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Thursday, December 18, 2014

They Only Know What We Teach Them

I have spent my time recently with people from several different generations.  

It has reminded me that we need to appreciate, not only each other, but what each generation brings to the table.

We took this photo of "Four Generations of the Thomas Family" long ago but it means so, so much these days because only 1 generation remains on this earth.  

The rest of them are up in heaven teaching, playing basketball, and farming.

Earlier this week, my friend posted this picture of her son in an old Campbell Seed jacket that was once worn by her dad.  This young boy never got to meet his grandfather before he was called up to heaven.  But his mom is preserving the legacy of her father who was a farmer and a Campbell Seed Salesman.  

My dad was a farmer and former Campbell Seed Salesman.  

So this young boy and future farmer inspired me with his willingness to know not only about that old, faded jacket but about the man that wore it.

  His mom, the older generation, is teaching her son about the generation before her.  And her son will then teach the next generation about it....when the jacket really becomes faded and worn.

So as you sit around the table this Christmas with several generations make sure you share your stories and learn from each other.  Appreciate the old generations and what they sacrificed and appreciate the new and future generations for the life they will live.

So even though his farmer grandpa is gone, we can all take the opportunity to teach him about agriculture and about the man who is watching him learn from above.  And even though my dad is gone, I still learn from him and will preserve his legacy for the next generation.

Each new generation only knows what we teach them.  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Give an Orange this Christmas

It's that time of year when we spread Christmas Cheer!

I mean that's what Christmas is all about.

Or wait, should we really be spreading cheer all year long.  
Should't we take some time throughout the year to spread cheer and to give up something that we have (time, money, passion, gifts) to someone else?

When I was younger, the Marsh girls from Little Women were my heroes.  They taught us a forever lesson when they woke up on Christmas morning in the middle of the Civil War with cheer and delight to enjoy their Christmas meal and their orange.  Their precious, exotic orange that Miss Amy did not want to give up.

But she eventually did and they packed up their fancy Christmas meal to take to the Hubbell Family who had fallen on harder times than the young women.

  They sang and had plenty of Christmas Cheer during the cold, dark war and found the time, courage and passion to give to others.

So this holiday season, don't forget to buy an orange for someone who is not 
as fortunate or gifted, as rich or loved as you may be.

Winston Churchill said it perfectly, "We make a living by what we get.  We make a life by what we give."

While you're at it, share a little of your family traditions along the way.  It was my dad's idea to stick a peppermint stick in the exotic orange in the middle of the cold, Indiana winter and suck out the good juices.  

And when the sweet juices were gone from our orange or we didn't get what we wanted for Christmas, he would say what he would always say, "that's just part of it.  Not everyone gets or has what they want." 

Which is another reminder this holiday season.......

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Peaks & Valleys of Pies

"There's a lot of peaks and valleys on the days you make pies, honey."
"A lot of foot stompin' over there sometimes," he says.

Well, yes, sorry there is crying and yelling and stomping while I try to perfect an All-American dish.

My Pie Adventure 2014 is in it's last month and I have so many things to tell you about pie.  I think December calls for lots of pie baking so I will write more after we get through all 12 months of pie baking.

The first month was definitely a valley.....when my husband came home to me crying because my crust wasn't quite working out.  Like the good man he is, he opened up a bottle of wine for me and then just stayed out of the way.  That was until I cried some more and then he ran to town to buy crust for my already made, delicious filling.

Someone called this my french fry pie.
Definitely a valley moment.

This fall I somehow perfected making my own caramel for this peanut-caramel-apple pie.

I mean it event looks pretty.  A peak moment for sure.

Then there was the time that I started making a pie and then had that awful moment when I realized  the recipe was really for a custard pie.  I don't really do that nor do I have the ambition too.
I think I called my mom crying this time.

The bacon and peanut butter cookie crust was so, so good and a peak moment for me.

The custard, a low.....low....runny valley.

Then a total peak moment happened last week.  

I was talking to grandma about the Thanksgiving Day meal and she uttered those words I thought I would never hear, "So....are you bringing a pie, Katherine?"  

"Well, I was thinking about it, and thought I would ask you first. 
 But YES, I can bake a pie for Thanksgiving, grandma!"  

And just like that, I was a grown-up bringing pie to Thanksgiving. 

My pie crust was too thick....valley.  But the apple, pear and raisin filling was good and the brown sugar crumble topping was delicious....another peak during the Pie Adventure 2014.

The months have seemed to fly by during this adventure, just as they do in life.

I have learned that each pie crust and pie filling are unique in their own ways and that they aren't perfect.  I will never perfect the art of making a pie, but many of them will be delicious and some will make grandma's pie hutch for the holidays.

I will always have peaks and valleys with my pies, just as in life.  But it's all an adventure, right?