Kneading (Needing) Bread

This morning, when I arrived home from work, my sweet boy reminded me that I had forgotten to purchase bread (again). UGH!

As I debated walking to the grocery store, my brain came back to me.  Why in the world was I buying bread?  When did this buying bread thing start again?  I used to bake our bread a couple times per week but stopped when I went to work full time last November.  When I returned home again, our routine was so broken that we just continued to buy bread at the grocery.

So, I set out to mix up a quick loaf of yeast bread.  Nothing fancy, just plain flour, yeast, sugar, salt, oil and water.  As I proofed the yeast, that familiar smell wafted up out of the bowl.  Yes, it brought a smile to my face.

As I kneaded the dough, first sticky and then as it became an elastic, smooth ball of dough, I felt the tension releasing in my shoulders.  My time in the kitchen kneading this dough, was much needed.   Image

Then there is the waiting time as the bread completes its first rise.  It’s easy to be patient and relax during this time as the yeast does its work and I await the ‘punch’ down of the dough and another quick knead.

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The dough now sits rising in pans as I anticipate the smell of homemade baked bread.  I feel so relaxed.

 

**UPDATE** bread2

It’s Already the 4th of July?!

Happy Independence Day!

Here it is, July 4, 2013, and I cannot believe that June has flown by.  Our summer is packed with fun and learning and I’m sure August will be here before we know it.

June saw the beginning of the kids’ summer job.  They are taking turns babysitting our neighbor’s son to earn money for all of their summer adventures.  Taking turns allows them to still take part in all of the fun things they want to do with their friends and earn spending money as well.  It is still sometimes inconvenient for them, but it is truly a learning experience in responsibility, money management, planning, compromise and relationships (with one another).

Aspen went to OU SummerWind Ballet Intensive for two weeks in June.  She spent her days working hard and learning a lot!  The program was so good for her and I think she grew 3 inches before coming home.

SWYB 2013Here is a wonderful group shot that the program director sent us.  What a wonderfully talented group of dancers.

Our sweet girl came home from OU and it was suddenly time for Tristan to be heading to Alaska with his youth group.  I’m so proud of the kids in our congregation (and their youth director)!  They spend so much time raising money during the year to be able to give up time to go and spread God’s word and love in various places.

Getting Tristan packed for his time away was, well . . .  Here is his idea of necessities –

942341_486614038095826_194640858_nYes, candy, jerky, cheese balls and a 6 lb bag of gummy bears and a Chewbacca Angry Birds blanket/pillow hooded wrap.  This kid cracks me up🙂

1043979_652153004814207_1844646547_nWe spent his last evening in town enjoying the world’s best BBQ in Joplin at Woody’s Smokehouse (and yes, it is a gas station, but it is THE BEST!).

Then we headed back to Wyandotte to take in the fireworks, band and bounce houses.  Our younger two spent a lot of time entertaining everyone around us as they danced and sang along with the band.  Daddy had to work a bit, taking photos for work. Tristan and I just relaxed and took it all in, enjoying small town life and, well, frozen cheesecake on a stick dipped in chocolate!

It was a great evening together and a VERY late night.  Waking up at 4am to head to the airport was, well, exciting but we were very tired.  So tired that I didn’t get any photos before they headed through security and were gone.

Tristan texted from Dallas and then Seattle.  Their next stop is Alaska!  He had not flown since he was a year old, so this was a fairly BIG deal.  He was nervous this morning, but sounds excited now and very grown up!

I am just certain that God is going to use them in amazing ways while they are there.  I cannot wait to hear about his trip when he returns.  I promise to share photos if he remembers to slow down and take any.

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Love Moore. Pray Moore. Give Moore. Restore Moore.

IMG_3378Last weekend, I was honored to serve alongside my son Tristan and the Immanuel Lutheran Youth Group, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.  These teens, including Tristan, were some of the first to respond to the need in Joplin when they were hit by a tornado.  It was only right, in their minds, that they go serve in Moore and help their community when they were hit nearly two weeks ago.

So, their wonderful youth director made a couple calls, the kids willingly gave up their Memorial Day plans,and we had a group put together, a place to sleep and willing hands and attitudes.  We were told not to go, that they were turning volunteers away.  God was working in our hearts though and we left on Friday evening, not knowing quite what to expect.

IMG_3379Saturday morning, we drove in to town, seeing instantly the destruction as we drove past what was left of the medical center. 

After checking in, we were assigned to a zone near the Veterans park.  There, we were to check in with a zone leader who assigned us to specific properties that had been ‘OK’d’ by the property owners.

The entire weekend was spent hauling debris, talking to property owners, meeting people who just wanted to share their story, and sharing God’s love through our words and actions in a town that was devastated.

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But, this town was amazing.  They shared hope with us.  They shared faith with us.

Often as they thanked us for helping, we found ourselves thanking them.  The atmosphere was not one of despair.  The devastation was there, but not despair.

I have no words for what I saw.  Here are some photos from our weekend.

We all learned a lot on this trip.  We made friends and we will return.  It hurt our hearts last night to hear that our friends in Moore were hit a second time.

Please join us in prayer as we pray for Moore and all those affected by the storms this season.

**On a side note, the shirt you see at the top of this post was designed by two of the boys in the youth group.  They are making them available for purchase with 100% of the proceeds going to tornado victims in Moore.  You can contact them through their Facebook Page “Love Moore”.

Memorial Day

Our normal tradition on Memorial Day is to take part in the flag folding ceremony at Floral Haven.  This year was different.

While Tristan and I were in Moore, helping with disaster cleanup, DH took the younger two to work with him while he covered a special ceremony for Lt. Colonel Chief Leaford Bearskin.  Cheif Bearskin had served the Wyandotte Nation and our country through his service in the US Navy.

Imagine Aspen’s surprise when the color guard asked her to be part of the ceremony, holding the wreath for Chief Leaford Bearskin until it was time to place it on his headstone.  What a very special honor!

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Photo by William Swaim

That is her on the far left, holding the wreath, in line with the Wyandotte Nation Color Guard.

Kaeden assured me that he had a special job as well; he was daddy’s assistant. <<Insert huge heart warming smile here!>>

What? You’re an Art Teacher?!?!

Life has taken some unexpected turns (the up and down kind!).

With my dh losing his job, we’ve had to adjust, bend, compromise, change . . . All things that I’m not really good at.

So, I’m teaching K-12 art at a small Lutheran school.  Of course I love teaching, but it sure is different, teaching someone else’s children, that is.  I miss mine during the day so very much.

I began teaching two weeks ago.  Just in time to get kids ready for Christmas break and finals.  My brain kept freaking out with, “How do I give 7-12 graders a final on material I didn’t teach?” I had no idea what they did this semester. . .

The homeschool mom/teacher in me said, “Make it fun!” and an idea was born.  The plan was put into action last night with my 9 year old baking 10 dozen sugar cookies.  I gathered up frosting, wilton colors, decorator bags, sprinkles, mini-M&Ms, spoons, toothpicks, cups . . .  You get the idea!

I had the students remove everything from their tables and instructed them to go wash their hands.  The looks I got were hilarious.  “No questions, just go wash your hands.”🙂

After handing out paper plates to each, I explained that they were going to demonstrate the 7 elements of art. And then I broke out the cookies, frosting, colors . . . It was GREAT!

Many had never mixed frosting colors or used decorating bags.  They were super creative and worked on their cookies for an hour.  Then they explained each element in their cookies and we sat down to enjoy their hard work.  I loved their creativity and the fact that they took it seriously enough to make some amazing examples of the Elements of Art.

The results:

 

And, the icing on the cookie . . . They thanked me for making it fun! Woohoo!

In the face of evil, PRAISE GOD! This blog post is from a mother who was in the theatre in Aurora with her girls during the shooting. It is a wonderful testament of faith. Please read.

A MINIATURE CLAY POT

July 22 – a note of explanation

I’ve tried to leave this post just as it was originally written because it was a heartfelt response after a very traumatic experience.  But I’m sometimes clumsy with words and even when I think I am writing clearly, there is always the reader who doesn’t know my heart or doesn’t hear the words the way they were intended.

I feel as though a few people have taken what I said and twisted it. When I wrote my post on Friday, I had a grand total of eleven blog  followers. Yes, eleven. I generally post on facebook and have had a loyal little group of readers that numbered thirty or so. That is who I generally write for.  People who know me  know that I dislike talking on the telephone. I’d pretty much rather clean a toilet than spend time on the phone. I…

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Pointe Shoes for my Princess

The day had finally come, it was time to get my princess fitted for pointe shoes.  It was a day she had been looking forward to for so long.  Yet, just prior to heading out, she decided she didn’t want to go. I suppose it was just nerves, something new, something so challenging, something . . . .  Suddenly there was a need for a quick stop for an iced caramel macchiato to calm the nerves.

That did the trick and we headed for Black and Pink with coffee in hand, and extra for Ms. Laura who was meeting us there for the fitting.

Up until this point, Aspen’s image of herself on pointe was something along the lines of this.  My princess ballerina, queen of converse strives to stand out whenever possible.  She likes to be ‘different’, enjoys not fitting into the mold.

Well, with her extremely narrow, pointy feet and that disappearing heel, she definitely does not fit into a mold!  It was interesting, but she had fun trying to find the perfect fit.  Russian pointe shoes will always be the ones for her although the ones that fit best would have to be special ordered.  I can’t say that she’s disappointed, she has a bit of an affinity for the Russian Ballet and for being different.

Ms. Laura was able to find a pair that fit and offered the strength/support that she would need for her summer programs.

So, it is official.  Aspen has her first pair of pointe shoes.  This is a huge milestone in her life!  As she begins this next chapter in life’s adventure, there will be much learning taking place.  She is growing up so fast!

Once home, she had to have a little fun with her shoes.  Here she is being herself:

Finally, just when Oklahoma starts feeling like home . . . .

I never thought it’d happen.

Oklahoma was supposed to be a stop along the way to something better.  I mean, who WANTS to live in Oklahoma?  The weather is horrible.  There are no mountains.  You have to drive hours to find a place to hike.  It is too hot to camp during the summer months.  There are bugs (like fleas and ticks – YUCK!).  Need I go on?

Oklahoma was never supposed to be ‘home’.  The plan was to live there for 2 years and then move on to a more permanent place.  The plan was to move on!

So, why am I actually struggling with the thought of a move?  Especially a move to paradise?

To be honest, I can’t quite wrap my head around it really.  Comments like these don’t help:

Don’t you think it would be really great if we all had first communion and confirmation at the same church?

and

I’m not moving with you, I’m staying here.

and

There is not a Lutheran Church there, I can’ t live with out our church and youth group.

and

I already used all my airline miles, how would I come visit you?

But then there are photos like these:

So, I’m torn.  I’m extremely torn.  As I pray about the decision, a friend posts the following on facebook:

I have always joked that when I start taking control of my life, God throws a wrench into things to make sure I know He’s in control.  LOL  This is one of those times.  As I pray each day for guidance and wisdom, I fight each day to be in control instead, focusing on earthly things.

What’s important in the end?  God. Family. Health.

And so I pray.  Finally, just when Oklahoma starts feeling like home, I pray that God will guide us to make the right decision.  For Him. For our family. For life.