Baby Steps

I have a niece who will turn one in August. She has already learned to walk and barrels around with determined self-confidence. I’m always amazed watching her. She’ll be heading straight towards her destination, and trip on something that knocks her down, or she’ll reach out to something for balance and find that it moves, and down she’ll go. But what I find remarkable isn’t the falling, it’s the getting up. Time and time again she’ll lose her balance and sit down hard or land on her hands and knees, and before I know it….she’s back on her feet — and usually giggling — as if falling is half the fun. I don’t know when that changes for us. I suppose it’s gradual…our first experience with real pain tells us whatever we were doing must not be good — our pride gets hurt, our expectations raise — and suddenly it’s not about the process but about the product. I watched my niece today and felt a little jealous. And I wondered if it would be possible to re-capture some of that childhood sense of total abandon — to throw myself at life with such fervor that even falling down is exciting.

Recipes From A Monastery Kitchen

by Gourmet Nun 

I happen to be one of these people who have a natural love for vegetables and never had to be coaxed or made to eat them – I realize that this is not the case with everyone.  Just recently I overheard two mothers talking about this.  One was telling the other that the only way she can get vegetables into the family diet is to blend them into spaghetti sauce.  Of course a good Bolognese sauce already has carrots, onions, and celery in it.  I suppose one could slip a little green vegetable in if they were careful not to overdo it.

The other mother maintained that her trick was to always serve them with tasty dips and sauces.  I would like to offer another suggestion that works especially well with broccoli, the widely acclaimed miracle food, medically proven to be a nutritional super star.  Hidden within each stalk and floweret is a powerful substance effective in lowering cholesterol and preventing cancer and contributing to overall health in general.

Try my Broccoli Bake and see for yourself if you don’t immediately feel stronger, healthier and more satisfied than you ever have after eating this nutrient rich vegetable!

Broccoli Bake

2 egg whites
¼ cup mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
Peel of ½ lemon, grated
2 pounds broccoli, fresh or 2 (10 ounce) packages
2 Tablespoons butter, melted

Yield:  Makes 4 to 6 servings

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Fold in mayonnaise.  Stir in cheese, parsley, and lemon peel.  Arrange cooked broccoli in oven-proof serving dish.  Pour melted butter over broccoli.  Top with egg white mixture.  Sprinkle with paprika.  Bake 5 minutes or until puffy and lightly browned.


Late Have I Loved You

The other day I was out in my car running errands with a young friend of mine. We were indulging ourselves in a rousing singalong with a recording of some of Mr. Handel’s choruses. My small friend suddenly stopped singing and said, “Wait, I don’t get what’s so funny.” “Funny?” I asked puzzled. “Why are they singing Ho! Ho! Ho! is it like Santa?”

Rather than attempting any discussion of musical style, I said that I guessed maybe it was like Santa Claus because it was, after all, about sharing a whole lot of Great Big Joy. This of course opened the door to some very serious belly laughing. My apologies to the composer and all of his friends, but I can’t help thinking that laughter that comes straight from the belly especially the belly of a child, is a Great Big Joy to God’s heart.

First Day of School

by Melodius Monk      

In church this morning a grandmother prayed for her grandson who had just had his first day of kindergarten.  He told her the first day of school was “horrible”, and she was praying that the second day might go better for him. I no longer remember my first day of kindergarten, but I could understand this first day being troublesome. I’m willing to try most things, even with a bit of enthusiasm, but if it doesn’t work out, or especially if it feels “horrible” — if I have an option, I’m done.

I started thinking about how I deal with new things in my every-day life.

Recently, God seems to be asking me to try some new things with the way I interact with people, and in how I hold on to hurt feelings and anger.  As St. Benedict says, the monastery is meant to be a “school for the Lord’s service” — which brings me back to Kindergarten.  I’m thinking, of course the boy will go back to school the next day, slowly his new world will seem normal, and he’ll be on his way to many formative years of schooling. Maybe what I need, is to show up for each new thing today, and to stop shying away from situations and relationships I’d rather avoid.