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hello, World.

I’m a really good writer.  I’ve been told that I should write a book.  I’ve been told this not BECAUSE I’m a good writer, though.  Well, maybe that’s part of it.  I mean, I’ve waxed philosophic and communicated updates on a sick child; I’ve given recipes or sent thank you notes in very unique ways…and they’ve all gotten rave reviews.  But that’s not the main reason I’ve been told I should write a book.  (If you know me and any part of my life you know where I’m going with this)  I’ve been told I should write a book because my life, up to this point, has been a movie of the week – a cable network drama of sorts…the good, the bad, and the beautiful.

Well, that is this blog.  I am going to pass with care from my hands to your eyes – and hopefully your hearts – the things I’ve learned, the things I’m still learning, and the things I’m looking forward to learning.  The legacy I’m building is very important to me, and I’m watching it unfold before my very eyes.

I am very passionate about relaying these things to you in the way of stories, jokes, prayers, recipes, DIYs.  I want to share joy, heartaches, fears, and anger.  I want you to wonder what is coming next.  I would like to share tragedies you can relate to, good times you can smile about.  I want you to know how to take five bucks and make a beautiful dinner for six people; how to believe a healthy, beautiful marriage is not out-of-reach; how to make your home smell great for exactly three cents;  how to have a loved one that is sick long-term and still openly trust and embrace the situation; how to shop at thrift stores proudly; how to not let unhappy and bitter people sabotage your journey; how to own it when you’re wrong (still working on that one);  how to persevere despite the darkest clouds(and that one); how to be crusty on the outside and gooey in the middle.

I want you to not be able to put this book down.

…and so turn the pages with me, because here we go…

Egg On My Face

Easter is one of my most-favorite times of the year.  There are many reasons:

1. I’m a Believer, and as a Believer, this holiday represents the height of what my personal faith lies on – Jesus is alive!

2. I love the way springtime feels.

3. It is a tradition in my (Italian) family to make salami pie!  WHO DOESN’T LOVE SALAMI PIE??

4. Pastels.

5. We get to eat colored hard-boiled eggs.  YUM.

I love coloring the eggs.  We have done it every year since the kids were small, and continue to do it even though they are grown now.  I especially love coloring them now that I am much more chemical-conscious.  I have found so many ways to color eggs naturally!

Now a few years ago, in preparation to color our Easter eggs, I did what every one of YOU do prior to coloring eggs for Easter: I boiled them.  (Notice I didn’t say “hard-boiled” them?)

I thought I did all the right things.  I brought the eggs to a rolling boil, let them cook in the water for some time, and then turned off the heat and rinsed them with cold water.  I put them in the fridge to cool prior to coloring them, and started on my food coloring ingredients of rosemary, blueberries, purple cabbage, red zinger tea bags, and turmeric.  I was just sooooo proud of myself.  So I called The Hubster to the beautiful table I had set with the array of colored water/vinegar elixirs I had prepared, the carton of boiled eggs (nope, still not gonna use the other reference), and two lovely glasses of wine.  (Those were for us, not the eggs).  Adrian had turned on some nice music and we got to work.

After each egg was colored, we tenderly placed them back in the egg carton to dry.  Easter morning before church, I placed all the eggs into the cutest little basket and placed them on the table as a centerpiece where we would be eating these eggs, along with our Easter ham, salami pie, and other goodies.  The kids look forward to this very meal every year!  The Hubster likes his with a little mayo, relish, and cayenne.  Cameron pops an entire egg into his mouth at one time.  Chelsea carefully cleans out the yolk and gives it to Sam while she eats the whites. And Jordan slices his and puts it on his ham  - ohhhhhhh, how the family would be SO PROUD of me when they saw these eggs!   They looked stunning, even if I did say so myself.

As I set the table that afternoon, those beauties were calling my name.  Which one should I eat?  Which one wouldn’t take away from the glorious eye-feast that was my egg centerpiece?  Which one would I delight in sprinkling a little sea salt and cracked black pepper on before placing the delectable into my watering mouth??

I slowly scanned the treasure basket and focused in on the deep-emerald splendor and grabbed it, carefully tucking the other eggs not chosen into its place so as not to disturb the egg-basket trophy I so proudly displayed.  Holding it in front of me in both hands like it were delicate glass (okay, that part’s not true, but it made for good imagery), I went into the kitchen, opened the garbage basket, and begrudgingly (it was just SO PRETTY, after all) banged it on the counter so as to crack it’s armor and peel it away to the delicious orb that lie beneath.

Here comes the good part.

So I smashed it.  I wanted to just be able to give it a good crackin’ to hurry and get to it, after all.  BOOM.  Full-hand smash.  Aaaaand the egg exploded all over me; like, EXPLODED.  Apparently, I had NOT boiled them properly, and the only part of it cooked was a small layer around the outside.  That layer blew into bits upon the smash, and the rest of the liquidy egg was everywhere.

I literally was standing there with egg on my face.

And we did not get to eat our eggs that year, either, needless to say.  (Oh, don’t worry – there was PLENTY of ham and salami pie, along with decadent potatoes and asparagus, but that’s a story for another post)

I have now, thanks to that experience, perfected the hard-boiled egg.  Perfect white, not too rubbery, and the golden center, not too dry, but cooked just right.  I have taken this secret out of the vault and am giving it to you as a gift.  The ‘recipe’ is below.

Do you prize what looks good on the outside, never REALLY taking the steps needed to go a little deeper and find out if what’s inside is what is REALLY of worth?  As you age, are you gracious to yourself and consider the wealth of knowledge and experience you’ve gained over the course of this precious life to put into the vault, or do you just waste this gift of life wishing you could do it over again?  Don’t wind up with egg on YOUR face.  Remember to look past what’s only skin-deep and find value in the golden center that’s been cooked just right……it helps perfect the recipe for the legacy you leave behind.

THE PERFECT HARD-BOILED EGG

Place your eggs in the pot you wish to boil them in.  Cover them with water and sprinkle with a touch of baking soda (this helps the peeling process!).  Bring to a rolling boil.  Cover and remove from heat.  Let them sit for exactly 13 minutes.  Pour out the water and cover with cool water.  Let sit 3 more minutes.  Rinse with cold water again, letting the cold water run over the eggs for another minute or two.  Eat right away or refrigerate and save for later.


to She or not to She (looking for a Valentine?)

To know me is to love me…is NOT what most people say if they know me.  Don’t get me wrong.  I know people who know me do, indeed, love me.  Keeping it real, though:  if they KNOW me, AND they love me – it’s a dangerous cocktail.

I am not your average, uhhhh, (rephrase) NORMAL person.

I am a Jesus freak, a control freak…a freak of nature.  I have extreme obsessive compulsive disorder about having order, am obsessed with my husband, and compulsive about just about anything.  I love wine, hate whining, and whine about whiners.  I am extremely organized in some ways, extremely messy in others, and just plain extreme.  I am eccentric, but old-fashioned.  I am a good cooker, bad with numbers, and mediocre in almost everything else.  I want my kids to be independent, as long as they depend on me.  I’m very serious, and I’m very silly.  And I’m very serious about being silly.  I have a collection of unconventional hats, which I wear to conventional places.  I sing with every song on the radio, and with every song in my heart.  I am obnoxious, but long-suffering.  I am patient, but not for long.  I want to serve, and I find it hard to receive being served.  I’m always tired, but hate to sleep.  I make presents way more than I buy presents, and I love being present.  I love being on-stage and putting it all out there, yet I’m one of the most private people I know.  My living legacy is important to me, and the legacy I leave behind is, too.  I’m a tad narcissistic, and a tad self-loathing.  I’m a tough nut to crack.  I’m a nut.

I’m not the easiest person to love – ESPECIALLY if you know me.

I am sure, though, if I know YOU, I love you.  In some way, and by some show – albeit nominal or intense – I absolutely love you.  It could be the bread I made you from scratch, the prayer I say for you, or the hug I make linger for a long (and sometimes awkward) time with you……or just by telling you so.  But you can bet – I love you.

So, if you’re looking for a Valentine:  To She or not to She.  THAT is the question.  Good luck to you, WHICHEVER you choose.

Now Bring Us Some Piggy Pudding!

I’m fairly sure we’ve all done it.  You know……all sing – loudly and proudly – “Now bring us some piggy pudding, and bring some right here!”

I know I have.  It took me FOREVER to realize the lyrics were “FIGGY” pudding.  But I didn’t care, even once I found out.  We are creatures of habit, and it still comes out piggy pudding when I sing it.  Either way, when you consider it, neither one sounds very appetizing, now does it?

I’ve always loved cooking, but in the last few years I’ve really become what is socially referred to as a “foodie”; not just loving the adventure of cookery, but also feeling my palette mature and craving truly good fare and not processed or fast stand-ins; and also really honing in on the craft of preparing stunning and delicious food.

(Now stay with me.  You may think you know where I’m going with this, but you won’t have seen this one coming.)

So of course, as time progressed and so did my culinary skills, I was greatly interested in researching and getting to the bottom of how figgy pudding came to be, what was in it, how to prepare it, and then – to delight in it – if it was warranted.  It IS called, FIGGY PUDDING, after all.  Just say it.  What picture comes into your head?  For me, it was a brown, gelatinous, squishy-sounding goo that I was certain only paupers and beggars had to eat back in the days of yore.  Well, though the thought intrigued me, it certainly didn’t sound appetizing!

In doing this research of sorts, I discovered it dated back to the 16th century and consisted of mashed figs, thickened with bread, and then crème-boiled into a custard.  That actually sounded pretty good.  Like bread and fig jam!  YUM.  Well, if you know me, you know I typically don’t stick to a recipe.  It’s a sickness.  And I definitely CAN’T quit any time I want.  Seeing several modern-day recipes consisting of butter, molasses, cinnamon, nutmeg, and figs, I thought, “I bet I could make this into a pie.”  To which I did.  And it was … DELICIOUS!  I candied some walnuts and put them on top and it was one of the most delectable Christmas treasures I had ever created.

But wait!!  There’s more…

Last year, I decided to make figgy pudding pie again, and was singing the song over and over again (we all know when a song gets stuck, it’s STUCK!); but alas, I found myself singing about piggy pudding again.  Maybe I wasn’t giving figgy pudding the respect it was due.  It was, after all, being prepared in my kitchen again because it was so good.

And then it hit me.  Piggy Pudding.  (I don’t even WANT to know the vision you get when you hear THAT)  I thought of all the ingredients in the figgy pudding pie I had made.  I then thought about pork, which led me to think about mincemeat pie: it has apples, raisins, and sometimes, pork or roast beef, and it is YUM.  Why not figs instead?  What about pulled pork, figs, butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg DIDN’T sound good?

And so it came to be.  Piggy Pudding.  It’s legit.  Sing it loud and proud. 

I wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

Piggy Pudding Pie

  • 1 ½ cups pulled or shredded pork (pork is a rare treat in my house, so when I do make it, I use only organic, nitrate free, hormone-free, uncured pork)
  • ½  stick of butter
  • ½  cup of molasses
  • About 2 cups figs, stems removed and finely chopped (you can substitute dried, but make sure they are un-sweetened to avoid processed and extra un-necessary sugar)
  • Finely-grated lemon peel (it needs this acidity)
  • Juice of the lemon
  • 1 tablespoon potato starch (you can substitute corn starch, but I keep watch for GMOs and aluminum)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • A jhushj of fresh grated nutmeg (I don’t know what a measure equal to a jhushj would be, so just grate it over the top of the mixture)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • Rum or cognac (optional, but not in my house)

Cream butter with mixer until it is fluffed.  Add your molasses and beat that up a little.  Then add your figs, butter, and lemon juice and peel.  Add the remaining dry ingredients (potato starch, salt, and other seasonings), until it is all mixed together.  Fold in your pulled pork.  If you’re really feeling froggy, a little cognac or rum poured in doesn’t hurt!  Pour into a prepared pie crust (I make mine from scratch, but it’s your call from here) If you want to make it look authentic, place a pie crust or pie lattice over the pie, slice it a few times if it’s a full crust, and egg-white brush it.  Place in a 325-degree oven for about 45 minutes.  Eat slowly.  Enjoy.  I can’t TELL you how emotional this experience will be for many Christmases to come! 

‘Tis The Season: A Birthday Blog

Some people, when it’s their birthday, are infamous for saying, “Oh, it’s just another day.”  I will NEVER be one of those people!  I have a pulse!  I am breathing!  I am happy I was born!  I feel wonderful that I get to celebrate it!

I have been through so many different seasons in my 43 years.  Hills.  Valleys.  Ups.  Downs.  Highs.  Lows.  Like EVERYONE ELSE!!  But I can say this with all sincerity – I don’t regret one moment, nor do I have any bitterness.  How could I??  Those seasons have led me to the most incredible, charmed and joy-filled life!  And it’s brought me to a time spent with each and every one of you beautiful, crazy people!  I may not be the wealthiest woman in the world, but I am definitely RICH.

Thank you to all those people who have been in my life and made a difference – both in a negative way AND a positive one.  For the ones that weren’t so enjoyable, I thank you for thickening my skin and giving me balance, wisdom, and growth. 

For those who have left me with a positive imprint of you on my spirit – even though we may have come and gone in each other’s lives, I still love you.  That is what a season does!  It comes and it goes…but we still celebrate them with each change.  Well, this is the month of MY birthday, and not only do I celebrate the fact that I have been given this brief life here in this world, but I celebrate YOU!  At some point, you have helped me turn lemons to lemonade.  I’ve been knocked down, and you never let me be down for long.  You’ve been a shining, triumphant example to me in some way or another.  You have shown me life-survival tactics.  You have taught me the value of family, friendship, and most importantly – the gift of TIME.  You have generously shared your love with me.  You’ve carried me through seasons.

I challenge you to ALWAYS celebrate this life you’ve been given, through every single season.  None of us know how long we have here.  We are not promised tomorrow.  Even if you’re in a valley, I encourage you to remember that those valleys are what leads you to the top of the hill!  The seasons in your life – good or not-so-good – mold you and prepare you for what is to come next.  The seasons shape your legacy – while you’re here, and for after you’re gone.  And I, for one, want to be celebrated for what I leave behind for the lives of others……and for what I can contribute while I’m still here!!  To everything, there is a season…

Happy Birthday to me!! SHE!!


The Perfect Blend

When I met Adrian, it was clear we had similar “baggage”. We both came from a not-so-amicable divorce, we both had children from that previous marriage, and we both were never going to get married again. (Ya see how that worked out, don’t ya?)

These days, we live in a society of blended families. It’s the norm, really. People never used to be as surprised to hear an older, married couple say they were celebrating their 25th, 40th, or 50th wedding anniversary. Nowadays, it’s astonishing just to hear if someone hasn’t been divorced at least once. And yep – I’m part of that society.

After we started seeing each other on a serious level (sounds so mature, doesn’t it?), we knew that we weren’t just seeing each other, but also each other’s children. Then, when we got married, we knew we weren’t just marrying each other, but becoming part of the parental units the children would share. I am a person of faith, and I can tell you that the moment I accepted Adrian’s proposal, I prayed he would be an example of a man that would buy the truth and not sell it; gain wisdom, instruction, and understanding, and then deliver it to our children. I prayed with all my might he would put aside all judgment and generously share with the children his unconditional love he had for me, and that he would have a “Joseph-spirit”, (Joseph, the step-father of Jesus, who, in my opinion was the greatest step-father who ever lived).

I prayed he would be the perfect father, and that together we would be the perfect parents.

Um, NO.

Though at the present time I am the richest woman in the world, it has not come without it’s trials, pitfalls, difficulties, and snags. The process has been less-than-perfect. There have been disagreements, arguments, knock-down-drag-outs, and moments we are less-than-proud of. We have seen illness, death, valleys, and phychiatrists. We have had seasons where we gained friends and family, but also lost friends and family. We have shared in drama, defeat, lost savings; had powerful, emotional lows, and scraped the bottom of life’s barrel. And we did it all together.

Don’t get me wrong, we have all – Adrian, me, AND the kids – worked at it with all our hearts, and the price of the success we share as a family unit came through that hard work and dedication. Because with all of those things, we have also seen grace, mercy, compassion, and triumph over illness. We have been taught endurance, grown in faith, strength, and perseverance, and learned to trust. We have celebrated the peaks, marriages, each other, life, and love. And we did it all together.

We have a beautiful family, and we are protective of that. We live a charmed life, always enjoying the things that most people don’t see right in front of them, and we are joyful and thankful for that. But if it was all taken away from us tomorrow, we would remember that life is a big canvas and we threw all the paint on it we could; we would remember that we made the decision to be a family and commit ourselves to making it a success; we would remember that without the valleys there would be no peaks. We would remember that we were given the gift of being like a unique wine – the gift of being intricately perfected and blended.

Go Bananas!

I know this is going to come as a shock to anyone reading this so brace yourself: Most people think I’m crazy.  I know, I know – SHOCKING!  Now I don’t think that means incapacitated-crazy, or lobotomy-crazy (well, perhaps), but extremely eccentric-crazy, or largely unconventional…and they are right!  Oddly enough, I am very old-fashioned and nostalgic to antiques and history and the things that give them (and me!) character as well.  I know those two things don’t always connect, but it’s what makes me, me.

With my history comes the fact that I did not grow up affluent; in fact, we were raised to accept and appreciate hand-me-down clothing, sharing a room, and liver and onions for dinner because it was cheap.  My favorite lunch when my parents were out working was to smear ketchup on a piece of bread.  To me, that was a rare delicacy, and even if I was hungry, I would painstakingly chew every bite until it melted in my mouth because it tasted so good.  I suppose I was a foodie before my time!

That history makes up who I am today.  Though I am quite certain my palette is much more refined (organic ketchup on rice bread?), I still have a little panic button if I see that the “staples” of the pantry are dwindling.  I am one of the most frugal people I know.  It is part gift, part skill.  I can shop for all the healthy food that will restock my pantry without paying a mortgage to do so.  And I do.  I also don’t like to waste.  Not anything. So I will freeze just about everything; leftovers, bread, tortillas… I don’t know if that is the frugal side of me or the unconventional side of me, but either way,  it has saved us from a pinch a time or two!

So!  Where is this frugal / unconventional She history lesson headed, you ask?

BANANAS.  Yep.  Bananas.  Not like me-being-crazy bananas, but real, wholesome, packed-full-of-potassium bananas.  Most people love them.  I do.  The downfall of bananas is that they go black QUICK.  Now, that doesn’t mean they’re bad to eat, necessarily, depending on how mushy or firm you like your banana, but it does mean fruit flies or gnats, or sticky counters or bowls.   Every grocery trip, I buy organic as-green-as-I-can-get-em bananas.  But rest-assured, they turn yellow and then black before we can eat them all.  What to do with the bananas so that the history in me doesn’t let them go to waste?

At the risk of sounding like Bubba Gump, there are LOTS of things you can do with bananas!  Banana bread, banana cookies, banana pancakes, banana smoothies.  But the question is: do we want that every day of our lives just to keep the bananas from going South?  Of course not!  The solution?  FREEZE THEM.  That’s right.   “She must be crazy” you’re saying to yourself.  Well, I established that early on in the post so you can’t say I didn’t warn you.

I put my bananas in the freezer to keep.  They turn black almost immediately, but trust me, they are still usable for a very long period of time.  I devote the entire top shelf of my freezer to leftover bananas.  They don’t go to waste and they are there for healthy, delicious snacks or recipes.  I posted a couple of my favorite below, so if you’re a banana-lover, feel free to indulge.  I even included one strictly for serendipitous purposes and the nostalgic sake of the story above – banana ketchup!!

Our past makes us who we are for our future.  My living legacy is as important to me as the one I leave behind; that not only means my faith or how I treat people, but the little things in life that make me rich…REALLY rich.  I don’t have to have a lot of money to tell you I’m one of the richest people I know – even if I AM bananas!

THREE-INGREDIENT HEALTHY BANANA COOKIES (quick, easy, healthy and DELICIOUS!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup of uncooked Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.  Mix the mashed bananas and oats in a bowl. Fold in the chocolate chips. Using a spoon, scoop up the batter and place on the cookie sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.

ROASTED BANANAS WITH BROWN SUGAR WALNUT GLAZE (Good for a side dish or a dessert!)
Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice $
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 large firm ripe bananas
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla frozen yogurt

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl, and set aside.
  • Cut bananas in half lengthwise. Place banana halves, cut sides up, on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 4 minutes. Drizzle sugar mixture evenly over banana halves, and sprinkle with toasted walnuts. Bake an additional 3 minutes. Cut each banana piece into thirds crosswise. Serve bananas with frozen yogurt; drizzle with any remaining sugar mixture.

BANANA KETCHUP (I love to baste my chicken with this stuff before grilling!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño from (about 1 small jalapeño)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4 large bananas)
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons rum
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Water, as needed

Directions:

Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions have softened. Add garlic, jalapeno, ginger, turmeric, and allspice and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in bananas, vinegar, honey, rum, tomato paste, soy sauce, and salt; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.  Transfer ketchup to a food processor or blender (processor is better if you have one) and process until smooth. Thin out with water as needed to reach a ketchup-like consistency. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to an airtight container and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Step on a Crack

We’ve all heard the expression, right?  “Step on a crack”…you can finish it; I know you can…”break your mother’s back!!”

Though I think that is quite insensitive to the mothers of the world, when it comes to me, if I step on a crack, I usually break SOMETHING.  I have had more broken bones, torn ligaments, fractured whatevers, cracked something-or-others, and ‘itises” of the whatchamacallits than anyone I know.  True story.

It is very difficult to have an opinion these days, especially if you’re me.  I am a bit of a nut-bucket (no secret), and for that reason, people sometimes find it hard to take me seriously.  For instance, when I am touting all the good reasons to be a clean and healthy eater, most people – not all, but most – guffaw at organics or the thought of taking processed foods out of their diets.  (Nice usage of ‘guffaw’, right??)

But I’m here to tell you I have PROOF of what I am posting about today…so keep yer guffaws to yerselves.   (Totally went Cowboy Camp Speak on ya there; sorry)

This guy – we’ll call him Dr. Derek Maxson, since that’s his name – is a chiropractor from another PLANET.  First day, I walked (limped) into his office and I say, “I’ve got this knee thing.”  By the time I walked out – I WALKED OUT.  No limp! 

Next, I walk in and say, “So I’ve been running now!  Thanks for fixing my knee!  But I’ve run myself into a bunion.”  Low-and-behold, bunion gone within minutes.  Another time: “Cough, cough!!”  (That’s me coughing)  I hand him a hand-written note saying I have zero voice, sore throat, ear ache, AND I have to sing the very next morning.  BOOM.  Voice back by the next day after one of those “adjustments”.   AND he adjusted my EAR to fix it.  MY EAR, PEOPLE.

But recently, a diverticulitis and gall bladder attack set me back.  (It’s an epidemic these days, but I’ve been dealing with this since I was a kid) I mean it was such terrible pain.  I walked in with swelling that made me look five-months pregnant and pain shooting through me all up in my down-below.  (And this is AFTER an emergency-room visit did NOT help me) I did what he asked (some crazy contraption and a different kind of adjustment) and I walked out of there moments – literally MOMENTS – later with no swelling and relief from the pain enough to tend to it from home properly.

Last but certainly not least, I recently had a sweet friend yawn and dislocate his jaw.  Don’t laugh; it COULD happen to you!   It was not only painful, it was scary.  And it was late at night.  But Dr. Derek Maxson (I’m starting to sound like a commercial for him at this point) got up, met my friend at his clinic, and gently and patiently  adjusted and healed his jaw. 

I know – not only do I sound like I’m selling you on a pyramid scheme of some sort or trying to get you to buy a time-share, but I’m also making him sound like some sort of weird superhero.  Well Folks, that’s because HE IS.  (Minus the pyramid scheme/time share part!) 

Me telling you all about my chiropractor may sound like quite the little thing in the grand scheme of life.  But I think we MUST enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.  Thank you for helping to keep me well, Derek.  My health is a big thing.  That’s just my opinion.

Trust and adjust!!


Merci Beaucoup

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Crossing Jordan

Being a blended family is no easy task.  It’s been done since the dawn of time, though; even in biblical times.  Joseph is probably the world’s best-known and greatest step-dad ever!

Well our blended family dynamic is one we are consistently working on.   As people change and grow, so does the dynamic.  Jordan is our youngest.  He has always been our “quiet one”.  But, just like his dad, though he doesn’t have much to say, when he does, it’s funny, crazy, or profound.

I remember showing him how to tie his shoe: “Over, under, around, and through…that’s how Jordan ties his shoe!”  I remember him saying the word shoes in Spanish – “zapatos” – and he would crack me up every time because of how deliberate and intentional he was about it.  I remember him saying he wanted to be a fireman when he grew up so I arranged for a tour of a firehouse – he screamed and cried the entire time, louder than the firetruck!

Once, he came home and said, “ I’ve been thinking about what you were going to cook for dinner aaall day!  You’re a good cooker!”

All good memories.  I would be remiss if I told you it’s all been cheese and lollipops, though.  Of course, we have had disagreements.  Of course we have had misunderstandings.  Of course we have had moments of pain, suffering, and disappointment.  But that happens in ANY family.

I am grateful for Jordan.  Without him even knowing it, he has changed my life in so many ways.  Chelsea and Cameron are so outgoing and (booyah!) “in-yo-face”.  I’ve watched poor Jordan take a back seat to that so many times – but with quiet fortitude and grace.  I’ve learned that you can scream something to someone in a relationship without ever making a sound because of Jordan.  I’ve learned that sometimes that’s best.  I’ve also learned that you can love a child as though they are your very own, even when they are not because of Jordan.  I’ve learned that a blood relation does not mean unconditional love, but rather unconditional love deepens a relationship.  I’ve learned, because of Jordan, that there are more than two sides to every story, and that truth is vital.

I spend a lot of time writing blog posts about my family because they’ve all been strategically placed in my life to continue to form and mold me.  I blog about all the paths these people in my life have crossed and the way it’s made me become She – the way it’s helped me form my living legacy and the legacy I leave behind.  I’ve written about crossing paths with many different people, but before today, I’ve yet to write about crossing Jordan and the difference he’s made in me.

Who has made a difference in your life that may not get quite the credit they deserve?  Maya Angelou once said, “ I’ve learned that people will forget what you said; people will forget what you did; but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Button Up!

I have a ton of jewelry.  Some of it is antique or vintage, but most of it is costume, eccentric, and / or tacky.  That’s just how I like it; in fact, that’s who I am – vintage, eccentric, and / or tacky.  I’m 42 and still working on getting better.   

I found myself somewhat frustrated some time ago, because I am a bit obsessive-compulsive and was finding it hard to keep up with all my jewelry pieces, and I like to take care of them. 

At first, The Hubster (we’ll call him Adrian since that’s actually his name), lent a hand.  He, too, is OCD and for his own empathy’s sake wanted to see it organized.  (He ain’t just purty)  He took a piece of his fishing tackle box and cut it down to fit my stand-up jewelry box that didn’t have dividers – just deep drawers.  I put all my earrings in the compartments.  I hung all my necklaces up with adorable hooks and got quirky baskets for all my rings and bracelets, but felt pretty cool about how he had engineered earring compartments. 

But I still found myself hunting and rifling through the partitions he had put together for me.  I could always find one earring and would have to hunt the rest of the compartments for the other because they would somehow split up when I would put them away.  It is like when I am certain I put two socks in the washer, but somehow only one comes out of the dryer!

I always hook my loops together.  My jy-normous earrings I don’t ever have to worry about because I don’t tend to lose them as often – because they’re jy-normous.  But the ones that are posts, or dangly ones without loops to hook one another to…… I had no idea what to do with them.  So I started to clean the jewelry box out in hopes of coming up with an idea as I organized.  At the bottom of the jewelry box, I found a button.  I remember getting an adorable jacket at Goodwill (read back on the post Goodwill Toward Men) and found an extra button in the pocket.  I remember putting it in the jewelry box thinking I had to find a place for the extra buttons I had, too.  And then……it came to me.  The idea that would take care of stray earrings AND extra buttons!

I took different-sized buttons out of my sewing kit – some people still sew!  I took extra buttons out of Cameron’s room.  I searched the house high and low for anywhere I thought I would find extra buttons.  I had buttons of all sizes, shapes and colors.  It was a button-fest!  The only extra button not being used was my belly button!  And here’s what I did:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So remember: when you think there is no place for something, before you toss it aside, think about what other uses it may hold.  If you feel out-of-sorts and unorganized and find yourself rifling through the day, just stop – compartmentalize, and think about the things that are important; about the ways you can display the friendships of the people in your life so that those relationships can become vintage and well-cared for.  Search high and low for the love you have in your life of all different shapes, sizes, and colors.  And how do you keep them warm in your heart?  Just be sure to BUTTON UP!