From This Mom To Her Village:
Mother’s Day feels like a very linear holiday for a role that is so dynamic. I celebrate my mom, my kids celebrate me, and so on. We go to brunch and plant flowers in a domino effect of celebration and admiration for our respective mothers and mothers’ mothers. To me, Mother’s Day is less about an individual called a “mother” and more about the act of “mothering.” The verb is more dynamic and to me, captures what raising children and frankly, raising each other, is all about. For one to be a mother, you need a community of mothering that surrounds you. This community reinforces the values you are imparting to your children and slowly weaves a world outside of your nuclear family for them to venture out into.
I know I’m THE BEST MOM IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD (see!), but I didn’t get that way overnight and not without a lot, and I mean A LOT, of help. There is an entire village around me that has helped mold me into the mother my kids perceive me to be. On Mother’s Day, this mother needs to thank her village for allowing her to be the mother she is trying to be. Continue reading
And she learned to make pie and lived happily ever after. The end.
That’s is exactly how I expected this blog to go. It was going to be about my year of pie, how I learned to make it and offer tips and tricks for others aspiring to become competent pie makers.
What I didn’t expect was my public confession that the blog was disguising a broken heart over a fourth miscarriage that exhausted my mind and extinguished my dreams of a third child. I didn’t expect that my blog would become an occasional outlet to express my thoughts about fertility and loss and that strangers would find me and leave comments or messages of support and gratitude for providing a positive, honest outlook on a very delicate topic. The unexpected side of pie was that it provided healing not just for me, but countless others.
What I didn’t expect was that a wonderful woman from Sugarland Texas would send me the cookbook she made with her mother, entitled none other than Pie Eyed. That a short email friendship with a fellow baking enthusiast would result in a gift that is so special and dear to me. The unexpected side of pie was that it allowed two strangers in two different states the opportunity to bake the same recipes and share with each other a piece of their lives.
What I didn’t expect was that I would chat with a man in California about his lemon trees, that people from 61 different countries would read my blog, that more than 15,000 visits would be logged (14,000 of which I’m certain are my mother) and that I would reconnect with childhood teachers and friends. I didn’t anticipate that pie would evolve into an offering of gratitude and create a bridge for me to cross into the lives of people such as Ednia Eason, homeless families and even the oil change guy. The unexpected side of pie was that it gave me a portal to the world from my small town Cleveland kitchen.
That’s exactly how I did NOT expect this blog to go.
And she learned to make pie and lived happily ever after knowing that the unexpected side of pie is in the story that unfolds after it comes out of the oven. The end.
My husband and I had our chicken epiphany about 5 or 6 years ago. The epiphany was the moment we tasted chicken that had been raised humanely, free range and was as local as we could get. The eggs were a richer color and there was just no comparison to the taste of the meat. From then on, we continued to go to the local market and purchase meat and eggs from the family whose farm was called New Creation Farm. We loved our trips to the market, but we didn’t take the time to really acquaint ourselves with the farm. I’m embarrassed to say that it was more of a novelty at the time – a way for us to feel good about our suburban selves when we opened the fridge and had scrambled local eggs for breakfast. It wasn’t until we moved closer to New Creation Farm and took weekend trips to shop that we began to understand that there was so much more to this family than just the chicken (and pigs and sheep and cows).
Julia manages the farm store
The essence of Pie it Forward is reaching out to people who have touched my life by offering a small extension of gratitude. My initial gratitude towards this family was of course, the food. We’ve been eating their food for years now and I am certainly grateful for the time and effort that goes into the amazing products. But as I was making pie and thinking about why I was so grateful, it dawned on me that my gratitude had less to do with the food and much more to do with the mission behind the farm and the family.
I have a life filled with almost-maybes. You know, those times in your life when you have stuck your toe into something and then right when the critical moment came to go full-in, you bailed and headed another direction. That’s me. And if memory serves me right, that’s always been me. I could have been so many things in my life…
I almost played the violin. I started playing when I was four years old. I remember falling asleep every night to the Suzuki records, hearing the patterns and allowing the brainwashing melodies to lull me to sleep. I played in recitals with adults and I think I could have been good had I continued. But I didn’t. I got bored.
I was almost a gymnast. I started when I was five and know the exact date of when I did my first round-off back tuck (no handed back flip). It was 8-8-88 and I was 10. I was fearless and loved tumbling. I flipped in the back yard, in the living room, in random parking lots. I could have been really good had I actually practiced. But I didn’t. I got distracted.
I was almost a piano player. I spent my whole life playing the piano by ear, so by the time I was in high school, I signed up for real piano lessons. Every lesson started with a piano exercise going up and down the scale in complicated patterns. My teacher told me that she had never seen a student play the exercises so proficiently and so fast. She even tape recorded me. She handed me the Maple Leaf Rag, and I played it. She handed me Clair de Lune and I played it. What she didn’t know was that I barely practiced. I always wonder what could have been had I applied myself. But I didn’t. I made out with my boyfriend instead. Continue reading
I have passed the Shop-N-Go convenience store in Bedford Heights hundreds of times over the years. Now that I work next door, I drive past it everyday. But I’ve never gone in until recently. I was on a Diet Coke run and decided to pop into the store. Upon checking out, I met Jackie, the store manager. She was so incredibly nice! We chatted for a bit and I could tell that she really takes pride in her store and cares about the customers. She totally made my day. Who knew there was such a gem like Jackie inside that store that I’ve been passing all these years?
So, to my new work neighbor Jackie, you’re my first person to get Pie Eyed!
Jackie gets Pie Eyed at the Shop-N-Go!
XOXO, The Pie Eyed Piper