A scar I will wear proudly …

This one gets me every time I see it. It’s a picture I posted on Facebook four years ago about making apple butter. And I have no memory of it. I posted it about 24 hours before I would develop symptoms of meningitis (again). Four years later, I can happily say that I have regained a lot of my memory back. My phenomenal medical team considers me a “full recovery” (again). But there are many days (weeks, months) before and after I got sick where my memories are either of vivid trauma or they are just missing. These voids seem to unnerve me more as the days creep closer to my Meningitis-versary Part 2. But I’m thankful that I am here, alive, active, living with no brain damage and enjoying life with my loved ones. Knowing how severe my encephalopathy was, makes all of this miraculous. So I’ll take feeling unnerved a few days a year. In fact, I’m happy to wear this scar proudly as a testimony to my soul’s will to survive … again.

Mini Pumpkin Pastries (because, WHY NOT) …

I don’t usually share recipes here but these mini pumpkin pastries were a new one for me and incredibly yummy. So, I figured WHY NOT?!?! I’m not going to get into a big deal about the recipe other than to say a few things about my love of cooking and baking. One of my favorite pastimes is combining and modifying recipes that I’ve seen over the years. I took a few cooking classes decades ago and I am a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. So needless to say, I LOVE FOOD! I have also always been very conscientious about the ingredients that I use and the foods that I feed my family. And, it makes me happy when I can pass along a recipe that I made a little bit healthier and a whole lot easier. I’ve mentioned before that one fast and easy way to ensure a healthier version of any recipe is to use all-natural and/or organic ingredients. Even sweet treats, like these mini pumpkin pastries that I made this morning, can benefit from an all-natural organic revamp. Enjoy!

MINI PUMPKIN PASTRIES

✔️Preheat oven to 400 degrees

INGREDIENTS

✔️1 sheet Aussie Bakery pastry dough cut into 16 squares (this brand is all-natural and vegan)

✔️3/4 cup Farmer’s Market Organic Pumpkin Pie Mix (not puréed pumpkin)

✔️3 tablespoons organic cane sugar

✔️raw sugar for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS

✔️Combine the pumpkin and sugar in a sauce pan over low-medium heat.

✔️Let cool.

✔️Spread about 1 tablespoon of the pumpkin mixture onto each pastry square.

✔️Fold into a triangle and use a fork to close the edges.

✔️Wet the top of each pastry with water and sprinkle some raw sugar on top.

✔️Bake for 15-20 minutes and cool before eating.

Unexpected joy …

I woke up a few times last night … because I was FREEZING. The weather here is certainly changing. And I LOVE IT. My younger self is at a loss with my newfound love of colder weather. I have to admit, it’s strange coming from a woman who mourned summer’s end every year for decades. Anyway, after my walk this morning, my happy frozen self, found a cozy quiet moment before anyone else woke up. And I started to think. I am not sure if my appreciation of colder weather would have progressed without the happenings of 2020. But I do know that it’s incredible how you can be one way your whole life, then change, so naturally, and start to enjoy something that you never ever did before. A human being’s ability to evolve is simply amazing to me! It makes me excited to know that there is still so much unexpected joy out there just waiting to be discovered. So, I guess I’m going to add this treasure to my list of personal wins for the year … and hope to add a few more before it ends.

Better things ahead …

Isn’t it amazing how innately our souls step-up to meet new challenges? Even when we feel overwhelmed, weak or unable, we still somehow manage to overcome some pretty tough situations. We are SO capable! Although the process is not always pleasant, this is probably one of my favorite things about being human. No matter what happens, we continue to grow our strengths. And what a treasure these strengths are! I can’t help but think that these newly discovered gifts and the struggles that help us find them, are preparing us for better things ahead. At least, I hope so.

Pumpkin spice and rolling the dice …

Happy First Day of Autumn!

CONFESSION #1: I am one of THOSE pumpkin lovers. The sting of Summer’s end is always eased for me knowing that soon pumpkin spice EVERYTHING will be available. My younger self would buy ALL OF IT. It could be the most disgusting pumpkin spiced combination you could think of and I was all for it. I just assumed it would all be fabulous tasting. Trust me, I was wrong. But I didn’t care. If it was pumpkin, then I was ALL IN. Now I am much more discerning. I still enjoy trying many of the new natural pumpkin products on the market but there are quite a few that I pass on now. I’ll have to write about some of my tried and true favorites another time. Today I want to share about a LIFE CHANGING pumpkin recipe that I recently made. Suuuuure life changing.

Anyway, I love to experiment with recipes. I dissect them, mesh them together with other recipes and change ingredients to healthier ones on the market. This is my kinda fun! (By the way, a simple way to revise a recipe to a healthier version of itself is to just use natural and/or organic ingredients. BOOM. Healthier!)

Also, I have another confession. CONFESSION #2 is that I was a scone addict. It all started about 15 years ago. I would eat them almost everyday. I am not kidding you! Thankfully I didn’t have any adverse reactions to it, probably because I was sticking with my normal exercise routine. But that could have gotten ugly. SUPER UGLY. I am years past all that now, but I still love a good scone. Strangely, with all the things that I have baked in my 52 years, I have never made scones from scratch. Until Sunday! I was honestly surprised at how easy it was to make them and how fast it was from start to finish. I guess I had always thought that they would be difficult to make so I just opted for store bought and boxed mixes. Boy was I wrong! It was easy peasy and I even modified a few things too. Of course, this whole thing got me thinking on a much deeper level than just scones.

Why did I do that? It’s strange to think that I’ve spent decades baking and never once tried to make one of my favorite treats from scratch just because I ASSUMED that it would be too hard to do. That whole thought bugged me. But what REALLY bothered me was that it all came so naturally. YIKES! When the heck did that happen?!?! It made me wonder about all the other things that I haven’t done because I THOUGHT that they would be too hard to accomplish. And this comes from a woman who has quite a few difficult (and some risky) accomplishments under her belt! 

Isn’t it funny how our brains work?!?! What makes us view some things as reasonable and others things as not? Why does the propensity to avoid something come so naturally and often unconsciously, when maybe it wouldn’t have before? When did playing it safe become more innate than being adventurous? Hmmmm.

All I can say is that I am definitely going to look at my world and how I interact in it a little bit differently now. Although I still very much align with being an optimist, I think that I may have to re-adopt some of the characteristics of my younger pumpkin loving self. Like making sure that I always assume the best even in uncharted territory. I’ll be conscientious about trying more new things and taking chances on situations I might have otherwise avoided. I know it’s a GAMBLE but who knows what joy I’ll discover in the process! And even if things don’t work out and I don’t like all the outcomes, I can always do what I learned in my wild abandon pumpkin phase … and just spit it out and avoid it next time. HA!

Yes, all this … because I decided to make scones.

Rest, regroup, then get back at it …

Good Morning!

I took a long break from this special place that I created. I am not sure why, but I needed to. And it was good.

Writing has always been my outlet and this place was where I freely shared about my experiences and the hopes that I gathered from them. Over a decade ago my LaLa Land came to fruition completely unintentionally and by means of a series of stressful events. Moments that I chose to laugh, cry, write, run and hope my way through. At first it all came unconsciously and naturally. Over time it became purposeful, meaningful and ultimately life changing. The habit of finding hope in each new day, regardless of how crappy that day might be, became a gift that I gave myself. And although I feel like I’m a bit more predisposed to experiencing happy moods, it took work to get to HERE. It was a constant act of seeking and striving to find joy in every season of my life. I learned early on, to BE HAPPY in any situation that came my way, it was going to require DOING. LOTS AND LOTS OF DOING. I was up for the challenge and day by day I kept at it. And I am so glad that I did. I soon realized that this active hope-seeking process would be one of my biggest and most impactful acts of self-care that I could ever give myself. 

Anyway, my absence from my blog was not the representation of my unhappiness or my inability to find hope anymore. It was a time for me to reflect and reset and to learn and grow. In fact, the end of 2019 was absolutely fabulous. I actually wished that I had shared more about those experiences. I thought that spending Christmas in Germany and ringing in the New Year with my family at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris was a sign of good things to come. And it was. Say, what?!!?

Yep, at least it was for me. 

As ugly as 2020 has been for our world I have managed to enjoy much of it. The pandemic brought ALL four of my kids home. I was sad for this disruption in their young lives, but I admit, that this mama’s heart was so darn happy to have them close. I also started to relearn French and did THREE rounds of Elise Joan’s Barre Blend on Beach Body. And best of all, I found utter and complete joy in homeschooling Reese, my 11 year old daughter with Down Syndrome. If I didn’t know my purpose in this season before, I certainly did the moment that I saw her thriving in her new learning environment. It was INCREDIBLE. 

As much as 2020 has brought unpleasantries, it brought rest and resolution for me. I started dissecting my need for busyness and realized that much of it came from a place of unrest and worry. Understanding this was probably one of the biggest revelations that I have ever had in my life. I am thankful for the awareness that I had to use 2020 as an opportunity to explore my WHYS. This exploration allowed me to find peace in stillness. So. Much. Peace. 

Unexpectedly, the chaos of 2020 also cleared the clutter in my head and it sparked my desire to share my daily writings again. Truth be told, I have been writing for months now. I just have not posted anything on WordPress or on Instagram. I have chosen to just be wordy in my protected Facebook space.

But yesterday morning I woke up and my heart said, “it’s time to start blogging again”. And, here I am. I’m not exactly sure what it will look like this time around. I’m going to let it unfold naturally, like it first did, many years ago. All I know is that I want to be in this space again, doing what I love. So for what it’s worth, this mother, social worker, Down Syndrome advocate, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, blogger, runner, yogi, barre enthusiast, essential oil lover, foodie and friend has returned to be a seeker of hope, a chaser of joy and a writer of things … all over again.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you rest, regroup and get back at it!!!

Denial and the DMV …

I have been ACTING like I am not really going THERE today. PRETENDING like I have an appointment. KIDDING myself that I don’t really need one. BELIEVING that I will be in and out very quickly. ASSUMING I will not run into any problems. AND I am clearly, AVOIDING the reality of my situation.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you aren’t in DENIAL about your trip to the DMV!!!

An extra step …

Ever have one of those days where all your tasks should be simple and straightforward? Easy peasy. Done. But for one annoying and unforeseeable reason (or person) after another, your tasks require WAY more effort than you could have ever imagined!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you didn’t need to take an extra step!!!

Listen …

Sometimes I hear, LOUD and CLEAR, which direction I need to move in. But sometimes it’s a whisper. Why does the whisper always make a bigger impression on me? I’m not really sure why, but at least I know what I’m doing.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you LISTEN!!!