Sunday, 12 April 2009
One Solitary Life
He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant. He grew up in another village, where he worked in a carpenter shop until he was 30. Then, for three years, he was an itinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a home. He didn't go to college. He never lived in a big city. He never traveled 200 miles from the place where he was born. He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but himself.
He was only 33 when the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied him. He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his garments, the only property he had on earth. When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave, through the pity of a friend.
Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race. I am well within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned--put together--have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that one, solitary life.
~James Allen Francis
Yesterday Todd and I were blessed to have a wonderful day together. It began with an early morning drive up to the London Temple in Chorley. Oh how beautiful the grounds were! Every flower bed was filled to bursting with a variety of springtime blooms. I had not been to the Temple since before Christmas and so I had not seen the beautiful golden Angel Moroni that has now been placed at the top of the steeple.
We spent most of our day wandering about the grounds and inside the temple, partaking of the beautiful spirit that resides there. I could not think of a better way to spend an Easter Saturday than that. Afterwards we went into the visitors centre, which I had also not seen since it was completely renovated. It's really lovely and if you are ever in the area I recommend you pay it a visit. I'm sure you'd find it totally interesting. We saw the Joseph Smith film while we were there. I had already seen it when I was in Salt Lake City in February. (I still can't believe I was so blessed) It is one of those films you just want to see again and again.
Afterwards we drove up to Godstone to the LDS bookstore there and did some damage to our bank account. We always say we aren't going to spend any money but then we can't help ourselves. It is so nice to see everything they have in the store and I seem to want everything they have. However yesterday I restrained myself and settled for two small books of the writings of President Henry B Eyring, who is easily one of my favourites. I absolutely devour every word that comes from his lips. He is such a humble and inspiring man.
Of course I could not resist this . . .
We all know that us Mormon ladies are great cooks and what better than a cookbook chock full of delicious recipes! (I know, what am I like!!! I seem to pick up cookbooks everywhere I go!)
We then returned home enjoying a wonderful drive through the beautiful countryside in East Sussex and Kent. I do believe it is some of the loveliest countryside in the UK, but then again, I also say that about the Lake District, Devon, and the Yorkshire Dales! (I think I just love England full stop!)
Last night we were privileged to be able to attend the Tonbridge Philharmonic Society presentation of Handel's "Messiah." It was absolutely beautiful . . . all of it. The orchestra, the choir, the soloists. We sat there rapt and mesmerized for three hours, eyes closed and just drinking in the beauty and majesty of it all. I had heard bits and pieces of it in the past but this was the very first time I was able to hear it from start to finish. What a majestic piece of work. We all got to stand up and sing the Hallelujah chorus!! I think we did pretty good too. It was just wonderful.
We got home about 11 pm and fell into bed happily exhausted at midnight. We had to spend some quality time with Jess first, as she had been on her own for most of the day. She was quite happy about our fussing to say the least. All in all though we had a lovely day and now this morning we get to go to church and celebrate the holiest of all the Christian Holidays . . . He lives, our Great Redeemer lives!
I wish each one of you a Happy and Blessed Easter Sunday.
There wasn't a lot of time for cooking yesterday, just time enough to whip up this old standby of mine. Quick, easy and oh so very delicious!
Serves 4 - 6
Light and fluffy, and wonderfully savoury, these dumplings float on a delicious sea of a robust and tasty tomato sauce. What’s not to like about these lovely taste tempting babies?
½ cup peeled and finely chopped onion
¼ cup finely chopped green pepper
¼ cup finely chopped celery
¼ cup butter
1 bay leaf, broken in half
28 ounces of tinned chopped tomatoes, in their juices, undrained
1 TBS soft light brown sugar, packed
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the Dumplings:
1 cup plain flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp of Italian garlic seasoning
1 TBS cold butter
1 TBS snipped fresh parsley
2/3 cup of milk
Melt the butter in a large skillet (with a lid) over medium high heat. Whenit begins to sizzle add the onion, pepper and celery. Cook, stirring, until they are tender. Add the bay leaf, tomatoes, brown sugar, basil, salt and pepper. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
Make the dumplings as follows.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and garlic seasoning together in a bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Stir in the parsley and then finally stir in the milk, mixing it only until mixed together and all the dry ingredients are uniformly moist.
Remove the lid from the simmering tomato mixture and drop the dumpling batter onto the top of the simmer liquid by tablespoonfuls. Cover tightly with a lid and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes without peeking, until a toothpick inserted into one of the dumplings comes out clean and they look set and somewhat dry on top. Serve immediately, spooned out onto warm plates.