Wednesday 25 January 2012

Family togetherness

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Laying in bed last night as I was waiting to fall asleep my mind went back to a particular memory that I have of a special time spent with my children. For a few minutes I was back there with them and it was just lovely.

We had recently moved to a small town in the Northern part of Southern Ontario and my husband had gone on a golfing trip to Myrtle Beach with his buddies. It was in the early Spring and we were having some really bad weather. Rain, rain and even more rain, accompanied by high winds. It was early in the evening and all of a sudden the power went off. I quickly gathered up all the candles in the house while we decided what to do.

We waited for a few minutes, thinking that the power would be coming back on shortly, but alas . . . it did not, and so we settled in for an evening without electricity. My eldest daughter was particularly upset as it meant she would not be able to watch her favourite show that night, and that was really important to her . . . but after a while even she settled in. We decided to play Monopoly.

Monopoly by candlelight. It was a lot of fun and I think everyone really enjoyed themselves. We sat around the table in the flickering light and without the distraction of television or telephone we had a really great time together as a family. I can't remember who won, if anyone . . . only that we were happy.

After the game, we decided we were going to camp out together in the living room that night instead of going off into our various rooms to sleep. We dragged a few mattresses into the living room and made up some beds for everyone. I think I slept on the couch. We spent another few hours chatting and singing and telling stories until one by one we all fell asleep. The wind was raging outside, the thunder was clapping loudly . . . but we were together and that somehow quelled any fears that any of us might have had.

It was only in the light of the next day that we learned that a tornado had passed by very closely to where we were living. Thankfully we had not been directly affected, other than having lost our power. We took a drive out into the countryside to see the damage done and I remember it looking as if a big giant hand had just reached down snapping off trees like they were twigs etc. One elderly man had actually been plucked from his yard and set down in another place, and lived to tell the tale. We saw a house with no roof . . . but thankfully most of the damage had been done only to trees and such.

I was very thankful that we had not known what was really going on . . . had we done so, I think we have spent a very different night together . . . but as they say . . . "Ignorance is Bliss," and in our bliss we instead built a lovely memory together. A memory that I treasure. I lay there thinking about it last night and I smiled into the dark with the warmth of my thoughts and I wondered if they remembered that evening with as much fondness as I do . . .

Far too often we allow the distractions of modern life take us away from the things that are truly important. We spend our evenings watching the television or on the computer . . . instead of communicating with each other or building family memories together. I think sometimes it is a good thing to turn it all off and to just be together. In the olden days people had to entertain themselves . . . and would often spend evenings together singing songs, telling stories, etc.

In our church we have a practice of having a Family Home Evening on one night each week. The normal night designated for this is Monday evenings, although it does vary from family to family as a result of working schedules etc. This is a night where we are encouraged to do something as a family, something that will help to bring us closer together, and to strengthen family ties and love for each other. It may have a spiritual theme at times and be an opportunity to learn something new, or to draw closer to our Heavenly Father . . . at others it may simply be an evening where we do something fun together.

All families . . . from the large to the very small, and everything in between, we are encouraged to set this special time aside. In my Ward there is a group of single adults who get together to do something as a group with each other, as they have no family at home to share it with. Todd and I are just two . . . but we are a family, and even we do something special together on Monday evenings. More often than not we will read the scriptures together or watch an uplifting film from our church. We talk and we pray and we just enjoy a few hours together without the distractions of the world. It's a pretty special time.

Family togetherness . . . it's a good thing.

This is an old favourite from my Big Blue Binder. I expect that it was copied out of a magazine once upon a time, although I can't remember which one anymore. It is delicious! The pear centre makes it quite unsual. Everyone loves it!


*Walnut-Pear Sour Cream Coffee Cake*
Makes 12 servings
Printable Recipe

A beautifully moist coffee cake with a tasty layer of pear running through it's centre.

1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup soft light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup plain flour
2 medium pears, peeled, cored and sliced (approx. 2 cups)
2 tsp lemon juice
1 3/4 cup of plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large free range eggs
1 (8-oz) carton sour cream

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Grease a 9-inch spring form pan or a 9-inch square baking pan. Set aside.

Combine the walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. In another small bowl, rub the butter into the 1/3 cup of flour until crumbly. Stir in 3/4 cup of the nut mixture. Set this aside. (This will be the topping.) Reserve the remainder of the nut mixture.

Toss the pear slices with lemon juice and set aside.

Combine the 1 3/4 cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Beat the 1/2 cup softened butter in a large bowl for about 30 seconds. Beat in the sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture, alternately, with the sour cream, beating on low after each addition until combined.

Spread 2/3 of the batter in the prepared pan. Lay the pear slices on top and then sprinkle them with the reserved nut mixture. Spread the remainder of the batter over top to cover pears. Sprinkle with the topping mixture over all.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing the sides. Allow to cool for half an hour before serving. Serve warm.

Over in The English Kitchen today I am cooking a Chicken Taco Salad, (low fat).

“We build deep and loving family relationships by doing simple things together, like family dinner and family home evening and by just having fun together. In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e, time. Taking time for each other is the key for harmony at home. We talk with, rather than about, each other. We learn from each other, and we appreciate our differences as well as our commonalities. We establish a divine bond with each other as we approach God together through family prayer, gospel study, and Sunday worship.”
― Dieter F. Uchtdorf

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