Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Giving Thanks and Appreciation

Happy Monday to all! Just a few more days until Thanksgiving! Are you ready for it?

Being thankful and appreciative is as much a part of the preparation for Thursday’s big celebration as the righteous bird and all the trimmings that will sit in the middle of our tables as we gather together, with family and friends, to feast and be joyful. So, again, I ask, “Are you ready?”

Have you paused to consider GIVING thanks – not only in prayer before your Thursday meal but also directly to everyone you come in contact with throughout the week? Think about GIVING a thank you to your cashier at the busy grocery store this week and to the stocking clerk that found an item for which you were looking; to the person who delivers your mail, to the people who collect your weekly trash and to the officers that protect your neighborhood, daily – just to name a few.

The list can be endless, but it takes only two seconds to say, “thank you”; and only three seconds to say, “I appreciate you.” Everyone appreciates appreciation, so take five seconds to GIVE thanks AND appreciation to the “peeps” in your “village” for whatever they do in and around your life. So, as to not forget anyone, I suggest (as in Mom’s story of Maya Angelou – below) you get a yellow pad of paper and make a list of all those to whom you are thankful.

Mom’s faith was always a part of her writing AND her writing was always a part of her faith, as she journaled about it daily. In fact, Mom wrote a story on page 10 of her newsletter’s Winter 1994/95 issue about how Maya Angelou was even more of an influence in her faith-journaling. The re-inspiration came from a 1993 interview Maya had with David Holstrom of “The Christian Science Monitor”.

As Mom wrote about it, Maya had gone “to her voice teacher in mental turmoil over having to leave her child in Europe when she returned to the States. Frightened for her sanity, she told her teacher that she thought she was going mad.”

Mom told of how Maya’s teacher gave her a yellow pad of paper and told her to write down all of her blessings on it. But, apparently, that was not the answer Maya wanted to hear. Her teacher insisted and, also, suggested that she start there – with the fact that she could hear him and, then, that she could see the page and that she could hold the pen and so on and so forth.

Mom added that Maya had said, in her interview with Mr. Holstrom, “Before I reached the end of the page, I was transformed. So, everything I have written, every book, every stage play, every screenplay, was written on a yellow pad. As soon as I pick it up, I am reminded of my blessings.” Mom was eternally thankful to Maya for the renewed inspiration in gratitude!

My mom was a very devout Christian – born and bred in Christian Science, with Jewish and Lutheran influences, as well. No matter what the problems and struggles Mom faced, she never lost her faith in “God’s plan”. As her parents raised her, Mom would always try to find something in every situation from which to learn and, also, for which to be grateful. Mom not only wrote about her faith in her personal journals but also in her cookbooks and newsletters. She shared it publicly and openly, with hopes to help and inspire others who may be facing their own trials and tribulations.

Happiness is a state of thought. It begins with gratitude for all we’ve already received and achieved – not with what we ‘own’ or the ‘things’… – Gloria Pitzer, as seen in Gloria Pitzer’s Secret RecipesTM Newsletter, Issue #218 (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; Nov. 2000, p. 5)

I believe that gratitude is the simplest and, yet, most priceless gift that you can give anyone at any time! A smile and a down-to-earth “thank you” and “I appreciate you” can have a rippling effect and these humble gestures WILL go far; thus, spread the cheer! Most people just don’t understand the “madness” that happens on “the other side of the fence”, in the restaurant and/or retail industries (unless they’ve worked in it), during the big shopping frenzies of the season.

I have this glass cutting board in my kitchen (pictured below) and every day, when I look at it, I feel like it’s a message from Mom to me. However, I also feel the message goes out to her, equally, as I am so thankful and appreciative for all she has given and taught me.

To Mom…Love, Me

I also feel that we should even be thankful for those whom we’ve perceived to have done us wrong in some way. Mom would always show me that we can, at least, be grateful for the learning experiences that were derived from the confrontations we faced. In one of her last newsletter issues, Mom wrote the following excerpt about being grateful – even for the struggles.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Secret RecipesTM Newsletter, Issue #218 (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; November 2000, p. 2)

Grateful for the Struggles

Sometimes, just for a moment – other times, for much longer. Nonetheless, we have to deal with each struggle as it arises. We don’t analyze what’s going on. We don’t blame other people for our pain. We don’t justify our fears, today, by regretting what took place in the past.

We’re dealing with our attitude right now – right where we are, in the present moment. We don’t worry about what will or won’t occur in the future. We are capable of making some good decisions when we are called on to make them. Whether we did or not in the past is in the past.

We’re not the same person, today, we were then. We’re not even the same person we were yesterday, but we are learning lessons all of the time. Melody Beattie [who wrote The Language of Letting Gosays [in her book], ‘Our past is a series of lessons that advance us to higher levels of living and of loving.’

Regarding: blessed with enthusiasm

Among other things, Mom was always grateful for her fans – her readers & radio show listeners – who kept her inspired with their endless requests to find the “secrets” to making this dish or that grocery product at home (and, preferably, at a lesser cost.) Mom was also very grateful to all the media sources (newspapers and magazines, as well as radio and TV talk shows) that interviewed her and wrote and talked about her new twist on recipes in the food industry, especially in the “fast food” area.

#MediaFriends

Likewise, Mom was also thankful for us, her family; for supporting and helping her in so many different ways – as office, art and promotional assistants; as well as recipe testers and taste testers. However, truth be known, Mom was especially thankful for us staying out of her hair when need be (like when she’d be doing a radio show from home)!

Mom penned her prayers, feelings, memories and hopes in journal-after-journal. She often wrote about finding the blessings in every day we’re given on Earth. Mom truly believed that – good and bad, alike – everyday had some form of a blessing within it. That’s how Mom was raised, to be grateful everyday – not just for the joyful moments, but also for what she confronted and overcame or from which she learned.

My mom believed that life’s best lessons and experiences came out of life’s biggest disappointments by learning how to turn a “let-down” into a “set-up” for something else – maybe even something better – something out there, through the window that opened when the door closed. Mom also believed that every new day is a turning point and that each experience (again, good and bad, alike) eventually contributes in some way to our growth and happiness. She called it “mixed blessings” (which became the title of one of her books in 1994) and for those things she was always thankful.

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective ( Balboa Press; January 2018, p. 299)

…On July 6, Paul and I flew to Chicago, staying at the Hyatt O’Hare, and did the Donahue show live – for an entire hour – on July 7, flying back that same afternoon. The next day, 15,000 letters waited for us at the St. Clair post office. And every day for 4 months, we picked up thousands of letters – having received by Christmas, well over 1 million letters, requesting information on how to acquire our books, which were still available only by mail from our address. We were bogged down with an unexpected response. It was an experience of mixed blessings!

AGAIN, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 254)

THE TASTE OF THE TOWN!

WARREN PIERCE OF WJR – Radio, Detroit, was one of my first radio friends with whom I would visit on the air regularly, giving out recipe secrets from the food industry. When Warren had an evening show, we found that the listeners’ responses to the famous “make-at-home” recipes prompted some very interesting challenges. One of our annual visits was at Thanksgiving time, when we would reminisce about one of Detroit’s best-loved restaurants known as Greenfield’s. One of my favorite duplications was for their pumpkin pie, which I’ve included in this… [blog – see below]. Each time I offered Warren’s listeners one of [my] Detroit [copycat] recipes, along would come requests for even more that I had not yet investigated. So, I would check out the new eating place, taste the house specialty and return to Warren’s show with the previously requested recipe. This is how most of the recipes in my collection were originally [developed].

Myself, I will always be thankful for everything Mom has given me and taught me in my life-time with her. As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I can only hope that everyone remembers those people or things for which they are thankful and, whenever possible, tell them so! As you gather around the turkey-laden-table with family and friends, try not to let the commercialism of the other up-coming holidays interfere with those heart-felt thoughts of gratefulness.

IN CLOSING…

Thank goodness for memories and for recipes that enable us to imitate our remembrances at home.’ – Gloria Pitzer

1-2-3 PUMPKIN PIE… [Like Greenfield’s]

By Gloria Pitzer, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 243)

Ingredients:

1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell

1-pound can pumpkin

14-ounce can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk

2 eggs, well-beaten

2 tablespoons butter (or margarine)

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, or to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°F and partially bake the empty crust for 10 minutes at 375°F. Combine all filling ingredients, beating thoroughly. Pour mixture into pie shell and return to oven to bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Makes one 9-inch pie. Serves 6 to 8.

‘The celebration of the moments worth remembering continues to have its place.’Gloria Pitzer, Gloria Pitzer’s Secret RecipesTM Quarterly (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; Winter 1994/95).

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