Thursday, August 25, 2016

I Dread This Day Every Year, but the Dread Changes to Joy When I Remember the Kindnesses of that Time

We dread this day.
The date,
August 25th,
is a painful reminder 
because that is the day my husband died.
I became a widow.
My children lost their father.

My son, now a man of whom his father would be proud,
I'm sure he is, wrote a Facebook Post that talks about the kindesses of that time,
the gift of light that our neighbors gave us.

He gave me permission to use his post.
Please read it to the end to understand what we were experiencing at that time.

As I said earlier I've been going through a lot of photos this week. Not going to lie, it's a tough week for me. Around this time 12 years ago my dad was ailing in hospice care. I'm not posting this to be a Debbie Downer. Maybe it's because I'm usually closed up and private, and sharing this is somehow oddly therapeutic for me. I think mostly it's because of going through the tough times I've found that if you look hard enough, there is good to be found in even the worst of times; sometimes you have to look very hard for it, sometimes it's right in front of you. Trust me, I've seen it. Not just in this story I'm about to tell you but in many other instances too.
The small paper lanterns you see in all of these photos are called luminarias. Consulting Wikipedia (yeah, I know how that sounds), luminarias are traditionally used in New Mexico and the southwest United States at Christmas Eve, lining driveways and walkways. The Roman Catholic tradition is used to symbolize a walkway that will guide the Christ child into your home. The luminarias are simple to make, consisting of a brown paper bag, sand at the bottom, and a candle. (There are other traditions and uses for them but you can Google that if you want to read about them further). Every Christmas Eve, my mom, and most recently my mom and sister would line the driveway with these luminarias.
As my dad's health began to fail, my mom began to line our driveway with the luminarias at night. Being that Minnesota is quite aways away from the SW part of the US, our neighbor asked about the luminarias in our driveway. Everyone in the neighborhood knew of my dad's failing health but no one had heard of a luminaria before. They were told the story you just read above (if you're still with me at this point). The next thing we knew, all of our neighbors began to set out luminarias too.
I don't have words to describe the overwhelming feeling of support, love, solidarity, and community, that came along with this simple gesture by the neighborhood.
Even in this dark time for my family, our neighbor's literally provided a shining light for us.

When my husband died, he left this earth surrounded by love and light.
For that I am eternally grateful.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Worth Repeating: So Where Did you Get that Bracelet

Mary Clare and I were having breakfast at Perkins one morning.  She said, "Before I forget, here's that bracelet I was telling you about."  Truthfully, I had forgotten.  I saw it and said, "Wow!  I like it!  Where did you get it?"

Mary Clare looked at me like my kids do when they think I've just something stupid.  "You made it for me," she said.  "I did?  But where did you get the beads?"  I was totally puzzled by now.

Again, the look.  "YOU made them."  "I did?  I did?"  Wow!  I really like them!
She said, "I do, too, and I wear it a lot because it's so colorful and I can wear it with so much."  "I really made those beads?"  The look.

I guess so!  Aren't they fun?  I plan to make more of them now.  Especially since my skill level is so much better than when I made this bracelet for Mary Clare.

I really made them?  I was better than I thought.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Random Thoughts at the End of Summer

The days are growing shorter.
Yes, I know, no matter what, there are still 24 hours in everyday, but
the amount of light each day is getting to be less and less.
This won't change until December when day light will begin to lengthen again. 
The good thing is that soon, the leaves will be changing colors and dropping from the trees.
Here in Minnesota,
we are about 1 month away from the average first frost.
It might be sooner, but it's coming.
Summer is almost over.

Life is going from the slow moving, long days of summer to the short, cold, gray days of winter.
At this moment, I'm not sure which I prefer.
It's too hot or too cold.
The weather is rarely perfect.
It is what it is.

I'm thrilled to see my garden matured.
There are small pumpkins and teeny tiny melons on the vine.
I'm not sure that they will mature in enough time for us to taste their fruits.
With any luck, one or two of these fruits will mature,
and we will enjoy their taste.

The tree frogs are making a lot of noise at night.
They make so much noise that I want to throw something at them to make them shut up.
The males are calling their mates, frantically.
They must know that the first frost is near.
It's just that they are so noisy.
If they chirped quietly, I would be fine with that.
Now, the noise is too loud for my tastes, 
but, if I were a tree frog, I think I'd be able to pick my mate, quite easily.

Soon, the transition will begin from sandals to shoes and socks.
I'll pull the jeans out of the closet to see how much the hangars have caused them to shrink.
This fall, something new will happen.
I am scheduled for a knee replacement in September.
That will be interesting.
Things change.
I know I have.
Now, I have another summer under my belt.
Life goes on.
I've lived as fully as I can.
I'm grateful that I am healthy, not pain free, but I am healthy.

The transition will be quiet.
Summer will melt into fall which will melt into winter which will melt into spring.
Life finds a way.
Life goes on.
Seasons come and seasons go.
We were made to change.

How have you changed this summer?
Are you anxious for fall?
Are you ready for winter?
I'd love to hear what you think.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Chia Pudding Recipe

You know those seeds that you put on a pottery face at Christmas?
You wet them and smear them on to the pottery.
Those are chia seeds.
I don't use those pottery faces for my chia seeds, but I do make food out of them.

I love Chia Seed Jam.  
I thought I had posted the recipe in a past blog, 
but I can't find it.
So, when I make some chia seed jam again, I will post that recipe.

I also love 
Chia Seed Pudding.

As you can see in the photo, I was able to finish the last bit of pudding, and 
it was delicious, and it was very easy to  make.
There's no cooking involved.
It's a refrigerator pudding.

Here's how you make it.
Depending on how much you want to make, and I usually double this recipe, multiply it times 2.
You won't regret it!

Here's what I used:
1 cup of milk of any kind: cow's milk, soy, almond, etc.
1/4 c cocoa
1/4 c chia seeds
1 teaspoon real vanilla
1/4-1/2 cups chocolate chips
(For this recipe, I used chocolate milk.)
Mix all the ingredients together, stirring gently with a spoon.
When they ingredients are mixed together, put in refrigerator to set.
Before serving, add about 1/4-1/2 cup of chopped nuts of your choice.
Nut allergies, of course, don't use.

Let me know if you like this recipe.  It's a favorite here at home.