Milestone birthday brings realization that no change comes when you’re comfortable

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So here goes, words flowing unto a paper that will surely reveal parts of myself and the inner workings of my mind, morals, values, and probably personal demons. You will find that I am opinionated, a perpetual optimist, a mother, a wife, a shopgirl (I own a boutique), a cook, an animal lover, collector of antiques, a lover of old houses, a traveler, a reader, and really just a basic Southerner who appreciates all that entails.

I notice everything and am oblivious at the same time. I’d make a horrible witness at a wreck. I notice EVERYTHING that interests me. So I could not tell you who was at fault, but that the woman driving the red car was wearing a denim shirt with blue jeans, and I had just recently been informed that my friend is called a Canadian tuxedo which I find personally amusing because my daddy was known to sport such on occasion. See? The worst witness but a Southern story teller.

I volunteered to write this weekly article not that I needed another job, but I needed a benchmark, a deadline to hold myself accountable. I feel like this will be a road trip of sorts where some of you will want to jump from the car as soon as it slows down, but if you stay I hope we are still speaking at the end of the journey. You will probably disagree with me, write the editor, throw the paper in the trash, and vow to stop buying it or better yet send me the dreaded in-box message on Facebook wherein you correct me or give me advice. Do what you will.

I turned 50 a few months back, and turning one half of one hundred will resonate in your bones. You start evaluating everything, even the little dark places in your mind that you don’t like to visit. Habits, small decisions, and comfort can dictate your life without you ever realizing it. I see it all clearer now, like seeing with those prescription glasses that are now mandatory, the fine print is visible.

No change comes when you are comfortable. Habits take time to break, but change is good or so they say. I realized I needed change. So I went looking. I looked for advice, and goodness knows every friend I have ever had has given me some. Most to none has ever stuck. I’ve read, I watched Ted Talks, I listened. Rarely does something new resonate with you that changes your life, because you have to be in the right frame of mind and receive the exact information that you need at the exact time in your life for it to be truly heard and palpable. It’s rarely happened to me in my life, and I probably end up hearing what I want to hear out of it. So when I saw a video of a speech given by Nick Saban, at which it appeared he was giving for big name donors standing at a podium wearing a suit, I being myself was checking out his slightly changing hair color, and secretly wondering if Mrs. Terry does it in the bathroom at night like I do mine instead of really listening. I digress.

If I remember correctly, he told a story of a player, some peril that the player was in, some sage advice he was giving the player to keep him out of trouble, then these words he asked the player, “Are you wanting to be blessed or be the blessing?” It was like a boulder landed on me. Back up, what? That is everything that I needed to hear at the time I needed to hear it. I have been so worried about so many things that I realized that was my issue. I just had a lightbulb “ah ha” moment from Nick Saban? Was I going to have to turn in my Auburn, I love Pat Dye, orange is my favorite color card for houndstooth? God is funny that way, giving you what you need from the most unlikely sources. I accept the gift and appreciate the words Nick.

So travel along with me while I try to be the blessing and share with you some good I did in the world, some project, a Southern recipe that I love to make, or some long winded story of something that’s happening in my life.

This week is the recipe of my favorite girl that I lost this last November that was the best cook and the sweetest soul. I have memorized this recipe because it is so easy. If you don’t cook, you can buy a store bought pound cake, or if you are like me and you make a pound cake that sticks at the last minute before you have to take it somewhere, eat the a piece of the crunchy top and you can cube the rest of it up to use and no one will ever be the wiser.

Deanne Wilson’s Strawberry Shortcake

One pound cake
sliced or cubed
1 tub of Cool Whip
1 container frozen sliced
strawberries with juice
1 large box vanilla instant
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pint fresh strawberries
cleaned and sliced

In a large mixing bowl combine the pudding mix, condensed milk, half and half, milk and vanilla flavoring, then fold in the Cool Whip and whisk to combine. In another large bowl place a layer of cake, top with some frozen strawberries and juice, then a layer of the pudding mixture. Repeat, just making sure the cake has strawberries and juice to soak the cake, and last layer being a layer of pudding. Top with sliced fresh strawberries. Cover and store in the refrigerator.

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