Baking It Forward - To My Mom in New York

Sometimes having a blog can be so rewarding…. an outlet that allows me to share with you so many things. Products, books, crafts and recipes I love. Funny stories about marriage, parenthood and life in general. Fun places to travel, both within and outside the city of Houston.

Other times it’s a burden.

Like recently. When I’ve wanted to share with you something significant that’s been going on in my life but instead I’ve chosen to gloss over it. Filling recent posts with giveaways and back-to-school stories. And sometimes, not posting at all.Because writing something down makes it real. And I haven’t been ready for real.

Until today.

This morning I found two cookie recipes online and then went grocery shopping and filled my cart with items like sugar, flour and butter. I pre-heated my oven to 350 and dusted off the Kitchen Aid mixer. And as I put together the ingredients to form a perfect treat…I slowly came apart.

My mom making a teddy bear to send to my aunt when we first heard she was sick.

The cookies are for my mom.

She had just barely recovered from her own heart attack last April when her sister, my aunt, called with news that she had been diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. After a month of chemo, the doctors delivered the worst news possible. There wasn’t anything that could help. My aunt was given just three months to live.

My mom took a leave of absence from her own job to fly across the country to help her. (My aunt never married and doesn’t have any children.) Over the last couple of months her health has deteriorated and my mom has been there by her side to help her go to the rest room, feed her through her IV, rub her back and hold her hand while she cries.

This week marks that three month mark her doctors predicted would be the end. And we know in our hearts that they were right. She doesn’t have much time left.

Me and my aunt during our visit this summer.

I visited to help for a bit during the summer but I don’t know how much help I really was. I struggled with my own emotions and while I kept them in check while I was there; hugging my aunt goodbye for the last time was almost too much to bear. I cried the entire trip back home. My sister has been able to travel up to help several times and my aunt and uncle have been there to help, too.

But it’s mom who has been my aunt’s main caregiver. She’s so strong and calm and ever present.

But I know she’s tired. And she’s sad.

I have developed such a deep respect for what those who take care of ill and aging family members go through. The sacrifice they make to take care of someone else.

I hope the cookies I baked and the care package I send will bring her comfort. That she will feel loved and cared for while she is loving and caring for her sister, my aunt.

I got the idea from Imperial Sugar’s Bake It Forward Program. I’ve been lucky enough to do some work for them this summer and through my affiliation with the company I heard about tins you can get from them and then fill with goodies and send to someone who needs a smile. The hope is that person will then be inspired to fill the tin with goodies to send to someone else and that the tin slowly travels from person to person.

I registered my tin and then after my mom gets her cookies, she can send it to someone else and track it. I know that she has many people that she can give it to like nurses and aides that visit the house to check on my aunt and my other aunt in Massachusetts who recently lost her mom and is caring for her sick father. But because I don’t want my mom to worry about baking more cookies, I sent her a second batch to fill the tin and pass it on!

You can check out more about the Bake It Forward movement on their website. I think it’s a great idea. It motivated me to send my mom a care package and also, to finally share what’s been going on with me…with you.

Do you have someone who could use a smile?

Disclaimer: While I have done some other work for Imperial Sugar, the idea to post about my experience with The Bake It Forward movement and all thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own. I’m thankful that their idea inspired me to bake for my mom and hope that my story inspires others to do the same. 



Art is Therapeutic

Yesterday was a very, very sad day for me. My husband and I had to put our sweet dog, Sadie, to sleep. She was a part of our family for 16 years and I can’t yet put into words how much I miss her.  When I am able to write more about how much she meant to our family, I will. But today I’ve just felt empty.

When I woke up this morning I walked over the spot where she used to sleep (in the middle of the hallway!) and have started several times to let her out back. I can almost here her little feet on the tile floor and her scratching at the back door to let me know she’s ready to come back in.

Not really knowing what to do with myself…I made a prototype of the ornament I’m going to contribute to the Jesse Advent Tree project I’m doing this year.  A group of 25 friends have gotten together and we each drew a day of advent (December 1 - 25). Using the symbol of that day - we will each make 25 ornaments (one for ourselves and one to exchange with each person). When we are all done, we will have 25 different ornaments to open each day of advent along with a bible verse to read and reflect upon. I’ve done this before and decided that I’m going to give my set as a present to someone very special to me.

This year I drew the 24th of December - an angel. I used some techniques I learned at the mixed media art class I took while at Spark.

Sadie was my angel.