In no particular order:
- Tabbouleh should have a high parsley to bulgur ratio with NO parsley stems.
- Dishwashing soap is the best pre-wash treatment for clothing stains.
- It is entirely possible to spend your life raising (and praying for) your children and make a HUGE difference in the world.
- It’s always better to have too much food on the table than too little.
- Always welcome visitors for a meal or a night, even if it means Ikea mattresses in the living room.
- Leftovers are a **good** thing.
- Morning prayers are better if you light a candle.
- Make your way in the world with confidence, even if you don’t have much education or speak the local language.
- Be patient and forbearing with those who annoy you, but speak your mind in matters of faith and morals.
- Your freezer is your friend. Use it to store herbs, tomato paste, leftover lemon juice, old bananas, nuts that you buy in bulk, bulgur. [It’s REALLY your friend when your MIL visits you and fills it with home cooking.]
- Partake of the sacraments as often as you can. It doesn’t matter if the mass is in your language. You know what’s going on.
- There’s always room for a statue of the BVM in your suitcase. And gifts for every friend and relative that you will see on your trip.
- If you love something, buy one for (or recommend one to) everyone you meet. Think enamel roasting pans, Swedish lemon pepper seasoning, over-the-sink colanders, Cuisinart food processors.
All this from Josephine, my “mama”. We communicate in our second language (French), and live an ocean apart, but she has taught me so much over the 26 years I have been married to her son. And I love her very much.