Becoming Bethany

Observations on becoming and being

Month: March, 2009

Happy Navruz!

Lately I’ve been thinking about the relationship between stories and holidays.  Every holiday has a story that it is celebrating.  St. Patrick’s Day celebrates the incredible story of St. Patrick’s many adventures.  Thanksgiving celebrates the story of the Pilgrims coming to America.  Easter celebrates the resurrection of Christ and new life.

One of my favorite things about learning about new cultures is learning about the holidays they celebrate.  The holidays that a society celebrates indicate the stories that they find most important.  The way that they go about celebrating that holiday is also based on what that society finds most meaningful and valuable.

This week is Navruz.  The Central Asian New Year’s festival.  It is full of feasting, games, dancing, and community.  It celebrates new life, the end of winter, and the beginning of planting season.  It is full of hope and and new things and looking forward while still valuing the ancient and time-honored customs of an old culture.  In a part of the world where surviving is difficult and your family depends on a good planting season, it is amazing to see life celebrated so well.


navruz 2Afghanistan

Mubarak Bulsin!


The Song of Sparrows

Guess whose newest movie I’ll be seeing the first week in April?  Here’s a hint:  There’s sure to be goldfish and at least one shot in the rain.

The Song of Sparrows

song of sparrows

Can master storyteller Majid Majidi win my heart all over again?

Enjoying the Quiet Moments


I had never heard of this movie before last week.  I was just browsing the foreign language section of my local public library when I came across it.  I liked the cover.  I liked that it was about food.  I liked that it was in a foreign language.  And I liked that there was a cute little girl on the back cover.  That was all that went into my decision to borrow this DVD.  Never call me a film snob.


Anyway, I watched it this evening and thoroughly enjoyed it!  Maybe because I had no expectations going into it.  Maybe because I was hungry when I watched it so all of the food shots looked extra delicious.  Maybe because I had a good day so I was feeling more generous in my criticism than usual.  But I think it was more than that.  This film delightfully portrays the simple beauty that can only be enjoyed in quiet moments.  The smell of rosemary before it is added to potatoes.  The color of rasberry sauce next to a chocolate mousse.  The feeling of a quick stolen moment of cool air in an otherwise hot stuffy room.  The glance of a stolen smile across a crowded kitchen.  All of these very small moments of beauty were highlighted and savored in this film.

The human interactions were all also about the quiet, simple moments of life that can be so quickly overlooked by the callous.  The developing relationship between the aunt and her niece was portrayed with true depth of emotion by the actors.  The developing romance between two chefs stuck in the same kitchen was full of humor and unexpected tenderness.  Though the film only runs 100 minutes, I felt that I was given time to just sit and observe.  Just like the preparation of a fine dinner, nothing was rushed.

It is a simple reminder to all of the Marthas of the world to slow down a little and look for glimpses of the beauty that surrounds.  It’s winking at you from the steel pots and peeking at you through the garlic cloves.  It’s waiting quietly on the counter for you to finish feverishly chopping and notice.  And more than notice, to enjoy.

All that to say, I felt like I was enjoying a thoughtfully prepared meal full of the only the best ingredients.  I highly recommend it.  Bon Appetit!


Some good observations from an artist on the importance of Lent.