Thursday, January 1, 2009

Leader Enterprise - September 2009 - Handwritten notes

Do you enjoy receiving cards in the mail? I sure do. It’s a big reason why I love sending them too. Those’ little’ things can make a big difference in someone’s life.

I know, because they have in mine.

I mail 50-70 cards each month, so I think it’s safe to say I have a passion for doing so. It doesn’t take a lot of time invested to brighten someone’s day.

In this day and age when written communication, other than email, is almost nil, a short message of hope can be a ray of sunshine in a dark world when someone is struggling. Writing a card is one small way to encourage one another.

Among the best things about a hand written note is that it means so much to see the personal touch that comes with seeing someone’s handwriting. A card can stand on your counter or table to be reviewed again and again. The few minutes taken to add your own words can mean so much.

If you are one who doesn’t know what to say, simply tell the recipient that you are thinking of them, are there for them, and that you’re sorry for...whatever the situation. Keep your message simple and remember that anything from the heart will be meaningful and beautiful.

A book "When You Need the Right Words" published by New Seasons is available from Current catalog or online at www.pilbooks.com. It has many ideas for any occasion to help express what you’re feeling in your heart.

I realize these are times of economic crisis, but you really don’t have to spend a lot of money to let someone know you care about them. And you don’t have to have a special gift to reach out to someone at any point in time.Trust me-the reward you receive for thinking of someone else, is worth far more than the money you spend to make it happen.

One of the nicest cards I’ve ever received was a plain white postcard, but the words my friend expressed in that little note,spoke highly of who I am,and stirred my soul deeply. It is kept in a dresser drawer with many other keepsake cards I’ve received. When I’m having a down day, I pull those old cards out and am uplifted. How rich we can feel to be reminded there are those who care about us. A quote I appreciate reads "Never miss an opportunity to give sunshine to the day of someone who needs a few encouraging words."

Hallmark has a line of greeting cards for 99 cents each and the dollar stores have lovely cards also. Walgreen’s carries boxed cards for $1 each. I am a member of American greetings online, and for a minimal fee every year, I can print all the cards and projects I want. What a bargain!

Years ago, I read about two friends who lived across town from each other, and how their busy lives kept them from getting together. They determined to begin the ‘ministry of the postcard’ and made time to send a written note to one another each month. What a difference they made in each other’s world.

Tuck little ‘surprises’ inside a card....a bookmark, a tea bag, or a paper sachet. Those small items seldom need additional postage, but be sure to check with the post office when sending anything bulky. It’s always a thrill to receive pictures also. You can purchase little "Pass it On" cards,with a simple thought or scripture on them. Hallmark has tear-off post-it notes in tablet form with quips and quotes to uplift and encourage.

Five minutes, a first-class stamp, (or 28-cent post card stamp) and your personal note can bless someone with a brighter,r icher day. Pick up your pen and begin now in the ‘write’ direction.

A friend recently asked me my favorite kind of recipes. Without having to ponder, I said "Desserts!" Then quickly added that my second favorite is vegetable dishes. Because many of us have canned or frozen veggies from our gardens this summer, I wanted to share some of my favorites this month. These will be in my own cookbook, which I hope to have published and in my hands by next fall.

This first one is a new one for me and I loved it from the first bite-hope you enjoy it too. Green beans may be substituted for the asparagus if you prefer.

ASPARAGUS AND CORN WITH HONEY-MUSTARD GLAZE


1 lb. Fresh asparagus spears
1 cup frozen corn
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. Honey
1/4 tsp. Pepper


Snap off tough ends of asparagus; discard. Cut spears into 1-inch pieces.

In 2-quart saucepan, heat ½ cup water to boiling. Add asparagus and corn; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered 5 to 8 minutes or until asparagus is crisp tender;drain. In small bowl, mix mustard, honey and pepper. Stir into hot vegetables and serve.

ULTIMATE CREAMED CORN


2 - 1# bags frozen corn or 5 - 6 cups fresh frozen
12 ozs. block cream cheese,cut into cubes
2/3 cup milk
½ cup butter or margarine,melted
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper


Spread corn over bottom of 3-4 qt. slow cooker.Top with cream cheese cubes. In small bowl, stir together remaining ingredients; pour over corn and cream cheese. Cover; cook on high setting for 2-3 hours. Stir well before serving. Corn will hold on low heat up to 2 hours,stirring occasionally.

ZUCCHINI SOUP


4 c. sliced zucchini
1 medium onion, chopped
3 T. Butter
1 cup water
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup milk
1 cup half and half
1 tsp. Basil
salt and pepper to taste


In large saucepan,saute onion in butter for several minutes. Add zucchini and water. Simmer about 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat and whir in blender (Be cautious-I suggest letting it cool 10 minutes first-it will be very hot). Return to saucepan. Stir in soup til smooth, then add milk, half and half, and seasonings. Heat to simmering. Makes 4 servings.