Welcome to life:unmasked, a weekly blog link-up in which we gather to step out from behind our masks a little, get real, and maybe even try to write naked. We take Jesus seriously when He teaches that His love is unconditional, and we know that there’s something about sharing our imperfections that makes it easier to love and encourage one another.

Today I’m sharing my latest recipe invention, Italian Chili.

It’s quite simple. First, invite friends to have dinner with you (out-of-town friends who you see once every few years works best).

Whip up your favorite Tex-Mex chili and let it simmer all day, permeating your home with its full-flavored goodness.

About five minutes before your guests arrive, give it a quick taste test and decide it needs just a touch more oregano.

Grab the bulk container, remove the lid, give it a good vigorous shake, and watch half the container empty into an oregano mountain on your chili.

Wail “Oh NOOOOO!” as you glance at the clock and whisper a prayer that your friends get lost. For a few hours.

Discover that the little sprinkling thing with the holes came off with the lid.

Scoop out as much of the oregano as you can and add extra tomato to try to dilute the flavor. Let it simmer awhile longer.

Tell everyone that it’s Italian chili, not Tex-Mex.

pile of oregano poured over chili
(I snapped this photo just minutes before some friends from college arrived at our home for dinner. I decided to tell them rather than try to pass the chili off as fine.  They were very kind, assuring me that the oregano flavor wasn’t too strong.)

Life: UnmaskedIt’s your turn!

First, grab the life:unmasked button code for your post or the link to this post so you can let your readers know you’re participating (and they can too!).

Here’s the code you need: <a href=”http://joyinthisjourney.com/category/memes/life-unmasked/”><img style=”border: 0pt none;” src=”http://www.joywbennett.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/unmasked_New1501-2.jpg” alt=”Life: Unmasked” width=”150″ height=”134″ border=”0″ /></a>

Then, add the direct URL to your life:unmasked post in the linky below. (If you have written for life:unmasked in the last two weeks, feel free to add those posts as well. I know a few of you kept writing even though I took a holiday break.)

Finally, visit and comment on at least two of the posts linked up (perhaps the two just before yours). Let’s encourage one another this week!