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this day in may

The first of May is such a happy day. It ushers in a good mood. People make plans. Plants are having sex (hence all of the flowers). Hummingbirds appear around our house. The first of every month, Jeremy tells me he’s glad he met me. Well, he tells me that all the time, but it’s always special.

the world opens up

Anyone who has followed use real butter for more than a year might recall that today is the anniversary of my sister’s unexpected passing. It’s been five years and I still miss her. She was my best friend. That makes May 1 sort of bittersweet.

kris and my nephew (photo by elena yang)

My last words to Kris were, “I love you too.” That is how we always ended a conversation. Always. I suggest you let the people dear to you know that you love them. Today. Perhaps now if you’re so inclined. If you can tell them every day, that is even better. xxoo

45 nibbles at “this day in may”

  1. Manggy says:

    I’ve read about Kris a few times here at URB by now, but I think that’s the first time you told us about how you ended conversations. Fresh wave of touched tears from me. Obviously this isn’t as significant as Jeremy’s but I’m glad I met you too :)

    Huh, for a while there I thought it was people having sex and plants making plans. I’ll be very afraid when that happens. Plants are pissed!

  2. Lindsey says:

    I haven’t been following you for a year quite yet, so this is the first time I heard about your sister, and I’m glad you shared. My mom started to end all her conversations with “I love you” after my grandfather somewhat suddenly passed away in March. Life is far too short not to let the people in your lives know you love them, and I was lucky enough to be able to tell my grandfather so before he died.

  3. Karen B says:

    Thank you for a beautiful reminder of how precious life is! Today is my husband and I’s 10th anniversary, and my whole family is coming over tonight to celebrate (thanks to my 4- and 6-year old kids who like to plan a big party!) It’s a good day to be thankful for family, and to let them know.

  4. Kim says:

    Hi Jen — You may not remember me but I worked with your Mom. I have followed your websites over the years and found true enjoyment in viewing your photographs and trying your recipes. I agree that we all should remember how short life is and to remember to tell the ones that we hold dear that we love them. Please now that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers on this difficult anniversary. Take care!

  5. Rosa says:

    That tulip picture is awesomely beautiful!



  6. Manisha says:


  7. Bridget says:

    You do always say the most beautiful things on May 1st. Hugs to you.

  8. charlane says:


  9. Eesh says:

    Big hug.

  10. Debbie says:

    I’ve been following you for a little over a year now and I remember when you posted about your sister last year. Life is too short. I always end my conversations with my sons telling them I love them…..

  11. Jessica says:

    What a beautiful picture of your sister. I hope this day is full of rest and sweet memories. :)

  12. Collette says:

    Thank you for the reminder and thank you for sharing a little bit of your sister with us. And that Jeremy? Definitely a keeper! ;-)

  13. Fiona says:

    Your love for your sister is really beautiful.

  14. rose says:

    Jen, my sister and I are so inseparably close I cannot imagine my life without her. Thank you for reminding us all to love those here a little bit more. Enjoy your memories and may your heart be at peace.

  15. SallyBR says:

    What a beautiful photo of your sister and your nephew…

    bittersweet times indeed.

    thank you for yet another touching post

  16. Christina says:

    I’m a newbie to your site but love everything you write & photograph. I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s so tragic that she was so young & it was unexpected. Life really is too short & it reminds everyone that we shouldn’t take anyone for granted. Thanks for sharing something so personal for all of us. It’s a good reminder to be grateful for all that we have, especially those we hold dear to our hearts. :)

  17. Lezel Safi says:

    Unfortunately I too am all to familiar with the completely suck ass feeling of the unexpected loss of your only sibling….Thinking of you today.

  18. bron says:

    You are such a beautiful person Jen, each and every post, photograph confirms it!
    Thanks for sharing so much of that with us and take care of you xxx

  19. jie says:

    your last words to her will be with her all the time. she never leave, she will be there with everyone in the family. Maybe you can’t see her. But, Love will always bring everyone together. XXOO

  20. Rashmi says:

    heart touching post….reminds of how precious life is…..thanks for sharing…and virtual hug…

  21. Irene says:

    My sister and I always end conversations that way too. I’m sorry for your loss, very much. Sisters are so precious.

  22. Laura says:

    My sister is my best friend as well–your posts about your sister always make me cry. My family never used to say I love you–until I almost died about 15 years ago (epilepsy, brain tumor, yada yada, am better now but will always have epilepsy, is just inactive) and now we say it religiously. I think it’s sad it took that for it to happen–I tell my daughters I love them every day, every hour, every chance I get.

    I thought you were going to say people having sex too. :) But plants making plans did not occur to me!

  23. Kristin says:

    Thank you for sharing with us about Kris. I was just wishing the other day for an update on her children. Sending lots of love & good thoughts your way.

  24. Tartelette says:


    I just don’t know what else to say, much like when people tell me they are sorry about Thierry. I usually stare at my feet. So, staring at my feet, allow me to say “love you too”…

  25. Caitlin says:

    You know what? I needed that reminder. The reminder to slow down, appreciate life, and appreciate what really matters. Not work, not annoying people – my family, my friends, and the bright blue, amazingly clear sky on a sunny 60* day in May. Breathe in, breathe out.

  26. Margie says:

    Peace, hope, and love to you, Jenzie.

    This is a beautiful tribute to your sister.

    May you be continually inspired by her spirit.

  27. Mrs Ergül says:

    All too often, people get too carried away with life and we forget about the the really small things which are the most important…

    This photo of Kris and her boy is beautiful. *hugs*

  28. Sil BsAs says:

    I lost my mom 17 months ago and always remember our last conversation in which I told her how proud I was of having her as a mom and how much I loved her.
    It’s hard, for me, even harder with time, but I’m in peace ’cause I told her so.
    Big hug.

  29. bee says:

    i am so sorry, dear jen. what you shared and lost was indeed precious. wish you strength and peace.

  30. Kitt says:

    Yes. Peace, Jen.

  31. Lori says:

    She is beautiful Jen. A beautiful, happy photo filled with love. We can not ask for anything more really.

  32. Lori says:

    On second thought we can ask for more, more time with those we love. My heart goes out to you. I do love how you eat life and cherish all around you. It shows.

  33. Mary Abrams says:

    I lost my Mother on April 15, 1985 (double trouble). We were very close and I am grateful that I spent time with her at least once a week, and we spoke on the phone often. I cherish those times together and they have helped me through the years…I still miss her.

  34. cindy says:

    you are a strong lady jen and so very awesome for always commemorating your sis.

  35. Lisa says:

    I always love you and Kris. May 1st is a difficult day for me and I miss Kris a lot.

  36. Pearl says:

    I first started following your blog after reading about Kris. I was touched by your close relationship – not just because she’s your sister, but because she was also your friend. I’m so glad that you are able to vividly cherish those memories you have with her. :)

  37. Mollie says:

    more good advice from one of my favorite sources for it…

    MUCH love to you my friend…

  38. Tracy says:

    My condolences about your sister. I just started reading Use Real Butter a couple months ago.

    I tell my husband I love him EVERY time he goes to work.

  39. Melissa says:

    Having lost my dad, my first best friend, so suddenly, I am always always sure to end conversations the way I would want them to be remembered. It’s the only way to live.

    I know how much you loved your sister. And I know that yesterday must have been tumultuous in your head. I love you Jen, your spirit, your kindness, your food, your humor… and so I feel sure your sister was just as wonderful a soul. I can only imagine. Many hugs to you.

  40. Madeline says:

    Bittersweet indeed…my sister passed away a little more than a year ago and I still can’t believe it. I miss her very much. I’m so sorry for your loss. Lovely post…always so important to appreciate our loved ones.

  41. Y says:

    A beautiful post, and an apt reminder – I’m sure I don’t say it often enough to my sister.

  42. jaden says:

    honey, I love YOU!

    yes, bittersweet…

  43. Lisa says:


  44. Maja says:

    <3 <3 <3

  45. jenyu says:

    Dear everyone – thanks for such warm and sweet sentiments. I really appreciate the caring community among the readership. I hope you were all able (and still able) to get out and let your loved ones know how special they are to you. You, of course, are very special to me :) xxoo

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