Friday, March 9, 2012

Dancing with the star(s) – My granddaughter and me

Dancing with the star(s) – My granddaughter and me

Last night I had the distinct pleasure of dancing (for a short period of time) with my granddaughter.  My oldest granddaughter and oldest grandson participated in a talent show at their elementary school and did a great job singing their favorite song. As part of the grand finale the 4th grade class did a tribute to their schoolmates and teachers.  Every 4th grader who participated in the talent show picked someone to do a quick dance with and my granddaughter picked me.  When she asked me a few weeks ago I immediately said yes.  There was no hesitation, I didn’t even think about it.  I was waiting for this day since she was a baby.  The day I could dance with her in public showing off my love for her.
“Pappy, will you dance with me at our talent show?” 

Me: “Yes!” 

Then the fun began as we prepared for the big day.  Every time I was off on a trip out of town I would tell her that I was going off to practice with Beyonce or Jennifer Lopez.  I am not sure why but she never believed me.  I would send her a note telling her that the practices went well but for some reason, she never seemed to believe me.  Maybe it was dance style or maybe she really knew that I didn’t need to practice with a star.  Maybe it is because my mom taught me how to dance with a style that can only be appreciated by a mom and her son.  A style that matches nothing but we had fun doing. 

From the moment she asked me to dance with her I counted down the days until the event day would arrive.   I knew the day in my mind and heart plus had it on my calendar with multiple reminders.  Nothing would interfere with me dancing with my granddaughter!  In my mind I practiced and in my free time I practiced (how hard is it to do 4 moves but I didn’t want to mess up).  :D

The day of the event arrived and I kept watching the clock to ensure that I didn’t leave late.  As the hour of departure ticked closer and closer, the excitement in my heart grew and I could feel my heart “smiling”.  I left early and arrived one hour early to the event. I was not going to be late for any reason.  Yes, I brought my camera gear and set-up in one of the side aisles and took pictures of the other kids for my grandkids to remember as well as video of them.  However, throughout the show my mind was on the moment that I would step on the stage with my granddaughter.  As each child performed various acts during the talent show my mind and body moved and listened to each dance song to ensure that I was in the ‘zone’.  There was no celebrity on “Dancing with the Stars” that anticipated the moment in the same manner that I anticipated the moment that I could dance with my granddaughter.  There is no celebrity that I would want to dance with more than my granddaughter.  In my mind, all of my family is celebrity/royalty.

Leading up to the night, I was told we would be more than half way into the crowd of dancers before we hit the stage.  I thought this is good so I can see a little what others were doing but in my heart I wanted to be first.  Yes, the competitive and show boat side of me was coming through.  I handed my camera to my son in law to capture the first pictures of my granddaughter and me on stage together. I looked to my other daughter (his wife) and she had a big smile on her face as she held her daughter and as her son leaned against both of them.  My wife sat near my oldest daughter and my sister in law asked if I was nervous.  “Me nervous to get in front of an auditorium filled with people?  No!”  My heart was pounding in anticipation but not nervousness.  Then my oldest daughter pointed to her daughter, my granddaughter and indicated that we would not be in the middle of the group but first.  “Yes!” I could feel my heart say and my mind shout!  With a smile on my face and joy in my step, I moved to the front of the line.  I would be first on stage with my granddaughter.  No one would have the opportunity to be with their special person before me.  I was so excited that I almost felt ashamed to gloat in my heart that I would have the distinct privilege of dancing with her.  I would dance with my granddaughter before the others danced with their special person.  I could feel the tears of joy swell up in my eyes and had to push them back.  Yes, the moment was here.  The music played and I could feel the beat in mind.  I looked across the long stage to her and she had a huge smile on her face.  We were on opposite sides of the stage and would each climb a few steps onto the stage and join each other in the middle of the stage for a quick dance.  Similar to the cha cha shuffle.  Slide to the left, slide to the right, shake your hand to the left and shake to the right then give her a huge bear hug!  I asked the lady who was one of the parents in charge – “I move to the left first correct?”  Her response with a big smile – “If that is what you planned.”  Then this is when it hit me, everyone had their own move.  This dance is one that my granddaughter picked for us!  Up until this time I thought everyone was doing the same.  Nope!  Every short dance was different.

Then the moment arrived, the parent in charge looked to me and nodded stating; “are you ready?”  Was I ready?  That was like asking a kid if they wanted their favorite ice cream for dinner.  It was like asking a sports fan if they wanted to spend time with their favorite team. “Yes!” I was ready.  She told me that when we were done that I was to go to the end of the line.  Why?  I would get to join the stage with her a second time.  Wow!  I could not believe it.  I am not sure if my feet were even on the floor at this point.
I could hear a few parents stating to others, I am more nervous than the kids and I heard teen age girl proudly state that she was dancing with her sister.  Yes! Sisters having fun together!

As I waited, the photographer covering the event (Jimmy Ross) smiled to me (since we know each other) and shook my hand.

The lead mom looked to me and I started toward the steps, watching each step to ensure that I didn’t end up missing one and falling flat on my face embarrassing my granddaughter.  My feet didn’t seem to hit the steps and as soon as I placed my right foot on the stage, my mind told my feet to skip and skip I did all across the stage to my granddaughter where we met in the middle.  I am not sure if anyone else could see it but I am sure my smile went from ear to ear and around the back of my head.  My heart pounded with joy and my mind sang with the music.

Slide to the left, slide to the right
Shake your left hand and shake your right hand

Then give her the biggest hug imaginable.

I turned to the left and floated skipped off the stage.

I went to the back of the line and watched the others join their special person on stage with their special person. As the line moved, I could feel the anticipation and join swell up in my heart again and then I am at the front of the line again.  Our next task was to go on stage, embrace then go to the back wall on the stage to join in a farewell wave.  Yes! I was on stage again with her!

I was at the base of the steps and could see her across the stage.  It was time, I floated up the steps bouncing toward her and gave her a huge hug and could not believe that I had the honor of being on stage twice with my granddaughter in one night.  Before getting on stage the second time, I was told to go stand under the “Y” after I joined her. The “Y” in Hollywood on the sign at the back of the stage.  We would be in the center of the stage together for all of the pictures.  Yes!
We went to the back of the stage after embracing in the middle of the stage and headed to the “Y”.  I was to stand and she would kneel in front of me as we looked to the crowd and other kids.  We held hands waving them back and forth.  I didn’t want to let go.

I know that my smile was from ear to ear. As the others joined the stage, we bounced back and forth.  My legs and heart filled with excitement and joy.  I could feel her heart pounding in her hands as I held her them and it reminded me when I held her little hands when she was a baby.  It was the same tight embrace that a child automatically does when someone places their hand or finger within their grasp as they felt the heart of another human.  I smiled and smiled.  There is no doubt in my mind that this is the same smile and joy that a gold medal winner has when they achieve one of their life’s goals.  The major difference, the joy in my heart is based on the love toward my family. Oh how the Lord has blessed me!  What greater joy is there than this than to spend precious time with your family?   

As I type this my cheeks are covered in tears of joy and the tears flow from my cheeks to my keyboard.  I thank you Lord for giving to me the greatest gift other than salvation and that is the gift of my family. 
A special thanks to my wife for sowing into the lives of our family! 

There is so much more to write about last night but that will be left for another day.  I hope my granddaughter will remember this night as much as I will remember it.

Oh the joy's of being a dad and granddad!  There is nothing like it in life.  
The crown of glory - Proverbs 16:31

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Blendtec - Recipe - Almond butter with Apples Raw Menu

Almond/Apple Butter Recipe

Recently, I purchased the Twister Jar from Blendtec and immediately began experimenting with new recipes.  I tried a few but thus far this is my favorite nut and fruit recipe which blends very well and makes a very tasty snack, desert, or filling for a sandwich or pita wrap.

  • 1/2 cup raw almonds - unsalted 
  • 1 Gala or other juicy apple (pealed and cut into pieces) - I am sure the Blendtec would work with a whole apple but I decided to cut it into pieces. 
  • pinch of sea salt or similar
  • splash of stevia (what is a splash?)  Just enough to enhance the flavor of the apple but you can skip this or modify to your taste.

Add the almonds to the bottom of the jar and add the cut apple to the top.  Sprinkle the salt and stevia.  Turn on the Blendtec then increase it to seven by selecting the up arrow on the left.  Twist the lid and you will immediately see the almonds and apples blend together into an amazing tasting nut/fruit butter. Blend util the butter is at a desired consistency and immediately begin eating. I cannot guarantee that the first batch will make it outside the jar before it is ate.  However, if it is all gone before serving to others, make another batch.  It cost very minimal compared to the nutritional value.  I tried a few different combinations and 1/2 cup seems to work best with one apple.  Any more and it is very thick and any less it is too runny. We enjoyed it immediately out of the jar warm and I had to make another batch to utilize for pita wraps later in the day.

I plan to continue my experiments with other nut and fruit combinations.

Why did I decide to make my own when I can purchase a jar of almond butter at the grocery store for $7-15?  Too often I get bored with the nut butter before it hardens into a brick.  Yes, I know that I can add some oil or other items to loosen the butter but this has a great taste and it cost pennies to make.  I do understand that it will require many jars of nut butter to make up the cost of this new jar but making it fresh add something to the taste. :D

Below is a video from Blendtec's site.