5 Lessons Learned From Cooking Dinner

This is Rena.  You can call her "Rena Beana" or "Renes Beans"--she responds well to fun-loving terms of endearment! Rena is a problem solver. She likes finding broken things and turning them into something pretty and useful. She's an artist that way. She just had an incredible year of change. Parts of her life were not allowing Rena to be Rena- so she changed those parts. I respect that.  She's fiercely independent and wonderfully creative. Recently her creativity has been coming out with the medium of food.  You can follow her show of creativity on instagram. And you can read about what's she's learned from turning into a foodie below. (I've been asking smart women to share their life stories- you can read about my intentions here.)

Within a five week period, I quit my job to become a freelancer, married the man of my dreams and moved to the biggest city in the U.S., New York City. It was a whirlwind of change and a dream come true! I was going to live in the Big City. I had dreams of going to museums, fancy restaurants, strolling the streets in fashion and being at coffee shops with celebrities, but those dreams haven’t come true. Instead, my world has been opened up to something I wasn’t expecting. 

Even with endless city life entertainment, something was off. When I started to do freelance work, my work hours started to recognize that my boundaries were starting to slip away. I started to work seven days a week including some nights. But that’s New York. Work Hard, Play Hard. BUT just because this is a lifestyle some live, its not the lifestyle I wanted to live.

I needed to do something that would bring joy back into my life and would allow me to be more intentional in my marriage. So, my husband and I started to cook dinner. Because of this simple change, we have not only learned about food, but we have learned so much about each other.

Here are 5 lessons we have learned from cooking dinner:

Simplify. We live in a culture where excess is normal. The more we have, the better off we are. Moving to New York changed that for us. Because we live in such a small space and have to walk to the grocery store, we have learned to simplify. We are only two people. We don’t need much. So now, we are leaning to cook less and/or use leftovers in creative ways.

Explore. We try making new foods together. I used to be extremely picky. I would hardly eat meat and a frozen dinner was my best friend. But now, because we are intentional about cooking dinner and trying new things. Whether it’s combining ingredients or trying a new vegetable, we are exploring new flavors and discovering new recipes.

Create. Dinnertime has become our place of creation. We use our plates as a canvas. We may not have time to paint, but since we make dinner, we spend time making it look awesome on the plate. There something fun and creative about serving a pretty plate that brings joy to our hearts. 
Boundaries. With our schedules, we could easily pass up dinner and grab things on the go. But David and I have been extremely intentional about eating dinner together. We make sure to shut down our work email and eat together. Its a now a routine, and a special time we spend together everyday. 

Dream. When we eat together, we dream together. We talk about what our lives will be like years down the road and all the “what if’s” you can imagine. Its been healthy. Because of our conversations, we have discovered fears, joys, hope and dreams that we never knew about each other. And even though the dream of “New York Life’ was not what we expected, it’s opened up our eyes to discover new dreams together.

I never expected dinner being something of significance, but because of the simple act of making dinner time intentional, we are healthier, we are more joyful, and our marriage has grown stronger.


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