31 December 2006

The Healing Power of Music

Writing a song doesn't heal things. Even if the song comes up with a solution, it's still only a theory. Going out and living my lyrics is a whole other deal. That takes courage.
~ Alanis Morissette

While music may not heal things per se, it certainly prepares the way for healing to take place. Especially for those of us not gifted with the ability to express our emotions and thoughts in ordinary conversation. Music allows one to be vulnerable yet still hidden. I can write a song about how I feel about someone ~ whether it be love, frustration or sadness ~ without being exposed. And composing a song helps jump start the healing process in me. If nothing else, it brings the emotion to light.
But Alanis is right. It cannot stop there. It is not true healing if it does. True healing takes place when things change in one's life. As a composer, I cannot be whole unless I take the lyrics of some of my songs and live them out. And that is frightening.
A couple of months ago, I composed a song about standing on the edge of love and being frightened at the prospect of rejection and the prospect of reciprecation. And I realized in the course of writing it, that in the end, what do I have to lose by jumping off and letting myself fall in love again?
More recently, I began composing a song about forgiveness and how difficult it is to forgive fully when you have been hurt by someone. It morphed into a love song along the same lines, with the conclusion being that I know I should be vulnerable and let myself feel and fall in love.
So have I jumped off the cliff yet? Have I allowed myself to finish the healing process and step out into the light and open my heart up? Of course not! :-P But at least I recognize that I need to and for the first time in over two years, I am ready to take the next step. And what better time to make a fresh start then then new year?
Here's to another year of growth, both spiritual and emotional. I pray that 2007 will be such a year for you as well.
In vulnerability,

19 December 2006

Tree Trimming Dinner for Six

I feel a recipe is only a theme, which an intelligent cook can play each time with a variation.
~ Madam Benoit

Between an increased workload at my 9 to 5 job, organizing an average of a party a month and the onset of preparing for Christmas both at my house and the family home, my posting ability has been effectively derailed for the past couple of months.

Speaking of parties and Christmas, I spent this past Saturday evening at my parents' with a small group of friends. Sullivan had never been down to visit so he came early to help me cut down a tree. At first, I thought that we might be able to get away with cutting one down on our property, but they were either giants or dwarfs. So we ended up driving to a tree farm and getting an 8 foot by 5 foot white pine. Poor Sullivan saw the same stretch of Caroline County several times as yours truly tried to remember exactly where Shepherd’s Hill Tree Farm was! I think he shaved off some time in Purgatory. ;-)

Lynda and Forrest had just pulled in when we got back to the house, and the gentlemen worked on putting the tree in the stand while the ladies came inside to begin dinner. Tika and Yeshua came a little later and brought a walnut bundt cake ~ heavenly with coffee. It was a nice change of pace to make dinner for 6 instead of the 50 plus parties I normally host.

Dinner was maple sausage and garlic stuffed mushrooms, Idaho and sweet potato blend and pork chops in apple cream.

I have served this style of pork before: once as tenderloin in Calvados sauce. I couldn’t find the recipe and I didn’t have Calvados this time around. As some of my regular readers know, the lack of ingredients does not phase me in the least. In fact, I consider it a challenge. Epicurous has the original recipe I used. I highly recommend it, especially if you want to impress your friends’ palates. Here is my stripped down version. Amounts are approximate ~ I usually just eyeball it. Enjoy!

½ stick of butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of flour
Pinch of salt and pepper
10 boneless pork chops
3 to 4 cloves of fresh garlic
1 to 2 cups of apple juice
1 to 2 cups of heavy whipping cream
Garnish: Granny Smith apple slices (optional)

Melt the butter and olive oil in a large frying pan. Mix the flour, salt and pepper together and dredge the pork chops in the mixture. Chop garlic and set aside. Cook pork chops until lightly browned on each side. Take out and set aside.

Add chopped garlic to the leftover butter and olive oil. Add more butter as necessary. Add apple juice and whipping cream and stir until almost boiling. Lower the flame and put the pork shops back in the pan until sauce is thick and bubbly. Garnish with apple slices.