A Taste of Autumn

I am a huge fan of Autumn with all the colors, the weather, the beautiful leaves, and the yummy flavors it demands of its foodies.

This past weekend was the first time it finally felt like Fall. My parents and I headed (along with our beloved kitten Samuel) to Gordon College for my mother’s 25th college reunion. While we were up there I had my first college interview post-Taylor as well as a few other logistical meetings, and everything went very smoothly! After the plethora of meetings, I could finally enjoy the weekend with my beautiful sister and company. Unfortunately Wenham was hit pretty hard with West Nile Virus, so we couldn’t go on a late night walk. Whenever I visit my sister, my favorite thing to do is walk around campus throughout the woods and around the ponds. I love smelling the dirt on the pathway ahead and behind me as well as the leaves wether they are on or off the trees. Even on the coldest days I would love to stick my toes into the gentle tide at Gull Pond. Alas, the mosquitoes prohibited any sort of activity along those lines at night.

The weekend included many fun things like a 5K (that I watched while the rest of the family ran), a luncheon for alumni and their families, soccer games on the quad, and meeting up with old friends as well as connecting with some pretty fantastic professors.

Today was my last day off before a 40-hour work week, so I was determined to cook. I haven’t cooked in a while, and the kitchen was calling my name. I found 3 recipes–one for short rib tacos, one for pumpkin cheesecake, and one for marshmallows coated in caramel and chocolate.

I started with the short ribs because they were meant to be in the crock pot for 7 hours. They were put in this pepper-onion concoction after being braised on the skillet for about 5-10 minutes per batch of 3. After the many hours of waiting for the delicious-smelling meat to pull apart easily. After pulling it apart, I poured some of the sauce back into the meat in order for it to stay moist. We paired it with cilantro, sour cream, and guacamole (of course.) And it was all very delicious!

After I put the meat in the slow cooker, I got right to work on the pumpkin cheesecake. The crust is made of graham crackers, cinnamon, and butter. Simple, yet delectable. The filling has cream cheese, pumpkin puree, sour cream, eggs, and various spices. It was in the oven for about and hour then sit in the fridge (and the garage for a bit) for a few hours. Afterwards, I got to eat some pretty yummy cheesecake!

The final dish of the day was chocolate and caramel-covered marshmallows. We melted the caramel in a mini crock-pot meant for dipping. After the caramel cooled, we dipped the treats in white chocolate we died indigo to contrast with the burnt-orange color of the caramel. They were yummy.

It was a night of fantastic food, Autumn accents like sunflowers, pumpkins, and a pomegranate-cider candle.

We ended the night we a viewing of The Nightmare Before Christmas to get even more in the “Fall” mood. Overall, I had a lovely day off, and I’m glad I’ll be able to enjoy the fruits of my labor for many days to come. 

 

Advertisements

State of Unknown

I have now been home for a few days over a month and much has changed. I am living with my parents for the first time in a year, I’m working almost full-time at my high school job, I’m living without 98% of my friends, and I’m looking for a new college to attend (which I haven’t done in three years.)

To be honest, I was dreading living at home. I did not leave home with a tearful goodbye but more of a joyous dance of freedom. I only saw my family four times this entire year, and I was totally okay with that. Living in Indiana this summer allowed me to taste even more independence and freedom along with the responsibility that comes with living on your own (I paid for a lot of my bills, but the ‘rents still helped out tons with insurance and whatnot.) I have a pretty over-active imagination, so I thought coming home was going to be pretty much terrible and it would be the complete opposite of living in The Villa; however, I am enjoying living at home. It is not the opposite of life in Indiana, but it is definitely different. I am learning that things aren’t black in white in that just because one thing was good does not mean that the alternative must be bad but will be different. I must admit that I love when I wake up most mornings I can yell to mommy in the room over and she’ll come over to lie in bed with me for 20 minutes while we just talk. I didn’t realize how much I loved just chatting and giggling with mommy. (The other night she came into my room really late at night. I had gotten home from work about an hour before, so I was still awake, but she couldn’t sleep for some reason. We were giggling so loud that we woke my dad up on the other side of the house and he shut the door…which then made us giggle even more. It was pretty great.)

I am currently working at the grocery store I was employed at during high school. It’s a fine job–consistant hours with flexible days off. As far as jobs go, there’s not much to complain about. My biggest frustration coming back though has been seeing customers be sad that I’m home. They aren’t sad to see me, but they are sad that I’m not in school. If anyone has a right to be sad about my not being in school, it’s me. And I’m not sad. Yeah, I miss people, I feel like my brain is melting from the lack of intellectual challenges, but I’m not sad. I have probably sounded rather pathetic during the transition, but that was the transition. I hope that I did not react that way to people that transferred or decided to take time off because it is honestly frustrating to see people pity you for not being in school. It was my decision, and the world is not going to crash and burn if someone does not pursue higher education let alone waiting to pursue more education. First of all, it’s rude to ask if it was for financial reasons. Second of all, if I was ashamed to be home, why would you think I would want to talk to you about it? If I was ashamed to be home, I would not be working at a store in the middle of the town where everyone I know in Pennsylvania lives. Guess what guys? The Wilson family isn’t perfect. It may be hard to believe, but we are not perfect. For some of you, this may be the first time that we don’t fit perfectly into the American Dream image, but we are definitely okay with that. Our family goal is not to fit some impossible template of perfection; our goal is to follow what the Lord has for our lives. God was pretty clear in saying that my time at Taylor is done, and I’m okay with that. I would rather be following God in mysterious and uncomfortable ways than not be following him but staying within my comfort zone. God doesn’t just tell his children to go one way and abandon them, so in many ways, I should be more comfortable following his will than my own.

One of the most difficult parts of living at home is my lack of a social life. Almost all of my high school friends are not living in Collegeville anymore because they are in school or they go to Taylor, so they are currently in Upland. It has been nice to reconnect with a few individuals that do live here. It has been nice to be able to be more intentional with those relationships…even if they started out of social desperation. Between my work schedule, church, and workong on my art, I don’t have a ton of time to hang out with friends, so it is rather refreshing to only think of a few people instead of feeling the pressure to hang out with what feels like hundreds of people all the time. It’s definitely different only hanging out with a couple people, but I’m definitely not exhausted from trying to invest in a ton of relationships all at once.

And now we get to the topic that made me start writing this post today: my college search. Remember that night my mom came into my room and we giggled a ton? Well, I also finally admitted out loud that I have no idea what to do with my life. Part of what kept me sane leaving Taylor was knowing that I had the specific direction of entering into the textile industry, so letting go of that involved some internal kicking and screaming. I have come to conclusion that I don’t like being boxed in to one specific area, I want to work in every field (which may prove rather difficult), and I really want to live in Massachusetts. My mom responded, “what I’m hearing is that you need to apply to Gordon. You don’t know what major you want, your spiritual life is very important to you, and you really love that area.” The thought of applying to Gordon had always felt off limits. I mean, I just left the Midwestern (and cheaper) version of Gordon a month ago. Wouldn’t applying to Gordon just be taking three steps backward? The biggest difference between Gordon and Taylor is where it is located. My sister lives on campus for work, my mom’s side of the family lives basically an hour away, and my dad’s side lives about three hours away. I have never lived that close to extended family in my life, so it would be a welcomed change after living twelve hours from the closest grandparent this past year. Plus, I would be able to go to my beloved Vermont for just a weekend trip. I can’t image how fabulously wonderful that would be. Anyway, I decided to apply. This weekend is Homecoming and it’s mommy’s 25th reunion, so we are making the relatively short trek to Wenham. While I’m up there, I might as well get interviewed and visit with different people across campus to see if Gordon would be the right place for me next.

So that’s where I am–confused  about what to do with my life and feeling like there isn’t a clear direction for me to go one way or another…it would be great if God was like, “do [this],” but life would be too easy/boring if he did.

I leave you with this:

How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.

It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.

Ephesians 1:3-14

Painting My Day Away

This weekend has been rather lovely. I had off Saturday which rarely happens, so I was able to go to an old friend’s birthday celebration where I got to munch of countless gluten free goodies! Sunday I meant to get up and just spend time with just me and God, but I kind of slept till 12:45. Oops. That afternoon I painted (rather terribly) on the front porch with watercolors. That night I got together with another friend who I had not seen in a year. Today I had coffee with my former youth pastor who now leads a church I am considering committing to. This afternoon I caught up on SNL, waiting rather impatiently for Babel to be released, and decided to paint (with acrylics this time.) The first painting looks rather gross. I’m not a big fan of the color palette. The second painting I recorded the whole process of painting. The video can be seen below! I summary via slideshow can be found below that.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.