Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Love and Fear....

I discovered this post, I started several months ago. Clearly, sometimes I forget to come back to half started posts.  But this is a good one-too good to delete or leave in limbo. A good reminder for me and hopefully helpful to you.  

I've been a people watcher for a long time.  It's a coping mechanism for me that I learned at a young age because there was violence in my childhood home.  Kids learn to watch people and detect signs of mood swings as a way of learning how to interact socially.  Multiply this by 'n' for kids who live with domestic violence.  Learning to identify the early signs, and then to decipher triggers can powerfully and positively alter your daily life.

Because I'd developed this habit of watching and then trying to decipher the why's of the behaviors or reactions, I continued to do it even after the violence had left my day to day existence.  I still do it today.  People are fascinating.  And it's this watching, observing and consideration that brings me to this post.

We label emotions a lot of things.  Like, adoration, admiration, warmth, joy, comfort, happiness, contentment...  What I've come to believe, is that there are only 2 emotions.  Love and fear.  That's it.  

We can call it whatever we want, but either you are feeling love or you are feeling fear.  When you are feeling love, it manifests itself into a hug, or a smile or doing your work well.  When you are feeling fear, it manifests itself as jealousy, rage, depression, envy, humiliation.  

When you are on the love side, you feel good.  If you don't feel good, you are on the fear side.  Our emotions tell us whether or not we are listening to our love thoughts or listening to our fear thoughts.

I need reminding of this sometimes and like most things on this blog, this post is really a gentle reminder to myself to recognize when I'm feeling fear and to scooch right back over to the light.  

Saying goodbye to the Year of Light

I've read a couple of blog entries with wonderfully insightful reviews of 2013 and I thought for a brief moment that I might create such an entry for myself. But as I'm sitting here, I'm just not feeling it. I feel ready to greet 2014 without a review. Besides, I've documented plenty of 2013 on this blog. All I really have to add is this:

It is New Year's Eve and thus ends the Year of Light. 2013 was a really good year for me. I've learned a lot about myself. I'm thankful for that with a depth of gratitude I'll not be able to adequately express. Every day this year I have become more and more comfortable being me. Since God dwells within me as me, being me is the most important work I do.

Thank you Year of Light. Thank You!

Happy New Year's Eve to you and yours.

Blissful Christmas!

It is New Year's Eve, but I wanted to include a brief entry filled with gratitude for this Christmas week. I've been on vacation since the 19th of December and it has been fabulous. We've taken each day as it arrived without expectation and let it unfold. Heaven! Sure there have been things to do, but the freedom and peace to allow each day to just be has been magical.

I was talking to a friend yesterday who asked about our Christmas and blissful rolled right off my tongue. It was really and truly blissful. Quiet, loud, busy, active,  This year I made a point to watch the faces of my kids as they opened gifts. Watching the emotions flicker across...  In those moments, I felt transported through the years, yet totally present in this one. It's the weirdest parental phenomenon, to look at your adult children and yet see them through the ages, like layers in a kaleidoscope. I love being a parent. It's the most challenging and joyous thing I've ever done and especially during this time of year, I am overwhelmingly thankful.

We bookended Christmas with two family gatherings on the Saturday's before and after. So it really has been a Christmas week for us. One for the books. Or rather just one book, the book of Love.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Christmas Eve

Dare you not to sway and sing along with Annie and Al! from Scrooged!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Santa Hat Brownies

We went to a family gathering yesterday and I took these!

From Pinterest came the inspiration-you've probably seen the Strawberry version. I used raspberries because the strawberries looked sketchy, but in the end I like them better. They are smaller, easier to eat in one or two bites and the raspberries and chocolate are a thing of beauty! Besides, I have a thing for small desserts. I'm not a huge sweet eater and I generally skip dessert because I rarely want the whole serving. Bite size desserts are perfect for me.

To make perfect circles, I purchased a set of 1 round cutters that begins with 3/4 and ends at 3 5/8. I tested the sizes until I found one that suited the raspberries, then went to town. This is an easy dessert with a big wow factor.

Typically I make brownies from chocolate squares, but I was fresh out, so off the web...  I used this recipe and can highly recommend. The brownies were delicious, chocolatey and cut like a dream! I used mini chips - don't know if that makes a difference or not, but wanted to mention it.

I made whipped cream from heavy cream and a sprinkle of sugar, which I put in a zipper bag with a star tip in one corner. Piping a ring along the outer edge of the brownie, my husband put the raspberry in place and I put the smallest dot of whipped cream on the top.  I think they look cute and they were totally delicious.

Are you admiring the photos? Don't they look good? Yep, my son took these pictures! Nice, aren't they!

Thursday, December 19, 2013


I've been feeling very creative recently, which can I just take a moment to feel very thankful? Sigh, smile, bliss. Sometimes, I find myself in a vaccuum, where I'm separate from my mojo. But not now! I'm in the flow and it is good! This week I sent cheery holiday themed earrings to my best gals. My son says, why not your other nieces, since I mailed to only one... I said it's because they are holiday themed and not many young ones enjoy those. Am I wrong? or do you agree? So I made the executive decision to mail to my friends, sister, sisters in law, daughter, daughters in law, mother in law and just one niece.

Anyway, I made trees (two versions), snowmen (two versions), santa hats, and penguins. As per usual, I mailed off the items before I snapped pictures, so tonight I made more, except the penguins, they are gone. As is also usual, the pics are questionable. I apologize. I found the tree patterns on the web and hand made those with green wire. The snowmen with faces (not including the hat) are a single lampwork bead and I used two different magnetic beads to make the hat. The other snowman was a kit that came with all the parts. The santa hats are lampwork as well.  It was fun, fun, fun to make and mail them off. I love getting mail almost as much as I love sending mail!

I am also on a very intense knitting schedule, that has created a strain in my upper arm. A knitting injury. What the heckle? Is that even possible. I'd have said no, but since it's worse when I finish a knitting bout, I know that's the cause. Clearly knitting is for warriors! hee hee...

Sharing some more cheer!

Someone at work shared this video below... We all 'felt' it and shared it with our husbands. One husband said "That's a good marketing ploy. They didn't even spend any money on advertising, just put it on YouTube."

Yes it's a good marketing idea. What is wrong with that? They are in the business to make money... so am I. The difference between this and a beer commercial is that this touched every single person in it, in a real way that is visible on their faces. It touched me, too.

I hope it brings you some joy, too!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fill the Air with Joyful Noise...

There are so many wonderful things happening around the world and I'm doing my part to share them through this blog. Let us carry into the new year the love of Christmas! Let it begin with me.

I discovered this song, through a commercial. The words totally grabbed me. I dare you to listen and not think it great! Triple dog dare you!    

Jordin Sparks... This is My Wish

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Harnessing the energies of love...

“Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.” ~Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Friday, December 6, 2013

What is going on?

Yesterday my son was walking through the small town where he works and while in a crosswalk, was hit by an SUV. The driver neither asked if he was okay nor stopped. What the hell is that? Seriously?!

Thank God, my son is okay, though I imagine he will be sore today.

I've been sitting here trying to put into words all the thoughts going through my head and a great many of them are unkind, mean, and not for public consumption.

So, I think I'll leave it at this: If you are driving a car, then you are responsible for any and every thing that occurs while you are driving it. Leaving is not an option, whether you ding someone's door or run into a pedestrian. You accept the responsibility by choosing to drive. Period. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

What do you really, really want to do...

Here's the question of the day... What do you really, really want to do?

Have you seen the commercial for retirement planning where the guy asks people what would they be or do if money, education and time were not a consideration. I saw it for the first time yesterday and found myself without a response. 

Most of my life, I thought my dream job was writing. But yesterday when that was not the first thought in my head, and in fact there really wasn't a first thought, it gave me pause. Serious pause. I know with absolute certainty that if money were not a consideration, I would not do the work I do. Not because I hate any aspect of it, but simply because I don't love it. 

I like to be creative. I like making things. Cooking, sewing, crocheting, baking, knitting... I always imagined that I'd have some sort of artistic or creative job. But, I'm good with numbers and computers, which are much more in demand and that's how I ended up doing the work I do.

I once saw a show about a woman who'd been a stay at home wife and mother from the time she was first pregnant. Even after her children were grown and had families of her own, she never thought of going back to the career she had. The interviewer asked her about that and she said with complete and total ease, that being a wife and mother was her true purpose and that it had transformed as her children grew up didn't change the fact that it was her purpose. For her there was no going back.

Why does this snippet of an interview stick with me, years later? I'll tell you... this woman, even in the face of the interviewer who was clearly looking down his nose at her "non-occupation", was assured in her choice. When he asked the question, you could see her 'wheels' turning and she responded so genuinely to him that I wholeheartedly believed her. She meant it and she sticks with me because I want that surety. I don't want the same work she does, I want the confidence in my choices.

So, does it mean anything that I didn't have a response to a commercial? Of course, I think no it doesn't. But some part of me is thinking about it, and thus this post.

I know there are people who ponder these things, too. So if you are reading this and have any insight to share, please do! I'm curious.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Crock Pot Wonder

Here is a crock pot wonder I've 'adjusted' from a food show I like.  We had it for dinner tonight and it's a big hit!

Into the crock pot go the following items:

2-3 pound chuck roast
1 large or 2 small onions sliced in long strips or rings
1 jar of pepperoncini - including the liquid
1 cup beef broth
3 cloves garlic
1 potato quartered, no need to peel

Let it cook on high for at least 5 hours. The potato is just to absorb salt, because sometimes the broth can be too salty. I mean, you can eat it if you want to, I know I did ;-).

Once it's cooked, shred the beef. This delicious mixture goes on any kind of roll or bun or tortilla. The peppers are spicy and we pick off the stems as we make our sandwiches. They won't hurt you, I just think they're woody. You can top with your choice of toppings. I haven't had this a way I didn't like. I've had them with nothing other than the broth on a crusty roll and it's delicious. I've also topped with cheese, lettuce, and tomato - equally delicious. My husband is a mayonnaise addict and regularly puts mayo on his. I think you can put anything on it and it will be delicious.  

Today we had slider buns and I went classic: meat & pepper with a small scoop of broth. mmm, mmmmmm!