hope deferred

the writer of the Psalms says that "hope deferred makes the heart sick." my favorite author, perhaps more accurately, says that disappointment feels to her as if she took a swift kick to the stomach. {sigh} it's been that kind of a week.

let me start at the {semi} beginning. about a month ago, i took a new position with my agency with high hopes of this being a rewarding, challenging, growing job. this was especially exciting since my job last year - my first post-graduate school job as a real counselor - left much to be desired. oh, and i should mention at the outset that me getting this job was pretty much the reason we decided {and were able} to stay in charlottesville. big decision, lots of things seemed to really be falling into place. i was excited.

and then, my job description changed to take me off of the crisis intervention team to be an "independent assessor" with the task of helping prevent Medicaid fraud. also, during the first week of the assessment center being open we had exactly ZERO appointments. none. then one of my co-workers resigned. bleh. let's just say, i felt discouraged like a punch in the stomach. WHAT IS THE POINT HERE?!

I'd like to say there's a happy ending here, but at this point nothing at work is changing and so that leaves me to walk this road right now. and i wonder, what does it look like to be a hopeful, life-giving woman in the midst of disappointment? to be freed from bitterness, resignation, and constant frustration?

to begin with, i believe that remaining a soft, hopeful woman requires honesty with ourselves about where the disappointment is coming from and the longing that is underneath it. not like "my boss is terrible and work sucks and now my life is miserable." instead, i think our hearts need to reflect something along these lines: "gosh, i feel so let down. i desire for my work to be meaningful - to build relationships and participate in the restoration of people's lives. i've worked hard for my education and in past work experiences to have positive opportunities, and i hoped this job would be a space to grow and help others as a counselor. it is so sad that things have changed and that right now, my job is not only unsatisfying but also doesn't have much purpose or meaning. i want so much more."

it's taken me a few weeks to utter those words, and even so, i keep having to remind myself of this to get out of self-pity and frustration. so now what?

this is the part i'm still learning and figuring out. it will {hopefully} look like lots of prayerful moments seeking the face of the One who alone can satisfy my heart more than the perfect job ever could. it will include asking the Father for enough trust to believe that He fully knows and cares for me and the desires I have for a meaningful vocation and will provide a means to live out those desires. and in this time, i hope to have eyes to see and soak in the beauty and truth and love around me to carry me through this disappointment.

this daily bread looks like lots of different things. this week, it's included holding a dear friends 2-day old daughter and marveling at her toes and nose and at the strength of her mother; encouraging words from a friend; seeing a rainbow {yes, cheesy example - but it was so neat!} on the way to hang out with some amazing ladies; laughing with a coworker; and hanging pictures in our house. these are my invitations to remember God's faithful and strong love and that one day i'll experience the fullness of His love and beauty.

and until then, i will hope.

katie anne


composting [part 1]

i started a compost today. yep! i don't know about you, but sometimes i think i know how to do something - or that i've even done it - when really that's not the case. like composting. sure, i've kept my kitchen scraps in a container to use for composting, and maybe once or twice dumped them on the compost pile. but, no, i've not really composted - i just provided my broccoli stems, egg shells, and apple cores for molly to compost when we lived together.

the idea of composting just feels right: a little alchemy to transform kitchen and yard waste into nourishment for a garden, which will hopefully complete the circle by feeding us. fortunately, it wasn't too hard to turn my ideas into a new project.

so, to start, i read and re-read the composting chapter in my "garden anywhere" book and did a little online searching; scrounged our yard for materials to make a "box" [definitely using that word loosely]; called molly to consult; and began. the toughest part was deciding on a spot, so i chose one that would get partial sun and is close to the edge of our yard. [funny little side story here- right behind that spot is a train track, about 40-50 feet from our house. our landlord mentioned trains go by about 2-3 times a week. i'm thinking she meant per day - as i write, the third one in just a few hours is passing by. adds character to living in the country, i say]. but, i figured that out and found some wood and bricks lying around to form my box... and the rest, well, here it is:

here's what i learned: first, seek to have your compost mimic the forest floor and it's variety of plant matter. also, the bacteria that make a healthy compost need carbon- and nitrogen-rich materials. for carbon think brown [dead leaves, sticks, woodchips, cardboard, news print]; for nitrogen think green [grass clippings, kitchen scraps, weeds]. meat, dairy, citrus, oils = no good. and the ratio of carbon : nitrogen is important. 3:1 is probably good. not too wet, not too dry, mix it up every so often [my book recommends once every 1 to 6 weeks, in other words, nature affords a whole lot of grace here].

and, we'll see. i'll do my part and hopefully nature will bring sunlight and worms and bacteria to transform trash into nutrient-rich compost. if nothing else, it's a learning adventure and a chance to get more dirt under my fingernails.

katie anne



we are finally in! ahh... as i've mentioned, this move has been a long, drawn-out event*, but it feels so good to be HOME! here is a glimpse of our new [rental] home:

one of the things that sold us on this cabin is the amount of light that pours in through the big windows - my favorite being the windows by the kitchen sink [as seen in picture 3]... i don't think washing dishes could be more pleasant! you can sort of see one of our remaining sets of unpacked boxes - we're on an unintentional unpacking hiatus, which has meant we've been able to enjoy settling in and living here.

so, in honor of having our own kitchen [and a glorious one at that] and in an attempt to continue eating as much summer fruit as possible, i made these raw peach bars. yum! they are too health-ful to be considered a dessert, but do an amazing job at satisfying a sweet tooth [and aren't bad with an accompanying scoop of vanilla bean ice cream]. and with just 3 steps, they are as easy as pie... i mean, much much easier than pie!

due to a nearly-really-bad camera mishap, i lost the pictures i took of these peach bars. sorry! since i love making and eating fruit desserts, there will be more to come.

summer peach bars.
[adapted from whole living magazine - they used strawberries]

3 peaches
1 1/2 cups pitted Medjool dates
1/4 cup macadamia nuts
4 Tbsp old-fashioned rolled oats [not instant]
a pinch of sea salt

what to do:
* roughly chop the dates. put dates, oats, macadamia nuts, and sea salt into a food processor and pulse until combined well. press the mixture into a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
* peel and cut up one of the peaches. in a small bowl, use a fork to mash [doesn't have to be perfect, but it will kinda look like baby food]. spread over the crust layer.
* slice the other peaches neatly [keeping the peel on gives it a nice color, but it's your choice] and neatly layer on top of the peach-spread.
* cut into squares and enjoy! your body will be thanking you for the beta-carotene, fiber, and nutrients included in this treat.

katie anne

- - - - - - - - -
* one thing that repeatedly gives me new eyes and perpective on my live is looking at the lives of people around me. not in the way we often make comparisons, when we're trying to make judgments about good/bad, better/worse. but, more in a way that sees and appreciates the shared challenges we face with others. case in point: my older sister callie just had a much worse, much more expensive, and much more drawn out move, when she journeyed from massachusetts to arizona. to spare you the details, one month later she's finally settling her stuff into her new place, and lost somewhere in the great US of A, her bedframe and mattresses are missing her greatly.