Monday, December 14, 2009

1 Meet me at Demeris. . .

For as long as I can remember, my Daddy has eaten lunch on Monday's at Demeris Barbecue on Shephard. The same group of men have come in at the same time and sat at the same table since 1978. Without fail, the owner, Gus Demeris, ambled over at sometime during the meal to shake hands, trade jokes, or just give out an extra cookie or piece of pie. Demeris Barbecue was not only a restaurant but walking into the building was almost like walking into a friend's kitchen. One of the reasons was the predictable behavior in every part of the experience. Helen was always behind the cash register asking, "What'll you have?" As she yelled the order, the kitchen immediately got started cutting the meat. A Demeris son was always behind the counter and by the time you got your tea at the end of the line, you had been greeted by at least three different smiles and felt right at home.

Over the years, Demeris Barbecue has become my Dad and my "date" place. Anytime I met my Dad for lunch he always said, "Why don't we meet at Demeris" and it has become our tradition. It was always the same, Greek Salad for my dad, Garden salad with Turkey for me. . . and, of course, two large teas! Since I was little, I have loved hearing my dad tell the story of how Gus came from Greece, worked his way up and eventually owned such a successful restaurant and catering business. The story never got old. As a little girl, it showed me that anything was possible and as long as I worked for my dream, I could achieve it. As I got older, it only made me more proud of my country and the "American Dream" that could be attained. Demeris Barbeque has been a staple in my life for the past 28 years. Gus always used to be there when we went but since his retirement and especially in the past year his sons have been the ones who have held down the fort.

Sadly our friend passed away this Thursday. When my dad emailed me at work, he concluded his email with "the end of an era." It truly is. It seems that this past year, I have learned more about Gus than I ever knew throughout my lifetime. The continuing theme throughout each story has been his heart for others. It seemed only fitting that "his heart for others" was portrayed on Thursday as everyone who walked in the door of Demeris ate free.
I will miss seeing Gus' sweet smile when I am on dates with my Dad, or just stopping by Demeris to grab a large tea while running errands. But I know that I am not the only one. All of Houston will miss this first generation immigrant, who through a Cinderella story, grew to be an icon and fundamental part of Houston restaurateurs!
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Every holiday, I try to find a new fun recipe! Cranberry Bread was my Christmas staple this year! It served its purpose. . . from being a delicious snack before dinner to a great gift for co-workers and friends. . . everyone raved about this recipe!

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 tablespoons shortening
1 egg, well beaten
1 1/2 cups Ocean Spray® Fresh or Frozen Cranberries, coarsely chopped (If using Frozen Cranberries, do not let them thaw! Just chop them up frozen!)
1/2 cup chopped nuts

DIRECTIONS:Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in orange juice, orange peel, shortening and egg. Mix until well blended. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Spread evenly in loaf pan. (I used two or three foil loaf pans that you find on the baking aisle. I also love the miniature loaf pans! This looked better when giving as a gift!) Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely. Wrap and store overnight. Makes 1 loaf (16 slices).

PER SERVING (1 slice): Cal. 211, Fat Cal. 54, Protein 3grams, Carb. 37grams, Fat 6grams, Chol. 18mg., Sodium 313mg

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1 How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Ways

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise,
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints -I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! -and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Some of my sweet girls came into my room on Monday with HUGE smiles on their faces! The last one in the group was carrying flowers! After lots of squeals . . . they begged me to read the card to them. . . "Just Cause!". . . which immediately resulted in more squealing! Nate never ceases to amazing me.
On Wednesday, I came home to find a HUGE poinsettia in my house . . . another sweet gift!!. . .
THEN on Thursday, he surprised me at school with Hot Chocolate for me and some friends I work with!

I love it when my girls get to see or hear about what a "prince" Nate is. I tell them that one day some cute boy is going to fall madly in love with them and spoil them rotten! And as I told Nate the other day, he has the characteristics of the man that little girls dream about falling in love with someday! But he far exceeds anything I dreamed about! :-)
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Monday, December 7, 2009

0 God's plan is BEAUTIFUL!

"Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths!" Proverbs 3:4-5

For two weeks, we had our engagement pictures scheduled for Friday at 3:00 pm. My hair and makeup appointments were made and since I was taking off school, I decided to register for my china at Bering's that morning. The day was packed with wedding plans! Monday or Tuesday, we begin to hear that it was going to rain all week. I was devastated, considering the fact that we were going to take our pictures outside. For two days straight, I ran around town trying to come up with a great place to take our pictures indoors, all the time hoping that was a farce and it was going to be a perfect day! Nate and I wanted to have our dogs in the picture and there aren't too many places that will allow a 75 pound lab to barrel in for a photo shoot! We couldn't postpone the picture and reschedule due to the fact that we had a deadline to make with our Save the Dates. So, Friday was the day, rain or shine. On Thursday, after discussing sites again and again, my mom reminded me to slow down and pray about it! After I hung up, Jesus and I had a little one on one time in the car! Later that day, the news began to report that it might snow on Friday! We decided on an indoor place to take the picture (with an outdoor option for the dog picture) and waited to see what the weather would do! God is so good.

Houston had a record snow fall the day of our engagement pictures and we will have incredible memories to keep for a lifetime! After taking pictures indoors around a beautiful Christmas tree and outdoors as the snow was falling with the dogs, Nate and I looked at each other with thankfulness at the blessing the Lord had given us!

After the photographer packed up and left, Dad took Nate and me to the country club to take a couple pictures while we waited to go in for dinner. It could not have been a more ideal day.

"Jesus, immediately reached out and grabbed him. 'You have such little faith,' Jesus said. 'Why did you doubt me." Matthew 14:22 -23

"Oh child," the Lord must think . . . "My way exceeds your wildest dreams. Just trust me."
I am forever overwhelmed by God's grace, mercy and forgiveness. . . One of my favorite verses is, "But go your way, tell your disciples AND PETER that he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him, as he said unto you." Mark 16:7

Father, like Peter, I am forever doubting your perfect way! Let these pictures be a constant reminder of your faithfulness! Yes, Lord, you do provide!
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