I’m in the midst of chaos.
But in reality, I only perceive it as chaos. It’s a wonderfully blessed life I have, and I’m letting myself perceive said chaos and losing sight of what is ahead. I need to focus on simplicity; I need to slow down. I must quit worrying about the future and appreciate today.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:34
I’m currently packing. The answer to the question I had a few weeks ago “how does one pack for five months?” still eludes me. And now I’m down to four nights left, with a mess of things surrounding a few suitcases. And I’m stressing out majorly.
But why? Why stress when the things that I pack do not matter. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, if I just go at it with a different perspective – that it will be okay if I miss something, if I have wrinkly clothes, or if I look completely disheveled in the airport.
What really matters is taking time to appreciate how blessed I am, and being grateful to the One who has blessed me. I have this opportunity to travel to Hawaii and live with dear friends for five months while taking a few online classes and spending precious time with my friends and godson. I feel spoiled. And all I’ve been doing is stress about just how I’m going to pack for it.
Today as I was throwing clothes into a suitcase and worrying about running out of time, I realized that rather than hurrying to finish, I need to slow down. I need to live this moment too, instead of only looking ahead.
So, I’m going to soak up these few days I have left in Illinois. I’m going to spend my time with those dear to me and I’m going to drink coffee and I’m going to read. I’m going to pack, yes, but I’m going to be more relaxed about it. Because why stress? Why, when it hides everything good in the days to come. While my countdown will continue because of the tremendous excitement I have for Hawaii, I won’t only see it as a countdown of days till I get out of here, but as how many days I have to enjoy here, in Illinois.
With this in mind, I DO have time to write here, and I DO have time to wander around town doing nothing, and I DO have time to sit in a coffee shop and read, and I DO still have time to spare. Because even if I end up throwing the remaining things I think I need in a bag at midnight the night before I leave, it will all be okay. And this trip will still be good. And a blessed life will go on. I’m thankful for that, and everything else in my life – the things in the past and in the future and right now, this very second.
Let’s all take time to appreciate and live in this very moment.
To complement this reflection I offer a no fuss tart. Simple. Beautiful. Fresh.
Fresh Raspberry and Lemon Cream Cheese Tart
1 prebaked piecrust in tart pan (Recipe for pie crust that I used at bottom of this post)
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup sugar
Juice and Zest of 1 large lemon (or about 2 Tablespoons juice and 1 teaspoon zest)
½ cup heavy whipping cream, cold
2 cups fresh raspberries
In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until softened and a bit fluffy. Add vanilla, lemon juice and zest to mixture and stir until combined.
Add heavy cream to a separate bowl. The colder the cream, the easier it will whip. Using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer (or a regular whisk), whip the cream until peaks form.
Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until combined. Spread into chilled tart crust and top with fresh raspberries. Garnish with lemon zest. Best if served chilled and on the same day it’s prepared.
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter (3/4 cup), cold and cut into small pieces
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup ice water
Combine salt and flour in a medium size bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or fork, until mixture is crumbly. Gradually add ice water until mixture forms into a dough ball. Divide in two, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least an hour. Roll out 1 ball into a circle large enough to fit a standard size tart pan. Place in pan and cut around edges so there is no excess dough. Prick the bottom several times with a fork and bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes, or slightly browned. Remove from oven and allow it to cool completely before filling. This will make two tart shells.