Tuesday, October 15, 2013

october blog circle: {COMFORT} + 15 ingredients that = BEST comfort food ever.

get cozy. this is a LONG one - long winded and a little transparent today...

i was sitting on my cozy couch yesterday,
a nice warm cup of coffee in hand
trying to decide just which of the many "nikki's favorite things"
to write about for this month's blog circle -
the theme: comfort.

so many things that bring me comfort and calm
came to mind with immediacy:

story time with my three boys,
worship on sunday mornings,
a handwritten note from the hub,
a smile from one of my favorite boys,
a phone call to my mom, my mother-in-law or my sisters,
my favorite tea,
my favorite soup,
a nice long walk,
a beautifully written book,
a brick of cheese (yes, a brick) +
a super size glass of red wine,
sunset magazine,
the photos scattered on the walls of my home,
five minutes in an anthropologie store,
a chunky warm scarf,
am awesome chat with an awesome friend,
or - lets be really real - a slice of heaven {aka lemon loaf}.

i wondered...which amazing, wonderful + comforting someTHING should i write about?

and then i happened to glance over at my facebook feed.
i saw a photo of my beautiful mother - a smile on her face

and i knew exactly what
amazing, wonderful + comforting someONE to write about.

when my mother welcomed my
twin brothers into the world,
she had four other children already at home:
a tweenage son, two nearly pre-teen daughters
and a two year old!
(and i cannot even imagine having a third!!!!)

over the years of

sleepless nights,
skinned knees,
chicken pox,
flu bugs + snotty noses,
report cards,
broken toys,
broken bones,
broken hearts...

she has, hands down become
a MASTER comforter.

in recent years
she has been here, wholeheartedly
comforting us through hurts 
that cannot be fixed with
binkies, treats or band-aids - 
she has held her children up,
held our hands and wiped our tears,
prayed for and encouraged us 
as we have faced
failed relationships,
failed jobs,
drug addiction,
as we have lost loved ones
and battled illness
and faced so many other trials...

my mother has been a rock, helping me get
through one of the greatest battles i have faced.

it was during some weeks my mom and i 
spent on long walks together, training for a breast cancer 3-day walk
that i first noticed pain in many of my joints.
the pain worsened 
and additional symptoms crept in.

my mom was by my side for every appointment 
and test in the months that followed,
calming my fears.
in the thirteen years since i was diagnosed with lupus,
i cannot tell you the number of times
she has dried my tears and put a smile back on my face
or how many times she has said to me
"if i could take this pain away from you and take it upon myself,
you know i would."

my mom was the first to encourage me
and comfort away my doubts when 
i was told i may not be able to carry children -
she reminded me of my own strength and persistence
and of miracles. 

in the years since i became a mommy,
i have called on her so many times -
when ryan cannot be home
and my hands are too sore to 
change diapers and bathe babies - 
she comes to my rescue without hesitation.
when i call late at night, discouraged
that my hands feel broken,
and i have hundreds of photos to edit...
she stays on the phone with me until she can tell
that i am again smiling on the other end.  
she is a selfless, compassionate comforter.

minutes before oliver was born
my mom came into the delivery room,
kissed me on the forehead
and, with tears in her eyes,
told me how excited she was for 
me to become a mom 
and experience the greatest joy that there is.
when she thinks of motherhood,
she pays no mind to the pain that has come along with years of
comforting her children -
the trials she has faced head-on with each of us.
instead, she recalls
first smiles,
first steps,
first words,
art projects,
family game night
dance recitals,
the overwhelming warmth that came with
watching her children run and play
and grow and love...
she recalls joy.

when oliver was placed in my arms, 

i understood.

i understand my mom's unwavering devotion to her children.  
i understand that it is true: your heart lives with your children. 
your need and your capacity to comfort grows a million times over
when you hold your baby for the first time.
there is no pain greater than the pain you feel on behalf of your children
when they are hurting
BUT there is no greater joy than
knowing that your babies are healthy and safe and happy.
to comfort your child's heart is to comfort your own.

my mother is a pillar of strength.
even on the days when she may not think she is -  
as she cries and prays over one her six (grown) babies 
as we face life's battles - 
she is strength.
 and she brings comfort to all of us. 

there are always trials.
i thank God for the incredible people in my life
who help get me through them... 
my husband, my children, my parents, my sibs, my friends
who lift me up, who fill my heart.
they bring me joy.
and comfort.



ps. - on a bit of a lighter note, 
a recipe for the BEST COMFORT FOOD EVER. 

{souper awesome}
tortellini soup 
(courtesy of a rad friend and photographer, christy pelland)

2 zucchinis cut in 1/2 inch slices
1 yellow squash cut in 1/2 inch slices
1 green pepper cut into 1 inch squares
1 red or yellow pepper (include the seeds if you like kick)
5-6 carrots chopped 
1 medium sweet onion chopped 
2 large cans whole stewed tomatoes (juice included)
1 large can tomato sauce
1 lb turkey sausage
1 lb italian pork sausage
4-5 cans low sodium beef broth
1/2 bottle of red wine
3 cloves garlic - minced
1/2 to 1 tsp. crushed red pepper 
1/2 c. unpacked chopped fresh parsley
1 family-size (20 oz) package refrigerated cheese tortellini (i like buitoni)

here's how i roll:

i begin by opening the red wine and pouring myself a glass
(so as to not be wasteful - the soup only calls for half the bottle)

next, i like to saute the onions and garlic in a bit of EVOO
and set aside.
then i brown the sausage in a large cast iron pot.
once browned, i add all other ingredients 
other than the parsley and the tortellini.

bring soup to a boil and then reduce to simmer for about an hour 
or until the veggies are at the perfect 
consistency for your liking.

bring the soup back to a low boil,
add the tortellini and parsley
and boil per the instructions for tortellini
(normally about 10 minutes?).

dish to bowls
and throw some shredded italian cheese on top for 
added comfort
(and sodium and overall deliciousness).


before you run off to the grocery store
for wine, tortellini, etc. -
sit tight and enjoy another blog post
(or many more - I encourage you to follow the circle!):
see what my super awesome friend and fellow teacher
Cheryl Bidleman has to say about COMFORT



  1. Oh my goodness Nikki! I love this tribute to your mom in this blog! She definitely is a pillar and you are so blessed to have that example in her! {big } hugs!

  2. You, Nikki, are amazing. Your mom is amazing. It's when you said "to comfort your child's heart is to comfort your own"... the tears started rolling big and fat down my cheeks. Your heart is so beautiful, girl, and your gratitude shines bright. xo!

  3. wow this is beautiful! love it!!!

    and 5 min in Anthro comforts me as well ;) xo

  4. Nikki, what a blessing you are! Thank you for the honor you have given your mom♡. Your words are amazing! I miss you and your sweet family:-)

  5. Nikki! This is BEAUTIFUL! I love how your words shout out what is in your heart! I just want to meet your mom now because I can tell she's pretty amazing, and obviously, now i know where YOU get it from! And why didn't I know you have twins in your family?? Hooray! Shout out to twin families! ;)