Recipes for Love

Ever holiday I find myself seated at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee, sifting through a drawer of recipes. The search is as much for family recipes as it is for memories. It doesn’t take long before I find them both.

Before my Mom and Aunties passed they gifted me a few of their kitchen secrets and well-used kitchen items. There’s Busha’s (Grandma’s) hand-forged, three pronged fork. The stubby handle fits perfectly in the palm of a hand when cutting in shortening. Busha cooked on a woodstove. Any meal was a laborious monumental task. I don’t think the stove was ever cold to the touch.

I treasure Mom’s solid wood rolling pin and flour sack towels. Mom always rolled out her dough on a well floured flour sack. Thin from two generations of washings, I handle them with extreme care and use them exclusively for rolling out dough. To find one of Mom’s recipes with actual conventional measurement is not the norm. Her measurements were by feel or taste. It’s probably why Mom would call me up to come over and “watch” her make something. She would often tell me, “I’m not going to live forever. If you want to learn how to make this keep watching.” I’m glad I did so her love can nourish the next generation.

There’s Auntie Anna’s substantially cracked and chipped blue speckled enamelware pan. It must have been a favorite based on its condition. I’m so happy she held on to it and passed it on to me. Believe it or not nothing ever sticks to that pan! Auntie Anna’s cooking instructions were loud, clear and concise. Her stern direction carried over from her many years running the kitchen for the local church’s annual picnic.

Then there’s Auntie Rosie’s titanic sized cast iron frying pan. In her later years, arthritis prevented her from lifting the heavy weight. The pan than became a permanent fixture on her stove-top. Cleanup was a wipe or two with a paper towel. Still is.

I can’t forget Auntie Vickey’s delectable dessert recipes. The handwritten recipes have yellowed with age. Torn edges of the fragile paper taped together several times. The tape too has yellowed. A busy farmer’s wife, Auntie Vickey’s countertops and kitchen table held much of the overflow from her cupboards. She could make a meal fit for king in minutes!

If you haven’t guessed, I am descended from a long line of amazing Polish women that knew their way around a kitchen. Ever since I’ve been old enough to hold a  wooden spoon in my hand, they pressed me into service at some task that was age appropriate. Any gathering of the family cooks ended with a meal. Crumbs on the table were never casually wiped to the floor. Licked fingers firmly pressed the bits against the tabletop. The finger with moist crumbs attached was promptly licked clean. Ever last crumb of life’s deliciousness was savored.

The strong Polish women in my life grew up in a generation that didn’t say, “I love you,” out loud very often, if ever. Words of love may have not been shared but what they did share was the recipe’s to taste it. What else could be created in the heart of the home—the kitchen—but love?

Loved Life

Live a life that is loved.

If you’re not feeling life’s love,

find another way to be alive.

A loved life

loves you back.

Strange Love

I’m subbing this week for a 4-year old kindergarten driver while he visits his son out of state. I drove a 4-K route for several years but gave it up last year. My full life overflowed and priorities got shifted. I do love substituting though! Why wouldn’t I? Their sweet wisdom gave me enough material for a whole chapter in my book! Little souls possess a superpower to simplify wisdom.

The teacher has been consistent in her strong suggestion to the little ones to make good choices and behave on the bus while the regular driver is absent. I guess they figured the best possible way to insure staying in good graces with the teacher was to compliment me as she observed them loading on the bus. And compliment me they did! As they filed on I got complimented on every possible body feature and item of clothing I had on. Not a single flaw from the grey hair on my head to my unpolished toenails.

“Ms. Angie, I really like your earrings”. They were simple silver hoops.

“Ms. Angie, I really really like your hair”. My hair was styled by the wind rushing through an open window. Most of it no longer contained in a ponytail.

“Ms. Angie, I really really really like your shoes”. I’m pretty sure they can’t see my feet.

Running out of complimentary options the tail end of the line started to say, Ms. Angie, I love you. Aw, the crème de la crème of compliments! Those already seated had to tell me that they loved me too. Tiny voices in a wild stampede shouted out,  “I love you!” until the teacher reined them in.

Some might think the “love” was meaningless coming from children I hardly knew but the gesture touched my heart. The meaning is in the power of the super feeling to lift spirits up, up and away—together. Breaking through the barriers of the mind. I guess you could say love is our superpower. Maybe we just don’t fully understand the capabilities of love connection power. Even a stranger. Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! Love connects us for infinity and beyond.

Feel love. Love the feeling. It’s hate’s kryptonite.

Heaven’s Home

Our bodies houses of God adorned and worshiped.

Behind walls of flesh lies the heart of heaven’s home.

Pure love like nature’s nakedness feels beauty.

Let love live inside.

Go to the soul’s open window.

See what the heart feels.

Of all loves, the greatest is of self.

Beauty is created within the “I” of the beholder.

Conquer Can’t

Next year I resolve to project less fear out into the Universe. Doing that means focusing on positive energy, starting with my own experiences and encounter in daily life. The greatest positive energy force on the planet that I know of is genuine love from the heart. Fear burdens Spirits and tests faith. Love lifts and lightens. Love conquers can’t, one of fear’s strongest sources of power.

Energetically we feed the Universe. Every thought and feeling is on the menu. Fear is fast food. Feed the fear, starve the soul. I am consciously choosing to get fit on faith, not fat on fear. With mindfulness I will be able to slow down and feel what I’m feeling. Then I will decide how hungry I am and choose what I want to fill that hunger—love or fear. Love is the main ingredient— the “bread and butter”— in a healthy positive relationship with life. Without it our hunger is never satisfied. With it we feel the fullness in our lives.

2018 is the year I conquer can’t and put my fate in the can.

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve”. ~ Napolean Hill

Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; re-made all the time, made new.”~ Ursula K. Le Gui