Recipes

I have this adorable baby girl.  I mean, she has been a showstopper since the day she was born.  She is now 14yrs old, so I am not allowed to say she is my baby girl.  I am also not allowed to say she is adorable.   Or, a showstopper.   Or, really even talk about her at anytime.  For any reason.  End of story.  Sooooo, if we could just keep this little story between you and me that would be great…

The afore mentioned wonderful, and not sassy at all sweetheart LOVES to bake.  Bella, actually LOVES all things culinary.  I wouldn’t doubt that if at some point we see her on Iron Chef or Beat Bobby Flay; she’s that good! And, quickly on her way to becoming an expert.  This means, she is also an expert at destroying my kitchen!

She’s been working at it since she was a toddler!

The other day she came to me and asked if she could bake some cookies.  Of course, I said yes!  Who doesn’t want cookies they don’t have to bake?!

She mixed.  Kitchen destroyed.  Cookies delicious.  End of story.  Except it’s not…

I walked into the kitchen just as the first batch came out of the oven.  They smelled so good!  But, they didn’t look quite right, and she knew she had made a mistake somewhere along the way.  She was so upset and trying to figure out what went wrong.  I asked her some questions, checked the oven temp, made sure she had remembered that on my cookie recipe it says 3 cups of sugar but it really means 3 cups of flour (it’s an old, hand copied recipe from my mom), but she insisted she had done it all right.  Except, that she didn’t…here’s a little back story.

A couple of months ago, when we made cookies together, we were out of butter.  The recipe calls for butter and shortening so we increased the amount of shortening and went on our merry way…back to the present.

When we were out baking soda she substituted baking powder. Two white powders; no big deal.  But, she not only substituted the soda for powder she increased the amount of powder to make up for the lacking soda.  She figured we had done that last time so it must be okay to do it this time too.  It wasn’t…

It was a mistake and she desperately wanted to fix it.  Could we just get some soda and add it to the remaining unbaked dough?  Was it possible to figure out what we could substitute for the missing soda?  Could we just start over?

I tried to explain the reasons we couldn’t fix it.  That we had no idea how much to put in the remaining dough; even if we had the soda.  That we had no baking soda.  That you can’t just put extra baking powder in; that changes the dough too.  And, then I asked why she didn’t come to me when she realized the problem?  I was just downstairs.  But, she didn’t want to bug me and thought she had figured out the solution on her own.

Yep, baby girl I know exactly how you feel. 

She didn’t.  We couldn’t.  We cleaned.  No cookies.

I do this ALL the time.  I have it all figured out.  I can do it on my own.  I don’t want to bug anyone with my little problems.  I have done these same things over and over so of course I can figure it out on my own this time.  Except I can’t…

I screw it up.  I try to fix it.  It ends up badly.

How can I forget that He is as close as the mention of His name?  Why do I overlook how He gives us every possible solution on the pages of His Word?  Even after I have made complete mess and tried to fix my  problems in my own way (which in turn usually makes a bigger mess, right?), He is still right there with me in the mess.  Jesus takes my hand and helps me clean up.

I wish I could tell you that I always remember to ask first.  Or, that my Bible is worn out because with every little problem I am searching through the pages to find the answer.  But, I can’t.  I can tell you that I am trying, and that admitting I don’t have the answers gets a little easier each time I actually DO admit I don’t have all the answers.

I am going to choose happy this week because the love He has for me is so great and reaches so far that He found me in a messy kitchen, hungry for cookies, baking with Bella.  He found me and reminded me that I don’t have to figure it out all on my own and it was all because Bella wanted to bake cookies 🙂

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Which Way is Up?

I am pretty sure I have shared (maybe even overshared), the fact that my husband and I are struggling through the craziness and confusion of trying to understand teenage minds.  We currently have a 14yr old boy, and two preteen girls; 11 and 12 to be exact.  I cannot even begin to tell you the absolute and utter confusion that reigns in our home on some days.

One minute everyone is laughing, teasing, and getting along, and in the next there are tears, yelling, and doors slammed because we just don’t understand.

Guess what?  We don’t…

Seriously, last week we were all in the kitchen talking about homework, the upcoming track season, and Spring Break only to find ourselves standing in the midst of a full blown mental breakdown because Finn said Bella was wearing combat boots?!!

She was wearing boots.  They were in fact, super cute purple combat looking boots.  She loves these boots.

Finn is in her class.  She does NOT like Finn (I mean, in THAT way).  She does NOT care about his opinion.

However, she WAS ready to drop out of school, and leave all who are close to her because a random boy in her school decided to state the obvious?!!!

God, help me Jesus I am going to lose my mind!  I really should call and thank my parents for allowing me to survive my teenage years!  Really, I should tell them how amazing they are having survived themselves…some days I am ready to throw in the towel.

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And we haven’t even started the girlfriend/boyfriend drama, the mean girl cliques, or the tricky navigation of high school.  Lord, help me!  I am gonna need some pretty cute grandkids to make any of this worthwhile 🙂

Lately, confusion seems to be par for the course.  I am trying my hardest to learn contentment (click here to see my post about this from last week).  It seems to be proving a little more difficult with confusion at every corner.

Sometimes I can see God’s hand as clear as the snow falling outside my window, and feel it as sure as the love of my husband.  Other times…

Other times His hand seems so far away.  So distant.  So unfeeling, and deaf to my voice.  Even little, teensy tiny requests, that would only make a difference to me, seem to go completely unanswered, or even ignored.

And I feel little.  And I seem invisible.

And I am confused…again.  Left standing in the kitchen, wondering what in the world just happened.

I want, with all my heart, to tell you that it is at this very moment that the sun comes through the clouds and some little detail catches my heart.  Something, that can only be attributed to the lover of my soul happens, and suddenly I feel like I am heard and all is right with the world.

But, that is just NOT what happens every time.

Sometimes, it takes a decision.  A resolve to trust.  To wait.  To stand.  To worship.

Through confusion.  During contentment.  Making my life an offering even when I cannot understand.

So, here’s what I want you to do, God helping you:
Take your everyday, ordinary life-your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life and place it before God as an offering.
Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him.
Don’t become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.
Readily recognize what He wants from you and quickly respond to it.
Unlike the culture around, always dragging you down to it’s level of immaturity.
God brings out the best of you, develops well formed maturity in you.
Romans 12:1-2
The Message 

I have decided to choose happy through the trying times when it seems I am not heard, when confusion fills my heart and I don’t know which way is up.  I have resolved to make my life an offering, to worship, and do my best to stand when I feel like I’m crashing to the ground.

It’s a work in progress; just like teenagers and their parents!

Playing Favorites

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I know it’s not popular to have a favorite kid.  As a matter of fact, admitting that you like one child more than the other is generally frowned upon in the parenting community.  As parents, we are supposed to deal out affection, punishment, and reward in equal portions; every child is created equal, especially when it comes to having more than one, right?!!!

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Clint and I have three kids, and I’m pretty sure that my favorite is Jaden.  He was, and is my answered prayer.  He is the oldest, and for the past 14yrs has been my tangible proof that my Jehovah has heard my prayers.  After three miscarriages, and thinking that I would never hold a baby of my own flesh and blood, Jaden made his way into my arms, and healed my heart in a way only he could.  He is the kid who finds a place for everyone he meets.  The way he does things makes me shake my head, laugh, and forces me to learn that I can’t control every little detail.  He never cleans his room, and is always wanting to go, go, go…come to think of it, maybe Isabella is my favorite?

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My Bella is the one child I have who was planned.  We decided it was time for Jaden to have a sibling and a month later found out she was on her way; so totally the opposite of Jaden.  Isabella was born on a day we picked, and has always slept through the night.  She was the easiest baby, toddler, child, pre-teen in the world.  She loves order and keeping things clean (a girl after my own heart), and is the most giving person in our family.  Bella brings so much laughter (she may look like me, but she is her Dad through and through) and help to our family; how could she not be the favorite?  She is quite dramatic though!  I could do without the drama…maybe Olivia is really the fave?

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Everything about Olivia Grace has been a surprise.  From finding out she was going to be joining our family (only SIX months after Bella was born), to her dramatic arrival (EIGHT weeks early).  If you’re doing the math, that makes Isabella and Olivia only TWELVE months and TWENTY-TWO days apart!   We always say she was so anxious to be in our arms she just couldn’t wait the whole nine months.  Livi has always been the child who sees what she wants and goes for it; no one can stop her.  Trust me, I’ve tried.  This stubbornness, and ability to fight no matter what is in her way, is the most admirable and frustrating quality she possesses.  I am pretty sure it saved her life from the moment she came into being; that and God’s gracious hand.  To this day it drives her.   My Liv is also the one who LOVES to cuddle, hates when I am upset with her, and goes out of her way to show love to anyone she meets.  She also LOVES to sleep…right now she is the front-runner 😉

Well, maybe not; she did yell at me this morning because we didn’t have any Poptarts….

The bigger point of my rambling on and on about my kids is that I’ve realized there is NO favorite.  My relationships with them are as unique as they are individual.

I can’t approach Jaden like I do Bella.   Or treat Livi like I do Jaden.  Or love Bella the same way I do the other two.  I can’t have the same relationship with all three of them.  I have been given these lives as a gift and in turn am responsible to see their individuality and cultivate it in a way that brings discipline, character, and love.  I don’t have a favorite; I have three little hearts that I love uniquely.

Jesus, sees us individually too.  Uniquely made in His image.  Set apart from everyone else.  Each and every one of us has His heart.  He carries every part of our being in His scars.  But, not one relationship is the same.  Some of us pray without ceasing.  Some of us are worshipers.  Some of us study until we feel like we are overflowing, and can’t help but share what we have experienced.  Some of us thrive in the quiet.  The beauty of Jesus is that He tells each of us to come exactly the way we are.

I will choose happy today because His love for me is as fierce as it is unique.

 

My Happy List

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Not to sound selfish but this week was made for me! I should probably explain…..it’s Nurses week (I am a nurse), Mother’s Day is Sunday (I’m a mom), and my wedding anniversary is Saturday (yep, I’ve been married 17 years).  If only I had been lucky enough to be born in May too!  Anyway, what I am trying to say is that this week I should get a ton of presents, right?!!!  Okay, maybe not but I do have a lot of reasons to choose happy this week.  Plus, it looks like Spring has actually decided to stay around, yay!

In honor of it being Mother’s Day I wanted to share a list of mine.  This is a list I made to remind me of why I love being who God made me to be; the wife to a really great guy and the mommy to three really great kids.  This list reminds me to choose happy even on not so happy days!  Here it is:

1).   I am chosen.  Everyday.  God chooses me, my husband chooses me, and my kids choose me (for the most part anyway).  I’ll be honest, some days I wake up and can’t imagine anyone willingly wanting to be around me!  I am sure you can identify with the days you realize that you can’t even stand yourself…..even on those days I am chosen.  Even on those days it’s me who is put on this earth to be the best I can be for those who love me in spite of myself.

2).  I was known by God before time.  That is pretty outstanding!   He knew me, the real me!   The me who loves to laugh with her husband, and can’t stand to be talked to before 9 am (that doesn’t work so well when you have children).  The me who wants to make everybody happy, the me who argues with Him all the time, and the me who is grateful beyond words for this life.  He knew all of me before he even created this world, and even though he knew all of this he did it anyway, for me! Wow, just wow! Read Psalm 139; it’s pretty awesome!

3).  I get to be part of THESE lives!  I get to walk alongside a guy, who is so great to me I don’t have words to tell you exactly how great; seriously we were made for each other!    I am the one who got to witness Jaden’s first breath, see Isabella’s first steps, and hear Olivia say mama for the first time.  Even though on some days it doesn’t seem so glamorous, I’m still the one who gets to experience never ending track meets, endless laundry, and late night hugs when they just need their mama.  And it’s only gonna get better from here on out!

4).  I get to laugh pretty much everyday.  If you have ever met my husband or any of my children, especially Isabella, I don’t even need to explain why this is on my list.  Jesus knew I was gonna need some levity in my life and he gave me Clint.  We laugh a lot, to the point where I was getting some strange looks from the nurses when we went in to deliver our youngest  8 weeks early.  But I was stressed and he knew how to calm me; we just get each other.

5). Finally, I love my family! Bottom line, end of the day, after all is said and done I love them more than life itself.  So, no matter what the day brings or how little sleep I get at night that love makes me happy!  This love gets me through the failed math tests, the drama that is picking out clothes in the morning with the girls, and makes me a happy girl even though my husband is still working even though it’s 11:30 pm.  And what really makes me choose happy is that this love doesn’t even compare to the love God has for them!

So there it is, my list of happy!

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