Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cooking with author Janet Thompson

I'm doing a series on authors, their books, and food. I had a few authors last year post about these topics, and am thinking since all my novels have recipes at the back, I should make this food-author theme continue here. Well, this is a patchwork quilt blog for a reason. There are a variety of things I write about here and I tend to let a few have their season and then (could it be due to being a little over 50?), I promptly forget what I'd planned to continue. So, having said all that, we'll see how it goes.

Today I have Janet Thompson as my guest. Welcome Janet! Janet's recent book is, Dear God, He’s Home by New Hope Publishers. In this book, Janet offers practical and emotional support for wives with "Stay-at-Home" husbands.

I found the subject line interesting as my husband has been at home unemployed for over a year. He just started a small business in the garage, so while I write upstairs in the office, he's downstairs in his "office". I grew up seeing my parents live and work in the same house for their entire missionary career in Japan, so am quite familiar with this aspect of having to "share space and work together" as well as "work apart in the same space".

Janet has personally experienced three different life seasons with her "stay-at-home man." At age 50, her husband’s layoff left him unemployed—-at home—-for 18 months. Another layoff years later brought him home again. Then after several years of successful work in a new field, physical disability led to retirement.

"Regardless of the reason for this season," Janet says, "wives of stay-at-home men experience similar difficulties, hardships, and blessings." Dear God, He’s Home is a collection of biblical and life-tested wisdom. Janet not only writes from her own experiences, but she also includes stories from other women and men who have been through similar situations. She leads the reader through guided journaling and prayer and presents Scripture application for encouragement. The book’s epilogue, an entry from Janet’s husband, offers his perspective.

Janet is founder and director of About His Work Ministries. She developed the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry at Saddleback Church and served as a lay minister for 12 years leading Saddleback’s Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry. Janet continues to share the blessings of mentoring by training and speaking in churches around the world. She is author of several books including The Team That Jesus Built: How to Develop, Equip, and Commission a Women’s Ministry Team, as well as two other titles in the Dear God series, and seven books in the Face-to-Face women’s Bible study series. Janet and her husband, Dave, have four married children and love being Grammie and Grampa to 11 beautiful grandchildren. "Refusing to grow old" and embracing their retirement years with great zeal, they make their home in Garden Valley, Idaho.

When asked about food, Janet says: "As for comfort foods, I eat super healthy raw organic so when I see organic fruit and vegetables I feel so loved by God that He created such wonderful food for us! Wild salmon is my most favorite food ever and I love spring and summer organic strawberries! Also when my hubby brings in the harvest from his vegetable garden and I look at all that fresh produce that he grew with love, well, that tops the comfort scale."

Thanks, for sharing with the readers here, Janet!

To order a copy of Dear God, He's Home, please click here.

View the YouTube video for Dear God, He's Home.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How to write a food memory

I see a little boy in a white chef's hat at the play stove concocting some imaginary meal for me . . .
When I dig out the chef's hat, it's yellowed from age. But the memory---now over seventeen years old---will never yellow, never fade. There are days it is as fresh as today's gardenia blooms.

Recalling our loved ones through food makes sense. Food and gatherings with food are a large part of our lives; everybody has some food-related memory to share.

Memories coupled with favorite recipes go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Spend some time writing your own memory of a loved one.

Some Tips

* Take your time. We rush through much of life; this is not the time to plough through. Instead, slow down.
* Find a secluded spot away from distraction.
* Use a comfortable pen and notebook.
* To help you remember, look at a photo of your loved one. Spend some time describing the photo. As you think about your loved one, let yourself remember.
* Write with your senses----sight, sound, smell, and touch.
* Tell your story in your own style.
* Play some music to enhance the experience.
* Close your eyes; recall.
* After you have written a few lines, dig a bit deeper. Ask yourself what is it that you want to convey.
* If sentences are hard to compose at first, just jot down words that come to mind.
* String the words into sentences.
* Read your memory aloud.
* Make any necessary changes.
* Read it aloud once again.
* You have created a food memory!

Two Examples

Billy loved meatloaf sandwiches. Just reading that line makes me want to read more. It's not every day that you hear about meatloaf sandwiches. In my first cookbook, Slices of Sunlight, this memory, coupled with the instructions for making meatloaf provided by his mother, brings a smile.

"Billy was much like his dad, Bill, in that he could eat the same thing every day for months at a time. After taking peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to school every day for two years, Billy discovered meatloaf sandwiches for his school lunches. Throughout grade 3, 4 and 5, I must have made hundreds of meatloaves! After cooking, I'd put them in the refrigerator to cool, then slice them. I froze the slices. By the time lunchtime at school rolled around, Billy had cold meatloaf sandwiches . . . every day for three years!" (page 14)

The following memory from Kara's mom, first recorded in Down the Cereal Aisle and also included in my newest cookbook, Memories Around the Table, due out next month.

"When my daughter Kara was old enough to no longer ride in the shopping cart at the supermarket, she and I devised a plan that would keep her close to me in the store. Unless I asked her to get an item for me, she was to always have one hand holding onto the side of the shopping cart. We continued using that system for several years until it was no longer needed.

When Kara was in college, she would take me grocery shopping whenever I came for a visit. I could always expect to find a sizeable list ready and waiting for Mom to “foot the bill”. I did not mind as it was just part of the fun of being with her and enjoying our time together.

More than once during these grocery expeditions, I would notice Kara walking beside me, unconsciously holding onto the shopping cart as she had done so many years before. Sometimes I would put my hand over hers and smile. Other times I just let it be a fond memory to file away and cherish in later years.

After Kara died, it was (and still is) very painful to see moms and daughters together, especially when I see a little blond-headed girl in a grocery store with her hand on the cart."

Now it's your turn!

Let writing a food memory bring you some sunshine.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hope in a pen

Writing saved me.

It's true. After losing a young son to a cancer-related death, I found solace in my journal. That was sixteen years ago, and now I'm one of the biggest writing through grief advocates you've ever seen.

Over the years, and journals, I have found that the act of being authentic in grief brings healing for the soul.

I'm so excited about the value of putting pen to paper that I now teach workshops so that others can discover the beauty of this gift.

Writing to a Healthier YOU!, the grief and loss writing workshop in Norcross, GA this Saturday, will be a special one with two facilitators--one from Florida (Mary Jane Cronin) and one from North Carolina (Alice Wisler). It will be held from 9 AM to 4 PM at the Hampton Inn in Norcross.

Join us for a day of prompts, exercises, imagery, and helpful writing techniques that both Mary Jane and Alice have found beneficial for healing, health and hope.

Please feel free to let your friends and colleagues who could benefit from a day of hope know about this event.

Discover how healing and healthy writing can be for your grief journey.

For more information and to register, please click this link: Writing to a Healthier YOU!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Toast to Cookbook Contributors!

I must tell you that those who have sent me recipes in memory of loved ones for my new cookbook, Memories Around the Table, hold many talents! I've decided to focus on a few of them throughout the upcoming months. Every so often I will post A Toast to Cookbook Contributors! so that readers can see what else these people have done who have helped to make this cookbook come to life.

Here is a haiku from Marie, whose recipe in memory of her mother is for cinnamon raisin bread.

buds burst open

birthing the blossoms

spring fever

~ Marie Toole

Memories Around the Table: Treasured Recipes coming soon!
Daniel's House Publications

We made it to What's Hot in Atlanta!

Writing to a Healthier YOU! is a writing workshop for all who want to discover how great it feels to write from the heart.  Mary Jane Cronin and I have been doing it for years since the death of our boys.  You can benefit by learning how to incorporate this healing tool that brings clarity and focus into your daily life!  Join us for this workshop near Atlanta on June 22.

To register, head over to the website page.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Cover proof for Memories Around the Table!

I was excited to open the cover proof from the printer for Memories Around the Table: Treasured Recipes! This cookbook is filled with recipes and memories, making it a special legacy of those we love and miss. I put out the request for recipes back in February and received many wonderful replies from many of you.

Within the pages are all the instructions for how to make these Hershey Kiss cookies (a.k.a. peanut butter cookies) pictured here, and other delicious treats, including chicken divan, eggplant parmigiana, stuffed peppers, cornbread dressing, gloried rice, lime pickles, toffee, and strawberry cheesecake. The beauty is that each recipe is sealed with a special memory of somebody's son or daughter, grandma or grandpa, father or mother, grandson or granddaughter. This book is truly one of a kind and is a testimony that love goes on. Forever.

Memories Around the Table will be ready to order in about two weeks, so stay tuned!