I recently spent the weekend with my son, Luke, in southwest Oklahoma. He manages a large ranch there set in the hills of vast trees and rugged trails. I love going there because, for one thing, I get to spend time with him and his dogs, Maggie and Gus. And for another, I get to get out of the city and enjoy the peace and quiet of the country.
The ranch is a majestic spot set on nearly 3,000 acres and Luke has transformed it into a real paradise. The grounds around the ranch house, the barn, the shed, and the corral are immaculate. Big trees stand by the house and shade the nearby fire pit. It’s a perfect spot for morning coffee or friends around a fire at night.
There are cattle and horses that Luke tends to and across the rolling hills deer graze and raise their heads to stare if Luke and I pull up in the gator. Then they take off, running elegantly into the woods.
… is a reality for all of us no matter where we live, or how old we are, or if we’re female or male. When we have been abused, used, belittled and made to feel less than, we must learn to keep our heart open in order to heal. We have an opportunity to lead the way in righting the wrongs we see in the world by changing ourselves and our families so our part of the world changes.
The rampant abuse of patriarchal power against one half of the world’s population is a huge spiritual wake-up call.
So what is the answer? What can you and I do?
As men and women of all or no religious faiths, we must wake up to what it means to be emotionally healthy.
Today, I was reading an article on the website of a leading news organization written by a seasoned investigative journalist and decided to look at the string of comments. As a public figure and someone devoted to integrity and God I have been trolled on a few occasions over the years. But, I was taken aback at the number of hateful comments made against the man’s fact based reporting by people who voluntarily identified themselves as Christians.
Yet, I was not really surprised. Over the past several years I have noticed a growing incongruence within the political and religious arenas in the United States between some who call themselves Christians and behavior that is anything but Christ-like.
Maybe these people attend a congregation where the vilification of those
I had lunch recently with my friend Andy Morrison. Andy is in his early 40s and has Asperger’s Syndrome. Asperger’s falls within the autism spectrum of developmental disorders. The condition involves the development of basic skills such as communication and socialization. In people with Asperger’s these skills are delayed and complex in their functions. People with Asperger’s may display eccentric behavior, a preoccupation with specific subjects or rituals, a limited range of interests, and most noticeably problems with social skills.
Andy struggles with all of these difficulties. But one major difference is his vast intelligence. He is a voracious reader with a photographic memory. He fully understands language, has a phenomenal vocabulary, and an encyclopedic mind. I learn from him every time we meet.
Leonardo Da Vinci was a genius. He is loved not only for The Mona Lisa but also for The Last Supper, the most reproduced religious painting of all time. We also adore the work of his contemporary Michelangelo whose sculptures of the David and the Pieta are divinely inspired masterpieces. Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo were amazing artists that continue to make the world better for their having lived.
We are meant to create a beautiful work of art from our precious life too.
The art of our life does not have to be in marble or fresco.
Our great work of art is to lovingly touch the heart of others so our life will be seen as a masterpiece in God’s eyes.
There seems to be a perception among some people that because I have a spiritual page and am devoted to God I am not supposed to speak about politics. I am not supposed to take a side. I’m supposed to turn the other cheek or remain silent and just watch while negative and evil consumes us.
Well, Jesus certainly took sides. He spoke up against those in political and religious influence who abused their power over others. He would be doing the same thing in a huge way today! That gives me the courage to do so also.
It’s time we understand we are in a battle between good and evil. This fight
Growing up in the southern part of the United States during the 1960s I was surrounded by white supremacy and privilege. I’m gay so I know how it feels to be considered and treated less than. Yet, as a gay woman, I go through life with the choice of being out or not and being white I walk through life unaware of my color. My dark skin brothers and sisters still do not have this freedom.
The scientific fact is, all human beings – black, brown, white – can trace our common dark skin ancestors back to Africa.
Each of us is a member of the human race.
That’s why my brown and black friends and I agree we don’t have a race problem. We have a respect problem.
Sociologist Theodor Adorno once wrote that “Triviality is evil.” That might very well be an appropriate epitaph for our nation. We may actually see the end to a great experiment in freedom, creativity, ingenuity, genius, and a once civil society known as America. And it won’t be from a terrorist bomb.
Triviality certainly fits our current political climate. It describes much of religion in America today. It explains our economy and the shredding of fairness in the workplace, in the giant corporate arena, and in the wild untamed monkeyshine behavior of Wall Street and its gang of banks.
2 pounds ground turkey (optional but browned and drained of excess fat)
2 28 ounce cans Hunt’s tomato sauce
1 28 ounce can Hunt’s petite diced tomatoes (drain, pick out peels)
1 6 ounce can Hunt’s tomato paste
1 6 ounce red wine (I fill the empty tomato paste can)
8 ounce pack whole white button mushrooms (remove end of stems, wash, slice and cut into small pieces)
8 ounce pack whole Baby portabella mushrooms (remove end of stems, wash, slice and cut into small pieces)
1 large yellow or white onion (sliced, diced and sautéed in olive oil until translucent)
1 4.5 ounce can diced black olives
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped (I used garlic in a jar or dehydrated soaked in warm water)
3 bay leaves
1 tsp. Ground fennel (overflowing tsp.)
1 tsp. Peperoncini (red pepper flakes)
1 Tbs. Oregano leaves (overflowing Tbs.)
2 Tbs. Parsley flakes (overflowing Tbs.)
2 Tbs. Salt-free Italian seasoning (overflowing Tbs.)
1 tsp. Basil (overflowing tsp.)
1 Tbs. Brown sugar (overflowing Tbs.)
1 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for sauce not browning onions)
Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently, then immediately reduce heat to low.
Fix lid on pot so steam is allowed to escape. Cook on low for two hours. Stir every fifteen to twenty minutes.
Turn off heat and leave on stove with pot vented to allow steam to escape if you plan to serve within two hours. It’s better if you let sauce sit in pot overnight in the refrigerator.
Reheat right before serving over your choice of pasta or a personal favorite, oven roasted ¼ inch thin-sliced red, yellow, and orange bell pepper. Top either choice with powdered Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Freeze the rest of sauce for later.
Additional Ingredients for Lasagna
In the above recipe substitute a second can of petite diced tomatoes for one of the tomato sauce and add these: 8 ounces Shredded low-fat Mozzarella, 1 container low-fat Ricotta cheese (room temperature) and powdered Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Lasagna noodles.
Make exact same sauce recipe with the second can of tomatoes instead of sauce.
Once sauce is cool, next day is best, lightly coat bottom and sides of deep 9 x 12 baking dish with olive oil.
Boil lasagna noodles according to recipe with 1 Tbs. olive oil in water.
Once noodles are cooked immediately rinse them in cold water to keep from sticking together.
Separate noodles and pat dry with paper towel.
Put layer of noodles in bottom of dish (I use 4 overlapped noodles for the bottom layer then 3 or 4 for each remaining layer). I use all noodles in the box.
Add a layer of sauce mixture (spread evenly to cover noodles but not too thick).
Space teaspoon size portions Ricotta cheese (so there is Ricotta in each piece of cut lasagna).
Spread grated mozzarella cheese over the layer.
Dust with powdered Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Repeat until you have 4 layers and have used all pasta noodles, mozzarella and Ricotta.
End with sauce layer and top with powdered Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (you should have some sauce left to freeze).
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Uncover and bake for an addition 20 to 25 minutes to lightly brown top.
When thoroughly heated remove from oven and let stand for 20 to 30 minutes before cutting and serving.