Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Kolache

She remembers these things. Long ago, I was either too lazy to make breakfast or plumb out of food, but we stopped at the local kolache bakery. I'm just curious.. is it normal to have kolache bakeries in your neighborhood?

Anyway, we do! We ate them, and she never forgot. I have not been back, for a reason unknown to everyone except my inner stubbornness to not buy something that I am capable of making myself.  It only took about two years to get around to doing it.

She picked two things to work on this summer: piano and baking. First thing on the list to bake: kolaches. Even then, I didn't get around to it and she has made one batch of chocolate chip cookies and four batches of snickerdoodles, but tonight was kolache trial #1. Not bad, although I think I over-baked them while reading Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle from the back bedroom. Who knows how long the beeper was going off before we actually heard it.

So, I'm not writing to promote a wonderful recipe, but rather log my memory. I know she will remember.


It had just stopped raining for the second day in a row with a high of 68 degrees in June. The windows were open, letting in the soothing sounds of the sweet, cool breeze. Supper was ready, and we had a few minutes to whip up a batch of sweet dough, just for the fun of it. One child was listening to music on a tablet, one practicing her marble game, and the boy on the front steps waiting for Daddy's car to appear down the street.

That moment was the sweetest one of the day. My soul was at rest. Oh, to live right there in rest. I was not offended, not worried, not planning anything, and completely ignoring the things needed to be done but couldn't right now.

My children are confused with my feelings toward them. "Mom, is it hard to have children?" they ask.
I cannot lie. "Yep."
"Then you wish you never had us?"
"Never! You are exactly what I want!"
"But you said it is hard."
"Baby, the hard things are the very best things." I smile.

I have a good life. The best part is, few can see it, because it is the small things that make it good. Today it was the kolache.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Summertime

Our summer started a bit early this year upon completion of our curriculum. Although their free time has been lengthened, learning won't stop ;) I would like to make it a habit to blog more throughout the summertime. It makes me reflect and be thankful.

A few years back, I was having a pity party because I would love to take my children on fun trips around the country- or the world for that matter, but never seem to have the funds or time. So we determined to explore our own backyard instead- Kansas, that is (or Missouri since it is closer than most of Kansas to us). Day trips.

Yeah, that was a good move on our part. I see at as preparation for exploration of the world. I would like to note that I would love to see the Eiffel Tower someday (soon!), the Northern Lights, and some rainforest where I am in little danger of being eaten by a large snake (worst way to die). I plan to. But until then, there's Kansas- because it is a true spirit of an explorer to find the wonder of Podunk. It takes character to value the insignificant. It is true happiness to wonder at small treasures, whether it be in nature, history, people, or accomplishments. If we can do this, how much more exciting will it be in Paris?

I read recently that Kansas is the least desirable state to tour. That's okay with me because I happen to like fantastic finds with little crowds. However, I won't feel sorry for Kansans that complain of boredom. Seriously? Bleeding Kansas? Air Capitol? The Wizard of Oz? Brown vs. Board? Amelia Earhart, George Washington Carver, and Dwight D. Eisenhower?

Okay, rant over. I plan to have a fantastic summer. Here's to a blessed May.


























Sunday, May 25, 2014

Pick One

To my children-

You are young, and sometimes feel as though you lack independence because of me, your mother. I tell you what to do a lot. I tell you when to get up, I give you a limited menu for breakfast (cereal or the other cereal), I tell you to get along, to do your school, do your chores, get your shoes on, say "I'm sorry", and put a smile on your face. You may think you should have more choices, and you may be right, but don't worry too much, you'll have plenty of choices soon enough.

I have countless choices to make each day. Some are very minor, even though they may seem like life and death issues to you, in comparison, they are minor. For example: What is for lunch? Minor. Complex, yet minor. I do need to know what is in the fridge and if nothing is there, how much I want to spend on lunch. I often ask myself, "do I really want to actually cook?" I have to determine how much color will be on your plate and give myself a list of questions like, "will I be comfortable admitting that I am a dietitian after this meal?" Complex, yet minor, because in 12 hours we will have already forgotten about this decision.

Others, however, have been a little more life-altering. Like marrying your dad. I can't exactly remember why I made that choice- I'm sure there was very little logic involved- it did make a pretty big impact on me. And for you too, for that matter. All I can say is, good thing he looks good bald. None-the-less, that decision is made. I dare not change my mind because I'd hate to go through the first 10 years of marriage over. And I love him to pieces. As you know, he's my most favorite.

Another biggie was about priorities. Where would mine be? Did you know I didn't even plan for you in my life? The doctors said it would be difficult for me to have children, so I didn't get my hopes up. Now, there are four of you. I know I could have had a fantastic career. I have a great job when I'm not around you. It's my paid vacation from you, because when I'm there, I sit in a quiet office with scheduled breaks. And I have intelligent conversations with adults. And I get paid. Did you know I don't get paid for waiting on you 24/7? But when I leave, I get a paycheck? Did you know I had the choice to do that five days a week, but I chose once-in-a-while?

I could have chose homemaking. I could have made cleanliness, wardrobe, and manicured lawns my priority. If you weren't around so much, I might just get around to finding a home for everything we own and de-clutter effectively. However, four little people can pull out more stuff than this tired mama can put away, especially when you add cooking, laundry, vacuuming, and a cheery disposition. Your presence makes my life nearly impossible.

Or appearance. Did you know, I have not had an actual hairstyle in years?

Did you know most people in Target are richer than us?

Did you know that sometimes I act crazy just to cover up the fact that I probably am?

Ya know why? Because I cannot, with clear conscience, choose anything but the life I now have. I had to choose one priority. I chose you. I chose the pleasure of building this relationship over dry clean only clothing and non-greasy hair. I chose to settle for McDonald's once in a while over RD approved meals. I chose this gross carpet and those dandelions over the magazine cover house.

Other families- good families- may do it differently. That's okay. I'm not the one to decide what is best for anyone but us. But I wish for you to know that often times, we won't have it all. We can't have perfection. In fact, perfection is boring. My decision, which I firmly believe is actually God's decision for us, has made me weak. I am in over my head, and I'm positive a few marbles were lost in the process.

Yet, in spite of my half-missing mind, (your dad's is not much better), I feel like the luckiest person alive. Tonight, I sat in a book corner with an old and worn blanket serving as a canopy reading, "Catalina Magdalena Hoopensteiner Wallendiner Hogan Logan Bogan Was Her Name", and then listening to made up names like, "Catalina Magdalena Pillow Blanket in a Taco with Dirty Blonde Rockets into Space", followed by the beautiful harmony of laughter.

I learned that Dr. Doolittle was a playwright for many animals, serious plays for penguins and comedies for monkeys. And Jason of Iolcus may be a hero, but also incredibly foolish. I've listened to countless Boxcar stories that have burned fantasies in your minds. I know, when we bowl together, which "coaching" techniques would work best for which of you. I know when to challenge you and when to take it easy. I don't get it perfect every time, but I know better than anyone else.

I know I drive you crazy sometimes. I know that still you are crazy about me. Its pretty obvious when I was ready for peace and quiet twenty minutes ago, yet you still want another hug. You are my treasure. I pick you, and I will do whatever I can to start you off well.

I choose to do this because someday you will have to make millions of choices, and a few will be life altering. I don't want those made for the wrong reasons. I want them made from true conviction, which may look like insanity to the world around you. Well, that plus the fact you are a whole lot of fun to be around.

Love, Mom

Friday, April 18, 2014

On Fear...

During the last few weeks, I've been attempting to starve my fear and worries. It has not been easy, I've given them way too much control in my life. Its amazing where fear sneaks in. I can identify it much easier now.

Most of them irrational. All of them affect my behavior. I can try to conceal it, but the only way to make the day more pleasant for everyone is to get rid of the fear.

That part is getting a little easier. It gets easier when I look to the one who loves me.

Thank you, God, for loving me.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Spring

I'll just say none of us were having a good day.
























But it turned out fine. Thank God for spring.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Looking Forward

I don't remember details about my childhood. A few, but not like some people. I know generalities. My mother must have talked a lot about heaven because I developed a sense of perseverance through whatever I went through, thinking that one day this will all be a memory.

I long for my child-like thoughts again.

With the help of the Holy Spirit, I think I am re-learning some of them. As I read history, especially the very best stories, I find that our comfort is not top priority to God. Victory is. That is what Jesus is all about- having what we need to push through the filth in order to obtain our destinies. Heaven bound.

When we really know this, it makes whatever we are going through a little better. A lot better.

I love the David Crowder song that says, "and all of a sudden, I am unaware of the afflictions eclipsed by glory, and I realize just how beautiful you are and how great your affections are for me.."

I had a great weekend.
Family.
Church.
Good food.
Answered prayer.
Loving on my children.
Jesus.

One more lyrical reminder: "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace."

I have much to be thankful for in the present, but the future is what puts everything in perspective. It tells us who we are, where are rightful home is, and what the King is like. Until then, we can persevere through the sewers of life and grab on to all of the bits of heaven we can receive.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. -James 1:16-18

Ah, yes. As I write this I have a memory. I walked through the fattening barn, each cluster of pigs scattering as I go by their individual pen. At the end of the concrete slab, I lean over the railing and look down to the waterway full of manure. The sewage. Sometimes I would clean the barns by scraping the filth into this sewer- and finish my job quickly so that I could be the first to run into our one bathroom house, throw off my clothes, and draw a warm bath.

Sewage. Its not so bad when you know the bath is coming. Its not so bad when your heart is full.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Pop Quiz

Last night as I blogged, I was baking banana bread. Turns out, I was too tired to attempt such a thing.. the recipe was for two loaves and I put everything on one pan. It ran out of the pan on onto my already filthy oven floor.

My oven's self cleaning feature no longer works. Neither does "broil".

No banana bread, either.

Believe me, there is plenty to get depressed about in my house- can you relate? My washer washes with only hot water. There are clothes everywhere. The toilet paper rolls always seem to be empty. My shower has not been cleaned in months.

Maybe I can't rationally compare my life with the Israelites, who after wandering around in a desert their whole life, were getting ready to enter a land of enemy giants, but there are things that tempt me to throw a pity party. God prepared them by giving them a choice ahead of time- a pop quiz you might say.

 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live... (Deuteronomy 30:20)

He gave his people a quiz with an obvious answer, then he gave them the answer to they should choose while still making it a choice.

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death. (Proverbs 14:27)

We choose life by having the fear or reverence of the Lord (and His word).

    ...in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1Thessalonians 5:18)    

And the Lord says to give thanks.

Life is growth, life is purpose, in Deuteronomy, life is analogy for blessing.

Do all things without grumbling or questioning.. (Philippians 2:14)



Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. ( Ephesians 4:29)


Today was a day of just being. Good things happened, frustrating things happened. I had a choice: grumble or give thanks.

Life or death. Blessing or cursing. (choose life)

Today was good friends, good weather, and the park.
Lots of hugs, playing with the neighbor who only comes out occasionally.
Brooke helping me clean the oven with bubbling baking soda and vinegar, saying, "I never knew cleaning could be this much fun!"
Learning patterns with Legos.

Goodnight hugs, goodnight prayers, goodnight drinks of water...

And a super spiritual moment after prayers when I blessed Max:

"Max, God gave you a purpose and you are strong and brave..."
"Mom? While you were praying I was scratching my butt."