Tag Archives: love

Fruits NOT from your grocer

1 Jan

On the eve of 2015, I won’t go to a glamorous party.  I am not heading out to a swanky dinner.  No, New Years Eve, for me, is about quiet gratitude, thoughtful prayer, and personal peace.  This post is a couple of years old, but I am posting it again.  It still feels relevant to life.  Thanks for reading it.  Happy New Year!

It is now 2013. I don’t really make New Years Resolutions, but I do make some goals. I also reflect on the past, and think about how to improve my future. My journey to love, loyalty, forgiveness, and appreciation continues, as does the journey to discover myself. A goal for my journey is to make it a joyful one. So as I do that this year, I want to say thank you.

Thank you to those who told me I couldn’t. From you I learned that I can.

Thank you to those who gossiped. From you I learned how to hold my friends dear, and how important it is to keep my mouth shut.

Thank you to those with no faith. From you I learned that God is central in my life, and that my faith runs deep.

Thank you to those who told me that I am weak. From you I learned inner strength and confidence. For you allowed me to dig down and discover that I am stronger than I ever imagined.

Thank you to those that told me I was ugly. From you I found my inner beauty.

Thank you to those that put up barriers in my life. From you, I learned how to tear down walls and fight for what I want.

Thank you to those who told me that I am not a good mother. From you I learned that my commitment to motherhood is beautifully imperfect, and perfectly loving.

Thank you to those that put me second (or more accurately third, fourth or fifth) . From you I learn to put myself first.

Thank you to those who are loud and demand attention. From you I learned to be quiet.

Thank you to those who created drama in my life. From you I am learning to truly appreciate peace.

Thank you to those who have an overpowering sense of entitlement. From you I am learning to appreciate everything that I have.

Thank you to those who told me to quit. From you I am learning perseverance.

Thank you to those who brag. From you I learn humility.

Thank you to those that lied to me. From you I am learning the importance of the truth.

Thank you to those who are false and phony. From you I am learning the importance of being truthful and genuine.

Thank you to the people who showed me kindness not because I am needy but because you are good.

Thank you to those who extended generosity, for you have enabled me to more openly give to others.

Thank you for those of you that protected me not because I am weak but because you are loyal.

Thank you to those that shared their strength with me during times when I wavered. For you give me the power to be a pillar of strength to someone else.

I am no different from anyone else. I have been hurt. I have felt pain of deceit, the heart break of divorce, cruel disloyalty, and the sting of failure. From that I rise up. Push forward. Continue on. I give thanks to those by my side, and for those that, it seems, turned against me. From everyone whose life has touched mine, I learn. It is easy to be thankful for the great people in your life and to love them. The challenge lies in loving and learning from every body else.

This blog addresses mostly food. Today it is about fruits. The fruits of the spirit.  So I enter this year with gratitude, an open spirit, and prepared to learn more lessons!  I am grateful to everyone that has touched my life and continues to shape the person I am, and the person I am becoming.  So to you I say thank you!

Layers

21 May

Walls. They are a good thing. They are there to hold something up. A ceiling. A roof. Precious pictures. They provide a comfortable boundary, a form of protection. If we were plunked down into a place that was pitch black, our instinct would be to reach out. Find the walls. That would be an indication of where we might be. How large is the black space we are in? Reaching out and finding a wall would begin to provide comfort, answers, direction. So walls are a good thing.

As a parent, I want to be a wall for my children. I want to hold them up.  I want to provide solid boundaries. When they are uncertain or in the dark, I want them to reach for me and find comfort in knowing that I am there, standing firm. Providing direction. Answers. That is what a good parent aspires to achieve. Even as an adult, I still look to my parents to be my wall. We all have weak moments, trying times, and it is comforting to be able to still count on not only my parents, but my whole family, to hold me up.

Good friends do the same thing. I have learned over the years that biology does not necessarily make a family and that friends can also be counted as family. A favorite Richard Bach quote comes to mind to sum up my definition of family: “The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.” I love that!  So we can depend on our friends to be our wall. And we should be theirs. Lift them up. Allow them to hold us up. These become the layers of our wall.

How do the layers get applied to a wall? Slowly, allowing each layer to become a firm foundation to the next, is a good way to build a solid wall. A base upon which a new layer could be applied, accepted, hardened. Ready to accept the next layer. So its safe to say that a trusted wall can be built over a long period of time. It can’t be rushed. Time, patience, trust…the tools of good construction some might say. So walls are a good thing. Or are they?

There can be a flip side. They can also be a barrier. Walls can seal or entomb. Shut off and divide. Hold back. Unfortunately some folks better fit this metaphorical description of a wall. Which is sad. These are the walls, the people, that we need to keep at arms length. They divide, and that is the last thing anyone should want. We have all run into people and relationships that have been this type of wall. And sometimes it takes us some time to realize what type of wall a person or relationship provides. We might think that a person is there to lift us up. Support us. Only to find out later that they are the “other” type of wall.  That is not good for overall wellness and a healthy spirit.   So what do you do then?

I have had both types of walls in my life over the years, and who can’t say that? I have learned to cherish, value, and take care of my good walls. That is my firm foundation.  And I have made it a priority in my life to be a good wall to my family (a.k.a. friends!). That takes time, experience, patience. But when we run into a bad wall, and we all do, is it time to turn and run? Well, that might be the first instinct, but I say no. Let it become another layer to the wall.

The old saying “You can’t go around it, you can’t go under it, so you must go over it” comes to mind. Going over a “bad” wall becomes another firm layer if we let it. We overcome it. We conquer it. And we allow it to become another layer to the foundation. And as a parent, we can teach our children how to use adversity to build a layer. Learning comes in many forms. Going over the wall also means to learn how to put more good walls in our life. Get over the bad ones, build more, layer more, with good ones. Become a better wall ourselves. We strengthen. We learn. We use the good the bad and the ugly. And we move on. Stronger. Better. Another layer for our wall. I know what kind of wall I am, what kind of wall I strive to be.  My foundation is very strong, and that contributes to my wholeness.  My wellness.  My vitality.  What kind of wall are you?

 

Valentine Cake

18 Feb

Food is center stage in my home many days. Well, family is really front and center, but the kitchen is truly the heart of our family home, and we hang out there often. When I say that food is important to my family, I don’t mean constantly eating junk food. Taking the time to prepare healthy food with family is enormously rewarding. It is a family value and time well spent together in a warm comfortable and accepting environment.

We have great meals and nutritious food, but we have loads of fun too. I enjoy cooking, but am not much of a baker. I can sure improvise though. And have a blast. My kids do too! I love to cook, but the teeny tiny side of me that bakes rears its ugly head every now and again. Not really one for cookies, I turn to making cakes with the children. We put a spin on it though. We will make fun cakes for most any occasion!

Make a round cake and a square cake.

Make a round cake and a square cake.

When I make cakes, I use a high quality cake mix. Those work just fine for non bakers like myself. But I always make the

Cut the round cake in half.  Place half on 2 sides of the square cake.

Cut the round cake in half. Place half on 2 sides of the square cake.

  frosting from scratch. I learned how to make out of this world frosting from my mom. She    very wisely advised me to “always make a little too much frosting by accident”. Was she ever right! I was never voted Prom Queen, but when I make frosting I am Prom Queen for a moment..the most popular girl in the kitchen! What do I mean by popular? Let me tell you!

When I bust out my frosting, a line forms in the kitchen. Kids. Denis. His mom. More kids.  Everyone lines up to grab a spoonful of frosting before it makes its way to the cake. Everyone but my youngest son that is. The baby of the family (I am one too!) is a scrappy bunch. We learn survival of the fittest at a very young age! Anywhooo, my son doesn’t grab a spoon and stand in line. Nope, not him. The moment he notices a naked cake cooling on the counter and a stick of butter softening nearby (a main ingredient in my frosting), he loudly calls the beater from the mixer. Now that is the holy grail when making frosting, let me tell you! He is a

Then frost your cake with love!

Then frost your cake with love!

smart kid. No line, no waiting, and a solid guarantee of a good dose of moms incredible buttercream frosting. Yup, that’s my boy!

But I digress! Back to the cakes. I do not have lots of room in my kitchen for a bunch of specialty cake pans. So I improvise. I make 2 round cakes, or a round cake and a square one, and cut it to fit the occasion. I have also made a rectangle cake for my sons, and with colored frosting made everything from a football field cake with action figures to a construction site cake with matchbox bulldozers. So much fun, and the creativity flows. Food should be fun, so go have a blast!

So why blog about making a valentine cake right after Valentines Day?  No, I have not been hitting the cooking wine today.  It is    because I don’t celebrate Valentines Day.  Well, at least not on February 14th that is.  I celebrate it all year.  I detest the idea that there is “one day of love” a year.  Nope,  I am not having any part of that.  I live more of a robust life.   I tell people I love them every single day.  Genuinely.  Confidently.

Yep.  I say I love you every day to the people in my life, not just on February 14th.  The calendar does not define any “day of love” for me because it is every day.  So make valentine day cake.  Any day you want.  And tell the people in your life you love them 365 days  a year.  It is great for the spirit, the soul, and a full happy heart.

Video

A door, A window, and Patience

4 Feb

Slam!  We have all felt it.  Heard it.  Knew by the pit in our stomach that it happened.  Smack, right in the face.  Ouch.  A door slams.  Not really, physically, but it is sometimes can feel as though a door has closed somewhere in our life.  What follows is a matter of character.  What do we feel?  Is it chaos?  Excitement?  Confusion? Passion to succeed?  Embarrassment? All of the above?  That drives us to start looking, to embark on a new search.  For what?   Faith.  A sign.  Assurance.  Calm steady waters.  A well defined direction.

But it doesn’t come right away.  We look, we dig, we pray, we cry, we beg for answers.  We fight it.  Why?  Because that closing door represents change.  And that is scary.  Maybe we want to run away.  Just bolt.  But maybe embracing it is a better reaction.  Standing still for a moment may allow us to feel the wind of change brush over us.

I have had this happen.  Doors have slammed.  And yes, perhaps I incorrectly perceived the closing door as a problem. Something negative.  But as I march forward in life, peace in the unknown is replacing unrest in the unknown.  I am now making an effort to embrace slamming doors, because a window is springing open.  Maybe not right away, but it will happen.  The past confirms it.

Baby steps.  Change doesn’t happen in a grand style.  It happens in baby steps.  As I reflect on recent doors closing (yes, that’s plural.  Sometimes life is a dog pile) my initial impulse is to bolt.  But then I do what I do when I am stressing out.  I go for a run.  And my head clears up.  You gotta get rid of that junk in there sometimes!  This happened today.  As I ran, I had some random bullet point thoughts to share and to reflect upon.

  • Maybe the closing door is simply my straight path to becoming more “me”.
  • Isn’t becoming more “me” a fabulous thing?
  • Why do I fear the unknown?  I am a woman of deep faith,  and there is no fear in faith.
  • My past is littered with closed doors.  Where did that take me?  A window always opened.
  • I am not alone.  This happens to lots of people.
  • What am I afraid of?  Really deep down afraid of?
  • Yes life is tough right now.  But I have loads of blessings to focus on.
  • Am I perceiving the slamming door being negative with my heart, or with my ego?
  • The windows are opening.  New things are happening.  But they aren’t in my plan.  My road is curving.  Hello!  That’s not a bad thing!
  • My spirit is becoming more peaceful, even with massive life changes this year.  Accepting change is a beautiful thing.

These thoughts are what I have been pondering.  And I have been trying to process them with my heart, not my brain.  Not an easy task.  While I am artistic  and creative with my food, I can be somewhat cerebral at other times.

This blog is about wellness of the mind, body and spirit.  You simply cannot have holistic wellness with these things not be aligned with one another.  We all get out of balance.  A bit topsy turvy at times.  Especially when doors are closing and we can’t see the open window.  I have decided to stop staring at the closed door and patiently wait for the window.  It’s starting to open.  Trust, faith, and love need to drive this bus.

I end this blog with one quote.  I hope it speaks to your heart as it did mine.

“Love is what we were born with.  Fear is what we learned here”.–Marianne Williamson

Thank you

3 Jan

It is now 2013.  I don’t really make New Years Resolutions, but I do make some goals.  I also reflect on the past, and think about how to improve my future.  My journey to love, loyalty, forgiveness, and appreciation continues, as does the journey to discover myself.  A goal for my journey is to make it a joyful one.  So as I do that this year, I want to say thank you.

Thank you to those who told me I couldn’t.  From you I learned that I can.

Thank you to those who gossiped.  From you I learned how to hold my friends dear, and how important it is to keep my mouth shut.

Thank you to those with no faith.  From you I learned that God is central in my life, and that my faith runs deep.

Thank you to those who told me that I am weak.  From you I learned inner strength and confidence.  For you allowed me to dig down and discover that I am stronger than I ever imagined.

Thank you to those that told me I was ugly.  From you I found my inner beauty.

Thank you to those that put up barriers in my life.  From you, I learned how to tear down walls and fight for what I want.

Thank you to those who told me that I am not a good mother.  From you I learned that my commitment to motherhood is beautifully imperfect, and perfectly loving.

Thank you to those that put me second (or more accurately third, fourth or fifth) .  From you I learn to put myself first.

Thank you to those who are loud and demand attention.  From you I learned to be quiet.

Thank you to those who created drama in my life.  From you I am learning to truly appreciate peace.

Thank you to those who have that overpowering sense of entitlement.  From you I am learning to appreciate everything that I have.

Thank you to those who told me to quit.  From you I am learning perseverance.

Thank you to those who brag.  From you I learn humility.

Thank you to those that lied to me.  From you I am learning the importance of the truth.

Thank you to those who are false and phony.  From you I am learning the importance of being truthful and genuine.

Thank you to the people who showed me kindness not because I am needy but because you are good.  Thank you to those who extended generosity, for you have enabled me to more openly give to others.  Thank you for those with whom I share friendship, prayerful faith, and comforting touch not only in times of need, but in all times.  Thank you for those of you that protected me not because I am weak but because you are loyal.  Thank you to those that shared their strength with me during times when I wavered.  For you give me the power to be a pillar of strength to someone else.  Because of you I enter 2013 ready to extend the generous love you have shown me.  After all, it is in giving that we receive.

I have really great friends.  My big crazy family is second to none.  When need be, we close ranks and take care of our own in a heart beat.  I have wonderful people surrounding me.  I am grateful for them everyday.  In fact, I say a prayer of thanks before my feet hit the floor in the morning.

As I take my dog out for the first morning stroll and poo poo (hers, not mine!) , it is still early and dark.  It is before daybreak.  I look up to the sky, marvel at the stars, and take a moment to thank God for my many blessings, for my family, and for the loyal beautiful people in my life.

I am no different from anyone else.  I have been hurt.  I have felt pain of deceit, the heart break of divorce, cruel disloyalty, and the sting of failure.  From that I rise up.  Push forward.  Continue on.  I give thanks to those by my side, and for those that, it seems, turned against me.  From everyone whose life has touched mine, I learn.  I learn loyalty.  And I continue to learn to love.  It is easy to be thankful for the great people in your life and to love them.  The challenge lies in loving and learning from every body else.

I try to appreciate everyone that comes into my life…the good, the bad and the ugly.  Not only do I have something to learn from them, maybe they have something to learn from me.

This blog addresses mostly food.  Today it is about fruits.  The fruits of the spirit.  I harken back to the words of Abraham Lincoln to ponder:  “Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?”  So I enter this year with gratitude, an open spirit, and prepared to learn more lessons!

Friends for all seasons

13 May

I am a woman blessed with many friends.  I have friends from the neighborhood, friends from church, book club friends.  Friends met thru friends, school friends, work friends, and parental friends of my children’s friends.  Friends everywhere!  Friends I read with, friends I share a glass of wine with, friends that I cook with, friends I run with, and friends that I can call and vent daily frustrations to-they are great listeners.  How lucky am I?

I have a group of friends that I see fairly often in the course of family life, but we get together 4 times a year specifically to cook.  We share fellowship, prayers, wine, laughs, and, of course, dinner.  It is a group of 12 friends, and 3 of us host one dinner party 4 times a year.  Once a season.  We rotate homes, hosting duties, and menus.  We have been getting together for over 10 years.  The 3 hostesses for the upcoming dinner get together to select the menu.  The hostesses also select the recipes to use.  We used to mail them out, but now we embrace emails and texting.  Each person makes one thing to bring, so we all contribute to each dinner.  Getting together takes some doing because we are all busy working mothers.  But our time together is priceless and so joyful!

At our dinners, we have the recipes printed and ready for all to take home.  I have a binder full of over a decade of fantastic recipes, and refer to it often for some of my most favorite dishes.  When I leaf through the pages of my Four Seasons recipes, not only do I enjoy the recipes, but I also enjoy the warm hearted memories of our evenings together.

Sometimes we have a themed dinner, other times we just make favorites.  The food is always wonderful, but the friendship is the real treat with this bunch.  We love each other, support each other, and our friendship is pure in heart and spirit.  The women in this group are funny, kind, and generous.  Women together supporting each other in family life, faith, and hard knocks makes us unstoppable!  Powerful!  Successful! And we appreciate the gift of the fellowship that we share.  The food that nourishes our bodies.  The love that surrounds us.

It is my goal for this blog to addresses wellness of the mind, body and spirit.  My Four Seasons group is a component of this in my life.  These women definitely contribute to the wonderful quality of my life.  They make it better.  I encourage you to gather a group of friends together.  Eat.  Talk. Laugh. Share.  And be grateful for people that surround you, for food on your table, and for the countless blessings in your life.  The experience is certain to improve the quality of your life, so jump in and start your own version of the Four Seasons group!