Another Father’s Day weekend is approaching and, as usual, my family and I are scurrying to try to tie up plans to celebrate the special dads in our lives. Not that the scurrying is in a last minute kind of manner, but year-after-year it becomes increasingly more difficult to buy things for the men who have everything or don’t require much, or come up with plans for the people are who simply and truly content with their family being around somewhere within a 500 yard radius as they lounge in a chair with a cold beverage and remote in hand. We ask repeatedly and early what gifts might bring my Daddy joy. The answer is always the same, “Don’t get me anything. I just want my family happy.” He means that as proof of all of the tags in his closet from gifts given long ago. I must also be following the expectation that most women end up with men like their fathers because even my beau gives the standard “drive me crazy” answer of, “You don’t have to get me anything special. I’m happy with whatever.” So this year the Father’s Day theme is an new-fangled fish fry. And by new fangled I mean someone is going to pick it up a whole bunch of all-ready prepared seafood from a restaurant and grocery store and we’re going to celebrate the amazing men in our lives young and older, from near and far with hopes of staying awake long enough to watch the NBA finals, of course, with cold beverages and a remote in one of the fathers hands.
Fathers matter so much. I think they’ve gotten a tremendously bad rap in society because of a few bruised apples. Some may not be present by choice or circumstance. Some might have made mistakes. Some might have had difficulty giving what they’ve never received. Some might have sorely disappointed. Some, may be ideal for the families with which they’ve been blessed, but no father…just like no mother… is perfect. And still, they matter so much. Their voices matter. Their presence matters. Their ability to show us how to overcome and keep going matters. Their hugs and embrace matter. Their prayers and public display of spiritual covering matters. Their life’s stories matter. Their hard work and display of integrity matters. The bass in their voice matters. The sternness in their foreheads matters. Their role of authority matters. Their insight matters. Their experiences matter. Their ability to lead, guide, direct and protect matters. Even their mistakes matter as a clear signal of what not to do or what to do better.
With the Father’s Day “faux” Fish Fry menu in tack I realized this year, probably more than most, I’m just grateful for my Daddy and fathers in general. I truly, truly am. My dad, like most of the men in my life including my brother, my uncles, and my beau have had quite a tough year. My once strong, tall, towering, business-minded, bill-writing, chauffeuring Daddy has been battling unexpected health challenges which literally knocked him off of his feet in February. He still has a road ahead of him for total recovery and healing, but has come so far. Within the blink of an eye, a lot of his primary roles in our lives have shifted or ceased as we all collectively focus on him…for once. Isn’t that the baffling beauty of life? The man who asks for nothing now requires much. It’s an honor to be able to give it to him…with a cold beverage and remote in his hand.
The words any child wants to hear from a Mama (who can cook) is “Come on over. I’m cooking.” The most recent Sunday supper my family enjoyed was extra-special because it had been three months or more since we’d gotten together as a family for a home cooked, southern Mama made meal.
On a rainy President’s Day 2016, an in-home accident changed my family’s otherwise normal routine and my Daddy’s life. Needless to say, with weeks of his hospitalization and drastic changes upon his discharge like dietary adjustments, therapy, doctor’s appointments, more than one dozens medications, limited mobility and around-the-clock watching we’d not gathered together for a meal made by Mama in far too long as she rightfully shifted her entire focus to taking care of husband. As my Daddy literally walks the path through to continued healing I had sort of settled in my mind that it’d likely be around the 4th of July or beyond before we gathered for some of our renowned family festivities. I would joke with my Mama in the weeks following my Daddy’s release from the hospital as she bragged on the healthy meals she’d prepared for them fitting to his new food way of life. In jest, but a bit serious, I would say how they could have at least invited us to eat the carb-counted, sugar-less, salt-reduced, same-time-a-day meals, which she would tout as “delicious”, and I believe had grown to appreciate them as a “date”. When life happens, it’s often the little things which mean so much that we missed the most. I’d missed my Mama’s cooking. So when the call came about a Sunday supper I did a little jig on the inside.
In no way doing it justice, take a peek at the picture of my Mama and quickly snapped pictures representing her reintroduction to the world as Best Cooking Mama in Maylene, Alabama! The grilled steak, fried pork chops, sweet potatoes, baked potatoes, black eyed peas, fried okra, brocolli, corn on the cob, and apple pie crumble were perfect. Even more perfect was the return to the routine which is my family. @AngelaMMoore316
A funny thing happened to my Hotmail account. It flashed back to 2008 and is permanently stuck there on my phone, totally disregarding all other correspondence from then until now. While deleting several dozen emails representing My Life: Phase 1 I found some old pictures from way back in the 90s.
Let me just say, the Lord has a sense of humor. The few pictures which stuck out most were ones of me at some of my career highs and personal lows in My Life: Phase 1. I looked at them with an equal amount of overwhelming proudness from the woman I saw, as if she wasn’t me. I looked at them also as a reminder of who I really am, what I’m made of, from where I’ve come and Who’s in control. (Not to mention I LOVE the spark of sass I saw even through the grainy-ness of those forgotten photos.)
To the high heels everyday, blue suit and fierce, precision, layered red hair wearing go-getter, who would get up at 3:30am drive to one part-time job clear across town from her Highway 280 apartment, then burn rubber in her champagne gold Nissan Maxima to her head her full-time news gig at 9am, work until the news demanded no more, and still make time to take time for herself, her friends, a bustling social life, lots of community service, active work in the church and of course, time for family I say, “thank you for reminding me of what’s in me.” I owe you, girl.
To the naïve, young woman full of hopes and dreams and love and expectations at her engagement party beaming on the stairwell with thoughts of what God desires for her and of her, excitedly posing at the exact place which would ultimately end up being her place of employment after the elaborate engagement party hosted for the wonderful wedding which led to a short-lived marriage ending in divorce (and the desperate need for employment in My Life: Phase 2) I say “thank you for reminding me of what’s in me.” I owe you, girl.
To the woman who endured the PAINFUL, experimental, super long steroid shots in the eye covered by an itchy, irritating as the dickens patch to keep her eye from popping out, taking 17 pills a day, who gained 50 pounds in one month after a fight with Graves Disease and Thyroid Storm tried to send her home to sweet Jesus, but couldn’t (BOOM!), yet still monitors and deals with it to this day I say, “thank you for reminding me of what’s in me.” I owe you, girl.
Here’s what I know. Nothing happens without reason. Today, for some reason, as I sat in delightful solitude at home enjoying my peace and quiet God wanted me to take a look back knowing it was what I needed to help propel me forward. I know he knew that not only could I handle those TONS of emails and pictures representing My Life: Phase 1 without a smidgen of anger, sadness or regret, but that I would view them with lots of smiles and giggles. And, because I know He knows His daughter, I know He knew I needed to be reminded, even through a grainy old photo, of how fly I looked nestled up on that television production board like a boss, so that I could prepare to be one in whatever new and blog-worthy ways He desires in My Life: Phase 2. So to those three versions of me in My Life: Phase 1, I say I owe you, girl. Your struggle, sass and sense of survival was not in vain. I hope to make you proud.
Lately my “settle game” has been tested. Like a college student on edge with rapid fire final exams, I’ve been being faced with test, after test, after test on whether or not I would settle. From career opportunities I’ve mustered up courage and sense enough to say “no” to, to truly examining my deserved preferences in a mate, owning my pickiness and sticking to it like Elmer’s Glue from the 70’s (not this new-fangled stuff), even to knowing my financial aptitude right now and not budging from that budget, I’ve been serving up slices of “no settle” like nobody’s bees-wax.
Before I proceed let me just say I feel like, of late, I’ve been talking about relationships/boos and baes a lot on my blog. That certainly is not the center of my attention at the time, but the topic just keeps coming up in my circle. So while the frequent posts are not on purpose, they must somehow be. Anywho, I was talking to a relative about why we’re still single. She offered the notion that we’re just too “special” and there’s nothing wrong with that. We’re like that limited edition whatever it is which is worth waiting for. The same must be so for our boos because they are certainly taking the long walk home.
Anywho, again…I was also talking to an associate about another associate, who, by all accounts fits the bill in most of my “must haves”, especially the way he dresses. (Call me shallow. I care not…LOL!) Still, there were things important to me which were not present. So I’ll pass. Let me proudly say that the Angela of old would have overlooked those few, albeit important factors as she fatefully did in the past and settled only temporarily until it drove her NUTS because she knew better in the beginning. Not so now, honey. Not so now.
Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely know that there are things in life which occur by the gentle (or not so gentle) command of our caring God which cause us to do things which others, self included, might deem as settling. I’m not speaking to those things. If God almighty says it we have to do it. I’m referring to the things which we know without a shadow of a doubt are not for us yet we settle still. That’s not the business. That’s some trouble waiting to hijack your life’s story.
So I leave you with this as I hopefully graduate soon from Settling 401: The Advance Course. Settling is for Quakers. It’s as simple as that. Just because it worked for them doesn’t mean it works for you.
Today wraps the final installment of the “At the Movies” series at Church of the Highlands.
I’m so grateful for this opportunity to grow closer to God and my loved ones as we shared an hour and 15 minutes over the last four Sundays experiencing every emotion known to man, meeting all kinds of wonderful movie characters, eating pound cake in church, some enjoying Coke and popcorn and all leaving with one of the most important ones…hope through the love of Jesus.
While the At the Movies series has ended, and most of my readers were not able to experience what I’ve been blessed to know, feel, see and witness over the last month, I pray something as simply special as a movie speaks to you at your point of need. It can happen. Trust me. I know.
As if the blog post fairies knew I’d be savoring the memories of yesterday, nestled under covers recuperating from Thanksgiving, 2015 Edition, my self-appointed focus of today’s #bloglikecrazy theme is Family. Yay! Easy-breezy!
Given that I’m still in the midst of enjoying my wild, sophisticated, funny, praying, cultured, realer-than-real, hardworking, know how to celebrate, loving, peculiar and definitely not perfect, God-fearing, good cooking, heavy eating, “we get through things together” family I’ll share some recent pics with you.
Wherever you are, and with whomever God has selected to walk this thing called life with you through blood, by law or because of good, old fashioned friendship value them today and always. They are yours for a divine reason. You may not always get along (we sure don’t), but you should always come together.
A simple Saturday in Montgomery preparing for the memorial service of a family member turned into a delightfully sweet treat thanks to my cousin, Nishia. This true “hostess with the mostest” took a page out of the Book of Zelda (her Mama) who is known for hosting family and friends with the most gracious (and selfless) generosity. Like her mother, my grandmother Jean (RIP) and her sissy, Nette (my Mama), my Aunt Zelda’s ritual of making family feel right at home dates back, at least for me, to the times where I would spend weeks at her house as a child growing up, even bringing friends by from high school or college by, sipping on cold Co-Colas, staying out late, eating fancy-smancy seafood from my Uncle Ricky, primping and shaking in barely there clothing and Payless shoes in front of their large, glass mirrored wall before heading to Club Top Flight (bless my heart), and enjoying the joy of family.
In the true sense of Zeldahood, my baby cousin (LOL! She’s three months younger) opened her doors to my sister, nieces, her sister and me recently. At a nearby establishment known for a $27 buffet and lots of machines which light up and spit out, prompting an impromptu car dance reminiscent of the aforementioned glass mirror dance, we had a BLAST the Friday before the Saturday Nishia decided to get up, cook a buffet breakfast of muffins, bacon, and delish leftover pizza. Then, like a quickening flash of “where’d she get that from” energy, she decided to brave the cold weather and go to the store not once, but twice to bake a cake and grill her famous “Boo Burgers”.
I wish I could give you the recipe to the cake. It was truly something to behold. Too bad though, the recipe is safely kept between Nishia and my three-year-old niece Kenna who studied like a baby hawk as her apprentice in the kitchen while the cake was being made. I do know, thanks to Kenna spilling the tea, that the cake has sugar in it. Go figure! There was something more important than the recipe, it’s sheer aesthetic beauty, the utter delight of the moist nuggets of buttery goodness nestling in on the awaiting tongue, the intoxicating taste of lemon in every bite or how absolutely delicious it was as my friend and I nibbled on a slice in church the next day (We can do that at my church…and we watched a movie in church too. Go Highlands!)
More important than all of that was the love with which it was made and received, and the gift of hospitality being continually transferred from generation to generation. I can hardly wait to see how the example set forth by Nishia blossoms into her daughter, who by the way, is the best babysitter ever! I can’t wait to see how my nieces Kenna and Kassi take what they’ve been given and give it back in ways we can only imagine. And to think, all it takes is a cake or whatever we have to offer.
If you’ve not felt the pinch of the economy then consider yourself amongst an elite few. Across the board people are finding themselves having to find ways to make the most out of whatever they have, no matter how much or how little. One season where we need to start thinking with the heart to outdo what’s in our hands is the Christmas season. So many times people go out of their way and out of their minds spending money they simply do not have. My thought, even before the changes with the economy is that a memory will outlast money any day.
Accustomed to completing my Christmas shopping by October, I began to feel overwhelmed this year because I wasn’t able to tackle my list early on like I had been in the past. I haven’t even started. I’m used to off-season and outlet shopping that will rival any barganista. Maybe I was to take my Christmas giving to a new level by being even more frugal and even more creative in celebrating those I love as we remember the birth of Christ.
So I decided to share some Christmas shopping secrets with you:
- A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words and Doesn’t Cost a Thousand Dollars.-Print photos from events throughout the year and present them in inexpensive, yet beautiful photo albums.
- Leave a Love Note.-Present your loved ones with a handwritten, heartfelt letter telling them just how much they mean to you. Kick it up a notch by placing it in a frame or rolling it in a scroll with a dainty (or masculine) ribbon.
- Give a Sweet Treat.-You can’t beat a sweet! Assemble their favorite sweet (or savory) homemade or purchased snacks in a gift bag or box. Attach with a handwritten note that your loved ones can cherish long after the sweets are gone.
- Food, Glorious Food.- You can’t lose with food! Print custom-made food coupons and present to your family and friends. Offer them a redeemable coupon to use that will allow them to receive their favorite meal, baked good or specialty prepared especially by you. Who wouldn’t want to be able to redeem a coupon for Grandma’s Fried Chicken, Collard Greens, Macaroni and Cheese, Sweet Tea and Peach Cobbler at some random time in the year?
- Go Coupon Crazy.-Coupons are all the rave! Take your couponing to the next dimension by taking a cue from the above tip and creating personalized coupons from you to your family and friends. Offer to babysit, wash a carwash, treat to a spa, or do breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. The good thing about this is that they can redeem it long after the Christmas season has come and gone.
- Give the Kitchen to Your Kin.-Organize favorite family recipes and present members with an inexpensively printed family cookbook.
- Share the Days.-Make an inexpensive, personalized calendar with photos and birthday reminders on sites like walmart.com to give to loved ones.
Several years ago I fell while walking into a local pharmacy which caused me to be badly hurt, and for quite some time. During my couple/few years of downtime and in between frequent doctor’s and physical therapy visits I decided to gather recipes from my immediate and extended family and compile it in a cookbook. The ending result was a clip art covered, yellow, spiral-bound, 8 ½ x 11 portfolio of recipes, moving and funny anecdotes and family memories to last a lifetime.
I took at peek at that cookbook recently and realized that, while those memories are sure to last a lifetime the people and circumstances in it don’t always. Flipping through the flour-graced pages of one of them, I saw names of far too many loved ones who are no longer here, who, in 2006 were alive and vibrant enough to share some of their food favorites. I saw distinct changes in relationship statuses and submissions sent by persons who are in totally different phases of life since sent.
Looking through that recipe book, and being reminded of my love for food, especially when rooted in my love for family made me extremely grateful for the beauty of memories. If you’ve not asked your loved ones for their famous recipes, or taken the time to capture your family’s history of food in some written form I would definitely encourage you to do so. It’d be a shame for Big Mama or Uncle So and So to take their 30-year-old secret barbecue sauce or 7-Up pound cake recipe right on up to Heaven with them. Plus, spending time sharing the legacy of those special dishes you’ve come to know and love is a special way to spread more love, and make it last forever, in the words of the superstar crooner Keith Sweat. And while you’re at it, look at this recipe featured on one of the pages of my family’s cookbook.
Recipe For a Family Pie
1 handful of FORGIVENESS
1 heaping cupful of LOVE
1 pound of UNSELFISHNESS
2 tablespoons of GOOD NATURE
Mix together smoothly with complete FAITH in GOD.
Then sprinkle generously with THOUGHTFULNESS.
This makes a wonderful Family Pie.