Happy Monday and #TGIM, everyone! As I’ve been saying each week, “thank God, it’s Monday, again” because every Monday is another chance.. to write about my mom… impart memories of her talents with the world… and share one (or more) of her great, original, copycat recipes.
This second week of February has a lot of great things going on! To begin with…and what I want to write most about today… February 7th through the 14th (Valentine’s Day) is National Marriage Week! As NationalDayCalendar.com says, “…marriage is more than a day or a ceremony. A marriage requires dedication and commitment that generates a lifetime of rewards.”
Mom wrote often on the subject of marriage. She even had a few cartoon panels on the subject, too. One of Mom’s quotes about marriage can be found, in part, at WiseFamousQuotes.com (as pictured below) – the complete quote, as seen on page 11 of Mom’s book, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989) says, in full: “Good marriages are made in heaven, or so it may seem. But, if that’s the case, a lot of the details will have to be worked out, right here, on earth.” Additionally, in her book, Mom went on to say the following:
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 11-12)
LOVE & MARRIAGE – ALL IT TAKES IS DETERMINATION!
If good marriages are, indeed, made in heaven – where are all the bad ones made…? Of course, good marriages are made right here, on Earth, by ordinary mortals, like us; and it’s no help to think otherwise.
To take the fatalistic view that a good marriage is a foreordained blessing from On High is merely to evade responsibility for our own choices and behavior. It just decreases our chances of attaining the kind of loving and mutually rewarding relationship that most human beings long for and avidly seek.
To come even close to approximating such a union, one with another, it’s obvious that we have to scrap all the misleading old myths that stand in our way. I can think of no better way to do this than by repeating what may be a new one: ‘When it comes to love and marriage, the only infallible rule is that there are no rules at all!’
NO MATTER WHAT Marlo Thomas Donahue is saying about a marriage becoming anything you want it to be in today’s society… our husbands, who were raised [before the 1950s, believe] ‘women’s work’ is STILL women’s work! Of course, now, I have a workable solution to all of this, which enables a gal to undo whatever nonsense was taught a man along the way about a ‘woman’s place’ in the marriage.
WHAT’S VALUABLE – THE FAMILY
THE FAMILY IS IMPORTANT to this troubled world that seems not to know what direction to go in for comfort and relief. So, I cater, in our publications, mostly to this family, with all of the old-fashioned values I can gather and still not sound corny or even ‘preachy’!
That for which I am most grateful, however, as I see how our family has worked together in helping us to build this dining room table enterprise into a substantial and professional operation, is the friendship that has grown over the years between [Paul, me and] the five children…my cup runneth over!
Like The Beatles sang, “love is all you need”; however, as TheList.com explains in their article, “The Surprising Benefits to Being Married” – that “marriage has so many awesome perks”! In fact, they list 11 major advantages that covers most everything from better finances to more happiness to improved health for married couples. I’ve also heard most of these benefits on several different occasions from multiple news sources; so, I suppose, there must be some merit to them.
When I started to write this week’s blog, I knew what I wanted to write about, but I didn’t have a good title in mind. Then, the more I wrote, I just couldn’t get a certain song out of my head. I kept hearing Frank Sinatra, one of Mom and Dad’s favorite performers, singing “Love and Marriage”! This song was also used as the theme song for the famous, television comedy, “Married, With Children”.
MARRIAGE IS TRULY A COMMITMENT in which two compatible people promise each other “to be faithful…to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death do us part”… as some of the standard, civil, wedding vows commonly recite.
Compatibility, forgiveness and communication are probably among the most major qualities required for the success of a marriage. After Dad retired from the sign company, in 1976, to help Mom manage the business side of their family enterprise, so she could concentrate on the creative side of it; they spent almost every single day together, 24/7/52, for the rest of their lives! Throughout the years, their marriage was tested in more ways than one – but it withstood all the tests… and not until death did they part. And, now, they are together, again for eternity.
MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 62-64)
#Compatibility & #Forgiveness
The most often asked question about Paul and I working together in this family enterprise is how we managed to remain so compatible after 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, since August 1976. The basis, I believe, for every successful relationship is always between two good forgivers. Sure, we get in each other’s way once in a while. But we never stay mad for long.
When we were in Ventura, California, in August 1989, we visited an old Spanish mission that was founded over 200 years ago. In the church edifice was a one-word sign on the wall near the rear of the room. It so greatly impressed me that I thought about it for days. The word was FORGIVE. A powerful message. The essence of The Master’s own message during his earthly ministry nearly 2000 years ago.
FORGIVE – who, why, what for? In forgiving, we free ourselves from the imprisoning thoughts of resentment, of retaliation [and] anger. In forgiving, we let go of bitterness, contempt, even hatred. We are free then to love, to heal, to be healed altogether.
One word – FORGIVE – but 1,000 messages. A dictionary says of this word, ‘to give up resentment against or the desire to punish; pardon (an offense or offender).’ Forgive! It’s final, complete. There are no stipulations, no exceptions in the activity of forgiveness – no qualifications for anyone to meet.
Whatever the offense, we let go of the urge to see the offender punished when we forgive. It’s a cleansing action. It wipes clean the slate of past grievances. The more we remember past offenses, the less likely we are to exercise our freedom to pardon. Sometimes, forgiving ourselves is even harder than forgiving someone else. Forgiving requires loving. And loving is spiritual activity. Spiritual activity is prayer. So, when we are praying, we are also forgiving and, likewise, being forgiven.
Our Heavenly Father forgives us so easily, so completely. He never withholds His forgiveness from His children, His beloved offspring, which include each one of us – you, me, everyone! So, in examining the meaning of the word forgive, I can erase the pain of past offenses. I can put the word forgive into action – put it to work in my relationship with others. It’s remembering to do so that takes a little work and a lot of practice, but before you know what, it becomes a habit!
THE LAST THING EVERY NIGHT and the first thing every morning, I whisper a ‘thank you’ to God for Paul. The last thing every night Paul’s arms are around me as we go off to sleep, and I find his arms around me again when awakening in the morning and then, too, my first conscious thought is ‘Thank you, Father, for this good man’s love, for the beautiful partnership we have in our marriage, with our family, in our work… Thank you.’
It’s something I do automatically every night and every morning. Even the laws of physics and physiology can never reveal to us the indisputable way in which the Creator constantly participates in the life of each of us. It points out to me over and over again that the launching pad for successful change around us is actually the change within us!
To be in marvelous accord on a number of important issues in a conversation with someone you love, who loves you back, is grand. But… lasting marriages just do not ‘happen’. They have to be shaped and molded out of the good that one or both who are concerned will see and act upon opportunities to inspire improvements.
MOST MARRIAGES begin with the expectation that they will last forever. In marriages that do last, forever is not only a hope, but an ongoing philosophy. The partners simply do not think seriously about divorce as a viable option. This attitude that a marriage will last, must last, tempers their approach to conflicts and imperfections. These people are committed to the marriage, as well as to each other.
They know that love needs time to take root and then expand; that in an enduring marriage, time is on your side. Time allows you the security of taking each other for granted, in the best sense of the term, without having constantly to impress or to prove yourself.
[As for Paul and me,] I don’t know how or when the transformation took place, but it did – gradually, beautifully. I am not sure, but perhaps the Divine hand of heaven moved the family to become more harmonious. We never really talked about specific changes in attitude or behavior…
Most folks don’t like to be ‘preached’ to. [However,] to be ‘ministered’ to is different… When we are ‘ministered’ to, we are cared for, looked after and handled with quiet compassion – but never with pity. We can inspire someone to change but we dare not insist upon it!
When we see those we care about, somehow in conflict, and we know we can’t interfere; we can, instead, give out strong, moral support in silent prayer. Sometimes we focus so much on what is WRONG, that we fail to see how to correct it. We worry too much on WHO is right, rather than on WHAT is right!
In overcoming just the ordinary aggravations of being in business for ourselves, we also had to iron out the little conflicts over who would handle certain aspects of the work and how it would be handled. We were constantly having to compromise. That was the toughest step! Paul’s mother surely would have been proud of us and what we had accomplished together, if she had been able to witness any of this.
It is not easy to carry out the details of a demanding schedule and keep harmony at a priority, making every effort to keep the atmosphere healthy and still harmonious. To me, this was of utmost importance. Sometimes, being in complete agreement was impossible, but the error to be corrected was always in separating the act from the person. That, alone, made forgiving so much easier and without that forgiving we could never have worked together all these years – seven days a week… 52 weeks a year.
To be able to overlook the things that are not important has made the compatibility easier to experience, too. Being picky about something, we have said to each other, could only lead to increased discontent and sometimes snowball right into a major confrontation of shouting and fist-clenching. Thank goodness, neither of us ever let it get to that stage, since we both wanted to have the best possible relationship. We work at it!
According to Business Insider, Nevada holds the highest divorce rate in the country, advocating the ease of it. Meanwhile, according to RealSimple.com, Hawaii has the lowest divorce rate, which they attributed to less stressful lifestyles.
There are so many reasons why some marriages make it, and some don’t. Even though couples, in general, have many commonalities, every couple is inevitably different. Some are “meant to be”, as Mom would frequently say. In fact, Mom and Dad were always “meant to be.” Now, they’re together forever. I believe my husband and I are “meant to be”, as well; our friendship (and my husband’s patience with me) makes a solid cornerstone in our relationship. The longer we grow old together, the more I think we seem to follow in Mom and Dad’s footsteps quite often.
One last thought on marriage… from one of Mom’s 1973 syndicated panels, called “Could Be Verse©”, which was three or four lines of satirical rhyme or bumper-sticker-type logic… Mom wrote: “All marriages are happy… Love songs and laughter – What causes all the trouble is the living together AFTER!” She also did a cartoon panel about it in her series, Full House as Kept by Gloria Pitzer, and it can be seen in her “Food for Thought” editorial, on page 52 of My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989).
This year, in honor of #52Chances and #MemorableBeginnings, I want to offer you a recipe each week from Mom’s “Original 200” Secret RecipesTM collection – as these are the memorable beginnings of the Recipe DetectiveTM. The following recipe is also in honor of today, being National Cream Cheese Brownie Day…this recipe is found in Mom’s cookbook, The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 18).
P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…
DON’T FORGET – FRIDAY IS VALENTINE’S DAY! Other national week-long observances and celebrations going on, this 2nd week of February, include the Great American Pizza Bake, National Jell-O Week & Random Acts of Kindness Week!
NationalDayCalendar.com suggests that we… “Stop shaming Monday and look at what Monday has to offer… 52 CHANCES to see a beautiful sunrise… share your talents with the world… teach someone a new skill that will better their lives…” For me, it’s 52 CHANCES to tell Mom’s story, again; hopefully, re-inspiring love in the kitchen, in the home and family, throughout the neighborhood and around the world. Six down, 46 to go!
Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective is available for sale, at $20.99 each, through the publisher, Balboa Press, at https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062252; it’s also available in eBook form, for $3.99, at https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253