Gratitude In Short Supply . . .

One of the news stories coming from President Trump’s recent trip to China dealt with the three American athletes who had been apprehended by the Chinese authorities for shoplifting from two or three stores in China. By the time the President was in China, the three young men were on house arrest and facing the possibility of ten years in prison for their crime. President Trump appealed to the President of China on their behalf and within a day of discussion, the three young men were on a plane home.

Although each of the three athletes thanked President Trump in their news conference, to me, it sounded rather robotic and insincere. Since the public ‘thank you’, one player’s father came out saying his family had no reason to be grateful to the president, saying, “Who? What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”

Then he elaborated: “As long as my boy’s back here, I’m fine. I’m happy with how things were handled. A lot of people like to say a lot of things that they thought happened over there. Like I told him, “They try to make a big deal out of nothing sometimes.” I’m from L.A. I’ve seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses. My son has built up enough character that one bad decision doesn’t define him. Now if you can go back and say when he was 12 years old he was shoplifting and stealing cars and going wild, then that’s a different thing. Everybody gets stuck on the negativity of some things, and they get stuck on them too long. That’s not me. I handle what’s going on, and then we go from there.”

If President Trump hadn’t intervened and his son was sent to a Chinese prison for ten years, I wonder how soon this parent would have asked (probably demanded!) help for his erring son. His remarks certainly reveal how the moral compass is working in the world today. Those three boys were representing America and they disgraced themselves and our country. In spite of that, President Trump didn’t want to leave American citizens in a foreign prison and worked to have them released and sent home. Sounds to me like this one, particular father is stuck on negativity himself in disrespecting the President.

Few Words But Lots of Pictures – Think About It










Charlie Brown . . . And a Tree?

For the last almost eight years, there has been an effort to reduce the significance of faith and religion in our country. Home owner associations have been known to ban religious Christmas decorations on private property because they might offend someone. We have to be tolerant. We have to force religious communities to pay for contraceptives and abortion in mandated health insurance because we have to be tolerant. Symbols of faith such as crucifixes around our neck or tee shirts proclaiming our faith are frowned upon in work places because not everyone is in line with that. We have to be tolerant. The president even tried to prevent Christmas trees in government-run hospitals. More tolerance? The country was founded on Godly principles by people escaping societies that felt that anyone who was different had to be hushed. If the erring people wouldn’t comply, they had to be punished for . . . not being tolerant.

This is the 50th Anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas. An ever-popular, meaningful animation that, for years, has help put the Christ into Christmas. Until this year . . . The Christian Post pointed this out:

Mr. and Mrs. Obama appeared during the 50th anniversary airing of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” During the show, Linus explains to Charlie Brown that Jesus is the reason for Christmas in one of the best scenes of the special.

Unfortunately, the Obamas seemed to have completely forgotten that part, because they utterly changed the line to leave out Jesus, as The Christian Post pointed out.

“They teach us that tiny trees just need a little love and that on this holiday we celebrate peace on Earth and good will toward all,” President Obama stated, and Michelle Obama added, “Because — as Linus knows — that’s what Christmas is all about.”

Actually Linus drops his beloved blanket and recites Luke 2:8-14 to explain what Christmas is all about: the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

All these years of enjoying A Charlie Brown Christmas and no one realized how intolerant the show was and the people who enjoyed it. Go figure, huh? Do you suppose obama used the tiny tree scenario to get a plug in for his ‘religion’ of saving the world, one tree at a time? Yes, Michelle, Linus knows what Christmas is all about . . . it is you and your husband that missed the boat.


Preparing for Thanksgiving – The Day Before!

Well, my list and step-by-step notes looked a lot easier to accomplish then the actual work. Why is that? Could it be that laundry, children needing to get here and there for work, and stopping for needed nutrient re-enforcement had something to do with that? Well, we started the morning off with Mass so I suppose things could have gone way wrong or become more tiresome than normally expected. Anyway, done for the day although my poor husband is mopping floors to do. And, like a puzzle, we actually found room for most of today’s dishes in the refrigerator. We have, however, learned to never expect that to be easy and have ice chests standing by for anything that might not make the A-team in the modern appliance.


Today, was dessert baking day. Since we have gone gluten-free, I’m always looking for the perfect pie crust recipe. Every year, the pie crusts have been more than adequate but not up to comparing with it’s wheat flour version. This year, success! I was even able to bake a crust for filling with chocolate/peanut butter custard and it turned out tender and flaky. Once I saw I was finally on the right track with this gluten-free recipe, it made baking the pumpkin and pecan pies more enjoyable. There is also an apple crisp cooling on the counter for anyone who doesn’t like any of the other choices . . . or wants some of EVERY choice available. It happens at Thanksgiving.


I read that people generally consume a bit more calories at Thanksgiving. Wow, they figured that out, huh? Seems the calorie count can get up to 5,000. I went with some healthier choices on the menu this year and have three salads ready for tomorrow, too.P1010057

Our new kitten, Buster, doesn’t get up on counters or into too much trouble but is enjoying all the hustle and bustle going on today. Wait until he gets to try his first bit of turkey tomorrow.


Anti-Slavery Legislation and the KKK

Interesting article on support of anti-slavery legislation, the KKK, and democrats through our history. I didn’t realize that besides minorities, the KKK were not fond of Republicans, too, but should have figured on that.

Thanksgiving Side Dishes – Recipes!

Although turkey is the centerpiece of a Thanksgiving meal, I’ve noticed that any and all side dishes get almost as much attention. Sweet potatoes are always on the menu but often change their presentation from year to year. This is a recipe that cuts back on the calories a bit (sorry, no marshmallows!) but still has all the taste.

Pecan Sweet Potatoes

3-6 yams or sweet potatoes (depending on how many will be gathering around the table.)
½ cup packed, dark brown sugar
½ cup butter, melted
1 cup roughly chopped pecans
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Peel, slice, and simmer sweet potatoes until just tender. They will finish off the last bit of cooking in the oven.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Vegetable oil a baking dish large enough to contain your sweet potato slices.

Combine the brown sugar, butter, pecans, orange zest, and cinnamon in a bowl. Mix well.

Place half the sweet potatoes in the prepared baking dish and spread half of the brown sugar/butter mixture over them. Cover with the rest of the potatoes and cover with the rest of the brown/sugar mixture.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, uncovered until there is a few brown edges and the potatoes are fork tender and heated through. Serve!

And, if you are tired of mashed potatoes or want to provide something extra for those who want something to go with the ham, Scalloped Potatoes make the meal smell most welcoming.

Scalloped Potatoes

5-6 medium white potatoes
½ cup butter
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese
1 cup whole milk

Peel and thinly slice the potatoes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Vegetable oil spray a deep, oblong baking pan or one of your choice that will accommodate the ingredients.

Place half of the potato slices in the prepared baking dish. Slice up the butter and put down half over the potatoes. Sprinkle one tablespoon of flour or flour blend over the butter and cover with 1 cup of the cheddar and 1/4 cup of the Romano or Parmesan. Sprinkle with half the salt and pepper. Cover with the rest of the potatoes and ingredients. Carefully pour the milk over the potatoes, cover, and bake for 45-60 minutes until fork tender. For a brown top to the dish, remove the cover for the last ten minutes of baking.

Remembering Days of Thanksgiving

This is the time of year when I feel particularly blessed. The year 2004 was not a good year for wild fires and they affected a huge part of Southern California. Basically, several fires burned wild enough to join up at various points and surge on with even more power. On this day, we had been to Mass about 30 minutes from our home and the soot from the fires in that area were coming down like dirty snow. We were thankful to drive home and see that there was still sunshine in the world. As we pulled in the driveway, a neighbor came over to chat and we were talking about the fire. Suddenly, she looked over to the East of us and we saw a spiral of smoke which started to grow. Within minutes, fire trucks were on their way but the smoke continued to spiral and the uptake in the wind started blowing ashes our way. Still, we never thought it would go any further than that for us. The word out was that as long as the fire coming from the West didn’t join up with this new one, things could be held under control. Before we went to bed that night, the fires joined.

When the pounding on the door started at one-thirty in the morning, we knew what was going on – mandatory evacuation because of the fire. We had less than two hours to get out. We could see the flames from our house and didn’t hesitate. I think the bearer of the bad news was in a slight panic, too, as he said, “You have two hours to pack and get out. The fire is 30 minutes away!” New math?

After two minutes of utter panic, my husband suggested getting dressed first might be a good course of action. Our four children were troopers, carefully packing according to direction. No one cried about what they had to leave behind but cherished the items they could take with them.
My then-seventeen year old stepped out of his usual ‘teendom’ and came up with lots of suggestions – some of which we did implement. Packing only the computer towers made sense as the monitors could be replaced. It saved room to pack other necessities. His wanting to dig a trench around the house and fill it with water was vetoed!

About an hour later, we were packed. I took a walk through the house to make sure I had gotten the important things packed. It was funny how there was nothing that really made me sad to leave behind. I had my family in the car and we all would get away safely.

Since we were taking two cars, we set up various meeting points. We stopped off at our local parish church first where we met some friends who had been given only ten minutes notice to get out. We could see the sky lit up with the flames from the parking lot. My son exclaimed, “We have to tell Father!” and proceeded to race across the street to the rectory, and yell from the locked gate. The other parishioners had Father’s personal telephone number and he soon appeared and said he would take his chances and went back to bed. I guess not everyone wakes up cheerfully at three in the morning!

After a few hours of driving around, trying to find a hotel with a vacancy, we crept back home to find the wind had died down. We found out, later, that every hotel within miles around were filled with emergency personnel. No one stopped us so we went back to our house and kept alert to every change in the wind and fire.

We were blessed as the fire for our area was controlled by the afternoon and our house and lots of other ones were spared. Even with the assurance of safety, we didn’t unpack our bags until a day or so later. As my husband said, “If we get another one a.m. call, I can pack the cars again, but I sure won’t be able to think!”

A week later and we unpacked and life goes on. We got a few chuckles at what was packed and shocked at what we would have forgotten. The mystery to this day is who packed the bottle of dish detergent and why did they think we would need it? I mean, a fire evacuation is one thing, but doing dishes was not something I was going to figure in the mix!