Macaroni Salad

table This post is about Macaroni Salad.

Stick with me, okay?

We were having one of those busy weekends. Which normally involves me trying to squeeze a lot, into a little.

And whenever I said my plans out loud, Matthew just sort of looked at me, quietly.

I like being at this point. I like being able to know just how he feels. I like knowing just what he would say - if he did happen to say anything at all.

You sure you want to do all that?  

But I'm stubborn, so I tend to push through those comments and stares and do the things I have planned anyway. Even if it makes me tired and cranky.

Working. on. that.

We had a potluck to go too and obviously, the rule of a potluck is to bring something. Which to me, is one of the best parts.

The question was, when on earth would I have time to actually make something? I was out of town until an hour before the gathering.

"I could make something", he said.

Pause.

I get a little territorial in the kitchen.

And the truth is, the hubs can cook. He's made maple salmon that's finger lickin' good. And I swear, he's the only person I know that makes scrambled eggs perfectly - every.single.time. There is an art to this y'all, cooked but not dry, wet but not raw.

Though I do think if it were up to him, we'd eat sausage and peppers - err day.

"I could make something."

I could hear that little voice inside, "Loosen up Maeve, loosen up control. You ain't the boss around here."

I gave in.

"I'll make macaroni salad!"

Crrrrrinngggee.

All I was imagining were thick, gloppy, white noodles swimming in mayo with maybe a few diced up veggies squished in-between. But really, all I could see was mayo, so much mayo, and white noodles.

My apologies if I sound like a food snob. I actually do like macaroni salad, promise.

But, I also have a huge crush on fresh ingredients and whole foods and healthy recipes. I get excited when food is plated nicely on white plates. Sometimes, often, I read cookbooks before bed.

But, I always crave Chick fil A on Sundays. And, I'd finish an entire bag of oreos if you let me.

But, really babe? Macaroni salad? I feel like it's the fruit cake or jello mold at Christmas that folks smile and walk past.

It's expected.

It's ordinary.

It's boring.

And all of my life, I've fought against those things. And the reasons why go deeper than a potluck side dish. [I'll save that for another blog]

But dear ones, I chose to surrender. Even though I worried. I worried how that macaroni salad would turn out more than I'd like to admit. I let my man make the dish he wanted and I went on my merry way and came back right as we were supposed to leave for our potluck.

And guess what this snob found in the fridge, in a big red bowl covered in plastic wrap?

Chick fil A and Oreos.

No, not really. Though that would have been sort of awesome. Weird, yes. But awesome.

I found wheat pasta, with fresh veggies, in a light, homemade, vinaigrette dressing.

No mayo, no Kraft noodles.

Foot. in. mouth.

For the record, I eat mayo and Kraft. In fact, I think we have a container of Kraft mayo in our fridge.

As we gathered and passed dishes and swapped stories I felt giddy, as I normally do when folks gather around table. Something powerful happens, truly.

And just when I thought I had learned my lesson, that it's clear I need to let go a little, loosen the reigns, not be so completely controlling - He threw one more curve ball in there.

One dear friend smiled and sweetly asked, "Who made the pasta salad? It's delicious."

xoxo

Feeling Small

FullSizeRender (3) There is a high school near our house.  It's a quick walk through neighborhoods with pretty homes and neat lawns and big front porches. Sometimes when we walk through we pick our favorites.

"Oh that one!  With the gray shutters, it's so pretty."

"Yeah that's nice, I kind of prefer the one over there though, with the red door."

A lot of times we differ, but we always seem to agree on one thing: a front porch.

It's got to have it.  It has to have a big, welcoming, coffee sippin', come-on-in-and-put-your-feet-up porch.

Once we get to the high school we walk around the track.  Sometimes, there's a father and son kicking a soccer ball.  Other times, it's just us and the massive school building with large white pillars and an American flag standing tall - waving in the breeze.

Though this last time, it was us and an entire lacrosse team.  As we walked, Matthew caught a few lacrosse balls in the air that didn't make the net.

Please Lord, don't let one of those come my way, you know how awful I am at sports.  It'll just smack me right in the face.  Not today Lord.

Because I was in a mood y'all.

And it started in the most icky way.

It started with reading about college students building wells in the developing world. And that brought me to another group who started a business selling Jewelry from Uganda and a holistic wellness program.  And somehow that led me to some other fascinating soul who cooked really good food and took pretty pictures of it.

At first, I had your normal reaction.  I was overjoyed, amazed, thankful that these creative folks were doing such good work.  YES keep doing it, keep fighting the good fight, your work is SO important.

I took a bite of grapefruit and filed papers on my desk.

And that's when my heart sank.

My heart sank for all the things I wasn't doing.  My heart sank for not being creative enough, bold enough, courageous enough, to do things like that too.  It's that awful game of comparison that I fall into more than I'd like to admit.

It's that awful game of jealously. God, why aren't you using me?  Why can't I do something like that?  Did I miss something here?  Did I take a wrong turn? Did you forget about me?

I didn't feel like jogging, so I walked.  I walked as Matthew ran, more flew [I married a cheetah] around the track.

With each step, I listened to music and tried to pound my frustration, anger and sadness out of my heart and into the ground.  I begged God to work in and through my selfish, restless heart.

I have to pray this one daily.

I kept trying to fight through it.  Though, it always came back - you aren't doing enough. Those folks are doing big things because they don't hit snooze six times.  They wake up early, really early after going to bed late.  They're saving the world, every second of everyday, while you sleep and cuddle and bake bread and drink coffee.

And that's when things changed.

Suddenly, I forgot about getting hit by a lacrosse ball.  I stopped getting annoyed at how fast my husband can run.

All I saw were the trees.

IMG_2349

One was crooked, standing tall and proud, the sky it's backdrop and canvas. Another was full and bristly and bright.  Others stood silently, lining the sidewalk leading to the track - giant tree after giant tree.

I stopped a few times to look at them closely.  To breathe in the cool air.  To listen to the words of the music.

You're small Maeve.  Not insignificant, just small.

These trees surrounded my walk and I felt so tiny beside them.  The same way I feel when standing on the edge of the ocean, toes dipped in the water, knowing full well the earth is round but, always wondering - would I fall off? What would happen if I swam out as far as the eyes can see?

Do you think I placed you here without thought?  At this job, in this town, on that street - without reason or purpose?

Those trees and God's whisper silenced me.  I could hear Him - you're missing the whole point, Maeve.  You're missing what it's all about.

Because the thing is, it's not about you dear one.  You're making it about you.  It's about a way bigger plan than accolades and making people proud. You play a part little one, you play a big part.  But it might look different than anything you ever imagined

Sometimes, we just need to remember we're small. Sometimes, we need to be reminded that it's not about being liked or different or original.

It's about doing small acts of great love, each and every day, never ceasing, always remembering, that the next person we run into - the woman pushing her cart through the grocery store - could be carrying the biggest pain of her life. And she just needs someone to look at her.  One look, one smile, one uninterrupted glance for her to know - You are seen dear one. Your pain is felt and carried.

So where do you go to feel small friend?

Is it the ocean or mountains?  Is it holding a newborn baby?

Sometimes, we need to be told - it isn't about you.  

Go where you feel small.  And breathe a deep sigh of relief because yes, you might be small, but you're also incredibly significant.