Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Two Texas Thanksgivings giving God Thanks and Praise

Two Texas Thanksgivings giving God thanks and praise on calendar: The Spanish colonization and the New England Pilgrim landing

We are all glad when the battle is over.  Then we give thanks.  What if we gave thanks and praise during the struggle. Yes, we can learn to give thanks and praise always, have an attitude of gratitude and count our blessings.  For my family and faith (Fr. Larry) I give thanks and praise; for Brian my husband; for Lisa and Frank (and Conrad) Jeremy & Kim HAPPY BIRTHDAY JEREMY and Valerie; for Tina; for Wendi and Sean (and Tommy) Lindsay and Zachary; for Michael and Vanessa; for Barry and Katie and Baby A; for Kathleen and the consecrated; for Amber and Joshua!

 Amid a raging Civil War, Lincoln declares a day of Thanks. Until 1863, the Thanksgiving holiday wandered around the calendar and sometimes disappeared altogether. As president, George Washington declared a national day of Thanksgiving in 1789, President Thomas Jefferson scoffed at the idea. Seventy-four years later, President Abraham Lincoln revived the holiday with a proclamation establishing the last Thursday in November, 1863, as Thanksgiving Day. 
Later, FDR signed the federal law making the fourth Thursday in November the nation's official Thanksgiving day.  By 1939 all other states proclaimed the fourth Thursday as Thanksgiving.  However, the Texas Legislature didn't change our state law until 1956, making Texas the last state to do so.  

Texas history brings to mind another, earlier struggle followed by a thanksgiving. On January 26, 1598, a Spanish expedition under Juan de Onate of 500 people, including soldiers, colonists, wives and children and 7,000 head of livestock set out from Santa Barbara in southern Chihuahua Mexico with the aim of founding a new kingdom. Three months later, after a long, dangerous trek forging a new trail northward, the now famous El Camino Real, it crossed the Rio Grande and set up camp south of present day El Paso, Texas. Then on April 30, 1598, after recuperating for ten days, Onate ordered a day of thanksgiving for the survival of the expedition.  Included in the event was a feast supplied with game by the Spaniards and with fish by the natives of the region. A Mass was said by the Franciscan missionaries traveling with the expedition. And finally, Onate read La Tome - the Taking  - declaring the  land drained by the Great River to be the possession of King Philip II of Spain - the beginning of Spanish colonization in the American Southwest. 

The American history books mention the New England Protestant Puritan sect of 102 people landed on Plymouth Rock and established a Calvinist theocracy after struggling an ocean voyage, leaving family and friends venturing out into the unknown and cross a vast ocean  In 1621, the Massachusetts Bay Colony was formed and began an annual special day of thanksgiving prayer observances in 1660.

While all things are passing, and may be better in years to come
We work in the short term, and we do what we can with love.

Love of God and love of neighbor and gratitude to boot

Makes our struggles worthwhile and moves our attitude above

To think of the long term and to trust in God providence alone. 
When someone expresses thankfulness, it not only impacts the receiver, but it also has benefits for the one giving thanks. Recognizing the blessings in your life and acting upon them regularly increases your awareness and appreciation. Sharing your gratitude improves your quality of life because it can only result in positive emotions. Learning to appreciate what you have also makes life more valuable and meaningful.

Being Grateful to Those Who Light the Flame
Albert Schweitzer, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient, once said, “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”

Everyone hits rough spots – and some people seem to survive avalanches – but often, other people are sent our way to rekindle our faith and keep us from despair. Who are the people in your life who deserve gratitude for supporting you when you needed it most?

Being Thankful For a New Opportunity
Each day we’re given a new chance to make a difference in the world. Until we are gone, there is always hope of finding happiness. Meister Eckhart, a German theologian from the 13th century, wrote: “If the only prayer you said your whole life was ‘thank you’ that would suffice.”

Monday, November 18, 2013

Brush Arbor is Upright Again and Garden Cared For THANKS!

A Successful Day, November 16, 2013 

Early Saturday morning Michael Almon, Brian Almon, Bill Glass and Christopher Flores set out to correct the "dirt creep" that just happens when buildings begin to lean.  The Homestead brush arbor leaned. The four guys  dug down about 18" beside each leaning brush arbor pole.  Then Bill and Chris attached the Come-Along to the top of the arbor and also to the adjacent tree and slowly began the action to set the arbor straight. It worked; none of the poles cracked or popped out. 

Let us give thanks.

 Brownie Troop 1960


Troop Leader Laura Armbrush with Brownies  Elizaabeth Johnson, Andreaya Wood, Kali Garza, Emma Armbrush, Emily Corpus Keira Johnson and Scarlett Gurko weeded front garden and planted carrots and basil.
Brownies Cheaibi Innes, Hanna Wilson and Madilyn Ng planted carrots in the back.
    Precious and small seeds  
I wonder.
So much power and energy - how did that power and energy get into those seeds?


Monday, November 11, 2013

A potato chip, graham cracker, evaporated milk Thanksgiving

I'm thankful for many things, especially for those who lived before me with a strong faith in God and country, preparing the way for a very good life in Texas and America.

Breaking the Way

Although Conestoga wagons were the vehicles many pioneers used to reach the frontier, an even greater number of settlers came west in more arduous ways. So great was their determination to find a new life, they came any way they could. Some used small horse-drawn wagons. Some pushed handcarts. Some even walked. One missionary described a family traveling west as follows: " The man carried an ax and gun...the wife, the rim of a spinning wheel in one hand and a loaf of bread in the other. Several little boys and girls each with a bundle, according to their size. Two poor horses each heavily loaded...On the top of the baggage of one was an infant, rocked to sleep in a kind of wicker cage...A cow formed one of the company...a bed cord...wound around her forms and a bag of meal on her back.

Preparing food in the wilderness was a challenge. In the wintertime, eating was monotonous; meals often consisted of no more than cornmeal mush or cornbread sweetened with molasses, a few potatoes or turnips or perhaps a bit of salt pork. But with the coming of summer things changed and cows began producing milk again. That meant the families could have milk, butter, and cheese, and many foods could be found growing wild.  There was an abundance of big game such as buffalo, deer, bear, turkey, boars, rabbits, etc. To remove the "wild" game taste. the meat was soaked overnight in salted water or milk.

 Settling In

When the pioneer arrived, the first job was to build a shelter. Then the tough prairie sod had to be conquered. Once corn was planted, they turned to other priorities.

Join me in using a heritage food this Thanksgiving to remember the past sacrifices.

HERITAGE  FOOD: Evaporated Milk 1856
Choco Mo Ice Cream is made in the refrigerator and uses evaporated milk to give it a rich creaminess.  Evaporated milk was invented by Gail Borden in 1856 and was first used by the troops in the Civil War in place of fresh milk.  Today we're more apt to use evaporated milk as a cooking ingredient.

Choco Mo Ice Cream
2/3 cup cold water                                     Dash of sale
1    tablespoon cornstarch                          3     egg whites
1    13-ounce can evaporated milk             1/4 cup sugar
3    beaten egg yolks                                  1/2  cup semisweet chocolate pieces,
1/4 cup light molasses                                       finely chopped

In saucepan slowly blend cold water into cornstarch. Stir in evaporated milk. Cook, stirring constantly till mixture boils. Stir a moderate amount hot mixture into beaten egg yolks. Return to remaining hot mixture in saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, till mixture is almost boiling. Stir in molasses and salt; chill thoroughly. Beat egg whites till soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating till stiff peaks form. Fold into molasses mixture. Turn into 11x7x1-1/2 inch pan.Freeze till firm. Break into chunks and place in chilled bowl; beat till smooth with electric mixer. Fold in chopped chocolate pieces. Return to cold pan. Freeze till Firm.  Makes 8-10 servings.

HERITAGE FOOD: Graham Crackers early 1800
 In the early 1800s the Reverend Sylvester Graham was a temperance lecturer and a nutritional "expert." He encouraged the use of coarse cereals which later led to breakfast cereals. He also urged the use of more fruits and vegetables in the American diet. Yet, for all his work, he is known to history at something of a crank, barely tolerating the use of milk, eggs, honey, salt, shellfish, or port. In 1835 specialized shops featuring Graham approved foods were started. The graham cracker, however, is perhaps his most well-known legacy in America.

The original potato chip recipe was invented by chef George Crum at Moon's Lake House near Saratoga Springs, New York, on August 24, 1853.  Fed up with a customer who continued to send his fried potatoes back complaining that they were too thick and soggy, Crum decided to slice the potatoes so thin that they could not be eaten with a fork.  As they could not be fried normally in a pan, he decided to stir-fry the potato slices.  Against Crum's expectation, the guest was ecstatic about the new chips and they soon became a regular item on the lodge's menu, and were known as "Saratoga chips".