I was sitting on the train last week going to work.  I’d already finished writing my blog, I published it, put my laptop away, and switched on my new YouTube music app.  I will choose music over t.v. every day.  I realized I never turned on the t.v. once this whole weekend!  The great thing about the youtube app, is that it will custom build a personalized “radio” station based on other music you’ve watched on YouTube.  Genius.

I of course love American Idol, the Voice and basically any music talent show.  Danny Gokey was one of my first favorites from American Idol season 2009.   He auditioned for the show a mere four weeks after his wife died – he was only 28 years old and a widower.  I hadn’t really thought about him since that show aired, but probably because I listened to his music at some point in time, his newer songs hit my playlist.  I had no idea he’s become a Christian singer.  I was sitting on the train, sipping my coffee, looking out the window as the world rushed by on the train, I suddenly heard these lyrics from this song:

You’re shattered
Like you’ve never been before
The life you knew
In a thousand pieces on the floor
And words fall short in times like these
When this world drives you to your knees
You think you’re never gonna get back
To the you that used to be

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday’s a closing door
You don’t live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you’ve been
And tell your heart to beat again

If I wasn’t sitting on a train I think I may have cried right then and there.  It was as if I was listening to a song that was handwritten for me.  I’ve been struggling the last few months (years) still with the loss of my husband.  I am not sure you ever get over losing your spouse, but even though I’ve known that I have to get on with my life, a part of me is still looking behind my shoulder at what was once my life, and trying to overcome the loss of the life I thought I’d have with my husband and I growing old together.

But the problem with that is, if you are looking at the past, you never quite move on to the new life you are supposed to be living.  “Yesterday’s a closing door, you don’t live there anymore.”   I don’t know what it was, the timing, the song lyrics or what, but hearing those words was like a weight was lifted from my shoulders.  I have to stop living in the past and “say goodbye to where you’ve been and and tell your heart to beat again.”

No, that doesn’t mean I am ready to start dating.  But this was the first weekend in the longest time that I just savored every moment and soaked in this amazing life I have.  I have a roof over my head, food in the fridge, great family and friends.  I have so much to be thankful for.

I had plans to go to the Green City Market, but had a later than usual night on Friday night, so slept in a bit on Saturday.  Usually Saturday mornings I get up and start writing my to do list for the weekend.  The mantra for my weekends is usually must be productive!

Instead I got a cup of coffee and went out the hammock under the gazebo.  It was chilly – 62 degrees, but absolutely glorious.  No bugs, no humidity.  I laid in that hammock for an hour just enjoying the sounds of the birds and the dogs jumping in and out and sleeping on me from time to time.

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I went the the farmers market, only the one in the town next to mine.  I bought green beans, tomatoes, corn and mushrooms.

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I bought two containers of green beans and have used them all already!

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Our neighbors have very busy athletes and trying to get together with them is near impossible with their schedule.  As luck would have it, the husband is off work the next two weeks and they had a week where one sport ended before the next one began, so invited us over Saturday night.  They love my pizza, so they asked if I could make that. Yep – I can make pizza in my sleep!

I also wanted to do a “Weight Watcher” friendly appetizer board.  I was at Hannah’s coffee shop when I was telling her what I was going to make when she looked up at me and said “Mom, what the hell are you going to put that food on?!”  Ah, good question!  She loaded me one of her sheet trays and large parchment paper from work, and that worked perfectly.

I made balsamic garlic green beans (that were actually room temp), strawberries with a lemon curd dip, potato croquettes with jalapeno gold drizzle (think jalapeno jelly – so good!), shrimp cocktail with a chipotle mayo dip, sriracha almonds, cheese and crackers and roasted butternut squash bites.

Eventually my neighbor kept referring this as “the tray of happiness.”  It worked out perfect, but next time I’ll know to make four times the amount of shrimp (all 4 of their kids love shrimp) and leave the butternut squash.  I should have taken a picture of the “after” because all that was left was the butternut squash.  No worries, I brought the leftovers home for me. 

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This lemon curd dip.  Holy balls – you need to make this!  This will be your go to summer fruit dip, I promise you. I stumbled across this recipe from Iowa Girl Eats, so simple!  Lemon curd fruit dip.  The only thing I did was use regular Cool Whip, and added fresh lemon zest.  Perfect with strawberries.

I had to show you their great dane Lucy.  She is so loveable, but is giant like a small horse.  When I am sitting in a chair her head is the same level as mine!

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I had a leisurely Sunday morning, sitting outside and drinking coffee in 64 degree weather.  My Mom spent the afternoon with us.  Two major NSV for me – I bought two pairs of size 11 pants, and I bought two dresses for my upcoming vacation.  It’s been ages since I’ve worn a dress! 

My Momma is a beef lover, so I picked up two big sirloin steaks at The Fresh Market.  

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While the grill was going, we brought out some board games.  I somehow misplaced the tiles to the Scrabble game, but we pulled out Cranium.  It was so much fun, we laughed so much!

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I pulled the beef at 115 degrees and let it rest 20 minutes before slicing.  On the side is a grilled green bean and mushroom salad that was tossed in a tablespoon of Newman’s own balsamic dressing and an ounce of baby mozzarella, with corn on the cob.  12 delicious Sunday dinner points.

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My Mom left around 8:00 and the kadults and I decided to do a bonfire.  Usually Sunday night I am in complete “must get ready for the whole week” routine, but I decided to ditch that and just sit outside, talk with Hannah and Jacob and just listen to the crackle of the fire.  

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It was the perfect ending to a perfect weekend. 

“So get back up, take step one
Leave the darkness, feel the sun
‘Cause your story’s far from over
And your journey’s just begun!”

It’s time to say goodbye to my past because I don’t live there anymore.