March 19, When We Made Crepes

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We’ve had a busy week in the kitchen and I’m trying to keep up with photos because it’s important – and it’s fun. However, I’m finding it difficult sometimes to teach, cook and photograph but when we have a guest, I’m more free to wander – and taste.

Here’s a couple of fun photos from the day the class made crepes. Flipping crepes is a skill, and the class had a lot of fun trying!

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crepes6Bon appetit!

A Blue, Yellow & Burlap Day

I know it’s St. Patrick’s Day but today, I’m sharing something much more special. Today is a blue, yellow & burlap day.

I was honored to have been asked to photograph the wedding shower for the daughter of my good friend Cathy. Cathy and I have been friends and co-workers for a long time and her daughter, Sarah, is just precious.

She’s getting married!

The theme is rustic blue and yellow. So perfect. So very perfect.

I’m posting some photos as I get them edited. It’s going to be a long process but I’ll share some as I go along. Such a special time!

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sarah8BTW, if you have notice by now, their last name begin with the letter M.

So many prayers for a truly blessed life together!

A Universal Ubiquitous Question

When I get to heaven, the question I want to ask is this, “Why God, did you make life to so complicated?” By then I won’t care – but now I care. I care very much.

The girl was on spring break last week and well – I was so busy that I really didn’t see her at all, so yeah, no photos. She did however volunteer for the Culinary School because she had no choice. I was in desperate need and she wasn’t doing anything else – so it was serendipity. It was great because she and I are in perfect synchronicity, i.e., I can text her 12 times when she’ll at the grocery store and she ask me 12 questions about what I really wanted – and it would be alright whereas a personal assistant may find that frustrating.

And there are days when I think I need a personal assistant if only to help me find my shoes.

But she was great – she performed outstandingly.

Then there’s the boy.

The boy’s spring break started last Friday but in true boy form, he wanted to stay a couple more days because his school’s hockey team is number one in the nation AND playoffs started this weekend so he wanted to stay and to go. His dad then decided that he wanted to go to the games too – and so he took another trip to the tundra this weekend, the second in as many weeks.

I was glad – it’s not a bad thing that the boy and his dad are able to hang out. The husband was able to do some maintenance on the boy’s car because the boy was apparently too busy to do it himself. It was alright with the husband because he enjoys doing things like that – he’s going to make a great retired piddler.

springbreak9In the three days the husband was there, they went to two hockey games. The Sioux won both games btw, super!

springbreak5They went bike riding. Apparently spring has spring in North Dakota. Everyone is in shorts and a muscle shirt.

springbreak1Everyone but the husband – but he’s from Maryland.

springbreak7I got this photo Sunday morning. They were on their way home – but it’s never that simple is it?

springbreak4They were on the plane to Minnesota from Grand Forks! Yes! First leg is done.

springbreak6When they got to Minneapolis they found that they couldn’t get a flight out. Remember – they fly stand by. Thus began a thrash of conversation and texts. The husband had to get home because he has to go to work. The boy said he would stay in Minneapolis with friends, go to a concert Tuesday night and be home Wednesday. I had no idea how this plan was hatched in about ten minutes – but I had a lot of questions. A lot of questions.

Some of those questions were these.

“Who are you staying with?”
“How are you going to get there?”
“What concert?”
“TELL ME YOUR PLANS!”
springbreak2After a while they sent me this photo. It’s Kyle’s dad who apparently showed up at the airport to bring the boy back to his house. I just saw him a couple of weeks ago. I can kiss him. These are the nicest people in the entire world.

springbreak8Hi Mr. Ron.

Things seem to always work out – and I should know this by now but it doesn’t stop me from having constant anxiety about the boy – and about the girl. When does this stop? Anyone?

The girl returned to school today. Her travel plans are always easy – she drives. However, it’s a three hour trip and I chew my knuckles until she gets arrives wherever she is going.

So – a little simplicity this week would be a really, really wonderful thing – – -

March 14, Early

mar14I haven’t taken many photos like this in the last couple of weeks. Instead, I’ve been taking photos like the below. march14b

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march14cI’ve been teaching a session of the Culinary School and I’m having a great time! So most of days are in the kitchen, and most of my creative brain bytes are centered around food. It can’t get any better right?

I have four more weeks to go – and I’ll be posting a lot of food photos to make you hungry!

The Amazing Winter Classic

DSC_9514I start wondering what I’m going to do for Christmas presents in August. I really do. Starting this process in August makes September, October, November and December a whole lot less stressful.

What? You do this too? Glad I’m not the only one.

DSC_9538Hockey’s famed Winter Classic was being held in Washington DC this year and since the family is such hockey fans, I decided that’s what I would do as gifts for all of us. I’ve been told that gifts of life experience is better than a say – a cheap toy that will break easily or an ugly Christmas sweater.

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I had no idea what it took to get tickets. I almost had to sell the boy to get them but I was successful and the boy is safe and sound.

DSC_0255The Washington Capitals were to play the Chicago Blackhawks at National Stadium, where the Nationals baseball team play. It was to be outside and to make the experience really authentic, snow was trucked in from somewhere (probably Boston – the weather has not been kind of those poor Bostonians this year). An outdoor rink was set up outside and hockey was going to get back to its roots.

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Look at this guy’s face. Ow.

I didn’t know – I really didn’t – what a big deal this game was. It’s the hockey version of the Super Bowl. The pageantry was amazing, the atmosphere was electric and I was truly amazed. I found myself grateful that I didn’t just ugly Christmas sweaters for the family. This was much more fun.

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This lady was a part of Billy Idol’s entourage. She looked so chic in her boots and gray shawl and everyone else was dressed in red white and blue stripes.

DSC_9527The rest of us was dressed to the nines in hockey gear. I of course, am practical and since I didn’t have a warm coat with Capitals logos all over it, I put on my purple coat. I was literally the only one without a hockey jersey on in the entire stadium of 40,000 people. Oh well.

The weather by the way was perfect. It was 44 degrees and everyone was warm and excited.

DSC_9521Every seat had a Winter Classic cushion. It was really neat and in an event where hot chocolate is $10, I was glad to have something for free.

DSC_9516I had to sweet talk a stadium guard to let me close to the announcers so I can take a photo. These are the hockey equivalent of Bob Costas, Al Michaels and Howard Cosell.

DSC_0196They’re not household names but they are stars in their own right. Everyone, but me, seems to know who they are.

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The Washington Capitals were dressed like Where’s Waldo. Their uniforms were . . . well, you decide.

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They are cute in a way though – the socks . . .I guess if you’re a big hockey player you can wear anything you want right?

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There’s the Great 8, Alex Ovechkin and somehow he managed to pull off the striped socks.

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Billy Idol was the entertainment during the first intermission. I’m sure he hasn’t played a crowd this big in 25 years. I recognize his shocking white hair anywhere. There something about old rockers –

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He’s almost 160 years old I think –

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Everyone remember Rebel Yell right? I was singing along and half way through the song, I wondered what the words really were. I stopped singing thinking that I was singing questionable lyrics and didn’t know it for almost 30 years. DSC_0146

Then Billy Idol broke out into White Wedding and I really started to wonder about the lyrics.

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But he was a fantastic entertainment. Gavin DeGraw sang during the second intermission and you know what? I missed the entire thing and half of the second period because I was in line for a $20 hamburger.

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But I didn’t miss this! It was the Army Choir and they made my heart swell with patriotism.

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They were fantastic.

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I was so enthralled by the pageantry and the entertainment that I almost forgot about the game.

DSC_0239The Capitals won! It was an exciting finish.

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I love it when they give each other bro hugs. It shows so much teamwork and the triumph of victory!

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So much love – that’s what hockey is all about right? Right?

I had to finally post this because it truly was an exciting event for the family.

Thanks for reading. Is it too early to wonder what to get for Christmas this year?

Ten Years Ago

Back in 2008 I wrote about a young family who lost their son to a tragic accident. That death happened ten years ago and Matt was a few days short of fourteen years old when he died. It happened about this time of year and every year in the spring, I think of his family.

A few weeks ago Debbie & Steve, Matt’s parents, gave their testimony. I listened to their story from my seat and I died a thousand deaths for them while at the same time was inspired once again by their faith and their strength. The tears wouldn’t stop flowing.

Last night I saw a photo of  Matt that his mother posted on social media and I stopped and stared at the smiling little boy so much like my own. I’m so moved by it that today, in the midst of everything going on around me, I’m reposting what I wrote back in 2008. Please read again – and then listen to their story.

This is God.


Repost from September 28, 2008

Four years ago, a boy named Matt Bertolaccini died tragically. He was accidentally hanged on some play equipment, in his backyard. His mother found him.

Matt’s Place is a foundation that is rooted in that tragedy.

I see his mother, Debbie, all the time. Every time I see her, my heart does a little lurch. It’s not because I feel sorry for her, because she wouldn’t want that. It’s because as a mother; I can imagine what it would be like to have a child die. It’s a fear that every mother lives with. It’s why we startle in the middle of the night and place our hand on our baby’s belly, to make sure they are still breathing. It’s why we have a rush of adrenaline when our five year old wanders off at the grocery store. And it’s why we turn the car keys over to our teenager and hold our breath until we hear the the front door open. And it’s why we live with the thought that we shouldn’t outlive our children, no matter what.

I’m glad the boy and the girl aren’t driving yet.

The boy turned fourteeen this year and I remember the last time I was at a fourteen year old’s birthday; it was at Matt’s own funeral. I remember looking at Matt’s lifeless body in the casket, on his 14th birthday, and his mother over my shoulder, telling me, “He’s having a heck of a birthday party right now in heaven.”

I don’t know why Matt died, but this year, Matt’s Place will be offering after school programs for kids. Kids can go there after school and have a place where they can connect to their community and be safe and be themselves. A mother’s heartache can be channeled into good for her community, a life is taken but perhaps another child can be saved.

If this is not proof that good comes from somewhere, I don’t know what is. If this is not proof that there is purpose for all in this life, I don’t know what is. Why else would Matt have lived and died? Why else are we all here? Fourteen years can be a lifetime to another person.

Debbie knows that God took Matt for a reason but it doesn’t stop her from wanting him here, on earth, in the flesh, where she can hug him – hard. I can’t blame her. Which is why I look at her and am inspired by her smile, her grace, her joie-de-vie, even when I know  the depth of her sadness.

This is how I know.


Matt’s Place is no longer an active program for our church but in its place is Journey, a ministry for youth where both Matt’s parents channel their abundant energy and love for youth and for their community. Please take a moment and listen to their story and be inspired.

March 8, Sundays

march10I used to love Sundays because it was the one day that I felt like I was able to sleep in. Interesting words, sleep in. That was my worship, that was my rest.

When we first began going to church, it frankly was a chore on most weekends. We would wake up sleepy and grouchy kids, rustle them out of bed quickly and at the same time, trying not to rush. They were for most weekends, uncooperative and argumentative, with each other and with us. Sometime we got to church frazzled, then found ourselves sitting through the sermon distracted and bored.

Somewhere along the way, these things changed. I now love Sundays for the purpose they were meant for – worship, and in that worship, I found rest. Once I let the Holy Spirit take hold, our very nature changed. Now we find church necessary for our soul and there is comfort in the unity of worshiping with other believers.

Sundays will never be the same.