Food, life

The Making of Huevos Rancheros

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As I was whipping up a simple guacamole about an hour ago – red onion, avocado, lime juice, cilantro, salt, pepper and the slightest wisp of cumin – I started thinking about people who have nerve. Nerve has been off and on my mind since it arrived in my inbox this morning. From WordPress. To prompt me.

I kept thinking about nerve as I followed the making of the guac with the making of a 3:00-in-the-afternoon huevos rancheros. My first meal of the day. And you are correct if you are guessing that I am not yet dressed.

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Ordinarily I would grate the cheese directly onto some tortilla chips and then melt the cheese/toast the chips in the oven, but I’m lazy today so I grated it directly into the egg pan. So as not to dirty a cookie sheet. I agree, I need to stop being lazy and clean my stove.

Anyway, I was thinking about a young woman I met a few weeks ago.

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I was hoping the cheddar would become crisp – like grated Parmesan in the fry pan does – but it didn’t. So I just globbed it on.

The young woman, upon learning that I am an abstinence speaker, asked how long I have been speaking on the subject. I told her I started my ministry 13 years ago, and that I was speaking on the subject long before that as the director of a crisis pregnancy center.

I’m not sure if any of my answer registered, because she then asked, “Have you ever heard of Pam Stenzel?”

I smiled and nodded yes.

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Make sure you keep the eggs over easy so the velvety, buttery yolks run onto the chips below.

Her  question reminded me of all the times during the twelve years I was directing the pregnancy help center, appearing in promotional videos for Right to Life and writing letters to the editor on the subject of abortion, that people, upon discovering the work I was doing, would ask, “Have you ever heard of Roe v. Wade?”

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Put a little jarred salsa on there. Organic.

The young woman proceeded to tell me all about abstinence; all the things she tells the high school cheerleaders she coaches.

I smiled and nodded and, when I could quickly squeeze a word in, said, “They are fortunate to have you.”

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Now pile on the guac you just made and sprinkle a little extra cilantro on top. Because you can never have too much cilantro. Just smile and nod you cilantro haters.

Why do people do that?

Is it just plain old nerve?

Or do they think they are always the smartest, most well-informed person in the room? Even when there are people in the room who have been devoting their lives to whatever-the-subject since they were in diapers?

Or do I just look like I’m a moron?

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See what I mean about the yokes running? Ya’ gotta’ have that. The hub doesn’t like runny yokes. His loss.

Please God, don’t let me ever be so eager to show off what little I know (I do hope I’ve aged beyond that) that I cause someone I meet to nod and smile.

#nerve

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life

She Was a Beautiful Girl

“You are remarkably lucid for being high,” I said, noticing her pupils.

“Oh, yeah,” she said.  “I’m normal when I’m high.  It’s when I’m not high, when I’m desperate for a fix, that I act crazed.”

She was a college student, home for the summer, in for a free pregnancy test and very concerned about the effects of heroin on a fetus.

We both let out a sigh of relief when the test turned out negative.

“Where do you see yourself in ten years,” I asked.

“Between the heroin and the Hepatitis C, I’ll be dead in ten years,” she answered.

“What’s so great about heroin that you are willing to die for it?”

“It’s not that the heroin is so great, it’s that the withdrawal is so horrible.  It can take 18 months to get the effects out of your system.  I’ve been in rehab three times and it’s just too hard.  I won’t try again.”

She didn’t think she got the Hep C from a dirty heroin needle, she thought she contracted it from an unsanitary tattoo needle.  Her plan was to stay high until she died.  In the meantime she was in college studying interior design.

I asked her how a talented, intelligent girl from the ‘burbs, with a loving family, ended up addicted to heroin.

She said when she was in seventh grade she learned that marijuana is a gateway drug.  She didn’t believe it.  So she and her friends tried it.  Before long they got ahold of some that was laced with LSD.  From there it was a short progression to heroin.  And heroin is a powerful addiction. (As I told you in I Still Break Her Heart, when I was a social worker I saw moms choose heroin over their children every time.  Not because they loved heroin more, but because it takes that strong a hold.)

She said I could tell her story and I do.   I tell it often.

I usually ask for feedback after I speak to a group of kids.  What did you like?  What did you learn?  What was helpful?

Most of them say they liked the stories best.

True stories.  Cautionary tales.  From my years as a social worker and pregnancy center director.

It takes 25 years for the human brain to develop completely.  The last thing to develop is the ability to look ahead and understand the long term consequences of your actions.  That’s probably why they like the stories best.  It helps to know how things play out.

And that’s why God gave them parents, teachers, pastors, principals, coaches, mentors, big brothers and big sisters.

So tell your cautionary tales.  And if you don’t have any, tell mine.

Kids need to know.

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