Monday, July 21, 2008

CARDINALS AND RAMBLINGS

It is a very hot beginning to a hot Atlanta day…

It has been a busy week. All week I was going to update the blog but things happened. John worked at a sister property all week and so Sparky and I had the apartment to ourselves. One great thing was for the first since my surgery I walked him and did fine.
My gait walking is so much better and I walk much faster. The massages are really helping and each week I gain a bit more range of motion. That is an answer to prayer.

On Friday Sparky and I went with him to work. Since we had lived in that area I wanted to do a bit of shopping in that area. There was a furnished apartment empty and we had all the comforts of home. I did get a few craft items, had lunch with John and my precious friend Kim (his co-worker there) and as we were eating out came a capped tooth. My dentist is 5 minutes away and they had a slot at four and cemented it back. We were glad I had gone along or that tooth would have been out all weekend.

In my gratitude list we will add:
13. I am walking so much better and have better range of motion. I am thankful for Sara who does my massages.

14. My dentist. They sure do have a gift of making our mouths more comfortable and our smile great.

15. About a month ago I noticed a Cardinal would come and sit on the rail of our balcony and sing as if she was asking for something. I got some birdseed and placed it in a crystal dish on the cafĂ© table on the balcony. Sure enough she found it and so she has visited me many times a day. Bless her heart…. she is molting and is rather unattractive with 2 feathers sticking straight up on the top of her head. I felt she was feeding babies because she filled her beak with seed and fly away. That is after she had her fill. This morning I heard not a song but a rather nervous sound coming from her and sure enough soon a young Cardinal was encouraged to come to the dish. The mother used her wing to flap on the young one’s head as if to say, “Eat”. After about 3 times the young one did that and than the mother sang. It was a tender moment to watch. It was like a time of teaching her baby and than praising her for learning. Cardinal moms are not much different than we human mothers are. I am sure grateful for my gift of nature in the middle of a city!

I really enjoy watching “The View”. I sure do not agree with a lot but the dialogue they have really make me think, pray and dig into facts. I have a passion for foster care. I have had 23 in my home over the years and I loved each one as if the were mine. Some stayed for a while and some were with us until a court date. I am adopted and we have adopted. Now what does this have to do with the view? Woopie got to talking about foster care and said that in the US everyday there are 50,000 children waiting for homes…these are foster kids. That number really struck me hard. I understand why some folks may want to make international adoptions but what happens to these kids in the US? Why are they not cared for? This has always been a puzzle to me.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
James 1:27 (NIV)

“Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked. (Psalm 82:3-4 NASB).”

Tome this is very plain and again is not a suggestion but a command. I am not saying all of us can open our homes to foster care but we sure can support those that do! Most of my foster kids were teen girls that were on a quick path to state school. (Really a lock down institution) People in the church were afraid of these girls. That shocked me. In school they disliked them. I was called to the principal’s office for one of the 15-year-old girls and he had the nerve to tell me in front of her that all foster kids should be shipped to an island and kept there. I was mad! She had come such along way by that time but simply hated algebra and fooled around in that class. She begged our counselor to allow her to quit and get her GID at a community school. He allowed her to and in 6 months she had her diploma and was enrolled in classes for landscaping. One year later she had her own small business. We sure took her diploma back to that principal and he was in shock but did not say he had been wrong. All but one of these young ladies with the exception of one has wonderful families and are doing good. That is thank you enough for me.

I am telling you all this because we need to show love for those that need us. Kids are in danger and every time I see a foster child died I cringe knowing maybe I could have made a difference. There are things we all can do. We are commanded to pray for the fatherless and I believe foster children fall into this. We can mentor those children that need it. Both of these take our time. I tithe my time as I do money. Some of us can give foster parents in our church or community a weekend off and stay with the kids. Or we can open our homes. The time I had with foster teens were the best in spite of all the tears lost in my bedroom. For the time there were in our home they were mine and I know I made a difference in their lives.

I was talking to a young homeless man a week ago as I was walking for my massage. This is his story…. He said after his mother told a judge she didn't want him when he was 13, he lived in 12 foster homes. At 18, he moved to a homeless shelter. Now he is between that shelter and the street. He graduated in the 5% of his high school but when he left foster care he was lost because all of a sudden he was on his own with little help. His goal is to go to college. He proudly showed me his diploma and last grades. You see people rarely hire a person without an address. I have a list of resources for him if I see him again.

Below this is a picture of a little girl and a beautiful young woman. I never got to meet this person. You see that precious child and young woman is my natural mother. She made a hard choice o give me away. The doctor that delivered me told me after my birth she lost it and was in a mental ward for a few months. After that she barely coped with life. My brother and sister told me I was the lucky one to be placed in an orphanage. I am close now to my brother and he gave me these photos. My mom and dad went to that orphanage and chose me as a baby. I am so thankful my natural mother gave me life and did not abort me. I am glad my son’s mother chose life for him and we have been blessed to have him in our lives. This is why I do not believe in abortion. But let me challenge you with this…do you just rant and rave about abortion or do you do something to change a life. Are you praying for children in danger that need a home? Are you giving time to mentor a child in need? Can you help a foster family? Can you open your home to a child from the US that needs you today? I can tell you that you will be blessed beyond messure!






Statistics You Should Be Aware Of:
http://loveourchildrenusa.org/stats.php

Sunday, July 6, 2008

COOKING WITH NANA (My Mother-in-Love)

This is Nana and her husband Bruce. They only had a bit more than two years together but they were so very happy!


Lunch at Nana's was most often a sandwich,chips,relish items such as
celery sticks, pickles and olives......sweet iced tea with thin lemon slices
and fresh fruit and cookies.......often her Watergate salad....do you all
remember this one? (I added it at the very end)

A sandwich at her house was not just any sandwich! It was a work of
art.....it was tasty and it took time to prepare. She would keep sliced ham
for a quick one but that was not her favorite.

I am going to share a few......The Hawaiian Ham Croissant was one she
clipped for her daily local paper.She loved cream cheese and pineapple and
ham and so this was really a perfect one for her. She did like a jello salad
with this one......
She loved grilled cheese sandwiches but again she added.....they were good
even though she had to have Velveeta cheese in them!
I never had a fried green tomato until I moved to the south and I never had
a fried green tomato sandwich until I met Uncle Joe and Nana. They loved
them. It really does make a good summer meal!
Spam was only used in her house for a sandwich....to Uncle Joe it was
junk......but he admitted he too liked a spread or fried spam for a
sandwich.....I still have not acquired a taste for it but cannot say I could
not eat one with Nana. The one thing she did different from the recipe was
she baked it first and got out the grease...she would set it on her small
roasting rack in a casserole dish and bake it about 30 minutes and than make
the spread. They both enjoyed a crispy fried spam sandwich too!
The next one was her favorite...like a comfort food...She like Waldorf
anything! Like a can of Spam Underwood Chunky Chicken Spread was in that
pantry always too.
The last sandwich was one Elvis made famous but she and Uncle Joe swore they had them long before he was born. Each time we made these the debate would go on.....that was the fun part of eating with Uncle Joe and Nana. He was a local Country Club cook and she a "proper Southern Lady" that knew the way she fixed it was always the best. Now that they are both gone I will tell you that I liked Uncle Joe's "everyday" meals and her "tea party" food.
Enjoy these recipes.....I think most are from the 1950's or like the fried
green tomato one....just passed down.
*********************
Hawaiian Ham Croissant
4 oz whipped cream cheese
8 oz crushed pineapple, drained
4 croissants, split
8-1/4-inch slices ham
Combine cream cheese and pineapple in a small bowl. Spread 1 Tbsp of
pineapple-cream cheese filling on each cut surface of croissants.
To assemble sandwich, layer bottom portion with ham slice, 1 Tbsp of
filling, another ham slice and croissant top.
************************
Nana would take 2 pieces of bread...she loved a good wheat bread....Add
slices of Velveeta cheese and sprinkle the cheese with sweet Hungarian
paprika. For 4 sandwiches, mix 1 teaspoon minced onion with 1/4 cup soft
butter
Spread on top and bottom of sandwiches. Brown in skillet.
**********************
Special Fried Green Tomato Sandwich
For the best Fried Green Tomato sandwiches be sure to use the larger, center
slices of the tomatoes, and use the strained bacon grease for frying the
green tomatoes.

8 slices, thick-cut bacon...Uncle Joe had to have thick cut pepper bacon
3/4 C all-purpose flour (This meant Lily White to Nana...she used it all the time)
1/4 C cornmeal (here they differed again....he liked yellow cornmeal and she wanted white)
Salt to taste
Black Pepper, freshly ground, to taste
1 C milk
1/4 C bacon grease
3 or 4 large green tomatoes, sliced 1/4" thick (Uncle Joe almost measured
them and fussed if a maid did not get it just right!)
1/4 C mayonnaise
1 T prepared chili sauce
8 slices lightly toasted bread
lettuce...she like Romaine and he wanted Butter lettuce or Boston

cook bacon over medium heat until just browned and crispy. Drain on paper towels; reserve.
Strain the bacon grease into a cup and wipe the skillet with a paper towel.
Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper in a medium-sized bowl.
Add the milk and stir well. The mixture should resemble pancake batter.
Add olive oil to the cleaned skillet along with the strained bacon
grease. Place skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, dip the
green tomato slices in the batter, letting any excess drip back into the
bowl, then fry until golden brown. Add more olive oil to the pan if necessary.
Drain the fried green tomato slices on paper towels.
Combine the mayonnaise and chili sauce in a small bowl; spread about 1
1/2 teaspoons of the mayonnaise mixture on one side of each slice of toast.
Lay 2 slices of bacon over each of 4 slices of toast, then top each with 2
fried green tomato slices and lettuce. Cover with the remaining 4 slices of
toast, mayonnaise-side down. Cut the fried green tomato sandwiches in half
and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
***********************
SPAM Spread
1 c. mayonnaise
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 sm. onion
3 raw carrots
1 can Spam
6 hard cooked eggs, boiled
1 sm. green pepper
Grind Spam, eggs, carrots, onion and green pepper. Use coarse grater or
grinder. Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Good on Ritz crackers or as a
sandwich spread.
****************************************
FRIED SPAM SANDWICH
you have to cut it very thin.......that I learned the first time she had me
help her make these.....she would sprinkle the slices with flour and put
them in a bit of oil and let them get crispy! Than they were ready to put on
bread with a tomato slice and lettuce.....sometimes she would melt a thin
slice of Velveeta Cheese on top of them too.
***************************
Waldorf Chicken Sandwich
1 can Underwood Chunky Chicken Spread (4 1/2 oz)
1 pack Cream cheese, softened (3oz)
1/2 medium Apple, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Raisins
1 Celery stalk, finely chopped
6 slices wheat bread
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well. Cover and
refrigerate 1 hour. Serve on whole grain bread.
*************************
GRILLED PEANUT BUTTER AND BANANA SANDWICH
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
3 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 to 3 ripe bananas
8 slices white bread

In a frying pan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Make sure butter does not burn. In a small bowl mix together the peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon. Slice the bananas into 1/4-inch thick slices. Spread the peanut butter mixture on 4 slices of bread and cover with banana slices. Top with the remaining 4 slices of bread. Spread the remaining butter on both sides of the sandwiches. Grill the sandwiches in the frying pan until each side is golden brown.
******************************
WATERGATE SALAD
1 package (4 serving) Jello Pistachio Instant Pudding and Pie filling
1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 half cup pecans (Nana liked to toast them first)
1-3/4 cups Cool Whipped Topping
Mix pudding mix, pineapple, marshmallows and pecans in large bowl until well
blended. Gently stir in whipped topping. Cover
and refrigerate for several hours......

Friday, July 4, 2008

HAPPY FOURTH

Happy Fourth of July…It is a beautiful day here in Atlanta, Ga.
There is a soft breeze and the French doors are open to our balcony. John’s plants are so beautiful and green and this week we were given 3 pots of herbs. The gentleman will be traveling for a month and ask John if I would like them. So now I have several kinds of mint, chives, fresh basil (which I love), parsley, cilantro and several other wonderful things.
No. 8 … I am thankful for fresh herbs and for people that do not throw away what another can use. We are a wasteful nation and I am trying so hard to make full use of all I have.


No. 9…Talking about what people throw away…look at these 2 cabinets. I see my stitching stuff finding a home in these. They have hardly been used. I did not take a picture of the beautiful counter spice rack full of fresh herbs and spices that someone no longer cared for. I lost mind with the mold mess several years ago and this is just a wonderful blessing!

No 10 is the book you see on top of the cabinets. I have wanted this cookbook for so long but $30.00 was way too high for me. I love Jan Karon’s series about Mitford. The characters are so real and what they cook always seemed to go along with their personalities. Last week John took me to Border’s and on a one-day sale for that store was a $ 3.00 table and there was one of these cookbooks. You can rest assured I picked it up and so now it belongs to my very small cookbook collection. I had over 100 cookbooks before the mold gobbled them up and now I have close to 15. To be honest I get a lot of recipes off the net because I can look at 3 and come up with ideas from all of them and create one we will like. I am thankful for authors that bring alive the characters they write about and for the cooks that publish their creations. Both take us on an adventure. I have always looked at cooking as a adventure and love to cook.
http://www.amazon.com/Karons-Mitford-Cookbook-Kitchen-Reader/dp/0670032395


No. 11 is our country. I grew up Mennonite and church and state never met. Mennonites are peace loving folks and always against war. When I was a teen going into the armed forces was a test of membership. I had a dear friend that went to Viet Nam when we graduated in 1966 and he was no longer a member of his church and I was ashamed of the church in general. I always was the rebel in the group that questioned things we were taught. We did not pledge our allegiance to the flag either and I was in 11Th grade and at a local football game with our neighbor girl and when she stood up to Pledge the Allegiance to the flag I did for the first time. I had tears streaming down my face because I knew it was the right thing to do and because I had wanted to do it for the longest time. I will never forget that night and to this day it brings tears when I salute the flag with pride. I did get in trouble for doing it that night because a busy body told my parents.

I am not proud of all we do in America but I am so grateful for the freedoms we have. I am thankful we live in a democracy. I vote with pride (to this day my parents have never voted). I do not really like to debate politics but I do read all about each candidate and look at their voting record. That makes me a Independent…gasp…I am glad I have the choice to vote how I feel the Lord leading me. But far more important than voting is our mandate to pray for our leaders.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 (Amplified Bible)
1.FIRST OF all, then, I admonish and urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all men,
2.For kings and all who are in positions of authority or high responsibility, that [outwardly] we may pass a quiet and undisturbed life [and inwardly] a peaceable one in all godliness and reverence and seriousness in every way.

No. 12… I was about to post this when we received a call that our son and his girlfriend were coming up to see us. Since it was her birthday this past week and they have been together for over 2 years and most of all that she has been a strong influence on our son to clean his act up…we decided to make it special. They love our Mellow Mushroom and we took them there and than to Borders Books to spoil her a bit more. I sent a grocery bag full of food home for them, some new clothes someone had thrown away that were very expensive and the leftover food from Mellow Mushroom. They just left very happy with their treasures. It is good to see them since they live 1 and ½ hours south of here.

Have a great day!