"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” ― Edith Sitwell
As I sit in my quiet home watching what will hopefully be the last snow fall of the season, my mind is filled with a hundred thoughts from a conference I got to attend this weekend on the ever-relevant topic of contentment.
Melissa Kruger, author of The Envy of Eve: Finding Contentment in a Covetous World, spoke so boldly about the ways covetousness takes root in our hearts, and I find myself overwhelmed by all the deep places it takes root in my own. So many, in fact, it would be much easier to make a list of the places it hasn't taken root (although I'm not sure I could even think of one).
There were so many things I quickly scribbled down thinking "I can never forget this!" but Melissa's thoughts on how discontentment is a sign that we have forgotten where our true Home is feel especially poignant today.
Believing this world is our forever home leaves us in a frantic attempt to maximize our experiences... to acquire as many beautiful belongings as we can... to feel the ultimate satisfaction. It robs us of today's joy, and fuels a bitter unbelief in the real purpose for our lives. We say, "I just want to be comfortable"—God says, "I want you to be holy." We say, "I just want things to be easy"—God says, "I want you to be like Jesus."
Covetousness is most often associated with material possessions, but I find myself craving simplicity and ease above all else. I easily become bitter when other's circumstances seem so much simpler than my own. I'm quick to feel anxious about a future that seems difficult, and I envy other people's futures when their paths look smoother than my own.
But the truth is, there are no smoother roads. Everyone is fighting some difficult battle, and it's only a strange type of pride that allows us to believe our own circumstances are the exception. Maybe reading blogs like this one make you feel discontent or insecure... I know that feeling. I often feel so small and plain compared to all the interesting people out there on the Internet.
Theodore Roosevelt said, "Comparison is the thief of joy." How true, right? Comparison is also the thief of inspiration, purpose, and kindness. It prevents us from being able to enter into other people's joy and sorrows, too concerned with our own to consider another's. Basically, comparison is the worst and until we learn to recognize its roots in our own hearts, we will be bound by its grip. I'm just beginning to learn this.
As the snow rolls in like a lion this early March, I'm acutely aware that this is not the weather pattern I would have chosen. But as Edith Sitwell said in this quote I love so much, I'm reminded that there is joy here in endlessly cold days. The comforts of fire, a warm hand, a slow chat in a still home, easy roasted carrots with tangy sweet butter... these are good gifts. Joy for today.
roasted rainbow carrots :: herbed brown butter, dijon, maple
Serves 4 as a side
The sauce for these carrots, like many things that come out of my kitchen, is the result of complete impulsive randomness when I decided I wanted a simple butter sauce to dress up otherwise delicious roasted carrots. If you don't have any fresh herbs on hand to make herb butter, don't sweat it. The sweet and tangy flavor of the maple and dijon will still be delicious.
What you'll need:
1 bunch rainbow carrots
2 tablespoons butter
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp fresh chives, chopped
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1 T dijon mustard
1 T maple syrup
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Scrub carrots thoroughly to remove all the dirt, pat to dry. Remove the top stem and slice each carrot in half, long ways. I was using organic carrots, so I didn't worry about peeling them. Toss lightly in olive oil, salt and pepper and lay evenly on a baking sheet to roast for 30 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
While roasting, make the sauce. Melt butter in a small sauce pan with the chopped herbs and garlic. (Or if you happen to have leftover herb butter on hand like me, use that). Swirl until butter is melted and continue to cook over medium-low heat until the butter is browned. You'll know it's done when small brown bits begin to form on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Whisk in dijon mustard and maple syrup.
If the sauce cools and thickens too much before carrots are finished roasting, just re-warm over low heat until it's warm and melted.
Serve carrots warm, passing the sauce at the table.