Dear Hesperia,

This month is very, very special to me. I would like to dedicate it to everyone that has lost a child. I lost my oldest son, Scott, on February 28, 2004. He was 41 years old. Our children had favorite recipes, and when I asked my dear friends who had also lost a child to share their child's favorite recipe, the response was overwhelming.

This was very emotional for me to put together, and at the same time, so fulfilling and an honor, with the other parents. To all of you that have lost a child, (or grandchild), there are no words to describe the pain. I know we will see our children again someday. Remember, God only cries for those that are left behind.

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Brandon Smith, 19-year-old son of "Smitty" and Margaret Smith, loved to race his motorcycle.

"On August 24, 2007, Brandon was racing in a team race with Kurt and Craig Carlson, in the Vegas to Reno off-road race. Brandon crashed his motorcycle and succumbed to his injuries, " his mother Margaret says. "When Charlene told us that she was working on this special memorial, we wanted to include Brandon's favorite meatloaf recipe. We hope you try it and think of Brandon whenever you have meatloaf with your family! "

Brandon was also on the baseball team at Sultana High, and my son Shane was his coach.

Brandon's Favorite Meatloaf with Red Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
2 pounds ground beef
3/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1 envelope Lipton's Onion Soup mix
2 eggs
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, combine all ingredients and place the mixture in large cast iron skillet. Bake for one hour or until done; let stand 10 minutes.

Serve with red mashed potatoes and brown gravy.

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Terris is the daughter of Terry and Debbie Kirkham, from Lehi, Utah. She died of liver cancer at the age of 16.

"She had her own special garden and we called it her 'secret garden,'" says Debbie Kirkham. "Anything she put in the ground would grow! She loved to come home from school and make these baking powder biscuits. "

Terris and I are cousins. Debbie, her mom, says that now wildflowers grow every year, in a horse corral by their home, where flowers never grew before. Terris loved flowers.

Terris' Favorite Baking Powder Biscuits
1/3 cup shortening
1 3/4 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut shortening into flour, baking soda and salt with a pastry blender. Stir in just enough milk, so dough leaves the sides of bowl and forms into a ball. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead about ten times. Roll out dough to half-inch thickness. Cut out biscuits with floured glass. Place biscuits on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

It has taken me all my life to understand that it is not necessary to understand everything.
Author Unknown

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The daughter of Jeff and Sandy Robbins-Sydner, Nicole Suzanne Robbins, was killed in an automobile accident on her way to school. It was 1989 and she was a 17-year-old senior at Hesperia High. Nicole was an All-American Cross Country runner and was 17th in the nation at the Kinney Nationals in 1987.

Nicole was in my drill team at Hesperia Jr. High and what a joy she was for me! The first Hesperia Recreation and Park District memorial tree was purchased and planted in her honor.

Nicole's Favorite Holly Cookies
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons green food coloring
4 cups corn flakes
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1 small bag (10 ounces) marshmallows
Red cinnamon candies

Put marshmallows and butter in large saucepan. Melt these ingredients over low heat, stirring them, now and then, with a wooden spoon. Using a potholder, carefully remove pan from stove. Add the vanilla and food coloring. If you like mint, substitute 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint for the vanilla.

Here comes the tricky, sticky part: Gently stir cornflakes into the marshmallow mixture until flakes are well coated. Try to do this quickly but without crushing the flakes.

Now you are ready to shape the cookies. Use softened butter to grease a sheet of waxed paper, plus a spoon and your fingers. Drop mixture onto the paper with spoonfuls (you'll probably need to use your fingers). If the mixture gets too hard to handle easily, return it to the stove and briefly heat it again.

You can make your holly cookies look like wreaths by putting a hole in the center of each one with a greased spoon handle. Decorate the cookies with the cinnamon candies. The candies will look like bright red holly berries. When you are finished, you should have about 20 holly cookies to serve your guests.

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Jeffry and Joey are the sons of Karen Fullmer and Ron Wheeler. Karen and I have been friends since we were five years old. We went to school and church together.

Jeffry Gordon Wheeler passed away on August 13, 2004 at the age of 27.

"He had a daughter, Rylin Sage, who was the love of his life, " says his mother, Karen Fullmer. "He had sparkling eyes and they twinkled when he smiled. He was a friend to everyone and everyone was his friend. "

Jeffry's Favorite Green Chili Casserole
2 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1 7-ounce can green chilies; diced
1/2 cup green onions; chopped
2 cups Colby-jack cheese; shredded
1 dozen corn tortillas
2 cups chicken; diced (optional)

Dip tortillas in hot oil; cook slightly, until tender. Mix together soup, sour cream, green chilies, green onion and chicken. Tear tortillas in pieces and layer sauce, cheese and tortillas; repeat and save some sauce and cheese for top. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.

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Joey Wayne Wheeler passed away on December 11, 2004 at the age of 29.

"He was a chef and everyone loved his cooking, " says Karen Fullmer. "His specialty was sushi and he wanted his mother to love it, but she couldn't get it to her mouth. He was the best uncle, and his nieces and nephews adored him. "

When Joey made these chili rellenos, he would make a big batch on Friday and we would eat them all weekend.

Joey's Favorite Chile Rellenos
2 onions; diced
Butter
1 28-ounce can tomato sauce
Water
3 or 4 bay leaves
Garlic granules salt
Pepper
1 28-ounce can whole chilies
Flour
Jack Cheese
3 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
Oil

In large soup pan, cook onions in butter, until clear. Add tomato sauce and 2 cans water to onions. Add bay leaves, garlic salt and pepper to taste; let sauce simmer while preparing chilies.

Joey used fresh chilies but I'm lazy so I use canned - it's your preference. Slit one side of chili. Gently remove seeds and pith. Stuff chilies with as much cheese as you can, without it tearing. Roll stuffed chilies in flour; coat all over and gently shake off excess. Separate egg whites from the yokes. Beat egg whites until they form soft peaks. Beat yokes with 1-tablespoon water, 3 tablespoons flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt, until creamy; fold into egg whites.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Dip stuffed chilies into batter; place on saucer and slide into hot oil. When golden brown, turn over with spatula and fork. When done, drain on paper towels and put in sauce. Let simmer. When done with all chilies - they will be plenty hot - carefully removing, one at a time. Serve with rice and beans, putting some sauce over rice and beans. Yum Yum!

I struggle finding thanks this year; I miss your warm embrace. Yet gazing at your photograph, a smile adorns my face. So when it comes time to give our thanks, the truth we cannot ignore, it's memories of loved ones lost that we are thankful for.
B.C. by Hart by Wiley

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Inez Diggs and I have been friends for more than 45 years. Inez lost 27-year-old Michele, the youngest of her four children, to cancer on January 27, 1993.
"Following is her favorite, delicious cookie recipe that she enjoyed baking as a teen, " says Inez Diggs. "The family was drawn by the smell of her cookies baking, anxiously gathered in the kitchen, to eat hot, as they came out of the oven. Rarely, did any of these cookies make it to the cookie jar."

Michele's Favorite Sugar Jumbles
1/2 cup soft shortening (part butter)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/8 cups flour; sifted (she used Gold Medal)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Thoroughly mix together shortening, sugar, egg and vanilla. Sift together and stir in flour, baking soda and salt.

Drop rounded teaspoonfuls, about two inches apart, on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake until delicately browned. Cookies should still be soft. Cool slightly from baking sheet.

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Dale Christensen, son of Bill and Carolyn Christensen from Altamont, Utah, was 40 years old when he died in an avalanche, on December 31, 2007.

"When he was growing up he loved to cook and his favorite recipe was Shepherd's Pie," says Carolyn Christensen.

Dale is the brother of my wonderful son-in-law Loni, who is married to my daughter Shalon.

Dale's Favorite Shepherd's Pie
1 pound hamburger; browned
Onions
Garlic powder
Garlic Salt
Worcestershire Sauce
1 can green beans or corn; drained
2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce or tomato soup
Mashed potatoes
Cheese; shredded

Brown the hamburger; season to taste with onions, garlic powder, garlic salt and Worcestershire sauce. Add green beans or corn, tomato sauce or tomato soup.

Spread mixture in a 9 x 11 inch baking dish. Spread hot, mashed potatoes on top. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake in a 350-degree oven until cheese is melted.

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Burke Newren, the son of Less Newren, and Chuck and Carolyn Mayo, was killed in a motorcycle accident the day before his 23rd birthday, in May 1991. He left behind a wife and two daughters.

"Burke was so excited to have been accepted to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, the following November, " Carolyn Mayo says. "He created recipes of his own. The family loved it when he would prepare a fine dinner for them. "

Burke's Citrus Salsa
1 grapefruit; quartered and diced
1 orange; quartered and diced
1 cup pineapple; quartered and diced
Lemon juice to taste
Balsamic vinegar to taste
Olive oil
Red onion; minced
Scallions; minced
Cilantro; chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix ingredients and use on most any meat.

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Scott was my first baby. He was very smart, caring and giving.

When Scott was a little boy he loved hats, and he would ride his bicycle all over the neighborhood. His first car was a black Volkswagen that he bought from his neighbor Ray for $50.

Scott's passion was music: He had more than five scrapbooks of his favorite band, Van Halen. And true to his love of music, he worked in the music industry.

His best friends were Rollie Ladd and Reni Doyle. He cared so much about you both.

I recently bought a memorial tree at Hesperia Lake in Scott's memory. I love going down there, it has such a peaceful feeling and close by.

Scott's Favorite Chocolate Dessert
1 cup flour
1 square butter or margarine
1/2 cup nuts; finely chopped
1 medium container Cool Whip
1 cup powdered sugar
1 8-ounce package cream cheese; softened
1 small package instant vanilla pudding
1 small package instant chocolate pudding
3 cups cold milk
3/4 pint whipped cream; whipped
Chocolate bar; grated
Maraschino cherries; halved

To make the crust - mix together, flour, butter and nuts. Press into a 9 x 13, Pyrex cake pan. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes. While crust is baking, mix together, with a fork - Cool Whip, powdered sugar and cream cheese. Spread Cool Whip mixture on crust, while hot (just out of the oven).

Mix together for two minutes, using an electric mixer, the vanilla and chocolate pudding with milk. Spread this on mixture. Top with whipped cream, grated chocolate bar and cherries. Serves 15. This is also very pretty in two pie plates and tastes just as good.

Thanks for the ladybugs, son!


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Let's all try to be a little kinder to everyone and count our blessings. We are not always aware of what people are going through in life; just a smile can be so important. Please don't blame yourself when things go wrong and you have no control over the situation.

If you would like to find out about a Hesperia Lake memorial tree, call Hesperia Recreation and Park for information, at 244-1007.