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Author Archives: howsyourlovelife

If I Were There….

there

It’s something we started years ago, I’m not sure exactly when or who said it first. But my friend and I lived many states away from each other and when one was really sick or hurting from a large disappointment in life, the other would say, “If I were there, I would make you a pot of your favorite soup” or “If I were there I would clean off your patio and pull out two chairs for us to sit outside, in blankets with coffee”. That last one as one of my favorites spoken over me many years ago.

As my daughters live far away from me now, the tradition has moved on to share with them. Our youngest had strep throat last month and I found myself saying, “If I were there I would play with your hair till you fall asleep” and to our oldest during a very trying time, “If I were there I would fill your fridge with good food and make you pancakes.” Nothing extravagant, no trips to Europe or promises to fight the others’ battles. Just a quick picture of what could be.

The whole point is to simply convey that I love you, I know you and want to help, even though we both know I can’t right now. It’s reserved only for those closest to me, the ones I know best, and whose happiness actually affects my own. I wonder if you have someone far away in your life that you can show love to by simply sharing what you would do if you were there with them? I would encourage you to tell them. It won’t change the circumstance, or fix all their troubles, but it will assure your Love that you see them, and you care.

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Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie Ice Cream

chocchip

Wait….what??

A couple of weeks ago I made a chocolate chip pecan pie and took it to a dinner with friends. We brought it home with a couple of slices leftover and I had an idea. What if I made classic vanilla ice cream and dropped the rest of the pie into it? Would it work? The simple answer is omigoodnessitworks. If you normally like ice cream with your pecan pie, this may be your new favorite flavor of ice cream.

Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie

1 9″ pie crust, baked
3 eggs
2/3 c sugar
1/2 t salt
1/3 c butter, melted
1 c corn syrup
1 c whole pecans (I use more like 1 1/2 c)
1 1/4 c mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Set oven to 375 degrees. Blend eggs, sugar, salt, butter and corn syrup. Fold in pecans and chocolate chips. Pour into the baked pie shell and dot with extra pecans as needed. Bake 40-50 minutes and allow to cool before cutting.

Now, the ice cream:

1 1/2 c whole milk

1 c sugar

3 c heavy cream

1T vanilla

Mix the whole milk and sugar until the sugar dissolves, 2-3 minutes. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and mix well. Pour into an ice cream churn and let it run for about 20 minutes. Drop half of the pecan pie into the ice cream after it has thickened considerably, in the last five minutes of churning. Freeze until set.
 

 

What Mess?

tile

We are in the middle of a major house renovation. Maybe major isn’t the accurate term, but for a couple who has never done this, it feels significant. In the next few weeks we will have new wood flooring installed, new cabinets and paint, new appliances. The works.

Meanwhile, in order to get ready for the new wood floors, we have been removing so much tile on our own. Yesterday I came home to a torn up main floor with huge shards stacked all over and a dust and small pieces of tile everywhere. So I did what you do, I started cleaning. I swept and vacuumed and dusted for about three hours, only to find every flat surface covered in that fine dust all over again this morning. My guy informed me yesterday that it was useless to clean at this point, but I felt like I had to, and when they were done with the excavating for the day I placed the furniture back where it goes to give some semblance of order.

Why do we do this? It would be really hard for me to have someone arrive at our home and see our furniture piled into one room and dust everywhere, to know that we are currently living in chaos. It occurred to me that I feel this way about a lot of things, I often want to sanitize the situation and give the appearance that we have it all under control, when sometimes nothing could be farther from the truth.

I have tried to get better at this; I lost a lifelong friend to cancer earlier this year and mourned her passing in front of our children, friends and people I don’t know so well. I rationalized that she was worth it. I have also had three young adult children spreading their wings and beginning to fly on their own over the last three years and anyone who tells you this isn’t a hard adjustment is lying. I have heard the pain is like losing a limb that you are convinced you cannot live without, but over time you learn to do just that. Those first few weeks of change are devastating, and I shamelessly felt it with each child, crying at the grocery store and over coffee with well-meaning friends. Again, completely worth it.

But what about when life is just hard? When you have no money, or your marriage feels like a sham, or anxiety is gripping you at the throat? Do you find yourself cleaning up the place, trying to give the impression that things are great, even when all evidence says it is definitely not? I want to live a life of authenticity but don’t want to be the downer in the room who is always struggling. And yet, we are, right? Struggling, I mean. I think the answer for me is to have my people I can be totally honest with, and to work on not trying so hard to appear to be unaffected by the stresses of life.

If you want to see the state of affairs at my place, come on over, find a chair you can sit in and stay a while. You will leave covered in a fine white powder and dog hair, but while you’re here we can honestly share what’s going on in our lives.

view

Sigh…

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It was the first semester of my freshman year in college. I lived a couple of hours away from home and was loving my independence, until an incident occurred that made me feel completely out of control. I was visiting a family member of a friend, the relative was much older than we were, and he isolated me and made some big assumptions and actions. The whole thing happened quickly and was so shocking that it took me some time to process.

I drove home to my parents the next morning, and told them everything, showing them torn clothing and bruises while gulping for air. My parents reacted in the best way possible:

  1. They believed me. There was no questioning of my motive, understanding or my memory of the events that had occurred.
  2. They supported me. My parents encouraged me to go back to my university town and go straight to the police. For almost a year after that, we were embroiled in pressing charges against a prominent person in my community. The court date was re-scheduled and changed several times and my Dad was there each time.
  3. They rooted for me. My family was understanding of the stress this situation put me through, and they encouraged me every step of the way, never suggesting that I should leave school, keep quiet or pretend nothing had ever happened.

The assault made my introduction to college much more challenging than I had expected, but it also gave me clarity about what was truly important to me; safety and respect. It is so difficult to convey the helplessness of having little to no say about what happens to your body, while simultaneously questioning yourself. Over time I changed my major to work professionally with survivors of rape, domestic violence and incest. I would never wish a situation like this on anyone, the fear and doubt that ate at me was sometimes paralyzing, but I learned from firsthand experience the importance of responding from a place of love with belief, support and encouragement.

Dark Chocolate Almond Ganache Ice Cream

228E10B3-6F39-4BAC-A45D-830C7C86C6FEI stumbled upon a Chocolate Ganache ice cream recipe at ashleemarie.com but made a few changes, the biggest being that I added a handful of chopped raw almonds towards the end of the churning time. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, it’s obviously very rich and a special treat.

Dark Chocolate Almond Ganache Ice Cream

2 1/4 c heavy cream

10 oz dark chocolate chips

3/4 c sugar

3 eggs

1/3 c dark chocolate cocoa

1 1/2 c milk (I use whole milk)

1 1/2 t vanilla

Heat the cream in a saucepan until simmer. Place chocolate chips into a metal bowl and pour the warmed cream over the chocolate and allow to sit for five minutes. Stir till smooth and set aside. (This is classic chocolate ganache).

Mix the sugar, eggs and cocoa until incorporated and set aside.

Bring the milk to a simmer over medium heat and then add to the sugar, egg and cocoa mixture and mix until incorporated. Pour this back into the saucepan and heat through on low, for about five minutes as it thickens slightly. Pour this warmed mixture into the original ganache and stir till smooth and add the vanilla. Refrigerate for two hours to bring the temperature down.

Pour contents into ice cream maker, takes 20 minutes or so to become firm. Freeze for at least two hours before serving. Makes six 8oz servings.

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Celebrate!

yay

We were driving through some winding back roads in Indiana, listening to a local radio station early in the morning. This was last month, on a 1,000 mile drive to move our daughter to college, and we were just starting the second day of the journey. The radio host pointed to several areas of national and international news that were less than uplifting, and then announced it was time for a weekly segment they do called Good News Wednesday, encouraging their listeners to text or call in and share any bit of good news they had, from tiny to tremendous.

Within minutes, listeners were announcing big news like pregnancies and new houses, and tiny things like getting to work on time and looking forward to date night. What struck me was that so many were willing to participate; people want to share their good news, but often don’t know how or with whom they can. Also, as each proclamation was made, one of the announcers said something supportive in response. Every single time. And there were a lot! I felt so inspired after hearing the many ideas to celebrate, as well as the encouraging words of that radio station staff.

I was instantly reminded of a small group we were in about ten years ago. A newer couple sheepishly announced the husband had received a big promotion and we all cheered their good fortune, and thanked God for His provision when we prayed that night. The couple looked bewildered and then confessed they had been afraid to say anything, because they felt they had never experienced friendships who truly wanted the best for them.

So we resort to calling in to strangers to share our good news.

Y’all, we can do better. I want to be a person you call to brag on your child when they make the team or get into that college, when you see something wonderfully new in your spouse you didn’t see before, or when you get that crazy, pie-in-the-sky promotion. I want to cheer you on when you’re pregnant or not pregnant (somebody knows who I’m talking to), or your air conditioner finally gets repaired, or your prodigal child comes home. The truth is, when I hear great news about others it gives me an endorphin rush, or at least, it should. If I feel jealousy or resentment, that is on me, and I need to address it, trying to understand why I would feel anything but support for this person and then I need to get over it.

We are called to encourage one another, to love one another, to serve one another and to consider others more highly than ourselves. Let’s start this practice by cheering each other on every opportunity we have, not the fake stuff either, let’s desire the best for each other and celebrate like crazy when somebody gets it! So, I’m wondering…..what thing can we celebrate, big or small, for you today?

US Virgin Islands

I woke up this morning in a pre-set temperature room and went downstairs to a pot of coffee made minutes prior to rising. I turned on the news and got instantly updated on how Hurricane Irma is making her way through Florida and being downgraded as she goes. I am so thankful our friends all over the Sunshine state are safe and sound, many are going to have hours without power and days of cleaning up, but it could have been so much worse.

Except it was so much worse in parts of our country. The US Virgin Islands were hit in the very way that the media has been warning us about; St. John and St. Thomas are completely devastated with no power on the islands and no way to get to them by air. These tourist destinations are demolished with no resources. Now the problem is safety from downed power lines and fallen trees and looting.

So what can I do, as I sit with my laptop battery fully powered even though it’s plugged in, and plenty of food for lunch and dinner for today and days beyond? I can share. I’ve got a close friend whose brother lives in St. John and he is on the Board for the Salvation Army for the Virgin Islands, and is part of the coordinated effort between the Red Cross and Salvation Army. He assures us that money donated to¬†http://vi.salvationarmy.org/virginislands/ will go directly to the aid of these islands. We have made a donation, honestly without even sacrificing a bit of the safety and security I feel in my home this morning. Can you do the same?

I am open to hearing of, and responding to, more ideas of how we can help these desperate people. Please read the accompanying article, it explains the current situation so well. And please, join me in prayer for the people of USVI.

http://vi.salvationarmy.org/virginislands/

http://mashable.com/2017/09/10/hurricane-irma-us-virgin-islands/#nsNyUQdHkaqu

 

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