The little golden mouse.

 

I know most of you reading this have suffered a loss. A friend, a grandparent, a parent, and even some who have lost their children. To those that have lost someone, I am truly sorry. For those that haven’t, I envy you! There is nothing quite like suffering a loss.

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Just over a year ago, my husband and I had to put our dog, Speck, to sleep. He had gotten a tumor that caused him much discomfort and quickly declining quality of life. I had never hurt so much in all my life! It felt like an elephant constantly sat on my chest, a hollowness in my heart, and a complete body exhaustion that can never be recovered from. Speck was our kid. The Hubs and I have not been able to have children together, so he was ours.

speckSlowly after a few months the emptiness fills up. The days are a little brighter. Happy memories flood into your brain and lift you up a bit.

Well, one of those memories was of my Grandpa saying, “get me a pair of wire cutters, this dog has big balls that need to be removed.” “Really Tiny, they are all you see when you look at him (Tiny being my nickname from him)!” You see, we had never gotten Speck “fixed” so his “man parts” as a droopy basset hound were a bit large and droopy themselves. Now it wasn’t the most sweet and sensitive response to my dear dog, but if you knew my Grandpa, this was typical.

That memory means even more to me now, because just eight weeks ago I lost my Grandpa too. That hollowness came back suddenly when with just one phone call from my sister my world was crushed and I was told he suddenly passed away of a heart attack. The elephant took its stance back on my chest and breathing was impossible. The tears, like a dam breaking loose, rushed from my eyes. All became sad and gloomy. But when he passed the Hubs and I said to each other, well now he and Speck can be together (and he can take care of those balls). That thought was truly a little lightness when my world was so heavy.

imag1039aMy Grandpa, Douglas Dodge, was one of the most influential men in my life! We spent many years riding around in trucks, fishing at the lake, singing songs, and laughing together. He was a goofy character! He popped his dentures at us kids, scaring the daylights out of us. He would stick his swollen belly out teasing that he was pregnant with a baby elephant. He taught me a lot about life. I am a “good female driver” because of the time I spent with him in his rock truck. Memories of the cabin, Wee Sing Songs in the kitchen at the house on Apple Lane, and holidays spent together.

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My grandfather, me, my sister, cousin Rachel, cousin Hailey

Because I spent so much time growing up with my grandparents, I have a bunch of amazing memories of him. One in particular, stares at me from my desk everyday. A little solid brass mouse. I spent much of my childhood hiding this little guy throughout my grandparents house. He would often peek out from inside the plants and try and escape through the mailbox slot.

imag1288A few years ago, my Grandpa had given him to me. He said since I loved him so much, I should have him. I am so thankful everyday since losing my Grandpa that this little guy looks on as I type and watches over me as I do my work, because everyday that I see him I am overcome with the memory of my grandfather. I am comforted with the thought that Douglas Chester is also watching over me as I do my work each day.

Some days are ok. Others are still painful. More often than not I think of him and smile. Who have you lost and what memories make you smile when remembering them? Share your memories so those experiencing the agony of grief can know that they are not alone.

Today’s recipe:

Chicken enchiladas (the easy way)

1 lb chicken breast

1 pkg Uncle Ben’s 90 second microwave Sante Fe flavored rice (if you cannot find Sante Fe use Original)

1 can black beans, drained

29 oz (one big and one small) can red mild enchilada sauce or make your own

1 pkg (8 count) flour or corn tortillas

1 envelope of taco seasoning or this recipe for homemade

1/2 cup of water

1 32oz container of unsalted chicken stock

1-2 cups cheese, shredded Mexican style or cheddar

First, poach your chicken breast in the stock. Simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Next, shred your chicken. I use the mixer to do this. Just put your chicken in, turn the speed to low and place a towel over to keep it all contained. Let spin for 1-2 minutes.

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Then, put chicken in a pan with seasoning, drained beans, rice, and water in a pan. Simmer until the water is cooked off, about 8 minutes.

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Add small can of enchilada sauce and 1 cup of cheese. Let heat through.

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Next, pour 1/2 of 19 oz can of enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9 X 13 baking dish.

Put 1/4 c of filling in each tortilla and roll. Place seam side down in the pan.

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Top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.

Bake @ 375 for 18-22 minutes until golden

 

 

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