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Mrs. Sundberg's Recipe Collection - 12 tried-and-true--one for each month of the year--featuring an introduction and tips from Mrs. Sundberg herself

Take Heart

December 19, 2012

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I didn't do much of anything during the show this time around. Pretty rare for me, but sometimes a person needs to sit down and listen. And that's what I did. Partly because I didn't know what else to do, and partly because what I was hearing was pretty darn beautiful. It was the story Mr. Keillor told of his childhood, how he went home after school every day and there was his mother waiting for him. And then there was the song. "Calling My Children Home." Well, I just sat there and took in that lovely music and felt so much.

When a very bad thing happens good people want to do something. But, oh my, what to do. What to do. And what came to me, sitting there in the chair by the window was the thought, "Live a good life and lift up the people around you in the living." Ann Curry, one of the great women in the world and former (their loss) NBC Today Show anchor, wondered what would happen if acts of kindness were a result of what happened on the 11th Day Before Christmas. Well, I'm with her. 26 acts of kindness. Thing is, once you get to 26, why stop? And an act of kindness can be the most simple thing.

If I have a mantra when things get rough, I think, over and again, "I can do this. I can do this." But there are other words and thoughts that return like tides when things are in flux or painful or just plain rough. St. Francis was the patron saint of animals and the environment, but he sure had his finger on the pulse of humanity. His are the words that find me when bad things happen. It's a prayer, and a song, and it goes like this:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

So my thought, as the end of the world nears for some, and as the New Year approaches for others, is to Take Heart. Plug in your Christmas lights, people. And if you don't have any, go get some and string 'em all the heck over. And get some candles while you're at it. It's something how one candle can fill a room with light.

Here's another recipe calling for cranberries, perfect for a winter evening with friends and hot cider while the snow falls.

Cranberry Pear Crisp

3 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups diced peeled pears
1 cup chopped cranberries (fresh or frozen)
½ cup brown sugar; firmly packed
2 T flour
vegetable cooking spray
¼ cup rolled oats
3 T butter or margarine
¼ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup flaked coconut

Combine rice, pears, cranberries, ⅓ cup sugar, and 2 T flour. Place rice mixture in 2-qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray; set aside. Combine remaining flour, remaining sugar, and oats in bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add pecans and coconut; blend well. Sprinkle over rice mixture. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or so. Serve warm.

Enjoy!

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