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Monday, November 14, 2011

Retreat…


He Treats Me to a Feast; Notes from my Abundant Life

Retreat…
 May the LORD answer you when you are in distress;
   may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
 May he send you help from the sanctuary
   and grant you support from Zion.
3 May he remember all your sacrifices
   and accept your burnt offerings.  Selah
Psalms 20:1-3 (NIV)

  an act or process of withdrawing especially from what is difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable 
 the process of receding from a position or state attained : the usually forced withdrawal of troops from an enemy or from an advanced position 
a period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, study, or instruction under a director
from Merriam.com, definition of retreat

My Gayle came to hang out after spending three days at a women’s retreat sponsored by her church.  She’s so good.  I told her that part of me would have loved to attend the retreat with her, but I’d probably have spent most of the sessions sitting in the naughty corner…I can be a tad irreverent.  God knows my heart, but I’m not at all sure He immediately tells everyone else that He loves me just the way I am.
She came, because as much as she needed retreat, she wanted to give me retreat as well.  I understand, and it is only one of the reasons I love her…

After the birth of her second son, in the wake of her mother passing, she was a little overwhelmed.  Within the first month, my family rode in as the cavalry…allowing her retreat.  The husbands hung out, my son took charge of her eldest, and my daughter and I took charge of her and the baby.  She retreated. By Sunday afternoon of that weekend as we were preparing to depart, she wasn’t teetering on any brinks anymore.  She’d found her sea legs.  Her batteries were recharged.

This weekend, she luxuriated in her retreat, and I sought out my own. We got pedicures…her toes purple, mine orange and black.  We giggled.  We giggled a lot.  We laughed so much that we had to explain to complete strangers that we were happy just to be together. I even shared her with my family; she ate a complete hot meal at a restaurant; didn’t cut anybody’s food but her own.

As a retired Air Force Officer, she understands the psychology of withdrawing, as a form of retreat.  According to Wikipedia,
withdrawal is a type of military operation, generally meaning retreating forces back while maintaining contact with the enemy. A withdrawal may be undertaken as part of a general retreat, to consolidate forces, to occupy ground that is more easily defended, or to lead the enemy into an ambush.  

For us civilians, it amounts to a time out.  It doesn’t mean surrender, it means I’m taking a break, and who couldn’t use a break??

According to biblical scholars, the 20th Psalms was likely written before going to war, so it’s apropos of the notion of retreat.  Retreat was never intended to mean, “I quit.”  It merely means I need a minute, I need to recharge, and then I’m coming back (probably with a vengeance).

I love to mix it up, but I am equally grateful for the wisdom that reminds me to slow down, fall back, retreat.  Wise warriors care for themselves, particularly when they’ve already planned to take the hill. 
As I consider today’s hodgepodge of blessings, I am thankful for the good sense to fall back, as necessary.  I am thankful for wisdom that permits me to rest before I collapse.  I am thankful that among my many blessings, God has poured into me a modicum of good sense.  And while good sense may not be something in my bank account, I praise Him nonetheless for its immeasurable value.  Good sense is another reminder of my cup that overflows.  And that abundance is today’s clue that God is Good.

Today’s Feast: My Homemade Pesto 

Back story-Today’s recipe was going to be Grilled Potato Salad, usually a summer treat, but because of mild weather, the side dish for yesterday’s grilled dinner (chicken, turkey Italian sausage, steelhead trout and asparagus). However, I use my homemade pesto to make my grilled potato salad, so you’ll just have to standby for another day’s feast.  It’ll be worth it. Once again, this is more process that precisely measured recipe…it should come out tasting good to you.

2 C fresh basil leaves, cleaned but dry
4 cloves garlic, peeled and rough chopped
About ¼ C parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
About ¼ C extra virgin olive oil, to start
Freshly cracked pepper and sea salt, to taste

In a food processor, add the garlic and parmesan to the basil leaves.  Start with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and process.  Continue drizzling in oil until the pesto is the texture of slightly warm peanut butter (holds on a spoon but is still silky).  Add salt and cracked black pepper to taste.  The cheese should be the primary salty tang, but all the elements should be balanced.  When you get it right, no one ingredient should overpower any of the others.

You may certainly add pine nuts, walnuts, or use arugula and or parsley in making this recipe your own, but this is how we do it.  

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