Simmering pots and changing views

food-pot-kitchen-cooking.jpg“Up, up”, cried the curly blonde headed toddler as I stirred the big simmering pot of lima beans.  The scent of supper hung in the air, tempting me to perform yet another taste test.  My pallet satisfied, I turned to put away the remains of the ham I has used to season my savory soup.

I felt a tug on the leg of my blue jeans, prompting a downward glance at a vision resembling my youngest 20 years ago.

The practical, get-things-done side of me almost said, “Go play, sweetie”, but the Nana in me bursting with love for this little angel, took one look in those blue eyes filled with curiosity and I picked her up and positioned her on my hip instead.

She was fascinated by the steam coming off the pot and pointed toward it, exclaiming “Hot, hot!”.  Right on the heels of “hot, hot”, was “eat, eat”.  I guess she repeats things to make sure she gets her point across.  God does that with me.

As I held her, allowing her to touch the cool, granite counter, hold a round, ripe grapefruit and smell it’s clean citrus scent she smiled.  I gave her a taste from a small spoon, after she and I “blew it” to cool it off, and I was reminded of something.

While she stood on the kitchen floor, hearing the sounds of lids banging, water boiling, the chopping of onions, she couldn’t see any of it.  She could smell something that awakened her hunger, but she couldn’t dig in, she heard noises but she couldn’t identify their source.  From her line of vision, her viewpoint, her perspective, things were unclear, possibly a bit confusing, maybe even a little scary or unsettling at times.  Only when Nana picked her up and began explaining things, did it start to make sense.  At her age, and with her limited knowledge, things still aren’t 100% clear, but at least she got a glimpse.

Another spiritual lesson or reminder for me in the everyday things!  We can’t see the whole picture yet, the goodness God has prepared for us continues to unfold, but often from our perspective we can’t understand.  At times, our lines of vision is obstructed or clouded by unbelief.  Since His ways are not our ways, we can’t fathom His plan.

As we lean into the Father, tug on Him and say “up, up”, we begin to get a least a glimpse.  And because of His unconditional, passionate love toward us, even if we don’t understand 100%, we have peace in knowing we are in good hands.  The more we seek Him, the more we find Him.  The more we eat, the hungrier we become.

Let His word and His love change your perspective today.

Happy Thanksgiving

Sincere wishes for a beautiful Thanksgiving!

SONY DSC

Thinking and thanking

spaghetti-squash-with-parmesan-cheese

spaghetti-squash-with-parmesan-cheese (Photo credit: famfriendsfood)

The smell of bacon permeates my kitchen as it pops and splatters noisily in the pan.  Tonight is one of those “force yourself to put one foot in front of the other; just hurry up and get it all done so you can relax” kind of nights  Tonight I find myself lamenting the fact that I pulled out new recipes to try, but stubborn enough to try them anyway.  My back is achy because my job in front of a computer all day was a tense one and I can’t wait to hop in a warm shower.  At least there is an extra piece of bacon I can munch on as I continue cooking.

Today has been the kind of day where I had to choose to make a conscious effort to see the positive, to choose happy.  Throughout the day I reminded myself, “this too shall pass” and “you are blessed to have a job”.  As time rolled around for dinner preparation, “I am thankful I have food to cook”.

By the time I pulled the spaghetti squash out of the oven and started removing the tender threads, my mood was already elevating.   I don’t know what it was; the smell of the yummy food, the call from my husband (because once again our wedding song is playing on the radio and he likes to play it for me), the message from a friend, or a combination of it all.  I just know I stopped and remembered to be grateful.  Sometimes you just have to turn off the distractions and take a few moments to realize what you already know.

The truth washes over me afresh, that there are so many people out there who would see one of my “bad days” as one of their “very good” days.  The truth stings as I begin to think about those people and some of their situations.

Something to think about as you reflect on your Monday.

Cookies

Cookies

Cookies

Oven hot and ready

Gooey spoonfuls of sweet, chocolate chip cookie dough

Carefully dropped onto a shiny silver pan

Into the oven they go to rise into sumptuous bites of heaven

The smell of delectable sweetness fills the air as we patiently wait

The quiet is interrupted by a screeching timer

Out they come, piping hot and slightly browned

Finally ready, warm and yummy with a tall glass of cold milk

 

Question – Does the fact that I’ll write a poem about cookies mean I have serious junk food issues?  haha

One of those days

Okay, time to humiliate myself again in front of all my blog followers.

Do you ever have those days?  You know….the ones where you wonder where you left your brain?   I prefer to think that mine is just so full of great information, that it can’t possibly process anything more.

We won’t even go into work today and how wonderful that went.  We’ll just begin this little story right after I got off.  We also will not discuss the interminable phone call with Verizon or the barking dogs.

First, although I am loathe to admit it, I had to take down the Christmas tree today (yes, it is artificial) and pack up the decorations that have been sitting on a table for two weeks now.  This is so unlike me.  Usually that stuff disappears by January 2nd at the latest.  I will blame it on the traveling, and the strep and all the other little things that got in the way.

So today was the day.  I meant it would get done today or else (or else what, I don’t know?  Don’t you find that expression strange?).  I got started and was immediately on a roll.  I was packing up the decorations while my daughter cooked dinner.  She made a meatloaf and was peeling potatoes and we were listening to music and enjoying our conversation.

In my haste to complete this detestable task, I was snatching ornaments off right and left and dropped one of the most expensive ones and it broke into a million (well, more like 5) pieces.  This irritated me, but was grateful that I didn’t even cut myself.

About that time I go into the kitchen to check on things with Morgan and she is mixing the potatoes with the blender and she asked me to check on the meatloaf.  I pulled it out of the oven, poured some ketchup on top, and intended to put it right back in the oven.  My husband had also walked in and was watching and waiting, in anticipation of a tasty dinner.  I went to open the oven door and I have no idea what happened next except that the meatloaf pan went flying out of my hands, the hot grease in the bottom of the double layer pan flew in Morgan’s direction.  She was hit with some of the grease and frightened at the same time and the blenders went flying slinging mashed potatoes everywhere.

I did have the sense to reach up and snatch the plug out of the blender.  Then, I checked on Morgan, and made her go rinse her foot where she sustained the worst of it.  I salvaged enough meatloaf for dinner (barely) as there was some that didn’t hit the floor.  Then, I had to mop the floor, clean the cabinets and wash the rugs.

Finally we ended up eating a delicious dinner of meatloaf, mashed potatoes and peas.  I’m very thankful that Morgan is okay and I realize that this could have been much worse.  And, I am earnestly ready to call it a night and not touch anything else breakable or potentially injurious to anyone.  I think my brain needs a break and so does everyone around me!

Oh, and this was supposed to be posted last night, but my internet quit working about the time I was ready to post…whew, what a day!

A recipe for memories

cookies

Hershey’s thumbprint cookies; photo by Morgan

Mm mm, I love the smell of cookies baking at Christmas time (well actually at any time), but there is something special about it around the holidays.  My kids always wanted to bake sugar cookies and decorate them.  Thank God when they were younger I had their granny to come over and help me.

We would put my kids and whatever nieces or nephews were here all around a table in the middle of the kitchen and give them icing and sprinkles and they would create their little masterpieces.  By the time they had licked their little fingers multiple times and piled icing on an inch thick, I never could make myself actually eat one, but they had fun and that was what it was all about.  Oh, the mess!   We’d have cookie batter and flour, and icing from one end of the kitchen to the other.  Yes, there might have been a mess, but they were making sweet memories in the process.

Toll house cookies

Toll house cookies; photo by Morgan

Their favorites were the Christmas tree and stocking shapes, so we had the occasional battle over who got the next one.  They would do their very best and wait for us tell them how beautiful their contribution had turned out.  You had to be careful and dole out the praise very equally or one of them would notice and call you out on it.  If I can be totally honest, at the time, I was usually glad when they finished and got bored with the whole baking scene and went back outside to play (this was because at the time I hadn’t learned that they would only be young a short time and the house being clean really wasn’t that important).  Now I am so thankful for those precious memories and that we took the time to let them make them.

Today we did the annual cookie baking, but it was an older crew.  Our youngest member is now 16.  We worked together and got several batches done in no time at all.  I enjoyed being in the kitchen together; the laughter and joking with one another.  Well, mostly it was Kim (a family friend) and I laughing at my daughter, Morgan and her granny.  They are hysterical because they are so much alike.  It was different and some of the players were missing, but it was still enjoyable.

We made Hershey’s kiss thumbprints, pumpkin spice cookies, and toll house cookies with pecans.  I tasted all of them and now I’m sitting here in a post-sugar haze, wishing I hadn’t.  I’m sitting here reflecting on the times I made light of things or rushed through them to satisfy my selfish, control-freak personality.  Gratefully and by the grace of God, I’m once again thankful for age and wisdom and the ability to realize how precious every moment spent with loved ones really is.

Won’t you do the same?  Stop and consider time and its relentless passing and prioritize carefully.  You won’t regret it, not for one moment.

Soup and a blankie

Cantonese cuisine Hybrid red bean soup

Today is one of those days when I need comfort food; I’m hoping to fulfill that need with red bean and ham soup, a recipe that I’m making up as I go, so we shall see.  My daughter already said that the cooking beans smelled “gross”.  That wasn’t very encouraging, but in light of her frequent negative opinions and observances of some of the things I cook, I’m going to ignore that.  Normally, after tasting, she changes her mind.

Work was particularly taxing today so I’m happier than usual that it’s my Friday.  Couple that with the back pain that is lingering since yesterday, and I’m feeling a tad out of sorts.  Hmm, a nice quiet evening at home with a bowl of soup?  And, I don’t have to set my alarm clock for tomorrow?  Yes, I’ll take it.

Tomorrow will be a better day; I will probably rise early in spite of the fact that I don’t have to because that’s just how I roll.  I’ll make coffee, then devotion and prayer time, and I will feel compelled to check my blog for comments and then I have a list of things that must be done.  For now, time to check the food, snuggle up and relax.

Happy Thursday evening to all, Be safe, blessed and happy!

Make a memory!

Good Morning!  What is everyone up to?  Some of you have been up since before daybreak cooking, cleaning, mixing, chopping; all to make sure that those families of yours have a sumptuous meal.  Me?  Well, I get off somewhat easy this year as I’m only responsible for about 3 dishes and a dessert.

I just wanted to remind everyone of a few things as we busy ourselves in the kitchen and wish we had 30 minutes to do our makeup before everyone shows up.  It’s worth it…..it really is.

My mom was the quintessential Susie home maker, her nickname of Susie was very fitting.  She labored over the stove for days before and the day of Thanksgiving, but boy, did she put out a spread.  My sis and I are still more than satisfying our families with those same recipes today.

My love for all things Thanksgiving, is largely due to the time and effort she put forth to make great holiday memories and for that I am very grateful.

For all of you who are already tired, your back aches, you wish you’d had another hour to sleep, your manicure is ruined and the hot flashes are rearing their ugly head about the same time you have to check something in the oven, Well, you rock!  You are amazing and you are helping to make memories.

Let’s remember to thank those today who put so much effort into pleasing their families and even those who just keep a spot on the sofa warm.  Let’s be thankful for families and friends and do our best today to share moments, not things.

And above all, love, love, love.  We never know what tomorrow holds, but we can act today.  We can make someone feel special and loved.  Check on your neighbors, take someone a plate, invite a new guest who doesn’t have anyone.

Have a beautiful, blessed Thanksgiving!

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