A long time ago, a friend from church told me that in her prayers, she’d seen my life filled with such abundance that I would stop in my tracks and wonder why.
Every once in a while, I think back on this lovely friend, and her vision of my life, and I smile, because somehow in those moments, I’m filled with a gratitude and the very present knowledge that life is good, and everywhere I go, I’ve been shown grace and favor and love.
I know from my years (though not many, but neither too few) on this earth that it’s easy to overlook the things we have in our hands and wish for a better life.
It’s easy to look at what our friends or neighbors have and to covert those things – things like financial stability, being able to take one year off work to just travel the world, having careers they love, being married, whatever it is.
It’s so effortlessly easy to forget what we’ve been given, or think less of it, when comparison comes into the picture.
I’ll be honest and truthful and admit that while I’m celebrating four years in Argentina, there have been times when I’d feel more overwhelmed with complaints than gratitude.
There have been days where I’d wish we were already re-located somewhere else, something where economic stability was the norm and not a mere memory, someplace different, anywhere else. In those moments, it’s easy to feel disappointed with life and worried about the future, and these fears and feelings of anxiety rob me of my ability to look around with sparkling eyes at what the present has to offer.
But today, as I take steps back and look at my life from the view of an observer, as I think back on my friend and her vision of abundance in my life, I realize that it is true.
I am blessed and am so much more fortunate than I could ever wish for.
I’ve learned independence and am living in an apartment, that while rented, is still my own.
It may be messy and small, but the mess is mine, and I unconsciously smile when I open my front door, because a rush of happiness fills my heart when I see my place. I look at the living room and my eyes fall on the wall above our white couch – where my painting hangs and says “Home is where the heart is” – and I’m grateful that I’ve had the chance to take up painting.
My thoughts go towards the many friends that I have made here – a few of whom have gained my confidence, trust and love, and the many more that I’m still getting to know better, but whose company I already enjoy.
I’m amazed that I’ve learned a completely new language in just four years, and this ability to speak Spanish, while not perfect, is a key tool in forming relationships and bonds and gives me confidence in a country that is not my own.
I’m glad for the job I found and have, and that its relaxing schedule allows me time to take up painting and photography and cooking and still leaves me time to write and blog my heart out to those who take the time to read. I’m glad I can live my story, without feeling the pressure to be who others expect me to be.
I’m so utterly grateful that now, instead of just one home, I have two (one in Singapore, the other in Buenos Aires).
Suddenly the world, which used to seem so crazy huge, now feels much smaller and nearer.
And while I’m literally 30 hours away by plane from my physical family, I have a family here that welcomes me with ever-open arms, and for that I am so enormously thankful.
I made this bread the other day, during the first days of autumn, when chilly winds kept me close to the kitchen, yearning for warmth.
The cold was another excuse to switch on the oven and bake, and I proudly did it anyway. As I leaned against the kitchen counter, one hand holding onto the glass bowl, the other mixing the ingredients with a wooden spoon, I felt the heat from the oven filling up my tiny kitchen, comforting and friendly.
I thought about how Juan would later eat the bread, for tea or breakfast, with a smear of strawberry jam on the top, and I felt so fortunate to have someone like him to cook for.
Life’s good, even in the days of cold, and where we look for it, there is magic, there is love, and there is happiness.
Days like these leave me in awe, of truth of my friend’s vision, of the abundance of joy and love and good things that are in every nook and cranny of my life, that have appeared and accompanied me in every instance since I’ve moved here.
And while I wonder why I’m so fortunate, I know it’s because I am blessed and God’s abundance flows freely.
GRAIN-FREE FLAX ALMOND BREAD (Makes 1 loaf)
Adapted from: Living Healthy with Chocolate
1) 2 cups of almond meal
2) 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds
3) 1 teaspoon of whole flaxseeds + more for garnish
4) 1/2 teaspoon of salt
5) 2 teaspoons of baking powder
6) 1/2 cup of tapioca flour (or arrowroot powder)
7) 6 tablespoons of butter (or coconut oil)
8) 4 eggs, whisked very well
9) 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
10) 1/2 cup of unsweetened plain Greek yogurt (or coconut cream)
1) Pre-heat oven to 350 deg Fahrenheit (180 deg Cel)
2) Mix the almond meal, ground flaxseeds, whole flaxseeds, salt, baking powder and tapioca flour in a large bowl until well combined
3) In a small saucepan, melt butter and then let it cool for 5 minutes
4) Whisk the melted butter with the eggs, apple cider vinegar and yogurt, making sure to whisk well to ensure a light and fluffy bread
5) Gently mix the wet ingredients with dry ingredients to form a batter, but do not over mix or batter will become too dense and oily
6) Pour the batter into a well-greased loaf pan, and sprinkle the top with whole flaxseeds.
7) Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean
8) Once baked, allow bread to cool for 10-15 minutes before removing it from pan
*Note: Because of the ground flaxseeds, this bread tastes more savory than sweet. It goes well toasted with both sweet spreads but is also great with ham and cheese and scrambled eggs, just so you know.
P.S. If you’re wondering why I’m trying to eliminate wheat from my life, I strongly recommend Wheat Belly – a book that will empower you and make you determined to get rid of wheat and it’s terrible health effects!