life

NEW YEAR'S PRESENT

LASDI©

LASDI©

Happy New Year! What a wonderful celebration of life we have in each New Year. We put so much stock into it being a chance to make peace with the year of old and look forward with hope to the year to come. That’s why we make resolutions. We resolve to do things better; to make things right.

For some of us, that means removing the toxic things from our life. Those toxic things could be anything from food to our relationships with certain people. I have done this very thing in my own life; in both areas, in fact. I often wonder about that, though. In looking back, I don’t think I waited until the New Year to do so. Can you imagine if I had? If there is something toxic presently in your life, do you say to yourself, “I know New Year’s is six months away, but I think I’ll wait to remove it until then!” If it is toxic, that means it is somehow making you sick. If you have the power to remove what is making you sick immediately, why would you wait?

Most of us use the New Year to eat healthier and / or work out. Right on! If waiting until then is what drives you to be successful at it, then that’s what you should do, as long as it works! But statistics say that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. 80%?!?

That is not to say I have not done the very same thing myself, of course. In fact, this last January 2nd, I re-started SHEsTox – The Inside-Out Detox & Cleanse. I am the creator, and I have many clients that do it and that also have re-started it, or new clients for the New Year starting it for the first time. I try very hard to live well and eat right during the year. If I didn’t, I am one of those people that would weigh 300 pounds! (It’s happened before!) But like most people, I tend to indulge during the holidays. My week to do so in particular is the week between Christmas and New Year’s. We have so many traditions that are wrapped around food! Chinese takeout on Christmas Eve, Pajamas and PannyCakes on Christmas morning, a smoked goose and brisket with potato kugel for Christmas dinner, any leftover cookies or bread from the neighbors’ Christmas baskets we make (can’t let any go to waste, of course!), traditional vera bizzi (pronounce ‘vedda-beet-see’), full of pasta, for New Year’s Eve, and a greasy, cheesy, double burger with fries on New Year’s Day! Yes. Every single one of those things is tradition. So, given that week of my life, I have no choice but to re-start healthy living!

But that does not mean I don’t try really hard the rest of my year challenging myself to be healthy from the inside-out – in mind, body, and spirit. I don’t wait until each New Year to make a conscious decision to live well. It’s not easy, but absolutely NOTHING good comes easy.

I reflect on the past. If I didn’t, I would have nothing to learn from and no growth in my life. And I always look toward the future. If I didn’t, I would not have goals to meet or success to focus on. But more than either of those things, I try very hard to live in the present. The present is the truth of where we are. And if you cannot find the truth where you are, where else can you expect to find it?

In my experience, I have learned that the continuous search for happiness will cause you to be unhappy, and that the greater part of happiness depends on our outlook and not our circumstances. If you train yourself to live in the present moment and see the blessings for what they are, the things that make you unhappy will be seen as an opportunity for growth. This is not to say bad things don’t or won’t happen, or that we won’t make decisions that aren’t the best, but it is to say there will always be joy to be had if we will only see it and receive it. And that doesn’t have to be set aside for one day of the year! Life’s far too short for that!

So I say again to you, Happy New Year! I pray that every day within it, you try really hard to detoxify yourself from the inside-out in mind, body, and spirit, and look toward your future of success with determination. But mostly, I pray you are able to unwrap the present blessings that surround you!

For the purpose of New Year’s present, I am adding some of my traditions from the week I spoke of above, but with a healthier twist! Enjoy them. They’re my New Year’s present to YOU!

TRADITIONAL NEW YEAR’S VERA BIZZI:

Farfalle Pasta – Farfalle means ‘butterfly’ in Italian, which represents transformation for the New Year

(For healthier version, you can use organic whole grain pasta, or substitute tofu shirataki noodles of any shape)

Kielbasa Sausage – Represents hearty provision for the New Year

(For healthier version, you can use turkey or chicken, or leave it out for Meatless Monday!)

Cabbage – The vegetable leaves represent good health and nutrition for the New Year

Black-Eyed Peas – This lowly pea represents humility throughout the New Year (I use dried, but feel welcome to use two cans, drained, instead)

Onions – Represents the sprouting of growth and rebirth in your New Year

Garlic – This odorous bulb represents continued breath of life throughout the New Year

Carrots – Represents great vision in your life for the New Year

(additional ingredients for this recipe: extra virgin olive oil (evoo), sea salt & black pepper to taste, 1 tbs garlic powder, chicken, beef, or vegetable stock)

If using dried beans, clean and cook according to instructions, sprinkling with sea salt and pepper to taste as you go. Remember, when it comes to salt, you can always add but you can’t take away, so be careful!

Cook pasta according to instructions but using stock of your choice in place of water. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Add cooked or canned black-eyed peas and stir.

Heat a large pan, dry, on medium-high heat for two minutes, then add enough evoo to barely cover the bottom and let heat for another two minutes. Add one small chopped onion and four finely chopped cloves of garlic and stir. Peel and chop three carrots and add to the pan. Cook until barely caramelized, about five minutes, stirring only once in between.

While this is cooking, slice your kielbasa sausage. Add to the pan and cook another ten minutes, stirring only once or twice in between. While the pan mixture cooks, rough chop half a head of cabbage. Toss with ¼ cup evoo, sea salt and pepper to taste, and garlic powder. Broil for ten-to-fifteen minutes, until desired consistency, stirring about twice in between cooking time.

Add sausage mixture and cooked cabbage to your beans and pasta and toss well. Good luck! (Get it??)

BUTTERNUT SQUASH PANNY-CAKES

(this recipe can also be found on my SHE Sure Can Cook Blog HERE!)

2 cups butternut squash

extra virgin olive oil

1 cup almond flour

4 eggs

sea salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

1/2 tsp baking soda

coconut oil

For my butternut squash, I bought pre-peeled and cubed at the grocery store. It’s just easier and faster. I tossed them with a little bit of evoo and placed them on a baking sheet. I broiled them for about ten minutes until they were cooked through, and then put them into a standing mixer bowl. If you don’t have a standing mixer, a hand mixer will do just fine! Place all other ingredients up to coconut oil into mixing bowl and mix until blended into a loose batter consistency.

Heat heavy pan (I use my cast-iron griddle, flat side!) without oil for about two minutes. Add about a tablespoon of coconut oil before each panny-cake prior to cooking and adjust heat with each one accordingly. Ladle or pour desired amount onto pan and cook over medium heat until browned. Just like a regular panny-cake, when you see the bubbles on the upside, flip it carefully and cook the other side until brown.

NOTES: This is a great low-carb substitute for bread, which is what I intended for a breakfast sandwich for The Hubster; however, if you would like a sweeter panny-cake, add 1 teaspoon of (organic) sugar to the batter and add your favorite (organic or fully natural) syrup after cooking and prior to eating! I just squashed the bacon, egg, and cheese right between two huge pieces and watched it disappear with a smile on The Hubster’s face!

BUTTERNUT SQUASH KUGEL

2 16-oz store-prepped butternut squash cubes

1 small onion, chopped finely

½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 egg

1 cup heavy cream

½ tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

½ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp garlic powder

Toss butternut squash, onion, and cheddar cheese together in a greased 9 x 13 casserole dish. Beat together egg and heavy cream and pour over the squash / onion / cheese mixture. Add seasonings and carefully fold together until well mixed. Pat down a bit so that it’s a somewhat flat on top. Bake in preheated oven at 350 for 45 minutes. Let sit for a minimum of five minutes before serving!

NOTES: This is FANTASTIC for all you low-carbers like me! (Year-round!)

SEASONS CHANGE

LASDI©

LASDI©

For the sake of this blog post, I did a quick (un-sanctioned, non-governmental) poll.  The poll consisted of fifty people.  Some I knew, some I did not.  Some lived in my region and some lived in other parts of the country.

I simply asked them what their favorite time of year (or season) was.  Out of fifty people, they all had the same answer: Autumn!  So, fifty-out-of-fifty people all prefer this time of year! That’s some reputation for a season!

I am among those people.  This is the time of year for The Fam when we have our Annual Fall Family Day (NOT Family Fall Day, which means something different entirely!), my birthday, and two of The Kiddo’s birthdays are celebrated, and of course, the holy grail of holidays for my family comes into the Autumnal category: THANKSGIVING!

Some people like it because the leaves turn jewel-tone colors; others simply love the cooler weather.  The pumpkin spice smells, and the chili cooking in everyone’s biggest pot in the kitchen doesn’t hurt, either!  Is it the overcast, melancholy days that make us want to curl up in the quiet with a good book?  There is something special about the energy in the air, regardless of the reason so many people choose it as their favorite.

So why did I want to know in the first place, you ask?  Well, it seems that the energy in people changes a bit as well.  Though it starts to be a very busy season for all, people somehow seem more nostalgic and even a bit more subdued to me.  I notice more grace; more ‘warm fuzzies’.  What is it about a season that can make this change in us?

When I think about that question, I think about seasons in our life.  Not the kind that comes with a solstice, but rather the seasons that come with growth.  I think I can explain it better by sharing an excerpt out of my eBook, ‘Extra Ingredients to A Life of Flavor’:

 **********

The seasons of people that have affected me negatively have engrained in me to be positive.

The seasons of people that have affected me positively have instilled a sense of community and love within me.

We have all had the relationship or relationships that have placed fear or mistrust in us at least once. We have seen seasons of loss and of life. Such is this broken-but-beautiful world.

But the main point from all of it that I have learned and desire to pass on is that every single one of them are valuable and crucial to who we allow ourselves to become.

There are many different circumstances that cause season changes – some of them good and tasty; some of them not-so-good that leave a sour taste in our mouth. Either way, seasons come and go, and they consistently change us.

I have had so many seasonings sprinkled throughout my time here that have shaped me and helped create both my living legacy and the one I leave behind. I can tell you that not all of those seasonings have been ones that I care to recall, though it’s important to my heart and as part of my faith that I do, so that they don’t steal my joy.

Is there a friendship you used to count on daily that has fizzled out and you’re not sure why?

Or perhaps there is a family member you confided in that shared your vulnerability with someone else. Maybe it’s just as simple as someone you love and admire moving to a different place.

And then there’s the accountability factor: what if you are the person that doesn’t feel the same toward a friend, or who abandoned a trust somehow – whether knowingly or not – or had to move away from a loved-one? These seasonings of life happen to all of us – no one is immune.

What do we do with that? We cannot allow these times to make us bitter, but rather to make us better. Making our tiny life mighty depends on that.

Whenever I refer to certain people or times or memories from my own past, I almost always call those seasons ‘seasonings’ because they craft the life of flavor we choose to live. Whether it’s salty or sweet, they’re important to the recipe that creates you.

 **********

So, whether you’re one of the fifty-out-of-fifty people that loves Autumn as your favorite season, or you happen to be a beach lover in the hottest months of the year, know that what you do with the seasons of life that come your way is the most important way to grow.  Make your tiny life mighty – with every single season.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill {defend}, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; ...” ~Ecclesiastes 3:1-22

“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” ~Genesis 8:22

“At no other time (than autumn) does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more honeysweet where you feel it touching the first sounds. Containing depth within itself, darkness, something of the grave almost.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters on Cézanne

THE BEACH AND THE PIT

Photo by Adrian Garcia.  This image is subject to LASDI© by Life As She Does It. Please do not reuse without linking credit.

Photo by Adrian Garcia.  This image is subject to LASDI© by Life As She Does It. Please do not reuse without linking credit.

Every year somewhere around the 4th of July, The Hubster and I go camping on our Annual Beach Date Trip.  It's only one night, but it has become a tradition I look forward to so much, that when we are leaving the beach from one trip, I am already talking about the next one to come the following year.

I am a girl who thrives on tradition; the history of things excites me.  I can't explain it.  I'm the one who buys a beat-up torn-down table because it is that way.  I've had someone ask me as I made a purchase like that how I was going to refurbish it, to which I replied, "I'm not.  I absolutely love the cracks and weathered appeal.  It tells me all about it's character."  The person looked at me like I was mad, and it made me smile.

Building traditions is like that for me.  I believe it creates the legacy we live in the present and the one we leave behind.  I don't think anyone is going to remember things I said or did in 100 years, but perhaps I can build traditions in our family that continue to be passed along from generation to generation and that may make a difference both now and long after I'm gone.

It is crucial to part of that legacy that The Kiddos and Grittles (GRAND Littles) see The Hubster and I make time for one another; that we still date each other.  It is vital to the lifeline of their own marriages and relationships.  Hence, the Annual Beach Camping Date Trip!

It's pretty simple, really.  We take our tent, which we set up in the back of the truck instead of on the sandy beach.  There has to be a thermos of wine and two plastic wine glasses.  We take along hot dogs and tortillas to wrap them in - and don't forget the skewers to hold them over the fire!  

Ah, the fire.  It's essential to a successful night, and I mean ESSENTIAL.  We go around the beach collecting wood and shells to create a pit for the fire.  We roast those wieners, sip our wine, look up at the stars, and listen to the roar of the ocean waves (and maybe a little Enya).

We play verbal games that remind us of how rich beyond riches we are.  We play "What's the Top-Five Most-Beautiful Places We've Ever Been" game, and "Top Three Favorite Restaurants", or "Best Family Vacay Memories".  We talk about our wedding, which by no coincidence, took place on the beach.  We never let any sad or unhappy memories interfere with our date - we have enough of those during our regular-life days together!  #Reality

One of our favorite games is something we actually do on our regular days together, but this time with a twist.  On normal days at dinner together, whether we are by ourselves, with The Fam, or with friends, we play "The Pit and the Peak".  This game is where everyone goes around saying the worst part of their day first (The Pit), and then to end on a good note they must say the best part of their day (The Peak).  

Since no worst part of any day is allowed to be discussed on this date, we call it "The Beach and the Pit".  This is where we sit around that fire pit we built in the sand, and talk about all of the best parts of our marriage - the things one has said or done for the other in order to edify them; the times that stand out to us in a great and fond way.  Now sometimes things are repeated from the same game the year before, and that is more than okay.   And there are the new moments from the time we left the beach the year before to the present that we talk about.

It is so easy for we, as mere humans, to cling to the bad.  It is, in fact, easier to place any good on a forgotten shelf if something bad occurs.  We all do it, really.  But life is too short to allow that to happen, so I will fiercely fight for the memories of the happy things - the good parts - even if it means I fight fire with fire by sitting around one and forcing those memories to the surface.  It is the best medicine for those regular days that bring reality back into play.

Do you have beat-up torn-down memories in your own history that tend to make you feel like you need a refurbished life?  Do you allow them to make you feel cracked and weathered or know that it builds character in you and can create a good-and-long-remembered legacy you can leave behind?  Does it make you look back and feel like a mad person or make you smile?

Real life is not always beachy and full of fun and games - trust me, I know.  But it is definitely what you make of it and what you allow it to make of you.  Don't put all the good on a forgotten shelf.  And mark out those times to remember the peaks - even if it means you must fiercely fight to do so.  And in order to see you are rich beyond riches, let the fondest pit be the fire.

beachdate

WHEN THE KUCHEN HITS THE FAN

SHE2016

SHE2016

I was thumbing through my favorite spice magazine.  Okay.  Let's get this out of the way - some people read gossip mags, some like the cerebral-sciency type of mags.  If you're like The Hubster, perhaps you like fishing magazines.  Personally, I find it extremely provocative to carefully peruse the free quarterly magazine sent to our home that houses all the gorgeous spices and seasonings, and all the published recipes sent in by "others" like me.  

So I was thumbing through my favorite spice magazine, and I came across a picture that stopped me in my tracks.  It was a warm photo showing layers of sliced apple, caramelized and formed into some sort of delicacy unlike any I had ever seen.  I did one of those things we do to get an even closer look - you know, like when you fold the magazine in half and then hold it right up to your face, or tilt it from side-to-side as if to see around the item in the picture?  I looked to the left of the photo and saw the title of the recipe: "Grandma's Apple Kuchen".  (pronounced koo-ken)

I knew this recipe was meant for me and I knew I had to conquer it.  I wasn't sure why, but I just knew.  I made my shopping list right away.  There were a few obstacles to overcome in order to make this happen.  Hey, nothing good comes easy, right?  It called for a very specific-sized glass pan I didn't have, nor had I ever heard of, and a few ingredients that were not easily found in a regular grocery store.

As fate would have it, I was in my local Goodwill spot and heard something calling my name.  "I'm over here, She!"  There, with what seemed to be a rainbow with confetti streaming down over it, was the odd-sized glass pan.  $2.99??  I think I can handle that.  Check.  I perused Amazon to find the specific ingredients needed and found them.  CHECK!!  Sunday Supper was looking like the perfect time to make Grandma's Kuchen.  In my mind, I could see the proud faces of my family and hear all the accolades I would be receiving.  Oh yea.  Meant to be.  This was going to be PERFECT.

I carefully did exactly as the recipe said.  I painstakingly sliced the apples so that they were uniform and lovely.  I whisked with fury, and stirred with passion.  I slowly placed each apple slice in layers to be ever-so-exact.  And into the oven it went.  And THE AROMA!!  The smell of the vanilla, the cinnamon, the apples!!  I cleaned the mess that is usually left on the path behind you when you work so hard to achieve greatness.  The kitchen.  But I wasn't bitter.  Oh, no.  Not with what was waiting on the other side of that oven door.

The timer went off.  The potholders came out.  The oven door was opened.  And there, Ladies and Gentlemen, was THE KUCHEN.

I took it out of the oven with tears in my eyes.  I breathed in the hard work I had seen come to fruition, and set it down on my granite counter.  I stepped to the doorway and proudly announced, "The kuchen ...... is cooling."  And the smiles of anticipation spread across the faces of The ManChild and The Hubster.  I was in the clear.  My artwork was complete.  Now all we need do was eat it.

I walked back over to it to rest on my laurels.  Of course I did.  I couldn't help but stare at this incredible beauty as it cooled and brought us all closer to being one with its tasty morsels.  And then, BOOM!

You may find what I'm about to say hard to believe.  But every word is true.  Out of nowhere, the kuchen exploded.  I mean EX.  PLO.  DED.  Glass hit my arms, my neck, my face, luckily missing my eyes.  Kuchen hit the walls, the floor, the ceiling.  The sound of it was deafening.  Cameron and Adrian came running into the kitchen, only to see me standing there, eyes wide with shock and arms out in the air to my sides, as if I were attempting to fly.  "WHAT HAPPENED?!?"  I just stared at them.  "WHAT HAPPENED, She?!?"  And the tears began to flow.  "Are you okay??  What happened?"  I looked up at them, giant tears streaming now, and screamed at the top of my lungs (get ready for it)" "MY KUCHEN EXPLODED!!"  

I wish you could have seen the pity-slash-comical-slash-confused looks on their faces.  The "awwwwwwww"s coming out of their mouths, rolling from deep inside their souls for me as they both put their arms around me to console my broken spirit were so sincere.  All that hard work.  All that mountain climbing to get to the top, only to slide back down.  Everything I had worked SO HARD FOR.  Ruined.

Or was it?  Those two went into action.  They cautiously cleaned me up, and led me to the couch with a tall glass of wine.  They cleaned up the kitchen.  They loved on me.  They offered me kuchen condolences all night.  And I was reminded that life was good, even and especially in the moments we think it isn't.

I changed that recipe to morph it into my own and chose simple ingredients and more practical tools to do so.  I make it often and think of that day every single time I do.  I know it grew me and helped me stretch and climb.  I know it taught me that there is almost always a mess left behind you when you work hard, not to rest on my laurels, and to understand that in all toil there is profit.  I know it helped me see what's really important.  All that because the kuchen hit the fan.

Sometimes the most beautiful things can explode in your face, even if you think you've conquered something after a long, arduous process, and it turns out incredible ...... you feel proud and think you're in the clear.  And then, BOOM.  What was once lovely artwork is in pieces everywhere, reminding you how truly delicate life can be.

Be careful and practical as you stretch and climb, but climb just the same.  Know that when something goes wrong  after you've worked so hard, it is only to show you what's really important so that you don't lose sight of it.  And NEVER put a hot kuchen in a glass pan on a granite counter. 

SHE'S CONDOLENCE KUCHEN

Kuchen:
1 1/4 cups  flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 stick butter, cold and cut up
2 egg yolks
2 tsp milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 medium-sized green apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin
 
Streusel:
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbs flour
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbs butter, cold and cut
 
Combine all streusel ingredients into small mixing bowl and blend with your fingers until the mixture resembles small crumbs. Set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and butter. Use your fingers to blend all the kuchen ingredients to large-crumb consistency. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks then add the vanilla extract and milk. Pour milk mixture into the crumbled dry ingredients and mix until it is just blended. Press this dough into the bottom and up the sides of a prepared baking dish.

Arrange the apple slices in three lengthwise rows on top of the crust. Sprinkle the streusel mixture over the apples. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the apples look glazed and caramelized.

EAT SLOWLY.

www.lucidbooks.net/affiliate

 

PRICELESS

SHE2016©

SHE2016©

Have you ever thought about the birth process, and how priceless it is?  A lot of people think of the blood, sweat, and tears as gory and the thought may even make them nauseous, and I totally get that.  But the process itself – gory or not – well, it’s what got us all here, right?
 

I am, of course, writing this because very recently I became (dare I say it?) a GRANDMOTHER.  It’s not the precious little bundle of joy that makes me cringe when I hear that name.  It’s the name itself.  I have always pictured a sweet little old blue-haired lady with a cane and thick glasses who says things like, “Wait for Granny, Dears!  You know my dentures fall out when I try to keep up with you whipper-snappers!”  And let me tell you, Folks, if you don’t know already:  That is NOT me.  Well, sometimes I have blue hair, but it is often in streaks and under some kind of turbi, hat, or ‘do-rag, and accompanied by a new Jesus tattoo and cute-but-crazy-accessories.  GRANNY SHE IS NOT FOR ME.  Nope.  My name is She.  So The Daughts decided SheShe would be appropriate and quite suiting.  And I agree with her. 
 

But I digress.  Back to birthing.  I sat in a different place altogether when Sage Ellie was born a little under a month ago as opposed to when my own children were born: not only a place where I could see the brilliance of a baby being born, but a different perspective.  My baby was having a baby.  And she had fought a long, hard battle of the game called life to get where she landed, and I knew she was going to make a wonderful mommy.  
 

But what about me as a mommy; as a parent to my own children?  Had I done enough?  Did I show enough love?  Did I discipline enough?  Was there a balance?  Had I given it my best shot?  I knew I had made my fair share of mistakes, but were they mistakes that could not be undone or even forgiven?  Would they scar my children enough to sully the joy of being a parent themselves?  Believe it or not, as she labored, I saw my life with them flash before my eyes and was truly pondering those thoughts and at least a thousand more.
 

And then came a different moment.  The moment The Daughts handed me comfort and hope that I had done well thus far: she gave me a hand-written letter from-her-to-me.  The nurse had asked us all to step out – “all” meaning The Son-In-Law, The Hubster (now referred to as PoPo by The Grand Daughts), and me.  Just before piling out of the room for a few minutes, she handed one to each of us.  It helped me to muster up an ounce of faith even before I looked at it. We sat in silence in the waiting area, privately reading the words she had thoughtfully penned.  
 

As I read through my tears, in the back of my memory bank, thoughts of hand-made helicopter-sized hair bows in her fine, wavy locks as a two-year-old came to mind.  I thought of laying her little head down in my lap when she was five after her bath to floss her teeth for her and how absolutely sweet and lavender-like she smelled.  I thought of the time she had chicken pox and I put mittens on her hands so she wouldn’t scratch.  The thoughts of singing together each and every Thanksgiving in front of friends and family and hearing her sweet, natural harmonies pierced my heart with joy.  Standing outside the kindergarten door the entire day where she couldn’t see me but I could see her to make sure she was all right on the first day of school reached out to me.  I remembered her telling me she wanted Jesus in her heart.
 

But coupled with those thoughts were the times I cried myself to sleep because we had screamed at each other for an entire afternoon.  I felt a strong hurt at remembering the time I lost my temper to a sincere breaking point, and thought if I could go back how differently I would handle that moment.  I was brought back to a time of desperation because I could not connect with my teenage daughter, no matter how hard I tried, and thinking what a failure I was as a parent.  It shattered me, as I was almost positive it had her, as well.
 

And then this (don’t worry, Readers.  I checked with her first to make sure she didn’t mind if I share):
 

“Mom, you have always been there for me and through the years have become my best friend.  I’m so excited to make you a SheShe today!  
 

You have taught me to love without ceasing and without fear.  My whole life you have been preparing me for motherhood by the example you have set for my life.  I just didn’t know it until I started thinking about the mom I wanted to be to Sage.  
 

Thank you for loving me like you do.  I cannot wait to watch your relationship with Sage grow through the years.  I am so thankful to know that I will lean on you as I set my own examples for Sage.  <3
 

I love you, Mom, and I’m so thankful for you.
 

XOXO – Chelsea”
 

That, to me……was PRICELESS.
 

So perhaps at the end of the day, you are second-guessing if your best is even good enough.  Or maybe you feel like a failure at something and that shatters you.  In this one life we have been given, nestled amongst the good will always be the bad.  Without those times, we will not grow; we will not learn to love without ceasing and without fear.  So we MUST value those times as well and know that life is good, even when it isn’t.  If we have truly given it our best and have had even an ounce of faith, the reward will be the way you see it returned to you…..and that – IS PRICELESS.  

 

When Life Is Chronic, BE BIONIC

Photo Source: dreamstime

Photo Source: dreamstime

Some say it was from all the running and athletics I did when I was younger.  Some say it was from old injuries.  Legend even has it that it was the weight of my purse.  The Hubster says it was from the weight of all the jewels in my crown.  I like to think it was from so much prayer, but I'm guessing not.  Whatever the cause, I'm 44, and recently had to have both of my knees replaced.

My recovery has been, also according to legend, nothing short of amazing.  My surgeon, (Dr. Vishal Shah - GO SEE THIS GUY!), says I'm an animal!  

This&nbsp;image&nbsp;is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.&nbsp;

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

Perhaps it was the blinged-out walker:

woopshe
These images are © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.&nbsp;

These images are © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

Perhaps it was my physical therapist (Tyler Humphrey at First Colony Aquatics - go see HIM, too!):

This&nbsp;image&nbsp;is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.&nbsp;

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

All the prep from my chiro, Dr. Derek Maxson and my trainers, Cameron Garcia and Jan-Michael Jenkins at Legacy Fitness (ya GOTTA go see them!!) may have played a part......

These&nbsp;images are&nbsp;© 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.&nbsp;

These images are © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

legacyshe

Perhaps it was the UNBELIEVABLE support I had from The Hubster, the kiddos, the friends, family, and community (too many pics to place here, but you know EXACTLY who you are).

People keep ranting to me and asking me how I healed so quickly; some accused me of being just plain crazy.  (I'm fairly certain that is not a healing agent, but I could be wrong, as they are mostly right about the crazy part)  All I know is worry gives a small thing a big shadow.  We have been through so much together as a family; because of that, we have learned that faith and hope, and not giving something more stress than is due, is the main cocktail recipe for success.  I am grateful for my new knees in this New Year.  I'm bionic, now, after all!

I'm also back on my knees in prayer, and what I'm praying for is an opportunity to give something - even if it is some small thing - to those of you who read this blog.  (Thank you, by the way - I'm fairly certain you are a small family) What could that be, you ask??

JOY.

My hopes are for this blog to be refined and become bionic - much like my new knees. I want to work more in the community and want you to join me. So please keep a watch on the Servant's Corridor page, or even send me a way to add to it to be able to help someone you know.

Who surrounds you? Who do you surround yourself WITH? Is there constant negativity or bitterness trying to steal your joy? Are there circumstances that take away your desire to believe life is good, even when it isn't? REFUSE to give in to that. Life is too short, and you have a purpose here. And help those around you who need that same joy find it.  If you haven't started already, you have a living legacy to build, and one to leave behind.  

BE NOTHING SHORT OF AMAZING. Find your joy - and keep it.  Be......BIONIC.

Two Weeks to Live

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/calendar-date-time-month-week-660670/

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/calendar-date-time-month-week-660670/

Very recently, a dear friend of mine named Seth found out he had cancer.  Not just cancer, but CANCER.  Very advanced Medullary Thyroid cancer that had spread to his neck, throat, and spine.  He was told he would have to undergo a surgery that would take approximately 12 hours, with no guarantee of life on the turn-out.  Literally, NONE.  He is young, with two teenage boys and a beautiful wife, Charity, and they all love him VERY much. One day on social media with only a couple of weeks to go before the surgery was to take place, I saw Charity had posted something that will stay with me for the rest of my life here on this earth, and I'd like to share it with you:

"If you thought you only had two weeks to live what would you do?  Go on that great vacation somewhere, quit your job, spend all the money you had, give your money to someone in need, ask someone for forgiveness, tell someone you forgive them, buy that amazing car, go on a mission trip, skydive, scuba dive, work, spend every moment you can with the ones you love soaking up every detail about them; the way they smile, laugh, cry, or look?  Would you want to breathe every moment of them in and never forget it???

That is a question most of us may never have to answer but for Seth, that is a question, in reality, he is facing (the surgery is very serious with life-or-death outcome).  I have caught My Love looking at me longer, holding me closer, touching me every time he passes or is near.  When he hugs the boys or I he will breathe in very deeply and sigh.  The other day as he was looking at me, I saw him out of the corner of my eye and I asked him,"Are you ok?"  He asked the million dollar question: "If you thought you only had two weeks to live, what would you do?"  I sighed and said, "This right here, I wouldn't change a thing!"  He replied, "Me, too!"  So for a week now we pray more together as a family, we hug more, we tell each other how proud we are of each other and that God brought us all together, we listen more intently to others, absorbing every moment.  None of us are guaranteed another day on this earth, funny that something like cancer can magnify everything!  He uses everything for His glory, everything.  Satan doesn't even get sickness!!!  God always knows what He is doing!
"Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which can never be shaken, never be moved. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people now and forever." Psalms 125:1-2
Even when bad things of this world come into our lives or try to have an effect on us, it CANNOT overshadow us!! We are all strong in the Lord!  His mountains surround and protect us from storms so that we can rest!
So what would YOU do? I know what I'd do......nothing but be present at this moment, absorbing and breathing in all the Lord's glory of THIS day!"

WOW, right????  I'd like to think that if I was in Seth's or Charity's position, I'd react the same way, but who really knows?!?  I DO know, however, that what holds true is that we should live in the moment, always remembering that we are not promised tomorrow, or to grow old and gray; to remember that sickness and death are allowed in order to bring faith.  Does it always bring that faith?  Of course not, sadly.  But through others that are much like Seth, it at least brings awareness to how small we are and how much control we DON'T have.  The faith - and even joy - comes when you realize that very fact.

So what would YOU do if you knew you only had two weeks to live?  Turns out, Seth made it through the surgery with flying colors, cancer-free and a better man for it.  But through his tragedy-to-triumph story, it helped grow my faith even stronger, and made me want to build a better legacy - the one I'm living and the one for those I leave behind.

Not one of us are immune - so live this life you're given to the fullest, and absorb every.  single.  moment.

"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain." ~Dolly Parton

"He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends the rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." ~Matthew 5:45

"The tiniest seed knows that in order to grow, it needs to be dropped in dirt, covered in darkness, and struggle to reach the light." ~Anonymous

Please do not copy this photo - all rights reserved through the Mohorn Family

Please do not copy this photo - all rights reserved through the Mohorn Family

Tis The Season: A Birthday Blog

Photo Source: https://drnorth.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/picture-of-the-week-26-happy-birthday-shirley-temple/

Photo Source: https://drnorth.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/picture-of-the-week-26-happy-birthday-shirley-temple/

Some people, when it’s their birthday, are infamous for saying, “Oh, it’s just another day.”  I will NEVER be one of those people!  I have a pulse!  I am breathing!  I am happy I was born!  I feel wonderful that I get to celebrate it!

I have been through so many different seasons in my 43 years.  Hills.  Valleys.  Ups.  Downs.  Highs.  Lows.  Like EVERYONE ELSE!!  But I can say this with all sincerity – I don’t regret one moment, nor do I have any bitterness.  How could I??  Those seasons have led me to the most incredible, charmed and joy-filled life!  And it’s brought me to a time spent with each and every one of you beautiful, crazy people!  I may not be the wealthiest woman in the world, but I am definitely RICH.

Thank you to all those people who have been in my life and made a difference – both in a negative way AND a positive one.  For the ones that weren't so enjoyable, I thank you for thickening my skin and giving me balance, wisdom, and growth. 

For those who have left me with a positive imprint of you on my spirit - even though we may have come and gone in each other’s lives, I still love you.  That is what a season does!  It comes and it goes...but we still celebrate them with each change.  Well, this is the month of MY birthday, and not only do I celebrate the fact that I have been given this brief life here in this world, but I celebrate YOU!  At some point, you have helped me turn lemons to lemonade.  I've been knocked down, and you never let me be down for long.  You've been a shining, triumphant example to me in some way or another.  You have shown me life-survival tactics.  You have taught me the value of family, friendship, and most importantly – the gift of TIME.  You have generously shared your love with me.  You've carried me through seasons.

I challenge you to ALWAYS celebrate this life you've been given, through every single season.  None of us know how long we have here.  We are not promised tomorrow.  Even if you’re in a valley, I encourage you to remember that those valleys are what leads you to the top of the hill!  The seasons in your life – good or not-so-good – mold you and prepare you for what is to come next.  The seasons shape your legacy – while you’re here, and for after you’re gone.  And I, for one, want to be celebrated for what I leave behind for the lives of others……and for what I can contribute while I’m still here!!  To everything, there is a season…

Happy Birthday to me!! SHE!!

This&nbsp;image&nbsp;are&nbsp;© 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.&nbsp;

This image are © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.