I sure have missed sharing with you all over the past month, but work and family commitments stepped in the way of time spent here.
Today, I interrupt our normal recipe sharing with a quick plea to push the "pause" button of life, stopping to breathe it all in and focus on what matters most.
In 2013, 7 people that made a difference in my life passed away. Several dear friends and a former boyfriend - all in their 40's, passed away, much too young. I've struggled with the fact that they left grieving families behind - children, spouses, even parents. As a friend, I ache and hurt and miss them but I know nothing compares to what those families are left feeling. I fumble and find myself spilling out awkward but well-intended words of support, filled with the intention to provide needed comfort to their loved ones, but realizing the void is bigger than any words can fill.
Using music to find comfort during the loss, I made a playlist of songs that bring a little bit of peace to the grieving process. The "Peace" playlist includes songs such as the following 20:
- Keep Breathing - Ingrid Michaelson
- Give Me a Sign - Gavin Mickhail
- In Loving Memory - Alter Bridge
- When the Rain Comes - Third Day
- See the Sun - Dido
- Address in the Stars - Caitlin and Will
- Say Your Name - Plumb
- The Riddle - Five for Fighting
- When I Look to the Sky - Train
- Holes in the Floor of Heaven - Steve Wariner
- Taken - Plumb
- Better Days - The Goo Goo Dolls
- Slipped Away - Avril Lavigne
- Broken - Lifehouse
- All this Time - Britt Nicole
- Somewhere Only We Know - Keane
- Little Wonders - Rob Thomas
- Fix You - Coldplay
- Hope Now - Addison Road
- Sound of Your Voice - Third Day
With so many deaths in such a short period of time and losing people in my same age range, I have really dug deep and analyzed how I live my own life and how I show the people around me how I value and love them. If you shift your life into a mindset that you have limited time with the people you care about, you automatically start wanting to make the most out of the time you have together and to let go of the inconsequentials, the petty irritants, the molehills that can morph into mountains.
This shift has also made me want to give my best self to the world, knowing that I may not have forever. In the same vein, I've abandoned striving for "perfection" of an "end product" and instead focus on my motives and my intentions. When my behaviors come from a place of wanting to help others, to care for others, to love others, to share with others - I welcome the outcomes, even if they are flawed and not perfect.
I think that is why I love cooking for my family and friends so much, as I have abandoned the notion that every recipe will come out great and just focused on the love I feel I am showing for those I am cooking for when I produce a meal. It comes from a good space.
It also makes me realize that I need to turn off the cruise control and shake things up a bit. I need to get out of my comfort zones and to take a few risks in order to keep growing.
Lastly, I know I have talked about gratitude here before but it puts gratitude at the forefront and makes me grateful for this wonderful life I get to live and for the people who join me on this crazy journey - family, friends, acquaintances and all those I have yet to meet.
May we all make the most of today and continue to focus of what matters most now.