Friday, August 30, 2013

Time

There are times in my life that I just seem to go with the flow…Day in and day out.

Sure, I love my kids, my husband, and my family, but we get into our routines. We go our separate directions and hopefully catch a glimpse of each other in passing; planning on catching up and enjoying "quality" time with each other next weekend or on the next vacation, whenever there is MORE time.

Convenience ...wins again.
Life is busy. My life is full. It’s filled with a lot of good, necessary and important things. Work, school, church and life in general are pulling at all of us and it seems that time is slipping away from me. My kids are growing up. The reflection in my mirror is changing with barely a reminder of my youth.

I am getting older…Time is on my mind.

A friend of mine lost her son tonight. He was the same age as my oldest daughter. Graduated, moved out, and moving on with life; the future bright with promise and happiness. My heart is breaking for her. Life has stopped for this brief moment, reminding me of what is really important. Reminding me that I've taken my eye off the ball. Given it to a lot of lesser things that seemed to pry at my attention a little louder.

Reminders can be SO painful; forcing us to face our shortcomings, weaknesses, and imperfections. Sometimes I need them. Sometimes it's necessary for me to stop the madness and pause. Life has a way of forcing me every once in a while, to stop and take notice.

So, I guess it all comes back to time.

I have let time win yet again and it has taken full advantage of my preoccupation. I've taken time for granted. Most likely, despite my refocused efforts to the contrary, I'll continue to do it. The squeaky wheel WILL get the oil eventually.

But not tonight....Tonight everything has stopped.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

How to make bread

This is for my Dad~~


6 cups of warm water
1 cup of honey
4 Tablespoons of yeast
1 1/2 Tablespoons of salt
1/2 cup of oil
10-16  cups of flour (any combination of white and wheat, I use 4 c. wheat and the remaining white)


Mix water, honey and yeast in a bowl. Proof yeast.


Pour yeast mixture into a large bowl and add salt and oil.



Mix wheat flour into wet mixture first (I add 4 cups of wheat flour) 
then add more flour to equal 10 cups.


Place half of the dough into a mixer and begin adding flour. This is what it looks like while it's still sticky.


 


Add enough flour so that the dough starts cleaning itself from the sides of the bowl. (Even if that means using more or less flour than is called for.) 
Then knead in the mixer for 4-5 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough.


Place in a bowl coated in vegetable spray.


This is what your kneaded dough should look like.

Let raise for 20-30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Spray your surface with vegetable spray and then 
pull off enough dough to fill your loaf pan 1/2-2/3 full. 
Flatten dough and roll up like a newspaper, tucking under the ends.

Smash down rolled loaf to get rid of any bubbles inside.


Place in loaf pans and press down to fill in the pan.


Let rise again for 20-30 minutes and place in a 320* oven.


Bake until starting to turn a little golden brown or 
thumping on the loaf creates a hollow sound. 
DO NOT OVERBAKE. This will create a very dry and crumbly bread. 
Butter the tops of the loaves as soon as they are removed from the oven.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Yes. I am still alive...barely!

I pretty much lost myself these last few months. Between running Cub Scout Day Camp, taking a Woodbadge course, graduating my first child from High School, working part-time, working on my Woodbadge ticket items, helping to run Cub Scout Summer Games, being a mom and a wife, planning a vacation, helping with a wedding and whatever else needed doing, blogging hasn't fallen anywhere near the list of priorities. I feel bad because this was to be my "journal", but life just took me on a roller-coaster ride and it is only now slowing down a little.  


And so, since Kallen decided to wake me from my restless sleep and then promptly go back to sleep himself, I am going to take these few quiet moments and try to get caught up. I guess I should apologize for the length of this post now. This is like 3 posts in one!


~DAY CAMP~

Day Camp. Day Camp. Day Camp.


    I have done nothing but eat, sleep, breathe and work on Day Camp since February. I felt like I was almost completely absent in my own life. I'm surprised my kids and husband even recognize me!! 


Yes, every boy sat this still and paid this close attention to directions. ;)
     For some reason, even though this was one of the busiest times in my life, I got just about every ounce of the day camp responsibility dumped on me. I'm not sure what happened. I know everyone on the committee had things going on in their lives (as if I didn't), but somehow I seemed to be carrying the heaviest load. It was very unfair; not only to me, but to my family, to have been expected (not asked) to do so much.  The stress must have finally gotten to me because come day TWO, I had completely lost my voice!! Camp's been over for a month now, and I am still harboring some HUGE resentment. Is it obvious? >=/
Denis Johnson and I with our lunchtime entertainment.











 Now that I have whined a little, let me tell you about the amazing time I had at camp! If I didn't have scouts running through my veins before, it most definitely is now. I really LOVE this program! I got to know some pretty great people and boys! I am so grateful to the amazing people who went out of their way to help me out, most of which, didn't even have boys in cubs! 

There are angels among us, and I was so very blessed to have had so many lift me up through that week. 
Webelos Camp with Smokey the Bear.


 As stressful and taxing as this year's camp was on me, 
I can't wait for next year! 

~ASHLEY'S GRADUATION~
    My baby girl has graduated! It was such a bittersweet moment for me. To have our first child enter into adulthood, was harder on me than I even care to admit. Perhaps it's partly due to the obvious aging of myself, but it is also a beginning to a chapter I wasn't prepared to face yet. 
Letting go.

 Two little words that have changed my world. Everything is different now and I don't recall giving anyone permission to do so. I fear for her and her future as much as I am thrilled for it all too. Please. Somebody tell me that it gets better!!
Perhaps these words were meant for me...


~HAWAII~

Paradise! After all these months of stress, I got to jump on a plane with my hubby and spend a week with my parents and (most) of my siblings. We had a great room up on the 39th floor of the hotel. These two shots are from our room! What a view to wake up to each day!! Believe me, I didn't take any of it for granted!!



The first 2 days there were filled with pandemonium and stress as we busied ourselves with wedding preparations and I dealt with everything falling apart at home. We were on the phone pretty continuously with the kids those first two days. 
-So and so wasn't watching the kids-
                  -Someone isn't doing their chores- 
                                -Hadley fell out the living room window, but she's ok.-
 It was honestly enough to make me wish I hadn't gone in the first place. In fact we even looked into the possibility of cutting our trip short...by about 5 days!!

You see, I had made plans a least 2 months before to have the youngest kids stay with their Grandma. But 2 weeks before we left, we got terrible news. Hattie's breast cancer had come back. She had surgery just 6 days before we left. As she was recovering at my sister-in-law's, we now added another stresser to our trip...NO supervision for our kids. There wasn't anyone to call to burden with this, so Rick and I made a plan. The kids were old enough to do this on their own. (We thought.) It wasn't the most ideal situation, but I put a lot of planning into making sure menus were done, food was bought, babysitting schedule was in order. I made sure that the kids went on 1 hour rotations and that there was a 2 hour break in between. (They only watched one child at a time.) I thought this was a good plan. A DO-able plan. But, NO! 

After Hadley fell out the window (It's a good 5 foot drop onto the grass, but there is some concrete down there too that she thankfully missed!), my brother and sister-in-law came to our rescue and took the two youngest home with them for the remainder of our trip. After feeling like foolish parents for assuming that our kids were more responsible than that (and more than a few tears shed on my part), Rick and I tried to forget about everyone and everything at home and just TRY to be present in this once in a lifetime vacation.
 Alone. Together. 


First thing on our agenda was John and Amanda's wedding. 


Sadly, the day before the wedding was the first time that I actually met Amanda. But surprisingly, it seemed like I had know her all my life! She has melded into the "King Family" and into our hearts seamlessly. We are so truly blessed to have her in our family!! 





My brother and his family! =)
We had an amazing time! The wedding was beautiful and Amanda's family is wonderful!! We really appreciated all their hospitality! And we really enjoyed getting to be so much apart of all the wedding plans and preparation. 




Rick and I drove around the island in a 2011 Jeep Wrangler with the top off. Only our's was black! Believe me when I say Rick was in heaven. He wanted a Jeep before, but now he REALLY wants one!! I have to admit, I kinda had fun in it too! (But, SHHHH! Don't let him know that!)  ;) All I can say is, if you ever have the opportunity to go to Hawaii, do NOT drive ANYWHERE without a GPS!! They definitely don't make that island tourist friendly!! 




We took a drive up to see the Laie, Hawaii Temple.

Turtle Beach.
We saw about 30 huge turtles along the beach that day.

We drove up the North Shore and walked along a couple of beaches. We also had some amazing shrimp at a very scary looking shrimp shack and ate pineapple ice cream at the Dole Plantation. What a great day we spent with John and Amanda!!

Pearl Harbor was very sobering. We toured the museums and saw all the exhibits. We also had an amazing time finding all sorts of treasures at the swap meet. 


Top of Waikiki

Evening storm rolling in.

This was the view from Schooner's out at Pearl Harbor.
Finally, we were able to go to some pretty amazing places for dinner. The Top of Waikiki was quite an experience. The restaurant revolves as you eat your dinner. Schooner's had a great atmosphere right on the water. But as great as they were and as good as the food was, the best part was visiting with each other! 

Hawaii was an amazing experience. I hope someday to go back again and spend sometime just sitting and relaxing. 

So where are we going to take our next vacation that could possibly top this one? 
ALASKA!!! 
And yes, we will be taking the kids...

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Invisible Mother

     This story was sent to me by a great friend that I have know for over 20 years. The story resonated in my soul. This is how I am feeling today!!




THE INVISIBLE MOTHER

One of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this??

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

Some days I'm a crystal ball; 'Where's my other sock?, Where's my phone?, What's for dinner?'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. 


She's going, 
      she's going, 
           she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: 

1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. 
2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 
3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 
4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.

No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey  for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he'd say, 'You're gonna love it there...'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.





       So good, bad, or indifferent, I am going to trudge along. Invisible or not. Because I am creating 8 great cathedrals. I have a great work yet to do. =)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Postpartum Depression...It is REAL

It seems I have been a virtual recluse since I had my youngest son, Kallen. I am very social and outgoing by nature, and so the fact that I was all but gone from the prying eyes of anyone (both physically and on-line) should have been a red flag for me.


I just thought I was stressed out. I mean, who ever wants to go anywhere with a very busy 2 year old and a nursing baby! I'd rather poke my eye out with a fork than take these two into a public place all by myself. 


But, you say, your the mother of 8 kids!! How is taking only 2 of them anywhere so painful? Well, let me explain.


I was absolutely OVERWHELMED. 


It's Halloween... no wait, it's Thanksgiving... no wait, it's Christmas...


WHAT?! When did all this happen? 

You want how many cookies for your party? 
Do you really think you need to dress up this year for Halloween? 
You mean, I have to cook a meal for Thanksgiving? 
Must I really go shopping for Christmas this year? 

And I'm still expected to fulfill my callings in Church; babysit ADULTS (because heaven forbid I should be able to rely on anyone to, I don't know, DO THEIR JOB?) in scouts; run my 'temporary' scout den (for the last 2 years); run to every small podunk town in Montana for basketball games; cook edible food for my family; and who knew I was suppose to take a shower and get dressed everyday (don't all new Moms stink?); and all this while trying to maintain some semblance of a home with crazy teenagers, a wild two year old and a new baby...all on the bear minimum allowable sleep to sustain life. 

Kinda makes you want to crawl in hole for a few months too, doesn't it? 

Because of all of these stressers, and actually a lot more that I'll just keep to myself for now, I'm sure you could see why I would overlook the obvious. In my defense, I live in one of the most beautiful places on earth. However, there is a price to be paid because of it. In the 91 day span between November and January, we had a whooping 6 days of sunshine! I always get a little bit of the 'winter blues', so I just chalked it all up to the little things, completely ignoring the extreme decline in my physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. In a nutshell...I was a complete mess!

So now that the realization of this has hit me, what exactly am I suppose to do about it? Even the thought of doing ANYTHING would send me into anxiety ridden tears. If fact, I had been close to tears every moment for the last 3 months. 


Well, I have found a solution. It was very unexpected and not at all what I had envisioned as a "solution". I joined a weekly support group. The funny thing is, just the name alone would normally have turned me off because I would never have categorized myself with this bunch of people. 


I joined an Addiction Recovery Program sponsored through my Church. Basically, it's the 12 step program founded through Alcoholics Anonymous.  


Now do you see why I questioned my involvement in this group? What could I, a church going-temple recommend holding-service oriented woman out to save the world, possibly be doing that could ever be considered an addiction? Well actually, a lot. A lot I never even knew or considered before. If you change the scary word of addiction to weakness, then I guess there is room for everyone in this group. 


By the time I was in my 3rd week of attendance, I was feeling so much better! Better to the point that I could begin to face my weaknesses and finally acknowledge them. 


What a needless burden I have been carrying. I'm beginning to see the woman I once knew emerging from the shadows. I've learned so much about myself in just one short month, that the prospect of having some changes occurring in my life is actually pretty exciting. 


It's going to take a lot of work. More work than I'll even want to devote to it somedays, but I am up for the challenge. 


Because ultimately, what have I got to lose??? :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Merry Christmas??

We have now come down to only 12 days before Christmas and I am saying, "Bah Humbug!!" I have no idea what's gotten into me, but I am just not feeling it this year. 


Normally this is my favorite time of year. I have to hold myself back from turning on the Christmas music before Thanksgiving. I can't wait to make Christmas candy and put up all the decorations and advent calendars. (Yes, I have a different one for each child. My parents tradition.)  Christmas shopping and taking drives to look at the lights...all things that make me happy. I redecorate the tree a thousand times because, even though my kids decorate it the first time around, everyone moves things around and lumps like things together. (You must know how nuts that makes me.)


This year, I have been so blessed. I have a 2 1/2 year old that loves all the Christmas 'pretties', a new baby, a wonderful family and great friends. So my questions is, 
"What the heck is wrong with me?!" 

I just can't seem to be able to pull myself out of this funk. I feel like I'm on the verge of tears all the time. I don't want to do anything or go anywhere! Usually giving service is what pulls me out, and you'd think at this time of year there would be no shortage of that, but I feel like I have NOTHING to give. If I could skip it all this year,I would. The realization of this makes me even more sad. I know I owe it my kids to try and make this special, but how can I do that when my heart isn't in it? 

Perhaps Postpartum Depression has taken hold or maybe, I just need to get back on my meds. All I know is that I have to make this better.

So, I did some searching. If the Christmas Spirit can't find me, then I guess I'm just going to have to go and find it. I found a great site that had 12 days of Christmas Family Home Evenings.

I think I'm going to give it a go. I want so much to make this right, and I really feel like 12 days of Christmas is exactly what I need. (Ironically, that's all the time we have left!) 

I'm usually the cheerleader for everyone else. I'm always trying to encourage and uplift others. I realize that I'm falling a bit short of the mark with this post, but I really feel that if I'm going to use this as a journal, I should probably just be honest. Not everyday is rainbows and roses. And who knows, maybe next year, I'll look back and chuckle at how poopy I thought life was being. So Merry Christmas!! I hope we all have great New Year!!