- The Simple Life
Waking up Sunday morning was a beautiful winter wonderland. I'm sure I felt that way because I had no where I had to go. I didn't have to hope the plow would go by, because I didn't care. But the plow did go by. There were few other vehicles that did go by.
Snow removal was the order of the day, as well as bringing in enough firewood for a day. For me, pulling out the winter bib overalls since this was the first time they have been needed this year. Even when you have a plow, there is still some shoveling to be done. The first snow of the year, you not only have to move the snow back, but make room for more snow removal later. Once the snow has frozen in place you probably won't move it again. We had time to make a batch of homemade donuts and bread.
It was a good day to sit by the fire and watch a movie, or do a puzzle, or play a board game or craft. There was hot cocoa and a nice bowl of warm soup.
In the garden, plants often interact to help each other. Marigolds help repel insects, beans add nitrogen and pumpkins and other vine plants shade each other providing protection from the hot sun.
Elephants, dolphins, and wolves, live and work in groups, providing necessities for each other and protecting each other.
The most developed mammal brain, with its sophistication and knowledge still doesn't have this down pat. We live in a oft-times cut throat world. Muggings, kidnappings and murders are the topics for the nightly news. The golden rule, "treat each other the way you would have others treat you" isn't the rule, but the exception. Often, kindness seems to be sadly lacking. Why are there billionaires while others are homeless? Life doesn't seem fair.
I have admired the concept of communal living where all worked for the common good. But even there, there is a humanness. Along with our developed brains, comes our `free will'. We have desires to get ahead, but does that have to come at the expense of others while ascending the ladder of success?
The Gold Mine of Friendship
Two men worked together in a gold mine. They had been best friends since boyhood. But each day as they worked, they grew more discouraged as they saw their neighbors striking it rich. One afternoon one of the men found a nice vein of gold. In a split second, he thought to keep it to himself. At night, he pretended to be sleeping, but went back to the mine night after night to hide his findings, burying it until the vein was gone. He already had a huge fortune, so that night he left, taking his diggings with him. But instead of going home to help his poor family, he spent it on luxurious surroundings in San Francsico and within a year, his fortune was gone. He traveled back to the mine, only to find it had been sold. Thinking his friend had moved on, he had no choice but to return home. The gold fields were not for him. He survived the long arduous trip back to his hometown, and was near skin and bones. But what he saw was a prosperous, thriving town, he barely recognized.
He wondered at the changes, but was only thinking about finding a hot meal and a good night's sleep. He dragged himself toward his home, to find a beautiful new home and prosperous ranch. His family must have lost their home, was his only thought. Seeing no one around, he snuck past the kitchen window, where a peach pie cooled. Helping himself to the delicious pie, he stole his way to the back of the barn, where he slept the night on the picky straw. Waking early the next morning, he thought to sneek off and find what had happened to his family. But as he left the barn in the darkness, he ran smack dab into his brother, on his way to do the milking. He was so thin, his brother thought he was an intruder, but before he could respond, the man called his name. Hugging his brother, he brought him to the house, where a huge breakfast was put before him. And the story unfolded.
Back at the mine, his partner had struck a huge vein of gold, after he'd left. He, rather than squander his share, had hired men to help mine the gold, and had brought the riches back home and opened a bank. He'd been generous with the townspeople and even saved his partners share for his family! The man who came home hungry and broke had millions, thanks to his partner, who understood how discouraged his friend had been, to leave the mine as he did.
But the man, in tears, confessed how he'd found the gold, and spent it. His partner, just laughed and laughed, and soon they were both laughing. Life had taught them both a lesson.
Who can you find to bless this Christmas season? What unforgivable person can you forgive? Can you forgive yourself? The man who forgave all of us everything we've done wrong was born on Christmas Day. Jesus. We get a chance for a new start every day.
My grandmother was the queen of holidays. Probably because she had all that time on her hands and, she loved to bake. I'm sure she learned most of it from my great grandmother, who was also a great cook. She would work hours making delicious cookies that we would all gobble in a matter of hours. She knew all kinds of decorating ideas that just amazed me. It would have been great fun to make a gingerbread house with her! I loved her little cookies that she pressed through a cookie press. It seemed like there was no two alike.
Here is her recipe for Orange Cookies, one of my favorites:
1 c shortening, 2 c sugar, 2 eggs, 1 c buttermilk, (you can subst. 1 c milk, 1 t vinegar), ½ c orange juice, 4 ½ c flour, 2 t baking powder, 1 t salt, ½ t soda.
Preheat oven 350`. Mix shortening and sugar. Mix in eggs until light and fluffy. Add orange juice and buttermilk alternately with flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Drop by t on baking sheet. Bake about 10 minutes, or until light golden brown. Cool and drizzle with Orange Icing: ¼ butter, 1 lb. 10X sugar, and 3-4 T. orange juice. Makes about 10 dozen cookies.
Keeping it simple,