Sunday, August 05, 2012
I'm getting excited about the thought. There are times I think I can still smell the salty oceanic air from last year. I have to admit, sometimes I sneak into my closet and open up the water bottle that I stuffed sand into last year. I pour a little on my hand and feel the granules on my palms and even sniff it with a starry-eyed smile. So many beautiful memories there with my two sisters and niece. (Some a little blurry from the watermelon my sister laced with an alcoholic beverage. It tasted a little tangy but as the younger sister and more gullible, I believed them when they said Florida watermelons were SUPPOSED to taste like that and the more you eat, you can hear the ocean.)
There are going to be differences this year, though. Instead of driving, we are flying. Amen to that. (I loooove flying.) Again, as the younger sister, last year I was the one nominated to sit in the back between the mountainous suitcases, picnic basket, coolers and trash bags full of empty pop cans and Little Debbie wrappers. I was so buried, there was a time we went through the drive-thru to get something to eat and they forgot me. They told me they would get me the next time around. Breakfast. ("Here, Michelle, eat this Slim Jim. It should still be good.") When I protested I could not find my seat belt before peeling out onto the interstate, they said, "Suck it up. You're not going anywhere." and I had to agree. Kinda hard to fly through the windshield when the niece you picked up in Alabama has squeezed you into a two-inch slit between her suitcases and the door jam. (The window still has my nostril prints on it.)
I learned that I could not sleep in the back seat either. First of all, there was no way to lie down. I found a semi-comfortable spot between the shoe bags and cosmetic cases, making a conscious effort to relax my neck muscles. Just as I started to doze off, my sister slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting a driver who cut us off. My head flew forward into the back of the front seat. I don't know how or why but one of my false eyelashes twisted off and went up my left nostril. Between the chaos of choice words from Marie and the flying middle finger of Becky, the GPS Lady kept saying, "Turn left. Turn left. Turn left." To which we all screamed, "OH SHUT UP!!!" My eyes barely blinked the next fifty miles. It felt like I had received an I.V. of twenty cups of coffee and someone or something had sprayed caffeine directly into my eyes.
The leg cramps were horrible. The country music was getting twangy-er by the hour. I had begun to see images in the backs of my sisters' heads like you do when you lie on the grass and look for animals in the clouds. I began feeling like GPS Lady was family and each time she told us a new route to go I said, "Aww, bless her heart."
But this year, alas, we are traveling by air. My sisters are nervous about it as they have never flown before. That will be interesting. They each have called me several times to get the inside scoop on what it feels like to drift in and out of the clouds. After the initial shock of my telling them they will be strip-searched (for security reasons) and that turbulence feels like a bad roller coaster ride on acid, they have bought enough dramamine to knock out an elephant. Hee hee. I know. My bad. But it just feels necessary. (I even reminded them of the Twilight show with William Shatner that portrayed the thing straddling the wing of the plane, throwing things into the engine. They didn't crack a smile. Apparently they didn't like that episode.)
Ohhhhhh, they will be fine. Once we land I may have to push them through the airport on the luggage rack, but they will be OKAY! I will even be nice and let one of them have my window seat on the way there. See? That's what I will tell them. "See? Down there. Waaaaay down there. Way waaaay down there. Aren't you glad we didn't drive? I AM!!"
Have a beautiful Sunday, folks. God bless you all. You are loved.
Friday, August 03, 2012
Bre woke me this morning. Before my alarm had a chance to go off, I felt a gentle stroke to my cheek and an angel whisper of, "Momma..." Opening my eyes, I gazed at the most beautiful face in the world, a face smiling and reaping of compassion and wonderment. I couldn't help but lie there and take her in. She sat down on the bed beside me and took my hand as I looked at her big brown eyes, framed by wavy brown hair that wisped around her cheeks like gentle hugs. Then I remembered...
Today is the day.
Today she moves back to Athens into her very own apartment. She is excited. The look on her face is one of happiness but there is a hesitant sorrow in there. Perhaps she doesn't want to leave her mother. Perhaps she is a trifle scared. But she is courageous. Anxious to begin her independence with a vengeance. And she WANTS to go. No matter how difficult it is on me or her, she longs to go and get busy with her life. I sense that she is afraid to tell me so, afraid of hurting my feelings. I cannot have that. So, through my tear-blurred eyes, I smile widely, broadly, take her other hand in my own, squeeze gently and nod.
"Are you ready, baby?"
"Yes, Momma. I think so. I think I am."
"Then let's hit it. Full speed ahead. Come show me what you got!"
Full speed indeed. It seemed as if a whirlwind struck our house with packing and loading and squeezing things in places that probably shouldn't have been squeezed. Then the journey northeast began. Bre and her boyfriend Cory followed me on the highway as I checked my rearview mirror religiously. In between the lines, check. Speed limit obeyed, check. Are they rocking out to Breaking Benjamin? Check.
Once there, we unloaded and began the tedious journey to her fourth floor apartment. Every so often Bre would stop and look at me as I climbed the stairs, either to make sure I was okay or to signal me to hurry. But more importantly, to me, at times she would walk beside me and look at me with eyes wide, wise and wonderful. Sometimes she would take her fingers and graze my arm and caress me. A comforting measure I used on all of my babies that she has adopted as her own.
I love her so.
I miss her so. Already.
But I did get some pictures. The following were taken with my phone so some are blurry, but I wanted to share my day with you. And I wanted to share why Bre was so proud. Her apartment is small but it is hers. To her it is her castle and she is the princess....
Okay, this is Cory, Bre's boyfriend. At this point, it is cool that I am taking pictures, so no look of utter annoyance.
The living room. I have no stinking idea where the Bud Light box came from. But you better believe I grabbed that sucker and shook the living daylights out of it. No beer inside. Just a bunch of Spaghettios. And a shower curtain.
The living room after the futon resurrection. And that is where I knelt to pray when I saw all of the cable cords, Cory's manuals and screwdriver.
The kitchen. Something tells me it's not going to look much different two weeks from now. But they did get a chewing for setting all of that stuff on the stove. I made sure they had the fire department's number memorized before I left.
Break time. Bre, get on the balcony...
Now pose with your boyfriend and roommate. Yes. Roommate is a guy. Evan. But no worries. Evan has been a lifelong friend. And Evan is rich. So Evan is totally cool. To all of us!
Let's go to the store. Say cheese! Then go buy some!
Let's get back and clean up the kitchen for now. You're not going to be able to eat the pizza rolls until you do.
Yes, Cory, Bre really did say she was making salad instead. Sorry, buddy. Not my place to tell her what to do...
Since you guys got a handle on everything, it's time for me to go. I will miss you. Show me that you will be okay. Okay?
I kissed my baby goodbye, climbed into my truck and turned the ignition. I glanced up and saw them sitting side-by-side on the front steps, forehead to forehead, smiling, whispering and holding one another. I couldn't help but smile myself as I put the truck in reverse, slowly pulling out of the parking space. Bre glanced up and I caught her smile, partly for me, partly for something that he said. I waved and she stood up, waving cheerfully, bouncing a little on her tippy-toes and I caught a small glimpse of the little girl that she once was. I kept going, even though my heart wanted to slam on the breaks and run full-speed towards her once more.
It hurt not to. It felt like my heart would burst from not doing so.
And just as I was about ready to do it, I saw them take each other's hand and walk into the building. Together.
This is what it feels like to let go. For real this time. Knowing that there are others who love and adore your baby just like you do. Knowing that your daughter has enough love in her heart for someone else, just like she does for you. Sometimes you have to let the slack out of the strings completely. You won't let them go all the way because they are permanently tethered to you, but you have to let them go enough so that she can fly, uninhibited, exploring, searching, growing.
Trusting. That is what I am doing. Having faith. In my God. Who loves her just as much, if not MORE, as I do. To watch over her and cradle her in His arms, to protect her, guide her, instruct her, hold onto her as she journeys through this life...
"Are you ready, baby?"
"Yes, Momma. I think so. I think I am."
"Then let's hit it. Full speed ahead."
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
I need a make-over.
Not an extreme one, not a physical one (well, maybe, but that can wait), but one of the soul. I haven't been too great in the spiritual department as of late and it's starting to show. I don't know what it is...I know that we can't always remain on the spiritual high, which should then lend itself to leaning on faith, but sometimes there are just things that creep in and take hold. Then they start to rear their heads and leave a nasty aftertaste in your mouth. I do have a tendency to be sarcastic but have tried to keep it in a tongue-in-cheek way. I recognize that I can be a little lippy so I've always tried to be mindful of that. But today I let it slip and ended up hurting someone.
Today was going extremely well for me but suddenly I just got "fed up" this evening. I've been trying to secure my position in the pharmacy but it's not happening fast enough for my liking. Bre is leaving in three days. I had to pay almost $700 for her first month's expenses on her new apartment because her loan money won't be in until the 26th. My sister has been ill. It seemed tonight that it all started to hit home. Then a friend of mine called and asked me a medical question for a concern she had and I snipped at her. She got dreadfully quiet and I apologized profusely but I could tell I stung her.
After I got off the phone with her I sat down, dug deep and gave in to tears. I haven't exactly been the best servant to Him these days. What happened? I was in an awesome mood this morning then without warning I became an impatient ogre. Then I realized that I had been holding alot of my concerns in and just not handing them over to God like I should be.
I have fallen short these days, much more than usual. I have not been making the best of decisions and, although my health is improving, my spiritual health is not. It has become twisted, a little self-serving and dare I say, a little self-righteous. I recognize some things surfacing that I possessed before I began my walk with God that I thought I had done away with AFTER giving Him my life. I am starting to take my worries, my burdens, from Him and trying to make them MY solitary possessions. I cannot do this because it is affecting others. It is detrimental to my faith, my well-being, my over-all health physically and spiritually.
Change needs to begin. Just as I walk and exercise to keep my physical stamina up, I need to also "exercise" to build my spiritual stamina. I need to spend more time in His word, get back to the "talks" I have with Him and let go more in the terms of what my future does and does not hold. He sees and knows where I'm headed. He has it under control. I may not know when I will get my new position in the pharmacy but HE knows and knows WHEN it is best for me. I should be thankful that my beautiful daughter is healthy and smart and able to live "out there" in confidence, knowing she will be home to visit often. I should be thankful that I was in a position to pay her expenses as well instead of grumbling about the "slackers" who could not get "her" money to her "on time." I should be thankful that my sister got well because most people her age do not recover so quickly from the type of pneumonia she had. And above all, I should be thankful for the friend who felt she could come to me, not be afraid of reproach, in confidence and confide in me that she was apprehensive about a certain problem she was having. She trusted my experience, my advice, and my words often times bring her great comfort.
So tomorrow I must dig deep after a morning prayer or two and get myself back on track. I will pull up my knickers, tie my shoes and set my spiritual health back on the right track. Some how. Some way. I must smile at others with the confidence that I am not here for my entertainment but to serve them in the best way I know how. I must discard my impatience. Throw away my sarcasm. Then give God my worries, turning my hands over and allowing them to fall into His open palms below mine. He told me before that He would take care of it all. When did I start not believing Him? What possible excuse could I have for taking them from Him in the first place? I don't have His permission to do so.
Tomorrow isn't soon enough. I think I will start right now. So, before going to bed, I'm going to pray and ask for His forgiveness. I didn't realize how heavy my heart has been until now.
Goodnight, dear friends.
God bless you. You are loved.
Monday, July 23, 2012
Today was my third day off from work. I was looking forward to these three days and had decided I was going to do nothing but paste my butt to the recliner and watch t.v. My first day off and two hours later I knew I was in trouble when I tried to see how far I could stretch a slobber string from my bottom lip. The day didn't really get much better from there.
The second day was better. I went to PetLand and played with my chiweenie. See my SparkPage. Isn't he cuuuute???!
Today I decided I was going to take pictures to share with all of you, of my exciting life. At noon I looked on my SD card. I had three. Brian weedeating. The cat cleaning himself. Me painting a smiley face in the dust on the treadmill. I knew I had to get out of the house when I saw the one of the toilet after I cleaned it...it looked so pristine. And SHINY. I was so proud...
So, I decided to take a walk. I thought I would take pictures along the way so you could walk with me! Isn't that cool? So come on...let's go!!
Okay. So far so good. Out of my house. Up the hill we go.
On the other side of the hill I was met by Raphael. He thought I wanted to touch his boat. As if.
My neighbor's mailbox. This has always bothered me.
You are here.
Let's go around this corner...
And this curve...
Ummmm...let's not go here. The hills have eyes...
"State Nature Preserve. Restricted Area. Access By Permit Only." Hmm. Hope they don't catch on that I've lived here for about 16 years now. Could you imagine the FINE???!
SSSHHH! WAIT! EWW, I hear something! What is that NOISE??
Let me grab a club or something...
What did I tell you? Mystery solved.
On we go. In these parts this sign means "Snakes Ahead."
To our right...
To our left...
Where all the lawyers and doctors go in this town to hide from their wives during Ohio State Football. Seriously. They set up their big screen in the backyard and nom on hot dogs and beer during the game.
I feel like a fairy is going to jump out at me any minute with a key or glitter or something...
Where we must stand until the rain stops. Because SOMEONE forgot the umbrella...
Okay, ten minutes later, sun is out, I'm wet and ticked, so let's continue on. Move it.
What? You don't know where you are???? Let me, ARGGGHHH, move these tree branches and...yep. We're lost.
I love this little place. They've got squirrels coming out the wazzoo. Unfortunately I did not get to see any today. :(
Water. I need water.
How we hillbillies spell "Oops." And we write it on the road with our fangers.
Pit stop. Breath in. Breath out.
You have got to be kidding me. All the way here and the horses aren't out???!!!
Welp, time to ski-daddle, folks. I hope you enjoyed walking with me. Maybe one day you can go to work with me. (Like a "Take-Your-Sparkie-To-Work-Day." Lol.) I know that I have enjoyed sharing my day with you. And, maybe one day, we can share these walks in person. Until then...remember...
God bless you. You are loved.
Monday, June 18, 2012
I can't believe how quickly time flies when you're having fun. Bre came home a few weeks ago and it's been such a wonderful time! She and I have made a pact that this summer we are going to get to our healthiest weight and eat "good for you" foods. We have also eliminated sugar, flour and most meats from our diet which has lead us to experiment with vegan recipes. We've learned that there are alot of great ways to dress up fruits and vegetables which leave us feeling fulfilled and not feeling deprived in any way. On the flip side, we have also learned what DOES NOT WORK.
I can tell you that Black Bean Brownies are not good. AT ALL. They look gorgeous. Thick and brown, fudgy. They even smell great. But the first taste leaves you scrubbing your tongue with a Brillo pad and picking black flakes out of your teeth for two days. I'm thinking you can add all the Agave Nectar you want to these little treasures and they will still have you shooting up out of a deep sleep screaming, "REALLY?! What was I thinking?!" I had to lick a Reese's Cup just so I could remember what chocolate is SUPPOSED to taste like.
Our homemade lemon vinaigrette dressing left us puckered for days. It made it difficult to apply our lipstick. We have decided it is BEST used as a window cleaner.
Tofu stir fry. Our first clue should have been when the tofu stuck to the roof of our mouths like bad peanut butter. Or when it bounced off the floor like one of those little super balls. But wanting to encourage one another with healthy eating habits, we urged the other to keep eating it. It eventually became a bribe..."If you finish your tofu, honey, I will buy you a new pair of shoes." "If you finish your tofu, Mommy, I won't tell Daddy that you tagged a shopping cart at Walmart and kept going." (Tofu is bad. It makes you have hallucinations as well.)
I thought it would be interesting to add different kinds of veggies to spice up regular salads. So I bought some Asian bean sprouts to throw in the mix. Halfway through, in mid-chew, Breanna screamed, "Did you read the label?!" Her tone of voice made me spit out the wad in my mouth, roll my tongue around a tad and whisper, "Wh...Why??" To which she replied, "It says that they are so fresh they are alive." To which she promptly dumped a few on the island and prodded with a fork. Okay, okay, we knew they weren't alive but the mental visual was just too much for us to take. We threw them out in the backyard and prayed they didn't morph into giant worms.
"Easy and Healthy Carrot Dogs." Served on regular hot dog buns. We looked at the recipe and giggled crazily. We needed a laugh.
We decided after all of this healthy eating that we needed a cheat day. So, when designated "Cheat Day" arrived, we ate pizza and had a small cup of ice cream. Which left us taking turns running to the bathroom, sometimes knocking each other over during the trade-off. She actually upper-cutted me the fourth time around and screamed, "Move it or lose it!" It was then we realized that our bodies had become acclimated to eating well and didn't like "junk." It's almost like it was reacting to poison. Which made us realize that what we were doing, by eating healthy, was helping our bodies recognize what was NOT good for us. And we were really feeling great when we were eating great. :)
I had a small set-back this weekend. The stomach flu has been going around at work, and no matter how much I washed my hands, it creeped in on me. I was pretty ill for a few days but have managed to make it through. With that, Breanna made dinner this evening and I was slightly hesitant to try it. However, I was pleasantly surprised...
Vegan Curried Sweet Potato with Fresh Herbs. It smelled like pure heaven. Here is the recipe:
10 heaped cups of 1-2 inch cubes of sweet potato, yams or Japanese pumpkin that has been lightly steamed until just tender.
2 cups (about 2 medium) finely chopped brown onions.
1 cup freshly chopped cilantro/coriander
1 cup freshly chopped parsley
1/2 cup cold-pressed organic extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp finely minced ginger
2 Tbsp finely minced garlic
2 tsp brown mustard seeds
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground curry powder
1/2 - 1 tsp Celtic sea salt.
Lightly steam the sweet potato until tender. You don't want it too soft or it will become a mushy ball when mixed together.
Heat the oil in a wok on high heat and stir-fry the mustard seeds until they just pop.
Now add in the turmeric, curry powder, ginger and garlic.
Stir in the sea salt and onions and cook until the onions are translucent.
Chop up your cilantro and parsley in the food processor and stir through the mixture.
Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and fold through the sweet potato, yams or pumpkin until uniformly coated with the mixture.
It was sooo good. You just have to go through a few hits and misses until you find something you really like and I really looove these. And they are beautiful as well.
Have a great week, dear friends. Be aware of what you eat so it doesn't eat you! God bless. You are loved.
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