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If You Forget Me by Pablo Neruda

I’m loving “If You Forget Me” by Pablo Neruda right now.

Listen my audio recording of this poem while you read, here.

If You Forget Me

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
remember
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

But
if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

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Thanksgiving | Real People, Real Struggles

Provo Food and Care Coalition

“Do you think they’ll let us in?” I asked my husband.

“Of course.  It’s not like we have to show a homeless bag to prove our status.” he snickered.

We got in the soup kitchen line and received heaping masses of salad, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, ambrosia, turkey, ham, and rolls.  And man, was it all good.

We hoped to find connection here.  From past experience, we’ve learned that sometimes serving without connection isn’t very fulfilling.  So we scanned the room to find some empty seats to occupy, and break bread with the poor and transient.  What would it be like to have their experience with them, instead of lord over them, serving?

Stephen wouldn’t talk to us at first.  Just a nod here and there.  Maybe he was embarrassed.  Maybe he couldn’t hear.  Maybe he couldn’t talk.  Maybe he wanted his space to eat quietly.

It wasn’t until Keri, who smiled at us and started up a conversation, did Stephen come alive and join in.  Keri and Stephen have shared several meals together over the last year at the Food and Care Coalition.  They didn’t know each other’s names, but they knew each other’s faces.

Keri was packing up her extra food she wasn’t able to finish, and a little bit more, to take home.  “Do you have a place to go?” I asked.  “Yes.  Because we’ve been able to eat for free here the past year, I’ve been able to make our rent payment.  They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday here – no questions asked.”

She was radiant.  She was friendly.  She was grateful.  She had recently come out of chemo.  Her son, Sam, was with her.  A teenager.  By his shifting weight and rolling eyes, I could tell he was embarrassed by her telling us her story.  I can only imagine what the last year of his life must have been like.  Likely no dad around, a very sick mother facing death, absent from his life as she fought for hers, maybe not always knowing where his next meal would come from.  By her friendly and gracious spirit, Keri defied my preconceived notions of the type of person that would be in a soup kitchen for Thanksgiving.

“Can I get you anything else?” one of the volunteers asked us after our plates were empty. I forget his name, but I can still remember his face.  40’s.  Handsome.  Clean and presentable.  You could say your typical middle-income guy.  He probably owns a house in the burbs, two cars, and a family.  But he admitted that he’d been laid off several months ago, from a University job he assumed he have forever.  As he looked around, it was as if his face was revealing his fear that perhaps next year, he and his family would be here, not as volunteers, but as a family needing a warm meal.

Provo Food and Care Coalition

Marjorie was sitting clear in the front all by herself at an otherwise empty table, enjoying the entertainment on the stage (volunteer singers).  She wore a read sweater and had a red bow in her silver hair.  Age had hunched her back over.

I sheepishly pulled into the seat next to her and simply said, “hi.”  “Hi” she quietly but happily replied.  “I saw you sitting here all by yourself and thought that I’d like to get to know you.”  As her kind brown eyes flooded with tears, and then mine in like reaction, she said with a glowing smile, “Well aren’t you a sweetheart!”  Her cheeks were almost as red as the bow in her hair.  She was beautiful, and I told her so.

She was visiting from Kansas her daughter who was in the food line serving.  She wasn’t homeless, or even poor.  She was just old – which appeared to be as lonely and crippling.  She was a different kind of outcast.

Marjorie and I connected, soul to soul.  When time and space no longer separate us, I’m sure we’ll be friends.  I may have made her day by talking with her, but she made my day by asking if I was a student at the local collage.  ; )  (I had to explain that I’m much older than I look!)

I so wish I had captured Marjorie’s portrait.  But it didn’t feel right to ask.

The guy in the Lynyrd Skynyrd hat was hard-looking.  Like, Stephen, he didn’t seem to want to talk at first.  But after Daisy, the seeing-eye puppy in training, came over to visit our table, Todd opened up like a little kid with a big grin on his face.  Who doesn’t love puppies!  This Thanksgiving was not the first time Todd had been here.  Though he never said how long he’s been coming, I got this impression it had been quite awhile.  And when he told me he had no place to go to, I likewise got the feeling he had been transient for awhile, when he said, “they make it harder and harder to even sleep on the streets anymore.”

Daisy the Seeing Eye Puppy in Training

Unlike Todd, it was D’s first time.  While he was eating his feast, it was Keri who told him about all the facility offered.  In addition to meals, he could shower, get internet service, and in the summers, tend the garden and eat of its fruits.  D was thrilled… how had he never heard of this place before, he wondered.  D has lived out of his car off and on for years so he can pay child support with whatever money he does make.

While D and I were talking, a gray haired man came up to our table to sit down.  His eyes didn’t look right, he walked with a severe limp, and he was signing to us.  Not knowing sign language, I stupidly looked at him and said, “I don’t understand.”  He persisted anyways, as if he didn’t really care that I couldn’t understand.  He seemed just happy to be ‘talking’.  But suddenly, he put his hand up, as if to say, “stop”.  Then he bowed his head in prayer over his food, and dramatically began signing his prayer.  It was so very beautiful.  I wanted to take a picture so badly, and I wrestled with myself, It’s too sacred, it would be rude.  But it’s so very beautiful.  So I took the picture, for better or for worse.

sign language prayer

My take away from this day was prominent: “But by the Grace of God, there go I.”  And there go you, and your family.  Not that these people don’t enjoy God’s grace.  They surely do.  They are beautiful and warm and friendly people.  None complained – it was amazing.  Keri especially touched my heart ~ after all she had been through, she was so gracious and loving, forgetting about herself and extending herself to others.  She was a true inspiration. She understands the real value of life… people.  In a world of gross consumption and rat racing, I found a peace in many of these people that is not often found.

This experience made Thanksgiving fulfilling, in a way that doesn’t involve stressing over what food to make, getting it made in time, serving everything warm, a mess of dishes afterwards – the result of hours and hours of preparation, only to be over in 30 minutes.  No, that all came on Sunday!  With the kids and grand kids.  And that was worth every second : ).

Kemp 2012 Thanksgiving

 

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Preserving Eggs Without Refrigeration

farm fresh chicken egg

leave farm fresh eggs out on counter

farm chicken

farm chickens

Did you know that you can leave your farm fresh chicken eggs out on your counter for about two weeks before going bad?  They do not have to be refrigerated as long as you do not wash them (until you use them), which takes away the natural bloom that acts as a coating to protect the egg from rotting.  As long as the natural bloom stays on, no air can penetrate it to spoil it.  We keep our eggs in a plastic strainer sitting on the counter until they are used.

Likewise, did you know that you can store eggs for up to one year in your food storage without refrigeration?  Yes, you can!  There is an all natural product, called KePeg Egg Preserver, that you can coat on your eggs and it acts just like the natural bloom, but lasts longer.

My Prepper friend, Kellene Bishop of Preparedness Pro, originally told me about this idea, though, she uses mineral oil.  I’ve used mineral oil to preserve my eggs in the past, but decided to switch to KePeg because there is controversy with ingesting mineral oil.  For those of us who worry about estrogen over-production (which is a cause of infertility), we should probably stay away from using mineral oil, especially when there is an alternative (and an all natural one, all the better).

And I have eaten year-old eggs using this unrefrigerated method – so you can rest assure this is good information!  Just be sure to flip the stored eggs about once per month to keep the yolks in tact.  The best use for year-old eggs is for baking or hard boiling.  If you wonder at all if they are good any more, just remember that your nose won’t fool you!

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Magical Holiday Blog Hop + Etsy Artist Features

Hello wonderful people!  I’ve been away for far too long – immersing myself in other creative endeavors, and getting too wrapped up in the maintenance of life.  It’s always been a struggle (the necessary requirements of getting along in life, like making food, cleaning up, doing laundry, etc.)… like a thorn in my side that I can’t seem to get rid of now matter how hard I wish it away or try to accept it.  It’s probably a good thing I have not had any kids – I’m sure I’d be a horribly unfit mother.

Life is a lot more hectic than I’d like it to be during this time of year.  When I only wish I could take a couple of hours and snuggle with a warm blanket on the couch to read, or make all kinds of Christmas gifts for loved ones – I feel like I’m just drowning in work and things I’d rather not be doing.

So I thought I’d sneak in a little Holiday fun and participate in a blog hop!

I want to feature the next artist in our Hop – her name is Sharon, from Alice’s Secret Door.  She has the cutest little owl pendant that she made.  Her jewelry is lovely – take a minute to check it out.

Alice's Secret Door Owl Pendant

Here is an Etsy Treasury of all the artists who participated (sorry the formatting is all messed up – I tried!):

 

                                          ‘Magical Holiday Blog Hop’                                by                                       AngelaDiGiovanni                

                   Featured Artist Participants

                                                                       
                                                                                                             Dandelions 11 x 14 Original …                                                                                                                                                                        

                                                              sunblewis                              
                              $65.00

                                     
                                                                                                             Folk Art Whimsical Print Hou…                                                                                                                                                                        

                                                              MyArtistWithin                              
                              $12.00

                                     
                                                                                                             Amelia, the protective dream…                                                                                                                                                                        

                                                              InnerWorlds                              
                              $16.00

                                     
                                                                                                             OOAK Russian Papier Mache Te…                                                                                                                                                                        

                                                              nancyperennec                              
                              $565.00

                                     
                                                                                                             anais nin, one of a kind ori…                                                                                                                                                                        

                                                              digit13                              
                              $85.00

                                     
                                                                                                             vibrant print of original pa…                                                                                                                                                                        

                                                              CasaCantamar                              
                              $19.00

                                     
                                                                                                             SALE Floral Dreams Art Print…                                                                                                                                                                        

                                                              artlovejoy                              
                              $12.75

                                     
                                                                                                             Walk Like An Egyptian                                                                                                                                                                        

                                                              BKDesignStudio                              
                              $12.95

                                     
                                                                                                             I’m Going to Shine                                                                                                                                                                        

                                                              RubyShea                              
                              $30.00

                                     
                                                                                                             Skull Cameo                                                                                                                                                                        

                                                              KatieCahill                              
                              $19.99

                                     
                                                                                                             Raven clock bottle cap golde…                                                                                                                                                                        

                                                              AlicesSecretDo…                              
                              $22.00

                                     
                                                                                                             Perfect Days- mixed media ar…                                                                                                                                                                        

                                                              eltsamp                              
                              $17.00

                             Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.

I hope you are able to squeeze in some time to enjoy this beautiful time of year.

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Here, Kitty Kitty

 

Kitty Kitty Eats

It started with the hidden mewing when my stepson (Brett) and I got home from church and walked up to the front door.  We both looked at each other curiously, and then instinctively walked across the grass to the window well of the basement.  We looked down – and there she was.  Helpless.  Mewing.

Brett jumped down the well, scooped her up and handed her to me.  We brought her inside to feed her – so little and frail she was.

Kitty Kitty Sleeps

And then Kitty moseyed around and made her way to the couch, where she jumped up and snuggled herself to sleep.  I think this is where I fell in love.

Kitty Kitty's first car ride

Then the storm came.

It was time to take Brett to work.  We couldn’t put Kitty Kitty out in the storm.  But we couldn’t leave her in the house.  How would she and Woofie get along?  Who knows where she would go potty?

So we brought her with us, naturally.

Kitty Kitty in the car

And she curiously hopped around the car.

Kitty Kitty curious

And became part of our little family.

Kitty Kitty

Woofie has been so good to her… giving her her space and letting Kitty get used to her without being intimidating.  The first 36 hours Kitty hissed every time they would get close.  We taught Woofie to keep her distance.  Now, whenever the Kitty comes near Woofie out of curiosity, Woofie turns her face away from her, so as not to intimidate her.  I am praying they will be friends in time.

Woofie | Sweetest Dog Ever

The sweetest dog ever, affectionately watching from the ground while I hold and pet Kitty on the couch.

I am taking name suggestions…

 

 

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