Tuesday, September 30, 2008
-a hot stove with a cast iron skillet
-a couple of tablespoons of oil in skillet
-an onion, sliced, chopped, whatever you like to do with onions...
-a couple of tablespoons of minced garlic (I get those big jars at the store)
some potatoes. I might have used six last night. Today I used the rest...however many that was. Do them like the onions. I cut 'em in half lengthwise and then slice.
-a pound of ground meat (I used turkey because it's the cheapest, but lamb sure would be good. After my niece was in the hospital with e-coli, I avoid ground beef. During lent I might try a soy sausage in this meal.
-a cup (perhaps a skotch more) of water and a beef boullion cube (I have this awesome vegan beef boullion with no gluten or MSG. It's by Maple grove Gluten Free Foods. )
and a hand full of dried mushrooms (found at the Asian food store)
italian spices, salt and pepper to taste.
I just threw it all in the skillet, and stirred it a bit, added the lid and let it do it's thing for fifteen or twenty...until the meat was done and the potatoes were tender.
It wasn't around long enough to get a photograph.
What is it that people are assuming? Attitude. Sass. An obsession with boys, or clothes, or makeup, or shopping, or being on the phone all the time, or behaving like Hanna Montana, lies, sneaking...
I've seen it all. On TV.
But for some reason, I wasn't like that (although I was a good bit more boy crazy than my daughters seem to be) and neither are my girls.
And I think they are normal. Let me explain. I contend that the above list, which no adult really likes, is not a normal way for young teenage girls to act. This is the "Lord of the Flies" meets "Mean Girls" meets...something socialized. But I don't think it's normal.
Somebody out there wants young teenage girls to become consumers and to want stuff and to become sexualized...but I contend that it's not normal to human development.
The testimony of history would point to a greater degree of innocence in young teens than they generally get credit for these days. I'm thinking of the books By the Shores of Silver Lake, Little Town on the Prarie, Little Women, and numerous other "classics" that illustrate a different vision of what used to be known as "girlhood" than what is common today.
Just this past weekend, my girls had a friend for a sleepover. They did sleepoverish things, stayed up too late, made some bead crafts, played board games, knitted, played hide and seek, and sardines, and watched a movie. I baked cookies, we sat down for lunch and supper together where everyone was delightfully polite, and ended the day at Vespers for prayers.
Not once did I hear mention of boys, shopping, fashion, kissing, makeup, or anything like that. The time was a peaceful picture of innocence. And it made me think: This is normal and healthy for young teenage girls. This is the way it should be.
I'm glad I home school my girls.
In the second chapter, I read: "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides for ever." 1 John 2: 15-17
I struggle with this "loving the world" thing. I'm rather materialistic in the sort of way that people who don't have a lot of nice shiny stuff are materialistic: Envy, desire, self pity, being satisfied or dis-satisfied with stuff...you know the drill. I see what someone else has, or something on an advertisement, and I compare myself or my life or my stuff. This is sinful, destructive, and must end. So I confess it and ask for more of God's grace.
But I also struggle to accept the immense ordinariness of my little life. Gone are the days when I think or hope I will do radical and amazing and noticeable things in the Kingdom of God. Yeah, I prayed that prayer, and asked for that. Instead I got a body that doesn't work quite right and a house full of special needs kids.
Outwardly my life is glorious neither in a worldly sense, nor in a "lets be radical in the Kingdom of God" sense (in the ways that are currently cool to be K.o.G. radical...pick your circle. I just don't quite measure up to anyone's outward standards under any circumstance.)
But what of the inner circumstances of the heart? What if radical is a heart so given over to love of the Father that the love of the world is just not there? Can an ordinary life be lived in a radical way and remain hidden and rather outwardly ordinary, not because those things are being overtly pursued, but because one is a human being living on planet earth?
I have a long way to go, and much to repent of. In better moments I can sense that the veil is so very very thin, and if we could but see, then so much of what we do, think and say would fall away and those things which are eternal would shine so brightly that choosing the One Who Is Life would become a no-brainer.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Here's my first stop in Gluten Free Casein Free baking. Everything from this site that I've made has turned out very well:
Ok, so now you know!
Friday, September 26, 2008
So, deep breath. This is like a boot camp to learn to live in the moment and to find joy in the little things. Because worry changes NOTHING but my mood.
So, lately my daughter has been trying the Gluten Free Casein Free diet again. It is good for her. So yesterday's offering, baked entirely by B herself, was GFCF honey sweetened banana bread with sunflower seeds. It is really really good. Banana bread is always better after spending the night in the fridge, so one loaf actually survived that long. Breakfast yums!
For dinner last night, we used up the rest of the rice I'd cooked on Saturday, and I made a chicken and veggie stir fry (onions and greeen peppers) with Chinese style seasonings. To do that, I used wheat free soy sauce, about half a tablespoon of ginger, a bit of cayenne pepper and a bit of honey. It tasted very good. Like something at the chinese restaurant. So all who do not have sensory issues enjoyed the meal very much.
Oh, and I cooked some Kale and garlic on the side. That's my go-to cool weather "salad". You know those big bags of kale you see at the store? I buy those for greens at this time of year, and it is so delicious to put a bit of oil in the skillet, a couple of tablespoons of minced garlic, and as much Kale as I can pile on. Then I cover the skillet with a domed lid and let it cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. You can practically feel the nutrients entering your bloodstream when you eat that stuff. Try it. It's just SO GOOD.
On the GFCF cooking front: of course alternate milks are expensive. (Woo Hooo, almond milk was on SALE at the Co-op yesterday so I stocked up.) For baking, I like to use homemade rice milk. This is very easy to do. Just double the water when you cook rice and strain the extra liquid off into a container when the rice is done, and you have "rice milk" worthy of either plastering wall paper or using in baking. I know it's very sticky because I accidentally spilled about a quart of the stuff last Saturday just after I'd made it (but fortunately also after I'd used some in a double batch of GFCF biscuits.)
On the homeschooling front: Today, in addition to all the other stuff there is to do, we are going to examine a Moth under the eyeclops (that's a microscope that plugs into the TV and magnifies things 200 times.) That should be interesting. I wish the device had a camera attatched to it, so I could post some pictures of the close-ups, but it doesn't. Oh well.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Now, HOW did I manage that? I don't quite know. But I truly do NOT recommend it.
I was blowing crumbs out my nose for several minutes and now I have a sinus headache. Perhaps I should figure out how to do a saline flush.
So be careful eating crumbly cake! If you are like me, you will find ways to hurt yourself with it.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Who did I call? Well, since we are moving to Louisville, I called the Weisskopf Child Evaluation Center at the University of Louisville. What do they evaluate? Autism issues.
But, you say, you already have your dd's diagnosis. Why would you need to call them? Well, dear readers, I'm not talking about my daughter, I'm talking about my son. As the years and months have gone by, I've noticed that there's more than one "squeaky wheel" in the family. But since one wheel was squeaking the loudest, for a long time, that's the only wheel we heard.
But through a series of events, observations, conversations with other parents of spectrum kids, and reading, it's time for my to uncork my head from the sandpile and face facts:
-Big huge hairy social skills issues.
-Cluelessness about what might or might not offend.
-Sensory issues (especially having to do with food) galore.
-Sensory issues related to sound (avoid concerts with this child, if you want to have a nice day.)
-Odd, awkward gait, body language
-Gross motor skill clumsiness
-Fine motor skill clumsiness
-Eye contact issues
-Perseveration on one topic with encyclopedic knowledge of minutae thereabout (Pokemon, oh joy! but before that it was Spider man...)
-Late language development
-Odd vocal pitch
-Inability to connect with peers
-Talking at people, not with them
-Odd, stimmy type hand movements
-A diet that definitely needs modifying, as he only eats Gluten and Casein containing foods, and that is probably the worst thing for him. Yes, I've tried. none of the "I'm such a good mommy because I can force/manipulate/parent my kids into eating veggies" tricks has worked for me. Which, my friends, should have been a big clue a long time ago. Because I've been down this road before, with my oldest.
When your parenting apparently is so ineffective that you cant. make. a. difference. (Like with my dd's tantrums when she was younger and with my son's food issues.) And you try and try and try and outsiders who might not see the whole situation might think your kid is somehow spoiled or ruined (all Mom's fault, of course), perhaps, just perhaps you have an autistic kid instead of a spoiled kid. (I'm just sayin'....)
So I made the phone call. Followed by another phone call. It's complicated. You call there, then you call your pediatrician who calls them and fills out some paperwork to fax over there, then they set you up with an appointment and call you and let you know when you can get in. It may be another six months.
But that's OK. At least I've started. And that feels good, even though facing this reality also makes me want to cry and rage and scream and feel sorry for myself. But I won't. I'll take a deep breath and be strong instead, and say a prayer that there won't be psych issues when adolescence hits. God have mercy. I'm so grateful that he's a gentle boy.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
So the net result was that the kids and I got to drive out and pick him up after work yesterday evening.
Qdoba was yummy. We'd never eaten there before, but were able to check the internet and find find some gluten free things on the menu for B to eat, so that was where we went for dinner.
Louisville got hit with hurricane force winds last Sunday and parts of the city are still without power (and many people have died from improper use of generators, God have mercy!), so we had to drive a bit until we found a Qdoba that was open. But we'd confirmed their menu already, so we were determined. (Having a family member on a special diet makes eating out rather challenging.) And since we don't eat out all that often, my list of places that are safe to go is rather small. One, right now. Must do more research.
But the upshot of last night's wanderings, no new conclusion, just confirmation:
My husband is clearly a very patient man.
And now it's time for me to do some gluten free baking so that B has a freezer stash of stuff to grab. The plan: some sort of bready item for her, and a pan of gfcf cornbread so that I can use it later in the week to make stuffing.
ta ta for now. I'll try to post more often in the coming weeks. Really, I will.
Friday, September 19, 2008
I'm so excited and I really really hope nothing happens to prevent me from going to Hermitage of the Holy Cross Monastery on pilgrimage weekend.
I've been wanting to visit a monastery for ages, and I've never had the chance.
Enjoy the trailer. I've not yet watched the video, but hope to someday.
I recently saw a video about the work being done at St. Elizabeth Convent in Minsk, Belarus, and it was SO wonderful and inspiring. Made me weep for joy.
Monday, September 15, 2008
This blog is NOT a good way to keep track of the ins and outs of my life or be on intimate terms of friendship or familiarity with me.
I would like to remind everyone who does read my blog (and I dearly appreciate you and the fact that you care enough about me or the things I write to read this stuff) of what all I DON'T blog about:
I don't blog very many details about my kids. I try very hard to maintain their privacy. Therefore, most of my motherly concerns, stresses and interactions are NOT a part of this blog.
I don't blog much about my marriage either. Same reasons.
I don't give lots of details about tons of personal stuff, even though it might seem like it. Trust me, there are oceans of stuff in my life that I'm not blogging about. To be reading this blog and feel like you are keeping up with a friendship with me is utterly unfair to me.
I am very aware of the fact that the entire web can access this blog, that it is public, so I try hard to protect our privacy by not posting pictures of my kids or family.
I have not been blogging very much about the ins and outs of my real life relationships, or lack thereof.
I would also like to point out that if you know me, and you are reading this blog, I cannot know that you are reading this blog unless you leave a comment. Otherwise, I'm sending these little scraps of myself out into the void. So you might be reading it, and feel a connection, but unless you are commenting, I'm not getting anything back, and I don't feel any sort of connection. Sometimes I wonder if this isn't resulting in a rather painful imbalance in my life.
IF I have written anything about what it's like to live with kids on the spectrum, and I don't think I have very much, then I'm barely scratching the surface.
IF I have written anything about what it's like to have a chronically ill daughter, I have also barely scratched the surface of that subject in my life as well.
I know I've written a fair bit about my struggles to live with certain limitations caused by my own chronic illness, so there is that. But there's also much on that subject I have remained silent about.
I try to keep things as positive as I can. Who wants to read about crushing grief and disappointment fatigue and pain all the time, eh?
So, I suppose, all of this to say: This blog is barely scratching the surface. Just so you all know.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Yes, it will be so very very sad to leave our beloved parish, but we need this move. Gas is KILLING us, as is the commute.
Yesterday we had an open house, and so our family decided to get it all cleaned up and not be there. Let the realtor earn her keep.
So we had a lovely afternoon at the Hummel Planetarium at EKU, and then Pizza Hut, and a ferry ride across the Kentucky River to get to Vespers.
It was all a bit bittersweet, driving through the country knowing that within the next somewhen, we'd be living in another part of the State.
But please, pray for us, and with us and the saints. May God be glorified in all of this.
Monday, September 08, 2008
...who has supposedly had your house listed for eight days but has YET to post it on the internet????
...who recommends termite companies based not on who is competent, but apparently based on who is not as good at finding problems. ("Oh, no! You called Terminix and not the croney I recommended? Terminix ALWAYS finds stuff!!!!")
...who starts telephone conversations with you in mid sentence and then constantly goes off on scatterbrained rabbit trails about the other irons she has in the fire, instead of focusing on her business with you while she's talking to you.
...who fails repeatedly to explain what she's doing in lay terms and speaks in half thoughts?
...who leaves your place saying that an open house is not going to be necessary since everyone looks at the internet these days, and then calls you to schedule an open house.
Seriously, how much time would you give such a realtor before moving on to someone who can actually communicate effectively in various ways?
I'd like to know. Cuz at this point I'm thinking people buy houses from her just to get her out of their lives.
Our home altar, decorated for this feast day with special flowers. And since I took this picture with the computer (camera has battery issues today), the picture is actually a mirror image. The icon of Christ, in real life, is on the right hand side, where it belongs.
Normally this hand painted icon of the Theotokos holding Jesus is not front and center, but today I moved it there, and will leave it up for a while.
At least until the flowers give out.
This, cut and pasted from the
OCA website :
The Nativity of Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary: The Most Holy Virgin Mary was born at a time when people had reached such a degree of moral decay that it seemed altogether impossible to restore them. People often said that God must come into the world to restore faith and not permit the ruin of mankind.
The Son of God chose to take on human nature for the salvation of mankind, and chose as His Mother the All-Pure Virgin Mary, who alone was worthy to give birth to the Source of purity and holiness.
The Nativity of Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary is celebrated by the Church as a day of universal joy. Within the context of the Old and the New Testaments, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary was born on this radiant day, having been chosen before the ages by Divine Providence to bring about the Mystery of the Incarnation of the Word of God. She is revealed as the Mother of the Savior of the World, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Most Holy Virgin Mary was born in the small city of Galilee, Nazareth. Her parents were Righteous Joachim of the tribe of the Prophet-King David, and Anna from the tribe of the First Priest Aaron. The couple was without child, since St Anna was barren.
Having reached old age, Joachim and Anna did not lose hope in God's mercy. They had strong faith that for God everything is possible, and that He would be able to overcome the barrenness of Anna even in her old age, as He had once overcame the barrenness of Sarah, spouse of the Patriarch Abraham. Sts Joachim and Anna vowed to dedicate the child which the Lord might give them, to the service of God in the Temple.
Childlessness was considered among the Hebrew nation as a Divine punishment for sin, and therefore the righteous Sts Joachim and Anna had to endure abuse from their own countrymen. On one of the feastdays at the Temple in Jerusalem the elderly Joachim brought his sacrifice to offer to God, but the High Priest would not accept it, considering him to be unworthy since he was childless.
St Joachim in deep grief went into the wilderness, and there he prayed with tears to the Lord for a child. St Anna wept bitterly when she learned what had happened at the Jerusalem Temple. Never once did she complain against the Lord, but rather she prayed to ask God's mercy on her family.
The Lord fulfilled her petitions when the pious couple had attained to extreme old age and prepared themselves by virtuous life for a sublime calling: to be the parents of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, the future Mother of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Archangel Gabriel brought Joachim and Anna the joyous message that their prayers were heard by God, and of them would be born a most blessed daughter Mary, through Whom would come the Salvation of all the World.
The Most Holy Virgin Mary surpassed in purity and virtue not only all mankind, but also the angels. She was manifest as the living Temple of God, so the Church sings in its festal hymns: "the East Gate... bringing Christ into the world for the salvation of our souls" (2nd Stikhera on "Lord, I Have Cried", Tone 6).
The Nativity of the Theotokos marks the change of the times when the great and comforting promises of God for the salvation of the human race from slavery to the devil are about to be fulfilled. This event has brought to earth the grace of the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom of Truth, piety, virtue and everlasting life. The Theotokos is revealed to all of us by grace as a merciful Intercessor and Mother, to Whom we have recourse with filial devotion.
Friday, September 05, 2008
"The Lord blessed my parents and so now we are using the money for...."
It seems that so often, the Lord's blessing is equated with financial blessing.
And I"m not going to argue that this is not a form of blessing, but the words of Jesus do come to mind about the eye of a needle and how difficult it is for a rich man (and by that, I think we can easily say most of us Americans! no matter how pettily we compare ourselves with one another) to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
I've been asking St. Xenia of Petersburg for her prayers lately, because she's a good one who prays for people who need jobs or who need to sell their homes, etc. Her relatives thought she was certifiable when, widowed, she distributed all her earthly good to the needy and spent the rest of her life a bag-lady on the streets, up praying in the fields all night long.
And somehow, I've also had my Lord's words on my mind much this week:
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
13Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
And in Luke 12 he's quotes as just saying "blessed are the poor!" Completely at odds with common parlance, isn't it.
And it just turns the whole way of looking at blessings upside down, and on it's head. And the question comes to mind: How much of this have I truly incorporated into the depths of my being? How much of this do I really believe? Because to tell the truth, when I look at the inside landscape of my heart, I want things to be comfortable, financially secure, cushy and mostly my way!
Yet this Kingdom of Heaven business is inside, outside and very very upside down!
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
The idea that it is my faith or my attitude that will determine my success. Job was a man of great faith, and he had everything ripped from him. Through it all his mantra: The Lord gives, the Lord takes away. Blessed by the Name of the Lord. It was his lying and deluded friends who were convinced that somehow Job had sinned and therefore had "the blessing removed from his life."
It is not my lack of faith that is causing my daughter's mental illness. Jesus taught us to pray "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." So, how is praying this prayer a lack of faith? If He wills it, He will heal her.
It is not my lack of faith or my bad attitude that causes my fibromyalgia, either. I'm not going to sit around and wish for something that God is clearly saying "no" to. I refuse to live my life waiting for God to perform like a marionette puppet to my desires based upon my supposed "faith".
I do not believe that I can manipulate God by my "faith" or that I can tell Him what to do. And I also do not believe that suffering is a lack of faith.
I barely suffer. I know this. And yes, sometimes I'm a baby about it. But even barely suffering is very very very unpopular in this country/society/culture. Everyone wants to run away from suffering, or blame the person who has something going wrong. Because mentally pointing blame is good insurance: as long as its their fault, it won't happen to me because I won't let it.
But the whole point of this rant: There is a Kingdom that is not this kingdom! There is a world that is not this world! Jesus said blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted...
This is quite a different message from "Have a positive attitude, and everything will go your way." or "Your faith is what makes you whole, don't even speak the negative." In such a case, one has faith in faith, and not faith in God.
Faith in God, on the other hand, allows room for the negative, because of the hope of the eternal Kingdom. He is the positive, He is the hope, He is the good. It is God we long for, and hope in...and not for personal gain or for an end to suffering, but rather for Himself.
I'm here to tell you, it's hard to be so very sunshiny at the end of a day when you HURT all over and cannot move from fatigue. It's hard to be sunshiny and "happy" when your child is mentally out of it. And it's really hard to be beaten up against the rocks of the American idea that somehow, when you suffer, it is all your fault and decide to turn things around and be all "happy". I don't think God calls us to "happy". He calls us to love.
Personally, I'd rather say with Job: Blessed be the name of the Lord. And I'd rather hear the words of Jesus Christ, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted", than false platitudes or accusations about this temporal life.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
It almost makes me think it might be worth it to throw some paint on the walls downstairs. If I had the energy, I would. It might hurt more than it helps, though, considering my profound lack of painting experience. I might ask some friends for help. Who knows? The thought of doing that much makes me want to curl up in a little ball, since I barely make it through the normal work of each day as it is.
Speaking of the upstairs, we listed our house yesterday. Apparently, there are strict rules on how houses get listed. If the upstairs, which was an attic at some point but got finished out and is now two rooms with sloped ceilings going down to meet three feet high walls, were counted, it would be a 1500 square foot house. But because the side walls go down to three feet, we can't list the upstairs as two rooms, or count the square footage in our listing.
So, we are owners of the amazing shrinking house. We bought a "four bedroom, 1500 sq. ft." home (and have been paying tax on it all these years, as such!), and will be selling a two bedroom, 960 sq. ft. home "with an expanded attic". Depressing.
I'm reminded of the time in the Bible, when Caleb and his army of Israelites got whittled down to the nubbins, just a few hundred men, to go against the Amalekites (was it?) who numbered in the tens of thousands. This was to show the glory of God.
So, our house will show the glory of God by being whittled down to such a small size, and how will it EVER sell without God doing a miracle? God have mercy! And may the Lord be glorified in all of this, and may our faith be built up and strengthened.
Monday, September 01, 2008
Also, catching up on paper grading is exhausting!
OK, that's all I have to offer blog-land today.
Happy Labor Day. I've been working way too hard, and I'm tired.