Thursday 1 September 2011

Thoughts on families . . .

(my sister, brother, dad and myself, circa 1964)

“Family love is like the wind: instinctive, raw, fragile, beautiful. At times angry, but always unstoppable. It is our collective breath. It is the world’s greatest force.” ~James McBride

Families come in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes families are large, consisting of a whole houseful of children . . . and a mom and a dad, maybe even grandparents . . . all living under the same roof a la Walton. Other families are small, perhaps only two people that care deeply for one another. Still other families don’t have moms, or they don’t have dads. A family might just be a single person and their beloved pet, or it can be a whole community, united in a single unit of caring and understanding.

A family is a group of people who love and care for one another in a unique way. It doesn’t take blood to unite them, only love, and the glue of respect and trust.

(my daughter in law Anne, and eldest grandson Gabriel, about 4 years ago)

A family is shelter, a port in a storm. I know that when the outside world is rough and full of opposition, I can go home to the bosom of my family and I can feel safe and secure, accepted for who I am, no matter what may be.

Family love is unconditional. It accepts us . . . no matter who we are, or what we’ve done . . . or what we may do tomorrow. Regardless of disappointments, or misunderstandings, it is always there, unflinching, never changing.

(My grandparents and Aunt Freda and cousin Ronnie, Gram and Freda are the two in the back row right, Ronnie is back to in front of them and my Grandfather is the one on the far right front. Not sure who the rest are.)

Family is the bedrock of society, a pivotal and fundamental part of who we are as a collective. When the family begins to break down, society begins to dissolve. We can see that beginning to happen around us now. Too many children, being brought up by single parents, their sense of worth wounded by absentee parents and a societal collective that is too tired . . . or too caught up in their own lives to care or understand.

When I was a child I knew that if I did wrong, there would not only be hell to pay at school, or from a neighbour . . . but that there would also be hell to pay at home. My conscience was not just my mom and my dad, but my world altogether. I knew that if I was hurt or upset, someone would pick me up, and it didn’t have to be my mom or my dad, it might have been anyone, because back then . . . communities cared as a whole, and people in general could be trusted.

(My Aunt Freda, me in her arms, My mother, my Great Grandmother Best, circa 1956)

A family is standards, and boundaries and the knowledge of how far you can go and where the line is that cannot be crossed. Loving ties that bind us to our past, our present and our future. There is security in knowing where one thing ends and another begins. Stability in knowing the lie of the land.

The family is ordained of God. In a world of turmoil and uncertainty, it is more important than ever to make our families the centre of our lives and the top of our priorities. Families lie at the centre of our Heavenly Father’s plan. In 1995 our church put out a declaration to the world on families, which can be read here . I believe it says it all, far much better than I ever could!

(My two girls Amanda and Eileen, ages 4 and 6)

I am ever grateful for my family . . . for the one that I was raised in, both at home and communal . . . for the one that I raised . . . for the one I am a part of now . . . and for the wonderful family of friends and community that I have built for myself. Who knows where I would be without any one of them!

Peas on toast might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I think sometimes it is the simple things that are the best and tastiest of all! If you are really missing some protein in this, add a tin of tuna drained and flaked, or a small tin of salmon, done likewise.

*Creamed Peas on Toast*

Serves 2

Printable Recipe

When I was a child I hated peas. My mother found a cricket in the bottom of a tin of peas once and that did it for me. I never gave them much of a chance after that. I did like frozen peas though and gradually through the years I have come to enjoy them. Fresh is best, frozen is not bad, tinned is unacceptable. This is delicious in it’s simplicity, no ifs ands or buts about it!

2 TBS butter

2 TBS flour

2 cups whole milk

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup frozen peas

4 slices of bread

Softened butter for spreading

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for one minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook, stirring, over medium heat until it begins to bubble and is thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste and turn the heat down to low to keep warm while you cook the peas.

Bring a small pot of water to the boil and add the peas. Bring the water back to the boil and cook them for only a few minutes, no longer. Drain them well. Stir them into the white sauce and keep warm.

Toast the slices of bread and butter them. Lay them on two plates and spoon the warm sauce with the peas over top. Serve.

I believe it's called The World's Best Crumble . . . from the October issue of Delicious Magazine, over in The English Kitchen today! (It is actually fabulously scrummy!)

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