Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sadness on a Sunny Day

He sent a friend request on Saturday on Facebook, but I didn't find it until yesterday.  Email buried under several others.  He died on Tuesday.  I couldn't breathe, I just couldn't.  This is unreal.  He was a sweet, gentle man, and I cannot imagine his final days or  the fear as he faced his final moments.  I am dedicating the following video to him.  He sang it for me once.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Too Soon

Two weeks ago, two classmates died within days of each other and were at the funeral home at the same time.  I dressed in my funeral black and paid my respects to both.

Easter Sunday one of my best friends from high school died.  He was gone in a blink, and I was unable to say good bye.

This week a friend of mine was murdered by his wife.

In the process of it all, I stop, I grieve, and then I go to soccer practice or work or church or to the store.  Every step is a reminder that they are gone, and I will never see them again.  Every step reminds me I have miles to go before I sleep, but they are now still.

Every step makes me takes a deep breath of gratitude, and I move forward.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Roads That Lead to Us

A few months ago the county decided my neighborhood needed a new bridge.  Turns out we were about to fall in the creek.  During the time of our bridgeless existence, we had a fake road that was built where the trains once ran.  As of yesterday, our bridge is operational, and our fake road now leads nowhere.  They took out a section because it was causing flooding issues; however, for a brief time, it was the road that led to us.  To me, that makes it important.  Thing One captured it for a 4-H photo essay, and it reminds me how sometimes we find beauty in the most unexpected places.  What was once so inconvenient is now a refuge.  Peace and beauty are present in every turn.

I now must search my heart for the moments I hide. This Easter I must look and acknowledge the fears and pain that has taken up residence in the darkest corners.  Open and welcome the tears because I know some of my greatest victories were born from these unguarded moments.  Sweep away the cobwebs and embrace the blessings God gives me.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Simple Cook Strikes Again

Tonight is the end of my mini-spring break.  Due to snow, we only were allowed two days off, and those days were spent landscaping my grandmother's backyard and every day chores that don't seem to get done every day.  Yesterday I was able to take Thing One and Thing Two to my cousin's for lunch and a play date with her babies.  There are several years between our children, but the Things had a blast with their "baby" cousins, and the baby cousins loved playing with the big kids.  We live several hours apart, so days like yesterday are special.  I am moving closer to her in a few months, and I really hope we can get together more often.

Today was a lazy day that consisted of our Easter Cantata, two meals cooked, housework, and I finally planted my herbs.  Somewhere in there, Thing One and I walked three miles on the temporary road leading to our house.  Our bridge is being reworked so we have a fake road where the trains once ran.  We basically drive four miles to go one, but the views are amazing.


You may be asking what does this have to do with my cooking or lack of cooking skills.  During my too-short-vacation, I purchased my first copy of Cooking School magazine from the Taste of Home, and I am impressed.  The recipes are basically idiot proof.  This magazine is one I will keep and not recycle. I find many foodie or cooking magazines pretentious, but this one is true to the idea that it can make you a better cook.   Each page is filled with one idea after another with helpful hints that even I can do.  I also like the fact the magazine is broken down into easy to find categories.  I am currently planning a wedding party brunch and Easter dinner, and I am able to find what I need as I need it.  Basically, I am impressed.  I have already tried several recipes this weekend, and the breakfast pizza was a hit with kids and grandmother (tough crowd) and Provolone Chicken Sandwiches were amazingly easy and yummy.  I always expect something good with Taste of Home, and the Cooking School Magazine didn’t let me down.  I will be buying the next issue.

Friday, April 15, 2011

My Mother's Daughter

I told a person, who once was in life, I was getting married, and in passing I mentioned the groom's politics which was greeted with a the comment, "Well, I guess you are now just like your mother."
Wait, did I hear sarcasm there?  Oh, wait, you aren't giving a compliment, are you?  Oh, due to the fact, she doesn't believe the same as you then she must be wrong.  You need a villain in your story, and you choose those who don't measure up to your personally developed standards, which have done you wonders.  I'm sorry, but it would be honor to be like my mother.

 She is brave.  She has battled several diseases with courage and grace.  No matter how bad things have gotten, she has never felt sorry for herself.   She doesn't feel the need to moan and groan about the lot life has given her. Instead, she moves forward to the next day with gratitude.

She is honest.  She lives her life in completely honesty, and yes, sometimes, I would rather hear a more peaceful truth, but it is always easier to live in fantasy than in reality.  She is a woman of integrity and honor, and she lives her life behind closed doors as she would in the public square.

She is smart.  She can talk politics, religion, entertainment, and philosophy, but she doesn't have to hear her own voice to prove to others she is capable.

She is generous and loving.  I have seen her give her last fifty to a former student.  She has sacrificed time and time again for her family.   Even when it hard for her to get up in the morning, she is there for those who need her. For the past eight years, she has supported me as I faced one life changing event after another.  Sometimes she may be vocal with her opinion, but her judgement is sound and done with love.

She is my mommy.  I will not apologize for being close with her.  Even when we don't see eye to eye, I know her love is true.  It is with pride I say I am my mother's daughter.

Monday, April 11, 2011

*Some of my Favorite Things*

Here are a list of random item that are currently putting a smile on my face:

1.  HomeGoods

2.  The return of wedges

3.  Pedicures

4.  My kindle:   Here is my latest adventure:

It is the perfect companion to my rereading of Macbeth

5.   My soon to be wedding ring

6.  Gardening

7.  Trying to cook

8.  Spring evenings listening to the frogs. 

9.  Fried pickles

10.  Fresh fruits, espcially watermelon

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wedding Planning for Dummies

So I sit, almost forty, with a few bridal mags and a glazed over look in my eye.  This seemed to make more sense fifteen years ago with the first go around.  I have all the plans for a church wedding but it seems too formal, too indoors, too I-just-don't know.  The details overwhelm me.  It is fun to dream, and I maintain the second wedding is more fun than the first due to the freedom of being more sure of self.  I know what I like, in other words.

So I sit, almost forty, and throw it all out the window.  Well, not all of it because I still like the groom, but the rest is going on hold.  Instead I am googling Gatlinburg Weddings.  Just us and our kids, in a garden or by a waterfall, sounds blissful to me.  A weekend just for us with only us.

To be continued...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Do I...Yes, I Do

I am engaged.  I love him; he loves me.  We get along.  Our kids get along, and we enjoy each other's company.  He is an amazing, loving, generous man, and I am more than blessed to know him, but this isn't about him.  It is going back to a question that was asked yesterday, "why do I deserve this?"

I don't think the question was asked in a mean spirit, and it was taken out of context, but my daughter told somebody that I deserved all of this, implying I deserve to be happy.  She was asked why.  The question honestly confused her, and she didn't completely understand what was being asked.  An ex boyfriend was mentioned, and this really confused her.  He and I have not dated seriously since the autumn of 2006 (haven't dated anybody seriously for four years), and she couldn't grasp why he was even mentioned.  To be fair, I have kept my personal life separate from my mommy life as much as possible, and I am not a serial dater.  I cut ties quickly in order to protect our family unit, but yes, I dated A. for many years.  He was good to the kids and to me, but he was not meant to be my husband.  My daughter even said a few days ago, she knew he wasn't the one; however, does this mean I shouldn't marry P because A was in the picture for a bit?  Should I pull away due to the fact others may not approve?  Should I discredit my own happiness?  The answer is no.  I deserve to be happy.  I deserve to be loved, and I deserve this chance to love. 

If I look more closely at the situation, I come to the realization that I never wanted to remarry until this moment.  I say that is a God thing.  I haven't wasted opportunities on false hopes and fake dreams.  I have been caught up in romance a few times, but I do tend to have a realistic approach to life.  I praise God for that.  I have stayed true to my heart, and that is P.  I loved him when I was only twenty-one, and this time around is even sweeter.  I deserve this chance.

It won't be perfect, and marriage should not be perfect.  It is about forming a bond that should last an eternity, and if that was easy, there wouldn't be divorces.  I have been down this road before, and that is another reason why I haven't given my heart.  I have sheltered it and tended it's grief (thank you Anne Sexton for the metaphor).  Giving it freely is a tremendous step, and I think it takes courage to hold on to something that has the potential to kill you.  I admire anybody who has the ability to say "I do" long after the wedding bells stop chiming.  I want a future without boundaries.  I want love with the imperfections it brings.  I want to have hope and faith.  I do.

Perfect Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup

Today was a very busy but lovely beginning to our Halloween Festivities.  My husband and I went to a Farmers' Market that was featuring ...