Wednesday, March 25

Forbidden Love {Vanilla Bean Pavlova with Strawberries & Cream}

"Some of the greatest stories ever told were never meant to be told at all . . . "

Stop me if you've heard this one. . .

Long ago there was a young girl named Xanat.  She lived with her parents on the sugar-sandy beaches of what is now eastern Mexico.  She played in the warm Mexican sunshine and ran free with childish abandon amongst the flowers & trees of the nearby forest.  She would frequently come home with an orchid, her favorite, tucked behind her ear.  She was a pearl in her mother's eye; a thorn in her father's side.

As she grew older her beauty blossomed like the flowers of the forest.  Fine features, long hair, soft as silk and black as the rarest pearl in the sea, and eyes so dark you became lost just staring into them.  But her most beguiling feature could not be seen, but rather felt.  For from within she radiated a sense of headstrong independence that both terrified and captivated all those around her.  Naturally, she took after her father.

She fascinated the young men of the village and soon they began vying for her attention.  One look in her eternal eyes and they were just as lost as a leaf floating on the vast, rolling waves of the ocean.  There were many suitors, but one young man won her heart and stole her soul.  Together they approached her father to ask for his blessing on their marriage.

Her father became enraged at their request.  "My daughter has hair of ebony, skin of gold, and eyes of the darkest roasted cacao!" he thundered.   "She will never marry a town peasant!  I forbid her to marry any mortal.  She is meant for a god!"

The young man cowered beneath his rage, but Xanat stood tall and faced her father with a stubbornness just as fierce.  "I will marry whom I will."  She proclaimed, anger rising like the swell of the sea just before a hurricane.

Saturday, March 7

Morning ~ A Soliloquy {Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake & Spiced Coffee}

"The fire is dying, the lamp is growing dim, the shades of night are lifting.  The morning light steals across my window pane, where webs of snow are drifting..."-Gordon Lightfoot

Rituals.  They're what hold my life together.  Tiny moments throughout the day.  Strung together like drops of dew on a spider's web.  Each one, on its own, insignificant, but when laced together they form the framework on which I've built a life.  These rituals.  From the time I wake until I finally drift off.  They're sacred.

Rising from bed, bleary-eyed, shuffling down the dark hallway to the kitchen. (Was it Longfellow who said, "The nearer the dawn, the darker the night?")   Pouring fresh water into the kettle and putting it on the stove.  Sliding back the blinds from the large kitchen window.  Each day begins the same.  And if for some reason these rituals don't happen - a child is sick, I've overslept - then I'm quite lost for hours.

The kettle begins to whistle.  I hurry to turn it off before it wakes my sleeping family.  These treasured moments alone are not to be interrupted.  Mixing mahogany coffee grounds with rich spices in the bottom of the coffee press.  Watching the steam rise in soft, muslin clouds as I pour water over top.  These rituals start each day anew and bespeak the opportunities that await.

Standing in front of that kitchen window (it's my favourite spot in the house).  Watching the dawn break on the horizon.  I've said this before, but I had never actually seen a sunrise until my children were born.  It's true!  I never had a reason to rise while it was still dark.  Never craved the absolute peace of having the quiet, sleeping house to myself.  Never knew the bliss of listening to my children softly snore as I cradle that first cup of coffee in my hands.  I let the warmth seep into my palms, up my arms, into my soul.  I breath in the steam from my cup as the first rays of sunlight stretch through that window and across the kitchen floor, bathing me in golden warmth.  These morning rituals are the ones I cherish most.