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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Collards, Cakes and a side of nostalgia...

Sitting on my Great-Grandparent's porch swing with my brother

Just yesterday, I grabbed the frozen zip-loc bag from the freezer. The many bags of peas sit next to the multiple bags of peanuts that were picked up, shelled and bagged by my Papaw. I remind myself to make homemade peanut butter soon (as I do every time and have yet to accomplish). I use scissors to cut the bag open along the edges to make sure that I don't spill the bag and take the chance of losing any of the peas as they are a precious commodity (I have an assortment of white peas and butterbeans right now). Supplies are dwindling.  I fill the pot with just the right amount of water and then add my seasonings;  a slice of bacon cut up and some of my "Mamaw" seasoning which is really just a packet of Goya but I refer to as my "Mamaw seasoning" and will until I die.

The way my house smells as they cook transports me back in time. I'm sitting in her kitchen and just smelling all of the wonderful food that is being prepared; dressing, dumpling, collards, fried cornbread, okra, and peas. The smell makes me smile because I know as an adult that all I need to do to feel closer to my grandparents is to cook the food they made with love countless times. I've found my way through dumplings and now my husband swears they are 'better' than my elders (I disagree or at least would never admit to that). Collard greens are no longer an intimidating vegetable at the market but something I greet with a smile and sigh knowing how delicious they'll be later that evening served with pepper sauce that Papaw sent home with me last time in an old Crown Royal bottle.

Cooking is certainly not my forte by any stretch but food just brings it all together for me....especially where my Grandparents are concerned.  It's memories. It's knowing that when I showed up at each of my grandparents house that Mamaw would have that Layered Chocolate cake waiting and that Grandma would have an Italian Cream Cake ready to go or biscuits with tomato gravy for breakfast.  It's the legacy of many people. My Great-Granddaddy almost always had a pound cake baked for company and I desperately remind myself to bake one when I know company is coming. I usually don't have one on the ready for fear I'll eat the entire thing myself. But I strive to take a cue from his book.

Lucky for me all of my Grandparents are still alive. I feel so grateful for this time as an adult. You appreciate more the older you get. You really listen to stories. Absorb information.  I still get that joy of going to their house and being able to smell something familiar. It may not be cakes or collards anymore but it's a comforting scent no less. Living in the South has provided me the chance to see them more than I had growing up and one my 2014 goals is to incorporate more of those travels into our lives. They have so much to teach and I love sharing what I take away from those conversations.

This has me thinking so much though about what I'll leave behind one day. What will my hypothetical grandchildren think of when they think of me? What will my children think of me? I want to be a purposeful and thoughtful person and make sure I remind myself of those questions each day. That I want to be the best version of myself as possible because it's what we leave behind in memories that is most important.

What memories do you have, food that you cook, thing that you do to help you feel connected to your Grandparents or Family?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

How To Get A Whole Lot Of Sh*t Done In A Day

Oh. My. Goodness!

Just as I published my post yesterday I was reading through articles on one of my favorite sites, MindBodyGreen. It's like the health nut's Huffington Post. It's fabulous.

I catch my eye immediately on the article entitled "How To Get a Whole Lot of Sh*t Done in a Day"...laughed at the title and immediately started reading. Did they read my blog? Did the writer know my predicament?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


I log onto my computer. I make a to-do list. It's always lengthy because I didn't quite accomplish everything from the previous days. Working from home I've noticed that my 'work' to-do's and my 'personal' to-do's just blend together. It's all on the same list. This is not a good habit. In fact, it has made it impossible for me to focus myself on most days. I'm trying to cram an entire day of work into a 4-5 hour window which is hard enough.  If I'm focused on work at that time, I can almost bet you $100 a personal to-do will creep its way into my thoughts.

I need to learn the art of focus. I have so many ideas and things I'd like to accomplish. Big dreams. Big goals.  I'm also working on that balance I spoke about the other day here. Part of achieving that balance for me is to feel like I'm getting somewhere and getting things done. I love the feeling of checking something off the list. It gives me tremendous satisfaction. However, without focus I miss things. Things like deadlines for signing my kid up for a sport (and then beating myself up over it). Remembering birthdays and sending out cards on time. Clearing up my list so I can achieve that balance of motherhood and give of myself to Aiden when he is with me. Carving out time to write and blog.  I also just have day to day things that I need to start knocking down soon as well.

So today I ask you...what do you do to stay focused? What are some of your tips? Suggestions? Is it a special planner? A daily routine that helps you? I'll take it...

Friday, January 3, 2014

Making 2014 Count: A Year of Balance & Joy

I have never participated in a link up before so when I saw that a few of my favorite blogs were hosting the opportunity to speak about how I'd make 2014 count I felt drawn to do it.

Each of the hostesses will be sharing so please be sure to check them out.
THE  HOSTESSES:1. Small Fry Blog2. Casey Wiegand3. Kelli Murray4. In Honor of Design5. Little Baby Garvin6. Summer Saldana7. Oh Dear Drea

That's one reason why blogging is so great. I have to actually put my thoughts in writing for the world to see. I think it makes me accountable, it ignites in me the will to be a better person, it just starts the year off on the right foot frankly. One of the prompts was to choose a word to reflect on, live by, or aspire to for the New Year.

For me, this was really challenging. My resolutions in the past have been pretty standard and stale; eat better, lose weight, work out, etc....but a word that sums up my goal for the year? Yikes!

 I've been spending DAYS trying to find the perfect word for me. Words that come to mind are simplicity, bravery, balance, less, enough, relish, renew, present, etc...I just could  not pick one word at first. I've noticed a trend on my Facebook Feed of friends and other bloggers talking about wanting a more simplistic life, wanting to slow down and just enjoy life. I've noticed many of the above words used as resolutions so it seems we're all on the same page. I've seen people talking about needing less, disconnecting more. I want all of those things for myself in 2014. However, I wanted to have a phrase or a word that resonated with me and that could perhaps carry me through the year when I was feeling not so 'ignited'.