Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday Hungry Haleeeeeyyyyy...
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME :) Sorry if that was a little conceited, but I just had to.
A year ago today, I launched my blog! Ahh, I remember it so well - my parents and I sat in their office at around 8:00 pm, and I looked at my dad and said, "It's ready to go!" Finally, I thought. After a couple minutes of anticipation while my technologically-advanced Pops clicked left and right and here and there (it felt like hours had gone by), Hungry Haley was live! What was really weird was the tears streaming down from my eyes - not like I was balling hysterically, but more like "oh my gosh I can't believe this is happening and people are actually going to see my recipes and hopefully try them and read about everything I've gone through and wow I'm on the internet" tears.
I really don't like crying, but I was okay with it in that moment - God stirred lots of excitement with a little disbelief, I guess, and I just let myself bask in that strange, tingly feeling :)
And here I am again, typing away on my computer in the same place I started. This time, the tears are fueled by excitement for the future - for all the tasting, cooking, cooling, learning, growing ahead of me - and awe of how powerful and permanent God has been in my life during just the past year alone.
He sent me off to college on my own, even though He knew I was scared to death. He spoke quietly to me before I found Cru and a bible study, and encouraged me to, well, get involved in those things. He welcomed me back into His deep, constant, incredible love and showed me a community that was the epitome of that love. And he provided a place for me share that with all of you. Of course, there was a little food involved, too...
Actually, A LOT of food was involved. I love running, and I love writing and taking pictures and laughing with friends and family, but cooking, experimenting, baking, measuring, and tasting make up the magic vehicle that completely takes me to another world - it pulls me out of whatever mess I'm in, whatever stress I'm drowning in, and transports me to my place of peace and comfort and fascination with what God has provided for me.
Part of what first brought me into this world, however, was an eating disorder - something I was too proud to admit to for almost a year. I've recovered, but I haven't forgotten about it. I've put it behind me, but I can't bury it and pretend it never happened. My eating disorder was one of God's ways of showing me that HE has control, and that I just can't do this life on my own. It was also an opportunity for Him to tell me that I am not perfect, and I never will be. And while those three points may seem discouraging, through my recovery they became the most empowering and encouraging words God has whispered to me. In fact, they might be some of the most valuable words He ever will speak to me.
I've tried every single "diet" out there - gluten-free, Paleo, vegan, low-carb/high-fat and vice versa - and I've gotten stuck inside the label of each one. I forgot that God didn't design me to fit into any label or to be *dramatic pause* perfect in any way.
I'll say it again - I can't be perfect. I'm just not made to be flawless and mistake-less and scratch-free. Sharing that and the freedom and pure joy I've found in embracing my imperfections is part of God's will for Hungry Haley. Vulnerability, humility, and strength were gifts I needed - without them, I never would've shared anything but ingredients and instructions on this blog.
You may be surprised when I tell you that the most consistent and infallible lesson God patiently taught me during the past year (and continues to teach me everyday) is that I can't carry out His will for my life without these three things...
- passion for Him and for what He has called me to do
- community - friends & leaders for support, encouragement, laughter
- love for myself & for my savior
I've tried my hand at life without at least one of these three things several times, and (surprise surprise) each time I'm like an infant trying to transition from a perfectly built tricycle to an unstable, garage-sale unicycle. That's when I mess up; that's when pancakes don't turn out fluffy, when sweet potatoes burn, when muffins are dry and inedible. Fun fact - you'll see me on a unicycle as soon as my grandpa eats tofu. In other words, NOT GONNA HAPPEN.
Life-changing moments often go unnoticed when they happen, and then later on, when we look back on them, we're amazed (or thankful or mournful or whatever type of emotion that matches, depending on the situation). But I had a feeling in that moment, in the office with both my parents that night, scooted to the edge of the chair, waiting rather impatiently as my heart beat as fast as it always did at the starting line of the 800m, that this was, well, I don't know really know how to describe it.... huge and exciting and frightening and full of responsibility and learning and cooking and everything else I'm passionate about. And life-changing :)
God's work is absolutely stunning and humbling when I give Him the reigns (or when I let Him type, I guess, would be a more fitting description here). If nothing else, let this be inspiration and motivation for you as well to take a minute and allow the one who saved you to whisper His plans into your ear. Ask Him to open your eyes to opportunities for love, strength, joy, freedom, whatever it may be that you've needed. I prayed and prayed and prayed and I still do, and I fall in love with a new blessing in my life every single day, and now, because of Hungry Haley, I get to share it with you guys! Thank you for reading - you have no idea how much your continuous support means to me.
Here's to more recipes, more pictures, more tasting, more pancakes and waffles and tempeh tacos and falafel, and more learning ahead. I'm hungrier now than I ever have been and I can;t wait to chase this passion with God for the rest of my life!