Posts tagged ‘family’

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 21,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 5 fully loaded ships.

In 2010, there were 17 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 169 posts. There were 17 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 16mb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was January 25th with 137 views. The most popular post that day was Food for Goofs.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were glutenfreehomemaker.com, networkedblogs.com, fireandsalt.blogspot.com, blogschmogme.wordpress.com, and thewholegang.org.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for gluten free white sauce, gluten free breakfast casserole, slime, rose, and gluten free noodles.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Food for Goofs February 2009
11 comments

2

Xanthan Gum vs. Guar Gum April 2009
24 comments

3

No Noodle Lasagna Recipe January 2009
14 comments

4

Borrowed Breakfast Idea – Gluten Free Breakfast Casserole February 2010
6 comments

5

Green smoothie pants and still smiling. April 2009
16 comments

January 2, 2011 at 12:22 pm Leave a comment

Going going- I’ll be back!

Okay so it is snowing today and I’m feeling a bit humbug.

I will be back though. I’ve got a few ideas/ recipes to share but at the moment they are stuck on the hard drive of a rogue computer. Grrr!

Until then come visit me at Blog Schmog. Submit your adventures in turning lemons into lemonade on Friday for Fu-get ABout it Fridays (F.A.B.)! Fab in the “Fabulous I’m getting another cup of coffee before I tie myself to a rocket headed for the moon” kind of Friday. Is anyone out there that can relate? Its where moms, grandmas, dad’s, grads (anyone really) unite to laugh in the face of permanent marker art and mom jeans!FabF1

October 29, 2009 at 11:16 am Leave a comment

I’m a Reading Rainbow

I did finally get to read to my neighbor.  It was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.

My friend whom I met with in regard to God’s harebrained plan about reading to her husband the doctor, was glad to see me and optimistic about our arrangement.  Unfortunately her husband had fallen asleep and she was not able to readily wake him so instead of introducing us she left me with her eleven year old daughter while taking her other kids to youth group.

Waiting made my anxiety worse.  My husband had asked earlier in the day if I was nervous and at that time I was not, even when I showed up I was not but sitting there I began to entertain my reservations.

What will he think of this crazy plan?  Will he think I intend to evangelize him without compassion.  I bet he is wondering if whatever I have planned will allow him yet another chance to sleep or let his thoughts wander.

I chatted with my heart in my throat, nervous about what to do if he woke.  At last we heard him coughing in the other room and that darling little girl got up and ran into his room exclaiming, “Good morning, sleeping beauty!”

It was actually six at night!

“Do you wanna meet a new friend?” she exclaimed and beckoned with her hand for me to enter.

Thank you Lord! 

I had been so nervous about how to approach him and yet this lovely little girl had taking away all tension with her plucky introduction.

Lord, help me not to talk down to him, help my conversation to be comfortable and respectful.  Lord give me the right words so that I don’t pity him but that your love shows through me and your hope is evident without my having to preach at him.  Jane and I want so badly for him to learn to trust you, help me to understand your timing.

She left us alone and I sat beside his bed and began to explain why I had chosen the book that I did.  Despite the fact that God clearly directed me to read House, by Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti, I had many other reasons for agreeing with Him and I shared those. 🙂

As I spoke I took in a couple quick glances at the pictures above the bed, they were of healthier times for the doctor and I was shocked at the stark difference.  Though he had thick cotton white hair even then, it was silky and bright .  Now his hair was a coarse gray mat against his head.  He had been a big man with a broad inviting smile.  Now, emaciated and limp, his smile ghoulish, his head appearing too large on his skeleton frame.  My heart ached.

I opened my book and read stopping now and again to take a sip of water and allow him to cough.

We finished one chapter and I paused to talk a little about myself.  I told him briefly about each of my kids and that I felt blessed to know his family.  His daughter came in to check on us and I took another drink of my water while conversing with her.

I read another chapter and twice I made major mistakes that sent us both into laughter.  His eyes sparkled and he tried to laugh but it caused a coughing fit.  I winced at the pain it seemed to cause him as he gagged and sputtered.  I could not believe that I was sitting there, next to a man who was so incapacitated and yet the Lord was allowing us to fellowship.  I was not disturbed by the monitors and wheelchair.  My mind was filled with compassion and my heart longed only for him to know my Jesus and accept the promise of complete healing whether on earth or in heaven.

I read a total of three chapters and in the third had another laugh fumbling around with my voice attempting to recreate a “booming” male voice.

Though I had seen the sparkle in his eye and thought I made him laugh it was hard to be sure how he was taking it until his daughter ran to her mother the minute she arrived and exclaimed “He was so into it, I haven’t seen him that alert!”

My reservations were wiped away and the Lord graciously confirmed that His thoughts are completely different from ours…and His ways are far beyond anything we can imagine.

I read again soon and will be sure to keep you updated.

“My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the Lord.  “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.  For just as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your way and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

“The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth.  They cause the grain to grow producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.  It is the same with my word.  I send it out and it always produces fruit.  It will accomplish all I want it to and it will prosper everywhere I send it.  You will live in joy and peace.  The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands!  Where once briers grew, myrtles will sprout up.  This miracle will bring great honor to the Lord’s name; it will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.”

Isaiah 55:8-13

October 14, 2009 at 5:03 pm 10 comments

More Piggies!

Pee Wee finally has long enough hair for pig tails!  This could get out of hand really fast! 🙂

She is also big enough to sneak off and eat a bowl full of cat food.  Ha ha, what fun!

Gotta go for now.

TGIF

October 2, 2009 at 2:40 pm 6 comments

The Doctors Doctor

It wasn’t even Sunday and I got that feeling in my stomach that happens when you know you are supposed to go up during the altar call.  The very same butterflies that urge you to speak out on something important.  The unrest that does not settle until you take action.  I’m sure you’ve felt the same feeling in one situation or another.  But this was the middle of the week.  No pastor preaching, nobody challenging my ideals just me driving my car down the road in peace and quiet!  Maybe that was the trouble, I’m usually unable to think, let alone pray with my Thinglets poking each other and Pee Wee squealing along with them, my radio blaring to try to drowned out the noise.

I knew what it meant. We have a new neighbor in the valley whose house I pass each time I go to town.  The  family had moved into the single level home six months after the man of the house had suffered a major frontal lobe stroke that put him in a nursing home and made it unable for him to return to their multi level house only a few miles away.

Matt and I had stopped by one day and offered our assistance when we saw them moving in.  Jane told us the whole story about her husbands stroke and how he was unable to return home to her and the kids until they moved into a house that was better suited to a wheelchair.

When we left I couldn’t stop thinking about how I could serve them better.  What could I do to help out? 

Drop off a meal?  Ugh!  No offense to any kind soul who serves meals in love but I always cringe at the Christian cliche, “Just serve them a meal!”  Although this common practice is how I was introduced to one of my favorite meals to date (so I had better not frown too obviously) it’s just not my cup of soup.

I could babysit the kids but anyone who knows me IRL knows that I am not the gal for that job! While I love my kids and have an absolute blast with each and every one of them I’m not the little kid type. Please send me all your teenagers but not your babies!  Only one of Jane’s children would fit my category so I didn’t think that would be my job either.

“How then Lord, how can I help?”

Have you ever asked a question and promptly found you regret the resulting answer?

I did get a clear answer.  Not in the form of actual words but a vivid and real epiphany complete with the thought process behind it, none of which I came up with on my own.

For months the Lord has been preparing me to stop and present His harebrained plan of which I am supposed to happily facilitate.  I’ve prayed many times since then, ” let me know when it is time Lord,”   and yet even when he made it distinctly evident, I didn’t want to go through with it.

***************

Imagine an intelligent and mature man who had spent a lifetime pursuing a successful career as a doctor, a family practitioner.  He has a beautiful wife many years younger than himself, loving and devoted to him, his three darling children and his time consuming  job and passion.  They live in a grand custom home on a private lake and lead a life of ease.  The family entertains many friends and attends church every holiday.  They are the ideal American family.

Now imagine you are that man and one night after you lay your head to rest you awake to the bright lights of the ER.   The smells and sounds as familiar as your  jobplace. 

Wait… you can not turn your head, you can’t sit up and reach over to turn off the monitor beeping in your ear.  Your heart begins to race, your eyes dart from the lights on the ceiling to the IV in your hand.  The blue coats rushing around are not your nurses, but you’ve seen them before while attending surgery at the local hospital.  Why can’t you speak?  You want to ask “Why am I laying here?”

***************

I thought about these things and I imagined myself in Dr. Smith’s position.  I feared the inability to move myself, to express myself, to learn.  When I climbed into his shoes I was terrified and lonely.

It’s been a year since his stroke but mobility has not returned, speech continues to allude him.  People come to the new house to wish him speedy recovery but most of them don’t know what to say, they talk to him like a child.  He can’t lift his hand to shake theirs, he can not assure them he is still as sharp as ever in thought.  He can only sit alone with his  thoughts hoping to either get well or die.

If I were in his shoes I can only imagine the struggle I would have pondering the apparent either/or.

Armed with compassion I would not have mustered on my own and the harebrained plan that made me blush each time I explained it to those who were praying, I drove up the driveway to the new house and parked reluctantly at the barn.

I was really hoping this was another practice run since I’d parked there once before (another time when the butterflies made me do it) only to find that Jane was not home.    This time she slipped out the back door almost immediately and strode confidently toward my Suburban.  A lump formed in my throat.  I conjured up a front for my visit and began to converse about our kids, 4-H, the Mariners (not really) until finally the swirling, fluttering, shaky feeling could no longer be ignored.

“Jane, uh er, I uh…,” I took a deep breath then spit it all out, “the real reason for my visit is to see if your husband would like if I was to read to him on a regular basis.” 

I didn’t look for her reaction before I continued, “I have a book in mind that I have not read yet, it’s a supernatural thriller that honestly sounds a little scary.”

Then I took another breath and tried to blur the next sentence into an unrecognizable muddle, “It has a faith based component, so I believe it ends well.”

To my surprise my lovely neighbor whom I barely know anything about latched onto the whole idea like I was sent by God to help ease her burden.  Imagine that! 😉

Before blurting out the whole plan I had thoroughly convinced myself of the stupidity of reading to an intelligent man, like I was Mr Rogers.  The Lord told me clearly to read  to a scholarly doctor who despite his medical condition I was convinced  could certainly read on his own.

After I had settled my fluttering friends, I confided in Jane as to how stupid I felt for even suggesting the idea.  The only read aloud forums I would let myself imagine were juvenile gatherings; the library story hour, Saturday nights as a kid listing to my dad read “Little House on the Prairie” and visions of my own children nestled around reading “The Indian in the Cupboard.”  What in the world would a full grown man think of me READING to him.  “I’m sure he can read on his own, maybe he would prefer to borrow my book!”  I explained.

“Oh, no,” Jane grew solemn “He would not be able to hold the book.”

The stroke had been severe enough that even a year later the doctor is still unable to sit fully on his own or steady his hands for anything other than a squeeze or a meager wave.  His speech is nearly non existent and if he stands at all it is only with the help of a strong adult.  Most of the time she said he doesn’t even lift his head to watch the TV.  “He just listens,” she assumed aloud.

At the mention of faith (a word I had used hoping to avoid the subject of Jesus all together) a whole new conversation emerged and I spent the next hour sharing a spiritual connection with Jane.  I learned that she is a believer herself and concerned about her husbands salvation.  Before the stroke, he had been successful and preoccupied, not the one to persue Christian gatherings but never in the way of her endeavor to educate the children on “religious” matters.  She told me about how more and more people have been pursuing him and telling him that Christ wants to be a part of his life.

She told me, with an embarrased but mischievous glint in her eye that she had been reading her Bible to him and dragging him out to church every Sunday. 

As she described it, they had recently had a discussion where she told him that he needed to give his burdens to the Lord and allow Christ into his life.  Things that day had been really bad, he was weak and unhelpful when she tried to get him up, she had struggled to lift while he resisted and in the end he had fallen.  She knew that her prayers could only go so far since the Lord will not make a person believe so she urged him to pray and ask God for assistance.  The next day his strength was back and his face a little less ashen.  

The Lord hears and the doctor is beginning to ask!

There was an urgency in Jane’s mind in regard to her husband knowing the Lord’s healing.  We talked about the possibility of the Great Physician bringing total healing and she insisted it won’t happen until Dr. Smith allows it.

I invited them to a bible study at our house and she said they would be sure to come.

Through obedience to the Lord, I have made a new friend, been given a new prayer, and am a participant in the healing process of the doctor in heart and health!  I am confident this won’t be the end of the story.

Click here to read what happened next.

September 19, 2009 at 1:53 pm 10 comments

A Mini Donkey Tried to Eat Me!

It was the horseback ride from_____ well, lets just say it was an adventure.

Thing 1 begs me every day to take him riding so this time I said yes.  We have a little pinto mare whom he calls “his horse” that has an arthritic knee (from an injury) and can’t go anywhere too fast so he is pretty safe on her. 

We waited for Matt to come home, shoveled down a quick dinner and piled out the door hoping to sneak out before the Bubba could see what was happening.

Thing 2 didn’t want to get left behind so I doubled him on my “Mountain Mare” and we headed down the trail.

We went along fine for a while but 5 year old Thing 2 is not the most natural of horsemen and when my horse jolted forward unexpectedly I suddenly had his feet up under my armpits.  Instead of bringing her to an immediate stop all I could think was to grab for him behind my back, hoping to catch a clump of his shirt.  He was howling and wailing while she loped ahead and he bounced around on her rump while I tried desperately to keep us both atop! 

We made it through that one and it wasn’t long before the howls of surprise subsided.  The 5 year old can get quite emotional over anything unexpected.

Meanwhile Thing 1 was plunking along on his little mare when we came to a large tree in the trail.   She could not lift her bad knee high enough to clear the obstacle so with a crash and a bump she ended up high centered over the thing.  In another instant and a horrendous struggle she made it over completely, fell to her knees and then stumbled back up to her feet.  I have no idea how Thing 1 managed to ride it out with out a peep.  Poor girl banged up her sore knee.

 We finally made it out of the woods about 3 miles down a fairly steep grade to meet back up with the road below.  My horse decided that she was bored and started eyeing everything with suspicion. 

We rode about a half mile on the road where a garbage can tried to eat Mountain Mare, then my neighbors fluffy dog; a bunch of cows, a rabbit in the weeds, a bicyclist and a motorcyclist then a kind neighbor who stopped in his pickup truck to let us pass.  He said hello in a voice so deep and smoothly rich that it startled me as well!  Thing 2 told me later in a high pitched squeak “I hope I sound like that man when I grow up!” 

I could not get my horse to settle down and I worried about another jolting ride for Thing 2 so I hopped off and led us back up the road to the trail head where I figured we would be safe from horse eating monsters.

We settled in again Mountain Mare and I in the lead with wiry haired Thing 2 clinging to my waist and Thing 1 surprisingly quiet (for once) following behind on his poky girl. 

Not 100 feet into the woods we came to a fence and the cutest little gray donkey that had to stand less than 30″ high and was certainly that wide!  But Oh *^$&*+ I am sure I heard my horseswear as her head snapped around to get a better look and we both saw him squeeze that fat belly right between the gate and a big black railroad tie it was chained to.

In an aggressive move I didn’t expect from such a cute little booger he bolted up to Thing 1’s horse, reared up and snorted in her face.

“Don’t let them sniff,” I scolded him then tried to urge my horse ahead to keep the mares moving farther away from the crazy donkey.  My son’s mare stood frozen in fear while I am certain by the look in her eye, my mare continued to think up unkind words to describe the angry gray monster.

We got a little ahead and the donkey left Thing 1’s mare to gallop past my horse and attempt to kick her in the knee with both hooves flying.  “Hang on TIGHT!”  I hollered at Thing 2 who had practically climbed into the saddle with me, arms and legs wrapped around my waist, head pressed into my back, this time no howls.

When the little guy came galloping back through the brush and the trees Thing 1’s horse decided she’d had enough.  She rammed into the back of us then jetted around my horse and ran as fast as her little legs could take her with the mini chasing from behind.

“Hang on! Hang on TIGHT!”  I yelled, still trying to cling to my double rider with one arm and steer my horse up the rocky trail with the other.

Suddenly the donkey turned back but our horses were not convinced, I allowed my mare to lope in order to keep up with my oldest and his runaway pony.  He was hanging on like nobody’s business but had lost his stirrups so legs and boots where flying and flopping, at first on either side of the horse and then slowly he leaned…

and I watched, as if in slow motion, as he bounced until off the side he went.

I was a little too close to the accidental dismount on a very narrow trail so my horse had to jump in order to avoid stomping his feet or a leg. 

In just twenty feet or so the riderless horse stopped and behind me the horseless rider got up, groaned a little then started hiking.  I wasn’t sure if he was mad or personally offended but he wasn’t seriously hurt, thank the Lord.

I had to hike the three miles home up the steep trial dragging two horses while Thing 1 limped along, only his pride hurt but his horse too banged up to ride. 

Back at home the boys told Dad we had an adventure and when Thing 1 retold the story he claimed he “was born to fall off!”

All because of a horse eating mini donkey.

September 14, 2009 at 9:00 am 8 comments

Where has the mind gone?

Where has the time mind gone?

Anyone else might not understand my devastation when I forgot where I’d put Matt’s paycheck the other day.

Life happens, things get misplaced, even important things.

Even the biggest organize junkie can have a day like I did and end with the realization that the most important slip of paper went into her hand and back out without the slightest recollection.

Why then, did this understandable event cause such grief that I spent nearly an hour huddled in the corner of my bathroom sobbing into my lap while my husband, unaware that I was beside myself, frantically looked for his months pay.

The day began a bit earlier than usual with a hot cup of coffee.  Matt and I packed lunch in a cooler and tried to make breakfast to go before the kids all stumbled down the stairs with hungry tummies.  If we could beat them to it we planned to whisk them into their car seats and stuff bananas in their chubby hands so we would not be held up by the usual hour of dressing, diapering, breakfast routine.

We made it just in time. Buckled the Thinglets into their seats, shoveled a green smoothie into Pee Wee’s little mouth and off we went for the 2 1/2 hour drive north for hay.

Twenty or thirty songs and stories later we made it to the farm where we collect our hay twice yearly.  The farmer was ready with hay forks on his tractor.  I hired Thing 1 to divvy up the snack and give a bottle to the littlest before jumping onto the flatbed to roll 120lb bales of pokey, itchy hay into position while Matt hefted the strays.  Rolling bales might sound like a simple endeavor but when the rectangles are turned they tend to want to stay turned.  With all my might I fought them into place, swiping the sweat under my baseball cap, occasionally letting my boot slip through a crack in the ever growing stack.

Don’t feel too bad, I love to do hay but it sure is exhausting work.

Once most of the bales were loaded I took a break to let the little ones have a few minutes out of the truck before our long trek home.

With Pee Wee on my hip and Bubba in tow we picked alfalfa flowers as I threatened the big boys to stay out of the way of the tractor.  Finally it was time to pull out the checkbook so I summoned Matt with the “Mary Poppin’s Pockets”.  He pulled a somewhat soggy pile of papers from his back pocket and we laughed at having to find a dry check to pay with. 

The farmer (a friendly granfatherly man) snatched up the Bubba and tickled him upside down like he would have done to his own grandson.

Matt noticed his paycheck in the stack of papers and handed it to me for safe keeping, I set the checkbook down on the bumper of the green Chevy and…

POOF!

I can’t remember what happened next.

Remembering has become infinitely more precious to me this year.  You see, my Dad was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimers a disease that robs the brain of memory by depositing plaque in areas with previously perfect activity.  Early Onset is the only type of AZ that is believed to be highly hereditary.  At one point I heard a stat that children of Early Onset AZ patients have a 50% chance of contracting this disgusting disease which can begin it’s tragic effects as early as 30.

Did I mention I turned 30 this year?

That’s how an ordinary event and an active imagination gets turned into a cause for devastation.  A crippling reminder that life is short and a tragic way to start a perfectly good day.

Thank goodness that isn’t where the story ends.

God’s promised are not bound by time, events or circumstance and despite my first raw feelings that somehow my Jesus caused this to happen to Dad.  The facts are he did not, he does not, he can not cause ugly, depraved and sin induced things to happen. He does however allow us to wrestle through life bumping into our circumstances (sometimes self induced, often not) with the choice to include him or not.

When Jacob (the deceiver) wrestled with God (Gen 32:22-31) in the desert he hung on till daybreak. God could have ended the match at any second and yet he allowed the hand to hand combat to continue.  Why?  To be cruel, because he was heartless?  A game?  Jacob had been dubbed a liar from birth, it was on every tongue when his name was spoken.

“Liar, come to dinner.”

“Liar, clean your room.”

God eventually ended the tussle by simply touching (and injuring) Liar’s leg and when he let go he announced,

“You have wrestled with God and with man and you have overcome.  From now on your name will be Israel (he struggles with God)”

In a recent Bible Study I attended the leader implored us to “hang on until the blessing comes.”

The Liar, wrestling with God would not let go. He clung to the struggle and stuck with it until he had encountered God (the wrenched hip) and received a new name “Israel my beloved!”

Even though I don’t like it, even though my mind deceives me I will hang on till the blessing comes and not allow my circumstances to cripple me and keep me from encountering God.

September 3, 2009 at 2:44 pm 15 comments

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Us and Our Thinglets

MATT - Food Creativity Consultant, Joyful Partner in Crime JESSIE - Photographer, Amateur Food Critic, Blog Author CAPTAIN OBVIOUS - formerly Thing 1 Thing 1 SCARFUNKLE - formerly Thing 2 IMG_3466 LOUD KIDDINGTON - formerly THE BUBBA 3 PEE WEE MINI ME BORN March 8, 2011

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Sourdough Update

Many of you have been checking back for results on my sourdough creation. At the moment it is still a science experiment, but a happy, bubbly experiment. Never fear, recipes will be here! I did make a beautiful, moist and delicious loaf of sourdough using yeast and a myriad of other ingredients but I'm still trying to create something more user friendly. Wouldn't it be awesome to have a starter on the counter that you could add 4 things to and have a loaf of bread by dinner? Mmmm! Attempt #1 - rose well but resulted in a dense chewy blob Attempt #2 - rose ok but was thin and lifeless then fell and another dense (not so chewy) blob Attempt #3 - to the dogs! Attempt #4 - A sourdough pancake success see post under what's for breakfast gluten-free goof? Ongoing - I've tried several more times and am going to try a completely different approach on the bread starting this week. (Mar 18). My sourdough is still happy on my counter and it makes great pancakes but it's a lot of work just for pancakes. Keep checking! April Update: She is still kickin and I'm still workin on a yeast free, gluten free sourdough loaf! May Update: My sourdough "pet" has been dried and retired until next baking season. I've traded her in for a hotter model, the BBQ! :)
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