Let’s Cook: The Road Ahead

For several weeks, your maroon-colored cap and gown has hung in the spare bedroom. I brush by it every day when retrieving a book, checking on the plants or hunting for a certain color necktie. There’s nothing like a cap and gown to get you thinking about the future. For me, seeing it has me thinking back to the first night your mom and I brought you home from the Rugby Hospital. We passed the festive pink ribbons in the front yard and once the door was shut, we thought “she is really ours.” Your first words were Da-Da, you assisted in making your first cake at eight weeks old, yep, your car seat was right next to the orange Kitchen Aid Mixer and every time the motor whirled your eyes were big and wiggled your foot. Is it any wonder that you still insist on cake being made from scratch. You talked daddy into playing Skimbleshanks in the Village Art Productions of Cats! I still can see myself standing in front of the mirror with my costume on and realizing that body was not meant for tights. You insisted that I looked great! You also sang every line and insisted that mommy watch the video with you for 12 hours straight! Your sense of adventure and insistence on strolling many avenues of life has made our home wild, fun, challenging and so very enjoyable!

We smile when recalling your fishing adventures with Larry and Deb Zavada! You were disgusted by the bait on the hook but loved reeling in a fish. You used your imagination to get Larry to take not only your fish off the hook, but also Deb’s. After all, Princess Lydia and Queen Debbie do not remove fish from hooks–you preferred to munch your snacks from a warm ice house during that process!

The stories could go on and on, but it is now time to reflect on the treasures that you have shown us. You love music, you are interested in social science–both in the classroom and in the world. With your good heart, you stand in defense of those who need a voice. You are confident to spend time alone with a good book or to practice your bass. You understand that sometimes God has other plans and know the importance of your faith to guide you. You had an early grasp of the direct correlation between studying, good grades, and college opportunities. You can stand up for yourself and to stop anyone from picking on you. You are kind toward the elderly and realize that one day we will all be in their shoes. You were patient as your father explained the beauty of Edgar Degas’ art and why we should carry this beauty with us. You realized that when your mother said “you will be in 4-H” that she meant it and she expected you to participate fully–which you have. And now your mother smiles when she reads your many scholarship applications where you elaborate on the many life lessons that you learned in 4-H.

As you leave high school, think about your core values and how important they are to you. They will shape your future. What do you really care about? Is the privilege of attending college and the value and meaning it can give to your life important to you?

College is wonderful but understand that college is not a cure all. There will be days when you are lonely, things will get messy, and friends can be hard to find. Just remember that there will be many golden moments on the horizon. Sometime dreams can fail, and this does not mean that you have failed. To test your limits and to find your real capabilities often involves leaving your comfort zone and jumping off a cliff of adventure while still being somewhat cautious.

Much success in this world depends largely on preparation. Believe in hard work. You already know from high school that this includes sacrifice, persistent effort, and plenty of determination. Growth is never by luck; it is the result of effort put forth in a sincere manner. Practice honesty in everything. Be willing to go the “extra mile” and you will find that this road is wide open and free of bumper-to bumper traffic.

Never underestimate the power of enthusiasm. Always be willing to engage in know-how whether it be learning computer technology or how to make great cookies. Know-how will always surpass guess-how. Find a good mentor who guides with compulsion, has a good heart, and offers wisdom when needed. Mentors are the compass that can offer direction when everything seems blurry. Remember that faith puts a lantern in your hand for a purpose! Use it!

Congratulations Lydia and to the class of 2023. All your efforts and persistence have led to a noteworthy achievement well worth celebrating! Now you’re ready to begin your journey towards fulfilling your dreams of living life with success, adventure, and thankfulness!

Please ponder these words as you journey in life, they will greatly assist you in living life.

A Purpose Life

By Albert Einstein

Strange is our situation here upon the earth, Each comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet seeming to divine a purpose. There is one thing we do know: Man is here for the sake of other men-above all, for those whose well-being our happiness depends, and for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy.

Snowflake Spritz

These cookies are a longtime family favorite and will be served at Lydia’s graduation party.

1 cup shortening

1 3-oz package cream cheese

1 cup sugar

1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp finely grated orange rind

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp cinnamon

2 ½ cups flour

Cream shortening and cream cheese well. Add sugar gradually and continue creaming. Beat in egg yolk, vanilla and orange rind. Sift flour with salt and cinnamon. Add to creamed mixture. Fill cooky press and form cookies on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 12 – 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Golden Potatoes

Lydia often reminds us that she wants something good, homemade, and hot for supper! This recipe from Deb Zavada does the trick!

In a large-covered casserole dish, layer one pound of browned ground beef. Next, layer approx. 1 cup sliced carrots and approx. 1 cup chopped celery. Spread one can of tomato soup on top of carrots and celery. Then layer 8 – 10 sliced potatoes. Combine two cans of cream soup with one can of milk–mix well. Pour soup mixture over the potatoes. Bake for two hours in a 350-degree oven.


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