Lessons Learned

flowersThree weeks ago I had surgery to reattach an Achilles tendon.  I’d been told it would be a slow, somewhat painful recovery, and I tried to prepare myself without knowing what that really meant.  What I have learned is that it would be extremely difficult to go it without help, and I’m sure that applies to many situations that life sends our way.

The hubby has been fantastic leaving me alone only long enough to go work out or pick up what is needed from the grocery.  He has helped me do all the hard things like get to the shower.  He has brought me every meal which I can tell you he never expected to do.  He has kept all these electronic things that we depend on charged.  Most of all he has kept my spirits up, and that is a really big deal when you are helpless.

Always I’ve appreciated friends, but never more than now.  They have been more than generous with food and time and little happys to make me smile.  As a result, friendship has a whole new meaning and I am keenly aware that I need to work at being a better friend.

Quite honestly, I was very unprepared for being unable to do for myself so if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, here are some tips.

Be prepared.  Find out what equipment will be helpful at home.  There are all kinds of apparatus that make every day things easier.

Be in shape.  Laying around does nothing to strenghten your body so the time you have spent exercising will pay off.

Think about what you’d like to have handy….phone, books, computer, toiletries….and have them in place.

Be grateful.  No matter what the situation, find something to be grateful for each day.  It makes a big difference.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  The simplest things may be more of a challenge than you think and a helping hand is a gift.

Don’t try to tough it out.  There are days when it’s OK to admit that the going is hard and maybe shed a tear or two.

Finally, mind the doctor.  The goal is recovery and that will happen a lot quicker if you don’t change the rules.

I’m hoping all of you are well, but if you are going through a hard time, let me know and I will at least say a prayer for you.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

A Winter Fix

Rockport Harbor/winterFor most of the 14 years we’ve had our house in Maine, I’ve come up for a few days by myself in winter.    A few days are enough as it is cold and night comes early.

dirt road winterI love when it snows turning Rockport into a charming winter wonderland.

IMG_5894This year, thanks to warmer temperatures, snow isn’t lasting long.  It melts or is washed away by rain.  What is revealed are the browns of grass and leafless shrubs that wait patiently for spring.

Maine houseNo matter the weather, what I like about being here alone is the uninterrupted time spent thinking my own thoughts, reading in a favorite chair or binging on Netflix.  There  may even be a day or two when I don’t bother to get out of my pajamas!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt is a time to enjoy a girls’ night filled with giggles and stories that make us feel like teenagers.  And, yes, sometimes we really do gather in our PJs.

winterMaine is my place to be still, to breathe deeply and laugh a lot. My hope is for all of us to have that kind of special place no matter where or what the season.

i so appreciate your visit and especially the comments you leave behind 

Food: A Gift

If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him…the people who give you their food give you their heart.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere is something very special about sharing food with friends, and I am so appreciative of those who invite us to their table.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI enjoy a comfortable setting that invites with its simplicity,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAone that is warmed by flowers, perhaps from the garden, and candlelight.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI appreciate the effort that goes into the food preparation, but no matter what is served what I enjoy most is the time with friends, the laughter and stories we share.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe will gather round this table again though in a different house.  The space may be different, but one thing that won’t change are the friends who give with their heart.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Tablescape Thursday 

Taste of France

Without question, my favorite evenings out are those spent with friends catching up, sharing stories, laughing. A real bonus is when the time together includes enjoying a meal at home where it is quieter, the atmosphere is more relaxed and there’s no rush to get up so someone else can have your spot.

tablescapeThis evening at a friend’s was especially wonderful. It was delightful to be outside beneath clear sky and with a breeze from the bay enjoying a lovely sampling of French cheeses and tapenade. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe hors d’oeuvres were not the only clue to the French inspired dinner that was to come.

tablescape

Any meal served on this delightful table was going to be a real treat.

tablescape

I loved the layers of cloth,

flowersand the flowers, hinting of the coming of fall.  They were perfect complements to the colors and textures on the table.

tablescapeThe place settings were a potpourri of color and pattern, each a reminder of the warmth of Provence.  The mercury glass candle holders added a touch of sparkle

tablescapethat when lit cast a soft glow over the table.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI couldn’t resist sneaking a peek in the kitchen to find out what were the tantalizing aromas.  Bouillabaisse was bubbling on the stove, and it was just the kind I like, full of shrimp and shellfish.

cevicheThat by itself would have been enough to satisfy any of us, but the meal began with a delightful mango/shrimp ceviche.  This was a new combination for me, and I loved the subtle sweetness of the mango.  That is a recipe I’m going to have to get to share with you.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe bouillabaisse was just as good as it smelled, and for a bit conversation around the table stopped, and all you could hear were moans of pleasure, a sure sign of a successful meal.

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Needless to say, our hosts got rave reviews for their culinary skills and for the gift of a very special evening that included having to come in our best interpretation of French attire.  Would you believe the hubby, he who grumbles about anything having to do with costume, won prize for the best?  Go figure!

Tell me, what is your favorite way to spend time with friends?

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Tablescape Thursday

Share Your Cup Thursday

Show and Tell Friday

Anything Blue Friday

Birthday Thoughts

Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!

Dr. Seuss

Linda  042Today is my birthday, and I am me with a head filled with thoughts and memories.  It always surprises me when someone talks about liking birthdays and celebrating them for days on end.  That has never been the case for me.  In fact, I don’t recall many birthdays that were very much different from any other day.

As a kid, there was one birthday party when I was 10.  It was a small gathering of school friends, and I remember every face in the group and most of the presents I received.   I still have a couple of them, and they are special treasures.   I’m thinking that was also the only time I had a birthday cake which is OK because I’m not a big cake fan. 

Turning 16, 18, 21……Those birthdays are barely blips on my screen of life.  I was thrilled  to get my driver’s license at 16, but 18 and 21 coincided with returning to college away from anyone who might remember or know it was my birthday.  With no one making the day special, it didn’t seem so to me either.

During the early years of marriage, the hubby would acknowledge my birthday with a  a roughly drawn sketch of a rose with the message to multiply by 12!  Those were the best bouquets ever as well as the only ones we could afford.  

birthdayLater, there were children.  Thanks to their youthful enthusiasm, wet kisses and hand made cards, birthdays became a bit more meaningful.

The most memorable birthday may well be my 40th.  The hubby and I were scheduled to have a nice dinner at one of Houston’s better restaurants with another couple.  We were all dressed up, but instead of arriving at the scheduled place, our friends delivered me to a crawfish and beer joint where excited voices yelled SURPRISE.  What a surprise it was, even to the hubby.  There I was in the midst of jeans and boots in my very cute ruffled red cocktail dress having the time of my life.  We finished the evening by going to a bar-b-que joint where we danced  the Texas two step to the strains of a county/western band.  That was quite a night and one of the few times in my life I have been caught totally unaware.

Ten years later, I wasn’t too excited about being 50 and I threatened anyone who suggested doing something special for my birthday.  On the day, no one mentioned birthday and I went with friends to an outlet mall about 2 hours from Houston.  When we returned that evening, the house was crowded with people, all of whom were there having a good time and celebrating an unbirthday.  No one wished me a happy anything, and the hubby got high marks for throwing this party!

Since then birthdays come and go with each one reminding me that I have less time in front of me than behind.  Seldom am I with family other than the hubby, but birthdays are made special by warm wishes and many kindnesses from treasured friends who make each one a held tight memory.  For that I am grateful as it makes the slate seem less empty.

Well, these are my thoughts on my birth day, and I’m curious about yours.  How do you celebrate?  Does the celebration last a week, a year?  What makes it special?

i so appreciate your visit and the thoughts you leave behind

Serendipity

When my blog friend Cuisine Kathleen issued a challenge to create an end of summer table, I thought I can’t do this.  Summer comes late to Maine and leaves early, and I want to hold on to its sunlight and bright colors as long as possible.

Camden HarborThen serendipity stepped in as the hosts for our August gourmet gathering chose to take advantage of summer’s fleeing moments by having our dinner outside. Nothing could have been more perfect than overlooking beautiful Camden Harbor and the Camden Hills at twilight.

Maine gourmetEverything about the evening was just right from the simple table to the lobster that was on the menu.

Maine gourmetSee the rocks on the table?  They are for cracking the lobster claws.  

Maine gourmetOther crackers were available, but you’ve got to have some real muscle power to crack those claws when the lobster is hard shell.

Maine gourmetAdding a touch of late summer were the hydrangeas which are just beginning to bloom and will last through the fall, turning pink as the season changes.

Maine gourmetAfter an enjoyable hour catching up on all our summer activities, dinner was served.  This, my friends, is a 2 pound lobster, baked and stuffed with a mixture of clams, crab, shrimp and scallops.  Talk about a great way to bid farewell to summer!

Camden HarborAs evening fell, and we were surrounded by the beauty that is Maine, we all expressed our gratitude for shared friendship and for being in a place we so love.  I am a very lucky girl and very grateful to the friend who made it possible for me to share in Cuisine Kathleen’s challenge!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Let’s Dish

Tablescape Thursday

Friendship: A Gift

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.

Albert Schweitzer

Linda_  044Usually on Thursdays, tablescapes and/or food are subject for my post.  Today, however, I’m thinking about friends and the people who come into life at just the right moment.

For whatever reason this week, I’ve not felt my usual chipper self.  No reason, just a little blue and believe me when I tell you there’s seldom reason for me to feel down.   Still, there are days when a smile is hard to come by and the heart feels a little heavy.  It’s times such as these when often the unexpected occurs and rekindles my inner spirit.

This morning, for example, the first email I read was from a long time friend whose joyful spirit is itself a gift.  Today, for whatever reason, she sent a message filled with kind words of appreciation, the kind that cause tears to flow and which I did nothing to earn.  How did she know that on this day her thoughtful kindness would mean so much?

Later, a woman who is a casual acquaintance I’ve not seen for years pulled into my driveway.  I happened to be getting out of my car and turned to see who was in the unfamiliar vehicle.  What a surprise to see her face!  She hadn’t stopped to visit but to snap a photo of the beautiful azaleas blooming along the side yard.  She explained the coincidence by saying that God must have brought her to that spot at that moment so that we might reconnect and be reminded of the value of people who pass through our lives.

Is there a greater gift than unsolicited expressions of friendship?  Certainly, they lifted my spirit and reminded me that I need often to offer the same.  Maybe those expressions will make a difference in someone else’s day.

Today I will start by telling each one of you who take the time to muddle through my musings how very grateful I am.  Many of you regularly brighten my day with your posts or your visits here.  Thank you.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind