Like, for instance, the night I returned from my Ohio trip, Talia started with a fever. The fever was high and lasted a solid two days, coming back after breaking on the third day to last that afternoon and night. I was already tired, but this totally finished me. I was ready to take her to see our pediatrician when she suddenly was well! Then the rash broke out and I knew it was Roseola. There is no rash until after the fever leaves. So then you’re like…ohhhhh. Okay.
The next week both Enzo and Talia came down with a nasty cold. Enzo had fever with it. I was up night after night with him because he was congested and couldn’t sleep well! Talia slept better but was still sick. I was ready to throw back my head and sleep for a solid week.
Instead, I planned, struggled, danced, and executed a really fun cooking class on Wednesday! I baked 9 small, black bean chocolate cakes in the shape of a small bowl from my mom. Since I only had one ovenproof bowl in this size, I baked them separately. I turned the oven on at 10:00 am and turned it off after 9:00 pm. Haha! Okay, yes…we did break for a chiropractor run in the afternoon.
The reason for the bowl cakes was this:
Princess cakes! For cooking class, the girls whipped up frosting, colored it, and decorated their own cakes. It was terribly fun. I drank coffee and was buzzed until about midnight that night. But we got ‘er done.
I’m laughing a bit here. Because I’m doing this thing of making myself sound amazing. And really, I’m not. Haha! I don’t pack my husband lunches, even though he wants to eat healthy and leaves the house at like 5:00 or so in the morning to beat traffic on his way to the North Fort Worth roofing job. I don’t do much in the way of homeschool right now. My kids are learning, but that’s because of other things, not me. I watch Call the Midwife instead of reading inspirational books. I buy socks for my hundred kids on Amazon because I’m too (lazy) tired to go shop the deals in-store. I buy huge bagels at Costco to fill up my kids tummies.
Okay? Just keeping things in perspective. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
But the last weeks really have been crazy. Without even going places. Just here at home. To seal this point, let me tell you this: I haven’t spray-painted anything the entire two weeks.
Oh. Except for my lemongrass planter. Haha! I did do that, I guess. It was an old chicken feeder and works perfectly!
Honestly, spiritually this has not been an amazing two weeks. Day after day I would sleep as late as possible, the bigger kids getting up whenever they woke up, and even Enzo climbing out of his crib and coming out with them. I would haul into my day or sit at my desk in a haze, trying to pray. I started feeling this guilt. “God, I’m sorry…I haven’t been…close to You…” and I’d feel bad so I would pray even less. Then one day I realized it: I’m the loser here! Not God! I mean, He wants to be close to me and walk with me…He really longs to! But I’m the one who loses when I walk alone. So that was cool. No guilt. No shame. Just…comin’ back. <3
That’s about what life has been here. Stay tuned in the next month for a fun give-away! (hint: you can read it.)
And maybe just a few more pics here…
Peace on your week! <3
I had a lot of fun flying with only one baby girl! The trip to Ohio was fast. I had very little time in airports. But the trip home was a lot more fun! I had hours in both Cleveland and Houston airports. I love airports. Here is a tidbit…okay, more than a tidbit…but a piece I wrote while on the plane. Read at your own risk. 🙂 🙁 I don’t like rambling about myself all the time, so this felt a little much. But hey, take it or leave it. 🙂
I am a TCK. I love airports. I love flying. Yes, I may be simply doing a two-hour stretch from OH to TX, but who knows? Maybe I’ll deplane to breathe in the thick, spicy air of Bangkok. Or enter the aura of excitement that is Nairobi. Maybe it will be Taipei. Who knows? I may find myself in Paris, tasting delectable pastries.
It’s called being a TCK. Exploring Houston Airport…fun! It’s the reason Craig and I eat ethnic food on every date. And the date where we inadvertently ended up in a non ethnic restaurant…waste of money. 😕😄 The world says, “Come…explore me! Find the treasures! Find my people!”
There was a reason I was looking for the perfect bag for this trip. And it went beyond just “Hey, I need a cool bag!” I have flown around the world starting at age 16, and in time, perfected my style.
Back in 1996, when the weight limit for suitcases was still 50 lbs, I would pack like it was my last flight. Every suitcase was maxed out. And every carry-on was maxed out as well. What can I say? I was young, with a strong back! After several flights of this manner through the years, I said, “Hey, I’m gonna let someone else bring my shampoo and deodorant!” And I went minimalistic.
On a trip to El Salvador I procured a brown, leather backpack. And this became my carry-on. Nothing to pull beyond me. Just pop it onto my back and away I go! I did carry a fresh pineapple home from El Salvador in that backpack though. 🤣 I mean, seriously, who but a TCK would carry a five pound pineapple through airports? Cuz maybe my friends want a taste of the real deal. I cut that thing up at work and shared it. 😇😄
So it took me a bit to truly learn my style of travel. But that brown backpack went around the world with me for years. I still have it. But it’s Bomani’s now. I had his name painted on it in Thailand. My first diaper bag.
One of my favorite adventures was the time my friend Beth and I and her cousin traveled across Eastern Europe by train. We survived mostly on Swiss chocolate and some sort of summer sausage. We also dehydrated ourselves because of the state of the bathrooms. They were beyond anything I had ever encountered in all my life. Possibly had something to do with the movement of the train. I have had numerous nightmares in the years since that trip, where the toilet in my dreams is definitely from the Eastern European train. That adventure…it was the real deal.
Ah. Traveling with my baby girl brings back the years when I was footloose. A whole year without an international trip was too long. I love the stage of life I am in now. But I do look forward to the time when Craig and I can once again travel the world.
The real hero of this entire trip, however, was this man:
(This was when he stopped at Old Navy in Fort Worth for my perfect bag for the trip!)
He stayed with the 99 kids I left behind. He worked from home. He took care of them. And he cleaned the house and did the laundry before I got back. I was blown away! He is amazing. Amen.
Below, calling hours on Thursday afternoon.
Dad and Mary picked me up from the airport, and we stayed together in Jake and Mary’s basement, which used to be my Grandma’s house. Many memories there! We spent Thursday afternoon and into the evening at the calling hours, with family. Friday all day was spent at the funeral and with family until about 8:00. It was a really good time of reconnecting with my mom’s family whom I had not seen in many years!
On our way to the funeral.
That service was an incredible blessing in so many ways. Wow.
Some of Aunt Mary’s art. She was extremely creative, gifted, and smart. In many ways.
Talia was a sweetie and did really well. She did get tired of everyone wanting to talk with her and hold her. Then when they would reach out to touch her, she would just bat their hand away. 🙂 🙂 🙂 Haha! She really like the kids there though. She missed her brothers and sisters!
Saturday around 11:00 Dads dropped me off at the airport again. I had a lot of fun traveling home! I am sore, however. Next time I WILL take a stroller! Talia got really heavy! 🙂
Houston airport blew my mind. It is hands down the most amazing airport I have encountered in the US!
And as we neared Dallas Fort Worth…
We pray for the city we live in.
We pray that our sins be forgiven.
Do your will right here, as in heaven!
Father, we call on your Name…
I love Texas. Just do.
Home again! 🙂
The welcoming committee! <3
Gifts from their grandma! They were so thrilled.
And that brings us back to normal life. 🙂
First of all, Silence.
I am hearing silence.
Like I told a friend in Ohio, I treasure my dull moments. Quiet moments. Silence.
Talia ran a fever during the night and this morning was still pink-cheeked. So I stayed home from church with her. I miss church when I can’t go, but ahhh…the silence! It pours into my soul a peace I cannot get in the hubbub. Just…can’t. There is peace in the hubbub. But it’s a different one from this one. 🙂
So every now and again, God gives me this gift of silence.
I had an amazing trip to Ohio for my sweet Aunt Mary’s funeral. It was incredible in so many ways. One I’m going to mention right here is how good it was for me to get away and look at my life from a distance. My stomach never hurt on this trip, even though I had planes to catch, a baby on my hip, and was socializing and relating to many people for two days straight. Parts of three, actually.
Ya know what stresses my gut? My kids do. And so something needs to change. In me. God has grace and blessing and all the wisdom and knowledge I need for these 5 kids 7 years and under. There is no need for a chronic issue with gut pain. Nope. I ain’t standing for it. 🙂 And it was so good to clearly see this!
I feel like I’m starting into this post in a…strange way. But hey, whatever. I’m just writing as I’m thinking. Processing. 🙂
I didn’t know my Aunt Mary well. I don’t think I had been to Ohio since mom died 5 years ago. I just remember Mary as quiet, sweet, and extremely talented. I knew she struggled with depression over the years. I knew she was an amazing grandma to my cousins. That was about it.
There is a verse that speaks of certain people who have died. And it says that having passed on, they speak. That is Mary. She is speaking possibly even louder in her death than she did in her life. I had no idea of the journey she had been on in the past 10 years. But God wanted me to go to Ohio, so He made it happen. He worked it out. He nudged us forward. I’m so grateful.
There is a lot I don’t know about Mary’s story. I’m very excited that I will be receiving a CD of Mary recording her story. I feel that in many ways, we have been walking the same road…my Aunt Mary and I.
Aunt Mary was 79 years old at the time of her death last week. 79. Let that soak into your heart.
It does not matter what age you are, what denomination or church you are a part of, when you passionately and persistently pursue the Father with all of your heart, He will be found by you.
In the past 10 years, Mary received much healing for pain and rejection of her past. She kept reaching for more. More freedom. More of Jesus. And she found it. She and her husband made decisions that kept them on this path, despite knowing that these decisions would be unpopular by others in their life. In their 70s, people. I think that is what blew my mind. I am not too old to change. To let go. To find freedom. Ever!
Being dead, she speaks.
There are those of us who need to hear her story. We believe we are trapped. We believe we can’t do it. We believe that we “are okay”…except for those times we crash, and painfully crawl out of our hole, just to believe we “are okay” again. I’m not trying to place anything on anyone. I’m just crying out to you–have hope. Know that always, always there is hope. Jesus never allows even one sparrow to fall without His love and careful watch.
Aunt Mary’s funeral was unlike any funeral I have ever been a part of.
Earlier in the week, I faced a deep grief. My mom’s death 5 years ago filled my heart in a fresh way and I wanted to crumble under it. Mom and her three sisters had a great friendship. And yeah, I just knew what it was like to lose mom. I fully expected the funeral to be hard. Deep mourning.
Instead, it was a worship experience. Truth poured into the room to each of us. Hope shone forth for every heart who would accept it. I wanted to dance and lift my hands to God! It was an incredible service. At one point, the Pastor spoke a blessing on every person in the room who, like Mary, is on that journey of searching for more of God. More freedom. More truth. That was an amazing, Spirit-filled moment for me.
I want to share this. I want to bless you. Keep pressing forward. Don’t stop. Don’t lose faith. There is more. The Holy Spirit wants to blow your world apart! He wants to break off those weights and set them aside. Freedom. Keep walking.
I’m going to share pictures of my trip in a separate post. This post is for Aunt Mary. And it’s for all those who, like her, pick up their insatiable hunger for more, and run with it.
I will end with one picture. This is Daisy and Hazel singing their hearts out to music.
“Who can stop the Lord Almighty?”
I haven’t posted for weeks. I know this…it’s in the back of my mind. But life happened. We are re-decorating and painting our living room. Bits of school with three first graders. Homeschool Co-op began, in which I am heading up a cooking class.
And the hundred kids are still here. Grocery gobbling. Growing. Needing direction. Love.
So there you have it.
Oh yeah, a husband too. 🙂 🙂 🙂 (I hear the blog posts screaming…he shouldn’t come last! Haha! He doesn’t.)
And last weekend I was sick with a stomach virus a bunch of us caught after co-op. This weekend Craig landed in bed with the same thing. It was about as bad to have him sick as be sick myself. I really, really need the break he gives me on the weekend. So now I’m needing to lean on the Lord not to head into the week on E…
Life is actually good. 🙂 We are blessed to have a roofing job again! And Craig still has plenty of work doing social media shoots and video for Ulrich Barns. Talia keeps being the sweetest thing e-ver.
I was going to post a recipe I made the other day. I actually took it down as I made it. 🙂
And I have a living room update post in my head.
But today grief struck. And I find myself frozen in space and time.
My mom’s sister Mary has encephalitis and a few other complications and things, and long story short, in about a week’s time, has been moved to hospice. I wasn’t quite prepared for the grief that came in a wave today. Missing mom. So much.
Mom and her three sisters had a special bond. Even after they were all moms with grown kids, they would still meet from four different states for a day together. The three sisters came to visit mom when she was in her last months. They are special.
Thanks for listening to my rambles tonight. 🙂
The week ahead is looking veeery full, so hopefully after the rush of the next few days I will be able to post some pictures and updates!
What is the heart of our Father, God?
In the Old Testament, do we see His heart?
In the New Testament, do we see His heart?
Do we really know Him? His heart?
Or do we see the Word as rules and “how you should live”?
I don’t believe that is the heart of the Father.
Read the Word, crying out at the same time, to see and know His heart.
Are we so intimately known by Him, and knowing Him that we follow Him…not something He said?
Today, God is saying…
Learn to know Me. As you read My Word, ask to see My heart. As you study it, find Me. Find My heart.
I’ve had quite a history with bread. I learned from my amazing mom to make fresh ground, whole wheat bread that defied anything store bought. I lived close to my mother-in-law so I used her wheat grinder. And they grew wheat so I had free wheat. 🙂
Then I got super crunchy. And moved to Texas.
So the next chapter in the story was…sourdough! I caught my own wild yeasts of the air, developed it, and in time it made amazing bread. The flavor was incredible. Deep. The bread was moist. The crust was so crusty. Like, so crusty at times you nearly broke a tooth. Which means…well, all of this together means that the kids didn’t eat it. 🙂 And since I was not making bread for myself, I finally gave up and quit. Cuz I ended up eating too much bread!
After that I switched to sprouted wheat flour that I bought off of Amazon. It surprised me by making a very nice loaf of bread! And that’s what the kids ate for about a year or so.
And now I have come full circle. We are back to simple whole wheat flour. I like to use white wheat flour for a lighter loaf. (The reason I quit with the sprouted wheat is that right now we are cutting our food budget in half! No sprouted, pastured, organic, or grassfed anything. And it literally cut it at least in half. Not that I keep track, I just know I am spending vastly less on groceries. This is temporary, and we are trusting God with our health.) 🙂
But I am still a little too crunchy to put gluten, dough enhancer, or soy lecithin in my bread! So I researched and researched…surely someone has tried using sunflower lecithin instead of soy lecithin in bread! And surely they would have equivalents for me! No such luck. The closest anything came to “help” was one person saying that you can use sunflower lecithin in baked goods. And another site said that they are apples for apples.
So I decided that hello–I just needed to try it!
Today I did. The result is amazing. The bread is oh-so-soft, and this is even after I put too much flour in the dough! It holds together beautifully! The kids were impressed. Now, I love a good crust on a bread, so I missed the crusty crust. But this bread, for my kids, is perfect. And healthy. Ish. Here is the recipe! Enjoy!
(I used half the amount of sunflower lecithin as the recipe asked for, as often soy lecithin comes in good-sized granules. And my sunflower lecithin, which I purchased from the THM store online, is a dense powder. I may try another half Tablespoon next time though, just cuz it’s soo healthy for you!)
- 1/2 c. lukewarm water
- 2 T. yeast
- 1/4 c. honey
- 1 T. salt
- 4 T. olive oil
- 2 T. molasses
- 1 T. vinegar
- 4 c. warm water
- 1 T. sunflower lecithin
- 9-10 c whole wheat flour (I used white wheat)
- Mix your first three ingredients and allow it to set for 10 minutes, until bubbly.
- Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
- Allow to rise and then punch it down. Do this twice.
- Place into your pans and allow it to rise about double in size.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
This is just a little…uh…funny.
I saw a recipe similar to this on one of the THM foodie blogs. So I decided to change it around and use my own ice cream recipe, my own sweetener, and exchange the pecans for walnuts. I was so excited, cuz it was going to be beautiful, and I love beautiful food! And I looove salted, caramelized, sweet walnuts in my ice cream.
I use walnuts because they are quite a bit less in price at Costco than pecans. And right now, we are the farthest thing from food snobs. No pastured, grass-fed, sprouted, or organic. Not for now. But that’s another story. One I have written up as a draft, but not posted…yet.
Anyway! Back to the pie! I had so much fun. And with bated breath, I set it on the table after dinner.
Isn’t it absolutely gorgeous? And THM S! Yay! All that crunchy, salty, sweet, buttery crust with vanilla ice cream…
I mean, even the crust in itself is a thing of beauty.
“Have some pie, my love.”
I think, in the back of my mind, I knew I was tricking myself.
Craig doesn’t like nuts in most desserts. At least not ice creamy desserts. And the kids? Not on your life.
Craig ate some of the entire dish. But for the most part, I was the only one who ate the nutty part with the ice cream. The others all eagerly devoured the ice cream…only.
Here is where, if I could, I would put in about 20 emoticons. Mostly the laughing and crying one.
I told Craig that I forgive them. (Laugh…cry…)
But I’m putting this recipe on my blog. For those of you who, like me, love the salty with the sweet. The crunchy, buttery, caramely with the ice cream. Amen.
- 2 T butter
- 1/2 c. walnuts
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 doonk stevia
- 2 c. walnuts
- 1/2 t. stevia
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/4 c. melted butter
- 1-1/2 c. water
- 1-1/2 c. cream
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 T glycerin
- 1 T melted butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 tsp. molassas
- 1 tsp. stevia
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. gluccie
- Of the first four ingredients, melt the butter, add the remaining three ingredients, and brown in a pan.
- Of the next four ingredients, place all into a food processor and process until mixed well. Press into a deep dish pie pan and bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool.
- The remaining ingredients are your ice cream. Put everything into blender, adding the gluccie last as it tends to clump. Blend well. Pour into your ice cream maker and churn until ready.
- Empty ice cream into cooled pie crust. (If you cool your pie crust in the freezer, it won't melt the ice cream.)
- Arrange the caramelized pecans (first part of the recipe) on top to your liking.
- I always use Bolivan stevia, found on ebay. These are measured for that exact stevia. It is in crystals, and measures very differently from powdered or liquid stevia! If you have a different kind, always taste as you go. 🙂
I cannot describe to you what these cookies are like.
Just make them.
Go take your special fund, hidden away in a shoe box in your closet, and buy a bag of Lily’s Chocolate Chips.
And make them.
Use Bolivian stevia to taste. But make sure you make your unbaked batter a little sweeter than you want it, because it always bakes out a bit.
You will never be the same.
(Hahahaha! I’m cracking myself up.)
See, there’s a bit of a story here.
I had walnuts and part of a bag of Lily’s Chocolate Chips. And I saw this recipe in my FB feed. It looked perfect. But I didn’t have any coconut milk in my pantry! And…my phone refused to work to pin the recipe. I went on with life. Got some coconut milk when I went to the store.
And could not, for the life of me, find the recipe. I scoured the internet. I checked out all the THM Foodie Blogs that bring so much joy to my life.
The next day I checked again. I knew I had seen this. It had to be somewhere! And I had these chocolate chips, and I didn’t want to just eat them plain! I wanted to do something really special with them! And this craving…ahhh…help!
Today I sat down with my chromebook again. I said, hey, God cares! So I prayed. Pretty much in the next minute, I found it. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
I am not going to put this in my recipes. Because I hold it in far too much reverence to steal any bit of it. (Recipes are not copyrighted.) But still.
I’m going to give you the link. I used Bolivian stevia. They are perfect. Crunch. Caramelized. Chocolate.
And no sugar.
Perfect in every way.
I have only, in the more recent years of my life, learned that I cannot carry the weight of the sorrow of the world on my shoulders. Or more accurately, in my heart. Having spent 6 of my young adult years living in Africa, it would have done me much good had I learned this quite a bit sooner. So many times there, I had no idea what to do with the pain I felt for those around me. The unfairness and gut-wrenching evil in the world. The cries of my close friends as they lost family members. No idea.
There are still times today when something hits me so hard that I can only spread my hands out to God, crying…with my heart laid out in front of Him. A broken heart He never despises.
With all the talk of child abduction for sex slavery, and the instances that moms in grocery stores felt themselves stalked and their kids in danger…well, I’m never sure what to do with that. Fear is not from God. Ever. But taking caution and wisdom definitely can be! I rarely take my kids to the store. Not only for that reason…it’s just beyond crazy to haul 5 kids around and keep them all from wandering off and touching things and begging for things. 🙂
But for some reason recently, this whole thing really hit me. The thought of my babies being taken and abused and destroyed…it defied anything I could imagine. Determined not to walk and live in fear, I took my screaming heart to God…crying out for the babies who are confused, broken, and dying inside.
The pain nearly killed me. And I can’t imagine what it does to God’s heart.
But I had to let it go. I need to survive on this earth. And God doesn’t create us to carry the weight of the sorrow in the world indefinitely.
Then Hurricane Harvey Hit.
I really want to put photos into this post, but I don’t want to steal them. So please take a minute to click on this page. It has a picture of life in South Texas that will stun you to the core.
There are horrible events and weather conditions the world over. But this is in my back yard. These are my people. The devastation and peril is overwhelming. And it’s so easy to think, what are you guys doing in that place?!! Why did you not leave???!!! I know what we would have done. We would probably have driven to KS before it hit. We have family there. We would be taken care of. We have places to go.
A lot of these people don’t have places to go.
And the traffic and danger of a city driving off…can be a lot worse than anything we can imagine.
But even so, there is no judgement. Only sorrow. Pain.
And lifting my hands to my Father…crying out for all the babies. For all the elderly, sitting in waist deep water, waiting for rescue. For everyone.
God is going to take this horrible thing, and He is going to use it for good. He is not turning His back on Texas. Texas is about to see revival.
I don’t believe God is punishing us. I don’t understand things. I just know God is moving and working powerfully.
Not only Americans, but also those from other countries are pouring in hope and help. So cool.
Most of all, may we see and know Father God.