Friends

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
― C.S. Lewis (1898-1963  British author, broadcaster, academic–Oxford University)

Loved this soon as I read it.  I can survive the day on my own, but sharing it with people I love, true friends (you know who you are!), makes the day all the richer, makes this crazy complicated life into a journey with dear companions.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.”  –I John 4:7

Open Heart, Open Home


Table ready for friends to sit and eat and talk 
together.

Hi friends– The year we lived in Costa Rica, we attended a small church in a village, a bus ride and then a kilometer walk from our home.  We loved those people, who opened their church doors and their arms to us.

One Sunday Eunice asked us to her house for tea after the church service.  She stopped by a little roadside market for a couple tea bags and a small packet of soda crackers.  We sat in her small home cobbled together from scraps of boards and a tin roof,  talked over the tea from chipped cups– and never felt more cared for, more welcome.

I learned a lot about hospitality from dear Eunice.  And learned how to meet friends at the door with welcoming hugs from our buddy Jenni.  And from Tim and Jill, how to make conversation around the table sparkle. I’ve learned impromptu meals can be the best from Carmen–as we carried the table and chairs up stairs onto the roof on a sweltering summer night in southern Spain, to sit and talk and sing over plates of simple tapas.

I’ve learned from Jen Hatmaker, who wrote in her book, For the Love–

“A shared table is the supreme expression of hospitality every culture on earth.  When your worn-out kitchen table hosts good people and good conversation, when it provides a safe place to break bread and share wine, your house becomes a sanctuary, holy as a cathedral.”   (page 116)

There’s a joy to setting plates around a table, anticipating friends in the door, praying for them and the time you will spend together.  And also there’s chocolate cake–that’s always good too.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.   Romans 12: 12-13

Early Thanksgiving

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Hello all– Of course I have my share of cranky wake ups, but like Emerson, I woke this morning full of thanksgiving.  This past week has been one of the sweetest– the safe arrival of little baby Lois, days caring for her with Ani & Brian.  And it’s been made all the more sweet sharing the joy with family and friends, old and new.  So any notes, happy phone calls, texts, encouraging words…  Joy passed all around.

So I thank God for this new little soul–so much ahead for her.  It makes me happy to imagine her years to come ( I told her about reading books together and going to the zoo).  And I am utterly thankful for Larry (my co-grandparent), for family who’ve called and texted and (kindly) demanded daily photos!  For friends with beautiful thoughts and words of love.  And the happiness of watching Ani & Brian step into parenthood so deftly.  My heart is full.  I am thankful.

Here’s Ani & Brian with little Lois at the Apple store (Thanks Bri for helping get my laptop fixed!)
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thanks anchor-imparo for the Emerson quote.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Friends

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Hello there–  These juicy little fellows were on our table on a recent Sunday evening when friends came by to sit around the coffee table for a “Cider & Cheese” supper.  Larry brought home a variety of hard ciders (my favorite was blackberry pear) and we tried them all around and nibbled our way through the evening of convivial conversation with old comfortable friends.  It was just fine.

And it was one of the easiest meals to set out– just buy some flavorful cheeses, good bread, preserves and olives and a little salami and few other snack-ish treats.  And these cheerful tomatoes, roasted to sweetness to sit on a slab of bread with a smear of brie or onion laced cheddar.  I hope you give them a try!

ROASTED CHERRY TOMATOES
16 oz. box assorted cherry tomatoes
3 tab. olive oil
1/2 tsp. rosemary, spines pulled from the stem
1/2 tsp. thyme leaves (plus a stem for garnish)
salt
freshly ground pepper

Bread and cheese for serving.

Mix everything together in a bowl until the tomatoes are well coated.  Then scrape it all onto a baking sheet and put it unto a 400 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes until the tomatoes and starting to burst.

Serve with thin slices of sturdy bread and your favorite cheese.

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Here’s the supper set out and friends around the table (I just love their pretty faces. Too bad the photo is just awful! But they look dear to me anyway.).

Gardeners of my Soul

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“Let us be grateful for the people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”   –Marcel Proust

Hi all- So thankful today for the gardeners of my soul– for family far and wide, for old friends nearby– Thank you God, for all the happiness these people give…

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photo:postworkshop.net (just like the poppies along the road around us in Spain)

Counting…

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Hi all– Feeling so blessed today–  the hour rocking tender baby Mae in the green chair, quiet conversations over beautiful meals with Aaron & Jessica,  a day out and about today with my Ani,  sunshine in the window and mugs of hot tea,  Larry at home waiting for me, friends who read this little blog…

I could go on…  I’m losing count.  Thanks be to God for all his countless blessings.

German Chocolate Brownie Bites (and old friends)

IMG_9071Hello to you all–  Last weekend we had a little get away with 40 of our closest friends!  Spent a couple days laughing, eating, walking, have time to really talk and getting into a couple hours of intense bananagrams!  It was just grand.  And to contribute to the snacks galore, I took along this little brownie bites.  They are pretty irresistible.

GERMAN CHOCOLATE BROWNIE BITES
Brownie Mix (9″x13″ pan size)
2 eggs
oil
water

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Make the brownies according to the instructions on the box.  Spoon the batter into mini muffin pans** sprayed with cooking spray.  (makes about 30)  Bake them up at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until they are firm to the touch.  Cool before putting on the topping.

Topping:
1/2 cup evaporated milk*
3/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
3/4 cup roasted, salted almonds, chopped

IMG_9091Drop the first 5 ingredients into a heavy pan and stir them constantly over medium heat until they come to a simmer.  Cook 30 seconds more.  Then stir in the coconut and almonds.  Spoon little mounds of the gooey coconut topping onto the cooled little brownies.  Eat them up and pass them out to friends!

*Evaporated milk comes in cans of over a cup– but you can freeze what you don’t use for the next time you need it.
**You can cook them directly in the mini muffin pans, or get these cunning little foil cups from the Kamei restaurant supply store in San Francisco.  Love those little things.

We do so love these old friends– been sharing life’s ups and downs with most of them for over 30 years– There’s no one I’d rather grow old with than these fabulous, fun and faithful friends.  Here they are:

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photos:  My Larry with Paul– the marathon walkers,  a little wacky after 2 hours of playing bananagrams,  just 4 friends hanging out,  the beach walking buddies.