Let's Celebrate Father's Day

FathersDayFather’s Day was always something which I would have liked to be able to celebrate with that someone special. I grew up without a father and didn’t know my grandfathers. So Father’s Day was not celebrated in our family, but in my youth I always longed for this father figure in my life. Now I celebrate with my husband and make him feel appreciated as a father to his daughter and also to our little Yorkie Mignonne.

All of you who have a father or father figure in your life, or remember one fondly, are blessed and this is a great day to celebrate them for all the contributions they have made and are still making. We sometimes forget how many sacrifices have been made on our behalf, and Father’s Day is a great opportunity to acknowledge them.

Reading about Sonora Smart Dodd, who was influential in establishing the celebration of Father’s Day, and how her father raised six children by himself after the death of their mother, it reminded me of my grandfather, who I didn’t know, but who raised 12 children by himself after my grandmother died quite young. My mother was 10 years old then and in the middle of the 12 children. Yes, we should appreciate our fathers and they all deserve to be remembered and celebrated on Father’s Day.

I would like to invite you to make this day truly special for any father, grandfather, stepfather, father-in- law or father figure. And let’s not forget all the daddies of our little furry friends. Being recognized, appreciated and celebrated will make this day a true celebration of love and gratitude. I’ll celebrate my husband as a father, and I know that he will love it and treasure the acknowledgement.

Happy Father’s Day!

Wildlife in Arizona

Visiting Tarantula 250Visiting Tarantula

What a surprise finding this visitor in front of our casita door. I am not afraid of spiders but have to say that a tarantula is an impressive creature. In my opinion, outright scary! So I tried to invite him – or was it a her? – to move on but there was no response. It seemed to like it there and I saw in my imagination this big spider in the casita keeping me company when I was working. A terrifying thought indeed!

Believing in the right of all creatures to live, I had to find a way to get it to a different place, away from the casita door and the court yard. With a “regular spider”, I just carry them out, but this one needed a different approach. Just thinking that it could crawl on my arm made me shiver. The other consideration was that I didn’t want to hurt it.

So my husband Steve and I brought out a container, a magazine and some paper towels. We placed the container in front of the tarantula, touched its behind with the magazine and made sure that the gap between the house wall and the container were secured with the paper towels. You will not believe how fast they can move when they want to. It wasn’t very interested in going into the pot but had no other choice. We rapidly covered the container with the magazine and I carried this impressive creature to a more convenient place. When I let it go, it ran for good life and didn’t look back.

If you are interested in knowing more about these spiders, you’ll find some links below under “Did You Know”. They are not dangerous, just scary because of their size and appearance.

 

Did You Know Tarantula Facts
More about Tarantulas
Wikipedia

Embracing Differences

Embracing Differences 250Religion and spirituality are a controversial subject and even taboo for some. But for me, they were always intriguing and I have given them much thought and reflection since my younger years.

I was brought up by a religious and spiritual mother. She taught me about compassion, giving and altruism. What I wasn’t taught was how to love myself, which became a problem later in my life. It took intense inner work to overcome this hurdle and to feel that it was ok to love myself.

After my mother passed when I was 17, my life changed abruptly and I was surrounded by a religious family with no love for me. I started thinking deeply about how it is possible that one can be religious and at the same time insensitive and even cruel. I finally immersed myself into spirituality, touched on many different avenues and found answers to my questions. Religion is the brain and spirituality is the heart. One can choose to be both or only one. One is not better than the other. There are spiritually centered people in any religion, people who are filled with love. And there are religious people in philosophical movements who have opened their hearts. And then there are people in philosophic movements who think they are the only ones who hold the truth and you can also find them in religions. But as long as one is filled with love and doesn’t become fanatic and exclusive, one can become balanced and find peace and harmony in both places, and then one can love oneself and others.

Here is an excerpt from the Abraham Teachings:

“Every religion on the planet, and there are so many more than you are even aware of, has the potential of absolute thriving. But when you think that you must prove that you have the only one that is right—and you use your condemnation to push against the others—your condemnation separates you from your own connection that, before your condemnation, you were finding in your own religion.” By Abraham

Imagine a world in which we accept our differences, respect each other’s beliefs and show love and understanding to the people we touch. Utopia? Maybe, but if we truly love ourselves and love others, then why is it so difficult to accept people as they are - different, interesting, and so much more. Why look for conformity? Don’t these differences stimulate us, give birth to new dreams and allow us to grow? Have a sense of adventure and the next time you are tempted to tell someone how wrong they are, step back and tell yourself: not wrong, just different.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day 300Memorial Day is a beautiful time to honor and remember those special people, our heroes, who put themselves in harm’s way to protect and keep us safe. Have you ever asked yourself what kind of a person it takes to be so giving and selfless? It truly needs someone with a great love for others, a sense of self-sacrifice and a deep belief in one’s value and the mission embraced. These men and women are admirable indeed.

Looking at our American history, there were always heroes who took up the battle and fought for what they believed in. Freedom has its price. Our world has many places where those heroes are put to rest and honored. So let’s take a little time this weekend to remember and honor them in our minds and hearts. We live in freedom because of their sacrifice. 

I do not have anyone close to me who I can especially remember this Memorial Day but I will give my thanks to all who offered their lives to make mine better. Yes, they are my heroes and I am honoring them on this special day.

Murphy's Law - What Can Go Wrong Will Go Wrong!

Beautiful Flowers 250Dinner parties are nothing new for me; I enjoy them and plan them so they are normally stress-free and fun. Yesterday evening I was looking forward to a simple dinner with a dear friend. With a busy agenda, I had all the ingredients in the home and all was looking great. The menu was Hungarian Goulash, egg noodles, a nice salad to start with, and a wine cream for dessert.

I decided to start with the wine cream so it could set well before serving it that evening. You’ll see the recipe on the website and I will not go into details. When buying the Jell-O®, they only had it with sugar (I normally take the sugar free) and I bought the flavor I liked. What I didn’t know was that my substitute with wine didn’t work the same way as with the sugar free Jell-O®. So I couldn’t get it to set properly, but finally it was more or less firm, although when liquefying the mixture became more liquid than I wanted. I tried to mix it with the cool whip to get the right consistency but it didn’t work. I had no time to start over again and had to make a decision. I poured part of the liquid out and mixed the rest. It looked ok although the proportions were not the same any longer.

The berries, which I wanted to put in layers, were very tart. Since one cannot normally taste berries in the super market, I had no idea. They looked great. Oh boy, what will I do with them? I decided to make a Mcompote cooking them in Amaretto, Port and some Agave. They tasted great. I cooled them down, put them in the bottom of the serving dishes since there was no way to put layers without having it drip everywhere, then topped it with the wine cream and before serving, I put a touch of the compote on the top. It looked awesome and mostly -–it was delicious!

Now to the meat. When buying the meat – grass fed beef, the butcher recommended top round chuck. It looked great. I like to cut the meat myself preferring larger pieces. So he gave me three thick slices and all looked the same. When starting to cook the meat, it looked fabulous and I was very happy. I didn’t think, that’s for sure, otherwise I would have realized that the three slices were most likely not from the same cow! How could they? So they didn’t cook the same way. It was kind of touchy to get it all done without having the more tender pieces falling apart. After part of the meat was cooked, I fished it out and put it aside cooking the rest of it. When it looked close to done, I added it all together again and let it cook for a little while. Finally, after double the cooking time I had planned, all seemed cooked and it tasted great!

Why do I tell this story? There is no failure, only challenges, and if you have lemons, make lemonade. When that happens to you, step back and regroup. There are always solutions and I have to tell you, my friend had no idea that it wasn’t exactly what I had planned. That’s why I love to cook. Ingredients change, they are not always perfect, and one has to adjust and adept. That’s what I call creativity in the kitchen and my sense of accomplishment is wonderful.

Have fun, have confidence and be adventurous!

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