Saturday 23 January 2010

I dreamed a dream . . .

When you were a child, did you ever take a magnifying glass and play with it? I can remember one time several friends and I had one and we used it to catch paper alight simply by allowing the sun to shine down through the glass and onto a spot on the paper . . . it took quite a while, but, with perseverance and diligence, it did happen eventually.

In one of the laboratories in Washington, DC, there is a great sun glass that measures three feet across. Very much like the "Burning" glass that we used as children, except that it is much, much larger. This great glass gathers the rays of the sun that strike it's flat surface and focuses them in a single point in space, just a few feet below. That single spot is hotter than a blow torch. It will melt through a steel plate as easily as a red-hot needle burns through paper. This terrific heat cannot be measured, for it melts through all instruments. It is just three feet of ordinary sunshine, concentrated on a single point.

Scattered . . . these rays are hardly felt, perhaps they are pleasantly warm, but concentrated . . . they meld adamant.

This same principle applies to human endeavors. Scattered . . . a person's energies do not seem to amount to much. Once focused on the task at hand, seemingly tremendous difficulties melt like snow on a hot surface.

We recently purchased the Susan Boyle Album, I Dreamed a Dream. Oh, it is so very lovely. Her voice, crystal clear and so very touching . . . it pierces my heart in a very special way. Some of her songs even moved me to tears. I think that's because Susan Boyle represents that little voice in each of us that hopes and dares to be something other than what we are . . . that longs to stretch beyond the boundaries that we have set about ourselves, and to say that if we dream it . . . we can do it. Susan Boyle had a dream . . . to be a world class singer.

At first glance, the powers that be thought . . . never . . . she just didn't fit the image that they had of a world class singer. But Susan Boyle had a dream and she never lost sight of her goal. She pursued it in the face of all the naysayers, and she struck a chord in each of us. She touched the hearts of the world, with her belief in herself and her talent . . . pure raw talent. She focused all her energy on that one thing that she wanted more than anything else and, lo and behold, the impossible has happened. She is a world class singer.

Sometimes I get a bit down about my own talents. In particular my artwork. It doesn't seem to get that much attention really. I have a dream that, one day I will be able to make a comfortable living by doing what I love most, and that is creating with my pencil and pens and colours, beautiful pictures that people will want to see and to own for themselves.

Sometimes I stop believing in that dream and then I have to kick myself and tell myself, that, just like Susan Boyle . . . I must never let go of my dream. I must believe in myself, otherwise I cannot expect anyone else to believe in me. That if three feet of sunshine, when concentrated, can burn through anything . . . if I focus on my talents and believe in myself, I can one day be, what I dream myself to be . . .

I'd like to share a lovely tea bread with you today. I just love tea breads. They're not quite cake. They're not quite bread. They're usually quite scrumptious and they're very handy to keep in the freezer to drag out when unexpected company drops by. I can remember my mother having tea parties when I was very young and one of the things she always served was thinly sliced tea breads, spread with butter. Oh how good they tasted. This recipe today is one of my particular favourites. I think you will enjoy it as well, spread with butter or not, it is delicious!

*Almond Glazed Poppy Seed Bread*
Makes 2 loaves
Printable Recipe

This is an excellent sweet bread with rich flavours and a tangy orange sugar glaze. Delicious!

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup cooking oil
2 1/4 cups white sugar
1 1/2 TBS poppy seeds
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 tsp butter flavouring

For the almond glaze:
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3/4 cup fine white sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Butter and flour 2 medium/large loaf tins. Set aside.

COmbine all the ingredients for the bread in a large bowl. Beat well with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Divide into the two prepared loaf tins. Bake for about 1 hour, but start checking after 45 minutes. The loaves are done when they are well risen and brown, and the top springs back when lightly touched. Also a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing from the pans to cool on a wire rack. Glaze with the glaze whilst still warm, spooning it generously over the tops. Once cooled completely, wrap in foil to store or freeze.

To make the glaze, combine all the glaze ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well together until the sugar has dissolved.

Over on The English Kitchen today . . . Spicy Pork Burgers with Honey Mustard Onions.


  1. Good Morning Marie,

    Hold onto your dream. Without a dream we flounder. You are way too precious for that.

    Have a great day.

  2. I agree with you about Susan Boyle Marie, such a lovely voice, I do hope she manages to keep her feet on the ground and it doesn't all get too much for her, hopefully she has some good advisers about her who only have her best interests at heart.
    I love poppy seeds! I must try this, I think Peter would like it too....mind you, there's not much he DOESN'T like! ~~~ Love, Pat x

  3. I hope Susan Boyle goes from strength to strength! Talent will always out. Your talent shines out from my hallway walls dear friend, from the dresser where Em sits, frequently from my oven and always from my computer screen.

    Your friendship means so much to me, you know - that's a talent too. I believe everyone has a talent tucked away somewhere, even if it's only for remembering to put the bins out. Tell you what mine ISN'T: crocheting!

    love (lots of it), Angie, xxxx

  4. Beautiful post, Marie! Susan Boyle is just amazing, isn't she? I have a dream as well, and I am holding tight to it. Love that poppyseed bread, sounds like the exact same recipe I have on 'Zaar, except for the butter flavoring. Much love to you! Raquel XO

  5. Never give up on your dreams. If you believe in yourself then others will too! I hope your Saturday is a good one and you keep on dreaming!

  6. We must all have goals (or dreams) to strive for . . . some are great (like Susan's) while others are more simple . . .

    I love tea breads as well -- and last week I made an almond tea cake and used almost the same glaze on it (no vanilla in mine) -- those type of things go so well with tea!

  7. Never let go of your dream! Just like Susan Boyle you never know what can happen...isn't than pic of her in the long dress beautiful...I hadn't seen that one before.

    Recipe is yummy sounding too...we are big lemon loaf people around here.

    Blessings to you

  8. Is it sad that I haven't listened to Susan Boyle until just now? Amazing.

    I love your artwork. Each one brings a feeling of contentment to me- like your blog! I believe that you are truly one of those people who can make everyone comfortable.

  9. I love that you keep your dream alive and add to it regularly! My dream is for my children's books that I have been writing will see a publisher one day. I have a nephew who is an illustrator and animator. I just need to get my words to his pictures...we shall hold on! Your paintings bring joy and love and delight. You are a daily dose of sunshine in any weather!

  10. I love your post today! Do you mind if I keep it to put it in my folder for R.S. talks? What a wonderful message of how sticking together and being of one heart will make a difference! Susan Boyle is amazing! I also have her new CD, and I think it is wonderful. She is a great example to the world of dreams coming true and perseverance. I happen to love your artwork, it's so charming and cheerful. You are very talented - I know you weren't trying to get compliments, but I must say that I envy you - I have always been talented that way, but have kind of let it go years ago . . . I think I'll try again, Thanks to you. Never give up! I love all your recipes on both sites, Can't wait to try both of them. Have a wonderful day.

    Blessings, Barb


  12. i love tea breads and can't wait to try this recipe.

    when i first watched the episode of susan singing, i
    just burst into tears. her transformation has been

  13. I think dreams are God's nudges to do something He has planned for us. Whether or not we achieve fame or money our dreams are gifts God has given us. blessings, marlene

  14. Marie,
    I love your recipes. I have several of them printed off and I use them! Thank you.
    Thanks for sharing the Susan Boyle story. Hang in there and keep dreaming. You have a talent.

  15. Marie, you are oozing with amazing talent that we all admire!

    One day you will be a famous artist and I will have an original piece of your artwork... :) I just know it!

    I don't know if you know this or not... but when you were here in Utah last year and we were all at Lynell's house I got a phone call from our adoption agency telling me that a birth-mother wanted to meet us. It was Cal's birth-mother. :) I can't believe that was a year ago! I will never forget that moment!

  16. don't ever give up! you are amazing marie!

  17. Marie, this is a great post. I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes we struggle so hard to do things and we just want people to enjoy them. Sometimes they don't seem to notice. I get frustrated with my blogs in that respect. I want people to comment but most of the people that read my blog don't. There have been times when I just about quit doing it because it takes so much time and energy and we just need that reinforcement that it matters to someone. I love you for all the comments you have has kept me going many times.

    At some point you just have to realize that you do what you do because you love it and it enlarges your life and makes you happy.

    You artwork is beautiful and amazing and I think you should write a little children's book and illustrate it. It would be amazing with your writing and painting talents and you could teach some very beautiful principles at the same time.

    I want to order some Christmas cards from you next year I just have to think of it early enough.

    Some cute weight loss art like a cute little girl on the scale with a happy face might be sweet too. I know whatever you do it comes from the heart and that is a big secret to success.

    Keep the fire going! You are terrific!


Your comments mean the world to me, and while I may not be able to address each one individually, each one is important to me and each one counts. Thanks so much!