For those of you who have hung around and with me over the years, you know that I have a collection of what a friend calls “Careisms.” Careisms are comments that I use enough times in my vocabulary they’ve stuck - much like an octopus’ tentacles!
“That’s the way the pickle squirts” or “Did you take your B3 today? (Bible Before Breakfast) are couple Careisms. I’ve been asked if I have a favorite one. It truly is a hard question. Yet, after today, after our family Thanksgiving get-together at our place, I can definitely say “Blessings and s’mores” rates at the top.
I am so blessed to have a husband who has stuck with me through thick and thin, and is a real homegrown chef. He inaugurated his new BBQ today. We were treated to slow-cook/crock-pot short ribs, ribs over gas heat and/or ribs over propane/gas. I’m sure not going to be the one to say which was best – they were each stellar! He added his touch to a “homegrown” mea. His fresh high bush cranberry sauce, relish dip for the raw veggie tray, Ezekiel 4:9 bread mushroom/spinach stuffing with his homegrown seasonings (no boxes here!) and the munchies of artichoke/spinach hummus and meat and crackers tray the kids brought, we were more than sufficiently blessed!
Bill shares his love for cooking with our equally talented daughter. Her green bean casserole and pot of brown beans platter added to the bounty. And THENNN, a slice of Heaven was served. With her award winning gift of making stellar cheesecakes, I have a new favorite after today. She made Bailey’s and Oreo cheesecake cupcakes. Who could resist these blessings?
A second heap of blessings were the real life examples of the saying “If I knew grandkids would be so great, we would have had them first!” Scott and Samantha filled our hearts equally to overflowing as our tummies were. Samantha is like her mama. She loves her olives, especially if they are on her fingers! It wouldn’t be a holiday or birthday if we didn’t have olives, and if either of the Moms forget to throw them in the basket, stocking or have on the table, “uh-oh” are we in trouble!
Blessings, Blessings, Blessings!
Samantha literally ran circles around me in a game of “run around Nana” – after 30 circles we thought for sure she would crash in dizziness, but nope!! Round and round she went.
Scott and Nana stayed out of the way (mostly), playing with my Goofy bowling set, the annoying noise making Goofy crayon, working on matching and hidden picture games, finishing off making snowflakes and considerable (“Nana….go faster!) time on a mask. It’s sure a good thing my long-term memory is intact!
We always look forward when the kids are able come to our place. It’s a blessing we don’t take lightly, with their busy schedules, work and parenting. I realized I hadn’t seen Tim since his foot surgery on November 6th. I was a bit taken back with his neon pink cast/splint! He assured me it wasn’t his choice, but has found the neon pink is bright enough that people tend to steer clear of it, which he truly appreciates!
S’mores? That comes in because we used to say “love you more” to each other. It soon slid into s’mores. I confess, in the fall/winter I start going through withdrawal of campfire s’mores and I make microwaved s’mores. Samantha agrees with me that chocolate should be at the top of food pyramid! This summer Bill’s built a huge s’mores fire pit, complete with benches and chairs crafted from slab-wood. When we watch the kids for an afternoon/evening, we usually have pizza. Who knew the last time, we’d also had a s’mores pizza for dessert!
Need I say more? We know we are blessed. We don’t need a special day to celebrate Thanksgiving. For, in our family, Thanksgiving is every day. So are Christmas and birthdays. We daily take the time to be grateful, to give thanks, whether on the phone, in text, or in person. As a family, we know all too well, there are no ‘guarantees in life.
Our Careisms of “No Regrets” and “Take one day at a time” because “Any one of us could get hit by a moose tomorrow” are familiar in our family. We hope they will be for you, too!
Thanks for being OUR “Blessings and S’mores!”
The Alaska summer/fall season (aka: construction and tourist season) is quickly coming to a close. In reality, at times it’s hard to discern “what” season we are experiencing – unless we looked at the calendar. (Or if you believe in the tooth fairy.)
Cool temperatures and rain were the hallmark of our “summer”. Potatoes, beets, turnips, carrots and berries grew prolifically. Everything else either didn’t grow, or rotted…..except the peas. The moose got the peas days before we had hoped to pick them. Oh well, at least we know our moose are truly ‘organically’ fed. The rains continued into September, with sparse sprinkles of 60-70 degree weather – enough to rid ourselves of our winter white palor. (Vanity, vanity, all is vanity!!) In Alaska, because we are so close to the sun in the summer, you can sit outside for only 15 minutes and get a tan or if you forget your SPF, a nice red glow. The cool temperatures brought out the mega-mosquitoes. The aroma around town was “Ode to Deet” with an added tropical scent (your SPF sunscreen!)
While Fall typically lasts about two, maybe three weeks of splendorous colors , with reds, oranges, fireweed feathers and berries. This year, the colors did not stay the typical two weeks. Neither did the temperatures. All the way through the last week of October we had shorts/t-shirt weather of 50’s, with nighttime temperatures in the forties. Uncanny! We had the brilliant colors, but with the warm temperatures, they quickly turned to brown, and blew away on the evening winds.
Now, if you believe in the tooth fairy, you will believe our weather forecasters. This past Sunday we heard we ‘might’ get one to three inches of snow, We chuckled. SUUURE! After all, it had been in the 50’s all week breaking state weather records daily. Snow? No way!
Imagine our shock when we woke up: six inches of the white stuff, and still coming down hard - all day. The weather forecasters were right? A funky little system stalled over a small part of Anchorage, Palmer and Wasilla. Yet, 15 minutes from our house, nary more than a dusting of snow. (Whew! It is the last week to get a road job finished up Bill was working on!) Now that the snow has stopped, we delight in the return of diamonds glistening as the sun sparkles on the snow bedazzled atop the the once again bare birch limbs.
But MINUS THREE DEGREES? How could one forget what that is like? Our truck would not start. My post-chemo neuropathy flared big time. I drug out the hand-warmers. Three layers of clothes and snow pants and parka were under the Halloween costumes
I have been sleeping in the living room recliner for several weeks, due to the re-staging of my colon cancer attempting a come-back, nine years later. I've felt devastated. I feel sucker-punched. Going through all the tests and exploratory procedures set me physically, nutritionally, emotionally and even spiritually back. Especially as I was getting back to the final home stretch on Book 2: Don’t Wimp Out.
To make matters worse, (yet in a weird possible way) a tooth damaged from chemotherapy that was to be pulled almost 2 years ago was becoming infected, necessitating oral surgery. As the doctors said, “your “normal” (which is far from normal) was and is being very abnormal.”
My medical team’s prescription seemed like a cruel joke. “We want you to do NOTHING.”
What exactly is “nothing?” No talking (due to the oral surgery). No chewing. No talking. (Say whaat?!) I am to be in essential ‘medical quarantine’ at home, only around family. One doctor told me I am so medically fragile, it might do well to get my affairs organized (again).
Even eating/drinking what I could over the last nine months, I have lost over fifty pound – prompting me to remind myself and others: “Be careful what you pray for: you just might get it – like losing some weight, or some time to do “nothing”…..
Why am I sharing all this? First, is many people have been texting/emailing/calling asking have I disappeared. Au contraire – just working on my favorite Yoda quote: “Do it or don’t. There is no try about it.”
Doing nothing is hard work. Temptations are everywhere I turn. Yet, so are many other opportunities. I have time to be still. I have extra time to truly know what it is to learn how to ‘pray without ceasing’. And, while the neurological connections from brain to heart to hand are impacted, I know that the word of encouragement and admonishment that God has given me is spot on. That word? YIELD.
YIELD. Yield my time line. Yield my will. Yield to the moment and no more. Yield to look at the wonder around me. And take advantage of the time to “do nothing!”
What word is God sharing with you today? I’d love to hear!
Care Tuk is a nationally known speaker, educator, and retreat/workshop leader. She has been a school, hospital, and home health occupational therapist for more than 30 years. She has been named as a Top Business Woman in America and recognized for her work with youth, disability outreach and awareness, and the American Cancer Society.