Crema

noticing joy on the surface of simple things … the evidence of holiness happening in the daily grind.

One of the Best Gifts Ever December 22, 2017

The Barbie Camper.   The Love Pup.  A horse, horse calender, horse socks, soft blanket with a horse on it, Breyer horses, miniature blown glass horse, horse and buggy ride, horse show tickets.  Cookbooks.  Coffee Mugs. These are a few of my favorite things, some   of the best gifts I’ve ever received.  So many more times I’ve been thrilled when opening presents but sadly I cannot recall every gift that made me respond that way.

I’ve always loved celebrations that include gift giving.  Receiving is great, but investigating, buying, wrapping, anticipating, and giving are just as great.  Selfishly what is not great this 2017 Christmas is the lack of family that will gather together on Christmas day.    Nurses work every day of the year and my two favorite nurses will be taking care of sick humans on Christmas day.   And my mother, the person who initiated all the joy of the season for me from earliest memory will not be here either.  It is a very rare Christmas that has not included my mom and dad.  My father now resides in the place Jesus prepared for him so he’s off the hook.  Again, o-so-selfishly, I would rather have him at my house or be at his previous house by the lake.  My mother however, had an invitation to Thanksgiving in Colorado and for Christmas in Iowa.  Those siblings of mine got to her first.  I did not realize there would come a time when I had to get in line to have my mother at my celebration table,  but now I know.  Not so selfishly, I am thrilled that Mother Mary has all the invitations.

When I married my hubby the summer 1986, I got the best gift ever from Mother Mary right before all of the holiday celebrations began.  She said: “Laura, you will always be invited but never be obligated to celebrate with us.”  I received that gift when young and naive to the dilemma of having multiple families and family members wanting to do the same things on the same days, so many of those days being holidays.  It did get overwhelming sometimes, not being able to say no or change traditions or handle missing out on everything or upsetting people.   One year, we just decided the best way to tackle the complexity of the seasons relational demands was to simply run away to Disneyland.  That my friends, was not the best idea we ever had.  My observation of Disneyland on Christmas day, is that a mass of humans decide to tackle the complexity of the season’s relational demands and run away to Disneyland.  I mean, if you are into holding hands and walking single file through ten million of your favorite strangers, doubling the amount of time waiting for rides, and misplacing your child in the Disney bathrooms, then go for it.

Here’s a tip for thriving this season of celebration:  Acceptance.  Practice it.  John Ortberg (one of my favorite preacher/writers) defines acceptance like this:  “A remarkable action, difficult to define, yet unmistakeable when we experience it.  To accept people is to be for them.  It is to recognize that it is a very good thing they are alive and to long for the best for them.  It does not mean to approve of everything they do.  It means to want what is best for their soul no matter what they do.”   (From Everybody’s Normal Until You Get To Know Them)

Family gatherings are heading into full swing the next week or so.  It will be fun.  It might be messy.  There may be a 2017 version of crazy making, awkward, not-again, arrrggghhhh, moments with those you are related to by birth, by in-law, by distant cousin status.  This year try a little acceptance in place of trying to change people, or hoping they changed this year.  In fact, maybe the very best gift you can give is to grant permission for your celebrations to be less than perfect.  That my friends, is a reasonable expectation for people who are.

I just opened up a box from my mom.  It is full of homemade goodness – more than one kind of Chex Mix, granola, Grandma Rozie’s brown bread made in the coffee can and more.  A very delicious and memory stimulating gift as we are apart this year.  What I am giving her?   I’m giving back the gift she gave me over thirty years ago.  Mom – you are always invited, but never obligated.

But in all selfishness –  I get her in 2018.  I’m first in the asking line people.

Merry Christmas Everyone

Laura Beth DeGroot – The Caffeinated Woman

 

Advertisements
 

Day 27: The Origin of Tea Time November 4, 2013

Final Button 3Most of the people I first met in Florida were fellow dog owners in our Apartment complex.  The dogs gave us a common interest and reason for conversation.  A few of those women have become more than just a fellow dog owner.  I am thankful and know that as we get ready to finish the home buying adventure this week, I will miss seeing them daily.  On one occasion my neighbor Cheryl and I realized we both grew up with Tea Time.  After school or between 3-4 pm, the tea-pot and cookies came out.  Black tea in a favorite mug with milk and sugar was and still is my favorite.

I decided to ask Mother Mary about this topic in my interview and the answer went down a lane I didn’t expect.  Enjoy:

Q:  Tell me about tea time origination?

“It’s from the time of Adam and Eve I am sure….I remember it with Grandpa  and Grandma Mouw, (MM’s Grandparents also called pa/ma) we always had tea time in afternoon.  There was catechism after school then we might walk to pa and ma….they would stop the earthquake for tea time.  It was around 3:00 in the afternoon.  

I guess tea time was part of  family routine.  Grandpa (my Grandpa – Mother Mary’s father), he had breakfast at home, then we brought “lunch” to him in the field at 9/9:30. Lunch was a sandwich with cookies or cake carried in a gallon size Karo syrup tin bucket.  There would be another tin bucket, 1/2 gallon size, that had coffee in the morning and tea milk in the afternoon.  

One of us girls (there were 5 girls, no boys) would walk to the field and find Grandpa.  Geri (the youngest) LOVED it.  Grandpa would be watching and go to the end of the row, park the tractor so they could sit in the shade , leaning against the big wheel, and eat together.  Usually just one of us got to go.  And there was always a dog that went along.  (me:  I love that).  He would come in for dinner at noon.  It was a  big meal,  meat and potatoes or casserole.  Lunch would happen again at 3:30, same routine as the morning.  Supper was a lighter meal, but plenty believe me.  Grandpa came home from the field, did chores and then ate supper.  

Quite often before bed we would have another snack. “

Me:  “You ate a lot. ”

MM:  “Yes, we worked hard”

“Harvesters…as they moved from place to place, my mother would cook those meals for all those men.  We helped.  In the morning we would catch chickens, pluck and fry them,  go to the garden get veggies, bake pies, cookies/cake.  Sometimes other wives would come and help.   That was hard work.  We would do a few days in a row usually for 10-15 men.  The men were harvesting oats.  They would cut, bundle, put them in shocks.  One man owned a threshing machine.  He would run the machine on your property – all would work together to bring in the shocks and put them into the machine.  The oats  would run down into a wagon.  The wagon of oats would go in the granary on the farm.  This was for livestock not for breakfast oatmeal.  Just wanna be clear. ( I needed the clarity…I did not grow up on the farm.  And if I did, I would have run and hidden the chickens).   When they were done they would go on to the next place.  

By the way, Grandpa was thin, and he ate lots of butter, cookies, cake, pie, potatoes, lots of meat, but he worked hard.   We had our own meat – never bought it.  So a hotdog was a rare treat.  I still like them, got to be a good one though.  All this junk you can put on them – No No –  just a bit of relish, mustard, chopped onion and plenty of ketchup.

And I just had to add this extra note because I found it sweet…the original make your own dog/cat food:

“There were always outside kitties.  The kitties and the dog got table scraps  Peelings from potatoes apples and such – went to the hogs.  Kitties would get milk in the barn when Grandpa milked.  I don’t think we ever bought dog food.”

Tea Time when I was growing up happened because MM was intentional about it.  It was a part of her life as a girl, but she incorporated it as a mother because her children were hungry after school, needed a snack, so she would pour us tea.  We would take a breath and tell her a thing or two about our day.

Thanks Mother Mary for Tea Time.  Thanks for the history behind an ordinary, meaningful part of my life and yours.  Would love to have a cup with you on your birthday today, with your favorite cookie out of the Cookie Book!

 

 

 

 

Day 26: Interview With Mother Mary November 3, 2013

At the beginning of this writing project, I knew I would interview my mother.  It may have been the best 2 hours of my whole week.  And this is how she began:

When I think of food – it wakes up everything in me – wakes up sight, smell, taste; it delights all my senses.”

We set a day and time for the interview.  It was easy to get her sitting down as she is healing from her bionic hip replacement.  She had prepared some thoughts prior to my questions, observations that were news even to me.  Here was the first:

“I love potlucks.  I look at that at those long tables, full of food, realizing I only have room for a small amount of it on my plate.  I think of the first one at this church (in Minnesota) over 20 years ago.  I  couldn’t believe my eyes…there was no color on the table.  Not a green salad in sight, maybe green jello but I doubt it because they only use red or orange.  The food was pretty plain – white, lots of hot dish, but what there was…Rice pudding, it was so delicious.  There were  3 or 4 varieties of that.   People were not as conscious about eating healthy then.  It is different now.  “

Q:  What are your favorite foods? 

A:  Soup because it’s fall. Anything with apples, because its fall;  pie, crisp, baked apples.  Homemade bread..Homemade Jam… Good roast with mashed potatoes and veggies…Salads with lots of interesting things on top.  I prefer to make my own dressing.  I love a good casserole, which probably  explains why I like  potlucks.  I don’t make them often anymore.  Cornbread and baked beans”

Q: Why did you make us breakfast every morning

A:  “Because you kids needed breakfast.  You needed food to think.  In my mind it’s part of being a good mother, having made sure my kids had a good breakfast.”

It turns our she didn’t even eat it herself.  She rotated the following:  boiled eggs, (jeff would eat the yolks and Julia would eat the whites); muffins, french toast, pancakes, rice n raisins, bread pudding, toast fingers, egg sandwiches.  I remember high school final exam week, she would insist I eat breakfast though I wasn’t hungry that early in the morning.  MM ran through a list of ideas until she found one thing I agreed to:  cheese burgers in the electric skillet – between bread or a bun rubbed through the pan burger bits/grease.  Mmmmmm.

Sunday mornings catered to my dad’s favorite:  Homemade dough tea ring or store-bought Danish with jelly or cream cheese filling and scrambled eggs.  What you need to know is that my mother was the church organist.  We had that meal before church, yet 5 kids and one dad all showed up to church on time (she was early to warm up), hair done, dressed up.

She didn’t know the answer to the question:  How did you do that?

A few years ago my mom wrote and published a cookbook.  It was many years between the idea and the finished product.  I admire her and thank her for that accomplishment.  The book gets a lot of use in my kitchen.   Of course, I wanted to print that story.

Q: Why did you write the Cookie Book?

A:  “Because of dad’s great love for cookies.  Also because you kids and your families and I love great cookies too.  I also did it to leave a sign of love and testimony for my kids and grandkids.  Dad’s favorite cookie  is the first recipe in the book.”

T1 and T2 nicknamed my father Mr. Wonderful.   I must insert here that one of the ways my mom speaks food love language, is to leave a container of cookies for Mr. Wonderful when she goes away.  During December she loved a lot more than just dad with her cookies.  There was a stack of containers in the garage all month-long.  (winter in South Dakota means the garage is the same temp as your freezer).  Each had a different type of cookie, candy, or bar that was made only that time of year.  And gallon buckets of homemade chex mix.  Mother Mary would pull out a sample platter anytime someone came over.  I and my siblings went out and snuck out there all month-long to get a thing or two for tea time, night-time, it-sounds-good-now time.

I am craving all those containers right now.   Shoot.

Q:  Why did it take so long to write the Cookie Book?

“I was afraid of the computer; of putting it together; the thought of it all.  It was an overwhelming task.  It finally happened because of Julia (my sister who passed away 2 years ago).  Julia had medical appointments in the city, so I took the computer along and typed while I was waiting for her.  The first time, I only typed one recipe.   There was a young man waiting for his girlfriend, I asked if he knew about computers.  That kid was all over me.  He sat at my elbow, walked me through my questions and beyond.  He was so excited about computers.  I  bought him lunch as a sign of thanks.  He told me that he was looking for work while waiting to go back to school.  I gave him this idea:  give classes for older women who don’t know how to use computers because  you are so good and know how to explain it.”

The young man got her connected to the internet and off she went.   Pretty soon she was ‘whippin them out pretty good.’  Most of the typing happened at Julia’s appointments.

Hannah (the gem my brother John married), may not think she did that much but MM adamantly said, “I could NOT have done it without her.”  Mom wanted those recipes to be written perfectly  before she sent it to Hannah.  Hannah is responsible for all that happened when the recipes were handed over.  Thank You Hannah from all of us who love the Cookie Book!

Q:  How did the cookbook get its name?

A:  “There was a book naming contest at John and Hannah’s kitchen table with their 4 children.  The prize: a root beer float.  The kids came up with lists.  The only stipulation:  I didn’t want my name in the title.     At some point Marybell pipes up, ‘..well why don’t you just call it Cookie Book?’ everyone’s eyes lit up and agreed – ‘that’s what you need to call it.’  I added the subtitle because in the process of writing, you all asked for my salads and your favorite recipe requests.”

The full title of the book is:  Cookie Book;  With Salads and Other Good Stuff.  The ONLY negative about this cookbook is its lack of availability.  I’ve encouraged her for years to make them available to people other than family and special friends.  Maybe you could help me convince her by letting me know that you would want the Cookie Book if you could get one.

Q:  Is Food  a Love Language of yours?

A:  “CANT YOU TELL, but you’re way better at it than I am.  I never thought of food as a love language, but I certainly do now.  I never would have put it in those words, but it is so loving.” 

My Dad says Mother Mary’s  family is way to preoccupied with food  He says that half their life revolves around food or talking about it.  Letters were always full of what they had at this gathering and that gathering.  It was a love language in a letter.

I agree Mr Wonderful that a lot o life has and does revolve around food, in mom’s family and in mine too.  But think of how YOU benefit….no whining.   Here’s how she ended the interview:

“I just finished eating my famous Cottage Cheese Sundae.  It’s so good for you and don’t vary it at all.”   

I needed a reminder of how to put it together.  Here’s how:  Cottage Cheese; pineapple; raisins; nuts, drizzle with honey.

Meet Mother Mary and Mr. Wonderful along with a few others…(there is just one tiny picture MM may not appreciate, but you have to see what a good sport she is…)

Best parents ever

DSC_0206
DSC_0297DSC_0443grandma and the littles
DSC_0531 DSC_0641
 DSC_0318
 

 
followingthewatershed

wa·ter·shed (noun) 1. an area or ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers, basins, or seas. 2. an event or period marking a turning point, a change of course.

Life with Emily and Matt

(and two kiddos make four!)

Ellen Brock

Professional Freelance Novel Editor

created for the love-light.

stories of a life captivated by an imaginative, creative God.

Crema

noticing joy on the surface of simple things … the evidence of holiness happening in the daily grind.

Don't Ask the Fish | Christian Daily Devotional

noticing joy on the surface of simple things … the evidence of holiness happening in the daily grind.

Big Fat Sweaty Guy

The personal blog of Derek Brouwer.

%d bloggers like this: