Mar 19, 2012

Chocolate-Covered Banana Smoothie

This morning I was in the mood for some chocolate in my smoothie without losing the "green" factor. It was extremely delicious and cool on this warm spring day. I hope you like it...everyone in my family did!

1 1/2 cups almond milk
handful of spinach
1 frozen banana
1 tbsp. cacao
1 tbsp. raw honey
2 tbsp. hemp seeds (optional)
2 tbsp. flax seeds (optional)

Mar 9, 2012

The Friend

I sit here tonight, on my red microfiber couch accompanied by a late night snack to my right and two children's books to my left. About an hour and a half ago, my daughter and I were sitting here...together...doing our bedtime ritual, which is reading two books. It's the time of day I look forward to the most because the day usually feels like a tornado whirling through and finally, FINALLY, I get to sit down and just BE....with my little girl.

Tonight one of her choices was a book by Sarah Stewart called "The Friend". On the cover is a young, red-haired, spirited and innocent-looking girl holding the hand of an older woman on the beach in front of the sea. Their back is facing you and only the right side of the woman from the forearm to the knees can be seen. The girl is definitely the main focus and the woman, though you can only see a part of her, is the pillar. She represents wisdom, strength and love.
Based on this cover, I already want more.

This little girl, Belle, lives in a mansion, situated on the sea, with her mother, father, and nanny. Her mother is too busy to play and her father is always gone. She is left to the care of her nanny much of the time. The first page shows her mother and father, dressed to the nines, leaving Belle behind as they drive away with bags packed. The mother leans over to receive a kiss from Belle, as if that is Belle's "duty" and the father is disengaged, looking at his watch. Belle holds on to her nanny's arm and her teddy. You can tell that Belle feels uncertain about life and who she is in the way she holds her body in this picture and you know by this body language, her parent's leaving her behind is nothing short of a typical day.

Each page that follows represents a different day of the week. Bea, the nanny, keeps Belle busy, Monday through Saturday, with household chores in the morning...laundry, ironing, sweeping, gardening, baking, cleaning floors and windows. Throughout this book, Bea is a gentle guide and you can see she truly ENJOYS Belle. She is never directing with her words and never did I hear Bea tell Belle she was doing something wrong. Belle was able to assist Bea with housework, which isn't perfect, but Belle enjoyed it, nonetheless. Isn't that the point? Gosh, how often do we as parents get caught up in that thought that it has to be perfect? And if the child is not doing it "just so" we suddenly feel like we need to take over. It's happens in my home. I think, at least for me, we just want it to be done, right?

Every afternoon, after a hard day's work, Bea takes Belle down by the sea, hand-in-hand. They have tea together, take walks, sit, etc. There is something tender about these pages at the sea. As you flip, page after page, you realize from the pictures and words, how very much Bea loves this little girl as if she were her own....Bea is all Belle has and vice versa. They truly are FRIENDS.

One day Belle sneaks out of the house by herself, as any little girl might do, right? Unfortunately there's a large sea right outside her house. She walks toward it with her big red ball. Can you guess where this is heading? Yes, her ball goes into the sea and well, being a young kid, she goes in after it. Bea comes outside, doesn't see Belle and, of course, being the wise woman she is, she knows EXACTLY where Belle is. She drops everything to go and get the sea. Belle is under the water with only her hands reaching out towards the sky for help. Her friend, the one who understands her the most, reaches out to those helpless arms and rescues her from the depths of the sea. By this time in the book, your heart is already swelled up with the love witnessed for Belle from Bea that when you turn the page and see this woman hugging, not only with her arms but with her heart, this limp little girl just rescued from the water, you cannot help but cry.....and on the following page that's exactly what Bea does - breaks down and cries! Even the strong women have to cry.

Why did I find this story so moving? Because it reminds me that I chose to be a mother and with that comes the responsibility of not only providing for my children financially, but also to stop, time and again, to listen, play and just BE with my children.....especially my daughter. These past couple of months have posed many challenges and as I try to catapult a new business, which is extremely over-whelming at times....many times....I have to remember there's a little girl, who wants nothing more than to just be loved and know that she is loved and FAR more important than an agenda. It's much too easy to say, "Just a second" or "In a minute" or "Let me finish this first" time and time again. She hears it enough because she has had to take a bit of a backseat due to her brother's arrival 8 months ago. It has been on my heart for a few weeks now to set aside time to just be with my little girl. I don't do it enough. So, tomorrow morning, I am taking my little girl out on a special date...just her and I - no little brother tagging along and no blenders, cutting boards or recipe books in the way. I cannot wait to wake up tomorrow morning and spend the first half of my day with JUST her. I miss her. It's funny to say this since I see her everyday, pretty much all day, but how often do we as mothers (or fathers) sit down and look into our children's eyes without the distractions of cell phones, lap tops, schedules, racing minds, etc. I know it's been me.

So, if this is you, too....don't forget to spend time with and hug your child today. No, I mean, hug with your eyes closed and your heart open to receive the love that this child has for you. It's HUGE! My cup runneth over....