Happy Valentine’s Eve! Plus, Thank God Its Monday and #HappyMonday to one and all! As usual, I always look forward to every Monday, as they’re my 52 Chances, each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!
February (aka: the “Month of Love”) is also, among other things, National Weddings Month… Generally, most weddings happen on the weekends, especially May through October. Monday holidays like Memorial Day and Labor Day, which create “long weekends”, create extremely appealing choices for weddings and honeymoons.
Surprisingly, or not, Valentine’s Day (which is tomorrow) is one of the most popular holidays of the year, on which people plan to have winter weddings or engagement proposals, while Christmas Day is actually one of the least popular holidays – for weddings more so than proposals.
I found an awesome article by Lovingly.com (updated 12/15/21), called 9 Things To Know About Getting Married On Valentine’s Day, which covers some really interesting and sensible pros and cons to consider, for anyone thinking about having such a wedding, in the middle of winter.
When considering the budget… Did you know that, generally, about 66% (or two-thirds) of the cost of a traditional-style wedding is wrapped up in the reception – including, for the most part, the venue, catering, and band? There’s also a really fascinating slide show at MarthaStewart.com, about ‘Who Pays For What For The Wedding?’, (Updated: April 15,2021).
This week’s blog post is dedicated to my parents, whose marriage withstood the test of time, as well as many other tests. My parents faced a lot of struggles, like any other couple – between in-laws, raising five kids and various pets, trying to make ends meet during a recession (even when they both worked), and running their own business, from home.
They were truly committed to each other, having been together for 58 years, before Dad passed away in 2014. During the first 20 years of their marriage, Dad worked in various positions at a sign company. In 1976, he retired early to help Mom with her recipes business.
The business had grown a lot in just its first couple of years. In fact, it was already taking all of Dad’s attention, when he wasn’t working at the sign company. During the last 38 of their years together, Mom and Dad lived and worked, side-by-side, 24/7/52. Here’s Mom’s own story about their marriage and compatibility…
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, pp. 62-64)
COMPATIBILITY AND 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 , 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’s 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 1000 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 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.
I don’t know how or when the transformation took place [for Paul and me], 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. To be ‘ministered’ to is different, however. 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 failed 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!
Another great read, about marriage and compatibility, is What Makes a Marriage Last, by Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue (HarperOne; May 5, 2020), in which they interview several of their friends, who are couples, about what factors made their marriages last. Here’s another one of Mom’s own stories, about marital bliss…
‘All marriages are happy… Love songs and laughter – What causes all the trouble is the living together AFTER!’ – Gloria Pitzer
Additionally, as TheList.com explains in their article, ‘The Surprising Benefits To Being Married’: “Marriage has so many awesome perks.” In fact, they list 11 major advantages that cover most everything, for married couples, from better finances to more happiness to improved health. I’ve also heard of a lot of these benefits from multiple news sources. Thus, I suppose, they must have some merit.
It won’t be long now, when Michigan’s daytime temperatures hover steadily in the slightly “warm” 40s, while the nights remain in the freezing zone. That’s when Michigan’s Maple Syrup Season begins – usually in March, sometimes as early as late-February and as late as early-April, depending on the weather and location in the state.
Michigan Maple Weekend is celebrated over three different weekends – in different regions of the state. For more about the maple syrup season in Michigan, also check out Baihley Gentry’s great article (March 23, 2015) at CincinnatiMagazine.com, called It’s Maple Syrup Month in Michigan.
There’s so much to love about Michigan!
In honor of TODAY, being National Cheddar Day, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for “Company Cheese Ball”; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 282). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)].
P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…
February celebrates, among other things… National Fasting February, An Affair to Remember Month, Black History Month, National Canned Food Month, National Creative Romance Month, National Great American Pies Month, National Bake for Family Fun Month, National Bird Feeding Month, National Cherry Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, National Library Lover’s Month, and National Snack Food Month!
The second week of February (12th-18th for 2023) observes… National Kraut and Frankfurter Week, Freelance Writers Appreciation Week, National Secondhand Wardrobe Week, Great American Pizza Bake, National Jell-O Week, and National Take Your Family to School Week.
Today is also… National Tortellini Day! Plus, as the second Monday in February (2023), it’s also… National Clean Out Your Computer Day! Additionally, for 2023, it’s also… National Football Hangover Day (which is always the day after “The Big Game”).
Tomorrow is also… National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day and National Ferris Wheel Day!
Wednesday, February 15th is… National Gumdrop Day and National Wisconsin Day!
Thursday, February 16th is… National Almond Day and National Do A Grouch a Favor Day!
February 17th is… National Random Acts of Kindness Day (it’s also National Random Acts of Kindness Week) and National Cabbage Day! Plus, as the third Friday in February (for 2023), it’s also… National Caregivers Day and National No One Eats Alone Day!
Saturday, February 18th is… National Battery Day, National Crab Stuffed Flounder Day, and National Drink Wine Day!
Sunday, February 19th is… National Chocolate Mint Day! Plus, as the third week in February (for 2023), it’s also the start of Brotherhood/Sisterhood Week.
…7 down and 45 to go!