Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wednesday remix - with a pull and a prayer

Your words of encouragement in regards to my swimming victories are spurring me on! Thank you, friends and family! In subsequent posts, I want to share what I'm learning, less about swimming techniques per se, but the greater aspects of my quest for aquatic magnificence.

They have nothing to do with today's post
but seriously, aren't they adorable?
Oh, and love, I want to share glimpses into love between a Soldier and his bonita. But more on that later...

Until then, I came upon something I wrote eight years ago about Aaron and a loose tooth. Still brings a grin to my heart...

Call me a wimp. Call me a baby. Call me the worst mother in the world. I don't care, I just couldn't do it. 

Aaron's loose tooth would have to stay in his mouth until he could pull it. I'm not a good gore person and if you haven't seen a tooth dangling from your kid's mouth lately, one day you'll understand. Strange as it may seem, the Lord used this experience to draw Aaron closer to him in a real and tangible way.

Losing a tooth isn't an easy thing for the W-H's. Some families' teeth casually slip out one day with nary a wiggle. Our OS's teeth are very stubborn. They like where they live and can be freeloading tenants. Aside from myself, I've only assisted one person in losing a tooth.

(Enter 70's time machine...) One day accidentally on purpose I punched my sister Lorri in the mouth during a fight in the station wagon. While our parents were out of the vehicle, I gave her a knuckle sandwich which consequently sent her tooth flying. 
No knuckle sandwich necessary in this pic!
We searched and searched but never located the tooth and thanks to my natural charm and urgent begging, Mom and Dad never found out.

(Return from time machine...) Our middle OS lost his first two teeth at the dentist's office. With a few good yanks, the dentist produced two adorable baby teeth which Aaron happily placed under his pillow for the Tooth Fairy.

I don't recommend Aaron as a dentist
but oh the personality!
Now with budgetary concerns, Aaron's loose tooth would have to leave the old-fashioned way. Each morning, Aaron showed me how loose his tooth was getting. For two days, my OS lingered in the bathroom, the only tools to expel the tooth being his boyishly dirty fingers and toilet paper which he used as a gripping device. Meanwhile I stood in the hallway clutching my stomach afraid I was going to pass out. He might as well have been giving himself an appendectomy, it grossed me out so much!

With utter determination, Aaron pulled and grabbed his central incisor. Possessing all the courage an eight year old can muster, he shut the bathroom door and with amazing bravery, mightily tore at the remaining root. Free at last, free at last, the battle was won, the tooth was out!

However, that wasn't the only time Aaron lost that tooth.

I can't believe we still have this in the house!
At bedtime, he prepared to put it under the pillow. It was the first tooth he had ever personally pulled and suddenly, he could no longer find it. He cried and searched. We combed the house looking for it. Maybe it's in his pants in the washing machine, I wondered so we jetted downstairs only to find soggy jeans with empty pockets. This tooth was originally placed in a special Tooth Fairy container, where was it now?

That night as Aaron lay on his bed, dejected and forlorn, he asked me to join him in prayer. Aaron led the intercession and though I don't remember what he said, Someone did. My OS drifted into sleep hoping that God, in His mercy, would locate the missing tooth in time for the Tooth Fairy to make her delivery.
I was even more surprised to find this assortment of 
dental treasures! Why are we saving these? 
In the wee hours of the night (pun intended), I awoke at 1 am and used the bathroom downstairs. Normally I frequent the potty in the master bedroom but for some reason I didn't and...yep,  
"You found me!"

that's when I spotted it. Aaron's Tooth Fairy container and the pearly white  he had misplaced in the downstairs bathroom!

Aaron woke up in the early morning with a huge smile, astonished that the Tooth Fairy had actually arrived. A crisp one-dollar bill magically was found under his pillow. He was delighted but as for me, observing what was placed in Aaron's heart was more valuable. As I shared in his excitement, my OS told me, "I'm glad I prayed. It actually works. God is real!"

Matthew 18:19 says, "Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven." Aaron humbled himself before the Lord and received his heart's desire. If I would have yanked that tooth on my own, perhaps he wouldn't have seen in a very real way how the Lord values all of our supplications.

With a couple of tugs and a simple prayer, Aaron received a true wisdom tooth and a tiny, shiny bright testimony to God's faithfulness. 

Gotta a tooth story? Ever entered a 70's time machine? I'd love to hear!

Breaking news - Cindy swims!

Hope you weren't blinking because you would have missed it but the Hubs captured 10 seconds of me swimming. In nine foot deep water I might add rather boastfully. ;) Your small child can do a better job, for sure, but somehow, albeit fairly clumsily I did it. And if you can stand more excitement, I jumped into the water SEVEN times today! And guess what? I might do it again tonight. 

Please join me in singing the following song

"I am just an embryo with a long, long way to go, until I make my brother understand..." (Not sure why my brother needs to understand but um, Mark, if you're reading this, I am SWIMMING, DUH!)

I'll post a Wednesday remix later but I just had to share this. Thanks for the encouragement, y'all!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Doing Hard Things - part one

The Lord is prompting me to not only read this but have the courage to do this. 
It's no accident that this summer I am co-leading a book study for teenage girls entitled Do Hard Things. With each progressive week, I find myself feeling the nudge to have victory over one of my Hard Things.

A teenager in Florida who was afraid of water = me

A fear that has gripped me for almost half a century that I am determined to overcome.

Fear of water - swimming

I was the teenage girl with bad body image sporting a white rubber bathing cap and cowering at the country club pool. Yeah, that was me. Too embarrassed and prideful to take swimming lessons. 
I hated spending days at the pool. 

I was the young collegiate at summer parties terrified someone would toss me in the water and see me flail about like a goof. Everyone was alerted to NOT throw Cindy in the water. 
You see a pool, I see an aquatic obstacle. 
And when the OS were little, I was the mama stuck on the beach chair. Longing to jump into the water, instead I watched the Hubs toss the boys in the air at the pool. Just a lonely mama who couldn't venture to the deep end of the pool and stayed on the side. :(

If I've got the guts to make raw multi-seed crackers, I should be able to swim, right?
A giant chasm separates fun and me. Summer is the season that covers its mouth, points at me and snickers, "You don't belong here. Just go back inside and feel sorry for yourself."
The Hubs and the OS in the water sans moi.
But there's got to be an end to it. With great fear and trembling, I want victory over this phobia. Give me back May, June, July and August! Heck, let's throw in September since I live in the south! Don't you agree? 
I long for a picture of my OS and I in the pool.
I really hope and pray to report that I am conquering this fear...stay tuned, this is a very hard thing for me!

One more's the link for the crackers! They are GOOD!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wednesday remix - staying pure

I'm a day late on Wednesday remix but the message I'm sharing today is timeless. Love and purity aren't things bound by time! Come on now!

From April 2009 - when our OS were 12, 14 and 19 years old....
This guy does think about other things besides basketball! 
On a beautiful spring day, my husband and I were going to attend the wedding of a co-worker. While running errands with my orange haired, freckle face OS looked up at the sky and commented, “This is a perfect day to get married.” It was an unexpected but lovely comment from Ike who concerns himself more with perfecting his jump shot than on mushy stuff like love and marriage. While driving with him in the passenger seat, our youngest OS also informed me that he would like a beach wedding. I didn’t know he even thought for a second about such things but my heart burst like the sun that morning.
Aaron makes a covenant with us and the Lord
Then in February, our 14-year-old son participated in a True Love Waits ceremony at our church. My husband and I stood alongside him and slipped the purity ring on his finger. This was our son’s decision, he was not forced or bribed to be a part of this. Aaron had chosen his ring and eagerly anticipated wearing it. Our middle OS went to school the next day and everyone noticed the ring on his finger. When asked about it, Aaron confidently explained the pledge he made to his future bride.  (He still wears it to this day!
We all made a promise to the Lord and each other. 

While meeting his peers at West Point back in 2009, a fellow plebe asked my son to tell him all the things he had done with a girl. 

Without preaching or sounding arrogant, Nate was careful to not speak. He didn't want to sound hesitant or apologetic with his proceeding answer. My OS recounted to me that he just said nonchalantly,“I’m just chilling on that stuff.” My hunch is this guy doesn't hear that response too often but according to Nate, he seemed to respect my son’s decision.  

(Fast forward three years and now he's still holding true to his convictions. Nate is in love with a beautiful young lady, read this post and this one for the sweet story thus far!) 

Nate and Lu...they are so cute together!
During my eight years of working in the field of sexual purity, I heard so many heartbreaking stories. It would be easy to think that there isn’t a single young man with self-control and respect out there. Not true! The Hubs and I are doing our best to raise and prosper three of them! We need to encourage the boys and men in our midst to do as Scripture says in Psalm 119:9, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.”

The beginning of our family started on September 5, 1986.
We never expected the Lord to change our hearts on so many things
and allow us reach for higher standards.
What do these three things have to do with each other? Am I merely writing these words to impress and brag about the precious family the Lord has given me? It’s true I am fiercely proud of my sons but I share this with you to give you parents of daughters a ray of hope too. There are some good guys out there. I share these brief glimpses into my family to tell you parents of sons to esteem the young men in your life and encourage them to prosper in honor and integrity. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday remix - who you calling a diaper head?

It's been about ten years since anyone has called me a "diaper head." In all my life, I think I've only been called a "diaper head" once! HA! I share this Wednesday re-mix in celebration of the growth our family has experienced since that fateful diaper-headed day. Read on to learn again that our family is very imperfect, often dysfunctional but God isn't finished with any of us yet! 

I'm the shortest one in my family and the happiest
when I have a ginger with his arms around me. 
Sparks were flying and it was almost a week past the fourth of July. My precious Isaac, the red head, had turned into a human firecracker! I didn't know that much dynamite could fit into a 30 pound "container." All this fury over a simple command to pick up dinner napkins. Apparently I was the match that set his anger ablaze. I knew Ike had a temper but whoa, seriously? 

Don't let that smile and cowboy hat fool you...
this guy can be a stinker!
He slammed doors, screamed and even charged at me with two tightly bound fits. His red eyebrows furled, his blue eyes enraged all because I told him he needed to do his regular family chore. Firm attempts to corral him weren't working and things were going from bad to worse. Just that afternoon, his brother, Aaron, had been rather challenging so by this time, I was humbled and worn out.

Hoping Ike would soon tire because I knew I certainly was exhausted, I doggedly pursued justice to no avail. 

I prefer fireworks at a distance, thank you very much!
"Mommy is a diaper head! You're a baby head!" flew from his ruddy lips. From the bathroom where he had been exiled, Isaac's self-control had completely left and mine was hanging on by a thread.

The normal forms of correction we use weren't working and the situation seemed desperate. What was I going to do? The Hubs wasn't home, there was no back-up. I had to handle this one alone.

But in my second of need, I realized I was wrong. I was not alone. It's then that I heard His voice. 

"Pray, Cindy. Pray." I slowly walked up the stairs speaking to God with each step, asking for guidance, counsel and patience. His still, small voice beckoned me and told me to do something for Isaac that clearly wasn't my choice. 

God told me to hold him. Simply take that furious fellow into my arms and rock him gently. Let him know I loved him.

This wasn't exactly the form of discipline I had in mind (LOL) but I knew the Lord was guiding me to be "quick to listen and slow to anger." James 1:19. Then He told me to show mercy and compassion. God told me to forget Isaac's pre-school insults. So against all my human judgment, I cradled that angry guy in my arms and spoke softly to him. The firecracker and his mom were finally settling down.

A snapshot of life too many years ago...
It is a tradition each night before my sons go to sleep, to pray for them. I petition the Lord for and with them and always thank God for the blessings I find in being a mother. That night, I assumed it would be tricky to give great laud and praise for all the day's adventures.

But again, the Lord supplied me with the humility and gratitude necessary. "...and thank you God for letting me be Isaac's mommy today. Even though it wasn't easy, thank you God." 

I love seeing Aaron's physical and
spiritual muscles growing!
A little later on, I tucked my middle OS in bed. Despite a rather action-packed afternoon with him as well, I said, "...and thank you God for letting me be Aaron's mommy today." I gazed into that handsome face and just smiled. We stared at each other for a moment and to my surprise, Aaron rang in after me..."and thank you for letting me be Mommy's child today." He'd never said anything like that before!

God had spoken and apparently I wasn't the only one listening! Being a mother is an aerobic activity. Hard on the mind and body.

But to the soul, O Lord, to the soul, motherhood is infinitely more complex. In the course of a few hours I had a whirlwind of feelings. God's soft and mighty hand soothed us all. We had gone from intense emotional explosions to quiet, gentle love. The Lord Jesus found us where we were in a crumpled mess. He gave us what we needed to heal. Praise Him!

Is there something in your own family that's troubling you? Feeling bruised and beaten in this job of a lifetime? Have you ever had a few agonizing hours as a parent? My prayer for you my friends, and I mean this with sincerity, is that each of you reading my post will experience the kind of day I had. Grow and give great thanks to God from whom all blessings flow. Fireworks can be dangerous and are pretty to the eye but I discovered on a hot July night, they can be beautiful to the heart and soul.
My beloved firecracker

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Defeat and victory in skirtland

Unless you are my 22 month old niece, if I offer to make you a skirt, say no.

You don't have to be polite about it either. Really, it's for the best...

The skirt "prototype"
I'm not sure what compelled me to think that I could do it. It's a mystery to me. All I know is that a week ago I, without presentiment, asked my friend Becki to help me replicate a favorite skirt and bless her heart, she said yes. Three DAYS of nearly non-stop effort on the part of both of us and if you determine fashion by the wearability and beauty of a garment, let's just say it's we've got ourselves an epic fail. 

So what do you do with that? Was it all in vain? 

Reasons it was a waste of time...

Approximately 4,000 pins on this dumb zipper
Zippers - correctly sewing a zipper is perhaps one of the most frustrating endeavors of my life. Just as I thought one side of the invisible zipper was good, the other side would be horrible. I contemplated chucking the whole thing, such a mess.

Man-hours - My skirt would cost over $300 if Becki and I were paid minimum wage. I'm not sure it would get fifty cents at a garage sale. :*
"Hi, I'm Nate and I'm
the cutest conehead you'll ever see!"

I've given birth to ALL three of my OS in the time it took to make this simple A-line skirt. And at least during childbirth, I had a finished product. Yes, my OS were gooey and slippery. Nate even had a cone-head but overall I was pleased with the results...three lovely creations.  I'm not able to gloat about my skirt. I still haven't hand-sewn the waistband. The skirt and I need some space...

BUT, I refuse to say that it was a waste of time and here's why...

Becki and I on Day Two - optimistic 
and still speaking to each other!
Friendship - despite her own desire to sew, Becki pushed that aside and poured herself into my project. Who does that? She pinned and measured, explained and repeated countless times. She researched and investigated skirt making. She invited me into her home, she drove over to mine. She laughed and shared, commiserated and forged ahead. When I was literally flat on the ground from the emotional weight of the stupid invisible zipper not working again, Becki pressed on. 
A view from the carpet, that's Becki slaving away

On the third day of our skirt journey, I began taking pictures of the ceiling. I lay on the carpet, far from the skirt because I couldn't take it anymore. There Becki sat at the sewing machine. Gf faithfully yanked the stitches out of that blasted zipper again as I clicked away on my camera phone and went to my "happy place." 

Amazing grilled veggies and goat cheese on a bed of greens
And check this out, Becki even made us a delicious lunch of grilled veggies, goat cheese and salad greens. She was the epitome of being a friend and a teacher.

Hope - If left to my own resources, surely I would have scrapped this project.  Many Bible verses traveled in my brain during our time together. This one, James 1:2-4, resonated the most within me.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 

A little cherry skirt that will spend more
time in the closet than on my person!
Perseverance finished its work. I collaborated with a person who cared and not just about the skirt but about me.  I may only wear this garment while cleaning the house. Yeah, it's janky, the waistband is awkward, the seams don't match perfectly but WE did it. And as stupid as this may seem/seam (a pun for people who love to sew), guess what? I think I'm going to do it AGAIN!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wednesday remix - lizard licking good

In a box of old pictures, I found one that hearkened back to a sweet memory...

You can't be in a bad mood when you eat ice cream. It's impossible to stay grumpy with a mouthful of frozen deliciousness. Probably when people go to heaven, they are given a complimentary pint of their favorite kind as a welcome home present. Maybe God created ice cream to compensate for the ticks He made. Just another one of my deep thoughts, free of charge. ;)

One hot mess that I can't live without
It was during a trip with my OS to Florida, however; I was given an ice cream memory for my heart.

My OS had accomplished the superhuman feat of peacefully sharing one fishing pole between the three of them. Out on Bradenton Beach Pier, Grandma and I watched the guys catch five fish and we left the pier salty, wind-blown and proud. 

Good thing Grandma was getting her hair set the next day. It had been partly cloudy and drizzle had sprinkled our heads and flattened our coifs. We were a frightful sight but the OS were thrilled. Each one had his own fish story to tell.

After lunch Grams recommended we go out for ice cream. We entered The Orange Dipper and glanced at the 50 flavors of gourmet ice cream pondering which one to choose. The answer was easy for Aaron and Ike. One flavor beckoned them. Every dimension of the ice cream screamed to be picked. The name of that ice cream...Lizard Lips. Perfect. Neon green ice cream was scooped into their waffle cones. 

Yep, that's right, we're eating Lizard Lips!
As we licked away at our individual ice cream selected, I observed that all of us ate with personality. Aaron and Ike grinned as bright green covered their mouths. Ike looked like a tiny salamander as his tongue slithered out to grab a bite. Aaron's t-shirt bespoke volumes about his day. Smeared fish goo, ketchup and mustard from his burger heartily welcomed new plops of Lizard Lips.

Cerebral Nate, as my oldest OS, he chomped away at his Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough the same way he does books! He devours them! As we chatted about the day's highlights, suddenly in the midst of all the confabulation a little dot of ice cream appeared directly on Nate's nose. I grabbed the camera and clicked. (I wish I could find that picture now!)

Three generations scooped every last drop of flavor from that day. Lizard Lips and ice cream dips were the perfect topping to our time together...

Here's Grandma back in the day
seriously working that one-piece. You go, girl!

It is a blessed thing to have a great-grandma
So, after reading this post, do you have an ice cream memory you'd care to share?

Dresses and skirts

This post is pre-empting regularly scheduled Wednesday remix. I will post the remix later this evening... 

Sew far my summer has been sew busy. I'm having sew much fun. Fabric. Friends. Fellowship. Laughter. Learning. Love. Oh yeah, bring it on.
View from my sewing all matched
and I didn't even plan it that way!

The hallmark of Monday was that I SMBO (sewed my butt off) with my friend Becki. She and I are on a journey to create a skirt. Not a terribly fancy garment but you'd think we were working on a wedding gown considering the amount of time it took for us to make a pattern from one of my favorite skirts. Her patience and instruction allowed me to think that eventually I'll be able to do this myself. 

Then shortly after breakfast on Tuesday, I left my house and began my second day of SMBO. This time, I joined my friends, Jo and Mavis. Our intention was to make pillowcase dresses to be given to girls we will never meet this side of heaven. Jo's sister-in-law has personally sewn 200 dresses, how hard could it be for the three of us to crank out a bunch for this worthy cause in a morning? 
Hopes were high as we all began the morning

Admittedly, we learned the answer to that question six hours later when Mavis was the only one who had successfully made a pillowcase dress.  It is more involved than we anticipated.
"It is hard not to be stuck up when you are the only one who has finished a pillowcase dress..."

Here is the video we used to create our dresses. It was quite helpful. 

I went home and by 9 pm, I had finally finished two dresses. I'll never be a winner of Project Runway but that's not my goal. I did it! I can do it!

When I am by myself, well that's another story. A needle breaks or I sew something inside out and my spirit is mirthless, dinted with feelings of discouragement and futility. I can't do it. I'm stupid. Probably should just give up, it's never going to work.

This is Jo's mother's decoupaged sewing basket - it rocks!

The yards of fabric I have in my home will one day transform into pretty things, potentially even garments I can wear or create for loved ones. Sometimes to help myself fall asleep, I imagine all the possibilities...buttons, ribbons, zippers, trim and fabric perfectly matched together and I ascend to dreamland. 

Mavis, me and Jo ready to SOBO!
Amongst my talented friends, I feel sew hopeful, maybe even slightly invincible. Not because of my sewing acumen but because our abilities are shared and the things created become more beautiful.  For two glorious days, kind and generous women have pieced together memories and lovelies on a hot summer day. 

Taa daa! One of my finished pillowcase dresses!
What activity do you share with friends which brings out the best in you? What skills have you learned from your friends or taught them? 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

How to mess up a good batch of brownies

Since writing this story 11 years ago, I have experienced plenty of culinary catastrophes and victories. I believe my venture into dessert experimentation began with the brownies made with a special ingredient (not THAT ingredient, btw!)
Yes, I actually wore this to the grocery store one day...
Lest you think that my boys dance and prance for all of my delectable meals, I should set the record straight. One memorable moment stands out as a reminder that, perhaps, I should just stick with simple spaghetti if I wish to earn their favor.

After several months of annoying body aches and pains, a friend suggested I start taking vitamins and some organic, unrefined oils to aid in my overall health. I was interested in getting myself back into better shape. I liked the results of these vitamins and the time came when I needed to re-order.

While looking through the mail order catalog for the produce, I was delighted to find another product any good mother would want to give her children. I found the children's version of these oil pills I had been taking. I carefully read the description and without hesitation placed my order.

Soon the small box arrived at our doorstep, just before my two oldest OS arrived home from school. My freshly baked brownies were cooling on the kitchen counter. I looked at the colorful bottle.  Darling little jungle animals and bold lettering made the label seem so appealing. The scrumptious butterscotch flavor described said it was delicious over desserts. I swept into action and a secret plan started cooking in my head. 

Nate and Aaron bounded up the street and took their usual places around the kitchen table, awaiting their afternoon snack. I told them about the yummy brownies and they were practically salivating with anticipation! 

Can you say yum? Can you say yuck?
Carefully, I cut each of my three sons a square of warm brownie. Then I added the elusive ingredient. I diverted their attention and poured a few thick teaspoons of this oil on top of their brownies. 

The oil sat that on the brownies for a moment, almost as if it were saying, "Are you SURE you want to do this?" but then it seeped into the dark chocolate.

They'd never know I had added some health food to the middle of this treat. Aha! Mission accomplished!

I presented each boy with his own plate. It was Nate, age nine, the most discerning of the three, who asked me, "Mom, what's that on the brownies?" I escaped answering the question and encouraged him to dig in. 

The bite had barely entered his mouth when he grimaced and contorted. He held the moist brownie bits on the curl of his tongue, hoping not to swallow any and cried, "Ugh, Mom, these are sick! What did you do? They taste terrible!"
flax seed not in oil form!

I tried not to laugh and despite me encouraging him to try another bite (he was almost gagging from the first one), he quickly declined. Seeing their big brother so grossed out, the other boys suddenly lost interest in their snack. They scrambled from the table before I could torture them, as I had their brother.

I wanted to be the best mom in the world with a homemade snack and health food all rolled up into one great afternoon treat. While the taste of that nasty brownie concoction will hopefully fade from my son's mind and palate one day, I take solace in knowing that he'll probably growing up remembering one thing, that his mom made a mean plate of spaghetti!

"I shall never forget that day my mom almost poisoned
us with those horrible brownies. Wow."
We mothers can rest assured that although we may not be remembered for all of the grand meals we made, it's the everyday, commonplace love that is never forgotten. I bite down on my mother's tender, tasty sandwich and my sons devour their mother's slippery noodles and we feel loved once again.

How about you? Any tricks you've tried that were less than successful? 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wednesday remix - magic sandwich

This story was originally published in Heartwarmers of Love. The book now sells for less than $2 on Amazon but who cares? I wrote the story ten years ago in honor of the creator of the finest ham sandwiches - mi madre. 

This book did NOT make the best seller list, I think
I might have been the only one who bought it! No problem!
To the simple observer, it may look like two pieces of bread, a tomato and a couple slabs of lunch meat. But to me, sandwiches made by my mother are a masterpiece, almost suitable for framing.

Note the craftmanship
From the time I can remember, I've always loved my mom's sandwiches. When I was a little girl, the only one who could create the ideal ham sandwich was my mommy. I've eaten in fancy restaurants, lived overseas and traveled extensively. It's been proven. The whole world over, there isn't anybody in this solar system who can make a ham sandwich better than my mom.

Still now, 20 years later, whenever I'm at my mom's house, if she's feeling up to it and I've timed it just right, she'll make me a sandwich. We'll go to the grocery store and I'll observe her buying the sliced ham. She selects a juicy tomato and scours over the hard rolls searching for the finest one. I'm in awe. How does she magically buy the most delicious, succulent and perfect? They all look the same to me. But never fail, my mom always gets the best!

Back at her house, she nimbly cuts the bread, slices the ripe, red tomato at exactly the right place and delicately places the meat in between. She intuitively adjusts the seasonings, carefully calculates the precise amount of salt and pepper I desire. Masterfully she puts the sandwich together and serves it to me and behold, I am in the presence of culinary greatness.

Had I stood right beside her and done exactly the same steps, I would be able to tell which sandwich my mother made and which was the impostor sandwich. Try as I might, I just can't make a sandwich like my mom.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who can make this...
Thankfully, part of the genetic code has been passed on to me. As a mother of three sons, I have developed my own speciality. As basic as a mere sandwich may seem, my children have found an even easier food that only their mom can make perfectly - spaghetti. Not the fancy, robust Italian sauce passed down from generations. We're talking plain spaghetti noodles - the kind you put in boiling water! 

For my boys, it appears that I have been anointed by God to make the world's best cooked pasta. Mention a spaghetti dinner and the boys dance and prance, it's a veritable explosion of compliments flying from their lips. 

But there is a caveat to this story. Not all meals reach that high standard of perfection...

My droid alter ego
in my next post, I'll tell you about some brownies that will live in infamy and I mean that in a bad way!