life and rainy day soup

by Michael on March 12, 2012 · 22 comments

Life is beautiful. Wait. Let me do that again. Life is beautiful. On the good days.

It is, isn’t it? I mean, that’s what we’re told since we’re young. Life is amazing. A thousand times, a thousand different voices. It is what you make it. You get out of it what you put into it. Hard work pays off. On and on and on. Like a record player skipping on the same note again and again. Make it stop. But they’re right. Occasionally. But sometimes just sometimes, life is shit.

I don’t have the answers. I don’t even have all the questions. I do know a few things though. We all pretend from time to time. Everything is great, we say. Our job, relationships, life. But it’s not. It can’t be. We’re afraid of being real. Honest. Truthful. Have faith. It’s about the litle victories. The small hurdles overcome. A good day. Sometimes even a good hour. It’s about being truthful to ourselves. And better yet, being okay with that. Because it is okay. Flawed is good.

Nobody has the perfect job. Sure, everybody has great days but there are other days when…. Nobody has the best relationship, be it with their spouse or parents or children or friends.  Times we feel forgotten or taken for granted. We all have our moments of fits. Days when we just want to hide or move away or get away. From everyone and everything. Let’s face it. Life is difficult. Hard and challenging and real. And there are no do-overs.

I notice it within. And all around me. People feel neglected. Kids acting up. Parents trying hard but feeling like it’s never enough. Thankless jobs. Overtime. Diet and weight loss and weight gain. Bills. Money. Health and illness. Pain and suffering. Divorce. Depression. Bad news. It’s all around us and will swallow us up if we want it. Allow it.

Let’s face, it’s not always fun. If life were easy we’d all be great at it. Presidents and world leaders and you name it. Pick your title, it’s yours. It doesn’t work that way. And that’s what makes it enjoyable. A challenge. To make strides and improve and do our best and hope that one day there’s a rainbow with our name on it. With my wife at my side, I’m looking for it. Searching far and wide. And deep inside. Small steps, good moments and enjoying the good things when we have them. In our grasp.

And it’s about recognizing the beautiful things all around us, when it’s around us. Not later, because later becomes never. Telling people we love them while we can. Finding more balance. Learning to say sorry, and accept apologies. And when life gets really hard, push back and try harder. And harder still.

There are plenty of years ahead of me, hopefully more than the number behind me. And I’ve had some wonderful triumphs. Major life victories. But it hasn’t always been great. There have been bumps along the way. Chances to turn back the clock. I wasn’t always a great son. I’m not the perfect husband. My friendships could have been stronger at times. I am not bulletproof. I carry a pocket full of failures as my witness. Regret has paid me a visit on more than a few occasions. But I pick myself back up and try, and then try harder. Because the alternative is giving up. And, no thanks.

So today, as I sit by my rain speckled window and reflect on a week since the loss of my job, I thank God for the place I’m in. I’ve made mistakes, but I’ve bounced back. I’ve lost battles, but the war rages on. And I’ve been heart-broken only to find the greatest love imaginable. And I’m okay with every single thing. My past. My present. The future.

I long for spring and the change it brings, both physical and psychological. My future is bright, only temporarily dimmed. And I move forward expecting to hit rough patches, cry a little along the way, dust myself off and keep going. And I make a point of enjoying the small things that come my way. The small stuff adds up.

Enjoy it. All the days I have left with my parents. Every single moment with my wife. Friendships, old and new and broken and repaired. And tomorrow. Whatever that brings. But for today, it includes this bowl of soup as I stare at the rain-soaked ground and am so thankful I’m still here for the bumpy ride. Life. It’s beautiful. Most days.

From me to you,



Sweet Potato, Lentils & Rice Soup


  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into thick slices
  • 1 small onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1/4 cup rice
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 4 tbsp. grated Parmesan, garnish


  1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Saute the onions with the cinnamon and cumin for five minutes, or until softened.
  2. Add the stock, sweet potatoes, carrots and lentils and cover and simmer until the sweet potato is tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the coconut milk and rice and increase the heat to a medium-high, cover and cook until the rice is cooked through, about 25 minutes.
  4. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle Parmesan over top. Serves 4-6.


Leave a Comment

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah March 13, 2012 at 12:29 am

More people should cook soup in response to rainy days. World A Better Place 101.


notyet100 March 13, 2012 at 1:43 am

Ummm slurp,,.perfect for a rainy evening


Sandra March 13, 2012 at 3:08 am

It’s a beautiful mess, isn’t it? Delicious and difficult and full of potential. Hope (and know) that it will all work out for the best! Cheers!


Susan Scott March 13, 2012 at 4:27 am

Thank you so much for this post. Found it in my Google reader this morning. I needed to hear this. Will make the soup, I could do with it.

Thank You and God Bless


Abiyogini March 13, 2012 at 6:00 am

Your writing touches me! Soup sounds glorious! It is well!


Brian March 13, 2012 at 9:40 am

Sending you my love and hugs and good wishes as you go through these life changes. But my guess is that in the coming months, your life will change even more… and it’ll be for the better.


Cassie March 13, 2012 at 10:16 am

It’s all about recognizing the beauty all around us…beautifully said, Mike! I love this!


Wenderly March 13, 2012 at 11:45 am

I could not agree more. Life is not perfect. Walking uphill at the moment myself. But trying to focus on being grateful just to be walking.

To have the legs to be walking.
To have the hill to be walking up.
And the promise of what I will be able see before me once I get to the top.

I’m certain that the view will be glorious.

Hugs to you & yours.


Laura (Tutti Dolci) March 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm

What a poignant reflection. It is truly the little things that matter in life, yet so often we miss them in pursuit of the “big things” we deem more worthy and valuable.

Gorgeous soup; the addition of coconut milk intrigues me. Wish I had a bowl for lunch on this dreary day.


mom March 13, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Your words must touch anyone who reads them – I feel it all!!
and your receipes are wonderful


Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen March 14, 2012 at 4:07 am

Life is beautiful because of it’s flaws, just like each one of us. Real beauty isn’t about happiness and perfection, it’s about hope and perseverance. Thinking of you my friend during this hard time.


rachel jane March 14, 2012 at 5:24 am

Temporarily dimmed is a great way to put it! I find soup helps. I especially like the ‘chunkiness’ in this recipe.


patty March 14, 2012 at 8:14 am

As always as soon as i see your new post on my email i stop whatever i am doing and just read it. I always hate when it ends. Its like a good book you cant read over for the first time.
Every single time i am done i am touched in some way on some level. I have told so many people about your site for the cooking and wonderful recipes, but also for the ohhhh so wonderful way you write.
Things will get better. Change is good. Everyone says so.
Enjoy now. You deserve it.


sippitysup March 14, 2012 at 11:29 am

You should get some sort of soup award. Maybe they could call it The Soupy! You are a clear leader in the category. GREG


Peter G | Souvlaki ForThe Soul March 14, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Phew! Well said Mike! You summed it up so perfect and your simple words made it all the more powerful. As for the soup…delicious! It has all my favourite ingredients!


naomi March 14, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Beautifully written, Mike. Funny thing – the day I read your post about losing your job, I lost mine the next day.

I’m in the same place you are. I’m embracing the change and looking forward to carving out a new stepping stone in life.


Ambika March 16, 2012 at 8:48 pm

I love simple soups like this one. So hearty, warm and comforting!


Jesica@Pencil Kitchen March 16, 2012 at 9:38 pm

ML, I needed this post. Life is tough. It’s not made out to what we were told it would be. At these times i just wish i could be alone….


marla March 18, 2012 at 8:24 am

The fact that you just posted sweet potato makes it OK for me too. Everyone has pushed into spring and I am clinging a bit more to what we have going on now – a rainy, cool, blustery weekend. Warming comfort foods. Beautiful soup + post.
I had a health scare on Friday (all turned out GREAT) that made me reflect on the past, the now & the future. Each moment is so precious…..


Nat March 19, 2012 at 8:18 am

Soup for the soul…Thanks for sharing.


Deliciously Organic March 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Our family motto is “Give thanks in all things”. It’s completely changed the way we look at our life and the situations that are difficult (and I’ll be the first to admit it’s not an easy concept to teach the kids!). I’m happy to read you are looking past your currant struggles and giving thanks. It’s the best way to live!


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