The Girl at the Pizza Parlor

Photo by Fancycrave.com from Pexels

If I told you where one of my favorite pizza places is you would probably laugh. Or maybe you simply wouldn’t believe me. Either way, it wouldn’t matter, because I know how good it is. Any guesses? Are you dying to know? Ok, I won’t leave you hanging any longer.

Nestled in the basement of the hospital my dad works at downtown is a place called Sonny’s pizza. It’s a small, unassuming place with a simple sign hung above the door. If you didn’t know it was there, you could probably spend a lot of time in the hospital and miss it entirely. And yet, come meal time, it’s bustling with activity. Since I was a girl, having a slice at Sonny’s was a special treat, so along with really great pizza (and the best chocolate chip cookies around), this pizza joint holds some pretty heavy nostalgia for me.

After I had Lane, she and I would visit my dad at work and grab some Sonny’s while we were at it. Our pediatrician’s office was across the street from the hospital for years. Every time we were able, my dad would meet us at the doctor’s office to help me out with whichever kid’s appointment, and then he would treat us to pizza afterwords. It helped ease my kids’ minds about having to see the doctor, and it became a fun tradition for all of us.

As soon as we walked in the door every time, there was one particular lady who would smile at us really warm and big, and say hello. She worked the cash register and was a good friend of my dad’s. She knew who we were whether he was with us or not. She always asked how we were doing and what was going on. She consistently complimented us and was always so nice to talk to. I looked forward to seeing her every time. There was something so warm and genuine about her. You knew she really cared about you and what you had to say to her. Her name was Liz.

I found out yesterday that she had an aneurism and passed away. I didn’t know her very well, but I cried when I read the text from my dad. It’s one of the few times I’ve cried over someone I hardly knew. As I was telling my husband, I stopped to think about it. Liz had a way of making you feel at home. Even though we only had a small number of interactions with each other, each and every one was meaningful. She had such an impact on me because she meant to. Whether she realized it or not, her words were always kind and uplifting. She listened well and always had a good response. I can honestly say, she made that basement in that hospital a brighter place to be.

I thought to myself yesterday as tears rolled down my cheeks, “I want to be more like that. I want to be more kind and intentional, and less wrapped up in my own stuff. I want to make a big impact with even just a few meaningful interactions.” I’ve been thinking about it since. Next time I visit Sonny’s, and stand in line to pay for my food, it will feel a little more empty. It won’t be quite as bright, but I know I’ll remember her with a smile on my face. Here’s to you, Liz. May we all be a little bit more like you.

Moving Forward – Recipe Round-up

Well, last month was certainly heavy wasn’t it? I think it was appropriately heavy. A kind of “necessary” heavy. But now I’m exhausted! There is a time and a place for the hard and the heavy, and I want to walk through those places with each one of you, but I also want to walk past that with you. I want you to see the beauty beyond the pain, the light at the end of the tunnel if you will. Because while your grief won’t ever fully “end”, life does pick back up again. Some of you may have a hard time believing me, but life beyond grief is possible. It is possible to live a life fully thriving, even after tragedy and loss.

Have you ever seen the show “Monk”? It’s a comedic murder mystery show about a guy who has serious OCD, among other issues. Early on in the show you learn that his wife had been tragically killed many years ago. He lives in his grief everyday, but not in a healthy kind of a way. In one episode, he goes to visit his wife’s parents. Throughout their home you can see reminders of her: pictures, the outfit they brought her home in framed on the wall, and her room left unchanged. But in spite of those things, her parents are doing really well. Monk asks her mom how she can go on living a normal life and feel happy again. I think about her response all the time. She talks about how she grieved so hard for so long. She didn’t think she could go on living. “And then one day,” she says, “the sun came out, the garden was blooming, and there were some kids riding by the house on their bikes, and I decided to give the world a second chance.” He looks unsure and as she touches his shoulder she tells him, “It’s still a beautiful world.” She realized that life still goes on, the world around her was still going on, and there are good things in it.  I sometimes have to remind myself that life. goes. on. There is still beauty around me. And I can choose how to live the rest of the life I have to live. You can still thrive beyond this grief. If you want to watch that specific episode, it’s Season 3, episode number 8, “Mr. Monk and the Game Show.”

Part of the way that I thrive beyond my grief is making delicious meals for my family.  Somebody gave me the idea to do a monthly round up of my favorite recipes I’ve tried and loved. I love sharing recipes, but not necessarily blogging about them, so sharing someone else’s recipes sounded like and excellent idea. First on the list:

saucy coconut curry with rice noodles and garden vegetables From Half Baked Harvest

overhead photo of Saucy Coconut Curry with Rice Noodles and Garden Vegetables

If you don’t follow Teighan already, you’re missing out. She always posts the best recipes, most of which are simple – and crazy beautiful. This dish was AMAZING! And really, very easy. If you’re a fan of Thai food, give this dish a try. I don’t have her cookbook yet, but it’s at the top of my Christmas wishlist this year.

Next up:

FoolProof Eye of Round Roast from Mrs. Happy Homemaker

Eye of Round Roast

 

 

This one involves a little more effort, but is oh, so worth it! She prefers Eye of Round Roast, but I’ve found that I truly enjoy it with whatever roast is on sale at the moment.

For our third dish, I’ve included a side:

Roasted Broccoli with Smashed Garlic from SkinnyTaste

Here's a great way to make broccoli if you are tired of making it the same old way. Roasting broccoli with garlic creates a sweet, nutty delicious flavor and the aroma that wafts through your kitchen will make everyone asking when's dinner ready.

 

Seriously. This one is life changing. We don’t make our broccoli any other way now – except that when I’m in a hurry, I don’t even smash the garlic. And it’s still good. We even make our cauliflower similar to this. They’re both a hit all around.

Finally, I’m sharing with you an amazing dessert/breakfast/coffee snack we make this time every single year:

Starbucks Double Glazed Pumpkin Scones Copycat Recipe from Momspark.net

Starbucks Double Glazed Pumpkin Scones Copycat Recipe! These would be perfect for breakfast with a cup of coffee during the Christmas and fall season.

These are INCREDIBLE! And so close to the real thing. And honestly, they really aren’t even that difficult to make. At all. Take my word for it and give it a whirl.

That’s all for this month’s round up. What do you think? Do you like the inclusion of a monthly round up? Or would you rather pass? And what are some of your favorite go-to recipes?