life

Gratifood

IMG_0457

Chilean Sea Bass with Cilantro Beurre Blanc (the silkiest, most delicious beurre blanc I’ve ever had – oh my, oh my), and Pico de Gallo. Oh yes, please.

They say our moods mellow with age.  I would add that the spiciness we enjoy in our foods does, too.  When I was young I liked it the hotter the better, with absolutely no repercussions the next day.

Beggar’s Banquet was a favorite in my college’s town.  They rated each day’s batch of chili according to the number of beers you would need to finish a bowl.  I think they called beer “sympathy for the devil.”  In my case sympathy was pepsi because I’ve never liked beer.  If they had served milk, I might have had that.  Because milk coats and fireproofs the tongue. But more likely I would have considered milk the drink of amateurs.

Now that I am gracefully mellowed, I no longer like my food hot and wild.  Nowadays I like it intelligently spiced:  A subtle kick; a slight warm heat at the very back of my tongue and palate; a perfect balance of flavors – of sweet and heat, warm and cool.

Palates, like people become more sophisticated as they age.  They appreciate the beauty and nuances of subtlety and balance.  And if they’ve been cooking all those mellowing years, they’ve been learning how to achieve it.

Today’s list of the gifts for which I am grateful is all about the food God has given us:  the variety of colors and flavor combinations; culinary artists who know how to extract amazing flavors and inspire us to do the same; flavors that burst in our mouths; stunning presentations of plates and platters.

You, God, could have made the nourishment of our bodies bland – mere utility eating.  But You didn’t, You made it glorious.  Like You.  Thank you.

Taste and see that the Lord is Good.

Standard
life

Gratefruit

I don’t charge a fee when I speak.  I usually receive an honorarium anyway, in appreciation, but not always.  When I am asked what an appropriate amount would be I reply, “Just send a thank you note.”

I have a drawer full of them.  The money I’ve been given has been spent.  But the notes are all still there.  They remind me of all the people I’ve met over the years – people God spoke to using my mouth.  People God loves.

I told God early on that I prefer to be paid in fruit.  Several years later, after speaking at a woman’s retreat in Virginia, I was.  Literally.  At the end of the weekend they presented me with a large basket of fruit.  Tucked among the apples and grapes was a large jar of local honey and some locally made peach preserves.

God and I smiled at one another as I received the gift.  I LOVED it!

I relayed that story to a group of women in a Bible study once.  One of the women in the group criticized me for not being grateful for the gift.  She completely missed my point.  Funny how we sometimes listen with prejudiced ears, project our stuff and our preconceived notions onto others.  Fail to ask for clarification.

I just smiled.

In a few weeks the hub and I get to celebrate with a living, breathing peach.  Joe was part of the young adult group that came to our house every other Sunday evening for dinner and Bible study.  He was a brand new believer and a sheer delight.   It was when we rented him our condo for several months that we saw fully what a fine young man he is – full of respect and integrity.  The last time we saw him was two years ago at his college graduation party.

proposal

And now he is getting married.  On May 2 we will drive an hour to attend a couples shower.  And then in June we will head to Traverse City for his wedding.

My happy heart thanks you, Lord, for the privilege of meeting Joe when he was a babe in You.  For keeping the hub and I somewhat connected to him and allowing us to see his growth and all the fruit he will produce in his life.  For the honor of rejoicing with him as he embarks on marriage.  For the wonderful example he has seen in his parents.

We get to be witnesses to young, healthy, hearty, hopeful love.

Thank You, thank You for that.

Standard
love

Perfection

The first handmade gift that really touched my heart was beautifully wrapped and sitting on an end table.  As our visit concluded, the foster mom presented it to me.

“What’s this?”

“It’s a gift for your baby.”

“For me?  For my baby?”

I cannot adequately describe the feelings I had as I removed the thick, luxurious, beautifully crocheted, pale green baby blanket from the box.  The very first gift for my very first baby was from one of the foster moms.  I wasn’t just the worker whose job it was to check in on her once a month.  I was someone she cared enough about to make a blanket for my baby.  I still have it, in a box in a closet, along with other precious memories from those baby days.

The best handmade gift I have ever received was the baby herself.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Psalm 139:13

When that perfect baby was eight she made me a Valentine’s Day gift.  I remember her closed bedroom door, her order not to go in there, the rustling sounds of a busy project.  She knew exactly what she was doing.

She was in there cutting a heart out of construction paper.  A perfect heart.  Then she took photos of herself and of the two of us and trimmed them into perfect hearts.  She glued the trimmed photos into a montage on the construction paper and wove a ribbon around it.

It has been hanging from the lamp on my nightstand for almost 17 years.

I wish I could show you the precious front.  Here’s the precious back:

IMG_1367

Made by hand and by heart.

Standard