My morning began when I awoke to face my messy house and the seemingly hundreds of preparations that must be readied before my long and busy weekend. My tendency to over-obligate sometimes makes me forget how fortunate I am to have such an active social life. Tomorrow I am throwing a party to display and sell my Wildtree food products as well as to enjoy an ordinary Saturday night with lots of friends. For tonight, I will cook with my cooking club to celebrate my friend's birthday. His dessert of choice: Raspberry Tiramisu a la Giada.


With a fragrant cup of cherry cream joe, I sat at my computer to research recipe ideas from the Wildtree product line. With costs in mind, I carefully prepared my grocery list.

Outside, it is slated to be 84 degrees which, in Wisconsin, is an event in and of itself if it occurs in April. I resisted the urge to grumble at the fact that my entire day is committed, but am comforted in the knowledge that all of my labors will eventually be appreciated. The cleaning can be done later, I try to make myself believe. Today, I will do only what is absolutely necessary so that I can go outside and enjoy some of the day. I was home from the grocery store by 11:30 a.m.

First, I combined the seedless raspberry jam with the very last teaspoonful of orange liquor that I had in the cabinet. Thank goodness its all gone because in my house, there aren't a ton of occasions to use it. Next, I incorporated the time-honored ingredients for whipped cream: heavy whipping cream, (french) vanilla extract and sugar. With the Lady Fingers adequately soaked in the cooled cherry cream coffee, I arranged them in the bottom of a beautifully etched dish given to me from my late grandmother. The next layer was the raspberry jam mixture followed by the mascarpone and whipped cream concoction. This arrangement was repeated until all of the ingredients separately made a most elegant and luxurious dessert when assembled together. I must admit that the top layer was a bit heavy on the whipped topping, but I will not apologize for it. Nobody would want me to.

I indulged in a nap after putting the tiramisu in the fridge. My poor neighbor upstairs is so sick with the flu, so I after I awoke took his Border Collie out for a walk, which lasted 1-1/2 miles. I felt like the pounds were melting off of me, literally, as lumbering around the neighborhood in the warmth of the sun caused me to break a sweat!

Upon my return, I saw a yellow package in the mail. It was from my friend Christy. She is part of my group of long-distance friends who talked about how great it feels to get fun mail; not the kind that wants something from you but the sort that reminds you that someone out there is thinking of you. I brought the dog back upstairs, changed into flip-flops, grabbed a bottle of water and sat comfortably on my front porch, where I thoughtfully opened my prized parcel. Out of the blue she sent me a small notebook and bookmark that read "Go Confidently in the Direction of Your Dreams". She offered encouraging words for me to keep writing and shared how blessed she is that we have reconnected after all of these years.

The sentiment filled my heart. I closed my eyes and counted my blessings. I thought about how Christy, with all of her life's hardships, can find joy in other people's happiness and wondered if I could ever do the same. Where does she find the strength to give to others, I wondered. I considered ways to repay her for making my day so special, but then realized that she doesn't want payback. She's just not that way.

You see, my friends and I have labeled ourselves "The Peas", as in "Peas in a Pod", for as different as we are, inside we are all the same. After 25 years of varied experiences, we have found that we are more compatible today than we ever could have been. Today, we have the wisdom to recognize that love comes in many forms; among them is friendship. This is our time together and we all recognize it. With eyes still closed, I thanked God for Christy and prayed for peace and tranquility to come to her and her family.

Minutes later, I saw my sick neighbor trying to walk his dog, as he had just awoken and was unaware that I returned his dog only 20 minutes earlier.

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