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Flaky Pie Crust

I have had many requests for my special pie crust, so here it is. This recipe is extremely fast and easy – always delicious and reliable! You’ll never roll out another pie crust the old way again!

Place 1 ½ cup all-purpose unbleached flour + 1 ½ teaspoon sugar + ¼ teaspoon salt directly into ungreased pie pan.

Into a glass measuring cup put ½ cup coconut oil and 2 Tablespoons cold milk. Mix with fork until milky.

Pour over flour mix in 9” pie pan, and mix it all together. Press the mix onto the pan until it resembles a regular pie crust. Be sure to leave enough up on the sides to squeeze into a fluted rim. It’s light and flaky. No one ever leaves the edge of this crust on the plate!

As you can see, I’ve substituted coconut oil for canola oil I used in the original recipe. I believe coconut oil is a much healthier oil to use – and it might even enhance the flavor!

If you would like to experiment with this crust, you might look at my post on Cherry Crumb Pie.

A hui hou!

Featured

OUR FOURTH QUADRANT

As older women we have traveled Joseph Campbell’s mythological “Hero’s Journey” many times in various aspects of our lives. Through our first three quadrants of that journey, we accepted challenges, faced “dragons” and at times were pushed to depths of despair. We learned how to manage the trials and temptations of life, and we developed new insights about our lives.

According to Campbell, this fourth quadrant of the journey we have taken is a time of self-realization, of self-actualization. In my dissertation of 1992, I wrote that the “hero of today dares to seek wholeness and fulfillment through finding new pathways to unknown territory.”

That is an excellent description of the Perennial women I interviewed on my physical journey, my road trip to interview older women. I discovered their insights, what they had in common, and what they are doing in the fourth quadrant of their life journey to stay fulfilled.

Now we are ready to rethink what we can or cannot do as we get older, as we engage in this fourth quadrant of life. Now we have emerged, ready to face anything required of us, ready to find or create “new pathways to unknown territory.” Now we are feeling empowered and blessed.

Would you share with us your ideas about exciting and energizing ways we can live this fourth quadrant? What are you doing?

Orange Bread

When I was in high school, I worked as a Saturday receptionist for one of the local optometrists who was also a member of my father’s church, which was probably the reason he gave me the job. His wife was known to be a great cook, so this is the recipe from Bea Henderson of Litchfield, Illinois – one I’ve made for many years.

This recipe became a staple when I lived on my boat. It was not only a delicious and fast bread to whip up in my tiny galley, but it used up the orange peels instead of tossing them overboard. Jokingly, I called it my “garbage bread,” but it is anything but garbage!

Decades later, I’m still making this bread and it continues to be one of my favorites. The picture above shows it fresh out of the oven.

Orange Bread

¾ cup orange rind, cut into fine strips
1 ½ cup sugar
1 cup water

Boil the above until tender.

Add 2 tablespoons butter and ½ teaspoon salt. Cool.

Beat 1 egg and add cooled orange mixture.

Mix together:
3 cups flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder

Stir – put in loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.

Good for “teas,” sliced thin and buttered (my mother’s words)

My Note: Many “heirloom” recipes don’t give specific instructions on what to do if the batter is too thick, what size pan to use, and the like. I think the thickness depends on how long you let the orange peels simmer. If it’s too thick, I add either water or a little orange juice when I’m mixing. But do expect this to be a thick dough. I sprayed my loaf pans with a canola oil spray to help it come out easier.

I’m afraid my loaves never last until a “tea.” It’s just too good not to eat warm and fresh out of the oven! It’s all I can do to limit myself to one (or two) slices right out of the oven. Also, I usually double the recipe and freeze one loaf for later. It makes great toast or just sliced up and eaten cold. This is absolutely a wonderful, simple bread to make, and tastes like autumn.

A hui hou!

Writing Hang-ups

As an avid reader, I am fascinated with the many ways words are strung together to create a story or an essay, a poem or a play, a letter or a memoir. Along with my obsession for reading came my own need to start stringing words together. Almost as soon as I could spell my name, I started to write.

I have been writing this “Lava to Lilikoi” blog since May, 2008, and I wrote other short-lived blogs before that. In addition to blogging, I confess that I have written three novels, and have started a dozen others, not to mention outlines on another dozen or so, a memoir and several non-fiction books.

Other than the blogs, I have only had a couple of academic articles published and a self-published e-book of fables I wrote and used in my counseling practice.

I attended the Maui Writers Conference for many years, and the few years after it became Hawaii Writers Conference on Oahu, plus various other conferences for writers over the years. I even taught”writing intensive” class at the college for several of my regular courses.

But like many people, I love the creation, not the marketing. I’ve put in a valiant effort to get past that hang-up, and I honestly do know what I “should” be doing. So I read and study and read some more about marketing. I have subscribed to over sixty writing blogs over the years and there are many others I wish I had time to read. All of this is an excuse to avoid marketing!

This brings me to the real reason for this post. I want to start sharing my own journey toward being a published author. By making a “public” commitment, perhaps I’ll finally get off my okole (I doubt if you need to look up the meaning of that Hawaiian word!) and do some productive marketing as well as writing.

If you can suggest any good blogs or if you have any words of encouragement that would help me actually submit my writing to a publisher or agent, please do so! I need all the push I can get!

A hui hou!

Saintly Gardening

Today is All Saints’ Day, or the Feast of All Saints, and there is little that is more spiritually fulfilling than working in your garden. Many of the saints are thought of in connection with gardening.

The saint whose statue appears most often in gardens is St. Francis. He is the patron saint of animals and the environment, or ecology. Every creature was sacred to Francis, and he made no separation between the natural world and his faith. Please take time to read “The Canticle of the Creatures.”

Even though he is known for hating women, my personal favorite is St. Fiacre, known as “the gardeners’ saint.” He is considered to be the patron saint of medicinal plants and gardening.

Fiacre was an Irish priest who was born in 600 AD and died in August 670. After his ordination, he retired to a hermitage in County Kilkenny in Ireland. But people wouldn’t leave him alone, so he sailed to France to get away from the world. He was given a place there in the middle of the forest in Brogillum or Breuil in the province of Brie.

Fiacre built a hospice where strangers could rest, even though he lived in a small cell off by himself. He spent his time in prayer and fasting, and laboring in his garden. He is known for having miraculously cured all sorts of illnesses with his herbs.

In particular, he is said to have cured hemorrhoids and venereal disease. There are several stories about him that would make this appropriate, but I won’t go into that here.

While many of us have seen the statues of St. Francis in gardens, we really should have St. Fiacre. He is usually depicted as standing with his healing plants in one arm and a shovel in his free hand.

There are many other saints you could call on to help with your yard work. The Spanish San Ysidro, El Labrador is known in the Spanish speaking countries as the patron saint of all farmers and ranchers and workers. I like him because he got the angels to come plow his fields for him. If you know of any angels that aren’t busy, send them to my place, please.

Perhaps I should make St. Dorothy my saint. She also is considered the saint of gardeners and florists because she could produce apples and roses in an area where they don’t grow. It would take her miracle to produce apples and roses in lava yards here.

Or maybe St. Barbara needs to be my personal patron saint because she is the saint for stonemasons and miners – for anything that is difficult to work with (like our lava rocks). Those with lava gardens could use all the help she can give them.

I have heard of several who are considered the patron saint of beekeeping, flowers and vegetables. One is St Bernardo-Abad, but I haven’t been able to find much about him. I’ll keep looking.

Other saints somehow connected to bees and beekeeping (necessary for pollination in anyone’s garden) are listed here.

I’d love to include St. Patrick to drive away the snakes, but we have no snakes here in Hawai`I (one reason I love living in Hawai`i). Maybe St. Patrick has already been here! It wasn’t really live snakes that he drove out of Ireland, however, but the Druids with snakes tattooed up their arms.

Whichever saint you decide to call on for your garden, I suggest that at least one corner be set aside as a place of meditation, peace, and contemplation on what your saint can do for you.

There are saints and angels all around us waiting for us to ask their help. I am not Roman Catholic, but years ago I learned about St. Anthony. Whenever I have lost something, I call on St. Anthony to help me find it, and within minutes, the lost is found. I try to remember to thank him for his help.

I recommend looking for an updated volume of the spiritual classic, The Magic of Findhorn by Paul Hawken, written in 1975. I have many friends who have spent time in this spiritual community of Findhorn in Scotland, where you discover a way to connect with the plant devas and nature spirits.

I have several books on Findhorn and similar places in this world. I highly recommend one autobiography in particular – To Hear the Angels Sing by Dorothy Maclean. The back cover states: “The success and subsequent fame of the Findhorn gardens arose in part from Dorothy’s telepathic contact with these [angelic] kingdoms.”

Another “must read” is Behaving As If the God in All Life Mattered by Machaelle Small Wright.

Call me superstitious, or whatever you want to call me, but I do believe the spirits of saints and all of nature are anxious to prove their ability in helping. They are everywhere around us, waiting to be acknowledged.

NOTE: As I was writing this post, I had an overpowering sense of a surrounding spiritual presence – sort of a personal acknowledgement that we are not alone.

Until next week, Lava Lily says, “Go find your devas.”

Covid Slump?

Have you ever been caught in the doldrums while out sailing? It’s a hard place to be, isn’t it? Waiting for the wind to lift your sails and send you on your way can feel like a thankless and endless chore.

Surely, I’m not the only person who found herself with time to write but ended up worrying about COVID instead! For some reason, I just couldn’t find the energy to do much writing. All that time spent washing my hands, social distancing, putting on a mask, and sanitizing seemed to destroy any creative streak that was trying to surface.

I have been vaccinated, and I still wash my hands, social distance myself, wear my mask, and sanitize frequently, I’m venturing out more, and I think I caught my creative muse peeking around the corner, so maybe she didn’t die after all. Resurrection can happen!

There is a fresh breeze blowing offshore, and perhaps we’ll have full sailing ability soon. Yesterday, after all this time of COVID and a blank brain, I came up with four or five new ideas and plots for books I want to write. Maybe it’s because the past eighteen or more months allowed space for a breeze to blow through the windows of my mind, but for whatever reason, I’m writing again!

I’ve heard that whistling can bring the desired wind, so if you are in the COVID doldrums, go “whistle up the wind!” and get back to your computer.

A hui hou!

How Do You Dance Your Life?

Some of you may know that among other things, I love gardening, writing, reading, traveling, and much more. What you may not know is that I am a recently retired college associate professor and a retired United Methodist minister. When I served a church in Tucson AZ, many of the funerals I conducted were victims of AIDS.

Because of my close connection with this population in my church, I have a special place in my heart for those who suffer from this disease. It is in honor of those who have the disease, as well as in memory of those I have buried, that I write this blog.

There is a special dance from the early church community called the TRIPUDIUM. I learned about it nearly twenty-five years ago when I took a workshop from Doug Adams who was a professor of religion and the arts at the Pacific School of Religion.

I had no idea that Doug had left this earth until I looked him up on Google. According to articles I read about his death, the memorial celebrations outdid Doug in creativity.

The following information on liturgical dance is something I learned from Doug that will stay with me always.

TRIPUDIUM actually means “three step” or “jubilate” in Latin. Later, dance in church was suppressed as being too sinful, and thus it came to mean “the Jubilation.”

It was a style of processing to church, symbolizing the progress of not only the individual, but of the whole church and community.

It is a process of three steps forward and one back – three forward and one back. Often someone could call out three signs of HOPE on the forward three steps, then call out one sign of SETBACK on the backward step.

In other words, the SETBACK becomes part of the dance. It isn’t outside the rhythm.

HOPE – HOPE – HOPE – SETBACK

HOPE – HOPE – HOPE – SETBACK…

We don’t want to include the back step in the dance. But it’s all part of the dance! It gives us a more optimistic spirit, helps us see setbacks in the context of life, of ongoing progress.

Another interesting fact is that this dance was not done in single file, but in processions with many abreast with arms linked, row after row. It is done in community – not alone. It is a deliberate moving forward.

The people would move through the streets and into the church and around in it during the songs of the service and back out through the streets as a recessional. The dance was a communal act of worship and celebration.

The Greeks believed in an afterlife, so they danced a ring dance to make safe passage for the deceased. The Greeks appreciated dance as an aesthetic experience. Everything was a dance for them – victory processions, weapon dances, displays of power, ball games, wedding processions, and funeral processions!

The early Christians drew on this custom. They circled the grave with lively funeral dances to celebrate the person’s birth into everlasting life. Rose petals were dropped on the open grave, as they sang, “Ring Around the Rosie…Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.”

When life and mortality seem difficult, I invite you to put on some music and dance the Tripudium, shouting out three signs of hope for every setback. This particular version of Lee Ann Womack’s song “I Hope You Dance” seems appropriate today.

A hui hou!

Act of Human Kindness

Since many of you are new readers to my blog, I have been updating older posts from over ten years ago. Today’s post is on the theme of MITZVAH. In an earlier post on “Mitzvah” I talked about the many young men going through their Bar Mitzvah at the Wailing Wall of the old Temple in Jerusalem.

The top photo is one a colleague took of me standing at the Wall, offering up my prayers. You can tell I’m the tourist by the backpack!

The photo below is one I took while there quite a few years ago on my first visit to the lands they call Holy.

The best meaning for Mitzvah I can find is that it means “to express an act of human kindness.” What a wonderful theme for today’s world! I think need as many acts of human kindness as we can provide, so I’ll do my share!

It is said that prayers written on a tiny piece of paper, folded, then stuck into a crack in the wall, are received and answered by the Almighty. If you want to know the origin of this, read this.

Every faith has some form of prayer. Even those without a faith are praying when they say silently (or aloud), “I hope I pass this test.” I believe that any desire or need is received and acted upon. Words that are commonly used for the receiver are God, Holy Spirit, Higher Power, Allah, Great Spirit, Universe, Almighty, Energy Flow, and so many more. Regardless of the word we use, the meaning is the same.

To me, prayer is not so much what we are asking for, but listening to what we are to do. It is when I stop the “asking” that I begin “hearing.” Someone once reminded me that the answers we receive are either “yes” or “wait, because I have something better in mind for you.”

When I stood at the Wailing Wall, I was listening. When I worked on the lava field that was my home on the south end of the Big Island of Hawaii, I was listening. When I stand before my classes, I hear. Every sound in nature is telling me something. Every word uttered by another person is the answer to a prayer, whether I recognize it as that or not.

If more of us listened before we spoke, it might be a better and more peaceful world.

A hui hou!

Thoughts for the Day

Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was not only a Jesuit priest but he was well known as a palaeontologist. Among other accomplishments, he was involved in uncovering the skull of the Peking man. As someone with a mind of both the spiritual and the scientific worlds, he has inspired me in several ways.

A birthday can be a good time for reflection, so it is on this occasion I think about one of Teilhard de Chardin’s primary concepts. The way I understand it, we constantly are evolving or spiraling to a higher and higher state, which he called the Omega Point. He described it as a “transcendent centre of unification,” a convergence, rather than a divergence.

As I apply that concept to myself, I see that I have evolved over the past decades, although perhaps starting that process later than I might have wished. As he put it, in my life there was “a clear pattern of a rise of consciousness…a continual heightening, a rising tide of consciousness.”

Like his description of Time and the Universe, “in any period of ten million years Life practically grows a new skin,” I, too, have grown a new skin throughout my own quest. More than ever before I am aware of how my action or inaction affects my traveling companions, aware of the world around me and of its cyclic nature. It is my personal evolution – “a condition of all experience,” he would say.

There is another quote attributed to Teilhard de Chardin, although I’m not sure which of his books it is in. I use it as my own mantra.

“Our duty as men and women is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist.”

In his Hymn of the Universe, he writes “Happy the man [sic] who fails to stifle his vision.”

For the next several decades, I want to continue an upward evolution without stifling my vision!

A hui hou!

Too Old To Dream?

In the mid-thirties, The Night Is Young, a movie with Nelson Eddy and Irene Dunne, featured the song “When I Grow Too Old To Dream.” I suspect that most of you reading this will remember that song. I was a mere babe in arms at the time, but I know the song from having heard it over the years by various artists, including my parents.

That song floated through my thoughts the other day as I approach my birthday, and I decided Romberg and Hammerstein had those words all wrong!

The textbook out of which I taught a Human Development course at Hawai’i Community College categorizes the “young old” as 65 to 74, the “old old” as 75 to 84 and the “oldest old” as 85 and above. I won’t discuss my calendar age here, although I do admit to being over 65! In terms of the great site Real Age,  my physical age is about 10 years younger than my calendar age. Another fascinating site is Living to 100 where I learned that based on my health and lifestyle, I will live to 104, and with a couple of minor changes, I could increase that to 108.

So do you think I am too old to dream? Are any of us ever too old to dream?

I don’t intend to stop dreaming until they sprinkle my ashes over the ocean. And who knows? Maybe I won’t stop dreaming even after that.

Please! Let us not stop dreaming, just because we think we might be “too old to dream.” The world is full of dreams just waiting for someone with our talents, our openness, our persistence, our love – no matter our age.

Just for fun, here is the front of the old sheet music for the song.

A hui hou!

Sea Turtles

For quite a few years, I lived right on the ocean. I was so close that the salt spray covered everything in my home. But the view was unbeatable. I watched the surfers at both Banyans and Lyman’s Point.

The salt did a lot of damage to my belongings, but I didn’t mind it for the years I lived there. The surf roared and crashed twenty-four hours a day, and I loved it. When I finally left, it took me a while to become accustomed to the silence.

Some days, I watched dolphins play in the little bay outside my deck. Other days, I had the pleasure of the whales on their journey. There was always something going on.

There was one bit of sea life I could depend on every single day – the many honu, or sea turtles that sunned themselves on the rocks. Sometimes there would be as many as eight of them on the lava rocks.

As the tide gradually came in and covered the rocks, they would slip away into the water, then return as the next low tide began. Watching them, I learned the personality of each one.

This big guy is in the water part way. He was funny to watch. As the tide crept up, he would haul himself just a little higher up the rock until he finally couldn’t stay above the water. Reluctantly, he would slip back into the ocean and swim away.

Many times, I had to shout at visitors who tried to touch them. The turtles are protected and don’t react kindly to being teased. So if you are visiting Hawaii, please stay away from the turtles. Take pictures from a distance and go away knowing that you are helping to preserve our natural environment and care for our endangered honu.

A hui hou!

No Labor Day For All

1-machinery

We love Labor Day for giving us that last bit of summer for cookouts, beach trips, one last vacation day, and more. But not everyone gets to take off on Labor Day. You know who you are:

• medical personnel at the hospitals
• pilots taking you on your trips
• clerks in the grocery store for those few items you forgot
• farmers with animals who need care every day
• workers in any store that stays open today
• police who are always on the job
• radio and TV announcers
• and so many more . . .

It is to you who keep our world going even on holidays that I send a big MAHALO today!

A hui hou!
Lucy