Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday in India

We are not chained to one locale. We are capable of spreading our wings and experiencing a new way, a new life. And that's my story of India. A new life.

Sitting in the back of the cab I stared out of the window as the scenery passed by in a blur. My stomach settled. I wasn't 'alone' in the physical sense. I had a friend from India along with me. I found comfort in that. I missed my children, although I knew I had stopped growing at home. I needed to challenge myself...spook my spirit out of its hiding place. I would be here, in this strange land, for 16 days. It could either be the longest time of my life, or the shortest.

The heat was still suffocating. Air conditioning is a luxury in India. When getting a cab, you choose one with AC or without. You pay for the luxury, too. Everything comes with a price. I will learn that while I'm there.

We were on our way to the airport. The trek was long, bumpy. Dust rolled tinged with manure from the fields. The driver seemed skilled but as an American I was a bit taken back by the disregard, or lack of, driving laws. Here in my town, you don't honk unless it's an emergency or you want to piss someone off. There in India, honking is not only standard, but invited. I wonder how one would react at the loss of a horn? It'd be detrimental, I suppose.

A tourist can't help but be frightened and intrigued as they enter this country. To look over serenity, untouched beauty of mother nature that brings a mist to one's eye...only to go a mile further to see the garbage lined, narrow roads, sewage rushing like creeks through the ditches and children running barefoot...their eyes echoing a maturity that most kids would not know at such an innocent age. My heart expanded.

I looked at my friend. I was grateful I wasn't alone. I felt so small here. Guilt plagued me. I didn't appreciate the things I was blessed with. I was here for less than twenty-four hours and I had already begun to grow.

Friday, June 24, 2011

How to Measure Success...

This is a conversation I had with an acquaintance a few days ago.

Him: Are you a published writer?
Me: Yes
Him: Do you sell? I mean, are you successful?
Me: I’m not Stephen King or Nora Roberts successful, but I feel successful in my own way.
Him: I’ve never heard of your books. How do you measure success? Is it just the number of books you sell or the amount of money you make?

I found myself feeling angry with this person. I rudely said goodbye. That should have been the end of it. But it wasn’t. I found myself mulling his words around in my head the rest of the day. Maybe that’s a good question, “How do we measure success?”

Success can be measured in many ways. How much money you have in the bank. How many books you have sold. Do people recognize your name? I guess everyone has their own measuring tool.

I am successful, but maybe not in the way most people view achievement. What means the most to me in life is those who I love and care about. Love is a form of success. It means more than the bank account or the number of sells I’ve made for the month. The more people we love, the more successful. We can never have too much, or never have too many people we care for. Love never runs out. It grows and expands. It is forever giving.

Now, if this acquaintance and I would have this conversation again I would tell him, “I am successful in many ways in life. But if you ask me what I’ve accomplished, I can tell you. I am a writer. I have written books that are published. A writer doesn’t sit down and with each word typed he/she ching-chings a dollar amount. In fact, I’d say that for most writers money isn’t even the object or purpose. It’s a feeling of doing what we love. Creating literary art. It’s a talent of mythical pleasure. Just like the surgeon who operates, the teacher who teaches, the construction worker who builds a bridge, a store manager who manages, a trucker who trucks food to the stores, a cab driver who drives…not everyone gets a pat on the back for their hard work or talent. Not everyone’s name is in neon lights. It doesn’t have to be. Our reward is doing what we love to do. And that is how I measure success.”

Tuesday, June 21, 2011



Waking up in India...

Horns blaring. The blazing sun billowing through the small window. Loud footsteps in the hallway. The whizzing of the barely-operating air conditioner. The smell of food mixed with car exhaust hung like a cloud in the air. And yet, there was a peaceful quality that is hard to describe.
The street was alive by the time we ventured out. Cars whirred by in a speeding blur. Beggars bombarded me. My pale skin and way of dress stuck out like an eye sore. I stood alongside the dusty road as the teenage boy in barefeet flagged a cab. The heat was almost unbearable. It was only 10 a.m. The shower I took that morning proved useless. I was wet again in my own sweat. The car fumes were suffocating. I had difficulty breathing. I had never experienced this before. I asked myself, "How do these people do this everyday?" Did the locals think I was crazy? That I didn't belong here? At that moment, I questioned if I had made a mistake by coming.
I was far away from home... 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Most women are born with maternal instinct. All about the time we hit puberty our hormones start to take on a life of their own. We begin to make the change from girl into woman. It’s not always a pleasant experience, physically and emotionally. I remember feeling like the world was ending when I had a fight with a friend. And boys…they were an alien creature that went from hot to cold, and cold to hot at the rate of a race horse. Hmmm, have they altered much??

These transformations are a sign that our body is preparing to reproduce.

Not every woman is filled with a desire, or fondness for having children, but what I have noticed, as I did myself, teenage girls have a deep patience and kindness toward children. Therefore, parents hire teenage girls as babysitters.

But my question, are men born with paternal instinct? Do they have a natural capability to become a father? I have heard from men that they are overcome with a sense of fright when they learn they will be a father. Suddenly, their responsibilities have tripled and they are set upon a new, mystifying path of becoming a role model to a little, and dependent being.

When I think of a mother’s love for her child, my first thought is breastfeeding. It holds such importance, especially in the first months of a baby’s life. It gives a mother the chance to bond with her precious child. Not to say that bottle feeding lacks in this sensational bond, but a woman is given this capability not only to provide nourishment, but to share in nurturing moments that implant within a child for years to come. Studies on breastfeeding have proven this.

When I think of a father’s love, I think of the moment his child is born into the world. The moment he sets his curious, and maybe misty, gaze upon a tiny human being. The first touch, the first time he holds her in his arms…it’s all amazing to watch. A masculine, strong man melting into tears and mush over a toothless, chubby wonder.

If I had to guess, I’d say this is also an astonishing, and transforming moment for a man. I’ve seen boys become men under the bewitchment of their child. I’ve seen men with the coldest heart turn soft with the flash of a child’s grin.
helping hands child. ...
A mother’s love is wonderful, but somehow, a father’s love is like watching the man you love move mountains. In this fascinating love, a father/child’s bond becomes permanent.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Memories of India

This time of year reminds me of my visit to India. The memories are embedded inside my mind. The trip wasn't what I had expected. I flew thousands of miles into a foreign land to find myself. I came back to America knowing less of who I was.

The first memory...I stepped off that plane with a deep sense of freedom and a blast of suffocating heat. I was surrounded by people who looked at me with the same curosity in their eyes as I had in my mind. "What the hell was I doing in India?" All I knew is...that's where I felt I needed to be.
Among the chaos of blaring horns, streets lined with homeless people, piles of garbage, wandering cows...I did smile. I wasn't running away although I did question whether I was welcome here.

The first night I stayed in Mumbai. Little did I know that my adventure would take me on twists and turns...and memories that would last a lifetime.

Please stop by every Tuesday to join me for my adventures in India.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sexy Recipe Monday

Dessert Pizza

There is nothing more appealing than the colors of Summer, especially in the available fruits and vegetables. When you're wanting to tempt that special someone you can never go wrong with a delicious array of fresh fruit with the sweetness of sugar cookie. Everytime I've made this eye-pleasing, tasty dessert I've been bombarded with requests for the recipe. It is very simple and easy.

Variety of fresh fruit (This can be your faves or a special color combination of choices. You can't go wrong here, however, I tend to stick with fruit that partners well with each other)
Refrigerated sugar cookie dough
Container of strawberry whipped cream cheese

1. Rinse and let fruit dry completely. Allow cream cheese to sit at room temperature until easily stirred...about a half hour.
2. Spray a cookie sheet with vegetable oil. Flatten cookie dough and press to fit the sheet. Make sure there are no holes. Bake at 350 degrees for about ten minutes. Crust should be slightly brown and done in the middle.
3. In the meantime, slice fruit such as strawberries, bananas, apples, mango...but fruit like blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc can be left whole.
4.When cookie crust is done, allow to cool completely.
5. On cooled cookie crust, spread cream cheese all over. Then arrange fruit on top. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Love is like the economy

Why is love so difficult? Do we place too many expectations on one another? Do we blame our partner for our failure and wrong doings? Anyone who goes into a relationship expecting their partner to be the same person they are at that moment come three months later--well, let's just say, they will be highly disappointed. We step into love with renowned energy, excitement, joy over the newness of it all. But then something happens. The first argument occurs.

Here is where we need to pay close attention to how our 'new' partner handles the disagreement. This is the first view into who they really are. Do they blame you for all of the mistakes? Not good. A person who is incapable of seeing their fault will have a difficult time changing. Do they storm off, calling it quits, every time there is conflict? Bad. We can't be with a quiter. When a person gives up so often how can we ever rely on them? Do they scream? Yikes. For obvious reasons that is scary.

There is no perfect argument. But if your partner is willing and able to see your side, as well as their own, this is a good trait.

But until that first argument comes along, do you really know your partner?