Wednesday, 24 August 2011
Wednesday prattle . . .
"Out of pain and problems have come the sweetest songs and the most gripping stories."
You know, that's really true and something to remember when things are getting us a bit down. When I look back on some of the roughest patches that I have had to hoe in my lifetime, I can clearly see in retrospect that they have also given me some of my greatest blessings.
If life ran smoothly all the time, without it's many ups and downs, I don't think we'd be near as happy as we are. It is the downs in life that truly help us to appreciate the ups. I am a great believer in "Silver Linings." Learning to recognize them is the key to happiness in all things. It's all about being able to dance in the rain . . .
When we lost our job last year and home . . . lost Jess . . . it was all for a reason. Number one I had not been really happy in my job for a while. Number two, I had had signs of problems in my knees, hips, etc. Number three, Heavenly Father knew that my arthritis was going to begin to kick in big time. Number four, there is no way I would have been able to continue to work with the arthritis as bad as it now is, I would have had to quit my job. Number five . . . had I had to quit my job, I would never have gotten severance pay and we would have never had the money to set ourselves up again in a new place. Being made redundant at the right time was the silver lining in our cloud, even if we were not able to see it at the time. Our faith helped to carry us through that situation from it's dark beginnings to the light at the end of the tunnel.
There were days when we could barely see any light . . . and when our faith was surely tried, but the promise of hope that the Gospel brings, helped to carry us on through those days. I never lost hope throughout the whole ordeal, that my Heavenly Father had a purpose even in what seemed like a horrible trial for us. It was not nice losing our lovely new car . . . but it was replaced with a pretty good second hand car that thus far has given us good service. We have a lovely little home and whilst it's not in the countryside, it's in a really quiet area of the Housing Estate we now find ourselves living on and it has a HUGE garden that we are able to enjoy and use in ways we could never use the one we had down south . . . with our very own fruit trees and a delightful little pond and a vegetable and fruit patch which brings us much joy.
I am now free to serve my callings in the church to the best of my abilities . . . something I could never do when we worked at the Manor. My job required much of me, and most of my time . . . and there was very little leftover for anything else. I enjoy my calling as a Counselor in the Relief Society so very much. I love serving the sisters in our Ward and being able to spend time with each of them. I love being able to do Visiting Teaching. I could not do any down South, and so was only a letter writer. Real Time visits are so much better.
I used to fret because my job was so demanding, and my husband getting ever older . . . and that we didn't have enough time to spend with each other. I felt that our years together were being wasted in service to a person that didn't truly appreciate the sacrifice . . . Todd and I found each other so late in life, each moment spent together, even now when we have nothing but time to spend together . . . is very precious to me.
"I walked a mile with sorrow
And ne'er a word said she
But, oh, the things I learned
When sorrow walked with me."
We may not always understand the reasons why we need to go through the trials that beset us . . . but they are always a lot easier to bear knowing that one day we will understand, and see the purpose in all things . . . even those. Life is truly sweet when you allow it to be.
Look at the sweet little cruet set my reading student brought me yesterday as a gift. He knows I like things like this and he saw it in a charity shop and wanted to buy me a gift as a thank you. I don't expect any thanks for what I am doing really. I truly enjoy helping him, but my heart was touched yesterday when he gave this to me. It will go in a place of honor on my side board for sure!
I had a lovely time yesterday with my friend Anna. I told her she needs to get herself a craft shed like my friend Sheilagh has! If she can't have a room in the house, she needs a shed. Everyone needs a place, however small, to call their own! Especially if you are a creative type . . . space to create is so very important! Sheilagh, I need to bring Anna to yours one day to see your shed! She would be amazed and uplifted I am sure!
Cookies are one of the things that I enjoy in life. Especially homemade ones. Most especially peanut butter cookies. If you have a peanut butter cookie in the cookie tin, you don't really need much else . . . except maybe a glass of milk . . . and someone to share them with. Cookies shared always taste twice as good!
*Old Favourites Peanut Butter Cookies*
Makes 4 ½ to 5 dozen
The kid in me loves these. I have been making these for as long as I can remember. Nothing fancy here, just old fashioned peanut butter goodness. Bet you can’t eat just one!
½ cup butter
½ cup packed soft light brown sugar
½ cup caster sugar
1 large free range egg
½ cup peanut butter (you can use crunchy if you want, but I always use smooth)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup plain flour (you may need more, I always do)
½ tsp vanilla
Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F/gas mark 4. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set it aside.
Put the butter into a large bowl and cream it really well with a wooden spoon. Once it is quite fluffy, beat in both the sugars gradually, beating until creamy. Mix in the egg, peanut butter, salt and baking soda, mixing them all in and blending them well. Stir in the vanilla and then finally the flour. Mix in enough flour so that the dough is not too sticky. You will need to be able to roll the mixture into balls with your hands. I find that I usually need about 1 ½ cups of flour at least.
Roll the dough into walnut sized balls (or drop with a teaspoon onto the baking sheet) Put each ball on the baking sheet, placing them at least 2 inches apart. Take a fork and dip it into some flour and lightly press each one flat. Bake for ten to twelve minutes. Remove from the baking sheet with a spatula to a wire rack to finish cooling. Repeat with the remaining dough until it is all used up.
Sometimes you can drop the balls of dough into a small dish of white sugar and roll them around to coat them before placing them onto the baking pan. They are really good done this way too.
In The English Kitchen today, delicious Sticky Glazed Pork Chops.