Do you know the analogy about BIG ROCKS? This story is one of my favorites. An instructor was lecturing his students on the use of time. He reached under the table and pulled out a wide-mouthed gallon jar. He then filled the jar with big rocks. Then he asked the class, “Is this jar full?” Everyone said, “Yes.” He then reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. He dumped some gravel in and shook the jar, and the gravel went in all the little spaces left by the big rocks. Then he grinned and asked once more, “Is this jar full?” At this point, the students were on to him.
“Probably not,” they said. He then brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in, and it went into all of the little spaces left by the rocks and the gravel. Once more, he looked up and asked, “Now is this jar full?” Yes? He then grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in. He got about a quart of water into that jar. Then he said, “Well, what’s the point?” Somebody said, “Well, there are gaps, and if you work really hard, you can always fit some more things into your life.”
“No,” he said, “that’s not the point. The point is this: If you hadn’t put the big rocks in first, you never would have fit them in. Now you need to decide what your big rocks are.”
Mike and I like to go with our kids to the North Shore to visit my parents. We love going down to the beach. There we either throw rocks into the lake or pick up favorite colors and shapes. I am known to love heart-shaped stones, and there is one beach in particular where it seems I always find one or two of these sweetheart stones. This time I saw five heart-shaped rocks in a variety of colors. I built them into a rock cairn. Spending time with my family. BIG ROCK.
My parents like to be with family and friends, and my kids have a good time with them. Usually, this means several games of cards or dominos instead of watching TV. My youngest son’s greatest joy came one weekend when he played a perfect game of Up and Down the River, and for the very first time EVER beat my dad. (If you have had the chance to play cards with my dad you know he rarely loses! He’s excellent.) Playing cards with Grandma and Grandpa. BIG ROCK.
Yesterday we attended the funeral of my Aunt Gen. She was my Dad’s younger sister. I saw cousins I had not seen in almost 20 years. We shared memories and stories of our childhood summers a long time ago. I saw a picture of my Grandpa Edwin on top of a haystack when he was a young man. Although the photo wasn’t clear, you could tell he was excited to be so high on the mound of hay. This reminded me of my dad when he’s on the roof of a house. Saying goodbye and remembering the past. BIG ROCK.
My parents, my kids, my -husband, family, and friends are my BIG ROCKS, and the North Shore holds my DEEP ROOTS. I have spent a lot of time trying to put them into my gallon jar of Life first, but then I realized there is another rock I need to get in there before all the gravel, sand and water fill up the jar, and that’s ME. For my rock in the jar, I will find the perfect heart-shaped stone and place it right on top!
“Our actions express our priorities.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Enjoying a home-cooked meal for the entire family. A VERY BIG ROCK!
Tater Tot Cheese Hotdish
2 pounds. (browned) ground beef
1 (12 oz.) can peas, drained
1 (12 oz.) can corn, drained
1 (12 oz.) can creamed corn
12 ounces of Velveeta or 12 American cheese singles
1 cup milk
2 (10 3/4 oz.) cans cream of mushroom soup
2 (24 oz.) pkg. tater tots
1 medium onion, optional
Substitute: Frozen vegetables can be used, but require one-half hour longer baking time. Different canned vegetables can also be used.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown ground beef with finely chopped onion in a medium frying pan. Then in a medium saucepan, on medium heat, melt the Kraft singles in the milk, then add the cream of mushroom to make a thick sauce.
Next, in a 4-quart casserole dish, mix ground beef mixture with vegetables and 1 package of tater tots. Pour cheese sauce over the mixture and mix with a spoon. Add the other bag of tater tots to the top. Leave uncovered and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 pounds of ground turkey
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 16 ounces package of frozen mixed veggies
1 28 ounces package of frozen mashed potatoes, or leftover homemade
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare an entire bag of mashed potatoes according to package directions. If necessary, thin the potatoes a bit with some milk. Set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and celery and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add turkey and break apart with a spatula. Cook turkey until no longer pink. Sprinkle flour, salt, pepper, and thyme over the turkey and stir to combine. Stir in chicken broth, raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Stir in package of frozen veggies and simmer for 5 minutes more. Remove from heat. Pour turkey and vegetable mixture into a
9 x 13-inch casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Spoon little piles of mashed potatoes over the top and smooth out with a spatula. If desired, fluff them up with the tines of a fork for better browning. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling.
Swiss Chicken Bake
6 chicken breasts
6 slices Swiss cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cups milk
2 cups stuffing mix
1/2 butter, melted
Lay chicken breasts in a slow cooker. Top with cheese. Combine soup and milk then spoon over cheese. Sprinkle stuffing mix on top. Drizzle melted butter over stuffing mix. Cover; cook on low 8-10 hours or high 3-4 hours.