Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thank goodness it wasn't a bag of trash

For a while now, I've been carrying something called a "hope bag" in my car with me. It consists of water, non-perishable foods, chapstick, socks and the like and is intended to be handed out to the poor and homeless, should I come across them. My sister started carrying them in her car as part of a project started in her RCIA class at church. I thought it was a thoughtful idea, but I really didn't see it being a worthwhile idea. She told me how moved she was the first time she passed them out, so I told her I would put one in my car. That bad boy has been bouncing around in my car for so long, I had all but forgotten about it. I was approaching a stop light close to downtown Houston on Monday afternoon and I saw an older gentleman standing with his poster under the street light. His words were simple. "Homeless. Need food. Anything will help." He looked tired, broken and probably hadn't seen clean clothes or running water in weeks. For the first time, I was willing the light to turn red and it did. I reached into the backseat and grabbed my hope bag. He started to walk towards me and I rolled down the window and held out the plastic grocery bag for the taking. He looked me square in the face, and with tears in his eyes said, "Thank you. God Bless you ma'am." Of course, I had no great words of hope and could only utter the words "God Bless You" back. Here stood a man, who had more reason than any of us not to believe in God's grace and HE was blessing ME. How incredibly humbling. As I rolled the window up and began to pull thru the now green light, I looked back in my rearview mirror at the man as he opened up the bag to see what was inside. It was then that I had the sudden realization, Holy crap! Please tell me I didn't hand him a bag of trash! But as I saw him open up the bottle of water, my fear subsided. Many things came to mind as I drove home that afternoon. 1. For the least of us is greatest in His eyes. 2. Whatever you did to the least of my breathren, you did it to me. (Matthew 25:31-46) 3. My next hope bag should be brightly colored and clearly labeled "Hope Bag" so as not to be mistaken for a bag of trash.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Where's the Beef?

So, as many of you know, as part of my 40 day Lenten sacrifice this year, I, Jenni Gregory, gave up meat and fried foods. Willingly. At first, it wasn't that big of a deal. Salmon one day, shrimp the next. Mix in some veggies, salads, cheese pizzas...whatever. I'm cool. But ohmygod! the longer this season of sacrifice goes on, the worse my cravings for meat get. In culinary school, I had a friend and fellow classmate that would always say, "Yes, but can you make it savory?" Pastries, cakes, breads, drinks, whatever it was that was intended to be sweet, Carlos wanted to make it savory. Now, I find myself wondering something similar. "Yes, but can you make it with meat? And can it be fried?" I've never had a strong relationship with meat. I could take it or leave it most days. You have to understand that 1) I grew up on a farm. We raised cattle. They were family to me. I named them, I fed them, I loved them. 2) The few encounters I had with steak were abismal at best. (Sorry Mom) For starters, any kind of steak preceded by the words "skirt" or "flank" are not steaks. They each have their time and place, but are not true steaks. And I'm pretty sure that, no matter what part of the cow you cut the meat from, it was never meant to wail in a cake pan, in an oven with a temperature setting of "hell". The burnt, chewy bits that clanked on the plate at the dinner table were a huge turn matter how much A-1 you slathered on them. I don't think I truly knew what a nice piece of filet tasted like until I was in college. What about chicken, you ask? Yeah, let's talk about that for a minute. We raised those on the farm too. We hated them. For one thing, they smell. Bad! I remember going to feed them every afternoon when I came home from school. Those bastards were mean! You would think that we never fed them or something. As they impatiently waited for me to throw their food out to them (okay, yeah, i threw it at them) they would incessantly peck away at my toes. Yeah, so it was my choice to wear flip flops in the chicken coup, but still. My toes were not pellets of food to those clucking devils. And have you ever tried to curl your toes up under your feet as you ran for your life? I never was happier than when I slammed the gate shut to the chicken coup, looked back at the chickens, and shouted out, "Better luck tomorrow suckas!" So, the very long answer to the short question...I have no problems eating chicken. Deep frying them is my silent song of victory. My cravings have begun to find me in my sleep. Last night, I dreamt of beef lollipops, beef stuffed beef tenderloin, topped with a sweet red wine meat sauce served with a side of deep fried meat, followed by a dessert of meat cake and meat pudding...all being chased down to my belly with some meat tea. I WANT SOME MEAT!!! One more week. ...Sigh...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My blog-o-sphere debut

Because I have too many of those "Did anybody else just see/hear/do that?" moments... Have you ever wondered what it would be like to see into someone else's head? Like a tiny little cross-section of their brain? No? Huh. Guess it's just me. Well, anyways... I thought I would give you a little snipit into the innermost workings of my daily thought processes. Read if you want...or don't. But I promise you, if you choose the latter, you will lead a sad, sad life and leave people wondering if you were hugged enough as a child... I'm just sayin'. I can't say how religious I'll be with my updates, but, check back often. Life is too fun not to share it with others. Seriously.