Friday, December 28, 2012

Orange Soup

I can't think of a Christmas or Thanksgiving without my mother's carrot soup. I have little kitchen expertise, and most of what I do is made up on the spot. But, here's an actual recipe that will warm your little winter soul.

Ginger Carrot Bisque

2 T butter
2 lbs. slice thinly carrot
2 lg. onions
1 T minced ginger
5 cps chicken stock
1 cp half & half
3 ts. grated orange peel
1/2 ts ground coriander
11/2 ts. cumin
1/4 t. white pepper
1/2 ts salt

Put the butter, onions, and carrots on low heat until soft. Then add ginger, orange peel, and coriander. Add 4 cps. stock. Cover to simmer till soft. Let cool. Puree with 1 more cup stock. Add half & half. Add remaining spices.

Gluten free, but definitely not vegan. I'm sure you could substitute with almond milk and some other stock.

Really great for colds and those windy chills.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Same in any language

One new band on my horizon is My Morning Jacket. They just have such soulful harmonies. Their song, "Same In Any Language"has been on a playlist of mine for quite some time. 

Everytime I travel and experience a new culture, I'm overcome, that despite language, tradition, and daily routines, we connect through basic human emotion and experience. Just two weeks ago, I was in Kenya, sitting in homes much different than my own. I talked with many people that, on the surface, it would be hard to say I shared anything in common. 

One conversation stuck out most during my time there though. A connection that I won't ever forget. I was talking with a young mother of a two year old. She was a single mother, carrying the weight of raising this child and navigating parenthood on her own. But, when we talked about her lover, this baby's father, she referenced the pain of being left. She spoke of the hurt of not knowing why, and of learning to accept it. She said, "Sometimes I wonder if I'm just too tall. Is that why he didn't love me?"

She was joking. It crossed language and cultural barriers. But, underneath, there was a doubting of worth. And, when she asked the question, I felt it. Because I feel it. I have asked, "Would they love me if....?"Smarter, shorter, skinnier, prettier, funnier, goes on"

We, especially women, do this everyday, regardless of our age, race, ethnicity, or economic status. We worry if who we are, our appearance, or our personality, or our it lovable? Is it worth holding onto? 

This woman I met is strong. It requires such strength to be yourself. To be wholly human, and believe in your ability to be loved. Even after you may have been hurt, bruised, and left. The sun will rise tomorrow.

Hold on. Wherever you go. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I think it was during an AIDS Walk in 9th grade, that I started becoming more "service" minded and wanted to do more community service or philanthropic work because I loved how I felt after that. Upon learning more about the Christian practice, I had similar sentiments after doing "mission work"--as I was "serving" those that had were "less fortunate." Or then in my latter part of my college years and immediately after, I shifted my language to "development"--I was doing "development" work. 

But what did all my feelings and words mean?

Perhaps my "high" came from receiving a sense of pride at the expense of deeming myself better than those I was serving. After all,  I was so quick to name people "less fortunate" and quick to say that I knew ways I could brilliantly serve and develop others.

It's almost more than 10 years since my first "service" high and currently I work at a non-profit called Youth SERVICE America. 

I look back at many of those experiences with a mix of feelings of shame, angst, naivete, and honesty...a lot of honesty.

About 3 weeks ago, I started  running with a group called Back on My Feet. It is a non-profit that works to "create independence and self-sufficiency withing the homeless and other undeserved populations by engaging them in running as a means to build confidence, strength, and self-esteem. The organization seeks to  make a community that embraces equality, respect, discipline, teamwork, and leadership--while also focusing on the desire all humans have to be feel recognized, appreciated, and valued." 

It has been some years since I have volunteered in any consistent capacity and the beautiful thing about volunteering this time, is the since of equality that is brought to the table. Where I can begin to understand bit about mutuality in service rather than serving from a place of power or choice. I am not a natural born runner. I do not run every morning at 5:45 AM at any merit-able pace. And although our "socioeconomic fortune" may appear differently--when we run together we serve each other.
We develop each other. 
We strengthen each other. 

The incredible Jean Vanier and creator of the L'Arche communities, often says...

"We all know well that we can do things for others and in the process crush them, making them feel that they are incapable of doing things by themselves. To love someone is to reveal to them their capacities for life, the light that is shining in them."

May we live in a way that is life giving to others as well as have the humility to have life breathed into our own beings. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

monday's midday music

When the notes of this begin to play this woozy morning, I can't help but tap my feet.

Temper Trap
Sweet Disposition

Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition (Directors Cut HD) from Daniel Eskils on Vimeo.

Monday, November 26, 2012

spirit animals

It's always a great getting-to-know-you game question: If you were an animal, what would you be?

I've thrown out my list of my kindred spirits in the animal kingdom as well as the mix of what animals I deem the cutest. I mean who can resist the tumblr blog titled: "Attack of the Cute?"

A couple years ago, I was at  Tzaize meditation, where the leader of the retreat begged three very powerful questions:

Who is the divine in you?
Who is the human in you?
Who is the animal in you?

I quickly brushed off the later and tried to focus on the first two, but it is the third question that I have been sitting with most since that retreat.

Who is the animal in me? I didn't really consider myself any bit animal.

On the contrary, 800 years ago, St. Francis of Assisi introduced the idea that human beings are only one of a myriad of creations of God and all are blessed in God's "eyes." He preached to birds. He blessed the fish. He spoke to animals as they were his equals and shared with them the God's glories as both humans and animals and reasons to be grateful. And, we do.

Perhaps, we are our own spirit animals.

And the question is moreso: who is the animal in you?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Wonder Years

The Wonder Years - 2005
Kiran may hate me for this, but a little sip of nostalgia seemed appropriate. I absolutely love digging up those old photos that make you laugh and ask how you took yourself seriously.

Saving the world [what I thought could be considered that] has been an obsession for quite some time. I love to moan and groan about injustice and how we need some change. This year has altered that view, not in its necessity, but in understanding my self-overindulgence and limits.

Today, I'm thankful for the feeling of vulnerable smallness. For wonder. For receiving. For my own, be it terribly frustrating sometimes, frailty. I give thanks.

And, Lord, I will continue to thank thee for the Weepies.

Monday, November 19, 2012

To Break Your Heart

So, Kiran and I started this blog to talk about Brene Brown's new book Daring Greatly. I dare to say, and apologize to Kiran, that I am still on page 1. So, my promise this week is to read said first chapter and report back. It is Thanksgiving and I will actually have some few minutes in all the movement to hold the thoughts in reflection.

In the meantime, read a little bit about why I'm excited from another lovely voice here.

One of the main things Brene talks about in her books is her research on vulnerability, shame, and wholehearted living. When I first heard her speak, I thought immediately of this poem. I've always been a fan of Mary Oliver and this is one of my favorites.

Here is a story
to break your heart.
Are you willing?
This winter
the loons came to our harbor
and died, one by one,
of nothing we could see.
A friend told me
of one on the shore
that lifted its head and opened
the elegant beak and cried out
in the long, sweet savoring of its life
which, if you have heard it,
you know is a sacred thing,
and for which, if you have not heard it,
you had better hurry to where
they still sing.
And, believe me, tell no one
just where that is.
The next morning
this loon, speckled
and iridescent and with a plan
to fly home
to some hidden lake,
was dead on the shore.
I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


It was one night during during our freshman year of college at Georgia Tech in our popcorn meets ramen smelling dormitory, where Nia and I decided we wanted to loosen up from our type A selves and become more "orange," if you will. Our dreams of being more orange meant living with a more spunk, spontaneity, and freedom. Well, seven years have passed since that conversation and perhaps we are much more orange than where we started. So welcome to our sliver of the interwebs where we share our long distance book club exchanges (from Atlanta to D.C.), music sharing, poetry, thoughts on  sociological issues, working for non-profits, and our quest to make the best gluten free scones. Madames et Monsieurs, bienvenue.