Good Friday, Good Thoughts

After the Palm Sunday tragedy (losing baby Zeb, my zebra), I didn’t feel much like writing this week. I’m trying to get back in the swing of things. It’s just such a hard reality to face that he’s gone.

Sometimes those things happen in life: the unexpected, the unwanted, the undeserved. But, as my super de duper smart husband always says, “Homeostasis, my dear.”

Roughly 2000 years ago, an innocent lamb was slaughtered to save the world from sin. Three days later, he rose to join his heavenly Father. The sorrow and tears of Friday turned to joy and laughter on Sunday. It’s amazing, really, to think of the sacrifice made on our behalf. Are we worthy of such a selfless act? The answer is no but Jesus did it anyway.

Sometimes sacrifice has to happen in life. In order to get to the good, we have to suffer through the bad. I’ve faced many hardships in my life, almost always with the attitude that God knows what is best for me. He has reasons and plans for what happens in my life. Who am I to question Him? Years of toxic unhappiness were finally replaced with the joy that my husband brought into my little family’s life. A stressful career was replaced with cancer (and yes, I consider dealing with cancer a good replacement for where I worked). Fourteen years of writer’s block (or, rather, being told that I couldn’t do it and it was a silly dream) were replaced with a husband who encouraged me to keep pushing myself and try.

As I stand in the shadow of the cross today, I realize that I have a lot to be thankful for…my children, my husband, my parents, my sister, my nieces and nephew, my friends, my FB family, and all of my readers who believe in me and my writing!

Homeostasis. The balancing act of life. All things happen for a reason and…somehow…even the worst of things work out in the end. You just have to believe…

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Monday’s Musings…A Day Late

I know, I know. I’m late with my musing. Unfortunately, I have an awful lot to think about these past few days.

As many of you may have heard, my dear Zebediah, my baby zebra, passed away most unexpectedly on Sunday morning. THAT was not a phone call I was not anticipating. The fact that it was so “unexpected” makes it even harder to accept.

ImageOf course, I know that there are more important things in the world. A zebra is, after all, just an animal…not a child or a mother, sister or friend. People are dying, starving, struggling…

But Zebby was more than “just an animal” to me. He was really something special…a gift from God that touched so many lives.

Little children would light up like Christmas trees when they saw little Zebby. Many of them had never seen a zebra before…not in person, anyway. For all of them, hearing him make his silly firehouse sounding “whoop whoop” call was a once in a lifetime event. And…if they were lucky enough that Zeb felt especially friendly that day and forced his nose over the fence…well, that is something to brag about at school on Monday!

My daughter and I would go down to the barn and sit in his paddock, not caring that we often sat in the dirt, taking silly photos of him asleep in the hay or scratching his striped butt against a railing. He liked to chase the goats and he always panicked if Snowball, his little white pony friend, was out of sight for longer than a few seconds.

I loved his noise. So rare and unique. Whoop! Whoop!  Not a neigh. Not a bray. A whooping sound. I can still hear it in my memory. That’s the only place I’ll hear it now, I guess.

The times when I was about to hug him and bury my nose into his fluffy striped neck…that was magical. He SMELLED like Africa…like wild grasses and fresh air. That’s something I will never forget.

But now…it’s over. He lives on in my memory and will never go away, I’m sure. Marc and I decided no more zebras. That decision was hard for both of us. Since we don’t have two-legged children, we count all of our fuzzies are our four-legged children. Zebby, however, was the favored child by far. We recognize how special he was and that there is no way to replace the hole in our hearts.

ImageStill, I am reminded of my own personal mantra: There is a reason for everything. And while I would love to know what the reason is, sometimes we just never know. Perhaps extra care will be given to a beloved animal somewhere that, otherwise, might not have occurred. Maybe Zebby touched enough lives and his unexpected passing serves as a not-so-gentle reminder to us all that life is precious…expect the unexpected.

We cannot count on anything…for God has His own plan…and it is one that we dare not question (even when we would surely like an explanation).

I know that I sure appreciated the love and support from my daughter and husband, Jeremiah (Zeb’s trainer and namesake), as well as all of my Facebook family who have reached out to me. I heard from a lot of people and even got a special photo from my uncle of a brand new baby giraffe…born just the other day at his local zoo where he volunteers.

Life goes on. So will I…until the day I move along. In the meantime, no matter how hard it is,  I will have to remember that God’s plan is not always my own. I’ll do my best to accept it and appreciate each day that I have…even lousy rainy ones like today (blah). I encourage you to do the same, too.

I also take courage in knowing that baby Zeb is up at the Rainbow Bridge, waiting for Snowball and waiting for me. He’s definitely in good company with my herd of fuzzies that have passed…horses, ponies, goats, dogs, cats, rabbits, mice, hamster, birds, ferrets, turtles, and far too many hermit crabs.

Blessings to you all! And hug your family, friends, and fuzzies just a little bit harder…not just today…but every day.

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Friday Fare: German Potato Salad

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When I was growing up, every family gathering included tables of food: pickled cabbage, chow chow, applesauce, mashed potatoes (no meal was complete without mashed potatoes), meatloaf or ham, and German potato salad.

My mother makes a mean potato salad, one of the best on the planet (yes! I have tasted ALL German potato salad and can attest to her being the best). She puts on her apron and peels those potatoes, blending the spices and making certain the dish is garnished just right!

So, as Spring is finally here, I thought I would share this recipe with you. Mayhaps you will include it in your picnics and family gatherings, too!

Ingredients
8 Yukon gold potatoes
4 hard-cooked eggs
1 finely chopped onion
2 small carrots (grated)
1 celery (diced)
1.5 tsp salt

Dressing
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon flour
1.5 cups water
2 tablespoons butter

Extra: 2 tablespoons minced chives, for garnish (or parsley)

Instructions

  1. Cook potatoes. When cool, peel. 
  2. Dice potatoes eggs, onion, and celery. Mix with carrots.
  3. Mix all of the ingredients for dressing except butter. 
  4. Melt butter and add to dressing last.
  5. Cook dressing until thick and pour over potato mixture. 


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