goodness and life

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My mom loves to travel.  She is fortunate enough to be able to see the world and she is also very generous and always thinks of her girls.  You see out of the three of us, I for certain am the least traveled.  My sister lived in France for 5 years with her family, of course picked up French and could speak it fluently.  In my mind that was like a dream.  She was living a dream.  She missed her family here in the states though and is now back and soon her husband will also be by her side.  The paperwork and all the shenanigans to have a family together when each is a citizen of a different county is a big hassle it seems.  But after nearly 2 years of paperwork and now finally he has an interview…he will be back with his family where he belongs…and look at that.  I got all off track again!  My point being this.  My mom brings back gifts.  Last spring when she visited Italy she brought me back seeds to plant in my garden.  Two weekends ago I planted them.  They are showing signs of growth and silly me…I didn’t label them so I have no idea really what that one above will be.  I know the melon…or it could be zucchini but we will see.  I plan to put them in the real ground this weekend and it will be so fun to watch them grow and be able to eat the fruit/veggies they will produce.  My mom said Italy had the best tasting produce ever.  I shared these seeds too with my friend Ronda, my Aunt and Mama Bear next door.  There were plenty to go around, plenty more still in fact.  I’m sure I will be sharing throughout this spring and summer the progress of our garden.  I did figure out something good recently too.  My butterfly plant had been infested with these tiny bugs…covered!! The same bugs that destroyed my watermelon plant a few seasons back and the same bugs that seem to love my roses. My solution is very natural and non toxic too. I took peppermint soap, diluted with water and sprayed the plant.  The plant survived…the bugs did not!!!  So this is my plan to protect my melon this season. I’ll keep you posted. xo

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get your green on

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Happy St. Patricks Day but more importantly….Happy birthday to my younger and handsome brother Brandon and my Amazing father-n-law who also both were born on this celebratory day!  Turns out I have had this shirt since 2011 and wear it every St. Patrick’s Day, also turns out I wore the same exact earrings today, not planned but shows what a creature of habit I am though;)

I was so greatly touched yesterday by the encouraging comments left on my blog post.  It seems I reach some of you readers out there but I wonder if you know how deeply you touch me.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate a comment left.  I don’t want to say it’s because I’m insecure and I require cheering but I have found that the way I work best is with positive reinforcement and simply a pat on the back and “job well done” is all I need to keep trucking.  I have always been this way. A few encouraging words go a very long way with me so I have also become somewhat of an encourager myself.  Maybe too much at times….or so my kids think.

Favorite thing I heard today was from Dylan aka Moon Rebel “I want to learn to do a back flip, and I know I can do it because I’m athletic and capable, I just need to commit”  I like it.  He also found a butterfly with a broken wing.  Picked it up then placed it in our garden.

and the very last thing shared today here in this space is the inspiration and free bookcase that was delivered to my driveway by Uncle Don and scouted by Aunt Lynn and if it hadn’t been for my father-n-law knowing I was on the search for a bookcase then it would not have fallen into place so perfectly.  Let’s just say it will include yellow paint…such a very happy color and peacock-blue.  More to come on that later. I hope you will come back to see.

Color makes me happy!

do you believe in yourself?

I have been doing a lot of reading and researching.  I think its part of mid-life. Questioning, where I am, how I got here and what’s in the future for me, for our family. I have been reading Dr. Phil’s book, “Self Matters” I’m in the chapter where he has one thinking about the defining events in your life. We can’t possibly remember every single day but there have been some events in our lives that stand out. I thought of a handful of personal and violating things that have happened in my life. I’m not going to share in this space but I will share the few things that came forward that are good. These events are times in my life where someone believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself and turns out…they were right about me.

SHINEWhen I was in the first grade I was very shy, a lot like I’m still shy today. I had this teacher that really, really believed in me. She was going to have her class put on a play for their parents and she had to pick a part for all her kids. She chose me, the shyest girl in the class to play the starring roll. I had lines to memorize that my mom helped me with and when the big day came, I shined. I don’t think anyone would ever know I was the most shy, most quiet girl in the class. I don’t even remember being nervous that day. I know I was very young…but I remember. My teacher had full confidence in me.

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When I was in high school I took art class. I had the same teacher for art as I had for yearbook staff. I thought it strange but when I was in her art class she would tell me I could do whatever I wanted and I didn’t have to do the class assignments. She said she believed in what I had in my head and what I could do with it. I just thought it was because she liked me. I didn’t pursue my talent in art. I stopped drawing and painting by the time I was 19. But she saw something in me. I will never forget that.dont give up

When I was a young married women I went back to college for a time and took a writing class. I love to write. I remember a few weeks in we had a writing assignment. I wrote about Vietnam and I used my father-n-law as my inspiration. My paper was picked and read aloud to the class. She asked the class who they thought wrote the piece. Nobody guessed it was the shy girl with red hair that sat in the back. They all seemed pleasantly surprised and I was noticed that night and received a handful of really nice compliments.

portraitLooking back on some of my inspiring memories, I realize all 3 were TEACHERS who had faith in me. Do we give our teachers the credit they deserve? They shape our lives. Not all teachers are good but some are really great. I’m thankful for these teachers who had faith in me. Now to bottle their faith and make it my own. This is my challenge.

This AND That

I can’t believe it. I just can’t believe I have not blogged since last week. I think it may have something to do with my video making craze. I’m so into making video clips these days it’s all I can think about. I dream of it. Not even joking I literally have dreams of making films. Since I’m talking about it, I will share at the end of this blog my Sunday video. That’s what I have been doing, making a video every single Sunday for 5 weeks straight now. The practice is great but making them slightly different from one another is a little challenge. Of course each Sunday is its own but it will always include my family, eating and just hanging out at our house. I keep them private and you will need a password to watch it. My password for all my Sunday videos is always.     love

Since I have been utterly consumed in video dreamland it has left little time for anything else. However, I must share with you a recent impulse purchase. I got an email from The Paper Source and February is one of my favorite months considering it has so many hearts available for my eyes to see, whelp, the email was about valentine stuff. I saw these most amazing, pretty glasses and I couldn’t resist. Right then and there I clicked PURCHASE. Before I knew it I was typing in my payment information. They arrived today and I have already showed every human being who will look at them. This just means I have to toss our 4 jars to make room in my cupboard. I mean look at them! Great stuff right? Sadly, last time I check they were out of stock, so everyone else and their mom must have thought they were the bees knees too!

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I suppose the last thing I have to talk about is the lovely blog I have admired for quite some time now. It’s called Natalie Creates and she shares 20 random acts of kindness that cost 5 dollars and under. It’s worth checking out.

That’s all for now. As if anyone is really reading this besides my mom. Thank you mom, you have always always been my biggest support.  I can’t forget Kate too, she always leaves a little love on my page after she reads my swirling mind nonsense.

sunday dinner

IMG_1594My word.  Balance.  Already I’m taking on so many projects I can’t seem to say NO to.  They are all creative and wonderful projects and I know creatively they will help me to grow, to get better, to learn more.  This is another project.  A personal one along with a group project.  In NOW YOU alumni group some gals have gathered to cook.  We each pick a cookbook, try new recipes and share our results.  Some of us have blogs to share them on some will share on IG and others on Flickr.  I have decided I will try my recipes on Sundays, a good way to end the week….or begin it.  However you look at it.  This is our first Sunday meal of 2015 and I combined it with yet another project.  The year-long time capsule film making class I’m taking with Xanthe.  We used our cookbook that my mom actually bought for my oldest because he too loves to cook.  The cook book is “Barefoot Contessa – Back to the Basics” We kept it very simple and not very complicated at all, similar to how we cook anyways.  Tuscan Lemon Chicken and Pan-Roasted Root Vegetables.  We ended our meal with a family game, chocolate fondu with strawberries.  YUMMY!

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Sunday dinner from Tracie West on Vimeo.

List of creative projects for 2015

Cooking with 52 Weeks of Now You/Sunday Dinners

A Year long Film Making/Time Capsule class

Shooting with Soul with a group of gals and a shared blog

Coloring with Miss Moonspinner

All these projects include film and photography

plus my blog:)

unexpected things happen….it’s just how life can be

desert flowersSunday while on my way out, I saw this and I had to stop.  So vibrate they were hard to capture.

Okay so I got sick.  It happened.  I came home Thursday just hoping the Vick’s would fix everything and I would be good as new for work Friday.  That didn’t happen.  Not at all.  I couldn’t even get out of bed Friday morning; I can’t remember even hearing the house being awake.  I’m supposed to get up at 5:15 to take the soccer player to his zero period and I slept straight through.  Lucky I have a really great partner who just did what had to be done and didn’t even wake me because he knew I needed the rest.  He then took the littlest and only girl to school and I slept and slept and slept.  I didn’t realize I could sleep so much! Lucky I had the weekend to rest up however I received an unexpected invitation to a funeral on Saturday and I felt I could muster up enough energy to be there for my friend.  I got up late Saturday and oh boy the house!  My guy and the house it’s not exactly his priority like it is mine.  The accumulation of shepherd hair was all I could see, I felt like every square inch I looked I saw clumps of hair.  I had to vacuum, I just did!  Or else I wouldn’t be able to fully relax, I’m working on this issue. It shouldn’t be so important.   I also felt this urgency to strip our “sick” bed sheets and wash them in very hot water.  I thought I was doing pretty well; I got all this stuff done before I headed out.  I didn’t take a picture at the funeral I attended.  I didn’t think I should.  It wasn’t my grandpa after all.  I was there to support my friend and I love her family very much.  They are such a beautiful family and when I say beautiful I mean on the inside and most definitely on the outside.  My friend’s mom reminds me of a mix of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Audrey Hepburn, just a very stunning lady and just as beautiful inside. It felt like an honor to be a part of this day.  It was small, it was meaningful and the music was simple and pure.  I had a hard time leaving my friend on this day.  I rarely get to see her since she moved to Arizona a decade ago so having coffee and reminiscing was so nice.  She and I both have 18 year old young men who graduated this past June from high school and all we can remember is sitting side by side breastfeeding them together as our husbands played cards in the other room.

Which brings me to this, as I drove home from the day’s events I got a call from my oldest, he had run out of gas on his way home from work and needed my help.  I was already out and about so I could help him out.  It was a long night and lucky the only thing I had to do after church yesterday was rest.  I sat in a recliner most of the day, using tissue after tissue as I read “Mansfield Park” and I do like the character Fanny very much.  I can relate to her, I really can.    I was craving limeade from Sonic so my guy went and got me a really big one, we shared it.  He is so good that way.  I don’t have many pictures to share either cause it was just a real weird kind of weekend.

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me and my buddyI had Pablo cuddled next to me as I read, and I had Garfunkel up on my shoulder for a time.

sonicvery impressive image right?

Lastly my girl the littlest and only one, she is trying out for her 6th grade cheer team.  Oh boy, I’m so nervous for her.  There are more than 20 girls trying out and they can only have 10 total on the team.  She already had her small group at church pray like this “I pray I make the team, but if I don’t I pray I will be okay with it” This morning she told me, “Mom, I have never tried out for anything in my whole entire life” Big deep breaths.  I can only hope she does make the team that would be amazing.  But she even said if she doesn’t, she can always try again next year.  I hope she stays so resilient.

mom’s remedies

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I’m not going to admit that I’m full blown sick but I will admit there are signs of sickness revealing itself.  My throat hurts pretty bad.  So instead of bowing fully to the bug I will medicate with home remedies.  We already did the homemade chicken soups but what about VICKS?  When I was little it was our go to when we had colds.  Mom would rub it on our chest and throat and wrap a bandanna around our necks.  My father-n-law takes a finger dab and eats it.  My friend Monica said the warning to not eat it doesn’t really count, it’s like the speed limit, do we really ever drive the speed limit?  Well I do mostly but since I know my father-n-law swears by it, and Monica also says eating it is the bomb, whelp I had to have a dab full.  It wasn’t as amazing as they both described.  I made a pretty terrible face, Dylan saw me do it and said “Mom, you are not supposed to eat that stuff!”  my response, “Papa eats it and swears by it”  he responds with “Papa was in the military, he can do things like that, but not you”  But I did, and I also lathered it all over my chest and neck and tied on my  bandana.  I will not succumb to this cold, not entirely, just a tiny bit.  When I stopped by the drugstore on my way home from work, I wanted to buy the BIG tub we had when I was growing up.  The big tub was almost 20.00!!! So I got the tiny tube for 5.00. I wanted the biggest tub I could find because my friend Monica also told me that if you put vicks on your feet when you have a cough and put your socks on over it, then the cough will be surpressed.  I have tried this too in the past and it does work.  Since she shared this trick with me, I also lather my kids feet up with it and bundle them in socks so they can sleep better at night when they have a cough.  Thanks to her I have adopted this home remedie for years now.

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 See how tiny this 5.00 tub is??

photo (2)This is the sort of stuff I deal with around here, my silly second born photo bombing me.  I have to admit, he made me laugh.

I also remember summers with my great grandma and she kept vicks at her bedside.  I’m not sure why but I think I remember her putting it on nearly every night, that or she just smelt like vicks a lot.  Maybe she was using it for preventative measures?  This has me ending today’s post with the prayer my great grandma would say with me each night as she held my hand until I fell to sleep.  I have such great memories with her and my great grandpa, I was fortunate enough to be able to spend time with them as I was growing up.  The prayer went like this “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep but if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take”  I remember I used to ask my grandma “why would I pray for God to take my soul,  I really wanted to keep it. “

Apples and Rain….yes more apples and rain;)

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Someone read my blog about CHANGE and she did something about it.  I received the most beautiful handmade necklace today in the mail.  It read “change” and it truly touched my heart.  I have a dear friend who has a name but I like to call her Ocean’s Child, first because she adores anything to do with the ocean and the ocean it reminds me of her.  Second, I like John Lennon, he is my favorite Beatle and well wouldn’t you know, it’s his birthday today!  How crazy is that!  I really love that song Julia so very much and in the this song it has a line “Ocean Child”. My friend has a  beautiful Etsy store called Two Mermaids  and she makes beautiful hand blown beads and she sells fun ocean themed gifts and mermaids of course….everything mermaid!  You should go visit her store, you will not be disappointed.

So remember earlier today I talked about rain and apples?  Well since it rained we wanted to bake of course but not our apple pie, nope.  We decided to make apple pizza instead.  Below are some of the images from our rainy day baking.  I don’t like writing recipes out very much, I’m not a big measurer and things like that so sometimes it’s hard to stop and really think about how to tell someone how we make things but I have tried of course, after all I do have a recipe tab.  This recipe does have measurements though because it’s not really ours, it’s Mrs. Ostgaard’s apple pie recipe from when all three of my kids went through the 5th grade.  They all made this pie, we just happened to use her ingredients and turn it into a pizza instead.  Meaning we just rolled the dough flat instead of placing it in a pie dish.

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While the apple pizza baked, we ran out to play in the rain.  Below are my two favorite shots of the rain girl.

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IMG_6066Singing in the rain….what do ya think?  She loves to sing and dance of course.  She has my mom’s old ski jacket on from back in the day.

TA DA!  Apple Pizza

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EGO it’s not the bad word one might expect

oct iphone 561A while ago we stepped off the Metro near China town and there you can find this big circle of words.  Some of us walked around the circle and tried to find words that spoke to us.  These words, they felt exactly like who I am.  I often think of them as sort of flimsy and weak but as I read about ego today, I realize these words are actually very strong and powerful and I should be proud that these two words describe me.  I often get caught in the trap of wanting to be more amazing, more daring, more of a go-getter.  However shouldn’t I be proud of the traits I was given, although they feel meek.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”   Marianne Williamson

I get an email from the Lissa Rankin  who I saw on PBS late, late one sleepless night.  She wrote about ego today and it was interesting to get her point of view on the subject.  It was the other side of ego, the side I struggle with.  Hum? Now, I don’t believe in the exact way in  which Lissa believes however, she has some really valid points that I do believe in and I can respect very much.

TODAY IS MY MOM’S BIRTHDAY.  TODAY THERE WILL BE TWO POSTS.

Courage…..cause I’m just not ready

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I was just bragging about how responsible the first-born child is.  Then he calls me while on break from work to say…..”he is ready to move out”  He is actually filling out paperwork for a place in a nearby city with three other guy roommates.  I tried to be chipper and say “that’s awesome Austin”  “That should be quite an experience for you guys.”  I even thought to offer him the orange sofa that has been sitting  on our back patio.  All the while my heart sank straight to the pit of my stomach.  Being a parent isn’t easy sometimes.  I don’t want to let go.  I’m not ready.  I suppose it will free up a room.  We could use an extra room.  I guess I should be happy we raised a hard-working independent young man.  I just hope he makes the right choices.   I should have more faith.  I should trust God. He is our first-born and we have such wonderful conversations and so far he has really respected living here as an adult.  He texts me when he is on his way home 99% if the time and sometimes when he gets home late at night as 18-year-old kids do, we talk and it seems like at those late night hours he and I have really great conversations and I will miss that.  I think I will miss not sleeping well because I’m wondering if he will make it home alright, I think I will miss tip toeing around at night to see if he has slipped in without me hearing, I think I will miss looking out the front window waiting to see if he rounds the corner, I think I will miss his daily hugs and his I love you’s.  I’m a little sad right now knowing that this is all par for the course.  Is this what it felt like Mom when I left?  I’m sorry you had to feel this way.

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And the funny thing is….I knew exactly what he was going to tell me when he said he had something to talk about with me and dad.  I just knew.  Just like I knew he wreaked his car from the very first word that left his mouth “Mom”  He just had to say mom and I knew he had been in a car accident.  I know I’m not the first person in the world to set their boy free.  I KNOW this but it doesn’t mean it makes it any easier.  He is my first.