beauty, friend, friendship, grace, grateful, haPPY

spinning soul sisters

I hobbled across the street and up a block from my junior high school.  I had a full-length leg cast.  (Back in the olden days’ casts were plaster and boy howdy were they heavy.)  I was back at school after weeks at home.  I missed my friends.  I was more than happy to hand over saved babysitting money (my portion of some salty, greasy fries)  and willing to use those ugly crutches if it would get me where I wanted to be.

The promises of a pile of french fries we all shared and the latest gossip were more than enough of a carrot to get me moving towards the “Herfy’s” fast food joint.  I wanted to hang out and fit in.  Golly, I wanted so badly to be a part of the “gang”.  I wanted to have real grown-up conversations and figure out where we each stood on vital and important topics.

I  remember the noise of all of us talking at once.  I can recall the sound of laughter.  Talking with mouths full, talking over each other, talking…… it was the sound of friendship.  Somehow we all felt a bit important.  We each had something to share.

Yesterday, while having coffee with a friend we noticed a group of 8 junior high school friends.  They each had a coffee drink in front of them.  They all sat at a table 4 facing 4.  Each had either a cell phone, laptop or a tablet they were individually engrossed in.

They were silent.

Each absorbed in their own world of technology.  I wanted to tell them, put down your phones, close your laptops………your friends are right before your very eyes.

I kept my lips sealed, however, my heart cracked a little.

Spinning Elementary school

I was very grateful to be sitting with a friend from Kindergarten.  Neither of us could actually pinpoint when (at least 35 years ago) we actually last saw each other, face to face.   We have reconnected via social media (yes, we are mighty grateful for technology)…. however, we needed to sit and be in the same place.

We both felt an invisible thread tugging at our hearts.   I liked seeing her beautiful hair glimmer in the sunshine.  I needed to touch her bracelet, smell her perfume and hear her story.  My heart raced as I listened to her talk about her husband with respect and love.

We both played the “dance”.

Oh, you know?  The dance where you gently slip in little thoughts to see how the other reacts.  Religion, politics, television, hobbies, food……polite yet very interested and you actually care if it is all well with her soul.  You gingerly talk about the miracle love affair of your life and see where it lands.   When I caught a glimpse of a sparkle in her eye, my heart swelled.  I knew in a flash she had long been with someone who had loved her and held her heart.    During my turn, I could share how Mr. Right is my world and how well I am loved and cared for.  I could tell her and not hold back because she was telling me the same story.  We were speaking the same love language.

You don’t share sweet secrets like that via technology.   You just don’t.

Over the years, of course, we have both been forced to our knees with tragedy.  We shared our lost parents, our concerns, our troubles, our sickness, our fears as well as our glories and triumphs. We discussed new things we were trying on for size.   We asked about mutual friends and each other’s siblings.  Oh yes,  we shared how AMAZING our grands are.

WAIT  

Imagine for a moment, what if, when we were young school chums we didn’t talk about life and who we wanted to marry, our ridiculous siblings, or mean teachers?  What if after school, we didn’t sit and talk about the world, how we stood on issues, what we wanted to be when we grew up?  What if we didn’t say much?  What if we sat and ate french fries (or drank coffee) and did our own private thing on an electronic device and we never actually connected on a personal level? What if we had not shared our souls even before we knew what souls were?

Would any of us now be curious enough or feel the pull of friendship to contact our old school chums?  Would we make an effort and carve out time to reconnect?  Would we just check the box  (yes, I accept you as a “friend”)  or would we thirst for personal time together? Would the ties that bind us, hold our hearts and souls together while we went out into the world and came back again?

friendshipThe thing about childhood friends…. they know you.  They were part of you when you were still trying on who you were.   They are woven into our hearts from a very young age.

We were five or six when we met.  We didn’t know we were being given a gift.  It felt like the luck of the draw.  Our parents happen to live in the same school district, by chance we ended up in the same schools.

It didn’t seem serendipitous or magical.   I just knew her as my schoolmate, tall, pretty, a twin.  It wasn’t until we talked more and grew through the years that I figured out she was also kind & smart.  Part of being young friends is learning & listening & then borrowing the good parts we see and hear in our friends and tying them to our hearts.

I never dreamed she would be part of the thread that made up part of who I became. When you are with a lifelong friend, somehow you feel safe and comfortable.  You feel accepted because we already accepted each other back in 1967.  You open your mouth and spill things you don’t share with others.

Here’s the inside scoop:

She is much prettier than I remembered.  She has a beautiful spirit and soul.  She is kind-hearted, loving and smart.  She turned out to be an amazing wife and mom and mother in law and grandma.

She has always been part of my circle.  My chatty, talkative, opinionated, giggly, serious, thoughtful, tricky, hard, glorious circle.

Without end.

TeresaGentle suggestion?  use technology to find an old friend.  Figure out a way, make an effort to have coffee or french fries with that friend, in person.

You owe it to yourself and to her, turn off your phones and then talk, hold hands, giggle and talk some more.  Talk for 4.5 hours over coffee.  Yes, yes, everyone in your life will worry and fret because you didn’t answer your phone.

Tell them the truth.  “I turned off my phone because I was TALKING with my friend.”

I am here to tell you it is good for your soul.  

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

friendship 2

 

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beauty, friendship, good marriages, good times, goodness, haPPY, travel, vacation

empty envelope

7 states, 2 provinces, 1 salt cave, 1 aero car, 1 boat, 4 airplanes, 1 rental SUV, 2 Ubers, 1 Buddist Temple, 1 Greek Orthodox church, 1 beach wedding, 1 Big Fat Greek wedding, 1 Great Lake, 1 Lighthouse, 5 hotels, 26 restaurants, 2 home cooked meals, 2 catered meals, 2 foxes, 1 beaver, 5 pheasants, 2 deer, 2 t-shirts, 1 sweatshirt, 2 pieces of Polish pottery and one empty vacation envelope.

I have been quiet as a church mouse. The reason?

 VACATION!

You read that correctly, for the first time in ages and ages (read that as 17 years) Mr. Right and I took off on a couple of weeks vacation.  No, not stay home and heal kind of vacation.  An actual pay way too much for a breakfast in a resort town, pay the toll twice in 2 minutes because you get turned around, buy a banana at a gas station for .99 cents kind of VACATION!!!!

As much as I enjoy writing, I/we also need to go out into the real world with real people and experiences. We needed to jump in and learn, giggle and come home plum tuckered out.

Mission accomplished.

We experienced so much good,  my mind is still swirling.  I want to sit on the porch and drink coffee (oh, I’ve missed you dark, rich, bold, Italian Roast from the Pacific Northwest, with cashew cream) and tell you about our adventures.

I’m guessing, for days to come,  I will slip in little moments of vacation happy, here and there.  You know the stuff you never dreamed about, however, somehow managed to make the hit parade of goodness when you think back?

Noticing the first leaves changing for fall in Northern Vermont.

Hands down, the best Italian meal we have ever enjoyed.

The moment you sit with your friend and her family around the kitchen tables with different colored Fiesta ware plates.  You eat, listen, giggle and share. Wishing you could already come back and you haven’t even finished your plate yet.

The exact moment, while standing next to your niece as she shares her completed piece of crochet work.  Stunning, inspiring and privileged that she shared with me.

Sitting in a hotel room, doing nothing, goofing off with your family, drinking Ginger Ale and eating a sinful, delicious piece of chocolate.

Shopping in the flagship April Cornell store.  I know, I know, I always say I don’t like to shop……….I mean I don’t like to shop unless it is one perfect shop in Burlington, Vermont.  Then….. actually standing there when April Cornell comes in and walks around like she owns the place  Wait!  She does own the place.   Something happened to me in that place.  Instead of me agonizing over one new blouse to buy……..I kind of lost my mind.  I bought 2 new gorgeous blouses, 1 beautiful, special dress, 1 lovely tablecloth and a grown up, beautiful pair of pajamas,  just like that.

Riding shotgun in a rental car for 1,873 miles.  Read that as talking time, singing time, eating snacks time and reading the map time. Yes, an actual paper map.

The feel & sound of your feet the moment you step on 4,000 pounds of ground salt inside a salt cave.

The water dripping off your face, on “the” (bucket list) boat ride.20170831_191906_resized

Opening your hotel door, to see your brother-in-law, waiting patiently outside, because YET AGAIN, I can’t seem to get my hair to do what I want and be early to breakfast in the same morning.

Meeting table mates at a wedding that you connect with seamlessly and want to be friends for life.

Drying dishes, while sis in law washes……….like we do it every day of our lives.

Maybe for today, I will stop talking and share some pictures?  They might speak more eloquently than typed words.

It was a beautiful thing to anticipate and save for a holiday.   The adventure will bring color to our lives for days to come.

Grateful for an empty vacation envelope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cooking, friends, friendship, garden, recipe

friends share zucchini

When we were young, my mother would constantly remind us to choose our friends wisely.   “If you hang around sailors, you are going to swear like a sailor”.

cracker jacksOnce a month, our parents would go out to dinner.  The babysitter would give us each a box of Cracker Jack’s.   The boy on the box was the only sailor I really “knew”. He had a dog and gave away a surprise.  He didn’t seem that harmful.

Enter a new friend I made a few years back.  She is Greek.  Thus my curiosity in Greek cooking and dishes and customs has increased 10 fold.

Is it any wonder that lately I am drawn to Greek recipes like a dog to a dripping ice cream cone?

I made so many Greek Green Beans last year, even I got a bit tired of that dish.  For a time, I added Spanakopita to the lineup. Awww, my love affair with Filo Dough is alive and well, people.

20170810_123027-1_resized_1

A couple of days ago, a neighbor graciously shared some zucchini with us.  Goodness, it’s that season of an over abundance of that vegetable.  Everyone is “blessing” anyone they know or don’t know with that vegetable.   I will admit to not planting any in my garden.  I had a sneaky suspicion that someone would have an extra one or two they would share.

You know?…………it’s been ages since I rustled up some Zucchini Fritters.  Sounds really lovely for a nice summer dinner.  Slice up some cucumbers and tomatoes and onions………we were off and running.

I went to look up my recipe……….wait, what’s this?

Greek Zucchini Fritters?  Yes, please!

20170810_123041-1_resized_1Google can most certainly help you with a recipe.

Would you like two 20170810_182808-1_resized_2secret tricks to beautiful fritters?

Shred the zucchini, salt with some Rosemary salt and let it drain for a couple of hours. Then squeeze out all the moisture you can.  Go heavy on the dill.  No, add a bit more.  Okay, a touch more.  Ha, that’s about right.  Wait, maybe another sprig or two.  Geesh, you already have the cutting board & knife out on the counter.

You will need:

2-pound large zucchini, trimmed and grated (I used the fetafood processor), Rosemary salt, fresh ground pepper,  2 eggs, 1/2 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs, dill, mint, parsley ( you know I went heavy on the dill), 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 cup breadcrumbs or more if necessary, 1 cup of beautiful Feta (the really good stuff, with extra zip/tang, spend the money, go to the deli, I’m telling you, it’s worth it)

No, I didn’t deep fry those beauties.  I used a griddle and got them nice and crispy. So alongside those crispy edges and a warm, tender center, I served a luscious creamy tzatziki sauce, which is the combination we are all looking to create.

The very next time you come home and someone has “graciously” dumped 2 or 3 zucchini’s on your door step…………..instead of the “well, I guess I could bake some zucchini bread” which will never get finished…………………. Might I gently suggest a tasty alternative?

I offer up to you……………..TA-DA…….Glorious Greek Zucchini Fritters.

So easy, so flavorful, crispy outside, moist, “meaty” delicious inside.
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Oh, and in the choosing friends wisely department?

I chose wisely.

Chat soon.

 

 

cross stitch, friendship, gift giving, gifts, sewing

poke update

June is knocking on the door, six months into the new year & about 180 days into my sewing goal.

20170116_200943-1_resized_2I thought I would give you a quick update on20170414_202404-1_resized (1) my pin cushion project of 2017.

 

 

 

In case you need to catch up, zip over to this post.    I decided to stitch birthday pin cushions this year.

https://sundayschildfullofgrace.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/a-good-luck-poke/

 

To date I have made & given 8 pin cushions.  Another one is sitting in a basket waiting for 20170427_100224_resized20170103_144545-1_resized (1)backing fabric and a new one is currently being stitched.

So we are almost 6 months into the year and I have 10 pin cushions almost under my belt.

 

 

Some observations so far this year:

  1.  I have not given one cushion in person. Giving hand-made gifts that you don’t get to see the person open, is over rated.  Most likely won’t do again (except my grands and family).
  2. I have a love of handmade stitchy gifts/projects, that is not the case with most everyone else.
  3. It is way more time (hours & hours, even a few days), energy, effort then I calculated.  Hard to stay motivated at times.  To mail in a timely fashion, I have to prepare and stitch a month or so before the person’s birthday.
  4. Making two the same is not that thrilling.
  5. I love choosing the perfect buttons.
  6. I have had to put some other larger counted cross stitch projects on the back burner, while I attempt to make all these pin cushions.
  7. Being thoughtful is at times, hard work.
    20170322_080402_resized

I think I needed this project to remind myself to be more kind and thoughtful towards others, even when I don’t feel like it.   A lesson I won’t soon forget.

I would love to hear what gifts you are making for friends.  Maybe we could encourage each other?

Please share,  in this together friends.

 

friends, friendship, gifts

friendship eggs

Similar to Facebook, sharing pictures and writing a blog post, you get to decide your “true” colors to show off.  You get to put your best foot forward, every single time.  Creating the illusion that everything turns out perfect.  Every single craft project or idea is smooth and effortless, exactly how you envisioned it.

20170407_162726-1_resized_1On social media, I only shared a picture of two sweet little crocheted slippers.  I did not show the first slipper with extra big loops, too big an opening on the bottom and the button sewn askew.   The final picture makes me look like I knew what I was doing.

Earlier today, I was reading about Greek Easter.  I was learning about their tradition of dyeing Easter eggs red.   Tomorrow is Holy Thursday and most Greek households will be dyeing their Easter eggs red to represent the blood of Christ and rebirth.Greek Easter

Friends learn about each other.  When a friend is sick, you learn everything you can cracking-easter-eggsabout said illness and try to help them heal through knowledge and wellness.

When friends are of a different religion you read up on it and try and learn everything you can.  You don’t necessarily want to switch your religious beliefs, you are just trying to be respectful of other lessons and customs.  That’s how we polish our skills of tolerance.  Friends aren’t ignorant about one another.  Friends take the time to respect others choices, learn & celebrate with them.

While Mr. Right & I observe Holy week as Methodist followers, we are open-minded to learn about and learn from other denominations.  Jewish temple oregon

Last weekend, Palm Sunday, we spent some time at a Jewish Temple. Learning and experiencing the grace of a different religion.

As Methodists, we color our eggs with pastel colors.  Soft pinks, pale greens, light yellow eggs show up so pretty in a basket of green Easter grass.

Today, to celebrate my friend and her family who happen to be Greek Orthodox, I decided to dye some Easter eggs red.  I wanted to share a glorious blog post about the perfect red eggs.  I wanted it to be reverent and holy.  I wanted it to symbolize the blood Christ shed for all of us, no matter what our religious preference.  Though some of our religious beliefs are different, we could still celebrate sameness.

beet dyed eggsNow, we have all used beets to dye eggs “red”.  While beets do color the eggs, not quite the brilliant red I was searching for.   The color is more of a 1970’s shade of mauve.

I didn’t want to drive to the store to purchase “special” red dye powder packets (created for Greek red Easter eggs) to get the red I wanted.   Heck, I have red food dye in the cupboard.  No, not the liquid cheap version.  I spent the extra money and a few years ago, bought the “professional” kit with lots of intense gel colors.   Yeah, that will work. 20170412_105405-1_resized

It did work, just not like I had hoped.

While the eggs are brilliant in color, it is not exactly the shade I was looking for.

I present to you my egg dying project for today.

At first,  I was slightly disappointed.  Not the reverent Holy red I was aiming to obtain.

Then a smile came over me.  Like it was meant to be.  

Not the brilliant red I was hoping to honor her and her religion with.

Not the soft pastel traditional egg color of my religion.

The most wonderful shade of friendship.

All our good parts mixed together.

Friends bring out the best colors in all of us.  Somehow I just know, she will be tickled pink to celebrate what we have.  20170412_105109-1_resized

Here’s to the color of friendship!

ps.  I typed this post with pink stained fingers.  haha  a symbol of true friendship!

 

 

 

friend, friendship, grateful, love, Uncategorized

are you together

While ordering coffee, my girlfriend and I stood side by side.  The cashier said, “are you together?”  I answered, yes, forever and ever. anthem-coffee

I realize the cashier was asking if the order was on one ticket.  I honestly don’t know why I answered like that. I guess, saying it aloud makes it more real.

Do we worry and fret about each others kiddos?  You bet.  We celebrate kiddos successes and we help when things are off-balance, too.

Do we worry and share about our husbands & not getting enough sleep & not taking stress seriously & our families & people who are meanies……um yeah.  It’s sort of how we have survived.

Both of us are somewhere in our 50’s and have been friends since we were 12 & 13 years old.  We have shared good stuff and not so good stuff.

Sometimes we are “dumb heads” and let too much time go between meetings.  Sometimes, we forget to ask the other for help.

We are still at it.  Still sharing.  Yes, we pay for coffee for each other. anthem-coffee-2 Or we pay separately.  Or one pays 3 times in a row and the other pays next time.   Or we drink coffee out of big chunky mugs at home.  It sort of isn’t the important part of us meeting.  We seriously don’t want to waste time figuring out who pays for or who makes the coffee.

We have huge issues to shyly share or rant loudly about. Sometimes our hearts are broken and just being together, maybe it is the warm coffee, magically seals the cracks and puts us slightly back together again.

The beauty is neither of us keep track.  For a while, I had too many “not so good stuff” to share.  Before my bag-o- dodo, she had a few years of sharing messy days.

Get it? Some days I pay for coffee, some days she does.

We celebrate the good stuff in our lives.  Honestly, we do.  It’s just when things are rosy and upbeat, you don’t feel the need to hold someones hand.  Usually you are so busy, cheering and dancing with jazz hands you forget to talk it all over with the other.

All of a sudden, you hear someone hurt your friend………. and golly gee, that “sister girlfriend thing” kicks in and you want to protect your friend, hold their hand and take them under your wing.

If by under your wing, it means, make plans to wear jeans, bring the husbands along and order a beer or two and some casual, comfort food like burgers and fries and just “be” with them.   Than yes, that’s what we are going to do.

I think all our hearts and souls need those kind of people in our lives.

One of the things I just wrote at the top of my 2017  “to-do” list was,

Make an effort to be with friends.  Be more present in their lives and invite them to be more apart of ours.

I feel like I am stumbling, off balance.  I need to steady myself and go have coffee with a friend, more often.  I want to make more of an effort to help her/our kids.  I am feeling much too isolated.  I need to be with her, just so we can be …. oh and drink really good coffee.

In this together,

forever and ever

ps.  and I don’t just love her because she gave the most fan-tab-u-lous , housewarming/Christmas, amazing gift.  What I love most?  Is that she KNEW I would be smitten in love,  with “Pearl,the Polish pottery chicken” who came with a carved Polish wooden egg, of course!

love, love, love

her and the chicken

 

 

cooking, food review, friends, friendship, pure goodness, sewing, Uncategorized

Guest Author, Chef Natalie

It gives me much happiness to introduce to you,  my guest author, Chef Natalie.20161220_131129_resized_1

I wrote about our adventures in a previous post.   https://sundayschildfullofgrace.wordpress.com/2016/08/03/5-star-soup-10-star-chef/

Housekeeping:  Because my guest is under 18 years of age, I have asked  and was granted permission of her parents to share some pictures.  

I am delighted to share this post with you my kind hearted & charming readers.

Please leave a positive, uplifting comment, send my guest Good Karma and by all means please share this post on your blog or on Social Media.  Thank you, kindly.  I appreciate your kind feedback and I know for sure, she will.

I have this funny feeling, we are all in on the ground floor of ……. something pretty special. 

Please welcome my friend, Chef Natalie!

Hi, my name is Natalie and I’m 10 years old and I love to cook. I started cooking with my mom when I was 3. I love helping my mom cook and I love seeing people like my food.

I spent the best day ever at Miss. Daleens house. We started the day by making a delicious 20161220_090844_resizedsmoothie. It was a banana, strawberry, spinach, lime juice, chia seeds and coconut smoothie. I got to crack open a coconut with a hammer and a coco jack. we used the meat scraper to get all of the meat. The tools that we used to open the coconut were so much safer than using a knife and a hammer which did not work out for me before. I had to get 3 stiches! Oww! Once we were not hangry any more we made palmiers. p.s hangry means your so hungry that your grumpy. The palmiers are like a light fluffy 20161220_105041-1_resized_1crossont covered in sugar. They were my favorite cookie of all because they were sweet but not too sweet. They were super easy but looked like you spent hours on them.

Next we made the dough for Daleens Famous molasses cookies. While that was chillin we tried facon!  Its coconut, tamari, liquid smoke and maple syrup. It tasted surprisingly like bacon. After that the dough was chilled so we scooped it into marble size balls. We baked them for 14 minutes. Once all those were finished we moved onto the pizelles which tasted wonderful.

20161220_124152_resizedPizelles are like a flat pretty waffle cone. But it was not a cone. They can be flat or you can wrap them around a wooden cone shaped mold but you have to wrap it around when it comes out of the burning hot pizzelle iron. It was really hot. I think I20161220_125817_resized_1 burnt of 3 layers of my skin! Even though it hurt, in the end it was all worth it. For my family I filled them with ice-cream and put whipped cream on top. We loved them. You can also fill with ricotta and powdered sugar mix. For a fancy vibe you can add whipped cream on top. They 20161220_131653-1_resizedwere delicious and beautiful.

 

Ok time for a break, Im getting hangry again. Lets have lunch. For lunch we made vegetable bisque and cheese crackers by putting parmesan on a baking tray with parchment paper and baked it at 350 for 15 minutes. The soup and the cheese crackers together were fenomenal. We laughed talked and had a good time. We

talked about presentation for our food and how important it is because people eat with their eyes first. Also you need to put some of the ingredients in your food on top so if 20161220_115822_resized_1people are allergic to something they can see it on top and know they cant eat it. You have to be careful of allergies when your cooking for other people. Ask them ahead of time if they have any allergies and stay away from those things. For example nuts are a very common allergy

Back to work.

First we did the dishes and cleaned up. Into the sewing room to make the last thing, pot holders. We made a practice one and then made my mom two. They were so 20161220_144736_resized_2easy to make. It was good for my first time using a real sewing 20161220_155827_resized_1machine. Its cool to see how it works. Miss Daleen taught me a little bit about the parts. Its important to iron so you have clean

 

sewing lines and it looks more professional. Later when my mom came home I gave the pot holders to her for an early Christmas present. She loved them so much

All in all it was a great day hangin out with my best pal Miss Daleen. Hope we can do it again soon.