Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Funny I Promised Yesterday


     I believe it is possible my daughter has a literal heart of gold. Her disposition is so sweet, I swear she could cause cavities. I have never heard a negative or mean thing come from her mouth. Ever! That's why, when on Valentine's Day she presented this card to her three older brothers, I was so surprised!

Image © Madelynn Retzlaff

     I don't care for the word "hate" and try to disuade my children from using it unless they really, really, really thought it through and still mean it (usually reserved for non-human subjects like "I hate violence").
     I looked at her sweet face smiling up at her big brothers and saw the chuckles they released. When they passed the card to me, I was surprised into silence followed by roaring laughter. For some reason, I found it to be the funniest card evah!
     Perhaps it is her innocent age and nature lacking the full understanding of what she wrote. Perhaps it was her genuine loving delivery of the card. Perhaps it was her unguarded honesty! Whatever the reason, the card ended in love so it's all good!

Monday, February 18, 2013


Sorry I have been quiet again lately. Life has taught me a lot of lessons this past year (my whole life really) and I have been experiencing more periods of introspect which causes me to avoid my blog. I tend to keep things light here. Not too heavy, not too personal. Even now I am fidgeting in my seat and contemplating getting up to do something else (anything) rather than share this story.

     The reason for the title of my blog (Cranial Purge) was to dump some of the overflow of thought that runs through my brain. I cannot dump it all or I would never get off the page as my mind produces enough thought to fill a gazillion pages. That being said, I tend to be very selective about what I do share attempting not to get too personal (for fear of judgment), not wanting to write about anything that might be even a tad controversial (as I fear confrontation), not wanting to work too hard at succeeding (for fear of failure) and on and on.

     My whole life has been spent in fear. It is depressing, scary, stifling and paralyzing. Last year I chose to work with the word "faith" all year. The Universe must have taken that as a challenge as it was one of the hardest years I have ever been dealt (and I have been through hell in the past my friends). It was also perhaps the most growth inducing. It is also the reason for my year (plus) on-again-off-again relationship with my blog.

     Faith and trust seem to be the opposite of fear and I was challenged to embrace both through some very difficult times. Almost a year ago I was faced with some information that nearly ended my marriage. A month later I faced a diagnosis with the potential to be life threatening. Two very large pills to swallow back to back with little time and no water. Talk about fear. First I had to face raising four children alone. Then I had to face the fact that I might not be around to raise my four children at all.

     I cried my way through much of last year. I chose to stay in my marriage and we have been working tirelessly to fix what was broken. I have worked with medical professionals as well as dietary and holistic work to heal my body. I have been reading and researching and practicing affirmations, mindfulness, yoga, meditation and anything else I can get a hold of to heal my mind. I stuck with the word Faith to connect with soul.

Body, Mind, Soul

     I have been diligently doing the work to keep all three healthy and whole. I will continue to do so praying for it all to stick.

     Most recently, I have been helping to clean and caretake for a friend's (more like a sister) father who is dying of cancer. He is losing his battle quickly. Much faster than anyone imagined. He is ready. He wants to move on. He misses his wife whom he lost unexpectedly a mere eight months ago. He hopes to be reunited. The pain of hanging on has been hardest for him.

     I cannot help but wonder if the humbling gift of caring for Barry during this time may have been given to me as a precursor for what is to come. My own Stepfather (really a father) has stage four terminal lung cancer. He has been fighting like a champ, but his news recently was not good. It is a much more personal battle as the loss will be extremely painful.

     Life is precious. Life is fragile. Life is fleeting.

     I look at life differently than I did a year ago. Life used to be spent in survival mode. Now I am learning to live. My ridiculous sense of humor and my crazy will to survive has gotten me this far (without becoming a raging alcoholic, drug addict, or angry suicidal maniac)but it has not been a very good existence. 

     Now, my eyes are open, my heart is open and I am trusting and embracing my precious life for all it has to offer. This year I chose the word "love" and I am starting with myself. Self-love starts with self-acceptance, at least for those of us that lack it. 

Imagine if every child were taught self-love. Imagine how much better the world would be. When you truly value yourself (I'm not talking in a narcissistic, egotistical way), you see how important your life is and you can project that out to others. You can see that each person, regardless of their wounds, quirks, attitudes, are perfectly imperfect just like you.

     I'm not saying to spend time with people who are hurtful, mean, abusive, manipulative or in any other way damaging to you. That would not be practicing self-love. In those cases, simply wish them well, send them love and move on. I am really starting to see that love truly IS the answer.

     Do me a favor, would you please? Take a moment to send some love out into the world. List your gratitudes. Feel your heart swell when you think of those you love. Look in the mirror and smile and be thankful for the gift of your life and fall in love with yourself. Imagine those in the world who are suffering, hurting, lonely. Send them love. Imagine your love frequency moving out into the universe, combining with all the other love being sent out. Let's wrap this planet in love, shall we? 

     Yup. I'm sappy and strange like that. A year ago I might not have posted this post. Now? I lose the fear of judgment, have faith that my words will land with those who need them, and love everyone. Yup. Even the haters. After all, they are the most in need of love.

We are so small yet so powerful. Use your power for good.

This was a heavy post. If you read through to the end, I thank you for staying as I feel my message is an important one. Tomorrow, I have a funny for you to lighten the mood! I am seriously considering a second blog for heavy. This poor blog never did have much direction. Perhaps I can have my fun here and keep the heavy on another page. We'll see. For now, I send you off with love.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Guinea Pigs

     My daughter's teacher is on maternity leave. The class has a long-term substitute. The class recently completed a poetry unit in which the teacher told the students that she adored bacon and promised if they produced enough bacon poems, she would throw them a bacon party. The children came through. The teacher claimed they had run out of time. No party.
     This week my daughter was Star Student. Star Student is allowed to bring a treat. We decided to surprise the kids with bacon cupcakes. A mini-bacon party! I have never tasted a bacon cupcake but have read about them several times (internet of course). 

Fact #1 - Everyone loves bacon
Fact #2 - Sweet and salt are the best combination evah
Assumed Fact #3 - bacon cupcakes will be a hit with a group of children deprived of a promised bacon party.
     The cupcakes were painstakingly lovingly made from scratch with the finest ingredients (organic butter, grade A maple syrup, preservative free bacon, etc...). A full evening later, the cupcakes were done. I sampled. They were... interesting.
     Not being a cake eater myself, I served a cupcake to each family member to ask what they thought. Here are the results...
They're good!  X3
Interesting  X1
Don't care for  X1

     That's when it occurred to me. Yes, at 9pm the night before treat day, it occurred to me that a group of 24 third graders might not appreciate being guinea pigs for a new recipe. I asked Darling Daughter if I should run out and buy some pre-made cookies (just in case) and she insisted on the bacon cupcakes (which she adored). I left the decision up to her, suggesting she not take offense if no one took them or liked them!
     Thursday, Darling Daughter arrives to school with more than two dozen Bacon Cupcakes. They were a hit! Only one child declined the offer. Everyone who tried them liked them. One boy asked if he could have the extras (which were delivered around the school to teachers & staff).
     I will share the link to the recipe website but I would suggest adding some applesauce or honey to the batter as they turned out a bit dry. They are officially kid approved!

I am NOT nor do I claim to be a food/product photographer. Please excuse the distasteful picture!  ;)

Darling Daughter's Bacon Poem #1

Makin' some bacon
Sizzling, jumping bacon
Bacon up high
Bacon down low
Bacon everywhere
That's how to go
~Madelynn Retzlaff

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


I have been sitting at my desk all day today.
Taxes, bills, phone calls.
Busy work.

Reflecting on my computer screen from the great outdoors behind me is a beautiful, peaceful snowfall. 

Watching the silent snow make its way to the ground covering the world in a blanket of purity, a stirring takes place inside me and the peaceful feeling spreads.

Thank you Mother Nature!
You knew just what I needed today.

Winter came down to our home one night quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow, and we were children once again. ~Bill Morgan, Jr.

Friday, February 1, 2013


     Look at this adorable post office! What a lovely little piece of history. It is currently open for business but is at risk of closure.
     You, my friends, can help save this post office with the simple and affordable act of sending a postcard. How easy is that? Rather than tell you all the details here on my blog, let me guide you to the owner's page.
     Jane Davies is a fellow blogger and wonderful artist. Check out her post HERE. You can read about the post office, how you can help, and how being one of the first 200 to join in would make you the proud recipient of an art postcard. Oh, and make sure to check the bottom of her post for an adorable video of chickens chillin' at the office. Perhaps they should rename Rupert "Quaint City".  

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