On Grief

My Grandma died this weekend and my grief feels like a massive burning flame. I’m afraid to get too close to it for fear it will totally consumes me. My Grandma read everything that I wrote, and I always write to make sense of what is in my heart. So writing this for her is the best thing I know to do to when I’m feeling a little lost.

She always heard the song of my heart.

My Grandma wasn’t just a grandma to me. She was my person. If you like or admire any little thing about me then there is more than likely a thread that you can trace from that quality, to her.

Her love of coffee and pizza. Her love of late nights and disdain of early mornings. Her love of beautiful things – art, music, clothing and people. The way she loved. The way she gathered. The way she always, always made space for people – in her home and in her heart. She was never out of room.

A few months ago, my Grandma was in my home having lunch with me. The kids were out playing and I was telling her about something difficult in my life. She reached for my hand. She told me I was doing a good job. And when I cried, she told me she loved me.

My Grandma was many things. But to me, she was my safe place. My soft landing. The one person who really saw me, and didn’t just see me, but liked what she saw. She told me she was proud of me. She told me she loved me. She told me I was doing a good job.

Yesterday, I got to hold her hand. I got to tell her I loved her. I got to tell her I was proud of her and that she had done a good job.

And then, I got to say goodbye.

I don’t know why people talk about comfort in times like these. The only thing that would bring me comfort right now is if I were to wake up tomorrow to find that she is still here. I’m angry that she is gone. I thought we had more time. I don’t want a world where she isn’t in it.

But in the face of not finding any immediate comfort, I do have something.

I have this raging, burning love that is rivaled only by my raging, burning grief. And I know you can’t have one without the other.

She loved me so well. She showed me how to make space for others. She showed me how to enjoy the beautiful things of life. She showed me how wave a middle finger at the people who say you drink too much coffee and stay up too late. She showed me how to hold people’s hands and look them in the eye and see them for who they really are and say that you are proud of them. She showed me how to live a life that wasn’t perfect – but perfect was never the goal. The goal was always, always people.

I know I was just one of many fortunate people whose life was made better by my Grandma. But to me, she wasn’t just a grandma. She was the person who showed me pieces of myself.

Grandma, I’m hitting “publish” on this post at 1 am. I’m thinking about our late nights at your old house. Do you remember the night you introduced me to Butterfield 8? We talked about how glamorous Elizabeth Taylor was and ate ice cream and then you asked if I was spending the night and when I said yes you walked away to put clean sheets on the high bed before going to your room and turning on your bedside light to read into the small hours. You never asked me why I was there and not at home. You never gave me advice. You always just made up a bed for me and had coffee ready in the morning. You always had room for me. I love you so much it hurts, Grandma. I hope I can do the same thing for others that you have done for me. And when they ask why I am the way I am, I can say, “Let me tell you about my Grandma Barb.

Assume The Best

Mike and I (and baby Monty) spent the past weekend celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary by exploring Cleveland, eating all.the.things, and enjoying some time together away from home and our normal day to day. It was refreshing and relaxing and so much fun. I love spending time with Mike more than anything in the world. (I’m still working on finding a way to get paid just to hang out together. There has to be a way! 😉 ) Continue reading Assume The Best

What To Do When The Person You Love Most, Hurts You The Worst

Valentine’s Day is upon us and I for one love this holiday. It’s a holiday all about telling the people closest to us that we love them and showing them in extra, tangible ways. I’ll admit, I’m a bit hard on people who are Valentine’s Day cynics.  Continue reading What To Do When The Person You Love Most, Hurts You The Worst

A Little Less Talk

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I read recently that sending your lover flowers for Valentine’s Day derives from an old fashioned tradition of sending flowers to communicate a non-verbal message, something that we still do today.

In this day of fast talking, instant access, always connected but never really connecting, constant stream of conversation that is life in the 21st century, perhaps we would all do well to just STOP TALKING so much.

Sure, we have some important messages to communicate. But maybe, just maybe, those messages would be heard the clearest through means other than our voice. A bouquet of flowers. A simple gift. A touch.

They say “talk is cheap,” and perhaps that’s because anyone can talk. It requires a special sort of someone to notice the non-verbal ways that communicate love to your Valentine. Anyone can say ‘I love you,’ but can just anyone show it?

Maybe we could take this Valentine’s Day, and every day, to talk less, notice more, and think of new ways to communicate our love and affection. Ways that are specific to the receiver. How do the best feel loved?

You know how the song goes. “A little less talk and a lot more action.”

You interpret those lyrics as you wish.

Happy Valentine’s Day, rosebuds.

PS Why yes, that IS a skull and cross bones painted on one of Theo’s handmade Valentine’s Day cards. I’m so glad you noticed. We were reading about pirates that day. Theo is the master of integration. 😉 Continue reading A Little Less Talk

Love Is Gentle

The other night, I was in the kitchen working on dinner when I overheard a conversation between Theo and Oliver. Theo was telling Oliver that he loved him.

“I love you because I’m gentle to you,” Theo said.

I smiled to myself, because though they weren’t exactly being gentle to each other, I knew what he was getting at. And his heart was in the right place.

We try to steer clear of abstract terms and principles with the kids. It’s all fine and dandy to encourage your kids to say ‘I love you’ to each other, and we do, but it’s best when followed up with an explanation of what love looks like. Otherwise, it remains an abstract term, and it takes kids years before they start to understand abstract thought (most people say around the age of 9).

“Love is gentle,” I tell the boys. It looks like a soft touch, a kind word, a hug when the other person is crying.

Love does this.

Love is that.

This is what it looks like. Continue reading Love Is Gentle

14 Unique Valentine’s Day Gift & Date Ideas

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A Guest Post by Ashley Hicks

Over the last seven and a half years since my husband and I met, we have tried to continually find new ways to show each other our love, devotion, and friendship! We are always up for a new, crazy adventure or just a night in watching sci-fi shows. Since Bekah was so gracious as to lend me her blog for the day, I’ll take the opportunity to share some of the ways my hubby and I have spoiled each other over the years:

  1. Fill a basket with your better-half’s favorite snacks (or drinks or candy or whatever is specific to them). My husband goes crazy for snacks. He can’t get enough! He is easy to please and loves when I randomly bring him home something special to munch on. He loves it even more with it’s a giant basket-worth of things for him to munch on!
  2. Beer connoisseur? Make their brew dreams a reality! You can buy sets of the six most common styles of beer glassware! Here is the same specialty beer glass set we have, and don’t forget to buy six bottles of coordinating beer to go with! I linked to World Market because it’s my favorite spot to find new beer, but a lot of local grocery or liquor stores will have a section for building your own six pack! Also, here’s a handy beer/glass pairing cheat sheet with recommendations for those to need some help figuring out what to fill those glasses with: http://www.craftbeerware.com/beer-glass-types
  3. Are you more of a DIY/kitchen junkie and want to try your hand at a new skillHere is a great recipe for Valentine’s Amaretto Chocolate Truffles and great instructions for chocolate covered strawberries (or, I guess any other fruit or snack item you would like to be covered in chocolate). This one is great for a surprise gift or as a sweet couple’s activity! Bonus points for decorating your own gift  box for the chocolates to go in!

Continue reading 14 Unique Valentine’s Day Gift & Date Ideas

Eight Easy Ways To Say ‘I Love You’

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Ok, if I’m really, reeeeally being honest with you, my favorite holiday of the whole year is Valentine’s Day.

You read that right. Valentine’s Day. The day that people love to hate. This makes me SO SAD.

Valentine’s Day is one day out of our whole year where we get to be creative and go out of our way to tell the people we care about most just how much they mean to us. It’s amazing!

So many people say, “I don’t need a holiday to make me do nice things for my significant other.”

To that I say, “You are right! You GET a day to do it!”

Yay you! Yay us! Yay for LOVE!

This year, I’m looking forward to sprinkling a little extra love on the people nearest and dearest to me. I love celebrating the holiday with my kids. We always try to make a few fun crafts and even invite some friends over for heart shaped snacks and treats. My husband doesn’t care whether or not he receives cards (a tragedy, if there ever was one), so I take the opportunity to buy them for my friends. I DO have a few special ways that I treat my husband for Valentine’s Day, though, so if you are struggling for fun a creative ideas, look no further! Also, be sure to check out tomorrow’s post, where my good friend Ashley will share with us a few of her favorite, creative date-night ideas!

Here are a few of my favorite ways that I communicate my love for my main squeeze. Maybe use this Valentine’s Day as a fun excuse to try one or two of these ideas! Continue reading Eight Easy Ways To Say ‘I Love You’

How We Celebrated Our 11th Anniversary

We celebrated our eleventh wedding anniversary this past weekend. Actually, we are still kind of celebrating. Mike ran out to get us a movie, so I’m furiously typing away to prepare this post for tomorrow so I can get to some homemade popcorn, a movie, and quality chill time with my guy.

Let me keep this simple.

Beatrice was with us for the morning and early afternoon, so we stayed local. We slept in. Mike made us breakfast. Then we hit up Sure House in downtown Wooster and checked out a new boutique. We ate at our favorite local restaurant for lunch.  Continue reading How We Celebrated Our 11th Anniversary

Five Things

1. Today, Mike and I celebrate being married for 11 years. We have known each other for 12. He is my husband, my baby daddy, my honey bunny, my weekend omelet maker, and my best friend.

2. My favorite thing about marriage? Man, that’s a tough one. So many things! But the thing I think I love the most is the unwavering, indisputable, non-negotiable belief that you have a person in your corner. Someone who believes is you. Someone who will fight for you. Someone who will hear you complain about how annoying your weekly grocery shopping trip was, and still think you’re sexy. Someone who shares their most intimate thoughts with you. Someone, who will always be there.

3. My least favorite thing about marriage? The guilt I feel over not sharing the last slice of pie or pizza, or last cup of coffee. Eleven years later, and it should be noted, I still eat the last piece. But that guilt man. It’s annoying! (Just get your own pie already.)

Sharing is hard.  Continue reading Five Things