Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Can We Talk While I Make Soup?

Dear Friend, 

A couple weeks ago I stood in the produce section of the grocery store with cotton balls in my throbbing ears. 

What meals will I make?  I scanned the room, then meandered over to the organic section and began to analyze the offerings. 

Soup. Just soup until I feel like eating something else!

I selected ingredients for five batches of my current favorites: Borscht, Seafood Chowder, Bean with Bacon, Beef and Barley, and Thai Chicken with Rice.

I love the entire soup-making process. You could say it's my thing. I usually listen to an audio book while I chop vegetables. Sometimes I let my little ones help me with the peeling. 

Last time I wrote a post I believe I promised you an update on my ear issue -- I'm feeling much better and I can hear! I honestly didn't mind having the volume turned down a bit for a little while, but the ear infection was pesky, painful and persistent. I had to go to the doctor five times! I'm grateful to have that behind me.

A couple of my friends are on my heart right now  -- Heidi lost her eleven year old son recently; Tracey has Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome and is fighting for her life in ICU. Now and then as I'm going about my normal daily tasks, I suddenly feel a jab of sorrow and pray: God, help my friends! 

Seafood Chowder
I finished the House of Mirth by Edith Wharton a few days ago. I was relieved to be done with it. I found the main character, Lily Bart, nearly as exasperating as Flaubert's Madame Bovary. If anything moved me about the book it was Lily's vision on her deathbed of an infant sleeping beside her. All five of my babies slept with me until they were weaned. Nothing I've experienced in life has been sweeter. In fact, most of what I understand about God and love and worship came to me while nursing my little ones during those quiet night hours.

Bean with Bacon
I once saw Edith Wharton's signature in the guest book at Biltmore House.  That's the only thing I knew about Wharton until I read her book. 

Something else has been on my mind, something hard for me to spit out. Maybe I'll just bury it here in this unassuming post until I know how to say more . . .

I've recently come to the startling realization that for most of my formative years I was influenced by a cult leader.

This information feels both painful and liberating. It's taking me some time to sort things out.

I used to be so sure about every facet of life: what I should and should not wear, listen to, say, believe, be, do. Looking back I can see that gradually through the years I've shed many things -- like a reptile shedding scales. Some ideas have dropped off almost without my notice, others have been painfully removed, as if a scale has been ripped out leaving a raw bleeding spot in its place.

Up until recent news made me face the full reality, I viewed the cult leader as a distant grandfather figure -- someone I didn't agree with on every point, but someone safe and well-meaning -- certainly not what he was. Like many people, I didn't see the obvious. 

Beef and Barley
My Mimi was right about the cult leader's way of life when she said, "It's not for everybody."

Now I'd even go so far to say it's not for anybody!

I keep having this sensation like I'm skydiving. It's both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.

"The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know." 
~Albert Einstein 

Thai Chicken with Rice

Ann Voskamp's blog has been helping me a lot lately.

This post by Keri Wyatt Kent has also helped. I love the line she has said to her kids through the years: "I love the person you are becoming." I've made a point of saying that to each of my kids lately. It's good for them and cathartic for me. I don't have to be afraid; I don't have to micromanage your soul. I love the person you are becoming!
These words imply that the future is bright—that I have great hope that they will grow into themselves. It says: you haven’t arrived yet, but I’m trusting the process. It reminds them that they are growing up and they are not you—that crucial process of differentiation that is essential for maturity. It also tells them that they don’t have to be just like mom or dad, or just like their older sibling. It simply says, You are becoming your own person, and that’s a good thing. It’s a way of telling them, “I believe in you!” without sounding quite so cheesy. I think it’s a phrase that instills confidence. And makes me feel more confident as a parent–even when it’s hard to let go.
Well now, I've got a lot off my chest today, haven't I!
Thanks for being there to help me process stuff. 




  1. How true Einstein's quote: the more we learn, the more we realize we do not know. But it just means there are more journeys of discovery for us to make. I think it would be boring to know everything; learning is the way to grow.

    Anyway, may God bless all of your journeys.

    P.S. My mouth was watering. Thanks for sharing those delicious images.

    1. "Learning is the way to grow." Yes, absolutely! This is why I'm on my quest. Thank you for the encouragement, Ruth.

  2. Wow, you need a "Do not read if hungry" disclaimer for this post, Adriana. Very nice photos.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the cult leader. I appreciate what you say about scales falling off. Sometimes this can feel so freeing; other times it's really painful. When I ask myself what God really wants for me, the answer seems to be "To experience His love and share it" -- then a lot of other unnecessary stuff falls away. Or should...

    Lily is certainly a very exasperating character, isn't she? But I love her because she is so complex: she's worldly yet naive, sweet yet selfish, totally responsible for her fate yet trapped. If only that vision of what really matters in life could have come to her earlier -- but she probably wouldn't have been able to recognize it without all the trappings of luxury stripped away. I have read HOM probably 5 times and I know I'll read it again.

    1. "Experience His love and share it." It's really so simple, isn't it? Once all my scales fall off, I imagine I'll be a real human woman, capable of loving a whole lot better than I could before.

      About Lily and HOM: Maybe it was my ear infection or the cabin fever or the spring cleaning I've been buried in lately. Perhaps I was lacking in patience? I don't know. But I appreciated how EW brought around the picture of contentment in the form of Nettie Struther near the end. Sad indeed that Lily had never witnessed life from this perspective! I wonder if Edith Wharton knew people like Lily -- I imagine she did! Interesting that EW brushed shoulders with the Vanderbilts and yet showed esteem for the life of a poor housewife in this novel. I wanted more of Nettie in HOM. I loved how Tolstoy showed us both viewpoints side-by-side throughout the whole of Anna Karenina. Anna represented those who seek to satisfy the "belly" (as did poor Lily), and Levin represented those who seek to satisfy the soul (this could be Nettie, maybe?)

      Reading through this list of classic novels sometimes feels like a wine tasting. I'm a novice sampling different styles, learning what I prefer. A year from now, I might be struck by a different note!

  3. Adriana, it's so good to read your posts again. I love the way you share your thoughts and heart. My mother has had a similar loss that has persisted over the years. She has had frequent bouts of laryngitis that have forced many weeks and even months of silence at a time. It has been a challenge for her (made somewhat easier as her work and study as an interpreter for the deaf). It will be interesting to read later when your ready to share how it has changed your perspective to experience this time of silence.

    1. I didn't know that about your mom, Christine. Thanks for sharing. The hardest part about not being able to hear well was my increased concern over my children during the night. This was a subconscious thing. I would wake because I thought one of them was calling for me. Every time this happened I would get up and make my rounds and find kids all sleeping soundly. So neat that your mom works with people who are deaf. I would really enjoy communicating with them as well!

  4. Adriana, i hope you are feeling better. And i hope your friends too are feeling better.

    I am sending you a BIG Power HUG!!!
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I do not know Bill. I haven't heard of him either. But whatever wound he has caused you i pray for healing, and acceptance too. Because as hafiz(one of my fave poet) would say "When the violin can forgive the past It starts singing"

    "a scale has been ripped out leaving a raw bleeding spot in its place" <--- this is acckkkkk! ew ew ew hahaha

    Also what is that thing in the third picture?
    And i like ann voskamp's blog too. I think it was because of you that i discovered her blog. Have you seen her spoken word 'this is us'?

    I like any song that says, "Say what you wanna say" or something to that effect. Take for example John Meyer's Say What You Need to Say and Tristan Prettyman's Say Anything. haha :)

    Also when i saw your snow falling gif, I said "wow!"

    Blessings to you!

    1. im referring to the song you shared brave by sara bareilles :)

    2. Dear dear Sheena,
      Your comments are always so delightful! I'm glad you've never heard of Bill Gothard. I hope you won't ever allow anyone like him to strip the poetry from your heart!

      I found the spoken word poem you mentioned: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2014/03/this-is-us-the-esthergeneration-a-spoken-word-poem/

      Powerful! Have you performed one of those? I can imagine that would be right up your alley. Maybe you could do a vlog on Tabulyogang sometime!

      The third picture is bread. And I'm feeling a little cheap right now because I didn't make it. I put flour on the cutting board for effect. I did make the soup though.

      Keep right on saying what you want to say.

      Sending you a power hug back!

      With Love,

      P.S. Glad you experienced the snow falling. It's the first time I've had motion on the blog. I was pleased. :-)


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