I didn’t get to prepare a full post this weekend because all last week I was down in South Texas for work in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Because I was busy I didn’t have time to get on Facebook and see all the posts complaining about politics or the state of our country, or our world, et cetera, and instead of the bickering news stories that vary in opinion from channel to channel, all I saw on television was hurricane coverage.
The fact is you never know the honest-to-God truth about a situation until you’re actually there; until you’re actually a part of it. So l will tell you what I saw.
I saw communities joining together to help out their neighbors. I saw the roadways full of vehicles stocked with supplies, headed to give comfort to strangers. I saw lines of trucks pulling boats driven by people willing to put themselves in danger to help people they’ve never met. I saw people of all walks of life volunteering to help one another.
I did not see anyone complaining or blaming someone for their current situation. I saw people crying, hugging and even some sharing a much needed laugh. I saw people praying and being thankful for what they still had.
Other than the destruction of property and grievous loss of human life, the only bad thing I saw was in relation to animals who were intentionally left behind, or worse. And there was worse, but it’s not something I want to get into here other than to say that some of the things I saw and heard from other animal rescuers were hard to take and left me feeling hopeless. I left feeling like I didn’t do enough. I wish I could have done more.
Bad things happen. Yes, there are bad people in the world. But the good I saw, so outweighed the bad. It reminded me of the 80/20 rule I often use with nutrition; if you have 80% good, you can handle 20% of the bad. Of course we all want 100% good, but that’s not how life is.
I will continue to help where I can, for me personally that’s helping the helpless animals who have no choice about where they are and what someone has done to them.
What lifts me up from this experience, is the memory of the overwhelming spirit of hope and love that I witnessed in the people I met and saw in the wake of this devastating storm.
So this week I’m simply sharing a recipe I’ve had waiting in the wings – Vanilla-Orangecello. This sweet little cordial is a nice sipper this time of year; whether on a late autumn afternoon or after dinner. Deeper and a bit more complex than traditional Limoncello, its creamsicle-like flavor is reminiscent of summer, yet somehow indicative of what’s to come with the changing season.
And, it’s a nice reminder that we could all use a little more sweetness in our lives.
5 medium to large oranges
1 750 ml bottle of Vodka
1 vanilla bean
3 cups water
2 cups sugar
Peel the oranges with a very sharp vegetable peeler or paring knife, you just want to get the peel and not the white rind. Place the peels in a 2-quart jar or pitcher and add the vodka.
Split the vanilla bean lengthwise with a sharp knife and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and the beans to the jar, swirling the knife in the vodka to get off all the seeds if needed. Cover and let sit for one week in a cool, dark place like a pantry.
Bring the water to a low boil and add the sugar. Let the mixture simmer and continue to stir until all the sugar dissolves and the syrup is clear. Let the syrup cool, then add it to the vodka and orange peels. Cover and let stand overnight at room temperature. Strain and discard the peels and vanilla bean. Transfer the liquor to clean bottles and seal. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or better yet place in the freezer. I always keep mine in the freezer as it is best served icy cold. Make sure to shake the bottle well before serving.
As one of my Uncle’s always says when he’s saying goodbye… “Be Sweet”.