Monday, May 25, 2015

Exquisite Everyday Moment With Cake...

Exquisite moment eating wonderful treats...
I like to remind everyone that to live well means creating rituals, moments and space for you and your loved ones to experience exquisite everyday moments. These moments are simple, small reminders in our busy lives that life is beautiful and filled with love. The goal is that when faced with the troubles of everyday life, you can call up these exquisite moments, these little gems, to help you get back on track and sustain you until you can create more. 

My family is really good at creating these memories. Jeff and I make this a priority, they sustain not only me, but they are living proof to my Beauties that everything is going to be all right. When your life is filled with taking fist fulls of medicines, and managing doctors like most manage soccer schedules, it's critical that they see we live normally too!

We have a new Saturday schedule, that is relaxed, easy and creates the space to bask in the sunshine of our family. We love to hit the Santa Barbara farmers market to pick up organic and locally grown tastiness. We have made friends with vendors and look forward to our weekly conversations. But our real treat comes when we stroll down the fabulous State Street in our new home town and stop in at our family's favorite cafe; Lilac Patisserie.

Lilac is the sweetest little French Cafe. As a family, we are quietly working our way through their cake menu. Sampling treats, as we go from coffee cakes, to olive rosemary bread to brownies and cookies. Every Saturday, you will find us rolling in to sit in the cafe or grabbing a treat to go. I love to sit in the cafe with my pot of tea and Jeff with a luscious coffee drink.

Ian eyeing Dad's coffee...

We order a table full of treats and fork fight over the tastiness of each bite. I love these moments with my Beauties, want to learn about someone's week? Give them a fruit tart filled with creamy softness, you get a full download of the playground politics.  The moment reminds me that despite everything, my life is good, normal and filled with joy. We picked Lilac also for me, you see I've been gluten free for longer than we have had children. But my gluten eaters comment every time, "Mom this cake is ridiculous, it can't be gluten free?!" So in addition to just delighting in my family, I can enjoy every single bite... and I do!

This week was no exception, a nasty bacterial infection landed me in the urgent care Tuesday night, getting IV fluids and antibiotics. Just what every mother wants, to have her children sitting in the waiting room while I'm getting worked on. The Beauties both had the worry face, the one that says please don't get admitted; please come home with us. Even Jeffrey looked a little more pressed than usual. Thankfully I was not admitted, but I didn't get out of bed all week. Once we got home Tuesday night, for the rest of the week, I had my mind focused on one thing, tea Saturday at Lilac. I needed to nurse some tea, eat a sweet treat and let everyone see that I was fine. My mind stayed focused on our past moments and even more focused on creating a new one. I will create even more...

This week was challenging, I still don't feel great, we missed family parties with our cousins. But we did make it to Lilac. We ordered cake to-go, picking several tasty treats for home; as I sat on my sofa in my jammies, I still created that exquisite moment with Jeff and my Beauties filled with cake, smiles and love. 

So as you make your way in the world--Create your happiness, which include your family rituals, your love and your exquisite everyday moments. And if you happen to be in Santa Barbara let us know, we would love to share our table with you. 


Photo Credit: Mr. PilgrimageGal

PS. The owners of Lilac haven't compensated me for this post. Neither Jeffrey or I have even met them. It's just a great little place that I love, love, love...

Sunday, May 10, 2015

My Motherhood Army...

Enjoying Mother's Day with my Beauties...

I love Mother's Day! But, I wish we thought of it more as Motherhood of the World Day. As women, by our gender alone, we make this world a better place. All women are mothers, each and every one of us. Some are blessed with it by biology, but many, many more of us mother by how we walk lovingly through our world.  We just love more intimately.

Today, I wish every woman, Happy Mother's Day!  May your day be filled with sunshine, warm-ish tea, burnt toast, cold soggy eggs and being spoiled rotten.  I'm not alone in having my special motherhood army... I hope, you take the time to reflect on yours today.

This is my first Mother's Day with children away from mine. And to be honest, I don't like it. I miss my Mom in a place that I can't describe. I miss her hugs, her love and celebrating with champagne. I'm so grateful Norah and I were able to spend time with her back East two weeks ago.  So for all of you out there, who are without your mom because of geography (like me) or because they have passed...

I'm sending my love to each one of you.

I have a whole army of women in my life who give love and light to my family. Jeffrey and I are better thanks to their selfless love, time and talents.  This Mother's Day I'm calling out three, who are unique. While I may be the one talking about their gifts, Jeff and I are united that these three are just one part of the glue that holds us together. While separated now by even more geography, I keep in constant touch with these lovelies. I selected each one for not only their connection to my family, but because each of them never had children of their own; but they are more than mothers. Each are role models for me in my daily journey.

People often use the term "soulmates" to just talk about lovers/partners. I disagree. In my world, I share my souls with many on this journey. I have a emotional connection that is honest, pure and life affirming. Each of these relationships provides me a glimpses of what the after-life will include. Each of these women are my soul-mates, they feed me, guide me, and love me in a way that can only be a gift from the Divine.

My Sr. P, who is one of my closest confidants, holds a very special spot in my life. SP is a member of a Catholic religious order or a Sister (nun).  In our relationship she is my guide, my gut-check. We laugh and talk with a frankness--I can't compare.  SP provides a connection filled with love, clarity of purpose, safety,and humor. She is the one that knows the raw honest truth about me (along with Jeff). It is with her guidance that I became more honest about my health struggles; my faith life, and my transparency of love.  I have found my authenticity, my voice and my lion like roar. I love better because of her wisdom. I have witnessed the Divine working in our relationship. As a woman of faith, I sometimes struggle to match both the living in the secular world and being in a faith filled one. It is a struggle, but it is one that is made easier with her guidance.  For a woman who shares her truth so openly, I find it almost impossible to put into words what she means to me.

The Godparents...
Our Fairy-Godmother Jane just left after a week with us. We are all miserable. Like when you eat a whole bag of cookies despondent. Technically, in the eyes of the Church she is just Norah's Godmother.  But, Jane is really all our fairy-godmothers. I watch in awe, Wednesday night as both my children ugly-cried as she packed her bags.  My children are blessed with a love that holds zero biological relationship. Jane and her beloved Steve, "The Godfather," love my children with such beauty, and grace.  Jeffrey and I know without question; that the Godparents would lay down their lives for the children and stop at nothing to make sure they were safe and happy.

Godmother's holiday creation...
The Beauties will never be able to identify a significant moment in their lives that the Godparents weren't present. The Godparents show-up BIG! They may fly in from some far flung corner of the world. They are present, with smiles on, cameras ready and praise heaped. Every birthday is a celebration, every holiday comes with boxes of surprises, treats, world class gingerbread houses, custom cookies, special books, made from scratch and auto-cad designed birthday cakes (oh yep, Jane doubles as both Martha Stewart and architect all in one!) But these two KNOW my Beauties. Which one likes crunchy peanut butter which likes smooth. They love them, plain and simple.

Then there is my Shelly... MY SHELLY. Let me just put that out there first! I have to fight for her. She will always be mine, but I lovingly share her.  My Beauties call her Auntie Shelly and she is my sister--while technically she isn't.  Shelly came into my life when I was 15 and she was 21. My mother and her father were engaged. The marriage never happened; but I welcomed a whole family into my life.  Shelly guided me through my high school years, offered technical advice on boys, clothes, taught me to drive and pass my driving test... and of course more boy advice.

The wonderfully playful Shelly...
My children are giddy with excitement to be warmed by Shelly's sunshine. While her full time job is crazy talented, successful artist and sculptor. She is just Auntie Shelly around here. While she lives in the Boston area, Shelly has always been a regular fixture in their lives.  I have been given reports that no one... NO ONE, can de-tangle  hair better, create french braids, pony-tails, or make better lunches. And there is only one person who offers the BEST, lego and design advice.

As if that wasn't enough, Shelly has taken me to countless doctor's appointments. Once while Jeff was on travel. I was bedridden after a treatment, really sick.  Shelly was un-phased, climbing into bed next to me, she read, made tea, she stroked my head and loved me all day. I have never in my life felt more nurtured, protected and loved. Then she made dinner for the Beauties, took them to the park, did homework, all while I slept. I love nothing more than to listen to the Beauties conversations with her. Stolen exquisite moments, eavesdropping on my children.

That's what Mother's Day should be about, isn't it? Three women who love so perfectly, so honestly, so unselfishly, so beautifully. All three have zero biological relationship with me or my children. But LOVE; there is no greater love than these women; these special mother, sisters, guides to my family.

I will spend the day enjoying Mother's Day, being loved and doted on.  I will also spend time thinking of these three women who teach me how to be a mother everyday. It doesn't take a village... It just takes women like these three to hold the rest of us up.

May you make time today to appreciate the women who hold you up each and everyday.

Namaste... I love you!


Photo Credits: PilgrimageGal and Mr. PilgrimageGal