Which side of the road should the chicken be on?

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It is almost November and the weather is going to great lengths to remind us of the impending torture of unpredictable temperatures and precipitation for the next thirty plus days.  Today was a glowing example of that.  The remnants of Hurricane Patricia swirled hungrily around our little town and brought with them the feeling of doom that always precedes winter.  The rain fell sideways and the South West wind systematically unzipped our coats to leave us feeling exposed to the elements.

On my drive home from work, watching the storm-laden sky become even darker, I could think of nothing more than crawling into a cave of blankets in my living room and allowing myself to succumb to the heat that would soon be escaping from my baseboard heaters.  The thought of having to cook a full dinner did not impress me at all so I visited the grocery store and purchased a warm, fragrant pre-roasted chicken.

There is nothing better than comfort food on a cold, grey night.  The pungent smell of the chicken permeated my kitchen as I boiled some potatoes and made a somewhat deconstructed stuffing.  Onions and celery were left to saute with some bacon as the potatoes were mashed into submission.  I usually love to add some flare to the presentation of my meals, but comfort food speaks loudly and needs neither pomp nor circumstance to assert its message.

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The food was delicious.  My heaters obliged by taking the chill out of the air but the meal lacked a certain something.  I love my solitude.  I enjoy my own company and I have several friends, one close friend in particular, who admire me for being so content on my own.  But my “Thrifty Thursday” Chicken (as the store labelled it), my mashed potatoes and bread-less stuffing would have tasted much better had I been able to share it with someone special.

There is much to be said about living on your own.  That privilege of freedom defines gratitude better than a thousand dictionaries.  But the joy of being in a room with someone who helps accentuate your happiness is immeasurable.  Whether those moments are shared in silence or lost in a cacophony of laughter and endless conversation, those are the moments that create memories.  And those are the moments that can sometimes make solitude feel a little more like loneliness.

 

When a Bubble Guppy goes from a mystery to a memory

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Life is a perplexing thing.   There is no rhyme nor reason to the circumstances of our daily existence.  If there were a giant book of instructions and an elongated list of logic explaining the happenings in our lives it would be in a language nobody could decipher.

We are not meant to know the meaning of things that occur while they are happening.  We are merely challenged to learn from the events we encounter and use that knowledge to enhance our future.  I found myself in the middle of one of those moments last week.

They were a lovely family, originally booked to visit the lodge in July but had to postpone due to a medical diagnosis that required immediate action.  Even after rescheduling their vacation, a last-minute trial became available to help battle her recent diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  Two trips to St. Margaret’s Hospital during their four-day “vacation” were made much more bearable by their one “magical” day at Shamrock Lodge.  I was extremely fortunate to be a part of that magic by being asked to make a “Bubble Guppy” cake for her daughter’s 2nd birthday.

I had no idea what a Bubble Guppy was but my longing to make this vacation memorable was overshadowed by my ignorance and this is the cake that arrived at their table and made three generations of their family smile….especially the two older generations.

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I will forever remember driving home that afternoon to finish the cake for an early celebration because her treatment came first.  I will always cherish the look on her two-year old’s face when she realized this cake was for her and it was a Bubble Guppy cake.  And the moment that I will hold closest to my heart is being a part of a celebration that may not happen again if the medical trial fails.

Life is a perplexing thing.  But watching a family hold each other close and truly celebrate together helped me slightly dispel the mystery.

Life is about commemorating the moments we are able to celebrate.  Life is not about worrying about what comes next or what we may miss.  Life is about making the most of the time we have together and living in the now.  Life is about having a Bubble Guppy cake and being able to share it with the family at your table, not ever considering they may not be there for the next birthday celebration. And life is just about being with those who you hold closest to your heart for as long as you can.

If I have learned anything this past week, I have learned that life is too short to spend on things that are not number one on your list.  If there is something you want, chase it.  If there is something you yearn for, pursue it.  And if there are people in your life that make your days brighter, do everything in your power to make the sun shine on them for as long as you can.

You never know when that Bubble Guppy will revert from a cherished memory to simply a mystery.

 

 

Finding the beauty in exhaustion

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I absolutely love what I do for a living but the long hours and the physical demands of the job can take a toll on the state of my well-being.  I have just organized and worked a wedding and dynamic conference back-to-back.  If you asked me to spell my name right now I would have difficulty providing that information with any sort of accuracy but the reward I have reaped far outweighs the strenuousness I have endured.

At the end of my arduous days, I feel content in the fact that I have given 110% to, not only give great service to each of these functions but, help create a memory for each of my guests.

Where I feel I should lose energy in the many hours I work, I gain strength from the energy of those around me.   This strength does not come from knowing what I am capable of.  This strength comes from my perseverance to give my best effort and make sure I represent all of myself and not just part of myself, not only in work but in every aspect of my life.

That is the beauty of my exhaustion.  I can sit back and relax knowing that I have given everything I have.  I can take solace in the fact that I do my job well.  And I can absolutely appreciate when I receive praise for my efforts because I truly feel like I have earned it.

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Although my weariness does come at a price, the satisfaction I get from knowing that my efforts positively affected so many others makes that extreme fatigue all that much more bearable and makes me want to do it all over again.