Friday, January 1, 2016

Moving Forward and Be My Guest

This first post of this new year has been difficult to write. I kept opening the draft, looking at the blank page, feeling my eyes well up and closing the page. 

I plan ahead. I work ahead. I usually have an entire month of blog posts done in advance. The pieces are worded, the graphics are made, the recipes developed and the food pictures taken and edited. That's 11 or 12 blog posts done way in advance.

This month, not so much. In fact, not even close. I'm writing this just one week before I need to share it with you.

Crockpot Oriental Steak: An easy crockpot dinner loaded with oriental flavors. The steak is marinated, sliced and cooked slowly for 4 to 6 hours for an easy meal. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner #crockpot

Crockpot Oriental Steak
Crockpot Oriental Steak: An easy crockpot dinner loaded with oriental flavors. The steak is marinated, sliced and cooked slowly for 4 to 6 hours for an easy meal. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner #crockpot



Help. It's a tough concept. I love the feeling I get when I've helped someone. Giving is easy. Receiving is a whole other story. I have always prided myself on my strength. I'm not someone who asks for help easily. There is a tradition on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, to bake and give each other honey breads. As I understand the tradition, it is meant to be symbolic of our need, in the new year, to be a person capable of giving, and a person capable of receiving from others as well. You'd think the taking part would be simple but for so many of us receiving with gratitude and grace is something that requires practice.

Last month I asked for help.

The loss of my dad has my head spinning. It's not just the death, of course, but the reconciling of the relationship. The good, the bad, and the ugly, all playing out in a symphony of gratitude, regret, melancholy, frustration, affection . . . I will write about my dad at some point. I can tell that I will, that I need to get it out. But not now. Not yet.

And I'm certainly not feeling very funny right now either. 

So I asked for help.

Let me tell you how I have always felt and, in the spirit of those Rosh Hashanah honey cakes, how I now feel.

I always hated Guest Posts. I acknowledge that writing for someone else's blog and having them write for mine is a great way to grow readership and strengthen relationships. But I am a bitch the grammar police a control freak when it comes to both my blog and my words. I see it all as a reflection of me. So I would get upset if I wrote a piece that went live with a picture missing. I felt compelled to edit whatever was submitted to me, then concerned that offense might be taken. It was easier to just avoid being and having guests.

But now, when I need help, when I swallowed my pride and asked for Guest Posts and the offers came pouring in, I saw them with different eyes. What was once dreaded is now a gift. I've put out the welcome mat and no one has come empty handed.

Here's the plan for Baking In A Tornado over the next few months. I will continue participating in all of the writing challenges that I run. To fill in the rest of my blog publishing calendar for the forseeable future, I'll be running a series of guest posts that I'm calling Be My Guest. Some of these posts will have recipes, some are humorous posts and some are more thoughtful. I'm excited to introduce you to these bloggers, I know you will love these posts as much as I do.

Be My Guest: A series of Guest Posts on www.BakingInATornado.com | #blogging #bloggers #MyGraphics

I want to take a minute to acknowledge Lynne of Lynne Cobb, who offered me her post called The Grief Club, and Reisa of Life is More Than Sound Bites, who offered me any post from her blog. Although I decided to go with unique content instead of previously published articles, I am grateful for their generosity as well.

I want to thank all of my readers for your kindness, your patience and your support. I wish you all a happy and healthy new year.

Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Crockpot Oriental Steak
                                                                          ©www.BakingInATornado.com

Printable Recipe
 
Ingredients:
1 1/2 # Flank or skirt steak
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup hoisin
1/3 cup cider vinegar
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
1 onion, sliced
6 green onion, cut in quarters
8 oz mushrooms, sliced

Directions:
*Whisk together the brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, hoisin, cider vinegar, garlic and ginger.
*Place the steak in a sealable gallon bag. Add 1/4 cup of the sauce to the bag and refrigerate, turning now and then for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
*Refrigerate the rest of the sauce while the steak marinates.
*When ready to cook, grease your crockpot. Remove the sauce from the refrigerator, whisk well and place in the crockpot with the onion, green onion and mushrooms.
*Remove the steak from the bag and cut, against the grain, into bite sized pieces and add to the crockpot. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours, stirring now and then. If the sauce gets too thick, add 1/4 cup water as needed.
 

40 comments:

  1. As I write my Guest Post, to me it is such an honor that you would allow me to share my voice here.

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    1. The honor's mine. I am so grateful to my friends for buying me time.

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  2. Peace and comfort to you as you process a lot of complex feelings in the wake of your father's death. Hugs and hugs from Karen in Kansas.

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  3. You will be missed, but you must take time for yourself and do what YOU need to do. We will all be here ready and waiting for when you decide to return. ;)

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    1. Thank you for sticking with me. I'll be around for the challenges. And I am SO excited about these guest posts. Each one that comes in makes me smile.

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  4. I'm excited to read your future posts and the guest posts!! Love to you!!

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  5. As I read this I teared up because having lost my Daddy 2 1/2 years ago, each holiday the pain is new but thankfully less. I miss him terribly and like you had a multitude of feelings. I also knew I'd write about my Dad and it took a long time. I love him, he was strong, loving and at times mean as hell. I had to reconcile those feelings, the good, the bad and the ugly. My thoughts, prayers, love and support are here for you and your family. In time the hurt will lessen, the laughter will come back and you'll be able to write again. Until then we look forward to the guest post.

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    1. I completely understand everything you went through, being on that road now. I know I'll move forward, just like you have, little steps at a time.

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  6. Sorry for your loss Karen. I lost my father when I was 15, more than twenty years ago...and at times, it's still hard for me to accept he's gone. I completely understand all the feelings you are having and agree you need to take time for yourself now and eventually talk or write about it. You do need to get it out and deal with it at some point. I think that's something I was never able to do and it has caused problems for me.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family sweet friend - xoxo

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    Replies
    1. It's not too late, Bonnie. I'm here if you ever want to talk.

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  7. What a beautiful post Karen. I have felt so guilty for not offering a guest post, but I'm in the same boat lately. I open up drafts and just sit and stare. I'm not able to write and I'm worried that I may never get it back. I'm trying so hard to help my mom cope with the loss of her son that I just keep pushing my own grief down waiting for a more convenient time I guess. I know it doesn't work this way and I can feel it bubbling like poison under my skin. The what was, what could have been, and what will never be again runs through my mind like a 3d movie that makes me dizzy and a little bit sick to my stomach. I hope this New Year is kind and gentle to you dear friend and that we are both allowed the time to heal. I'm not big on guest posts either but am considering it for the for see able future. Happy New Year.

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    Replies
    1. I know how much you're going through Rena, and of your focus on your mom through it all. You take care of you.

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  8. I can't imagine what you are going through.

    I too feel guilty for not offering my voice when you needed it, but I never know how I'm going to feel day to day, let alone week to week.

    I can't wait to see all the posts - both yours and your guests! XOXO

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    Replies
    1. There's nothing to feel guilty about. We all offer support in the ways that we can. There's great value in all of those ways.

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  9. I hope you're taking care of yourself during this time off Karen. We're all thinking of you. xx

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Erin, for being my very first guest in the series.

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  10. The grief club is no fun to be in. Lots of love, hugs, and prayers are being sent your way.

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    Replies
    1. I'm in awe of your strength, Cathy. You are a great role model in a crappy club.

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  11. Hugs, many many hugs. Sometimes you just have to withdraw and take care of yourself. You are stronger than you know. You will know when you are ready to return. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Alana. Having ups and downs but I really am going to be fine.

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  12. I'm so sorry. I hadn't heard about your dad. Glad you're taking some time for yourself. Hugs!

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  13. You know how much I adore you and I am honored that you are allowing me a slot in your Be My Guest series.

    Take the time you need to heal, Karen. That is the best gift you can give yourself and one which you not only need but deserve. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you. xoxo

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Betsy. I'm so grateful to you for helping out.

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  14. I am the same. I feel I should be able to do my sh** alone, and I have a hard time asking for help and delegating because people will do it differently than I would. But here's the thing: different is different, not worse! I know I have to let go of expectations and let myself be surprised and delighted.

    So I will do my best and bake a super yummy honey cake for you in February, dear friend! ❤
    You take your time to mourn, dream, write it all out and never publish and come out stronger!

    Happy new year, Karen! πŸΎπŸ€πŸ’•πŸ˜€

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Tamara, for your wise words and for jumping in to help me out.

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  15. Totally understand your need as my Dad decided to go home, as well, earlier this year. I, too have a difficult time asking for help. Looking forward to reading from your guests! :)

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    1. I remember that, Diane, and I'm sorry for your loss as well.

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  16. Thank you for your honesty and sharing your pain. I don't think us gals ever get over losing our daddies. I do know how important it is to talk about them and I am glad that you said you are planning on doing just that. They say time heals all wounds but the scars are always there. My heart reaches out to you.

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  17. Asking for help and giving help are never as easy as it would appear.I will wait and when you are ready I will be commenting on all your fabulous posts once again!

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  18. It's always hard to lose a parent. I still think about my grandma, and my gal lost her dad this past year. Still hard. Take your time, take care of your own needs first. Blogging is not that important.

    Here's to a better 2016. Happy New Year.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Phil, I am very lucky that my friends are giving me the time I need.

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  19. I'm so sorry for your loss. It took me years before I could write about my dad. You'll know when the time is right. As for the guest posting---I think it's a great idea for a much needed break. I host guests quite often now on my site so that I can get caught up on other writing projects. Thanks for sharing the recipe---it looks yummy.

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    1. Thanks, Marcia, I know that the guest posts will buy me the time I need.

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  20. Karen, I sorry to hear about your loss. It's hard to lose a parent. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

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