In the Bosom of My Family – With Marcella #95, #96, #97, #98 & #99 (of 466)

I’ve been doing a bit of reflecting on ‘bosoms’. That’s the figurative, not the fleshy, kind – though residing now in a warmer climate does give one continual pause for such fleshy reflection.

In the days before my departure for the other side of the world, I was in attendance at a conference where the speaker was teaching from John’s Gospel. He made the heart-warming observation that when Jesus spoke of he and the Father ‘being one’ it was in the realm of the language of ‘being in the bosom of’ – that is, in close and warm relationship. He went on to remind us, that as followers of Jesus, we were included in this warm, familial embrace.

My heart was warmed. It still is.

This morning I awoke, still reflecting upon bosoms, and the song ‘Rock my soul in the bosom of Abraham’ popped into my head! I know! Where did that come from?! And what did those lyrics ever really mean to this young child singing them?? However, after three repetitions of this incomprehensible line, it moves on to these clear words…

Oh, wonderful love! So high, you can’t get over it. So low, you can’t get under it. So wide, you can’t get around it. Oh, wonderful love!”

My guess is that the start of the song was meant to cause my soul to ‘rock’ (take joy?) in the comfort that I’ve been included in God’s family. I can certainly ‘rock’ a lot in that wonderful love!

This past couple of weeks, I have been experiencing the safe, warm, reliable love of my family’s embrace. We are no ‘Leave it to Beaver’ kind of family. But we have certainly been learning to love and understand one another better as the years have passed. My family is very good at welcoming me back every couple of years – into their fold – and coping with my ‘I’m not coping with changing countries’ issues that I have for the first week or so. They’ve been coping with this for 17 years, which makes them pretty wonderful.

It has been my delight to cook for them over the past week or so. Up till now they had been merely reading of my ‘Marcellan’ cooking adventures. Now they have tasted them – with (mostly) enthusiastic responses. The thing about cooking for family, rather than guests, is that you get honest feedback!

A Table Set in Oz

A Table Set in Oz

I have also had the delight of eating my Mum’s Roast Lamb Dinner! We enjoyed that together as a family on our belated ‘Christmas Day’ together (on the 24th January). I can heartily recommend a belated Christmas Day! We experienced none of the giddy heights of unrealistic expectation – and the crashing disappointment of reality – that often come with the real Christmas Day. We just enjoyed the day in a relaxed, pressure-free way. It was great! We’re thinking of doing it again next time!

Having introduced my family to the delights of ‘Risotto’ (my father had eaten it in pre-packaged, microwaveable form before and agreed that Marcella’s was a great deal better), and the comfort of a Frittata, I have reached 99 recipes!

I plan to cook recipe number 100 tonight for my brother and I to share. Feel free to make guesses as to what that recipe might be!

Over the past couple of weeks: #95 ‘Asparagus Salad’, #96 ‘Risotto with Parmesan’, #97 ‘Frittata with Pan-Fried Onions and Potatoes, #98 ‘Sauteed Mushrooms with Olive Oil, Garlic and Mushrooms, and #99 ‘Risotto with Bolognese Sauce, at some good, loving, Aussie tables.

Advertisements

My Imagination is Packed (in my suitcase)

Normally, my mind travels far; my imagination knows few limits.

Lately, my mind is travelling – a lot – but in the same direction.

My mind goes to my suitcase, my ‘to-do’ list, and my upcoming travels across I-don’t-know-how-many-seas to the other side of the world.

I’m not imagining an exotic location (though Koalas may seem a little exotic to those not raised in that far away land). I’m not even getting excited about the sights and delights I might find there (though I’m longing for some hugs from my family and my Mum’s roast lamb dinner).

I’m not feeling at all creative or vision-filled – as I’m normally found to be.

I am just ready.

I am so ready that my bags are packed. They have been lying there on the spare bed, being gradually filled, for quite some time now. I am most definitely a ‘pre-packer’.

My head is in the land I’m heading to. My heart still has to remain here for a while, while I say goodbyes to the many folk who’ve won my heart.

This is no holiday trip I’m taking. This will be a year of life and work back in my country of birth. It’s no small thing. It’s filling my head and heart right now and I’m mostly managing to keep that overwhelming fullness of emotion from overflowing – by being just a little bit more than obsessed with the details of packing and preparing to go.

The realm of details is not normally my abiding place. I look forward to leaving those pesky details behind – ticked, crossed and crumpled up ‘to-do’ lists in the recycling bin. I take comfort that they can’t follow me where I’m going – they’ll be redundant once I’m on the plane sipping something pleasant and snacking on complimentary peanuts.

My imagination isn’t actually packed in my suitcase. I can’t find it right now in order to pack it! But I’ll be getting on the plane in one week’s time, trusting that it’ll meet me there – on the other side of the world.

God’s given me enough foresight, enough imagination, to trust that he’ll have it waiting and ready for me – a fresh sense of his ‘big picture’, saving work in this world – and a little taste of my part in that.

For now, I’m counting pairs of socks and wondering if my face cream will last for seven more days.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/i-got-skills/

Crowning the Year with Goodness – With Marcella #93 & #94 (of 466)

Last night, I prepared a table for some of my dear friends.

A Feast of Friendship

A Feast of Friendship

I also prepared some food…in case you were wondering if the small bowl of cranberry sauce (in the picture above) was all that was to be shared among my guests. I went with Nigella Lawson’s Feast cookbook for inspiration and instruction, preparing a turkey with accompaniments.

Big preparations in my little kitchen.

Big preparations in my little kitchen.

The food was delicious (thank you, Nigella). The friendship was even more so (thank you, Lord). Before we tucked into the food set before us I took a short moment to recognise and thank the friends around the table for their patience and love for me over what had been a challenging year. They weren’t the only friends who had loved patiently – but they were the ones who could come that night, and reasonably fit around the table!

I then took another short moment to thank the Lord for his goodness. A lyric has been going around in my head, based on Psalm 65,

“You crown the year with your goodness.

You answer us with awesome deeds…

Praise the name of the Lord.

Oh my soul, sing his worth!”

For all this year’s ups and downs, the Lord has been so good to me. The friends he has given me have been a big part of that goodness.

This time a week ago (Stephen’s Day or Boxing Day) I was with some more friends – more gifts of God’s goodness. We shared a peaceful meal of leftovers at one of their homes, with a starter of Marcella’s ‘Swiss Chard Torta with Raisins and Pinenuts’. Delicious (and more-ish) food (and company).

Tastes better than it looks!

Tastes better than it looks!

In between these feasts (not forgetting the lovely Christmas Day lunch with my ambassadorial friend and her family) I sat with another friend and my housemate, enjoying Marcella’s ‘Pork Sausages with Red Wine and Porcini Mushrooms.’

Now, on the first day of 2015, I sit alone, but content, having eaten a gorgeous leftover turkey sandwich. I feel very ready for this new year – more ready than I’ve ever felt in past years. I look forward to seeing how the Lord crowns this coming year.

On St. Stephen’s Day: #93 ‘Swiss Chard Torta with Raisins and Pinenuts’ with Anne, Ian and Stephanie at a friend’s table.

The night before the night before the New Year: #94 ‘Pork Sausages with Red Wine and Porcini Mushrooms’ with Barbara and the Violinist at my table.