Monday, February 27, 2017

Let's Go To The Hop ...

I know - I'm late. This is the first time I've missed a deadline all year, and much as it pains me to think of anyone who may have woken up looking for a post that wasn't yet posted, it was worth it.

Yesterday I took my daughters to visit my mother for the day; we took a few little things over to her house, threw it all together in a pot, and by the start of the afternoon, she had a delicious pot of meaty vegetable soup bubbling on her stove.

Vegetable soup. Inexpensive, simple, Delicious.
When the soup had finished cooking to my satisfaction and was well seasoned to my mother's tastes and health limitations, I turned the burner off, let it rest a while too cool, and spent some time just hanging out. Later, I separated the entire pot into eight two-cup freezer bowls, seven of which went into the freezer - I put one in the fridge so that she could have it for dinner. Mom and I munched on fresh strawberries together with the kids, she laughed when she saw how much Chance loves berries too, and we packed up in the van to head over (the river and through the woods) to my grandmother's house.

It was good to see her too, despite how heartwrenching it is to see how very little of my Grandmother is left living in the person we visited yesterday. She doesn't recognize people as much anymore, and although she usually remembers me once she's been told who I am (or pretends to?), she rarely recognizes my children, and despite their obvious femininity, she often refers to them as "he" or "the little boy there." My children have been instructed not to react, but only to say perhaps something like, "But I'm a girl, Nana. Remember?"

It makes my heart ache.

My grandmother is the strongest person I've ever known - she has lived through both poverty and abundance, through the deaths of her mother, her husband, all but one of her siblings, her first grandchild. She was born during the Great Depression, lived through World War II. She saw the surge of homes updating to indoor plumbing in the 40's, saw the inventions of the Slinky, the Frisbee, Velcro.

My grandmother at 13, the same age as my oldest daughter now.
The Kingsley Series' matriarch is named after her, Eva.
She saw the beginning of Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream, read the stories when Rosa Parks caught headlines for standing her ground. My grandmother saw the end of segregation, and the beginning of what Americans began to hope would be a new unity. When she is gone, Americans will STILL be hoping for unity.

She raised children, she fought battles, she survived. My family through the generations has known literally every possible kind of dysfunction, but through it all she always strove to keep on keeping on, to put one foot in front of the other, to hold her head high and give it her all. She taught me determination and a sense of justice, she taught me fire and passion. Through her example, I learned steadfastness, and realism. I learned exasperation from her, but also humor. I learned to love sarcasm and pranking from her - but also quiet mornings and the joy of music.

Now that her life is winding down and she's becoming what will likely be the last iteration of herself as she journeys through this life, I hope that my life and my career will become a legacy in gratitude of the strength and perseverance I learned largely from her.

Yesterday was a good day - it was good to see her, bittersweet as it always is. When I got home last night with the girls and got them put into bed, I simply didn't have the energy in that moment to prep today's post - all I wanted in the world just then was to close my eyes and rest. Thus, the lateness of this post:

"Let's Go To The Hop"

Many of you will remember the post I wrote earlier this month, thanking one of my street team members for setting up a blog hop for me as a birthday gift: a blog hop is like a promotional tour, where a series of blogs takes turns featuring a singular artist, single, book, record, ect. Each post is usually similar to the next with roughly the same content, allowing for minimal adjustments in wording, fonts, graphics, etc., for the sake of the blogger's own character and style.

But life happens and things come up, so I've adjusted the following link list to reflect the actual posts that were published for this month's blog hop; I've also taken the liberty of removing from the list bloggers who for various reasons were unable to get their posts put up. I would appreciate if you would take just a moment to choose one of these links and head over to leave a comment, thanking the blogger for hosting me on their site. It would be a great additional way to help me appreciate the bloggers who signed up to promote me:
I still say this is one of the sweetest birthday gifts I've ever received - thank you again, Jodie, from the very bottom of my heart.



Questions For the Comments Section:
  • Does your family have a strong matriarch like my grandmother? If so, tell me about her in the comments!

80 comments:

  1. And now I'm singing Let's Go To The Hope, oh Baby, let's go to the Hop! <3 I did have a strong Grandma, but I lost her a few years ago.

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    1. Hahaha! I was singing it as I wrote it, too. I'm sorry about your Grandmother - I'm so dreading losing mine.

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  2. Wow! Beautiful write-up Brandi! When I read this I really remember the cherishing memories with my 83 year grandma with my 87 years old grandpa who are miles away from our place, still taking care of themselves. We feel happy whenever we visit them and spend those precious moments.

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad the post could bring that back for you!

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  3. You have a really inspiring grandma! I love reading about family history, it's always insane what kind of times our parents/grandparents lived through -- so colorful and dense with interesting and relatable (sometimes sad) tales. I think I want to make that veggie soup for my mom sometime, she's super vegetarian and would truly appreciate it.

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    1. Thanks - I'm glad you liked the post. I'm planning to write up the recipe for it in a future post, so stick around!

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  4. Thank you for sharing your Grandmother's beautiful picture. God bless you Grandmother, she lived through a lot! Also the meaty vegetables soup looks so delicious. This is something my husband would love for me to make for dinner.

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    1. Thanks - I'll share the recipe soon, so keep an eye out!

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  5. Your grandmother sounds like a wonderful woman. Mine is too. She's 95 and has lived a wonderful life.

    I enjoy vegetable soup, by the way. It's been ages since I've had some.

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    1. Grandmothers are definitely something special aren't they? She and I weren't close when I was growing up - I'm glad we've had a chance to mend fences.

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  6. I have the song in my head too! Themes to be a common theme after reading! This really made me think about my grandma and how much I adore her. What a heartfelt and meaningful article

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    1. Thanks! I could imagine my Grandma dancing to songs like that, and totally had it in my head while I was writing about her.

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  7. You have a beautiful grandma. She lived the full life, and she saw a lot of history.

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  8. vegetable soup... hmm. grandmother looks so beautiful. she had a wonderful life

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  9. I love reading stories about the past and specially listening the ones by my grandmother!How beautiful is your in this picture!

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    1. She was definitely a looker in her hayday! Even now, with Alzheimer's taking away the parts of her that made her so distinctly who she was, she's still a very proud woman and loves to feel pretty.

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  10. Aren't grandmothers the best? Mine is turning 90 this year and it kills me that she will not be able to come to my wedding in Brazil later this year!

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    1. Yeah I can imagine that would be tough! It's sad that she's going to miss it - maybe you can bring her back a slideshow so you can tell her stories about it afterward?

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  11. -CATVILLS

    your grandma is very pretty! i love the soup too looks yummy!

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  12. My mom makes a soup almost identical to this! So good!

    | diaryofasouthernmillennial.com

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    1. It's a pretty simple recipe, really, and doesn't need a lot of dressing up in order to be flavorful. I love that it's basically a "dump dinner" - you just dump everything in the pot, stir, heat, and eat. I'll share my recipe - such as it is - later this month.

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  13. That song is such a retro favorite. xx

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    1. I think my grandmother probably loved it when she was younger!

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  14. A beautiful article. Your grandma was very special and you should be very proud.

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    1. She's definitely a special woman - and I am very proud of her legacy.

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  15. Sounds like your grandmother lead a full life. Love the photo.

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    1. Yes, she certainly had a full life. It saddens me to see it winding down now.

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  16. Keep making memories as long as you can. I lost all of my grandparents way too early and now I'm seeing the aging affects on my mom and dad. I'm thankful I still have them alive and doing amazingly well but I fear the day will come soon too as they are both far past the ages my grandparents were. We try to keep them young and healthy by keeping them busy and occupied, it's the best we can do besides keep making memories. Richard B

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    1. It's so sad to have to watch that, too. I'm watching it with my mother as well, as her health is not very good and quickly getting worse. The worst part of that for me and my kids is that we will likely lose my grandmother and my mother together - they're very close, and we feel that shock of losing one of them will take the other. Good luck with your parents - enjoy them!

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  17. Love the background story of your mother. She sounds like a sweet sweet lady who has lived through the rough and the most beautiful times. So glad there are days like these that make us realize how much we have to be grateful for - even if it's just soup that sparks it! All of your appearances on these blogs are AWESOME, by the way!

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  18. I don't remember that we have a strong matriatch in my family. But its not too late to build a new one! Your grandmother is so gorgeous and I think she had a wonderful life :)

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    1. It's definitely not too late to create a strong matriarch! Be a strong woman, a strong mother, and in your turn, a strong grandmother. You'll build your own legacy, one generation at a time.

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  19. That is great that you could be there for your grandmother. I was really sad when mine passed a few years back. And I've never heard of a blog hop before. You will have to tell me how it works. I know I read it here but I will have to check it out in the links.

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    1. Definitely check out the links! I described a little bit of the way blog hops work in the post - was there a specific question you had about it?

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  20. Your grandmother sounds like a great person! Although our hearts ache when family members go through illnesses or start aging, it is nice to make the most of the moment while we can and cherish all the great memories. Also, the soup looks delicious!

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    1. That's definitely what we're doing. I wish I had thought to spend time interviewing her before the Alzheimer's got so bad. I kick myself every day for not knowing her better.

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  21. Wow. Your grandma is a strong individual. It is amazing how you wrote about her. I love this. So inspiring. !!

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  22. It's heartbreaking to see your loved ones in that condition. At the same time, it would be more painful to not have them around. She sounds like an amazingly sweet lady.

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    1. I'm not sure which is more heartbreaking, actually - to have her in this way where she's there but isn't, or to have lost her back when she was still herself. I'm thankful she's still here ... but all the same, I miss her because she isn't my Grandma anymore.

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  23. Your grandmother sounds like a very strong and sweet lady. It's amazing how it's often the females that hold the family together. The memories you hold onto are priceless. Beautiful post.

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    1. It's definitely the females, especially in my family! Thanks!

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  24. That looks like such a lovely soup, and I love how you batch cooked and froze it. Sorry to hear about your grandmother though, that must be heartbreaking.

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    1. Thanks - the soup is definitely a hit with the whole family! I'm going to share my recipe here later this month.

      And yes, it definitely is heartbreaking ... she was such a proud woman, and so strong. I hate watching her lose the essence of herSELF.

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  25. What a nice post. I'm sure every time she opens her refrigerator and reaches for that soup, you'll be in her thoughts. BTW, that also looked super yummy. Post the recipe.

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  26. Yes Brandi, post the recipe to that delicious looking pot of veggie soup. Your post was very moving and brought back memories for me too.

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  27. Yes, i associate soup with home and family too, my grandma made an amazing potato soup that I wish I had gotten the recipe for! Thanks for the trip down memory land...

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    1. No problem! Maybe you can try to replicate your grandma's soup, so that you can pass down your own recipe.

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  28. This soup looks great. Iloke to sub radishes for potatoes.

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  29. She sure sounds like an amazing woman and I'm sure she's done a lot in her days. I think it's really sweet that you visited and cooked for her.

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  30. We all have many reasons on why we choose priorities over other items. Spending and cherishing time with those we love is, and should be, and understandably top priority. Side note: I love one pot meals too; quick, convenient, warm, nostalgic and yummy. Awesome gift the blog hop! One day I shall do this but, I have a lot on my plate but, it is a goal :-)

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  31. First of all the soup looks so delicious! It must have been so nice to visit your mother and grandmother all in the same day.

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    1. Thank you! It really was a great day - the four generations together is always a big deal to me.

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  32. Woww your grandma is beautiful, my grandma will turn 88 this year . I feel so blessed to have her and everytime I visit her place she has a lot of interesting stories about our past which I love to hear

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    1. That's my favorite thing about my Grandma, too - when her memory jogs for just a little while and she can tell stories. She's lost most of them now, but it's good to hear them when they're there.

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  33. Looks a perfect soup recipe! My mom would surely love this, Glad that you share this recipe with us.

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    1. Uh, actually, I didn't. There is no recipe on this post ...

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  34. Awww!!! I wanted to spend the afternoon with you guys! I'm glad you're able to spend time with your family.

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    1. Thanks, Doris! It was a really nice afternoon for sure!

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  35. This post made me miss my grandma! It's so nice to have her around, she has taught me so many lessons in life and many recipes as well. I think it's nice that you visited yours.

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    1. Thanks - it was definitely a great day, and I'm thankful she's still there to visit.

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  36. I lost my grandma last year at 94. It was sad, but she lived a long and fulfilled life, which is all you can ask for.

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    1. That's sort of how we see it too. Personally, I know I'm going to miss her, and I'm going to wish for her now and again - but she's not meant to live forever either, and I know that.

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  37. It's a very personal post and I reminds me of my own grandpa who passed away a couple of years ago. I wish I could have spent more time with him. Do spend more time with your grandma and treasure every moment that you have together.

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    1. That's what we're all trying to do. It's just hard to see her declining like this.

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  38. Omg what a great post!!! Your grandma sounds like one amazing person!! Thanks for sharing this with us

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    1. Thanks - she really was something in her heyday. She's still pretty feisty too, actually, despite the changes.

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  39. What a good post, I love reading this post and your grandma was so awesome.

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  40. There is nothing like a hearty soup on a cold day. I wish I was old enough to have cooked with my grandma before she passed. She was an amazing cook.

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    1. I have been pretty fortunate to know my Grandmother well - and I remember so many things she used to cook when I was a kid. I love that my kids will remember cooking with their grandma now, because of days like this one.

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