Blurred Reflection

Smeared words, blurred reflection. Erased white-board marker memos. The ghosts of To-do lists, reminders, and pieces of distant plans. The translucent smeared words, that refused to let a meer tissue take away their entire essence, blur my reflection. A boldly inquiring eye stares at me, asking why the other is distorted and cloudy. My heart […]

Instant Gratification…Or Humiliation

Delectable. Scrumptious. Mouth-watering. Yum. Who made this? Yuuum. Party-in-my-mouth! Is there more? YUM!

Food and drink. The bare necessities of life. Maybe it’s just because I’m Italian, or maybe it’s the Irish in me that’s making the noise, but food and drink in my life are anything but bare. The essentials of life pull me in and inspire me to create. The kitchen is truthfully the only other place where I can near effortlessly create art. (My only drawings that turned out good took me weeks, you don’t want to see the ones that took me hours).

In my family it is encouraged, and for good reason, to learn the skill of miscombrew. This is the act of laying out the left overs in the refrigerator and figuring out a way of mixing  things together to make another completely different, but totally satisfying meal. I have acquired that life tool, and trust me it came in handy during college; but the thing I love most is making things from scratch.

The smell of sifted flour is a fuzzy sweater over my soul, and sneaking tastes of uncooked batter is still a guilty pleasure of mine. My love for creating food, and drinks for that matter, goes beyond the glorious smells and tastes that it gives off. It is the reaction and appreciation of the other people experiencing it that brings me back into the kitchen again and again.

That moment when someone takes the first bite, or the first sip of an experimental concoction. My lungs ache for air, and I’m pretty sure my eyelids are incapable of blinking. Please say something, make a face, spit it out, react! Then comes the most glorious sound ever…mmmm. They like it, no they love it!

You see, reactions to food and drink can be faked, but true appreciation and love of what was created can’t. A person may say that they love it, but the moment you walk away they are looking for a place to throw it out if they hate it, and then they just act like they ate a lot of them. But empty platters and pitchers, and people asking for more, now that is real.

That is the instant gratification that I seek. That moment when I am trying to keep my expression calm and impartial, waiting for the reaction. I smile as I see their eyes close, and hear the mmm in the back of their throat. I try not to grimace as I see their throat muscles tighten and struggle to swallow my failed experiment; which has happened a couple of times.

The humiliation of a misled cocktail, or a greasy appetizer, cannot stop me from creating more food and drink. These two things are necessary for a beating heart, and a toothy grin. I will always cut, mince, blend, fold, simmer, bake, broil, grill, knead, and decorate…because it is the easiest way for me to love, and let others love me, without making too much of a mess to clean up.

Would Jesus Tune in?

I was at a church gathering last night called Fragua. My friend Kevin gave the message, it was about having a oneness in all aspects of life. The visual that hit me the most, and thus inspired this post, was the thought of being in a reality TV show. He asked, “If your life was a reality TV show, would you want Jesus to tune in and watch?”

An interesting concept really. What kind of reality TV show would your life be? Do you allow yourself to be surrounded by constant drama, like Dance Moms, or any of the series that have the word “wives” in the title? Or how about the party lifestyle like Jersey Shore? Then there are the competition shows like America’s Next Top Model, Project Runway, Toddlers and Tiaras (oh I went there), and The Amazing Race. What is the focus of your life? What character/characters are you in the show? Are you the person that only wants to drink and hook up with randos,the two-three-four-maybe-seven faced person that is never genuine with anyone, or the person that is perpetually cutting down those around you to feel better about yourself? Is winning everything to you, so much so that you are past the point of a healthy competitive spirit and have stumped to sabotaging and ridiculing the competitors to ensure you get the win?

This isn’t just a show that you would have to worry what your friends and family think about it. The reality show I’m talking about would have God in it’s audience, and He can see and hear what you think. I’m not saying that God isn’t with us always, but what I’m saying is…are we aware of how our thoughts and actions affect God?

I know most of the time I’m not aware. It is a lot easier to be present with God in prayer, and then ignore Him the rest of the day. This is a challenge to me, and you if you so choose, but I want to be able to lay down at the end of my day and replay everything, every action, word, and thought that happened and be able to say, “I believe God would like this episode.”

We are all going to have those days when our conscience gets thrown in the ocean like Jimniy Cricket, when we are too tired to care what words we say, or if our actions are harmful to us or others. The key is to make the next day count, make it the big heartfelt apology episode. Because if there is one thing that reality TV teaches us, it’s that putting up different masks with different people will come back and bite you in the ass.

Strive to have the balance in life that allows you to be one person. You.

Thank you for tuning in to this post, and blog. God, thanks for tuning into my life.

Only Dream

The grass is soft beneath my feet, tickling in between my pedicured toes. The ground is cool, but not wet. The hem of my sundress brushes my knees. Where am I? And where are my shoes?

Dreams soon morph into nightmares in my mind, and I would prefer to have foot protection when the plot of this sunny afternoon turns and arrives at Horrorville. I hesitate before lifting my eyes off my toes and towards my surroundings. What if the warm sun on my skin is a trick? What if a serial murderer’s face and laughless grin are waiting for me? Urg, man up! This is just a dream, it will turn dark soon, so you might as well enjoy this part of it before you wake yourself up with your own screams. 

Clean air fills my lungs, crisp and clean, I breath “down to my toes” as my old vocal coach used to say, and lift my face. I have no clue where I am, all I can say is that I really hope my mind didn’t create this place. It’s gorgeous, beyond gorgeous really.

I find myself in a garden, and I’m not talking about dear Aunt Suzy’s petunias. I’m in a manicured and designed garden the likes of which can be found on royal grounds and grand estates. So I have either been kidnapped to be the mistress of a foreign dignitary, or I’m playing a sick game of guess-where-the-psycho is. Either way, I don’t care. I literally can’t worry about what monster is going to pop out. I am at peace.

As I stand in the middle of a grassy lane that is lined with large bushes that have been trimmed into semi-egg shapes, without the anticipation of a storm the sun wraps my skin in it’s glorious rays. I giggle and turn around, and behind me is an expanse of trees and flowers in full bloom. Lavender, lilies, tulips, daffodils, cherry blossoms, dogwood trees, all kinds of roses, yes there are petunias, and so many others in so many colors that I get overwhelmed.

In real life, and in dreams, when I get overwhelmed with happiness I start to dance. I close my eyes and let the melody of my happiness lift my feet and carry me where ever it wants to. I twirl, leap, sashay, and in general jump and wiggle my body.

“What are you doing?” An inquisitive man’s voice comes from the lane.

No. Please let me have a little more time with the dream part. I open my eyes to a man dressed in an immaculate fitting suit appearing in the lane from behind one of the eggy bushes. While a man suddenly appearing usually means bad news in my dream land, I don’t want to encourage this to turn ugly.

“Sorry, I got lost.” Yikes, a little more high pitch then I wanted, but I think it still came off as friendly and not too nervous.

His chuckle makes me want to start dancing again. As he approaches me his features blur, but not in a run-you-stupid-bimbo kind of way. Remember how in movies from the 30’s and 40’s they would put the filter on the camera to make the woman’s face glow and glisten all dreamy-like? Well the camera in my dream has several of those filters in it, and the only thing I can see clearly is that he’s smiling.

 “Here, I’ll show you.”

“Show me what?” My voice is laced with suspicion, a girl’s gotta be careful in her own dream you know.

He takes my hand in his, turns his back to me, a breeze ruffles his hair ever so slightly as he calls back to me. “Just wait till you see.”

That’s it. That’s all that I ever remember. Oh sure, sometimes he takes me to a wedding happening on the grounds, but I never remember the wedding, and only have a vague recollection of dancing with him. Sometimes he has my shoes in his hands, super cute heels every time. Other times he points out features of the garden I didn’t notice, like a fountain, or a cute white bench.

The sequence that I played out above is the only constant. My entire life this has been the only dream I can remember that doesn’t turn into a nightmare, and on the rare occasion that it visits me, I have no terrors for the rest of the night, just restful sleep.

It’s probably been over a year since the last time I’ve visited that garden. I wanted to write this in hopes of being able to go back there of my own free will, but if that doesn’t happen, that’s alright. At least now I have a record of it if it chooses to leave me. Then I’ll know I’m not completely crazy, I’ll know that I had one. One that delighted me with it’s company more than once.

I had a dream. It wasn’t profound, and it certainly won’t have any impact on history. But it was sunny, and tranquil, and absolutely completely sublime. And it was mine.