Pies for so many reasons!

7 Mar

P1000544

Coco and Alex, meet their host sister Lucka

The last few weeks have been a bit of a blur and for good reason.  First my daughter , Alexandra, decided to come home for a brief visit before she began her new job (with Warby Parker!) and then my son, Coco, surprised me one night with a knock at our front door (he and his Dad were in cahoots about this).  So, for about a week I was back in Mom mode (my favorite place) and let a lot of other things go.  Well, except for pies.

While she was home, Alexandra mentioned that she wanted to stop at her (and our) alma mater, Southern Oregon University, to visit with her adviser, Rene.  A perfect occasion to bring along a pie!  The ingredients – apples, butter, flour, and sugar – came together quickly and as it baked we got ourselves ready.  Soon we were heading over to the university on a beautiful day.

Alex with pie at SOUAlexandra with Apple Pie

We were thrilled to find Rene (and office manager, Kathy) available to visit for a few minutes and they seemed happy to see us as well (or was it  the still warm pie?)  Alexandra is one of Rene’s first legacy students.  He was a professor to her parents (Emile and I) twenty plus years ago and then was her professor as well.  He still recalls seeing us carry her to school in the baby backpack.   Thanks for everything Rene!

Alexandra with Rene and Kathy

One day during the week I noticed that my friend, Margie Cicerrella, was featured in  the local paper.  Margie is retiring after many years of working as a children’s librarian.  Margie has been a driving force for literacy and among many other things spearheaded  the “Welcome Baby Book Bags” program – a program designed to promote language development in infants by giving new parents a cloth bag filled with board books.  For that alone, Margie deserves a million pies!  But alas, all I could do was bring her this one – a sweet potato and pecan pie.  Thank you Margie for all the wonderful work that you’ve done!

P1000559After a fun-filled week with Alexandra and Coco (cooking together, seeing plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and singing along to Coco’s guitar playing), sadly, they both had to return home. The first day after they left I must admit that I felt pretty blue.  Fortunately, I had agreed to teach a friends’ troop of girl scouts how to bake a pie (and share my story of giving away pies) that very afternoon.

At first, I was a little nervous but the girls were simply delightful.  They listened to my brief talk and then the kitchen was a flurry of flour, pie dough, and pumpkin pie filling!  Lots of questions were hurled at me, but I managed to answer most of them, and at the end of the afternoon, the counter was filled with pies.  There’s nothing like making pie – and helping kids learn to bake – to fix the blues!

P1000584The last pie I made this week was for the family of an old friend who succumbed to cancer a few days ago.  My heart aches for her husband and children and bringing them dinner and a pie felt like a way to ease their pain… and I’m sure my friend would love knowing that her family was cared for in this way.

P1000591

“Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.” —Alan D. Wolfelt

Sharing our Gifts

18 Feb

When I am alone at home I often sing along with songs on the radio.  When I was younger, I sang with the school chorus and also in the church choir.  I guess you could say that I am a singer… but it’s not a gift that I share with the world.   Oh, I’ve been known to sing babies to sleep and after a glass of wine, I sing along with my friend Mark as he plays guitar (he calls this Karenokie).   Somewhere along the line I decided to hide that part of me… or maybe I just protect it from scrutiny.

singer

Another thing I like to do is play with paint.  I’ve painted cards for friends and painted rooms in my home, but it’s not what others would call art.  It’s just fun for me, and again, it’s not a gift that I openly share.

And of course you all know that I love to bake.  Long ago I learned this skill and found something in it that spoke to me and also discovered that it was a way for me to connect with others.   When I was a kid, and a new neighbor moved in, I would tell my Mom that we needed to bring them a cake for I’d learned that from TV shows like Donna Reed’s.

Fortunately, my Mom didn’t try to stop me and baking became a way for me to get to know many neighbors and friends over the years. Baking is something I do almost every day whether I need to or not.  I love everything about baking and have found that for me it is a way to share that love with those around me.

In the last week I made three pies.  The first one was a quiche and was gifted to a friend who is facing a transition.   I hope that this asparagus, roasted peppers, and cheddar cheese pie makes evident our love and support to her and her family.

P1000487

Then on Valentine’s Day, our exchange student, Lucka, moved to her next host family.   Since we’ve been so blessed to have had a great time with her, I wanted to send her off to her new family with a gift and a Chocolate Cream Pie just seemed perfect for the occasion.

P1000496

It’s been great having Lucka live with us for these past two months and I hope that her new family has as much fun getting to know her as we have.  One of our favorite things about this time together has been  listening to Lucka laugh at silly videos such as this one.  Her boisterous laugh is priceless!

Finally, yesterday I made a quiche for a woman that I’ve never met.  Another friend found out about my pie story and asked if I would gift her friend a pie. Seems the woman is battling cancer but right now has an appetite and needs to gain weight.   Well, a bacon, pepper, and jack cheese quiche should help with that, and I hope that the love that went into it’s making will strengthen her as well.

P1000527

We all have gifts and many times, for one reason or another, we choose not to share them.  My hope is that at least one person reading this will share his/her gift with someone they care about.   It would be a shame to die with your gifts still inside.

“Your talent is God’s gift to you.  What you do with it is your gift back to God.”  Leo Buscaglia

The Pies that had to Wait

3 Feb

P1000456

Ingredients for quiche: Bacon, Onion and Peppers

Recently I learned that an old friend was diagnosed with cancer.  I’d not seen her in a long while and was taken aback at the news.  Immediately I offered to bring food for the family as I know that they are very busy taking her to and from doctors appointments.  However, because my friend has been following a very restricted diet, my offer of food was not able to be accepted.

It wasn’t easy to stand by knowing that the family was struggling.   It is my belief that sending food to those in need is in fact sending love disguised as nourishment.  While the food can satisfy the body’s need for sustenance, what I envision is that the recipients can also feel the love that they were held in during the time it took to prepare and deliver their food.

P1000451

Making use of my new apple peeler – Thank you Nordic Ski Team!

Two nights ago I was thrilled when my friend’s husband asked for food to be brought for him and his daughters.  More specifically, he asked me for a quiche and a pie.  I was honored to be allowed to help in this small way.  After checking ingredients at home, I made a dash to the store for bacon, apples, and cream.  Next morning I arose early and prepared both pies, all the while, holding thoughts of the family in my heart.P1000453

P1000459

 

Love when the juices bubble through like this!

It is my hope that some of that love seeped into the pies and will provide them with a little bit of comfort and the knowledge that they are not alone.

P1000463

“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him…the people who give you their food give you their heart.” —Cesar Chavez

A Pie for Pam

23 Jan

P1000220

During my “pie a day giveaway” year, I didn’t always know where each pie would wind up at the end of the day.  Of course, sometimes I did begin the day with a particular person in mind.  Most often, that was because a friend or relative was having a birthday.

However, what happened much of the time was that I began the process of making a pie without anyone in mind.  Then, somehow, a name or face would pop in my head, and I just “knew” where that pie would be going.

Now there were days that my intuition was off.  Occasionally I would find that the intended “pie” person was not home when I arrived at their door (or business) and then I would have to go to Plan B.   And surprisingly, the second person that I selected was in fact the person I needed to give the pie to after all… but I just hadn’t known it.

Well, yesterday I wanted to make a pie and immediately my friend Pam’s name came to mind.   Then the idea of an Apple Blueberry pie followed and I was off on a mission.  In about thirty minutes I had a crust prepared, sliced apples and blueberries tossed with sugar and flour and slipped into that crust, and a crumb crust pressed on top.  Before long a delicious aroma was wafting through the house.

After the pie was baked I placed it in a basket and drove to Pam’s workplace. One of Pam’s coworker’s was not sure that she was not in, but another knew just where to find her and brought her to me.  The smile on Pam’s face when she saw me with the pie was priceless, but what was even more amazing were the words that she said to me, “You have an uncanny ability to know when someone needs a random act of kindness.”

Pam, I wish I could say that that was true, but that would be a lie.   Instead, what I can say is how wonderful it feels (and how very grateful I am) for the times when I have picked up on a message from the universe and it turns out this well.

P1000222“We think too much and feel too little.  More than machinery, we need humanity.  More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness.”           Charlie Chaplin

Leaving for the Peace Corps

20 Jan

P1000213 Not long ago I received an invitation to a going away party.  The invitation came from my friend Karen and stated that she was hosting a party for her daughter, Mariah, and son-in-law, Collin, who were leaving to take a position with the Peace Corps.   In fact, in a few weeks, Mariah and Collin will be leaving for Zambia! It’s been a few years since I have seen Mariah, but back when my kids were small, she used to babysit for me when I had a meeting to attend or an errand to run.  Mariah was more like a big sister to the kids and since she has beautiful red hair, just like my daughter,  she would often be asked if they were sisters. (And Mariah knows that when she is in Zambia that red hair will surely create a stir!) Curious as to what the next two years will be like for Mariah and Collin,  I did a little research and found a few articles that offered some insight.  This one listed five reasons NOT to join the Peace Corps, one of which is “to build my resume.” Clearly this is not a good reason (there are easier ways to do that) and using this as a mantra won’t get you through the tough times.  Then I found this YouTube video by Carrie Pavlik (who was in the Peace Corps 2007-2009) that shows the beauty of Zambia but also demonstrates just how much work is involved in doing the everyday things that we in America take for granted (getting water, cooking, taking a shower, etc). Mariah and Collin are excited that they are going to put their skills (both of them are fisheries experts) to work to help people in a country that is thousands of miles away. Yesterday was the bon voyage party for Mariah and Collin, and even though I knew I would be late in arriving if I baked a pie before going, I just had to do it.  I wanted to say with that pie that I am so proud to know them, that I admire what they are doing, and to wish them all the best on their grand adventure! P1000216 If you are interested in learning more about their journey, you can follow them on their blog: www.MariahandCollin.wordpress.com “The Peace Corps is guilty of enthusiasm and a crusading spirit.  But we’re not apologetic about it.”  Sargent Shriver “You are educated. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world.”  Tom Brokaw  

Thank you, Nurse Kathleen!

9 Jan

Kathleen's pie

This past week my Dad fell twice.  Both falls occurred during the wee hours of the morning and thankfully my Dad did not suffer any injuries… but of course that does not mean that I wasn’t worried about him.  Immediately I began wondering what was causing him to fall and what could be done to prevent him from falling in the future.

When I asked Dad what he thought was going on, he really didn’t know.  That might also be a part of the problem.  When Dad awakes, he “thinks” he is fine and so he tries to get up (maybe before he is really awake or before his body is ready) and then tumbles to the floor.   To make matters worse, Dad chooses not to call the med-tech on duty because he “doesn’t want to bother” anyone and so he remains on the floor for an hour or more.

Fortunately I found that I was not alone in my concern.    A few days ago I received a call from the staff nurse at the facility where my Dad is staying and she asked if we could talk.  Since I was about to bring my Dad back to the facility, I agreed to meet with her.  When Dad and I sat with Kathleen I was impressed with the caring way that she spoke to my Dad and how she shared real concern for his safety.  She was able to do so in such a way that captured his attention in ways that I as his daughter cannot.

We agreed to ask Dad’s doctor to look into adjusting Dad’s medications and also encouraged Dad to consider calling for help before he gets up in the night… at least for a week or two.  When I finally left the facility to go back home, I felt a great sense of relief because I had found an ally on this journey.  This is not to say that the rest of the staff is lacking; that is not true at all.  But after talking with Kathleen I felt that someone understood my Dad, had a connection with him, and was looking out for him.  That means a lot to me and so yesterday afternoon I stopped by Kathleen’s office with an Apple Pie to thank her.   It’s so very nice to know that I have her on my team.

caring

 

“It is not how much you do but how much love you put in the doing.”  Mother Teresa

 

 

 

 

Wishing you all the Happiest of New Years!

2 Jan

desiderata

With the new year beginning, a number of thoughts have been spinning around in my head.

Several were sparked by a Christmas greeting from my friend Tim.  In his card Tim included a copy of the poem, Desiderata, by Max Ehrmann.  This poem was written in 1927 but did not become popular until the mid-1960’s.  It’s a beautiful poem that many have chosen to use as a guide to living a good life.   While the entire poem is indeed wonderful, following are a few lines of that poem that I especially like .

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

And from the last paragraph, these words:

Be at peace with God…. keep peace with your soul… strive to be happy.

Simple words but packed with intelligence and gentle encouragement!

Another stream of thought was inspired by a song that I recently heard and loved when I was a teenager.  It is by the duo Seals and Crofts, from their album, Diamond Girl, and is titled, “We May Never Pass This Way Again.”   The song has special meaning for me for I knew at a young age how fleeting life could be.  One of my favorite phrases is this one:

I wanna laugh while the laughin’ is easy. I wanna cry if it makes it worthwhile. We may never pass this way again, that’s why I want it with you. ‘Cause, you make me feel like I’m more than a friend. Like I’m the journey and you’re the journey’s end. We may never pass this way again, that’s why I want it with you.

Then there were Woody Guthrie’s “New Years Rulin’s” that I saw posted offering delightful suggestions/resolutions for the New Year.  Among my favorites, #5 Take Bath, #15 Learn People Better, #19 Keep Hoping Machine Running, and #31 Love Everybody. These works seem to offer sage advice for the new year and anytime for that matter.  Something along the lines of this:  Be a good person.  Try to be happy.  Spend time with people you love… and let them know that you love them.

P1000081

On New Year’s Eve morning I called a friend who’d I had heard was sick and learned that she is getting better…. but still is facing challenges.  And while we did not have time for a real visit, I was able to bring her a quiche… filled with love and good wishes for the year to come.  And I extend those same wishes to you all.  Happy 2014!

QUICHE FOR CAROLINE

“May Light always surround you;
Hope kindle and rebound you.
May your Hurts turn to Healing;
Your Heart embrace Feeling.
May Wounds become Wisdom;
Every Kindness a Prism.
May Laughter infect you;
Your Passion resurrect you.
May Goodness inspire
your Deepest Desires.
Through all that you Reach For,
May your arms Never Tire.”
― D. Simone

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 464 other followers