yum yum yum

summer is a fun time to experiment and learn new things, and one of my goals and interests of this season is learning to be a better cook.
now that I live in a house with a pretty fantastic kitchen (sorry, Joint, love you, but yours was a little gross...) and have gotten over my mental block that I am incapable of producing a good meal, I've started to branch out a little and try cooking a few things. and gosh, it's fun! I love having a little extra time to cook, and I also love that summer means tons of YUM and colorful fresh veggies and fruits. And honestly, what is better than cracking open a bottle of wine and making something delicious with a few friends and sitting outside to enjoy your creation on the patio? It's gotta be one of my favorite things about summer so far!

so I just thought I'd post a few pictures of some things that are inspiring me in the kitchen, things I'd like to make or experiment with. I found all of these on Pinterest, which is a really snazzy site Missy introduced me to...if you have a pinterest site, let me know so we can be friends! :)

Peanut Butter-Banana-Oatmeal muffins:


black been tortilla pie:

avocado/bacon/apple grilled cheese:


Pie-lets!

layered zucchini parmesan:


raspberry-lemon cheesecake bites:



it's kind of funny when little kids think they are taking a picture but they are taking a video

from a year ago because ugh, I am Nica-sick today. video

my favorite song....

...that speaks to my inner Space Camp nerd:


...about pyromania:


...that I refuse to categorize as "country" because I actually really like it:


...about making-out:


...that includes a line about grammar:


...that makes me feel like I could be in movies (na na na na na na na na nanananana):

what some people are head-over-heels for

Li Po, a famous Chinese poet, was totally infatuated with the moon. Legend has it that one night, when out on a boat in a drunken stupor, he saw the moon reflecting on the water, and thought it was so beautiful that he bent over to kiss it and drowned. And somehow, that is totally appropriate (as much as sad, awful deaths can be appropriate) that a poet died because he was too much in love.

I've been thinking about that this morning, on this first day of my summer class (which is my 7th writing workshop here at UVA, although this time it's more of an independent study type deal), about why we writer-type people do what we do. And there really isn't much more of a reason other than that we are in love and we are trying to figure out what to do about it.

And maybe it goes beyond the desire to write and expands to the world that all Creatives inhabit. Because somehow, as if magically implanted into our DNA, we creative people just want to make things. And the making, well, it stems from love, don't you think?

It stems from loving this world. From finding the sounds and images and stories and music of it to be constantly alluring. It's that sense of your soul singing at the fall of rain on your car roof, or the feel of gravel under your feet, how it turns your ankles, or the touch of a familiar blanket or the sound of truck horns on a busy highway - how you find your heart swimming in the details of this earth to the point of wanting to swallow them.

and it stems from loving people, too. From wanting to keep them inside your language, or make their endings better (or worse), or praise them, or celebrate heroes, or rescue someone's story, or make their voice heard. It's about taking the time to get to know them, all their strange habits, and of celebrating that - their weirdness, down to the shape of their fingernails and the number of freckles on their skin.

and it's about loving the mystery of both this world AND people so much that you love your questions about them. you love their complexities. you love the headaches and heartbreaks they cause you. you need to think about them longer, you need to change their scenarios, you need to create art out of them, you need to flip them upside down and shake all the hidden things from their pockets. you need to, because you are so in love that you must understand both better - this world, and people.

and I guess that sometimes, it's about hate, too. which is, in its own way, a rare form of love - because it means that you love something so much that when the opposite of that thing arises, you won't stand for it. It means loving justice and humility and compassion more than anything else in existence, so much that you must write to keep them alive, because you hate their absence.

In the world of Creatives, it is certainly about love. In the same way that our Father made us in the image of Himself, which is love, we have this desire to copy him.
Our response to love is creation.

Which makes me excited, that this summer I get to be thinking about language and poetry, my own little niche of the Creative scene, and ask myself how I can use it to for love, and how it is showing me to be head-over-heels about Creation.

p.s. Cole just wrote a really cool thing about writing and it's awesome.

so, I wrote a poem about a cat, sort of.

(because I'm trying to write little snippets in response to the silly/random/fun things I find myself doing during my summer in Charlottesville)

Petunia the kitten can leap

from the floor to the top

of a climbing post in less

than one second, and then

into my lap, and then

back to a corner of the room

where she looks for a treat,

or makes a plan of action

for which height to reach for next.

I gather her up when it’s time to leave

and put her back in the cage

where she lives, with her picture plastered

above her, so she’ll be known

and wished for by someone,

as though it takes convincing,

which is sad.

and something

I understand some days.

In my car, with soft kitten scratches

along my arm, I think of her,

and suddenly these cavities of my heart

open up,

big wells where that primitive love for home

grows in a chaotic darkness, with echoing

waters to drink from,

where that hope dwells.

and I’m reminded,

that afternoon at the SPCA,

of what hurts –

that there are so few roofs in this world,

that so many crumble from above us,

and the ache that comes with knowing

it’s a rare feeling,

the sensation of home.

where is the temple?

"more and more, we are bathed in a silent, soft and heavenly blue glow. it is as if we carry divinity in our pockets and purses."

-

There is something so beautiful in 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles when King Solomon is observing the completion of the temple. As I’ve been reading through it in a year-long chronological bible, it’s been tugging on my heart. Maybe because when I read it, I feel like Solomon is talking about my heart.

Because if, as the bible promises, my own body is a temple, these scenes and these prayers of Solomon contain all sorts of gorgeous things about ME, which is something kind of incredible to imagine.

Solomon dedicates the temple and says, “But will God really dwell on earth with men? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, O Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence. May your eyes be open toward this temple day and night, this place of which you said you would put your Name there. May you hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place.”

How remarkable – that in my heart is a promised dwelling place for the Lord. And how poignant, these words of Solomon, and convicting, that I would be praying that the Lord’s eyes would be on that place day and night, and that His name would be singing in my heart, an unstoppable melody, clear and ringing like chapel bells.

What I love even more, after another scene of Solomon on his knees, seeking blessing, is when the Lord’s glory fills the temple. The bible says it consumes it, fills up every imaginable space, and calls all who see it to cry out in worship.

I found that quote above on Zoe’s blog, and it sang beautifully along with these thoughts I’ve been having about God’s dwelling place, how it’s us. Because maybe, every single day, the Lord is filling my heart and my pores with His glory, Maybe every day, He is speaking His name there, decorating the walls of that home of His with something beautiful, making it look more like heaven. Maybe, as I learn to be more like Solomon, on my knees, spread out humbly toward God, glory will rush right in, until I’m swimming in it, until it oozes from my lips and my mouth and my eyes, and even pieces of it hide in my pockets and purses.