— Wally Lamb (She's Come Undone)
I was driving to an appointment with a colleague the other day when she mentioned in passing, "You can never feel for your step children the same way you feel for your own."
As someone who doesn't have step kids I didn't disagree with her - after all, who am I to challenge her experience - but the comment gave me pause because I am a step child.
A step child who has never once felt a difference between the relationship I have with my step father and the one he has with his "own" kids.
Don't get me wrong, however, because when I talk of my step father - who will from this point forward be referred to as "Marv -" I'm not describing a touchy feely sort of person.
To the contrary, the last time I remember getting a hug from him was in 1988.
What I have come to learn, though, is that people show their love in a variety of ways and it is the wise person who can accept what is being offered.
Pictured above is my pie safe.
I first learned about these wonderful, whimsical pieces - originally used to keep pies and baked goods fresh - while watching the Food Network, and I can still remember the conversation I had with Marv afterward telling him how much I would like to have one.
A year later, at Christmas, I did.
Designed from top to bottom by a man who owed me nothing - with pieces of wood, and oak, and stained glass that he had been saving - it is to me, one of my most treasured possessions.
We all have ways in which we express ourselves.
For some, expressing our feelings and love comes easily.
A casual I Love You.
But for others the words aren't always there.
That doesn't mean they don't exist.
Human beings, in all our fear and frailty, are such beautiful creatures.
And I've learned over the years not to accept anyone at status quo.
Because what we initially ever see of anyone is merely the tip of a very complex and complicated iceberg.
We're conditioned only to see the tip.
Our first impressions, judgments, opinions, and assumptions cloud our ability to see the warmth and humanity that lives beneath the ice.
"You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that."
— E.B. White (Charlotte's Web)
Bloggers are fortunate in that we have the opportunity to meet people from all over we might never have if not for this medium.
And I am no different.
The friends and supporters I have met over the years are so appreciated I don't even know how to begin to express the gratitude I feel.
But there is one friend who has been supportive to the next level, someone who is always on my side, and is always there to remind me of my own inner "Towanda" - and it is for that person I have taken much joy in making a "milkshake."
Over the years I have accepted what she has to offer and this weekend I had the chance to pay it forward in my own way.
I am sending her cookies because she is the kind of person who creates a sense of value in the lives of the people she touches - and that, to me, is worth everything.
This recipe for gingersnaps dipped in white chocolate is one of my all time favourites.
A lot of love went into them from me to my friend.
Sometimes the biggest difference we can make in the lives of others is by extending ourselves.
What cookies do you have to give? Simple gestures that in ways big and small make this world a better place?
How will you give them?
That is my question and my answer this beautiful Monday...
Gingersnaps Dipped in White Chocolate
For printable recipe click HERE
* 2 cups sugar
* 1-1/2 cups canola oil
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 cup molasses
* 4 cups all-purpose flour
* 4 teaspoons baking soda
* 3 teaspoons ground ginger
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon salt
* Additional sugar
* 2 packages (10 to 12 ounces each) white chocolate chips
* 1/4 cup shortening
- In a large bowl, combine sugar and oil. Beat in eggs. Stir in molasses. Combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
- Shape into 3/4-in. balls and roll in sugar. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until cookie springs back when touched lightly. Remove to wire racks to cool.
- In a microwave, melt chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Dip cookies halfway into the melted chips; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper; let stand until set. Yield: about 14-1/2 dozen