Similarities Between Dating and Gardening (Also so for the ladies)

We’ve all heard the expression

“the right place at the right time”

and it turns out that

there’s simply nothing simple about it.

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all flower pics were taken in my neighborhood!

God created nature to have order, and order means timing and placement matter.

Timing is everything. This post is about the importance of timing when it comes to gardening and dating. Believe it or not, they have a lot in common.

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Planting the Seed

It’s spring time in April, which means it’s time to plant. Seeds and dating relationships. Starting the process of germinating and planting can’t be done too early or too late, but has to coincide with the season at its’ proper time.

In order to germinate a seed, the proper amount of light, warmth, time and saturation is needed. With too much or too little of these things, it will not germinate.

Dating is one in the same.

When a seed is germinating it takes anywhere from 24 hours to several days for the seed to sprout. Once the sprouted seed is planted, some seeds may grow into plants, and some seeds will not grow at all. Some plants will bear fruit, and others will not.

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fresh parsley from the garden 😀

Dating relationships and seeds have a lot in common. Without time and patience at the beginnings of a relationship, nothing will become of it. Just like you can’t force a seed to sprout, you can’t force a relationship to sprout.

Application: Wait patiently for the seed to sprout before planting. Timing is everything. If it doesn’t sprout, don’t plant it (in the ground or in your heart

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ermegerd this leaf is kinda heart-shaped :-}

The Growing Season

Once the seed/relationship has sprouted into something alive,

the right soil (…where you spend time)

water (…what feeds your relationship)

and sunlight (…energy sources/motivations) become very important. Without the perfect balance of these things, nothing might become of the seed/relationship. Some things will take longer to grow, and some will not grow at all.

Some plants are like the asparagus; slow to start. Did you know that a baby asparagus takes three years to start producing edible stalks?!

If I was in a relationship with asparagus, it would be hard to patiently wait for that fruit. 😉 ❤

We never know what kind of relationship we may enter into. Prepare your heart for any kind; even if it takes years to cultivate.

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I have creative neighbors.

🙂

🙂

Some plants are quickly abundant & massively fruit-bearing. All ya gotta do is toss some seeds at the soil and BAM you’ve got fruit. So if you don’t want melons in your garden this year, think twice about where you compost your melon seeds 😉
Or take potatoes. Stick a piece of potato in the ground and leave it alone. Wait a couple of months and you’ve got tens of pounds of potatoes! (Unless you also happen to have ground moles, in which case you had tens of pounds of potatoes 😛 )

🙂

Watering and Pruning

Other plants require much more work & TLC to grow.

As the saying goes, you reap what you sow.

Take kale. This plant requires more pruning than others, and if you don’t stay on top of pruning it, the plants will stop producing fruit to focus on producing flowers. Say bye-bye delicious garden vegetable, and hello to weeeeeeds.

Have you ever felt like you were wasting where you were putting your precious energy? Ever feel like you were pouring time, money, and energy into aesthetics (like kale flowers) that look all pretty and nice from afar but don’t reap any real benefits?

When plants aren’t pruned, they become lawn decorations rather than produce, kinda like this kale.
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^ I had to dodge the sprinkler several times to get this shot. Funny for my roommates and neighbors to watch. 😛 But the flowers sure are pretty, aren’t they?? 🙂

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Relationships are the same way. Some people click right off the bat and have great fun together; like potatoes. Buds spring up and grow rapidly. Life seems to have been barren one day and bountiful the next. ❤

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

Other relationships are immense amounts of work and require constant pruning, like kale. “Didn’t I just prune that off yesterday?” Translation: “I thought we just went over this. Must we deal with this again?”

If left un-addressed, the weeds overtake every good part of the relationship and suffocate it. What was once a beautiful bed of flowers and life becomes unrecognizable & useless.

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Application: If you want a plant or relationship, be prepared for pruning. Pay attention to the weeds when they spring up, and prune back those bad parts to save the plant.

~

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When to Harvest the Bounty

So what you’ve been growing looks mighty fine. And you’re seriously considering picking off some of its’ fruit. I will take it upon myself to warn you my friend; although the fruit looks good and tasty, it may not be ready to pick.

If picked too early, fruit tastes bland, crunchy and tangy.

Think back to a time you picked an apple or another fruit that wasn’t quite ripe. You couldn’t wait to eat it and dug your teeth into it’s semi-tough skin. Hardly any juice came out of it and your tongue was left feeling dry with a sour taste. The fruit was bland, chalky and hardly had any flavor.

You were so hungry and just couldn’t wait. The fruit satisfied your temporary hunger to an extent but you were left with the overarching feeling of disappointment, dissatisfaction, and a slight stomach ache. The rest of the bitten fruit suddenly wasn’t very appealing anymore.

You should have waited until it was ripe.

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my phone takes good pictures

The same is true of physical intimacy in a dating relationship. Sex before marriage. There are many who don’t know what good sex (or fruit!) is because they only know it recreationally; outside the covenant of marriage; AKA when both individuals are “unripe” for sex.

Sex outside of the covenant of marriage versus sex inside the covenant is like the concept of having a perfectly okay knife for slicing tomatoes and then realizing how incredibly dull said-knife is upon the introduction of an excellent knife.

You can’t believe you settled for the knife you had before for so long without knowing what else was out there.

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This is a good knife for chopping onions. Yes those are goggles for swimming. And they prevent onion-tears too! 😀

Don’t rush into physical intimacy in a dating relationship. The fruit is desirable, of course, but if you bite it too quickly it won’t satisfy you long-term. Trust me. It will be a much duller version of what it is when ripe; under the covenant of marriage; where commitment is a promise. Only under this context can you explore the depths of sex as it was meant to be created. Wholly, fully; a unity. This is the difference between recreation and something real.

Application: Wait to pick the fruit until it is is ripe.

I think Solomon sums it up pretty well in Ecclesiastes 3. Christian or non-Christian, this message of Truth will give you confidence and trust in times of waiting.

“There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

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  a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,

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     a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,

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a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

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a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
     a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,

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     a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
     a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Gardening, dating, whatever the case may be,

timing is everything, as you can surely see.

Don’t jump the gun or haste & waste, or live your life for today

But live with an eternal lens and trust it’ll be okay.

Oh how I long for the flowers to bloom and the full sun to shine on my face

Oh how I long to be one with Him and never again feel pain.

Oh how I long for the joys of life and ache o’er all the sufferings

But thanks be to God for another day to learn Truth in spite of our wondering.

I hope you learned something here! Happy planting everyone!

xoxo V

Comparing Ourselves to Others

I’ve done some pretty society-deemed-cool things in my life.

Been to some cool parties. Traveled to a few places. Met some cool folks. Seen a ton of concerts.

Hiked some mountains in California and other places.

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But contrary to what society and the world says, what I have done does not define who I am.

If it were that easy, I should be happy being a mountain-climber or a college graduate or the top of my class.

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But those things will never be enough.

If our identity

is rooted in

what we have seen

or done,

or what we have,

we are easily shaken.

We forget the things we have done and the places we have been and what is most important to us when we compare ourselves to others who society deems more successful or better-off than us.

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We’ve all done it. We’ve all compared ourselves to someone else and felt like we didn’t measure up. In middle school it was with whoever had the best clothes or coolest gadgets.

In high school it was who had the nicest car, cutest boyfriend or girlfriend, or who got the best grades.

In college it was who got invited to the best parties or went on the most interesting trips.

After college it’s who has the most success in finances, employment, or marriage.

———-> As soon as we compare ourselves to others who have more or have done more, what we had before feels like it doesn’t measure up. It’s a human and societal tendency.

I’m here to tell you it’s not fair or right to compare ourselves to people who are just as flawed as we are, and who have walked a completely different walk than us.

How could comparing ourselves to a 100% unique brother or sister do any good? !

How can we expect ourselves to be like somebody else? We are ourselves! We are who we are.

You have probably told yourself that. But you still compare yourself to others.

And that’s because you want to grow. You want to be better. You want to improve. Us humans do that. We desire to be better. To go further. To live bigger.

And that’s cool. That’s great, even. Without a goal in sight, a prize to aim for,  a direction to go in, life seems a lot less meaningful.

So lemme tellya a secret.

For the purpose of giving yourself direction, you can compare yourself to somebody.

You can compare yourself to this person for the sake of getting better.

The purpose of this comparison is to become a better person.

So here goes.

There is one and only one person

we should ever compare ourselves to

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Purple Majesty in Yorktown (not the actual name of the flower lol)

and it’s not yourself, so don’t get all excited. You and I both know you have plenty of growing to do. 😛

 

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Pretty in Pink in Yorktown (I make the names up :D)

First, I’ll tell you what this person didn’t have.

What this person (the one you should compare yourself to) didn’t have:

This person didn’t have the most money.

He didn’t have the latest hiking gear.

He didn’t have the most successful dating relationships.

He was hated by most people.

He was loved at first and then treated like a loser, by some of the people closest to him.

People were nice to him so he could do things for them and get them free stuff but he loved them anyway. Unconditionally.

 

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Now for what he did have.

What he did have:

And while you are reading, be comparing this man to yourself, and see how you measure up. It may take a while.

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A tiny flower by the James River

He had a heart of love, not darkness ❤

He was grateful for all he had, knowing each breath is a gift

He trusted that the outcome of a storm would always be a rainbow or provide more growth.

He never dwelt on what he could not change … I love the word dwelt. Isn’t it great??!

He was able to look past people’s facades and images of success and happiness, knowing what every person craved and needed in their heart, and his desire was to help people meet that need: of love.

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York River

joy

His words brought life, joy, and clarity.

He spread joy to others wherever he went.

His joy brought out the best in others.

Instead of tearing people down,

he built people up

always

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York River

He was so incredibly calming.

Whenever somebody needed a shoulder to cry on, a place to take refuge, or a listening ear, he would be that person. He didn’t complain or lash out or shrug people off.

He was always approachable.

In fact, he was magnetic. People were drawn to him wherever he went. And he had the power to fill whoever came to him with incredible peace.

❤ 🙂 ❤

He didn’t force anybody to do anything, but gently and lovingly approached all people and situations.

~

~

~

He spoke truth to his brothers and friends when they were in trouble and helped them overcome their struggles.

He never enabled anyone to do something that was harmful to themselves or others. He was never thinking about getting ahead or beating somebody at something. He was seeking love and unity.

He never held onto bitterness or resentment towards people that hurt him, but forgave them fully and immediately. Immediately.

~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~

The only person

we should ever compare ourselves to

is

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Sunset over the York River

J e s u s

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He was the perfect human.

He is the only one who has ever, can ever and will ever set the standard for how we should live our lives.

Lovingly teaching others.

Keeping short accounts of what people have done wrong to us, and forgiving others for their faults, well aware that we are so faulty ourselves.

He wasn’t taken by surprise when people fell short; he loved them anyway.

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If you don’t know Jesus, believe me when I say this:

I’ve been getting to know him for almost two years now, and the truth is, learning about Jesus and trying to become more like him is the most noteworthy thing I have ever done. It’s way cooler than any mountain I’ve climbed, trip I’ve gone on, or experience I’ve experienced.

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Jesus is the ultimate role model

& the more I find out about him, the more I realize how important it is to know him.

The more you know about Jesus,

the more you want to become like him.

Jesus is the only one worth comparing ourselves to. He is perfect. None of y’alls brothers, sisters, bosses, coworkers, friends, girlfriends or boyfriends are perfect. They are all human; AKA heavily flawed. They may go on some cool trips or have some fancy possessions or beautiful significant others, but they are trying to figure out how to navigate this journey of life the same as your are.

Raise your standard.

Raise the bar.

Compare yourself to the Risen King.

If you don’t know about Jesus, I recommend getting to know him.

Love you all!

xoV

Bird Facts for Dummies

I’d like to start off by saying I don’t know a thing about birds. I see people who know their birds and wonder how the heck they know that stuff. I never studied birds, and I frankly don’t think about birds all too often. Kinda like I don’t think about dogs or lizards or cats or gophers. They all exist, but I don’t think about them. Animals have never been my passion. But today, I learned a thing or two about red-breasted robins.

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Robins like to dance. They like to play. Their legs are built to hop, and are naturally very muscular. They hop from branch to branch and in the grass when it’s too tall to see over. They can walk or hop, and sometimes they hop just for fun. Isn’t that cool? I hop just for fun sometimes too. And I have naturally muscular legs. My mom used to call them Amazon-woman legs. I forgive you mom. You didn’t know that I was built to hop.

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The truth is, I was having a rough morning this morning and wasn’t sure how to get over it. I was frustrated with more than one person and feeling heated physically and mentally, and maybe had too much coffee to drink. After journaling, praying, and talking about it I wasn’t sure what to do.

 

Lord, I need you. I can’t do this.

 

And I looked up, away from the caked muffin tin I was scrubbing and out  the window … and I saw this guy.

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The red-breasted robin, also known as the “Turdus Migratorius” is in the Turdidae family, Turdus genus, and migratorious species.

I love how “turd” is in his name.

I know, I’m five. :~)

^_^

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Camellia in full bloom!

And I watched this robin and his best friend dance with each other. Ralph (Robin #1) and Ronnie (Robin #2) mirrored each other. Ralph took a few steps forward. Then Ronnie took  a few steps forward. Ralph hopped a few steps to the left. And Ronnie followed. Ralph stepped towards Ronnie and looked left. Ronnie stepped towards Ralph and looked right.

Ralph is the leader in this situation. Whatever Ralph does, Ronnie does after. That’s how human relationships can be. Leaders and followers.

But then Ronnie did a backwards thing. He started towards the right, and Ralph followed him. The next few moves were done by the opposite bird. I was confused. So God said

I can teach you in all things and through all things. You’ve just got to look up and listen.

Here I was, having a rough morning, focusing on what was wrong in my life and how uncomfortable I was, and God starts teaching me a lesson with two Robins in the yard.

“You know the way to the place where I am going”

John 14:4

This was the verse of the day on my bible application. And it reminded me, in conjunction with seeing the birds dance, that sometimes all we gotta do is look up.

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Because I looked up, I saw the robins.

I saw the camellias.

I went outside barefoot and took pictures.

I came inside and researched robins.

I learned that robins hop just for fun sometimes.

And I saw that sometimes robins lead, and sometimes robins follow. And just when we think we’ve got it all figured out, life surprises us.

Thank you Lord for using some of your intricate creation to teach me. Thank you for pulling me out of my funk and brightening my day with a couple of hoppin’ robins! Thank you for your unpredictability, spontaneity, creativity, and beauty.

HAVE A BLESSED DAY!

xoV

 

 

Dear Ex Who Never Was

Dear Ex Who Never Was,
I’m sorry I can’t be what you need. I see how lost you are and I know you love my energy. I know you want somebody to share your life with. I want that too. But you’d drain me. You’d hate me. You’d kill me if you could. In fact, you already kill me just thinking about how we are so wrong for eachother. 

I want to cry at the prospect of you, hoping you might be him; my love, my strength. My other half. But God hasn’t led me to him yet. The Lord’s building me up and making me stronger every day. But He’s also humbling me and breaking me; showing me how much more I need Him

I’m sorry I’m not the her you are looking for. I want so badly to be that her


…so I can have a him. But I must wait for Him before meeting him

I pray we both shine brighter every hour, and make each other smile like brothers and sisters building sand castles on the beach, and watching as the tide takes them away~

XoV 

How to Be Patient

There’s no point in fighting about whether or not the traffic light is going to turn red. You can pray to God “Please Stay Green. Please Stay Green.” and it will still turn red depending on the order and timing of the light. The light turns red not because God is a cruel God or doesn’t want you to get to your appointment on time, but because that is the natural Order of things.

learning to be      c o n t e n t       with the red light

Though I have always been one of those people who races through the orange light (and maybe part of the red) when the color has already turned. I am that person who bounds across the street when there is a “don’t walk” sign because the coast seems clear. If you’re from the Northeast like me, you understand. We got places to be 😉

But I gotta ask myself honestly… When has it ever been worth it to rush through that light and risk getting into an accident or getting a ticket because of it? Life continues to show me how unpredictable it really is every single day, and how we can never know what’s around the bend.

Like this random Virginia snow storm for 10 minutes 🙂

What thing in your life are you just trying to

be through so you can make it to your destination more quickly?

An awkward conversation, perhaps

Or achieving a weight loss goal.

A job interview.

The beginning steps of a relationship.

The hard parts of a project.

or waiting for something that’s out of our control.

This last one is the hardest, and most like the traffic light; we know the light is going to turn green, orange or red, but we can’t control when (trust me, I’ve tried!). **Oh, unless you’re Whoopie Goldberg from Corrina Corrina, who can turn any light green. 🙂

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**This movie’s supah cute

 

Knowing A) we can’t control the lights and B) when we rush through we could get in trouble or get hurt indicates C) we should live carefully and abide by the rules of the road. After all, rules are put in place for our safety and everybody else’s well being. Right? Right??!

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There are exceptions to every rule.

 

Also,

the last time I checked “haste” was not a fruit of the spirit. Maybe it used to be the 10th fruit but couldn’t wait to be picked so it jumped off the tree. 😀

hehe

If you’re unfamiliar with the fruits of the spirit, there are nine of them listed below:

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These 9 characteristics listed above are what Christians strive to become like. More loving, joyful, peaceful, patience, kind, good, faithful, gentle and able to control ourselves.

 

The Bible doesn’t encourage us to rush into things or to rush around. That would be the hasty, which is not a fruit we want to bear.

Being in a hurry is not from God

The Bible is all about the importance of paying attention to God’s timing. And he tells us to be content in whatever situation; even if that means being late to where you are going.

 

“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;

from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him —

the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,

the Spirit of counsel and of might,

the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord —

and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.”

Isaiah 11:1-3

So let’s give up rushing

Let’s give up being frustrated

Let’s grow more in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control

Let’s quit rushing around today and just do the next right thing. Pay attention to the next set of lights, and when they turn orange, slow down, STOP! and enjoy the time to think and reflect and observe what’s going on around you! Be thankful for the red light.

Be thankful for the red light

🙂

A prayer for the day:

“Lord thank you for counseling me in the midst of the morning fog. I was but a lifeless stump who couldn’t grow when your spirit came upon me and breathed life into me. And now I am growing in Your orchard among similar trees who bear all different sorts of fruit. Some shiny, some crisp, some juicy, some tangy, some sweet as honey, some with flowers, some tall, some short, some wide, some with deep roots, some that need more water than others.

Thank you Lord for counseling me to care for my tree as you would. With more love, more joy, more peace, more patience, more kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

Thank you Lord for every gift I have. I acknowledge them as an outpouring from and of You. I am a little Christ, mirroring the Everlasting Father and Giver of Life so the world may taste His goodness on a human level. Thank you Lord for using me, an unworthy servant, made worthy by your blood.”

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Go and have a calm day.

Love,

xo V ❤

 

Moving to Virginia

People ask me all the time: “why did you move to Virginia? ” Seaford, Virginia: not the most metro, hipster, saving-the-world, hip place to be. There’s more cars than people and less trees than roads. The constant humidity is similar to living your life inside a sauna and everybody has carpets and air conditioning. Allergies are more common than not and people don’t take clocks seriously. It’s not limited to any one group of people. When people say meet at 5, it’s 5:30. And this is definitely true when shopping: people do not make haste. All the cashiers and people standing in line have all the time in the world.

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So why would a mid-twenties college graduate, outdoorsy, activist, artistic, northerner move to the tiny town of Seaford, Virginia? And the answer, my friends, (drum roll please)

 

is Jesus.

What does that even mean?

As somebody with a strong Southern accent might say, hang on naya. We’re gittin there.

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Once upon a time…

I was living on an island in Maine eating local food from the Portland Co-op, gardening, riding the ferry to and from work every day and riding around the island on my bicycle. And I just wunt satisfied (another Virginia-ism). I wunt fulfilled. I had a couple friends but they weren’t all that close. [***Except N <3***] I had a couple of jobs but they were hellish (#nannywars). I had done a couple diets and was back to square one. I had dated a couple guys which both ended quickly (thank God 😉 ). I had a head full of sparking thoughts. And then the spark found the kindling: Jesus. I needed … to be closer to Jesus…!

But Jesus is dead. How can you be closer to someone dead?

So I started to attend church again. And I craved being around Christians. And I met a couple solid* Christians on the tiny island Baptist Church named Jack and Gerri.

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*When I say “solid” I mean bold. Bold about their beliefs. And willing to stand for them. And live by them. Practice them. And preach them!

And Jack & Gerri invited me over to their big, beautiful house. && I got to know ’em. Jack told me about the business he started. I walked their dog. We ate ice cream. I met their friends.  My new Baptist friends were always having missionaries come and stay with them. They surrounded themselves with peaceful, humble people who knew so much about history, the bible, and current events.

Jack gave me a book full of knowledge. Just what I wanted. I hunted knowledge like a hungry animal hunting their prey. I couldn’t get enough of it. Knowledge about Jesus and who He was.

I need to be around more people like this, like Jesus.

And then I heard a voice.

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Velvet, you must go to Virginia.

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It’s weird, I know. But I couldn’t ignore or deny it. And it isn’t totally out of the blue. I have family in Virginia. My pen-pal/ favorite cousin lives in Virginia. We’ve been faraway friends for life and have grown very close in the last couple of years.

After hearing the Voice, I visited Virginia for six weeks and stayed with my cousin in her apartment. It was an experience. We shared her bedroom for ~5 weeks. Her bed. She shared her bed with me for five weeks! #goodfriend ❤

She was always surrounded by people. Boyfriend, friends, neighbors, people she worked with and for. And every time I felt …. so …. loved by everyone I met. People were different than in Maine. They smiled and waved and said “how do you do?”. They helped each other out and were joyful and successful and prioritized their families. And she talked about Jesus all da time. Nonchalantly in conversation. Nobody did this up North.

I had much to learn.

I met several families that every member was in love with Jesus and loved each other. I didn’t think families like these existed. But truly every family has baggage and nobody is perfect. And when your situation has hit rock bottom, everything else is glorified. But there are better and worse ways of doing things & handling drama and issues; and I liked what I saw. It was different to me and I could benefit from the newness. I was seeing Jesus.

&& I returned home in mid-December, and left my precious bicycle in VA because I knew I was going back ~*~

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Mt. Monadnock in the winter; Jaffrey, NH

At home

I was contemplating my next move for about 3 weeks…

when my Great Aunt Patsy Sours passed away. Her funeral was in Virginia in January. I was going back sooner than I thought! 

At the funeral procession, a friend I had met when staying with my cousin offered me a job to live and work for her family, take care of their grandmother. I would be in Virginia, in the home of strong Christians, and I would see how their family lived, walked, worked together and were mirrors for Jesus all throughout.

After much contemplation, it became loud and c l e a r that this job was exactly where I needed to be.

It became clear that this situation was exactly what I needed at the time in my life and the lives of the family I was moving in with.

It became clear that this family and I couldn’t have ever matched ourselves together.

The Voice was loud and clear.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

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A season to give for others.

To be a loving, forgiving, active, dependable, reliable family member.

A season to study, to teach, to become involved in a large community where people keep each other accountable.

To have a church, a bible study group, an additional weekly bible study.

A season to love like Jesus did: love people He didn’t know and wasn’t related to, but forgave them for their human sins and mistakes and showed them the love He wished to see.

I moved to Virginia to be in the light.

Where it’s brighter, hotter, less cold in so many ways; and where joy and love can be vibrant inside me and shine out to others.

I moved to Virginia to experience living in a Christian home with fellow Christ followers.

And to undo so many habits that were ingrained in me from my family life.

And so much more. These are surface level changes I was going through. And there are so many more to come. 11 months in Virginia so far. Not sure how many more.

It’s been an adventure. I love it. God has blessed me tremendously and continues to do so.

Have you ever felt called to a place?!

xoV

 

 

Similarities Between Dating and Cooking (for the ladies)

God designed us to live with a partner. We live the best quality of life with a partner. A partner-in-crime, a friend, a spouse. We are designed to desire marriage and unity. Though sometimes, finding this partner seems to take a little too long and we consider settling for the next Joe that comes round the block. But like cooking with haste, dating with haste means resulting in waste.

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Did you ever come across that perfect recipe that seems too good to be true? Only three ingredients, and hardly any work at all! For me, this was sprouted sourdough buckwheat bread.

Yeah, the name alone is a mouthful, I should have known!

But I reeeeeeeeeeeally wanted this easy-as-pie bread to be my next favorite recipe. Is pie really considered that easy?

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I went ahead and made the bread. Starting with soaking and and sprouting the buckwheat. Then processing it into flour. Adding salt and water. Letting it sit on the counter and ferment. Baking that bad boy.

All those steps were fine and dandy. Even fun and anticipatory. The measuring, the soaking, the mixing, the blending, the baking. Kinda like dating…… 😉

But as for the eating……. drum roll……

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You guessed it.

It was the worst thing ever.

The bread tasted terrible.

The texture was terrible.

It smelled bad. It looked worse. I never made it again.

Okay I did actually try to make it again one time. And it STILL SUCKED. I would rather eat

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Maybe not.

So what went wrong?

Simple: the ingredients were wrong. There was no butter, oil or eggs in it. The flavor of buckwheat alone isn’t that great in my opinion. It was too bland, too dry. Too gross. The texture was off. I should have known all of this when I read the recipe.

But I really wanted it to be great. I really believed it was going to be awesome. I was psyched about it like bread is psyched about butter.

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But in dating and cooking alike, believing something will be great is different from something being great. If the ingredients are all wrong, the outcome will also be all wrong.

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Ladies, don’t settle for the bad ones

Don’t settle for someone that is less than your standards. If hottie #1 takes an interest in you but has some weird regimes, take it slow. You don’t have to try and compensate for his weird regimes as if he is the last man on earth that will ever be interested in you.

Odds are, he is FAR from the last. Like a recipe, give the relationship time and TLC, adding things slowly and with care, and seeing if it turns into anything worthwhile. If things get too funky, you don’t have to get involved.

Kitchen tips: When in doubt, keep the heat lower.

Also, tell your friends about him and get their opinions. It’s better to feed one bad cookie to one good friend than twelve bad cookies to twelve …

I forget how that saying goes.

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Hottie #2 is showing some real potential on paper, but he’s coming on pretty strong. Like a million miles an hour strong. He’s totally boiling over but you can’t control his output like you can with a steam-whale.

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So what do you do to relieve the pressure?

Turn the heat WAY down

Give him some space and just keep an eye on the situation. See if you both are a good match once the initial excitement has worn off. If he makes you feel the same irksome, uncomfortable way each time, cut off the heat completely, turn on the fan, and pour the mixture down the drain! Once it’s cool enough, that is.  🙂

😉

🙂

😉

🙂

😉

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And then there’s hottie #3. He’s a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race kinda guy, but seems unsure of what he wants. Sometimes he gives you a little sugar. Sometimes he gives you a little spice. Keep this one on the back-burner on a low simmah and be careful not to add too much sugar or salt since you aren’t sure how it’s going to turn out. Sometimes recipes turn out unexpectedly good. ❤

Or not!

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The fact is, we’ve all wondered about the outcome when beginning to talk to a new potential dating candidate. We create scenario after scenario in our heads from what the first date will be like, all the way to what the wedding day will be like. And it is very tempting to try to expect people to fit the person we are picturing in our heads. But alas, esa no es la vida. We cannot force a man to be the man we need any better than we can force an egg to be the sugar we need.

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At the end of the day, the right man will present himself who has just the right amount of sweetness, is the perfect texture that we oh-so-adore, and leaves you feeling more satisfied than a winter stew.

But like cooking, we need to input good ingredients to get good outcomes. We need to stay true to our values, not be swayed and bend to someone else’s moral compass, and definitely not settle for less than what we love and deserve.

If you are craving a recipe with chocolate, don’t settle for one with cinnamon, or you won’t be satisfied.

We need to be patient and not turn up the high heat: every chef knows this will burn, char, scar and ruin dishes. Don’t rush into a relationship just because you want to make it happen so badly. Good things take long amounts of time to turn into better and beautiful things.

And above all, remember that dating, like cooking, is an art. The outcome of dating should be to find a suitable life-long partner that will bring you great joy and satisfy your human desires for community, intimacy and trust.

Like cooking, whatever you put into the relationship will change the outcome. Especially the amount of time. Fine wines and cheeses are best when aged. Flavors soak in over time and become richer and more decadent.

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Which recipe will you cook next?!

xo

V

The Easy Thing To Do

The message of this post is that it’s easy to hate others and it’s easy to hate ourselves.

I’m not here to judge you.

I’m here to love you.

It’s not always the easy thing to do, is it?

As brothers and sisters on this planet, it is our job to keep each other accountable. Some of us have different ways of doing that. For some, judging and mocking and feeling proud when we are ahead of others is how we spur one another on in “love”. I know I have cackled maniacally when people around me stumbled, and I was a bit smug that I wasn’t the one stumbling. Though it’s funny how God has a way of reminding us that we are no more important than anyone else on this planet. Sometimes His ways are more uncomfortable than others.

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But the point is this: we are here to intercede on our brothers and sisters behalf; not criticize.

When someone is doing something wrong, or clearly needs help growing in a certain area, and we happen to have a better way of doing it, we should teach them.

“God never gives us discernment in order that we may criticize, but that we may intercede

-Oswald Chambers-

The easy thing to do is hate. To judge, sneer, mock, laugh, be proud, be self-absorbed.

That is too doggone easy.

The easy thing is to compare ourselves to others and feel as though we are “winning” if we aren’t as clumsy, gluttonous, obsessive, non-confrontational, ballistic, attention-seeking or rude as the people around us.

The easy thing to do is to cut people off. To decide it’s easier to brush off hard conversations, “deal” with things later, stop talking to someone instead of working things out. Run away and burn the bridge. The easy thing to do is to just build a new bridge.

Hating others is easy

Why does it seem easier to run, hide, and hate? Keyword “seem” here. Since really, avoiding loving people in the first place makes things 10x harder in the end. It’s a hard lesson to learn and sadly, some people never learn it! I know people in their 80s who still can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to looking past the offensive person or situation and seeing it as a test from God; an opportunity to grow and do the right thing. An opportunity to shed light in the darkness and grow something new.

When people offend us, criticize us, mock us, laugh at us, treat us badly, hurt us, hate us, and reject us, we should simply: respond in love. At first, it’s hard.

Forget hard. It’s ridiculous. It’s extremely difficult. Seemingly pointless. You may think “The other person doesn’t deserve it. They can keep screwing up and I’m not going to help them because they deserve to suffer.”

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Which, they just might deserve that. But that isn’t for you to decide. It is not our job to criticize.

C r i t i c i z i n g   i s   e a s y .

It’s a cop-out.

It’s the automatic, child-like desire of the human heart to hurt people back when they hurt us first.

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But it isn’t what Jesus intended for us. That’s why Jesus died for our sin; so we will be saved from our meager selves and be able to shine His divine light and live according to His Holy Spirit; not our own. Not our own sad, selfish, cackling, childish, hateful, struggling selves.

It’s not easy to look past others’ faults and love them.

And not because they first love us.

But because showing others love that isn’t from ourselves is a testimony to the love that God has for us.

It’s also easy to hate ourselves.

Besides criticizing other people whether they are failing, we also criticize ourselves when people are doing better than us! When others are more successful in whatever area we are striving to be successful in, we let others successes, blessings, and happiness kill our joy.

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This is coming from Satan.

Isn’t it awful?

Shouldn’t we be able to celebrate others happiness’s and riches and not compare them to our own and wish we had it better?

Being dissatisfied with what we have is poison.

Comparing our worth to others is poison.

Judging and criticizing others is poison.

Yet it’s where our hearts naturally go. It’s the natural response.

But wait

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Do you wish to break away from these responses and rise above yourself to a love and satisfaction that can only come from a source that’s bigger than you?

Do you wish to grow from a childlike response to a mature response?

Do you wish to be satisfied in who you are no matter who you stand among?

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He makes us anew and loves us just as we are.

Comment with questions, responses, stories.

xoV

Kingdom Builder

I have recently had a revelation… I am a kingdom builder.
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Each day I mold a new stone, shiny and smooth, made of the same materials as bone.

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Each day I work to mix the wet with the dry. Each day I savor the hard work I sigh.

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I trust I’m building up and I trust it’s all for good. I trust that the masonry l’m learning is what I should.

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I’ve left foundation after another behind me so broken. Stone pieces so scattered; just temporary tokens.

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My new kingdom is a smaller but different work of art. I’ll never start over again, the bricks will never come apart. Wherever I travel I won’t start over new. The brick and the mortar of my saved soul is held with new glue.

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I’m building a kingdom, this time on a stone.

It’s different this time because I’m not building alone.

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I used to think it was easy to carry it all myself.

I’d keep the bricks in my closet and the cement on my shelf.

I kept the trowel in the bottom drawer and the level in my pocket.

I stored extra sets of wheels whose teeth were worn on every sprocket.

I was afraid to let go of the old and begin to trust the new.

I stored up materials for centuries, until I ran into You.

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“Give it all to me, dear one, and put your hand on the plow. Your kingdom work has just begun, and this time has eternal value.”

In me a sense of wisdom grew, that came from an outside source.

I trust I am working for good, without feeling regret or remorse.
Each day my fruit doesn’t always bear an obvious new rendition.

But focusing on my one true goal gifted me with ambition.

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My work is adding up, I didn’t leave any ashes behind me.

The future landscape is endless. And I have all of eternity. What I don’t finish today, I can always do tomorrow. Each moment is a gift, I give thanks and have no room for sorrow.

And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.’

Daniel 7:27

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Are your daily decisions contributing to building an everlasting kingdom? Or do their results go up in smoke at the end of each day?

Love xo V ❤