Hope & Encouragement

Peanut Butter & Jelly Joy

This week I spent a lot of time in my kitchen (aka – my happy place), testing some new recipes for an upcoming project to be released in the next 2-3 weeks. I was fine-tuning the seasoning in a batch of 13-bean chili, testing a new brownie recipe (epic fail), brewing a batch of hibiscus kombucha, and putting the finishing touches on blueberry-lemon muffins. It was getting late and I was getting hungry but didn’t feel like cooking anything for dinner. Since it was just me home, I decided to make a peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich.  After making my sandwich I sat down at the center island in my kitchen, I picked up ½ of my sandwich and took a bite. It was delicious…creamy from the smooth peanut butter with the right amount of sweetness from the jam. As I ate my sandwich, my mind wandered to the luxury of having a full pantry and fridge, but finding the joy in the simplicity of a PB&J sandwich. 

I recently had the pleasure to interview a man who was forced to flee from his home in Liberia due to civil war, spending years in multiple refugee camps throughout Africa before coming to the United States. One of the things we talked about was the uncertainty of food and not knowing when the next meal or when a supply of rice would come. Sitting at my counter and eating my PB&J sandwich, I was reminded of this part of our conversation. He said during the times of not having food, he never lost the hope that God would provide for him and his siblings. When they did have food, even something as simple as rice, he would be joyful and thankful to God. 

During this season of Lent, I am fasting intermittently and spending the times of fasting in prayer and reading God’s word. It is also teaching me to find joy in the simple things. A meal doesn’t always have to complicated or have exotic flavors for it to be a pleasure to eat. While I am grateful for my full pantry, well-stocked fridge, and overflowing spice rack, sometimes joy can be found in the simplicity of a PB&J sandwich. 

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