A Different Kind of Bucket LIst

I’ve been seeing a lot of “bucket list” posts on Pinterest and Facebook…memes, right? And they are typically centered around travel, kissing celebrities or other unlikely events. Now, this is not judgmental or holier-than-thou (single moms are not allowed on the moral high ground and I want to kiss Brad Pitt as much as you do), but my bucket list doesn’t include any of those things. In fact, there are only three things I absolutely want to do before I die.

1. Adopt a Child
I love being a mother more than anything else in the world and any time I think about having more children, adoption seems more likely than carrying another baby. Had I been a slightly different person, Eva could have been adopted and…(sorry, I have to take a moment and thank God He gave me the courage to keep her)…I would love to honor a woman who couldn’t decide to parent her child.

2. Serve in Africa
As much as I know it wasn’t my time to go in 2007, there will come a time when it is. Something in my heart calls me there. (No, it is notto meet a man and produce more genetically-blessed biracial children.) Maybe I’ll adopt from there, maybe I’ll have the chance to rejoin the Peace Corps, maybe I will get to work there, MAYBE I’ll start my own non-profit there–I don’t know yet–but I will serve.

3. Give Abundantly
I was constantly showered with blessings from complete strangers during my pregnancy all the way up to providing a place for me to live rent-free. In my one-day home, there is a bedroom for someone who needs it. What a joy it would be to honor Larry and Linda by giving the way they gave to me.

So, that’s it. The sum total of my life goals. I don’t actually care about how much money I make as long as Eva is provided for. I would love to travel the world but I haven’t been out of the States since 2004 and can still breathe normally. I would like to get married but…yeah, I don’t see that happening at this point and that’s ok. There are plenty of things that would be fun to have in the future–a big house with a big family and a big dog, a big bank account thanks to a big fancy job–but what if none of that happens? Will I consider myself a failure? Nope, I sure won’t. What if for some reason life doesn’t go as I planned (oh, wait…that has never happened anyway) and I don’t even accomplish those three things? Fail then? No way, Jose.

The life you live is greater than the plans you set aside. Trust me.

It’s so easy to get caught up in what’s popular and trending, I am so guilty of thinking about things that are less than productive: industrial-grade kitchen appliances, hopping on a plane to Vienna at any given moment, how the heck I am going to survive Eva’s teen years (because if I haven’t already mentioned, she started those 9 years early) and so on… But when I stop for a moment and re-center my thoughts on the things that are present and important–Eva is only four, we have immediate needs to fill, I am blessed and already able to give to others–I can take a deep breath, say thank you, and keep on going. Things will happen in their own time.

Today I will focus on today.

At least…that’s my plan…

Happy Saturday!

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Validating a (silly) Addiction

I love Pinterest. If you haven’t succumbed to its charms, I don’t know that I can recommend it with a clear conscience. It is addicting. Not quite in the bad way, but close. I definitely have to be careful not to lust or be envious over a lot of the “Home Decor” items. I would not be happier if I had a perfectly decorated home….

Ok, maybe I still think I would. But my OCD would probably ruin it. (There’s the downside I’ve been looking for!)

Once you get past all the daydreaming, there are practical uses for Pinterest! The RECIPES. Oh, how I love RECIPES.

I have now used one recipe and one suggestion in my cooking and they were huge successes. The recipe I made this past week was “Onion and Gruyere Potato Stacks” courtesy of stonegable.blogspot.com. You slice potatoes and layer them in muffin tins with cheese and sauteed onions and then bake. EASY and so ridiculously delicious. Also, it was the perfect opportunity to splurge on a mandolin (the kitchen gadget, not the musical instrument) which came in handy for my second Pinterest try!

For our Easter Sunday potluck at church, I made Paula Deen’s squash casserole with a little tweaking. I’d seen on Pinterest that substituting greek yogurt for lots of dairy products is an easy way to cut calories and fat and add a little protein. So instead of using the 1/2 cup of sour cream, I used 1/2 cup of greek yogurt. It worked perfectly! There was still plenty of cheese in the recipe to give it some oomph but I don’t think anyone could have guessed that it wasn’t full fat. And I sliced the squash with my mandolin instead of dicing. The new kitchen gadget is now officially profitable.

Except that I didn’t make any money out of it.

I will definitely be attempting greek yogurt as a substitute again. Perhaps in baking as I am slightly skeptical/very curious of how it compares to vegetable oil in batters. This southern girl has had very few homemade meals or desserts that didn’t involve vegetable oil or Crisco.

For the record, the substitution will not be attempted–under any circumstances–with cornbread. ((shudder))

Have any of you had Pinterest-inspired successes? Let’s hear ’em!