P.S. I Eternally Love Chocolate and Brad Pitt

Okay, I’m taking a break from heavy issues like Duggar daughters and fake virgins. I promise, this post is much lighter in nature, like it or not…

Ryan and I love to watch movies together. It’s one of our favorite downtime activities to do with one another so I thought I’d compile a list of some of my favorite movies of all time, and in the process, hopefully, reach out to readers to get some new suggestions for our lineup.

1.    Chocolat
What’s not to love about a bold, outspoken woman who moves to a small rural town in France and begins to shake things up a bit?  And, let’s not forget, she makes really good chocolate and ends up with Johnny Depp. This is such a feel good, slower moving movie with a really deep message that conveys the idea that just because things have always gone a particular way, doesn’t necessarily mean that way is correct or shouldn’t be changed.

2.    Moulin Rouge
This movie holds a special place in my heart as a favorite from my past.  “Tell our story, Christian. Promise me” and “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”  Enough said. 

3.    P.S. I Love You

This one is kind of obvious with the death of a spouse involved, but what I really love watching is the process the main character goes through as she deals with her grief and then finally determines that her life must move forward.  Ultimately, she decides to pick up the pieces and live again.

4.    Legends of the Fall
This story is heart wrenchingly wonderful and depressing, and who can forget the scene when cowboy Brad Pitt arrives out the blue, thundering up to the ranch on his horse?  It is a captivating plot with layer upon layer of creativity, history, and pain.  I’ve watched this movie probably more than any other movie, and it never loses its beauty or appeal.  

5.    Minority Report
This is a sci-fi that Ryan and I both enjoy.  The story is again fantastic and intriguing, and I love the message it conveys of rising above a societal evil and also the depiction it portrays of how evil often thrives in secrecy.

6.    Walk the Line
Love me some Johnny Cash, and I tell you the truth, I watched this movie over and over years ago, loving and envying the house the singer owned in the hills of Tennessee, and I told myself, “I will do that one day.”  Here I am, doing it, living in my dream house, in the hills of Tennessee, overlooking the beautiful river.

7.    Armageddon
Uh, Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis saving the world?  Not too difficult to figure this one out.   Really though, I love the depiction of manhood in this movie.  Two men willing to lay down their lives for humanity, one for a daughter, another for a future wife, a true representation of a man willing to sacrifice everything.

8.    Couples Retreat
This is our favorite and our go to when there is nothing else on.  There are some raunchier parts, but there is really a good moral at the end and many side splitting hilarious parts – totally worth a watch for the laughs. 

9.    Benjamin Button
This movie is also a beautiful story and without fail, every single time I watch it, I psych myself up for the ending and tell myself over and over again that I won’t cry, but I do.  Inevitably, the tears start dripping down my face.  Watching a baby die is not something I handle well.  I am immediately transported back to my pregnancy with Lucas where I didn’t know if he would die in my arms.

10.  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
One thing about this movie, there is quite a bit of questionable language, but I am such a sucker for a great story.  This film is interesting because of the concept it presents which is along the lines of being able to erase all of the painful memories(and in the process good memories as well) with someone and start over fresh, and who hasn’t wanted to do that occasionally?    Ryan would say I’m also a sucker for depressive movies which isn’t necessarily true. I appreciate truth in movies, and if a movie depicts an element of truth, I’m usually interested.

That’s it, my top 10.  I would love and appreciate some suggestions from my readers if y’all don’t mind!

Just keep livin!!

A Bittersweet Day

Mothers Day has come and gone.  It was a huge improvement over last year’s very special day which I detailed in a semi-rant post called My New Mother’s Day.  The other night Ryan questioned how exactly I wanted my day to look, and I replied that my deepest desire was to take a bath without one single person asking or telling me anything through the door (but then that would make me NOT a mother, right?).

My day was good – peaceful, solid, void of any huge pains or heartaches, good.

But –  this day is also a constant reminder of a gigantic ache for three of my children and that makes it bittersweet as their mom. As a family we attempt to not dwell in the agony of the past.  We share memories with the kids about Mom and Dad in Heaven, and we recognize their grief, but there is a difference between honoring the past or choosing to wallow in the pain of the past. Ryan and I do our best to model joy and not allow ourselves to use the past as a crutch. Bad things did happen, but we move forward in praise for what we have been given – recognizing that this life is fleeting and acknowledging God’s faithfulness through thankfulness.

My biological children embraced Mother’s Day with all the joy and giddiness it held and showered me with 500 billion homemade cards and pictures.  Two of my adopted kids were also excited for what the day represented and fully participated; however, I’m sure they also have moments of pain and confusion but their angst wasn’t as obvious as one of the kids.

This particular child was not into this day at all.

This child was angry and had been angry for a week.  I noticed a tenseness every time a commercial aired about Mothers Day.  The other kids would run to make me some thrown together picture declaring their love or they would hurry outside to pick another beautiful bunch of weeds, and this child would sit quietly, not meeting my eyes, not saying a word, just silently aching for the loss, and I didn’t know how to make it better.

I can’t make it better and that is incredibly difficult as a mom. My mama heart wants to be enough – so much so that the loss won’t hurt and in numerous ways, I know I’m a good mom for all of them, but it doesn’t erase the ache and how this day is a blatant reminder of that pain.  As a mom I want to take away the agony, take away the void, maybe even erase the memories because then it won’t hurt so much, but I can’t.  I can’t because at times I even question God’s decision in the matter.  As a biological mother, I have a difficult time understanding why he would choose another woman other than the mother who gave birth to them and loved them?  It doesn’t seem like the best choice but then God’s ways are not our ways, and he doesn’t owe us any explanations.  It only makes sense that his ways are so much higher than we can comprehend, and I don’t believe that our comfort and well-being are a priority to His ultimate plan or purpose here on Earth.  I believe that his ultimate plan probably looks much more like an adoption than a biological conception; a choice to love others as ourselves rather than a inborn, feel good instinct toward one another; a choice to love God and choose his ways over our sinful nature that wants to have everything our own way.

This child and I got into it the night before Mother’s Day, as we do occasionally, both of us having a black and white tendency that needs to be right and both having mouths to match that desire. There was outright disobedience –  something that has never occurred before.  We talked and aired our frustrations and mourned and reaffirmed our love for one another, and I held my child and offered reassurance of my love and that I would keep trying to be the best mom I can possibly be.

And isn’t that all we can do for our children?  Those of our wombs and those of our hearts?  Just be the best we can possibly be for each individually and collectively; relying completely on God’s grace and mercy  in our lives as we repeatedly stumble and pick ourselves back up.  Praying that somehow all the pain and the loss and the aches will be gone one day, and it will all make perfect sense when we end our race here on earth and come face to face with the one who orchestrated it all, our Abba Father who has graciously adopted each one of us into his eternal family.

flowers

These were the beautiful flowers I had waiting for me the next morning – from anonymous child.

Just keep livin!

Avoiding Milton and Other Necessary Evils Through Food.

I only have one final exam separating me from complete freedom. The two classes I took over the past few months have been overwhelmingly stressful, but I’m so thankful I pushed through and can now look back relieved and satisfied that I’m one step closer to a degree.  You would think I’d be frantically studying right now, but instead I’m coming up with every excuse under the sun to NOT pick up anything having to do with Milton, including cooking everything that comes to mind and sharing it on the blog.

I’m not really a cooking blogger, but I do immensely enjoy the art of making food, (and eating it) especially anything homemade. 

Here are two recipes I tried over the weekend.  They are about the easiest, most cost efficient things in the world to make.  The first was homemade yogurt.  I eat organic yogurt with honey every morning.  I am very much a creature of habit.  I eat extremely clean and healthy for breakfast and lunch and splurge on whatever I make the family for dinner.  I saw this recipe in the book French Women Don’t Get Fat, by Mireille Guiliano, (a fantastic book) and I thought, that sounds way too simple.  It was really easy, and it worked.   I figured the yogurt I purchase is about $3.59 for 32 ounces.  The same amount homemade is about $2.00. Here’s the recipe.

 Homemade Yogurt

1 saucepan
1 large bowl
1 small bowl
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
1 quart regular or 2% milk


Yield: 8 Servings (4 ounces each)

 Warm up the milk on medium-low until steam rises to the top and bubbles form around the edges.

Pour into large bowl to cool until temperature hits 110-115º on thermometer or if you don’t have one, do what the locals do: the temperature is correct when your index can stay in the warm milk for ten seconds.

Put starter in small bowl, add some of the heated milk and stir until well-blended. Pour small bowl mixture into large bowl a third at a time, making sure to stir and blend well before each addition. End with a final stir, making sure all is well-blended. Cover with a thick towel and keep in a warm place 4-6 hours until set. ( I let mine sit in the oven, turned off, for 24 hours)

Refrigerate for 8 hours before serving.

yogurt2

 (Sorry, not a Pioneer Woman quality pic, but you get the point)

 Next, we ran out of sour cream which is never a good thing in our home. After some research on my good friend Google, I discovered a simple technique for making the homemade version.  I tested it out last night by putting some of the homemade in a store bought sour cream container and some of it in a glass jar.  Mya, our nine year old, has the pickiest taste pallet by far.  She took what she believed to be the store bought container of sour cream, and I never heard a peep about the weird taste or “yuck what is this”, she just ate it.  All of my kids did without having a clue about the difference.  Now, Ryan knew that it was homemade, and he thought it tasted different, but that could be a mind over matter issue. 

Homemade Sour Cream

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup Buttermilk

Instructions

In a jar with a lid, combine the heavy cream and buttermilk. Shake the ingredients to thoroughly mix and let stand, covered, at room temperature for about 24 hours or until it becomes very thick. You can store your sour cream in the refrigerator for up to one week. Make sure that your sour cream is well chilled before using.


sour cream

Let me know your thoughts!

Just keep livin!!