Thursday, January 29, 2015

Is There a Pause Button in Life?

Okay, is it just me or has time seemed to be speeding right along?  Where did January go?  Didn't we just celebrate Christmas?  Sheesh!

Sometimes I wish there was a pause button in life.  Or a slow motion button.  I sometimes wonder when I look at my calendar, how my weekends get filled up so quickly  and so far in advance.  Trying to find time for family get togethers is difficult at times because my grown kids are just as busy as we are it seems.  My grandchildren are growing up way too fast.  Bradley will be 3 years old in March and Isaiah will be 2.  I treasure every moment I have with them.  Jeff and my parents are aging, some it seems faster than others.  I miss them and want to spend more time with them.  With my parents, it is distance that keeps us apart.  With my husband's, it is something even sadder.

I know that life marches on and there is nothing we can do to slow it down, but oh, how I wish I could.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Found: The Perfect Herbal Peach Tea

I am a huge lover of good tea.  I enjoy seeking out new tea to try and some of them have become my favorites.  Fruit teas in particular are fun to try.  Over the years I have tried many peach teas and found them lacking in flavor or even strange tasting.  That was until I tried Bigelow's Perfect Peach Herbal Tea.

Bigelow's Perfect Peach Herbal Tea is delightful!  When you are steeping it, you are greeted with a beautiful light peach "perfume" that lets you know you are in for a real treat.  The flavor of this tea is light, refreshing, clean and peachy.  Some herbal teas are "dusty" in flavor, but not this one. Not only does it taste good but, for someone like me, it has other benefits. As someone who struggles with their weight, it provides a satisfying "sweet treat" without all the calories.  Each tea bag is also individually packaged so it stays fresh and makes it easy for me to take to work with me and brew a cup when needed. Since it is an herbal tea, it has no caffeine, which is an added bonus for those of us who struggle with insomnia.  I find it the perfect tea to unwind with at the end of the day or even as a mid day treat.  I'm now looking forward to trying some more of Bigelow's line of teas.

Monday, January 12, 2015

You Could Be Grammie If....

To be read with your best Jeff Foxworthy impression:

You could be a Grammie if your kids are all grown and...

~you have a huge toy box full of toys in your living room

~you have replaced the pictures of your own children with pictures of the next generation

~you find yourself sharing the bathtub with rubber duckies and frogs

~your children's book collection keeps growing and growing and growing

~you keep a supply of bubbles, play dough, crayons, coloring books and sidewalk chalk on hand

~you are buying Handy Manny, Fireman Sam, Dora the Explorer or Diego dvds

~you find yourself playing hide and seek, constructing forts and building with Legos

~jumping in mud puddles, picking dandelions, and looking for ants are all part of the joy of taking a walk

~you see the world with new eyes

~your life is filled with "I love you", kisses, cuddles, all kinds of questions, love, laughter and overwhelming joy 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

January Eat From Your Pantry Challenge

After all the extra expenses that Christmas brings, some friends and I have challenged ourselves to make meals with mainly with what we have on hand in our freezers, pantries and refrigerators.  Each of us has the freedom to still buy staples like dairy products, fresh produce and whatever else we may need but the goal is to utilize and use up some of the things that have been hanging around for awhile. ;)  

Tonight's dinner was a perfect example of this principal.  I thawed out some venison that needed used up and also pulled out a bag of shredded zucchini that I had grown this year in our garden.   I mixed that up with an egg, a chopped onion, some oatmeal (helps make it moister), the liquid from the thawed out zucchini and some seasonings.  I molded that into a nice meatloaf and baked it in the oven along with some sweet and some russet potatoes.  Earlier in the day I had made 4 huge loaves of banana bread with some over-ripe bananas and froze 2 of those loaves for future use.  Banana bread was both our dessert and a snack while still warm from the oven.  My husband took some to work with him as part of his meal tonight also.

As I said earlier, we are free to buy fresh dairy and produce so I sent a list of things for my hubby to pick up on his way home from work at the grocery store that is having a huge produce sale tomorrow.  I'm stocking up on potatoes and bananas and have him picking up some spinach, grapefruits, cabbage and mushrooms also.  I am pretty well stocked up on dairy products at the moment so I won't need those for another 2 weeks.

I have some milk and potatoes that currently need to be used up so tomorrow I will be making potato cheese soup.  It is comfort food at it's finest and a huge favorite of my whole family.  I think I will serve a big salad with it.  Doesn't that sound good?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Lessons Learned This Past Year

Another year has passed and it seems as though we were just ushering 2014, but here it is, already five days into 2015.  Is it just me or does time just seem to be picking up speed the older we get?  Is there a point where it seems to slow down ever again?

This last year has been one of growth for me, and sometimes that growth came with painful realizations and eventually acceptance that there are things that no matter how hard I try, how many prayers I pray and no matter what I do, the situation will not change but will only continue to get worse.  Sometimes the best thing to do, after being hurt over and over again, is to walk away.  Given some distance and time, and the counsel of good friends and family, I can now see more clearly and realize just how toxic things had become and the toll it was taking on not only me, but others I love as well.  My mother once told me that after awhile, you reach a point where you just don't care about someone that has caused you great pain and that can be a very sad thing too.  She is right, I have reached that point of no longer caring.  That does not mean that my heart does not ache for others who continue to be hurt though, but yet again, there is nothing I can do but to be there for them and love them through it.

I've learned about the strength of our family.  Our family, those whom we are related to, and those whom we have "adopted by love", mean everything to me.   We have been there for each other through thick and thin.  I know that they would do anything they could for me and I for them.  This has been the case over and over again between serious health issues, legal issues, personal struggles and the death of loved ones.  Together we got through these things, as a family and were there to love and support one another.  God knew what He was doing when He brought us all together and knew that we would hold each other up, be the listening ear, the comforting hug, the person to give words of wisdom and encouragement and the ones to celebrate wonderful milestones and victories with.

Our now adult children continue to amaze and inspire me.  My husband and I marvel at how well they are doing, pursuing their chosen paths in life and setting goals and accomplishing them, having to make huge sacrifices along the way.  They are no strangers to hard work.  They all have a great work ethic and won't let obstacles prevent them from reaching their goals.  They have also found talents that they may not have even realized they had.  I'm thankful for the lessons learned during hard times that are helping them not only make the sacrifices that they have had to make but also to appreciate all that they have done to get where they are today.

I have learned that no matter how old you are, you still want and need that unconditional love and validation from your parents and if they are not there to give you that, that there needs to be someone who can.  I am blessed to still have my parents and their love and support of my husband, our kids, grandkids and myself is something that I cherish.  I hope that I will always be that for all my children, and yes, I have many.  I may have only given birth to three, but God has blessed me with many more through marriages and through hanai (adopted by love).  All of them are precious and very much loved!

I now understand my Grandma Jean's deep love for all of us, her grandchildren.  I understand the importance of having to wait until she and Grandpa Mark got there on Christmas morning before we could open our gifts.  I remember the great joy she took in getting letters telling about the things that my cousins were doing and how she would relay all that information to us with a huge and proud smile on her face.  I now understand how much she missed her grandchildren who lived so far away and how blessed we were that she and Grandpa lived so close to us.  I now am the grandmother that proudly tells people about the things that my precious grandchildren do and say.  I look forward to spending all the time I can with them, seeing the delight in their eyes when they open their Christmas gifts, snuggling with them and reading books, having conversations with them and seeing the world through their eyes.  I treasure the moments when they give me hugs, kisses and tell me they love me or when they excitedly come running to me when they see me.  I have so many "aha" moments when I realize that this is how my Grandma Jean felt and this is also how my own mother feels about my children and her now great grandchildren also.

My husband and I have been together since I was 20 years old and will be celebrating 30 years of marriage in March.  I have always said he is my rock, my safe harbor in the storms of life and my biggest supporter and that I can face any challenge in life with him at my side.  He has been there to lift me up, encourage me and be the person who I knew would always be there for me 100%, no matter what.  These past few years my husband has been hit with some of the biggest and hardest things in his life and our roles have switched.  I am now the one lifting him up, being his safe harbor and his rock as he deals with some heartbreaking situations.  I am thankful that I can be there for him as he has always been there for me.  We can weather any storm that life throws our way as long as we have each other.

Yes, this past year has been a year of growth.  Some lessons were extremely painful and heartbreaking, but important lessons were learned from them.  Other lessons have caused me to look deep within myself and find strength that I did not know I had so that I could be there for others, even when going through so much myself.   But yet more lessons have filled me with such overwhelming joy and gratitude.  Most of all though is that I have learned that despite what kind of craziness may be going on in the world around me, I am blessed beyond measure with the family and friends that God has given me.