant life experienced across culures and borders.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Kicks!

The 'oh so fabulous JHam' (and her inspiring accomplice Etsy) have recently rekindled my need to create.   And what's more fun than art you can wear!!  A couple days ago while looking for running shoes, the girlies and I found a much more entertaining option than athletic wear- plain white Vans-esk slip-ons.  (i say "Vans-esk" because these particular $5 shoes are actually LeiNiEr brand- the E Asia knock-off equivalent of their more known "Off the Wall" counterparts)

Reminiscent of Jr. High when skaters and skate shoes ruled the school, and the coolest of cool kids customized their kicks with sharpies and white-out pens, we each bought ourselves some new kicks and dreamed at the possibilities of the blank canvas.  

When pen (and paint) finally hit paper (or... canvas) this was the result:  

I suggest everyone go out a design your own shoes.  Its super Fun- I kinda want to make a pair for every mood.

Kaleidescope of Happiness

Vibrant colors make me happy!  

I love walking out my apartment door and having the world at my fingertips.  The curbside market full of bowls, mops, thinga-ma-jigs and whatcha-ma-call-its brings a bright splash of joy to the drab greyness of Asia.

The neat rows of beads and gems always add a little sparkle to my day.  I love taking a gander at table after table of trinkets and goodies.  Whether curbside commodities or indoor accessories, markets make me smile.


Who says kaleidoscopic art can't be aesthetic and appetizing?! One of the few coffee shops to be found in our neck of the woods offers fruit platters with pizazz!  Tasty and Fabulous. 

When the pollution, persistent smog and concrete everything get me down, I am happy to find a few treasures  to add some vivacity back to my life.  Hope you find something full of color and character today!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Roll OUT

It's a brand new year! So resolutions must be made, and maintained... or at least attempted! And so, in response to my blog happy friends (you know who you are) that need another digital distraction, I am starting up anew! Hopefully I will do a better job this time of staying on top of this thing. I have decided to surrender my hopes at this being an intellectual, thought provoking and intense stream of life's greatest questions, and instead am just going to scribble down my thoughts and experiences as they come. Lower expectations = greater likelihood of actually doing it!

So- let the good times Roll!!