2010 Gonzales Jambalaya Festival Thursday, May 27 2010 

It’s that time of year again folks!  Time for the Jambalaya Festival here in beautiful Gonzales, Louisiana!

For 43 years, we have celebrated the wonderful food that put us on the map, Jambalaya!  What is Jambalaya you ask?  OK, I know I have readers not from here so here ya go.  Jambalaya is a wonderful blend of pork, chicken, sausage and/or andoullie cooked down to tender perfection, married with the flavors of onion, bell pepper, garlic and other seasonings then cooked all together with rice.  Melt in your mouth goodness!  Jambalaya is probably one of my most favorite foods. 

Picture courtesy of Lisa Heindel at www.WestBankLiving.com

This Memorial Day weekend, the Jambalaya Festival runs again in Gonzales, Louisiana.  The Festival starts on Thursday May 27, 2010 and will run through Sunday May 30, 2010.  As always, there will be a Jambalaya cooking contest.  They even have a “mini-pot” contest for the younger Jambalaya cooks.  There will be amusement park rides with discounted bracelet prices for day or weekend access.  I can’t wait to see the World Record Jambalaya Pot Cooking 700 lbs of rice!  That’s Crazy! 

There will also be a great line up of bands over the four days.  Chee-Weez, Bits and Pieces, Bag of Donuts, and Na Na Sha, just to name a few.  The band I am most excited about is Chris LeBlanc and Luther Kent. I went to school with Chris and know that a lot of school mates follow to see him play.  I am hoping to hear him play and catch up with some school mates from the past.  Notice I didn’t say old school mates 🙂

If you have some time this weekend, come out to our beautiful city and partake in the festivities!

Check out more here:  Gonzales Jambalaya Festival

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Growing Pains Thursday, Jun 4 2009 

Disclaimer:  This is a long post. I had a lot to say and just couldn’t edit 🙂

On April 29, 2009 my husband made what has been the worst call of his life to me.  If you aren’t familiar with this, see “Can You Say Punched In The Gut”.

I am happy to report today that he reports for his new job on

Tuesday, June 9, 2009!

I may actually be able to breathe and hopefully sleep all night tonight!

Through this, my family has endured.  We have come out the other side in tact and stronger than before.

What we have learned is that we had become complacent with our life.  We took things for granted that we really needed to be grateful for.  Our faith has been tested.  Thankfully, we were alert enough to see the changes God was trying to make in our lives. I feel blessed today to know that we were chosen to go through this.  I only hope that we are able to help someone the way so many have helped us.

I can stand here today and tell you that there were days I would be so excited about the future.  I would tell people “There is something so wonderful that God has waiting for us on the other side of this hill.  I can’t wait to see what it is!” And I would believe it with all of my heart and soul.  There were days that would put on a smile and say it, but doubt every word that came out of my mouth.  I would feel so guilty for that.  Then there were days that I felt that I couldn’t get out of bed.  I didn’t want to face the world.  Those were the days that I felt especially guilty and would pray for God to take back the control of my life and forgive me for trying to run it myself.

I am telling you this because I am hopeful that telling my story, good and bad, will help someone. Either someone that is living this nightmare or someone who knows of someone that is.

Friends of my husband that had been though this were very supportive and told him that he would come out of this better off.  That is easy to hear but hard to comprehend when you are in the middle of uncertainty.  They would also offer assistance in little ways that meant the world to us.  Passing the resume to contacts they had, reviewing his resume (he hadn’t written a resume in over 15 years!).  They would call to check on us and always offer kind words, and more importantly, lend an ear. 

The one thing that they didn’t do was call every day and ask if he had found a job.  I found that to be the most offensive thing to deal with.  We knew we were without a job. We knew we were sending hundreds of emails with our resume attached. We knew we were not getting responses.  We did not need to be reminded that we did not have a job. One day, someone very close to me,  whom I was in contact with almost daily sat down at the desk next to me and said this. “I hate to ask this, but how is the job search going?”  It was the first time she had asked me that question since I told her my news.  I was more than happy to share with her how our progress, or lack thereof , was.  It was all in the way it was presented to me.  I knew that she was genuinely concerned for us. 

I want to talk a minute about Social Media and “virtual friends”. I am here to tell you that those on-line friends are VERY real!  I received so many messages with my friend’s cell phone numbers (most of which I had already!) offering to help, to talk, to listen.  They would all celebrate with me for my victories and let me be down when I really wasn’t feeling up to par.  I made some very good friends through this rough period on FaceBook and Twitter.  To all of you and especially the #twitterqueens.  THANK YOU!  I LOVE YOU ALL DEARLY!

Let me  also say that I probably haven’t been a good friend the past few weeks.  I would like to apologize to anyone that I snapped at or “hid” from.  Some days I just couldn’t bear to face the world.  It was all I could muster some days to work professionally with my clients.  There was nothing left. 

I think the hardest thing in this has been to “Be Still”  I am a take charge kinda girl.  Having to sit back and “Be Still” was very hard for me.  I overheard my husband say to someone one day.  “I can’t get her to understand that Corporate America doesn’t work on Real Estate time.  If the offer isn’t signed at 6:00 the offer isn’t dead.”  On Wednesday, I posted on Facebook “Be Still and know that He is God. – I am still learning the Be Still part of this!”  10 minutes later FedEx knocked on my door and left the Corporate “package” we had been waiting for!  It was the formal written offer for Brian’s new job!

Brian and I always knew that our children were exceptional.  This “growth spurt” has only proven that to us.  My youngest daughter had a birthday on May 1 and turned 9.  One night she opened a birthday card and there was money.  She closed the card and handed the money to us, “to help”.  WOW!  After her birthday party, she told me that we could have her birthday money if we needed it.  As parents, this broke our hearts.  Looking back now, I am filled with pride that my sweet little 9 year old has enough love in her heart to want to take care of someone else before herself.  Our oldest daughter is 16.  She has a job and makes enough to keep her “going out” habits funded.  She has only been out with her friends to the movies once.  The told me that she wanted to save her money in case we needed it.  Again…WOW!  One thing we know for sure.  We have raised some pretty amazing girls.  I have always responded to people when they tell me how beautiful our girls are that they also have beautiful hearts.  Our efforts in teaching them to pay it forward have paid off!

I referred to this as our “growth spurt”.  That is what I am officially calling this period in our life!  I used that term with my youngest.  She has terrible leg cramps when she goes through a growth spurt.  I likened our situation to this as something she could identify with.  We have endured the pain of growing.  We have grown and we are all stronger for it.  I am glad that we were chosen to grow.  Do I want to go through this particular growth spurt again?  HELL NO!  I do however, hope that we will be a  comforting source for someone who is going through this or knows someone that is.

To shamelessly quote from Shinedown’s song Second Chance.  “My eyes are wide open. By the way, I made it through the day. Sometimes goodbye is a Second Chance. ” 

Exercising my Parental Right Friday, May 22 2009 

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As some of you know, my oldest daughter broke her foot three weeks ago.  During our first visit with the Orthopedist, the plan of action was laid out like this…We visit every week for x-rays, on week three they will take off the cast for a clean x-ray.  Depending on how the fracture is healing, they may put her in a boot.

Well, today was the third week visit.  The x-rays were taken and the intern reviewed them.  To my daughter’s horror, he suggested that a new cast be put back on.  The Doctor was called in and felt the same way.  After discussing the pro’s and con’s he turned to me and said that I would be the one to make the decision.  By the way, one of the con’s was that  if the bone moved we would have to go in and have it pinned in place!cutting a

Guess what decision I made.  As the Doctor listened to the banter between my daughter and I, watched the tears stream down her face, I finally said, “I am exercising my parental right and this is my final decision.” I don’t often use the parent card but today I felt that it was a must. Cast a

The Orthopedist did promise her that when we came back in two more weeks that she would get to have a boot.  She is not having a good first day of summer.  When she decides to speak to me again, I hope that I can get her to understand that I do understand at age 16 this is disastrous to her, but at age 40, two more weeks is not the end of the world.

Again, I came home and told my husband that I didn’t sign up for all of this. Again, he told me that I did…I just failed to read the fine print!  Thank goodness we have him to keep us grounded!

Shoes Can Boomerang! Wednesday, May 20 2009 

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Last night at dinner my oldest daughter announced, “Hey mom, we talked about you in class today.”  Hesitantly, I asked, “Would you care to share?” Oh boy…were we in for some fun!

Seems that they were talking about spanking children.  How this came up, I have no clue.  In any case, my child pipes up to the class, “My mom never spanked me, but she can throw a mean shoe!”  Of course this got the attention of everyone in there!  She proceeded to tell of a time that I lost my temper with her.  She was in middle school, I had had a really bad day and she popped off at me.  We were in the car and when we got home, I proceeded to throw my shoes at her.  Let me stop here.  Picture this, I am running around the backyard throwing shoes at my pre-teen.  She is running from me screaming.  My youngest daughter who wasn’t even in school yet is sitting on the picnic table laughing hysterically! One of those not winning mother of the year moments!  All of you mothers (and fathers) know these moments!  They happen to the best of us!  The whole ordeal ended in both of us in tears with my husband separating us from each other.  To this day, I feel bad about the way I reacted.ZCD020_INTHUMB

As she told the story, guilt overwhelmed me.  My family laughed, partly because of the way she recounted the story.  As she told us about the reactions from her classmates and teacher she told us that she said this, “By the way, if you were curious, Shoes can Boomerang!”  At this point, we all fell into fits of laughter.  My husband turned to me and said, “I think you just found tomorrow’s blog post!” 

I thought about this the rest of the evening.  As much guilt as I have felt about my reaction that day, I feel better today.  My daughter saw that I was real.  Even moms have bad days. I didn’t scar her.  She sees this as something funny to share with her friends!

Do you have a funny story of your own?  I would love for you to share it with me!

Happy Mother’s Day Sunday, May 10 2009 

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I would like to tell all of the Moms, Moms to be and Like a Moms…Happy Mother’s Day!

I hope you all had a nice day, whether you visited with your children, shopped, or just relaxed.

We spent the day at our neighborhood pool today.  I heard my  youngest daughter tell my mother in law  it was more like Mother/Daughter day.  “We both got what we wanted.”  I got to lay out and she got to visit the pool!  What she doesn’t know, is that any time a mother sees her child smile, she is happy.  There were lots of smiles today 🙂

Jambalaya, Crawfish Pie, File Gumbo Saturday, May 9 2009 

Since I have named my blog after one of the things that makes this Parish famous, it just wouldn’t be right not to tell you about the Jambalaya Festival!  The Jambalaya Festival is held in Gonzales every year during the Memorial Day weekend.  If you are looking for something fun to do, this is the place to be.  There are carnival rides for all, games, fabulous entertainment, beauty pageants and most of all….the big Jambalaya cook off.  I love to attend and  eat my weight in jambalaya!  No one in the world cooks jambalaya like the great residents of Ascension Parish. 

What is Jambalaya you ask?  Jambalaya is a cajun/creole dish that is mostly cooked outside in a big black pot.  It is a mixture of wonderful seasonings, chicken, sausage and rice.  Delicious!  There is a new twist to Jambalaya that I have personally fallen in love with. Pastalaya.  Same concept, just replace the rice with pasta.  We use linguine. 

Let me know when you will be at the Jambalaya Festival.  I would love to see you there!

The Way We Are Friday, May 8 2009 

Last night we were at my daughter’s high school band concert. I have been associated with the St. Amant High School Band for three years now.  Every year this band never ceases to amaze me.  The closeness these kids have is unbelievable.

As my daughter was entering High School she informed me that she wanted to be on drum-line.  Not be on the dance team.  Secretly, I was crushed.  She had been on the dance team in middle school and I had been on the dance team in High School.  I wanted her to continue the tradition.  It wasn’t my decision.  It was hers.  We went to the newcomer’s meeting and heard the band directors speak.  One of the things they said was that the kids would start school with 200+  friends.  Yea Right…Rah Rah talk, I thought to myself. 

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The band practiced during the summer for two weeks straight.  After the first day, my daughter had made friends.  The upperclassmen of course gave the freshmen a hard time but also took them under their wings.  Offering for them to ride with them to lunch, giving them pointers.  I was warming up to this band thing.  By the end of the two weeks and the start of school, she indeed had 200+ new friends. 

The camaraderie these young people have is interesting to me to watch.  They truly are a family.  For as much time as these kids spend together, they all get along and look out for each other very well.

 Every year at the Spring Concert, one of the last songs they play is “The Way We Were”.  As the band plays, the Senior’s names are called and they lay down their instruments and make their way to the front of the stage.  Let me tell you,  there is never a dry eye in the auditorium.  Last night, thru my own tears, I really watched the kids.  18 and 19 year old young men and women are tearful and not ashamed to be so.  They hug each other, they hug the underclassmen, they choke up when they give speeches to the Directors.  And every year, the Directors shed a tear or two.  The band members from years past are always at this performance with their own tears. The openness of emotion shared with this family makes me smile.

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These kids are not totally jaded to the ways of the hurtful world.  They are accepting of each others faults and quirks.  They are family, they love each other unconditionally. Lets all go out and be like these teens.  Be accepting of each other, love each other, be there for someone that needs us.  No questions asked.

p.s. I couldn’t be happier with my daughter’s decision to be a part of the STA Golden Gator Band ! 2381-161-036T