Insecurity, Patient Hope, and a Birthday Fiesta

Today was an insecure day. Do you ever have those? Days when NOTHING is right. Hair, eyebrows, outfit, words that tumble out of your mouth that make you cringe. I don't know ... maybe it's the weather, maybe it's my new allergy medicine, maybe it's constantly interrupted sleep I'm experiencing because Puff has decided to make her bed between my legs at night ... who knows.

So it was a funny day, fraught with words I wish I could take back and anxieties that seemed to grow, not shrink throughout the day. This morning started with my sweet little prayer group at church where we were asked to describe what the past season has been like spiritually using a few words, a picture, a song, etc.

My words were "patient hope." I have been blessed with stability and rest these past 12 months. I'm in the exact place I was 12 months ago (more or less) ... same job, same house, same friends, same husband (who was fiancee at the time). It's weird. I can't think of the last time I could say that about a 12 month period in my life. There's comfort in it, but also discomfort. So I am hopeful for the next stage in my life ... my career, my family, all kinds of sweet things that pop into my daydreams. But I'm trying to be patient with them.

So I have learned a lot over the past 12 months, and I love the themes that have dominated my life ... family, friends, food. That's how I'd really describe my life right now. And I'm learning how all of these things fit together, how my insecurities drive and defeat me, how God is so big and I am so, so small, and how somehow He is weaving together a story in my life that will echo that refrain (if I am so lucky) - family, friends, food. My favorite things.

I got to make a birthday dinner for my dear friend (and roommate of 3 years) Sarah tonight. I made it last night, in a quiet house, with nothing but my thoughts to keep me company. And I realized that food is my love language. It's how I share - and want to share - my love for the people in my life. I want to cook for them. I get sad when I can't. I feel rejected. I feel deeply disappointed when something doesn't taste as good as I hope (or look as good, when I am decorating cakes). My strengths and insecurities come together in my kitchen, as I feel closest to God and myself when I am at the stove, and yet I can be harshest and most unforgiving those times as well.

I celebrated a sweet night for myself last night cooking all of these things, and got to share them all with my dear friends tonight.

I made (3 lbs of!) shredded chicken (boiled in broth, beer, and yummy spices):

Which eventually turned into this:

Tomatillo salsa (roasted tomatillos, jalapenos, garlic, and onions):

Mixed with lime, cilantro, and spices in the food processor:

(Yes, it overflowed. Obviously. Thankfully it wasn't too messy.)

These *gorgeous* green bell peppers from the CSA were combined into the enchilada filling, but they were so pretty I had to take a picture:

Enchilada filling completed (chicken + salsa + veloute + peppers):

Eventually stuffed into these delightfully spicy little enchiladas (all packed up and ready to travel):

And then ... of course ... there was cake. Of the Tres Leches variety - one of my FAVORITE cakes, not only because of how easy it is to decorate (sometimes a girl just needs a break) but also how creamy and sweet it is. Oh, Mexico, you are so brilliant with your cuisine. If I could only eat Mexican food for the rest of my life, I would be really REALLY happy. Seriously. LOVE IT.

Tres Leches cake is a happy little sponge cake (batter + whipped egg whites to make it super-spongey):

Bake it, poke dozens of fork holes in it, and soak it with a tasty mixture of evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and whipping cream (three milks! tres leches!):

Top it with fresh whipped cream, sprinkle it with cinnamon, and it's ready to go!

So dinner was a success, and I'm going to sleep with a heart full of ... patient hope? Insecurity, certainly. But overall knowing that my self-criticism is just that ... SELF-criticism ... and that at the end of the day, God is working in it all and I got to do my favorite thing in the world today: cook for my friends. So that makes it ok, despite all the muddled mind games I play with myself.

Plus it was Mexican food, and that makes ANY day a good day ... tequila for Tab and Mexican for Sarah ... my friends know what makes me happy!