Congratulations! A Recent Engagement FAQ

Congratulations! You’re engaged! Pop the champagne and get ready to hold your left hand up, because you’re going to be showing off your ring. A lot. And you should also get ready for a barrage of questions, because you’re also going to get those. Once you get engaged, you will have the same conversation over and over again for weeks, until you have so many instances of deja vu that you begin to worry there’s a permanent glitch in the Matrix.

I should know. I just got engaged last week. And it’s been great! I’ve been so struck by the outpouring of love and excitement from friends and family. I’m very much looking forward to spending the rest of my life with the man I love, and it’s been so great to celebrate our engagement with our nearest and dearest.

I’ve also been struck by the repetition of questions. And it makes sense: there are standard protocols that come with an engagement, and people are genuinely interested in the details surrounding it. But when you’re the one providing the same information, over and over, it can get a little daunting.*

Get ready to say these words ad naseum

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Sit Down and Shut Up: Hard Lessons in Grace

“O Lord, Bend my hands and cut them off, for I have often struck thee with a wayward will, when these fingers should embrace thee by faith. … Destroy O God, the dark guest within whose hidden presence makes my life a hell.”— The Dark Guest, The Valley of Vision

I wanna swim inside the blessings
I wanna swim inside the blessings of the Lord.”— The Gates, Young Oceans

Courtesy of Justin Leibow

Courtesy of Justin Leibow

“God is Gracious.” That’s what the name John means, the name that a fearful and skeptical priest gave his miracle-son. At least, that’s how the story goes. It’s one of my favorites, in particular when I’m faced with the reality that a table of grace is before me while I prefer to gnaw on the old bones of my fears and over-inflated sense of importance.

The story goes like this: a priest past his prime draws a lot to burn incense in the temple. While he stood “at the right side of the altar of incense,” an angel appears to this priest to tell him that the prayers he and his barren wife had prayed for years were to be answered. Not only were they going to have a son, they were going to give birth to a prophet who would herald the coming of the long-expected Messiah.

This old priest, probably worn out from years of disappointment, fearful at being granted an unexpected appointment with the Divine, still can’t be sure that this is God. So the angel renders him mute until the child is born. On the day the baby was to be circumcised, the family’s neighbors and relatives were going to name the child Zechariah, after his father, that old priest. Zechariah would have been a solid and meaningful name for the child–it means “God remembers.” Yet the name the angel gave and the name that Elizabeth, Zechariah’s wife, offered was “God is gracious.” But no one in their family had been named John so when they asked Zechariah about this choice in name, he wrote down “his name is John,” an admission that the divine promise had been fulfilled and that God didn’t just remember–this time, God was gracious. And suddenly he could speak once again. Continue reading

The Realistic Dietitian #21: Throwback Week

By the time you read this, I will be in Maputo Mozambique! Since I am not around this week, I figured it would be a good time to do a throwback post. Flashback to past recipes. This post catalogues some of Realistic Dietitian’s most popular recipes, so if you haven’t had the chance to make these yet, give one a try this week and tell me all about it when I get home.

The Realistic Dietitian will be off next week, but I will be back on July 27th with a new post about my adventures (culinary and otherwise). Until then, bon appétit!

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Photo Phriday: To Play

In keeping with the beach theme, this time the tides reach all the way into National Building Museum, located in downtown Washington, D.C. Except that this Beach has an “ocean” of nearly 1 million translucent recyclable plastic balls, spanning 10,000 square feet in the vast atrium of the National Building Museum.
I bought my admission ticket and entered the space, passing the beach chairs and umbrellas set atop what looked like a white spray painted turf (aka sand), and waded into the sea of plastic. Parents and other supervisors stood, arms crossed, on the ‘pier’ to observe as kids (and some adults) frolicked in the ‘water.’ I didn’t know what to expect but rapidly arrived at the conclusion that wearing a skirt was less than a good idea. I immediately sank into the plastic realm and could barely move. Not unlike being in a real ocean, the more I struggled, the deeper I sank into the polymer quicksand. Then I took a cue from those around me who were floating contentedly in this ocean, checking their smartphones, throwing plastic balls around, or cannonballing off the pier (“not allowed,” no one seemed to notice). I fell back into a pillow of plastic balls and stayed there, watching others doggy paddle past, until it was finally time to go.
The element of play is often lost on us as we get older. We know that young children are encouraged to play, to discover the world through unstructured experiences. But as adults, we often don’t allow ourselves to embrace playfulness and therefore don’t get to experience the creativity and joy that can flow out of us once we do. This exhibit allows for just that. It exemplifies how design can alter mood, can allow for a new perspective, and can bring you in contact with strangers you would never meet otherwise.
As I hoisted myself up onto the ‘pier,’ making sure I wasn’t stepping on some young child, I couldn’t help but giggle. Who knew 20 minutes in a giant tub of plastic balls would cause a skip in my step for the rest of the day?

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