Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dream Big.

Cinderella sang "a dream is a wish your heart makes..." and no offense Cinderella but the modern day Princess lets not only her heart do the dreaming but also her head.  In this modern day fairy tale I call life, my Princess-self believes that dreaming is the frosting of life. And I am a girl who enjoys licking the spoon after frosting.

As a young girl I was a dreamer.  I would imagine that my bossy little blonde self was quite the storyteller from an early age.  Even now, when an idea enters my mind, there is not a part of me which believes I cannot make it happen.  Weird?  I used to think perhaps I did live in a fantasy world.....that someday I would have to accept reality and deal with what life had in store for me:  dreaming while living a boring life.  Let me clarify that I do not think boring is boring.  To each their own.  Any my own is firecracker-ending phenomenal.

When I became a part of Peppermint Park it was as if the dreamer inside of me was let out to create her dreams.  To live them.  I was given the opportunity to embrace all that I am capable of - because someone believed in me enough to make me believe in myself.  My boss, mentor and one of my best friends pulled out of me the dreamer.  I was given a picture, paintbrush and enough paint to create a masterpiece.  Although there are times my paint runs low, she is always there to fill it up again with new colors.  We have embraced "living the dream" to the fullest and with that Peppermint Park has grown.

If I could give one piece of advice to my generation and generations to come and generations that have passed, it would be to never lose site of your dreams.  We live in a world where anything is possible.  Absolutely anything.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dear Santa.

For this modern day Princess, Christmas Day is one for the history books....as in 'Best Mother Ever' award goes to none other than my mama.  My sisters and I have always spent Christmas Eve snuggled up on the living room floor next to the Christmas tree with hopes that we would wake up to catch Santa bringing our presents.  Now never have we caught him but my mama and daddy did make Christmas morning exceptionally special for us....

I remember the year that Santa left snow tracks in the living room or the question which kept lingering in this very intelligent little blonde's mind:  how does Santa go down the chimney without a chimney.  My mama reassured us that it was magic and you just have to believe.

When I was very little (and as pictured right here), Grandma would buy each of us a new Christmas nightgown to go home in.  We were usually very sleepy little ones by the time we were carried to warm, waiting vehicles by our daddy's and tucked into bed only to say "but mommy, I want to see Santa...is he here yet?".  

Each year Santa leaves a ridiculous trail of crumbs and always spills his milk.....and each year my sisters and I stand around the note that Santa leaves us to chuckle at how messy he is.

To my mother:  thank you for instilling the magic of Christmas in our home each and every year.  You have taught us to just believe and with that what it really means to make the "Nice List".  It is not the receiving that we have turned out to love after all these years but it is the giving.  It is the begging to let us let you open the gifts we so carefully wrapped.  It is the sitting around a dinner table, saying a blessing and laughing during an amazing meal.  It is the "mama where is MY STOCKING" and you laughing to say that my sisters must have hid it last year.  It is the spending an entire day decorating your house with Christmas Cheer....only to watch it transform into something right out of my favorite fairy tale.  It is the calling all our our Aunties and Uncles on Christmas Eve to say "Merry Christmas and we love you so much" and how excited we get to finish eating so we can give our presents.  It is the bowing of our heads to give thanks to the Lord and all that we have been blessed with.  It is the way we open at least one of our presents in order and then just laugh at you when you tell us "wait GIRLS....ONE AT A TIME".  It is the watching wrapping paper pile up on the living room floor and the tears which fall when we talk about how much we miss Grandpa or how badly we wish that everyone had somewhere to call home on Christmas Eve.  It is your three daughters asking you if everyone has a mama who loves them just as much as you love us.  It is the unimaginable amount of love for others that each of us has within us that you instilled.  I love you for so much but Christmas is the cherry which tops the cake I call life.  I can only hope that someday I will be as wonderful of a mother as you are to children as wonderful as you have raised us to be. 

Here is to the joy of Christmas and hoping that all each of you has a wonderful family to make memories with.  And if not, you are always welcome to join mine :)

All my love (from a very cold Minnesota),

Monday, November 15, 2010

Who is This Modern Day Princess?

Although words describe, pictures do such a better job, don't you think?  Each time I look through my photo albums I follow the journey of my life.  I remember the moments.  It brings a smile to my face. I hope that I can share some of my joy with you.  

I am an artist.

I love to learn.

I am an exceptional hostess.

I am a mama's girl.

I am a reader.

I am in love with the beach.

I am a leader.

I am such a girl.

I am a teacher.

I am a daughter.

I am a big sister.

I am a future wife and mother. Clearly domesticated (thanks mom) with exceptional ironing skill.

I am not the wild child.

I am absolutely in love with my sisters.

The Music of My Heart.

It began with ballet lessons.  It led to piano lessons, voice lessons and the saxophone.  It ended singing from the choir loft for my grandpa.  I remember the last song I sang solo.  The lyrics flow from my mouth like sun rays on a clear summer morning.  The melody comes back to me as easily as ironing a shirt. The song is sweet and holds a very dear place deep within me.  

Grandpa called it my "one one" and I remember leaving my ballet recitals saying "no Grandpa it isn't a one one it is a TU TU".  He would laugh and then squeeze me so hard while I giggled out of control.  I know now why he would hug so hard....so that we would not forget what Grandpa's hugs felt like.  Oh I loved him so much. Loving your Grandpa is one of those unique loves.  It isn't like loving a mama or a daddy.  It isn't the same as loving a sister unconditionally.  It is as pure as the day is long.  Loving someone that much because they love you that much more.  It is a Sunday afternoon brunch and sitting by the campfire kind of love.

I remember my Grandpa being a hard worker.  He was tough and his hands were those of a man who had worked.  He was gentle with his 27 grandchildren and he loved my Grandma.  I loved going to work with him.  I would sit in his big comfy red office chair with a note pad and a pen.  Grandpa was an auctioneer for quite some time (among many professions he held) and I loved the weekends I would get to watch him work and every once in a while I would get to help.  I remember how proud I was to call him Grandpa in front of a crowd and how big I felt to help him.

When he got sick, I remember watching him slowly leave his body.  On a very special night before he passed away, I was able to spend time alone with him.  He had not been able to communicate in quite some time and would lay in bed without expression.  On this night, I sat next to him in his bed and he was staring up into the ceiling as if looking down the road to Heaven.  I held his hand and as tears fell from my eyes I asked "Grandpa are you scared?".  He turned to me and only for a moment the ends of his mouth curved to form a smile and he shook his head no and squeezed my hand.  As I lay next to him for quite some time, I cried.  It was a moment I will never forget.  He passed away very shortly after this night.

Grandpa never missed a recital that I played piano in and loved to listen to me sing.  As our family planned his funeral, my Grandma came to me and told me that Grandpa would have wanted me to sing at his funeral.  To this day, I have never been more honored.  The day came and as I stood in the choir loft watching my family follow his casket into St. Michael's Church, the lyrics and melody came together in sweet sound as I sang "Be Not Afraid".

It is said that we each have our own music which our heart beats to.  Each time I am scared of what the future might hold I remember the last day I sang and the lyrics come back to me....just like he would have told me, be not afraid.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Grandma's Caramel Rolls + A Broken Heart

There are a few things that will make me smile regardless of what the world has handed me.  These include the following:
  1. Saturday morning coffee in bed.  Normally I would say this includes the coffee being brought by the man I am in love with but for this modern day Princess, I have yet to encounter that one. 
  2. Flowers.  Regardless of whether they are picked from a garden, delivered from an order in Atlanta, GA or drawn with a crayon - my face lights up. 
  3. Grandma Monica's caramel rolls.  
Grandma Monica passed away quite some time ago.  What I remember most about her is the way her house would smell after Church on Sunday mornings, like fresh caramel rolls.  She would bake them in little 9-inch round cake pans, flip them onto a plate and served them to my little sister and I on small white dessert plates and her miniature silver forks.  The caramel was incredible, the texture of the roll was perfection and one bite would melt in your mouth upon contact.

This recipe has been passed on to my Grandma Shirley and as of early this week, me.  I associated her caramel rolls with a broken heart because there isn't much that can be done to cure a heart which has been broken.  But as I woke up this morning to the thought of how bad my heart hurts and as tears fell, the one thing that came to mind was Sunday morning at Grandma Monica's house....eating a caramel roll....and the way that my Grandma Shirley's house smells when she makes this recipe.  It never fails, on Thanksgiving morning, I wake up at 6:15-6:30 to a house that smells so insanely divine I cannot help but crawl out of a warm bed and up to the kitchen to eat caramel rolls with Grandma.

There are so many moments of pure joy in my life and I have truly been a blessed young lady but nothing compares to the before-sunrise moments in my Grandma's kitchen when it is just her and I and caramel rolls.  Grandma sits at the same spot and I across from her:  two forks, two dessert plates (although sometimes paper plates), one container of butter and a two warm caramel rolls. 

Oh.....and coffee :)

Happy Friday (all the way from Minnesota),