Wise Words

"Wait on the Lord, be strong and of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart...wait on the Lord. Psalms 27:14


WWW As My World Turns

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sometimes in the middle of an ordinary life

Close to the beginning of this year I wondered how to trust and love again after the shocking revelation that my now ex-husband had not only been having an affair, but had been living with her in another city, as well as admitting to drug use over the span of the last 2 1/2 years of our lives together. I posted, "God is the ONLY reason that I have the strength that I do. That I can look forward to my future. That I can look forward to loving again when the right person comes along." God's strength and His grace is sufficient for all times, all situations.

Well, the right person came along a heck of a lot sooner than expected. He is, and always has been, my very favorite ex-boyfriend and we dated back in 92-93. The only one I've dated that never had anything wrong with him in some way. It was my misguided youth that pushed him away. That turned my back and walked away. I thought he was "too good" for me. And I was terrified he would never leave the family farm up in Iowa. While I AM a country girl, I'm not exactly farmer's wife material.

We reconnected this year, shortly after I announced my divorce. Actually, we'd reconnected in January of last year, renewing our friendship and discovering a mutual love of many surprising things, but he made the first step to call this year after hearing about the divorce.

Things were different this time. Faster, stronger, better... I asked my mom if she was surprised at the speed of how things were going. She said, "not really". When I asked why, she said that it was because the love that we'd always had for each other had never really died. And she's right. He told me that he's never stopped loving me...in 19 years. He says that if he'd have been a little more bold, a little more brave, he would have asked me to marry him back then.

It wouldn't have lasted because back then. I know this and so does he. I was incapable of being able to TRULY appreciate the goodness, the tender heart and genuine sweet spirit of him, like I am able to now, after all I've been though in the past 15 or so years.

He's always been, "My Dave"...whenever I would speak of him. "My Dave". I've never thought of him as anything else but "mine".

I have to laugh at that a little because I'd asked him back in October how how I'd gotten so lucky to have his love not once but twice in a lifetime. "You're my Nicole"...that was his answer. Sweet, simple, to the point...and beautiful. It brought me to tears. It's really quite possibly the BEST response to a question I've had in pretty much ever. To have his love is...amazing...HE is amazing! ♥

So, I wrote this for him and every word rings true...

“I love you, not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you.

I love you, not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me.

I love you for the part of me that you bring out; I love you for putting your hand into my heaped-up heart and passing over all the foolish, weak things that you can’t help dimly seeing there, and for drawing out into the light all the beautiful belongings that no one else had looked quite far enough to find.

I love you because you are helping me to make of the lumber of my life, not a tavern but a temple; out of the works of my every day, not a reproach but a song.

I love you because you have done more than any creed could have done to make me good and more than any fate could have done to make me happy.

You have done it without a touch, without a word, without a sign. You have done it by being yourself...”
~ Roy Croft

And that simply is the most wonderful man that I know.

I am the woman who has been blessed to have known incomparable love twice in a lifetime...by the same man. I am the woman who always dreamed of having a fairy tale love, who melts at the words from her favorite movie (The Princess Bride), “This is true love, you think this happens every day?” and who has always hoped to find a love like that in real life...a Storybook Love. I am the woman who has been through the extreme pain of disappointments, letdowns and tears in other relationships, not sure if I would ever find someone who loved me for ME. Who would love ONLY me. For whom I, by myself, would be enough.

I am the woman who put up walls, not to keep everyone out, but to see who cared enough to try and break them down. I am the woman who found the one man in the world who didn’t even have to try to break them down, because with him, there are not and have never been any walls, no barriers, no trying to see if he is worthy of my trust, because he’s always had my trust and with him, there has never been a reason for walls to exist in the first place. I am the woman who calls him my miracle. My Gift from God.

I am the woman foolish enough to have let him go 18 years ago, and the woman extremely thankful to have him back in my life 18 years later. I am the woman he never stopped loving, for whom I AM enough, more than enough, and for that, I am eternally grateful and thankful beyond words. I am the woman who has freely given him her heart. Without hesitation. Without reservation. Without strings or games. Because my heart is his. It belongs to him. And I know that it will always be safe and cherished and treasured with him, as his is with me. As he is, by me.

I couldn’t ask to be loved more completely, more honestly, more beautifully than I am by the love that he has for me. How lucky am I to be deeply, crazily, madly, head over heels in love with my best friend? I am truly blessed beyond measure and I am thankful to God every day and every night for the incredible gift of him and our love.

I can't wait for the start of our forever, for my life with him to begin...

I am the woman who loves him above all others and who is his, and his alone. ♥


And the biggest news of all...though he lives in the Kansas City area...he is moving here in less than 3 weeks for me and the kids. He is getting his own apartment...has his own apartment. He's never lived with anyone because that's just not him. Not once have we ever crossed the line, back then or now. He's worth doing this right. He asked me back in September if I believed that God had brought us back together, to which I replied, "yes, absolutely". And then he said that he wants to honor what it is that God has given us and do this right between us. I love him for that. Crazy chemistry between us? Absolutely! But we both believe that God's blessings are better and brighter if we follow what He says is right. What a man! What a miracle... What a love! And BOY! What a story!

Enjoy the pictures!

Us in 92:

(Last time we saw each other in 94)

Present day (2011)

(First time we'd seen each other in 17 years)

Saturday, December 03, 2011

It's all about Irish Stew today1

Hmmmmm, what to do today on this drizzly day. I know! I think I'll make my Irish stew! It's quite delicious and will be ready for the next two very chilly, rainy days here! And it's perfect for all my friends in the frigid Midwest/Northeast. If y'all are of a mind for an easy and tasty meal that will fill you up, keep you warm and make your tastebuds sing, well, here you go. Happy Saturday!

Nic's Unbelievably Tasty Irish Stew

¼ cup olive oil
1 ½ pounds stew beef, cut into 1-inch pieces (I prefer buffalo stew meat)
6 large garlic cloves, minced
6 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
2 cups of Guinness beer (I tend to just put in one can)
1 ½ cup of good red wine (I typically go for a Cab or Cab-Merlot blend)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon herbes de provence (basically a bunch of dried herbs pre-mixed - found in the spice aisle)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons (¼ stick) butter
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into ½ -inch pieces (about 7 cups)
1 large onion, chopped (if someone has onion allergies onion powder can be used instead)
2 cups ½-inch pieces peeled carrots
1 ½ containers quartered fresh white mushrooms
2 cups sliced celery
Salt and Pepper (after simmering through add approx 1 ½ teaspoons of salt - I use sea salt b/c it's helathier for blood pressure issues than regular salt)

1. Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add beef and sauté until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add beef stock, Guinness, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, herbes de provence, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.

2. While the meat and stock are simmering, melt butter in another large pot over medium heat. Add mushrooms, celery, potatoes, onion and carrots. Sauté vegetables until golden, about 20 minutes.

3. Add vegetables to beef stew. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender (minimum 1 hour). Discard bay leaves. Tilt pan and spoon off fat.

Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Salt and pepper to taste. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before serving. Transfer stew to serving bowl (or individual bread bowls) and serve.

Hint: To thicken a little add some plain instant potato flakes or you can bake and mash some fresh and add to the stew.

Hint: A sourdough bread bowl is the perfect container to serve this delicious stew in!