Saturday, 21 February 2009

On to Idaho and the Winter Games

After a couple days rest, (not to mention site seeing) and finding my feet again, recovering from any jet lag from the trip over to the US, it was time for Lura and I to make our way up to Idaho to view the Winter Games.

I had been worrying a bit about how we were going to get there. I knew it would be pretty snowy. Lura, was used to living in California. It doesn't snow in California, or at least where she is from at any rate. It has been about 9 years since I have had to deal with driving in the snow. However were we going to cope? I give us both credit though as we were willing to be brave and try.

However, here is another example of Heavenly Father's providence, and a fine example of how He knows us and takes care of us.

About a year and a half ago we had some lovely missionaries over here. You may remember me talking about them on my other journal . . . Lenis and Dick MacDonald, an older couple who had come over here to serve on a couple mission. Our whole ward fell in love with the MacDonalds when they were here. They were such a wonderful couple and they were more than just missionaries to us all, they were friends. I was especially close to Lenis (although I couldn't call her Lenis when they were here). I could really identify how she felt, being a stranger in a foreign land, far away from her children and grandchildren and everything that was familiar to her. One of the things I had been looking forward to on this trip was to be able to see them again and as luck would have it . . . they were looking forward to seeing me, so much so that . . .

Dick had very kindly offered to drive us up to Idaho, along with Lenis of course and then they were going to stay up there with us through the games and drive us back down after! These were not just two good friends and people I loved very much, these were angels in disguise as friends! I don't know how Lura and I would ever have coped with that long drive on our own. What a wonderful answer to prayer, and the icing on the cake was that I got to spend some time with my much loved friends!

It took us about 5 hours and I could really feel my excitement building when I saw the mountains off in the distance! I knew my baby girl was not all that far away then, and that I would see her soon. It had been a long two and a half years and I was really looking forward to getting to spend some time with her, but, as you all read while I was away, that wasn't possible that first night in Sun Valley.

Lura and I both went to bed a little bit disheartened that first night. I was so disappointed, even though I knew that Eileen's coach only had her best interests at heart. I, too, wanted the best for my girl, even though my heart and arms longed to hold her.

The next day dawned clear and bright, and somewhat cold, well, err, especially for that California girl Lura! Bless her heart! That is the love of a friend, when they are willing to brave sub zero temperatures for you when they are used to a much warmer climate! We all bundled up warmly, and with hand warmers stuffed in our pockets we went up to the cross country ski venue and settled in for a long day of watching and wondering.

I had no idea of when my daughter would be competing or any other information. In fact, Lenis was the first one to see her. I was off wandering around to see if I could find anything out and Lenis just happened to wander into the Athletes Tent and find her. She came back to find me, all excited and anxious to take me to see my girl. Alas . . . the cloaking device that had allowed her to pass by all the security had stopped working by then, and there was no way I could get past it . . . so our efforts were foiled once again . . . sigh . . .

As luck would have it though as we were standing outside the fence line at the Athletes tent, a woman volunteer (she surely must have been a mother) very graciously went in to get Eileen and bring her out to see me. It was a very tender moment and I cried buckets of tears of joy as I was finally able to put my arms around her and wish her well.

We watched her win a Bronze medal that day and another Gold medal the next day. It was so amazing to me to see my girl in action and I was further blessed in that the coach also let her come out and spend some time with us in the Sun Valley Lodge that first day as well, so I got to spend some real time with my daughter, which was very precious indeed.

I have to commend all the volunteers that so freely gave of their time to spend that whole week in service to others. They truly were special and kind people. The support and love that they gave to all the athletes was exemplar. You could tell they really cared and it meant to very much to me to see this love in action.

My heart was touched over and over again by their example, and by the very athletes themselves as I watched them work so very hard and try so very hard to do their best in all that they did. Their courage and dedication was so wonderful to see. The families that were there supporting their loved ones, they too were a wonderful example to me of love and dedication.

There were no losers here. They were all winners in my books.

It was so wonderful to get to see my daughter compete and to spend time with her.

It was so wonderful to get to spend this time with Lura and cement our friendship.

It was so wonderful to get to spend this time with Lenis and Dick and re-kindle our friendship as well.

It was so wonderful . . . full stop!

We all hated to see it end . . .

This probably isn't very good for you, but it sure tastes mighty good. As a once in a blue moon treat, this is sure to become a much loved family favourite. I know it is in this house at any rate!

*Chicken Fried Steak, with Cream Gravy*
Serves 4

I think this comes from Texas, or at least the Texans claim to have invented it. It doesn't really matter where it comes from though. The fact remains that it is totally delicious.

oil or shortening for frying
4 tenderized beef cutlets (round or cube steak)
1 cup of well seasoned flour
(Use lots of pepper, some salt and garlic powder)
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
For the Cream Gravy
2 heaping Tablespoons of seasoned flour
2 cups milk

Place about 1/4 inch of oil or shortening into a large skillet and heat over medium heat.

While the oil is heating, beat the egg together with the milk in a shallow dish. Place the seasoned flour in another shallow dish. Dredge the beef cutlets in the flour, and then in the egg and milk wash, and then once again in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess.

Place the dredged cutlets into the heated oil and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove to drain on a plate that has been lined with paper towels while you make the gravy.

Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings from the pan. Stir in the flour and cook for about one minute, then slowly add the milk, stirring and scraping all the bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the gravy is thickened, for about 10 minutes or so. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Serve the steaks with a little of the cream gravy spooned over, and pass any extra gravy at the table.


  1. What a wonderful adventure for you and a joy to see your daughter compete and be able to spend some time with her. God is good! Linda in Washington

  2. So glad you had a great time.

    I have presented you with the Butterfly Award - For the coolest blog I know! :)

  3. Thanks for sharing the wonderful pictures of your trip. I could see the love and excitement that you felt. All the smiles on the faces there is a heartwarming sight. Not only were you blessed by having such good friends, but I know that they also must have felt blessed to have been able to help you. I've found that nothing warms the heart like being able to help another. I hope your Saturday is a good one and that you are feeling rested now from your big trip. 'On Ya'-ma

  4. That is a true Texas dish! That's one of my favorite meals!! Yum!

    I can't believe they were so mean and wouldn't let you see your daughter. I wouldn't have been as patient as you were.

  5. It has been so wonderful and inspiring to follow the details of your trip. I'm so glad that you got to go and see your daughter. Thank you for sharing your travels with your on line friends and fans.

  6. Oh, Marie...Tears in my eyes reading the lovely stories of your trip...angels and blessings all along the way! Just sooo very, very happy you had this time. And that you did get to spend some happy ime with Eileen. Love seeing all the photos too! Hope you are feeling more rested now and that the jet lag is easing. It is crazy how many days it can take to feel on top of things again! It's snowing here again...*SIGH*...So we're doing some semi-hibernation this weekend--LOL! Hubby had chicken fried steak at a restaurant once when we were in the US--he loved it--LOL! Happy weekend to you, Todd and sweet Jess. Hope we get to chat tomorrow! LOVE YOU ((HUGS))

  7. Tears of joy here. This is wonderful. I am so happy for you :)

  8. The games and trip was so wonderful. I still can't believe that I was really there. It is amazing to me... and Lenis and Dick were Angels for sure!!!!!

    We had chicken fried steak on the way home Wed. sin..sin... but oh so good.... I was born in Texas you know and c.f.steak used to be a regular meal when I was growing up. Now you know why I am this size now. haha

    Austin wants breakfast now... must run.... I am sending love, Lura

  9. Marie I'm writing through tears and all because of ONE certain photo I just saw. The one of you holding and kissing your girl, there is SO SO much love jumping out of that photo, it's so touching :)

    So glad you got to spend time with her....and you were in my favorite state on earth, Idaho :)


  10. Breakfast is over... Austin is playig wii...John is out in the orchard... I am still thinking of you so I thought I would send you another greeting and (((hugs)))
    luv ya lots, Lura

  11. You are such an example to all of us oh trusting in the Lord. He does take care of us and listens to the longings of our heart!

    I know that angels are all around us, some are the kind we can't see and some are are dearest friends. You need to draw a picture of a little angel- do you have one already?

    What a wonderful trip! What an incredible blessing!

  12. Congratulations to your daughter. It would have been quite the experoience to cheer her on and be there for her.

  13. I also have tears reading this...
    Heavenly Father always takes care of us... and its just lovely the way everything fell into place.
    By your lovely friends driving you, to being able to see your sweet daughter.
    Have a beatiful day marie ~

  14. Marie, congratulations on your daughter's gold medal! You must be so very proud! What an extraordinary young woman she is! I used to cross country ski every winter and just loved it. Can't do it here! LOL!

  15. What wonderful pictures Marie. I can't imagine how hard it must have been to have gone all of that way and not being able to see your daughter. I am so glad you were able to see her and hold her. Yay!


  16. Great pics Marie, really heart warming! You must have been bursting with pride. xx

  17. what an amazng trip you had. angels around every corner. this was a trip meant for you to take! What a wonderful thing for you to see your daughter!

  18. What a brilliant time you had Marie and prayers you all see one another again soon and you don't have to wait two and a half years to see your Daughter.I know how you felt because it was over three years before I saw my Son again when he went to live in Usa and married there.God Bless your Dear Friends always.The pictures are wonderful and I too shed a tear of joy for you.Take Care God Bless Kath xx


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