“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” -Mother Teresa
The sun has finally come out in Colorado and graced us with a summer day! Would you like to know the evidence I have besides the strawberry shade to my legs? Well, let me tell you… One day last week, I was peacefully doing my hair in front of the mirror. The sun was pouring through my open bedroom door, flickering slightly as the pine trees swayed in the breeze, like tall mothers rocking their newborns, breaking the light into patterns on my tile. It was a rare moment, where everything in the world seemed to pause. Suddenly, I jumped. My body jumped, my heart jumped and, even, my cells seemed to jump, as a nearby gunshot reverberated just outside my bedroom door. I gasped, not expecting such a different atmosphere within 1 second flat. What was it? Well, in walked my beloved husband, carrying a cocked shotgun, looking more like a craggy, moss covered southerner, who has been in the Tennessee hills a little too long, if you know what I mean; he looked a far cry from a proper Englishman. It’s no surprise really, Daniel breaks all the molds, like a man in a tuxedo, sipping on Perrier who elegantly walks on stage, straightens his bow tie and begins singing rap. “Could you give me some warning,” I asked, shocked and humored too. “Those darn Magpies are into our trash again,” he muttered to himself. “Daniel, please don’t become one of those weird old men from the backwoods who sit on their porch obsessively shooting pesky birds,” I scolded. He laughed, realizing all of a sudden how quirky it all was. I have to add something hilarious and unrelated here that Daniel said to me recently. I was pulling old, discolored and ugly candles out of a candelabra to throw away. He asked me, “Can’t you just melt this wax down and make new candles?” I looked at him flabbergasted, “Yes,” I replied, “ I will make sure I get that done with Ma Ingalls when she comes next week!” Seeeeee! I’m telling you, people, he’s been visiting the Great Smoky Mountains secretly in his spare time! Yes, it is bird season around here. Not duck season, not rabbit season… Magpie season. So, that, my friends, is how I know for sure that summer has come.
The strong smells of chlorine dripping through my kids’ hair, coconut sunscreen and bbq chips, the scratchy, “check check,” 70’s style loudspeaker announcement that the mother of Rex is needed at the office (probably to be told that Rex keeps peeing in the deep end), the every half hour pleas for food from my impoverished children and the 45 minutes when everyone is, miraculously, happy and swimming at the same time, allowing me to thaw out, like a lily-white cod pulled out of the deep freezer after 9 months, tell me summer is here. SUMMER! Can I get a cheer please? For all of you in other states, who romanticize the snowy, European Colorado ski villas in your mind, it IS truly an amazing place to live but that rose colored image, seen through a soft filtered lens on an expensive camera comes flying off and smashes to the ground right around the beginning of May when we still often get snow!
Going to the pool with all my kids takes such effort and, actually, money for me that I tend to turn it into an all-day event. Thank goodness, for the sake of my teenage children, I was preoccupied with my own thoughts yesterday, because when “Another One Bites the Dust” thumped out over the pool speaker, it took measured control not to strut, teeth over my bottom lip and sunglasses in place, across the pool deck, like a greased up volleyball player might from the movie Top Gun.
As I listened to those classic “pooly” noises that are, oddly, the same all over the world, I was pulled back in time to my childhood when I literally spent all summer at the Air Force base pool in Turkey to get out of the heat and occupy myself in an, otherwise, sleepy U.S. military village. The picture above on the right is my sisters and I after a swim team practice in Ankara, Turkey. The picture on the left is from Norway when we were much younger. Oh, how I love my sisters. The second time I lived in Turkey was during the first Gulf War. There is a simplicity to third world countries that we often consider backwards but, actually, it forces them to work through things in relationships and retain strong family ties to survive in a way that can surpass us. I will never forget, the fresh yoghurt deliveries to our door in a tin pail, the unmatched Ekmek (bread) pulled out of the woodfire oven the moment before we ate it, the miniature gold coins tinkling along the edges of scarves for sale in the market, the coal in the air that would blacken my nose (which was how they stayed warm) and the hugs from Ayner when she would press us into her overweight stature, a sign of true beauty in Turkey, with an uncommon love not usually found between housekeepers and Americans. My sisters and I share so much history. We share difficult memories too… Memories of a friend of my parents who was blown up in his car a block from our apartment, checking under our vehicle each morning for wires and the fear and uncertainty I felt about the man who protected our apartment building downstairs with a machine gun. Those things reminded me that we were foreigners in a far away land that, for all its true kindness and charm, had unusual undercurrents at play that we couldn’t grasp.
Those memories, good and hard, have been on my mind a lot lately. Earlier this year, God highlighted some qualities to me. One of them was he simply whispered to me, “Thank people.” As I ponder this, I think true gratitude grounds me. I want thankfulness to be a natural part of the fabric of my everyday life. So, this week, I say thank you to the direct, passionate and big hearted Ayner and to my lovely sisters who have taught me so much about communication, love and fortitude. Thank you to my parents who, somehow through their fearless and joyful attitudes, gave us an idyllic and normal childhood. And, certainly not last, I want to thank God for protecting us during that dark wartime in Turkey and for watching over me my whole life. What are you most thankful for?
Holly’s Healthy Hummus
My sister Holly is a chocolate colored beauty, with deep brown, deer eyes. She takes after my Dad who has jet black hair and tan skin that makes him look like he’s from another country (something you would NEVER guess from my blonde pictures). 🙂 We grew up all over the world and my sisters became my best friends. We argued, played barbies for hours, screamed together with joy as Luke and Laura finally got together on General Hospital, all had a crush at the same time on one of our uncles (who shall remain unnamed- Lol), we could fight like bitter enemies at breakfast but be bosom friends again by dinner, we sang 4 part harmony on road trips to the rousing, camp tune, “The Littlest Worm,” fought about whose elbow was in whose personal space, we built matchbox houses for our tangerines (babies) as little girls and, also, lined up in front of the mirror, seeing who could gain the most height on our 80’s Texas, rodeo girl bangs in high school. Oh, so many life lessons came through all of that stuff, even the ridiculous parts. We learned how to love together and work through hardship. I hope you enjoy my sister’s health snack!
Blend together, refrigerate for 2-3 hours and serve with strips of veggies:
- 3 cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (The very best kind is the no salt added, no preservative variety)
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 3 Tablespoons of fat free plain yoghurt
- 1 teaspoon of garlic (I use powdered because I have a family member who is allergic to fresh garlic. You could certainly blend in real garlic, starting with one clove and working up to 2, based on taste)
- salt & pepper to taste (Vibrant Life followers, no salt is best, but, if you must, a tiny bit of salt can be added to yours)
You could play with this recipe and add a tiny bit of fresh Jalapeños and red bell pepper or Jalapeños and avocado. I haven’t done this yet but it sounds amazing! 🙂