22 December 2008

tiny threads

This has been one of those days. It has been one of those months.

December began where November left off: with a broken dryer and wet laundry strewn about nearly every surface of my house. Thankfully, a high-rolling co-ed spent two full days and nights out on the town and generated some much-needed income for 303 Sedan. The unfortunate thing is that he paid with a stolen credit card. Yeah.

It's been COLD lately. I mean high temperatures in the teens cold. Not the best time for the heater to break in Sally (one of the town cars). Well, as you may have guessed, it did. Then last week, after we received news from down the street of another lay-off and from California of yet another untimely death, the fuel pump in Mabel (my truck) - the fuel pump we have put off fixing for nearly a year - it died too. Again, not great timing with bills to pay, mouths to feed, Christmas around the corner and virtually NO money coming in.

Nevertheless, I've kept my head up. I've tried hard not to be distracted by what isn't and to focus on what is. I've been optimistic, creative and resourceful. I've had faith. I've believed. And I've watched God provide.

Then today, I lost my wallet.

After two-and-a-half hours of hoping, retracing and obsessing - on an empty stomach in December's bitter cold - the perspective, the optimism, the resilience - it all went out the window. I returned to Betty (our last-car-standing), and I cried. No, I sobbed.

"Lord, I'm all done. I can't do this any more," I wailed through tears and snot and sadness. "I want to believe. I want to hope. I want to persevere. But what else? How much more?"

I can't believe I lost my wallet. I can't BELIEVE I lost my wallet.

I have to believe there is goodness, right? I have to continue to have hope, don't I? If I don't, what else do I have? So in the depths of me I've been clinging to the tiniest of tiny threads. Tonight, I haven't been making and wrapping the last of our Christmas gifts as I had originally planned. Instead, I've been talking to God (and to bankers and to creditors and to customer service folks). Deep down I've been wishing and hoping and praying for a miracle.

Well, about an hour ago he showed up at my front door.

With my wallet.

10 December 2008

and while we're on the topic...

I decided to devote some time yesterday to writing... yeah. Well, now it's today and here I am with thirty minutes, a tall glass of water, a desktop computer and my thoughts - my random, precious and constant thoughts...


That's what's on my mind; that's what you get.

Now, this is no meaningless post about a bland breakfast food. To the contrary, this is a post about one of the greatest rediscoveries of my adult life. I'm serious. I hated it too when I was a kid, but thankfully I threw those instant, brown, sugar-laden packs away, and I gave it another shot. I encourage you to do the same.

I had a bowl of Oatmeal for breakfast today. Again. And a good bet is that it will likely accompany whatever I decide to eat tomorrow... and the day after that. I literally have to force myself to eat something else every few days; I absolutely love the stuff. LOVE it. It is warm and hearty and healthy and tasty, and it is an exceptional way to start the day. Almost every variety tickles my fancy - thick oats, rolled oats, steel cut oats, Irish oats (oh my!). Just steer clear of the instant, one-minute kind (it's a texture thing).

Boring? I think not. I
just change up the company. A half grapefruit and a hard-boiled egg. A mandarin and two veggie links. Plain yogurt with mixed berries. Ricotta with strawberries and bananas. A little turkey-bacon and fresh melon... I could go on.

And then there is the oatmeal itself. The possibilities are endless. Lauren likes to add canned pumpkin. Throw in some nutmeg, pumpkin seeds and a touch of honey (yum!!). My kiddos are big fans of applesauce and cinnamon or peanut butter, milk, flax seeds and raisins (cranberries... not so much!). Paul periodically enjoys a trail mix blend with raisins, nuts and seeds, and my absolute favorite (write this down) is a half-cup of good ole' Quaker oats, a cup of water, a good shake of cinnamon, a pinch of Celtic Sea Salt and two and a half minutes on high in the microwave (make sure your bowl is big enough). When it's all steamy and dreamy and cooked, add two tablespoons of raisins, a tablespoon of flax seeds, a tablespoon of Udo's oil blend and a little more water. OH MY GOODNESS... I'm salivating.

Now, I love scrambled eggs as much as the next girl. Cereal? Yeah, I'll do that on occasion too. And believe you me, I make a mean breakfast sandwich or breakfast burrito. But Oatmeal? In my humble opinion, it is the true breakfast of champions - good for your heart; good for your soul. I'm definitely sticking to it.

Two minutes left, and now I'm hungry. I think I'll go. But for all you cereal-devotees out there, who gave up on oatmeal long ago or who insist there is not enough time, may I urge you to give it another try? FIVE MINUTES is all you need.

Here's to breakfast. Off to make lunch...

02 December 2008

a breakfast story

In the quiet and darkness of this morning, I peeled back my sheets, got dressed, folded a load of laundry and went to the gym. Nearly eight hours ago, my day humbly began – with silence. With laundry.

“How was your workout?” Paul asked with a kiss, as I returned home to find that the darkness and stillness from earlier this morning had faded into the hustle and bustle of mid-morning pre-preschool. He, still in his jammies, and my cutely-dressed kiddos were on their way upstairs to brush hair and teeth.

“It was good, REALLY good. I’ll make breakfast.”

With a growling stomach, I hung up my jacket and headed for the kitchen.

FRIDGE: Two packed lunches, four-and-a-half bottles of milk (thank you Longmont Dairy Farm), four eggs, a little block of cheese, one slice of bread, two mandarins, homemade cranberry sauce, leftover Thanksgiving gravy (into the sink you go), orange juice, assorted vegetables and condiments, lots of condiments.

PANTRY: cereal… gone; tomato sauce, mushroom soup, olives, artichoke hearts, brown rice, wild rice, whole wheat pasta and a king-sized bag of rolled oats.

Money’s been tight. Pickins are slim. Oatmeal it is.

“Momma, I’m hungry.” Cole said as he appeared from nowhere.

Upstairs I heard running water and the thud of the shower door. “Cole, will you run upstairs and ask dada if he would like breakfast?” He went.

OK, breakfast. Here we go…

Piping hot oatmeal - sprinkled with cinnamon and a dash of salt - soaked in dairy-fresh milk and topped with fresh mandarin-cranberry sauce and oven-toasted walnuts. On the side, an egg, hard-boiled and sliced to perfection, coupled with a tall glass of orange juice, straight from the dairy farm bottle… Beautiful.

Pleased and proud, I summoned my kids to the table, placed the masterpieces upon it and then turned on my heels back toward the kitchen.


I turned back to discover my children now sitting at the table: Maya, ruddy-faced with welling eyes, and a dumbfounded Cole staring into his plastic bowl. No, this wasn’t mom-you-are-amazing speechlessness. And no, these weren’t tears of profound joy and thanks. Rather, this was “what-about-our-vitamins” silence and “I-don’t-like-nuts-in-my-oatmeal” tears.


After a swift scolding, my children chimed in unison, “Thank you for breakfast momma.”

Right. It was hard to hear past the crescendo of my rapidly boiling blood and grumbling belly.

“It’s not a big deal,” I silently quelled myself, and returned to the kitchen to gladly and selflessly prepare breakfast for my husband.

TAKE TWO: Piping hot oatmeal - dusted with cinnamon and a dash of salt - soaked in dairy-fresh milk, delicately drizzled with agave nectar, and lovingly topped with fresh mandarin-cranberry sauce and oven-toasted walnuts. On the side: a hard-boiled egg sparingly seasoned with sea salt and coupled with a tall glass of ice-cold orange juice, straight from the dairy farm bottle. Yes, that does it. Now, perfection.

In walks a freshly showered, shaved and sweet smelling Paul toward the table.

“What’s this?” he asked with a contorted face, as if on cue.

“It’s oatmeal,” I responded.

“Yes, but what’s on top of it,” he continued.

“Cranberry sauce,” I replied matter-of-factly, with my back now to him.

“Do you mind if I take it off. I don’t like cranberries,” he explained.

Beside myself, I push the door of the microwave closed (a little harder than necessary) and forcefully cleared the remnants of my handiwork into the sink.

“You guys are AWESOME.” I sardonically mumble.

We exchanged a few more words, before I left the kitchen and headed for the shower. “Thank you for breakfast,” I think Paul said at some point.

Defeated, I stood in the shower, and let my mind stew on all the snotty things I could have, should have said: “Oh, me? I'm fine, thanks for asking... Oh that? Don’t mind the noise, that’s just my stomach… Gosh, I wonder where the kids get it? You know what would be really fantastic? Why don’t you leave all your dirty dishes in the sink, or better yet, how about on the table?!”


My day started out with washing and folding the last of yesterday’s SEVEN loads of laundry. This particular load was comprised of too many urine-soaked shorts and sheets (Cole had FOUR accidents in one day) and cleaner-soaked rags and towels to count. I get home to hear everyone whine about being hungry, yet no one has happened to notice that I’ve been up for over three hours and haven’t eaten a thing! Now, I’m in the shower – pissed off and starving – and they are all downstairs , nourished and fed by MY GROSS OATMEAL!!! I don’t even know what to do with myself.

I think I’ll blog.

I returned to the sight of the debacle a bit ago to find a cleared table and an empty sink. So here I sit – laptop in lap and my house silent once again. Now, a little perspective…

So, they didn’t like my oatmeal.

Yes, I cleaned all day yesterday, and I woke up early this morning – by choice. I didn’t have to find places about my house to hang damp laundry. Instead, I enjoyed an extra hour of sleep and got to fold “piping-hot” clothes out of a newly fixed dryer – the one I have gone without for nearly two weeks. My son – WHO NO LONGER WEARS DIAPERS – is going through a crappy (literally. OK, not literally-literally… you know what I mean) phase, that will end as quickly as it began. He has clothes to wear, a bed in which to sleep and at age three, he knows the value of vitamins and healthy breakfast. My daughter is attuned, astute and she almost always remembers to say thank you (even if it is a little late). She came to say goodbye before she left for the day, then returned to give me an extra hug and kiss before she braved another Tuesday at preschool. She loves to learn. She’s growing. She’s FOUR!! My husband stayed with the kids this morning – as he does almost every morning – so that I could get a workout, a really good workout. He got the kids ready and dressed, he made our bed (hallelujah), he took our kids to school and now he’s out working so that we can eventually restock the pantry and fridge… in my huge kitchen… in my warm, beautiful and blessed house. And now I sit – with a warm cup of tea, after a warm shower and a warm (delicious) breakfast – writing.

It’s oatmeal, Abi. Oatmeal.

You know what would have been better? A little apricot... or raisins. Maybe nutmeg? Ginger? Darn it, I forgot to give Paul his orange juice. I bet it’s still in the fridge… Yep.

I’ve got to put away the rest of Cole’s laundry.


04 November 2008

a sticker

I read my blue book in its entirety. From cover to cover. This was a first.

Late Sunday night - after months of considering... vascillating - after days of researching, hours of reading and too many years and elections of taking this thing for granted, I finished my ballot. I've been wearing my sticker ever since. I kid you not, I even put double-sided tape on the back this morning because it lost its stick!

For the first time, I owned the responsibility of my sticker. I remembered the countless lives that have granted me access to this sticker, and I took the duty of earning this sticker seriously. For the first time in my life, I appreciated the privilege of wearing my sticker.

In some ways, the anticipation of this day felt a little like that of my wedding day. I woke up shortly after four this morning with my heart skipping a bit faster and my head held high. Although, I knew I would spend most of the day at home, I felt compelled to dress up for the occasion. I even put on a little makeup (and my sticker).

I've been expectant. Nervous. Humbled. And SO HOPEFUL.

Tonight, my eyes are stinging, red and swollen, my heart continues to dance in my chest and I'm still in shock about what I witnessed. About what I was a part of. After what I heard and saw and felt, I am speechless. And my sticker sticks on.

In MY lifetime... I still can't believe it.

This is one of the biggest, most important days I have lived. This is a monumental moment for our country and the world - for so many reasons, for so many people and persons. But mostly tonight, I'm thinking about my children. I can't stop thinking about my son (and yours). I am moved. I am overwhelmed... I am blogging.

How the world (and Blogger) has changed! How I have changed.

This is a moment I needed to lift me out of a fog and to pull me awake from my slumber.
To care. To hope. To act. To dream. To proudly don a sticker and to blog once again.

It's good to be alive. It's good to be back.

17 March 2008


Henri Nowen is still sitting virtually unread on my nightstand (big surprise). Tonight, I've finally come to terms with the truth: I'm just not in the mood. I'm DESPERATELY in need of some light reading... any recommendations?

12 March 2008

the highlight

was by far the highlight of my week last week.

Paul and I got to see Leah while she was in town with Alanis and Matchbox 20. The opening band was incredible and Alanis was amazing as always, but this was the best part of the concert for me. It warmed my heart to see my dear friend - even if just for a few minutes. Frankly, we didn't even need to stay for Matchbox 20.

This was more than enough.

07 March 2008



Why is it that
every time my daughter has gotten sick to the point of projectile vomiting (down a flight of stairs this morning... yeah) that INVARIABLY it is the day that I've given her strawberries or raspberries (or even better, a combination of both... yeah) with breakfast?

The bright side:

1. She only reached 7 of our 10 stairs.
2. She's feeling MUCH better now.

26 February 2008

a draft

About a half-hour ago, I finished writing the first draft of my term paper. It's been a marathon. APA formatting, references and 14 pages of editing still to go, but for the most part its done.Thank you, Jesus.

My mind is fried, my eyes are sleepy, two point five hours until my alarm clock goes off, two point five days until my final exam. Haven't started studying (but the laundry and dishes are done... hallelujah!)

I'm tense, yet thankful.

Thinking about Richard and Karen... nearly 40 years... 40 years.
My heart hurts.

Fading. Too tired to write in complete sentences. Time to go.


My stepmom, my big little brother, a garbage disposal that works, split pea soup, toilet paper, provision for today, my laptop, my marriage... SO much to be thankful for.

17 February 2008

my nature

In my little red "Weekly Assignments" notebook, I blocked out this afternoon and evening to work on (to start) my term paper. I had BIG plans for researching, outlining... maybe a little writing today.

Well, I'm happy to report that my house is clean, the laundry is done, my eyebrows are plucked, I'm all caught up on phone calls and I've checked your blog... yeah. It's 9:22 p.m., and I haven't written ONE WORD.

Describe your theoretical orientation. What is human nature? How do people develop psychologically? What is mental illness? How does healing happen? What is the counselor's role in change? Describe how your theoretical orientation has been influenced...

Is he serious??

Dear professor: I'm 31. THIRTY-ONE! I've barely lived.What in the world do I know about a theoretical orientation?! I've never sat with a client. Heck, I feel like I just got out of high school. I'm still in my infancy... a wee babe, dear professor. I'm...

... delusional and in TOTAL denial. I'm evading, escaping, excusing, eschewing... exemplifying human nature at its finest.

I need to start writing. Just start, right? Just start, Ab... just start.

15 pages, 14 theories, a term paper, a comprehensive final, and 11 days to go...

I'm screwed.

13 February 2008

to fill a jug of water

Earlier this morning, with an empty three-gallon water jug and two whining kiddos in tow, with a morning of frustrations and annoyance percolating an inch below my surface and with the 30-minutes and $1 left that I barely had to spare (a long story; another post), I made the 12-minutes-each-way trek to Vitamin Cottage.

I'll just run in, fill the jug and head home, so I can start reading...

To save myself a little time and a lot more frustration, I decided to leave the kids in the car.

Darn, only two cashiers with lines three people deep...

I dashed for the water dispenser and impatiently tapped my foot as it took an eternity to fill my bottle. The stream of water finally reached the top of the jug, and without skipping a beat, I grabbed my water, screwed on the lid and turned to see the cashier in lane one standing at her register alone.


Now with a full bottle in tow, I approached the register and found an unattended shopping cart and groceries on the counter. Ms.-oh-I-just-have-to-grab-one-more-thing finally made her way back to her cart and spilled a couple bags of banana chips and soup before the cashier. Of course she had coupons (I didn't even know you could use coupons at Vitamin Cottage) and of course, as she reviewed her receipt, she noticed that she was charged $2.89 for a carton of soup that had been marked down to a dollar.

"You've got to be kidding me," I heard my mind say as I shifted my weight and lifted the now-heavy jug of water onto the corner of the counter.

"Blah, blah, blah," I'm not sure of the words the two women exchanged. I had a hard time blocking out the sound of the boiling emotions and growing impatience that were bubbling from my chest, up my throat, to my face. I stepped out of myself just in time to hear the cashier's amplified voice on the loud speaker request, "M.O.D. to register one." Finally, I noticed the name on her nametag: Barb.

I shifted again, bit my lip, counted my breaths and dropped my head.

Meanwhile, lanes three and four opened up, and two lucky shoppers came and went. In that moment, my finances, my frustrations, my morning (with all it's inconveniences), my schedule, my whining kiddos who I left in the car, my week... made their way to register one.

"I'm sorry," the coupon lady apologized to Barb, who was obviously flustered now as she began to fill out a return slip. "Why don't you help her first," she finally suggested.

Thank the LORD.

Seventy-eight cents and what felt like a lifetime later, I raced out of Vitamin Cottage, dropped the water jug on the floor of the car and got in my seat.

9:47 a.m.

As I drove the 12-minutes back to my house,
my mind raced through the list of things I had to do and settled on the cashier and the warm brown eyes behind her glasses.

What was her name again? Oh yes, Barb.

he reality of this morning finally occurred to me. I was that girl - the one who nearly causes an accident to get in front of ONE car on the freeway, only to face a red light a few minutes later. I was that guy - quart-of-ice-cream-guy - who could have burned a hole in the back of my head one night at Safeway because I was the MOD-to-register-one lady in front of him in the 10-items-or-less lane.

This morning, I lost a few minutes and was racing back home for what? I was so focused on myself that I lost sight of everyone else FOR WHAT? This morning, I disrespected not one, but two women whom God created in His glorious image FOR WHAT? For five minutes?!?!

The kiddos ran out back to play as soon as we got home, and then something unexpected happened: I stopped to listen. Just beneath the cacophony of my mind, I heard the steady rhythm of my heart... I set down my jug of water, and picked up the phone.

"Hello, Vitamin Cottage, this is Jen..."

Heart racing, I asked for Barb. Once she was on the other end of the line, I was finally able to see past myself. I apologized to Barb for taking the frustrations of my morning out on her. I apologized for allowing my impatience to rob her of the respect she was due . I apologized for being that girl...

"May the Lord bless you," Barb said as we hung up the phone.

And He did.

07 February 2008

colors and shades

I just had a gigantor salad with nearly every color in the rainbow (sans red and blue). I have 80 pages left to read, and I have to leave for school in about three hours, so I didn't intend on posting a picture, much less writing about it. However, I enjoyed lunch so much today that I've since changed my mind. It was supposed to be a working lunch, but as I sat down and appreciated the colors, textures, fragrances and intricacies of my beautiful salad, I decided to have a thinking lunch instead.

As I crunched on carrots and celery, delighted on grapes and avocado and savored the scent of balsamic vinegrette, I paused for friends... family. I celebrated them. I thanked God for them... For my brother and sister in the DR who still remain close to my heart... for my sister who turned 32 today (Happy Birthday!)... for my brother who's learning to be a grown up... for my sister who got some bad news yesterday, but continues to make me proud as she perseveres through med school... for my sister who got word yesterday that she will soon be the mother to three daughters...

I've been pausing a lot lately - taking back those moments when I could read another page, tackle laundry, sleep five more minutes... it's made all the difference.

In these fleeting moments I've chosen to stand still as precious time passes, I've started to see things I haven't before. I'm experiencing color - in my day, in my interactions... in my salad. A quick phone call to catch up with a friend... time spent with the Lord... a sweet conversation with my daughter... a remarkable evening with four captivating friends... an afternoon spent with my husband... an hour at library with my kiddos... a power nap... a post on my blog... dinner for lunch for the kiddos and me just because...

Brown and Wild Rice with Salmon and Roasted Brussel Sprouts

... and as the Good Lord said, it is GOOD.

Time looks
differently than it used to. The hours I once had have become minutes... seconds at times. But it is time, nonetheless. My paradigm is shifting. I can see it. I can feel it. I'm learning to see the greys - hundreds and thousands of greys that reside between black and white. And as I take the time to pause - to look more closely - I'm even starting to see color.

45 minutes have come and gone, and I still have those 80 pages left to read. I feel alive.

Back to work.

04 February 2008

bucket list

Paul and I had a date on Saturday night. We had good (great) conversation and said many things that needed to be said (mmm...), we went to Boulder for sashimi (mmmm....) and we went to the movies for the first time in a year (?!?!).

"The Bucket List" (ahhhhh). It was such a sweet surprise - exactly the movie we needed to see. Even after sitting through the credits, we left the theater with hearts pounding and big tears still rolling. SO good. I think we may actually be good for another year.

30 January 2008

3:40 a.m.

This week (THANK YOU, Lisa), I rediscovered Good Earth Tea...

Note to self: Unless it says decaf - no matter HOW warm and wonderful and absolutely delicious it tastes - drinking two big cups
(32 oz... oy!) right before bed is just a BAD idea.

(Just realized that the number one ingredient is black tea... yeah)

29 January 2008

to blog

"Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can't remember who we are or why we're here." ~ Sue Monk Kidd

27 January 2008


In the crisp cool of this morning, to the rhythm of my steps, I witnessed the birth of a new day. For 49 minutes, I ran and listened and felt and watched as His masterpiece unfolded. Amber, then coral warmed the cobalt sky. He painted broad, brilliant stroke after stroke across a vast canvas.

Black silhouettes of leafless trees lined my path and stretched. Their thunderous trunks grounded, arms raised... reaching. An owl perched on a spindly finger broke the silence and cried out. Together we marveled. Praising.

"The heavens declare the glory of the God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge." ~Psalm 19:1,2

In the crisp cool of this morning, I was in glorious communion with my Creator and His creation. My cheeks, the tip of my nose and my fingertips are still numb, yet as another day begins, I feel warm.

26 January 2008

random lunches

Refresh. Refuel. Rejuvenate... Relish.

Couscous with Sausage and Summer Squash

Sauteed Veggies with Tofu, Green Chili Rice Cups and Fresh Fruit

Roast Beef on Whole Wheat with Lentil Soup

I really think I'm on to something.

24 January 2008


You'll never guess where I am... I'm on a break, sitting in Theories in Personality and Counseling. Ah... connection. SO amazing. The last week... oh, the last seven days. There was so much. It's over. I'm relieved.

18 January 2008


Seemingly out of no where, she asked the question over breakfast this morning...

Maya: "Momma, what does waste mean"

Me: "Race?"

Maya: "No, waste."

Me: "Oh, Waste."

First I wondered why she asked the question, then I realized I had never answered that question before or even thought about a definition
. I pondered it for while, then finally responded...

Me: "Well, waste is when we don't use something that is useful or valuable," I explained with a satisfied smile; I was thoroughly please with my definition.

Maya: "Oh. So we waste things we don't like?"

Me: "Yes... well, I suppose... sometimes we waste things we do like, too."

I'm still unsure of the thoughts behind the question, but it definitely cut to my core, and it's left me thinking...

14 January 2008


I received a syllabus for school - complete with reading assignments - tonight. As I read the email, my heart sunk a bit under the pressure of the small but conspicuous weight that now resides on my chest.


I just finished packing lunches. The kiddos go back to preschool in the morning, the first class in my new series begins tomorrow night, and school starts on Thursday. The break has been amazing, and now it's time to go back (sigh). Feeling a little burdened about it. Something has to change.

Hopefully I won't be signing off until some time mid-Spring. Hopefully.


Candy Cane Lane, warm socks and Christmas jammies. Mmmm. Thanks, God.

13 January 2008


Sprouted-Whole Grain English Muffin with Egg and Avocado

Baby Spinach with Black Beans, Peppers and all the fixin's...

...And it was GOOD.

11 January 2008

a revolution

I've also been thinking lately about lunch (can you tell I'm still on Christmas break?!?).

This past year, my world was literally rocked through the power of lunch. I can't pinpoint the day it began, but about a week ago I finally noticed.

Pots and pans. Revolutionary.

At some point over the last year, I finally realized that I am worthy of a lunch prepared
with pots and pans (yes, in the middle of the day, even though I've got two kids and ten thousand other things to do). I am worthy of the fifteen minutes (or more) it takes to prepare the perfect big salad with all all sorts of fresh veggies, fruits, a little crunch AND protein. I am worthy of actually using a fork and a knife to eat my lunch and damn it (please forgive, I'm making a point here), I am especially worthy of sitting down, chewing, swallowing and even breathing a little in the process.

It's revolutionary.

While I was talking to Leah on the phone this afternoon, I prepared a beautiful meal for my children - balanced, colorful and nutritious. Then, as I laughed and chatted and caught up with my friend, I prepared a healthy, creative and absolutely BEAUTIFUL lunch for me. It was gorgeous... dare I say, a masterpiece.
Can I say that? Well, it was.

I savored every delectable bite. I thoroughly enjoyed the twenty minutes I spent in preparation, the additional twenty minutes spent eating, and you know what, it was worth every second of the twenty minutes or more minutes it will take to clean up once I stop blogging. My lunch was so good and so beautiful, in fact, that I kid you not, halfway through my meal I started regretting that I didn't take a picture before I started eating.

As I delighted in every last morsel, I started to think about you. You know who you are. You are that woman who shovels garbage down your throat on your way somewhere... or that mom who nibbles off your kiddos' plates but never takes a moment to regroup and refuel yourself... or you are that guy who doesn't have the time to prepare or worse, clean up, so you just starve yourself all day and then regret it after you voraciously gorge later.

To you I would like to say that you too are worthy of a good lunch. God has gifted us with fuel that actually looks and tastes good. It's time to receive. Get out your cutting board or your pots and pans... or BOTH. Use your imagination. Get creative. SIT DOWN.

I know what you are thinking. I had that thought too: you don't have time. You have to work. OK then, pack yourself a good lunch. If not lunch, wake up 30 minutes early and treat yourself to a good breakfast. If you can't do it every day, fine. How about one day? Still feel too indulgent? OK... multi-task. Call a good friend and catch up while you cook. Sit down, spend twenty minutes on you, then call another good friend and catch up with her while you do your dishes. Four birds (time spent with two friends, a good lunch and a clean kitchen), one stone. How can you say no?

It's a lunch revolution. Jump on.

After today's creation, I think I really am going to start taking pictures. It will inspire me. Maybe you too. In fact, I think I may even make today's lunch again tomorrow just so you can see it.

Until then.


Gratitude. What will it look like to cloak myself in gratitude?

Not sure exactly, but I am certain that it will heighten my senses and add color to an already vibrant world. It will take me out of my mind and myself and help me to really see, hear, touch, taste, smell, feel... to experience, to appreciate the richness of every good and perfect gift. Right now, as I think, type and sip my tea, it has already begun. A shift.

In this moment, five things immediately come to mind - five sweet and precious gifts You have given to me. Right now I want to thank You for...

1. Cinnamon Apple Spice Tea. I could drink it all day (oh wait, I do!). God, it's so GOOD. Cinnamon... and Apples... together in a warm, soothing beverage. It's the most delightful union, and I get to indulge day after day, night after night. It is SO good. Thank you.

2. Leah. I just spent 45 delightful minutes on the phone with my college roommate. Fourteen years ago (14?!?!) you brightened my world with one of the most intriguing, peculiar, funny, creative and absolutely wonderful people I know - one of my dearest and most treasured friends. Thank you. Although I haven't seen Leah in 2 1/2 years, through the wonder of Blogger, it feels like she was in my living room yesterday. We haven't spoken in at least six months, yet we easily pick up right where we left off. I love that. Thank you.

3. Lauren. The kiddos and I came home from her house yesterday afternoon smiling. Wide. When we left CA, my biggest fear was that I wouldn't find friends here who just fit. Soul mates. But I did. Oh, you are good to me. Thank you. Thank you that not only does my friend fit, not only is she easy, light, refreshing and just good, but she and I share daughters who fit too. Thank you. Thank you for teaching me about planting seeds and giving freely through Lauren. THANK YOU that I got to be with her the day her son breathed his first breath. You are too good. Thank you.

4. A package. After a year. One year. This morning I finished the last of my requirements and sent my DONA certification to the committee. Oh, it felt so good, Lord. Thank you. Thank you for every birth I got to be a part of this year. Thank you for growing and stretching and moving and inspiring me this year. Thank you for every client you brought into my life. Thank you for using me to edify, to encourage, to educate and to empower - seeds you planted in my heart 10 years ago, blossoming today. I am utterly humbled. Thank you.

5. Christmas Break. Just a few more days and the pace picks up again. Thank you for slowing me down these last few weeks. Thank you for leveling me. Thank you for filling me. Thank you for teaching me. Thank you for sweet time spent with my kids. Thank you for giving me time to blog... finally. You are good.

My tea is gone, my insides are warm and my tears are flowing. Remarkable. A monumental shift, indeed. Oh, I am grateful. Thank you for gratitude.

08 January 2008

good intention

For the first time - I think in my entire life - the New Year will not begin with another resolution to lose 5 (or 10 or 20) lbs... hmmm. Honestly, it's a little disconcerting. You see, I've spent 30+ years utterly consumed. Not so much these days. 2007 was the year that I made peace with my thighs, so now what?!?! I suppose it's time to grow up, move on and start living this life. This year I intend...

... to pursue relationship, health, balance and peace
... to dance and sing aloud
... to love fervently
... to cloak myself in gratitude
... to look up far more
... to say um, like and o.k. far less
... to be outdoors as much as humanly possible
... to cultivate compassion and consideration
... to play
... to eat more sushi
... to finish (start) Cole's baby book
to read and write just because
to be (JUST be) with my kids
... to run (not jog) a race
... to take more pictures
... to befriend someone much older than me
... to befriend someone much younger than me
... to complete my first triathlon
... to spend my time, resource and energy more wisely
... to take a vacation
... to give a little more (and a little less)
... to deal with the "to-be-filed" boxes

... to try at least one thing again that I resolved I never would
... to be gracious and merciful
... to smile and laugh a lot
... to let go or at least loosen my grip
... to stop making so many lists
... to get more sleep

That's my cue.

07 January 2008

the list '07

Oh, and speaking of which, I have a little unfinished business to settle.

Now, I realize that we are already a week into the New Year (and I also realize that it is 4 in the morning), but frankly, I am not done with 2007 yet. I'm still processing... still reflecting. (And you thought the year would come and go without the one thing you waited for all year! Not so, not so, dear one.)

I hesitated (for a second) to skip it for 2007, since I only posted about 11 times on my blogs last year (I have resolved to write much more this year), but I can't disappoint... I can't break tradition... I can't... sleep.

So with that said and without further ado, I give you my top ten, favorite posts of 2007 (drum roll please...)

10. a.m. expedition. What started as a pretty depressing morning turned into one of my favorite days I spent with my kiddos all year. We got great pictures and had an amazing time.

9. after. In the end it was exhilarating to face, expose and acknowledge years of desperate denial; something finally had to be done... and it was! My blog (and those excruciating "before" pictures) inspired me to action. It was pure satisfaction to finally get to take and post the "after" pictures. Perhaps this will be the year that I get to the last six (eight) "to-be-filed" boxes that have been neatly stacked (out of eye-sight) since March. Baby steps...

8. a blip. Note to self: don't park a shiny black Town Car in front of your house.

7. freshman 15. OK, technically this post wasn't written in 2007, and thus, should not be considered for "the list." But, I have decided to include it anyway for three reasons: 1) it didn't make it in before the count in 2006. 2) I've got to reach here, people... I've got slim-pickins! 3) In all seriousness, this silly little post precipitated a life-changing journey for which I will be eternally grateful (a nice segway into...)

6. being transformed. I was. I continue to be. It's been a remarkable ride.

5. hard to say goodbye. You're not going to believe it when I tell you, but these pants have been put to rest. Truly. The transformation continues, indeed!

4. BIG, well little news. My son will probably need therapy after this post (sorry, Cole), but I just couldn't resist! It captured the most priceless, proud moment on film (... or digits... whatever, you know what I mean). This makes me giggle every time I see it, and frankly, holding onto the hope of it in my mind and in my heart has helped me persevere through every smelly diaper-change I've endured since that day. (Yeah, we only got one more, much larger poop after shameless bribery with a matchbox car a couple weeks ago. We've since decided to let the potty collect dust somewhere else until the summer... sigh)

3. isms. Classic Maya. She has so many of these "isms." It was fun and just-plain-funny to write this post. It still makes me laugh out loud, and it helps me to appreciate all of those little things that make Maya, Maya.

2. kandid perfection. It's almost a year to the day of that shining moment in my history of parenthood! It was a necessary reminder of that truth I need to hear daily: I'm not (and I'm never gonna be) perfect. Ah, it feels good to say it. We haven't been back to k.k. since that day, but we may try again in the near future (mercy, Lord). I'll keep you posted.

And last, but not least: my favorite post of 2007...

1. christmas letters and blogs. That pretty much sums it up for Abi T. It's what I do. It's what I'm about. It's how I make my mark in the world... so deal!

Thanks for indulging me. Whether or not the posts reflect it, 2007 was a good year... perhaps my best, actually. I blog because, I think it's invaluable to take time to reflect, record, ponder and pause on this road. One can't help but to have gratitude. I intend to take (make) that time much more often this year.

If you don't already, maybe you too should take the plunge. Stop reading and start typing!

Until December...

06 January 2008

so now you know

I just discovered that Leah tagged me some time back in November (my bad). It went something like this: "Reveal 10 things about yourself that most people probably don't know." This should be fun. Here goes...

1. I count the strokes of deodorant I put on in the morning. It's always the same number (usually 11) on each side.

2. I eat oatmeal with raisins, flax seeds and a blend of beneficial oils for breakfast almost every morning.

3. I am perfectly content to be by myself.

4. My favorite time of day is some time between 5 and 6 a.m., and my least favorite place on the planet is a public restroom.

5. Dylan McKay (from Beverly Hills 90210) was the reason I started looking at colleges in California. Sadly, I'm serious.

6. I carved a pint-sized "I 'HEART' Q" (as in Quincy Mitchell) into my ankle when I was a freshman in high school. Yeah. I have no idea what ever happened to Quincy Mitchell, but his initial is still on my ankle.

7. I once ate 40 Reese's Peanut Butter cups (not miniatures, I'm talking cups) in one sitting.

8. If I had a do-over in college, I would have dropped Advertising like a bad habit and majored in English and Art instead.

9. I have few, if any, memories before age 7.

10. I am pretty certain that 2007 was the best year I have lived.

And there you have it. If you haven't written your list yet... Tag, you're it.