I saw an elf!!!

brain

Do you ever need a list to remember things? I sure do. I think my brain is so crowded… so I am constantly forgetting and rethinking about things I need to do… or things I need to blog about. This is my blog/journal notebook (you see, I may or may not have a little notebook for every aspect of my life!).

I opened it today to add some things I wanted to remember to blog about and noticed the top of my list was: seeing an elf as a child.

Before I get to that, I think it is only natural that after someone close to you passes away you start to think about things like ghosts and guardian angels. I do not know if I really believe in hauntings by ghosts but I for sure believe in guardian angels. And after hearing a story from my mom it just makes me believe in them even more. So how exactly does this relate to seeing an elf? I have never seen a ghost or a guardian angel…. but I swear as a child I saw an elf. I remember it in my mind so vividly.

I am about to confess that I broke the rules as a child. Sorry mom and dad!! I don’t know if it was officially Christmas or if it was still Christmas Eve. I do not even remember how old I was but I do remember it was the house on 14th Avenue where I lived until I was 8. It was one of those houses that when you walk in the front door you either walk up the stairs to one floor or down the stairs to the other. When you walked up the stairs the kitchen was straight ahead, the living room was to the left and to the right was a hall with the bedrooms. That night I was sitting at the end of the hall while everybody else was sleeping. I remember seeing the Christmas tree in all its sparkling splendor singing to me (it played music!). I wanted to see Santa for myself. My dad always got recorded proof of Santa… but I wanted to see him, the recorded proof just wasn’t enough. I do not know how long I waited but I remember at one point I looked up and saw a blur run from up the stairs into the kitchen. A few minutes later it ran the other way. I can still see the image clear as daylight in my mind (even though the figure was blurry because it moved so fast). He had a green pointy hat on, a green shirt, and green and white stripped pants with bells on his shoes. I was CONVINCED it was an elf, and I think of it often (maybe way more than I should). I think of it when people talk about seeing ghosts. Which is surprisingly alot… Although I don’t know how I feel about seeing ghosts because I never have, I will NEVER deny seeing an elf. I saw an elf when I was a child!

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Photo: I think I would have been a month shy of 5 here.

Pork Chops

It is rather late to be cooking but I was sitting on my bed working and remembered I had pork chops that needed to be cooked.

I was going to look for a marinade when I bought them but obviously never got around to it. So if anybody has a good Whole30 pork marinade… or chicken recipe– please send them my way!

This is what I did instead.

Cut one medium onion in quarters and put them on the bottom of the crockpot. Added maybe 1.5 tbsp of granulated  garlic and 1 cup chicken stock plus 1 cup water to onions ( I only had 1 cup of stock left). Added 5 pork chops sprinkled with Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel Seasoning, added 2 dollops of Ghee and plugged her in. I have no idea if they will taste good and no idea why I added ghee… I will just have to wait and see when MY alarm to turn off the crockpot wakes me up at 3:30am.

I really need to get back to one prep day and not this crock potting at night business.

Like You Need Another Hole in Your Head 

Those that really know me will not be surprised that I bought boots and socks this Black Friday. And as if I didn’t have enough permanent markers(151 in this box and I know I have more elsewhere)….

I bought more because they were $40 off and an OCD gals dream being sorted and organized by color.

And I know…. as my mom says, “You need:

boots,

shoes,

purses,

socks,

Sharpie’s,

And who knows what else…

Like you need another hole in your head.”

Uncle Les

Les

I feel like this year I have experiences so much loss. I lost two people that meant the world to me and who I relied on more than I knew. Two people that loved me unconditionally and I loved the same.

This month Uncle Les passed away. He is not my blood uncle but was kind of like a father figure. I meant him through my sissy Jessica. Jessica and I went to high school together and worked at Arbor Village for 11 years together. I love Jessica! I love my whole crazy “family” so much! It was through her that I was adopted into her family. We would tell our residents that Uncle Les was my dad and that her mother was my stepmother. Everybody believed it because he is American so it just worked and made sense. I truly believe God places people in our lives for a reason and this family was one of them.

Uncle Les’ passing was quick. It was way too soon (in my opinion). The last week of his life I spent everyday at the hospital and would drive straight there on my days off. I got to help him in a time of severe need and be there to love him and support him and our family. The day he passed away I spent the night at the hospital with Momma Schwartz. It was rough. It was very little sleep… very little sleep. I cried seeing the pain and discomfort he was in. It hurt to see him hurt. It hurt to see everybody hurt. It was a tiring and painful experience.

I think about a week before I drove him and Momma Schwartz to a doctor’s appointment. On the way home Uncle Les grabbed my shoulder and with tears in his eyes said thank you. I started crying also and explained that it was I who needed to thank him. I confessed that I have always struggled to feel like I belonged. At no fault to anyone around me, this is 100% my own insecurities. Being around him and my Schwartz/Lucena/Gogue family in his home was somewhere I truly felt like I belonged. He told me it was because I did and it was where I was meant to be if I was not with my blood family. He told me that I am a part of his family and was his daughter and would always have a place in his home and heart. He said he was lucky Jessica brought me into his life but it is truly me that was lucky to be adopted into this family!

This was something Uncle Les was good at. He was good at loving all people and opening up himself to anyone he was around. He talked with everybody he met and flirted with even more.

He reminds me of a quote by Maya Angelou. She said:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Uncle Les made us all feel loved and welcomed and appreciated and wanted and needed.

As I spoke to the crowd at the memorial service I encouraged them to do something. We never know when it is our time to go. So as I encouraged them, I now encourage you to say you love your family and friends more, take more pictures with your loved ones, worry less, enjoy more, thank people always, and to make more memories.

Loss of loved ones is hard. I am thankful in my testimony  of our Heavenly Father’s plan and to know that death is not the end.

And if we need to find a positive throughout the sadness, because of Uncle Les my “family” keeps growing bigger as I got to meet so many loving members of Marisa’s family that just allowed me to enter their arms.

Things That Scare Me

 

I actually do not think scare me is the right words… things I fear might be better!

I think I accidently on purpose signed up for a fitness boot camp today. A 6 week, three times a week, 1 ½ hour per session boot camp.

THIS SCARES ME! And I don’t know if it is because I do not want to appear as out of shape as I am OR if I am legitimately afraid I can’t do it.

I also do not even know if I am accepted into the program yet, so I really shouldn’t be anxious about it yet.

This is the next step in the year of me…. The year of getting my happiness back… The year of getting healthy… and hopefully staying healthy!

 

Food

Sometimes I feel like all I do is cook! But it has been such a blessing eating healthy and prepack food. Last week one of my employees called in sick and it was a RUSH to get out the door. If I had not had my food prepacked… I would have been in trouble. The extra time, work, and energy to be prepared really pays off.

Being with friends this weekend I did not prepack food. I instead threw a quick meal together of broccoli slaw, pineapple, spicy chicken sausage, garlic, and some coconut aminos at their home (while I made acorn squash covered in butter and brown sugar for Uncle Les). I think my “niece” and her boyfriend were shocked the healthy food could taste good too.

I also made lettuce cups with ground chicken, garlic, ginger, onions, water chestnuts and a sauce made from rice vinegar, coconut aminos, almond butter, sesame oil and chili sauce. I topped it with cilantro… because I love cilantro… and scooped it in Boston Lettuce cups.

Lately I have been craving pesto sauce. Most pesto sauce in the store has Parmesan cheese in it. Yesterday I took Paula grocery shopping and could not find basil. Today I went back to the store… to many stores… Carpinitos, Nature’s Market, Fred Meyer’s, Target, Safeway, Trader Joe’s. I was starting to think satisfying this craving was not worth the effort. Thank goodness Trader Joe’s delivered (And thank you Leslie for suggesting it!)

In my ninja I put a 4oz package of fresh basil (stems removed), 1/2 cup pine nuts, lemon juice from one lemon, a squirt of minced garlic, and some olive oil… and a little cilantro (because as I have already mentioned… I ❤️ it!). It tastes so good! I also baked a spaghetti squash, mixed 1/3 of the pesto sauce with it and topped it with fried chicken and pine nuts. My Chicken was easy to make and tasted pretty good… Paula will agree! I mixed 2 eggs with 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard and mixed it well. I twice dipped my chicken in the egg mixture and a mixture of coconut flour, dried parsley, dried oregano, dried basil, paprika, sea salt and garlic powder and browned it in the wok with a little olive oil. I then finished it off on the George Foreman Grill. Because I will be staying at Tracy’s house tomorrow night, I packed two days worth of lunch and dinner… and a chopped RX Bar for Thursday morning.

Downside to all this cooking… I still have to finish the dishes…and clean the kitchen…