Are You Ready To REALLY Love Me?

What a horrible summer it’s been. Forget buzz words.

This is a special break from our regularly scheduled programming.

Buzz words are far better than the C word. I didn’t want to ever have to deal with that one.

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It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year (in Judith Viorst’s words. I love children’s books, so nothing says it better than that).

It all started shortly after New Year’s Day, when I broke a tooth on an almond. So much for healthy choices.

So that got me to the dentist, after a ten-year hiatus. Yes. You could only imagine the bill I’m still paying.

Then with April rains, came a mysterious spot of blood. Just one spot and tiny at that. I thought it was, maybe, I dunno…maybe I’ll ignore it. But I couldn’t.

So that got me to a gynecologist.

Fast forward to June 20, after having a PAP (abnormal but not showing cancer), uterine biopsy (abnormal but not showing cancer), ultrasound (looking good, but fooled ya!), and finally, a LEEP and D&C, I get the dreaded call. I had been praying fervently that morning, that I would finally get a good report, after all these other inconclusive tests.

 

IMG_4189Ring.

It wasn’t the receptionist or nurse from the doctor’s office. It was the doctor. My heart started pounding.

“I have your pathology report here. I’m so sorry. You have uterine cancer.”

“Okay” I said, shaking, but not crying…yet.

I called a dear sister from church, immediately asking for that APB (All Prayer Bulletin) to be put out across our church family.

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My plans and lists. His plans are far better, for His glory.

Then I cried. And prayed. And did some chores, zombie-like.

Then I called my daughter. My daughter, who has survived her father’s abandonment. My daughter, who has survived her own daughter’s cancer. All by God’s grace. And now she is the most positive, upbeat, loving woman that I can lean on.

My poor husband was next in line. I hate telling him horrible stuff over the phone while he’s at work, but he knew I’d get results today and he would ask anyway.

“Honey, we have a dark providence to deal with.”

“Oh, no.”

“ARE YOU READY TO REALLY LOVE ME?”

I will be weepy. I might be mean, impatient and irritable. I might not have dinner for you when you get home.

Later on, he said he cried, and I think I believe him, though I couldn’t see his tears through the cell phone.

Are you ready to really love me, husband? Are you ready and willing to put physical intimacy on hold? Can you appreciate greater spiritual and emotional intimacy in exchange?

The Lord ordained this for me, for us. Be there for me. You don’t have to speak, just wrap your arms around me. Be selfless. Stop making crumbs, haha! Be sensitive to my emotional tumult. Forgive me when I scream at you. Please.

I’ve been so volatile.

We are still newlyweds. From the beginning, I told Mike how I would love and savor the years the Lord gives us. I pray that He has many more in store for us. We’ve only just begun. Continue reading

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Diversity vs. The Melting Pot: A Cook’s Analysis

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A play by Israel Zangwill, first staged in 1908, popularized the term ‘melting pot’ to define American society.

Growing up in ethnically diverse Brooklyn, New York, I was taught that America was a melting pot. The concept was easily understood. My best buddies were black, Jewish, or Italian like me.

The Melting Pot. That’s a phrase we don’t hear anymore. A melting pot is one pot, blended together.

My husband Mike used to douse his food with hot sauce. When he asked for hot sauce during our first newlywed meals together, I was highly insulted. Hot sauce covers up all the distinct flavors I put together in a meal. Hot sauce is meant for bland, boring food. He thought he was a foodie. Oh, how he has learned. In the nearly four years we’ve been married, his palate has gotten more discriminating. That’s the best use of the word discriminatingbeing able to detect and appreciate each distinct element within the dish. A dish that is so exciting because of all the various ingredients, herbs and spices.

I like the term melting pot much better than diversity.

The Recipe

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A marriage of lovely ingredients simmered together result in a great meal.

 

Who doesn’t love a good tomato sauce? Heat some extra virgin olive oil. Add finely chopped onions and sauté until they are looking clear, but don’t burn them. Add chopped garlic, plenty of it. Simmer a few more minutes while they dance in the pot together. Then add one can of organic tomato paste and stir it all up. Now you have a nice Italian ‘roux’. Throw some dried or fresh basil and oregano on that…keep stirring. Then add water a bit at a time. Slow. Blend. Now add your favorite red wine. Pop. Next add 3 or 4 large cans of organic crushed tomatoes, San Marzano are best, but pricey. Sniff the flavors. Add salt, cayenne, more basil, oregano to preferred taste. Meanwhile, you have meatballs getting oven-browned. When they’re looking nicely browned, drop them into the saucepot. Their rich meaty flavor will assimilate, giving the sauce a final boost. Let this simmer, uncovered for a couple of hours.

Because beautiful, delicious food is only complete when it has simmered, blended, melted, married together. All in one pot.

All flavors enhance the dish. None overpowers the other. Taste and see. Do you detect the basil? I hope so. How about that cayenne? Yes, a bit of heat. And sweetness that comes from wine, not sugar. So good. Each ingredient brings something unique to the dish. When one is missing, the cook knows. The foodie should know.

A melting pot, yet with very distinguishable flavors.

My Italian Roots

The melting pot is a great metaphor for the concept of America. Both sets of my grandparents came from southern Italy. They came here with hope, weary of their hard lives of poverty in their native country. As Italian Americans, we assimilated into American culture – and wanted to! My parents grew up speaking both Italian and English, worked hard to achieve the American Dream while keeping their Italian traditions (and recipes, thankfully!).

The ultimate appreciation of diversity is recognizing that every culture brings something good to our society at large. There are also many negative cultural distinctions that should not be part of the melting pot. Those need to be purged out. I would not want you to think of the mafia culture associated with my Italian blood. I would not want you to visualize the Sopranos around their table when you think of dinner at my house.

Diversity in the true church…

includes the wealthy, the poor, the intellectual, the simple, all colors and ethnicities. This is the great multitude of God’s people spoken of in Revelation. Here is a picture of the melting pot of believers all grafted in to the Body of Christ:

After these things I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations and kindreds, and people, and tongues stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with long white robes, and palms in their hands. – Revelation 7:9

God is no respecter of persons.

There is neither Jew nor Grecian: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. — Galatians 3:28

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive, that God is no [respecter] of persons. — Acts 10:34

Footnotes:

  1. Acts 10:34 Distinction of nations is taken away by the coming of Christ: And it is evidently seen by faith and righteousness, who is agreeable to him, or whom he accepteth.

In other words, we don’t make a big stink about our particular ethnic distinctions as believers in Christ. We are all One in Christ. The problem today is that people want to hold on to these distinctions as a source of pride. The apostolic church did not separate themselves into Cornelius’ Roman church, or the Ethiopian Black Church. They may have been geographically separate, but still Christ’s one true church. Continue reading