Friday 20 January 2012

How to Hug a Porcupine

“An aged grandmother, who never attended school, once gave her grand daughter a slip of paper with all the advice she would ever need to lead a good life. What she wrote is valuable for all of us: Wash what is dirty. Water what is dry. Heal what it wounded. Warm what is cold. Guide what goes off the road. And, love people who are the least loveable, because they need it the most.”

Very sound advice indeed. For an uneducated woman it is very profound and full of great insight. Especially the last bit. I would say that loving the unlovable is pretty much akin to hugging a porcupine, difficult to do, but not entirely impossible.

I once had a friend, (and am glad to say still do) who was a very difficult person to be friends with, let alone to love. It didn’t matter what you did, she was always bristling and full of complaints. Not only that . . . she was very demanding and hard to get along with.

One day she would be as sweet as pie and the next . . . as cantankerous as the day was long. It was almost as if she would push you away the minute you started to get close to her, and she was constantly wanting you to prove that you were her friend by being so very difficult to get along with. Not many people stuck around her for long and indeed, I was asked many times how on earth did I put up with her.

Many of her friends came and went . . . hardly any stayed for long, but . . . every once in a while I would catch a glimpse of the person she could have been had she only let herself be that person. I just could not find it in myself to abandon her, no matter how many times I felt like doing just that!

Source: via Marie on Pinterest

I never gave up on her. I persevered on the strength of that person I caught occasional glimpses of. I just shrugged it off when she was difficult or insulting, and I enjoyed the moments that she wasn’t. Through it all though, I prayed for her . . . daily.

Even after we moved away and I wasn’t living in the same location as her anymore . . . and never got to see her, I prayed for her. And I wrote her letters. Little chatty letters filled up with the things I was doing, and little stories of faith. I rarely, if ever, heard back, but it didn’t matter to me. I just always wanted her to know that, no matter what, I loved her. I kept hugging her, although distant, and letting her know that I was hugging her.

One day though, I did get a reply, and one cannot imagine the joy I felt to read her words. She had been diagnosed with a mental illness and was finally on the medication she had needed for a very long time. She was finally living the life she was meant to live . . . finally able to be the person that she was meant to be. She thanked me very much for all the support and love and the prayers I had given her through the years, and told me how much it had meant to her that I had been one of the few who had never given up on her. We remain good friends to this day, and she is a true gem in my life. Gold, pure gold.

Source: via Marie on Pinterest

I was so glad when I read her words that day. Glad that I had persevered and never given up on her. Glad that she had been able to get the help she had so obviously needed for so very long, and grateful for a friendship that had spanned several decades and grown and developed into something that was most precious to me.

I had hugged a porcupine and gained a priceless friend. Luke 6:28 says “Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” I have a testimony that these words are very true, and I testify that it is quite impossible not to love someone for whom you are praying. In fact . . . I highly recommend it!

Off into town today to pay a bill and then a friend is coming over this afternoon for a visit. We had a wonderful time feeding the missionaries yesterday. I made them a big pot of Beef and Vegetable Stew and some Buttermilk Mashed Spuds, with a salad, rolls and for dessert my Apple Pie Roll Ups with Custard. I think they were quite happy with the meal. It's a win/win situation really, because I am sure that I probably get every bit as much, if not more pleasure out of cooking it than they could ever get out of eating it all.

Here is one of my favourite ways to prepare fish that is not only easy, but quite healthy. You get all the crunch of breaded fish without frying. I like to use a well flavoured crouton. You can get baked croutons, which is what I use.

*Light and Crispy Fish FIllets*LinkServes 4
Printable Recipe

Mom always said fish was brain food. This is a great way to prepare it giving your fish that is moist and flaky with a beautifully crisp coating that is baked, not fried.

3/4 cup of crushed seasoned croutons
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/4 tsp paprika
salt and black pepper to taste
1 large free range egg
1 TBS water
1 TBS lemon juice
1 pound fresh or frozen fish fillets (thawed)
(I like cod or haddock)

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/gas mark 4. Lightly spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine the crushed croutons, cheese, parsley and paprika in a shallow bowl. Set aside. Beat the egg, water and lemon juice together in another shallow bowl. Set aside.

Cut the fish into 2 1/2 to 3 iinch pieces. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dip the pieces first in the egg mixture, and then into the crumb mixture, coating well. Tuck any thin ends of fish under to form pieces of uniform thickness and place onto the prepared baking dish.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Baking in The English Kitchen today, delicious Breakfast Oatmeal Muffins, made from leftover cooked oatmeal. Very tasty indeed!

“Love is spelt T.I.M.E.”
― Dieter F. Uchtdorf

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