Lessons From A World Away

Every once in a while, we get lucky.  Really, really lucky.  An opportunity presents itself and we grab the bull by the horns and we take a leap.  I have not been many places in my life.  Growing up with six children in our family did not offer my parents the opportunity to travel much because it was too expensive.  After we got married, my husband and I spent twenty years building a business and that meant putting every dime that we made back into our livelihood.

We have taken our own children on several trips and it has been wonderful, but even those trips have been few and far between.  As the time has passed ever so quickly, somehow you put it on the back burner and say things like, “hopefully we’ll get there someday!”  But somehow it never happens.  My husband had the opportunity to go to Europe in high school and play soccer, even our two oldest children have had the opportunity to travel to Europe with school and we sacrificed to make that happen, because we know all too well that if you put it off, somehow it doesn’t seem to come back around.  My husband and I have been lucky enough to go to Mexico and the Dominican Republic, even if it took us into our forties to get there, but never to Europe until now.

This past month we had the opportunity to travel to Greece with six of our great friends.  We chartered a beautiful boat and sailed the islands.  We left our children, and our business, and let the water lead us to the most beautiful places I have ever seen. So now for the lessons that this amazing country taught me.

We had no itinerary and no agenda.  Our family said things like, “you don’t have a plan for where you’re going?” Nope! “You don’t have a set schedule of where you’re staying?” Nope!  “Aren’t your worried about pirates?” Ha, that was hysterical to me! We got on that boat and we left our cares behind. The first thing that I had to learn very quickly is that no one is in a hurry, literally no one.  When you sit down to eat, it is going to be an event, one that takes time.  What this gave me was time to be present with my husband and my friends.  It gave us time to talk and laugh until our cheeks hurt.  The service was very attentive, but once your food came, they left you alone and expected you to savor the moment.  And savor we did!

The people were so kind and catered to anything that we needed.  They told you what looked best on you as you shopped, and gave amazing recommendations for off-the-beaten path places to eat and drink.   Each evening we gathered and decided on where to head the next day.  We mapped our journey as a team, planned as a team, and worked together to go where the water led.  Some of my favorite moments were anchoring in incredible coves, cooking dinner on the boat, swimming in water that was crystal clear and ten shades of blue, and renting scooters to travel up into the hills and truly see the magnificent islands. We fought very strong winds to moor the boat, and managed to pull it off every time, and I watched as my husband dove into a bay to unlock the anchor when it got snagged.  He was awesome.

We left the stress, the mundane, the hassle, and the load that we bear on a daily basis behind, then we breathed in the experience.  We would get to an island and I’d say, “this is the most beautiful place I have ever seen”  and then we’d get to the next and it was my new favorite.  From Athens, to Aegina, from Spetses, to Poros, my heart was full.

The Europeans do not care if you are fat or thin.  They embrace life in a way that we need to do more of. They wear whatever they want and do not apologize for anything.  They eat and drink to their hearts content without a care in the world.  I was able to eat bread and pasta without any itching or feeling awful, as I usually do, because they don’t allow chemicals in their food that we allow in the US. Everything was fresh and made to order, and the food was absolutely fabulous everywhere we went.  I embraced my body and my mind for the first time in a very long time.  I couldn’t dry or straighten my hair, so it was a curly mess. I didn’t beat myself up for being imperfect.  I laughed more than I have in years, and felt totally and completely at peace.  When was the last time you felt like that, or have you ever?

The lessons we learn from traveling to other places are countless.  It doesn’t matter if you travel to Europe or a state park, just go.  Leave your worries behind.  Wash your clothes in a bucket, let them dry in a breeze.  Eat all the cheese and drink all the wine.  Swim in the cool water.  Make love under the stars.  Skinny dip in a cove.  You’re not too old and it’s not too late.  We can’t take our money with us when we die, and if we don’t jump at the opportunities that are presented to us, then we will miss out on the greatest moments of our lives.   I may not remember which islands I visited and what made me laugh so hard that I cried, but I will never forget how this trip made me feel.

I will never forget that for a few weeks I was totally and completely relaxed.  I will never forget the time that the eight of us had together embracing the people and their culture.  I will never forget that my children also worked as a team at home to get to their jobs and get their younger brother to all of the places that he needed to be. I’m grateful, deep down to the pit of my stomach grateful, that we put ourselves first for once.  I hope we get to do it more.  We don’t know how much time we have on this earth and I for one am so glad that I was schooled by the lovely people of Greece.  I will treasure this magical trip forever.  And that is all.

xoxo Deb

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Dear Mamas

 

Every year Mother’s Day sneaks up on me and I am never quite prepared. I blame it on the fact that it always falls within the last few weeks of school and we are in the middle of a total balancing act.  We have sporting events, banquets, concerts, try-outs for next year’s teams, and band, and I’m trying to get my grades done and keep lots of school kiddos from losing their minds.  I always try to reflect on my past year and all the things that have come my way as a mom, and I also miss my own mom desperately, because after 14 years without her, it never gets easier.  So here I am, late as usual, trying to keep it together, pondering so many things.

When I was a little girl, I always new that I wanted to be a mom.  I loved my younger siblings and baby cousins, and always wanted to hold all of the babies I could get me hands on.  It seemed like it was something that everyone did. You grew up, you got married, and you had babies.  I realize that this sounds “old school,” but it’s the truth.  A mom, I wanted to be a “mom!”  When you’re young, you think motherhood is about holding cute, chubby little babies. You have no idea what the actual job means.  I never in a million years would have guessed what this unbelievably difficult task would require of me.

I never knew that this would require my body, I mean every square inch of my body, to stretch well beyond it’s comfortable capacity. I didn’t know that I’d be left with stretch marks, and scars, and that no matter how much weight I lost, when looked in the mirror I would never look the same again. I didn’t know that my feet, ankles, and knees could merge into one from swelling, and that shoes would no longer fit on my feet.  I didn’t know that my nose would swell and make me look like Worf from Star Trek, and if you don’t know who that is, look it up, hysterical. I didn’t know that I could feel that sick for that long, or that the foods I loved I would come to hate, and the foods I hated I would crave constantly.  I didn’t know that certain smells would send me running to get sick, and also I would have a sense of smell that was so acute, I could smell things two miles away. I didn’t know I could eat so many deviled eggs in one sitting, or that I could spend so much money on blueberries and grape tomatoes, which I ate by the hundreds it seemed.

I didn’t know that the second my baby was put into my arms,  everything I had ever known was about to change forever.  How could this one little human make me the most vulnerable person on earth.  How could I know from the second that I gazed at that tiny little face that I would take a bullet, jump in front of a car, and go completely batshit crazy if I thought that anyone was trying to hurt him.  Death sounds like an easy trade off, if it keeps my children from harm.  I didn’t know that I would become a completely irrational crazy lady if my child’s feelings were hurt.  Thank God I made myself “sleep on it,” before losing my mama bear mind on someone else, countless times. (Well, other than a few moments I’m not proud of!)

I didn’t know that I could look at the face of my children and be so hopelessly in love. I didn’t know that I would cry as they were growing up, when their faces changed, but I could still see that innocent little person from long ago behind their eyes. I didn’t know that even when their behavior was less than desirable, I still wanted to grab them up and kiss their cheeks, and hug them so tightly they might break.  I didn’t know that their curiosity and sheer wonder of life, would make me look at things as if they were new all over again.   I mean after all, the moon is pretty freaking cool!!!  I didn’t know that all of the “lasts” would be the last, and I wish I would’ve paid closer attention. I wish I would’ve played with them more, worried about the house work less, and didn’t miss things when I was too exhausted to move. I didn’t know that a personality could be changed by the hatred of others and that I would feel responsible for every single tear, and heartache that my children experienced when these hard moments happened. I am still in shock that no matter how old they get, with one spoken word, I can tell when something is wrong.

I didn’t know that watching them get their heart broken would be ten times worse for me.  They are called crushes for a reason, but it crushes the mamas just as much.  I didn’t know that the pride that I felt when they learned to walk, potty on the potty, say their first word, and ate solid food, would be nothing compared the pride that came when they learned to ride a bike, scored their first goal, hit a triple, had a solo in dance, graduated high school, got into the college they wanted, and met their first love.  I didn’t know that no matter how old they get I always want them to trust me, talk to me, and say they love me. And when they don’t, I cry in my room so they won’t see my tears. I didn’t know that being a mom would put everything in perspective, but be the biggest gamble of my life. I didn’t know that I could be so angry that my head was literally going to explode, and then in an instant all could be forgiven. I didn’t know that motherhood would be the hardest, and most rewarding job at the same time.

I miss my mom everyday.  I miss her hands, I miss her hugs, I miss her smell.  I miss that she does not get to see her amazing grandkids achieve their dreams.  I miss that I can’t call her for advice, and to tell her I love her. I miss her coming to my house for holidays, and I miss that since she died, the world has not been right.  But I also know that she sees me, she lets me know she’s watching over us, and loving us from afar.  There is a Jewish proverb that says, “God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.” This could not be more true.  My own mother was a shining example of this.

So as you reflect on your first year, or past years of motherhood, I hope you remember that you are strong, you are important, you are a safe place for them to land. You are their leaders, their teachers, their future friends, their rock, their hand to hold.  I remember hugging my mom so tight that it took my breath away, because you see, they love you that much too.   It is the greatest gift of my life.

If  you’re still hoping to be a mom one day, I will keep you in my heart and thoughts. If you are struggling in the season of motherhood that you are in, know that it will pass.  Hold on tight to every single moment, because it goes faster and faster each year.  For all of the things I didn’t know, not one of them matters, because I would do it all again.  They are my everything. They are the reason I breathe.  They are my miracle, and nothing is better than being their mom.

I didn’t know the love that my mother had for me, until I became a mom, and I’m so humbled. I hope your journey is filled with precious moments each and every day. Cheers and love to you all, sweet moms.  I’m so glad that we have each other to share in the happiness, sadness, struggles, and craziness this mom life brings our way.  I can’t tell you how amazing you are.

xoxo Deb

Cinco de Mayo: Perfect Party Food


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Hi Friends!  I hope you’re having a great day.  Cinco de Mayo is this weekend and I don’t know about you, but I love an excuse to gather with friends and share great food.  We adore Mexican food in our house, and my mom was also a huge fan of Mexican cuisine.  I am fortunate to have some of her great recipes, as well as a few that I have created, and some I’ve collected from family and friends.   I decided that I’d put them all in one place, even though I have shared some in the past.  My hope is that this will make it super easy for you to get ready for your festive event!  Now let’s get cooking!!

First up, salsa!  This is a fabulous salsa recipe that I was lucky enough to get many years ago.  I have made it countless times and it is a serious hit.  It is fresh, delicious, and super easy.  The heat can be altered to your liking as well. Feel free to leave out the jalapeño and it will still have a kick from the Rotel.

Deb’s Simple Salsa:

salsa photo2 Medium tomatoes (small grape or cherry tomatoes can be used easily, just approximate the amount to equal two medium tomatoes)
1 Can original Rotel (adjust your heat level by using mild, or hot instead)
Juice of one large lemon
1 Full bunch cilantro, washed and coarsely chopped
1 Bunch green onion, chopped
1 Jalapeño pepper seeds removed and finely chopped, optional (you can use serrano or habanero if you prefer)
1/2 Tbsp garlic salt
1 Shake of cumin, optional

Add your can of Rotel, cilantro, green onions, jalapeño, and lemon juice to your food processor. Pulse several times to begin to break down the ingredients. Once it is chopped and reduced somewhat in volume, add in the tomatoes, garlic salt, and cumin, if using. Process it all together until it is your desired consistency. I like mine very finely processed, but whatever you prefer is just great. Taste and adjust garlic salt level if more is needed. Now pull out those chips and dig in!!

*Recipe add on: You can also make this recipe with fresh, sweet peaches. Keep the other ingredients mostly the same, but add in the peeled, diced flesh of two sweet, ripe peaches. Increase the cilantro by another half bunch, and adjust your garlic salt according to taste. My oldest son actually prefers the peach version!

Deb’s Perfect Guacamole:

IMG_2184 4 Large ripe avocados, smashed
Juice of one small lime
2 Large cloves of fresh garlic, minced
2 Tbsp of shredded sweet yellow onion, with moisture squeezed out
½ tsp garlic salt
½ tsp kosher salt
½ jalapeño fined diced, optional

Scoop the avocado flesh from the skin. Squeeze in the lime juice. Smash the avocado and lime juice with a potato masher or fork in a large bowl until desired consistency. Shred the onion and press out all of the moisture either in a fine mesh sieve or squeeze it in a paper towel. Add the shredded onion, minced garlic, garlic salt, kosher salt, and jalapeño, if using, to the avocado mixture. Stir well until all ingredients are incorporated.

* The longer it sits, the better it gets. I usually make it at least an hour before I serve it. This is a basic, but really delicious recipe. A few ways to kick it up a notch are to add roasted, and chopped sweet grape tomatoes, fresh chopped cilantro, and I also have smoked the avocado and tomatoes, and it is incredible. Feel free to adjust the lime juice, salt, and heat, to your liking. Enjoy!

Deb’s Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada’s: 

IMG_21581 1/2 Cups diced cooked chicken (in a pinch rotisserie chicken works well)
1 small can chopped green chilies
3/4 Cup sour cream
1 Cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 Cup shredded pepper jack or Monterey jack cheese, divided
12 Flour or corn tortillas, I use 6 of each
1 Can red enchilada sauce
1 Can green enchilada sauce
1 tsp salt

Combine chicken, sour cream, ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, ½ cup pepper jack or Monterey jack cheese, sour cream, green chiles, and salt. Mix well. Spoon mixture into tortillas and roll. Place them in a lightly greased 9 x 13 casserole dish. Drizzle the top of the rolled tortillas with the red and green sauce. Sprinkle on the reserved cheeses. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until the cheese bubbles and the top begins to lightly brown.

Deb’s Mexican Seven Layer Dip:
Image-1Layer 1:
1 can mild or jalapeño prepared bean dip (I use frito lay-it’s usually in the chip isle)

Layer 2:

Smash avocados and mix all together
2 Medium ripe avocados
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Layer 3:

Mix all together
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup good mayonnaise
1/2 package taco seasoning
1 4oz can chopped green chilies

Layer 4:

Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
sliced green onions
sliced black olives
chopped tomatoes
tortilla chips for serving

Layer the bean dip, the guacamole, and the sour cream mixture. Top with shredded sharp cheddar cheese or cheese of your choice, chopped green onions (aka scallions), black sliced olives, and chopped tomatoes. Feel free to add any toppings that you like. It’s also great with jalapenos for a spicier version. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips and enjoy!!

The day is not perfect without the perfect margarita.  I suggest Ina Garten’s Pink Grapefruit Margarita.  It’s amazing! Here’s the link. I make them in a martini shaker and serve them in salted martini glasses, but they’re great frozen too!

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/pink-grapefruit-margaritas-recipe-1920620

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There are many great recipes out there, but this one is a keeper!  As always, let me know if you have any questions! Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy your Cinco de Mayo festivities!  I hope you love these recipes I’ve shared!  Cheers!

xoxo Deb

 

 

My People

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Some of the amazing people in my life!

I’m driving down the road.  It’s eight in the morning and I am heading to an event at the art museum that I’m going to cover as part of my new job.  I have the radio on and I’m singing loudly, which is typical.  There is nothing particularly special about the moment or the day, but as I’m singing and driving all of the sudden I am overwhelmed.  I feel this intense emotion come over me and I am in tears.  Yes, I’m a crazy crier, but in the moment I have no idea what on earth is happening.  Why I am I crying?  Why am I feeling this rush of emotion? I say out loud to myself, “what on earth, get a grip!”

I take a deep breath, regain my composure,  and continue down the road.  What is going on?   What is the motivation behind my emotion.  And then I realize, it is happiness, total and complete happiness.  I have spoken a lot about my struggles.  Whether it be depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, or a billion other things, sometimes I am at odds with myself.  But for the first time in a really long time, I feel like myself.  It has been way too long.  I cannot remember the last time that I really felt like me, and I was overwhelmed.  It was miraculous. I think many of us look at our lives and question what we are doing and where we are supposed to be.   I know I have on many occasions.

When you have moments where you feel at odds, who is it that brings you back to where you need to be?  Who is it that grounds you, and reminds you of your purpose?  In my case, it’s “my people.”  I pondered and thought about my people.  What is it that they do for me?  How am I so lucky?  You see, I have been trying to figure out what to do with my life for a really long time.  I don’t mean in regard to my family, that part is solid.  I mean, what can I change to bring more happiness in the day to day?  What can I do to feel like I’m making a difference, or better yet that my life has purpose? I am not talking about purpose to help others.   As a teacher I think everyday our goal is about helping our students become better humans.   I’m talking about personal purpose. I want to feel like I’m utilizing my creativity.  I want to write more.  I want to wake up and say, “wow, I’m really happy in my work.” I guess everybody wants that, so I’m probably not unique.  The difference is you have to decide to do something to change where you are, so you can get to where you want to be.  This is where I needed help from my people.

I have been a teacher for over twenty years.  It has brought me countless moments of joy.  But I promised myself long ago, that if I ever started to lose the joy, it was time to move on.  I still smile. I adore my students, and they brighten my day with hugs and love.  I do not regret one moment of the time I have spent with them, or with the amazing educators that I have worked with, but something is off.  Although I am thrilled with their success, the overall atmosphere has changed.  The scope of teaching has changed.   When you get to a point where parents who have known you for many years question how you teach, and what you say, it’s no longer an atmosphere that I want to be in.  There is no longer respect, and there is no longer reverence for the profession.  This does not mean that I am not deeply grateful for the amazing support from the majority of parents who I have worked with, but overall this year has been a struggle.  I needed to figure out my next move.  Where am I being led? What is the little voice in the back of my head telling me? One thing was sure, it was time for a change.

Starting something new is so scary, I mean curl up in a ball and panic, scary.  I don’t care if you’re five or fifty, it is utterly terrifying.  Leaving what you have known, and are really good at means taking a big leap of faith.  But even bigger, is the leap of faith that those around you have to take.  They are saying to you.  “It’s ok, I trust that you can do this.  I trust that you will be amazing and successful! I trust that all will work out.”  Your people believe in you even when you don’t believe in yourself.  They are willing to let you give up money, comfort, and security,  to jump off that bridge.  Not only do they let you jump, they hold your hand and tell you, it will be alright.  They let you know that they think that you are amazing and no matter what, you will succeed.

I don’t know what I have done to deserve this, but I’m here to tell you that “my people” rock.   How can I be so lucky to have this kind of support?  How can I have friends so dear that they trust not only that I  can do a job that I’ve never done, but trust that I will be successful even when I’m learning as I go.  I realize that even as a teacher, you get a degree, you student teach, and you are thrust into a classroom with lots of skills, but little practical knowledge.  I guess, as with most jobs, you become a master by doing the job day in and day out.  But, you cannot take this leap without an amazing support system.

Having a tribe around you that believes in you, allows you to blossom.  It solidifies your decision to make a change. It let’s you know that no matter what, they have your back.  I’m forty-seven.  I’m almost to the point that some call “middle-age.” Yet here I am starting something new.  I don’t think that I ever realized I had a choice.  I have always done what is the best for others.  I chose my job and the direction of my life, because I was worried about my husband’s career and financial security while he was in school.  I chose a degree that was convenient.  I want to make it very clear,  he did not ask for this, nor expect it.  He is the most supportive person in my life.  I made the choice, me, no one else.  I made it out of fear; fear of taking a risk, fear of doing something outside of my comfort zone, fear of failure.  I took the path of least resistance, and now here I sit.

I took a path that was where I needed to be at the time, and I’m good with that.  I loved that path for a long time.  But now it’s time for a new path. This path is just about me.  It’s about my creativity being utilized in a new way.  It’s about finding out just what the heck I am capable of.  It’s about finding myself and seeing myself in a whole new light.  Am I terrified?  Uh, yep!  Am I scared of failure? Of course!  But, I’m more frightened of not taking the risk.  The thought of not trying something new is far more terrifying than not trying at all.  It is MY time.  It is time for me to step up to the plate and be in charge of what I want in my life, no one else.  You are never too old to start over.  You are never too old to take that leap.  You are never too old to follow your heart, even if you think it may disappoint the people around you.  You are in control of your life, and life is way too short to wait for the next move.  Your time is now.

I am eternally grateful for the people in my life that have so much darn faith in me.  I’m deeply thankful that they trust me and love me.  I hope that many years from now I will look back and still feel the same sense of happiness I feel today.  I hope I still feel like ME.  My people have truly given me courage that I never knew I had.  In the words of L. Frank Baum in The Wizard of Oz, ” You have plenty of courage, I am sure,”  answered  Oz.  “All you need is confidence in yourself.  There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger.  The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty.” Thank you for letting me see the courage in myself.

So now the journey begins.  I’m leaving what I know for the unknown.  I’m going to discover what I am capable of.  I’m going to forge my own path.   Look out world, it’s time to kick some serious ass.  I hope you have the courage to do the same.

xoxo Deb

Lessons from a couch….

 

couch blog

I have been a crazy lady lately.  Between running kids to a million things and work projects I’m trying to complete, I feel like I’m totally out of touch.  We are a family that tries to spend time together and that eats dinner together as much as we can, but even that has fallen by the wayside.  When everything starts to spin out of control I become the mom and wife that no one wants to be around.  I’m short-tempered and “screamy.”  The other night was no different, homework to be done,  kids needing to be picked up, and then with one little visual cue my butt was kicked back into place.

My youngest son was feeling a bit under the weather and I was standing next to the couch as he sat down to relax for a minute.   We have a big sectional and as he sat at one end I looked up at the other end.  It stopped me in my tracks.  I looked at the big cushions, the blanket, and the creases in the leather.  Tears filled my eyes.  How can a couch trigger such an emotional response?  IT’S A COUCH!!  But there I was looking at our big leather sectional with my favorite red plaid wool blanket draped over the side and the big squishy buffalo check pillow nestled in the corner, and tears flowed.  I looked away because I knew that my son was going to notice.   Although he probably wouldn’t have thought anything of it because I’m a crier,nonetheless it was odd and I was a bit shocked.   You see, in that moment I realized that this image was home.

Home, those four little letters that mean everything to me, my husband, and our kids. Home is where we sit on those cushions and have family movie night.  Home is where we order pizza and sprawl out wrapped up in those blankets. Home is where I sit and stare at the Christmas lights during the holidays.  Home is where I nurse the kids when they are sick, or injured.  Home is where I sip wine by the fire with my number one guy when the kids are off doing their things. It’s the place where we are all safe, and comforted by one another when we are at our most vulnerable.  Home is where I mourned the loss of my mother, and celebrated the birth of my children.  It’s where we invite our friends to have great food and cocktails, and have hosted too many family gatherings to count.  It is peace and quiet, it can be loud with dogs barking.  It is the place that I would choose to go even if I could choose anywhere in the world. It is warm blankets, and warm food. It is summer nights and fire pits.  It is laughter and it is tears.  It is everything happy and everything sad.  It is comforting the kids after a break up, or comforting them when they get cut from a team.  It is green grass in the summer and snow in the winter.  It is deer and turkeys running in the woods out our back windows.

There it was, one little blanket and one little pillow, and all of these thoughts and emotions rushed through me like a flood.  I could hardly breathe.  When life throws you a curve, remember what is right in front of you.  It is not the stuff, it is the moments, and the voices inside your walls.  It is the late night talks and the breaking of bread.  It is the smile that you bring to those around you, and they to you. I’m sure the word home means many different things to all of us, but I am so glad that I looked up and for whatever reason something as simple as a couch made me remember that this too shall pass. All of the crazy will calm, and life will return to normal.  The big things will seem little, and the little things we’ll realize are quite big, things like sitting down at a table for dinner.

One of my favorite quotes is from Maya Angelou.  She wrote, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  I want my family to remember how I made them feel.  I don’t want to be short-tempered and yell.  I want to look up at my couch and remember that it houses the most important people in the world, and honestly, what else is there? I got all of this from a couch, a simple brown couch.   I guess I should be thankful for the cold that my son had, or I may not have stopped.  I may have missed the lesson from a couch.  I hope that the people around me never forget what they mean to me.  I hope they know the deep and great love that I feel for them, and how much I appreciate the love they have for me.

For now, I’m going to leave the dishes in the sink, the laundry in the dryer, and I am going to go sit down in my favorite spot, cover myself with my favorite blanket and chat with my favorite daughter so that she knows, this little moment is more important.

What lessons are the things around you trying to teach you today?  Stop and listen.  See what you are missing.  They are there, and they are significant.  Those are my thoughts today, friends.  Peace and love.

xoxo Deb

 

What’s Your Word??

deb and jenny photo
My inspiration for this blog.

Many years ago I began a tradition that has been one of my favorite things to do in the new year.  Each year I choose a word that I weave into my daily life and goals.  Resolutions are not something that have ever worked for me.  Last year I shared my struggle with how I’d love to follow through with a New Year’s goal, but I typically fail miserably.  This year is no different.  For several weeks I have been pondering what word I am going to choose for 2019.  It seems that when I put this out into the universe something always begins to speak to me. 

These past many weeks I spent lots of time with family and friends, as I am sure you did as well, and there are many feelings and thoughts that came to me.  Profound gratitude is certainly something that I feel, but gratitude was my word in 2014.  I certainly feel blessed and thrilled to have had such a wonderful time celebrating Christmas with all those I love, but this year one word has been whispering to me more than any other.   This word is forgiveness

I have a lot of unresolved issues when it comes to forgiveness.  I tend to hold onto things that I shouldn’t for way too long. The problem with this is that it begins to interfere with real happiness.  When you don’t forgive others, it can become a dark cloud hanging over you wherever you go. When I have chosen my words in the past, I have focused on them from an outward perspective.  For example, how can I forgive others more easily?  How can I let go of those grudges when I feel hurt by someone, especially when it’s someone close to me, and they have hurt me more than once?  How can I live in a way where I let things go and don’t sweat the small stuff so much?  Then I was talking with my dear friend last week and she said something to me that hit me like a ton of bricks.  We were causally chatting about nothing in particular, but she was feeling overwhelmed, as was I.  There was so much to accomplish before Christmas, and there was so much going on with both of us and our jobs and families.  She said “I think in the new year I am going to  to forgive myself.”  And this solidified my word, the word that had been whispering to me for many weeks, the word that was on the tip of my brain, waiting to be chosen. 

She had no idea what my word was going to be, but not only did it solidify my word, she made me think of it in another light.  Forgive myself!! Oh my gosh, forgive myself!! We are the end-all be-all for everyone.  We are the workers, the cleaners, the cookers, the runners, the washers, the nursemaids, the homework helpers, the teachers, the comforters, and the list goes on.  We feel like failures when our children are struggling, or not thriving in the way we think that they should.  We have hard weeks at work and feel like we are spread so thin that we are jacks of all trade, but masters of nothing and it’s a pretty terrible place to be.  So here it is, forgive yourself.  Forgive yourself for messing up. Forgive yourself for not being as thin as your want, or as pretty as you wish you were.  I guarantee you’re beautiful inside and out.  Forgive yourself for being late, for missing that appointment, for having the laundry pile up, and for the house being a mess.  Forgive yourself for not being the superhuman you are striving to be, because NEWSFLASH, no one has it all together.  This is an unattainable goal, it’s an illusion. Forgive yourself for anything and everything that you tell yourself you are “supposed” to be, but feel like you aren’t. 

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The four reasons I need to love myself more!

What’s your word?  What do you hear whispering to you?  What do you think you need to do to be a happier version of yourself?  In the past years I have chosen words like courage, determination, acceptance, perseverance, kindness, and gratitude.  This year I choose forgiveness and I choose ME, and I think that you need to choose you as well. 

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I choose ME!

My hope is that as this new year begins we can all be a little more accepting of our flaws and failures, life is too short, so let it all go.  I hope when I check in next year, you are a happier, healthier, and more forgiving version of yourself.  I wish you great moments in your life this year, and so much more.  Happy New Year!  Thanks for continuing to follow me and read my words.  I’m so thankful for you! Peace and Cheers!

xoxo Deb

Words From A Grateful Heart

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But coffee first!

I tend to sit on a lot of ideas.  I have been super busy lately doing some really fun posts about decorating and such, but then I get hit with a profound thought or moment,  and I am compelled to share.  I am especially driven when that thought keeps coming back over and over again. I say to myself, OK, OK, I hear you, I’m on it. During Thanksgiving week, and then again this weekend I was able to spend time with dear friends.  In our busy lives we tend to forget to take time to be with those that are most important to us.  I also got to enjoy family time, which is always so special, but for this moment, I am grateful for the friendships that I have both new and old. 

Being in charge of “all the things” can get us very weary.  We work, cook, clean, do the laundry, run kids, change diapers, mend bumps and bruises, manage the schedule that goes a million different directions, mend broken hearts, help heal our “sickies,” pick up the spirits of everyone around us, and the list goes on.  We do all of these things to a fault.  When we are the keeper of all things for everyone, and when we do all of these things, sometimes we forget to fill our tanks, and obviously I’m not talking about gas.  We put ourselves last, all…the…time!  When we do this our tanks get emptier and emptier, and all of the sudden our world  comes to a screeching halt.  Both our mind and body give up.  I cannot tell you how many times in the last few weeks I’ve seen friends post on social media or mention how they are running on empty.  The holiday season tends to do this to us mamas.  I joked to my husband all the time when our kids were little,  “Yay Christmas is here, the most miserable time of the year!”  Now I didn’t really mean that, I promise! Christmas was magical and beautiful for us then, and it still is. But what I meant was that it was a time when everyone was exhausted.  If you have little ones, you tend to run from place to place and from celebration to celebration.  The naps are bypassed, the bedtimes are late and everyone is SOOOO crabby, parents included.  As they get older, there are concerts to attend and sports seasons to complete and once again everyone is dragging through the days!

We forget to stop and take time to do things for ourselves.  We forget that it is OK to schedule a “play date” for us!  So in these past few weeks I did just that.  I needed good people around me.  I needed to fill my tank. So I spent time having dinner with our dear friends over the holidays, enjoying a fire pit with great friends, and I got a bunch of my “girls” together to have brunch and cocktails, and just sit and laugh together.  We don’t get together nearly enough, and for that I’m sad, but forcing ourselves to take time is worth it.  I’m not kidding!  I sat there, in this little crowded booth, listening to friends laugh and talk, and I was overwhelmed.  I was filled with so much gratitude.  I was reminded that life is far too short.  We MUST stop, even in all the madness, and force ourselves to do something that fills our tank. We must nurture the friendships that we have and not let them fade.  I admit that I am not always on top of this, but I continue to try all of the time and strive to be better. 

So, I am here to say that I am grateful for you.  I am so glad that you are in my life.  I’m overwhelmed at how you fill up my heart and my tank so that I can manage these crazy holiday weeks in my music classes.   I’m so fortunate that I can share my life with you in a host of different ways, writing and blogging really are what I love the most.   I’m eternally grateful that even though my mom is gone, her friends continue to read my blogs and comment on my creative endeavors. I’m so blessed that I have met so many new friends when I took a leap of faith and began sharing my food and decorating in a public forum.  Your support and encouragement is truly overwhelming to me. Thanks for not giving up on me.   My tank, as I sit here today, is full. 

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I took this one morning when I was missing my mom. I’m pretty sure she sent me the light. Grateful!

The moral of this story is… no day is promised.  We do not know what tomorrow brings.  Make today the day that you stop and schedule time to do what you love.  Meet that friend you haven’t seen.  Sit for a moment and let the laundry wait. Drink an extra cup of coffee under that blanket.  See the people that you love the most. The only way that we can truly care for others is to care for ourselves. Chaos breeds more chaos.  Take time to get it under control. There are a million things to be done, there are presents to buy, and family gatherings to prepare for, but I promise you, it will get done.  You’ll be so much more appreciative of it all, and better equipped to handle the stress, if you’ve stopped to sit with the gals drinking a few mimosas, catching up on all the happenings in your lives, and you return to your “job” with a big, beautiful, tank filled all the way to the top. 

I wish you so much love and joy as Christmas approaches.  I hope that you take time for you, and your tank is full.  Remember that you are important and are the keeper of all things , and all will shine brightly when you make yourself a priority. 

May all your days be merry and bright!  That’s today’s dish!

Deb