Saturday, 31 October 2009
Sunday thoughts . . .
"My Sorrow, when she's here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane."
- Robert Frost, My November Guest
Ahhh . . . November, November . . . it is hard to believe that we are already in the month of November. Where has the summer gone . . . can it be that autumn is already halfway through? And yet . . . as I look around me the evidence is there, plain for me to see . . . the quickly emptying branches of the trees . . . ground sodden with fog and rain . . . dry seed pods of the summer's plants, the only evidence that they once were . . . nights that come dark and early . . .
This is the month that I started my journey of living over here in the UK, some nine years ago now. I landed on these green and verdent shores on Halloween and was married on the 11th of November. (I thought that would be a hard anniversary to forget!) I have had ever so many blessings heaped upon me these past nine years, and I am truly grateful for each and every one of them. I do live in a lovely place, with a warm and comfortable home, a loving husband, an adoring dog and a very satisfying job. It is good to dwell on all that is good in my life . . . I know the fleetingness of happiness . . . and the solidness of joy . . .
Sometimes my heart lays heavy like a stone in my chest, though . . . and I need to turn to my Heavenly Father and ask for him to heal the hurt that lays there, seemingly unmoveable. It would be wrong of me to pretend that all is light and gay in my life, for that is not always true . . . I, too, have my sorrows and regrets.
Today I am feeling them . . . my baby boy is off to bootcamp and I was not able to really speak to him before he left . . . and share my heart and feelings with him, and he has requested that I not contact him whilst he is there, so I don't even have an address to contact him on . . . it makes me sad. Divorce is a nasty thing . . . it destroys families in the worst possible way. It puts walls between people who should love each other, no matter how hard you try to prevent that from happening . . .
I have one son who hates my faith . . . who sees that as having been the reason for his parents breaking up, even though nothing could be further than the truth. He doesn't understand that when he hates my faith . . . he hates the very essence of who I am. That bruises my soul in untold ways.
I have a younger daughter who, for whatever reasons . . . they are her own . . . has chosen to cut me out of her life completely, and so I wait and devour every scrap of information about what is going on in her life . . . and pounce upon even the briefest message she deigns to send my way on facebook, holding any and every word close to my heart, and wishing it could be different. Praying for a way to break down the wall that seems immoveable and solid between us, but not knowing where to begin tearing down the bricks that built it . . . because it is all a deep mystery to me, this unwillingness of hers to forge any sort of relationship between us . . . and I don't know where to begin . . .
Even my oldest daughter no longer wants me to call. Her life is too busy and full . . . she says. She has no time to talk on the telephone . . .
I can feel them all beginning to pull away from me, and I am at a loss as to how to prevent this from happening. It rocks the very core of me from time to time . . . times when I can't push it down and away . . . times like now . . . this morning, when my feelings seem raw and tender and it feels like even the briefest touch upon them will break my heart open like a melon that falls to the floor, and the tears come, and my soul aches.
My oldest son is the only one that really seems to care, but then . . . he is the one who is most like me. Sentimental and caring, with a heart as big as the world, and vulnerable to all the slings and arrows that would try to penetrate it. I know he has been hurt too . . . with the splitting apart of this family . . . but he is too kind to want to bruise me with his thoughts, and so he keeps them to himself.
I know this is deep this morning, and not my usual Pollyanna self . . . but this is me keeping it real. This is why my faith is so important to me, why I need my Heavenly Father and His healing touch so very much. He is the God of healing hearts and new beginnings, the source of comfort and joy and truth and light. When I feel bruised to the very core of my being . . . it is in His arms I seek my comfort and it is in His arms my soul finds rest . . .
It will be ok tomorrow . . . after all . . . this is the month of Thanksgiving . . .
*Boeuf Aux Carottes*
(Braised Beef Brisket with Carrots)
THis is a lovely meal that requires very little effort. You end up with meltingly tender beef in a rich broth, all sweet and buttery from the carrots. I served it with a celeriac/potato mash and some lightly steamed haricots verts. (green beans, lol)
2 TBS extra virgin olive ioil
1.5 kg rolled beef brisket
1/2kg of carrots, peeled and trimmed
150g bacon lardons
1 onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 fresh bay leaf
1 spring of fresh thyme
1 small leafy celery stalk
2 cups dry white wine or unsweetened apple juice
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 150*C/300*F.
Heat 1 TBS of the oil in a large roaster on top of the stove. (Use one that has a lid) Add the brisket and brown it slowly on all sides. Once browned, remove it to a plate and seasont it generously. Set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in the roaster and add the carrots, 1 tsp of salt and cook, stirring them occasionally, until they are browned. This will take 3 to 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Put the lardons and onions into the roaster and cook them over high heat until nicely browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaf, thyme, celery, beef and carrots. Pour in the wine or juice and add water almost to cover. Bring to the boil, skimming off any foam that may surface. Top with the lid and then pop it into the heated oven and r5oast, covered, for 3 hours, turning the meat at least once during that time.
Remove from the oven and take the meat out of the liquid. Let reast for about 15 minutes, before cutting into thin slices to serve, accompanied with the carrots and lovely juices spooned over top. Delicious!!
In The English Kitchen today . . . Portugese Custard Tarts.