type='text/javascript'/> A Latte Talk: April 2008

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Things that make you go hmm...

while riding in a van with 4 preschoolers. I tell ya, I could make up a list. Here's but one of them.

(on the way to preschool)

Miles: We're LATE! You need to go one hundred and forty miles per hour!

Me: Honey, this minivan does not GO 140 miles per hour.

Miles: Yes it does! It says it! (pointing to the speedometer) Right there!

Me: (Giggling) Well, yes it does, doesn't it?

Me:(Giggling... without ceasing... that's in the Bible somewhere, isn't it?)

Truly, I've never thought about how funny this is: Why does the speedometer on my mini. van. go all the way to 140mph? My practical Mom Honda Odyssey. 140 mph.

Is it just me, or does that strike anyone else as positively giggle-icious?

Maybe I should sign me up for the Mommy Minneapolis 500.

*Don't forget Foody Friday this week is desserts!!! Bring us all your yummy favorite dessert recipes!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


1)Remember the eye surgery that got postponed because Isaac had a cold? We rescheduled for tomorrow morning. This past weekend he's been congested/wheezy, and he had an actual asthma attack on Saturday. We went to his pre-op physical this morning. He flunked. Got a big ol' fat F for Flunk.

So we're rescheduling. Again. Isn't this just funny?! He gets a cold and wheezy about 1x/month, and both of his last 2 episodes landed right on his surgery days. I was so relieved when the last one was postponed. This one, it's kind of funny. If this happens again, I will be seriously annoyed. OK.

2)Foody Friday. Desserts. 'Nuff said? Thank you Jen for your suggestion!

3)Katie (read yesterday's post) went home to be with the Lord last night. I'm in awe of God's wisdom and sovereignty, thankful for my many many blessings, and hugged my kids extra tight tonight. And I'm a bit weepy. The human experience can bring such raw-ness. It makes me feel awful and wonderful at the same time. Humanly awful but it's a Divinely wonderful plan. Tell me, how does that work?!

I'll save my funny story for tomorrow. Go hug your kids, kiss your hubby. Be patient. Be kind. Don't nag. Savor every moment.

I know I will.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Bend in the Road

God is God. I don't want to try to be God. I really don't.

But, the truth is... sometimes I DO.

Actually, a lot. Probably daily.

The road of my family's life currently has a bend ahead. I can see to the bend, but I can't see past it. I can't tell which way it turns, if it goes down a hill, up a hill, what the terrain is like.

I KNOW there is a bend. I can see it. But beyond it, who knows? I am so glad that I know who knows. And God not only knows, but He built the road. He crafted the very ruts in the road as well as the flowers alongside the road to smell. He knows what rivers we have to cross and what beauty we will behold.

I have complete peace in letting go of the control of this situation (at least right this millisecond). Because, we've been walking this road for a long time. And God has a reputation in my life of making Himself known and shown. I can look back and see His provision, His plan. His creation of our family, from the very start. He has led us each step of the way, with a plan. Why should I doubt?

And, of course there's the promises in scripture that God will never leave us. That he will provide for all of our needs. That he will not give us more than we can bear. That HE is Holy. Holy, Holy, Holy. Worthy of our praise. Always.

I leave all of this a little obscure not so much because I want to be private about it (don't worry, there's only about half of a private bone in my entire body... another time, another place, I will share...), but because I know that there are a myriad of bends in a myriad of roads out there. All look different. To compare them, some are more heart-wrenching than others. But the person walking down a road, looking at a bend, is facing a challenge. It's hard. It's hard to let go of the control. It's hard to say no to the fear.

My heart has been caught up today in praying/thinking/crying for a woman named Katie. Katie's family went to my church when I was in High School. She's approximately my age, she is married and has 3 young children, the youngest is a little boy less than a year old. 6 weeks ago, Katie found out she had an aggressive form of colon cancer. She had surgery a few weeks ago and had been recovering but has taken a turn for the worse. As of yesterday, her organs had shut down and she is in a "Only a miracle could save her" state of being, per the words of the doctors.

That's a bend that makes me thankful for my own bend in the road.

But I'd be lying if I didn't also tell you confidently that Katie's bend is also a bend that God crafted. He doesn't only make good bends. He makes tragic bends too. Katie is a woman that oozes faith and hope and has made MANY people around her aware that God is God. And worthy to be praised. I feel strongly that Katie's bend is birthing new believers in Christ. And bringing Glory to Him. And, maybe, Katie's bend will include a miracle.

I AM thankful for my bend ahead. I am thankful for the One who built the road and the scenery, the rivers and the landscape. I am thankful for the family that God gave me to walk the road with. For for the best friend and leader my husband is, and the incredible blessings my kids are.

The End Of The Road Is But A Bend In The Road
by Helen Steiner Rice

When we feel we have nothing left to give
And we are sure that the "song has ended"--
When our day seems over and the shadows fall
And the darkness of night has descended,

Where can we go to find the strength
To valiantly keep on trying,
Where can we find the hand that will dry
The tears that the heart is crying--

There's but one place to go and that is to God
And, dropping all pretense and pride,
We can pour out our problem without restraint
And gain strength with Him at our side--

And together we stand at life's crossroads
And view what we think is the end,
But God has a much bigger vision
And he tells us it's only a bend--

For the road goes on and is smoother,
And the "pause in the song" is a "rest,"
And the part that's unsung and unfinished
Is the sweetest and richest and best--

So rest and relax and grow stronger,
Let go and let God share your load,
Your work is not finished or ended,
You've just come to "a bend in the road."

Sunday, April 27, 2008

What does your Latte say about you?

This is frighteningly accurate.

Good times.

What Your Latte Says About You

You are easygoing and pretty simple to please. You don't put up a fuss... ever.

You can be quite silly at times, but you know when to buckle down and be serious.

Intense and energetic, you aren't completely happy unless you are bouncing off the walls.

You're totally addicted to caffeine... but you like to pretend like you aren't!

You are responsible, mature, and truly an adult. You're occasionally playful, but you find it hard to be carefree.

You are expressive and friendly, but you are never pushy.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A plea

Anyone have an old AT&T/Cingular cell phone sitting around that you don't use anymore? One that works?

Mine doesn't work anymore and I can't figure out why.
Taz strikes again.

Actually, it's not fair for me to point all the blame on poor little Taz. You see, this sweet cell phone has functioned as the ace up my sleeve for a few months now. You know what I mean? I have 5 minutes of shopping left, I've used every trick in the book to keep Taz occupied, and he's getting fussy. What do I do? I whip out the cell phone and he's happy... it gives me at least 5-10 minutes of fuss-free time. I use it as a last resort, but... hey, when you're desperate, you're desperate.

But, umm... after that 5-10 minute window, when a child is done with a toy, we all know he politely taps his mother on the arm and hands the toy back, right?

Mmmhmmm.... this child practices his slider with the toy, aiming for the hard floor. Even if it's a very expensive toy.

Hence my dilemma.


PS. At this VERY moment, Taz is sitting next to me and eating a bowl of chopped raw onions. Is this normal activity for a young Taz? Do I need to get him some help?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Foody Friday - Sides

Welcome to Foody Friday!! Take 2!

Today's theme is side dishes. Actually, this is a very self-serving post. I am often at a loss to serve with whatever I make as an entree. So I wanna know what you do! What's your favorite?

My default side that's really yummy is baked french fries. It was birthed for 2, no actually 3 reasons:

1)I love potatoes salt. ON potatoes.

2)I love Tater Tots or extra-crispy Ore-Ida anything. But I don't like all the partially-hydrogenated oils in them. I'm a-tryin' to be healthy.

3)Tater Tots are a couple bucks for one serving smallish bag. Plain ole spuds are a couple bucks for one ginormous bag. I'm a-tryin' to be frugal.

Voila. Good-bye Ore-Ida, hello Spud.

Preheat oven to 425. Cut 3-4 potatoes into desired shape (I never peel them). We usually do wedges with the Pampered Chef crinkle cutter. They look purty that way. I've also done thinner strips, but that takes more cutting. I'm lazy.

Combine 3T Olive oil, and some combination of seasonings in a small bowl - I like Oregano, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Or even just seasoned salt is good.

Now, there's a fork in the road here. There are 2 ways to do this: the right way or my way. I'll start with the right way, and then I'll tell you how I do it. Cause I'm lazy.

Right way:

Toss the potatoes with the oil/spice mixture and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake for 30-45 minutes (for wedges, less for thin strips), stirring halfway through.

My way, because I never leave myself enough time:

Microwave cut potatoes for 6-8 minutes, enough to make them a little soft but not too soft. THEN toss with the oil/spice mixture and bake for 15-20 minutes (for wedges).

That's it! Yummy.

My picture from the pork chops last week actually has these french fries in them, so you can look at the pic here.

Little review of the rules:

1)Write a blog post about food. Link to this blog in your post.
2)Come here and add your name and the URL to your post. Next to your name, in ( ) write your recipe title. :)
3)Leave a comment.

Have fun!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Dirt and Food

NO.... not dirt and food.

I mean Dirt. and Food.

Today was like 10 gazillion degrees, it felt a. mazing. I got nothing... nothing... absolutely nothing done all afternoon. Just sat and soaked in the sunny day.


I deeply apologize to any of y'all who really say y'all and don't know what the fuss is all about. I mean, it's 10 gazillion degrees where you are all the time, so what's the big deal?? Well, y'all are gonna just have to get over it. We're a little giddy.

I feel compelled to talk about dirt some more. Bear with me.

I vividly remember a pivotal moment back when Corene was right around one year old. I was helping my mom with a garage sale. She had a dirt driveway, and I was really struggling with what to do with Corene. She had NEVER played in dirt before. I had never before allowed her sweet little smooth body to be defiled like this. I remember, consciously saying to myself, "I am going to let her play in the dirt. I am going to let her do this. This is what kids do." It was a big deal to me.

Fast forward to today... I feel, ummm... a little differently. Some of my all time favorite pictures of my kids are when they're totally covered in dirt. Here's some camp dirt on Ava a few years back. Campsite dirt is the best. And dontcha like the unsnapped onesie. Classy people, we are.

My kids and Miles (of the clan of Jenna) were in our backyard today for like 3 hours, just digging in dirt. Nobody fought, save the one little brawl where a little boy (who will remain nameless) wanted to kill a worm, and a little girl (who will remain nameless) did NOT want the little boy to kill the worm because God. MADE. worms... (doesn't matter to her that God made spiders too...). I'm happy to report that nobody was injured, all is peaceful now, everybody's happy, and the worm escaped it's untimely fate.

And fun was had by all.

"Fun? What fun?"
I adore my kids. I really do. Just look at those toes. If they were clean, I'd eat 'em.

Speaking of eating, on to food. Doesn't talk of digging all day in the sun just make you HUNGRY?? This Friday's Foody Friday will have the theme of side dishes.

Doesn't have to be anything fancy! Sometimes simple is better! Just make sure it is yummy. :)

What do you cook to go with meat on the grill? What do you make when you need one other thing on the plate? What's your favorite salad? What kind of rice or potatoes do you make? (There will be a potato recipe here at A Latte Talk).

jjjjhjhjjjjmmmnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnzssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss cvv bbvggfffgggggg

Apparently that's what Isaac thinks you should make. Seriously. Go get cooking. :)

PS... I'm playing with my header. Is it too creepy?? Tell me. It's a funny story how I got that picture. I'll tell you about it another time.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Spring has sprung, dirt and all.


plus this:

equals this:

but it also equals this:

The season of singing has come
Song of Solomon 2:12

Monday, April 21, 2008

Heaven's gluttonous feast

My kids eat constantly. They literally, no exaggeration, ask for food at least once an hour, all day long. Even the hour right after a huge meal. They. eat. so. much. They think about food all the time. Kinda like someone else I know... ahem.

Tonight, in a conversation with Grambie (my mom):

Corene: What kind of snake can kill you?

Grambie: Umm.. probably a rattlesnake. If they bite you. But rattlesnakes don't live in Minnesota.

Corene: So if a rattlesnake bites me, then I'd die?

Grambie: Umm.. It's possible, if we didn't get you to the doctor in time.

Corene: But that's OK, because I'd go to Heaven. And you'd be sad, you'd miss me.
But I'd be happy because I'd be in Heaven!
And then when you die, you'd be able to come see me! So, it's OK.

Grambie: Well yes, that's true.

Ava (chiming in): When we come, we'll bring food!

Monday Madness

First of all, thanks to everyone who participated in Foody Friday last week. Yeehaw. That was so fun, and I already have ingredients on hand for a few of the recipe ideas. We'll do it again each Friday!

I just have to talk about shopping. I love shopping. Like many girlies, it's like this strange high/therapeutic force that I just get such a kick out of.

Seeing as how we have extremely lucrative music careers,(ever heard the term "starving artist"?), I'm an avid shopper of deals. No shopping of Nordstrom here. My store du jour is the Thrift. I love thrift store shopping. Love it. It's like a drug.

Now, granted, there is the germ factor. You do have to plan ahead and bring Handi Wipes along, and use them indiscriminately - especially if you are going to bring germ lickers children along. Our local thrift actually has cart wipes now. Thank you.

I, myself, am not usually a germophobe. Not even close. I'm probably too relaxed about it sometimes.

Except when somebody in the house is throwing up. THEN my inner OCD kicks in and I sanitize like a freak (Which never does any good, we all get it eventually anyway - so why do I bother?).

ANYWAY, that was a major digression. SHOPPING THERAPY.

I find almost all of my kids' clothes at the thrift, and quite a bit of my own as well.

So, ya wanna see what I found last week? In addition to the usual haul for the kids, (including a size 5 Extra Wide pair of sneakers from StrideRite for the little guy for $4!), I found these for myself:

A pair of Banana Republic trouser jeans.
A pair of Banana Republic capri jeans (these are so cute).
A pair of Sofft sandals.


I have wanted a cute pair of trouser jeans for a long time. And these are nice lightweight pants, perfect for SPRING!!! (YES, **newsflash**, it IS finally Spring in Minnesota. Hallelujah!!)

Proof? Do you see the bubbles?? They are NOT frozen:

And, the find of the shoes is significant. I had a bunch of "dressy" sandals from way back in my college days, that look like, well... a college student in the 1990's should be wearing them. I'm hereby embracing my 30's mom style and have gladly gotten rid of a lot of those old pairs.

I have already put them in a goodwill box in the garage, or I would take a picture for you.

But how cute are those! And Sofft is a really expensive, and very comfortable shoe. Comfort is another quality my college shoes were sorely lacking.

I'm ready to go back and get me some mo'. Wanna come?!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Welcome to Foody Friday!

The theme for today is your favorite recipe/favorite food.

If you're going to play, here's how to do it:

  • Write a post in your blog about your favorite food/recipe.

  • Reference this blog, including a link to it. (This way your readers can read others' recipes also!)

  • Come here and put a link in the box below, including the URL to your actual post, not just your general blog URL. In parentheses, put the topic/recipe name

  • Leave a comment below!

I'm just gonna start off by, well... cheating. I already told you what my favorite food is, in this post. And, Chicken Pot Pie IX is the most amazing and delicious food that there is on this planet.

And, so I don't have to go check in with the department of the redundancy department, I'm going to post another, not quite as amazingly delicious but still verrrry yummy recipe. And it happens to be a beautiful food, so I'm going to include, yes... pictures. Yay.

This falls under the category of what my sweet husband calls a "Jenny Creation". I kinda made it up, with what called my name from the fridge... and... I don't, ummm... measure, so I'm gonna guess. Sorry.

We recently ordered a half a hog. I know, a HOG? We don't usually eat too much pork. With a price that I couldn't pass up, and really good bacon that my hubby couldn't pass up, and we ended up jumping on the hog. But it's a contented hog. It's from the "Home of Contented Hogs"! I am not making that up, it's a hog farm in Iowa. And, a contented hog is a yummy hog, right?? Sooooo, we have a plethora of all things pork in our freezer, including many pork chops.

Here goes. We'll call it "Italian Spinach Pork Chops".


4 pork chops, 3/4" thick (ours were bone-in, but it would work with any chop)
3T horseradish mustard
6oz fresh mozzarella (what we used, regular mozzarella or really any cheese would work too)
1/2 lb. chopped fresh spinach, blanched
1t dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
1T parmesean cheese
4oz deli ham, cut into 1/2" squares
additional parmesean


Preheat oven to 400.

In a small bowl, combine blanched spinach, basil, salt, pepper, and parmesean. Set aside.

Place pork chops on a lightly greased pan or stoneware pan. Spread mustard evenly over pork chops. Layer cheese, spinach mixture, and ham on top of pork chops. Sprinkle with parmesean.
Bake for 45 minutes or until done.

YUM-MY. My kids devoured this.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Do you ever...

pray for God to make a decision so clear for you that there's no way you'd miss His sign?

And, then, does He ever produce a sign that's... ummm... very much not like you expected?

Do you think that God just chuckles in Joy? Watching us learn, trust...

scratch our heads??!!

I was discussing this very topic with my friend Jenna today. We want the simple way, the obvious way, the clear way.

But, sweet friends, God wants for us whichever way will produce fruit in our lives. He wants the way that will cause us to look to him, the author and finisher of our faith.

He looks at our life so differently than we do. For I am consumed with thoughts of income, schooling, career paths, action. Action, Lord! C'mon!!!

But he cares for even the sparrow. Does the sparrow have to think about things such as these?
There are many references in the Bible to sparrows, how dispensible they are in man's eye, but how much God cares for them and clothes them and feeds them. How much more so will He care for us whom He loves, and send us on the path He wants for us.

So, scratching our heads, we take a step of faith. Again.

Any of y'all been there?

**Don't forget about Foody Friday this Friday: Your favorite food/recipe. Read here for more information.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

And here's where he had his lobotomy...

... under the skillful care of the surgeon, aka Daddy.

The mother was not consulted, the mother was not even home. The mother was informed of the surgery when she returned home.

The real tragedy is that the surgeon did not refer to any instruction manuals in the process, ie.:

1)Hold the child still...
2)Have another adult present, to aid in accomplishing rule #1.
3)USE A GUARD on the clippers...
4)Don't use the over the ear taper guard to try and fix your mess caused by ignoring rule #3...

The surgeon did learn one other important rule. Hair-cutting must always take place in the presence of the Mommy.

Repeat after me: "Always. with. Mommy. Mommy's. Job."

However, there is always a silver lining. Actually, there are several silver linings here:

1)Mommy has a sense of humor. Mommy laughed instead of giving the surgeon a lobotomy.
2)Hair grows; and his speed of hair growth rivals his speed of head growth.
3)Mommy has this fun hobby called blogging.
4)Daddy has a sense of humor, which aids in #3.

'Nuff said.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Foody Friday Information

Hello sweet bloggy friends.

OK, so granted, I am an amateur blogger. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figger that one out, but I want to try something. I'm not afraid to fail, so I figured, I'll have fun with this crazy idea and if we crash and burn, so be it. :)

And, I don't have THAT big an audience to necessarily pull this off, either... so why am I trying? Because nobody else has done it (at least not that I could find), and I wanna try.

It's Foody Fridays - with a Mister Linky embedded, so you can do a Foody Friday on your blog page and then link to it on my page. I figure that we all like to eat, and personally, one of my favorite things is getting new recipe ideas, and reading about food, looking at pictures of food... you get the idea.

SO, if you're completely confused, look here or here to see what it looks like in real life. These blogs, of course, are ones where lots and lots of people look and link to, so don't get excited. But you'll get the idea.

So what can you do? I know you're wondering!!! Play the game! On the inaugural Foody Friday, this Friday the 18th, write a blog post about your favorite food or recipe, including a linky to this site. Then come here and linky to your blog!

I'll try and do a theme... so this week, it's your favorite recipe. Give us a recipe or tell us about it.
No rules except that it has to be yummy.

Mmmm.... can't wait to read everyone's recipes!!

Please?! Come play!! Linky-linky is funny fun fun!!

Me me is tire-ed! G'night.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Taz

It's interesting living with the Tazmanian Devil.


You don't really think I do? You're a skeptic?

Oh, yes, I have proof. He has really big eyes, and he does have those teeth. And, his tongue is often hanging clear out of his mouth.

But the thing about him that makes me KNOW he is really Taz is the way he whips through a room...
a house...
a full city block...

and makes disasters wherever he goes. Here's a picture I took of him the other day:

I'm not kidding. He's dangerous.

In a moment, he can climb on top of tables, unload entire dishwashers, and give Polly Pocket a bath in the toilet (And do other things with the toilet that we'll just try and forget about).

In a matter of seconds, He can take an entire basket of folded laundry and render it fully... and completely... unfolded.

He unpacks two weeks worth of recycling from the recycling bins while I'm pouring milk into a cereal bowl.

He has discovered that markers are for writing...

But has not yet discovered that paper... is for writing.

You wouldn't know he was the Taz just by looking at him. To strangers, he's as sweet as pie:

As a friend mentioned today, "He's really quiet about [his destruction]!". He tries to hide it. He's sneaky. In fact, that's often how I know he's up to something. He's strangely quiet.

But, I'm telling you, folks. He's a force to be reckoned with.

a BOY.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Kids' art

She's baaaaaaack!! Y'all know I can't stay in the dumps for long. 'Tis not my nature. And, who could, when you've got 3 HI-larious kids to make you laugh? And laugh? And laugh?

And scream.

But mostly laugh.

For example, Corene drew a family picture today:

In case you don't recognize us, from left to right, it's Big Sis (the artiste), Isaac (the bumblebee), Daddy (the punk rocker), Mommy (in the miniskirt), and Lil Sis (oh ye of curly hair).
And, truly, what an amazing rendition. Especially of the Papa. I mean, look at the resemblance here:

AMAZING, don't you think??


I KID! I so kid!

So not my husband. If you know him, you're cracking up right now. He's conservative. He's serious. He's a musician (Noooooo, not the spiky-hair garage band type. More like the tuxedo-clad orchestra type). We were bonafide band geeks, OK??

Oh, how I love kids' art. LOVE IT. Really I do. All 469 pieces of it that I received as gifts today. I need a bigger fridge. Or a bigger garbage can (Did i just SAY that??).

THIS one, however, is going into the "keep forever" book.

Monday, April 7, 2008

May I praise the Lord

Yesterday was a very trying day for me personally... tears just below the surface all day, puffy puffy eyes this morning...

Start with a sinus/allergy headache that wouldn't give me a break, stir in a full-blown extended meltdown in the lobby of church by one of my kids (yes, if you heard a sound like someone being stabbed, that was mah kid), sprinkle a bit of salt rubbed into a raw, deep disappointment in our earthly life, and throw in a bit of hormonal action (!), and I had me a solemn day.

This morning I was reading in my Bible Study, Beth Moore's Breaking Free, which is about freedom in Christ, and read this verse:

Exodus 3:7 "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering."

"I heard them crying out and I am concerned about their suffering". Notice a trend here? What a comfort just being reminded that God doesn't dismiss my pain. He doesn't say, "Buck up, trust Me!!" He does say "Trust me" (Prov. 3:5). But he knows the pain of suffering. So much more than my pain!

Psalm 102:17-18 "He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea. Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord".

Let it be known that I'm preaching to myself here.

May I praise the Lord.

I'll be more fun to read tomorrow. Promise.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Foody Fridays Vol I

I heart food. So I've hired myself as food columnist for A Latte Talk's Foody Fridays!

I will write about all things food.

Usually simple, sometimes extravagent. Usually heavy on the vegetables, sometimes meat and potatoes. Usually using healthy fat, sometimes using heavy whipping cream.

Always tasty.

Always tasty.

I'm no Pioneer Woman, so you won't be getting step by step directions with pictures. Sorry. In fact, today I don't even have a picture for you. Shame on me. I will do better next time.

This dish is really delicious, it's healthy, it's simple to make, it's vegetarian yet filling (even my meat and potatoes husband filled up on it). And it's tasty.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Ragout

2-3 large sweet potatoes
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 pint quartered grape tomatoes
6 T olive oil, divided
2 cloves (or more, muwahaha) garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
32 oz vegetable broth
13.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 C frozen corn
1 T chili powder
1 t cumin
2 T honey
Tabasco to taste (if you like it hot)

chopped avocado
chopped cilantro

Peel and cube sweet potatoes. Place in baking dish coated with 3 T olive oil and roast for about 30 minutes until soft but not mushy. In stock pot saute garlic and onions in 3 T olive oil until translucent. Add everything together and cook for about 20 minutes.

Serve over baked polenta* or brown rice, with fresh avocado and cilantro.

*to bake polenta, slice and coat lightly with olive oil, place on a stoneware pan, and bake at 400 for 10-20 minutes, turning once, until crispy.

Enjoy, y'all!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ding, ding...

I'll not soon forget Corene's 5 year well-child visit at the Pediatrician. Corene has some sensory issues, as well as some anxiety struggles. So her reaction to the idea of getting needles poked into her was even more dramatic than the "typical" reaction of a 5 year old. At that time (last summer), her sensory issues were yet undiagnosed, so I was ignorant. I also had all 3 kids with me at the visit, which when I look back was STUPID, but we'll just call it ignorance, ok?

She had to have several shots as well as a blood draw. When the time came to do the shots, I will never forget her reaction. It was involuntary, not like a temper tantrum or a willful action. It was adrenaline, the fight, flight or freeze reaction. Well, in this case, it was FIGHT. Picture with me for a moment, a full-blown 2 year old melt down with arms flailing, kicking, the whole works. Now transfer 50 pound, very-tall for her age-5 year old into that mental image.

It was ugly.

In lieu of a narcotic sedative (What were they going to do, shoot her with it with a spit gun? Pump it in gas form through the ventilation? Bring in a bouquet of poppies? OK, so opium was not an option) the nurse suggested we have ME, little old ME, lay my body on TOP of her body, on top of the table, effectively pinning her under me. So she's looking straight into my face. Screaming bloody murder. And her eyes, those eyes... were screaming louder at me than any voice could ever do. They were saying, "Mommy!" "Help me!" "Save me!" and "Why are you doing this to me?" "Why are you letting them do this?". She never took her eyes off of me, and I just could not peel my eyes away from hers.

It was torture. Pure torture. About halfway through, I started crying. Not crying. Actually, sobbing. OK, I'm crying now as I type. It was AWFUL! The whole ordeal lasted probably 5 minutes, because you know they never find a vein on the first poke. Did I mention it was awful?

I can confidently report that the one most traumatized by that event was ME (followed in a close second by Ava, who watched this all in horror - I'm already saving up for therapy for her). Corene snapped out of it fast enough and didn't have any lasting anxiety from the ordeal. But I was traumatized. Deeply affected by the image of her eyes, boring holes into mine. Pleading with me.

I knew this was for her good. I knew this was to keep her from bigger "hurts". But she didn't. She just had to trust me and know that I loved her, even in the midst of pain and confusion.

Which, y'all... she DID! She knew I loved her. This did not damage her trust in her mommy at all. I think, if anything, it reinforced my love in that I WILL go to great lengths to make sure she gets what she needs to be healthy. Isn't that just amazing? That she would feel loved by me through her pain and my restraint? Not just loved by me in spite of her pain, but because of it.

Later, as I reflected (read: couldn't stop thinking about) those moments, the Lord spoke truth to me:

"How much do you love Corene?" He asked me. "My love is deeper." Eph. 3:18

"How much compassion do you feel seeing her suffer?" "I also have heard your cries, and am compassionate" Exodus 22:27

The experience of being a mother and all of the passionate "mama bear" emotions that come (who knew I could feel such deep love?) are teaching me about how much MORE the Lord is. So you may say, well yeah, duh Jenny, he's more... he's infinitely more. Well, sometimes I need the basics reinforced!

So in my painful situations, when I'm effectively screaming in God's face, pleading with him, is he angry with me? (Like I'm prone to believe) Or does His compassion overflow? (YES!)

When I don't understand why God is allowing something in my life. When I feel abandoned. When I am pleading with God to let this trial end, and it seems to never end.

And I'm having a meltdown.

His voice speaks truth to me.

You, Lord, know what shots I need, what medicine I need. You have a purpose in this pain, even though I haven't a clue what it is. I trust you, I trust your Love. I trust your eyes, they can not turn away from mine. I can feel your compassion and your deep, deep love.

And, I am comforted.

In this way, we can feel loved in our trials. And, even more profound, we can feel loved through our trials.

Ding, ding. That was the lightbulb in my mind. Learning an incredible truth.
Well, there was no surgery today because of...

Isaac has mild athsma, and they won't do general anesthesia if he's wheezing, and after a feverish 24 hrs, he started wheezing. Darn. Bummer.


Yesterday, as I felt the babe's head and knew that his fever was not a small one, I was relieved, hoping we'd have to cancel. When I got him up from his nap and heard that unmistakable wheeze, my insides did a little jump. How terrible is THAT??!!

I don't want my little sweet Isaac to go limp in my arms, and be taken away from me to have pointy needles shoved down his tear ducts. That sounds so dramatic, but any of you moms who have had a child have any sort of surgery that requires general anesthesia KNOW what I am talking about. When that anesthesia starts, and that medicine starts going through their blood, they go limp, they feel lifeless.

It's FREAKY, people. Freak-y.

So, as foolish as it is (we will reschedule for a few short weeks from now...) here's one mama bear that's thankful I don't have to go through that today. I'm gonna hold him tight and nurse him back to health with a thankful heart.

Because when that anesthesiologist and surgeon look me in the eye, I want to poke them in the eye with something sharp and say, "Don't you DARE hurt him".

I know.

Mama Bear mode isn't always logical.