Me? Cooking? Who woulda thought?

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.

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Oh great, I’m over thinking again.

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. 

You don’t need to buy God’s love.

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.

I digress.

There is one thing that you can’t buy.

God’s love. 

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.

A Response To The Annapolis Shooting

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Annapolis is my hometown.
I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve hung out downtown with friends eating hot dogs from Pip’s Dock Street Dogs and licking an ice cream from Storm Bros. Ice Cream Factory as it’s melting faster than I can lick. Or the amount of times I’ve watched the Fourth of July fireworks from one of the parking garages. The amount of times I’ve gone downtown in the middle of the night playing guitar or even playing my drums. Not to mention the church I attend is in the heart of Annapolis.

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In light of Thursday’s shooting at the Capital Gazette, I wanted to give my response.

Workplace shootings happen, and unfortunately in this day and age shootings have become all the more common. More and more people wonder if this type of thing will ever happen in their school, their workplace, or even their hometown.

Most of us actually go about our daily lives hoping that we never have to live in fear of this type of thing happening.

Honestly though, at any given time this could happen.
This could happen anywhere.
This could be your hometown.
This could be your workplace.
These people could be your co-workers, your friends, your family, etc.

 

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This could be your hometown that is getting politicized and used as an example of Trump’s “hateful” rhetoric on the media.

It can happen to anyone, anywhere at any given time. This shouldn’t allow us to live in fear or even stop being lights in a dark world.

Yes, unfortunately shootings happen and politics aside, we need to take a look at our gun laws and our mental health care system – and maybe I’ll write another post about the guns laws and mental health care system soon.

We shouldn’t allow these shootings to break us, to make us spend our whole lives living in fear.

Life is way too short so spend your life worrying about the what if’s. I’ve learned to trust God with my what if’s and but’s, and give Him full control.

Today I want to challenge you guys to be a light, to spread kindness.

Maybe reach out to an old friend, talk with someone who you may disagree with politically, or even call your mom or grandmother just to talk to them. Help a neighbor mow their lawn, pay for someone’s order at the drive through, etc.

There are endless ways that we can spread kindness.
It will cost you $0.00 to be kind to someone.

In times of tragedy is when we need to come together more than ever as a nation, rather than to allow hateful rhetoric and politics divide us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Letter to Those Hurt by Christians

To all those who have been hurt  by Christians,

I get why you don’t want to believe in God.
I get why you stopped believing in God.
I get why you may be weary to enter a church building.
I get why you may be weary to approach Christians.
I get it.
I really do.
I was there.

You’ve seen Christians on street corners who are screaming their heads off about people going to hell.
You’ve seen Christians turn a blind eye and “okay” some sins while calling out others for other sins.
You’ve seen Christians not even bothering to pray for others in their time of need.
You’ve seen Christians in church sit there texting and talking all throughout the sermon.
You’ve seen Christians in church act like a clique, not even bothering to greet the new people.
You’ve had Christians treat you and your salvation just like another, number to them that they will soon forget about.

I get it.
I’ve seen it all too.
For awhile it even made me want to leave the church, and I did for some time.

Here’s the thing though:
Christians aren’t Christ.

we are all sinners – in need of the grace and forgiveness of Christ. 

Christians mess up.
We aren’t perfect.
Sometimes, you’ll look at Christians and they may be reflecting Christ.
Sometimes, you’ll look at Christians and they won’t be reflecting Christ.

Are you following Christ or Christians?

We go on Twitter and see people tweeting great and inspirational tweets about Christ.
We go on Instagram and see people posting cool photos with the newest filters about an inspirational Bible story and something they’ve learned that day.
We see Christians outside of church and see them smoking, or drinking or cursing and think, “That must be okay”.

We start to compare ourselves to other christians and want to be, just like them. Forgetting though that they too are – sinners. Imperfect. We all fall short of the glory of God.

I’m sorry.
I’m sorry if you’ve been deeply hurt by a Christian.
I’m sorry if you’ve seen Christian after Christian be a bad witness.
I’m sorry if you’ve ever felt unwelcome in a church.
I’m sorry if you’ve ever been treated unfairly by a Christian.
I’m sorry.

God isn’t us though.
God doesn’t play favorites.
God doesn’t misrepresent himself.
God doesn’t mess up.
God doesn’t make mistakes.
God doesn’t say the wrong thing.
God never leaves or forsakes you.
God will never hurt you.
God will never be too busy to listen to your fears, hurts, cries, joy,etc.

How to Fight Temptation

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We all deal with different kinds of temptations.
Often I get messages from people saying, “I’m dealing with temptation, and I can’t seem to overcome it. I keep falling backwards and falling into sin”.

First, let me just say that you aren’t alone. We all go through temptation and deal with it. But, the good news is that you already have victory over your temptation. You are free in Christ and covered by the blood of Christ.

A few months ago I devised my own system on “How to Fight Temptation” in three steps. It’s a system I like to call “ILL“.

First, you need to Identify the problem.
What is it that is causing you to stumble?
If it’s alcohol that is causing you to stumble, perhaps you may need to do eat out for awhile at restaurants or bars where there is alcohol, or perhaps you might be scrolling through Facebook and see a post from friends drinking a beer or two, that might be the time for you to get off Facebook and turn off your phone and get into the word. Or perhaps you may just need to limit the amount of alcohol you have and when you have it.
If it’s lust you’re struggling with or struggling with sexual desires or impulses, maybe perhaps when you see those Twitter accounts with the “sexual gifs” and videos, that might be the time for you for exit out of Twitter or even turn the phone off and get into the Word. You may even decide that deleting your Twitter account might be helpful if you’re really struggling.

Whatever it is, identify it so that you can better help yourself and take the steps to become more aware of what’s causing you to stumble. If you don’t know what you are struggling with, you won’t know how to protect yourself from falling into that temptation.

Secondly, Lean on Christ.
You have already been freed.
You are covered by the blood of Christ and in Him you can claim victory because Jesus already overcame when He overcame death on the cross.
In life you are going to face all sorts of temptations, and we have to rely on Him.
We have to rely on His strength and not ours.

And last but not least, Leave Me Alone Satan.
God allows us to deal with temptation so that we may learn to overcome and master them instead of becoming slaves to our temptations.
As I said before, we all get tempted.
Even Jesus was tempted, only when He was being tempted instead of giving in  He resisted the devil and threw truth at the devil.
In Matthew 4:10 it says, Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”
Jesus threw truth at Satan and told him to leave.
When you are being tempted, surround yourself with God’s truth.
Surround yourself in His word.
James 4:7 tells us, Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 

When we resist the devil, He will flee.

 

Friends, you are a child of God.
You have victory over your temptations because Jesus bought that victory when He overcame death on the cross.
Claim that victory in Christ.

How Are You Using Your Words?

Words.

Sometimes we forget just how much power and weight the words we speak aloud hold.

We get into arguments, and say the wrong thing with our words.
We use our words to spread gossip about people.
We use our words to pray for others.
We use our words to thank family or friends.
We use our words to express love.
We use our words to comfort someone in a time of need.
We use our words to tell jokes to provide others with laughter.
We use our words to lie – whether it’s a “little” lie or a “big” lie.

Yes, the words we speak hold extreme power – the power of life and death.

The power of build up or tear down.
The power to bring together or to separate.
The power to provide peace or stress.

The Bible tells us in Genesis that God used HIS words to speak creation into existence. He used HIS words to speak life into this world. Meanwhile, Satan used his words to speak lies and death into existence.

Sometimes when we get frustrated, angry, or upset it’s easy for us to say the wrong thing.
Sometimes when we find ourselves in trouble or in the wrong place at the wrong time, we may use our words to try to lie to get out of trouble.
Sometimes when we hear news that we know may not be true but sounds juicy, we use those words for gossip.

 

How are you using your words?
Are you using your words to build up and encourage others? Or to tear down and discourage others?
Are your words full of life or death?

Be careful with the words you speak, they hold such enormous weight.
If you are ever upset, angry, or frustrated it’s okay to take a deep breath, or maybe even walk away from the situation or take awhile to answer that text.

 

 

Purity is way more than abstinence.

Hey friends!

Today I’m going to be tackling the topic of purity. It’s a topic that holds a lot of meaning to me, and it’s been on my mind for awhile. Hang tight with me as I dive in and tackle this topic.

Purity-Rings

 

The Christian church today has capitalized off of this whole idea that purity has to do with abstinence. You must buy this book, buy this purity ring, attend this conference, etc. I can’t tell you the amount of friends that I’ve had that have bought the purity rings, and devotional books dedicated to the topic of abstinence. For years even I thought that in order for me to be sexually pure, or abstain from sex until marriage that it was “required” that I wear one of these. “If I don’t wear a purity ring, how will people know I’m striving to live a life devoted to purity?” I would often think to myself……

We’ve turned purity into a checklist that we need to follow.

We’ve gone and told young girls and boys that in order to stay “pure” they must abstain from sex. We’ve gone and told them that their “reward” for being “sexually clean” is to find that perfect spouse that God has planned out for them. Because of this way of thinking, we have men and women out there who remain sexually pure because they think that in doing so they are going to be rewarded one day with a spouse.

I’ve sat with many women who through tears and sobbing have asked me, “What am I doing wrong? Why am I not married yet?”. And honestly, at some point or another I’ve been one of those women who have cried and sobbed my heart out on some other persons shoulder, asking the same old question. “I’m waiting, I’m trying to do everything right. How come nothing’s going right? Where’s my reward?”.

What are we supposed to say to these people who have been sexually pure for their whole lives and watched friends and family who have only been pure for a few days, weeks, months or years and are already getting married?

………hold on here for a second………

I think we may be missing something…
What about Jesus Christ?

I can be as “sexually pure” as I want, and practice abstinence until marriage and buy the purity ring and follow all the correct steps, but at the same time, I can be so dirt stained from my sin unless I have put my faith in Jesus Christ and been transformed and renewed by the gospel. 

All abstinence is is a habit that we have simply attached to mean purity.
Purity is a lifestyle.
It is living our lives in such a way that God originally had planned out for us.

Don’t get me wrong guys……
We are absolutely called to sexual abstinence, but that’s not what defines our purity.

When we put our faith in Jesus Christ and allow the gospel to transform and renew us, we allow God to create in us a pure heart and cleanse us.

Let’s stop telling people that purity is the key to marriage and start telling them that it’s a lifestyle.
Let’s stop telling people that being, “sexually clean” is the answer to purity and let’s start pointing people to Jesus as an example of what purity looks like.

 

 

 

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Not enough time in your day?

Wake up, hit the alarm and sleep in a bit longer, finally wake up, get your kids up and dressed and fed, drop them off at daycare or school.

…….maybe if you are lucky you get to grab a coffee before you need to be at work

You get off work exhausted and either pick the kids up if they haven’t been picked up already and then remember that you forgot to pick up the dry cleaning, get groceries, and make that long overdue dentist appointment.

If this isn’t your daily routine then I’m pretty sure yours is similarly filled with countless daily to do’s and chores that often leaves you feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.

YIKES!!!!!!!

No wonder we get stressed and overwhelmed….
We often feel like we have to get everything done and all at once.

Take a deep breathe and relax.
Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale.

Are you ready?

We have been given 24 hours in the day to get done what we need to.
How much time are you spending on Facebook?
How much time are you spending on your phone?
How much time are you spending watching Netflix or Hulu?
How much time are you spending on Snapchat or Instagram?
How much time did you spend sleeping in when you could have been up early? 

That time that you spent on Facebook for 30 minutes could have been spent doing your laundry.
That time you spent on your phone for an hour and a half could have been spent finishing that book report that is due on Monday(hopefully you don’t actually have a book report due on Monday since it’s still summer!)
That time you spent sitting on the couch all day watching tv, you could have made that doctors appointment or picked up your dry cleaning.

 

Some things that we can do to better manage our time:
1. Use a daily planner: If you are anything like me, free, disorganized, lives for the random and unexpected then you really need a daily planner to manage your schedule. You can write down all of your events so that you don’t end up attending that birthday party two days earlier….
2. Use your calendar on the iphone: Technology is cool, right? We have the ability to plug our events into our calendar, and ask Siri to set reminders for us.
3. Use an alarm: On any given day, I have about ten different alarms going off. My iphone alarm, my Doctor Who alarm, oh and this alarm that will literally run around the room until you get out of bed to turn it off….. really fun to do in the morning.

Even with all of this….
What I’ve come to realize is that we are often the harshest judges of ourselves.
We overthink, we panic, we beat ourselves up and feel bad for not getting everything done.

You. Are. Going.To. Mess. Up
You.Are.Going.To.Make.Mistakes.Daily.

Give yourself a little grace.
You aren’t supposed to try doing everything on your own.
You aren’t perfect.
Nobody is. 

That’s the beauty of needing Jesus.
Where we are broken, and flawed and dirty from our sin that separates us from God
Jesus is beautiful, flawless, whole, and He overcame death on the cross.
Because of Him we have been redeemed and made new.

With Jesus we can overcome what we may not have been able to overcome before on our own.

The next time you get stressed out that you overslept by 5 minutes, didn’t pick up your dry cleaning, get the eggs or toilet paper from the store, forgot to make that dentist appointment and forgot to pick up your grandma Esther from the airport(hopefully you haven’t actually forgotten to pick up your grandma at the airport…) take a deep breathe and realize that you aren’t a superhero.

The next time you or someone else messes up or forgets to do something, stop and take a deep breath and extend grace to others as well as yourself.

 

I would love to hear what ways/tools you use to manage your time better? Feel free to leave a comment below!

 

Elizabeth Louise

 

11 labels to stop using

Labels.
We’ve all judged someone and labeled someone.
We’ve all been judged and had someone label us.

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I’m going to tackle a few of the labels that I feel we need to stop using:

  1. Addict:
    Being an addict is actually very serious. Naming someone an addict just because they struggle with something may actually prevent them for realizing they need help or they may feel shame.
  2. Republican/Democrat/Libertarian:
    Just because someone votes differently than you doesn’t mean that they are defined by their political party.
    People are so much more than how they vote or what party they associate with.
  3. Snowflake:
    I’ve heard this insult thrown around by all kinds of people. Usually they mean it as an insult when someone is being overly sensitive about something. While, I do think that there is a time and a place in which you need to learn to take criticism well and hear people out, just because someone gets touchy is not a reason to label them a “snowflake”.
    They may be dealing with deep rooted issues from their past and calling them names is not going to help them uncover those issues and start to get past them.
  4. Fat/Skinny:
    People are more than just their bodies. Labeling someone based off their body image can be hurtful and body shaming.
    They actually may be dealing with loving themselves, they may be anorexic, or they may just have actual health issues.
  5. Gay:
    Again, people’s sexuality doesn’t define them.
    I’ve heard people use this as an insult, “Oh, you’re so gay”
    Using this as an insult suggests that there is something wrong with people who may consider themselves gay.
  6. Black/White:
    Let’s stop only seeing the color of our skin and allowing that to separate us. Your worth is not found in your skin color. Your skin color does not say who you are. There is more to a person than just their skin color.
  7. Whore/Slut:
    We need to stop referring to women with names like these. Honestly, it’s obnoxious that we have a double standard where it’s okay for men to sleep around but if a woman does, she is labeled as a slut or a whore.
    Not okay.
  8. OCD/Depressed/ADHD:
    We need to stop with the saying, “You’re so OCD, you just cleaned your room” or, “You’re always so depressing to be around. Stop it”.
    These are really serious illnesses, and labeling someone as OCD just because they like something a particular way or labeling someone as depressed or “depresso” because they seem sad over a death of a relative or a situation, doesn’t mean they are struggling with these illnesses.
    It also may make them feel shame if they are struggling with these issues.
  9. Druggie/Alcoholic:
    States have started legalizing marijuana and it’s common to socially drink. There are medical benefits to using marijuana. Just because someone is using marijuana does not automatically make them a druggie. They may have cancer or have deep rooted anxiety. Just as a person drinking alcohol doesn’t make them a alcoholic. Labeling them as such may prevent them from realizing they have an addiction and thus getting help.
  10. Retarded:
    Dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, Autism, Down Syndrome, Aspergers, etc are serious disabilities.
    Calling someone “retarded” just because they may struggle with a disability or have a different way of learning is actually really un-loving.
    We are all beautiful, and different in our own ways.
    Often times we call friends, “retarded” when we want to call them stupid or think they’ve done something stupid that we think was clear.
    It is used to take away peoples worth and make them feel less than.
  11. Boys will be boys:
    This one isn’t so much a label as a saying. Am I the only one who thinks it’s annoying when people go, “Oh, boys will boys. Can’t change them”.
    Excuse me. No.
    If a boy messes up it is the parents job to raise and correct the wrong type of behavior.
    It should not always be blamed on girl to be “better”

 

When we allow labels to dictate how we see others, we miss out on the chance to truly know and see the person for who they really are.  We miss out on seeing the beauty of the differences in each of us.

More and more I pray that I can see people from the eyes of God. To love people with no boundaries. To not let differences define who people are.

 

Elizabeth Louise