Monday, December 09, 2013

Healthy Whole Wheat Sandwich Wraps

Last night I got the cooking bug and decided to make some Whole Wheat Sandwich Wraps. They are pretty expensive and I made 8 of them for pennies. Literally. Pennies. I got the recipe off of Allrecipes.

Whole Wheat Sandwich Wraps


Ingredients:

2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour. (I used one cup Wheat Flour, one Cup White)
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup water. (I used a whole cup of warm water)

Then I added some garlic powder, rosemary and a bit of onion powder to add some flavor to what reviewers on the site had said were some pretty bland Wraps. Oh, and a dollop of honey. I think you can take healthy too far sometimes. My taste buds agree.

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, stir together flour, salt and baking powder. Pour in water; stir to combine. Mix in additional water in 1 tablespoon increments, until a soft pliable dough is formed. As I said above, I added a full cup of warm water. I might even add more next time. You know, because I'm just that much of a rebel.

2. Knead briefly on a lightly floured surface.I allowed my KitchenAid to do the work for me, because I'm lazy like that. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Cover and let rest for about 20 minutes.



3. Flour each ball well, place between two pieces of wax paper and roll out to desired size and thickness. Do NOT roll out using wax paper. BAD idea. Just roll them out on your counter. Trust me. Wax paper = disaster.



4. Heat an ungreased skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Peel away wax paper and grill rounds until brown flecks appear underneath. Turn and cook other side. Serve warm or cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. I used a non-stick spray on my pan instead. Worked like a charm!

After reading the reviews, I put each one into a zip lock bag as they were still warm. This sort of steamed them and kept them very pliable. Then I took some spinach, some left over chicken breasts from dinner, diced them up with some green onions, chopped pecans, salt and pepper and a bit of mayo and put it all on top.



Then I rolled it up! Easy as pie---only much less fat and calories. Plus? You burn of quite a few calories as these babies are not easy to roll out as thin as you'd want them. I applied a bit of non-stick-non-caloric cooking spray to my skillet just to keep them from sticking. I gave one to hubby for quality control and he LOVED it.



Also, the reason I went with one cup of whole wheat flour and one cup of white, is because my family is not quite on board with my ALL HEALTHY EATING PLAN and aren't used to whole wheat as a rule. Plus, some of the reviews of this recipe said that total wheat made it much more difficult to make. And since I'm all about the easy squeezy making of things, it's what I did. Don't feel as though you need to follow my additions or alterations to the recipe. But I would if I were you!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Blessings of the Temple




Often during difficult and painful times, I have found the most peace and comfort in the Temple. I am healed as I put the things of the world aside for a time.

I am thankful for so many things---and today I am thankful for the blessings the temple bring into my life and the promises we have received as a covenant family. Things will work out in the Lord's time and in His way. For now, I hold fast to the promises.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Be Still My Soul...

On Sunday we attended another ward (congregation) in order to hear the farewell talk by the daughter of friends. It was lovely and spiritual and touching all at once. I felt the spirit there---especially during the closing hymn. Here's what we sang.
Be Still, My Soul

Be still, my soul. The Lord is on thy side.
With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In ev'ry change he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heav'nly Friend.
Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.


Be still, my soul: Thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake.
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still my soul: The waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: The hour is hast'ning on
When we shall be forever with the the Lord.
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone.
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.


And I cannot claim to have often "..with patience bear thy cross of grief or pain..." My. My cross of grief or pain.

I have gotten better at it, though. I've learned that I must hand the painful, unsolvable, heartwrenching problems to the Lord. While I have been blessed with strong shoulders to bear my burdens, my shoulders are not as strong as His. Learning to trust the Lord, I have also had to learn to trust in His timing. This is not an easy thing for me. I tend to see a problem and wish to solve it. Then. There. Right away.

Patience and waiting on the Lord are things I've had ample time to work on. Patience---and biting my tongue.

Case in point. I had a young mother give me a speech a while back about how she's going to give her little one year old child a sip of wine in the not too distant future. That she will mix the wine with some water, but that soon this child will know the taste of wine and that's a good thing (her words--not mine) because by introducing alcohol to her child, this child will be much less likely to become wild and an alcoholic later in life. When you don't allow your children to imbibe, they leave home and become boozers.(again---her words, not mine)

This little soliloquy by the young mother was entirely for my benefit. I sat there, watching and smiling. Nodding on occasion. Hmmming on others. I did not engage her nor did I dispute her except to say, "Each family has their own set of values and ideas on how to raise their children." She agreed, then went on to reiterate her plan and her reasoning behind it.

I can tell you that my heart was not very still at that point. I was being told, in no uncertain terms that my mothering, my values and my family's faith was wrong and misguided. I was being attacked, albeit in a calm and quite way. I tried to let her know that each person has their own way of raising their children. And that the way my husband and I raised our children was according to our faith, our love for our Father in Heaven and our desire to instill in our children a respect for their bodies and to learn to follow the commandments.

My soul is still, in that I know we did what was correct. My soul is not still, in that wrong choices have been made and consequences are inevitable. However, I am learning to still my soul, to trust and to have faith that all things will work out in the end.

I will sing this song.....

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dusting off the Memories...

A long, long time ago, on a planet not very far away, people wrote letters. Letters, at that time, consisted of hand writing on paper, putting the paper into an envelope, licking a (yucky) stamp and sticking it on the envelope. Then you had to actually GO somewhere to place the envelope into a mail receptacle. There was no clicking of buttons or a 'brrrring' sound to indicate that I had mail.

I had friends who regularly did this for me, and I reciprocated. Oh the anticipation of going to mailbox each day to see if there was mail. Real, tangible mail. That's the mail you see above. I was cleaning out dusty boxes that have been moving with me from house to house to house. I came across a treasure trove of memories held within pages written 25+ years ago.

Letters from Carin while she was away at Study Abroad in Europe. Letters from John away at BYU and his mission in Sweden. Letters from Kevin while on his mission in England. Letters from Cindy while she served the Lord in El Salvador. There are letters from a guy I barely remember from my freshman year at BYU who served his mission in Argentina. Letters from Ivan, serving his mission. A letter from Kathy, saying she couldn't get off work at the bank to welcome Ben home from his mission in Sweden, and many letters from Ben. Kathy also mentioned a guy at her work who made her a mixed tape. We all know how that worked out. :) Letters from Elise that made me laugh til I cried. She was in Wisconsin serving her mission in the ice and snow. I was in Venezuela, burning up. Letters and postcards and a delightfully bittersweet trip down memory lane.

Inside this mouldering box were other treasures. Pictures and concert ticket stubs, a stained glass creation that John gave to me, five journals that I wrote from my early teens to my early marriage. There are flowers pressed between pages and old crepe paper saved from dances.

And then there is this....
I remember going to an Eagles concert with Carin and Kevin and....was Ben there? It was at the Kingdome. Remember the Kingdome? John couldn't go, and he wanted to know what songs they played. We grabbed a piece of discarded cardboard and wrote down each song so we could tell him.

I found pictures of my youth, when I was the age my girls are now. Pictures of my white 1969 Thunderbird, John's green machine and Carin's mom's yellow wagon. There are accounts of harrowing rides with Kevin, as driver. He scared us, and still we rode with him.

Walks around Greenlake in the dark, swimming out to the docks there, fully clothed. Swimming at John's house, Picking up Ben from the Drive-in where he worked. And oh, the teenage angst. I wrote about my dreams, my testimony and my fears. If I could only write a letter to me of yesterday...I'd tell her so many things. I'd tell her it all works out in the end. That I'd marry the sweetest, most kind man in the world and have four beautiful children with him. That Carin would indeed marry Sparky and have a passel of babies as well. And even though she turned traitor and moved to AZ, we are as close as we ever were, communicating nearly every day via the wonders of technology. Kevin married Debbie, John married Linda, and everyone else found love and happiness along the way. Most are grandparents now. GRANDPARENTS.

With the birth of my first grandchild coming in the next few weeks, I find myself thinking that I don't feel a bit different from that 17 year old girl rushing to the mail box every afternoon...or the 21 year old girl waiting for the mail bag to arrive in Caracas... I forget how old I am now. When people ask, I have to stop and think. It's just a number, and it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. I know I seem ancient to my children, because my parents seemed ancient to me when I was their age.

And the circle of life continues.

Thank you my friends. I love each and every one of you. My memories are warm and wonderful. My circle of friends were, and are, amazing people.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

My Nest

I have been listening more and more to The Mormon Channel. It's inspiring talks, music and videos. All uplifting and oh so welcome in my life. The other day I heard the song below---and I fell in love with it. The lyrics touched my heart. As I watch my little birds grow and leave my nest. I cannot find a video of the song---but I will keep trying. The group is called One Clear Voice, and they are amazing.

My Nest

The day has come for you to go
I've watched you closely so I know
I recognize your restlessness
It's time for you to leave the nest

I've taught you much of what you know
It's been a joy to see you grow
You fluttered first, then learned to fly
While I was flying by your side

A part of me
will fly away
As you leave my nest today
But part of you
will stay with me
You will always be a welcome guest
Within my nest

You've had brief chances to explore
That left you eager to see more
You've taken tiny solo flights
but always close within my sight
Enjoy the rhythm of your wings
the freedom soaring always brings
But in that endless span of sky
be careful where you choose to fly

A part of me
will fly away
As you leave my nest today
But part of you
will stay with me
You will always be a welcome guest
Within my nest

I'm trusting you now
to the Father's care
for when any sparrow falls
He is aware
Aware

A part of me
will fly away
As you leave my nest today
But part of you
will stay with me
You will always be a welcome guest
Within my nest

I am grateful to have been so blessed
To have sheltered you
in my nest



My two youngest are away at Youth Conference until Saturday, and my two oldest have flown from my nest. One is married and expecting a baby in October. The other is living with roommates and working. Two parts of me have flown away..but a part of them will always be with me and they will always be welcome, in my nest. I am blessed.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

It's a Beautiful Life--Oh look! Something Shiny!

It's funny to me that I only made one blog post during the month of June---and it's already the 10th of July and I've yet to post.

You're welcome. For me not clogging up your Blog feed. Very, very welcome.

School is out and so is work. Well, school district work for me. I've been hired as a contractor for the PSESD to edit and add content to a website they are launching in conjunction with Columbia Legal Services. It's a website to help homeless youth and those who care or work with them. I have enjoyed it immensely. I was going into my office to do the work because the chair I have at home at the computer cripples me if I sit in it for any length of time. Seriously---on Monday night I worked in that chair and I was unable to even lift my legs up to bring them up on my bed that evening.

So, the only thing keeping me from working at home was the chair, right? Of course right. Yesterday I purchased a very nice chair. A wonderful chair. A chair that does everything but wipe my nose for me. I love this chair. With this chair I will be able to FLY through my edits and content gathering, right?

Not so much.

You see, at home I have access to shiny things that distract me, like Facebook, or my children, or the cat, or the refrigerator. And blogger. I AM USELESS. Incredibly useless.

This message brought to you by SQUIRREL!!

Saturday, June 01, 2013

My Decisions

I'm still standing, after all this time....


Today I have made a decison. For me. To let go of all the toxic people and things in my life. I cannot forget---oh that I could----but I can choose not to let other people's decisions tear at my heart and my soul. I can walk away. I can and I will. From now on I will let go of the pain and the heartache I have allowed to seep into my soul.

I am only responsible for my decisions.
I will only keep people in my life that do not use me, abuse me, or bring me down.
I will walk in faith, knowing that everything is in His hands and give the control over to Him.
I will not be hurt by other people's opinions of me. It's my opinion that counts---not theirs.
I cannot save anyone--only He can.
I will not dwell on painful experiences.
I will seek His peace more fully in my life.
I will be happy.
I will write what I darn well please. When I please.
When I am feeling overwhelmed, I will walk away.
I will serve my husband and nurture our relationship, rather than let the decisions of others take over.
I will pray for peace.
I will attend the temple more regularly.
I will help those I CAN help, and not those who do not want to be helped.
I will be a better steward over my time and resources and heart.
Christ taught us to love everyone--I will do my best not to harden my heart and continue to love.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Poem to an Abusive Man

I've been doing a bit of research on abuse, domestic violence and how it usually ends. It's not pretty and it's painful and I hurt every time I read another woman's tale of horror.

Did you know that emotional abuse is as detrimental as physical abuse? And that most emotional abusers continue on to become physical abusers? I didn't. I do now. I found a site where formerly abused women, on the path to recovery from their abusers, have written poems. This one below is one that haunted me.

Thank You

You wooed me with poetry
I bit on the hook
Had I only first read
The name of the book

I would have avoided
The very first page
For pages kept turning
Revealing the rage

The ups were a great high
The ride was a bash
But I rode with my eyes closed
To avoid seeing the crash
I knew it would come soon
But I never knew when
The rage and the leaving
And the path to the end

You had to control things
Determined you would
Emotionally destroying me
Every way that you could

Belittling my life
I did nothing your way
But how gently you showed me
That I was astray

You tore me to pieces
'Til tears I did cry
And then you would rescue me
"So sorry am I"

You did what you wanted
And stayed out all night
But dare I do question
Without starting a fight

You gave me your burdens
A gift of misery
You gave me your burdens
And then blamed them on me

I didn't deserve them
For I have no blame
Another attempt
To bring me to shame

The secrets I kept
So no one would know
"He is a GREAT guy"
I put on a show

The anger, the fighting
Was worth it you see
For the highs of your love
Were blinding to me

I cried and I pleaded
In retrospect
How sad to have yearned for
More abuse and neglect

I never did get it
How sorry was me
I never did get it
Until I was free

And yes, I still love you
Despite the hatred you spew
For some weak reason
I will always love you

When you look up Sid
The light that you see
So flitting and free now
That light is me

I've also learned that on average, a woman will leave their abuser 8 times before leaving for good. EIGHT TIMES. An abuser will take the cell phone of the woman and text her family, be completely controlling in every way. An abused woman burns out everyone in her circle. Her family, her friends, her coworkers. They finally throw up their hands and say enough is enough because they see the woman return again and again to her abuser and they don't understand why. It makes no sense to the abused woman's friends and family. It's partially because the man has killed all self esteem in the woman and made her feel that no one else would ever want her. There is a cycle to this abuse. Some women stay because they are made to feel that everything is their fault and if they just try a little harder to please their abuser, he will change and truly love them and then choirs of angels will sing and their relationship will be perfect.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. They do not change. The cycle of abuse continues.


If you know of someone who needs help, give them this information.


Visit the Domestic Violence Hotline or call 1-800-799-7233 TODAY.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Our Life is a Country Song--No, Seriously

In the past ten months, our family has experienced the following:

1. Three Northwest Hospital ER visits.
2. Eighteen Children’s Hospital ER visits.
3. Three surgeries on an Achilles tendon.
4. One surgery lengthening an arm tendon and transferring two other tendons.
5. One lovely ride in a Medic One
6. A bone infection due to a root canal gone terribly wrong.
7. Two oral surgeries.
8. Four hospital stays
9. One Harborview ER visit
10. Our car’s transmission went out so we are down to one vehicle, meaning I get up at the crack of Didn’t-I-just-go-sleep, take hubby to work, come home and get two offspring up. I take one to high school, one to middle school. I go to work, go pick up my husband, pick up high schooler, pick up middle schooler, lather, rinse and repeat ad nauseam.
11. We lost our beautiful home....and
12. Our dog died.


Toss in an unwed pregnancy and our lives just became a country song---without the beer of course. Or the gun rack in the pickup truck. Mostly because we have neither the truck nor any guns to put on a rack. We’ve been pondering the gun thing lately---but with so much fun in our lives we’re afraid it would simply add to our, er, fun. And by fun, I mean tragedy and hospital visits. There are a few more things that have happened to us in the past ten months, but they are too painful and personal to share here. Just use your imaginations. I dare ya.

Because of our particular situation with one child, my husband and I have not spent any time together in….oh, let’s say a decade. All right, it might not be a decade but it’s pretty close. Sometimes we bump into each other in bed and when I say bump, I mean he tosses an arm or a leg over at me and I instantly go into a menopausal hot flash so fierce that it would take the paint off of a car, thus necessitating that I throw all blankets off, sweat profusely until the hot flash is over and then hopefully go back to sleep.

The sleep part of our lives hasn’t been great either. Last night I didn’t sleep. I knew I had to get up at 3:30 a.m. to drive hubby to work, so the harder I tried to fall asleep, the less sleepy I felt. I didn’t want to take something because then I’d be groggy as I drove. It was a win-win situation for my brain. It went whirring around like a dervish, darting from one bad experience to another, bouncing around like a ball in a pinball machine.

Did I pay the water bill? How come I’m never the one that can find Waldo. Ooooh, Hawaii sounds nice. Warm air, sand and…how can our cat snore so loudly in his face and not wake him up? I shouldn’t have sent that text but I’ve reached the end of my rope and there’s no knot to hang on to. Readers Knot---that’s the name of Lori’s book club. Wish I had a book---those poor children in Oklahoma. Those poor parents---my heart breaks for them. How are we going to get a new car….two cars. I can’t be in two places at once—or three for that matter, although there’s probably enough of me to make that happen were it possible. Those green peppers are going south—better use them in the morning for the girl’s breakfast. Need to vacuum. I wonder what’s on CNN…

On and on it goes. I’ve always had a lovely Attention Deficit Disorder side---which affects every part of my life, including my dreams. And my writing. Did I mention my writing? Yeah, that too. SQUIRREL!

Anyway, I'm going to try and write a country song from my list of Fun Things That We've Had Happen. Once I take a nap.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Shared Struggles

I'm home from church today.... I was greatly looking forward to going, for two reasons; One, my husband is speaking and two, my older sister Cheri is coming. It would have been wonderful.

However, my place is here at home, keeping my child safe and watching over her. There is no manual for us, as the parents of this very unique and troubled child. There just isn't. We do what we think is right, we pray and pray and pray for guidance. And sometimes....we wonder where the 'joy in our posterity' is to be found. Struggles overwhelm us, as we try to find that joy in small moments. Sadly, they are few and far between. Still, we try.

Last night Lance and I sat down with some very dear friends of ours. Their struggles are difficult and some of theirs are like ours, so we had much to talk about. It felt wonderful to talk with someone who understands, someone who is going through the parenting trenches with children who have special needs, and with a typical child thrown in for fun. Oh the fun! It was cathartic to talk about it with a couple who gets it. And although we can't know the pain and heartbreak equal to theirs, or theirs to ours, we laughed and tried our best not to cry as we spoke about what is happening. Ok, it might just have been me that was trying not to cry. I think I managed quite well. It's a measure of how far I've come that I can even speak about it without dissolving into a slobbering, weeping mess. Go me. Plus, I don't want to end up in the hospital again. I'm pretty sure what happened to me was a result of the extraordinary stress I've been under. The doctors said it was a very rare occurrence, but I'm unwilling to take that chance. Remaining calm and centering myself with prayer seems to help. It's not easy, but I'm doing my best

Because they have such complicated and busy lives, as do we, there was so much to catch up on. When I pulled my shirt aside, my friend saw I was hooked up to a heart monitor. She threw up her hands and said, "OOOOH, We have SOOOO much to talk about!!" And she was right. Her husband had undergone some scary surgery, my husband was just coming out of three surgeries and ten months of horror, on top of our regularly scheduled programming. .

Sharing burdens lightens them, even if it's just talking about them. So at times we have felt like this poor donkey. but because we have so many people that lift us up in prayer, so many people that share our burdens, we are able to keep our feet planted firmly on the ground and move forward with faith.

Thank you....you know who you are.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day Is Not My Idea

I'm going to be brutally honest with all of you. Well, all two of you that may have continued to read my blog. I hope that once you read this, you will continue to be my friends and/or family.

I DO NOT LIKE MOTHER'S DAY


I really don't. Not anymore. Oh, there were times I loved the celebration of my being a mom, when my four offspring were younger. I remember little handprints on papers in bright colors, crafty mother's day gifts from elementary school that my babies were dying to give to me. Some couldn't wait until Sunday and I was given those gifts as they climbed down from their yellow school buses the Friday before a Mother's Day. Eyes bright with the joy of giving me something they had made themselves.

There were breakfasts in bed. One Mother's Day my two youngest girls slaved in the kitchen and brought me a plate of food that did not in fact look like something edible. Since they knew my favorite color was pink, they used some food coloring on the scrambled eggs and the french toast. There wasn't fruit in the eggs or raspberries on top--just food coloring. The mess in the kitchen was of epic proportions, as has often been the case on many a mother's day across the world. I didn't mind cleaning it up. I've cleaned up worse things.

Over the years, as some of the kids have moved from diapers to tricycles, from hula hoops to makeup and then on to what passes for adulthood, I have become a bit jaded at times about parenthood. This in no way means that I love my children any less. Anyone around me knows that I love each and every one of them. However, having said that, there is still a reality that cuts deeply into my heart. They do not love me in return.. Not in the way that I love them---and I can't expect them to. I remember every boo boo that I kissed, I remember every night I slept next to a hospital bed or health care worker or school I went to battle against for the sake of my child. My memories of holding precious newborns, nuzzling the necks of my toddlers, wanting to wake them up in the middle of the night just to play with them, are all so very fresh in my mind.

However, they do not hold the same memories that I do.

“Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did - that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that - a parent's heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.” ― Debra Ginsberg

There have been times during their teenage years that I have wanted to run away. I remember my mother telling me that she had wanted to leave once---go alone to a motel, soak in a tub and just sleep. But this was when my older sister was gravely ill for years, she had three other small children and no one in her family--extended or otherwise---was there to give her any relief. Mom didn't want to leave when we were teenagers, because we never gave her any problems. We were good kids. Mom ruled the roost with an iron fist, and there have been times I wondered if our obedience came from fear of consequences or a simple knowledge of right from wrong. I'd like to think it was the latter, but I know it was sprinkled with a bit of the former. Mom loved her grandchildren with an intensity rivaling the sun at midday. I'm grateful to her for her love and advice as I became a mom once, twice, thrice and then a fourth time. When I miscarried, she cried with me. When I faced numerous illnesses and hospitalizations with my babies, she was always there. She was a blessing in my life.

We taught our babies how to pray, to have faith and to be kind. Do unto others, the golden rule and to be compassionate. I honestly remember doing these things. I do. But you know what? It must not have stuck with them. Not with all of them, at any rate. Their daddy was in the hospital for three surgeries in the past 9 months. They didn't come to see him. I nearly died and spent five days in the hospital recently. They never came to my beside.

Now Mother's Day is on Sunday. One child texted about coming to dinner. Really? That's nice. No, it's not. I'm not making dinner. In fact I do not plan to be here. I do not want contrived moments, false protestations of a love that is clearly not there in their actions or treatment of either me or their father. Perhaps I'm being petty, you may think. Well, that's ok. It might be true.

What I know, and what I feel is this: You cannot make someone feel something that they clearly do not feel. As is often said, actions speak louder than words. What I also know is that I do not have to put myself in a place where I am continually hurt. There is too much stress in my over-crowded life to keep feeling this hurt---but I do not know how to set aside my love for them in order to make it not hurt. When I see pictures of other mom's with their children, when I hear them say their children have become their best friends, I get a little catch in my throat.

Margaret Atwood “No mother is ever, completely, a child's idea of what a mother should be, and I suppose it works the other way around as well. But despite everything, we didn't do too badly by one another, we did as well as most.” ― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale


So perhaps I am not what their idea of what a mother should have been, and they are not my idea of what grown children should be like. I suppose we will all have to live with those emotions. Thankfully, I won't have to live with them as long.

Happy Mother's Day everyone...

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I Have a Secret to Confess.....

This is David Tennant, born David MacDonald. He is the tenth incarnation of Dr. Who, a show I previously did not know existed.

Now my life is complete. I have become..... A Whovian.



Dr. Who is gearing up for it's 50th Anniversary show. I can't wait.

Curse you, David Tennant. I can't seem to quit you. Em, what I mean to say is, thanks for the lovely distraction you give me from the struggles of day to day life. I tell my children we should get a Tardis. They roll their eyes. It's ok. Not everyone can love a show as much as another person. I think it's good to take a mental vacation sometimes.

David isn't just some fly-by-night actor, oh no. This gem of a man is a critically acclaimed actor, part of the RSC, the Royal Shakespeare Club. His Hamlet will bring you to tears. His bit on the Catherine Tate Show as the ghost of Christmas present, is one of my favorite pieces, and not just because he dances. Ok, that's partly it, but still. He's amazingly versatile. And what a wonderful family man. He adopted the son of his wife and they have had two more children together.

One day I hope to see him perform live in a play. This means I'll have to start saving my pennies for a trip to England.

And here is one of my favorite clips of Mr. David Tennant.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Beach Therapy a Little Too Soon

It's been a busy week here for Spring Break. Ashley had her surgery on Monday at Children's. It went well. They lengthened one tendon and moved two other tendons around in her arm. It's going to help her hand not contract as much and hopefully give her more use of it. It's been a bit difficult to control her pain, but I think we're doing much better now.

I had oral surgery on Tuesday. Glad that pain is over. I'm doing quite well today. Yesterday we decided to brave it and take the ferry to Kingston. We were planning on staying a couple of days. The weather has been gorgeous! However, once there we realized that Ashley wasn't up to staying, so we spent the day and part of the evening. She slept a bit due to the pain meds. We had a campfire and made hobo stew and s'mores. Allison brought her boyfriend, Andy, for his first Kingston Beach Cabin experience. It was lovely.

And here is a photo collage of our day. The moon was incredibly huge... Ah...beach therapy. There's nothing like it.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Hardening of the Heart

It is Saturday. I suppose I could be excused for not getting dressed until nearly 4 p.m. Again, perhaps not.

My eyes and my head have been throbbing. I felt fine when I woke up, then the pain began. Sometimes I wonder if the act of breathing in and out, thinking and worrying, or simply being conscious can bring me to my knees in pain.

After what has happened to me recently, I have done some reflecting. And although I post a great deal of what is going on in my life---those are tiny snippets of a larger, more complex and painful picture. However, I am told that the pain is my own, to keep or reject. I wonder though...if by rejecting the pain, does this cause your heart harden to a point past all caring?

When my only son was younger, we were constantly warning him about the physical dangers in his world. "Christopher, please don't climb so high in that tree. Critter, please slow down on your bike. Son, please wear your helmet and elbow pads when you are skateboarding. Chris, don't jump so hard on the trampoline, you'll fall off and hurt yourself."

We neglected to tell him not to climb out the second story window of our home and leap into the air, falling onto the trampoline below in his stocking feet. It never occurred to us that he would do such a thing. Upon landing, his feet went in different directions. Crying, he drug himself off the trampoline, into the house, up the stairs and into our bedroom. Stricken by his cries, because he never cried, we rushed to his side, only to have him explain in a hiccuping voice, what he'd done.

Action and instant consequence. Some call it Karma. Most of the time we don't get an instant consequence to our actions. Other times, we do. Touching a hot stove brings instant pain. A lifetime of abusing drugs or alcohol will damage a body. But what happens when we deign to deny our spiritual side? What happens when we knowingly go against what we know to be true and right? What happens when we cross lines we know we ought not to cross?

I could never bring myself to rob a bank. Not right away, of course. Perhaps I could start by taking a piece of candy from a drugstore. If I'm not caught, and my conscience doesn't squawk too awfully much, I might do it again. I might move on to taking a shirt I fancied, or a piece of jewelry. (Apologies for the word, 'fancied'. I have been watching an awful lot of BBC America) After a time, my conscience won't ever bother me again, because I've ceased to listen to it. Guilt is a thing of the past, and some would say that that's a good thing. Why feel guilty for anything? Why indeed.

One of our church leaders this weekend, during General Conference, said, "Guilt is to the spirit, what pain is to the body; a warning."

I'm not sure my son felt guilt when he leaped out that second story window. I do know he was remorseful the moment he hit the stretchy black trampoline and pain struck him. I like to think he learned a lesson that day---I know that I did. Despite all the dangers we warned our children against, no matter how much we taught them right from wrong, taught them to pray and to have faith---some of them simply needed to touch that hot stove for themselves. Some of them, despite loving counsel and repeated warnings, have felt the need to step over lines. Some are reaping consequences that will effect them far into the future. While there is still time to mitigate the damage, some damage is already done. It didn't have to be so.

I sometimes have difficulty separating myself from the actions and the consequences of my four children. I know I should. I know I must. My tears have dampened my pillow on many a night and I although I have placed my heartache and my burdens at the Lord's feet---I still ache inside for them. I hurt. They are, and always will be, a part of me. And while I stand ready to help, I cannot make decisions for them, I cannot save them. There is only One who can. All I can do is try not to harden my heart against the pain---and keep on loving.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thunderclaps

There are lovely buttery daffodils sitting upon a table in my living room. They are from my coworkers. My refrigerator is full of food from these same people, providing dinner for several nights for my family. While I would not suggest spending time in the hospital to receive such perks from your fellow man, it does soften the edges of my worry. I am blessed.

Sunday I experienced something I hope never to experience again. While meeting with my sister Julie at Fircrest to visit our sister Cheri, I was suddenly struck in the head with an axe. Not a real one, to be sure, but the feeling, oh the feeling, was very real. I crumpled and am told that I began screaming. Thankfully my sister called 911. Medics soon arrived and I am told six men were soon working over me. They were unable to find a vein, though that did not stop them from shoving needles into arms, hands, feet and fingers. While the pain of the needles barely pierced through the intense pain I was experiencing, I was aware of it happening on some level.

There ought to be another word for what I experienced---pain and agony do not convey the correct level of distress. I would experience ten natural childbirths at the same time rather than ever have my head explode again in such a manner. I regret using Google to look up images for Axe to the Head. Trust me, do not make that same mistake.

The Medic One unit brought me to the hospital. It was there they finally found a vein. Medication to calm me and relieve some of my pain was pumped into me. I remember being told that they had to do a lumbar puncture on me. I was writhing, eyes squeezed shut and saying no no no. Then it hit me that what was a lumbar puncture to what I was experiencing. Nothing. A mosquito bite. Zero. I didn't care. They worried I was having a stroke, or a brain bleed or one of a number of other terrible no good bad things that can happen to a brain. All I knew was that there was a pulsing axe deep in my head and oh how I begged them to take it out.

Then I was suddenly holding the hand of my 80 year old father, as my sister spoke to me and they continued to work over me. Then my husband was there, speaking to me, wiping my brow. Oh how I wanted him there with me. I begged him to make it stop. Give me a blessing, I begged, eyes screwed shut, clutching the sheet, feet moving on the bed. Please...a blessing. My father anointed me, my sweet husband gave me a blessing.

An MRI, CT scan, Lumbar puncture, ABG, pokes, more pokes, Open your eyes Pam, let me see your eyes, no...please. The light seared. It burned.

Please.....make it stop.

Finally, the horrific pulsing agony subsided into a pulsing migraine. I was admitted for four days. Hooked up to heart monitors, IVs and numerous medications. My electrolytes were out of balance, I was experiencing a prolonged QT heart rhythm at one point so severe that a group of nurses swarmed my room at 2:30 a.m., flipping on lights and working over me.

I kept my drapes closed. Sunglasses on. Minimal movement. Barely ate and what I did eat came back up. I wanted to go home....

Finally the pain become more or less bearable and last night they released me. I am told that I probably experienced a very rare event called a Thunderclap Headache. That, and an abnormal heart rhythm. It's like being struck in the head by a bolt of lightening---but worse. Oh, so very much worse. I am thankful to be better. I am tired, I am exhausted, my eyes are still very much light sensitive and my head aches but it is manageable.

I am to meet with a cardiologist, a neurologist and other 'gists. So many, many 'gists out there, aren't there?

I am so very sorry to have frightened my sister and my family like this.... and I am grateful Julie was there when it happened. Had I been driving I would have crashed. I am thankful for prayers lifted on our behalf. I am grateful for Petra Haderlie, Visiting Teacher Extraordinaire, who has brought dinner and is picking up my girls early each morning to take them to school until I am able to drive again. Thank you.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Offensive Offerings for the Easily Offended

Not really. Although it appears that by sharing my beliefs and opinions, I have managed to send a few people into apoplectic shock. I'm not sure how that works exactly---tolerance is the key and a highly touted value for some, unless an opinion differs from theirs. Then you of the differing beliefs are racists, bigots, haters, and other names uttered in hatred in coarse language that I don't use.

For the record? I'm not a bigot. Nor am I a racist, nor do I hate women, gays, people who Cos play, undocumented aliens, heterosexuals, people who get abortions, people who drink, smoke, use drugs, engage in a promiscuous lifestyle, The Amish, The Baptists, Palestinians, Israelis, Muslims and homeless people begging on street corners. I do not hate fat people, but I am a little perturbed at all my skinny friends. That's just me, of course.
This past week there was a flurry of people putting an equal sign as their user picture up on Facebook. I put up a picture of bacon. I also put up a picture of a man and a woman holding hands. Well, not a man and a woman per se, it was more of the universal sign for woman and the universal sign for a male seen on most restrooms around the world.

This too was offensive to some. Because I believe a certain way, I am labeled a heinous, unfeeling, mean person.

Anyone who knows me in the real world knows that nothing could be further from the truth.

And while I understand you (anyone and everyone out there reading this blog) are not me, do not have my beliefs, do not have the life experiences that I have, or the values that I hold dear, that's just fine. My friends here in the real world are not all vanilla. We are all different. We are all the same. We are, each of us, children of our Father in Heaven. Whatever trials and experiences we have been given to us, have been given to us for a reason. I do not know that answer to all things, but this I do know; We are all equal in God's eyes. He loves me, even though I am a sinner. I am thankful for my faith. I am thankful for friends who accept me, warts and all. Just as I do them.

Happy Easter, everyone. For He is risen.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Creativity and Special People

My beautiful third child has learned how to sew all on her own. What a creative soul she is! For Valentines day, she created two dolls with magnets (to make them kiss) in her image and in the image of her boyfriend Andy. Today she gave them to him, as we all looked on. Even the hoodies match what they were wearing!

Artistic, musical, witty and can sew circles around me.....could she really be mine? I hugged her before she left for Young Women's tonight. I love her so much. I've discovered that the more creative, the rockier the life....or so it seems.

Yesterday I had a bit of oral surgery and a bone graft to boot. Hmm, why do we say, 'to boot'? I've never really wondered that before. Oh look! Something shiny!

Vicodin has been my companion. Ice packs, heat packs and life is slowly moving towards my normal. Which everyone knows is not anywhere near REAL normal. Ah, normal. You are so over rated.

Hubby is still scooting around on his knee scooter. We think this third surgery is finally the last one. crosses eyes, legs, toes and fingers He is itching to get back to work to start earning those paychecks again. So far we haven't received a disability check for him, which has been interesting. I know there is a Chinese curse that says, "May you live in interesting times". And so we do. VERY interesting. We have faith that all will work out in the end.


A week or so ago we had family pictures taken. Not my hubby and our children, but rather my father, brother and two sisters. I don't have the originals back, but I do have some that my lovely Ashley snapped while we were all posing. My sister Cheri was SO excited. What a sweet soul she is...has always been. I am a better person for having had her in my life. She has been a blessing in so many ways. As I wrote HERE, everyone should have a special person in their lives. Trust me.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Once a year....

Once a year for the past three years, someone I care about has passed on to the other side. I must be getting to 'that' age. Whatever 'that' age is. I was unable to attend the celebration of someone's life yesterday, because I came down with some ugly bug on Friday at work. I had to leave an hour early from work...but I digress.


I can still see Carol in my mind's eye, laughing in the foyer at church, giggling on a ferry boat ride. Her long blondish hair shining. She went on to become a mom, grandmother, and did wonderful things for her family. Faithful and sweet and kind. I'll always remember her that way. With a smile on her face.

Carol Anderson Biddle, a woman of love and faith and with a smile that lit up the world. Prayers and condolences to her family...

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Moooom! If Obama Can Raise the Debt Ceiling, Why Can't WEEEEEE?

You may have noticed that our nation's debt is spinning out of control. Our children will one day pay the enormous price of our elected official's inability or unwillingness to stop their out of control borrowing and spending.

When YOUR family is in economic crisis, do YOU spend more? Not if you have half a brain. You cut things out. You go without luxuries, you don't get into more debt! Obama and congress seem unable or unwilling to fix this problem. Here is my newest piece at The Black Sphere about this issue. Trust me, it will Blow You Away!
Have I ever lied to you? :::::GRIN:::::

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Ron Paul Needs A Lesson in Tact

Here's my newest piece for The Black Sphere

It's about Ron Paul and Chris Kyle

Really, I was dumbfounded by his tweet. What do you think?

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Clutch Your Pearls

Most of you know I've begun writing for a Conservative Blog. I'm working with a team of 7 talented writers---all very creative and knowledgeable. You should read some of their stuff.

But since this is MY blog, I'm sharing MY work. How very selfish of me, yes I know. Have you ever known me to be any other way?

Don't answer that question.

Here's the link to my newest piece there. Yes, I clutch my pearls. Call me a prude, I really don't care.

Enjoy!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Writings and Operations and Concerts, Oh My

I've been hired to write with a team of highly talented writers for the Conservative powerhouse that is Kevin Jackson, radio host, best selling author and sought after speaker. One of my pieces is up at the moment---well, actually four or five are up here at the Black Sphere. That link will take you to one of my pieces, and if you are so inclined, you may click on some of my other pieces.

It's nice to be writing again, and being able to let my voice be heard. I hope you bookmark that link and come back often to see what else I've got to say.

In other, more personal news, Lance had to have a third surgery this morning at Harborview Hospital. The third time is the charm, right? We sure hope so. The surgeon came out and told me that they think they found the source of the infection, a suture from the first surgery. I'm a bit confused about all of this, but intend to get to the bottom of it.

And in WONDERFULLY thrilling and happy news---I saw Ashley Rose sing in concert at her middle school this evening. It was...well, it was one of those happy mommy moments that I won't soon forget.

Despite the ups and downs, life is good. God is good and I feel blessed each and every day. I do not walk this path alone.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Chavez and His Antihill

As I cleaned up the kitchen this morning, I discovered two large halves of half a watermelon sitting on the tile counter. My youngest had scooped out all the delicious red fruit and left the rest. No attempt to put it into the food waste container, sitting a few feet away. No attempt to toss it in the garbage. As I picked up the discarded shells, I thought, “No sugar ants swarming all over. Sure would have been covered in ants if I was still in Venezuela. All that sugary sweet watermelon juice...”
Mentally shaking myself, I offered up a grateful prayer that I was no longer living in the muggy tropical country where ant infestations were common. You could not leave food out on the counters for any length of time. Not unless you wanted ants—or worse. Unattended food was fair game for roaches, ants, bugs of all kinds. When humans with the power left the area, the vacuum was filled with opportunistic creatures taking advantage of the good stuff.

If you've been watching the news, you may have seen articles about Hugo Chavez and his declining health. He lied to the nation, and the world, when he declared himself healthy in order to run for the presidency. Now the ants are swarming in the vacuum left by his absence in Venezuela. Chavez has not been seen publicly since undergoing surgery in Cuba on December 11th. He's been suffering from an aggressive form of pelvic cancer since June 2011. His health (or lack thereof) has been a closely guarded secret. Chavez has never been big on transparency; Being a dictator means you only let the ants see what you want them to see. You don't leave the good stuff out; You save the wealth for your own private anthill compatriots.

His power lay with the Chavistas, the poorest of the poor in Venezuela, whose loyalty has been purchased from the coffers of companies he has nationalized and those who have worked hard for their keep. Chavez silenced most critics by nationalizing television stations, radio stations and causing many of his detractors to flee the country in fear of trumped up charges. He has made his cronies wealthy.

And now, the ants swarm.

Hugo Chavez is much like Hitler; Before his illness he created an US vs THEM mentality in the minds of his loyal supporters. Venezuelans vs the United States of America. Us vs The Great Satan. The US was going to invade their beloved Venezuela because they had oil—after all, hadn't they done the same in the middle east? Chavez paid Chavistas to 'train' for the invasion. Regular citizens, marched around in units, 'training' for the coming invasion.

Now Chavez, possibly on a ventilator in Cuba, is absent on the eve of his inauguration.

“The official version of what is happening, is unsustainable,” the head of the main opposition party, Ramon Guillermo Aveledo party told news outlets. He urged the government to prepare for what is coming, instead of hiding the truth.

But hiding the truth is something Chavez and his cronies are very good at.

The Venezuelan constitution says that presidential elections must be held within 30 days if the president is dead, or absent. Hugo Chavez is indeed absent.

One night, as I returned to my home in Venezuela, I saw a line of black in the road, leading from the jungle across the street to my front yard. As I got closer, I saw that the black line was moving. Ants! Big fat leaf cutter ants were marching between the yard and the jungle. By the time I reached the front yard I could see that they had completely defoliated an entire bush and carted it off, piece by piece, into the jungle. All that was left was the wood of the plant, but without it's leaves to work and sustain it, the bush was doomed to die.

Venezuela's government and it's economy has been chomped at by Chavez and his socialistic regime until people have to stand in lines to purchase the most basic necessities and even those are rationed. I received news from my friends there that they were giving Harina Pan, the cornmeal mix to make arepas, a mainstay of the Venezuelan's diet, as Christmas gifts. It had become scarce and very costly. Chavez's hatred of all things capitalistic has caused them to have to import many of the things previously manufactured in Venezuela. As a consequence, there are shortages and rationing. With Chavez in Cuba and possibly dying, nothing is improving for the Venezuelan people.

And so the ants swarm in the power vacuum.

Disodada Cabello has been reelected president of the Venezuelan Assembly—a post that could mean he would rule in the absence of Chavez. However, Chavez made his wishes known before he went under the knife, that he wanted his vice president, Nicol├ís Maduro, to be his successor. Tensions between the two ant hills are increasing, as the Chavistas swarm around. Cabello and Maduro embraced after the assembly vote, saying that they would never be traitors to the will of Chavez and that they were the 'sons of Chavez.”

Comments from Venezuelan's on the FaceBook page Noticias al Dia y a la Hora, are overwhelmingly dismissive of this 'theatrical hug', saying that both should watch for the knife in the back from the other. Meanwhile, the ants swarm and I wonder what will be left of my beautiful second homeland after the socialist feast is done.

R.I.P. Sweet Soul...

I won't go into a lot of detail here, mostly because at the moment it is very painful for me to even think about.

On Thursday afternoon we had to put our dear sweet dog Cassie to sleep.

It was an incredibly difficult decision to make---until she began having seizures one after another and I knew it was the right choice. She was in pain. She was suffering. It was the humane choice for my baby girl.

Even having said that, it tore at my soul.

Happy Trails, sweet doggie. Until we meet up to play Gimme Dat Bone once again...