Friday Ideas: Quick Life Update + Facilitation Again


Hey. friends.

After going for a few weeks, I’m back on blogging today with a quick update on life.

Difficult to write. Many of you “met” my dear friend Holly, From this post two months ago. Thank you for your response to this post. I can’t exaggerate what your comments (and all the emails and private messages that flooded) have done to support Holly during what will become the most painful and difficult week of her life.

She was inspired by you. She cried reading your comments (or as it was read to her) because she realized that her life and her example may be an inspiration to others and may have helped change life in some way.

Holly ended her mundane battle with cancer a few weeks ago, and those of us who know and love her feel the weight of the loss deeply – no more than her husband, six children, and extended family members close to her. My heart is constantly breaking as I watch this sweet family begin to pick up the bits of life without the sweet Holly.

Two friends take a selfie

Sadness is a funny thing. He calls himself and settles deep in the heart without asking permission. It can leave you gasless and numb for one minute, laughing and crying the next minute.

Sometimes over the past week or so, I’ve found myself trying to put aside my grief and sadness, telling myself I wasn’t family of Holly – I was just a friend, and as such, maybe I just need a little sucking? Connect with life?

But I learn, with caution, that grief is not in a continuum. One person’s grief is just as important or valuable than another person’s grief. It’s just … different. We are all authorized to do so.

After spending time with Holly and being in her house nearly every day for the past 21 months, I feel like I’ve lost a sister. And it hurts. I was hurt for my loss. You hurt the grieving Holly family. I was hurt for the injustice and injustice of life. I am in pain because I cannot help me.

Holly’s needs, her death, and her funeral (and everything else bittersweet and difficult in the process) have occupied most of my life space, emotionally, physically and mentally, in the past several months.

Added to this is all the other requirements of daily life.

you know. Like, helping his old son refuse to believe him to get ready for his first prom.

Teenager in blue suit next to wall

And problematic were pigs running away from fences and looking at us from the back windows.

Pig looking through the rear window

And Nanaimo made bars with two of his cute nieces the day after her funeral (Holly was born and raised in Canada but her husband’s family had never had Nanaimo delicacy, so we made it in Holly’s honor).

Three women stand in front of a frying pan of Nanaimo bars

He reviewed the movements of Easter traditions (this is my friend “T” – the youngest son of Holly), and was particularly enthusiastic about dyeing boiled eggs.

A little boy paints Easter eggs

And repair garbage disposal in shirts and ties between church meetings because it is the only five minutes of the day to do so.

The man fixes under the sink in shirt and tie

And entertain the kids with Spring Break diversions (please note: the teens didn’t want anything to do with the “exciting” arcade rides).

Three children ride amusement park ride

And generally speaking, just dealing with the other mundane and unusual details of a busy normal life while the world, near and far, seems to be collapsing.

I don’t feel like the same person I was last year or even a few months ago. I’ve paused on a lot of things to see how I want to move forward (spoiler alert: I don’t miss social media at all but I’m missing that space for blogging and communicating with you).

Thanks to those of you who have reached out to wonder and worry if you’ve been okay when it’s been so quiet here and on Instagram for so long. I honestly can’t believe any of you might think about it again or consider commenting or emailing me about it. Your worries, prayers, and thoughtful and thoughtful words have been a gentle balm to my aching heart. It means more than I can express in words at the moment. I am sorry that I have not yet replied to all messages.

If you knew brave and sassy Holly personally, you’d know that she was screaming at me to get on with life! Continue in! And “For love, give people the dang recipes they want, Mel!” (Direct quote from Holly, haha).

So I’ll come back to it little by little. I’m picking up some stray pieces from my private life that I have left by the side of the road in the past few weeks, and they all need to be reassembled in the correct order. Some areas that involve my kids and others will require more time and TLC than others.

Portrait of a woman with a quote God always reads in detail - Holly

I learned a lot from Holly. And she is: God is always, always in the details. She would say it over and over, even in the midst of her worst pain and distress. I’ve seen evidence of this more times than I can count over the past two years.

One example stands out linked to This bread. It’s an incredibly beautiful story. Hope I can share it one day (this post is already too long).

In my short notes at Holly’s funeral, I shared the following message and quote, and I felt like I wanted to share it here too. It sums up the essence of who Holly is. She was constantly focused on service and on her Savior, Jesus Christ, and despite her experiences, she had an enormous amount of hope for the good things to come.

You know, Holly passed away on Good Friday. Just as the friends of Christ and his family spent days mourning and crying after his death, they soon learned … Sunday will come. The sadness of that Friday did not last. Despair did not last long because the Lord who rose from the dead set the chains of death on Sunday.

As Joseph B. Wirlen eloquently: “Each of us will have our own Fridays – those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the fragments of our world are scattered around us. We will all experience those turbulent times when it seems we can never meet again. We will have every Friday. But I testify to you in the name of Who has triumphed over death – Sunday will come. In the darkness of our grief will come Sunday. Regardless of our despair, regardless of our grief, Coming on sunday. “

We love you holly. Our hearts and our lives will never be the same. We have been changed forever through your devotion to the Lord as we witnessed how you have always loved and served others. I have no doubt that this is exactly what you are doing right now. I testify that Jesus Christ knows Holly. He knows us. He loves us. And he will carry us through the difficult and beautiful days to come.

Image of Christ embracing a dark-haired woman{Artwork from Here}

Finally, thank you for being here. Be patient with me as I got through an especially difficult time. And to let me share a part of my soul here, even though this is a “abstract” food blog.

It is a great honor to share this space with you. I know we all face difficult, challenging, and sometimes chaotic lives. you are not alone. I’m not alone. We are all in this together, and I have been strengthened by your kindness, kindness, vulnerability, and virtual generosity in thoughts and words. I like your courage very much.

Next week I’ll be back with some recipes that have been waiting patiently for months to have their chance in the spotlight. XOXO

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