Thursday, April 26, 2012

Notes from the Field: To my nephew on his birthday...

"We ate well and cheaply
and drank well and cheaply
and slept warm and well together
and loved each other"
- Ernest Hemingway

To my little cookie monster on his third birthday, 

The older I get, the more I realize that life is far too short and sweet to worry about the little things. What we take out of life truly is what we put into it. You'll figure these things out over time, but in the meantime...

Allow the world around you awaken your senses. Be open with your tastes. Try something new at least once, but don't put yourself in danger. Stay curious and seek truth. Read the classics so that you have something to compare all those new theories with. Indulge yourself, but put your values in the basic necessities. Share what you find with others, and listen to their discoveries. Do this with everyone. I've learned that when you put out enough kindness in the universe, it will come back to you and surprise you when you need it most.  

Let music move you. Revel in it when you ache and let if fill you up until there's nowhere for it to go but out of your dancing limbs. Fly down the Garden State Parkway blasting Bruce Springsteen; search for The Beatles in Liverpool. Keep your eyes open. There's so much to see in this big world of ours, but sometimes the most beautiful things are right under your nose. These are the treasures you can give yourself, experience is of the greatest of riches in life.

Everything, they say, is relative, but we all hurt the same. Feel, but understand when to let go of the feelings. Treat people well, treat yourself the same. Learn to balance these two things well and set boundaries. Know when enough is enough. Not everything was meant to be yours forever; not everyone was meant to be yours forever. On the other hand, when you know it's right, fireproof your relationship and build walls around your fortress to protect it. Cherish it.

Spend time with your family. This is not an issue now, but we're all getting older, so really spend time with them. Learn the stories of your grandparents, learn the lives of your parents. They are your living history. They are why you are here. Have hope, have grace, have faith. These are the things that will help see you through when you are up against yourself. Give to get, mind your manners, and please, sweet thing, love.

Happy birthday little one. To many many more.     

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Notes from the Field: On Grace.

Grace.Origin: 1125-75; Middle English, from Anglo-French; Latin gratia favor, charm, thanks, from gratus pleasing, grateful; akin to Sanskrit gṛṇāti he praises.

Thanking the oven gods' good graces(Origin: 1125-75; Middle English, from Anglo-French. Favor or goodwill)that my third batch of cupcakes in a row did not burn. It is endlessly gra·ti·fy·ing(Origin: 1605–15; Giving satisfaction, pleasing)to know that when the heart is aflutter, kitchen results can follow suit.

Times have been a bit trying around these here parts lately, but that doesn't mean that I can allow myself to forget about the important things. 

Showing grat·i·tude(Origin: 1400–50; late Middle English, Medieval Latin grātitūdin. The quality of being grateful or thankful) for the wonderful things and people that one has is a start. Being gra·cious (Origin: 1250-1300; Middle English; Latin: grātiōsus, Characterized by or showing kindness)can give you the gift of knowing that there are things out there much greater than what you currently see. 

Third time's a charm, and I am so very grate·ful (Origin: 1545–55; obsolete grate, pleasing. Warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received) that these sweet banana cupcakes with peanut butter and honey buttercream turned out just right. To be honest, there are so many things to be grateful for.

This is a reminder of the times I've acted with grace. This is a reminder to always act with grace.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Case Study 113: "The Easter Nest"

"And all the season of snows and sins; 
The days dividing lover and lover,
The light that loses, the night that wins;
And time remembered is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins."
- Algernon Charles Swinburne 

A few months ago, my love, amidst an amazingly positive turn of life events, had proclaimed that Easter had come early this year. As we plow through April, my outlook is just so bright, that I now completely know what he meant by it.  

This spring has given many gifts so far. In a few months of hard work, I've been given a new awareness about my strengths and limits. Another nephew is arriving soon, and I'm completely consumed by the idea that my family could grow even more full with this new addition of wonder and awe. And honestly, has this not been the most gloriously warm spring? That has been a gift in itself.
And so we're celebrating it all with these caramel coconut-y nests, reminiscent of Easter themed Samoas. Vanilla cupcakes in chocolate cookie crusts, topped with melted chocolate, caramel buttercream, toasted coconuts and peanut M&M eggs.

Happy holiday and happy spring. However you celebrate, I hope the season brings you an abundance of newness and life.