"Let's have a merry journey, and shout about how light is good and dark is not. What we should do is not future ourselves so much. We should now ourselves. "NOW thyself" is more important than "Know thyself." Reason is what tells us to ignore the present and live in the future. So all we do is make plans. We think that somewhere there are going to be green pastures. It's crazy. Heaven is nothing but a grand, monumental instance of future. Listen, now is good. Now is wonderful." ~ Mel Brooks
Monday, January 31, 2011
Laughter. The single most important remedy to fix any an ailment. Laughter. It eases the soul, warms the belly,fills the lungs and quickens the heart. Does it get any more perfect than that? To revel in that awesome achy-faced satisfaction is like rolling around in a vat of chocolate......it's pure heaven
As a parent, sharing a laugh with my children is akin to being tickled. Their laughter is so contagious, regardless or not if I've had anything to do with bringing them that pure joy of a belly laugh. Their eyes well up, the faces turn red, their mouths turn up as high as they can go. Their laughter is exhilarating, innocent, holy. Through my children's laughter I can hear their spirits sing.
We try to bring laughter into our home at every turn. My husband is a superior jester. If he can turn anything into a joke, he will. It's because of this that most meals that we share together as a family there is a moment or two or three where we all have to put our forks down and safely swallow whatever it is we were trying to devour between laughing fits. Children LOVE jokes. I've noticed, especially between the ages of seven and nine, there is an almost innate desire to become a comedian. To share in that glory of bringing someone to laughter. There is grace in that, I believe. To make someone feel so good that they must laugh, to bring someone a happiness that forces them to blurt out their laughter (controlled or not). Laughter brings joy to the laugh-er and the laugh-ee.
There is something to behold in side-splitting redemption. Peace, love, happiness, ecstasy. The comfortable familiarity that is suggested between a pair that is laughing. Their truly is comfort there. I implore you to laugh today. Bring laughter to someone else; even just a smile would do. Hold hands and laugh until your blue in the face. There really is no better medicine. Laugh because your sad. Laugh because your crazy!!! Laugh because there is no other reason except to bring relief to a heavy heart.
Let go of your inhibitions and laugh as if there is no tomorrow.
* tickle some one's foot
* chase your child
* brush up on your joke stock
* watch a funny movie
* play dress up with your child
* make funny faces in the mirror
* play charades
* laugh in the face of deception
* smile when someone is being unfriendly
* where there is sorrow, listen to music
* where there is happiness, dance in it
Friday, January 28, 2011
The fabric of our lives, woven together by thin strands of irreplaceable chords.....relationships,moments,thoughts,memories,wishes. In this grand tapestry where the story of our lives is told, I am honored to hold a piece of the cloth so dear to my heart. My daughter, Bella. Today is Bella's ninth birthday. She's made it through a very rough seven year transition. She is figuring out her way among her social circle. Admitting to us that our lives are so very different than those she encounters on a daily basis that it is a struggle sometimes to remain authentic. What an amazing journey to be on, not only our own separate journey but then along the one that our children take. It is a journey. All of a sudden it began the moment you knew that a life was growing inside your womb and then *POW* there is this little creature, all new and small. Who knew that being a mother would cultivate the most unpredictable garden.
Bella is our second child. She is twenty-one months younger than her older brother and six years older than her younger sister and seven and a half years older than the baby. She is an amazing sister. She is loyal, loving, compassionate, concerned, protective, honest, and simply perfect. Her gentle smile and ice blue eyes will pierce even the hardest stone. She can melt a heart from miles away. Our little angel. She is a healer, a fairy, an imp at times. She is simply divine.
Our Bella doesn't ask for much but this year she did request Mama's cinnamon buns. I'm always looking for a reason to perfect my recipe, and her birthday is the perfect day to try them out......again. How could I not indulge my darling on her birthday?
To make the dough you dissolve on packet of dry active yeast to 1/2 cup of warm water. Add a little honey so the yeast has something to nibble on. Next mix together 1/2 cup of hot milk, 1/4 cup of sweetener, 2/3 cup of butter, 1 tsp. salt, and one egg. Mix this together until it turns into a syrupy, golden bowl of goodness. Add 1 1/2 - 2 cups of flour. Mix this in with until it's a sticky, gooey mess. Then, add the yeast mixture. Stir this together and add another 1 1/2 - 2 cups of flour. Add it in slowly and stir. When the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl begin to knead it, in the bowl, and add more flour as you need to keep it from getting sticky. Do this for about 5 minutes. Cover with a damp cloth and let it rise until it has doubled in size. About 1 hour or so.
When the dough has risen completely roll it out on a lightly floured surface. Aim for a length of 15-18 inches and a width of 9-12. The shorter the dough the less and fatter the buns!!! To make the filling, that gorgeous, cinnamony, crunchy concoction that makes you close your eyes and think "YUM" is very simple, indeed. Mix together about 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar, 2 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon, and chopped pecans. That. Is. It. Melt a stick of butter and brush it onto the rolled out dough. Sprinkle your filling all over, being careful not to over fill the edges. To roll the dough, start from the side furthest from you. Roll the dough toward you, making sure to keep the rolls as tight as possible. Using a serrated knife, slice the ends off and then slice your rolls. You can choose how thick you like, I tend to cut mine 3/4 - 1 inch in width. Leaving me with 14 or so buns. If you've used all of your filling go ahead and make a little more to cover the tops of the cinnamon buns with. Bake them for 30-45 minutes at a 350 degree oven.
It's true that only the simple things make life grand. Knowing that these little gems covered with a sea of cinnamon goodness brings joy to the heart of my Bella makes it that much more joyful for me to grant this wish of pure sweetness. Happy Birthday, my darling.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
The frozen tundra. That is where I am currently living. Every square inch of existence is under snow and ice and the temperature is below zero. It. Is. Cold. This mere fact provides one of the greatest opportunities.......to bake. There is nothing more warming and satisfying then to bake with children and then to eat your creation. Today, we baked bread. Banana bread, in fact, with nuts and lots and lots of bananas.
Charlotte was my helper. She usually is, as it is a most difficult feat to keep her out of the kitchen. So, in an effort to keep things peaceful, she helps......and I love it. I couldn't ask for a better helper. She loves to have her hands in anything. Having my kids in the kitchen is the single most important experience I feel I can create with them. It provides one on one time, a mathematical lesson, patience, and simply joys. There is nothing more joyful than watching the faces on my children when something that they helped bake comes out of the oven, the anticipation that follows in waiting for it to cool and then.......the sweet redemption of pure bliss while eating their treat. Picture perfect.
Charlotte and I also had the luxury to be able to keep an almost constant eye on our bird feeder. The chickadees were the regular diners this afternoon along with a few sparrows and a blue jay or two......or three. Their need to fill their bellies amidst this frozen land is feverish. It is cold here, and getting colder, so, their one and only concern.......food. Fill up, hunker down, stay fat and happy. Well, we're happy to oblige. I wish we could just invite them all in! They could dine on a regular feast of banana bread crumbs, popcorn, and peanut butter.
The banana bread came out. It's amazing how within moments of its ascension from the oven, one loaf is instantaneously consumed. Mere minutes have passed, and already we're down to one loaf. It warms my heart to know that butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, banana, flour, baking soda, salt and walnuts, when mixed together and baked, creates a heaven on earth experience......even for the non-banana lovers in our house.
In this bleak mid-winter, as the love of my life, our youngest daughter, and I share an impromptu dance to John Hiatt's Learning to Love You, I am reminded of the true sentiment of the title. Learning to love in the coldest of times is essential. Every one's getting a little cranky, all cooped up. Moods shift with each snow/ice fall. We're all sharing a lot of time indoors together, without so much as a five minute respite. It's not easy.......that being said, learning to love all that we have and not wishing for anything more is key. Each other, for example. I couldn't wish for anything more than family, by birth or chosen. Food, home, hearth, heart. These things will always lead to successful living. It's a beautiful journey, living together. The ups and downs. The side way turns and frontward and backward jolts. All is well. I'm so honored to be able to share it with you.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Well, months really do pass by, don't they? Chugging along at a speed faster than my own eye can see. In one single blink another month whizzes passed me. Holy moly! I am looking forward to a s........l........o..........w down!!
I've chosen to revisit my blog. I've been inspired to submit writings to a favorite Internet spot of mine. With that lovely lady's acceptance of my work and her suggestion that "Do you have a blog? If you don't, you should." really sparked those creative forces that have been feverishly working for years now to COME OUT AND PLAY!!!!! It's exciting, exhilarating, inspiring, blissful. I'm so honored to be looked as creative by someone outside my box of friends, that, I truly must acknowledge that which I have been suppressing. We are all guilty of that. My husband, an extremely talented musician and songwriter, gets in the way of his own dream. I know several other highly talented people that could truly use a kick in the pants (like the one I got) and they would make amazing things happen. I feel like I would be wasting a real gift if I let this one slip by on account of me being lazy, incompetent, or uninspired.
My children inspire me. Food inspires me. My simple life in the wooded hillside we reside in inspires me. I am a fortunate being on this earth. What truly matters is what I make useful and what I give my energy to. Everything else is a drain. My family, our creative life, our gardens (come spring), our hope and desire for a completely fulfilling life, using up every bit of God given energy, creativity, and moxy. These are the things that matter.
My hope, for 2011, is to "know hope". To realize the dreams of my family and self and TO MAKE THEM HAPPEN.
2011 will be a wonderful year. I wish for you, as I wish for my family, a year full of family, abundance, growth, healing, and peace.