Monday, October 29, 2012

This is Your Life

This is your life.

You only have one.

You survived.

But since you are unable.

We are able.

All of us who love you,

Help make your life the best we can.

Every chance he gets,

Daddy snuggles you close.

He loves being with you.

He has this habit.

He stops mid-whatever to say, "Look, isn't she beautiful?"

Honey, I could't have dreamed a better dad for you.

I'm not sure how we got so lucky, but I'm thankful we did.

I do wish,

Oh how I wish,

You could speak up to set him straight on who your real favorite...

Basketball team,

And football team are.

And what your political views really are!

And Nana,

Oh that Nana.

How she loves singing to you,

Making up the words as she goes.

No honey,

I don't know what she's saying either.

We'll just go with it,

Because it's adorable.

She's adorable.

And although she sweetly begs and pleads for you to do this or that,

We all know she above everyone else,

Loves you just the way you are.

And do we ever tire of hearing her tell you just how beautiful you are?


Because I have never heard it done with that much enthusiasm,

Have you?

Yes, maybe from Papa.

You're right.

They tie for the,

Scream it from the rooftops,

"Avi, you're so beautiful!" competition.

Now Papa.

He's just straight up, and flat out crazy cakes.

And you,

You just love pushing his buttons,

Until they break.

All the while,

Driving him fruit.

But you know why he goes out of his mind

Don't you?

Because he loves you from the deepest place,

A place he never knew existed.

That is...

Until you came along.

And that place scares him to the core.

You do that baby.

And every single week,

Your Uncle Roger.

The love he feels for you.

The love he's always felt for you.

The purest, warmest, and most genuine.

A reciprocal, indescribable, love.

You melt with your Uncle Roger.

Not only does he take the time to love,

But to read,

To go to the park,

To go on walks,

To get you out, and about!

And we can never forget your Rainey Day.

The girl who jumps at the chance to...

Get her sissy pants ready for the day,

And 'help' her eat,

And walk her to the bus,

And greet her home from the bus,

And give her love, hugs, and kisses throughout the day,

And who loyally lays by her side....always!

There are a million other people who love and adore you,

I could go on forever,

All our family and friends...

Who help with your therapy,

Your doctors,

Your teachers,

The list goes on,

But I will end with me ~

Your Momma.

We took you on a date yesterday,

To the movies and lunch.

I'm happy we did.

You sat on my lap through the whole movie.

And in those moments,

There's nowhere else I'd rather been.

I breathed the smell of your hair,

I played with each, and every, of your ten tiny fingers.

I felt the air rising and falling from your lungs.

Breaths we lost on the street that day,

Only to be found again.

And in those moments,

As the movie rolled,

I held you tight,

And all was right.

For in that dark theater,

With tears streaming down my face,

I hugged you close,

And thought...

My sweet girl ~

This is your life,

You only have one.

You survived.

And just because you can't,

We can.

Without a word,

We all help to make yours,

The best,

Most loving,

Life you have.

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Love

You were my brightest bright on my best of days


My lightest light when I couldn't find my way through my darkest days.

I miss you.

I love you.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Give The Love Around

I know this year may have been difficult for some, but if you are able to donate and would like to join us in our efforts this year, here are some ways in which you can help....

Mustard Seed School

You can donate Christmas gift items to these children, which range in age between 0-18 years old. These items include; a toy, a blanket, a book, a pair of gloves, a hat, and a sweat suit. If you choose to help in this way, I hope you don't mind me asking that all of these items are new.

Christmas Stocking Giveaway

Each year as part of the holiday meal, Loaves and Fishes offers each guest a Christmas stocking. To do this, they ask the community to participate by providing a stocking including the following items: McDonald's $5 gift certificate books, one pair of new socks, one pair stretch knit hat and gloves, a disposable razor, a pair of shoelaces, chapstick, toothbrush and toothpaste, travel size toiletry items including lotion, vaseline, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, hand sanitizer.

Anneke's Haven Animal Kennel

I carry dog treats in my car in the event I ever see a homeless person with a dog. So when I actually saw these dogs in the kennel and realized they feed and care for them while their owners were eating and heart went instant puddle on me. Dave and my Mom had to literally peel me away from them. If you choose to donate in this way, they are always in need of canned food, large dry food, pet carriers, leashes and collars. 

Ongoing Needs List

They have a running list on their website and if you so choose, you can send me any, and I will be happy to deliver them. You can also make a cash donation and I will put it towards the purchase of the above items. 

If you include a cash donation, you can make the check payable to David or Jennifer Hodder. You can also send any, and all items to:

Aviana's Elves
c/o David Hodder
10308 Placer Lane Ste. 100
Sacramento, Ca 95827

If you have any questions or would like to donate through PayPal, you can contact us directly, our e-mail address is ~

  I really do appreciate you for considering helping us again! We have been shown so much kindness and to me, there is no better feeling than to extend some back out into the world. We are so excited to be doing this again, as this is such a gratifying way to give back to other families who are probably going through such an exceptionally trying time.

Here's to the happiest, yet most humbling way to spend the holidays. 

❤ ❤ ❤

I'll leave you with one of my favorite new feel good songs! I absolutely love the message within, but caution you if you're sensitive to a few bad words ; )

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Aviana's Elves

This year my plan was to get started early on Aviana's Elves, which included the putting together of a blog note. I know I have previously hinted around a few times, but had yet to put the actual note up, and out. I knew what was causing me pause, but had yet to figure out how to resolve this matter of the heart. 

As I said before, my Uncle Roger had previously volunteered at Loaves and Fishes. His doing so honestly stayed deep within me, and had a hand in the starting of Aviana's Elves. But last year, it made most sense to me in having a connection with the hospitals. 

Well, as John Lennon famously said, "life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans," and boy was he right! As it turns out...a funny thing happened, and in the form of a slightly uneasy feeling that gained momentum all the way until the very night of Christmas Eve. 

You may remember, that was the night we had gathered up all those Krispy Kreme donuts. We gave out bags, upon bags, to the homeless surrounding Loaves and Fishes until every last donut was gone. And there was no better feeling. 

I felt this crazy pull of emotions though. We had just spent months gathering, working, shopping, wrapping, assembling, and delivering for Aviana's why was I left confused by a feeling which floated so purely, so freely? But there it was, so clear, so plain to see, a force to be reckoned with, the best and most fulfilling feeling arrived from something, and somewhere else...

What appeared was in the form of something spur of the moment, unplanned, and not even a part. It was so unexpected, yet at the very same time exactly what was supposed to happen that night. 

From then, Dave, my mom, and I have gone through the Loaves and Fishes orientation, and Dave and I are going to the interview to become regular volunteers. We are trying to help them, as we feel they are in greater need. 

So this year, and as Aviana's Elves was approaching, I was conflicted. Being in the hospital with Aviana was most definitely one of the very lowest points of my entire life. The last thing I would ever want is to dismiss, or diminish the pain and loneliness of being confined within those hospital walls. 

So at first, and if all went well, my plan was to still include one, of the three hospitals this year, and then put all my other efforts toward the homeless. But truthfully, after I spent a good amount of time researching, talking to different people, and uncovering the real needs at Loaves and Fishes....I truly had a change of heart

One of the things that tugged most was a school for the children of the homeless, which we visited during our orientation. It's called The Mustard Seed. They are currently trying to gather together certain items as a gift for each homeless parent to wrap, and give to their own child on Christmas Day. 

The gift items are for children ages 0-18 yrs old and are: a new toy, a blanket, a hat, a pair of gloves, a book, and a sweatsuit. 

I thought, are such basic needs! Of course, that's not all, as they have an ongoing Needs List...for always. 

So after seeing all this, I really had to put myself back into the hospital with Aviana, and think...yes I was displaced, yes I was sad, yes I felt extremely scared and alone, but the true reality is...we have a home, and clothes, and food, and much, much, more than just basic needs, and so forth. Dave, Aviana, Rainey, and I are blessed beyond measure with all we have. We are not cold, hungry, or wondering where we are going to sleep for the night.

I know you also have local homeless shelters in your own areas, or other great causes to donate to, but we'd like to share our goal with you too. And that is is to raise as many donations, or as many of these basic supplies, and needs as possible in order to provide for these families with a nice, memorable Christmas this year.

I am running long, so I will be back with more details,
I know things have changed greatly from last year, but I do want to thank you for listening...and thank you for possibly thinking of us Elves. 

I promise you this will be the best, and most heart warming year ever!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hodder Happenings

Thank you so much for sharing in my excitement about Aviana's video. I was so sad for those who couldn't view it. I'm sorry. I had a feeling that would happen for some. Before posting, I tried to put it in a different format, but was unable : (

I just wanted to say, after all this time...thank you for still being here for us.

I'm excited to say ~ I have Aviana's Elves just about all ready to roll out. Things have changed quite a bit from last year to this year, but I have to heart is more than bursting at the seams this year!!

In the meantime, I'd like to share some of what's been going on around these parts, and also tell you about a request I received from Stephanie...

"I was thinking about your little Señor today! I am glad you posted an update on him! Please post a pic of your little fighter???

And I'm dying for some pie pictures. Bring on the fall pies! I think you should post your fav recipe for your readers' Christmas gift! You inspire me and I'm not really great... baker."

Thank you Stephanie : ) I'd love to post pie pictures, including recipes. The ones I post below won't be a part of that, as they are just part of what's been going on, but I will do some separate posts to include those. 

And as far as Señor... 

He's a beaut, isn't he?

And while we're at it...say hello to my other little friend!

He was caught on the inside of our screen door and I was the lucky, ecstatic, one to free him! My poor family and friends weren't so though, as they had to see a million pictures and watch many unending minutes of video of every step of his departure.

I wish I had a pet one... 

We had a 'camp out' weekend, and at this point were watching one of my favorite movies, Friends with Benefits. 

We had to cover Avi's eyes and ears for some parts, but really...she's beyond her years in so many ways. We figure ~ she's been through more in her few years, than many will ever go through in their entire life's ok.

I have no words to capture what my heart feels when Rainey lays her head on Avi like this.

It seems that for all of my life I have been in search of the best sugar cookie recipe for the holidays. Well, I do believe I've found it. The dough was absolutely epic as we rolled it out, I'd like to say....'like butta' here, so I did! 

For our own personal taste, they were too lemony, we prefer more almond flavor in our cookies, so that is the only thing we would change some more. Other than that...sheer perfection!

As far as the frosting, I'm still in search of a better recipe.

I also made some Nutella Banana Bread, but as you can see...forgot to take an after picture, and no, it wasn't because we shoveled the whole thing down our faces ; ) But it was that good! 

To each his own, but if you decide to make time, I would only use 1/2 cup Nutella (at the most) instead of 3/4 cup. 

Avi wanted to try on sunglasses at Macys. As you can see, she didn't like these ones much.

But loved these ones!

She's my Wayfarer girl!

Pick your jaw up. I'm JUST KIDDING Cameo!!!

Rainey my love, if you're comfortable...then I'm comfortable.

Oh Avi.

And Dave, I told you once...don't make me tell you again ; )

He goes by Slim, Slim Pickins, or Slim Shady, any which way...

he likes the ladies. you guys!! These pumpkin bars are the BEST!! I've made them a few times now, and they are ahhh-mazing! 

The only thing I changed was adding a 1/4 tsp clove, and that's because I like my pumpkin things extra spicy! They are so moist, it's like they actually poured it on in!! 

With cream cheese frosting... delish!

Amy and I made Pecan Pies last week, one for Dave's mom...

and another. 

Yes, problems in the after picture department lately!

Once upon a time, a reader asked if I had a recipe for a Pecan Pie that was made without corn syrup. At that point, I had never made a Pecan Pie. I didn't know what a tall order that would be, as they are all made with that stuff, but alas...I found an all butter one, and posted it at that time. We have made it this way ever since. 

This is one of the holiday pies I'll post the recipe for. I have never been a fan until I tasted this one : )

Ooohh...I see, you like it too!

Well they look like cupcakes, but guess what...they're not! They are cheesecake bites with a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in the middle! Say huh?

My friend Sara had a Pinterest Party. Everyone signed up and brought what they made. I brought these and some Jalapeno Popper dip. Both were very good. 

The only thing I changed the second time I made the...take some fat, and add some fat dip was...I added an extra can of green chilies, and all the seeds and ribs of two Jalapeños, which in retrospect, I would do all three next time. Like I said, I like it spicy!!

Whatcha watchin?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Switch Pushin' Machine

Aviana's teacher Ian sent me this video about three weeks ago. I played it right away. I thought, "who's that girl? She looks like my girl, but, that's certainly not my girl!" I honestly thought my eyes were deceiving me, so I played it again. And then again, and again, and again. I have played it so many times, and cannot believe the girl in the ours. I have literally dissected every single second of the 52 total. 

I guess the reason I can't believe this is our girl is twofold. First, we barely see any real movement, of any sort, from Aviana. And honestly, we almost never see any purposeful movement

The things we have seen in the past, have been with us, or the school, holding her hand below. And even with those that we do at home, she has given up long ago. I take them out every so often just to check and see if maybe, just maybe, she might be interested in 'talking' and sure enough, she has no interest anymore. Facilitated Communication or Choice Board ~ zero, zip, zilch : ( 

Second, Aviana never uses her arms on her own,  for anything purposeful. So the combination of these two things, makes for a pretty exciting video : ) 

Not only is she making some of the most purposeful movement she has ever made (the other being when she was trying to feed herself with a spoon a few years ago) but she is also keeping full attention on her teacher. 

If you aren't familiar with the switches these special needs kiddos use, please let me explain what's going on in the video below. The switch Avi is using has various recorded messages, and helps people who struggle with motor control to communicate. 

It's a little hard to hear at first, but each time Avi pushes the switch, she's communicating. Her teacher is then responding to whatever the switch is saying. Avi then pushes the switch to again communicate, and so forth. I am in love with how many times she attempts to hit the switch! 

She has only been in school for a very short period of time, and this video proves that putting her in was one of the very best decisions we have ever made for her. This 52 seconds is among the Top 3 bits of progress we've seen on our entire journey since the accident happened.

Isn't her teacher amazing? Her teacher is just amazing. I love him. 

Avi and I always lay on the floor and watch YouTube videos. We were doin' our thing a few days after Ian sent me this video. Wouldn't you know it, all of a sudden a little Miki finger reached up out of nowhere and repeatedly touched the screen!! I immediately downloaded her an app. of her very own. Sure enough, she made things happen a few times for me, and even for Dave a couple times when he got home! But not for Papa! Poor Papa!

I think our girl is movin' on up, 
to the east side,
to a deluxe apartment in the sky.

Our girl is movin' on up,
to the east side.
she's finally got a piece of the pie!

Sorry! It happens...I get carried away, but how can you not when you get something like The Jeffersons caught rattling around the head?!?

Anyway, I asked her teacher to be on the lookout for whichever switches, software, puzzles, potions, programs, apps, astronaut ships, whatever he thinks will work best for her, so I can buy them all upspecial needs parent = sucker and we can work with her here at home too : ) 

And this is only the beginning of the school I'm hoping this is just the start of greater things to come, but I know better than to get my hopes up.

I'll just take it day by day, and enjoy anything good that happens to float our way.

But for now,

Miki, you make this Mama proud.


And They Say Cats Have 9 Lives...

For those who have enquired....

Señor lives!!

I really thought this time was it, well I mean really it! Because I refrained from my usual, "oops I accidentally bumped your bowl while cleaning the counter...sorry Señor!" I went ahead and sprinkled some food in, thinking that would surely spark his fish fancy! But no, not at all! Finicky fish! Sheesh! He laid on his side, on the bottom forever! Way before I wrote the post, and way after.

He had me shaking in my non-existant boots.

But alas...his beauty, in all his blueness, finally decided to take a spin around his bowl.

And me, I was finally able to exhale.... 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Socks For The Homeless

We are blessed with one of the most amazing, and loving homeless shelters. They are called Loaves and Fishes and are located in Sacramento. My Uncle Roger once took a week off of work and volunteered with this organization. Yes, that's the kind of person he is. He said it was one of the most humbling weeks. My uncle is the reason I have become so connected with these people, they truly are a gift. 

Well right now they are running a sock drive, because if you are homeless - you walk a lot and it's essential that your feet stay clean and dry! 

If you happen to be local and want to help...

A holiday party is a great way to raise socks! 
You can charge everybody at least one new white, warm, sturdy pair, per person, as admission for entry!

Even if you're not having a party. 
Hijack one, or three! I wasn't having a Halloween party this year, but was going to two and knew of another. I asked all three parties if they could please charge socks for admission. They all agreed! Woo Hoo!! I'm going to collect them all up, and deliver them. Thank you party people!

Announce it on your blog
Like so : )

Send out an email to all your peeps
My friend Sara sent an email to her whole contact list, and is collecting tons of socks.

Go door to door
Ha ha...that was a joke. I mean you can, but that was meant to make you laugh!

Deliver the goods
Once the socks are raised, you can bring them to me, or deliver them to:
1351 North C Street, Sacramento, Ca 95811 by November 19th

No really, if you happen to not be local, and are as passionate about socks for the homeless as I am...I feel compelled to give an address here. I know you have your very own local homeless shelters and all, but just in case : )

I love these people so much, as you may remember...these are the ones we delivered all the Krispy Kreme donuts to on Christmas Eve as one of the very best parts of Aviana's Elves. 

So, if you'd like to send socks for me to hand deliver by November 14th...

Socks For the Homeless
c/o David Hodder
10308 Placer Ln. Ste. 100
Sacramento, Ca 95827

A Fighter for a Fighter

I think my fish might be dead. I really think so this time. Now I've said this before, maybe many times, but this time, I think Señor Fish Face has sadly passed away.

I have so many emotions attached to Señor, probably more than any one person should. But if I explain, maybe you'll see where my fish fixation comes from.

You may remember, I was out shopping for Aviana's 3rd birthday party decorations when the accident happened. So as it turns out, we took some of those decorations and had a very different celebration while still in the hospital.

Dave's brother Rob, one of my very favorite people on this earth, arrived at the party. He handed us a Chinese Fighting Fish and said, "a fighter for a fighter."

And there you have the very reason Señor means so much to me. For the past year, I have seriously thought he was dead so many times! I think with all that has happened to us in such a short period of time, I just might be a little shaken...down to my gills ; )  Just sometimes guys. I'm not a freak. Only when he is lying on the bottom of the bowl.

But seriously, I can't tell you how many times this conversation, or one like it, has happened in our house over this past year....

Jen: Dave! Señor is dead!!!!

Dave: He's not dead, he's sleeping.

Jen: No. Come here. He's dead this time, I can tell! He looks different.

Dave: Honey, how many times have we been through this?

Jen: I know, but this time is different. I'm going to shake him. (I used to shake instantly)

Dave: Don't. You always shake him out of his sleep and then feel guilty for waking him up.

Jen: I know, but I'm scared. (I shake the bowl and he swims around like who, what, where)

Jen: I feel SO baaaadddddd for waking him up!! He was sleeping!!

Dave: How many times are we going to go through this?

Jen: I know, but I was scared. Why does he have to sleep on his side like that?

Jen: Senor, why do you do that? You scare me baby. I'm sorry I woke you...again. Here's some food.

Dave is at work right now, and I'm scared to go over to the bowl. I resisted my normal urge to give him a little bump, as I always do feel so bad when I wake him from his fish face slumber. Who really ever wants to be woken up like that? And I mean really, how beautiful is it that a fish likes to take a mid morning nap too : ) I just wish he didn't look dead while doing it, but hey ~ I'm not a fish, and I don't know what it takes.

Señor is very old. We looked up the life expectancy of a fish of this sort, and he is a senior, and I don't mean a Señor. All I have to say is, he is a part of our family and I love him very much, and we will miss him when he's gone, but he will forever remain a fighter for a fighter.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Inspiration At Its Finest

My Take: 7 life lessons from a Holocaust survivor
By Caroline StoessingerSpecial to CNN

At age 108, Alice Herz-Sommers is the world's oldest survivor of the Holocaust. She was imprisoned at Theresienstadt, which was conceived by Hitler as a "model" concentration camp.
Herz-Sommers - Alice, as I know her - is a pianist. In between summer 1943 and the camp's liberation at the end of the war, she played more than 100 concerts at Theresienstadt. Most were solo recitals culled from memory from her extensive repertoire. She has survived for more than a century with a profound faith in humanity intact and a smile on her face.
As music is her kind of prayer, Alice still practices piano - Bach, Beethoven, Schubert – for three hours every day.
I got to know her in London, where she now lives, through mutual friends who are musicians, historians and Holocaust survivors. For Holocaust Remembrance Day, here are 7 lessons she has taught me:
1. Hatred only begets hatred
Alice recognizes that anyone, anywhere, and at any time can adopt hatred and, worse, can infect others with its venom. Hatred that may begin with one person, like a single pebble cast into a lake, can spread out incrementally to larger and larger groups, and even to entire nations.
"We are responsible for our actions and our words," she says. " And each of us must vigilantly guard against prejudice and hatred in our own minds and with the words that fall from our lips. No one is exempt. Hitler could not have come to power except in the climate of excessive hatred."
2. Love your work, no matter the situation
Reinhard Heydrich, Hitler's "hangman," and his underlings understood that adding musical and artistic events to Theresienstadt could be a huge publicity stunt, to prove to the outside world that all was OK for the Jews.
They ordered the prisoners to form a Freizeitgestaltung, or Free Time Committee, to organize concerts, lectures and other events. Crudely printed posters appeared to advertise the programs.
Prisoners had no money so tickets were free. So many musicians had been sent to Theresienstadt that for a time before the members were shipped to their deaths in Auschwitz, four symphony orchestras could play there simultaneously.
The artists took their performances just as seriously as if they were performing on the world stage. "As our situation became even more difficult, we tried even harder to reach for perfection, for the meaning in the music," Alice says. "Music was our way of remembering our inner selves, our values."
The Nazis failed to understand that the power of music to provide comfort and hope to the performers and their audiences was stronger than the terror of their Nazi masters. Every composition that
was written in Theresienstadt, every concert played there, became a moral victory against the enemy.
3. Perseverance
On Alice's third day in Theresienstadt, she was told to play a recital the following week. "But I need to practice," she responded.
The next morning, Alice found the room where she had been assigned the 9:00 – 10:00 practice slot. With no time to waste, she began to work on her Chopin etudes only to find that the pedal did not work and that several keys stuck repeatedly.
Refusing to be defeated, she quickly adapted to the piano's limitations and began to play with abandon, losing herself in the music. "At least I was making music and that always made me happy," she says.
Despite the conditions in the camp and the inadequate, broken-down, legless instruments provided for concerts, emotionally she may have given her finest interpretations of Beethoven's and Schubert's sonatas in Theresienstadt.
4. In routine there is hope
Despite the filth and hunger, Alice's routine life of working her obligatory factory job, performing, caring for her six-year-old son Rafi, and giving him and a few other children elementary piano lessons in spare moments helped her never to lose hope.
"We were not heroic," Alice says. "We improvised. We managed to keep doing, keep working as usual. To not practice was unthinkable."
5. If you have something spiritual, you don't need as much food
In the camp Alice learned what she could live without. Rather than grieving for what she did not have, she rejoiced in what she had. Alice knew that no one could rob her of the treasures of her mind. "I am richer than the world's richest person because I have music in my heart and mind," she says today.
While performing the prisoners could nearly forget their hunger and their surroundings. Besides the terror of finding their names on a deportation list for Auschwitz, the fear of dying of starvation, typhus, and other diseases had become a reality.
"Music was our food, our religion and our hope," she says. "Music was life. We did not, could not, would not give up."
6. Complaining does not help. It makes everyone feel bad.
Alice is anything but naïve and is acutely aware of the evil that has always been present in our world. "I know about the bad, but I look for the good," she says.
7. Faith is stronger than fear.
As she faces the last years of her life, Alice does not waste time with fears of death and worries about the unknown. "We come from and return to infinity," she says. "The soul
lives on without the body." Alice finds consolation in her spiritual theme song, "Urlicht," with its opening words "I come from God and I will return to God."
"Things are as they are supposed to be," she says. "I am still here, never too old so long as I breathe to wonder, to learn, and to teach."

Monday, October 8, 2012

Love Drunk

We were looking for some other pictures last week, and just so happened upon these beauties. I melted. They were from this same time, last year.

We were having fun, why'd you put me down?

Nope. I'm over you. 

Where's Mommy?


She looks all kinds of love drunk, doesn't she?

You coming back daddy?

Hi Mommy...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Work It Baby

Oh the places I go to keep myself in good, and working order : )


As you may know, I bake...a lot. Mostly pie, but if it has flour, sugar and butter, chances are...I'll bake it too! Latest baked good - last night - Nutella Banana Bread!

This includes our once a week Pie Night. Amy comes over and we have dinner together, Dave gets Aviana ready for bed, unless it's a night he plays football, then we do. And then, we read to Aviana and put her to bed. Pie Night is now called Pie Night, but it is made up of so many things, it's actually a catch all. It has even recently involved the de-weeviling of our entire kitchen. Yes, you heard me...we caught weevils from Whole Foods. Google that! 

But really, it usually involves Dave asking us, many times, when we might start our pies, as we sit twirling our hair and think about it as we watch Kip Moore videos on You Tube until midnight. And then, yes, we do end up in the kitchen making pie at around midnight...

But Pie Night is a life saver for all involved, we listen to music, we dance, we do our hair, sometimes our make up, we bake, we put our aprons on our heads, but we wouldn't want you to think we wear them to bake, as they are purely for more singing and dancing while using a whisk and spatula as the mic in front of the mirror. We watch videos, movie clips, SNL skits, and Bon Qui Qui. We laugh, we cry, we laugh until we cry, we laugh until we cry, until we pee our pants and then cry some more because we then have to clean up pee. As you can see, we travel in circles and act just like we did in 7th grade. It's a much needed night of the week, for so many reasons.


This is one of the best things for me, and I know it. So I guess I'm still a little mystified as to why Maggy's answer to my question of, "when was the last time I was here?" was, "well, you were thinking about making a pie." That was a year ago. I haven't been to counseling in a year? That is too long. I was doing that well that I didn't think I needed counseling? Even with what happened to Aviana in March? That's too much for one mind to handle on its own. Help is nice, and needed, to sort through such a heavy thing.


You are the 'lucky ones' that get the full gauntlet of this. I sit down, stare at the little, blinking cursor for one split second, and then let in flow. But if you don't know me in real life, then you don't know that I have it much more pulled together. It's not that I hide it, it's just that I don't have a tendency of letting my emotions or complaints drip all over the place like I do on here. Here is where I delve in. Here is the place I unlatch the lock, and access some of the deepest, darkest depths.

I have recently realized though, I have to be careful what I feed in. If I'm not continuously doing 'the work' then what is going to and through me, the emotions that are cycling, might not be as fresh as they can be. As I work on myself, the writing in turn, becomes better, the thoughts, the ideas, the concepts become more clear. The cyclical energy flowing to and through is pulsating, rather than regurgitated garbage.

Working On My Fitness!

And Uncle Roger is my witness! I told him I would go back to the gym, knowing he comes over to visit every Friday and would hold me accountable! That's a blessing and a curse all rolled into one!

All the way up until the accident, I had been a gym rat. I was going 5 days a week prior, and after...forget about it. It was all about the hospital and The Institute Program. But, that program kept us in really good shape! Since we have changed gears, and Avi is in school now, I knew it was definitely time to go back. She's only getting heavier, and with lifting, carrying and transferring her all day, I better start being more careful : ) It has felt mostly good to be back.

Now that this crazy summer sun is starting to go away, I am looking forward to getting back out into the best season of all...FALL!! I sure wish Avi had liked that backpack we got her because we will be taking them on walks again soon!


I am a downloading fool, literally. Along with writing, music saves me. I have an entire post written about music and the affects it has, but for now - all I have to say is, we listen to music from sun up, to sun down, and for the most part, things are always happy and upbeat in this household! But when I am alone, and something hits me for a moment, I escape in whatever it is that happens to be on at the time. I become whatever song is playing. For that needed timeframe, I let the song's lyrics carry me away. And then, I'm back, and I'm okay again. They are that powerful.


Some may not love Oprah, but I love me some Oprah! I record so many shows on the OWN Network including, Lifeclass, Super Soul Sunday, Master Class, and Breakthrough. Every time I watch, I can't get over how amazing, and how much there is to each of these shows. It is absolutely mind blowing. I don't ever use that phrase and am now, because it just is!

My DVR was literally stacked full with all the new season's episodes, and still is to a large extent. See, I just let things go....but I'm getting through. Even the small portion I have watched thus far has done so much good already though!


I put the books down again, and really shouldn't have. Reading takes me outside myself and into another world. It is vitally important for me to take the blinders off, and see outside my own narrow focus.  As seeing into another world helps me to explore around, gather so many useful tools, and then come back into my very own situation as more useful than I ever could have been on my own.

Every time I read, the very same thing eyes scan from right to left, and with each swipe of the page, and every bit of my being, I know full well the importance that lies within these pages. So then I am left wondering once again...why was it that I ever put these down? 

Some books I read time and again, and some I have just picked up for the first time and just began.  

The Power of Now
A New Earth
Be Here Now
The Book of Awakening
No Death, No Fear


The very act of giving has a way of filling me like no other. And when I say no other, I feel it, in a way, trumps every single one of the things I have written here today. So this is by far my favorite on here, I guess that's why I saved the best for last : )

When I say the word giving, I mean giving of anything, monetary, to a charity, a donation, a gift for family or a friend, but also of time, or of something whipped up in the kitchen, a card for no reason, or just love, like words in an email, or an off the wall, long rambling text about anything or nothing at know if you're a friend of've gotten your fair share of those...awwww, my gift to you, whether you like it, or not! The gift that keeps on giving.


  So those are the places I've been going recently. Where are the places you go? I'm always looking for more.

I've tried meditating so many times, and I plan on trying some more, but I think I need to lock Rainey out of med time...she knocks me off my chi...hee ; )

Monday, October 1, 2012

Soul Food

We all know, in order for your body to not only survive, but thrive, you must feed it appropriately. You must give yourself the nutritious bits and pieces of food required in order to function properly. If you want your system to serve you well, you must provide sufficient amounts of energy in order to accomplish what you want and need. Well, okay. Sounds simple, right?

Well, the same is true for your soul! And here's where I think it gets a little tricky. You must feed your soul in the very same, well thought out, perfectly planned way in which you strive to fuel your body. Easy as pie, right? Well...guess what, take it from me, a pie baker - pie maker...pie isn't so easy!! I'm thinking whoever coined that term never made a pie ; )

Here's a small snapshot of this soul sista! I know what works for me, and I had been doing/eating all the bits and pieces all along. But you know what? At about this time last year, I finally got better, better than I had ever been since the accident. As I got more comfortable, I consumed less of the soul food I so desperately needed. And what happened next was, my soul body was unknowingly becoming deficient.

As time passed on, as it does, I thought I was okay. I was still holding on tightly to certain things, so in my mind, I was okay. And for normal life, I probably was. But for my life, and for any influx...I have to take extra precautions. Oh hindsight, you sometimes suck!

I was still figuratively; placing pen to paper, and that alone soothes me like no other. Pie Night was in full commencement every week. Other baked goods were loving being disbursed many other nights a week. Music therapy was in full affect, as iTunes was of course still getting half my bank account. A good deal if I say so myself. I was still reading some of my soul fulfilling books, here and there. One by one though, each of my other very important pieces of food got shelved, and were actually gathering dust!

I should have learned my lesson back in March with what happened to Aviana with her failed liver biopsy, but I didn't. That was a tidal wave that more than rocked my boat, but I just kept on baking through it. I figured berries, bananas, batter, and bark could fix anything, right? I withstood the storm, on my own. I did not seek counseling, I did not really pick up any more pieces of what works for me, I just kept on through. If ever I needed these broken pieces to be repaired, it was then. But I kept on, on my merry way.

Then, in no time, I was doing better than ever again. But I knew another wave was coming, and it was a big one, the biggest of the year for me, and that was Aviana's birthday. I completely prepared myself for it. I planned a trip away with Sophie, months in advance for the weekend before, just in case. I did better than ever this year, but still... with Gary, and some other things...August, and so forth, have jolted me.

I have come to the realization that what I have previously used to sustain myself when I am doing really well wasn't enough to feed me through the rough waters that will always make their way through. When the waves hit, I will always need to have an extra food supply on board, to not only survive, but also thrive. Because of my total disregard for basic nutrition, I have worn thin, depleted myself. I haphazardly scattered my pieces about over the past year and has taken me awhile to even gain the strength and energy to gather together the food I so desperately need.

Avi is, as you know, so when anything else happens to rock this reignites an already burning flame. In my previous life, the things that go bump would normally burn as a fire, but in this new life...I have to now know that the flame can very quickly turn into a bonfire. I must be prepared. I can never relax as I did. I have to always put in the work, even and especially, if I am at my best.

I have finally learned my lesson, and am feeling so much better. I know what works for me and have been putting in the time, energy and effort. My mind, body and spirit are much more at ease and I will never again be careless with my soul!