Friday, December 21, 2012

Every Day

Each month, some friends and I write what we call Fly on the Wall posts, inviting you to catch a glimpse of what goes on in our homes.

This past December, just as I was about to publish one of those posts, there was a national tragedy that made me question the timing of a humorous piece. Instead, I chose to address hope. And about how, at times where there are no words, who we are can speak for us.

It went like this: 
 
12-21-12

I wrote a piece for today's post. It's funny and light and cute. There'll be another Fly on the Wall group posting and I hope you'll read it then.

Here's what I'd like to say today: If there were a fly on the wall in my home, these are all things that he would see. Not on the same day, but over time:

One year my family went on two trips, a day apart. We returned from the first and I had one day to unpack, do laundry and repack for us all. I'd planned on getting take-out for dinner. As we pulled into our driveway from the airport, I noticed two trucks next door. They were an insurance truck and a catastrophic clean up truck. While unpacking I called my neighbor and said "I just got home. I know something happened, I don't know what it is but I know it's bad. What do you need?" Her washing machine had overflowed ruining all of her hard wood floors and the newly finished basement below. She couldn't use her hallway, kitchen or laundry room. They were a family of six. All that day and the next, before I left, we did her laundry at my house. My family ate take out, but I shopped and cooked anyway. A hot meal for six went from my house to hers.


Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Every Spring my husband and his co-workers get together as a team to participate in Rebuilding Together. The team is assigned a needy homeowner and they spend the day doing home repairs for that person. It's a full day of physical labor: painting, fixing, patching, hauling, whatever is needed. My sons participate on that team as well. It's a personal experience as the homeowner is there, they meet him, see who he is and why he needs their help. At the end of a long hard day they see the results of their labor. Not just in an appreciative homeowner or a house that's been repaired, but in his renewed pride of ownership.


Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics


There is a boy in our neighborhood with Down Syndrome. One year his mother told us that she was doing a local Buddy Walk. She collects donations in her son's name and her family and the other sponsored families walk. Another of her sons was on the High School football team and their grandmother had actually volunteered to make the payment for any player who wanted to support her grandson who had Down Syndrome and her other grandson, their teammate. Many friends and neighbors donated and money went to a great cause in this little boy's name. We did not just donate. On the day of the event, at my boys' suggestion, my family registered and walked. Along with the entire High School football team, coaches and all.


Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

My husband is on a local business association committee that puts on a charity event called Project Wee Care every year. Hundreds of families are referred by local school guidance counselors with the permission of the families involved. Food and monetary donations are collected and area students collect clothes as well. My boys assist in the collection and the organizations of donations. So much is purchased and donated that the local food pantry and other charities send trucks for what isn't needed. On pick up day, right around Thanksgiving, each family is given a ham or turkey and bags of groceries. They can pick out clothes from the clothing room.  Last year one father refused to leave until he had personally hugged each and every volunteer.

Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

I am a registered organ donor. The boys know this. 
I've just reached my 10 year anniversary on the National Marrow Registry. 
On September 12, 2001 I gave blood. It wasn't the first time, nor was it the last. 

Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

  If I could speak to that fly on the wall, I would tell him this: things happen in life that leave us at a loss for words. We need to realize that in those times we're still well equipped to comfort and to teach. Because that old adage is true, sometimes actions do speak louder than words. Not just our reactions to the moment, but who we were the day before, and who we'll be the day after.When faced with hopelessness, show hope.


Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics
I believe that cooking and baking are an expression of love, and that food has the capacity to provide comfort.  I wish you and your family a happy holiday season.


Holiday Trifle | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe
 Holiday Trifle

Holiday Trifle
                                       www.BakingInATornado.com


Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 loaf of Cinnamon Cranraisin Pumpkin Bread (recipe: Cinnamon Cranraisin Pumpkin Bread)
4 cups eggnog (I take out 1/4 cup and replace with 1/4 cup of Spiced Rum)
2 packages (3.4 oz) instant French Vanilla pudding mix
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla (or Spiced Rum)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp cinnamon
crushed gingersnap cookies

Directions:
*Make sure the bread is cool. You can make the bread the day before you assemble the trifle.
*Wisk pudding mix and eggnog (and Rum, if using) together for 2 minutes. Refrigerate.
*Whip cream until stiff peaks form. Beat in the sugar, vanilla (or Rum), cinnamon and nutmeg.
*In a clear bowl, assemble the trifle in layers, don’t mix the components together.
*In bottom of clear bowl, crumble half of the bread. Top with half of the pudding mixture. Sprinkle with some of the gingersnap crumbs, top with half of the whipped cream.
*Gently repeat with the rest of the bread, the rest of the pudding mixture, the rest of the whipped cream. Top with more gingersnap crumbs.
*Refrigerate overnight.

46 comments:

  1. I love to hear all the heartwarming things that go on in your life. And the trifle looks divine! :-D

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    1. I think I just needed to remind myself that the scale isn't all just tipped in one direction.

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  2. Could there be any more to love about you? I thank you for encouraging the fact that we can all make a difference. Beautiful post, Karen. A dessert that looks like it's a half foot tall is the "icing" on your December Fly on the Wall. Happy, happy holidays to you, my friend.

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    1. Thanks Michele, for always jumping into my crazy schemes with me. They're way more fun with you there.

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  3. This was great Karen ~ It's so good to always have constant reminders that there is good in the world...even though we are all supposedly on the brink of extinction today we should all be a little kinder to one another!

    xoxo
    Lanaya
    www.raising-reagan.com

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    1. I guess if we're all on the brink of extinction then why not go out on a kind note?

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  4. So wonderful that there are people like your family in this world, Karen!! Have a wonderful holiday season!!

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  5. Beautiful!
    I just want to squeeze you! I knew you were pretty dang special but you totally knock my socks off!
    Those wonderful acts of kindness often lift us just as much as those we are serving.
    I LOVE that you have made serving others so important in your home.
    May you enjoy a wonderful holiday full of nothing but the very best!
    Thank you for allowing us to be a part of this fun writing challenge.
    Excellent to get to know so many neat bloggers in such a fun way.

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    1. I totally agree with you that acts of kindness serve us as well as those we serve. I thoroughly enjoy having you participate in both challenges, I learn a little more about you each time!

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  6. WOW!! Thank you so much for this post. It is very inspiring!!
    We have been going through some issues here and I really needed the reminder to keep the hope alive.
    God bless you and keep you!!!!!

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    1. Hope your issues resolve in the best possible way. Thanks for joining in again.

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  7. Great post Karen! Loved this sneek peek into your life and was pleased to have my "suspiscions" confirmed: You are an awesome lady!!!

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    1. Thanks for your support. Always love having you here, and visiting you too.

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    2. You are such a kind and giving person. This post made me feel like I can and should be doing more for others. Very inspirational!
      Jae Mac, I'm Just Sayin'...(Damn!)

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    3. Thanks, Jae. I bet you do plenty for the people in your area too.

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  8. You and your family are amazing, compassionate, beautiful people. We need a heck of a lot more people with big hearts like you in this troubled world we live in!

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    1. Thanks, Mama. Little things, but they matter.

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  9. Your family is doing amazing things for the holiday!

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    1. It's a great time of year for people thinking of others.

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  10. That was beautiful.....made me feel like I'm not doing enough...is being scared of needles/tests an excuse for not donating? I'm not sure but thanks for reminding me that I'm one of the lucky ones...and you're definitely right it's the time of year to think of others not ourselves. I wonder how the world would be with more of those that are like you? You truly have an amazing heart ...thank you for sharing that with all of us. xoxox Hope you are having a wonderful time with your family!

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    1. Thank you for the sweet comment. Wishing you and your family a happy holiday season and a new year filled with joy.

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  11. I found your blog through SadderButWiser! Love this post! So many great moments and acts of love! I also love the recipe! You have a new follower in me!

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    1. So glad you found your way here and that you intend to come back. I'll go visit you too.

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  12. Yummy! wish I had seen this recipe before I left for the grocery store today to get items for Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner. Although it does look good enough for me to "brave" the crowds one more time...

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  13. Merry Christmas Karen. Bet you've been baking up a tornado!

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    1. Spent the whole morning in the kitchen, as a matter of fact!

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  14. First off - that trifle looks amazing and I would eat it all.

    Secondly - it's nice to see the good in people, especially during the holidays.

    Merry Christmas!

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    1. Thanks,you Phil. That trifle is so rich, I guarantee wouldn't be able to eat as much as you think.

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  15. I LOVE this post. Your trifle looks amazing and I might even try it. Happy holidays to you and yours!

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  16. This is beautiful Karen and I think it's so important to share posts like this one! Merry Christmas and as always yummy recipe!

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    1. Thank you, Monica. Hope you try the trifle, it's a hit here.

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  17. Thank you for reposting this today. It is so important for us to remember that we can make a difference in the every day with our actions. "Always look for the helpers" xoxo

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  18. Rereading this and still getting the misty eyes!!!
    <3 <3 <3!!!!

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    1. Thanks Stacy. Love being associated with people like you, who take time to do for others.

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  19. As if I didn't need any other reason to love you, you just gave me several more. You are an amazing woman, Miss Karen. You and your husband are raising some awesome boys as well. It is my honor to call you a friend.

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  20. Very heartwarming, so glad to read this at this sad time for our country :(

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    1. Thank you, Nina. So glad you found it heartwarming.

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  21. This post is beautiful Karen. I'm glad you re-shared it! I somehow missed this post the first time around.

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    1. I didn't realized you missed this one last time, but reposting it felt right today.

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  22. I believe that angels walk among us. You are proof of that ♥

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    1. You're way too kind. But I do believe we all have it in us to do the little things for each other. And I believe that most people do them.

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