Thursday, March 29, 2007

Tear Soup: A book about grief

Here it is. What you've all been waiting for (besides that Taco Soup recipe). (You might want to grab a tissue.)

Tear Soup is a story of a woman named Grandy who faced a loss by setting out to make her own tear soup. Most people these days went straight for "soup in a can" but Grandy had tasted someone else's tear soup after a great loss and decided that quicker wasn't always better.

She new she needed a large pot. One that had room for all the memories, all the misgivings, all the feelings and all the tears needed to stew in the pot over time. She put her apron on because she new it would get messy. People feel misunderstood, feelings get hurt and wrong assumptions are made all over the place. The hard thing is grief always takes longer to cook than anyone wants it to.

First Grandy would cry, then sob, then sometimes weep quietly. Even some wailing if no one was around. Unfortunately Grandy new that she would have to make most of the soup alone. Most people just wouldn't be comfortable with how many tears the recipe called for this time. She wold just look into her pot of memories knowing she would repeat this task many times during the next few months.

She made many trips to the pot to stir in precious memories and not so precious ones until, eventually, she ran out of things to add. There were no words to describe her pain. She would look out the window and see the world moving on around her. So many would try to comfort her with different things but all she needed was a hug. Sometimes she would have folks hurry past pretending not to notice she had tear soup brewing. Most could only handle a little sample of her tear soup. The giant bowls, where she could repeatedly share her sadness, were left for a few willing friends.

Grandy did find some comforting things. There was a friend that was willing to stay around through it all and just listen. Sometimes she added some comfort foods to her pot just to get past the lump in her throat.

Even thought Grandy was mad at God, she trusted God. sometimes she would yell at him and ask questions like "why?" but she kept reminding herself to be thankful for all her emotions.

Grandy and her husband did not make their soup the same way. Grandy thought his should be a little sweeter but he disagreed. He often ate his soup alone.

Some were impatient about Grandy finishing her soup. Some of Grandy's friends had not tended to their pots of soup and they boiled over and scorched. It took them a long time to clean up their messes and start over and some of their houses still smell a little like burnt soup.

Sometimes Grandy would take a break from her soup making. She found new friends who were making their own pot and they became a comfort to Grandy. One of the hardest parts was deciding that she might be able to eat something other than tear soup all the time. Eventually the hardest part of making tear soup ended and she was able to stick it in the freezer and pull it out from time to time to have a little taste.

Grandy learned that, just like soup, grief changes the longer it simmers and the more things you put into it. She also learned that there is something down deep within all of us ready to help us survive the things we think we can't survive.

This book has even more good morsels in it that can only come from reading it. You can find it on Amazon but it is a little expensive... It gave me so much insight into the grief process that I am going through and so many people around me. I am grateful for my parents who gave us this book. It's always good to feel loved and thought about!

Tear Soup is written by Pat Schwiebert and Chuck DeKlyen

Friday, March 23, 2007

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Single Tear

Let me start by saying I've noticed that I am a bit more emotional at the moment but this evening my children brought forth deep emotions in me at the dinner table.

We visited the Langfords this weekend and got to see baby Noah. He is adorable and looks like his big brother. When I think of the Langfords, I almost immediately think of Taco Soup! So yesterday I was determined to make Taco soup even though it's not as fun for me to make good dinners when Ben isn't home.

I don't give my children meal options. If they want their stomachs filled they will have to fill it with whatever I choose to make! Guess what they got last night! We always hear the same questions. "Are there onions in this?" "Are there tomatoes in this?" "What's the green stuff?" And there's more... So, Aiden says,"Are there tomatoes in this?" I say, "Nope!" (There are!) They say,"This looks like a tomato." I say,"It's called Rotel." Emma says,"It 's a kind of vegetable, Aiden." Sounds good to me!

So we put cheese on top and we stir in some sour cream and smash chips over it and I say,"Eat up!" With no complaining, they take their first bite which is an accomplishment in itself! They take more bites. Aiden, my slow and lazy eater, takes a bite after bite after bite. And in between bites he's saying, "Who made this?" (They ask that every meal.) and "This is so good!" and "Mom, I love this!" and "Mom, you should make this for every meal!" and you know what? I was so overwhelmed by there appreciation that I cried. Tears welled up in my eyes and a single tear came down my cheek. It was touching... Maybe if you come over, I'll make you some Taco Soup, too!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A treasury of sayings...

Get ready folks. This is great material! Kids say the funniest, cutest and most random things. This first bit is what he wanted to write to his teacher who moved away last week.
"I love you. Please have a good day moving. And I'll send you a love card. And I hope you like our present we have for you and I hope you'll love me, too. Love, Aiden"

The next series of quotes is within a ten minute time frame two nights ago. My children were sitting at the table having homemade choc. chip cookies and milk. Izzy had water. Aiden and Emma had been dipping their cookies and eating them when Aiden appears overwhelmed and says,"I gotta take a drink! I get teared out! It means I need to eat lunch..."

Random but it's so true I wrote it down to preserve it!

The next begins with Izzy.
Izzy:Mom, take my lid off. I want to dip my cookie, too!
Aiden:You can't dip your cookie in water, Izzy. It will melt!
Izzy:It will melt in your milk, too!
Aiden:See, Izzy, the milk gets it's power from the chocolate chip and the cookie...
Emma:It's nice that you think that, Aiden, but it's not really true. That was neat, but it's not true...

Then we head directly to the bathroom to brush teeth before bed and I catch Aiden trying to get a drink in the bathroom with his hands. He does not need one more thing to drink before bedtime! So I say,"Son! You don't need more to drink!"
And he yells,"It helps me to concentrate!"

I don't believe I can sum life up any better than that...
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Sunday, March 04, 2007

What to eat, what to eat...

So, my family and I have started trying to eat healthier. A lot healthier than I've ever tried to eat! This info is just a snipit of the vast amount of information I have ascertained to this point. We call it Traffic Light Eating which is taken from a book called Eat Healthy Feel Great by Dr. William Sears. These are easy guidelines to help our kids know what kinds of food help our body and what kinds don't!

Green-Light Foods are as follows:
Fruits and vegetables
vegetable oils(olive and flax)
nuts and seeds
whole grains and sprouted grains
fish or meat and poultry(no nitrates)
homemade soups
soy products, tofu(Non-GMO)
eggs (cage-free/no hormones)
organic dairy products
healthy treats(not hydrogenated)
*These foods are okay any time.

Yellow-Light Foods are okay to eat on occasion. They are as follows:
(*Without harmful additives!)
*pies and cakes
*white bread
*cookies, pastries
*frozen yogurt
*fruit drinks
*canned soups
fast foods(some!)

Red-Light Foods have no nutritional value and are not good for your health. Take heed:
hot dogs(most)
nitrate-containing meats and cold cuts
packaged foods w/ hydrogenated oils
pre-packaged foods(lunchables)
punches and drinks with added colorings
fast foods fried in hydrogenated oils
cotton candy
crushed ice drinks and diet sodas

If you can hang on just a bit longer I have some generic guidelines for choosing good foods.
Read labels. If you can't actually purchase some of the things in that ingredient list, don't buy it.
If you can make it, don't buy it.
Smart words:whole wheat/grains, unrefined, no hormones, organic, free range, residue free, and the American Heart Association, Smart Choices and Olympic Labels
Low fat usually means more sugar.
Think nutrient rich, not calorie dense.
Cokes, sugar, and processed foods need to be a "treat" not a habit.
Stay away from enriched flour. All the nutritional value has been stripped.
Stay away from partially hydrogenated oils or shortening, otherwise known as transfats.
The less processing, the better for you.
White flour, white sugar have been processed and bleached to become white.
Use real maple syrup and unsweetened honey instead of processed alternatives.
Instead of fruits and vegetables loaded and covered with chemicals and additives look for organic fruits and vegetables

You can find organic, whole grain, and transfat free foods at Walmart and other regular grocery stores. I could go on and on. Sorry it's so freaking long but hopefully it didn't take too long to read.

Did you know that cancer feeds on sugar? We don't know why everyone's getting it but we can eat differently to slow down what seems inevitable...

Thursday, March 01, 2007

18 to 36 months

So, I have to admit that there is an age that is my favorite age. Not a favorite age for me personally but in my children and others'. It's from about18 months to about 3 yrs old. It's during that time that they're learning so much verbally and they end up saying the cutest, most unexpected things and I just want to eat them up.

It's all about to end. In one month my 2 yr old turns three. Don't get me wrong, all of my children are very cute and they still say cute things but it's during that particular time that they learn all those words that at the age of 7 they still say wrong. Emma still says "bemember" and Aiden still says "renember" and it's all from being 2 yrs old. I love hearing Izzy's scratchy little voice say, "Yer da best, mom!" It was at two that Emma still said, "I wanna fatch(watch) a mooee(movie)." She also said,"Mommy, fwah" all the time and it took me forever to realize that it meant, "Mommy, look" or "Mommy, watch"... It was also at two that Aiden did his well known "funny man" which means he holds his hands out, fingers spread, teeth showing and shakes, on purpose. He would do it on command. He also loved food and even though he really wanted candy he found that grandma would be more inclined to deliver if he simply asked for a snack... "Just one," he'd say. How can you resist that? Just one, that's all! Then it transformed to, "Just two." One was definitely not enough! It's at that age that they say, "I wanna hold you." They don't really want to hold ME, I'm sure! It's also at the age of two that they like watching the same movie over and over and over for an entire month! (Or at least an entire week!)

Let's take Ella Metcalf as an example. At two it was, and maybe still is, the most meaningful thoughtful and caring thing to have one's tears wiped away. Whenever she was balling she would beg for a tissue to wipe away her tears. And to show how important it was to her, when Izzy would cry, Ella would run to the bathroom and come back with a tissue and wipe her tears. Isn't that what anyone would do? It was at that cute age that she called me "Gin" and Izzy's name went from "Eesee" to "Eesabeyel"(There's a Texan accent in there). It was also the same age that half way into watching a movie with the Metcalfs someone would notice that Ella was sitting quietly at the end of the hallway. She needed not make a peep, knowing she was still awake was sufficient for her.

Ya know, it's at two that they decide what they want to be when they grow up. They're filled with aspirations of the future. I remember when Aiden said he wanted to be a mermaid and a fire truck. And just last month Izzy decided that she wanted to be a snowman when she grew up.

I know so much lies ahead, but oh, what a time we had. Now we move on to the days of homework and bike rides and sleep overs. We work on saying "something" instead of "sumping." And they realize, "Maybe I don't want to be a snowman when I grow up."