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A Drop in the Ocean
Wednesday 30th of November 2011 08:27 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

May your joys be as deep as the ocean,
your sorrows as light as its foam.


We are no strangers to vastness. Kansas skies seem to stretch from here to eternity - whether the bright cerulean blue of a summer day or the rainbow-tinged hues of twilight.

But the ocean's vastness defies definition. I suppose it's because this Kansan has spent her life landlocked in amber waves of grain instead of with waves lapping at my feet during weekends at the beach. I wouldn't trade my life for anything, but I must admit my fascination with the ocean.

We were staying in Savannah, Georgia, before going to visit Brent for Thanksgiving in Columbia, South Carolina. Two days doesn't begin to scratch the surface of touring such a historic city. But I opted for a rerun at Tybee Island anyway.

The Atlantic Ocean's vastness is beyond definition ... the blue of the water bleeds into the blue of the sky. The sound of the surf is the white noise that makes you contemplate life and blessings and the immeasurable power of God and His creation.

I was content to roam the fringes of the water. A kayaker entered the foam and the fray. (Do you see him hidden in the marsh grasses?)


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God's Fingerprints
Tuesday 29th of November 2011 10:06 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water.
A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth.
Life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts.
And the consequences -
whether good or bad of even the least of them -
are far-reaching.

A sunrise is a little like a fingerprint. Just like the whorls and ridges of the human fingerprint leave behind different impressions, each sunrise leaves an individual stamp all its own.

Just over a week ago, I watched the sun rise and color the beach of Tybee Island, Georgia. I'm used to "amber waves of grain" on a farm in south central Kansas. The waves of the Atlantic Ocean provided a different kind of music. Instead of the gentle rustle of ripe grain in the wind, the new day roared in with a symphony of the ocean swells.

The fingerprint of the sunrise changed as the waves ebbed and flowed. Even though the day was the same, the view evolved with a simple change of direction. Without the light's direct impact, the day took on a rose-colored-glasses tinge to the north.

This morning - the first full day we've been back home - I watched the sun rise. A windmill provided the focal point instead of a sea shell.

This morning, the music was the call of geese flying overhead and the rustle of the wind in the trees.

And again, the scene shifted subtly. The inky darkness was penetrated incrementally as the seconds ticked toward the sun's arrival on the horizon.

Life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts.
And the consequences -
whether good or bad of even the least of them -
are far-reaching.

How do my actions and words color another's day? Just like a change of perspective in the morning sky, my word of kindness may offer an inward glow to someone else. And, conversely, a word spoken in anger or thoughtlessness can darken another's day. Help me to remember that little things mean a lot: Tiny drops of water make up the ocean. Tiny grains of sand make the mountains.


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Thoroughly Modern Millie
Monday 28th of November 2011 07:43 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

Yesterday, I left my baby behind in South Carolina. After an overnight stop at the Ladd bed-and-breakfast (plus supper!), I'll leave my other baby behind in Topeka.

It doesn't seem like a fair exchange, but later today I'll be home to see my other baby. Millie the Dog seems to have skipped through the baby years and scurried right into adulthood - at least in appearance.

I suppose it's a metaphor for life. Sometimes, when you're winding up the swing to try desperately to get the baby to sleep, you think that it will never end - the sleepless nights ... the diaper changes ... the piles of laundry... figuring out yet another meal ... the toys littering the living room ... the teenage angst.

But then it does. And you miss it. And you wonder where the time went because it just flew by.

Perspective is a funny thing indeed.

Maybe Millie has been a good reminder of the fleeting nature of time.

Here she was in June. We had just discovered that she had dug up the petunias at the front of the house. She'd been living with us about a week at the time.

June 10, 2011
(Even Ralph looks rueful!)

And these days, she's nearly as tall as Ralph (though she has a tendency to still
act like a kid most of the time).

November 2011

She's discovered artifacts in the netherlands of the farmstead. This faded K-State ball appeared in the backyard one day.

It was probably lost at some point in time by this cast of characters. Its arrival made me smile and remember all those backyard games and the boys in the basement, playing yet another round of Xbox.

Millie has been my own personal archeologist, helping dig up memories from my own backyard.

And, as we approach the birth of our granddaughter in January, Millie has reminded me again of the fleeting nature of time. She's been proof positive of how quickly babies change in that first year of life. She's been the reminder of how toddlers turn into kindergarteners and how high school seniors soon pack up their cars and drive away to new adventures.

That's the nature of life. We need to enjoy the moments - especially the moments we thought would never end as we were living them.

(More to come this week from our adventures during Thanksgiving week. We traveled to South Carolina to spend Thanksgiving there with Brent.)


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Wrapping Up the Leftovers
Friday 25th of November 2011 08:20 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

Do you have leftover turkey in your fridge today? You're probably not tired of turkey sandwiches just yet. But if you are looking for a different way to use some of your main dish leftovers, here's a recipe that's become a favorite for our whole family.

Jill was the instigator. She kept telling me I should try Southwest Chicken Salad. It only took once for me to be convinced that it was a great addition to the recipe box. Now that Brent's on his own in South Carolina, he, too, uses this recipe often.

Usually, I use grilled chicken for the meat, as I did for a recent PEO luncheon. I marinated the chicken breasts before grilling (You can use a grill seasoning packet, use prepared Italian or balsamic vinegar dressing. Or you can make your own with oil, vinegar and seasonings. Because I am always concerned about calories, I usually don't use all the oil called for in a marinade - whether I'm using a packet or it's homemade. But if you do use oil, use olive or canola oil.)

But turkey would be a great substitute for the meat in this recipe. (And using leftovers means one less step.)

Here's the recipe:

Southwest Chicken Salad
3 cups diced chicken (or turkey!)
1 1/2 cups, frozen corn thawed
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 can black beans (optional)
1/2 cup - 1 cup minced fresh cilantro

3 tbsp. lime juice
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Optional: Fresh avocado

Combine all the chicken salad ingredients. Combine the dressing ingredients and whisk together until well blended. Pour over the chicken salad and mix well.

Southwest Chicken Salad can be used in a myriad of ways.

You can serve on top of lettuce and veggies for a salad.

Or make wraps, like I did for that PEO luncheon.

Spread a little low-fat ranch dressing or light salad dressing/mayonnaise on the tortilla and sprinkle with shredded cheese. (You can use a whole wheat tortilla for extra nutrition. That's Jill talking.)

Then top that with about 1/2 cup of the chicken salad. If desired, top with lettuce, tomato, thin avocado slices, etc. Then roll up and serve.

They really taste like a sandwich you would get for lunch at a fancy little cafe. Best of all, it's at a fraction of the cost! For crunch, you can also serve with fresh veggies or with whole-grain chips on the side.

Jill has also used the recipe in pita pockets:

In lettuce cups:

In a quesadilla:

She also developed
Jill's Chicken Enchiladas:

Spray baking dish with cooking spray and lightly cover bottom of pan with your favorite canned enchilada sauce.

Warm up tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds and dip each tortilla individually in warm enchilada sauce. Place 1/2 cup Southwest Chicken Salad and some shredded cheese in the tortilla, roll up and place, seam down, in baking dish.

Top with cheese, extra cilantro and green onions.

Any way you use it, I predict Southwest Chicken Wraps will become a new favorite. (Or, if you're using leftovers, Southwest TURKEY wraps will be a favorite!)


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Spirit of Thanksgiving
Thursday 24th of November 2011 08:06 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

As grade school children, we carefully colored the scenes of the Pilgrims and the Indians sharing the first Thanksgiving. We used bright oranges, yellows and reds to color the feathers decorating the Indian warriors' heads, while leaving the Pilgrims bonnets and hats in solemn black and white.

We all heard the stories of the Pilgrims and the Indians sitting down together after harvest to give thanks for their bounty. After arriving in Plymouth in 1620, the Pilgrims had endured hardships but managed to survive, in large part due to the help of Squanto, an Indian who taught the Pilgrims how to fish, grow corn and farm the land. At the end of their first year, the Puritans held a harvest feast celebrating the bounty and honoring Squanto and their friends, the Wampanoag Indians. The feast was followed by three days of "thanksgiving," celebrating their good fortune.

When we were in Wichita for a Kansas Wheat meeting back in July, our morning walks took us along the riverwalk, where the Big and Little Arkansas rivers join together. This land between the two rivers is sacred ground to the Native American people. At its center is the Keeper of the Plains, an Indian warrior sculpture that was created by Wichitan and Native American artist Blackbear Bosin (1921-1980). The 44-foot statue was erected in 1974.

Who knows how accurate the portrayal of the first Thanksgiving is? But on a beautiful morning, with the sunrise lighting the Keeper of the Plains, perhaps it's important to consider how the Indians of that day approached thanks. One website says:

"Every act, every thought was carried out with thanksgiving."

Wouldn't our little corner of the world be a better place if that's how we approached each day? Every act, every thought carried out with thanksgiving ... It shouldn't take a November holiday we call Thanksgiving to remember that.

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