Loving Deeply and Well

When we were in Orlando a couple years ago, I had the privilege to take a class taught by Dr. Steven Childers. I’m super embarrassed to admit I don’t remember the name of the class. I could probably look it up, but I just spent all that time finding his bio. Suffice to say, it was about the Gospel of Christ and how it is not something we leave behind at the start of our walk of faith but rather how necessary it is for it to be hammered into our hearts and minds (often by each other) on a daily basis. Yes, it was amazing. Anyhow, He often talked about and prayed for us, that we would so trust God, trust His Word, Trust the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and be so secure in HIS love for us that we would be able to “love [others] deeply and well.” I think about that a lot. I have completely stolen/adopted that phrase into my prayer life, for myself and others.

In that vein, I wanted to point you to a blog post about loving by a woman who’s blog has been a great source of encouragement for me of late. Being a mother of “10 kids from 3 countries”, there is an emphasis on the adoptive parent/child relationship, but it is wisdom that extends to all relationships. I especially appreciated the video link at the end. So please, take a few minutes to click this link, read the post & watch the video clip, peruse the links…. Lord, May we be so confident of Your love for us and in our standing with YOU, that we are free to love others with abandon, deeply and well. Really Loving

Mischevious Muffins

Another muffin recipe for you. This recipe is from the vitamix whole grains recipe booklet, which of course i have tweaked a little. My kids like these a lot & think they are chocolaty, though I told them there is no chocolate in them (& admitted to spinach & carrot). The last batch i did add 1/3 cup cocoa powder, they’re good, but oddly enough we all liked them better w/o it.

Whole Wheat Fruit & Veggie Muffins

1.5 cups wheat berries, milled into flour (i think this probably makes just under or at 2 cups flour? sorry, next time i’ll try to remember to measure it after it’s milled). I used my home-sprouted & dehydrated, but regular will work fine too.
1TBS flax seed

2tsp cinnamon
2tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 very large handful baby spinach leaves, rinsed
3/4 cup raisins
Half a large banana or 1 small banana.
2TBS oil
(i used coconut. dont’ have to melt it b/c it’s going into the blender!)
2 eggs
1/2 cup sucanat
2 cups strawberries
(mine were frozen & it worked out to about 13 med/large strawberries. you could add pretty much any berry or fruit. original recipe calls for pinapple & oranges. i did half blueberries the first time too)
1 carrot, cut into rounds

Preheat oven to 375F, grease muffin pan.
Mill wheat & flaxseed, pour into large mixing bowl & add rest of the dry ingredients.

In wet blade vitamix container (blender) add the rest of the ingredients in the order listed, turn machine on @ variable speed #1, quickly move to #10 & switch on to HIGH. Run for about 30 seconds or more until smooth. Stir liquid mixture into the flour mixture & spoon into muffin pan.

Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes. Makes just over 12 muffins.

Chatty Kathy

For those of you who haven’t noticed…. one of the short people in our house got an extra dose of the talkative gene from her mother. Often it’s pretty humorous, and generally I try not to judge…after all, she DOES come by it honestly. It’s in her blood I suppose (deep down I REALLY blame Aunt Christine. She was the chatty kathy in my family….i think. Hard to tell in a family with 4 females, 1 male). However, I will admit….it can get a bit exhausting. I try really hard not to tune her out, but on the other hand if I don’t…well…bad things start happening around 4pm. And most nights Ryan’s not home till 6pm to keep me in check take over listening to children.

When Asher was her age I used to strain my ears to listen to him sing and talk to himself at random times during the day. As a reward for my mommy-spy efforts I would get sweet little peeks into the heart & mind of my son. It’s been awhile since I’ve done that. I even flat out told Grace the other day that if she needs to ask me a question or ask for help she may not do it in song b/c when she’s singing I tune her out & won’t come help her (due to not knowing she’s calling for me). That sounds harsh doesn’t it?

I used to think Asher talked a lot. Mostly he asked questions a lot. I’ve noticed lately he doesn’t ask so much anymore. I can’t tell if it’s developmental, if he just doesn’t have much chance for getting a word in edge-wise, or if in the midst of all the listening I do, I’ve stopped ANSWERING. I try not to feel too bad there though, he does look up answers himself a lot now-days. That’s probably a good thing.

Anyhow, assuming the Lord gives us insight on training her to be a good conversationalist (i.e. listening as well as talking), I know her gregarious nature will be a blessing to many. She’s especially handy to have around before church starts. I’m terrible at striking up & maintaining conversations with strangers….ie. being social & friendly (particularly to visitors!). Grace has nearly none of this shy awkwardness and by wandering off to talk to random people she forces me to do so also.

This being said, I feel comforted when strangers make remarks that most people might take offense to. It is not at all uncommon for strangers to mention her verbosity, in the grocery store, at parks and especially when waiting in lines. Today was a great example. I had to pop into my doctor’s office to have blood drawn. The last time I did this it took perhaps 10 minutes total. Today there was a long line at the lab. As we sat in line for 20 minutes or more, Grace took it upon herself to entertain the elderly gentleman in line behind us. By this I mean she talked his ear off (granted, she also asked him conversational questions but he had trouble hearing her, so she gave up on questions early on) until I felt like he had enough (i.e. picked up a magazine & proceeded to ignore her). During this time he laughed & said things like, “she just feels like she needs to fill up the empty air with all those words doesn’t she?” and “So does she just go on like this all day?” lastly, with a sympathetic look, “this is why parenting is for the young. I wouldn’t last 1 hour with this one” (shortly after he picked up the aforementioned magazine).

Mostly I think it doesn’t bother me, because they make me feel sane. So I’m not imaging it? Surely if strangers feel comfortable commenting on the draining power of her constant chatter, it’s not just me? Surely I’m not exaggerating? Surely there IS a good reason I can no longer handle questions or stories or chats come 4:30 or 5?

Lord, please grant me strength, wisdom, patience, playfulness and endurance to know how to shepherd this sweet noisy ball of energy.

Marvelous Muffin Mania…mmmm…

I don’t have time to devote to all the nit-picky-rambly details that would usually accompany a post like this. Suffice to say: The recipe has taken over a year of off & on trial and error (admittedly mostly off). There are also easier ways to obtain the phytate reduction & easier digestibility that this recipe includes, but….they’re not as fun. or light & fluffy…Oh & fyi: you DO NOT i repeat DO NOT need to do any dehydrating or flour milling for this recipe.

TIPS:
1) The nit-picky trick is you have to get the wheat when it is JUST BARELY starting to sprout little tails. if they get longer than just barely poking out, the starch-to-sugar conversion will go too far & render the muffins gluey. at least in my non-scientific experience.

2) I made this in my super-de-duper Vitamix. I suspect it MIGHT work in a ‘regular blender’, but this is coming from a woman who killed 1 “regular blender” a year for the past 4 years. If nothing else it will void a ‘regular blender’ warranty for sure.

3) i’d like to try using honey instead of sucanat, but the deal w/the sprouted wheat is it is puffed up w/water, so you have to lessen the moisture in the recipe. i wasn’t up for trialing with a moist(er) sweetener. If you do, let me know!!

Sprouted (or well, germinated), ‘flourless’ Whole Wheat Muffins

Rinse 2 or 3 cups of wheat berries & soak 10hrs or overnight. Place in a colander (i like to use one of those handy dandy types that have arms to balance over the sink), cover with a damp towel & ‘water’ (rinse)…often…? I do it everytime i walk through the kitchen. This can take 1-1.5 days. As soon as you start seeing a little sprouty guy poking out of most of them (sorry, they don’t sprout uniformly), make your muffins, or refrigerate the wheat & make them as soon as you can.

3/4 cup buttermilk (i used milk + 2TBS lemon juice as a sub for buttermilk)
Scant 1/2 cup oil (or melted butter. i used melted coconut oil)
1 egg
2 cups + 2 TBS germinated wheat berries (i used soft white wheat this go-round)
1/2 cup sucanat
1tsp vanilla, optional (i’m a freak about vanilla & use 1TBS but i’ve never seen a recipe recommend that)
1tsp cinnamon (optional)
2TBS (whole) flaxseeds
1tsp salt
1tsp baking soda
1tsp baking powder

Put all ingredients except baking soda & powder (i recommend measuring that out into a small bowl to pour in quickly at the same time at the end) into the vitamix & blend well. Open lid & stir in the baking soda & powders with a spoon & then pour into muffin tin (if adding fruit, stir that in before the powders). Bake at 400 for 15-30min until done. (when i use stoneware it takes longer than metal, thus the large time difference. just keep an eye on them till they start looking goldeny).

**for banana muffins, use 1-2 ripe bananas & a bit less oil.

E list of words

For some reason Grace pronounces a lot of words with an exaggerated long E sound at the front:

Edults (adults)
Esplore (explore)
Ecited (excited)
Emazing (amazing)
Ezausting (exhausting)
Efraid (afraid)
Ennoyed (annoyed)
Efused (confused, though she’s been alternating this one w/the correct pronunciation lately)

…I’m sure there’s more but it’s all I can come up with right now.

Do Not Be Anxious About Anything…

..but but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:4).

It is apparent due to the mangled state of the inside of my lower lip & left cheek that I have not heeded the above verse. It has been a few years since i chewed to the point of drawing blood (& then kept right on going). Used to be a vicious constant habit, but Ryan has worked his magic and the..as he puts it…self-cannibalism is now a rare occurrence.

There is certainly a lot of ‘stuff’ on our plate right now that could easily be considered stressors….things to be anxious about. Some things have been dragging me down, some were but the Lord has granted my heart peace about them, and others I’m trying to ignore until it’s actually something happening, therefore delaying the worrying if you will. Pretty much everything can be put into the “unkown” category. You know, something will be happening…at some point in the undetermined future…and not exactly sure what it will even be… I can think of 4 things in that category off the top of my head right now.

On top of all that my little boy seems to have gone and decided to start growing up on me. …And I seemed to not get the memo for awhile there. I was very excited about the little milestones happening with him…reading, dressing himself…WIPING himself (enter dance party)…brushing his own teeth…ect. However, it hadn’t really dawned on me that he’s DOING more because he’s GETTING OLDER and thus more independent. Yet still I saw my little guy that needs his mom to tell/remind him what to do, when to do it and how it should be done. Odd, since it’s been driving me crazy more or less acting like the ‘brain’ for 3 people all day everyday….draining my brain for sure! Much like a moth hovering around a lightbulb, I found myself getting singed recently. In retrospect I can see it’s been a growing issue over the last few months, and it came to a head early this week. Perhaps he finally just got tired of it, or perhaps my stress (that I was under the impression was pretty under control) has rubbed off, maybe transitions we’ve been making in regard to discipline have subconsciously freaked him out. Probably all of the above. I’m not about to air out anyone’s sins but my own, but let’s just say I actually had to call Ryan home from work at noon one day this week because I had been emotionally beat down to a catatonic weeping puddle by that point (in fairness to Asher all 3 of us had been butting heads with each other the whole morning. Wasn’t just him). If memory serves, I’ve never done that before…..i vaguely remember calling him at work to come home early when one or both of them had diarrhea & vomit going on I think…not sure. Anyhow, thankfully Ryan was able to come home & diffuse the situation and allow me some time to step back and ponder the big picture. In that pondering my sin in the situation was glaringly obvious. In fact, they were in many ways, just acting like me…but in a less ‘adult self-controlled’ way. Y.U.C.K

So there was that. The next day honestly wasn’t much better (other than i was expecting a bad day, so it wasn’t as hard), but it was that day that I realized the fact that the little guy was in the process of dropping the little…and I had been fighting him in it. Ryan and I talked, I prayed…realized I didn’t follow my own favorite saying/advice of, “just when you start to feel comfortable in a stage, they grow out of it.” So I took more steps yesterday of loosening the reigns that I cling to so tightly. I need to trust him more. I need to trust God more. He is in control of his heart and mind and emotions…not me. I cannot save my son. I CAN discipline him into faking a good attitude…ie. condition him to be a hypocrite. Or I can pray for him, model a love for Christ and a repentant heart, show him I believe he’s capable of making good choices…and trust God.

Yesterday my struggle was humorously illustrated during his shower. He recently started experimenting with taking “adult” showers. Where the shower head stays in the hook & he stands under it, instead of me holding it & hosing him down. He’s done it a few times, every time wanting me to help him w/part of it. Yesterday he shut the curtain and told me numerous times he did NOT want me to open it. He wanted privacy (though thankfully he DID want me in the bathroom still, heh). You would’ve thought he was about to walk a high-wire or something. I had to grab my phone & play on the internet to keep from peeking in to see if he was washing properly or ask if he wanted some help. I could feel the ridiculousness of the situation, yet tears sprung to my eyes when he announced he was finished and asked me to leave the room while he dried off. Not offended tears, but happy tears…mostly. It’s what I want. I WANT him to grow up to be an independent self-thinking, self-showering man who loves the Lord. That is my job as a mother, to teach him…or model for him, how to do that. I knew going in that I’d have to let go eventually, but I guess I didn’t realize the letting go started so soon.

So Asher: I’m sorry I’ve held on too tight. I probably will always struggle with it. Thankfully your dad is around to laugh at my ridiculous tear filled shower stories. He’ll help me remember to sit on my hands sometimes and let you figure this out….and I know your Father in Heaven will be carrying us all along.

2010 Oscar Nominee

A few weeks ago I was puttering in the kitchen while the kids played in the dining/living room area.  I wasn’t really listening. They were playing one of their many imaginary games but I don’t know what the characters were.  Eventually I tuned back in see if there was play arguing or real arguing going on.  I looked over and Asher looked a little bewildered while grace was sitting on her knees, head in hands weeping.  It sounded like a fake cry, a very very sad fake cry, and I couldn’t really tell if it was fake or not.  I walked over and asked Asher what he did to his sister what was going on, but he didn’t seem to know.  They were “just playing and then she started crying”.   I knelt down and asked Grace if she was ok and head still in hands she sobbed, “I’m just sooo sad…”  Giving Asher the “you better not have lied about not doing anything to her eye” I asked why she was sad.  Looking up at me wide-eyed, tears streaming down face, “Because I am just a poor kid and don’t have any parents.  They died and no one has adopted me.” (or something along those lines.  It’s been a common play scenario for the past 6 months).

“Grace, are you really sad and crying or are you just pretending?”

Complete composure, wiping tears from face, “Just playing with Asher.”

Following that was the oh so common, “please do not REALLY cry when you are just pretending” speech (it sounds very similar to the “you may only scream if you are seriously injured or about to die” speech), and sheepish apology to my son.

Is this a common 3 year old skill or should I get the girl an agent?

Jenn’s Tweets for 2010-02-26

  • The music for Ryan's alarm sounds like the intro to 'breakfast at tiffany's (by deep blue something). 08:06:20
  • I wish the baby monitor had 2way capability. Have I mentioned I don't like sleeping on a different floor than the kids? #firstworldproblems 08:08:03
  • the flourless sprouted wheat bread is very good…even w/the big chunks of wheat berries that weren't ground up properly. score! 09:12:57
  • grace likes to shorten words to 'sound cool'. more like valley girl, but it's cute in a 3yr old. "hey mom, can u get me some toilet pape?' 09:42:15
  • wondering if my husband has had any food in that past 24 hrs… 10:14:28
  • preschool homeschool math: War & leapfrog math rummy card games. amazing how much they learned about #'s this morning w/o knowing it. 11:12:39
  • Now moved on to fine motor skills, color recognition & imaginitave play. Haven't gotten them dressed though http://pi.pe/-zcggdz 11:41:17
  • asher was pretending to kill good guys so they could be w/God in heaven. good discussion stemmed from it…..whew. #weirdparentingmoments 12:03:08
  • i should've marked that last post #whymomsneedgoodtheology instead. 12:06:39
  • 'good' implied i have 'good'….ok: #whymomsneedtostudytheology (stereotypical feminine communicator much?) 12:37:42
  • RT @Logos: See our free iPhone Bible app in action. New demo video posted on: http://bit.ly/L4ipod // love that demo guy's sexy voice! 14:02:36
  • asher "can't wait till our computer is old" so he can play Opa's Empire on it. (Opa keeps an old computer around to play the DOS version) 14:35:02
  • it's way past naptime, but the kids have been playing Jedi's SO nicely I haven't had the heart to interrupt. 15:31:39
  • aaannd commence fighting…..just over an hour though. that's probably a world record. 15:37:09
  • @dropcam lol, to tell them they're allowed to come downstairs when they call for me in the morning. in reply to dropcam 16:41:18
  • Pizza night in T-minus 1 hour. Mostly I'm looking forward to my weekly beer. 18:06:32

Jenn’s Tweets for 2010-02-24

  • @patioswings My feed reader has not picked up your posts! Here I thought you completely abandoned blogging (as it appears I have…). in reply to patioswings 07:40:14
  • Everyone in the house except me has been sick the past few days. Thankful I have so far dodged the bullet. Praying i continue to do so… 13:09:36
  • Sure sign grace is sick: she asked for it to be naptime. 13:40:26
  • Laundry, food, clean up food, play w/kids. Rinse & repeat on 2hr loop. Usually fun & more intricate than that…today I feel like robot-mom 15:02:49