Monday, March 23, 2009

Spring is my FAVORITE Season!

Field of crocus


Growing up in the small town of Bradford, Pennsylvania...I always looked forward to Spring. Bradford is known for it's cold wintry days with snow storms that can hit in mid April. Don't get me wrong. I also enjoyed the snow and the beauty of the silence that came with it but to me Spring has always been my favorite season of the year.

There is a street in my home town that had a HUGE yard. This house was once owned by a wealthy family. Each Spring their yard was filed with crocus'...dark purple, white, light purples...they were simply beautiful! You couldn't see one bit of green grass because the flowers blanketed this whole space. I regret that I never took a picture of those flowers. My Mom has told me that they no longer bloom as they used to. Flowers like people need to be tended and given proper nourishment or they won't continue to grow. These flowers always brightened my day in Spring

My most favorite flower of all however is the daffodil. This beautiful yellow flower with it's sweet smell seems to herald Spring and welcome everyone to the beginning of life once again. As a young girl I would often go to a wooded area near my home and sit and enjoy the beauty of these daffodils that had spread out and grown wild into the woods. They were so beautiful. I often felt that this was my own private garden that I could go to and think and meditate and enjoy. I always returned home with a few dozen daffodils to put in vases in my home. I placed them on our desk in the living room. On the dining room table and even on the kitchen counter.

I realize that I need a constant reminder that I need to be more thankful for all that I have been given and especially for the things that I have been given that I do not need to pay a penny for. The beauty of Spring is a good reminder to me. I need to push myself a bit more and work harder and appreciate the seasons of each year and be thankful much much more. I love Spring and it's flowering trees to it's buzzing bees to the warmth of the sun and the new life that has begun. I am thankful for it.

Here is a poem by William Wordsworth about daffodils:

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves besides them danced, but they

Out did the sparkling leaves in glee;

A poet could not be but gay,

I in such a jocund company!

I gazed-and gazed- but little though

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils

I think it pretty much sums up my feelings of Spring and why I love it so very much. Happy Spring to you!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Slainte!! (Cheers) Happy Saint Patty's Day!

When Irish eyes are smiling,Sure, 'tis like a morn in Spring.In the lilt of Irish laughterYou can hear the angels sing.When Irish hearts are happy,All the world seems bright and gay.And when Irish eyes are smiling,Sure, they'll steal your heart away.

photos of Ireland

The McAndrew boys with their Mother Catherin Nolan McAndrew

Beautiful Ireland

O'Briens Tower near the Cliffs of Mohr

I grew up in a family where March 17th was not just another day in the week. It was a day where we all dressed in green. I still remember my Dad dressed for work one day with green slacks, a green shirt and tie. I think if he had them he would have worn green underwear and socks too. I sometimes wore a green dress and other times I wore a green pair of slacks with a blouse with green on it. Heaven forbid you didn't wear didn't want to get pinched by a wee lephrucan!

My dear Dad would always sing Irish songs and I remember trying to sing them as well. To this day I love to sing "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, To Ra Lo Ra Lo Ra, Danny Boy and so forth. Dad was raised by his Grandmother who came to America from Ireland at the young age of 16. She was the oldest of 8 children to leave her homeland and never return to it. She instilled in my Dad the love of Ireland. I guess that my Dad instilled that same love in me. Rainbows, pots of gold, Irish brogues, shamrocks and much much more. St. Pattys Day was always special in our house and in our family.
6 Years ago I had the opportunity to travel to Ireland ( it is written in Gaelic). It was as beautiful and as wonderful as I always dreamed it would be. To be able to share this time with my Dad and my Mom was priceless. I was able to meet the Priest in Ballyhaunis in the County of Mayo that I had kept in touch with for several years. I was able to visit Dublin, kiss the Blarney stone, drive through Tipperary, walk the streets of Killarney and visit the beautiful Cliffs of Mohr. One of the best parts of our trip was to visit Ballyhaunis and Bekan and Cloontumper and Mountain Forthhill. The homesteads of my Irish families.
My dear cousin Christina took us to Mountain Forthill and showed us the 2 homes of the Nolan that she lived in while growing up. I saw the field where my Great Grandmother's home once stood and my cousin Lydia had me take a rock to remember that place.
While in Ireland we learned that the Irish do not eat corned beef. No, they eat boiled dinner. A ham bone with some meat on it and carrots and potatos are cooked in a pot of water. When it's just about ready my Mom would take a cabbage and cut it up and place large pieces of the cabbage in the pot. When the cabbage was done it was time to eat! of my favorite dishes! This is something that my Mom would cook not only for St Pattys Day but several times a year. We all loved it.
Now on this St Patrick's Day it wouldn't be right if I didn't remember a few classic Irish Blessings..

"May the road rise up to meet you.May the wind always be at your back.May the sun shine warm upon your face,and rains fall soft upon your fields.And until we meet again,May God hold you in the palm of His hand."

"Wishing you a rainbow For sunlight after showers—Miles and miles of Irish smiles For golden happy hours—Shamrocks at your doorway for luck and laughter too, And a host of friends that never ends Each day your whole life through!"

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Nice Surprise to Find

I found out earlier this week that a good friend of mine had their recipe in a new cookbook. Perhaps you have heard of it. It's called "The World Wide Ward Cookbook". Both my friend Lorena as well as her daughter Kelly had recipes in this book. Kelly was even written up in one of the BYU papers...pretty cool.

Lorena jogged my memory of nearly 2 years ago when a Mom on the Missionary Mom website asked for recipes that we had and wanted to know if we would consider adding them to this cookbook.

I remember sending a few recipes in but forgot about this book until this week. When Deanna had asked for the recipes from us and then told us we would receive copies of all that was sent in I thought she would send out a CD with recipes for everyone. I never imagined a nice hard bound cookbook.

I got the book a couple of days ago. It's a nice cookbook filled with recipes from many regions throughout the world. It was great to see so many names I recognized from the Missionary Mom site and some recipes that I am going to have to try. Recipes from Central and South America to regions in Europe and of course here in the good old USA. Some of the recipes were entered by missionaries and former missionaries as well.

As I was flipping the pages I came to a recipe that sounded familiar and then I realized.."that is MY recipe!" "Poor Man's Lobster". Okay, I'm not bragging but I was simply surprised. Anyways, this is a recipe that I really like and used to make a lot when I was first married. It's easy to make and tasty too.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Wonderful Whirlwind Visit

A couple weekends ago Becky and her roommate Mollie decided to make a whirlwind visit to Oregon. Becky phoned us on Saturday at 6 PM and wondered if Mollie and her could drive up for a visit. I said to Becky "you'll be on the road longer than you'll even be here." They didn't care. They were fine with that and Mollie was wanting to see Western Oregon. They left from Sandy Utah around 7PM and the traveling began. Becky picked up Robbie along the way so they had 3 drivers to make the 15+ hour drive. Loaded with Mountain Dew and what other energy foods they used to keep them awake and able to drive they were on their way.
They arrived at our home at 7 AM Sunday Morning...tired and exhausted looking and yet hyped with excitement to be here and visit for even 1 day! We all headed off to Church at 9 AM and I must admit I was surprised that the 3 of them didn't fall asleep at Church. Their adrenaline was keeping them going, not to mention that they are only in their 20's. It's amazing how much you can do when you are under the age of 30! Oh...I remember those days :)
We got home from Church around 12:30 or so and came home to get a bite to eat. Mollie was hoping to see the Portland Temple and boy did she luck out. Our rainy morning changed to a beautiful, sunny afternoon with perfect blue skies and not a cloud it sight. Great for taking pictures of the Temple and the 2 of them. It felt like Spring was in the air as Oregon usually gets this way in mid to late February.
Mollie is a great friend and we were miss having her so close when she moves back to Ohio next month. I am glad she was able to visit us before she leaves. Even though the time here was short. It was great to have the them all here for a short visit. The girls enjoyed rocking out on guitar hero and Robbie...well Robbie headed over to his friend's place in Scappoose. I wasn't surprised that he did that. Mikal Healey is getting married this next month and Robbie enjoyed spending some time with one of his best friends before Mikal gets hitched. Sometimes quick unexpected trips make the most fun and these 3 certainly had fun and we had fun having them here