Friday, July 30, 2010

Lesson's Learned ( At A Cost)

I recently heard a story. This story impacted me greatly, but I didn't know why it should. I finally decided that it wasn't the tragedy of the story alone, but how common this story is.

Dick was married to Lee. They made a home with 4 little children. Nothing in this world is perfect and their marriage was no exception. What Dick wasn't getting from Lee, he found in Deloris. Dick left Lee and his four children and married Deloris. As the years went on Dick realized that being married to the once young, exciting Deloris was neither sunshine nor butterflies.

Those are the facts, here is the tragedy: Lee spent the rest of her life sunk in bitterness, while Dick often felt guilty for leaving his children fatherless. On Lee's deathbed she told her children she didn't want Dick at her funeral. She carried her hate and sadness to her grave. Upon hearing of Lee's death Dick went into a depression and died 6 months later.

The first thing I felt/thought when I heard this was "they were supposed to be together". I believe that Dick and Lee were supposed to be together. What got in the way? I don't know all the details of their life, I suppose only they do, but in my gut I ache for them. What could they have had if they were willing to work through their problems? What would it have taken for them fix them and if they had how many hearts would have been left un-broken?
I listened to this story while at my grandmothers house, meeting some distant cousins of mine for the first time and absolutely reveling in their thoughts and stories from the past. As I was leaving that night my grandmother warned me "be careful who you choose to marry". I can take that and so much more from this story. I don't mean to depress any readers with this; I only mean to provoke some thought. Some thought about how hasty we can be. How unforgiving we can be. How uncommitted we are. Most of all to provoke some thoughts about what COULD BE if we didn't give up. But now I feel like I'm rambling. So here's to lessons learned. If only it weren't at the expense of someone else's happiness.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Sweetness

I don't have much going on at this point in my life. I'm home for the summer, and my mom is laid off for the summer. Today we were very productive. We baked. French bread to go with our fresh bruschetta and sweet rolls. Both turned out tasty and delicious, but the sweet rolls were especially amazing. I think it's safe to say they're the best I've ever had (please don't tell my grandmother). So here is the recipe, I strongly suggest you try it the next time you crave more than cereal for breakfast. It comes from what has been my favorite cookbook since I was 12, "Let's Bake, The Robin Hood No-Sift Way" copyright 1964.

Basic Sweet Dough:
4 1/4- 4 3/4 cups flour1/2 cups warm (not hot) water
2 packages (2 Tb) active dry yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt*
1/3 oil
2 eggs

Soak yeast in 1/2 cup warm (not hot) water 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of flour, milk, eggs. Add another cup of flour followed by the oil, salt and sugar. Add remaining flour.
Knead until dough becomes smooth, elastic and no longer sticky (5-10 min). Place in lightly greased bowl, grease top of dough. Let rise until doubled. Punch down.

Sticky Bottom's:

Melt 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/4 cup of butter, 4 tsp of water. Spread across bottom of pan.

Roll out sweet dough. Spread melted butter across, sprinkle with brown sugar, and cinnamon.

Roll the dough up, divide it and place it in your pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for approx. 25 min.

Pull from oven, flip the rolls over onto a plate or pan cover.

Frosted Sweet Rolls:

Roll out dough, spread melted butter over it.

Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.

Roll the dough up and divide into equal parts.

Place rolls into greased pan.

Bake at 375 for approx. 25 min.

The Most Amazing Frosting You Will Ever Eat:
1/2 stick of butter
2/3 stick of cream cheese
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Blend together and slather onto cinnamon rolls!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

God is My Apple Pie

Tonight I made an apple pie.
I used the same recipe from when I first started baking. It's simple, classic, always good. I know, that without fail, when I bake this pie it will be delicious. It isn't exotic, foreign or complex but it's classic. It's constant.I use the same blue mixing bowl and carefully add each ingredient, making sure the pie crust has just the right consistency at each step. I could do it blindfolded.

I make apple pie when I'm feeling happy.
I make apple pie when I need something familiar.
I make apple pie when I'm missing home.
When I'm feeling that I need one recipe I can make, without fail, I make apple pie.
God is my apple pie. He is the one constant thing in my life, without fail He is there. That still, small, familiar voice that comforts me when I'm longing for home the most. During the times when I have know idea what my future really holds, He's there; the one thing I can take with me throughout my whole life no matter where that may be. With Him, I know it will turn out perfect; my apple pie is perfect.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Simple Love Story

Martha Mae was a typical teenager born and raised in Hannibal Wisconsin; she met a guy and knew she was in love.

It was 1949 and Martha Mae Olds was working the late night shift at the Blossom Inn. She had recently moved to Walworth Wisconsin and was waitressing while she lived in a house with two old maids and a dog. She had her regulars that would come into the restaurant, most importantly a group of 3 to 4 guys.

Laverne Cunningham was a farmer, who grew up in Walworth. He came from a large family. Laverne would come to the Blossom in with his friends. It didn’t take him long to notice a pretty, petite waitress and take a special interest in her. Laverne would say to his friends “That girl who works at the Blossom; I’m gonna marry her.”

Some time passed and when Laverne failed to take action in asking Martha Mae out, his friend Harold did. Martha agreed, even though she didn’t know him and they went out on a date. They had a good time but no other dates followed. While she was out one night she met a girl named Betty. They soon became friends and Betty wanted to introduce Martha Mae to a “nice guy” that she knew. So at a bar beneath a hotel, Betty introduced Martha Mae to Laverne. Not long into the evening Laverne asked Martha to go out with him the next Sunday; because he was such a gentleman with dashing good looks Martha, of course, agreed. In the meantime she got a call from her old boyfriend. He had family living in Walworth and wanted her to come see him at his brother’s house. Not wanting to be rude, Martha went. While she was there she told him that they were through and that she was seeing someone else who she really liked. This happened on Sunday and by the time this outing was over, Martha Mae was running late for her night out with Laverne. She knew she was late as she rushed in to house. Out of breath, she asked the two old ladies “was there a tall, good looking man here for me?”, they explained that there had been, but he had already left. So Martha ran down to the movie theater, where they were supposed to see a movie, and went in to the Showesque which was a small restaurant next door. It was one of the hottest days of the summer and Martha Mae was hot and sweaty by the time she got there. She walked in, trying to be calm and collected. When she saw Laverne sitting at a table she went up to him and said casually “oh there you are!” Laverne wasn’t very impressed. Martha thought to herself “great, I break up with one boyfriend thinking I’m gonna have another and now I won’t have any”. Nonetheless Laverne took her to the show, they went to the restaurant, and then he took Martha home.

After a couple weeks went by, and Martha hadn’t heard from him, she decided to go see a show. Afterwards she walked over to the Showesque for something to eat. When she walked in Laverne was sitting there. They started to talk and he asked her if she would like to see the show. She said she would love to (even though she had just watched it minutes before). It was after this date that Laverne decided to go steady with her. Walworth was a small town and everyone knew the Cunninghams, so it wasn’t long until everyone knew about the couple.

Martha Mae and Laverne went together for six months. Laverne asked Martha to marry him again and again. Then one day Martha said yes. Being somewhat caught off guard Laverne told her that he needed “to ask his dad and see what he says”. So Laverne went and found his father who was out cultivating corn and finally worked up the nerve to ask him. His dad answered “she seems to be a nice gal, but once you get married… you’re a long time married”.

Laverne and Martha Mae were married July 3, 1950. Martha wore a perfect white suit with a corsage of yellow roses, and Laverne wore a crisp gray suit. They were married at the Baptist Parsonage and went back to the farm for the reception. It was small, only family and a few friends.

In 1952, Laverne and Martha moved back up to northern Wisconsin. They lived on a farm in Jump River where they happily raised their six children. Through all the challenges and adversities, they have stayed true to themselves, built a loving family and have lived truly fulfilled lives.

Laverne and Martha Cunningham are my grandparents and last weekend they celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary. That is commitment.

Here’s to love stories…long-lasting marriages… and building strong families.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hating Goodbyes

“Why can't we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn't work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would have to say good-bye. I hate good-byes. I know what I need. I need more hellos.”