Tag Archives: peace

Making Lefse

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For those of you who do not know what Lefse (lef-suh) is, let me educate you…it’s basically a Norwegian tortilla, but that’s really blasphemy.  I’m not Norwegian by blood, but by love, so when I visit my family in Wisconsin, I get the full-on Norwegian heritage experience.  I love that about my life.

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There are several variations of a Lefse recipe.  Me:  What’s in this?  Just potatoes and flour?  The women:  Yes.  Later…

One of the women:  I like the Lefse made with cream.  Me:  It has cream?  Along with potato and flour?  Them:  Yes.    Still later…

One of the women:  It tastes better when we make it with butter, too.  Me:  Butter?  And cream, potatoes, and flour?  Them:  Yes.  And then I found out…all of the recipes consist of potato (real mashed, powdered, or flakes), flour, a shortening of some sort (lard, butter, Crisco-type), a liquid (cream, milk, or water), and salt.  A smidge of sugar is optional.  I guess I just needed to read a recipe.

The potatoes are made the day before.   They sit in the refrigerator to cool for at least 24 hours.  The dough is mixed by hand, adding flour to make it the correct consistency, and it is rolled really, really, really thinly on a round cloth, covered Bethany board.  A special thinly-ridged rolling pin is used, and that is covered with a sock thingie.  Then long flat sticks, sometimes decorated on one end, are used to lift the circle of Lefse, which is brought to the hot, Heritage Griddle, carefully laid across, and then cooked until it bubbles on one side, is flipped, and cooked briefly on the other.  The flat is lifted off with the Lefse turner, and laid on a cloth.  Many circles of Lefse are piled up, and later, when properly cooled, the Lefse are folded in fourths, and packed in baggies.

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Lefse is a tradition.  Like Krumkake, around here, Lefse is a taste of the past.  People eat it with butter and sugar, or jam, or just plain.  Saturday, I went to the church with my sister to make Lefse.  There were eight of us…one mixer, four rollers, and three turners.  I, as a rookie, was assigned to be a turner

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People will come to special church sales just to buy the Lefse.  And women in churches all over the northern midwest are gathering to make the Lefse to sell.  Some have a personal business, selling Lefse for at least $4-$6 a folded over piece.  It is a big money-maker for the churches, and a bargain for the buyers who get a baggie of 9 pieces for $15.  All aspects of the experience are bonding events for the Lefse-making women and the Lefse-buying folks.

America is a melting pot.  We are people from all the lands on earth.  We embrace our past, share our traditions, and look to a better future for all our humans.  It’s a better world with Lefse making women, or any other food-making tradition that’s practiced.  My take-away lesson?  It’s all about teamwork.  If only we could have an overflow of this practice in the real life world-at-large.

 

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Making Stuff…

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Two years ago, two of my neighbors and I got together to create Vision Boards.   A Vision Board is a way put forward the setting of goals and to visualize one’s Ideal. 

My “board” morphed into a book that I called My Life’s Intentions.  I ended up with about 23 pages.  Some were esoteric goals like: be a friend; live my faith; pursue peace; and be joyful,  Others were more concrete like:  write, write, write; live my faith; keep family close; and care for my pets.

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Many were day-to-day intentions, and others were long-term goals.

Long-term goals were to travel to Australia.  Tick.  Exercise.  Tick.  Dress nicely.  Tick, I hope.

And the one to which I dedicated this weekend was:  Make Stuff.

I have been making stuff since I was a kid.  Mostly, as an adult, I have paper crafted and sewed.  My high school friend/college roommate taught me to sew, so that I could have more clothes.  (See Dress nicely.) 

In sewing, I found my niche by repurposing already existing items.  I’ve made aprons from skirts and shirts.  I’ve made smocks from shirts, purses and bags from upholstery material and old wool coats and sweaters.  I’ve made pillows, quilts, and more.

Enter Pinterest.  I saw a dress I liked from repurposed men’s shirts.  I was motivated and inspired.  I went to Goodwill, and I got going.  It was a great afternoon, and I ended up with a dress. 

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Making stuff.  Never completely a tick, but a start.

Blue skies, nothin’ but blue skies…

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Haven’t seen any of those for a week, but last Saturday was the perfect Wisconsin almost-summer day. The sky was that blindingly brilliant blue that is so sharp it hurts your eyes. In the south, we like to call that color Carolina Blue, but in reality, the Wisconsin sky sort of out-does it. At least it did last week.

The temperature was in the mid-seventies. The wind was up, and so I was tricked into thinking the brown-red tone my skin gets from my Mediterranean heritage was was just my imagination. I had been clipping the low suckers off the trees in my sister’s yard so I could mow closer without getting my corneas scratched. I then hauled the bountiful armloads of branches across a deep clover field to a burn pile, my feet dragging through the grass trip after trip.

The dogs were out running their traps, the little ones chasing each other and nipping ankles, each other’s and mine, and the “mothership,” Rosie, was standing with her nose to the wind. Brush collected, I found a spot under a maple, laid down right in the grass. I watched the leaves flutter and the branches bend above my head. Before too long, I had a puppy laying on my head and another tucked under my arm. It’s been a very, very long time since I let myself go like I did that afternoon. It was simply glorious.

My Christmas letter; A violet and a strawberry…

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Do I live in paradise, or what?  This morning, I discovered a violet blooming.  It was huddled amidst frosted foliage on the ground.  And in the flower bed under my Dogwood was blush-pink, full-sized strawberry.  I am not sure this strawberry knew where it was, if its biological clock was off, or if it was just plain confused, but there it was…trying to ripen.

I planted six strawberry plants last spring in the first bed that I created in my front yard.  The original garden plan was to plant low, creeping plants near the edge of the bed.  Then I was supposed to build height toward the middle.  Oh, the plan verses the reality.   That is always a dilemma.  My little dog, Hattie, dug up all the strawberry plants but this one, lone survivor.  And now “she” is trying to bear fruit!

Meanwhile, the delicate violet, a weed to many, has flourished in my yard.  When I moved into my tiny house, I decided I was not going to put a lot of money into trying to cultivate a “lawn.”  I was going to let whatever ground cover take over, and mostly I have a yard of Creeping Charlie.  The violets, though, have remained, and have surprised me with a spot of color dotted around every now and then.  I never dreamed this phenomenon would continue all year long!

There’s a metaphor here, not to put too blunt a label on it.  I am blooming. Like my lone strawberry, I am a late bloomer. My life’s plan didn’t quite go as I expected, but the reality is proving to be surprising and beautiful, just the same.  I am not as delicate as I thought I might be, and like my violet, I struggle to stay in the mix of things.

May your coming year be filled with unique and meaningful surprises.  May you bloom, and may your struggles delight and surprise you.   May the love of the Season be with you and yours.  May you feel the joy and the bounty of Christ’s love.

Luceat Lux Vestra.

“Let your light shine.”

Beacons of light…

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I go to Daily Mass.  It is not quite like going to a Protestant Church service daily.  For Catholics, Mass is at the very center of our interior life.  It is a private, peaceful, prayerful time to reflect.      

Two mornings a week I walk to Mass, this time of year, in the dark.  I leave my porch light on.  My neighborhood is hilly.  I return home down quite a steep hill, and this morning I noticed that I could see my porch light glowing from a block away.

My heart was struck by this glow.  I felt such a sense of welcoming peace that I came to a full stop just to look at my porch light at the top of my own little street.  Here, beacons draw me, and once again, I am overcome with gratitude for my place, safe and surrounded by love.