Respect the Process!

Over the past two weeks, during seemingly random conversations, my pastor has been talking to me about marriage.  I should probably state that on any given day when I’m around the church, she and I do our share of laughing and joking…it’s my nature, but there is always a bit of truth even in a joke.  One of the things she stated to me yesterday about dating and marriage really stuck with me.  In short, I was talking about going out with a friend after service…being who she is, my pastor and another one of my mothers (who has decided that “he has to get her approval first”), she asked me why I didn’t invite this guy to church.  While I certainly could have done so, I explained to my pastor that I don’t usually bring people around my “circle of parents” unless there’s long-term potential, and I don’t know if there is long-term potential with this gentleman at the moment, hence the reason why he has not been invited to church yet.  My pastor made this ordinary, yet interesting statement, “Respect the process”!  She was urging me to take my time and avoid rushing things…to appreciate, understand, and respect the process of dating and later on, marriage.

This statement is so fitting, especially for my life at the moment.  As usual, I’m always in a rush, always overextended, always irritated about having too many commitments and too little time for myself to just think, read, write, RELAX, and have fun.  But, in every area of my life, it seems like there’s always something to do…there’s no rest even for the weary.  In my day job, I’m in a cohort of passionate people who are all seeking to climb the career ladder immediately.  Sometimes I admit that I get caught up in the hype, and want to move to a higher pay grade and a more powerful position right now.  There are times when it seems like I’m at work (physically and/or mentally) more than I’m anywhere else…and I believe this is in part because our society has become one where we are praised beyond belief when we move through the “process” at lightning speed.  We feel that mastering a task or impressing our superiors over the course of a single week is the way to get ahead.  So, in turn, we no longer step back and learn things in time, we no longer appreciate that there is a process involved in moving to the next level, instead we’re off to the races before we can even spell our own name.

But for me, this statement caused me to step back and think, why is there a need to rush through life?  Am I not more stressed when I’m always rushing…rushing to the office, rushing to fix a meal, rushing from meeting to meeting, rushing to the gym, rushing to clean my house, rushing to buy a house, rushing to get married, rushing to have babies, and the list goes on!  Why is it so appealing to rush through life, and not find joy in going through the process?  Do we not learn valuable lessons in the struggle of the process?  I think we learn how to survive and even thrive when we go through the process because oftentimes the process is filled with both low and high places, good and bad times, famine and harvest seasons…the process makes us better and certainly more appreciative in the end.

I can find a reason to be grateful for every process I’ve gone through in life.  I’ve actually found myself recently being more open to going through processes.  My 101 list is a perfect example of that…for me it’s a process of personal transformation.  It’s an intentional effort to push past some tough things in my past…to choose to no longer let them be a part of my present (my pastor has been preaching a series Press On, in which she talks about constantly forgetting what has past and moving forward…that’s what my 101 list is all about), to embrace each experience I’ve had up to this point and build on them, to go out and about and experience life with purpose.

Until next time…respect, but equally important, enjoy the process!



I’ll Run If…

I’m trying to push myself to be more motivated to run these days.  I really want to get back to the days of running being a source of release and satisfaction in my life…a place of relaxation and achievement…a place of joy and peace.  I want to return to that place where I’m driven to run faster, longer, and farther…that place where preparing for and running a 5K is the source of excitement.  While this is where I desire to be, I recognize that it was so much easier twenty pounds lighter and two years ago!  But…just because I’m not in that exact place where I “need” to be today doesn’t mean I can’t get back there.  It will require hard work, focus, and determination – all of which are a struggle for me – but I can get there.  To help get me back not track, I’m thinking that perhaps I will register for a few spring 5Ks earlier than usual.  In the past, I’ve waited until I knew for sure I could complete the race with dignity and an acceptable time before registering, but at the current moment, I’m certain (sans divine intervention) I’m not even close to that place.  Yet, I’m going to step out and register for a May and June race trusting that I’ll be ready by race day!  I’m fully aware that I’m running at a “finishing last” pace, rather than “finishing in the middle” pace…which makes my competitive being just not want to run at all, but I’m committed to getting back in my groove.  Sometimes we have to step out and trust that what we see currently is not reflective of what shall be in the future.  So, I’m planning to step up my workout routine…slower paced runs until I can increase the time of my runs, long cardio workouts on my non-running days, and the dreaded strength training!  But, it will be well worth it, so long as when race day arrives, I’m ready!

Until next time…


Snowstorm Living!

ImageWell…the high point of the week…we had a snowstorm which allowed me to remain home from work a couple of days…the low point of the week…we had a snowstorm so I was home nearly all day for a couple of days this week.  Those who know me best know that, like my parents, I’m always ready to be on the go.  There are times when I do want to rest and relax at home, but those days are often few and far between.  Most days, I like to have something to do (even if it makes me a little crazy and tired at times)…I just don’t like sitting still!  

But this week, I had no choice…at least for 1 day, so I allowed my creative juices to flow in the kitchen, something that rarely seems to happen these days.  Despite my great love of cooking, over the past few months, it seems that I’m always in a rush to get a meal made…so I do easy things like make a quick sandwich, eat a bowl of cereal, or have chicken with some microwaved vegetables.  These options are a bit unhealthy and certainly get old after a bit of time, but they work for my crazy schedule.  But with my small bit of down time this week, I decided to make a batch of homemade applesauce, and then today…I stepped completely out of “my” box and made grilled chicken parmesan.  We all know chicken parmesan is nothing special per se, but I made the marinara sauce completely from scratch for the fun of it and didn’t just cover the chicken with some sauce, which is special in my eyes.  This was a first for me (if we don’t count my “throw together” spaghetti with hot dogs on Thanksgiving a few years back in Nigeria…I think we can skip over that moment though)!  Needless to say, I was quite pleased with the results.


This morning, I hand squeezed the tomatoes…chopped the onions, garlic, and basil, and went about the challenge of making fresh marinara sauce to go with the chicken parmesan.  Initially I was thinking, making the sauce from scratch wouldn’t make a big difference…was I ever wrong.  The sauce was amazingly fresh, and quite tasty, if I must say so myself.  I’ll admit initially, I was trying to get the sauce to taste just like my typical spaghetti sauce out of the jar, but it just didn’t, and it probably shouldn’t have, and it allowed me to appreciate something new.  Yes, I threw my usual spices in the pot – oregano, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and a little bit of brown sugar, but I also allowed the flavor of the individual ingredients to emerge.  I’ve got a feeling I may never want spaghetti sauce out of the jar ever again! Before I placed the chicken in the oven, I grilled it until it was almost cooked through, then topped with basil, shredded parmesan cheese, and a slice of mozzarella cheese before baking until done.  The dish really came to gather nicely (in my unbiased and humble opinion).  It’s definitely a dish I’ll have to add into my rotation…I think it might even be one of those “She’s a Keeper” dishes that I’ll have to pull out for that special brotha when he comes around.

The beauty of all of this cooking is that it’s relaxing and I’m sharing most of it with others.  While I love cooking, I think love sharing even more.  So, until next time…be well!


Grilled Chicken Parmesan