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WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?

So, I completely missed the New Year’s Resolution month.  January flew by, and here we are in the Valentine Love month.  In addition to being caught up in the after Christmas blur, I went to Africa last month. So the January blog was lost in the shuffle.  But keep reading and I hope you’ll enjoy the ride with me as I tell you all about where I was in January! DSCN1725 On January 15, two mother-daughter teams boarded a Delta flight for a 10 day trip to Swaziland.  The purpose?  Our little 4-woman team would turn 250 yards of fabric into drapes for a new dorm to house abandoned children  in this country that has the distinction of having the highest HIV rate in the world.  In fact, it has been said that by the year 2020, it could be that Swaziland will be inhabited only by children.  Our little team wanted to be a small part of a tremendous effort.  Heart for Africa is doing a tremendous work in Swaziland and we were invited to join them.  After 22 hours of traveling, we arrive at our destination.  Project Canaan, sponsored by Heart for Africa!  DSCN1735

 

In the course of the trip we saw first-hand what’s love got to do with it…in other words,  the meaning of this:

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

It is humbling to see those who have given up a comfortable life in North America and Kenya to live 24/7 in this little third world country, serving and meeting the needs of the Swazi people.

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And what a wonderful job they are doing!

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Www.heartforafrica.org Tells the whole story. A 2500 acre plot of land in the middle of African scrub land has been turned into the oasis of Project Canaan.

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Here, there is housing and food for  the children,

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and work on the farm for adults in the surrounding community.

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So much is happening at Project Canaan:  medical care, a pre-school, a kindergarten,

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a jewelry-making business,

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an egg center providing 1200 eggs daily for the Project Canaan as well as the feeding centers in the community (good source of protein),

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a dairy,

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and carpenter center.  I wish I could show you ALL the pictures!!!

So back to our reason for being at Project Canaan.  We tried to do our part by sewing those drapes…..while enjoying the beautiful Swaziland scenery.

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In addition to serving by sewing, we moms were thrilled that our daughters were able to serve with us!  We never imagined this scenario. So serving became a treat, getting to be with our daughters for 10 whole days!!

 

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We were honored to be able to put to use what we know how to do (sew, iron, pin, cut) to be a part of the bigger picture. And along the way, we got to see the beautiful faces of the children.

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We saw first hand what life is like out in the country.

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Contrast that with  the children who live at Project Canaan.

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All of these babies have been rescued from certain death.  How desperate would a person have to be to give birth and then throw a baby in a pit latrine, or leave her on the side of the road?   All these children have a story like this…BUT now they are thriving!

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These are desperate times in Swaziland, and thanks be to God for Ian and Janine Maxwell, saying YES to the call to help.  Their vision has birthed Heart for Africa and the Project Canaan farm.   So while we here are giving LOVE to others, making valentines and sharing special times, breathe a prayer of thanks for those who are showing the GREATER LOVE to the widows and orphans in Africa.

Thanks, Ian, Janine, Brooks, Amber, Kenny, Chris, Jamie, Mark, Anthony, Helen, Aaron, Dennis, Gina and all the Aunties at Project Canaan.  We salute you!  

 

What’s love got to do with it?  Well……

FOOD IN THE SOUTH IS LOVE

One fine day, a friend unexpectedly dropped by with these cookies and a lovely planter filled with pansies as a birthday gift….a gift of love!  I’ve never forgotten that happy day!  And, I’ve enjoyed these each year at valentines.  They make a nice big cookie that can be iced.  No need to try to roll these out super thin!

ICED VALENTINE COOKIES

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Beat together: one cup oil, 2 sticks butter, one cup sugar, one cup XXXX confectioners sugar, 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract, one tablespoon almond extract Add 2 eggs

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Gradually add 5 cups flour, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

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(Sidebar: Whenever I use cream of tartar, I remember and laugh.   When my kids were young, I used to make playdough for them, using a recipe which called for lots of cream of tartar.  Once, I had a whole recipe made of  BLUE playdough.  It was about the size of the dough you see pictured above.  My children like to remind me how our poodle ATE THE WHOLE BATCH ….I guess we had turned our backs!  Needless to say, it didn’t stay down, but thankfully I don’t remember the specifics of that!!!)

Back to our valentine cookie recipe.  Wrap the dough (or keep in the bowl and cover the bowl with tinfoil)  and refrigerate overnight.

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Roll out to about 1/4″ (or a little thicker?) and cut with desired cookie cutters.  Place on ungreased cookie sheets.

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Bake at 350 for 6-10 minutes. Watch them carefully and remove as soon as they begin to brown.

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Cool.

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Eat any cookies that are imperfect or too brown.

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Unfrosted, these cookies are good with coffee and adults seem to love them, as they are not too sweet.

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For valentines, I frost  mine with Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy Cream Cheese Frosting that I tint with red food coloring.

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