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
Printable Recipe

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!

17 comments:

Jen @ tatertotsandjello.com said...

Beautiful post Marie. You are beautiful on the inside and out. I loved seeing your wedding pictures. It is so important to think of the special moments in our lives.

That tomato tart looks so good! Working out in your garden sounds great. It was warm here for the first time this Spring today and I sat out in the sun - it felt so good! My kids get out of school tomorrow. I am so excited for Summer to start! have a good day my friend!

XOXO
Jen

Angie said...

I think this was a lovely post Marie.All our different perceptions of beauty and all of them apply to every one of us at some time. So we're all beautiful at some level at all times. Great!

Sheilagh (60 x60) said...

A very beautiful post from a beautiful soul. Thank you for some thought provoking words Marie. You look so very happy in both wedding photo's.

hugs

Sheilagh

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Beauty is often felt most in the heart and not seen by eyes but if the heart is beautiful then I think what we see is beautiful too. Looking through the eyes of love makes most everything wonderful. Such a wise person you are. I hope your day is a great one!

Suze said...

This is a lovely post Marie. You gladden my heart. Enjoy your day.

Judy - Scottsdale,AZ said...

You looked beautiful in every picture......but MOST BEAUTIFUL standing next to Todd!!!! Loved your story.

Diva Kreszl said...

oh sweet Marie, but you are quite beautiful! inside and out, just as God created you to be :)

Bonnie said...

This is a very thought provoking post, Marie. I think you have looked beautiful at every stage of your life.

Beauty and feeling beautiful is such an important thing in our various cultures but it seems we get caught up in the silly parts of that sometimes.

When my daughters would have self doubts in this department I would always tell them they were beautiful because they truly are. One thing though where they were concerned and I think it translates to us all is that a smile makes everyone way more beautiful. It truly is that inner beauty that makes all the difference. I have known some physically beautiful women that were not pretty at all an vice versa. It is about the spirit, about modesty, about righteousness, about making the best of what we have been given, developing our personality, character and talents. It is about faith, hope and above all love. Feeling the love and the giving of it.

Another thing I think is beautiful about people is the wisdom they accumulate over time. And I love the fact that as we age we are more likely to see real beauty in ourselves and in others.

But it is fun to think about those fleeting moments in our youth when we truly felt like we looked beautiful. The whole topic is fascinating and multi-faceted, isn't it? Fun topic!

Tracy said...

Such a LOVELY post today, Marie! Just LOVE seeing your wedding photos...You looks so HAPPY! And that is the best sort of beauty, I think. I'm no beauty pageant contestant either--in terms of physical, outward beauty I don't really make the cut...LOL! And with aging, the bodily changes can be tough to deal with sometimes. But I suppose I try to cultivate an inner beauty, which matters more than what's on the outside. My most "beautiful moment" was my wedding day too. :o) LOVE this tomato tart today, Marie. Summer has arrived here this week, and I've been cooking lighter. Can wait for summer days ahead and picnics, salads...mmm...Happy Day to you & Todd--LOVE YOU BOTH LOTS!! OXOX ((BIG HUGS))

hoLLy said...

definitely my wedding day-not because i was dressed up, my hair done up, make up, etc. it was the way joey looked at me that day when he first saw me in the temple, that moment i will never forget. his face just lit up and the love i felt right then was the strongest and purest love i've ever felt. that is what made me feel like a queen. love.

Jan's Blog said...

I know that you are beautiful by your word and deed. I know you are beautiful because of the friendship you have with Lura, and by the precious comments you leave me. I know by the way that you help those around you that you are beautiful. I know because that's when I know I'm beautiful... not to the eye, but to the heart. You and I have beautiful hearts and that's as much beauty as we will ever need. We aren't beauty queens, but we're georgeous!!!

Kath said...

I don't know how many times I have to tell you that you are beautiful Marie.Now get hogging that mirror and say yes I am Beautiful,Yes I am heeeee!!!
I love both your wedding pictures,you look a picture of Beauty on both of them.Have a lovely day Mrs Beautiful,can you read that?.Take Care God Bless Kath xx

Elizabeth G. said...

HI!

I loved reading about the times of your life when you felt beautiful. I have to say that I share feelings and memories and of similar times.

I think as we get older we redefine Beauty to mean more joyful, spiritual things, don't we?

Boy, the cookin' on this post looks yummy. I wonder if I should try my hand at the tart...I make pies, but I've never made a tart before.

I hope you are having a peaceful, lovely day, my friend.

God bless,
Elizabeth

Gloria said...

aah Marie, You are beatiful my dear! absolutely, you are a warm and sweet person, aah and this picture with Todd is absolutely lovely and you look really happy and he too!Is a nice picture.You and Todd are lucky to have each other and love each other Marie, and I think you have a beauty love story!!
Huggssss and kisses, love ya.
You are special,dear, Personally I dont like to see my wedding pictures I dont know why, because I think is soooo far time, and yes Im special too, but I love my kids pictures are lovely, xoxoxooxo

Mica said...

I too think you are beautiful... inside and out Marie. Beauty is deeper than what's on the outside. Beauty comes from the heart. That's what I like most about you....you have always been a beautiful person to me and this post was beautiful. Hugs...Mica

~*~ saskia ~*~ said...

Your tart looks delicious. Beautiful post, Marie. Wishing you a wonderful weekend! xx

Jeanie said...

You have a beautiful heart and soul Marie. That's the 'real' kind of beauty that we should all aspire to.
You were glowing more brightly in the photo of you and Todd. Especially Todd. He looked the happiest man on earth!
Bless you both. Keep up the good work in the garden and let us know what decides to pop out of the ground at harvest time. (What's he like ...forgetting to label them!) lol Now we all await with anticipation to see the fruits of his labours.
May the sun shine brightly on your little vegetable patch.
Hugs
Jeanie xxx