Sunday, February 24, 2013

Doing My Heart Good

February 24th.  For 40 years, just a normal day in the calendar year.  Now, a day that will never be innocuous again. 

It was two years ago today that many of our lives changed forever.   My Mom left us to go home to our Lord.  

Recently, I have felt more surrounded by her, with more memories, more dreams, more “sightings,” more thoughts, more tears…. 

When thinking about this post, I decided I wanted to focus more on the things that help me—that do my heart good---rather than being sad (even though that part is inevitable).   I guess we all have our ways of getting through  the difficulties.  For me, it is focusing on the little things...and there are many:

~Like remembering her letters and kindnesses in the mail… I still have not allowed myself to open this St. Patricks Day card; she put it in the mail for me just hours before she died.   For some reason, I think it does more good for me unopened… a bit of her physical presence that I can still hold onto.

~And reminiscing about the many calls exchanged  between us with cooking questions or recipe swapping.   Often when I cook, I think of her. I still from time to time stumble upon a recipe she sent me, like today:  Fudge Pie.   She was always adding her own little personal touches and commentaries to the recipe.  Here was the one she had for the Fudge Pie recipe:

May 3rd, 2010
Hi Karen, Just thought I would send this recipe for Fudge pie to you if you ever have a taste for something rich and chocolate!  This is good! I served it with vanilla ice cream.  I think the pie is best just a little bit warm. Since I do not particularly like whipped cream, I tried this also by just pouring a splash of Irish Whiskey over it...very good also. Do NOT overcook this ! Good plain too, like a brownie. 
Blessings. Love, Mom  

~And thinking about the love of books we shared.  Talking about what we were reading, enjoying, disliking, loving….  I have held on to 2 book referrals she gave me while she was still alive, and just recently allowed myself to read one of them:    
Product Details
As I read this particular book, my Mom was right there with me… I kept thinking of why she liked it, what she thought of different parts.  I am not sure if I will every read that last  recommendation  from her…too hard to think that there are no more.

~And her beautiful  antiques, that are now throughout my house.  My Dad wanted me to have them for our new home.   Not a day goes by that I don’t look at them with warmth and comfort, thinking of my Mom.

~And her dear friends: Mrs. McFarland and Sister Rose Anne and Louise and Sue.  They still follow my blog, maybe as a way to feel some continued connection to my Mom. (I understand this need.)   I am sure they miss her in their own ways.  But through our continued correspondence, they have helped me to feel a unique connection to my mom.  Their kindness has touched me and warmed me.

Sister Rose Anne sent me these as a house warming gift (she knows the special connection we have with ladybugs):

Mrs. McFarland thought of me recently when she found this book in her Mom’s house.   I received it in the mail, along with a nice note, and was so deeply touched by the thought and the sentiment:

~And my brother-- reminding me of me-- yesterday.  He decided to take on making my Grandma Buzzelli’s Easter Bread recipe for the first time.   After many phone calls and texts….he achieved success!   I told him that I went through the same process many years back, calling Mom when I was learning how to make it.   It warmed my heart to be doing for him what my Mom did for me some time ago.   

~And my Dad, Lisa and Ray….We have helped each other along the way, grown stronger, gained insights, developed new abilities.  We have come through together and been a family that stuck together and supported each other, just as Mom would have wanted…and more importantly, just as she taught us.

~And Lucy, who sometimes will just start singing a song out of nowhere that was sung at my Mom’s funeral.   
“And He will raise you up.   
And He will raise you up. 
And He will raise you up on the last day.”

It happened the other day...her singing this.  I truly don’t know how she remembers it, as it is not one I ever sing to her.  I have my own ideas of what is going on, and it has to do with my Mom and her now heavenly connection with Lucy.  

~And my dear hubby,  who knows me so well.  Who has sensed today approaching and has known that not a lot of words need to be spoken.   Just extra hugs.   And longer hugs.  And extra space.  And more understanding.   He is truly the best.  

All these things do my heart good.  They free up space, so that when the unpredictable moments of sadness and aching hit, there is room to cope and maintain.

I heard it said recently:  it is better to think of death not as our loss, but God’s gain.   A nice reframe, and one I am going to hold onto.     I think we could all agree: God’s gain was tremendous… two years ago today.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Year of the Snake

In keeping with tradition, we have been celebrating Chinese New Year around our house.   The fifteen day celebration began on Sunday, honoring this upcoming year:  The Year of the Snake.   

It was the inspiration behind our art projects....

Making our "Good Luck" signs to hang around the house.

It is hard to know where Lucy will fall on the continuum as she gets older:  will she like these traditions of honoring her birth country?  Or will she think them unnecessary, only wanting to recognize the culture of the country she has lived in most of her life?  I have heard ramblings among the adoption community that each child is different in how they feel about these things;  some children yearn for a connection to their past, and some have no need for looking back on a culture that they have no personal memory of.   For now, we will do what we can to cherish those parts of Lucy’s heritage which are intricately woven into who she is.  

Trying my hand at a new recipe:  General Tso's Chicken (a healthy version)... It was wonderful!
On a website I was reading, they noted one trend that will mark the upcoming year of the Snake:
“A new-found ambition to greatness 
will inspire you to be all you can be, 
and provide you with the follow through 
to actually achieve your goals.”   

Doesn’t sound bad to me at all!  May we all find truth to this prediction in our own lives!