Monday, May 25, 2015


The smells of fresh baked cookies are seeping throughout my slightly warm house.  There are two kinds.  The hubs has requested chocolate chipless and the kids are getting chocolate chip.  Is it too warm to have the oven on?

Of course it is.

Do I care?

Not really.

It's been a crazy busy weekend.  One that I simply stopped participating in yesterday. I was bone weary exhausted and simply couldn't take anymore.  I've been cutting out things, conserving energy.  As the temp rises I always get a bit more tired out than I feel I should be.  Then I remember (like I could ever forget)... May is the anniversary month.  18 years ago a teeny tiny little bug felt it needed a bit of my blood, it wanted to be fair I guess so it left me with a nice dose of Lyme in exchange.

It's something I choose not to allow to control my life and I get a bit cranky when it tries.  Today standing in the kitchen, putting a loaf of rustic bread out to proof for dinner tonight with my girl and her family, I suddenly had a flashback.  I don't have those often, my memory is a bit like a large chunk of Swiss cheese, full of wholes and flimsy connections.   So to have a flashback is slightly odd.

Suddenly, as clear as day, I remembered the Memorial Day holiday in 2002.  Another odd occurrence, as that was the start of one of the most stressful periods of my life.  When God brought me all the way to my knees (literally and figuratively), to raise me up high.  I can rarely remember anything from that year.

But there is was.  I could smell the apple pie baking, as I was cleaning up my empty kitchen.  We were in the process of moving, all of my belongings had already shipped.  The base was having an apple pie contest in the midst of the holiday fest. Not sure why?  Apples aren't in season in May, and it's hot.  Maybe because it's equated with home, and we were all far from home.

My ex had "made me" make the pie, okay in all fairness no one can make anyone do something they don't want to.  So on some level despite having to borrow equipment and buy all the supplies I must have wanted to please him.  I am a people pleaser and even when it doesn't make me happy, I will still do things like that.

One thing I am not, is comfortable with praise or accolades, so distraught is probably an accurate phrase as I won a prize for my simple little begrudgingly made pie.  It was a hand made little plaque, and I probably still have it tucked away in a memory box.

What brought the memory back, I have no idea, it's already fading back into haze.   Now I can smell cookies, mixed with the soft early summer smells left lingering from all the recent rains. It's warm in the house, the air needs worked on and I haven't had time to deal with it.  Maybe that caused the flashback to Germany.  No air there either.

Today's baking was of joy, I was rested, I've had a minute to clean the house and to put my feet up.  I've had time to read a book, nap in the breeze, paint my nails, cook real food for hubs and I, laughed with family, celebrated successes and missed my youngest.  He's too far away.

In less than an hour I will head to my eldest's house.  We will laugh, chat, enjoy an amazing dinner together. My contribution will be cookies and a humble loaf of rustic bread. Both made in my kitchen, with love. Maybe we will toast life with a nice wine, or an ice water.  It will be full of grand baby hugs, laughter and all the bits and pieces of a life lived well.  Hubby will hobble a bit, but not as much as he's been, and he will join in the love and laughter too.  It's been a long rough road, but it's got so many wonderful pit stops on the way, how can you notice the pot holes?

Friday, May 1, 2015

Once in a lifetime...

I should be up in the dining room having breakfast with everyone else.  Instead, I am sitting here looking at the most beautiful view, reflecting and gathering my thoughts and strength for the day.

The fog is gently rising from the water's surface.  It's still and peaceful.  Every now and again a graceful, lone bird will dash swiftly past the balcony.  I am a lot like that.  I love people, but I am the lone bird.  I would love to be part of the pack, but I am usually the one just sitting off in the distance.  Enjoying those around me, listening and absorbing all I see and hear.  But my innate shyness has never really left me.  I do best in small intimate circles.

Last night, that wasn't an option.  I am still stunned and disbelieving.  I like being the wind beneath others wings... I believe I have told you before I am one odd "Leo"... as I never seek center stage.

If you've been reading my blog for a bit, you probably realize it's that time of year when all of our Y family of professionals descend on Trout Lodge for our annual retreat.  It's so breathtakingly beautiful, and there is always so much to bring you back to center, to inspire and motivate.  Yesterday was no exception.

After dinner last night came one of my favorite parts of the day... awards.  I love listening to all of the wonderful things that are being celebrated about each one of the recognized.  It fills my heart to cheer for them and know that I am surrounded by amazing, dedicated people.  Over the years I have received a few myself, I know how amazing that feeling of being recognized feels.

It was so uplifting to cheer for so many of the people that I work closely with, every one of them deserving and more!  Hubs was struggling a bit with the chairs, his leg is still weak and tender and he'd forgotten his pillow.  And I was a bit distracted when they'd started reading the final award.

The C.D. Banks award is the most coveted and cherished of all that are given.  To be part of the C.D. Banks recipients is an honor in the highest.  The family is small with only one recipient a year. It's also one where they leave you guessing as to who it is until the very last moment.

I listened last night with baited breath, I always do, prayerful for whomever they have selected.  Anxious to know who was incredible enough, that out of over 200 professional staff that single person had earned that honor.

I was looking around the room, trying to figure out who it describe.  My table mates kept turning around an looking at me, Hubs was saying it's you... And I was disagreeing with everyone. Focusing on Hubs who was in great pain, I was only slightly aware of the words.

It could have been anyone... then I heard "flood", "homeless"... wait... those words could pertain to me... but no... that was simply preposterous.  I barely remember the moments before they called my name.  I felt the air leave my lungs, my stomach had given birth to an entire field of monarch butterflies and I think I was slightly dizzy.

Me?  I had just been awarded the prestigious C.D. Banks award.  Me.

As I made my way up to the front, trying very hard not to trip over chairs or hubs can, willing my leg to not chose that moment to give out on me.  Ironically, the only table left open when we went to dinner was basically in front of the podium, I'd selected it completely oblivious. I was completely overwhelmed.  Completely lost in the moment.

And sobbing like a baby.  A BIG baby.  Wrapped in so many hugs, surrounded by people that I love and respect.  Completely unable to even think.

At some point it occurred to me that they were going to hand me a microphone and that there were around 200 people in that room around me.

Okay... so everyone that knows me, knows me and a microphone are the complete recipe for a disaster! Add tears of joy, disbelief and amazement and wow... it's an epic disaster!  I can't even remember what I said out loud, I am pretty sure I mumbled something about "She's correct, this is the hardest thing I've ever tried to do...", as softly, so softly "thank you..."  I was simply too overwhelmed.  I was so grateful that my hubs works for the Y and was there last night. I was so deeply blessed for all the hugs, I drew strength from each and every one.

My boss's words were uplifting, enlightening and amazing!  Her hugs even more so...

I guess I have arrived... I will bask in the moment for a bit longer... And then...

I have a building full of people to take care of, to love on and to encourage to be stronger and better.

I am blessed...


The sun is just breaking over the beautiful Smoky Mountains.  Watching it set last night was breathtaking! Tomorrow I will get up and ...