God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Monday, January 24, 2011

To My Boy

He is growing up and so it is time to write and tell him what he means to me and my hopes for him. Someday, decades from now, if the internet is around and if blogs from 2011 are retrievable, I would like him to read this and remember and perhaps show his kids and maybe grandkids what we were.

Casey, child, you are special--there is a reason that all who meet you feel it. There is an elusive something that emanates from you, calling attention to a life that has purpose and meaning beyond self. I often wonder what that will be and if I will see it in my lifetime. I would like that.

Your smile charms one and all. Your sharing of hugs, kisses and hand-holding as you approach teen age years opens a window into the man who will love and treasure the woman he chooses as a life mate. Never lose this guilelessness of freely sharing self with those you love. Pass it on to your children and grandchildren--of whom I hope there are many.

God gave you a great mind--curious, creative, insightful. Don't waste this on triviality. Find meaning in what you do; don't settle for a paycheck or place your values on what wealth brings. God has a reason and purpose for you. Listen and learn what that is. It may be directly serving him or it may be in the marketplace or realms of science or in areas of which we have not yet dreamed. Whatever it is, give it your all and find satisfaction in fulfilling your destiny.

From the time you were little, I have told you about the great gift God gave us when he tied that blue bow, asking us to love, cherish and nurture the little boy. Many times I have thanked Him for the honor he gave us and the challenge he provided for the years we had thought would have a different direction. And..what a challenge it is sometimes to corral the energy, stubbornness, self-will that defines you. There are times I ask why he didn't give us a malleable, quiet, easy boy or why he chose us. The answer, of course, is that the whole package is important to the plan he has for you. We are the human partners needed to do his work. And...of course...he knew we would love you beyond reason.

When you were in kindergarten and again in second grade, you noticed little boys who were shy and hesitant to join the group; you reached out and made friends with each of these boys. We watched as each grew in confidence and self-understanding of personal value and acceptance. I pray that this childhood trait dwells in you and that you will always see the needy person and respond with humble compassion.

Prayer has been an important part of your years. I remember the second grade Sunday school teacher who told us that you were "a real prayer warrior." What a thrill that was to hear of in our boy, so young.  For many years, every day before your leaving for school, we have prayed together, asking that He lead you and guide you that day. We know that he has heard as you have leaped some difficult hurdles along the way. I pray that you always pray.

For a child so young, you have traveled to far away places--Europe, Africa, South America and, of course, many of the states. Soon you will experience Egypt and Jordan--places you have wanted to go. I am certain that this is by God's design. He has powerful reasons for building within you an awareness and appreciation of cultures so different from yours. My prayer is that you will discover these reasons and follow their paths--that you will go where God leads you in life.

Now you are in middle school--the years that I believe are crucial growing up years. Wending your way through these years is fraught with the danger and temptations to make bad decisions. These are the years before you have an identity, before you have dealt with who you are, before you truly believe that you have a future. You live in the now--almost completely. The nebulous concept of future escapes the 12 year old mind. Truthfully, it puzzles me why God makes such vulnerable years so difficult, but he does. My hope lies in the truths you have been raised by and in your own developing faith in God's son.

I believe in you, Casey, and anticipate the coming years, watching as you mature and find your way and the identity that is not yet yours. Your "you" will be built on who you are now, your decisions in the coming years, the friends you make and your continuing growth in developing and understanding your faith.

I am so proud of you now and that pride will continue for all the years we have. After that.....I am convinced that God provides windows to see those that we love the most and that we can continue to cheer them on toward great and meaningful endeavors that not only enrich themselves but those they meet and minister to. I will follow you all of your years.

Love, Gramma-mom

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Spiced Pork Tenderloin with....

Yes, you're right...I'm still filling time until I have something substantive (or at least fun) to write. Of course, I could spend some time on the verbosity of Sarah but why bother? The encouraging angle is that the more she says, the more she loses.

So--I have been intending for a while to share a hit recipe at our house--hit meaning that within these four walls all three of us like something. Who says there aren't miracles? I have this one marked: "v v good" which translates to very, very wonderful.

Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Sautéed Apples

½  teaspoon salt
¼  teaspoon ground coriander
¼  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8  teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8  teaspoon nutmeg
1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut crosswise into12 pieces
Cooking spray
2  tablespoons butter
2  cups thinly sliced unpeeled Braeburn or Gala apples
1/3  thinly sliced shallots
1/8   teaspoon salt
¼  cup apple cider (last time I used sparkling cider)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

I actually remembered to take a picture.

1. Heat a large cast-iron skillet (I don't have cast iron so just use a regular skillet.) Combine first 5 ingredients; sprinkle spice mixture over pork. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pork to pan; cook 3 minutes each side or until desired doneness. Remove pork from pan; keep warm.

2. Melt butter in pan. Add apple slices, shallots, salt and sauté for 4 minutes or until apple starts to brown. Add apple cider to pan and cook for 2 minutes or until apple is crisp-tender. Stir in thyme leaves. Serve apple mixture with the pork. 
    Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3 pork medallions and about 1/2 cup apple mixture.)   calories: 234

    The great thing about this recipe is that the meat is tender and moist- and that it is totally delicious. Oh--it is fast and easy, too.

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    To Break the Silence

    OK--haven't posted for a while but do want to stay alive--for those of you who check in once in a while.  I am working on a post "to" Casey but that'll come sometime in the future--it's a rather difficult one. Hopefully, there will be a few between then and now.

    Anyway--a friend posted this on FB today and I liked it--kind of fun. So, to break the silence...

    Bet you watch it more than once--maybe.