When he met her he knew she was his home. He came face to face with his destiny, and he was up to the challenge. He knew what awaited him, for him life would be forever changed. Every summer he went to where she worked, waiting till the time would come to have his chance to court her. Her beauty shone from deep within her soul, the light and love that came from her velvet voice was strangely familiar, as if he always new he would be with her. The year 1935, a Lebanese girl from a family like his. He instantly wanted to protect her, in her he longed for the mother he never knew. A man would be lucky to shine her shoes. Who was he to think he could be with such a treasure! He would win her affection for his life depended on it!
I wrote this after my dad, George passed in 2009. I have never shared this before now, it seemed like the perfect way! My dad sharing his story of his beloved wife Marian, my mother.
She left the planet in 1993 leaving a legacy of love behind.
I have always aspired to emulate her compassion and understanding. Children are an extension of their parents. Today as I did the dishes I laughed at the lessons I have learned from her.
Every generation has their social structure and I learned the difference between my parents and mine. I wanted to be like my mom, and I realized she had her life, it was time to live my own, in a way that was right for me. I buried her twice when I let go of wanting to be her, giving me a new beginning.
Being a modern thinker I decided it was time to let go of the things that were not in alignment with my spirit. I evolved beyond my earlier beginnings and I needed to re-boot my foundation. I am not saying it was easy, re-evaluation takes courage and strength and the understanding that our ancestors desire us to live beyond what society deemed acceptable in the era in which they were raised. I believe in my heart a good parent wants their children to be happy, fulfilled and true to who they are.
I felt her “urge” me to write, as it is important for me to share the amazing experiences, feelings and communications I receive from “beyond” this realm.
I felt joyous laughter at the remembrance of how my mom taught me how to make yogurt. Being of Lebanese descent we called it leban, as it was a staple in our home. In 1966 we moved from Ohio to California. My mother carried a starter of leban with her on the plane, she explained she did not want to start over with the store bought yogurt, as it did not taste the same. Every batch of yogurt must have a starter from the previous, to carry on the taste as well as retain its nutritional value.
Her greatest joy and gift was how she fed people. I believe it was the love she put into her home cooking and baking that she gave to every person that touched her life.
She took her baked goods everywhere, carried plates of cookies to the doctor’s office every time she went. Her greatest gift was her laughter, she would laugh at things people would cry over. She came from the era of silent suffering, and rarely complained.
Marian’s leban recipe
1/2 gallon Milk
2 tablespoons leban/yogurt
Bring the milk to a boil, and let slightly cool. When you can hold your little finger in the milk to the count of 10, it is ready for the starter yogurt. Take a saucer with the starter yogurt and hold over the pot of milk, add milk to the saucer a little at a time until it becomes liquidity. Take the saucer with the starter milk and fold it into the remaining liquid stirring for 3 -5 minutes.
Place it in a glass bowl and cover it with a towel. The best place is in the oven where there is no draft. The next step is to pray it gels into yogurt. The bowl is left overnight.
This is how Marian made homemade yogurt throughout her whole lifetime. It was how she learned to make it from her Grandfather who raised her and how she taught me.
On special occasions she would place the leban in a cheesecloth bag with a string, hung it over the sink to allow all the water to drain out. This makes it a hard leban, often called lebni. It becomes a creamy texture and can be used like cream cheese. My favorite!
Marian was a very creative and innovative cook and baker. She was always surprising our pallets!!
Marian’s # 1 rule for living, the golden rule:
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”
Blessings of love, laughter and joy!!