14 White Plates

April 22, 2016

I will have been married 34 years this June 1st. For special and marginally special occasions, I use the same white dishes that I registered for when I was a wee 20 years old. My mother suggested I choose a white pattern; I wasn’t sure I wanted white. My older sister had registered for some really pretty square dishes with seafoam green and mauve and some other fashionable color that escapes me now. My mother and she had disagreed about the wisdom of getting dishes that would be out of style in a few years. My sister won but my mother was right. (Those are some hideous dishes.)

This relating pattern was typical. My older sister pressing for what she wanted. Me rarely ever pushing back. I don’t know if it was because I learned from watching my older brothers and sister in their battles, or if I had no self confidence from my older siblings pushing me around. When it came to wedding dishes, I knew that maybe someday something would be worth the fight, but I didn’t think what I put on the dinner table was. So I allowed my mother’s wisdom to prevail. If she said I’d be glad one day, that these would never go out of style and that I’d always enjoy them, then I believed her.

I registered for 8 place settings because that’s what she said I should do. I don’t think I took my fiancé with me to make all the house stocking decisions, but rather, my mother. She’d raised 5 kids, worked multiple jobs, entertained and knew more than a thing or two about dishes and about life.

After I was married, my mother would scout the sales. I remember her telling me that my china pattern was going to be discontinued and she was concerned I didn’t have enough. 8 seemed like more than plenty, so when she rustled up 6 more dinner plates, I was amused. “Mom, when will I ever need that  many plates?!”  She told me she knew that I couldn’t imagine ever needing that many, but indeed one day I would. I don’t know how she knew, but she knew.

My husband was in grad school for 5 years and the dishes were stuffed in our small apartment. When he took a job in Omaha, NE, we packed up our few belongings and our 14 white Noritake Swan Lake dinner plates and the 8 place settings and headed northwest.

I have used those dishes for nearly 34 years and as she predicted, have never gotten tired of them. They go with everything. Pottery Barn, Pier 1 and Crate and Barrel sell white dishes galore and none of them are as pretty as mine. Not too masculine, not too feminine, but just right.

I threw a baby shower for a friend today and pulled out the white dishes. They looked lovely stacked on the blue table cloth surrounded by white serving pieces of a variety of designs. Guess how many guests we had? 14.

FullSizeRender

Mom, you were right. You were always right.

Thank you.

I love you.

I miss you.

In awe,

Your grateful and impressed daughter,

Kris

With

December 11, 2014

I spent some time this morning reading from a book I’ve been enjoying: The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. I actually reread the chapter from yesterday. It expanded my mind and brought insight that was breath-taking. The author described the giving of the 10 Commandments at Mt. Sinai in terms of a Jewish wedding; the components of the (cloud) covering, the time of purification, and the contract. Seen in this light, the 10 Commandments are a reflection of a loving relationship and not an angry set of rules. This longing for relationship and loving commitment from God for those He created is absolutely astounding. It is at the same time beautiful and powerful and desperately sad. So much love and blessing and relationship God offers his people; so many lies and betrayals his people give in return. Not just the Israelites of ages past, but anyone who is a Christ-follower today, me included.

Oh how I want my heart to long for Him the way I long for a vacation or a warm breeze on a spring day. I want my heart to be fully given to Him, my thoughts to be about Him throughout each day, longing for a chat, sitting near one another and sharing thoughts unspoken. Just being together.

The kindness of God I take for granted too regularly, as He waits. It’s not like He isn’t doing anything else, but in His expansiveness, He can be caring for the entire world and still long for me to long for Him. Long for me to make space for Him. And time.

God is with us in our difficult times and it’s easy to forget Him during the good times. The relationship God wants isn’t that of a paramedic, but a bridegroom, the closest most intimate friend. God is the Alpha and the Omega, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Prince of Peace; He’s our Physician, Wonderful Counselor and our Shepherd. He’s the Bridegroom. And all year long, not just at Christmas, He is Emmanuel.

Emmanuel…God with us. With. With us! With me, with you!

What a marvel!

This time of year maybe a bit more than at other times, I scurry around, busy and distracted and I don’t allow God With Us to be with me. Unintentionally I shun His mind boggling gift and end up hurting myself and hurting His heart. How can God be with me if I don’t slow down and make the time and the place; if I don’t make our relationship my priority?

I’ve gotten pretty good over the years with starting every day reading God’s Word and journaling and praying, but I’ve found of late that I’m not very good at listening, just being with Him.

I’m like a puppy put on a leash – pulling, twisting, tugging, and I just need to wear myself out, reach the end of my tether and finally lay down. My mind is busy, my body is antsy and I need to ask Emmanuel to help me stop. I need to ask the One who longs to be with me to help me be with Him.

The amazing thing is, He will! He stops and stoops and joins me in my little world, my little life because He is Emmanuel. He is God with us. God with me. God with you.

What a mystery He is – His attention is completely undeserved – His kindness a glorious gift of love.

Maybe I’ll bake no cookies this year. Maybe the house won’t get decorated as extensively. But I plan on becoming better friends with Emmanuel. My King, my God, my With Me Friend.

Spring

April 10, 2014

spring

you’ve been so slow to come

are you reticent or just lazy?

what’s to be done?

 

in like a lion

out like a lamb

you’ve been roaring and bullying far too long

lion, get on your way, be gone!

 

spring

signs of hope and 

new beginnings 

longer days and fresher leanings

 

spring forward 

like a doe leaping

a new lamb bleating

it’s time for a rest from winter’s ruthless beatings

 

spring

change your costume

from predator to prey

bring us sweet scents and warm breezes today

fuzzy yellow hope

March 4, 2013

My husband pointed out to me the aspens in our backyard this morning. He said, “Look up and down the entire tree and tell me what you see.” Isn’t it amazing how growth happens right before our eyes, often without our even noticing it? The trees are full of little fuzzy bulb-buds where leaves are growing secretly within, awaiting the right moment to emerge and salute spring!

I’ve noticed over the last week or so that our goldfinches are changing also. I always enjoy the transformation. Bright yellow feathers begin peeking beneath the dull feathers of their chests and heads hinting at the brilliant gold they will sport in the spring and summer months.

Hope wears feathers. It wears leaves. After the interminable winter, they are a happy testament to new life, warmth, growth and joy to come! Hope is embodied in buds and feathers.

Even when more snow falls this month, I will remind myself that I’ve seen those buds and yellow feathers. I know without a doubt that although winter tries to maintain its grip, it can’t last against the power of Spring. Fuzzy yellow hope will carry me through until then!

pink torrent

September 22, 2012

Today I’m going to volunteer my time in a local mall sitting at a table for two hours. (Westroads Mall – my shift is from 2-4 if anyone wants to come by!) The Komen people are hosting some kind of event there and have allowed our group, the Community Breast Health Navigator and Cancer Support Program to have a table to introduce ourselves and our services to people. The event will be held from 10am til 7pm I believe, but we’ve only got three of us to cover three two-hour shifts today. We’ll be there from 10-4.
I’m hoping that women and men will stop by and ask questions or share their stories. I’m hoping that I can be living proof that there is hope for people diagnosed with breast cancer. I’m hoping that our name will become well known so that when a woman finds a lump in her breast, she’ll call us for help before going to see a surgeon!

I’m hoping that this one small act on my part will become a droplet which helps form a flooding torrential movement that rescues women from unnecessary fear-based surgeries.

You see, most women when they find a lump, if they get the proper kind of needle biopsy, will find that they don’t have cancer, but a cyst of some sort. If they do find it is cancer, most surgeons won’t tell them that having chemotherapy first to shrink the tumor will allow for a relatively simple outpatient lumpectomy, saving the patient physical trauma, expensive hospital care and their breast.
Having chemo first will allow for two important things to occur. First, it will show the doctor and the patient if the chemo is effective. If the tumor shrinks, they’ll know that it’s working! Then, if the tumor shrinks, that means that the breast won’t be completely disfigured and she can save herself all the discomfort of a mastectomy and subsequent reconstructive surgeries, (not to mention time and money and her own body part!)

Yah, yah, I know, nobody wants chemotherapy. Believe me, I get it. I’ve had it twice! I’ve been bald twice and have lived through both times and now have long lovely hair. What I don’t have is my breasts. Hmmmmm, hair or breasts. Hair that grows back or breasts that don’t.

Let me tell you also, that despite what you may think, reconstructed breasts, no matter how close to the real thing they might get are still not the real thing. They have scars bisecting them. They don’t have the same feeling/sensation ability. They look pretty good under clothes, but that’s about as good as it gets. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that it’ll be the same. It isn’t.

Well, I got off track a bit. There I go again, getting passionate and running with it!

Hope to see you at the mall!

Kris

summer linguine

September 17, 2012

Several months ago I came across a recipe in a little insert to the Sunday paper called “Relish.” It looked interesting, and I didn’t take the time to read it, but tucked it away for the future (as I do so often – my Pinterest behavior before Pinterest ever came along!)

Mid-July I finally took the time to peruse it and came across an interesting recipe I wanted to try, but knowing my family would balk at me adding blue cheese to anything, I made a few changes.

original recipe

I loved the concept of cooking the dish in one pot plus it included ingredients I already had on hand (minus the blue cheese) so I gave it a try one evening. It was a hit!

I substituted a few cheeses I already had on hand – feta and parmesan instead of the blue – and I don’t think it deterred from the flavor one bit.

I’ve got a mini Cuisinart that made chopping the almonds a snap!

Here’s a pic of the final product – doesn’t look nearly as good as it tasted. I’m going to make it again tonight!

my rendition

my rendition

Here is the original recipe; you can alter it as you like!

Linguine with Greens, Yogurt, Almonds and Blue Cheese

This Greek inspired one-dish meal embodies the Mediterranean diet. You can use almost any greens and substitute feta or Parmigiano Reggiano for the blue cheese.

1    pound linguine

1    pound mixed greens or spinach leaves, coarsely chopped

4    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2    garlic cloves, minced

2    ounces Roquefort, Gorgonzola or Stilton, mashed with a fork

1    cup creamy Greek yogurt or whole-milk yogurt

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

freshly ground black pepper

2/3 cup coarsely ground unskinned almonds

fruity extra virgin olive oil for drizzling (optional)

Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. One minute before the end of cooking drop greens into the pot. Drain pasta and greens, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid.

In the same pan, warm olive oil over medium heat Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add pasta and greens, cheese, yogurt and about 1/2 cup or more cooking liquid, enough to moisten pasta. Add salt, pepper and almonds and toss well.

Serve in a warm bowl or platter. Drizzle with fruity olive oil if using. Serves 8.

Recipe by Aglaia Kremezi. Reprinted with permission from K. Dun Gifford and Sara Baer-Sinnott’s The Oldways Table: Essays and Recipes from the Culinary Think Tank (Ten Speed Press, 2007).

Per serving: 396 calories, 17g fat, 11mg chol., 369mg sodium, 47g carbs., 4g fiber, 14g protein

September Sorrow

September 11, 2012

Yesterday, 9/11/12, was a day of remembrance for our nation. Eleven years ago our country experienced our most egregious attack and thousands of people mourned the loss of loved ones, stolen from their lives forever. Our losses and their effects have forever changed our lives.

September is annually a time of grief for me for another reason. It was 19 years ago this month that my mother was taken from me, my family, my children and our lives, forever. The cost of this loss of her precious life is incalculable, and try though I may, I will never get beyond the heartache of life lived without her.

Monday night, I attended a class of a group of women who have met together monthly for a year, learning and preparing to help navigate women through the maze of information and procedures involved with breast health and breast cancer treatment. The program is the Community Breast Health Navigator and Cancer Support Program.

We were sharing stories of women we’ve spoken with, advocated, navigated, and encouraged. Sadly, nine times out of 10 it seems, regardless of the information given them, these women opt for a mastectomy even though in most cases the much less invasive lumpectomy would take care of things. We were discussing two causes for their poor decisions: Fear and Ignorance. Ignorance not only on their part, but quite often on the part of the doctors these women choose.

These are topics for future discussion, but what struck me last night was the heart ache that we all carry, but seldom reveal.

I was chatting with a friend I was sitting next to, I’ll call her Sue, and casually asked her about her mother. Sue shared how her mother had fought and won a battle with esophageal cancer. Stupefyingly, in the myriad of doctors appointments this woman had, no doctor ever checked to see if she’d had a mammogram. So at the age of 69, sixty-nine, she got her first mammogram. And wouldn’t you know it, there was a lump which later she learned was breast cancer. In less than a year, Sue’s mother had died. This is a tragedy of negligence in medical care – slipping between the cracks. A hero who fights and wins an impossible nearly incurable disease, falls prey to a very curable one afterwards. It was September when she died.

I asked my friend if she feels the grief every September. She said she didn’t think so, but that every time she heard the National Anthem sung, she’d lose it. Her mother had a beautiful singing voice, and was always the one asked to sing the anthem at various events. As my friend told me this, her eyes welled up with tears and she said maybe it effects her more than she realized. September is a difficult month for her, and hearing a song sung that used to bring her delight, now brings only sorrow and the reminder of her loss. Untimely, wrong, death by oversight.

Another friend was standing across the table from us. She said September is a very difficult month for her, and it showed in her face. She told us that her mother had died of breast cancer at the age of 39. Unbelievable. That’d mean my friend, let’s call her Jill, was probably in middle school. There were 4 sisters, all left without a mother. Sadly, that’s not the whole story. These girls grew up motherless, yes, then one died of cancer, young. This prompted Jill to find an excellent doctor who encouraged her to get genetic testing. All the sisters were tested. Jill was the only one who tested negative for the gene. Unfortunately, Jill’s sister didn’t have as good a doctor. He wasn’t as aggressive or quick to respond. Her sister listened to his advice and died of breast cancer within the year.

Jill told us how she’d teach Monday through Friday then catch a plane to spend each weekend in September caring for her dying sister; her eyes welled with tears, but she held them in check. This is the second September since the death of that sister and she grieves her colossal loss. She’s angry, and rightly so. She’s angry at the disease, and she’s angry at the lackadaisical ineptitude of some doctors, particularly the one treating her sister. With hardened face and red-rimmed eyes she swore under her breath as she walked away from us. “Damn waste.”

My mother died at the age of sixty. She’d gone to the doctor several times over the course of a year complaining of a ‘fullness’ in her abdomen. Her doctor told her to lose some weight. He told her she was imagining it. He finally relented and ordered a test – by that time the tumor on her ovary was the size of a grapefruit. During surgery, they accidentally broke it open, spilling the toxic waste throughout her entire abdomen. They ‘did their best to get it out’ and sewed her up. Rounds of chemo and hours of pleading with God for her life, she made it through – for almost five years. Another situation with that doctor finally motivated my mother to find another doctor who mis-interpreted her scan results. She picked them up and took them to a third doctor who gave her the news she’d suspected. Yes the cancer was back, and it was bad. Too little, too late and a husband and five children and 8 grandchildren were left without the warmth and love of the only wife, mother and that special one-of-a-kind grandmother they’d ever have.

My son had just turned 5 and my daughter 1 when we attended my mother’s funeral.

I think about the twinkle in her eye they’ll never see again and the warmth of her soft skin that they’ll never feel and I ache.

If all the stories of bad medical care were recounted, we’d have a murderous mob rioting at hospitals around the country. But most of us suffer our sorrows silently, doing nothing to promote change.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m extremely thankful for medical professionals. I’m indebted to a great many myself. If only every doctor was like the excellent ones I’ve found throughout my own cancer journey. Kind, compassionate, extremely intelligent, full of integrity. It isn’t these doctors I have a problem with. It’s the ones who are proud, ‘comfortable’ underachievers, willing to continue practicing using an outdated formulaic approach. The status quo is their friend.

I have met three doctors in my 50 years that I would nominate as “Best” doctors. Dr. Edibaldo Silva, Dr. Nagi Ayoub, and Dr. Jimmy Khandalavala. They don’t have an attitude of arrogance or complacency. They are learners. (To be a learner, one must be humble, because wanting to learn automatically expresses the acknowledgment that they know they don’t know everything there is to know. I’ve met some who actually believe they do know it all and I should feel lucky to be in their presence!) Best doctors are always reading, studying, keeping current on the latest studies and procedures, pioneering new methods and treatments. That’s the reason they get amazing results. These doctors are continually striving to improve, to hone their skills, perfect their practice and challenge the status quo. If only all doctors could be so excellent.

That’s why the medical profession is called a practice. It’s a place where they are learning and growing and practice is supposed to lead us toward perfection. Sadly, many doctors, once they get their credentials rest on their laurels. The women who go to them for treatment don’t receive the best care and consequently don’t experience the best outcomes either.

That’s why my friend ‘Jill’ is angry. That’s why Sue is sorrowful. That’s why we are a part of this fledgling group trying to advocate for women and bring about positive change.

We want to educate women before they find a lump. Before they’ve made up their minds (because of fear) to ‘just get them cut off and be done with it’. Our country has a campaign encouraging women to regularly examine their breasts and get a mammogram, but what is a woman to do once she finds a lump? Subject herself to an unknowledgeable or unscrupulous surgeon who will be happy to remove those problem breasts?

There are new procedures. New options! Mastectomies aren’t even necessary most of the time any more!!

I have said it before, and I will say it until I have no more breath. THE RIGHT INFORMATION + THE RIGHT DOCTORS = THE BEST OUTCOME!

Please, tell the women you love, think before you cut. Become informed, ask questions, challenge your doctor, and get a second opinion, or a third if necessary! It’s their life at stake. And it’s your future, spent enjoying the women in your life, or grieving their loss.

And stay tuned in here as we will bring articles and information that will empower you and those you know to make the best decisions and receive the best care possible.

Smoothies

July 23, 2012

I’ve been making smoothies a lot this summer! I kind of got into the habit when I was working out with a trainer who always urged me to eat some protein right away after each killer session. Once it got so hot, I started going to a nearby smoothie place and ordering a fruity drink with protein added.

Well, that gets expensive, and they really weren’t all that healthy for me. I mean, compared to a Snickers Blizzard, they were amazing, but as I’ve been becoming more health conscious, I couldn’t justify the sherbet and yogurt. (I mean, is it frozen yogurt? Is it non-fat or full fat? How do I really know what’s in them to make them so yummy?) I’ve been trying to do less dairy and more organic, especially with berries. So, I decided it was time to buy a blender and start making my own. I got online and started researching blenders.

I really wanted a powerful blender because I’ve thrown away my fair share of junky ones over the years. I read about the VitaMix and decided that was the one I was going to buy. There were testimonials! People’s lives were changed when they bought a VitaMix! How had I lived all these years without one?! I had to get one now! Then I checked out the price! Yikes! I could by my own smoothy franchise for what one of those costs! (okay, a slight exaggeration!)

So, back to the smoothy place I went. But I launched out and started getting the yummy chocolate and peanut butter drink. OHMYGOODNESS was it ever delicious! How could I ever go back to plain old fruit now?! Besides, peanut butter had lots of protein, and I was even adding extra protein. This had to be waaaay better than a fruit smoothy anyway!

It doesn’t take long to start chubbing out when you get a giant choco-peanut smoothy after every workout! This was an expensive habit in more ways than one!

I decided it was time to give up the VitaMix dream and just go get a blender already! I bought a gorgeous charcoal colored KitchenAid blender at Target, took it home and made my first smoothy – of course with yogurt, peanut butter powder and Hershey’s chocolate syrup! Thankfully it tasted awful and I vowed to never do that again!

My first few attempts at smoothies were pretty dismal. I was relieved to not have spent the big bucks on a VitaMix. I didn’t know how I’d justify owning the Bentley of blenders as I watched it collect dust on the counter!

I looked up smoothy recipes on Pinterest and found one that sounded good. The “Superfood Smoothy” by Heather Kneisler. I’ve made some adjustments to it, and I’m satisfied that I’ve made the switch from expensive fast-food smoothies to homemade, delicious, nutritious ones! Now I’m getting more fruits and vegetables and cutting back on the sugar and extra calories I really don’t need! I mean, I never ate veggies in the morning! I feel healthier each sip I take!   smoothy recipe

Oh, and I found some protein powder that I really like. I don’t do soy protein powder (which is in nearly everything!) because I’m a breast-cancer survivor (estrogen-driven type) and soy mimics estrogen in the body. Whey is supposed to be a good alternative, but it’s a by-product of cheese production and I’m trying to do less dairy . . . so when I came across this at Whole Foods the other day, I had to read the label and make sure it wasn’t too good to be true! It’s incredible! This protein powder is made from sprouts – and they are all organic! Brown rice, amaranth, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, garbanzo bean, lentil, flax, and so on.

Protein Powder

protein powder

It wasn’t cheap, but no protein powder I’ve seen is. It also has live probiotics and enzymes, no fillers or synthetic nutrients and the best part is that it doesn’t make my smoothy taste funky. And, let’s be real here, if it doesn’t taste good, it doesn’t matter how nutritious it is, I’m not going to eat it more than once!

Here’s the recipe:

Superfood Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • 1/2-3/4 c. orange juice
  • 10-12 baby carrots
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1/2 c. plain non-fat greek yogurt (I use goat’s milk greek yogurt from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 c. frozen blueberries or mixed berries
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1/2 T. raw honey
  • 1 cup crushed ice

Method:

  1. In a reliable blender, puree spinach and orange juice until only small flecks of green remain.
  2. Add carrots and chop, then puree until tiny flecks of orange remain.
  3. Add all other ingredients. Blend until smooth.

Drink and enjoy feeding your body the nutrients it craves!

I have a story

April 3, 2012

I was thinking the other day that I haven’t updated where I am in the whole working out process. If I were you, I’d think that I’d fallen off the wagon and given up for good! (Believe me, I’ve considered it!) The fact that I don’t blog about my workouts would lead you to believe that I’m just hoping you forgot that I used to! Thankfully that isn’t the case. My life, my health and mental well-being depend on working out. (darn-it-all)

You see, I floundered around for a few months after my trainer, Nick, died. Then my brother died of a heart attack. Then my other brother was hospitalized with heart problems eventuating with open-heart surgery. Started me thinking about my own heart health.

Christmas was right around the corner and I continued half-heartedly working out…until I had surgery requiring six weeks off. I loved the excuse to not work out! But, I lost much of the progress I’d made.

I was discouraged with my lack of discipline and with my body, but my husband wasn’t going to let me slip into an emotional abyss! He knows all the signs. We’ve been married nearly 30 years! He found me a new trainer pronto and I started back up in January. It’s amazing how a good workout can change one’s mindset! (It’s supposed to change your body too, but mine is particularly stubborn!)

I made the huge transition from private training to a much more public venue – Lifetime Fitness. I had to hoist my big-girl panties and just decide I wanted it bad enough to deal with the possibility of being watched. I can’t let myself look in the mirror at the gym as it’s too rudely honest. My imagination sees me as 30 pounds lighter and 20 years younger! I’ll keep my eyes averted and let my imagination run with it!

I just go where my trainer takes me and do what my trainer says to do and give it my all and hope that a middle aged, not-stick-thin mother of two, two-time breast cancer survivor can somehow inspire someone to hang in there just like me! I know I’m probably a sight to see!

So, here I am, three months along in the process with my new trainer. He’s excellent, by the way. I know I’d see more progress if I could get all my cardio in each week, but I have these pesky little nuisances called injuries to deal with! (And what is up with that?! I turn 50 and start falling apart?!)

A shoulder that snaps and clicks loudly and with searing pain. (It’s improving finally, in case you’re wondering.)  A foot that has such bad bunions that just walking without a limp is a feat. (pun) Can you hear the violins playing as I waaaaaaaaah?! And yes, the doc wants me to have surgery . . . not if I can help it for as long as I can manage!

I told my trainer the other day, if this is as good as it gets, being half a century old and needing a 50,000 mile overhaul, by golly, I’m keeping at it! The only alternative is quitting and that won’t help me one bit! In three months’ time, I’ve lost only 3 pounds! I can guarantee that if I didn’t work out, I’d gain a lot more than three! He’s still young. He just grins a confused grin. Someday perhaps he’ll listen with enlightened understanding. =)

The deal is this. Every time I go to the gym I need a reality check. I need to remind myself that I work out because I feel better emotionally; I feel stronger physically and I usually sleep better.I work out to become healthier, not because it will make me something I am not – young and svelte!  It’s always good to remind myself of this lest I get discouraged!

You’d think that by the time any person turned 50, they’d know themselves well enough to not be pestered by the same trivialities that pestered them their whole life? Well, apparently not. The temptation is still there to judge myself harshly and compete with and compare to others and come out the loser. At least I’ve learned not to give in to it. The temptation is always there, but I throw it aside.

Something I have come to grips with is that these things will still dog me, but my value isn’t based on my appearance. Maybe to some people, but not anyone who loves me.

I have a story. There’s history hidden beneath this skin! I have purpose. I have people in my life who love me and count on me. They’d miss me if I were gone. They’re just glad to have me around, and don’t care if I’m buff or tan or young or svelte.

If someone only sees me and makes a value judgement based on what they see, they’ve missed the biggest and best part of who I am! Besides, I don’t really think all that many people are even looking! They’re all too worried that someone is looking at them!

What’s your story?

spring winds

March 5, 2012

March has arrived in all its blustery glory. The saying is that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Unfortunately, here in Nebraska, this lion is slow and grouchy and usually he crouches and leaps his way into April as well. Perhaps he eats the lamb, or frightens it into hiding, (although lambs aren’t smart enough to hide . . .) but I digress.

Even though March is still cold and the wind is annoyingly persistent, just the calendar turning from February to March brings me hope. Our wind chimes are being beaten to death, our stacked and covered yard furniture gets pushed along the porch, covers billowing loudly and our poor trees are being given a brutal lashing! The weather is nastier than all of December through February combined, minus the snow, but that could still come!  Even then, I’m hopeful because each day brings me one step closer to the warmth and flowering beauty of True Spring (which for me is warm 72-75 degree days, sunny, barely breezy and perfectly pleasant, which amounts to about 10 days total in a year, only making me savor them more!)

It seems my life has imitated the weather this year. My heart has taken a beating – losing my trainer, and then my brother; almost losing my other brother and all this after having lost my father a year ago. Life is hard; real life isn’t for wimps. It’s brutal sometimes and the winds feel as though they will be my undoing, but here I am, clinging to life. The sap inside begins to loosen, soften and flow and I find that warmth is returning to my spirit and life to my bones!

Springtime reminds me there is always hope. Life after death, songs after silence, laughter after tears. Life as it was may never be again, but life is still good despite it’s difficulty.

The advent of Spring always retrains my focus. It reminds me to look for the hopeful and celebrate the good. I will always remember the sorrow, but I choose to leave it behind and find new joy. As the crocuses sprout up and the forsythia bloom, my heart begins to delight in all things new and fresh and lovely as I anticipate the days of True Spring which will inevitably come!