Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cave Dweller....

I have been a bit lighthearted in my posts lately.  Perhaps because I have avoided the depth of my feelings regarding some parts of my life these days.  Some are still too tender, too real to share on the internet.  Some things are meant to be simply pondered.  However, a fragment of it all is something, unfortunately, all too many women are sharing. 
 The dreaded infertility.  
There are so many questions in my mind as to the whys.  However, my forte is not science or research so I will hold my guesses as to why my generation is seeing such an influx of infertility.  What a lonely journey.  I am sharing this because, chances are, you have someone in your life facing this hideous adversary.  Before my dance with it, I had many authentic friends share the pain and feelings accompanying it.  I had incredible empathy.  I can now transfer that to my own struggle and see why it deserves all you have and more to give to a friend facing it.
I am in a smaller boat.  I have a child.  So many facing this struggle are longing to experience pregnancy, hold a child in her arms that resembles her beloved and maybe a pinch of herself.  Though the pain I feel is maybe diminished a bit, there is still the knowledge of how great it can be.  And that adds salt.  My body longs for pregnancy.  To see my stomach swell.  To fill my milk come in.  To feel the sweet kicks of my child.  To be able to rest my hand on my stomach and pray for what will be.  I long to hold that precious child and to nurse and kiss and tell stories.  To see Abby Kate become a sister.  To watch her grow.  To see her learn to share her time and energy.  I feel so ready. 
 Perhaps the best description of this time is the verse, "hope deferred makes a heart sick."  The most dreaded day for those facing infertility is when the period comes, the test has no positive line, no symptoms appear.  And the worry and stress they tell you not to feel comes forth in barrels and you may dwell in it for a few days, or push it back or both.  But it is no fun.  I have many friends sharing this with me and to hear those few words, "I started." evokes such pain, sadness and hurt for my friend...sometimes I can barely stand it.  It is such a strange commonality to share.  However, it is strange that though there is comfort in the sharing, not much buoying.  Thus my previous statement, it is a lonely journey.   
So here are a few words of wisdom for you that have loved ones in your life facing this giant...
1.  PRAY.  Don't just say you will.  Please be on your knees for these precious women.  Pray for a product of the desire of their hearts.  But what is more, pray for His precious peace, for strength, for intimacy with HIM, for the abundant blessings of healing.  Pray for the protection of her marriage (it can get hard).  Pray for wisdom.  
2.  Don't fear sharing your joys.  I know how hard it is to share with a friend that is struggling that you are pregnant.  You want so badly to be sensitive.  To show you care.  But though it is hard to hear, we would not wish this struggle on our worst enemy.  We want to rejoice with you.  Be sensitive but not apologetic.
3.  Don't complain about your children or how easy it is for you to get pregnant.  This is a hard one.  We don't want you walking on eggshells but it is hard to hear when you are desperate for what they are complaining about.  I got pregnant with Abby Kate unexpectedly.  It was so easy.  I laugh now thinking of all the crazy things that have to be in place for us to think it will work.  What about all the girls getting pregnant in the back seat?  Ironic but still reality.  These realities play over and over in our minds so be sensitive.
4.  Encourage.  Show you are interested.  Ask good questions.  I know many are not as transparent as I am (I am TOO much) so know your friend as well.  But for me, I feel loved when others ask and are willing to talk about it.  Or simply write a note saying you are praying.  Just knowing your heart it touched by what we are going through is huge. 
Finally and personally, we are still clinging to a greater purpose.  I have been doing Beth Moore's A Heart Like His in my personal quiet times and it is a study about David.  One thing that hit me last night was that David spent years hiding in caves, trying to escape Saul's insane jealousy and desire to have him killed.  He sat for days at time in these dark, damp, cavernous caves, waiting.  But God etched HIS character upon David in those caves.  David waited patiently, obediently for God to show Himself strong on his behalf.  He knew God had better things for his life.  He knew there would be beauty from ashes.  So he waited and allowed God to shape him in the meantime.  I want to be just like him.  A modern day cave dweller.  Please pray as I wait.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I posted a while back about gift ideas.  I currently have 12 wedding invitations sitting on my desk and was reminded of my recipe album I made on shutterfly.  I started thinking how fun it would be to share our favorite, tried and true recipes that serve as family favorites at your house.  So I am going to include some of ours and would love to read yours.  If you post recipes on your blog, please leave a comment.  I think I read all of your blogs and check them daily but I may have missed a few so please let me know so I don't miss out.  We LOVE food around here!
Here are mine....
Homemade Chicken and Dumplings
1 stick butter
6 chicken bouillon cubes
4 chicken breasts
salt and pepper
Boil your water and add butter, bouillon and chicken, salt and pepper.  Cook until chicken is finished.  Pull out chicken and shred it, returning it to the pot.  I usually let this cook for about 1 hour.
*there are 2 ways to make these in my opinion.  I grew up eating drop dumplings and still prefer them.  They are super easy.  You just make them with bisquick.  
2 1/4 cups of bisquick
2/3 cup milk
*the key is dropping them in the boiling broth and NEVER touching them.  Let them be or they will fall apart.  Once you drop them in, reduce heat and cook uncovered for 10 min and then cover and cook 1o min longer.
Now Bobby loves rolled dumplings.  They are more time intensive and dense but great too.  
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup of broth
Combine flour, baking powder, salt; cut shortening with a pastry blender (I use my Kitchen-Aid) until mixture is crumbly.  Add reserved 2/3 cup broth, stirring with fork until dry ingredients are moistened.  Turn dough onto lightly floured surface (I just a large cookie sheet so I don't have a mess on my counter) and knead lightly for 1 to 2 minutes.  Roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness; cut dough into 2 inch squares.
drop dough into boiling broth one at a time.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer 25-30 minutes.  

Homemade bread
A book I was reading one time that was set in the 20s had a quote that said, "All good Mamas make their babies homemade bread."  I remember thinking, that should still be true today!  I love bread with ALL my heart and my precious girl has inherited that love.  So I became determined to find the perfect homemade bread recipe.  I tried several great ones but this is my favorite base recipe.  I now bake a lot and try to have some baked goodies at least 1-2 times a week.  Now I have a bread machine.  It is fantastic and takes most of the muscle work out of the equation but if you don't have one, you knead where it says use bread machine.
1/2 cup water (70 to 80 degrees F)
1 cup warm milk (70-80 degrees)
2 T. butter, softened
2 T. sugar
1 1/2 t. salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 (.25 oz) packages of active dry yeast 
1 egg white, beaten
In bread machine pan, place ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer (mine is liquids last).  Select dough setting.
When cycle is completed, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface (again I use my cookie sheet).  
Now here is the fun part.  You can do anything with this dough at this point.  I have done rolls, garlic bread, cinnamon rolls, and bread bowls.    So separate your dough according to what you want to make.  If it is rolls, divide into about 24 balls.  If it is garlic bread, I shaped it into 2 long loaves and after it baked, mixed melted butter and garlic powder and brushed all over the top.  For cinnamon rolls, divide into 2 and roll out dough.  Melt butter and then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture and tightly roll up like a log.  Cut the log into 2-3 in. rounds and place in baking dish.  The bread bowls are my absolute favorite.  I make huge bowls so I just divide the dough into 2 and shape large balls.  I love it filled with creamy soups such as baked potato or broccoli cheddar.  You just core the bread (be careful not to pierce the bottom) and pull out inside (like you would a pumpkin) and fill with soup.  After you make whatever you desire, place on greased cookie sheet (or baking dish in the case of your cinnamon rolls).  Cover and let rise in a warm place (turn my oven on and set them on top) until doubled, about 30 minutes.  You can brush with egg whites to make your bread golden.  Bake at 375 for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on wire racks.  

Fried Chicken

I get a zip-lock bag and put 2 cups of flour in it.  Then season it with lots of salt, pepper, garlic salt and cavendars greek seasoning.  I also season my chicken with the same seasonings before dropping it into the bag.  Just shake the bag until all the chicken is coated.  Then drop them into the fry daddy or hot oil (wait about 10 minutes) and take them out when the batter looks brown.  It is yummy!  Just a few little tips.  I use a LOT of seasoning.  You think you are over seasoning at first but so much is lost in the frying process.  I use boneless, skinless breasts (frozen Great Value bag) and thaw them in hot water (this helps the flour stick).  It took me lots of time to learn the art of perfect fried chicken.  It is SO good!

Party Potatoes

1 can cream of mushroom

1 can cheddar cheese soup

1 can sour cream

½ cup butter (softened)

½ t. salt

1 package frozen hashbrowns


Combine all ingredients and pour into greased baking dish.  Cook at 350 for 1 hour.

*great to serve with hamburgers!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I'm Back....

Okay, so I am not so consistent with this little guy.  Sorry about that.  I attempt to get pictures of Abby Kate up as often as possible on her blog but this one seems to fall by the wayside.  I have things I want to post, I just get caught up...right now in the wonderfulness that is summer.  I am willing the sun to come out today.  I just want to hang out in our backyard in our swimsuits.  I just love these lazy days!  I told Bobby last night that for the first time in SO long, I am loving EVERY aspect of what I am doing.  
So in terms of what we have been up to...
My sweet Granny passed away a week ago.  I have so much I want to say about it and the words are jumbled and moving quickly though my mind.  It was the first grandparent I have lost.  And I am 30.  Pretty incredible huh?
What a lady.  We found out on Friday and B and I through together our things and headed out.  On Saturday, we went to my Grandad's.  He in normally a stoic man, dear, but not demonstrative.  To see him so broken, so sad, truly about swept me under.  They had been married for 67 years, retired for 33.  They sat daily in matching recliners spending their days together.  The void was too much for him I think.  And my Granny was such a Proverbs 31 woman.  Quiet, gentle, with a genuine servant's heart.  She was the very best cook on earth.  My Aunt told me over that weekend that my Granny would take 2 vacation weeks a year.  One to feed the hay hands on the week they baled hay and the other to can.  It so reminds me of the scripture,  "15 She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls." Can you imagine us modern women doing that?  
So we spent a weekend on their farm on the hill, just being together.  I will say, though it was so hard and sad, it was one of the sweetest weekends I can remember.  On Monday night, the night before the funeral, we had all finally gotten there.  We spent our night outside, the kids throwing rocks in the pond just as we had done when we were children, and the rest of us just delighted in one another's company.  All I could think about is how much it would have filled my Granny's cup.  She loved for us all to be together.  Why do we wait?
So in memory of my Granny, here is Proverbs 31 in its entirety.  This woman is who I strive to be.  My Granny personified her.  
A Wife of Noble Character
 10 [b]Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
      She is more precious than rubies.
 11 Her husband can trust her,
      and she will greatly enrich his life.
 12 She brings him good, not harm,
      all the days of her life.

 13 She finds wool and flax
      and busily spins it.
 14 She is like a merchant’s ship,
      bringing her food from afar.
 15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
      and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.

 16 She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
      with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
 17 She is energetic and strong,
      a hard worker.
 18 She makes sure her dealings are profitable;
      her lamp burns late into the night.

 19 Her hands are busy spinning thread,
      her fingers twisting fiber.
 20 She extends a helping hand to the poor
      and opens her arms to the needy.
 21 She has no fear of winter for her household,
      for everyone has warm[c] clothes.

 22 She makes her own bedspreads.
      She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
 23 Her husband is well known at the city gates,
      where he sits with the other civic leaders.
 24 She makes belted linen garments
      and sashes to sell to the merchants.

 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,
      and she laughs without fear of the future.
 26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
      and she gives instructions with kindness.
 27 She carefully watches everything in her household
      and suffers nothing from laziness.

 28 Her children stand and bless her.
      Her husband praises her:
 29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
      but you surpass them all!”

 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
      but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
 31 Reward her for all she has done.
      Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.