There's no way that struggling single mom Janie Young is going to lose Family Secrets. Not even to Dr. Burke Carter. The prize money and media exposure from the cooking-competition show will secure the future for her and her son, who has special needs. Sure, Burke is a talented chef with his own reasons to win, but he already has so much: wealth, a beautiful daughter, great looks…and definitely her attention. As their families become closer, Janie is beginning to care too much about him. But she can't afford to get involved. Not when everything is riding on beating him.
In For Love or Money, Janie has to make meatballs one night. She does it by rote. Naturally. Instinctively. She’s dealing with threats from an ex-husband to take her son from her. With money issues. And still finding the time to give her four-year-old special needs angel every minute of the day that he needs from her. She’s feeling like, no matter how hard she tries, she’s just not enough. That she doesn’t have the ‘gifts’ to be enough.
She has no college education. She got married right out of high school and supported her husband’s career goals. She has no parents or family of her own to lean on. Or draw from.
We hear this story more often than we should in our world. Stories of people who start to lose hope due to circumstances they feel powerless to change. People who feel as though they are less because they don’t have degrees or awards or…whatever. And yet, if we can give them encouragement, give them hope, give them the chance to find what they love – chances are really good that they will be able to provide for themselves and be happy. We aren’t all lawyers and scientists. But we all have talents. Gifts that the world needs. Janie’s gift was cooking. To her it was just housework. That she loved. She was happy when she cooked. Happy when people liked her cooking. But…it was just…housework. Nothing special. We can all put band aids on a wound, too, but only a few of us can handle surgery.
Janie’s friends help her to see, what I wish we could all see – that we all have special gifts. And that those gifts have value. So many times we don’t see our own gifts. We’ve been programmed by societal expectation, parental expectation, peer expectation, to value certain things. We just need to step outside of stereotype and societal mores and expectations long enough to listen to our heart’s desires and find those possibly hidden talents. And then to give ourselves the chance, believe in ourselves enough, to pursue them.
Janie was lucky that her friends helped her take that first step. And then she pushed herself through one hardship after another, to give herself the chance to come through. Today, you all benefit from her hard work! Here is Janie’s meatball recipe!
"2 # ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup corn flakes, crushed
2 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
1 regular sized bottle chili sauce
juice from one lemon
1 6 oz. jar grape jelly
Mix uncooked ground beef, onion, garlic, cornflakes and eggs. Season to taste. Shape into walnut sized balls.
In heavy skillet combine chili sauce, lemon juice and jelly. Simmer for five minutes. Add meat balls. Cook on low heat for one hour. Cool. Refrigerate until fat hardens. Skim off fate. Pour into container to freeze until needed. Or pour into fondue or crock pot and keep warm over low to serve at your party!"
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