May has always been one of my favorite months – and this particular year more than the last few recent years has given me something more to be optimistic. The buds and blossoms are on the trees which make appreciating them in a late Spring sunset all the more grateful to be alive. Summer is just around the corner. Easter has near ended and my mother’s birthday usually follows shortly afterwards then the tradition of brunches on Mother’s Day.
As of late, my focus has been my spiritual, physical and mental health. I started practicing pilates and yoga again in addition to running. I started practicing yoga and meditation again. And I took my spiritual father’s advice and I am starting to read Scripture. Only reading Scripture has been hard for me. I mean, I know how to read obviously…but there’s many passages that don’t quite line up with how I may interpret it inside my mind that I need the counsel of someone wise and with no local bible studies, I was not necessarily motivated to reach out for it in my downtime.
But lately, I want to read Scripture. Like I really, really want to get into it.
I’m fine. My life is far from perfect but I’m good. I’m not stressed.
I never felt compelled to read Scripture on a regular basis in my downtime. Aside from growing up into Christianity, I also felt like a twenty-first century modern woman in other ways and in ways, that’s still a part of my personality. I didn’t understand how Scripture could provide comfort and relaxation to me in the same way it did my Christian peers or Orthodox brothers or sisters. What did my downtime used to consist of? Shopping at the mall, practicing yoga, getting my nails done, talking with a friend, or listening to music and reading or eating my favorite comfort dish not out of gluttony but just a simple, warm joy that brought comfort to a long day.
However, somewhere along the lines of getting into the habit of regular confession and trading my free Saturday afternoons at the mall for attending Vespers, I gained some discipline with the help of my spiritual father. The thing about Orthodoxy that I like is that you are always looking inside to confronting yourself and your own actions through confessions – even if you feel like you haven’t done anything wrong but could have done so out of ignorance which I unfortunately learned the hard way. You develop a new perspective that most people around you may struggle all of their life the best. Old friends and people in the world will see you differently or criticize you or even hate you because you took up your cross and follow Christ. But remember, Christ was unfortunately hated too. I unfortunately experienced all of this too and when I needed advice, there was no advice so perfect as what I read from Scripture. I began to understand it and it began too to become my comfort and my joy – and as Jesus always said, that is something no one could take from you.
What I really enjoy are the SheReadsTruth Scripture challenges. Although it has no basis in Orthodoxy, it’s really helped kept my discipline and I would like to ultimately get into Orthodox study materials soon
I am almost finished up on the Proverbs and Resurrection Challenges via SheReadsTruth and have relished so much already – almost like this year’s asparagus which will be shortly out of season. Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables that I actually may crave – I love it grilled, pan roasted or roasted where it tastes great with phenomenal health benefits to boot. But why stop at pan roasting all of this season’s asparagus? I also like to mix it in a long grain rice like basmati rice and sliced zucchini (for those of us who remember what it looks like unzoodled) to enjoy on the side of protein. A perfect late Spring side dish is only ten minutes away.
Asparagus zucchini rice
zucchini, two stalks washed
asparagus, 15 spears washed
water, 2 cups
pink sea salt and pepper
sage, 1 tsp
thyme, 1 tsp
rosemary, 1 tsp
basil, 1 tsp
cayenne pepper, 1 tsp
basmati rice, uncooked 2 cups
To begin, pan roast the asparagus and zucchini by heating both up in a heavy skillet. Melt 3 tsps of butter and 3 tsps of organic extra virgin coconut oil on top and cook until tender. Add the spices and cook for five minutes yet.
Now to a small pot on low heat, add two cups of water, the asparagus mixture and then the uncooked rice. Allow to simmer. Once it does, cover and cook for twenty minutes stirring occasionally until rice is tender.