Sunday, March 28, 2010

I Did It!

I finally accomplished goal #4o of project fifty-two!

I custom-made a header for my blog!

I made it with my own picture!

I did it without buying photo shop!

I finally got the right size!

I stayed up WAY too late to figure it out,

but I like it!

Can you tell that I am excited!?!

I hope you like it, too!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Different Mom

Right before tucking my children into bed, one of my dear ones burst out of pent up emotion, "I wish I had a different mom." Oh dear, it had been a rough day with this one who seemed to wake up with a chip on the shoulder toward everyone in the house, the weather, and life in general. After hearing these words, I trudged up the stairs and plopped, exhausted into bed. As I lay there processing, words of a wise friend came to mind. "When critical, hurtful words are spoken, I (my friend) have learned to look in the mirror and ask myself what of the words spoken are true? What of the words are exaggeration and lies? Then I take the time to do my part, and leave the rest." As I took the words of this dear mentor to heart, I began to think through the day. I tried to make it a good day for each child, but I also woke up with this feeling of having "given" all week. On the outside I continued to give, but my heart was not in it, and this one who tested my emotion all day sensed it. You see, sometimes as a mom, I lose sight of why I give of myself. It isn't for temporary results, it isn't for appreciation or applause, it isn't for my own sense of goodness or because it is the right thing to do. It is for demonstrating unconditional love as my Father in Heaven demonstrates unconditional love for me in order that the ones entrusted to my care may know Him. My heart's deepest desire is to have my children know that love and walk in it. This kind of love is one that loves to the point of exhaustion. It is the kind of love that took Jesus to the cross. But the exciting thing is that it isn't a love filled with drudgery but rather joy. My Savior, "who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2 It is a love that is empowered by this One who died for me and now lives in me. It is a love whose energy is fueled by "the Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth (who) does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary." Isaiah 40:28-31

This is the kind of mother I want to be:
one who walks in joy, strength and unconditional love,
one who looks at the bumps of life and chooses joy not selfishness,
one who dances through life's ups and downs, AND
one who celebrates life with tea and cake!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Saturday Mornings Are For Sleeping In, Staying in Pajamas, and Eating Waffles

One of my favorite things about Saturday mornings is waking up to a slower pace, putting on a pot of tea, and making waffles. I whip up the batter, and as my groggy-eyed children rise one by one I set out the whipped cream, berries, peanut butter, coconut, cream cheese, and maple syrup. After every tummy is full, the remaining batter gets cooked and the extra waffles get placed in the freezer. These make great toaster breakfasts on busy school mornings.

Over the past few months I have been tweaking a favorite waffle recipe that I found here. After much experimentation, I came up with the following recipe which is a bit more healthy, yet still retains the light, crispy texture my family loves.

Jacqueline's Favorite Waffles:

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup fresh ground flax seed (I ground these in my coffee grinder.)

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

4 tablespoons evaporated cane juice or sugar

6 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons salt

4 large eggs, separated

3 1/2 cups milk

1 stick butter, melted

Heat the waffle iron on medium high to high. In a large bowl whisk together the flours, ground flax seed, sugar, baking powder, salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, milk and melted butter. Add to the flour mixture, and whisk until the large lumps disappear. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold them carefully into the batter. Following your waffle iron instructions, ladle the batter into the iron and cook until no steam emerges. Top with maple syrup, berries, cream cheese, marmalade, coconut, peanut butter, whip cream, or other favorite toppings and enjoy!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed....Or Not

We are so ready for spring break around here! This morning, as I was making the rounds to awake my sleepy children for school, I stopped for a few moments beside my older daughters' beds to chat with them. All of the sudden little BJ came bounding out of his bedroom bright eyed and bushy tailed, huge smile on his face and ready for a brand new day. He excitedly asked, "Is there school today?" to which I replied, "Oh, yes, but it is Friday!" to which his bright eyes dimmed into a frown. He turned in a huff and threw himself back into bed with a groan. His sudden change of demeanor sent the rest of us into an uproar of laughter. Yes, spring break is only a few weeks away, and we are ALL so ready.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

For the Love of Domesticity and Sock Baskets

I love homemaking. The art of creating a cozy haven for my family and friends brings sheer pleasure to my soul. I love creating yummy foods that fill the house with tantalizing aromas and feed hungry tummies. I love providing cozy corners for play, solitude, or intense discussions about life. I love clean floors and newly washed sheets. I love finding discarded thrift items and finding new life for them. I love a fresh coat of paint on scuffed walls. I love all that makes home a refuge from the craziness of life.

But sometimes life gets so busily out of control that I forget how much I love these things. Time for creativity is stifled, and all I can see are the mountains of laundry and piles of dirty dishes. But just when those times are about to overtake me, someone comes along and quietly lifts the burdens, clears the messes, and renews my strength to keep going.

That someone is my mother. The past few years, she has flown out during the month of February while my Dad takes a mission trip to Africa and spends time with the children and I. Every time she visits, she quietly does the ordinary things like laundry and dishes and matches all the mismatched socks in my ever growing sock basket. Yes, I confess, I have a large laundry basket full of socks accumulated when removing clothes from the dryer with the intent to match them later. "Later" never happens, and then I end up with an overflowing basket of lone socks waiting for dear Mother to come and reunite the pairs, so my four children do not have to waste so much time every school morning vainly searching for mismatched socks.

In taking care of the "sock basket," Mother takes care of me. Without out a word, she does the little things that give me time to take a breath and feel renewed. She leaves me re-energized to take on the ordinary tasks of life with new vitality and renews my love for the domestic arts once again. This gift of carrying my burdens, even if only for a short while, is one I have grown to deeply appreciate over the years and one I hope never to take for granted.

What about you? What is your "sock basket" that needs emptied?