What does Vanilla got to do with it?

The other day I wanted to try a new recipe.  I had gathered all the ingredients over a few days time.  I went to get the vanilla extract out of the spice cabinet.  There was none to be found.  I took every single spice out of that cabinet and nothing.   I found peppermint extract, gravy master, chicken boullion cubes and red pepper flakes, (talk about something I will never use), but no vanilla.  I asked myself, outloud mind you, “What kind of household doesn’t have vanilla in their cabinet?”  I couldn’t believe that a mainstay of every household was not in mine.

When I was a kid we were kind of poor just like everybody else at the time.  It wasn’t like today where you have snacks laying around waiting for the whim of temptation to consume them.  If we wanted a treat we had to check the fridge and the cabinets to figure out what we could do with what we had.  My brother liked to bake,  so one of the things he would make was sugar cookies.  Sugar was always a staple in every household, then and now, or at least it should be.  Yes, sugar, flour, eggs, bread, butter, milk, potatoes, vanilla were all staples because you could make anything out of them including easy to stretch meals for hungry, large families.  For example, homemade bread, egg noodles, french toast, scrambled eggs and toast etc… .  By the way there was no distinction between what was breakfast food, lunch or dinner.  If you could put it together , that was the meal.  There were occasions when we wanted something sweet so we would butter a piece of bread and sprinkle sugar over it.  We used what we had and we never went hungry.

I am a 57 year old woman and have maintained a household for most of my life.  The necessities of the kitchen have always been maintained.  It’s a matter of survival in my mind.  You’ve got to have the staples and you will never starve.  Creativity will always win out over starvation.  So now I ask you and myself, “Why don’t I have vanilla in my cabinet?”  It’s a travesty if I say so myself.  It’s like a carpenter not having his tool belt with him at work.  Am I making this dramatic enough for you?

As I am going off the deep end here about the absence of vanilla in my cabinet, I realize that the true subject here is tools.  We need our tools to complete tasks.  Each job a person does requires certain tools such as pen and paper for a writer , clay for a potter, a stethoscope for a Nurse, paint brushes for an artist,  staple ingredients for a baker, and the list goes on and on.

There are different kinds of tools for other facets of our lives too.  We are not just physical beings who need to complete tasks in order to live.  We are spiritual beings and we need tools to nurture our spirituality on a daily basis.  These tools can include meditation and prayer.  Our physical bodies need tools such as exercise and healthy eating habits in order for us to function properly.  Our emotional well being requires other tools.  Peace and quiet, laughter, fun and excitement can all fulfill our mind’s needs.  The tools that I have mentioned are required to live a full and purposeful life.  They are the staples of a well rounded human being.  When we have the right means available to us we are able to grow and learn and have purpose on such a grand scale.  These intangible tools give us coping skills, the ability to love and share and truly make the world a better place.

As much as I have dramatized the absence of vanilla extract in my kitchen, there are unfathomable benefits to having all the tools we need in our everyday living.  I have rectified the absence of vanilla in my cabinet and I intend to rectify any other absence of important tools that I need in every area of my life.  It’s a process.  But by being aware of the fact that I  need to fill empty spaces on my journey of life, I can search deep inside myself and find tools that I never knew I had and if I don’t have the tools necessary, I will research and nurture a growing knowledge until I find what I need to complete this task of living life to the fullest.

I have the recipe.  The ingredients are all gathered and I am ready to proceed forward in creating the best product that I can produce.  What have you got baking today?


Organized Religion. What’s to be thankful for?

I went to Catholic School for 12 years. The Catholic religion was as much a part of me as my DNA. I loved it there and found peace in the routines and repetitions of prayers. I grew up and walked along my personal path of what I believed. When bumps in the road such as a failed marriage and divorce became my reality. How could I be the person who divorces? I committed myself to this man for life as was expected by my church but he wasn’t present with me. I perservered for 9 years but my sadness and loneliness became my prison. Now I had found myself on the wrong side of my religion.

I wanted a fresh start and a blessing from God and my priest but it wasn’t meant to be. The restrictions of my indoctrination no longer wanted a tainted soul and that is how they looked upon me. My heart, so broken into pieces, had to seek shelter elsewhere and so my spiritual journey began.

Years ago I was told I could never be reconciled with God or Church because of divorce. My church left me but My God walked with me all the while.
I sought out other voices of God to nourish my soul and I felt fulfilled as each new experience with religion brought me to a closer more intimate relationship with my God. I no longer attend meetings of organized religion but have greater enrichment. I thought I was lost but I was walking the path to spiritual enlightenment that I continue to walk today.

I thank you, organized religion, for giving me the foundation to walk this journey as I grow and become present with my Holy Spirit. Without you I could not have known the true unconditional love afforded to me by Spirit. I am grateful everyday for all that I am and all that brought me to this moment of love and peace. Thank You from the bottom of my heart.