Rather, the light saw me

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I have started this new year feeling better about myself than I have in a very long time, maybe ever.   The scale still hovers around the same number, the grey hairs seem to multiply exponentially while I sleep and the lines around my eyes seem to be getting deeper.  But those lines around my eyes are being etched further into my skin because my smile seems to be a permanent fixture on my face.

I will be the first to admit that I have never spent much time volunteering for anything.  Sure, I jumped on the “pay it forward” bandwagon and I have even blogged about that very phenomenon.  But there is something much more rewarding about really putting in the time to help someone rather than just buying a coffee for the person in line behind you.

What began as helping a friend, who is currently tackling an undiagnosed medical issue, spiraled into a concept that is slowly growing into something I am becoming very passionate about.  It combines two of the things that I hold near to my heart – cooking and being able to help people.

Some of my blogs over the last few weeks have alluded to the Sundays we have spent cooking in the kitchen of the family resort where I am employed.  We have successfully sent almost twenty freezer slow-cooker meals to a young family who lost their home in a fire just after delivering twins, and we are gearing up to do it again this Sunday to add ten more meals to their freezer.  In a few short hours in the span of three Sundays, we have provided a month’s worth of dinners, giving them more time to devote to their children and their next step rather than having to think of what to cook each night.

I also had the pleasure of delivering the first of those meals to my very dear friend on Friday, the friend who inspired this journey.  Just knowing that I can alleviate the tiniest bit of his stress pays me in ways that I never thought possible.  It is a very emotional feeling and, even as I write this, it brings tears to my eyes.

light in your eye

I have watched them before.  I have seen volunteers many times and noticed the light in their eyes but, until now, I had never really understood the source of that light.  I get it now….and it is a light that I would like to have continue shining in my eyes for a very long time.

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All of the things I did

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toes in the water

I am not here to just put my toes in the water.

I am here to cannonball off a spring-board,

fully plunging into the deep end.

I am not here to simply smell the flowers.

I am here to roll through the meadow,

to give in to careless abandon,

and to saturate myself in their fragrance.

I am not here to be a guest in my own life.

I am here to live purposely,

to breathe deeply the essence of this life,

because I know, all too well, that life is short.

And at the end of my journey through this lifetime,

all of the things I did,

and all of the life I inhaled,

will hopefully served to remind me,

that I lived a deliberate life and that I made a difference.

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fiction249

Table for one?

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This time of year my office is a much quieter place than it is in the summer and the first thing on my mind when I get home is to change into some comfortable track pants and relax with a glass of wine.  Curling into a corner of my couch should be enough to soothe the winter blahs I feel at the end of a long day, but it isn’t.

What relaxes me most, what softens the reality of a dark winter day, is cooking.  And although I typically cook only for myself, I enjoy creating a food experience rather than just making something to eat.  I like to think of food as an encounter more than just a necessity.  Food should nourish but food should be enticing.  I don’t just put my dinner on a plate.  I want my meal to have an attraction beyond taste and, even if I am only cooking for one, I will put that effort into the presentation of my meals.

chicken

There is something truly invigorating about inhaling a combination of smells that you know blend into an amazing taste medley.  And the effort of cooking these meals for one is not as taxing as people would think.  A simple preparation of “real” food takes a few more minutes than opening a package of processed food and putting it in the oven, but the benefit far outweighs the effort.

Perhaps the artsy side of me weighs heavily on my plating but, regardless of the reason, I continue to put a concerted effort into each dinner I create.  I take great pride in knowing that I nourished, not only my body but, my eyes and my mind.  Food feeds the soul as much as it feeds the engine and as I dig into my meal I always feel happy knowing I didn’t reach for that can of Alphaghetti!

By hook or by crook, I’ll create a chapbook

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My dear blogging friend, Mike Allegra, made a particularly interesting comment after reading one of my blog posts.  I had published a poem that day and he recommended that I get working on a chapbook.  I was humbled by his comment and embarrassed that I had never heard of a chapbook.  (Thank you to the kind people at Google for making me slightly more knowledgeable!)

chapbook

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I rolled the thought around in my head for a while and then that thought, like all the other unrecorded ideas, escaped the confines of my brain.  Much to my delight, the idea had not completely exited my cranium.  The word chapbook popped up again on my radar and made me ponder the thought once again.

I began to go back through my previous posts to reacquaint myself with my poetic entries on this blog.  I was actually surprised at how many poems I have published and I enjoyed reading some of the poems I had completely forgotten.

When I began my writing journey I was a slightly awkward sixth-grader who really knew nothing about stanzas or rhymes.  Words just seemed to come from somewhere and I gravitated more to poetry than I did to storytelling.  Thankfully I have since embraced both but there is always a draw to poetry when I feel the need to express more emotion.

Poetry allows me to tell tales of love and loss.   It gives me permission to dream.  It lets me hope that the world will be a better place.  And it lets me believe in my desires.   By clicking on those links, you’ll see how much I enjoy poetic expression.

I think a chapbook is just the project I need to begin 2016 on the right foot.  Any thoughts or advice in the comments section would be very welcome.

Happy New Year to all and may 2016 bring you all the things you desire!

 

It’s not just about the big picture

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As I am uncharacteristically sitting in my office on a Sunday morning, dog asleep at my feet, it occurred to me that I don’t have very much to say today.  I am enjoying the quiet moments of looking after the lodge while the owners enjoy some much-needed down time after a busy season and the other employees are busy shopping for the holidays and on their way to spend time with loved ones.

I saw this quote and it seemed to sum up what I was trying to say.  Enjoy your Sunday and make sure to enjoy all the little things.

the little things

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Give a little, get a lot

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I was asked by our local Public Library to donate some goodies for their holiday get-together today.  The local singing group ‘The Minettones’ will be performing and many locals will be in attendance.  I gladly agreed as it combined two of my favorite things – cake decorating and books.

library

If you read my post yesterday you would know I have been filling out applications to volunteer at some local establishments.  Since the lodge is officially closed for the winter, I will have more spare time and I feel strongly about giving my time to those who could use the help.

Between the Toy Drive at the lodge and the time spent creating these goodies for the Library, I feel good about the decision to give back since I feel I have so much already.  I may not be rich in terms of my bank balance but life has treated me well in many other ways and now it is time to ‘share the wealth’.