Canaan and I made a simple batch of muffins this cold January morning. After enjoying one, we decided we should share them with you. Unfortunately, you aren't here. Therefore the best way for us to share is to pass along the recipe and hope you enjoy them nearly as much as we do.
Canaan and momma
Cranberry Orange Muffins makes 12, takes about 45 minutes
we based our recipe on this one from food.com
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried cranberries, rehydrated
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1. Melt butter. Set aside.2. In a bowl, pour 1 cup hot water over dried cranberries. Let sit 5 minutes, strain off water. Set cranberries aside.3. Combine dry ingredients.
4. In a smaller bowl, beat together egg, orange juice, orange rind. Add slightly cooled melted butter.
5. Add to dry ingredients all at once. Fold in cranberries.
6. Stir just to moisten.
7. Spoon into greased muffin cups.
8. Sprinkle tops lightly with a bit of sugar.
9. Bake 400F 15-20 mins until lightly browned and firm to the touch.
Guest post by the one who always comes out looking better than I deserve due to the love and hard work of my wife. Thanks for this opportunity to look back.
As L*Joy mentioned, she had stopped in the co-op for lunch with her parents.
I remember I had gone into the co-op for a smoothie and got caught in a conversation with a friend about a show. Then, outside the glass doors of the entrance I saw a goddess. Bright blue eyes, long sun-kissed curly hair, deliciously tan legs topped with the cutest, shortest jean shorts I had ever set eyes on. I was mesmerized. My conversation with my friend was stopped mid-sentence. I asked him, “dude, who is that?!?!” He said, “Who? Oh that’s L*Joy, you know the girl that works in the kitchen.” I couldn’t believe it. The L*Joy I knew from the kitchen was all covered up in chef clothes, big hat, big shirt, big pants. I had no idea that was what she looked like underneath! I guess I should have though, right? She did practice yoga next to me on the vernal equinox. Oh what I missed for being too yogic to notice a hot girl beside me! I now know that not checking out girls is Godly and right, but at that point it was merely tragic!
So here I am, mouth open, staring at this beautiful woman as she walks right up to me. It was like a dream, a really good dream. I was shocked, stunned, and turning red. The beautiful girl I was just staring at had walked right up to me. Then to make it even more dreamlike, she started talking to me. I was totally caught off my game. No time to gain composure, no time to think about anything other than how beautiful she was. She said, "Hi! What are you doing here?" Then I turned red and stuttered something like “duh, huh, who me, who, duh home for the summer.” Then she says what I had been thinking all along, "Well, we should hang out!" Then I just froze, I am not sure if I even responded. That was exactly what I was thinking, “WE SHOULD HANG OUT”, only her thoughts of hanging out, I am sure, were much different than mine! As I am awkwardly stuttering, she said, “Well, get my number before you leave if you want.” I couldn’t believe it. I really thought I was dreaming. I set my eyes on a beautiful girl, she walked right up to me, then offers to give me her number. I just stared as she walked away.
After a few moments, my inner coach kicked in. “Put your game face on and get back in there.” Right! I thought. I have to figure out how to get her number. While I was standing there she had gone back outside to have lunch with her parents, and I wasn’t sure I was up for “meeting the parents” and all. So, I just waited, hoping for a chance. The next thing I knew she came back inside, and alone! Once again, I thought I was dreaming, but I didn’t let that stop me this time. I cut her off at the pass and I think I shocked her a little with the drastic difference in my demeanor.
I asked her to a yoga class and to watch the sunset on the beach with some friends. She said yes, and thus began the rest of the summer.
But as L*Joy alluded to in her post, we both had some things to decipher about life. After the summer ended, L*Joy went across the country and I went back to school. I shudder when I think about how close I came to losing her completely. It took very nearly losing her to realize how much I didn’t want to live without her.
She did come back from California after all, and the story goes through another little valley before it peaks… L*Joy can finish the story. She does such a great job telling it.
My spirit feels at ease. On an unexpected and deeply treasured 70 degree January morning, Canaan and I found ourselves at the ocean. We started at the park, which she calls the "wheeee!". The sun warm on my cheeks, the air still and quiet, it was time to go check on our ocean.
November and December can pass on by without much longing for the beach. I guess all the Christmas lights and dreams are enough to suffice, but January, oh long cold January; you make me ready for summer.
The past few weeks I have mentioned to Stephen that it was time to go to the beach, but the bitter biting wind made it impossible with the wee one. Oh today! Oh glorious today! You were exactly what we were waiting for.
The shells and sand were welcomed into her curious fingers like old friends. Towards the end of our visit, an older woman and her dog walked by. She asked if we lived here year round. I replied, "Yes. Yes, we do." She smiled and said, "Oh how fortunate! I am only here for a visit but how I am ready to live here." Canaan and I said a few more pleasantries and made our way back towards the car.
And the whole time I was thinking, yes we live here. Here at the edge of the world. Here where we can see our ocean any old morning on the way home from the park. Here with an husband who loves us. Here with a child who loves it all.
Tell me about your today. I imagine it is different than mine and I'd so love to hear.
Canaan and I sat on the kitchen floor this morning and shared a bowl of pinto beans and rice while we listened to Jack Johnson. She would take breaks from eating to dance a little bit. We would twirl a little bit, eat a little bit, and I just kept smiling. This little hippie corner of my morning made me remember back to when Stephen and I met. Canaan and I got out the box of pictures, and as I looked back; I wanted to record the pieces I can remember about that man, myself, and the moments of our beginning. I want to remember everything that I can.
Four years ago I wrote (in one of my favorite posts ever) about how Stephen and I met. If you haven't read it for awhile, here is the link. Our tale began at the vernal eqinox, a midnight yoga class, and a cup of coffee. Actually, like every good tale I can trace my finger back decades to how our story began. My sister moved to North Carolina, then I followed her (and my new nephew!) after I finished high school. Then I moved to NYC for culinary school only to move back to the North Carolina coast to live, work, walk on the beach, and be near my nieces and nephews. Little did I know what all was waiting for me there at the edge of the world.
So, after that introduction over coffee, what happened next? Looking at those old photographs from our first summer together made me jokingly say aloud to Canaan, "Oh, that's what happened. He was g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s." (and he was, but there is more to the story, obviously. I am not completely superficial;) )
Stephen was in his third year of Nuclear Engineering at NC State, and was traveling down to Wilmington one weekend a month for a Yoga Teacher Training. Yes, that is correct. A Nuclear Engineering Yogi. He had been in a crisis of identity of sorts after a bad break-up (thank you, silly girlfriend), and was struggling with this whole what am I going to do with the rest of my life question.
After our introduction, a month went by before we spoke again. It was April, and I took a coffee break to sit outside with him during one of his breaks. In a fifteen minute conversation, I have no idea how this topic came up, but I remember talking about being entirely engaged when interacting with children and helping them to see their potential... something about a school I wanted to start that would be a safe environment for all learning styles. (Umm yes, I guess I have always been a bit intense.)
He went back upstairs and I went back to work.
A month later, in early May, my parents were visiting and we had spent the day at the beach together. We stopped in the co-op for a late lunch, and who was there? The cute guy who I now knew was called Stephen.
But see it wasn't a weekend. It was a Tuesday, I believe. I thought he has only around on the weekends, so I walked right over with a big smile and asked, "Hi! What are you doing here?"
This is the moment in time where everything begins to change. I say hi to an acquaintance who, in two years time, would become my husband.
He turned red, and awkwardly stuttered out some reply about being home for the summer. So, I said, "Great! Well we should hang out." He seemed nice enough, but truthfully my response was out of half pity and half my innate desire to be friends with everybody especially people that could be otherwise lonely. I thought he was back with his parents for the summer but I didn't know he had any friends there. I didn't know he had grown up there! I thought he might be lonely, and I have a real weak spot for undesired loneliness.
He is still red, still stuttering, and I am thinking, "What is wrong with this guy?" but still smiling at him. Finally he gets out an "OK".
His awkward reply makes me think that perhaps he isn't interested in having me as a friend, so I politely give him the out by saying, "Well, get my number before you leave if you want," and I said goodbye.
My folks and I sat outside with our lunch, and towards the end of the meal my dad says,"Kid, do you know that guy? He looks like he is kind of pacing and watching you." To which I recount the interchange that just happened and explain he is probably waiting to ask my number.
My dad, in the moment that sealed Stephen's love for him forever, said, "Oh throw the guy a bone. Go inside to buy something else." He handed me a few bucks and I walked back inside.
Stephen cut me off at the pass, and in a shocking display of composure compared to the last episode, he asked what I was doing that evening. He asked if I'd like to go to a yoga class and perhaps catch the sun going down at the beach. (this totally sounds like a Nicholas Sparks novel or something, but trust me it is true.)
After the sunset he offered to drive me home so that I didn't have to bike in the dark. Like a gentlemen, he loaded my bike into his volkswagen van, drove me home, and politely thanked me for a great evening.
From that night until the end of summer, we spent everyday together as the best of friends. He would bring me smoothies, chocolate, and flowers and was utterly ridiculously into me. I thought he was sweet and smart and gorgeous. But as much as he was everything I could have ever wanted, there were several things we both needed to figure out about life and what we wanted out of it. We weren't ready to define our friendship as anything more. As much as I loved him, I wasn't sure about forever and neither was he.
In August, I ended my lease, quit my jobs, sold my stuff, and drove cross country with a girl I had just met. I had no idea if I would come back or stay or what, but I went, (and in one of the least hollywood moments of our story) he let me go. I remember feeling angry almost that he didn't try to make me stay. That he didn't want to make it forever. He respected my wings to fly, and I guess I secretly wished he'd not have.
We had spent every available moment together, and then just like that, it was gone. We talked only two times during those months I was away, and each conversation was dark and painfull. Empty. What had happened to my Stephen, to us? But I tried to stuff it down and dismiss it. To move on. It was just a summer.
I loved Stephen. I loved the brightness in his heart. I loved his gentleness towards people. I loved his tender strength. I loved that when I was with him I never questioned whether there was anywhere else he'd rather be. He made me feel I had hung the moon and that I could do it again every day that I tried. I felt so completely radiantly beautiful when Stephen looked at me, beautiful and necessary.
Oh man, my heart is getting all mushy. I guess that is about where I'll stop for now. I promise I'll finish the story. I might even ask for a guest post from Mr. cute guy himself... for now I am going to stop and think and say thanks.
Stephen and I spent a few precious minutes yesterday contemplating words that we want to make our reality this year. We want to manifest these words all over our (God willing) 365 coming days like sweet sticky fingerprints.
Our plan, if you want to call it that, is to write these words all over our hearts and then spend this year on a treasure hunt to find them hidden in the pages of each day. And if they don't seem to be there, we will write them in the margins, IN PEN. Because though it might not seem like it, I know they really are there, they need to be there.
These are our words, at least the start of them anyways. We are hunting gentleness, gratefulness, generosity, and joy. We are seeking fun, enjoyment, laughter, and love.
This truly will be our year.
No matter what comes, no matter the darkness that might be hidden in the next chapter, this will be our year. I feel a bit like a boxer coming out of a corner. A hard lonely bloody corner, and I am ready to go. Ready to make this, and every year after, our year.
Our year to find the pleasure in living this grand old life; living it with eyes and arms wide open.
So, how about you? What will your words be for 2013? Maybe they are quiet words like rest or breathe? Maybe they are loud words like celebrate? It is ok. Just let this be your year, too.