Thursday, October 16, 2014

My First Pie

In August my "little" sister celebrated her 22nd birthday. Instead of cake, she requested a pie for dessert. 

Her favorite pie flavors are Strawberry Rhubarb and Peach. Since blueberries and peaches were both at the peak of their season, I decided to be a little original and go with a Blueberry-Peach Pie. 

The whole process was a LOT easier than I had expected. My sister-in-law happened to be over the morning of so with her and the boys in the backyard, I was able to devote my entire kitchen to the grand event, classical music and all. 

I cannot even begin to describe the smell... Tortuously delicious!

I was very happy with the result. And, more importantly, so was my sister.

Next challenge: Apple Pie. A neighboring town hosts an Apple Pie Contest at their Annual Harvest Festival so I told my husband that my goal is to enter an Apple Pie next October... That gives me one year to practice and perfect.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I Remember Mama: Her Voice

My mom had a beautiful voice. Whether singing or talking, her voice held a sweet musical quality that was comforting to listen to.

"Let your speech at all times be gracious..." Colossians 4:6

In college, she was a member of The Chorale. It is there that she learned to train her voice. While she would not have made a spectacular soloist, as a loud, clear alto, her voice was perfect for a choir setting.

Growing up, I can remember her singing songs from her Chorale days. For a while, there were many songs that I had only ever heard the alto harmony version of! One example is A Wonderful Day Like Today.

My mom's love for singing carried through to her spiritual life, singing praise and worship songs as she went about her daily tasks. It wasn't until I was older that I realized not all moms sing Christian songs as they fold laundry. As a little girl, I often watched my mom stop whatever chore she was working on in order to close her eyes and lift her hands in praise: no accompanying music required.

At Mass, my mom was that woman who, without realizing it, competed with the lector leading the songs. Many a family would turn around afterwards and compliment my mom for her beautiful voice. And while such compliments may give some a little ego boost, it didn't even phase my mom: the way she saw it, her voice was just a gift from God that she in turn was giving back to him in praise.

"Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving and give him praise; Let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise." Psalm 95: 1-2

All this is not to say that my mom could hit every note perfectly... There may have been a few songs that gave my sisters and I reasons to tease her, especially since one of her favorite singers was Sandi Patti. ;)

Synonymous with her nature, even my mom's speaking voice was gentle and soothing. As a teacher and mother she most certainly had her assertive, no-nonsense voice when necessary but even then it never strayed from it's calm, collected beauty.

I believe it had something to do with the fact that, for the most part, she simply did not speak if her words did not have a positive purpose. She never gossiped and nary a complaint left her mouth, even during the two years that she endured chemotherapy.

"She opened her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness." Proverbs 31:26

note: My mom passed away in October of 2013 at the age of 55 after a two year battle with breast cancer. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

October Evening

Although we've had a few chilly days here and there, overall our Autumn has been relatively mild - no complaints from me!

A few nights ago after dinner, my husband took the boys outside to play while he did a little work in the garage. Our kitchen window is over the sink and looks out into the back yard (which I love) so I got to enjoy watching them play as I washed the dinner dishes.

This is usually our routine, after dinner, my husband entertains the boys so that I can clean the kitchen. I love being able to get the kitchen in order without any little ones underfoot and the boys love their time with Dad. But for some reason, on this particular night, I had a strong urge in my heart to leave the dishes for later and join my little family. So I did. I threw a pair of sneakers on and headed out back.

Well, boy was I glad I did. Because of the angle, I could not see the bonfire my husband had started in our fire pit from the kitchen window. They had planned on coming in to get me eventually but it worked out even better this way because I got to be surprised.

What is it about a fire that instantly makes you feel all cozy? The warmth? The glow?

The next hour or so consisted of my husband and me relaxing on the grass while roasting marshmallows and watching the boys run around the yard giggling, hands and faces sticky as ever.

So often I try to orchestrate the perfect family evening with the highest of expectations and for some reason it just doesn't work out as I had planned it in my head. Sometimes spur of the moment adventures are the best way to go and luckily for me (always the planner ;) that is my husband's area of expertise.

Now a new family memory has been forever stamped on the innocent minds of our little boys.

Thank you God, for the gift of being a mother, the memory-maker and memory-keeper of my children.