We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Crock-Fermented Dill Pickles and May Roses

by Linda

               American households purchase pickles every 53 days.
               More than 67 percent of all households eat pickles.
               Americans consume more than 9 pounds of pickles per person annually.
                                                            —From ilovepickles.org

The Persian cucumbers are washed and ready to become crisp and delicious dill pickles.

   We girls are all pickle lovers from way back. This love of pickles was promoted by our dad, Paul, who has always loved fermented foods. He wrote to me last fall, after I published my post on making sauerkraut at home and shared with me how much he had loved sauerkraut as a boy. This passage from his letter delighted me:

"Grandma and grandpa Beaumont made wonderful kraut which they learned to do in Wisconsin.  Norman actually made a wooden shredding box that held knives made from flat files. He ground the files to a knife edge and secured them in the box. When a head of cabbage was pushed over the knife edges, it had the same effect as cutting with a knife but was much faster. They canned the kraut which probably wasn't good from a nutrition standpoint but it tasted great. As a kid, I would have chosen a bowl of their kraut over a bowl of ice cream. I absolutely loved the stuff. Callie was really good about giving me a bowl of kraut when I'd stop by (which was most every day)."

Our father, Paul, at Maddie's graduation party in May of 2015.
   I can picture him at as a boy in his grandparents' kitchen eating a big bowl of homemade sauerkraut. I wasn't in love with sauerkraut as kid (but then ours wasn't homemade, which makes all of the difference), however we all have always loved dill pickles, and we ate jar upon jar of them when we were girls.

   Now that it is late spring, baby cucumbers are finally arriving at the Whole Foods Market® where I work. I am particularly fond of the baby Persian cucumbers because they have thin skins and are never bitter. I thought I would make a batch today and enjoy the advent of my May roses, which are abundant in my yard right now. I love preparing food on a large wooden table in the middle of my garden, which this year is home to my first attempt at growing David Austin English rose varieties. They have bloomed abundantly, and their fragrance is subtle yet sumptuous. They layer the air with their sweet perfume while I work.

David Austin Rose—Lichfield Angel 
David Austin Rose—Lady of Shallot
   I feel so lucky to be enjoying a Friday off preparing food in my garden. They only thing that would make it any better was if my sisters were joining me later for a cocktail.

Crock-Fermented Dill Pickles

5L Fermentation crock

1.5 gallons filtered water
3/4 cup sun-dried sea salt (I use Eden brand French Celtic)

4 pounds baby Persian cucumbers or pickling cucumbers (4-6 inches long)
1.5 Tbsps whole black peppercorns
1.5 Tbsps red pepper flakes
3 large garlic cloves, smashed
1.5 tsps dill seed
1 very large bunch of fresh dill

Combine the salt and water in a large vessel. I used a stock pot. Stir until the salt has dissolved.
Rinse the cucumbers thoroughly and snip off the blossom end and stem as needed. Set aside.

Place the peppercorns, pepper flakes, garlic, dill seed and fresh dill into the bottom of the crock. Add the cucumbers to the crock on top of the aromatic herbs. Pour the brine mixture over the cucumbers and completely cover with the liquid.

Set the crock stones on top of the cumbers and make sure that the brine rises above the crock stones. Place the lid on the crock, and set it in a cool and dry place. Fill the crock channel with filtered water to provide and air-tight seal. Refill as water evaporates from it.

The fermentation is complete when the places taste sour and the bubbles from fermentation have stopped rising—the fermentation time is approximately 7-10 days depending on the ambient temperature. When the pickles are sour, place in jars or tubs with the bringing liquid. Store for up to 3 months in the refrigerator. If the pickles should become soft or begin to take on an off odor, this is a sign of spoilage and they should be composted.

"One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today." — Dale Carnegie

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day — Shooting Star

by Linda

"Whenever I meet with our Gold Star families, like I did this morning, I hear their pride through their tears, as they flip through old photos and run their fingers over shiny medals. I see that their hearts are still broken, and yet still full of love. They do not ask for awards or honors. They do not ask for special treatment. They are unfailingly humble. In the face of unspeakable loss, they represent the best of who we are." — President Obama ~ May 2015

Joshua T.—United States Army Special Forces—12-03-1978 to 01-16-2009
Operation Enduring Freedom
   Included in this post is a letter that I wrote about my son Joshua six years ago. As you may or may not know, in January of 2009 Joshua died when he was serving with the Special Forces of the United States Army on his second deployment in Afghanistan. The letter that I wrote includes a beautiful and inspirational letter to me from my friend, Cindi, who wrote to me while I was staying in Solvang with our family—waiting for Joshua's body to be sent back from Afghanistan. The process took the better part of two weeks culminating in his military funeral which was a terrible ordeal for the whole family. I end my letter with a description and revelation that I had during a trip to the doctor. I had some serious health issues right after Josh died. Months later I would discover that my illness was brought about from the grief and stress I experienced from the trauma of his death. It has taken me six long years to be ready to publish my letter, and my purpose and hope in sharing it this Memorial Day, is that by making it available to all—it might help someone who is suffering from a traumatic loss. Especially the loss of a child.

April 17, 2009

Dearest Family and Friends,
   My friend, Cindi, is a veteran and we worked together for several years. She recently wrote me a most insightful and eloquent letter just after Joshua's death in response to one that I sent to her. The background is that Cindi's beautiful 21-year-old daughter was killed in an accident while riding on the back of her boyfriend's motorcycle. She was thrown from the bike and she died on impact. It will be three years this June since the devastating crash. Vanessa's death hit me so very hard. Joshua had just been deployed again to Afghanistan, and the one thing in life that I was sure that I could never deal with was the death of either of my children. I cried for weeks over Vanessa's death, and she wasn't even my own child—but somehow she symbolized my child, and I loved her mother. Cindi was the example that I wanted to emulate if anything like this should ever happen to me, God forbid. Cindi is a beautiful person inside and out, and she seemed to me like a flower with an oak growing inside of her—delicate but so strong. After Vanessa's death, Cindi unimaginably still glowed from within, and she loved to talk about her beautiful girl, even though the tears would inevitably start flowing when she spoke of her.

   When we received the devastating news about Joshua, I wrote her a letter in the first week looking for solace. I was reeling. In return, she sent me this letter in response to my reaching out to her just a few days later.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hi Linda,
You have been on my mind constantly and even when I dream. I don't know when the memorial for your son is or when you will get back in town, but I wanted to send you my thoughts as soon as possible.  Thank you for the loving words you sent my way. I feel so honored that you would think of me during a time like this and draw strength from my experience. I remember drawing strength from your experience you shared with me about your sister as well. I would like you to know that I am honored by your son's 
life and sacrifice to our country. I take my freedom less for granted today because of him.  I have never known anyone personally who died in a war, so this brings the war so much closer to my doorstep. 
   We are all grieving with you over your loss, for I know it is without boundaries. I realized after Vanessa went to her new life that I would look at life and after-life totally different than I used to. Somehow she opened up a new portal to me. I know we are only separated by mere vision and dimension and that as fast as life is, we will be together again soon.  I know without a doubt that the only thing we take from this life to the next is love, and so death is not an end, in fact I don't even call it that anymore. Our beloved children are in the arms of love right now and are happier than we can ever imagine. It is so important to let yourself grieve as often and as deeply as you need to. I find I need to cry my eyes out often and go all the way down with my sorrow. Then I start thinking about how happy Vanessa is and that she is still with me. I was told by several authorities on the subject that she is actually near me and protecting me and caring for me from the other side. I really believe this. I only can pick up myself by holding onto this perspective. 
   I realize more than ever how very temporarily we are here and Vanessa has taught me to live each day with all my heart, never neglecting an opportunity to love those in my path. The most important thing to avoid is regrets right now.  Joshua would only want you to know he understands everything from where he is and doesn't want anyone to feel bad about anything. Regrets and guilt can plague your transition into acceptance and peace. I have watched everyone in my family go through this and it really made them suffer twice as much. I have seen grief bring up other underlying sorrows that people were carrying. Sometimes it was hard to get everyone to just focus on Vanessa. But I know this is a very personal journey—and believe me— Joshua will help you go through it. He will come to you in many little ways and let you know he's near. I only wish I could have known him. 
   I hope sometime you can show me pictures and tell me all about him. He will always be there cheering you on to your finish line, Linda. He will give you courage to face all the obstacles in your path and help you live better than you ever did before. We are so blessed to have such wonderful children, if only for a short time.  Love you—and hope to see you soon. 
Love always, Cindi

Joshua in Fort Bragg, North Carolina on the day he won his green beret.
   When I received Cindi's letter I was so very deep in the pit of grief I couldn't even conceive of how Joshua might "speak to me", but just a few short weeks later, I found myself in the doctor's office one afternoon just after Joshua's death, feeling like I was going to collapse. I thought to myself, "Why am I so sick? God, this has truly has been an awful year and it's only just beginning!" Honestly, I was in the frame of mind that I didn't really care if I died, but Michelle would have none of my protestations and forced me to go to the doctor from afar. So it was while waiting for the doctor and feeling very sorry for myself that I heard Joshua's voice in my ear, "Self-pity is for losers, Mom". I stared harshly at Winnie the Pooh and Piglet on the wall (evidently I have been put in the "nursery") and I was feeling annoyed by the Disney motif. Just then, the nurse named Jenny came into the room and announces to me that she needs me to change to another room. I feel grateful for that at least. As I seat myself in the new room on the weird little examining table with the crinkly paper under me, I am intrigued by a beautiful photo on the wall to my left. The photo is of oaks and of beautiful wildflowers that look vaguely like cyclamen. I think to myself that it looks like home, but I am so far from home... how could it possibly be? I keep looking at the photo—it is a numbered print, and the title of the photograph is scrawled in a beautiful but tiny script which I can't read. 

Joshua—12-03-1978 to 01-16-2009—SSG US Army, Operation Enduring Freedom—
Photo courtesy of the Santa Barbara News-Press.
   One of Joshua's very favorite places in the world is Figueroa Mountain in the Santa Ynez Valley where I took them as boys. He loved to go there with his dog, Walker, and his friends, and he camped there often when he was old enough. We have always loved the place as long as I can remember. I can visualize like it was yesterday, driving with Jordan and Joshua in the first week that we got our very first new car—ever! The boys were about five and our life before that day was a series of clunkers—which means breaking down at any time. We did not have a reliable vehicle with which to go to the mountains. Our brand new car was a blue hatchback Honda Civic, and I belted the boys in the back seat, and we took off for the mountain. We drove up the winding road, and we stopped at the summit, where I let the boys play. We collected a bagful of pine cones before we headed home. I remember posing the boys in a huge bunch of yellow lupines for a photo before heading back home down the dusty dirt road.

Linda with Jordan and Joshua on Figueroa Mountain in the
Santa Ynez Valley. Photo courtesy of Ron Levy.
   When Joshua died, instead of going with my family to the beach on the day before his service, I drove up to Figueroa Mountain. I stopped all along the way to collect plants for a bouquet for his coffin. He was buried with oak, pine, mistletoe, white sage, mountain laurel, Toyon berry and a nice fat chunk of serpentine rock that I collected that day from the mountain as I paid homage to the sacred plants and my son who loved them and that beautiful mountain.

Josh and his dog, Walker, who was a wolf-hybrid.
   Meanwhile back at the doctor's office, as I sit, I am straining to read the script on the bottom of the photo, and even with my glasses on I have to lean closer and squint to try and read what is written at the bottom. I don't want to get up as I am covered from the waist down with one of those flimsy paper drapes.

"He will always be there cheering you on to your
finish line, Linda. He will give you courage
to face all the obstacles in your path and help you live
better than you ever did before."

   As I strain to read the words on the bottom of the photo, they gradually come into focus. I read:

"Shooting Stars, Figueroa Mountain, Santa Barbara, County— California"

   Tears welled up in my eyes, but I realized in a sudden flash of soul-piercing truth, that this was the message that I had been seeking from Joshua. He was indeed a shooting star who was part of that mountain. I knew in that instant that somehow I would find the strength inside myself to heal, and with the love of my family and friends I would manage to keep on keeping on. 
   And I have, and we have, and you can, too.

You belong among the wildflowers
You belong somewhere close to me
Far away from your trouble and worry
You belong somewhere you feel free
                —Tom Petty, Wildflowers

Linda and her son, Joshua in October of 2005. This was photographed on the pier in Cayucos, CA.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Boneless and Breaded Chicken Breasts — How Do I Love Thee? Even More When Thou Art Gluten-Free!

by Michelle

"First we eat, then we do everything else." M.F.K. Fisher

   Precooked Breaded Chicken is the darling of the frozen section of the grocery store. You know why? Those tasty morsels are frickin' delicious. Especially when the little guys are paired with Ranch Dressing. In addition, I particularly like to amp up the flavor quotient by drizzling on a mighty dose of Frank's Redhot® Buffalo Wing Sauce (for a spicy kick right in the taste buds). Being gluten-free, and liking to be very choosy about the chicken that I buy because most commercial chicken is filled with added hormones and antibiotics—I always make my own at home.

One of my all-time favorite sandwiches, The Buffalo Chicken is absolutely 
finger lickin' good. Canyon Bakehouse® gluten-free buns are a great choice. 
Frank's Redhot® Buffalo Wing Sauce is gluten-fee and Paleo-friendly.
   In my book, Chicken Caesar Salad is a contender for the best salad of all time. On a weekly basis, I either make it at home for a quick dinner or order it for lunch. The famous salad is particularly tasty when warm slices of breaded chicken are splayed over the top.
   And, don't even get me started on Chicken Parmigiana served atop a swirl of marinara coated spaghetti and garnished with a chiffonade of basil. To. Die. For.

Crave-worthy Chicken Parmigiana in Michelle World has a slice of Prosciutto nestled 
underneath the melted mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
Breaded Chicken Breasts are the basis for Chicken Piccata

   Invariably Linda and I find that the best time to catch-up with each other is when we're preparing dinner. We will both have our speaker phone setting on as we move through our normal kitchen activities of preparing a meal from scratch. Interspersed with our chatter, we can often hear the action of the knife blade on the cutting board, a block of cheese moving across the teeth of the grater, or something sizzling in a pan. We feel lucky that even if we can't be in the same kitchen at the same time, we are still sharing our love of cooking together on a frequent basis because this much we know is true— True friendship isn't about being inseparable, its about being separated and nothing ever changes.

From left to right: Juliette, Linda and Michelle—Photo taken by Fernando Serrano
A weeknight staple at our house—my gluten-free Chicken Caesar Salad.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Life-Changing Nut and Seed Bread aka "Bread Regular"

by Linda
Photos by Linda and Michelle

"You are all made of real poop." —Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank and Related Readings

   If I should ever decide to get back into the baking business again, I think I would open a shop where the bread recipe that we are sharing today would be the star of the show, and I would name my bakery Life-Changing Bread. While that may seem like a hyperbolic claim, Michelle and I have found that this bread actually has changed our lives for the better.
   No one enjoys discussing the topic that I am about to broach, however, for almost 25 years now, I have been working in the vitamin and supplement aisles of California talking to people about health and nutrition. A problem/question that comes up frequently—as in every single day—with my customers is how to make pooping a non-issue? How does one have regular bowel movements, and how does one have the poop just slide on out without effort (hemorrhoids are are also a frequent topic and not just by pregnant women)? In my experience, most people are reluctant to admit that they are having difficulty going #2, in spite of knowing that pooping is a natural and necessary part of having a healthy body. Everyone poops and everyone must poop or die. Prune juice simply is not taking care of the problem for the majority of people who suffer from chronic constipation. Each year Americans spend more than $700 million on laxatives.

   Hence, we all know that we need fiber, but fiber supplements are problematic, and the topic of fiber supplementation is somewhat a controversial one. We all know that we need it, but in what forms, how much, and when? Chris Kresser, M.S., La.C is one of my favorite sources for nutritional information. In his article, Myths and Truths About Fiber, Chris addresses the conundrum of how to get fiber, and shares some of the growing research about fiber. More isn't necessarily better, and sources of fiber are important.
   Years ago I helped develop a bread recipe at the hotel where I worked as the pastry chef. The bread became hugely popular with the guests, and they would frequently buy loaves to take home. Later I would bring the bread recipe to a bakery/cafe that is now defunct in Solvang, California, which is primarily a tourist town. I began shipping bread to different parts of the country, so that folks could have my Grain and Seed Bread (dubbed Bread Regular by my brother-in-law, Jay—I will let you put two and two together). I am including this recipe also, but I no longer make it because I stopped eating gluten-containing foods over three years ago, and overall I feel much the better for it—less asthma, allergies and congestion. The heartburn that I was starting to have regularly vanished. However if you still eat wheat, this is yeasted-version and is more akin to what most people think of as bread. Sadly I have found that the gluten-free breads that are available commercially are not full of fiber, but are made from various starches. In other words, not very healthy for you, nor do they have much flavor.

   Recently Michelle and I found this gluten-free bread recipe featured in a blog post. The bread is full of nuts and seeds with the addition of gluten-free oats—fiber galore, and it uses coconut oil as the fat. Awesome! Michelle made it first and happily reported that not only was it delicious, but it had the same effect as my old Bread Regular. I decided to bake it immediately on her recommendation, and I have to say that ever since I have a toasted slice in the morning with some almond butter, and from then on I am not thinking about you know what—at all... except during the sixty seconds it takes to get my business done and then get on with my day. If pooping is something that you would like to think less about, as is the case for many adults and children, you are going to want to bake this bread for yourself and your family. Toast up a slice and have with tea or coffee in the morning, and getting your fiber for the day will be a tasty treat, and not an onerous chore. This bread makes great toast and is also perfect for open-faced sandwiches. #pooplikeachamp 

Life-Changing Gluten-Free Nut and Seed Bread (Our New "Bread Regular")

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Garden of the Gods and Castle Rock's Old Stone Church Restaurant

My Traveling Tales by Michelle

   "Love easily confuses us because it is always in flux between illusion and substance, between memory and wish, between contentment and need." 
                                                                                             —Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get The Blues

Garden of the Gods is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
   I have reached the age where I can look back over the course of many years and try to consciously examine the relationships I have had with friends who have come and gone from my life. While friends may come and go, my sisters and I remain close. In fact, as time marches on, our bond continues to get stronger. We sisters tell each other the truth and we hold each other accountable. We also kick up our heels together and tease each other. We're each other's mirror and we reflect what needs to be seen, both the good and the not so good. We all have work to do on ourselves. No one points that out faster than a sibling or a spouse. Friends, on the other hand, seem to come in and out of my life and tend to need more subtle discourse than the rather blunt conversations I enjoy with my sisters.

Perhaps the park should be renamed Garden of the Goddesses
for yours truly (on the left) and my dear friend Stephanie.
   One of my favorite authors, Tom Robbins, wrote an entire book examining the question, "What makes love stay?" This is one of my favorite quotes from Still Life With Woodpecker:
  “When two people meet and fall in love, there's a sudden rush of magic. Magic is just naturally present then. We tend to feed on that gratuitous magic without striving to make any more. One day we wake up and find that the magic is gone. We hustle to get it back, but by then it's usually too late, we've used it up. What we have to do is work like hell at making additional magic right from the start. It's hard work, but if we can remember to do it, we greatly improve our chances of making love stay.” 

   I met my friend Stephanie thirteen years ago when my family moved from Northern California to Tucson. Stephanie, her husband and young daughter lived in the home next door to our house. In other words, we were neighbors. My first memory of Stephanie was of her slender pregnant form, sitting on the ground in her front yard, picking weeds. I walked up to say hello and that's all it took. We've been friends since that day.
  My daughter Maddie celebrated her fifth birthday shortly after our arrival in Tucson. Stephanie and I were talking on the phone recently and we both marveled that Maddie will be graduating from high school next month. Over the thirteen years that we've been friends, our families have known both happiness and heartache, and we've done our best to support each other while we walk along life's rocky path. What's made our friendship stay when so many others haven't?

   I have noticed in my forty-something years on this planet, that most relationships don't survive distance. Relationships need consistent nurturing which is more easily accomplished through proximity. When my daughter, Maddie and I returned to California for one year to support my sister Linda while she was grieving the death of her son, Joshua, I found that a close friendship that I had enjoyed for ten years—despite its ups and downs—would come to an end. And, although my friend and I tried to keep our strained friendship alive and even revive it when Maddie and I returned to Tucson—to my disappointment our friendship did not last. By the time we tried to discuss our differences, there was too much water under the bridge, as the saying goes, and a dispassionate current swept away what little remained of our relationship. I always feel a little melancholy when I think of her, and then I recall another Tom Robbins quote that is our sister Juliette's favorite, "It is what it is, you are what you it, there are no mistakes."
   While one long-term relationship slowly withered and then died, my friend Stephanie and I continued to grow closer. It wasn't long after I had returned to Tucson that Stephanie shared with me that she and her family would be relocating to Colorado. It was a sliding doors moment. I returned and she departed. There goes my dearest friend, I thought. Life won't be the same. And it is not. I miss her deeply. Life morphs and changes and hopefully we resolutely continue to support each other along life's journey regardless of whether we are near or far.

#iPhonePhoto #nofilter
   Last year when I discovered that I would be visiting Denver in February for a trade show, the first call I made was to Stephanie. The prospect of spending a couple of days with my dearest friend and her family made my heart sing. I patiently counted down the months until we'd be together again. In the meantime Stephanie made plans. On the itinerary, Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs made the cut as well as a tour of downtown Castle Rock and a special lunch at one of Stephanie's favorite places to eat, a quaint old stone church turned restaurant. I would also have the opportunity to watch Stephanie's eldest daughter ride her horse at a jumping lesson. We'd share family meals. We'd talk and laugh and have time just to be together. I could hardly wait.
   My trip happened to fall over Valentine's Day. Stephanie's youngest daughter, with whom she was pregnant when we first met, helped her dad make a breakfast of pancakes, eggs and sausages. I can't tell you how much I love to watch other people cook, so it was great fun for me to be seated at a bar stool that overlooks the cooking range and see the father-daughter duo companionably doing their thing while I sipped a latté and admired the bouquet that was waiting for me when I arose. Talk about five star bed and breakfast accommodations!

A stylized portrait of my Valentine's Day bouquet.
   I think a lot about interpersonal relationships. Over the course of my life, I have gained so much from failed relationships that did not, for various reasons, stand the test of time. These are people that I loved deeply for a time and then we let each other go. We couldn't make love last. Yet, I have an unbreakable bond with my sisters that has been tested throughout the years. We have not and will not let each other go—ever. There have been times when we have been so angry with each other that we did not speak for nearly a year, but we overcame our differences and are stronger for it. In a similar vein, I've been married for 24 years. Like any marriage, we've experienced our ups and downs. But, we overcome our differences and are stronger for it. Why can't it be the same way with friends that we've been close to for years? Why can't we overcome our differences and be the stronger for it?

The Barn offers shoppers an amazing mix of specialty items
and antiques along with upcycled and recycled finds. 
   I suppose I think a lot about long-lasting relationships because my daughter is an only child. She has no sisters that will be there to pat her on the head or to kick her in the ass, or both simultaneously, depending upon what's needed. I had hoped that her early childhood friends would be like her sisters, but that was not to be. They all parted in middle school and went in separate directions. My continuing hope is that college will bond her to friends that will last throughout her life. Maddie also has her lovely cousins with whom I hope she will enjoy close familial ties over the long haul. Because I think that's what we need, people we can depend upon for the long run. They have your back. They're resolute. Folks with whom you can disagree and then get beyond the argument to find new common ground. And, then get on with the business of living. Together. Happy for each other. Supportive.

The Barn is a conglomerate of shops  similar to an antique mall 
located in downtown Castle Rock, Colorado. 
   I have many acquaintances and few friends. I only need a few friends though, when I have a friend like Stephanie who is kind, honest and supportive. I especially admire her strength of character. And, to my point about my sisters, Stephanie kicked me in the derrière once and we got beyond it. She was right and I was wrong. Maybe that's what makes love stay; admitting when you are wrong and then offering an apology—at least it's a good place to start. My sincere apology to Stephanie got us back to playing card games, discussing art and sharing laughter. As an added benefit, Stephanie is an amazing artist, and I have her artwork displayed throughout my house. Her gifts to me of her are are constant reminders of her whenever my eyes rest upon one of the intricately crafted pieces she poured her creativity and love into. At this point in our relationship, after our years together, and supporting each other through our crazy lives, I think of her as my sister. Thank you, Stephanie, for all the love you've given me since the day we met. Let's make love stay. I'm playing for keeps.

The gorgeous stained glass windows are gaze-worthy at The Old Stone Church Restaurant.
Chimichurri Dressing by The Old Stone Church Restaurant
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