For The Love Of Coffee

As a writer/blogger/lover of words I spend time reading in a variety of formats. I love getting lost in a good book when I can but often I’m on the go so my phone offers opportunities to access many interesting things to read.

As in… I started reading an article one day by a local girl who has a blog. She was writing about local coffee shops.

Coffee. Well she had my attention. Tell me more.

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As she opened up her post about the local shops she then backhandedly said she left out Starbucks ’cause we all know what that’s about. ( big chain coffee shop, no explanation needed, I guess)

I’m not unfamiliar with all the small local places. In fact last year when our Starbucks ( you are welcome for all the free advertisement here 😉 ) was under renovation I did my own independent coffee shop field trips.

Some standard. Some cool. Some eclectic. Some had great coffee, others not so impressive.

Her article addressed not just the coffee but the people in the shops and the staff who worked there.

I thought the article interesting as she listed various places and shared about the coffee and food she had tried.

I guess I understand how she might have not viewed Starbucks ( large mega coffee chain) as interesting, fun, or engaging as a local quaint spot. I have friends who frequently dismiss Starbucks as unworthy of patronage or attention.

I think she missed out not learning about our Starbucks. I think many local people miss the point too when they mock “big corporation coffee”.

Sometimes, it’s just not about the coffee.

Oh don’t misunderstand me here. I do love the coffee. Hot or cold I’ll take it.

Starbucks is mainly, convenient for me. But in the years I’ve been hanging out there the coffee is sometimes just an added bonus to the relationships that I’ve built with those who are there whether they are the baristas or the customers.

In a previous post I wrote for National Coffee Day https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2015/09/30/celebrating-coffee/  I talk about some of the people I’ve met and the encounters I’ve had.

Coffee and meeting people, engaging with other lives. It’s a rewarding experience.

The baristas I come to really care for and I hate it when they leave. I’m fortunate to keep up with so many of them after they head off to new adventures. I get to see them get married or start families, finish school or follow along with their life. Sometimes, my heart hurts for pain, struggles and loss they go through.

Then there are the familiar faces, the regulars, who are there. Ones you come to expect at certain times and who are there for various reasons. In the mornings it can be like a big family meeting with everyone hanging out for morning coffee.

Of course there are the random strangers that I get to have one time conversations with and that’s ok too. I often learn a lot about someone in a short time.. just a glimpse into another life.

One man that I wrote about in my last coffee post, an older man, who was old enough to be my dad, was one of the regulars I probably knew the longest there. He often asked me about my athletic shenanigans admiring me for what I did, challenging me when I needed challenged and wanting to see my medals after I had finished a race. He was one of the few people at the time who knew I was considering running a 50K.

I remember telling him ” it’s just such a long race. It scares me to think of doing it”  he simply told me ” you can do it. Think of all you’ve done. Now you just need to get signed up. I want you to tell me you did the next time I see you.”

And the next time I saw him, I had registered.

He would ask about me and my family and I would tease him about not chasing wild women to which he’d laugh. I’d ask him if he was sure he didn’t want to go for a ride in my Charger and see how many seconds it took to get it from 0-60 mph… for some reason he always passed on that offer haha

Over the past few years he’s been up and down with health issues and we’ve all celebrated when he’d be back in for coffee in “his” chair having his iced coffee and bagel with cream cheese.

He was like the Patriarch of the place.

I was leaving one Sunday the week before Christmas when one of the men who took turns bringing him stopped me in the parking lot and delivered the news to me.

He had passed away that morning in his home.

I was heart broken. I had just seen him the day before. The tears freely fell as I thought of him and the fact he would never be in his place there anymore. I cried at the loss of another older person I cared for now being gone.

I still see him sitting there in my mind when I go in for my coffee and feel that sharp pain in my chest. I guess in time, that will go away.  I will always cherish his sweet spirit and loving attitude to not just me, but everyone he encountered there.

So maybe that’s what I would say to not only the girl writing about coffee shops but to those who dismiss it as big corporate coffee.

It’s not “just” the coffee. It’s about the people who come there to drink it, whose lives begin to engage with yours who somehow make it richer in different ways and add to it from your ordinary world. People you might not have otherwise known who offer wisdom, friendship, encouragement, laughter, and most recently for many of us, grieving together over the loss of our friend.

The coffee is great, but the gift of relationships and a richer life is often, far more satisfying.

 

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Where I enjoy writing and having a cup ( or two!) of coffee at my home away from home 😉
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Weddings And All Things Lovely

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This is gonna just be one of those “life” posts.  Because my life is made up of a wee bit more than my athletic adventures, debunking current health nonsense, and offering up sane and practical ways to be fit and healthy.  Sometimes I just want to write about those “other” things.

As in… my first born son will be married in less than 2 weeks!  That my faithful readers, is a big life event for this momma.

Now this isn’t my first rodeo marrying off a child. My middle son will celebrate 2 years married in just a few days. THAT is hard to believe.  In those 2 years of marriage I’ve also received a beautiful granddaughter who turns one in a few weeks.

Will time just slow down already???

But yeah… I have a wedding coming full steam at me and as I write this today I will admit it’s my first round of actual, all out nervousness and that “OMG are we really ready for this?!” feelings.

By nature I’m not prone to that. I’m usually the more focused and in control of my feelings and emotions person. I don’t get all crazy from my nerves ( shhhh don’t ask hubby about that when I’m hours away from a race 😉 )

But today my mind is filled with all the little details and things still being done. My “to be”  daughter in law has been very good with getting stuff done so that’s helped a lot. I’ve tried to work and help her to the best of my abilities.

Team work, right?

Planning a wedding is…well.. a big deal. There are so many details.. but you know…women…. we are into details.

Just ask us to tell a story 😉

So there are flowers… how many and where do they all go. In the church on the tables, off the rafters haha. What will the tables look like ? tablecloths, plates, decorations etc.

What goes in the church? Just the right touches to add to the beautiful old, antique look of it.

Food. Guests want to eat. We got to sample the goods recently and make decisions on that.

Cakes. Oh. We’ve got cake. We might have cake for days afterwards. They will be gorgeous though and oh so tasty.  I hope I have time to enjoy some of it that day.

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Brides dress… all done. Portraits done.

Bridesmaids dresses and tuxes picked out and ordered.

Mother of groom dress. Ordered and hanging in my closet.

It is stunning.

Unlike many who might try to knock some weight off before the big event, I’m over here hoping to maintain my weight so my “custom made fits like a glove” dress still fits like that on the big day.

How many mothers of the groom are heavy into training for a duathlon with a wedding also on the menu?404

All of that aside… I know… it will happen. My nerves will settle, it will be beautiful, and I gain a new lovely daughter in law in the process.

Marriage. I’ve learned a little about it in the 33 years I’ve been married.

Weddings always take me back, make me think, how I’d do it all over again with the same wonderful man.

I don’t mean for that to sound cliché or corny. It’s just true.

You grow and learn so much about each other in a married relationship. You have good times and bad times. I’m thankful our years have been filled with more good than not.

I’m thankful that no matter what, we’ve always respected each other and I think that’s a huge key to a successful marriage. Even if times aren’t great, love and respect are (I believe) huge factors to longevity.

You learn to pitch in together with common goals. work for things you want together, support each other in their own individual passions (I’m serious when I say my husbands support of my athletic and health shenanigans are huge to me) you go through kids ( and some of the literal hell they roll you through) you deal with aging parents and illness and death, finances, job changes, health issues… life stuff people.  Sometimes it isn’t pretty and you want it to just be over already.

Then there are quiet moments of waking up together and talking about the day or savoring that first cup of coffee together.  Special dates and doing those things that matter to the two of you… things that have been born from years of being together… things that are about you, as a couple.  There are the inside jokes and weird quirky things that are between the two of you that you could exchange in a room full of people and no one would get but the two of you.

You learn about the whole “better or worse” thing that you recite in your vows. In all our years together I can honestly say that nothing has ever caused us to use the separation or divorce words.

And don’t you either.

Those are harmful words and should never be thrown around in your anger with each other.

When you make a commitment to love the other, it may mean you love, but you might not always like each other.

If you’re married and deny that, well, I’d call you out on it …’cause well.. it’s true. You’re two individual people, who different ideas, likes, interests, opinions, thoughts etc.

You will never mesh on everything, and you shouldn’t.

There is such a beauty in the differences of individuals who learn to mold and blend those differences together.

I am definitely the fiery, outspoken one of our relationship. He is calm, sees things in different ways and keeps me tethered when I’d go flying off on a tangent on something. ( Ah he tries… sometimes.. I do go untethered haha)

It’s a beautiful balance of give and take. Learning and growing. Accepting and changing.

It’s the beauty of years of lives being blended together in something sacred called marriage.

So as I work, prepare and get ready to watch my first born son become a wedded man my heart desire is for him ( his brother too) to learn these things. To allow large measures of grace to always permeate their marriage, to allow it to be in their relationship as they grow together. To be patient when they might not feel patient. To be loving even if they don’t feel like it. To be understanding of the others weaknesses and flaws. To be a helper and not a taker. To support, encourage, and build each other up. That they will cling to each other in rough times, and learn to appreciate the goodness of simple, daily life and life events. To not sweat the small things and let them go. To not waste time on being mad or arguing because they are wasting time they could love and enjoy each other. To think of the needs of the other before themselves. To live sacrificially.

Marriage is a commitment. A lifelong one. Is it always easy, no. But the beauty of having another soul who knows you inside and out. Good and bad. Knows your sense of humor and what makes you laugh. Who knows those little things that make you smile and who loves to hear about your goals and dreams, someone who is willing to go the distance with you, works with you and desires to be with you, that my friends, is nothing short of priceless.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m getting back to my to-do list and settling my nerves down.

I’ve got a wedding coming.

 

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Holidays, Traditions And Memories

It’s that time of year when I find myself in my pantry taking inventory. No, I’m not  extremely obsessed with what’s in there or making sure no one has found my hidden stash of chocolate ( admit it, you have a stash too 😉

It’s honestly to check out what baking ingredients I have or still need before I get ready to start all of my Christmas baking and candy making for the season.

We just wrapped up Thanksgiving where I  made a variety of pies and an amazing Pecan Pumpkin cheesecake.

Christmas will be all kinds of cookies, some new recipes, but mostly old, tried and true ones that have been in my family for awhile that everyone looks forward to.

For me, the traditions of the season mean as much as anything else to me. I love that my kids have been raised with certain things that as adults, are now traditions to them. My son is now interested in carrying on similar traditions with his children.

Last week I was whipping up some pumpkin pies, using a batter bowl that had been my grandmothers. She has been gone since 1994, but I know that piece from my childhood, remember her using it.

 

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When she passed away, my mom naturally inherited all of her things. She stashed the “old” dishes away saying she had seen them her entire life and wanted to use different  dishes.

When my mom passed away two years ago, the task fell on me to begin sorting through items in her house. Of course the first things I brought home were some of my grandmothers now “old” dishes.

Now long worn with wear, sporting some chips and an occasional crack, to me they reflect life, use, and the service to family. They reflect a time gone by. Family who is no longer with me today. Memories. Traditions. Shared experiences. Life.

Using these items somehow makes me feel more connected to my mom and grandmother.

I will admit, this time of year, from about October thru the New Year is hard for me since my Mom loved the entire “holiday” season. She loved the baking and freely shared her talents with so many people. She worked so hard to make the holidays enjoyable not just for her family, but those she encountered in her daily life.  I miss her plotting and planning with me for our big family meals, her festively wrapped packages, and childlike enthusiasm for the season.

Being in the kitchen is just a way I feel connected to her during this time. Using dishes that have been passed along are just a soft touch for me to keep my Mom, grandmother, and memories alive in my mind.

It’s my hope to share, teach and inspire the young women in my family to carry on the traditions for upcoming years and generations for their families.

What traditions do you have in your family during the holidays? Have you started new ones or do you carry on ones that have been in your family for a long time?

Below you’ll find the traditional pumpkin pie recipe I use each year.  Enjoy!

(1) 9 inch pie crust. ( homemade or a defrosted all ready crust)

2 eggs, lightly beaten, (1) can 15oz. Solid packed pumpkin, 3/4 c sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, 1/4 tsp. ground cloves, (1) can 12 oz. undiluted evaporated milk

Prepare pie crust, mix filling ingredients in order listed. Pour into crust. Bake in preheated 425 oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350. Bake an additional 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. If necessary cover edge of crust with foil to prevent burning.

Cool and garnish as desired.

 

 

The Power To Inspire

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Inspire:

fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
Also, motivate, encourage, influence, move or stir.
There are many people in my life who inspire me, who encourage and motivate me.
My husband. My mom. Friends. Even strangers.
On an athletic level I admire so many athletes. Although I am far from the league they are in, there is a common thread ( I believe) no matter what our level of athleticism.
Determination. Focus. Perseverance. Tenacity. Intensity. Drive. Hunger. Passion. Goal driven. An unwillingness to stay the same but to constantly be improving on where we are.
A spirit that never quits and doesn’t know the meaning of it.
I see individuals who haven’t been willing to stay where they are but push to get better, to work harder, to know they won’t be the same months from now.
I want to be like that.
That inspires me. The “me” who is a kinda ordinary, middle-aged mom, grandmother, sassy wife, and late blooming athlete.
My husband often shoots me down when I used the word “ordinary”… ha… he says I’m anything but ordinary… I’ll take that for the compliment I know it is 😉
When I have people tell me I inspire them, well, that’s up there for me on the list of awesome things. If I can inspire people who know me and know what I’m up to with my physical antics, to get out and do something, I couldn’t ask for anything better. If sharing what I’m doing stirs them, makes them think, “Hey, if she can do that, I can try something”
inspire people
Yeah, amazing.
But you know who really inspires me?
You.
The one who is still in the process of getting yourself out there. It doesn’t come easy yet and you struggle with making yourself do it, but you do.
The one who is willing to try something new, knows nothing about it, but is game to learn.
The Mom out pushing a stroller.
The older people walking their neighborhoods.
The cyclists flying down the road for miles.
The new runner who is still figuring it out and learning to run more than walk.
The overweight person taking those first steps towards physical freedom.
I’m inspired by those of you who follow my blog, and I see the things you’re out in the world doing and it makes me want to press on. You run, cycle, teach, lead, and inspire in your own worlds. You’re on the road, in the gym, doing boot camps and other crazy things.
Sometimes, as I scroll through my Facebook page, I see posts of my friends who are sharing their activities. I love the posts and pictures. I love seeing them doing something positive and good for themselves.
Seriously, some mornings when I’m still sleepy and the idea of exercise seems…. really tremendous… I’ll see someone’s post and it … inspires me. It reminds me of what I’m working to do, to accomplish. And it motivates me to finish off my coffee, get my gear on, and get moving.
Maybe, just maybe, that inspiring thing goes in both directions.
Don’t ever forget, you have great influence within your own circle that surrounds you. Your passion and what you bring to the table can inspire someone around you, never forget that.
As for me, you’ll find me out on the road, doing something always pushing and working a little harder and wanting a little more and never quite settling for where I’m at.
In the end, if what I do has inspired you, that puts joy in my life knowing I’ve made an impact on others.
Do you ever consider the impact you have on your personal world to inspire others?
inspire-me

F.E.A.R.

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Growing up I was an avid reader. I still enjoy reading and I like reading on a wide variety of things only now I can do it on my phone, my computer or in book form ( ok I’m still really old school and love nothing more than going to the library and picking out some books, call me a nerd)

One author I readily devoured, was Stephen King. Why?? Why? I’d ask myself when half way through I realized I was terrified. It had crept up on me as subtle as the morning dawn… fear. It gripped my heart and made me drop the book and go find something wholesome and distracting to do so those feelings would subside.

I swear Pet Cemetery left me jumping at every random scratching sound and had me sleeping with one eye open and I couldn’t blame that on Metallica’s music 😉

Geez. He’s so good at scaring you and making you fearful.

Yet, what was scaring me was nothing more than the extreme and deep mind of a gifted writer.  I really had nothing to fear.

Yet how often in life can fear grip us when we really have nothing to fear? Fears of the unknown, of “what if”, of what would I do, what if this happen? etc. etc.

Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger—if we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats. But often we fear situations that are far from life-or-death, and thus hang back for no good reason.

Look at that last part again…. hang back for no good reason.

What fear causes you to hang back from something or leaves you worried or causes you anxiety for no good reason?

I was thinking this past week (one night when I was supposed to be falling asleep) about a long ride I was going to do the next morning.  The long ride wasn’t what was troubling me. I knew I could handle the mileage. What I was feeling a little fearful about was what I’d encounter on my long ride.

A hill that twisted and turned, which I guess you could say, led up to the top of the mountain it actually was. There was also another significant hill on my route, I felt fairly confident I’d nail that ok.

But this other one, that was troubling me. Ok, if I’m honest with you, my readers all over the world, I was a bit fearful.

discard fear

Why??? That next morning with the miles building under me and settling into the rhythm of the road, it was in my head, a presence almost taunting me.

It left me fearing my abilities, or perhaps, lack thereof to take on something so formidable.  I’m fairly new to the world of cycling and I was riding on terrain where they run one of the toughest cycling races in our state.

Did I have what it would take? I knew I was strong but was I strong enough to muscle that hill ?

What I knew I had to get on top of long before I got there, was my mental game. I couldn’t go into that without my mind firmly being in place. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as an athlete, my mental game has to be as strong, if not stronger, than my body.

Fears, will cripple your mental game.

So I began to mentally talk to myself what was I afraid of?  Really?

I was afraid of not being able to do it, of failing.

I then asked myself, and what if I couldn’t, what was the worst that could happen?

EEK.. get off and push it up the hill??

I was afraid I wouldn’t have the physical strength to do it, that somehow , I’d be lacking.

Fear can cripple us from moving forward, no matter what it is in our life we want to take on.

I didn’t want to “hang back for no good reason”. I wanted to face what it was head on and know that I could do it. I knew once I tackled it, it would not seem as insurmountable as next time.

The sun was out high in the sky although it was still morning. Sweat had already soaked me and was running down my legs and arms, my gloves were wet under my hands. I felt my legs respond to the incline. I tried to make my breathing as focused and even as when I was in childbirth, slow, steady and measured. My heart, it let me know if was doing it’s job 😉

I took that hill, I focused on each pedal stroke, tried to keep my breathing even ( which was pretty hard!), and knew that when I got to the top I’d be back on my “regular” training ground again.

I was so afraid that thing was gonna eat my lunch.

It didn’t.

I did it. I never let that fear come back that I couldn’t.  I felt victorious.

You know what? I just did that hill again yesterday. I have a very healthy respect for it. But you wanna know something?

I improved my time from my first attempt….so there’s that…. I went up it faster.

Fears can cripple us. They can hold us back and keep us from new victories, in all areas of our lives.

I love this quote from Zig Ziglar…

“F-E-A-R has two meanings: ‘Forget everything and run” or ” Face everything and rise” the choice, is yours”

I’ve heard this before, and well for me, face everything and rise is where I’m at.

Now, what about you? Do you have fears that hinder you or cause you to hang back from living?  What will you choose? to rise? or to run?

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Another Year Older, Again ?!

So it’s arrived. It showed up without a lot of fanfare or big announcements.  My alarm glared me into foggy reality, a new day to open my eyes, and a calendar that tells me I’m now , officially, another year older.

Go me!

I don’t have any weird hang ups about getting older. The cool thing is… I don’t feel older…

I will admit sometimes, having to stop and think about my exact age. I just don’t give it much thought anymore.

live your life

I’ve  not dreaded another year as if that’s going to change something in me. For the love of chocolate, I’ve been allowed to LIVE another year, who cares what number is attached to it?

I’m loving where I am in life and most of all  love what I’ve been able to accomplish to this point.

I’ve found age to be irrelevant in regards to taking on new adventures and challenges.  On an athletic level and what I’ve accomplished, age has nothing to do with levels of fitness. I can out run and out do people half my age. My kids freely admit they wouldn’t even want to go up against me 😛

I had to laugh at my doctor recently as he suggested that I  “have fun but take it easy as I’m older” I told him I’ve done more physically in the last 3 years than I’ve ever done and I really don’t have any intention of slowing down. Not to mention I’m in the best physical condition I’ve ever been in to take on new adventures.

 

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Ok.. hear me.. I’m not implying acting foolishly. I listen to my body and I know the difference between training hard and if there’s something I need to let heal and get better. That’s a most important aspect of getting older… having a little wisdom 😛

It should be noted about the good doctor here… he… was the one who encouraged me to get back to some exercise 8 years ago.  How could he have imagined the wild adventures his counsel would lead me to ??

So yes, I’ve embraced new challenges. I know that there’s nothing I can’t do if I set my mind to it. Age is not a factor in being a good athlete.

But there’s more too. More to this getting another year older thing.

It’s being comfortable in and with who I am. Finding my voice and using it. Daring to be different.

I realized one morning, flying down the road on my bike at a crazy speed, I will not be sitting back quietly, getting older, watching life go by. I will not be a woman society will box up and set aside…. as if…. my age somehow will dictate my worthiness or abilities in some way.

Nah… I don’t see that happening. I won’t be quiet. I won’t sit back and follow some random rules that  society says I have to play along with. I will think for myself, make my own rules.

Well, oops, I already have.

I will be the older, talkative, energetic and out going free spirit wife, mom, sister, aunt, friend in the tank top and short shorts at the family picnics 😛

I will continue to find humor in random things and laugh freely because laughter is always good for the soul. I will have fun taking crazy selfies at the spur of the moment just for the pure sport and fun of it and chronicle my adventures because it pleases… me.

I for sure, won’t be boring.

Age has taught me a few, I believe, important things….

To appreciate more and grumble less.

To value all I have, it’s not something I’m “entitled” to.

To appreciate all kinds of people and not make split decisions based on the outer appearance.

To truly be comfortable in my own skin.

I’ve learned there are times in life when silence can be as powerful as a spoken word.

But then I’ve also learned to speak up and speak out if I believe in something , see something as wrong, or if it’s something I’m passionate about.

I’ve learned to challenge myself more and not doubt my abilities to do something ( I will admit this one has been hard as I hate the idea of failing at something)

I’ve learned to accept from others the wisdom they can offer me.

I freely and openly engage with new people, believing and understanding, I can always learn something new from others who have different experiences and knowledge.

To love every moment of a “normal” day because when life throws things at you, you long for “normal” days.

Friendships come on all age levels. I love my mature friends who have walked roads before me and can offer sage advice and wisdom, but I also draw so much energy from my young friends who have this passionate nature for life. We encourage each other.

Diversity makes life way more interesting than surrounding yourself with only people “like you.”

I’ve learned to be less concerned over a perceived need for approval.  Mainly because I don’t live my life with a focus on how someone else might do things, or if they approve how I do them.

I don’t take myself to seriously but I’ve also learned how to think deeply.

Being older isn’t a hindrance to pursuing new adventures and challenges.

Ah…. there are so many other things… I could go on….

Let’s just say, as I am waking up to a another year being older, I don’t dread it.

I am a woman who is grateful to have been given life. Who views the years she has lived as opportunities to have gained wisdom, maturity, confidence and an awareness of exactly who she is, what she wants, and where she’s going.

I want to continue to live in a fierce, bold way.

So here’s to life and another year of living out loud.  Cheers to 50ish!

 

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Body powered by black coffee and exercise 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Amazing Thing About Mom

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Hello faithful readers… as you sit reading this perhaps, over your morning coffee, it is late evening on Sunday night and my mind has been an empty vortex of nothingness as I ponder what to write that I can share with you come Monday morning.

This troubles and annoys me at the same time. At any given moment I have ideas, thoughts, and words crowding to get out of my head. New topics to write on. New information to share. Words of encouragement to offer you. Random posts to exercise my creativity.

But when I sit down and it’s a struggle… and everything feels disjointed… well as a writer it’s the thing that bugs me the most.

Yet finally, I know what will come, and the words are ready to come stumbling out……

Perhaps in my day I’ve tried to ignore one of the things that’s been the proverbial “elephant in the room”.  First of all, on this day, it’s my daughters birthday. She turned 18. A beautiful, confident young woman. It’s such a milestone birthday and one she has been excited about. I’ve focused on her and her life. The celebration of who she is.

I’ve tried to not camp on another thought crowding in. I’ve tried to focus on this as a day of celebrating and embracing life and the beauty of my daughter.

However, for me it will also remain and will forever be, the day my mother left this earth.

It’s been two years now.

There are times I mentally shake myself realizing she’s not here. Just the other morning I had made this amazing thing for breakfast and I was thinking to call her. I know better… I do.. but the urge was so strong….

She loved cooking and baking and all things involved in the kitchen. We often exchanged food ideas or she’d make something to experiment and send the leftovers to us. My favorites were random dessert nights and I could run over and get whatever treat she had whipped up while it was still warm from the oven. She was amazing with her cooking… the kid in me still wants her to make me food.

She loved cookbooks. She “read” them. She has so many that at some point I need to work my way through them. I’ve brought home some I’ve found that she had marked with sticky notes and personal insights on things she’d made. Those I want. I found an old recipe box that contained recipes written in not just her handwriting, but my grandmothers and great grandmothers.

Holidays were a time of brainstorming over using the same familiar fare, but also trying something new. I loved when she’d call about an upcoming holiday and want to know “what we were doing for dinner” …meaning both of us together. Or how she’d eagerly tell me about something new she  had found to make.

I think of her when I’m going through tough days and just want to talk to her in the way only a daughter can talk to her mom.

I want to tell her that I understand now so many of her struggles with my dad who has Alzheimers… and wish I  had REALLY known…. and understood the things she sought to protect me from and shoulder herself. Wish I’d known so I could’ve been more help to her. I wish I could cry on her as these days with him get harder and harder and I want advice on what to do and how to best help him. Or express my frustration to her when he views me as “the bad guy”, when the reality is, I’m the only one who does stuff for him on a daily, consistent basis, who is there for him and fighting for him.

But she was doing what moms do… in her own way… trying to handle things and protect her children. Mom always tried to simply, quietly, handle things.

I think of her laugh, her smile, the things that brought her joy. I try and live in ways that would make her proud and I want to continue to live in the legacy of strong women I come from.

Mom had a way of embracing, loving, and appreciating life even when things were hard.

She sought joy… laughter…love… hope.

My mother was a fighter until the end. She had an amazing strength that I am so thankful I got to see in new ways those last few months of her life.

I know I’m just one of many in this world. One of many who will lose or has lost someone they love. I’m not exclusive or unique or special in my loss.

But she was my mom… and totally irreplaceable to me.

Time moves on…life continues… and I firmly know and understand she’d want me to be focused on living and embracing life… taking it on full speed… she’d want me to stand up and fight and be strong and not spend time mourning or lamenting when I could be smiling.

But I do mourn her. In small moments. In unexpected moments that sneak up on me like a thief in the night, laying me low and leaving me breathless and aching inside. In times that are bittersweet. In quiet moments or remembrances of times gone by.

I often think in these two years, I’ve not really slowed down long enough to allow that deep grief to wash over me.

To be honest with you, that raw emotion scares me and makes me feel weak and vulnerable. I keep it under tight guard with a firm hand on it lest it swallow me whole.

I’ve said before… I’ll say it now… at some point…when I’m ready to bleed a lot … I will write on this deep topic of grief and grieving… and at some point.. I’ll know when.

For now…for today…  in this moment…I need to just speak out loud… to remember my amazing mom… to share her memory and let my mind wander to simpler times in life before illness and disease crept into the picture to steal life.

She was an amazing woman. Kind, caring, giving even when her own resources were limited, thoughtful, generous, and so loving. Ha… if I’m being honest she was also stubborn and head strong… hmmm…. I might resemble that somewhat.

I’m ok with that.

She was my mom.  She was amazing to me.

I think……………. I will always and forever…. miss her.