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*
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.