Behind their yard, my grandparents grew a vegetable garden. My grandfather would plant rows and rows of all types of vegetables and they grew like weeds, thanks to the love and care that he gave them. I’ve never seen such a massive vegetable garden. My grandfather would send home anyone who visited with a basketful of the freshest vegetables. Toward the end of the vegetable season in New York, he would grow pumpkins.

Every year, a few weeks before Halloween, all of the cousins – dozens and dozens! – would venture over to my grandfather’s house and pick out their absolute favorite pumpkin. The one that would be theirs this year. There were dozens upon dozens of pumpkins to choose from; more than enough for everyone. But there was always that one…the one that we each knew was perfect for us because we were able to pick it out ourselves.

I remember running amongst the rows of pumpkins, determined to find the one that I loved the most. Sometimes it was small and round, other times it was fat and heavy. I would move it around in the dirt to see if it had any imperfections. I would try to lift it and it would take all of my might to pick it up – and it wasn’t even done growing yet! Once I was convinced that I found the perfect pumpkin, the one that was just right for me, I would let my grandfather know. He would pull out his pocket knife and carve my name in it. Not too deep, as to pierce through the pumpkin, but just enough for my name to be visible. Over the next few weeks, the fresh carving would start to heal and the pumpkin would continue to grow with it.

When it was time to start carving our pumpkins for Halloween, my sisters and I would return to the vegetable garden. We would run through the pumpkins once again, past the names of all our cousins etched into the bright orange skin, trying to remember exactly where our perfect pumpkin sat. By this time, our names had become a part of the pumpkin. No longer an open wound but instead a brown scar, healed by time.

Today, we cut open one of the pumpkins from our hayride (late, I know). We scooped out all of the seeds and set them out to dry overnight to bake tomorrow. The other pumpkins? They’ll be placed out on the side of the house to decompose, with the hope of growing new pumpkins next year. Perhaps one that is just right for Jacob’s name.



My cousin once met us at the beach for a day trip and upon seeing us unload our bag filled with the beach necessities, she smiled and said “You’re beach people, huh?”  We hadn’t thought of ourselves as beach people at the time but we were.  Our bag is packed and ready for the beach at all times, so we can grab and go when able.  After getting engaged, we knew that our wedding would take place on the beach because it is our happy place.

The morning of our wedding, Joe and I both woke up early and separated to begin the wedding festivities.  I joined my big sister and her family on the pool deck, which overlooked the ocean, and watched the sun rise.  The sky slowly filled with incredible variations of pink, orange and red. What began as a sliver rising from the ocean, turned into a large, round sun that shined bright and seemed to cover half of the horizon.  I sat in awe as I marveled in its perfect beauty.

While I sat and watched the sun rise, Joe went surfing.  He paddled out past where the waves crashed and waited for the perfect time.  Sitting amongst the waves, he heard a splash and looked over.  There was a pod of dolphins swimming next to him – one within an arms reach.  They played and splashed and seemed not to notice Joe, though he sat in awe at their perfect beauty.

Our wedding day flew by.  It was filled with love, laughter and happy tears shared with family and friends.  We committed ourselves to a lifetime of love, through sickness and health.  When I think back over what the last 5 years have brought, I see the perfect beauty of it all – the perfect beauty that is us.  We have built a strong, indestructible bond throughout this marriage that continues to strengthen each day.  While we did not anticipate this disease attacking our family, we are strong and will continue to strengthen throughout this fight.  We will beat this, together, and continue in the perfect beauty that is our love.

Goodbye, queen

When we purchased our home, one of the cool things about it was the queen palm in front of the bay window. It was massive, rising high above our house, and it was beautiful.  Every year the palm fronds need to be trimmed. We usually time this right around when the seed pods begin to form because once the pods grow, they are quite heavy and drop onto our roof and yard. Each time they fall, they bang loudly and roll down the roof. It’s rather annoying all day but we also worry about the potential damage to the roof.  With everything happening recently, we didn’t have the tree cut like we normally do so the pods are fully formed and the seeds have been dropping on the house. This time, my husband pointed out a rotten smell around the tree as well, which we associated with the seeds, although we don’t remember the smell in years past.

There is a lot of construction being done on our road and many of the trees around our house have had limbs broken by the equipment moving around. This made me a little nervous because I didn’t know if that caused harm to the trees. I don’t want the trees to start dieing and become a risk of falling.

Yesterday we had a tree company come out to trim everything back and ensure they are all safe and healthy. When the arborist looked at the queen palm prior to trimming it, he called to let us know that the tree is rotting. The smell was coming from the pods.   The tree would be dead in 3 months.

Three. Months.

This tree, which weighs thousands of pounds, could have fallen directly on our house if it wasn’t taken down.

Funny how things work out sometimes, isn’t it? A little tree damage from construction prompted us to call about our trees and it ended up raising a bigger issue that could have been disastrous.

Have you experienced a time where you happened to follow a certain path, that ended up being a blessing in disguise?