23 January 2011

That's How We Always Did It

So pretty much everyone has heard this story in different variations of the woman that cuts the end off of a ham/roast.  She tells her husband who asks why she does this that it's what her mother always did. She calls the mother to find out and she says it was what her mother always did.  When asked, Grandma says she cut the ends of the meat off because that was the only way it would fit in her roasting pan!
I heard this story years ago and it made me wonder what we do because "that's how we always did it" without questioning the whys.  I am a "like to know why" person but even something like this has snuck in on me from time to time, where I do the thing someone shows me, unquestioningly.
Recently we have been exploring the delicious world of raw milk and the nutritional benefits of kefir and unpasteurized dairy.  Raw milk is not only unpasteurized, but also non-homogenized.  (Homogenization being that process that fuses the cream that rises to the top with the rest of the milk so it does not separate.)  I've been drinking pasteurized, homogenized milk my whole life but for some reason, I grew up always giving the milk a few good hard shakes before drinking it.  I never stopped to wonder why. My parents did it and I learned to do it and then passed this little milk-shaking tradition on to my kids.  I can hardly bring myself to take a swallow from milk that doesn't have the little bubbles on top from being shaken, or out of a plastic cup...... but I digress.  The other day when shaking the raw milk, intentionally to mix the cream in with the milk, I realized that this "milk shaking" must have been passed on in my family for several generations.  Though we have been drinking milk that did not separate and thus had no purpose for shaking it for many years now, still we shake it, because that's how we always did it.
I'm looking at the world with new eyes. I'm questioning everything and asking why.

09 January 2011

Oh Christmas Tree What a Year Can Bring

The holidays were so busy and with activity and chaos that when it all settled we weren't in a hurry to take down the Christmas tree.  It was only after the holidays that I found the opportunity to really sit and enjoy it.  But come down it must.  So yesterday Gary and I set out to accomplish this task, together.  
This is new for me - this idea of doing things "together".  I don't believe it has anything to do with being newlyweds, as some would say.  This is a goal for the two of us who suffered our share of heartbreak, lived for years with spouses who were not committed to us and struggled on our own to change this cruel fact and are determined to make this marriage, this relationship everything it can be. It is such a joy in life to finally not be alone.
While Kullen is away at winter camp this weekend, the girls were here to give us a hand.  I had gathered all of the Santas and stockings and nativity set pieces from around the house earlier in the day. I boxed away all of the Christmas cards we received for 2010 with the commitment to sit down next year when the decorations come out and read through them once again.  When the four of us went about removing the ornaments and lights and trimmings from the tree, I couldn't help but think of all that might change in the year before we see these things again.  So much has changed in the year since we visited them last and I am acutely aware of how much can change in the coming years as children grow into adults, parents and grandparents grow older, and time it seems stands still for no one.  In this past year though painful like childbirth, the changes have all been for the better - more peace, more love, more joy.  But I know that some years can be full of pain and struggle and loss. I have lived years such as that and though I have no desire to endure it again, it makes me stronger knowing I won't face it alone.
It was nice to see items that we took out independently from our separate stores to decorate the house for Christmas intermingled when we put them away.  Gary packed the boxes away in the container in the garage until next year and I set about cleaning and rearranging the living room.  With my birthday around the corner followed the arrival of spring, I will likely soon forget the depth of thought provoked by undecorating the Christmas tree, but then again there's always next year to remind me.

On posting a picture and wrapping the text:  it has taken me nearly half an hour to remember how to do something I used to do in my sleep!

03 January 2011

It's the Little Things

Tonight I arrived home from work to a husband standing at the top of the stairs with my favorite Tequila Sunrise in hand.  The house smelled of the Italian chicken and pasta he had made for dinner.  On the table, a salad with a side of chopped mushrooms just for my bowl, since I am the only one who likes them.  During the day, he ran to town to take the comforter from our bed to the laundromat.  I have never been spoiled in my life.  I have seldom even know what it was like to have someone that not only didn't need me to take care of them, but invested their time and energy into making me happy and making my day just a little easier. In the few months that he entered my life, Gary has shown me more love and companionship than I have ever known.  I can still remember what it was like to be alone in the world, struggling.  I hope I never forget so that I always appreciate this gift given so freely, daily of his love.

02 January 2011

2011: Day Two

This year is starting out much like all the rest.  Busy-ness, chaos and activity.  I have been off for most of the last two weeks, and I am looking forward to the routine and consistency of going back to work.  This morning was church and then a trip to the airport to send Kaitlyn's sweetheart, Matthew on his way home after a visit from Texas.  Soon he will graduate and come to college nearby so they can be together more often - but for now the ache of separation.  Kullen also said goodbye to his friend Tessa.  These first budding feelings are so fragile.  I think that I woke this morning burdened for my children and their sadnesses.  Fortunately, the busy-ness of the day did not allow me to carry them for long.
My goal in the next few days, weeks and months is to slow myself down. I need a few minutes each day not to be sucked away in the flurry of activity and the demands of others so that I can breathe a little. I want to write and paint and cook and do absolutely whatever I find to do without the tug and pull of obligation.  The one solace in any day I have is this - the fifteen or twenty minutes every night before I fall asleep in the arms of my sweetheart. I share the days joys and burdens with this man who exerts that it is his pleasure to walk this road of life beside me.  This makes all the difference.

01 January 2011

A Little Bitter, Mostly Sweet

That is the best way that I can describe 2010. The year has come to a close and a new one has begun. When I was younger, a new year was met with excitement. Much like the exhilaration of a new journal, so many blank pages and the joy and anticipation of time and what story they would write - a new year was a story waiting to be told. In recent years I had become more cynical and increasingly more hopeless. No eager anticipation - just an ever increasing sense of being stuck - stuck in pain, stuck in misery. Just stuck.
I am thankful for the resilience of spirit and the inner strength that could only be from God that brought me through. This past year has been one of the most difficult of my life. I had to resign to the fact that my marriage was over. I saw the words in black and white of my divorce decree. That in itself did not hurt as much as I would have anticipated. My marriage had been dead for a very long time. What hurt was the letting go and giving up on something that I had worked so hard on. I was the EMT refusing to quit CPR though all signs of life had ceased.
From the ashes came beauty. About six weeks after my divorce was final, in a time that I would have never anticipated, I met someone. Gary and I were married on September 26th. He is truly my best friend. There is so much to how we met and why we married so quickly and what our plans are for the future. I am sure this venture back into blogging will offer many opportunities to share some of that. My blog has been more therapeutic than I ever could've imagined. It was here I poured out much of my pain, sorted a lot of confused thinking and found much comfort, support and advice. On these blank pages of this blog, over the course of this year I want to share our story as we write it. This is a story of love, forgiveness and laughter. It is a chronicle of family and faith and much healing.