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Just prepare and serve this sweet treat

Apr. 25, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Being an independent thinker and doer has taken a lot out of me lately.

If you ask my mother she'll probably tell you that I was always like that -- refusing help and insisting I can do it all by myself. Even as a little girl before I could reach the pedals of my bicycle -- about 4 years old -- I spent an entire day crashing and banging myself mercilessly, striving hard for the eventual reward of accomplishment riding a bicycle without training wheels would bring.

As with every choice in life, there is always a downside or a sacrifice for such behavior. For the little girl, the downside came in the form of black and blue legs that made my mother swallow hard when I skipped into her presence to announce, "I did it mommy! I can ride a bicycle!"

For me the woman, the downside is the self-hatred I fight when I really do need someone to help me and I refuse to ask, telling myself I don't need anyone, that I can do it all by myself and momma didn't raise a weakling. Whatever a man can do I can do.

I'd like to say the hurts that humans can inflict on people has made me decide it will hurt a little less if the only person letting me down is me. But then that doesn't really explain why, when I was 7, I convinced my father that I could water ski in Lake Michigan in what arguably appeared to be the roughest, most frigid waters I've ever encountered. The only thing that stopped me from giving it my all was that the skis didn't fit my feet. I must add that I was in the water fighting the waves as I wrestled with trying to put on the adult sized skis.

I can't decide whether that is a survivor mentality I've developed over the years or I've just become so self-reliant on me and God that I think if God doesn't provide it, then it wasn't meant to be.

These past few months have humbled me greatly in that I have accepted help from family and friends even when it made my resolve crumble like sand right before my eyes. It felt awful to need help, but awesome that when I was feeling pretty low, there they were ready to extend a hand. Transitioning from the closing of one restaurant to the opening of another has exhausted me emotionally and physically. You'll never hear me admit I'm getting too old for all these changes, but in reality nothing is ever guaranteed. It all comes down to personal perspective. I am reminded that I am not burying anyone therefore, it could be worse.

It's been a long week for everyone.

The past week's tragedy has compelled me to put a sign around my neck that reads "free hugs." I think a lot of people could use one. It's made me aware of my own mortality as well as my family's.

Helen Keller said, "Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it."

So, consider this your free hug. A sweet treat from 10-Minute Meals.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 cup confectioners sugar

1 12 oz. tub whipped cream topping

1 quart strawberries

12 small prepared graham cracker crusts

Blend cream cheese, sugar and whipped cream. With an ice cream scoop, add one scoop to each pie crust. Top with strawberries.

No need to chill; just serve and enjoy.

Janet McCormick is the author of "10-Minute Meals" and owner of Let's Eat in Huntington. She lives in Lawrence County, Ohio. She can be reached at 304-654-2003 or www.10-minutemeals.com.