Friday, April 2, 2010

I'm Aware!

I wish I could wear your eyes for a day.
Hear what is rattling around in your ears.
Know what is grabbing your thoughts.
Understand what makes you giggle, and why you’re crying.

Opening lines to the poem "For Jack"; visit Finding Jackson to read the whole poem.

It's World Autism Awareness Day. I didn't even know such a thing existed. My world is aware of autism every day, thanks to my beautiful Seth. To honor all of the families who are trying to love and teach and train and reach these quirky kids, I offer a Seth Story:

A couple of weeks ago at our homeschool co-op, one of the moms told me she had nominated Seth for one of the weekly awards given by the campus director. Then she told me why.

It seems that Seth encountered a maintenance man patching and painting some dings in the walls in the nursery area of the church. He stood a little too close, and leaned down a little too far over the man's shoulder, and the man just kept on working. After several minutes, Seth said, "You sure are doing a good job with that."

"Well, thank you, young man!" was the response.

"Is that 'encouraging speech'?" Seth wanted to know.

"Why, yes! Yes it is!" the man said, looking at Seth, who was characteristically averting his eyes.

"I'm working on telling encouraging speech," Seth informed him, before ambling away.

When Seth was diagnosed with "moderate to severe classic childhood autism" at just less than 3 years of age, a dialog like the one above was considered to be categorically out of the question. We've been blessed with the very best education and help, amazing therapists, and the desire and ability to home educate, but all credit, praise, honor and glory for every accomplishment large and small belongs solely to the One who saw Seth's unformed being in my womb, and wrote down every day ordained for him before one of them came to be.

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
Jude 24-25

Friday, March 19, 2010

What Would YOU Have Done?

It's the day before The Blizzard of the Decade. Again. Conveniently though, today's high was 70ยบ, making it not only possible, but, in my opinion mandatory to expose the progeny to fresh air and sunshine and citified waterfowl. We went downtown, ate lunch outside next to a fountain. That was super fun. If by "super fun" I am understood to mean "whose idea was it to bring the toddler downtown, untethered, at lunch time, during Big XII basketball playoffs?" We left the fountain area and went to feed the ducks, geese, and a few fish. It was super fun. See extrapolation of "super fun" above, and add water. And goose poop. It will be nice when those Clues I won on eBay finally arrive...

Speaking of eBay, it is dead to me. By way of explanation, I got a little moolah for my birthday and I decided that I wanted a particular purse. Or, I thought I did. I found the purse, bid on it and won it. Then it got here and I loved it not. Oh it was all "item as described" and "super-great condition A++++++++", but we just didn't mesh. So I turned around and put it back up for sale. I had bid against about 4 other people down to the last few seconds, so of course selling it for what I'd paid (or more...probably MORE!) would be no problem. And it went fine. Except for the problems. It sold twice, fell through twice and finally sold for the third time. For 37% less than I'd paid. Not that I'm keeping track. I gave away over a third of my birthday money. Blergh.

OCHEC Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for tomorrow. So is the BotD. Will we meet? Will we postpone? How late is too late to cancel the catered lunch I ordered? You see the besetting difficulties with which I wrestle.

Here's your procedural politics lesson for the day. You're welcome.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Aaaand, GO!

I'm up too late, and my unplugged laptop has 19 minutes of battery left, so I'm doing what any sane person would do: updating my blog.

Just a few things to say before I call it a day...

Thanks so much for your kind words, thoughts, and prayers for our family and for my mom. We don't know anything more yet, so we're waiting, trusting and loving. It's kind of what we do best.

The Homeschool Moms' Winter Summit was incredible! The love and grace and all the real was almost more than I could bear. My first presentation was alright, but I went over by more than 10 minutes. Grrr. I was so disappointed because I really really hate speakers that do not know when to shut up. My second presentation felt very all-over-the-place and wonky. I know why, but I can't decide if I'm brave enough to spill that particular can of beans on the old blog...maybe in a year or six when it starts to be more funny than ridiculous and pathetic.

My dear, real-life friend Tracy is having a miracle delivered tomorrow. It has been years (6? I think?) and tears in coming, and tomorrow's the day. I'm excited for my friend and for her family, but is it okay to say that I'm kind of excited for me? That what I really need right now, for a lot of reasons, is to witness the awesome power of our loving God and to have a front row seat, watching with hope-filled eyes and tear-stained cheeks as "all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God" through my precious friends. I'm so grateful that God is too big to be fathomed by my finite mind. I'm also grateful that He allows a glimpse now and then. There, my friends, is comfort.

Lastly, my handsome, brainy, God-fearing, family-loving, awesome nephew has a blog. The pictures are amazing. He's 20, a hard-working husband and dad, a student, and a captivating photographer. Warning: the pictures of my grand-niece will make your ovaries hurt. Don't say you weren't warned.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Who Feels Like Prayin'?

So, tomorrow and Saturday I'll be here. I am praying that there will be a lot of mamas from all over our state that come to listen, learn, and be blessed. And I'm also praying that they will have the collective need to visit the Necessary Room between 1:15 and 1:45 and again from 3ish to 4ish on Saturday, because that's when I'm scheduled to speak. Here's how I'm feelin' about that:

If you think of it, would you mind to ask the Lord to keep sweat from running down the backs of my legs and pooling in my shoes? Also, it would be a grace gift if I could keep the 'ah's and 'uhm's to a number somewhat below the amount of my current library fine.

Insert clever segue here...we've got a meeting tonight in Tulsa about the homeschool convention our state homeschool organization is hosting there. Time's growin' short, and it's starting to get really exciting. If you live in/near Tulsa, we'd love to have you drop in April 27-28. The Oklahoma City convention is the following Friday and Saturday, April 30 and May 1. It'll be a busy week, but it will be fun. It's like a family reunion minus the weird cousins and warm macaroni salad.

And there's no easy way to say this, so I'll just put it out there. My precious mother and dearest friend has been diagnosed with lung cancer. As you all know, I have extensive medical knowledge and hold an MD from Google University. Sometimes the Google, it is not our friend. Mom is blessed to have a doctor that she likes and trusts, and we're still in the information gathering stage, but it's hard. There was a biopsy this morning and she'll have a PET scan soon, so we're hoping to have a plan as soon as all the test results are in. There is a lot that we don't know, but it seems to me that the most important things are already known:

God is sovereign and in complete control. As Corrie Ten Boom would say, "There is no panic in heaven. God has no problems, only plans."

He has promised never to leave or forsake us.

There is not a disease so awful that it can take Mom's life one second before God has ordained for it to end. There is not a doctor or a treatment powerful enough to keep her here one second beyond when God has ordained for her to go. This article by John Piper has been an inspiration. It's worth the read if you have a minute, and, let's face it: if you weren't beside yourself with boredom, would you be here? That's what I thought.

Pray with me, won't you, for the comfort and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the grace to endure whatever is ahead with gratitude.

Monday, February 22, 2010

What's NOT in My Crock Pot?

Connie wants to know what's in all of our Crock Pots. And since I'm more in the mood to blog about what's in my Crock Pot than I am to, say, fold laundry, here I am posting for the second whole day in a row. I'll pause here for a minute while you catch your breath from all the successive-days-of-blogging-ing.

So, here we go. Crock Pot. The real question is what's NOT in my Crock Pot?

Pot Roast
1 beef roast
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 envelope onion soup mix
2T corn starch
1/4c water

If you thought ahead and thawed the roast in the fridge overnight, then you can rub the roast with minced garlic and sear it in a pan on the stovetop before placing in the crock pot. If you're me, you plunk a frozen cow-brick into the crock pot and call it good. Either way, then you mix the mushroom soup and onion soup mix (no need to add water), and smear it over the roast. Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours (closer to 8 for the cow-brick). Remove the roast to a platter, pour the juices into a sauce pan and warm over medium heat. Stir 2T corn starch into 1/4c cold water. Whisk into meat juices and stir constantly until slightly thickened. Serve with mashed potatoes or egg noodles or rice or Ding Dongs, depending on the time of the month.

BBQ Round Steak

2# or so of round steak, cut into serving-size pieces
2c of your favorite BBQ sauce (bottled or homemade...we like Head Country)

Brown the steak portions lightly if you like, but you don't have to. Depends on whether you have a kid assigned to kitchen duty to clean up the extra pan. Place round steak portions in the Crock Pot and cover with BBQ sauce. Cover and cook on LOW 6 hours or longer. Sometimes I serve these with mashed taters, sometimes with buns for BBQ sandwiches. Sometimes with Ding Dongs. See above.

Apple Butter
4# or so sweet apples (I use half Gala and half Fuji)
4t cinnamon
1/2t cloves

Wash apples and remove stems. Slice apples into wedges (or the shape that makes you happy), and fill the crock pot until the lid will barely fit. I overfill by 1/2" or so, because they cook down so far. Cook on LOW 12 hours or overnight, or until someone says, "Hey. What's all the brown stuff in the crock pot?" Remove the lid and blend the apples with an immersible (stick) blender until smooth. Stir in spices. leave the lid off, set on HIGH and let the apples reduce another 8-12 hours. I lay a tea towel or piece of cheesecloth over the crock pot to discourage the addition of Monopoly pieces, jacks, or other non-traditional enhancements. Stir occasionally. When the apples are the consistency of softened butter, take a little sample. If you'd like 'em a little sweeter, add white or brown sugar to taste, stir well and let cook another hour or so. Ladle into prepared 4oz. or 8oz. canning jars. Sealed jars are good for months. Unsealed jars should be refrigerated and eaten within a week or so.

For most of my Crock cooking, I use these. When I need Crock Pot inspiration, I go here, and this is my favorite Crock Pot cook book.

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Crocking!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I Could Be the Tamer

Claire keeps us laughing ALL. THE. TIME. Thought you guys would appreciate this story from last week...

Setting: MomMobile
Cast of Characters: Mom, Claire

Claire: You know that doo-doo-doo-DOOT doo-DOOT song?...Mom? Do you know it? It's the song on Pink Panther. doo-doo-doo-DOOT doo-DOOT?

Mom: Mmmhmm

Claire: We have enough people in our family to play that song. We could play it if we had some tubas.

Mom: I think they used saxophones.

Claire: Yeah. Those are just like tubas. So, we should all get inster-mints. We would probably know how to hold the inster-mints, but we might have to learn how to wiggle our fingers over the holes to make doo-doo-doo-DOOT doo-DOOT. You know that Pink Panther song, right? doo-doo-doo-DOOT doo-DOOT.

Mom: Mmmhmm

Claire: And you could be the Tamer. You know, the Tamer, right Mom? The one who stands at the front and doesn't have a inster-mint, but just shakes a stick up and down? The Tamer? You could be the Tamer.

Mom: Mmmhmm

Claire: doo-doo-doo-DOOT doo-DOOT doo-DOOT doo-DOOT doo-DOOT doo-DOOT doo-DOOOOOOOOT doodlie-doot-doot...

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled programming, already in progress...