Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Beautiful Imperfections

Surgery was unable to remove the entire rathke's cleft cyst that grew on my pituitary gland five and half years ago, so every six months I get an MRI to monitor its growth.  This medical routine is now a part of life.  The check-up interrupts the flow of things, very rudely at times, but it has to happen.  
While sitting in the doctors office yesterday, Randy and I were visiting with my doctor and he informed us that the cyst had only slightly grown.  This has been the typical report for some time now and it is a relief to know that not much has changed.   Now, due to its slow growth I won't have to get another MRI for an entire year.  Hooray!  Great news!  
The conversation doesn't end there though.  Then he begins to talk options: radiation of some type to remove the growth, this is a way to get it out of my brain without having surgery again, there would be side effects. 
Without much thought, my answer was simply no, not interested.  This cyst does not affect my day to day.  It has actually made me stronger.  My doctor whole heartdly supported this decision.  Why mess with something that is not negatively affecting you?  Off Randy and I go to celebrate with a tasty treat at Sonic.
It is also a post check-up routine for Randy and I to talk in depth about God's purpose and why he has us go through this particular trial.  It is always positive and it reassures us of God's faithfulness and grace.  During this talk Randy brought something to my attention.
"I thought is was interesting that Dr. M brought up wanting to have perfection in life."
I barely remembered this part of the doctor visit.  I would not have even thought twice about it if Randy had not mentioned it.  Now, I can't shake it.
Perfection.  We all seek perfection.  For my doctor, perfection is to have a patient completely cleared of an ailment that should have been removed five and a half years ago.  Perfection for me is to be cyst free and MRI free. 
I remember post surgery looking around at people my age, wishing that their easy carefree life could be mine.  I was a newlywed, shouldn't I be in a blissful state, not worrying about what was next?   How I longed for perfect, the perfect I could not have.
My doctor offered me my "perfect" through radiation and I said no.  Quickly, without hesitation.  Why you ask?  I could have the cyst gone forever.  My perfect would come at a physcial cost, one I am not willing to risk. Yes, it could be gone, but there is no guarentee that it would be forever.   Life will always produce imperfections that will abrutply interupt some type of perfection.  But who are you to say that that imperfection itself is not truly what your perfect needs to be?  It is through Him we are made perfect.
I am content, joyful and hopeful.  God has given me a beautiful imperfection.  One that I have accepted.  One that allows me to tell of His healing and faithful hand.  If in the future the cyst needs to go, He will guide me and let me know when and how.  Whatever the circumstance I accept it because He has approved it. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Martha, Martha

Every once and awhile I get a creative burst.  I owe this to excessive caffeine, an inspiration or both.  Recently I have seen several close friends decorate for fall.  I have never decorated for fall but after seeing small touches of browns and oranges throughout homes I started to think my house was in need of festivity.  It wasn't until I started to browse Martha Stewart's website ,  that I became truly inspired. 
Off to Hobby Lobby Katherine and I went!  I had a vision in mind and I could not wait.  Well, after browsing the store and calculating in my mathfobia brain what it would cost to make a Martha wreath, I opted for a Rebecca wreath. 
As I'm writing I gaze into my living room and look upon my fireplace and homemade fall wreath.  I can't help but feel some pride bubbles in my heart .  Unfortunately, this dose of fall now makes me want to decorate for Christmas....in October.  "Oh brother."

Martha's wreath that I intended to make

The "O brother" eyeroll

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Shoe Fits!

I haven't bought a pair of black heels since 2005.  What you ask?  Let me rephrase that statement.  I haven't bought a pair of black heels, that weren't for work, since 2005.  Yes, yes I remember it fondly.  A pair of black stilettos.  A graduation present for me, from me.  They cost far more than I ever intended on spending, but they called my name and all I could say was "hello, you are mine."  It was magic and I will never forget the moment I said yes to the stilettos. 
I wore these special shoes recently to a "gala" and when I put them on I felt like I was wearing a pair of senior citizens.  Still in good condition with several more years left to live, but just not the talk of the town any more. 
Last year around this time Randy informed me of an online shoe clearance.  The shoes were more than 50% off and for some reason, I did not choose to shoe shop.  Why not you ask?  I do not know. This is very strange, because if you know me, you know that at any opportunity I can buy "something" I probably will.  (yes, character flaw, I know...I'm working on it) I regretted my decision the moment I saw packages being delivered for Randy. 
Oh, glorious shoes.  All shiny and smelling like "new." 
This past week the yearly clear-out happened again.  You better believe I hoped on this opportunity.  Shoes, shoes, shoes.  What color?  What style?  I felt like my possibilities were endless.  Alas, when narrowing the search down to my 6 1/2 size foot I was limit.  Ugh.  However, I still managed to find two perfectly fun shoes that more than likely I will wear occasionally.  Oh well, a girl needs a pair or two (or three or four or five?) of fun shoes in her closet to brighten every opening of its door.
When will the little black sparkly (I know, the shoe sparkles!) shoe make its debut?  Next Saturday.  I cannot wait. 
Not over the top and special, but these shoes sparkle and that makes me happy.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Katherine Livia

Katherine is one year old. 
What a wonderful year of firsts.  Smiles, laughs, teeth...the list is endless. 
The joy and love I have felt as a parent really cannot be described with words.  It's a feeling, deep inside my inner being, that lightens up every time I think about her, smell her or even hear her.   Katherine, just her existence, has made our lives more complete.  Her chubby legs, sweet dimple and gurgling words have been an added bonus. 
Last weekend we celebrated this little lady and her beautiful boisterous spirit.  Before the party, my sister expressed to me that the first birthday is special because not only is it a celebration for the baby but also it is a celebration and a right of passage for the mother.  I agree with her. 
The first birthday is a day to look back upon the multitude of events that had just occurred and then..breath.  On her birthday it seemed as if the past twenty-one months of carrying a child, delivering a child, nourishing a child rushed through my mind, body and soul.  What a beautiful overwhelming emotional ride.  I will hold on to it all my life.
Katherine is one year old.  I have no tears and sadness, only treasured, lovely memories of the first year of our little lady, Katherine. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Monica Closet

I pride myself on home organization, sometimes even to a fault.  However, there are three areas of my home that off-set some of this hyper-organization: the kitchen desk drawer, the guest bedroom closet, the top right dresser drawer. These are my Monica Closets (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=monica%20closet).
Today was chosen to be the first ever Kitchen Desk Drawer Clean-Out Day.  What prompted me to do this?  Since Katherine recently turned one (that's another post in itself) my kitchen needed  to be rearranged.  Goodbye bottles!  In my excited state to get rid of all things bottle I also targeted all unnecessary items in the desk drawer.
This drawer has been haunting me since the day we moved into the White House two years ago.  It has become a black hole for all things miscellaneous.  I realized this even more as I was cleaning it out today.  What did I find? 
35 pictures of Katherine
6 pairs of scissors
24 manuals
2 cigars
1 phone
11 keys
3 rubber bands
1 sticky wine opener (gak!)
25 cents
39 receipts
2 greeting cards
1 piece of granite
3 safety pins
1 tape measure
4 packages of post it notes
Fellow junk drawer friends let this be an encouragement to you!  Your junk drawer (closet, bedroom, cabinet) can also no longer exist.  Take back the space and claim it as your own!



Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Month to Celebrate

This past week I asked my Granny if she would have ever thought, while celebrating her birthday throughout her life, that one day she would be sharing her birthday month with three of her great-granddaughters.  Her answer was "never in my imagination" and the the conversation moved forward. 
It got me thinking.  What does God have planned for me and what areas of my life do I know, deep down inside, will happen. 
Since we are in the month of August (named after my favorite Roman emperor, Augustus) it's only right that two of the things I have had gut feelings about actually turned out. 

Marrying Randy White
Randy and I met at Yukon High School in 1998 and started dating that year.  Our high school romance did have an end at the start of our freshman year in college, but there was something about "us" I couldn't shake.  Randy was the one and it wasn't until four years later that God reintroduced us.   
Katherine Livia
In 2010 God blessed Randy and me with Katherine making her the 7th girl in my family.  Girls 7, Boys 0.  Before Randy and I found out Katherine was a girl I would say how I thought our baby would be a boy.  I wanted so badly to be the "chosen one."  I wanted to give my family the long awaited son. Alas, my mouth spoke contrary to my heart, I knew I was carrying a girl.

So here it is, the month of August.  A historical month, where my prophetic (or not) instinct has led me to two of the best days of my life.  Five birthday parties and two wedding anniversaries to go, I can't wait.

The history of August

Things we like to do in August

Randy grilling green chilies the night before Katherine was born

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

12 Hour Road Trip = Bliss

Over the course of my 29 years I have gone on several vacations.  I will categorize them two ways : busy or relaxing.  About a month ago Randy and I took a relaxing vacation, just the two of us.  Bliss.

Hello, vacation.

Yes. I will stay here forever.

Sand dollar and sea urchine

Cooling off during our jet-ski adventure in the bay.

St. Louis Cathedral

Cafe du Monde...need I say more?

An overnight stay in New Orleans

Visiting the U.S.S Alabama in Mobile en route to Panama City.

Captain Randy

It's not a vacation until I snap a picture of Randy eating an ice cream cone.

In the bay

Friday, July 8, 2011

To hummus, or not to hummus?

*Note: technically this post should fall under the His and Hers...stories about our food page, but the recipes are so delicious I had to post on the big page.*

Alright, alright the title is a little misleading.  I will always choose to hummus.  It's healthy, delicious and tastes like the Mediterranean.  It's also a light snack that is filling and perfect for summer.   I have two hummus recipes that are deliciouss and authentic.  One comes from a former student whose mother is from Syria (I will call this hummus A) and another comes from my dear friend Abi (see previous blog) and one of her Middle Eastern friends (I will call this hummus B).  Since 2006 I have used the hummus A recipe but a recent trip to Tulsa has left hummus B lingering on my tastebuds. 
I was suppose to make hummus B for Randy this week, unfortunately I chose note to hummus.  So if I post a blog about making hummus I might be more inclined to actually make it for him because I'll feel bad if I don't. 
 Here's to you, Randy White!  I hope this makes it to your plate soon.

Hummus A
1 pound of chickpeas (which is one 16 oz canned of chickpeas, drained)
1 cup of tahini
1/2 cup of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of salt (or more for taste)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup of lowfat plain yogurt (I use whole milk Greek yogurt)

1.  In a food processor, first put in the chickpeas and then tahini paste
2.  Next, add the lemon juice, yogurt and salt
3.  Then at the end add the garlic
4.  Taste and adjust all flavors.

Serve with warm pita bread, chips or fresh veggies like red peppers

Hummus B
Add the following to the food processor:

1 16oz can chickpeas (drained and well-rinsed)
1/4 cup tahini
2 large garlic cloves
5 TBSP fresh lemon juice (about two lemons)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Turn food processor on and slowly add 1/4 cup of warm water as it all blends together. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

One Bright Star

The world will be a brighter place in about four weeks when William Spencer makes his debut.  In June we celebrated his pending arrival with an intimate luncheon in Edmond.  The mama to be was glowing with excitement and pride.  What a wonderful moment in life!
This little one is already special to me because of his mama, Abi Spencer.  Abi is one of the brightest stars in my life.  She knows how to be a friend.  She loves, she cares, she encourages and she prays.  
Abi and I met freshman year in college.  We joined the same sorority and had a chance class together...Into to Jazz Dance...and let me tell you we both rocked that course.  Practicing our newly learned (but obviously mastered) dance skills in the Great Room at the Gamma Phi house has to be one of my favorite memories.  But that was just the beginning of our friendship.  We've been roommates, European travel buddies, bridesmaids...the list goes on.  Abi has also been a prayer warrior for me.  Through the ups and downs of medical issues, Abi has fought battles for me through prayer and my gratefulness abounds. 
God enriched my life when he gave me my friend Abi.
So it was a joy to shower my friend as she ends her pregnancy journey to begin her mama journey.  What a lucky little man Liam will be because he will have a mom (and dad) who will raise him in the love and light of the Lord.  
Abi and her beautiful mother, Cheryl

A few of the party goers

Our little luncheon table

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Sistine Ceiling?

I want my last meal on this earth to be homemade, fresh pasta.  I know it's a bold statement.  There's so much more to choose from and so much more food that I don't know exists.  However, given the choice today, I would want pasta...preferably with a tasty rich bolognese sauce.
Two years ago I purchased a pasta maker attachment for my stand mixer.  I had visions of glorious noodles made for evenings dedicated to Italy.  This dream has not quite developed.  The first time I made pasta I found out I was pregnant...since then it's been used sparingly.  Don't worry it's small amounts of usage has not limited my blabbering of how I can make pasta.  My dad called my bluff and for the past year has been asking me to make him ravioli.  
"Sure! Come down to Dallas and I'll whip you up the best ravioli you've ever eaten."  
My dad visits...no pasta...
"I promise.  This time you'll get pasta."
We got take-out instead.  Oops!
"Okay, come down to Dallas this time and you'll get your ravioli."
After a year of promises I finally followed through.
I've read two books about Michelangelo.  What an interesting individual of the past.  Inspired and angry this man carved his way into world wonderment.  He believed that his statues lived within the marble and it was his job to release them.  When working on a project he would get so angry with it that he wanted to destroy it or just walk away.  Something that many artists feel.
Well I felt like Michelangelo while making my ravioli.  Over the course of four hours of making the dough, letting it rest, cutting the noodles and making the sauces there were a series of highs and lows  that left me at times wanting to smash the unformed ravioli against the wall and simply walk away. 
I won't go into the details about the chaos that turned into my kitchen while I was making dinner that evening. I knew there was a delicious meal waiting to be produced from the glob of dough that rested on my counter.  All it needed was me and my ability.  I pressed on.
What I made wasn't pretty.  It was quite ugly.  However I was beaming by 8 pm when dinner was served.  I had, for the first time, made homemade ravioli with two fillings served alongside bolognese and fresh fettuccine.  The basil from my garden even made an appearance with mozzarella and tomatoes. 
Art on a plate and I ate it up.
The White House kitchen post dinner

The dinner.  The ravioli is between the salad and the bread...not very pretty.

Dad and mom, two of the four lucky recipients of dinner.
Michelangelo and the Popes Ceiling 

The Agony and the Ecstasy