Friday, September 2, 2016

On the Coast

It was on the coast.  

That’s where they met.  

It was that place, where the sugar white sand met the turquoise of the warm, silky ocean.  That is where it all began.  

She, marking time for the summer.  He, parlaying his wares to those who sought solace, or fun, in the sea.  She spied what he sold, and it was definitely different from what she had ever tried before . . .  but this was her time.  Her time to challenge.  Her time to challenge herself.  To do something unlike anything she’d ever, attempted before.  

She saw him.  

Was drawn to where he stood.  In front of where he plied his trade.  Where there were colorful, pretty, stringy things . . . along with the ugly, stinky, squirmy things. Hooks, poles, foreign things.  She concentrated on the the colorful, pretty, stringy things. If only to still her heart at the sight of him.  

She was drawn to his eyes, and maybe his forearms . . .  His eyes.  The shape.  The color.  They were a shade of green, not made to compete with the green of the sea, but instead mirroring the green of the mountain stream.  The green of the forest. They felt cool and refreshing in spite of the humid, balmy air of the tropics.  As his eyes stayed on her . . . the feeling remained with her.  He appeared to be more than willing to assist her with her purchases. Laughing along with her, at her naivete regarding her new found sport.  Even as he completed her transaction, she knew she would be back for more of the colorful, pretty, stringy things.  Even, if she had to lose everything she’d bought, every day, in order to have an excuse to come back.  And look at those eyes.

She thanked him for the gracious advice he gave, and slowly danced her way to the surf. Surreptitiously glancing back every few steps, shyly, yet boldly, in that quiet, yet confident way of hers. Most definitely, in no hurry. As she cast about in the waves which found their way to the shore, lapping at the sands, she knew.  Even though it might defy convention, she knew she had experienced something in those moments that was to stay with her, forever.  It was already changing her.  This time of renewal, this time of rebirth long after her life was first given, was the right time.  It was time for THIS afternoon to happen. Time for this new life.

As the day, died in the west, she gathered her new toys, and trailed down the remote beach to her cottage, her long awaited-for but temporary home.  The solitude whispered a new, welcome song in her ear.  

This was right.  

This was good. 

This was full of promise.  

Something was astir in the warm, humid air, and the breeze coming in off the ocean knew it.  Delivering radiant hope, healing to her heart.

And yet . . . something unsettled, as the mysterious elements which assemble into the makings of a hurricane, was fashioning itself into something mysterious within him.

And while she might know about the minds of many, but could not know the thoughts of one.  But hoped she might have the chance to one day . . . know.

On the coast.

The days went by.  Slowly, like lustrous pearls being slid onto a waxed string.  Sliding, next to one other, growing into a lengthy, precious creation.  Luxurious gems, reflecting newfound light.  Brightening the lives . . . of two.  

Each day, something “accidentally lost”.  Each day, a new purchase made.  Each day, a smile given.  Settling into a sensuous rhythm known and loved by only them.  

Even after he closed up the small but special shop, she would continue battling the surf for that one beautiful fish, that someday she was sure to catch, given the wealth of gear she’d amassed in order to land that fish.  ;-) After a time, he began to join her in the evening surf to watch.  To study.  To listen to her.  To encourage.  And to simply enjoy her.  And she, him . . . very much. The fish meant nothing. While he, meant everything. 

One sunset kissed evening, with ribbons of colors drifting and dancing in the sky above the water and caressing the sand, after what seemed like an eternity, yet was only a moment, there was a pull on the line.  At her excited shriek, he joined her, coaching her on how to reel in the fish.  It was indeed a fight, one filled with splashing and laughter, but was a fight the fish lost.  For he and she, all was gain. 

The silver fish glittered in the evening sun, but all she could see, was the joy . . . in his eyes . . . as he watched her land her first catch.  With all of that gear. The smile on his face, reaching deep down into her heart.  It was all she saw, it was all she felt. Nothing else mattered, there was nothing else TO matter. 

And while she might know about the minds of many, she could not know the thoughts of one.  But hoped she might have the chance, to one day . . . know.

On the coast.

Time passed.  Days, like the proverbial sands, filled the glass.  Time brought them together in ways nothing else could.  It was beautiful, ethereal, defying adequate expression using mere language.  Full of promise.  Full of love.  Full of hope.  Full of the future.  Full of each other.

Evenings brought interludes of love on the solitary beach, bare, sun-kissed bodies wrapped in love, caressed by the warmth of the sun and silkiness of the ocean.  Words of love spoken in awe of what passed between them.  The intensity of their love matched only by the pounding of a world of powerful oceans colliding with the sand of the beach.  Kisses given in utter abandonment, and a coming together in a union more blessed than the world by dawn.

It was the start of a life.

And then . . . the shadows.  Out of a place called nowhere.

Shadows.  She noticed shadows.  A shadow there, but not quite.  Imagined?  Real?  A slight darkening of the sun, instilling a fear into the brightness of the day. Brief, but there.

The shadows passing back and forth in his eyes.  Sometimes alighting there, shifting and moving on. Then . . . settling there.  A veiling.  Almost as if there was this . . . haze.  A haze, blocking out the sunshine but it was so very slight, you were never quite sure it was there or not.

Yet.  Each day brought buckets of laughter.  Each day brought fun in the surf.  Each night brought love on the sand. But each day also brought something indiscernible.  Something not defined.  But there.  On the surface, he appeared the same.  But when souls have been together as such, the soul knows.  The soul feels the disturbance. The heart has a sensitive richter, registering the ever so slight, but real movement. Movement away from the quiet, from the line of normal, perceptible but not obvious when ones eyes are veiled with a haze one isn’t aware is present.

And while she might know about the minds of many, she could not know the thoughts of one.  But hoped and prayed she might have the chance, to one day . . . know.

And it gets dark.

On the coast.

And the day comes.  When darkness falls.  Total.  Deep.  Suffocating. Blinding.  There is no sun.  There is no place he parlays his wares on the white sugar sand beach where it meets the warm, turquoise water.  For he is gone.  

To where?  She knows not.  Because she knows not the thoughts of one. Nor shockingly, had she ever.

But pearls of this time, have not been gathered to be scattered to the waves, to be lost.  They had been collected and gathered into something beautiful, over time.  Pearls are the small irritants that the sea creature has taken and covered with beauty, treating it with care, until it is something of worth, priceless, a treasure.  Not to be released easily, but to be given great care. Be protected, fought for, searched for when lost.

She searches in the darkness, no map before her.  Walking up and down the beach, searching, calling his name.  She sees him.  Lost?  He looks . . . lost.  There is no light, no recognition, in his amazing green-as-the-stream eyes.  

Where has he gone?  Where has she gone?  In his eyes, instead of her, there reigns confusion.  She speaks, he hears her not her voice, he feels not her heart.  She reaches, he falls away.  She longs to unlock the mysteries of the veil.  But he retreats.  And passes.  As if he knows her not.  

So, she settles on the sand.  That as he walks away, he might somehow remember where he left her. That when the veil is pierced by understanding, he will know how to find her.  He can find her by the trail of pearls she has carefully placed in the sand, that leads back to where she is.  

She has knowledge of the shadows that crease his soul and cover his eyes.  And while she might know about the minds of many, she could not know the thoughts of one.  But hoped and prayed she might have the chance, one day, to know, to know his heart.  

And it is still dark.

On the coast.

She sits on the sand, holding in her hand, a key.  A key fashioned during many hours of painstaking effort, collecting countless moments of sharing and loving and laughter and joining that have poured through her hands, fashioning this key.  As she watches him search for what will restore his sight, she silently prays that he will realize that if he will only ask her to help him find what robs him of his sight, they might discover what the key unlocks . . . together.  To free the shadows that cover his mind . . . and his heart.

Because what she might know about the minds of many, may be able to help them both to know the thoughts . . . of one.

And so.  She waits.  

On the coast of somewhere beautiful, she waits with her heart.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Power of Words

Both spoken and unspoken.

There is infinite power in words.

They are used to hurt and hide:

     "I haven't loved you in months." (even though he told me he did)

     "Your definition of intimacy is apparently different than mine."

They are used to denigrate value:

     "The way you feel is wrong."

Words are also used to project the owners feelings onto one whom it does not apply:

     "You lack the commitment to make this work because of time and distance."

They are used to justify physical abuse:

     "If you would just shut up and do what I say, this wouldn't happen."

The absence of words is just as powerful, and send an unspoken message.  A picture, an action, is worth a thousand words.  To absolve oneself of responsibility:

     Communication and honesty are only essential if you mattered to me.

     You are okay enough when I'm between women I really want.


The spoken and unspoken.

Today, a word was used that made my day positively radiate, and created a smile that reached to the very core of my being . . . to my heart.  My friend probably did not even possess a clue as to the value the word would have.  In the signing-off of a message, a friend called me princess.  


That one word had the ability to wipe away pain caused by so many others who do not know, in their hearts, this divine wisdom:

"Therefore encourage one anther and build each other up,  just as in fact you are doing.  1 Thess. 5:11

How will you use your words today?  Or how will you use your silence?  Or that action that is worth 1000 of those words?  It matters.  If you don't believe it . . .

Ask Princess.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Runza: A Pocketful of Comfort

If you have spent much time in Nebraska, you may have been lucky enough to have a delicioso runza from the Runza restaurant.  If not, try these at home or stop by Runza next time you are in the neighborhood!



4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup sugar
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs


1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
2 small onions, chopped
4 cups chopped cabbage
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper


Place 1-3/4 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Heat the milk, water and shortening to 120°-130°. Pour over flour mixture; add the eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low until blended. Beat 3 additional minutes on high. Stir in the remaining flour; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.

Place dough in a greased bowl; cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add the cabbage, salt and pepper; cook until cabbage is wilted.
Punch dough down; roll into twelve 6-in. squares. Top each square with 1/3 cup meat mixture. Fold into rectangles. Pinch edges tightly to seal and place on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot. Yield: 12 servings.

**Feel free to add other spices, peppers or cheese to suit your taste.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

French Dip Au Jus: Need I Say More?

You got it. It is the time of year we begin to dream of comfort food. Hot, savory, dripping, decadent comfort food. Dig in with this potentially messy, and oh so divine sandwich.
French Dip Au Jus
1 2 1/2-4 lb chuck roast
1/4 cup butter
1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and diced large (or mince)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon italian seasoning
2 cups water
1 can beef broth
Optional: your choice of peppers if you like it spicy
Toasted, buttered deli rolls
Cheese of your choice
Heat butter in a pot over medium heat until melted. Saute the onions for a couple of minutes or until they begin to brown. Set roast on top of the onions. Add all of the remaining ingredients (not rolls or cheese!). Cover pot and simmer on very low heat on the stove for 6 hours or until beef is fork-tender and falling apart. Shred meat with two forks until all large chunks are gone.
Mixture can be refrigerated overnight and hardened fat may be removed before reheating if you wish.
Serve on toasted buttered rolls, top with cheese of your choice and place under broiler until it is melted.
Dip, slurp, masticate and sigh! Repeat!

Cinnamon Rolls: A Culinary Orgasm

There is no way to describe these other than to say they are a culinary orgasm. Try it and see ;-)
Stephanie's Cinnamon Rolls
1 cup warm milk (110 degrees, no lower but no too much hotter as to kill the yeast)
2 eggs, room temperature, beaten
1/3 cup margarine or butter, melted
4 cups bread flour (use extra for kneading)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/4 oz packet of yeast
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
Slight 1/3 cup flour
2 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter or margarie, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sift
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl. Add the sugar and let the mixture stand for about five minutes. Melt the butter and add it to the mixture. Add the eggs, salt and flour to the mixture, blending thoroughly. Using flour-dusted hands, knead the dough into a large ball on a flat surface. If you have a Kitchen Aid or a Bosch mixer, put the ingredients in as above and let it do the work! Put the dough back into a bowl sprayed with a non-stick spray, cover it with a damp towel and let it rise in a warm place for about an hour or until dough has doubled in size.
Make the filling by combining the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl.
After the dough has doubled in size, turn it out on a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
Roll dough into a 16 x 21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/2 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Working from the 21" side, roll up the dough and pinch the edge shut. Cut the rolled dough into 12 rolls. Place in a lightly greased/sprayed 9 x 13 baking pan. Cover the pan and let rise until nearly doubled maybe 30-60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops of the rolls are LIGHTLY browned. (They can brown fast, watch closely!)
Beat frosting ingredients until smooth and spread on rolls while a tad warm.
EAT AND ENJOY!!! Be careful though, when others hear the sounds you are making while indulging in them, they will want some too ;-)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sunday, September 9, 2012

What is the Definition of a Friend?

The other day, I searched online for the prefect quote to define what a friend is. Nothing could encompass in a quote the length, width and depth of what a friend is and truly, there may not be one succinct definition since friendship means many diverse things to many people.
So recently, I put this question to my friends on Facebook and wish to share their answers and add a few words of my own. Feel free to add your thoughts as well, they are more than welcome.
Crystal: Someone that is there for you no matter what. Someone that you can talk to about anything and they won't judge you or treat you differently. Someone like you with a big heart. :) Someone who shows you that there are thoughtful, caring, loving people in the world. And a true friend with love you no matter if you come from a low income background or high income.
Jaime: Someone who is there for you and vice versa and nothing changes with time, you can pick up right where you left off no matter how far away or how long its been. A friend actually cares for a proactively nurtures another, but not necessarily tries to solve eachothers problems, but will lend and ear...but can also be honest. Someone who doesnt like it when you refer to yourself as a shart. :( A true friend will tell you the truth even if it hurts the friendship if they feel the truth will infact be beneficial to you otherwise.
Melody: Dependability and unconditional empathy!
Sharon: I would say someone who is there when ever you need them to encourage you and love you no matter what. Someone you can deped on to always tell you the truth even if it isn't something you want to hear.
Jay: ‎"The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof." -- Richard Bach
Joe: A friend is someone you love and who loves you, someone you respect and who respects you, someone whom you trust and who trusts you. A friend is honest and makes you want to be honest, too. A friend is loyal.
Someone who is happy to spend time with you doing absolutely nothing at all; someone who doesn't mind driving you to do errands, who will get up at midnight just because you need them to help you, and who doesn’t have to talk to communicate with you. Someone who never talks bad about you behind your back.
Someone who not only doesn't care if you're boring, but doesn't even think about it; someone who forgives you no matter what you do, and someone who tries to help you even when they don't know how. Someone who tells you if you're being stupid, but who doesn't make you feel stupid.
Someone who would sacrifice their life and happiness for you. Someone who will come with you when you have to do boring things like watch bad recitals, go to stuffy parties, or wait in boring lobbies. You don't even think about who's talking or who's listening in a conversation with a friend.
Someone for whom you're willing to change your opinions. Someone you look forward to seeing and who looks forward to seeing you: someone you like so much, it doesn't matter if you share interests or traits. Someone you like so much, you start to like the things they like. Someone who always builds you up, and would never put you down.
A friend is a partner, not a leader or a follower.
Wendy: Someone who is there for you through the bad as well as the good.
Susie: If you look up friend in the dictionary, Stephanie & Susie's picture will be there with a caption that reads, "Sister Chicks". A friend is someone who'll be by your side through thick and thin or until some judge slaps a retraining order on the stalker.
Brenda: You.
Suzi: Someone who stays by your side thick and thin.
Andrea: Regardless of what others may say, YOU!
Chloe: A friend is someone who really listens and loves you from the inside out.
Trevor: A friend is a person with the same enemies as you.
Paul: A friend bail's you out of jail. A true friend is in the cell with you saying "let's do that again!".
I would agree with all of the above and add, a friend:
remains a friend even when things can be uncomfortable at times
would make a detour of hundreds of miles, simply to spend an evening with you
continues the relationship even when their husband doesn't want them to be with you
gives as much as they take from the relationship
communicates and nurtures the ties
will drive 16 hours, just to take you home from the hospital make time for each other laughs with you when you leave the rental car door open all day in a strange place after making a big production to make sure it's been locked
flies cross-country to be with you when you think you are going to die
teaches you how to get in-touch with your inner-bitch
supports the hardest decisions you will ever have to make, with strength, encouragement and resolve right alongside you
helps you in and then back out of the dumpster
insists you let her do something for you
lets you rail, at everything he believes in, and then pray with you
totally gets what you are talking about when she says she hopes the hole in the hairspray bottle still sprays the same way after a long time of not being used
can laugh and cry with you, at the same time
means what they say, does what they say, and doesn't lie by omission
There are friendships who's ties can be dropped and picked up again without interruption but most often friendship needs to be nourished to remain viable and it takes effort like any other relationship. True friends are those that value a relationship enough to do so and to me, nourishing includes all of the above.
For me, a friend is one who values/cares enough for you to nourish what you have to keep it growing. And that, as is evident from above, takes many forms.
Go. Be a friend. Find out what it takes. And what it means.