The past few weeks have been bittersweet for my family. Two Fridays ago, my sweet grandma passed away. And what a legacy she left! She died at 92, having raised five boys, having traveled all over with my grandpa spreading the Gospel, and having read the Bible through more times than seems humanly possible.
It’s such an odd mix of feelings. Weeping one moment and rejoicing the next. My grandma lived a life poured out. She spent her entire life seeking after God. She gave Him her very best – whether it be through raising five rowdy boys (all of which have been involved in the ministry), through cooking for hungry students at Bible college, through attending church every single time the doors were open, or through being the definition of “helpmeet” to my grandpa.
She was a teeny tiny lady – at the end of her life she weighed less than a hundred pounds. But her spirit was anything but teeny tiny. She was known for always having a huge smile on her face and for being one of the most stubborn and strong women around.
I have no doubt she’s skipping around heaven right now, making her trademark “oooooh!” face as she delights in the beauty surrounding her. I have no doubt that God said “well done, my good and faithful servant.” I have no doubt that if she could speak to us today, she would encourage us that heaven is better than even our wildest dreams.
But I still miss her. I still feel sorry for myself when I realize I won’t be buying her any more word search books. Or that she won’t be grabbing my hands with her teensy soft ones as soon as I sit down to talk to her. She held my hands the entire conversation, as if she were relishing each moment.
I miss her, but I can rest assured that I’ll see her someday. Until then, I’m not going to let her testimony fade away. I’m not going to forget the lessons I learned from her. I hope to be a servant like she was. Always willing to love and help and feed and clothe and bless and care for others. I hope to joy in the simple things in life like she did. She made every person around her feel like they were her best friend. She smiled even when she was in pain. She had a dedicated prayer life. She raised her hands in church although the very act often wore her out. She kept her Bible close by even when she could no longer read the words. She hid chocolate in her Kleenex box, but she would always share it if you looked hungry. She lavished love on her family members, even when she really didn’t have the money to be lavishing. When the front door on our trailer would no longer shut, she bought us a new front door, even though hers would only shut if you pushed it a certain way. She lived her entire life putting others before herself. She was a Godly woman. A servant. A worshipper. A wonderful, wonderful Grandma.
Little did I know, but a lot was riding on my taste in Indian food. As in, my now husband took me to try Indian food for the first time on our first date. He later told me that if I hadn’t liked Indian food, he wasn’t sure if he could date me. Now, that may be a stretch, but not that big of a stretch. My Indian Timothypal Singh Gothra loves him some Indian food.
And Indian food is not known for its ease and speed of cooking.
And I entered into our marriage knowing how to cook two things. Three things at best. I mean, my mom pretty much fed us thrice weekly until I sort of figured out the kitchen. The kitchen made me nervy.
So it shouldn’t be a shock that every time I successfully cook a full-fledged Indian meal I turn into Tim Gunn:
Today I’m writing the post that I wish I could have sent to the newlywed version of myself. To the me who spent 5 hours cooking her first Indian meal and cried at least twice while trying to figure it out. To the me who read that first recipe requiring dozens of ingredients and multiple steps and words that made no sense.
First of all, wear an apron. A cute one. And – don’t be shocked – a functional one. The one I’m wearing above is an adorable vintage one from my Bibi. The added cuteness will make you feel like a 50s housewife. As if there were nothing more glamorous in the world than trimming off slime from chicken thighs. Now, we all know this is false. But the apron helps you feel like it’s true.
The apron can’t be too cute or precious that it can’t be thrown in the laundry. When I’m cooking Indian food, or any complicated or messy dish, I like to wear the kind of aprons that cover your whole front. I wipe my hands on it constantly. The Indian spice turmeric stains everything in its wake this undelightful shade of yellow, so washing your apron will be a must.
I also like to read through all the recipes a day in advance of the cooking event. For instance, on the day I took these pictures, I made chicken curry, peas pulao, curried cauliflower, raita, and chapati. The day before, I read the recipes for all of these and tried to do as many of the steps ahead as possible. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a recipe and realizing that you should have been marinating the chicken for an hour or that you need to flambé something and you have no idea what that means. Read the recipe ahead of time. It’s your friend. Ha!
One of the biggest helps to me in cooking a complicated meal is planning out the recipe steps. For this meal I trimmed the chicken first and marinated it, then I made the dough for the bread, then I chopped the cauliflower, then I went back to the chicken and started on the curry. If you’re making a meal with a lot of different sides, having a plan in place for when you will start everything is the best way to ensure that everything is finished at the same time.
Now I usually plan the steps in my head, but when I first started cooking I would write them out on paper. If it was a super complicated meal or it was for a special occasion, I would even label each step with what time it needed to be done by. 4:00 – start marinating chicken. 4:14 – make the chapati dough. 4:45 – chop the cauliflower.
This sounds like a lot of extra work, but it really takes the stress away!
Also, know thyself. If you get super stressed out about new things in the kitchen, do not try to cook this super complicated dish right before company comes over. I’ve tried it. And no one wants to eat food created by a weepy panic-eyed chef.
I’ve tried to figure out the things in the kitchen that are the hardest for me, and then give myself plenty of grace. The biggest one is chicken trimming. Chicken thighs are one of the best cuts of meat to use in curry, but have you ever seen a chicken thigh? It’s disgusting. And I have to trim off as much of the grossness as possible or I can’t eat it. So when I’m making Indian food, I give myself like thirty minutes per pound of chicken that I have to trim. That way I don’t feel rushed, and I don’t feel so stressed.
Now this isn’t groundbreaking advice, but its crucial to those complicated recipes. Get all of your ingredients together before you even start. Measure everything out, chop it all up, stir it together, strain it, roast it, mash it – whatever needs to be done to it before you use it in your recipe. That way you won’t have to waste time searching your pantry for mustard seeds or coriander powder. It’s right there waiting for you to dump in to your delicious dish!
If you know your recipes backwards and forwards, you know what everything means, you’ve given yourself enough time and grace to rock it out, and you have everything prepared for you to just mix it together, you’re golden. How can you not succeed?
So, lastly, relax. It’s not the end of the world if you mess up a recipe. Some of my favorite memories with Timothy have been the times I’ve completely ruined dinner and we laugh all the way to McDonald’s drive thru. It is the end of the world, however, if you let fear get in the way of something amazing. (Okay, not the end of the world per se, but it is pretty tragic.) If you’re intimidated by a recipe, great! Just imagine how amazing you’ll feel when you conquer it!
These are some of the things that have helped me the most in my kitchen journey. What are some tips that you all have? What are some of the most complicated dishes you all have made? I’d love to hear.
I really have no words to add to the beauty of this day. He sacrificed Himself just for me. For you. He conquered the grave. He conquered hell. ”His reckless love could not be overcome.” He is victorious and because of that we can live in freedom. We can be filled with His power. His love.
So on this Resurrection Sunday, may we fully embrace the gift He has given. May Jesus be glorified and lifted high in our lives. Not just today, the day we celebrate His resurrection from the grave, but tomorrow. And the next day. Forever.
If there were a time I would choose never to revisit, the dating years would be high on the list. The night I was going on my first one-on-one date, a married friend of mine told me that she was soooo glad to be done with dating. She was so glad that part of her life was over. I just shook my head – I felt sorry for her because dating was exciting! It was so much fun!
Well, that was my first date. And it was fun! It was sweet and perfect and everything I think a first date should be. But fast forward a few years into the process and the whole dating thing can kind of wear a person down. I became weary of it. I learned that I wasn’t created for casual dating. I’m not good at casual anything. I’m either all in or all out. And that doesn’t really bode well for date #2. Where do you see yourself in five years? Marriage? No? Okay, check please!
I wasn’t desperate to be married, but neither was I dating to play around.
I’m a romantic at heart and just love love. Getting dressed up and going out was fun, but it wasn’t fun trying to decode guy signals to see if he was into me. Or trying to analyze each text message to see if wanna hang out? meant I’m really interested in you and would like to see where this could lead or if it meant I’m bored and don’t want to look like a loser hanging out by myself on a Friday night.
I always wanted to be one of those go-with-the-flow kind of girls, but I just wasn’t. I wasn’t a casual dater. I didn’t want to waste my (and his!) emotions and potentially bruise my heart dating someone if it didn’t lead to forever. But, how could you tell if someone was the one?
One day, probably after lamenting the tragedy of a failed date or a stupid text message, my dad sat me down. He was most likely tired of seeing me analyze everything. And he said the words that still ring in my heart today:
If a man really likes you, if he’s really interested and invested and all-in, you’ll know it. There’s no way you won’t know. He’ll show it. You won’t have to wonder.
It sounds simple, but boy, was it what I needed to hear! I had gotten so used to being intense and trying to make things work, that I had failed to just relax and trust the process. God had it. I didn’t have to make someone like me. I didn’t have to make myself like someone. When it was right, it would happen.
And yowza, did it happen.
When a boy drove three hours just to pick me up for our second date, met my parents, took me to a restaurant that had flowers and a heartfelt letter for me waiting on the table, I didn’t have to wonder how he felt. A few weeks later he told me he loved me, and a couple months after that he proposed, and less than a year after meeting each other we were saying “I do.”
He showed it. He didn’t play it cool and send me impossible-to-analyze, vague text messages about hanging out. He made it known.
And I realized that my dad was the smartest man in the world. Ha!
Marriage kicks dating’s tail. Marriage is awesome. I finally understand why my married friend was so excited to be out of the dating stage.
And yet, dating is important. It’s invaluable. I wouldn’t go back and change those awkward second dates or those vague texts or those does-he-like-me’s. It’s part of the process. It’s part of learning who you are and what you want. (Or, mainly, what you don’t want.)
So to those married to their “one,” go kiss him and thank the Lord that you don’t have to decode any more vague hang out texts. And to those in the midst of the excitement and terror that is dating, soak it all in. Trust God and the process. Use this time to learn what it is you want and don’t want. Remember my dad’s words. Know that true love doesn’t take decoding. When it happens, you’ll laugh at the time you previously spent wondering if you’ll be able to tell if it’s the real deal. You’ll know.
After weeks of searching, I finally settled on a pattern for my perfect squishy birthday yarn from Purl Soho. Once I finally decided, the knitting was a breeze. A joy. Pure bliss. It made my heart sing.
The yarn is Manos del Uruguay’s Maxima in the Oxygen color way. I’ve never worked with such high quality (and expensive, sheesh!) yarn, and it definitely is all it’s cracked up to be. I mean, how can I go back to my Vanna’s Choice yarn now? Ha!
I wanted a pattern that would show off the yarn and that would be a lot more enjoyable to knit than my last attempt. That’s where the genius of Ravelry came in. I did a search for this yarn and projects that people knit with it, and found this lovely braided, cabled cowl. It was just begging to be knit! I have two skeins of the yarn and am going to knit until I run out, so the cowl should end up twice as long as the original pattern.
I think I say this every time I write about knitting, but knitting is my jam. It’s my favorite. It’s my true love, and I don’t care who knows it. Ha!
There’s always a project or twelve lying around the house. A while back, one of my favorite knitting bloggers wrote about gaining confidence to knit in public. I’ve never really forgotten that because, if anything, I need to gain confidence to leave my knitting at home. If I could, I would knit pretty much everywhere. Anywhere, anytime. I’ve even asked my pastor if he minded if I knitted during his messages. Thankfully, my pastor is also my dad and just laughed me off. Hashtag, Iwasnotevenjoking.
I mean, I have a case for it. You know how some people doodle notes to help them pay attention? Knitting helps me pay attention. It busies my brain just enough that my mind doesn’t wander off and can focus on whatever else is happening, like a movie or a podcast. I’ve even prayed while knitting.
I feel like this quote will be my new motto.
So, I’d love to know – does anyone else feel this way about knitting? Or maybe you have your own personal thing that’s your jam? My friend Rachel is a reading machine. I think she’s read around 14 books or so this year. I would say, for me, eating Snickers bars comes in at a close second to my passion for knitting. Ha!
I'm honored that you took time to stop by my blog! My name is Whitney, and I'm a diy loving, piano playing, sewing obsessed, thrifty, non-house cleaning, crafty newlywed. I love God, my husband, and life as a wife. If you'd like to know more, just check out my About Me page. Much love!
What I’m Up To:
- October 2014
- September 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010