10 Days Due East

The end of July I went home10295711_557150151063178_7084369117382111471_n to Pennsylvania to help care for my mother. She had macular hole surgery and for 14 days post surgery she was required to have her head down, as in not just tilted forward a wee bit but like parallel to the floor kinda down. This would allow the hole to heal properly. She could get up every hour for a brief 10min break.

So, here she sat.

The chair was courtesy of the dr office and mom found it for the most part comfy. For a different position she would lay on her side on the couch with her head propped on a pillow and her nose pointed down. At the end of 14 days mom was more than relieved to hear that all her careful effort and patience had paid off and her macular had healed.

Just Gavin and I flew up leaving poor Jason at home all alone. On the flight up we flew with Gavin’s cousin, Faye. And, for the record, I just want to say how fabulous she is. It was a complete stress free trip. I never had to even worry about Gavin-dear. Every time I even tried to worry, she was right there helping to care for him or just reading into situations and holding him or whatever necessary to help me out.

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Like I said, she was fabulous.
And, she is a fabulous friend to, by the way. If I could choose to fly with anyone in the stead of hubby, I would pick her. She’s a win-win. She helps care for baby AND we talk and talk and talk.
Fabulous.

At Nanna’s house Gavin stayed busy.


On trips to Pa, 2 people groups are a MUST see for me.

#1
My bridesmaids

This fun, encouraging, challenging, life giving group of 4 happens to have a name. I think one random wknd we were together, maybe we were like 19ish, we realized we all were donned in the color blue. Since then we branded ourselves – The Blue Crew. It’s weird. But it stuck.

These are my fiends that no matter what happens from each gathering to the next we chat and chat like good old friends. Yes, there is space between us and therefore we don’t always know every detail of each others lives but we connect. Like, family, we connect. We listen, learn, share and laugh. We get each other. We care for each other – even when we differ in opinion. Because we go way back. Because we are friends. We click. We’re besties.
I’m so glad I have each of you’re handprints stamped on my life, Lucy, Marie and Monica! I am a better person because of your mark.

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We picnicked at the park – dug in like a boss.

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This particular Maid of Honor I haven’t seen in over a year and a half. When I was up last winter she decided to hop over to Africa of all things.
Fun Fact: she randomly stayed at Mom’s house with us for the wknd. What was originally planned as one night merged into two nights. It was like my single, slumber party days.
Love you Teresa!

PS: Teresa, that Goodwill trip with you, dear, is treasured and tucked away deep in my heart for years to come. Shopping with a friend like you at a Goodwill like that was so, so, so every bit of crazy and chatty, filled with hilarious remarks and topped with laughter from you and me that it makes my heart sing. Glad that crazy hasn’t changed with us at our age.

 

Then there’s Lauren in the city. Of all my bridesmaids, she is the most recent friended. We meet 6 years ago but only really bonded and connected one yr later. She has a heart of gold. Genuine and real. Cares well for others and offers thoughtfulness and sensibility to our endless conversations. Having her in my life makes me a rich woman indeed.
She and her little family are rockin’ the city life quite well. Her little hudson jabbered as we walked the sidewalks like a true local while Gavin was to stunned from ALL of it to utter even a mere peep. I just adored how her son cheesed like he knew how for my pictures!

 

And,
#2
my cousins.

They were like my sisters growing up since this poor girl had none.

Relationships that go way back only mature as they go forward. I love how we can talk about anything. ANY-thing. N.nee.thing. This is the blood that I’m close to. That God orchestrated in my life. As children we played together and fought each other. We shared and took from each other. We laughed and several of us even cried together. These ladies I know are rooting for each other. We want each other to succeed. To be well and content in this world. To have babies and be happy. To know God more and more and show him to our children.

We might not look like anything great. This defiantly isn’t a glamor shot but it’s us. And, I like us. I can’t write this post without going off about these ladies and our thick bond.

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Yup, that’s us. Caring and painfully honest, opinionated and sincere – us. And, knowing our blood-type, it will always be us. We are Mussers. My grandma was coined - the Fusser Musser. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing for me to be admitting that here? It might strip some of that rose tint off your glasses you may see me with-Ha ha! Grandma’s blunt and just says what’s on her mind. You know the type. Ones with no filter. This is her.

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If you came to my wedding you might remember her? :)

Of course I had to take my boy child to see her. Sit in her presence. And know this is why Momma is the way she is. It’d be telling to say that I have to daily work on implementing my very own filter…

I love here dearly. We grew up as neighbors most of my kid-life and maybe I learned how to take her un-thoughful comments. I know she has not always been appreciated but I love her. She makes me laugh. I know how to take her and sometimes I say things to her just to get a rise out of her! It’s funny to hear what she might say next!
She sat for me and my brothers often, feed us pretzels and had super fun bikes and scooters at her house, a chalkboard that got overused in the kitchen and really neat new born baby dolls too. I remember playing marbles with her and grandpa, God rest his soul, and card games. Especially on those cold winter nights we would run over to grandmas house and hangout with them and warm up our hands and hearts.

 

 

Lots of family time for sure!

 

  BROTHERS!

The one evening at Justin and Rachel’s, Hayley made me a purse. She is the cutest thing! I can’t believe she loves sewing. It was so neat to watch her think and work it out. My mom wants to someday cut blocks and sew a comforter with her. I think that is the perfect thing for a girl to do with her Nanna!

A trip to my aunt and uncle’s pond with my Zimmerman cousins and their kids. Fun for sure!
I swam here often as a teen and in my early 20’s. Gavin got to meet his 2nd cousins on both sides of my family this trip.

 

Looking at my pictures, I realized I didn’t even take pictures of my dad and Gavin or mom in her different positions around the house or just the blah stuff – to remember everything from our delightful time up there. I’m not the best photographer (why do I feel like I’m always admitting that on here?) and Jason was missing from me. He’s the snap-happy-daddy! He was dully missed and for more reasons than the trigger finger – ha ha!

I enjoyed being at ‘home’ with mom. Cooking, cleaning up, dishes and laundry. Mom and I talked and talked – a LOT. I would say things like, “I should dust for you.” And she would say, “No, don’t worry about it. Just sit here and visit. We don’t get to do this very often. I can dust when I’m better.”
And so, sit and visit is mostly what we did. We talked about almost everything. It was so good soaking up mom time. Talking on the phone is good but not a great as being in the same room. It also helped the time pass by more quickly while all mom could do was sit.

I love how Gavin looks sad he has to say good-bye to Nanna!

 

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 After her eye was healed she soaked up as many chances she could muster with him. It was precious and so much fun to watch my mum dote on him and offer him one snack after the other. She really is a wonderful grandma! I loved watching her interact with my child this time. :)

 Flying home without Faye was different experience. We made this work. Gavin was a excellent airplane passenger. You didn’t even know he was on the plane.

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Coming home and not seeing these pretties would be so disappointing. I love how Jason often buys carnations for various reasons. I love being thought of. I’m not a huge gifts/flowers person but after almost 4 years with this man, I’d be deeply hurt to come home to a house carnation-less!
Two weeks later we are still enjoying their beauty :)

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Gavin was in for a surprise when we got home. Jason proudly showed his son what he had made -
a SANDBOX! Yay!
We play in it almost every day! (Yes, we. Somebody doesn’t know how to play alone…)


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~~~

Proverbs twenty-seven: nine:

“A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.”

the Nuance of Sand and Waves

We arrived in Galveston in time for supper as told by our growling stomaches. Just in front of our hotel was an appetizing Mexican restaurant. It didn’t take long for an unanimous group vote and then to find ourselves seated outside under a tiki umbrella shoveling in tortilla soup, enchiladas, fajitas and a Mexican burger.

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Gavin eats whatever he can get his hands on from our plates. . . .

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We then hit the beach.
Though it was evening, it was still very warm and the ocean breeze was so inviting, and fresh and held a hint of salty midst. Just perfect.

 

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This year, for whatever reason, the beach was loaded with seaweed.
As in see the piles in these pictures.

 

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The beach in Texas is totally different than what I’m used to at the Atlantic coast like Ocean City, Maryland. Here the actual beach/sand part is small, pretty thin area and there is no board walk either. Straight up from the edge is a huge wall and then the main road, Seawall Boulevard. It’s different. But I’m slowing learning different is not wrong, it’s just DIFFERENT

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 In spite of the seaweed grossness – I was pretty amazed at how full the beach was! A lot of seaweed ain’t holding’ anyone back now!

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The reefs of seaweed hung around the edge of the beach in layers but we did find a spot that was slightly cleared for Gavin to have his beach experience.

Introducing Gavin to the waves was so much fun!

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I remember that first time feeling the sand wash out from under my feet as the water pulled back out to seas.
I remember sitting at the oceans’ edge as the waves rushed over me and then sucked back out again.
I remember squealing with my mom that if felt like I was moving!
The first time is just so monumental and captivating!

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 And, Gavin child loved it!

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 Let his expressions tell you everything!

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 I LOOOOOOVVEEEE this one!

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We were there maybe 20 min or so and then decided to go for a drive and see the rest of the coast as the sun was sinking fast.
We drove the whole way to the one end, which is a dead-end and got out and enjoyed view and sunset.  It was a complete gorgeous evening!

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A total perfect time spent at the beach.  When can we go back??? For a WHOLE DAY, please???

The next day we went to Schlitterbahn for the day.  It was wild crazy fun!

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St Louis Ribs and Plan B

Sometimes we make plans and it turns out. Just as we planned.
Sometimes we makes plans and end up having to resort to a plan B due to unantisipated details.
Sometimes though, we plan and plan and it doesn’t happen as planed – as in -> it fails. As in -> it doesn’t happen at. all.

 

My eyes graze the meat aisle at the grocery store. Beef.  Red meat. Grilling specials. I spy a large package of St Louis Style Ribs. On discount.
Score.
In what appears to be my grilling marathon this summer, I’m quite the enthusiast to try anything. Even if I have no clue the process and if it’s even doable with our little Weber. I get home and throw it in the freezer.

This past week I pulled it out to thaw one morning and at approximately 1:28 in the afternoon started planning how to make it.
WRONG!
After googling (my constant cooking friend) how to prepare and grill this large puppy, I am suddenly and rather sadly grasping the reality that this thing is not happening today and WILL NOT be on the menu for supper tonight. Apparently, St Louis Style Ribs are intended for smoking for 5-6 hours and then grilling – basically an all day affair. Not something you start after lunch. Plus, our baby Weber gas grill, that takes a baby propane tank is in no physical condition to smoke. So, needless to say my husband developed a plan B for me over the phone when I called him at work to sanguinely relate my news. He suggested baking it first and then grill it at the end to give it that grill texture and flavor.
Plan B it was.
And it worked!

I rubbed it down with a homemade dry rub – thanks Google. The ribs sat rubbed down in the fridge until baking time which I then smeared with bbq sauce and baked at 275 for 30min and then 375 for another 20-30min then grilled about 7min on each side. They. were. AMAZING! I think we both ate like 3-4 ribs each and these were, I kid you not, loaded ribs. Not what I’m used to eating at Applebee’s. These were hunky ribs with lots of thick, chewy meat on them.
Just go try them.

 

Obviously plan B is better than no plan, right? I have to remember that. Remember that God is in control. That no matter how much I think I am Thee Queen Bee and things must go my way, my way in my head, my way that I have completely figured out, ultimately God is leading my steps and even little details like what’s for supper each night.

I have to wonder though with plans that involve our future for instance, don’t go how we wanted them to and it wasn’t part of ‘My Amazing Plan’, if I even throw God off balance up there. Do you think we catch God unaware when our plans fail? Is he up in Heaven like, “Opps! she made the wrong move now what?” That’s so funny to think about but I highly doubt it’s his reality as much as it is mine occasionally. Because I surprise myself when surprises pop up out of what seems like thin air – like whoever would have thought that you smoke Baby Back Ribs for 5-6 hours! Haa-Low!

Maybe our failed expectations happen as part of His plan? I’m still human and make mistakes and will keep making mistakes. Is this God’s way of growing me? Of changing me? Of purifying me? Of making me more like Him? He’s got it all under control He knows the rest of my story. I want to be able to rest in that. I want to feel it under my skin. In my soul. Know it. Breathe it. And then live it. I have lofty, huge, failed expectations from time to time but that shouldn’t freak me out. It’s what I do before, during and after that crash of dreams that God is passionate about. He wants my communication with him constantly.

Because He desires to have my heart – in my grilling and in what I think is my Plan B

 

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Do you believe we can be justified to be discontent?

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After reading this post from Tim Keller

We would never imagine that getting our heart’s deepest desires might be the worst thing that can ever happen to us.

and hearing my friend from Pa tell me she’s going to the pool that day,

My immediate response is pure, green, ugly,  jealousy.

But, as quick as the pouchy lip protruded, this thought struck me.

“Just because I’m a (married) transplant does NOT give me the ‘right’ to be discontent or jealous.”

I think sometimes because of our situations, we feel we have the right to ‘sin’ – if I can be so bold to call it sin. I feel kinda preachy calling it that. But for real, when do we have the justification to be discontent or selfish or envious? Is it ever ok to knowingly live jealously? Or enviously?

I don’t like the person I am in those moments where I stew for hours about how horrible Texas is and I don’t belong here. I wouldn’t want to be a friend to me ~ let alone married to a disgruntled, ‘pity me’ me. Yes, that’s how I go about sometimes. I am not the saint I try to fool myself and you into believing.

Those feelings of jealousy and homesickness are real though. What do I do with them? I don’t want to stuff them and walk around with a fake, cheesy smile plastered on my face (which sounds incredibly hard to do anyway) or live in poor-me-demanding-everyone-change-for-me Land either.

It is hard to miss out on things back home especially when the current away from home life is so V E R Y difficult from time to time and you can’t live another day being friendless or socially awkward because nobody understands what I’m saying or your In-laws are nice but just not like mom and if you want to drink coffee and get away you have to drop 25miles to get there.

Yes. Hard.

I want to be real. I want to live this life God has called me to. I want be fully alive wherever I am at – even if it’s someplace I’m not the most comfortable in at times. I want to impact people and be impacted by people around me. I want to live my life actually with those beside me because after I’m gone, as morbid as it may sound, the biggest impact I will have made is in the here and now. Not the years proceeding my death. I want to live in This today.

I changed my banner on my blog. You might have to read it 2 or 3 times to feel it’s impact. Our interruptions and what we encounter daily IS our life. It is MY life. It’s YOUR life. Whether we like it or not. Whether we are content or not. Jealous or not. Homesick or not. Expectations being met or not.

It’s our lives.

How do we live engaged in our life?

I don’t know yet. But, I intend to give it a shot. I hope to slow down. Look at people around me. Listen. Smile. And, not rush around and blabber the first thing that pops into my head. I want to learn to sit in the uncomfortable rooms with people and not rush off because these people are different and they don’t get me.

Also, I want to mourn. Mourn the loss of changed relationships with family and friends back home. I want to mourn the loss what I had. Embrace the ache. The sadness. The difficultness of not being close to parents and my siblings. To communicate with God my feelings but not camp there. Tenderly relate with a God who deeply cares about how I feel.
Is mourning an option to stuffing feelings? Does mourning mean I won’t just ‘get over it’? Do I need to just ‘get over it’? What does mourning look like? Is mourning pitying myself sorta? If not how is it different?
Like my quote from Tim Keller, if God answered my desire to live closer to family, might that be the worst thing that happens to me? I don’t know. Maybe it’s more important we are open with God about how we feel but let it remain open and not become demanding.

I don’t want a demanding heart.

 

So much to think about for one blog post. I welcome your thoughts, stories, experiences & revelations on the matter.

 

And, if til next time I suffer a huge round of homesickness may I read this 20 times ore!
Peace!

Where does this Monday find you?

If you come to my house, you would find cracker crumbs on the floor, milk stains on the couch, clothes pins peppered throughout each room and sticky tables.
It’s in this kind of living you might find me thinking about supper after breakfast, losing my cool from a nap fighter, tossing the blankets up under the pillows and calling the bed made, giving wagon rides and not brushing my teeth until the last drop of coffee has vanished- which sometimes is after lunch.
Life is fast. All the same- slow.
I can’t believe how slow June was for me. But, now that it’s almost July, I can’t help but wonder where June went. See, most of the ‘good’ plans begin in July and the party doesn’t stop until Octoberish. Even writing ‘Octoberish’ makes my blood run warmer and my smile brighter. Octoberish. Sigh…….
So much family visiting between now and then; both them coming and us going.
And, something about anticipation, the count down, the shopping, the buying of new clothes. It all makes trips ever, much more pined for. I’d say, nothing beats travel. Nothing beats my family’s faces. As crazy as we may be, I like us. I miss us. And, I look forward to the reUNION. of. us.

But, before all that, we are going to the beach this wknd with some Jason’s family. And, this beach lover is in love. In love with July, with the beach and with Jason’s family coming for Philadelphia and in love with seeing my Gavin touching sand in swim shorts for the first time. And, if my Zuliy order arrives before we leave I will be even in love with Zuliy.

Now, today I don my red shirt. Red for tomatoes. It’s canning day.

Farewell. And I leave you with the warmest of thoughts. The closest of prayers. The weakness you feel as strength in the Lord. And, the letting whatever you do today – be = e n o u g h

 

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PeetZa! PeetZaaa!

Wanna jump in my head?

“Quick! Gavin is sleeping – now what was it I wanted to do?

Update my blog,
read my book,
get a bucket and rag and wash of the coffee table and bookshelves and end tables because Gavin keeps spilling drinks on them and they are so gross,
oh goodness, I just take a nap for pete’s sake?
Oh, think, think!
Come on, the longer I stew over this the less time I will have for any of these things. (fells panicky) Ok, I haven’t blogged in a long time lately and I should keep that rolling and not wait so long between posts.
There.
I’ll blog.
Make is a shorty.
Not spend to much time on editing details.
Then hopefully I can read. I need to finish that book already – ooohhh, but I should really clean that furniture! I hate tasks stacking up for Friday and Saturday. It kills the wknd.
Whatever.
We’re blogging…
for now…”

I didn’t think so… but I’m sure some of you know just what I’m talking about :)
~

Hello folks! This is a blog post about food.
The grilled kind.
Delicious kind.
And, one I actually have pictures for. That is often the case why I don’t post about food more often because I am lacking an essential part -> the picture.
I have a feeling a bunch of you saw my pic of this pizza on instagram yesterday. I got a lot of {hearts}/likes and some comments. But, I am bursting just to tell you about it – forReal! ! !
I couldn’t wait to post them and probably neglected my husband and child while I took the 20min to do so but I couldn’t help it! I was so excited!

Sorry in advance if you already did this and wish I would just get over myself already. . . . . .

And, now our yummy PeetZaaa (pronounced just like <- please) from last night! If you have a grill you should definitely consider trying this! And the leftovers are just as tasty. Because I made 2 peetzaa pies.

 

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We are so in love with our grill these days. Ok, I’ll be honest and speak only for myself since Jason’s not here to second the vote. It is my latest food c.r.u.s.h..
>>> Anything GRILLED. <<<
I’m just getting started. I have dreams for so much more. To bad I don’t live next to a grocery store because so many of my ‘instant dreams’ (as it were when I’m perusing the internet) require ingredients not on my selves.
The grocery list is getting longer each day

~

Mondays are often slow days at our house. Around lunch time I got this inspiration to grill pizza for supper. I googled it.  Found this FABULOUS recipe with pictures for each step. I know some of y’a’ll just love that.
Really liking her blogging style, I decided to check out her dough. It looked simple enough (and I had everything on hand -> including the time for it to rise) so I gave it whirl as well. Here’s the link.

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I was so elated and excited. I know I look gooberly, ooberly, cheesy (at least I felt that way when Jason requested a pic of the hyp chef) but my heart was beating way out of my chest with anticipation for that first bite of what was smelling and looking so ravishingly delicious!

 

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Like, forReal, I wanted to invite the neighbors.

 

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And, that’s all.
I really have to move on to other things.

Hope you try the peetZaaa!
Ciao!