Recipes for special occasions, happy life

June is the popular month for weddings. How many have you been invited to and attended so far this month? In the Stone Ages when some of us grew up, a marriage was to last until one or the other died. That didn’t cause many murders, but I am certain there were some and some of which were never solved. Nowadays, it often seems folks just get married to see if they really want to be married to a certain person with no intentions of staying married if it requires any work or sacrifice on their part. It is worrisome if a person marries before they are really ready to face life as a part of a vow driven life.

In the 1960s, it was popular to dissolve a marriage if it seemed too hard to work on keeping it and many who had married young found out that it was something they would rather not work to help. There was, also, the problem of veterans returning from fighting with many sociological problems that no one seemed to realize or to know how to help them through it. That situation is better now, but still has not been completely dealt with. The laws have made it easier to separate without looking into the future problems of everyone involved. We have created at least two generations of young adults who have not witnessed good marriages and have no model to follow in their own lives and still suffer the insecurity of parental separation. The statistics are about 50 percent of marriages fail. Therefore, if one is considering taking that leap of faith in having a good marriage, one should know the person they are planning to marry as much as possible. Of course, everyone puts on his/her best face when trying to impress a future mate, so one never really knows that person until after marriage, and sometimes not even then. Scary, isn’t it? It is a wonder that the separation rate isn’t higher. And especially with younger folks, lust becomes the deciding factor instead of love.

The best thing a couple can do when they plan marriage is to both be completely determined to make it work forever. Think in terms of “we” and not “me.” Always put the partner first in thoughts and in actions. Never raise one’s voice, especially in anger, and remember that his/her partner is a human being and not perfect in all things. Who could long stand a partner who was always perfect anyway? One thing that can never be tolerated is abuse, both verbal and physical. Then it isn’t a true marriage, anyway, so run, run, run. We are given the recipe for a happy marriage in most wedding ceremonies, but do we ever really listen and abide by what we are told in the ceremony? You all know most of it by heart – “Love is patient and kind ” etc. – found in 1 Corinthians 13. This should be our own rule, not just in marriage, but in all parts of life. Do we really follow that rule or are we head strong and demand our own ways? We often run our mouth before the brain is in gear and once words are out, they can never be withdrawn. As a teenager, that got me in more trouble than anything else. I know I am not alone in that, and we have a hard time with that trait even as adults.

How much nicer a life we all would have if we just remembered to treat everyone as we want them to treat us. That is especially true in families – from the wedding day to the final day. I don’t know about you, but for me, even when I know what I should do, I forget and get into arguments and sometimes even wild ones, and say nasty things to those who I should never fuss at or about. A happy and calm life is like a happy and calm marriage or even a friendship – one has to really work at it and all the time, too. A test of a true friend or a lovable mate is that our not so nice moments are forgiven and forgotten. A smile doesn’t cause as many wrinkles as a frown and a softly spoken word does more good than a loud, harsh complaint.

If you have found the one that you think is right for you and that you are for him, go ahead and get married. Decide that you will make that marriage a priority and work at it every day. Invite your friends and family and intend to invite them to your 50th Aanniversary.

So, family and friends, go to that wedding and wish the couple love, luck, and happiness. Throw the bird seed (not rice), dance, eat the cake, and make a toast. We all have to take a chance once in awhile and we can have faith that they have made a good choice in each other. We not only have to live with our own crazy ways, but we have to accept others’ crazy ways, too. One good way to happiness in marriage is to learn to love your mate’s mother. Sometimes that does take prayer, but it is worth it. As one marries, one must remember that it takes daily at least three hugs and two “I love you”s just to keep sane. As the babies come along, that really needs to be done daily, and when they are teenagers, it needs to double, plus add the Prozac. Then you might make it through to that Golden Anniversary!

Some social rules for wedding guests:

Don’t make a bet with others how long the marriage will last.

Don’t wonder how many months that first baby will take.

Don’t grab the bride’s bouquet in front of the bridesmaids.

Don’t sneak back into the church and get drunk on the Communion wine.

Don’t make snide remarks about the other side of the family.

Don’t call the bride’s mother fat.

Don’t take your screaming babies to the service.

Don’t complain about ANYTHING.

Smile all the time.

Kiss the bride.

I hope you have weddings to go to this June. Think about your own vows as they take theirs. Smile, don’t eat too much cake, and dance the night away. God will bless you and them.

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RECIPE FOR A HAPPY LIFE

(Borrowed from the cookbook of Beverly United Methodist Church)

One cup good thoughts

One cup consideration for others

One cup kind deeds

Two cups of sacrifice for others

Two cups well-beaten faults

Three cups forgiveness

Mix thoroughly and add tears of joy, sorrow and sympathy for others. Fold in four cups of prayer and faith to lighten the other ingredients and raise the texture to great heights of Christian living. After pouring all this into your daily life, bake well with the heat of human kindness. Serve with a smile.

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HASH BROWN POTATO CASSEROLE

Two pounds frozen hash brown potatoes

Three-fourths cup butter, melted, divided

One-and-one-half teaspoons salt

One-half teaspoon pepper

One (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of chicken soup, undiluted

One pint carton sour cream

One (10 oz.) package grated sharp cheddar cheese

One cup crushed corn flakes

Mix potatoes, one-half cup of butter, salt, pepper, soup, sour cream and cheese together in a large bowl. Pour into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish or casserole. Sprinkle with corn flakes and one-fourth cup of melted butter. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes.

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BARBECUE SAUCE

One medium onion, chopped

One-half cup water

Two tablespoons butter or margarine

Two tablespoons vinegar

Four tablespoons lemon juice

One cup ketchup

Two tablespoons brown sugar

One-half teaspoon prepared mustard

Three tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper, to taste

Cayenne pepper, to taste

Combine onion, water, butter or margarine, vinegar, lemon juice, ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper in a saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes.

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CHOCOLATE CHESS PIE

Four tablespoons butter

Four tablespoons cocoa

One-andone-half cups sugar

Dash of salt

One teaspoon vanilla

Two eggs, beaten

One (5-oz.) can evaporated milk

One pie shell

Melt butter. Mix in cocoa, sugar and salt. Stir in vanilla and eggs. Add milk and mix well. Pour into pie shell and bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand until it cools to room temperature.

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MARINATED GRILLED CHICKEN

One-half cup butter or margarine

One cup garlic-flavored wine vinegar

One-fourth cup Worcestershire sauce

Four drops hot sauce

One small onion, finely chopped

One tablespoon sugar

One teaspoon dry mustard

One teaspoon salt

Three to four pounds chicken pieces

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Add all remaining ingredients except the chicken. Bring to a boil, stirring vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken. Cover and marinate at least four hours in the refrigerator. Place chicken, skin side down, on grill over medium coals. Reserve sauce. Grill about 12 minutes, then turn skin side up and cook about twelve more minutes. Brush chicken with reserved sauce and grill about another forty minutes, basting and turning the chicken every ten minutes.