Wednesday 17 February 2010

The gift of serving others . . .

Only what we give away
Enriches us from day to day,
For not in getting but in giving,
Is found the lasting joy of living.
For no one ever had a part
In sharing treasures of the heart
Who did not feel the impact of
The magic mystery of God's love.
Love alone can make us kind
And give us joy and peace of mind,
So live with joy unselfishly
And you'll be blessed abundantly.
~Helen Steiner Rice

I got a letter from my mom yesterday, which is not all that unsual. My mother writes me every second week, timed in such a way that I receive her letter on the weeks that she knows I am not going to call her on the telephone, as that is something which I do bi-weekly also.

I just love getting my mother's letters and I truly cherish each and every one of them, in fact saving them in a box, so that one day when they no longer come, I can still take one out now and again to enjoy . . .

Often she puts in newspaper clippings for us to enjoy from the paper back home. There was such a one in the letter which arrived yesterday, about a 12 year old boy named Son Pham, a Vietnamese boy who came to Canada seeking treatment for a large facial growth. Son had been living in an orphanage outside Hanoi where he was discovered by someone from The Children's Bridge Foundation in 2006. This charity, which does small projects at orphanages in Asia and Ethiopia arrange a year later for Son to leave Vietnam for North America where he would receive intricate treatment on a football sized vascular malformation that was threatening to block his airways.

When he arrived in Canada the doctors at the Hospital for Sick Children decided they could not treat him, and so he was treated at the children's hospital in Boston. In between some seven surgeries and 18 other treatments he lived with a family in Halifax, the capital of the province which I come from.

It was a lovely heart warming article and just bursting with joy and with love. This young man has captured the hearts of all those who have helped to play a part in changing his life. Yes, they have blessed him with what they have done for him, but in return they have been blessed a thousand times over it would seem.

That's the way it always is with loving service . . . service given selflessly to others. This is the one single thing that brings joy into our lives above everything else. It is not something we can buy, or that we can own . . . but a treasure beyone measure, which only comes from moving outside of ourselves and our own little spheres, and in reaching out to others in whichever way we find possible.

You don't need to be rich to give service to others, you only need to be willing. It is a gift of love that always gives back more than is given. How wonderful and priceless.

We finally broke down and went to see the film Avatar last night. We had been curious to see what all the hoopla is about. Wow is all I can say. It was amazing, and beautiful and very entertaining. I just loved the 3d effect. You felt like you were right in the film along with the characters. It was a bit pricey when compared to the cost of going to see other films, but it was worth every penny in my opinion. If this film doesn't walk away with all the awards at this years Oscar's I'll eat my hat! I highly recommend. Great story and great acting, it watches like a piece of art. It did not disappoint us at all. I highly recommend! This is one you will want to watch at the cinema people,!! Watching it on the telly at home will just not do it justice.

I baked some tasty cookies yesterday. Sometimes I like to make something a bit different than the usual ones. These are quite similar to chocolate chip but have some extra tasty additions, such as cereal, coconut and oats. Incredibly edibly moreish I'd say!

*Cowboy Cookies*
Makes about 36
Printable Recipe

A variation on the good old chocolate chip cookie, except that these have an additional crunch provided by crispy cereal and some chewiness from the coconut and oats. Actually you could probably call these kitchen sink cookies, as there's a little bit of everything thrown in!

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups oatmeal
2 cups or cornflakes, partially crushed
1 cup shredded coconut
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Lightly butter several baking sheets. Set aside.

Cream together the butter and both sugars, until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla. Whisk together the baking powder, soda, flour and salt. Mix this into the creamed mixture, mixing it in until well combined. Stir in the oatmeal, cornflakes, coconut and chocolate chips, until evenly dispersed.

Scoop out in large spoonsful onto the prepared baking sheets, placing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until barely brown. It is better to take them out early rather than too late, so don't let them overbake.

Remove to wire racks to cool, then store in a tightly covered container.

We're going a bit foreign on The English Kitchen today, with delicious Bombay Potatoes!

Happy Wednesday everyone!!


  1. Marie I am pleased to read your review of Avatar. I am not likely to see it but my son has and I did wonder.

    I think it is lovely that your mother writes to you so regularly. It is a pleasure to open a letter from home.

    Take care and have a wonderful day.

  2. Hi, Marie! What a wonderful story...My Mom often tucks in newspaper/magazine clippings, recipes, a fun photo, stickers, all sort when she sends a card or note. We email daily, and talk on the phone almost weekly, so our notes handwritten are fewer maybe, so cherished all the more. :o) I had on MSN last night hoping to catch you for a chat... But what fun to learn you went out to the cinema! We've not seen Avatar yet. My sister & her boyfriend saw it last weekend, and they were raving about it. Love the name of these cookies--such fun. And they look sooo good! It's snowing here today, so tea & cookies would be great. Want to come over? ;o) Have a lovely day, dear friend--LOVE YOU HEAPS ((BIG HUGS))

  3. Hi Marie,
    Your post came as an encouragement to me. I am right now preparing materials to open a free English classes for 10 weeks to children of poor families around our neighborhood in March-May. I wish I can do more for them like give them scholarship grants to send them to regular schools, but well, I'll just do whatever practical help and resources I have right now. If I wait until I get rich, I'll miss my chance of helping those who need help right now. I would appreciate if you could include this item in one of your prayer times.

    It's so sweet to hear about your mom's regular letter to you.

    More blessings!

  4. service is truly one of the most beautiful things! thank you for sharing that wonderful story!

    i haven't seen avatar but have heard its awesome. maybe we'll see it one of these days!

  5. I so agree...wonderful story! I love cowboy cookies, sort of crunchy and so delicious. I have been wondering about that movie..will have to go see it. Have a great day and come say hi :D

  6. I once saw a TV program Marie on a little boy being orperated on for this.Heart rendering it was but lets thenk God, we have such great surgeons who can help in these matters.I love reading over old letters,I too have a boxfull of them.I have a place for them too LOL!!!(Joke-Joke).I'm not a film goer Marie,but my Daughter has seen the film,she too thought it was brilliant.Love the cookies Yummy.Have a lovely Wednesday.Take Care God Bless Kath xx

  7. I loved your thoughts on service Marie. I never feel more fulfilled than when I've done something for someone else. My grandmother used to gather up pretty things (the fronts of greenting cards she'd been sent, pictures in a magazine, etc.) put them all in an envelope and send them to my children. She knew children loved bright colors and being very poor, that's all she had to give. We treasured each envelope. blessings, marlene

  8. I really loved your post today - it made me stop and think about my own life and how I live it. It also made me think about all of the service that has been extended to me throughout the years - not that I really needed it, there are just good people out there who serve God and others. Thank you for the reminder, it is one of the most precious gifts we can give.

    I've not seen Avatar, buy maybe I will now! It sounds really good.

    Have a blessed day, Barb

  9. what an awesome story, I will have to look it up. Thank you for sharing.What a delight to have such contact with your Mom. And Avatar, my son wants to see you recommend it being that good? Hugs to you... the weather is like Spring here this morning. hugs, Mica

  10. I must try the cowboy cookies!

    It's so cool your mom writes you letters! My mom doesn't even call me...

  11. A beautiful quote at the beginning of this post:>) I enjoyed Avatar too. Amazing computer generation wasn't it?

  12. I leve this story about the vietnamese boy. Anyone who has a speical needs child or grandchild knows how traumatic that would be for a child to endure. I love the way people do reach out to these kids and help. Hazie has received some pretty great gifts of service in her short lifetime and I am so thankful for anyone who reaches out to children.

    Enjoy and cherish those letters, Marie! I am so happy you will see your mom and family soon.


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