Friday, January 29, 2016

I'm 23...and I don't have it together

I feel so old. It's okay, you can laugh and roll your eyes all you want-I know I sound a bit ridiculous. Yet, regardless of how silly this may be, as I sprang out of bed on Thursday morning, eager to begin celebrating my birthday, my new state of being-at 23 years of age-made me feel older. Seriously, though, the next time I celebrate a birthday where my age is a palindromic number, I'll be 33 years old! (though that is how old Jesus was at His crucifixion, so it's a pretty epic age) Anyway, I headed off to Mass with my husband (best present ever=attending Mass & receiving the Eucharist with my husband), I was feeling older and wiser, and was ready to think. The Gospel reading particularly stood out at me, and my thoughts on it began to germinate throughout the entire day. So, I want to share a couple of those scattered thoughts with you, as well as my recent ice cream discovery! 

The Gospel reading from Thursday, January 28 (the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas!) follows: 

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket
or under a bed,
and not to be placed on a lampstand?
For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; 
nothing is secret except to come to light.
Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.”
He also told them, “Take care what you hear.
The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, 
and still more will be given to you.
To the one who has, more will be given; 
from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away."
(Mk 4:21-25)

As I heard the words of Christ, I thought about the lamps/lampstand analogy. Many times, we'll hear invigorating words like, "Let your light shine!" or some such phrase. Such sentiments often try to encourage us to not hide the light of Christ; to not hold back the joy we have in God. However, on this particular Thursday morning (since it was my birthday, and presents were in the future), my mind started taking a slightly different route of reflection.

We shouldn't hide the light of Christ under a bushel basket, but neither should we hide our gifts under a bushel basket-even the gifts we don't recognize. While we can all easily recognize some of our gifts at times, there are other times when we may not realize that we have certain gifts. Unbeknownst to us, certain experiences of words that we have can be gifts to help other people. Occasionally, I write articles for Chastity Project. There have been plenty of times when I'll sit down to work on an article and think, why? Why would I, of all people, be writing this article on this particular topic? I'm not any kind of "expert" in the realm of chastity, and there could easily be plenty more qualified people than myself to write. So why am I doing this? Every once in a while, people will e-mail me, asking for prayers or advice. And again, so many times I'll look blankly at the computer screen prior to responding. Why me? What can I offer? I am in no way an expert. And I don't have it all together. 

It's true: I don't have it all together. I've made plenty of mistakes, I still fumble around and make mistakes, and I don't always have the best response or reaction to a given situation. Even so, God can use all of my brokenness, mistakes, and very lengthy rambles as a way to help others-if He's in charge. I've learned that when God hands me a situation, I can't hide under a bushel basket. Instead, I need to immediately hand everything over to the Holy Spirit. Even if I am at a complete loss, I may have a gift that God wants me to offer to another person. A gift that I may not even see, comprehend, or know about. I don't have things together, and I don't know what other people need. But, God knows how He can use me-and whatever experiences I've gone through-to help another person. 

My favorite coffee place in OKC. I had
the "Almond Joy" coffee-almond, chocolate,
coconut, frothed almond milk, and coffee.
So good!!!!
So, my friends, I don't know if I've managed to convey my thoughts coherently, but the gist of it is this: I don't have it together. Yet, when God hands me a person or situation I don't feel equipped to help-and He's moving me to help him or her-I can't hide under a bushel basket or my excuses. I may have gifts that I don't know about, gifts that God wants to use to help another person through their experience. So, I just need to give everything over to the Holy Spirit each day, so that God can use me-and whatever I've gone through-fully.

On that note, in case any of you are birthday was completely epic!  
I was blessed to attend Mass with my husband (super awesome!) and then I spent the morning at a coffee shop, chatting with one of my good friends. I visited a library (you will soon hear about some of the wonderful books I obtained!), talked with lots of relatives on the phone, made salmon loaf (I usually make it every year for my birthday. It's one of my most favorite meals ever), played games with my husband, and feasted on ice cream and a cute little cake that some friends gave to me :)  

So...homemade ice cream! 
Chocolate ice cream with a sprinkling
of chips! 
The other day, I discovered 2-ingredient ice cream that doesn't require an ice cream maker! I have always wanted to make homemade ice cream, but I believe that an ice cream maker would be a mostly useless appliance for my husband and I to have. Lo and behold, one can make extremely delicious ice cream by whipping a pint of heavy cream, blending in a can of sweetened condensed milk, and freezing it for six hours. Who knew??? And, to make things even better, it is reasonably priced to make. 
I wasn't sure if it would actually turn out
like ice cream, but the texture was
Can of milk: $1.29
Pint of cream: $1.69

And...the recipe completely filled my 30 fl. oz. gelato container (that size of gelato was $4), as well as another container that holds about 2 1/2 cups of food. So, it's a decent amount of super delicious ice cream for just under $3! I'm excited to make more batches of this stuff in different flavors! (The Comfort of Cooking has some great recipe)

Whew! This post ended up being really long; any of y'all who made it this far are champs! I hope that you have a wonderful weekend!!! And seriously: make yourself some homemade ice cream-it's really heavenly. 


  1. Thanks, Taylor!!!! Yes, I love having my birthday on St. Thomas' feast day! I've always hoped that he would impart extra brilliance to me (I'm still waiting on that haha). It's also the birthday of actor Elijah Wood, which I think is very exciting :) I think (at least for me) that it can be really easy to think that "by now, I need to figure everything out" when different friends my age are in charge of massive ministries or work extremely professional, intense jobs-but when I've talked to many of them, I have found out that they don't have it figured out either, and that they feel just as lost as I do sometimes! That always makes me feel better :)

  2. Glad the homemade ice cream experiment turned out well! And happy birthday!! I'm 24 and most of the time I feel that that's pretty old--especially considering I don't even have any kids yet. Like, how did I make it to 24 with 0 children? I always wanted to be a young mom like my own mom, who's 45 and has 4 grown children out of the house. Ah, well, God knows His own plans, even if I don't.

    Yes, we have to remember to use whatever gifts we've been given, even if we may have a tendency to think they aren't that super-awesome, doesn't mean they can't be used!

    1. Thank you, Rachel! I'm glad I'm not the only early 20s girl who feels old :) Well said-God knows what's best! One of my favorite quotes by author G.K. Chesterton is: "The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man," and God keeps teaching me this over and over.