Last April, I interviewed for a job with Ceremony Coffee Roasters out of Annapolis, Maryland. I interviewed to be a barista. After the second interview a few days later I received a call from who would then become my manager letting me know that instead of me taking on the position of a barista, they wanted me to cook.
Before I go any further, let me explain something. Growing up as a child, I stayed clear of the kitchen for the most part. Especially during holidays. I let my mom, my older sister, and my older relatives take control of the cooking. I didn’t want to be involved in what seemed to be chaos. I wanted no part of that. I would spend time with my brothers playing football or x-box. Anything but cooking.
That being said, you can imagine my thoughts when they told me this. “Greaaattt“.
Initially, getting the handle on being the only cook during a shift responsible for all the orders coming in, and then making time to prep what foods you ran out of in your spare time took time. It took two months of staring at a cheat sheet to figure before I finally stopped looking at it and was like, “I know all this”.
One of my first mistakes I ever remember made was when I was chopping avocados and I accidentally left a stem in. Since then, I will literally nitpick avocados and how they are sliced. Ask my family and friends how many times I’ve told them they’ve been slicing an avocado the wrong way and left something in there. I think at this point they’re like, “Do you want to slice this avocado instead?”
During my time at Ceremony Coffee I was able to learn things like; poaching an egg, filleting a salmon into pieces, how to make avocado toast look like a work of art, shrimp salad, pickled onions, etc.
I will admit though that, from my time spent in kitchens I’ve learned that I get sidetracked easily. But, there are things that are really helpful in the way of time management and organization – such as the invention of timers.
Out of this experience I realized that while I’ve learned a lot from being in the kitchen at Ceremony, there is still a lot that I don’t know about cooking.
Fast forward to the present. I recently got a new job at a local restaurant in NEPA, called the Fishin Hole Bar and Grill as a line cook.
Since then I’ve gotten to get back into cooking and continue to expand upon my knowledge of cooking and really test my culinary skills out.
As well as cooking at work, I’ve gotten back into cooking and taking over the kitchen at home. Much to the surprise of my parents. I’ve been learning to look at several different takes of recipes, and use one as a guide, but to not worry or stress if I have to go off book or if I need to substitute because I spaced and forgot to buy an ingredient.
One of my many challenges when cooking comes from my anxiety and my sometimes lack of organization. But, I’ve learned that the more I do it and keep trying it, the more confident I am in my ability to cook and the more I develop a pattern and a pace, the more it gets ingrained in my mind.
When I started out at Ceremony, I was beyond nervous. To the point where I secretly thought I’d never get the hang of it. By the end of my time, I was finishing all the orders in a timely fashion and finishing most of the food that needed to be prepped so that by the time the night person was in, they didn’t really have much to do unless they ran out of something again. My manager would often have to tell me to actually leave a few things from the prep list for my co-workers to do.
The best advice I could probably give to someone who wants to learn how to cook, but is intimidated by cooking is to start small, and if you make a mistake don’t freak out. Mistakes are all a part of learning. Learn from them and keep trying.
Sometimes things take time to learn. Don’t give up and don’t be discouraged when you do fail or mess up. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Today most of us suffer from constant stress and anxiety. In a report published by the ADAA, statistics show that about 40 million adults in the United States suffering from anxiety disorders
It’s not really surprising.
We are constantly stressing, and overthinking.
We are worried about how we are going to pay off our mortgages.
We are worried about how we are going to pay off our student loans.
We are worried about how we are going to pay for college.
We are worried about making enough money to afford rent.
We worry about EVERYTHING.
What if I told you that there was a solution to your anxiety and worry?
You’re probably like, “I’m already going to yoga classes twice a day, and vaping CBD oil. What else are you going to suggest?”
My answer is for you to NOT worry.
A lot of you are probably reading this and might be skeptical.
“Don’t worry? How can I not worry when I just lost my job, I have to pay rent and my car just broke down.”
Take a deep breath.
Let’s go through Matthew 6:25-30 together.
One of my favorite verses, Matthew 6:26 states Look at the birds in the air. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, but your heavenly Father feeds them. And you know that you are worth much more than the birds.
I absolutely love this verse because it’s a beautiful reminder to me that if God takes care of the birds, then how much more is He taking care of you? How much more does God care for you and love you?
Matthew 6:27 goes on to state, You cannot add any time to your life by worrying about it.
How many times have you completely stressed yourself out over worrying about a situation or circumstance that was out of your control? And then afterwards come to realize that, “That wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Why did I worry and completely stress myself out over nothing?”. We lose time stressing and worrying when we could have been using that time for other things and moments in our life.
God clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today but tomorrow is thrown into the fire. So you can be even more sure that God will clothe you. Don’t have so little faith!
In order to understand this verse let me give a little background information. In that time, people would go out and collect the meadow-flowers and then bundle them up and let them dry out, and then use them as fuel for their fires.
So, the thing is. If God clothes the grass in the field, and makes them so magnificently beautiful just for them to be collected and tossed into a fire, why are you worrying that God isn’t in control over your situation?
This doesn’t mean that you should quit your job, and start living recklessly and without acknowledging that there might be consequences.
This doesn’t mean that you should stop looking for a new job.
This doesn’t mean that you should stop saving money for your children’s college tuition.
This means that at some point you need to realize that there is only so much that you can do, and you need to trust that God is in control of your situation and circumstance.
Worry is an invitation for us to trust God with our problems.
I first truly encountered Jesus in 2012.
Before I encountered Jesus, my life was ruled by fear and anxiety.
I thought I wasn’t “good enough”. I was afraid to try in school out of fear of rejection if I did try. I was a listener and a follower. I drank too much. I started doing drugs. I came close to having to go to juvie.
I was going to church. I was involved in youth group.
Yet, I was living for myself.
In 2012, I went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic with my church. It was then where I finally realized that I had been enslaved by drugs, alcohol, and sex. I was a prisoner to these things.
It wasn’t until Jesus when I was finally set free.
Here’s the thing though.
So many people are still enslaved to their addictions. They’ve tried admitting they need help. They’ve tried going to support groups. They’ve been in and out of treatment facilities, only to end up relapsing.
They want to be set free of the addictions that are holding them down.
It took me years to finally be set free of my addictions – especially drugs. I didn’t realize how dependent and enslaved I had been.
To treat addictions, you have to go beyond the surface level recovery and behavioral modification programs.
Those are just temporary solutions.
You need to offer the addict hope, joy, and forgiveness.
You need to present them with the Gospel.
The Gospel offers up complete and absolute acceptance.
The Gospel offers up complete and absolute forgiveness.
The Gospel offers up complete and absolute grace and mercy.
The Gospel provides us with hope and joy that can only be found in Christ.
The Gospel presents us with the unconditional love of Christ.
Accepting Jesus and asking Him into your life isn’t a one time thing after a really emotional worship song at Bible camp. It’s a lifelong relationship with Christ, where you understand your need for Jesus. Where you have been forgiven no matter how badly you’ve messed up, how far you’ve run, or what you’ve said. The guilt, shame, fear, doubt and anger that you carry around, you can let go and drop that at the cross. In Jesus, you are filled with His peace, His joy, and His love.
In Jesus you are forgiven and set free.
In the past I’ve written several blog posts about Dyspraxia. At age 26, I found out that I had Dyspraxia, aka, Developmental Coordination Disorder. DCD is defined as a lifelong neurological disorder, which may be genetic. Dyspraxia primarily affects motor function; a persons ability to speak, eat and move. Roughly between 2 and 10 percent of the population has dyspraxia. In the United States Dyspraxia is severely under-diagnosed or in a lot of cases misdiagnosed with ADHD, Autism, etc.
Often times one of the hardest things for me is thinking quickly off the spot. For instance, if I’m at a party or with a group of people and we get into a heated topic, holding it doesn’t help.
For instance, in high school and college I remember during every discussion where the class was forced to go around and say something one by one, I would zone out and stress because I was already trying to form what I wanted to say when it got to my turn, so I wouldn’t be paying attention to what my classmates were saying.
For someone without Dyspraxia, they might find it easy to plan and organize their thoughts. But, for someone with Dyspraxia, they might find it strangely difficult to organize and plan their thoughts out.
Often times what may end up happening is that what they were thinking and wanted to say, didn’t come out the way they wanted it to.
This often leads to stressing and overthinking.
For me, I find it easier to socialize with smaller groups of people rather than larger groups. In larger groups, I tend to get nervous and overthink more about what to say, so I often come across as the shy or quiet one. In smaller groups, I tend to find that it’s easier to be myself.
However, these days everyone overthinks, gets stressed and has anxiety. We get a speeding ticket, and we get worried and anxiety attacks. We spill a drink, and get upset and stressed that the stain will never come out. We get worried that we might bump into something or someone. There’s always something that you’ll be stressed or worried about.
Just be yourself.
What helps is to put yourself in situations that you feel the most comfortable in. This way, you can practice and not feel as much pressure. Another helpful thing is getting involved in activities and hobbies that you feel comfortable with. Meeting like minded people can help relax you and make you feel a little bit more at ease.
Another outlet may be writing. I’ve found that it’s easier for me to write my thoughts out rather than speak them at times.
As a Christian something that I keep in the back of my mind is, Matthew 6:25-34. Particularly, Matthew 6:26-27 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
What can you gain from stressing?
At some point you just have to realize that you can’t control everything. You don’t have all the answers. Just be yourself and know where your worth comes from.
God is control.
By now you’re probably familiar with the college admissions scandal. Earlier in the week several people were charged with bribery in order to get their children into elite colleges like Yale University, and the University of Southern California and several others.
Such bribes included paying money to forge SAT and ACT scores and paying others to take them and paying coaches large sums of money in order to tell the college office that their kid was an athlete – when they weren’t.
It’s not really a surprise to me. I sort of figured this sort of thing happened all the time in Hollywood anyway.
In general, people think they can throw money at a problem and it’ll go away. People think that they can buy their way into things. Because as much as we want to admit, money factors into a lot of things. Having money is a necessity in life.
There is one thing that you can’t buy.
Ephesians 2:8-8 tells us For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.
No matter what we do.
No matter how we act.
No matter what we say.
No matter how many times we attend Sunday services.
No matter how many times we’ve volunteered and donated to charity.
We can’t earn our salvation.
We can’t buy our way into Heaven.
It is by the grace of God that we have been forgiven.
Salvation is a gift from God – freely given to us by the grace of God.
Why try to earn something when it’s already been given to you freely?
We think we have to earn God’s love because we are flawed and we fall short of the glory of God daily.
We mess up and think that we need to earn back God’s love.
Romans 8:38-39 tells us, For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our LORD.
You don’t ever have to earn God’s love because it’s already been given to you freely. No matter how many times you’ve messed up, and no matter how many times you’re going to mess up again.
God’s love is unconditional and never changing.
When you are young it is especially important to choose who you hang out with very carefully. Whoever you decide to spend the majority of your time around can influence you, your life and actions.
There is truth in the saying, “Who you hang out with is who you become“.
When I was in high school I started to hang out with a group of kids who spent the majority of their time skipping school, and smoking. Because that was the majority of what they did, I ultimately fell into the same pattern as them.
When I started spending my time with people who were actively trying to give back to the community and serving Jesus, I fell into the pattern of serving and loving others. Because I saw my friends do that, it started to become important to me and I started building good and healthy habits.
Who you surround yourself with matters. The people you spend the most time around end up influencing your life – from what you wear, to what tv shows you watch, to how you act on a daily basis, etc.
Growing up something that I struggled with was wanting to be friends with everyone. I wanted to get to know everyone, so sometimes I ended up with several different groups of friends who were so vastly different from each other.
It was basically like I combined trail mix, skittles, and m&m’s into a bowl together. I had an eclectic bunch of friends.
When I was 19 I lost a dear friend, in a tragic car accident. He was the type of person who always had a bright smile on his face and could always make a person smile even if they weren’t feeling very smiley that day.
I hadn’t hung out with him very much at that point, due to a change in differences in beliefs. However, from that point on I learned the importance of truly valuing the friends in your life and holding them dear to your heart. They can be gone in a moments notice – and to this day I wish I had gotten to know him better and appreciated his presence more.
I also learned that you can’t always be friends with everyone in life, and you can’t always be there for everyone. Of course, throughout your life as your values, beliefs, and interests continue to evolve the people who you choose to surround yourself with and spend your time with will change and shuffle. Some people will be in your life from a day, some for only a season, and others for a lifetime.
Learn to choose your crowd wisely and appreciate those that you have in your life.
“I want to take culinary classes”.
“I want to eat healthy”.
“I want to start saving money”.
“I want to start a business”.
“I want to travel more”.
“I want to make a change”.
We talk about our wants, desires and goals. When it comes to actually putting them into actions it’s a whole other story.
There is a clear difference in stating that you want to make something happen and actually taking the first step and making that change become a reality.
After working for almost a year at a coffee roasting company as a cook, I decided I wanted to learn more about coffee and roasting. I wanted to push myself. I wanted to do the dash my own coffee roasting business.
For months it remained just a goal in the distance. I found excuses to not start. “I’m exhausted”, or “I have too much going on”. I kept putting it off for “tomorrow”.
In order to make it a reality I would need to take a giant leap of faith into the unknown.
It’s the unknown. It’s uncharted waters.
It’s scary. It’s exciting. It’s stressful. It’s an emotional roller coaster.
Here’s the thing. You can find a million excuses to not try something or make something happen. You can spend your whole life making excuses to put that goal off until “tomorrow” or “next week”.
Or, you can take a small step in the direction of your goal.
Even the smallest step in that direction is a step toward making it become a reality.
Maybe that’s visiting local gyms and finding the right match. Maybe it’s not eating out and packing a lunch. Maybe it’s showing up to a local event in your community.
Whatever it is, take a small step toward making your goals a reality today.
I currently work in a kitchen as a chef. Some days by the end of my shift my chef jacket looks like a work of art that Picasso might’ve created.
I absolutely love being in the kitchen and getting to create different dishes.
I also happen to have Dyspraxia, otherwise known as developmental coordination disorder, DCD. Dyspraxia is a neurological disorder which affects a persons ability to plan and process motor skills. Symptoms of Dyspraxia range anywhere from poor balance, poor posture, poor hand-eye coordination and clumsiness. Dyspraxia is often mis-diagnosed as a lot of symptoms run hand in hand with ADHD, OCD or even Aspergers.
Living with Dyspraxia can present all sorts of challenges in the day to day life. What may appear simple to someone without Dyspraxia may seem like a mountain of a task to someone who may have Dyspraxia.
When I’m in the kitchen I find it draining, and exhausting. Especially since I’m also extremely introverted. Yet, at the same time I’m great at it.
One of the struggles of having Dyspraxia is struggling with time management. I’ll often try knocking things out at once or jumping ahead. I can’t really do this as a line chef. One thing that helps me keep track of time is by setting timers. Setting timers helps me to better manage my time and I’m less likely to jump from order to order and be distracted.
There are times when it can be really stressful in the kitchen. To the point where some days I feel like I need to spend a year in yoga classes, but there are little things I can do to help me manage my Dyspraxia.
You fall down and scrape your knee or elbow and end up with a wound.
What do you do next?
Disinfect the wound and slap a band-aid over it to prevent anymore dirt from getting inside.
When people or situations hurt you and leave you feeling wounded, how do you respond?
How do you let go? How do you forgive those who have hurt you?
Do you just slap a band – aid over the wound and call it a day?
Or do you actually clean out the wound so that you can truly start the healing process?
In past I’ve always just sort of taken the, “slap a band – aid over it” approach. When my ex-boyfriend cheated, I forgave him and slapped a band – aid over the wound. When a friend hurt me, I forgave and slapped a band – aid over the wound.
I always knew that I needed to forgive like God forgives us.
I slapped band – aids over my wounds and never truly allowed healing to begin. Over the years these wounds would fester and eat away at me and consume me.
In order to heal wounds we need to peel that band – aid back and allow it to breathe.
It’s okay to acknowledge the hurt you were left with. Sometimes it helps to acknowledge that pain and to understand that we’re all sinners in need of grace.
Ignoring the wound that’s there doesn’t help. It’ll only grow and fester.
Whatever wounds you currently have, peel that band – aid back and allow healing to happen.