Archive | November, 2012

The Great Turkey Stock Spill of 2012

29 Nov

The Great Turkey Stock Spill of 2012.

The Great Turkey Stock Spill of 2012

29 Nov

Yesterday was an amazing stay at home mom day for an adhd mom like me. I was hitting on all cylinders with the help of a few online friends. We kicked butt. I cleared out, cleaned and refilled two very large cabinets in my kitchen. I also cut and placed shelf liner on each of the eight shelves, all while keeping up with my laundry and my other housework. I even cleared the kitchen table enough to have dinner on it and packed up a bin of dishes and cups for my college boy. Remember my cracked plate? That is what started it all. After dinner, I cleaned up the dishes wiped everything down and the kitchen sparkled. Yay me!!

This morning, I was so inspired when I walked into the kitchen, I decided, at 6:35am, to get the turkey stock I’d made on Monday out of the 2nd fridge and bag it up for freezing. I had 15 minutes between my husband and middle son leaving for the day and my youngest son getting up for school. For some insane reason, probably a left over high from yesterday’s uber-success, I thought it would be no problem to get it all four gallons of stock bagged up and in the freezer in 15 minutes, and it would not have been a problem, except one of the bags decided to burp or something and the next thing I knew, I had turkey stock all over my kitchen counter. Really? At 6:40am? It was under my coffee maker and my toaster oven. It looked like it was everywhere. I was ticked. I said a swear word (not the biggie). Stupid bag. That’s the last time I buy bargain bags. Whine. Whine. Whine.

As I started cleaning up, I started wondering how I could turn this into a lesson and a blog post. Again, really? Turkey stock spill as a blog post. I was beginning to think I was delusional until I thought about the lesson in the cracked plate. Could the turkey stock really teach me something? Could there really be a blessing in this? For those who find Pollyanna sickening, you might want to stop reading because I even surprised myself with this one. First off, I had the bag on a cookie sheet. True, the zipper part was hanging over the edge, but over half of the stock was still in the bag. I scooped up the bag and put it in the dish drainer in the sink. Next, as I was wiping down the coffee maker and the toaster oven, which I cleaned out since I had to wipe the outside anyway, I realized the turkey broth didn’t spread out that much because it was cold and slightly congealed. If this had happened on Monday when the stock was liquid, it would have been a much bigger spill and would have probably ruined a few fabric binders I store on my kitchen counter. Finally, as I was scooping the stock off the counter, some of it dripped on the floor and the dog must have thought it was Christmas as she happily lapped up anything that drizzled and dripped her way. What could have been a mood altering event became a lesson in perspective.

I don’t know about anyone else, but sometimes I make a mountain out of a mole hill. Sometimes I let an incident, like spilling stock, someone being rude (at least by my definition), my kids or husband not listening, waiting in line at the store while the person in front of me puts 5 items with no prices at the end of their belt full of groceries instead of at the beginning (the list could go on for pages) affect my entire day. Occasionally, I even let it fester for weeks or months and every time I think of it, I get angry again. Why do I do this? I’m not sure, but the more I write, the more I look for the lesson instead of letting anger, resentment and indignation take over. Maybe it’s the wisdom of age. Maybe my husband’s laid back attitude is finally rubbing off, or maybe, and I suspect it’s a combination of these things and more, I am back to doing what I was born to do, which at this time is to write and take care of my home and family. When I am in that space, it amazes me what serves as inspiration instead of being a catalyst for irritation, aggravation and outright anger.

I honestly believe that each of us is born with unique and incredibly special talents that we are supposed to develop and share with the world. When we do the things we’re put on this Earth to do and live the life we’re destined to live, doors open up. When we develop our God given talents and share them with the world, we feel peace and we create it in the world. Yes, I know there are people who live in poverty and oppression around the world, and perhaps part of their purpose is to inspire those of us with the freedom to live as we choose to step up and change the world so they can develop their talents too.

Ironically, most of us are completely unaware of our best talents, and if we do know what they are, we have no idea how to share them with the world. If you don’t know what your talents are, ask your friends, they’ll tell you. If you have children, they will tell you too, but they will probably be brutally honest so prepare yourself for that. If you have a loving and supportive family, ask them, but remember that most of them have a preconceived notion of you from childhood that may or may not be accurate. Some of you may be incredibly surprised by what you find out. Another way to figure out your talents is to ask yourself what you do that fills you with such joy that you completely forget about time. For me, that is writing and spending time with people I care about even if those people are online.

You see, I am a people person. I enjoy my solitude for meditating, praying and writing, but when I have to attack a project like cleaning cabinets, I work better with help. In my part of the world, you generally don’t invite friends over to help you clean, but I’ve found the next best thing. I found an online community that keeps me focused and provides the encouragement I need to keep growing and moving forward. I’ve never met most of them in person, but they are a constant source of positive peer pressure, and I care for them as much as my “in person” friends. For me, those friends are the difference between floundering and flying, and I am so grateful I live in an era where that is possible. It allows me to move past incidents, like a silly spill, that may have stopped me cold and ruined entire days at a different point in my life. Everyone deserves to be part of a community like that so that the Great Turkey Stock Spill of 2012 is nothing more than a reason to clean out your toaster oven and write a blog post about the blessing of a semi-congealed mess. It is a blessing I wish for each of you to find your purpose in this life and to have the passion, the courage and the support to become everything that you can. Just imagining a world like that will make me smile the entire day. It might even last a week or a month, or maybe we could make a mountain out of that mole hill and wouldn’t that be a beautiful thing? Thanks for being you and have a great day!

The Blessing of a Cracked Plate

27 Nov

Last night at dinner, my husband noticed that his plate was cracked all the way through. It didn’t leak, but we knew it was time to throw it away. That moment was bittersweet for me. We’ve used those plates for over 18 years, and before that they belonged to my husband’s grandma. When they were purchased, they were the top of the line, I’m sure. They were used to help raise my mother in law and her brother and they were used to help raise my children. I know it might seem overly sentimental to some, but those plates are a part of my children’s history, and I’ve loved them as long as I’ve had them; the dishes and the children. Over the years we’ve lost a dish here and there to slippery fingers and old age, and last night’s loss meant I could no longer feed my family of five with any one size of the plates that remained. It was time for a change.

Fortunately for me, our local Ikea store had a sale and I now have service for twelve that cost me about $40.00. The plates are plain white and beautiful and will grow on me, I’m sure. I’ve never owned so many everyday dishes, and it is fun to wash them and decide how they will fit in my cabinets, but I am still attached to the old ones. I was deciding how to pack up the dishes to get rid of them when something occurred to me. Next year, my college age son intends to live off campus and will be needing dishes. As a boy, he probably won’t care how many plates and bowls he has of each size as long as he has something to hold his food. So, I packed up the dishes, and they will wait until he needs them. I’m glad I can pass them on.

It also occurred to me that passing those dishes to my son is similar to raising him and sending him to college. I’ve loved the dishes, and they’ve been an integral part of my life, almost as long as my son has. Now it’s time to let them go. My son has been a huge part every single day of my life since the day he was born and now he’s away at college. My normal has changed. Our family normal has changed. There are so many memories of family dinners associated with those dishes, and there are so many precious memories of my life that include my son, but there comes a time when you have to let go. There comes a time when things change whether you’re ready for it or not. Dishes are easy to replace, but the piece of your heart that leaves when your child goes to college is not. Instead, both of you grow, hopefully, and you let the memories of a life well lived together take each of you to your next best place.

For me, I find solace in writing and sharing my realizations and epiphanies with my readers. Without it, I don’t know what I would do, but I doubt I’d see the blessing in a silly old cracked plate. Because I share, I see that the dishes that helped raise him will nourish him again just as I pray the lessons we taught him as he grew will nourish his heart, mind and soul through his life. Both are filled with hope and happy memories and love, lots of love. Is it crazy to think that dishes hold such power? Maybe, but today they do for me, and as I gently put them away for my son to use in the near future, I’ll say a prayer for him and for all the sons and daughters like him, that they remember their roots as they soar to new heights and know the love of a family truly is the wind that will keep them aloft no matter what storm they fly through. Thanks for being you and have a great day.

The Words Have Returned

26 Nov

The Words Have Returned.

The Words Have Returned

26 Nov

Today is an amazing day for me because I am once again sitting at this keyboard and the words are flowing. For the past two months or so, that hasn’t happened much. For whatever reason, the words left me, and writing anything for publication escaped me, except on a rare occasion. Today, the veil has lifted, and the words have returned. It feels like coming home and I am so grateful. I have missed writing, and I have missed sharing with you.

So what happened, you might ask. I’m not exactly sure, but I think it has a lot to do with my own feelings of inadequacy. I love sharing, but sometimes I wonder if I go too far. I feel like there is a book I’m supposed to write, but I question whether I have the skill to bring it to life. There are a lot of things I know I’m good at; some I’m pretty sure I’m good at, and some I truly wonder about.

The other thing I think was a factor is the big 5-0. I’m not fifty years old yet, but I will be in about four and a half months, and I’m not where I expected I would be in my life by this time in my life. Better put, I’m not where I’d like to be in my life, sort of. You see, I had this idea in my 20’s and 30’s that I should have a rockin’ career with no financial concerns, an incredible marriage that was the definition of passion, amazing children who never brought home a bad grade or behaved badly and a, pardon the expression, a kick ass body that would be the envy of other women my age. Where did I get this idea? Magazines? Television? Movies? Other delusional people? Any why the heck do I believe it? I don’t know, but with age comes wisdom and here’s what I have learned .

It is almost impossible to have it all, but it’s very possible to have what’s important, and what’s important to each of us is different. For me, having a great marriage is at the top of my list. I read a quote once that said that the best gift you can give your children is to have a great marriage. Being raised in a family where the marriage wasn’t the greatest, I can tell you, at least for me, that it affects me to this day. It is the reason I work to keep my marriage alive and vibrant and I am grateful that even after more than twenty years together, I love my husband more deeply than I did when we got married. It is a gift I cherish every day. Having said that, I know some really great single parents who have raised some incredible kids, but I am a better person for being half of a great team.

Like many parents, and I wish there were more, I think my children are spectacular, most days. I don’t think they’re perfect, nor do I want them to be perfect. No child needs the pressure of perfection, but I do want them to be the best they can be. Each of my children is so very different and being their best means very different things. I think anyone who says they raised multiple children exactly the same way does at least one of them a disservice. No two people are the same and to treat children as such is so unfair, especially to one who might not quite fit the mold. I believe in expectations for kids and my children know what the expectations are. Do they live up to them all the time? Of course not, but I don’t live up to my own expectations all the time, so thank God for forgiveness and moving forward. Without it, we’d all be lost.

As far as my career, it was only recently that I realized that full time motherhood is a career choice instead of a life choice. I feel blessed that I have been able to be a full time mom, especially as that career is headed toward its inevitable end. I don’t judge anyone who chooses or wants to work. As a matter of fact, I know a few moms that are better parents because they work. I am thankful that we live in a country where either choice is available. For me, though, hanging with my kids is one of my favorite pastimes and volunteering and being involved in their activities in their younger days is a joy for me. We’ve made homemade cookies together, taken countless trips to the zoo, local museums and other local attractions. We’ve had a great run and have a few more years of hanging together, and I cherish every family dinner, outing and conversation we have. I am also grateful, though, that I’ve re-discovered my love of writing the past few years and not just for my own enjoyment. Starting this blog has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done for myself and I am grateful for each of my readers and feel a huge responsibility to bring you the best writing I can deliver. Thank you for being a part of the process.

Then there’s the body. Crap! If there’s one part of my life I’ve neglected, there it is. As a young woman, I smoked. When you smoke, staying thin is so much easier. I quit after my oldest was born because I just couldn’t imagine damaging his little pink lungs. It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done and one of the things I’m most proud of that I’ve ever done, but it’s had its consequences too. After my first birth, I was back in shape in three weeks and all was well. I think I replaced my addiction to cigarettes with my baby and exercise. My dad died after son number two and was in the process of dying through the entire pregnancy. I gained 65 pounds and didn’t recover well afterward. Ironically, I gained no weight with my third son until the day he was born by emergency c-section when I gained 12 pounds from all the drugs. The trauma my poor body went through in those three or so years between my second and third child still lingers twelve years later because taking care of others became the focus of my life, especially my child with extraordinary needs. As my children become independent young men, I find that I want to take better care of my body, not by beating it into submission through exercise and restrictive and punishing dieting, but by learning to make my health a loving priority that will help me feel better for a lifetime. It’s a process for sure, but one that is teaching me so much about myself, my life and how I want to be in this world.

I’ve always said I planned to live to be at least 100 years old, so maybe my writer’s block was a way for me to process a mid-life crisis. Maybe this time of falling leaves and falling temperatures is teaching me what I need to let fall from my life as I enter the Autumn season of my parenting. Maybe this writer’s block combined with turning fifty is exactly what I need at this point in my life. One thing I know for sure is that I feel so very blessed that the block is gone and the words are flowing once again. I’m excited to see where it will take me and I look forward to sharing the journey with all who care to come along for the ride. Thanks for being you and have a great day!!

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