Always fall asleep with a dream and wake up with a purpose ~ Unknown
I was struggling to choose my “one little word” for 2019. I have chosen balance, mindfulness, and declutter in the past. The more I thought about this past year, I thought about why I did certain things or made certain decisions. I read a lot about finding my “why.”
I turned 60 in the fall and have been working through a few health issues. I don’t have as much energy as I use to have, and some tasks are really difficult. However, that doesn’t mean I am throwing in the towel, on the contrary. I am reevaluating things that I do each day that are just a matter of habit. Climbing stairs is very challenging for me, so at home I don’t go up and down mindlessly. I only go up if I have a need or a reason to change floors – a purpose. That’s it. That’s my OLW for 2019 – PURPOSE.
I want to do things for a purpose. I want to find my purpose.
I spent Thanksgiving with my siblings at my brother and sister-in-law’s house. I was charged with bringing an appetizer and my applesauce “muffins” and corn muffins. Now I admit that the corn muffins come straight from the Jiffy mix box. I don’t try to hide that fact. The applesauce “muffins” are a different story. They are made from scratch with a recipe from my 1979 spiral bound (cover notwithstanding) Betty Crocker Cookbook. The recipe is actually for an applesauce cake, but I took liberty years ago of making the batter into cupcake tins. Since we eat them with our meal and not for dessert, we call them “muffins.”
On Tuesday night I went to double check the recipe and make sure I had everything I needed. Panic set in. The cookbook was not in its place on the bookshelf. I scoured my office to no avail. I did however find my mom’s copy of her 1950 Betty Crocker Cookbook. It was missing its spine and had envelopes from 1966 with recipes written on the back tucked into various pages. Thankfully, there in the section on fruited cakes was the recipe for the applesauce cake. I wasn’t sure if it was exactly the same, but it was close to do my ingredient check.
After many prayers to St. Anthony, my copy of the cookbook appeared, but that’s a whole other story! I opened the books up to compare recipes, and they were almost exactly alike. The “newer” 1979 version had baking powder, while the 1950 version did not. But what really had me chuckling were the specific directions in the 1950 version. First, make thick unsweetened Applesauce. What, no dumping in a jar of Musselman’s?!? Bake at 350 (mod. oven). What exactly is a mod oven? I am guessing they didn’t mean convection bake! While I think that my baking is an act of love, the women of the 50’s and 60’s really had to love their families to go through all the preparation it took back then.
I had fun sifting through the pages of my mom’s cookbook, seeing her handwriting, and wondering if she ever really tried those recipes out on us. It made me feel connected to her even though she is no longer with me to celebrate Thanksgiving.
The week of Thanksgiving finds me very reflective. Sure I have my share of challenges, aches and pains, and crosses to bear, but they pale in comparison to all the blessings I have in my life. Today I take the time to start a list of some of the many people for whom I am thankful.
My mom – Mom passed away in September just short of her 91st birthday. She taught me patience and perseverance, kindness and compassion. She had a zest for life that she never forgot even after dementia took its toll on her memory. She certainly did celebrate life every day.
My husband – Chuck and I have been together for almost 45 years (married 38). We were high school sweethearts. Our life together has been a roller coaster, but I would not want to be on this wild ride with anyone else. He is my rock. He makes me laugh and dries my tears.
My children and their spouses – Angela and Charlie continue to make me proud every day. I have loved every minute watching them grow into the incredible adults they are today. The passion and drive they have for their chosen professions is extraordinary. They both have wonderful partners in life. Ryan and Krysten complement Angela and Charlie, and each couple makes a fabulous team. I am so lucky to have gained another “son” and “daughter.”
My grandchildren – Just when I thought life couldn’t get any better along came Parker and Emma just six weeks apart. I felt like the Grinch on Christmas morning. My heart grew at least three sizes that year. Then along came Isabella (Izzy) and a year later Nolan. Life as a grandparent is so much better than life as a parent. They are a healing elixir for whatever ails you.
My siblings, their spouses and significant others – I am the second of four (boy-girl-boy-girl). We are all very different, but what binds us is a strong loyalty to family. We may tease each other more than necessary sometimes, but don’t let anyone outside our little circle mess with one of us…there will be trouble! My siblings have been so supportive to me over the years in ways I can never repay.
My family-in law – They have been there for us over the years in many, many ways, and I am grateful for their love and concern.
My Book Club (The Chapter Chicks) – We are ten women strong who have been meeting almost monthly since February of 2004. We sometimes get off track and don’t always discuss the book, but oh well. It is like group therapy. We have been through parent deaths, a spouse’s death, graduations, weddings, grandchildren, serious sickness, aging, and just life. They are amazing!
My colleagues at OLM – I couldn’t ask to work on a better team. While we may not always agree, we always come to some sort of compromise. We complain together, laugh together, and support one another. They certainly make my day more enjoyable.
My Writing Project (PAWLP) colleagues – Becoming a writing fellow in 2000 was a life-changing experience. All of the women and men I have met and worked with along the way have helped me to grow as a teacher, a presenter, and as a writer. They helped me spread my wings and pushed me out of the nest.
I am sure that I could go on, but there is always tomorrow to continue my list. Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving and the time to give thanks.
Our days begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. ~Martin Luther King Jr.
Today is election day – a day of duty and privilege. I have to admit that over the past 42 years, I haven’t voted in every election to come my way. I always voted in the major presidential races and usually in the November general elections. It is the primary elections I sometimes abandoned.
I often become weary with all the phone calls, television commercials, and advertisements that arrive at my door during the campaigning season. I don’t have a “winning” track record when it comes to my election day choices, so why bother? How can my one vote make a difference anyway?
Well, recently I was listening to KYW News Radio in Philadelphia. Larry Kane, a beloved news anchor, ran a three-part series entitled, “Skipping Election Day? Your 1 Vote Counts.” In it, he outlined some major elections/decisions which were determined by just one vote.
Congress elected President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876 by one vote
One vote made Texas a part of the US
Thomas Jefferson became president by just one vote in the electoral college
One vote in Congress authorized the draft – the selective service
Although I had already planned to vote today, that really struck me. Maybe my one vote will matter. Maybe I can make a difference, a change. If not, then the will of the people will override me, but at least I can rest my head on my pillow knowing that I live in a country where I am afforded the duty and privilege of voting. It isn’t about the “winning” it is about letting my voice be heard. If the change I want doesn’t happen at this election then I need to be part of the change I want to see for the next one.