Monday, April 22, 2013

Real Talk. Plus Tacos.

It's time for some real talk.

Last week my heart hurt, a lot.

It started with hearing about the Boston bombing, about the lives lost.  The limbs needing to be amputated.  The people who thought they were coming out for a day of world-wide community fun and wound up with their lives never going to be the same again.

Obviously, it breaks my heart for them. It also breaks my heart for us. Not just as a nation, but as a world. As human kind. I realized last week that in the span of this school year, Scholastic has sent me three emails out of the norm: "How to talk to children about the theater shooting in Aurora" / "How to talk to children about Newtown" / "How to talk to children about the Boston bombing" ...  What is 'getting worse' to you and I is 'just life' for my nine-year-olds.  As far as they know, that's how life goes. And that breaks my heart.

Then I realize how incredibly blessed we are that this 'only' happened three times this year. If we were living in Syria or Afghanistan or SO MANY OTHER PLACES, three times would be so few, such a relief.  And that, too, breaks my heart for those who live in this daily.

Then there was the explosion in West, Texas.  Which I hardly batted an eye at, because really -- it was sad, but I was busy grading papers and putting on band-aids and making dinner.

Until I was driving home from work on Friday and the DJ on K-LOVE said that young man, a soldier actually, had just called in to talk to a pastor there (which K-LOVE has as they are a Christian music station).  He is serving in Afghanistan and was so fortunate to get a three-day furlough to see his wife and parents.  He got on the plane, eagerly anticipating to see the look on his wife's surprised face, counting down the hours... until he arrived at his home in West, Texas, so find his home was no more, and worse -- his wife had died in the blast.  And he didn't know how to go on from there...

That's when I realized what happened. That lives were lost. I cried in the car a little, for this young man I do not know but I will never stop praying for. This nameless soldier from West, Texas, whose life will never be the same...

And then, on Saturday, I woke up to the news that one of my friends, one of my closest friends, has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. I sat in bed, still in my pajamas, with tears coming from my eyes, and asked over the phone to our friend who was breaking the news, "How long does she have?" I don't really know the answer that, and I don't know if she or the doctors know, but I know that life is hard. I have lost many I love to many things -- suicide, accidents, even violent murder.  Death can come and rob us of our lives at any moment.  It could be a bomb, an unexpected accident, an illness... and I don't always know what to do with that.

However, today I echo the words of this precious friend of mine who just found out her life has taken a turn she never expected. She said yesterday:

I know life is good, I know God is good, and I know things will get better.

And this, this, is the heart of my real talk. Life is hard. For some, it is REALLY hard. But I do still believe it is beautiful. And I know God to be good. My heart? Yes, it is still broken. But I have hope. And that's what I rest in, when things around me don't make sense, just like my friend said above.

You are probably wondering why on earth I am sharing pictures of tacos with all of this. I was thinking weekend a lot about the things I shared in post. Thinking as I was cleaning, thinking as I was walking, thinking as I was cooking. Eventually, I thought to myself, "No matter how hard, life goes on."  But there, in the kitchen, where I was cooking and baking, I realized that at the hardest times of my life -- losing my mom, losing dear friends to a brutal attack inside their home, and some other things -- time kept ticking, whether we felt it should or not. So, I bring you tacos, because no matter what goes on in the world, we still need to eat. Not going to say much about these, because really, that's not why I am here today. But they are good, and you will most likely enjoy them.

Here's to life.  Here's to hope.  And here's to love that is stronger than hate and pain and brokenness!




  • 1 ½ T. olive oil
  • 10 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 lb. low-fat ground beef
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 2 avocados, halved and then fruit cut into medium sized chunks
  • ½ onion, sliced
  • juice from one lemon
  • Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 pack soft taco tortillas (or make your own)

1.      Heat non-stick skillet over medium heat with olive oil.  Add mushrooms and cook until soft, about 4-6 minutes. 
2.      Put mushrooms in a bowl and add ground beef to skillet, adding salt/pepper to taste.  Cook until browned, stirring and breaking up meat chunks regularly, about 6-8 minutes, adding the chives about half way through.  Remove beef from skillet and mix with mushrooms.
3.      In a medium bowl, gently stir avocado and onion together. Squeeze lemon juice over and top with salt, to taste.  Carefully mix so that the onion and avocado are coated yet the avocado is not mashed.
4.      Assemble tacos, beef first, then avocado salad, and top with dairy. Makes about eight tacos.

 COST: $10.72           COST PER SERVING (4): $2.68

Nutritional Information
calories 717.8   •    total fat 41.5g    •    fiber 8.9g    •    sugars 2.5g   •    protein 38.1g


  1. Even though you spoke about some pretty awful things in this post, I found it to be beautiful. So sorry to hear about your friend. These tragedies can be so trying and unpredictable, but you're right, the one constant is that life really is beautiful.

  2. These look amazing....pinning! SO sorry to hear about your friend!

  3. Nothing better in this world than a awesome taco.

  4. These tacos looks amazing.. love the combination. So sorry about your friend..thinking of you.. :)

  5. Well said, could not agree more with 'here's to life'!! And tacos are my weakness, those look amazing!

  6. I definitely had the same thoughts going through my head related to our current events. These tragedies really pains my heart...But, I definitely believe it gets better. :)


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