Saturday, July 25, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
I've been thinking about that a lot lately--you as my mirror--and just how right wise 'ol Gordon was. For the past six years we've both done a lot of reflecting. You've shown me parts of myself that I didn't even see. A lot of them have been ugly parts. Parts that made you say, "It is NOT Ok to accept this as who you are. You can change it." The crazy thing is, you love me enough to point those parts out, and then stick around to help me fix them. To be patient when the ugly parts rear their head again, and even teach me to laugh at them.
Thankfully, you reflect good parts of me too. You've made me feel beautiful and protected and valuable and honored--things I could never have imagined accepting about myself, especially from someone like you. You've turned my cheeks bright pink with your unashamed love. Love that was embarrassingly, uncomprehendingly big and didn't need to be apologized for. Thank you. For seeing something in me, that nobody else did, and reflecting it so brightly that even I started to believe you.
I am sorry for all the times I've wanted to shatter the mirror--when it's reflection was too much. Even after all the challenges we've waded through...sometimes holding hands and sometimes both fighting for all we're worth...I still crave every second of you that I can get. I am so proud to be able to call myself your wife.
One night, when Grandfather was so sick, I lay in bed with Grandmother clasping one of her cool, hard hands within my own. I can still see her small face in the darkness, reminiscing about a great love that she was about to say goodbye to on this temporal plane. She looked at me smiling and said, "Tell me dear, in a love so true and young, what do you love most about my Jeremiah?" A million pictures flashed through my mind at once, but only one word seemed able to encompass all of what I wanted to say. "I just respect him so much. And it feels like that grows exponentially the more I know him." Her smile grew knowingly, and she patted my hand with the one I'd left free. "You've said it just right dear. I feel just the same way about Sam. And do you know what else? It won't ever stop growing."
She was right. It hasn't stopped. I respect you so deeply--for who you are in the light, for who you are in the darkness, and for who you are when you're reflecting all the hidden parts of me.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Ingredients: 1 8 oz. package of oven-ready lasagna noodles, 3 cups heavy cream, 2 cans cream of mushroom soup, 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup butter, 1 Tbl olive oil, 1/2 large onion diced, 4 cloves fresh minced garlic, 1/2 red bell pepper, 1/2 yellow bell pepper, 1 Rotisserie chicken shredded, salt and pepper to taste, 2 cans diced Italian tomatoes, 1 cup Ricotta cheese, 1 bag fresh spinach, 3 cups shredded mozzarella, disposable lasagna pan as pictured above (this is not a necessity, but don't think this is gonna fit in one of your regular 9x13's. You gotta have something deeper and it is nice not of have to scrub the pan when it's all over. ONE less notch on the difficulty level)
Ok, so there are a lot of [FATTENING] ingredients, but just think how impressed your husband will be when you tell him you've made lasagna from SCRATCH, and then it is the most delicious thing you've ever put in your mouth. It's worth the fat, and besides I feel like fat doesn't count nearly as much when it's something I made myself :)
1. Preheat oven to 350. If you didn't buy the "oven ready" noodles like I told you to, then boil some water, cook the noodles, and add another difficulty notch to your belt.
2. In a saucepan over low heat, mix together cream, mushroom soup, Parmesan cheese, and butter. Simmer, stirring frequently until well blended. Leave on warm while you do the next step, but don't you scald that cream!
3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion until tender (I HATE crunchy onion), then add garlic and peppers. Cook until lightly browned and then add chicken. Let the chicken pick up some of the flavor (black bits, lets just be honest) from the bottom of the pan. Cook until heated through. Salt and pepper to taste.
4. Drain (but not completely) your two cans of diced tomatoes, and stir them into your cream sauce. This is one of those steps that wasn't in the directions, but I think is crucial. Adding those tomatoes cuts the rich cream sauce in a good way. I am sure it breaks some chef's etiquette--adding tomato to Alfredo sauce--but just trust me.
5. Lightly coat the bottom of your baking dish with enough cream sauce to coat. Layer lasagna noodles, 1/2 ricotta (I am just going to tell you I used my whole tub of ricotta and not the measly cup), 1/2 spinach (I know it looks funny to lay fresh spinach in there but just do it), 1/2 chicken mixture, and top with mozzarella. Top with half the cream sauce and repeat the layers. Finish with other half of cream sauce.
6. Bake 1 hour, or until brown and bubbly. Top with remaining mozzarella and continue baking until cheese is lightly browned.
The real recipe actually calls for one more layer of noodles (just below that second half of cream sauce) on top. I don't do that, but your lasagna may be more likely to slice into pretty pieces if you do. It will also slice better if you let it sit and cool for 20 minutes. HOWEVER, I prefer my lasagna hot and messy over starchy and pretty and room temp.
Serve with salad and watch your children and husband smile:
(Latte--my Aunt Alice--gave Pace this cute little outfit. Dapples got one too, but she was refusing to be part of pictures this particular evening :))
Friday, July 3, 2009
First, I'll tell you about Konie--which is her name. Konie Bryant, from right here in Birmingham. Her husband, who was an Orthopaedic surgeon, passed away (from cancer) three years ago. She has four awesome children--two girls and two boys. One of her daughters was my sister Taylor's grand-big sister in KD. Her other daughter, is pledge sisters with my sister Caroline. There are a lot more eery connections-- like her husband was in medical school with John David's (Taylor's husband) dad and they were good friends. My mom's best childhood friend was good friends with Konie and is actually the first person who mentioned her to my Dad...it goes on. But mainly, there is a good reason why she has such awesome children and so many great friends--she is wonderful. She is pretty on the outside, but even prettier on the inside. You cannot help but smile when you're around her because she is always overflowing with joy. She is laid back, take me as you see me, loves children...I mean, we (as in my sisters and me) could not ask for anymore than she is.
Saying all of that, and as wonderful as she is, this whole process has not been easy and seamless. Mom has only been gone a year and a half, and I have this grating memory that likes to play over and over in my mind of two Augusts ago, Mom being sick, worried she was not going to be healed, and sobbing these words into my ear, "Your Dad is such a good man, and he is mine. I can't imagine him ever being with anybody else. I can't bear it." And me reassuring her, "Mom the reason you can't imagine it is because it's never going to happen. God's going to heal you. Dad won't ever be with anybody else." And here we are, what seems like two very short summers later.