Growing Up – With Marcella – #129 (of 466)

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This past year, while I’ve been on the same land mass as my family, I’ve had the joy of occasionally travelling up to my brother’s to cook dinner for us all and catch up for the evening.

I still feel there’s so much to catch up on…so many days of life and inches of growth that my niece and nephew have experienced while I wasn’t looking, while a sea or two or three and a nation or two or three or ten have separated us.

Every few years I’ve parachuted in and seen them that bit older and wiser and chattier and funnier.

Yet, I think back to the baby boy I held and spent time with for the first four months of his life before I flew away for the first time. Eighteen years later, he’s taller than me, and he’s still so lovely and he makes my heart swell and hurt with love all at the same time. He’s a butcher in the making just now. He’s always been a sensitive, caring soul in the making.

I think back to the little, feisty toddling girl I met for the first time when I traveled back many years ago. She was already a budding actress and a very clever little girl. She could put her mind to anything and do it well. She still can. She loves quiet time. She loves learning. She’s pretty much the same height as me now, and I can’t believe how she’s grown into a young woman already. She knows more about doing her hair and makeup than I do. All while she excels at school.

I’m so proud of them both. I love having more time to see them. Though these days I have to take what time they can give me in the midst of their busy, social lives.

But I’ll take whatever time and hugs and laughs I can get. I’ll take, and give, as many ‘I love you’ s as we can say. I’ll keep enjoying all the cooking and feeding and sitting and taking around a table as we can manage.

Time is short. They are not! They keep growing!

#129 Fusilli pasta with ‘Courgette Sauce with Basil and Beaten Egg Yolk’ with brother, nephew and niece at my brother’s table.

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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.┬áHe 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.