A Sea of Gifts to Discover

Celebrating Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gifts

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Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

During the holidays when much of the focus is on gifts – what to give and what we’re hoping to receive – the best gifts of all may not be in stores, but waiting for us to discover on the beach.

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“The beach is not the place to work, to read, to write or think,” begins Anne Morrow Lindbergh in her much-loved book, written in 1955 – Gift from the Sea.

“Rollers on the beach, wind in the pines…One falls under their spell, relaxes, stretches out prone. One becomes, in fact, like the element on which one lies, flattened by the sea, bare, open, empty as the beach, erased by the tides of all yesterday’s scribbling.”

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With “patience,” Lindbergh writes, one will come to experience the “gifts from the sea.” Whether it’s a rare shell or a perfectly-rounded stone, a strong emotion or a new sense of awareness, the gifts will come.

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Anne Lindbergh

Lindbergh, the wife of famed American aviator Charles Lindbergh, found solace by the sea and shared her musings in her books.

In keeping with this, SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel wish you a Christmas stocking filled with your own gifts from the sea:

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Simplicity. Studying a sea shell found on a walk, Lindbergh observes how simple it is. “One learns first of all in beach living the art of shedding, how little one can get along with, not how much.”

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Solitude. “It is a difficult lesson to learn today…to practice the art of solitude,” writes Lindbergh. Yet, alone on the beach, she “watched the gulls…dip and wheel and dive for the scraps I threw them.” And, felt a kinship. “The beauty of earth and sea and air meant more to me. I was in harmony with it, melted into the universe.”

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Friendship. Lindbergh savors the gifts of friendship exchanged on the beach, openly and freely. “The pure relationship, how beautiful it is!” she notes. “Strangers smile at you on the beach, come up and offer you a shell. Nothing is demanded of you in payment, no social rite expected.”

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Home. Gazing at the oyster beds, Lindbergh recognizes the importance of home and of “forming ties, roots, a firm base.” She sees each oyster “has its place on the rock to which it has fitted itself perfectly and to which it clings tenaciously.”

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Balance. Lindbergh’s closeness to the sea with the ebb and flow of the tides gives her a “balance of physical, intellectual, and spiritual life. Work without pressure. Space for significance and beauty. Time for solitude and sharing.”

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Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s love of the sea and her patient explorations of the beach environment enabled her to experience and share its gifts.

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At this holiday season SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti wish you these “gifts from the sea”… and more.

Beach salvage mini-sculpture by OC artist Marty Naftel

Beach salvage mini-sculpture by OC artist Marty Naftel

Happy Holidays!

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Patti and Sunny

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Cowabunga – Christmas is Coming!

The Surfing Santa of Seal Beach

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Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

When children in Seal Beach hear the sound of jingle bells ringing instead of looking to the rooftops, they look out at the ocean – for a glimpse of…

surfing santaSanta on his surfboard.

And, to their wondering eyes, who does appear? Michael Pless Sr, minus the reindeer!

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Known as the Surfing Santa of Seal Beach, Pless, the owner of M & M Surfing School, puts on a red Santa wetsuit and white beard every year and surfs up and down the shoreline to spread the joy of Christmas to one and all.

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Pless, who has been doing this for two decades, has his wife Jill on board, too, dressed as Mrs Claus

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and son Michael Jr. – as Frosty the Snowman – all riding the waves together.

Pless told SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel that he likes “keeping the spirit of Christmas alive for all ages.”

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seal bch.surfersAs the Surfing Santa of Seal Beach, he brings joy to the community and holiday magic while celebrating the sport he loves – surfing!

So, when you’re walking along the sand in Seal Beach and listening to jingle bells coming from the ocean, don’t be surprised when you see Surfing Santa riding a big wave coming your way!

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Surfrider Celebrates the Season

Surfrider’s Holiday Party – Good Cheer…and Beer!

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Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

The mood at Brewbakers craft brewery and restaurant/bakery in Huntington Beach was warm and festive during the annual Surfrider Foundation’s Tri-Chapter Holiday Party Saturday, December 6th.

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SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel were excited to see Surfrider members and guests from the Huntington/Seal Beach, Long Beach, and Newport Beach chapters.

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Brewbakers owner and Surfrider member Manuel Florence made sure that everyone tasted the craft beers and sodas that his brewery is known for.

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The Coffman family – Jeff, Sherrie, Will and Charlie – zeroed in on the root beer and cream soda.

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DSC04533Darryl Ferguson and Halie Schmidt liked the pumpkin beer.

So did Mike Balchin, Seth Matson, Pam Conti, Shane Coons, and the rest of the Surfrider crew.

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There were bratwurst sandwiches and pizzas, too…

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freshly made in the kitchen.

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Greg Kishel tried both and declared them a hit.

Now that the year is almost over everyone was talking about 2015 and the new surfing spots they want to explore and ways to protect the ocean and beach environment we all love.

DSC04920Tony Soriano and Sona Coffee, the Environmental Programs Manager for Manhattan Beach, said there’s much work still to do.

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With holiday shopping on people’s minds, we all agreed that a Surfrider membership would be just the gift for the people on our lists.

It’s easy to wrap and is a gift that gives all year. What could be better than that?

In keeping with the holiday spirit shared at Brewbakers, SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti wish you this Irish toast:

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A Merry Christmas

And a Happy New Year,

A pocket full of money

And a cellar full of beer!

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Spice Up Fall with Savory Squash

Butternut Squash Brightens a Beef Stew

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Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Now with the fall harvest time here and an abundance of farm-fresh produce available, nothing says autumn like homemade Butternut Squash and Beef Stew.

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The bright yellow squash adds a new flavor dimension to beef stew.

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SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel especially like to make the stew on the weekend when there’s plenty of time to let it cook slowly in the crock pot.

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You can start it the day before and let it cook overnight so it’s ready for lunch the next day. Or begin it in the morning and be out at the beach enjoying the day while it’s cooking. Then have it for dinner. The total cooking time is 10 hours.

“Butternut squash is a favorite of mine,” Sunny says, “because it’s so versatile and can be cooked in many ways. The squash has a subtle flavor and melts in your mouth.”

Starr Butternut

What’s more, it’s high in nutrients and fiber and low in calories with no cholesterol. One cup of squash (cubed) has just 63 calories and tons of Vitamin A (297% of the daily requirement) and Vitamin C (48%).

Sunny’s recipe for Butternut Squash Stew is hearty, but not heavy. “That’s because it has a lot of vegetables,” Sunny explains.

One of the seasonings Sunny uses in the stew is lemongrass, an herb that reminds her of her childhood home when she used to go out in the backyard and gather it fresh. “Then I would tie the leaves in a small bundle to put in soups and stews.”

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If you don’t have wild lemongrass growing where you live, you can get it in the spice aisle at the supermarket in dry packets or as a paste. Sunny uses the paste.

Sunny’s Recipe for Butternut Squash Beef Stew

Ingredients:

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1.5 lbs beef stew meat, chopped into 1” pieces

1 T. canola oil

5 small red or purple small potatoes

12 oz petite baby carrots or 3 large carrots, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 tsp minced garlic

10 oz sliced cremini mushrooms

One 2.5 lbs butternut squash, peeled and chopped

1 quart beef broth (4 cups)

1 bay leaf

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1 T. Worcestershire sauce

1 T. soy sauce

½ tsp lemon grass paste

2 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

¼ tsp pepper

Pinch of cayenne pepper

½ tsp paprika

½ cup flour

Directions:

Place the flour in a shallow dish with the beef and toss well to coat. Heat the canola oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté for about five minutes until soft. Add the beef and garlic to the pan and continue sautéing until the beef has browned.

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Place the beef, onions and garlic at the bottom of the Crock Pot. Next add the bay leaf, butternut squash, mushrooms, carrots and potatoes and afterwards pour the beef broth over them.

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In a small mixing bowl combine the Worcestershire, soy sauce, sugar, paprika and lemon grass powder or paste and stir with a spoon until blended. Pour over the mixture in the Crock Pot.

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Place the lid on the Crock Pot and turn the heat to low. Cook for 8 – 10 hours. Right before serving, add the salt, cayenne and black pepper to taste. Remove the bay leaf. pinch-of-salt

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The recipe serves 8 – 10 people so after a morning or afternoon of surfing you can bring your friends home to a hot meal. Just set the table, serve it with warm French bread and you’re ready to enjoy some real comfort food.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti knew that the Butternut Squash and Beef Stew was a success when Patti’s husband Greg went back for seconds.

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Your friends will, too.

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Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.