Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Finding peace, contentment, and myself

Life can be challenging. Good things happen and bad things happen. But lately, all I have been able to see are the bad things. I've been feeling sorry for myself and drowning myself in a pool of my own negativity. I have been repeatedly pushing my own head back down again every single time I try to come up for air. I'm done with it. It is time to consciously make a change and find the me I used to be. I'm tired of living with this person I have become. I miss joy, and passion, and fun, and adventure. I owe it to the people I love to give them someone who isn't sucking the happiness out of life.

Anytime is a good time to make a change, but it feels all the more appropriate because it is the start of a new year. It is time for a fresh start. It is time to remember the things that bring me joy that I have neglected. It is a time to be grateful for all that I have. It is a time to learn more about myself, and become the person I have always imagined myself to be. I will devote more time to nurturing my soul so that I am able to be a better mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend. I want to radiate light and peace to those around me.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Messy Tacos

This is a first for me. I have never shared a recipe before, but this is a generations old family favorite, and I figured it was time that the rest of the world shared in the joy of its yummy-ness.

The recipe goes back years and years in my family. As far back as I can remember, my grandma would make it for us. At the time, everyone called it 'enchiladas', although is definitely not. I was 16 years old before I realized what a real enchilada was. But, that's sort of beside the point. I loved this dish. It was my very, very favorite food, and the thing thing that my brother and I always asked for as our special birthday dinner. I even remember how well our Japanese foreign exchange student liked our 'enchiladas'.

The first time I made the dish for my step kids, I knew it needed a new name. I was dealing with children who knew what an enchilada was. When I tried to explain it, I told them it was a cross between a Sloppy Joe and a taco. So, lo and behold, Messy Tacos were born.

Now, I never claimed it was health food (although I do use ground turkey instead of the ground beef used by my grandma and mom) but, I promise its yummy!

1-package ground turkey, browned
2 10 oz cans tomato soup
1/2 cup brown sugar (some of us like it a little sweeter, so you could go 3/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending how spicy you want it)

In a saucepan, mix all above ingredients (I've been know to add in a little cumin, as well, if I have it). Cook over medium heat until bubbly, then reduce to a simmer. In the meantime, lightly fry corn tortillas.

Top a warm tortilla with the meat mixture, and garnish with cheese, onions and lettuce. This amount will serve 3-4 people, depending on how hungry they are. When I am serving 6, I double the amount, but with a hungry teenage boy it's not quite enough anymore!!

As you can see in the picture, we stack ours for those who want more than one.

That's it!! Easy as pie. Go make it for your family and hopefully make them smile!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

*O* O'ahu

I haven't had much opportunity to travel. Not nearly as much as I would like. But, my wonderful husband has taken me to O'ahu twice. Once in 2008, and then again in 2010, as our late honeymoon. Both times we have stayed in Honolulu, but we have also driven around the island to explore some of the other towns and areas. There is so much to see and experience in the Waikiki area, and I love the laid back feel of the North Shore. I certainly hope someday to see the other islands of Hawaii, but I have loved every second of our stays on O'ahu.

It really is paradise. I can't pick any one thing as my favorite part of either trip. The whole experience was just so amazing. Seeing the memorial for the U.S.S. Arizona at Pearl Harbor was extremely moving and I absolutely loved the Byodo-In temple, which is a replica of an ancient Japanese temple. Hawaiian shave ice can't get much better than that which you get at Matsumoto's. The view after hiking to the top of Diamond Head is breathtaking.
I loved getting up early, spending the morning walking around exploring or going for a run, taking an afternoon nap, and then watching the sunset while having dinner. Of course being with my husband anywhere is my idea of heaven, but our trips to Hawaii have been just about as relaxing and peaceful as possible!

*N* Nothing

So busy on Sat, and I thought I could make it up on Sunday. But, Sunday was busy, too, and I was too tired to think. And, that apparently shut my brain down for 2 days so now it's make up time!

Friday, April 15, 2011

*M* My darling Miss Marissa

My baby girl. Such a sweet baby. Mommy's girl from the very first instant. When I look back at the first few months of her life, I get a sense of calm and quiet. I was more relaxed as a mother the second time around, and I guess she just picked up on it. Even if her big sister was always hovering nearby plotting some way to knock her over or pinch her, Marissa was
calm and sweet.
The first thing I heard out of the doctor's mouth when she was delivered, even before "it's a girl", was "Look at all that hair!". It surprised me, since Baily had been such a baldy. Everyone always commented on her hair, and to this day it's still beautiful, and her big sister is very jealous of it.

Marissa stayed quiet, even as a toddler. She was a little on the slow side with talking, even though it was obvious that she understood everything going on around her. I guess she felt like she didn't need to talk because she had a big sister to do it for her. But, she did need to learn to walk, because she had to keep up, and I was amazed when she took her first steps just a few days before she was 9 months old. After that, there was no stopping her running and climbing, and she was always very proud of herself for it. She'd give me a mischievous little glance as she'd climb right up from the ground to the top of the kitchen table.

Marissa is so much like me in so many ways. Everyone tells us how much we look alike. Ron always laughs at the way we walk and run in exactly the same goofy way.

She is sensitive like me, and a lot of things I witness as she goes to school and interacts with her friends reminds me of myself as a child. Every teacher she has ever had has praised her helpfulness, and she is kind to everyone she knows. She loves to sing, and will spend hours with a radio and a microphone.

I'm so proud of my baby girl, and I expect great things from her in this life. I love you, Marissa, with all my heart!!!!

*L* Long Run

There was a time when it was really no big deal for me to hit the pavement or the treadmill for a couple of hours at a time. 10 miles, 12 miles, even 14 or more. Even when I wasn't necessarily training for a long race, if I felt like a long run, I could make it happen without much effort.

I just can't figure out why I can't seem to get my head in the correct space to make that happen anymore. I think I want to do it. I know I'm capable of doing it. I don't think it's a physical thing, I really don't. I might have to slow down a little bit, but I am certain that my body can still carry me that far.

I have the time to do it right now. I have more time now than I did when I was ticking off those miles so easily. So, what's the deal?

Was I running from something back then? I think that might have been the case. I was running to make myself numb. Running until my thoughts blurred out, or jumped and shuffled around in the comforting way they do when you are 10 miles in. I don't feel the same need to get to that empty space anymore, but I kind of miss it.

I guess these days I am not running for the same reasons I had when I started. Early on (years before the longs runs came so easily) I was running to transform myself. I was trying to break free of the literal and figurative weight that was holding me down. And, it worked. I shed a little of my old self with every mile, and with every step, I came closer to the person I am now.

These days, I sort of take running for granted. I run because I don't know how to stop running, but it's not that I want to stop. It seems like I have lost not only the numbness and comfort I used to get from a long run, but also the joy I used to feel from accomplishing something and knowing that my body was strong and capable.

I suppose I can never get back the same kind of drive and hunger I had in the beginning, because I am in such a different place in my life now. The missing puzzle pieces that I tried to fill up with running are now in their proper place. But, oh long run, how I miss you. I've got to find someway back to you.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

*K* Kiss

Midnight sun
Burning through
Every inch of my being
Molten desire
Building, and threatening to spill
Unable to be contained
Your kisses rain down on me
Sweet, refreshing teardrops
Extinguishing the want
And leaving only
Pure bliss.