Few things are more beautiful than fresh-fallen snow. It covers up all of the imperfections and hides the garbage of our lives. In the Merchant of Venice, in the beautiful speech by Portia, she refers to grace falling like rain from heaven.
The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes. The Merchant Of Venice Act 4, scene 1, 180–187
But even as beautiful as this is, I like to think of grace or mercy as snow, falling gently, covering up the hurts and slights and grudges of our human existence.
Like last weekend’s snow, sparkling under the soft sheen of the street lamps, clean and fresh. That’s how I like to think of God’s forgiveness and the perfect forgiveness between people. And we sure need it, don’t we? Getting along with people isn’t easy in the best of circumstances. We all need a fresh layer of forgiveness and grace, for ourselves and for each other.
Last December I did a little pop-up program at ElmhurstPublic Library on how to cut a perfect snowflake. I found some really elaborate patterns online, but I used simpler, easier ones and made these beautiful snowflakes. And then I found this book about the science of snowflakes. It’s pretty great.
Kenji, our low-key, super easygoing cat occasionally decides he needs to tear some things up. He’ll sometimes shred an entire pile of napkins, just for the heck of it. He’s taken a shine to my paper snowflakes hanging in the window. There used to be about 7. Now I have 3 1/2 left. I’m guessing that the winter will finally be over once he’s destroyed them all. And I’ll probably be okay with that.
Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Avocado-Peach Salsa
Well, this is technically two recipes, so does that mean I get a free day? Probably not if I’m going to make it through the whole cookbook by the end of the church year.
Here’s the bad news: I completely forgot to write about Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. Sheesh. Will try to make up for that later.
Good news is that I made this grilled pork tenderloin (p. 48). My grill is broken (plus there’s still about a foot of snow on the ground, so couldn’t get to it), so Jeff W., the contributor for this recipe, told me I could cook it in the oven at 375 degrees for about 45 min. Before I went to work on Ash Wednesday, I cooked it, and then when I got home, real quick added the brown sugar, honey, and sesame seeds before warming it up for dinner. And here’s how it turned out!
The recipe calls for peaches, but an optional substitute is mangoes. Because I doubt if a peach can be found around here in March, I decided on mangoes.
The salsa is so colorful and flavorful–loved it! Thanks, Jeff, for another winner!