HARISSA CHICKEN WITH OLIVES


Musical pairing – Beautiful Eyes by Taylor Swift

It’s quiet this morning except for a train somewhere off in the distance . . . I don’t know where that train is going but it’s these moments when I’m present enough to actually hear its whistle, I wonder where those tracks begin and end. I haven’t slept much in the last several days . . . life is turned upside down . . . and with it, my lack of focus, my lack of drive to accomplish checking items off my ‘to-do’ list . . .

The Professor has left for campus this morning, the cats are sleeping in various positions stationed around the perimeter of our great room; the sun has not yet risen but I occasionally hear the call of a bird outside and if I peer through my windows, I can barely see the outline of what’s left of the leaves on the trees. I should be accomplishing my morning routine . . . planning tonight’s dinner, running the sweeper, finishing a load of laundry and hitting the treadmill, then pilates or a bit of yoga before I start to clean off my desk in the office.

Instead I’m thinking about Alice . . . her siblings, her mother and my son . . . navigating this road, this uncharted territory . . . for when a child is born with a terminal illness and you somewhat plan for somewhere ‘down the road’ . . . ‘down the road’ suddenly sneaks up from behind, grabs you by the throat in a choke-hold and you can’t move . . . you discover that you just didn’t see ‘down the road’ coming . . . you didn’t plan properly . . .

I am flooded with sweet memories of Alice . . . dark brown hair in pigtails, white ankle socks with frilly lace, chipped ‘goth’ nail polish, a tattoo in the small of her back, big brown eyes hidden by even bigger sunglasses and a laugh and a smile that melts your heart the moment she freely shares. In typical teenager form, Alice prefers salty chips, sweet candy, Starbucks caramel lattes and pepperoni pizza . . . I am betting she would turn her nose up at this chicken . . . I think she’s much more a fried chicken kinda girl . . . but then again, she might surprise me and take the teensiest taste just to see if I’m right when I say it’s one of the best baked chicken recipes I’ve ever made . . . I’d also forgive her if she still prefers fried . . .

SMITH BITES NOTE: I wrote this post yesterday morning and life changed this afternoon; Alice is being taken off all support tonight and will be going home soon . . . she is tired, she’s in pain, her body is weak and she told her dad that she is ready to go . . . and I love her enough to tell her we’ll be ok . . . and we will be ok . . . thank you so much for your prayers, your words of encouragement, for your kindness . . . it means the world to me and my family.

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69 Comments

  1. My heart pains for the loss you and your family are going through. I’ll be keeping y’all in prayers and thoughts. Stay strong Deb.

  2. Sending lots of hugs and prayers to you and your family. We love you all and are her for you! xoxo

  3. This is wonderful! OMG love it! I am praying for you and you family as well and sending you hugs xoxoxo

  4. My little boy just woke up cold. I tucked him back into bed. I gave him a ((HUG)) that is also meant for you. Words cannot express my sadness for you and your family. Blessings to Alice and all of you. xxoo

  5. Lori Schilling

    Praying for you and your family tonight. I am so sorry for this loss, for the hurt, the heartache. I’m praying that God will surround your family with His love – through family and friends who hold you tight and cry with you, and through the prayers of all whose lives you’ve touched, including those of us who only “know” you through this blog. Grace and peace to you, even in the midst of the pain.

  6. I am so sorry for your loss. When a person really leaves this earth, they leave a hole in our hearts, here’s hoping yours is quieted a bit with love.

  7. What a beautiful post for your dearly loved granddaughter, Deb. My heart goes out to you, your son and his family as they grieve for their daughter. No matter how certain you are that “down the road” is coming, it never truly prepares you for when it arrives. With love, S.

  8. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss Deb, you and your family are in my every thought and prayer during this difficult time…Xo

  9. I am so touched by this. Sending my sympathies and truly so sorry for your loss at this time Debra.

  10. My heart aches for you and your family. I am so deeply sorry for your loss. I’ll be thinking of you all.

  11. I have a young niece named Alice and just thinking about the hole she might leave makes my heart ache for all that you are going though. Sending love, and holding you in my heart.

  12. So very, very sorry. Holding you and your family in my heart tonight. And tomorrow.

  13. I’m so sorry to hear how things turned out but will pray for your family’s time together.

  14. Omygosh, this is the first I’m hearing of Alice. I’m so very sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you Deb. Big hugs. XO

  15. Sending sympathy and love from my end of the cosmos.

  16. I am so sorry for what you’re going through. Stumbled through your blog, and even if this is from me, whom you don’t know…my heartfelt prayers and kind thoughts for you and your family.

  17. Deb, our sincere condolences to you. Alice is in our thoughts.

  18. Debra, We are so sorry to hear of your loss. Thoughts, and warmth go out to you, during this difficult time.

  19. I am deeply sorry about Alice’s passing. Please know that Bill and myself are thinking about you with all our hearts. We love you.

  20. Deb, sending you the biggest, warmest hug in the universe.

  21. My heart goes out to you and The Professor, Deb. So very sorry for your loss.

  22. A beautiful post from an even more beautiful person. Alice is lucky to have such a family to love her. There’s nothing I can say except that I wish I could give you a real hug right now instead of a virtual one.

  23. Oh Deb. This has been a year of so much loss and I want you to know I’m walking along side you and praying for you as you and your family go through this. It is those that are left behind that often have it the hardest… Alice will no doubt be in total peace.

  24. I am so sorry Deb. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  25. I don’t know what to say to offer comfort. I only wish that I could give you a huge bear hug that lasts an hour. Alice seems to be a very brave girl and I wish her peace.

  26. i still plan to send every positive thought I can muster Alice’s way. So much love to all of you.

  27. I’m certain that Alice will indeed find a beautiful, warm, embracing & most comforting Peace upon arriving ‘home’. I’ll be praying for all of you who will be missing her so very deeply to be wrapped lovingly and held tight in those same sentiments.

    You’ll have a sweet angel watching over you.

    Much love.

  28. My eyes are filled with tears, I have a knot in my throat, and my heart absolutely aches for you. What an incredibly beautiful post. Prayers being sent up for you and your family.

  29. I’m so incredibly sorry. You’ll all be in my thoughts.

  30. Many {{{hugs}}}, Deb. You’re all in my thoughts.

  31. Alice is a strong girl! My prayers and wishes are with you and Alice and the family. Everything will be ok.

  32. I am so sorry for what you are going through right now Debra. Sending hugs and strength your way XOX

  33. We love you, Deb. You have such a way with words… I can’t imagine what your family is suffering, but please know that we are praying for you all.

  34. I am so sorry Debra. Much love.

  35. I’m so sorry. My thoughts and prayers will be with Alice and your family.

  36. Huge hugs and lots of strength being sent your way….

  37. Deb, I have no words… or any that make any sense to me right now. Just when I think I have this whole “life” thing figured out… well, it just reaches out and smacks me upside my head.
    My cousin’s son has been making some bad decisions as of late and I am planning on sharing Alice’s story with him…
    My prayers and my thoughts are with you and your family.

  38. Deb, I’m so sorry to hear about Alice. My thoughts are with you, the Professor and the rest of your family.

  39. I’m so very sorry about what you and your family are going through, Deb. I can only imagine how difficult this all must be, and I’m sending prayers & hugs your way. Thinking of you. xo

  40. I am sending you love. For you, for Alice, for your family. Pure and simple.

  41. You are heavy on so many hearts right how… this struggle is unimaginable. But yet, you are the picture of grace and love. So, so many prayers being lifted up to Heaven for you and your family…

    Blessings-
    Amanda

  42. Praying for you and your sweet family Deb. I love you!

  43. My heart is breaking for you Deb. I don’t know what to say other than that my prayers and good thoughts are with you and everyone who loves Alice. Farmgirl sized hugs to you!!!

    xoxo
    Heather

  44. Deb, my heart just hurts for you and your family. Alice is lucky to have such loving people in her life. I love ya, sweetie!

  45. Oh Deb! *HUGS*. I wish there was more I could do from California for you and your family. I’m keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers *HUGS*.

  46. Deb,

    My heart is with you and your family as you move through this time. Give her and each of your loved ones a hug and kiss as if there is no tomorrow, because we truly don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

  47. Oh gosh, Deb. My heart breaks for your family. I’m so sorry, but I’m glad we got to “meet” Alice. ♥ Sending prayers.

  48. I’m so very sorry, Deb. Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers. XOXO

  49. I’m so so so sorry Deb, I can’t even imagine the heart wrenching situation you are in or the emotions you are feeling right now. All I can say is my thoughts are with you and Alice and all of your family right now. You will get through this.

    A beautiful recipe, and I bet Alice would give it a little taste, just to make you happy.

  50. My heart is with you and Alice today, Deb. I wish I could give you a big tight hug right now.

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