Tuesday, May 9, 2017

One More

Today is my mother’s birthday, she turns 72. She doesn’t know what year it is, she cannot speak, she cannot move on her own or feed herself. Yet her heart is beating, just like it has been for the past 72 years. All I wish for on her birthday is one more day, one more hour, one more minute with her before this disease stole her from me. One more embrace in her warm arms, one more visit with treats for her grand babies and one for her baby girl. One more laugh; that loud, boisterous, laugh. One more drive with her flossing her teeth at the stop light-which I swore I would never do-I do! One more flower planted randomly in my yard, one more scolding, one more cry. One more sign that she knows who I am and how much she loves me. One more hand in mine. This is what haunts me every day and every day I wake up and face the day without her physically interacting in my life.  And on this day, May 9th, your favorite day of the year, I wish for you mom, no pain, no fear, just peace. Selfishly for me, I wish you were able to look me in my eyes and say my name one more time, the way you would every day of my life. Happy Birthday Mom.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

This Guy

There is a guy I know that has been there since the day I was born. He actually was waiting for me in the waiting room, hoping perhaps I was going to be the son he always wanted. When he first saw me he did actually think I was a boy, but when he looked closely to this chunky little baby with a lot of hair, he saw a baby girl who he loved for the next 39 years. Every morning I would wake up to this guy singing the Lord's praises and eating breakfast with him. He would always praise me throughout my days, how beautiful I was, how smart, and how I was worth more than gold! I would be constantly reminded of just how valuable I was. That there was no one like me, that I was worth a million bucks, and that no blondie was cuter then his brown-eyed girl. He would take us to school everyday and would honk and embarrass us all the way down the street! Sissy and I would be so embarrassed of this guy honking his car horn and waving bye...ugh how lucky we were. This guy, always following us, always providing us with books and educational quotes of life long learners and get your degree, it's the most powerful thing you can do as a woman in this day and age. He was always trying to teach us the value of a dollar and how to save it-but we always liked the value of spending it! There were moments in my adult life that I wished I was home again, a little girl, being taken care of by this guy. Life got hard, but he always fixed it! He fixed it everything! My flat tires, my bank account, my love life, you named it, this was the guy you needed! My wedding day, he was there again...walked me down the aisle, cried when he gave me away, and when it was over he wished he could throw another wedding again! He just was the everything. In my new little house in Tarpey Village, this guy painted my house, built a side walk pavement  with a bird bath, improved my bath room, and hung all my new light fixtures...HGTV missed out on one handy guy! I grew up in this perfect little bubble...I thought everyone had a guy like this in their lives who loved their mom and family like this guy. Doesn't everyone have someone to go to to fix everything? I do. I still have this guy in my life and he STILL fixes everything. There is something extraordinary that God created in our lives and when they make the choice to serve Him first, they become exactly what God meant when he gave them the name Father. When I think of this title I think of my dad, and I hope you think of yours. When you become a father you hold the character and the confidence of your baby girls and the leadership of your sons. I am a very confident person and I owe all of that to my dad...this guy who continually has poured into my life with love and shown me with his life example how to love. No other man I know who would stay married to a woman who doesn't know him anymore, clean her, bath her, feed her, and still be in love with her. This guy weeps, holding his wife, as he is in pain with her life being where it is. He looks at her with those same eyes and sees all her beauty, and all that she was and still is. He still takes care of his wife, his children, and now his grand children. He will forever be father to us all. To every person he meets in his life, there is no greater man than my dad and no gift would honor him today, but words from my heart and time with all of us...see you today dad, and HAPPY FATHERS DAY...

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Stapler

If you look up the word "stapler" in the dictionary one can find that it is a machine that holds two things together, usually paper. You will also find that it is derived from the noun "staple" which is of recognized quality. I have found a gold stapler in my life, a staple that I will miss using every day. When I first got hired at Rio Vista, many new faces crossed my path. Some were cheerful, positive faces, while others were focused, disgruntled, or angry. But there was one face I would meet and never forget. A face I spent my mornings and lunch times with, a stapler who held me together when the days were unkind or the faces of the angry ones caused me great sorrow. She is the recognized quality that has made my last two years of teaching more joyful then before. As I sit here in front of my computer and think about my last day tomorrow I think of the many things I will miss. My kids were amazing this year and each one has changed my outlook on life for the better. But there is one person I will miss the most, the stapler; of recognized quality. My dearest friend Leah is my gold stapler. Only I and her know the meaning as her room was "fancy" this year in gold boarders representing the gold and she always needed my stapler! But beyond that we were inseparable. Two teachers who had each other's back. If I was sick she'd get my class ready and I her. If we had kid situations, we'd cover for one another. And when moments in life were unfair, we had our share this year, we held each other together. We are true friends and I am blessed that God has brought her in my life. We will always be in each other's lives, but it will be different next year as we continue to teach without the other right next door. No more morning prep periods to share new ideas and plan. No more lunch sharing moments or story sharing of the night before. No more inside jokes on campus and the laughter of students who leave that lasting impression. But we will make new memories, I know, but it just won't be the same dear gold stapler; of recognized quality.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


                Today was the last time Coach Jones would coach a game in the Clovis High Cougar basketball gym as head coach. A gym that has been home to him and his family for the past 15 years. As the longest running coach in the district in basketball, Coach Jones worked in “his” gym today for the very last time as head coach of boys basketball.  It was a day that I found to be emotional. I met him in this gym, chased all 4 kids across the floor during games, and spent many hoopster camps and AAU tournaments in my “home”. How does one move on? How does one say good-bye to what is the only gym we knew better than our own home. In this gym my kids could tell you where the best seat is, the warmest seat, and the coldest seat. They could tell you the best hiding place and who would give them free food from the snack bar.
                Coach has spent our entire married life in this gym, hours sweating and working with his kids that were not his own; constantly making them better then what they ever thought they could ever be. He still gets to school before school starts every morning at 6:40 to open up “his” home and work-out his boys. And in one swift moment our family has no gym to call our own, no team to cook dinner for, no place to raise our kids. All of us striped from our family, the ones we spent countless of gym times with, Reno trips, and summer trips with as we watched our boys play, learn, and make memories. No one ever thinks about what happens to that coach that gets replaced. No one thinks of the aftermath. It’s like coach said, “it’s like being adopted at 13 years old.”

                Today, Coach Jones coached his last game in “his” gym. It was his son’s AAU team and they won the championship game in the 3rd grade division. It was a great game, close to the very end. TSU coming up from behind and winning by 1! Those are the best games. Everyone stopped as the nail-biting game came to an end. No one was happier than Coach Jones. No one was sadder than Coach Jones. That's the kind of coach he was, not only coaching his Varsity team, but his youth, the first experience boys have within the program. Coaching them to be champions, not only on the court, but more importantly off the court. 
                So tonight we say good-bye to Clovis High School Boys Basketball and choose to cherish the memories made throughout the last 18 years. Coach Jones is a great man, amazing coach, and even more amazing father and husband. Tough Smart Unselfish (yea that’s what TSU stands for). That describes Coach Jones. Where the road will take us, only God knows, but as for tonight we stop and remember Coach Jones and the legacy he leaves behind. The All-Time Winniest coach at Clovis High School Basketball, Five times Tri-River Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, Fresno Bee Coach of the Year, sent many players to play college ball, Three times League Champion, Two times Section Runner Up. His hard work and dedication and his commitment to his players and the Clovis High Community was unmatched. He was a coach that was truly in it for the kids.  He truly built an army of basketball players and is leaving the program with a tremendous amount of potential and promise. Loyal till the hero Johnny Jones!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

Another Mother's Day has come and gone. And for many it is a wonderful day filled with flowers, hand made cards, fabulous gifts, and countless breakfast in bed moments. Facebook is filled with all the bragging rights between mothers and their children and everyone goes through the motion to honor a great woman in their lives and everything goes back to normal tomorrow. Moms will get back to grocery shopping, meal planning, lunch making, house cleaning, and for some going back to work in the am. And we children will go on needing them in every possible way. But for some it is a sad day, whether dealing with the physical loss of their mom or not being a mom for different reasons life sends our way. I am mixed on this very day. I have my four beautiful (I am a little bias, as every mom is) monsters-I mean children who I adore on most days. Their sweet innocent cards and drawings of me in square outfits and sometimes with no hair makes me feel like a million bucks. And then there is the side of me where I see all the pictures posted of daughters and mothers on social media and the celebration of them in their married lives-and I am saddened, even a little jealous. Why do they get their moms still? Why are their moms so healthy, alive, and a part of their own children's lives? I get angry as I go sit with my mom, beside her in her wheelchair. Holding her tight-hoping for one little glimpse in her eyes that she knows it me. Talking to her and telling her all about my days, frustrations, and what would she recommend I do. Nothing. Nothing is there today, my mom is not there. I hold on to her physical body and am comforted simply by hearing her heart beat. Completely disheartened by her lack of knowing who I am. We bring the flowers, we share the memories, we hold the hands, but in reality I am empty inside, wanting my mom, needing her in my life. Mother, Mom, Mama, Moom (Niko's new word for me this month), whatever you may refer to yours as, whatever they may or may not be to you, they are there. Everyone has one, good or bad. But I, I have one who is physically here, but I cannot laugh with her, I cannot call her up and ask her to help me, I cannot cry in her embrace, I cannot feel her hand in mine. I realize that today in the midst of my kids celebration of me, I cry. No one can replace her, no one can be her in my life. I cry for what I had, what I need to have, and what I want to have, I cry. So today, continue to be that mom...that mom you had, that mom you want to be, that mom that you are. Mother's Day. 2015.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Chicken and Cauliflower fried rice and chocolate chip cookies

This is one of my favorite ways to eat cauli-rice-although there are many!!!!-my kids seem to gobble this up in a minute and I always which I doubled the recipe. I tweaked the original a bit to make it a little quicker of a night...try it, I bet your kids won't know it's not really rice! (wink-wink)

Original Recipe: (from deliciously organic)
  • 1 pound ground chicken
 (I used chicken from my roasted chicken the night before!)
  • 1 tablespoon Tamari sauce or coconut aminos
 (I used Tamari Sauce)
  • 2 teaspoons dry sherry, 
1 clove garlic (I used 3), minced
  • 2 heads cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
 (I used a bag from costco-half of it)
  • 1 cup peas (frozen)
  • 2 carrots, cut into small cubes

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, divided

  • 4 tablespoons fermented tamari sauce or coconut aminos

  • 3 large eggs

  • 4 green onions, chopped
Place chicken, Tamari, sherry and garlic in a medium bowl. Stir and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Place half of the cauliflower in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for 12-15 one-second pulses until cauliflower is about the size of rice. Place chopped cauliflower in a bowl. Repeat with second batch of cauliflower.
Place peas and carrots in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Drain.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon coconut oil and swirl to coat. Place chicken in skillet and cook, breaking up into small pieces with the back of a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Remove chicken from the pan. Add remaining 2 tablespoons coconut oil and swirl to coat. Add cauliflower and Tamari to the pan. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes until cauliflower is hot and coated with the Tamari. Make a well in the center of the pan, crack the eggs and pour them into the well. Stir eggs in the middle of the pan until scrambled, then stir into the cauliflower. Add the peas, carrots, green onion and chicken. Stir for about 2 minutes until all ingredients are incorporated and hot. Season to taste with a bit more Tamari or sea salt if needed. Serve immediately.

Chocolate Chip Round 2;
This was the better of the two recipes I have tried so gave it TWO thumbs up and asked for more...they are looking forward to their lunches tomorrow. I didn't use the brown sugar it calls for I used Organic Coconut Sugar instead. Result was amazing!!! I also made my own Almond Butter this time, just like the site suggests. C'mon, don't these look good? Mmm-mm good!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Spiralized Shanghai Beef and Broccoli and Waffles

Since my new gadget in the kitchen, I have been busy spiraling! This recipe turned out great! I adjusted the recipe and used grass-fed New York Steak (which was delicious).
Recipe from Skinny Taste

And while I was in the kitchen all afternoon, I decided to try yet another waffle recipe...hoping and praying it would work for breakfast...and this recipe was AMAZING! A winner!!! A constant weekly menu item to store in the fridge!!!
YES...these are Paleo! Yes...they are DELICIOUS! Kids ate and ate and were satisfied!!!! 
Smiling, sticky faces!!!
Recipe from Against all Grain
Palm Shortening or coconut oil, for greasing waffle iron
6 large eggs
1 cup Almond milk or full-fat coconut milk
2 cups Pancake Mix
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup coconut crystals or honey
1 tsp vanilla

Pancake Mix:
3 cups blanched almond flour
1 cup coconut flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 tsp sea salt

Preheat waffle iron and grease
Place all ingredients in order in a blender pr food processor
Blend on high for 30 seconds. Scrape the sides of the blender container with a spatula and blend again until smooth
Pour batter in waffle iron and repeat!