Archive for January, 2011

24th January
written by Michelle

Did I mention that I moved a few weeks ago? In between starting a new school year and coming back from the states I also moved to a new adorable, studio apartment on the other side of Antigua. My lease ended at my previous place and instead of paying for December and continuing my lease I decided a move to a new place with a little more outside space. So, voila.

The patio:

por el dia                                                                                                      por la noche

This is perhaps, my favorite feature of my new place. Saturday mornings sitting at the table, afternoons in the hammock and dinner with little white lights strung along the bushes. Awwww, I could live on the patio. My original idea of installing a pulley system with a tray table direct to the kitchen below so I could easily bring up a day’s supply of food and drinks was vetoed by someone who reminded me that would mean there must be someone else in the kitchen. Hmm. Good point. So, for now I climb the stairs balancing my book, journal, iced latte and computer in one hand so I can unlock the door with the other.

I still think a pulley system would be classic.

Other things I love:

The big, open kitchen space, with hanging rods for mugs, utensils and towels!

2 closets with ample storage and custom installed shelves by G.

Lots of natural light from 4 big windows.

A really comfy sofa (excellent for naps and movie watching)

Having friends and guests over.

Things I don’t love:

Not a single drawer in the WHOLE place. Not one. Makes for some creative decorating and storing. You don’t realize how much you can “hide” in a drawer until you don’t have them.

Fluctuating water pressure. Not sure why, but every evening around 10:30 I lose water pressure. And by lose it I mean, no water comes out. So this means showering and dish washing must be done before. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way a few times.


Overall, I am nothing, but thankful. Home is a good place to be. I am learning sometimes home is not a literal place, but a figurative one. Maybe home is where the heart is, even if you can’t remember which box you packed it in : )

photo credit: CurlyGirl Designs

Tags: , ,
13th January
written by Michelle

I am not usually big on new year’s resolutions. It’s not that I’m against resolutions or goals per se, it’s just a self-protection mechanism because I know I can’t keep them. I’m the kind of person who writes list and actually enjoys it. And as would be expected I used to write lists of new years resolutions.

But last year, I followed my friend, Cassie’s advice and decided to choose just one; just one resolution. So, last year my one resolution was to floss. Yep, to floss.  my.  teeth.  E.V.E.R.D.A.Y.  I know, not very profound or character building necessarily, but sometimes I think resolutions can be small, simple, practical things. So, did I floss my teeth every day? Of course not. But I improved-greatly. I am firm believer that resolutions shouldn’t be measured on a pass or fail basis, but rather on a scale of improvement.

Which brings us to 2011. Area of improvement: Using (insert: following) recipes.

I like cooking, but I am far too practical and sometimes lazy to come home and cook every night. And when I do cook, I have a strange aversion to following what the recipes says. I mean, cooking is so much more fun when you can use a little of this or add some of that, right? However, this add-and-alter technique doesn’t always yield very good results. Not to mention, that I’ve been living without an oven for the past 6 months, and let me tell you there are only so many things you can make with a stove. All of these excuses only give further evidence that this is an area that I can improve in.

A few days ago Gerber stopped by my apartment holing a large, rectangular box. Inside: a new convection oven! I had been complaining about not having an oven and had looked at a few options, but they seemed over priced. So, either he is a very generous boyfriend or he got tired of eating avocado tomato toast when he came over to my house for dinner. (Maybe both : )

So, now I am the proud owner of  a mr. oster convection oven (see  first photo). I’ve already made bbq chicken pizza and garlic parmesan chicken and pumpkin bread. But I need more recipes. So, please please send me your favorites. And if I use one of your recipes I will reward you with a FREE photo and a blog post in your honor.

Here’s to new years, new recipes, and small improvements. Happy New Year!

(yes, I do realize it’s 14 days past New Year’s Day…but lets be honest, the whole month represents a new year, right?)

8th January
written by Michelle

photo credit:

How often do we tell only half of the story? We share about recent events or holidays, but carefully omit and edit certain aspects. We can cut and paste the details of our lives to highlight our own or our children’s recent accomplishments, but we tip-toe around out insecurities and worries.  We have learned the art of positive re-framing and mastered the simplistic, polite response “I’m good” when really everything does not feel so good. I too, do these things and to be honest I am not sure why. Sometimes it seems we value positivity over authenticity. We want our life to feel or appear a certain way so we tell ourselves and others just how good things are.

One Year Ago

Last year for New Years 2010 I wrote a post here about Expectation and Hope.

“Understanding the difference between hope and expectation is critical if we are to allow our future to be shaped by God. Hope longs for good but is able to be flexible about how that good might appear. Expectation grasps at solutions and becomes easily attached to outcomes. When we are hopeful, our imagination and creativity flourish. But when we are locked into expectations, it is easy to turn our pictures of the possible future into an idol.” (Helen Cepero, Journaling as a Spiritual Practice)

And if I had to describe my last year it would be just that; Letting go of expectations and hanging on to hope. Letting go of my plan, my job, my comforts and my idea that I know what is best. Maybe more accurately, it has been a process of letting go of control. Yet at the same time, learning to hang on to hope. The hope that life is full of surprises, the hope that God has a plan far more creative than I could imagine, and the hope that saying no to something, means saying yes to something else.

New Year’s 2011

My sister recently sent me this AMAZING link of a TED talk by Brene Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston. (Seriously watch it! You will not be disappointed. It may be some of the best uses of 20 minutes you’ve spent) With an academic, yet  humble spirit Brown speaks about the Power of Vulnerability. She looks at what gives people worth, and how shame and belonging factor into our lives. But the part that stood out the most was when she described courage.

She explains that courage comes from the latin word cor, which means: to tell the story of who are with your whole heart.


She describes that people who do this; people who tell the story of who they are with their whole heart, are authentic and compassionate and vulnerable. These are people who “let go of who they thought they should be, in order to be who they are.” It made me re-think how often do we tell our stories, share our opinions or post on facebook so that we can live up to who we think we should be? Or worse yet who we want others to think we are?

In the year ahead I want to be a person who has courage. A person is not afraid of being authentic. I want to be someone who tells the whole story. Sometimes it can be tempting living and serving overseas  to tell “part of the story”- the good, the exciting and the fun. I can easily glorify what life is like. But I also want to tell the “other part of the story”- the unknown, the confusion and the worry. Because I am coming to believe that both are extremely important. It’s the whole story, the whole person, the whole heart that connects us with others.

What keeps you from telling the story of you are with your whole heart?