Thursday, 3 June 2010
When have you felt the most beautiful . . .
I don't suppose I have ever been a spectacularly beautiful woman to look at. When I look back on pictures of myself through the years, I can't find one where I looked really heart stopping, drop dead . . . gorgeous. I don't think I would have ever won any beauty contests, although to be sure I did look a lot better at the age of 16 than I do now! (ahh . . . age . . . how cruel your sting!!)
There were moments in my life, however . . . when I have felt beautiful. As I sit here and ponder those times this morning, I realize that my real moments of beauty were the result of something much more powerful than just a combination of a great hairstyle, some expensive makeup and fancy clothing.
The day of my first wedding, I felt beautiful. In my long white gown, my dark curls haloed with the white wisp of my veil, and clutching the little white bible that had been a gift from my father on my fourth Easter, adorned with a simple bouquet of red sweetheart roses, I think I looked beautiful in the photo, but it is the real beauty of expectation and hope . . . and the expression of jubilant happiness on my face that makes me so. I did feel a bit of a princess on that day, but my real beauty came from within.
I felt the same kind of beautiful on the day I stood next to my Todd and exchanged vows with him . . . some twenty five years later, and then again later on that same day, when we kneeled across an altar in our Temple, holding hands and making sacred covenants to each other . . . the beauty of heart swelling, jaw aching joy . . . it just beams out from both our faces.
Another time when I felt like the most beautiful woman in the world was the day I gave birth to my eldest son, my first born. The birth experience itself was a bit of an ordeal . . . unlike any experience I could have possibly prepared myself for ahead of time . . . but afterwards, when that wee lad was put into my arms, and I looked down at him . . . all the pain and agony of birth simply faded away . . . and I felt more beautiful than I had ever felt in my life . . . although my hair hung down all damp and sweaty around my tired and exhausted face. I was a mom . . . something I had been looking forward to being throughout my whole life, and I was more in love than I had ever felt possible with the tiny, beautiful little creature I held in my arms. It was the same each and every time I gave birth, and when I look at photos of my two daughter's in law, taken just after they have given birth to my grandsons, I see the same, tired beauty there . . . and the love . . . the radiant beams of pure joy and love that emanates from their entire beings that helps to make them so . . .
I can remember giving a talk in church very early on after I had joined the LDS church. I can't even remember what the talk was about now, but I do remember that, at some point during my talk, I was filled with the most wonderful spirit and love for my Saviour . . . so much so that I actually felt like I was glowing. Afterwards, one of my friends came over to let me know how very much she had enjoyed my talk, and she mentnioned during our conversation that, about halfway through my talk, her young daughter had leaned over to her and remarked on how beautiful I was . . . and the truth was that I had actually felt beautiful during that talk. The beauty of feeling the Holy Spirit, and the deep feelings of love for my Saviour and Redeemer had not only transformed and filled my heart in that moment, but my whole countenance as well. Love for the Saviour can do what no bottle or brush on earth can.
There have been many instances in my life when I have felt most beautiful, and I can see a common thread running through each and every one of them . . . and even though the experiences have been as different as apples and oranges, the common denominator that has made them all equal, has been the special love that I have felt during those moments . . . the love that has been able to transform me and lift me up and out of the ordinary to the ethereal. The love for a husband, a child . . . my Saviour. This is probably the most important beauty lesson I have learned in my life.
Love, indeed, has the power to transform us and transcend our physical limitations. For without love, and the wonder of love, what are we really???? Merely empty shells of what we could be. With wonder and love, I believe we can become the most radiant creatures on earth, filled with true beauty . . . the inner kind, the kind that counts the most of all.
We had a gorgeous, sunny day here yesterday. We spent a good part of the day out in the garden. Days like that are perfect for quick and easy suppers like this lovely rustic tomato tart. it's not at all that hard to execute, and comes out looking so very pretty when it's done. It's also quite delicious!!!
*Rustic Tomato Tart*
Makes one large or 4 smaller tarts
You can either choose to make one big one or four smaller ones. Either way it's delicious! Easy and quick to put together too!
1 package of short crust pastry, or make your own if so inclined
1 small tub of fresh basil pesto from the chiller cabinet in the grocery store
(or you can use sun dried tomato pesto instead if you wish)
8 ounces gruyere cheese, freshly grated
6 medium sized, ripe tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a few basil leaves
Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/gas mark 6. Line either or one, or two if making smaller ones, large baking trays with parchment paper. Set aside.
If making a large one roll the pastry out into an even circle, no more than 1/4 of an inch thick. If making the smaller opnes, divide your pastry into 4 equal pieces and roll each out into an even circle, no more than 1/4 inch thick. Place each round at least 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.
Divide and spread the pesto to within 1 1/2 inch of the edge of the pastry round (s). Sprinkle with 1/2 of the grated gruyere cheese, sprinkling it evenly over the pesto.
Slice the tomatoes in half with a sharp knife and then cut each half into four wedges. Place the wedges in a decorative manner over top of the cheese and pest. Bring up the edges of the pastry to cover just the edges of the tomatoes, without covering them completely. Dust with salt and pepper, and then sprinkle the remaining gruyere cheese over top of all. Tear up a few basil leaves and scatter them over top.
Bake in the heated oven until the pastry is crisp and golden and the tomatoes are just starting to tinge with colour. Remove from the oven and serve. You may dust the top with a bit of Parmesan cheese just prior to serving if you wish. These go lovely with a lightly dressed salad of rocket and spinach.
A delicious Rhubarb Custard pie awaits on The English Kitchen today!