Enjoying the good things

NY Style inspired pizza with a Hannah twist

NY Style inspired pizza with a Hannah twist… Really, yum!

The other night, I made some good ol’ New York style pizza. As a native New Yorker, we’re very particular about our pizzas. I’ve learned to love other styles just as much but please don’t call it New York style if it isn’t. It’s gotta have the right sauce as well as the right amount, with cheese that is delicious, gooey and stringy when you bite into it and just enough dough to balance out the rest of the pizza. Now, my pizza as much as I call it New York style, had a few elements just a little different. Part of it is that I’m still learning, part is that there are some uncontrollable factors and the other part is that I love new creations. As much as I love New York style pizza, I know the best is in New York and I’m ok with them keeping that title because it gives me an awesome thing to look forward to when I’m up there.

Now, I’m in the lovely Rio de Janeiro of Brazil. It really is a beautiful city. May be one of the most naturally beautiful cities I have ever seen. Anyway, in every culture I travel to, I see the limitations of what people know is good. As a seasoned traveler (I’m self-titling that one but perhaps not fully attained to some standards), one thing I really miss is some of those really awesome things I have had around the world. Perhaps its the alfajores of Peru, the empanadas of Argentina, the pasta of Italy, an American juicy burger, bread and cheese in France…Mmm! Whatever it is, the diversity just doesn’t exist when you leave the States but really, the States do not even begin to compare with the real thing. So sorry America, but olive oil is better in Greece no matter what you try (but I do hope that you/we get it right!).

So when I start to meet people and get to know people, part of the love I have for them is for them to experience some of the awesome things that I have. If I can replicate the awesomeness that I once enjoyed, it is a great way to share it with them. I have worked on recipes not for my own sake but so that someone can try the best they have ever tasted even if it is better than I have ever tasted. On top of that, what is better is when you get to enjoy it with them. It’s like you have this memory with them and no one can take that away from you. Sharing the memory you once had, allows you to bring those closest to you into the secret places you have. So the other night, when I was making that pizza, knowing this is one I can do very well regardless of the tools I have or do not have such as fennel (not readily available in Brazil), I was sad to learn that one person had a meeting and another was skipping dinner. It was one of those moments where I knew it was going to be a great one to share, the one I wanted to see as they experience something I love for the first time. The one you know they’re going to say something great but you just want to capture the moment.

This is the kind of passion I want to carry with everything that I find is good. I want to keep looking for better and greater things but I want to have a heart to share the good things with those I love, that I may share in their great experiences. How wonderful it is! What do you love to share?

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Communities that inspire

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Today, I would like to feature my friend, Colleen. We’ve really been through a lot together. So much that when you look back, it’s as if it was the normal. Our journey began a little over a year ago in Brazil and now we’re here together in Tanzania. Who really would have thunk?

I felt like I’ve been on a journey for the past three years learning what community really meant. I went from hiding from everyone to finding a few safe friends and now I get the freedom and joy to say I have relationships founded upon truth and love.

So, this friend of mine, let me share with you just how inspiring she is. She also reminds me of another good friend, Rona. They both have this firy passion that is completely untamed. You’ll even find similar histories and desires to jump out of planes from thousands… did I mention thousands of feet in the air. Anyway, today, it hit me. I only have about two more weeks here in Tanzania with this friend. Throughout this trip, we literally have written chapters in our friendship history. I never had a sister but it’s always been a desire. I feel as though God is honoring that request of mine.

Through Colleen, I feel like I’m really learning what God means when he says, love one another. There aren’t many friends who would find compassion on you when you walk in sick into her room at 2:30 in the morning. Knowing her, she was probably off in a wonderful dreamland. I also have seen her consider me more highly than herself on so many days even disregarding her own needs to take care of mine like missing out on ministry to read 16 books of the bible while I lay sick in bed because I couldn’t do anything but listen. She’s utterly considerate even in the smallest things like letting me take my showers first knowing that she’s probably in for another cold shower. She’s willing to share everything of hers simply because she counts me more valuable than what she owns.

It’s absolutely inspiring to be on the other end of that much love. It changes you because you realize the gaps between you and what real community is all about. When you think you have nothing left to give and you see someone giving still in the midst of their need, you see how much you still have. You start to understand even more how asking doesn’t make you weak but solidifies and strengthens your community. Being vulnerable allows others to be ok in front of you in times of need. Being in community, you understand you don’t need to be perfect in every way but you can support each other to make a stronger picture of perfection together.

“A friend loves at all times but a brother is born for adversity” Proverbs 17:17