We are now officially less than two weeks away from Christmas day!  2012 has flown by and supposedly even though the Bible states that no man will know the time or day, many believe the Mayans have it all figured out and the 21st of this month is the end of time as we know it.  I’m pretty sure we’ll still be here on the 22nd. 😉

For the next couple of weeks I won’t be posting 5+ times per week.  TSM and I are putting our house on the market the first week of January and are preparing to move down to South Carolina.  I’ll share a little back story as to why.

TSM retired from the Air Force back in 2004, just 3 years after we moved from Maryland back to MN where we’re both from and where we have family.  In 2003 I injured my back, but needed to keep my job, so I kept plugging away only to injure it two more times on the job over the next 9 months resulting in being put on partial bed rest for about a year.  I endured dozens of steroid treatments, spinal procedures, torturous strengthening therapies, and nauseating amounts of pain killers, muscle relaxers, oral steroids and anything else that would offer even the smallest amount of relief from the pain… These two events seemed to be the starting block for one misadventure after another for us.  We just couldn’t seem to cut a break.

The short version of the rest of this story is that of the past 11 years that we’ve been back in MN, we’ve been unemployed a combined 8 and a half years. Somewhere in the middle of this roller coaster called life,  we decided that we really wanted to leave MN.  It wasn’t a Veteran friendly state, for the first time in our marriage we were dealing with no job stability, and we were also getting extremely tired of the long, cold winters.  We also desired to be closer to TSM’s kids.  So we started making plans to move down south. Each time we’d start to come up with a plan, one of us would lose our job.  This went on for years, and we were not one step closer to being in SC.

This past summer we were blessed to have an opportunity to go down to SC to visit TSM’s dear daughter, her husband and their two kids.  We rented a condo not far from the beach, and spent 4 days together.  It was a lot of fun, and it had been 4 years since our last visit. Way too long!

As a daughter who lost her father 11 days before her 2nd birthday, I understand the pain and longing of wanting to be with your father.  I’ve been blessed with a great Step-Father, whom I love dearly, yet I didn’t get to know my dad so there is a deep, painful longing that never really goes away. There is a hole in my heart where only his love and presence can fill.  There are a ton of “What if’s” that go through your mind and most of all, you miss the “What could have been’s”.  And you never stop thinking about that person who is gone from your life- whether it is distance that separates you, or an Earthly and Heavenly plane that separates you.  You just plain miss them terribly and nothing takes that pain away. Nothing.  God certainly helps ease the pain and He does comfort me during the particularly rough times where I seem to miss my dad but at least for me, there is still pain.

When our visit to South Carolina was coming to a close, I watched my step-daughter and husband say good-bye for the hundredth time over the past 17 years, and that is when I saw it.  Through her quiet sobs and through TSM’s tears I saw in her eyes that same pain that I feel daily and a piece of my heart broke right there.   I saw that longing, the “what could have been’s”, the “what could be’s”, the “my world isn’t right because you’re not here”…and I knew that regardless of the circumstances we needed to step out in faith and just start making plans and set a date by which we wanted to be down in South Carolina (and TSM agreed), and we’d do our part and God would do His.  As a daughter who lost her father almost 39 years ago, I understood the daughter that partially lost hers when her parents divorced, and a military career that kept them hundreds upon hundreds of miles apart.  I understood more than she knew.

Our goal is to be down in South Carolina (either Charleston or Columbia- where ever we find work first) by next May/June.  Our house goes on the market in January, we’re applying for jobs down there, and we’ll drive down in March to look for a home to rent.  Regardless of whether or not we have employment lined up, we’ll pack up our house, our three pets and drive down to SC for a fresh start and for the opportunity to be a part of our grandchildren’s lives.  We’ll get to know our SIL, and we’ll get to spend more time with our DD.  I’ll have grandchildren to stuff full of candy and homemade treats, (yes, I’m *that* Grandma) I’ll also get to spend much more time at the ocean! 🙂

All this takes careful planning and a lot of organizing and that’s what I’ll be doing over the next 4 weeks.  We have a fair amount of packing to do in order to get the house ready for showings.  My Jetta is up on jack stands in my garage until TSM can replace the transmission, the clutch and the drive shaft axle’s and the exhaust, so I’m tasked with packing up the things we don’t need, and much of what we’ve got stored in our closets so it’s one less thing to worry about on moving day, and it’ll be easier for potential buyers to see how amazing the closets are in this house.  YAY for awesome closets!

Because of this planning I will not be posting recipes 4-5 times per week.  I instead will be posting 1-2 recipes weekly, and then after the second week of January, I’ll be back to posting recipes Monday through Friday, and hopefully launch a “Week in Review” type of post for the weekends.

Laney-Claws (Claus)
Honor-Claws (Claus)

I have such a passion for food and for this blog.  I look forward to sharing my crazy sense of humor and the recipes that TSM and I enjoy, with you.   If I can make you laugh and teach you something new about food, then I’ve succeeded.

Writing about food is something I’ve wanted to do for years.  I have no idea why I waited so long. Well, I do know.  I’m good at cooking, I have talent, but I’m green compared to most and I’ve gone through some things that have shaken me to the core since graduating from culinary school, and I lost faith in myself as a result.  I didn’t think I was good enough to have a blog as popular as South Your Mouth, or Brown Eyed Baker, or Bake at 350, or Two Peas and Their Pod, or Ezra Pound Cake.  I take what I do seriously (but not so seriously that I can’t laugh at myself) and want to be a resource for you when it comes to good food, fun recipes, and witty stories about my life with TSM and our 3 fur-beasts.  I want to be as good as my favorite bloggers are.

I hope you’ll join me for this adventure.  Until then, Merry Christmas Food Peeps.  I’ll leave you with a couple photos of our family (the only ones I managed to get scanned into my computer that is) and know that I wish you all a blessed Holiday season.  Thanks for helping the last part of my 2012 be some of the most fun I’ve had in the past 3 years.  The fact that there are people who take the time to read my blog, and even try my recipes blesses me greatly!  Thank you!

TSM & I Christmas of 2004 at his brother’s.  I was drugged into oblivion in this picture so that I could handle leaving bed rest to celebrate Christmas with family.

TSM just told me today that he bought me a domain name!  So he’ll be working on moving my blog over to my domain (RealFoodGirlUnmodified.com) and getting an email address, etc.  I’ll keep you up to speed on those fun and exciting changes.  It’s nice to have my own personal mechanic, handyman, and IT guy.  It’s also nice to have him support my blog by doing cool things like buying me a domain before someone else named or nicknamed Real Food Girl: Unmodified comes along.  I missed out on the opportunity with KitchenDiva, and I am glad he had the foresight to think of doing that so the same thing doesn’t happen.  I have no idea what having my own domain entails at the moment.  I’m sure TSM will show me.  Just know some new and exciting changes will be coming in 2013.

Until then, Merry Christmas to you and your families.  May it be truly blessed!

My Step-Dad, my Mother, my little Sister, and I.  Christmas circa 1989/90?

 

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