Oreo Dreams

There are many wonderful things I love about conference weekend.
One is the chance to hear the words of our Prophet and other inspired leaders.  Another,  is to be able to listen while laying down on the couch, jammies optional.   That doesn’t mean I get totally smooth sailing- I still ended up tight-hugging better a great many melt-downs and stress.  Yup,  even good changes in routine are still changes.  So after conference- instead of sitting down to some nice quiet time to ponder and write about the many things that touched my heart,  the better choice became looking up cupcake recipes with my lovely TeaRose.  :)
This one turned out AWESOME– and that is no joke- especially since it was ME doing the translating of the recipe into GF (not someone like my sister who is very kitchen proficient.) It tastes just like a hostess cupcake without the cream in the center, since we couldn’t wait for them to cool enough to fill them.    Even at that- it was loved by only half my family, as the other half does not like chocolate… so for them,  I will try one of these other recipes.  And my pondering will come later.   :)
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Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

Portion size 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups My Simple Gluten Free flour blend
  • 1/4 tea xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tea chia flour
  • 1 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Cup minus 2 Tbl. Water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1-1/2  Tbl cider vinegar

Icing:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • whipping cream or milk (adjust for desired stiffness)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 chocolate sandwich cookies, (such as Oreo), finely chopped

Garnish:

  •  chocolate sandwich cookies, (such as Oreo), quartered.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup standard sized muffin pan with paper liners.

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.  in a small bow, add all the wet ingredients,  until the egg is fully mixed.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and beat for 2 minutes, till smooth.

Divide evenly into 12 muffin cups.  Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Cool before frosting if you can keep the kids away that long.

(Original, wheat flour recipe by Adell Shneer and The Test Kitchen Source: Canadian Living Magazine: May 2011
Photography, from the website that I found the recipe, by Jodi Pudge)
My simple gf flour mix.
In a gallon size ziploc plastic bag, or plastic contaner with a good seal, put–
2 parts Almond Flour
2 parts Super fine brown rice flour
1 part potato starch (not potato flour)
1 part Tapioca starch.
seal and mix till all one color
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 Gluten Free Cheesecakes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 2 8 oz packages of softened cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup of Sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs

Directions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt the 1/4 stick of butter for the ‘crust’ of the cupcake. When the butter is melted stir in the almond meal, you should end up with a nice consistency.
  3. Place a small amount in the bottom of your cupcake liner and pat down to form the crust.
  4. For the cheesecake filling, in a stand mixer, add the cream cheese, eggs, sugar, and vanilla to the bowl and mix on medium speed until the mixture is smooth. When the filling is nice and smooth fill the cupcake liners almost to the top.
  5. Bake in the oven for 15-17 minutes. Cool on the counter then chill overnight for an awesome treat. You can top these with your favorite fruit topping or just some simple whipped cream.
  6. Enjoy

Fromhttp://udisglutenfree.com/recipes/megans-gluten-free-cheesecake-cupcakes/

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gluten-free-strawberry-cupcakes 

Gluten Free Strawberries & Cream Cupcakes

Ingredients

2 cups strawberries, hulled – use divided
1 cup superfine white rice flour
1/3 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
3 tablespoons tapioca starch
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
¼ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt – at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
7 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 tablespoon shy of a stick) – at room temperature
1 cup plus 4 teaspoons granulated sugar – use divided
1 large egg – at room temperature
2 large egg whites – at room temperature
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup standard sized muffin pan with paper liners.

Reserve 3 or 4 of the strawberries for garnish. Puree 1 cup of the strawberries in a blender or food processor until smooth. Cut the remaining strawberries into ¼ inch dice. Measure out 1/3 cup of the strawberry puree for the cupcakes and reserve the remaining puree (you should have a couple tablespoons) for the topping.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the white rice flour, starches, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a small mixing bowl, stir the sour cream or yogurt with the 1/3 cup strawberry puree and vanilla.

cream together the butter and 1 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low and add the egg and egg whites, one at a time, mixing well with each addition. Add half the dry ingredients and mix on low until combined, then add the strawberry/sour cream (or yogurt) mixture, mixing until combined and finally mix in the remaining flour mixture. Do not over mix. Remove the mixing bowl from the mixer and with a rubber spatula, scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl making sure all ingredients are well combined. Gently fold in the diced strawberries.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the tops feel dry and springy and a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Just before serving (or up to a couple hours ahead) whip the heavy cream with the remaining 4 teaspoons of sugar on high until it forms stiff peaks. Gently fold in the reserved strawberry puree leaving it a little streaky.

Dollop or pipe the strawberry whipped cream on the cupcakes. Cut the strawberries reserved for garnish into slices and top each cupcake with two slices, pointy end pointing up, or any other way you desire.

by Carol Kicinski on August 10, 2010  photo from the post where I found the recipe

http://simplygluten-free.com/blog/2010/08/gluten-free-strawberries-cream-cupcakes.html

Categories: recipes | 2 Comments

“This day- we sailed on”

Today I really found myself feeling the load on the heart, that comes as the teenage years hit full force.   Searching for a courage quote; this one came upon me just when I needed it.

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(from– Thomas S. Monson, Courage Counts- October 1986 General Conference)

“I seek your prayers; I need your faith; I petition our Heavenly Father for that noble attribute of courage, for I know courage counts!……

“Life’s journey is not traveled on a freeway devoid of obstacles, pitfalls, and snares. Rather, it is a pathway marked by forks and turnings. Decisions are constantly before us. To make them wisely, courage is needed: the courage to say no, the courage to say yes.

“The call for courage comes constantly to each of us. It has ever been so, and so shall it ever be. …

…. in a land far distant, another leader issued the same plea: “Follow me” (Matt. 4:19). He was not a general of war. Rather, He was the Prince of Peace, the Son of God. Those who followed Him then, and those who follow Him now, win a far more significant victory, with consequences that are everlasting. But the need for courage is constant. Courage is ever required.

The holy scriptures portray the evidence of this truth. Joseph, son of Jacob, the same who was sold into Egypt, demonstrated the firm resolve of courage when to Potiphar’s wife, who attempted to seduce him, he declared: “How … can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? And … he hearkened not unto her” and got out (Gen. 39:9–10)

“In our day, a father applied this example of courage to the lives of his children by declaring: “If you ever find yourself where you shouldn’t ought to be, get out!”….

“The prophet Daniel demonstrated supreme courage by standing up for what he knew to be right and by demonstrating the courage to pray, though threatened by death were he to do so (see Dan. 6).

“All were fortified by the words of Moses: “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid … : for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Deut. 31:6). He did not fail them. He will not fail us. He did not forsake them. He will not forsake us.

“It was this knowledge that prompted the courage of Columbus—the quiet resolve to record in his ship’s log again and again: “This day we sailed on.” …..

“It is this sweet assurance that can guide you and me—in our time, in our day, in our lives. Of course we will face fear, experience ridicule, and meet opposition. Let us have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval. Courage becomes a living and an attractive virtue when it is regarded not only as a willingness to die manfully, but as the determination to live decently…

I feel better.  Now, I can pray to have the courage  to Sail On again one more day.

Categories: Courage quotes | 2 Comments

How to look like an awesome Mom in under 20 minutes- Mini German Pancakes

Somewhere between the regular stress of Sundays, the waning full moon,  a REALLY, hard school-week, and a church adult party last night — and ta-da- my energy level bottomed out at about the same moment that my pain levels started rising (No surprise.)  But along the way, I also discovered a great variation of a family favorite.  So- with very little effort,  Sunday had a tiny little bit of spectacular.   Wahoo!

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(this recipe can be made with just 2 round cake pans, which I have done many times, but making them little made all the kids think they were getting a treat!  Makes 24, but it can also be easily halved.)

MINI DUTCH (or GERMAN) PANCAKES- GLUTEN FREE!

  • 1 Cup Simple GF flour mix – flour recipe follows (regular wheat flour also works well, same measurement)
  • 1/2 tea. salt
  • 1 Cup milk (any kind- I still love cows milk)
  • 4 large eggs plus 4 more egg whites (it’s ok to get extra yolks in it)
  • butter
  • 2- 12 muffin pans,  or 1-24 muffin pan

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.    Slice butter cube in thin 1/8 inch slices (about    Put one slice into each well of muffin tray(s), set aside.

Add all other ingredients in a medium bowl and mix with a fork or spoon. Set aside to rest for a minute. Meanwhile put muffin tray(s) in oven to melt butter.  Watch carefully to avoid burning butter (about 1 or 2 minutes is all it takes)

Pull out tray (carefully).  Beat batter one last time to make sure it is smooth.  Then with a small measuring cup (I use my 1/3 C) scoop batter and pour into each well, till devided evenly between all the  wells.  Put pan(s) back into oven.  Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, or until golden.

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The batter puffs awesomely while in the oven, and sinks almost as soon as it is removed, so if the kids want to see it puffy, have them near when it is freshly pulled out.

TOPPINGS-

I’ve seen all sorts of magazines dress this simple dish up with fruit combos of all sorts, but my kids still love it with the simple topping handed down to my Mother, and then to me– Powdered sugar and lemon juice.  But today, I also tried it with the simple home-made refrigerator blackberry jam I made from an internet recipe.  Both ways are great! (wished I had some English clotted cream)

SIMPLE GLUTEN FREE FLOUR MIX

(I have been trying recipes from all sorts of sites, and I found that one of the flours is not agreeing with my digestion. Not sure which, so I went back to basics.  I’ll test the others out one at a time till I find it, but for now this mix is handling my scrumptious cravings just fine.)

  • 2 Cups brown rice flour – super finely ground
  • 2 Cups almond flour (not to be confused with almond meal)
  • 2 Cups starch- at the moment I am loving half and half potato starch and tapioca starch- the tapioca gives a great browning and crust.)

put all flours and starches into a 1 gallon size ziploc bag, and zip closed, shake and turn till it is all one color.  Mark contents on the outside with a permanent marker.  Almond flour has a lot of oils in it, so if it is not going to be used soon, store it in the fridge to keep it from going rancid too soon.

Categories: recipes | 1 Comment

Happy St. Patrick’s day musings.

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I planted shamrocks and little pansies by my front door this year. (Sorry it’s a little fuzzy, I only had my phone camera at the time.)

No more time for Shenanigan’s, it was the end of Spring Break, and back to school Monday today.  Maybe that made me extra tired; whatever it was  in life’s roller-coaster way,  I was starting to feel really overtaken with the blues this morning.   The last straw that got to me, was when I realized that one of the reasons why our ward does not have a “Disability Specialist,” is because they do not consider me to be a “special needs” mom. — To them, my kids are reasonably smart, talk normal,  maybe a bit of a handful on occasion, but they read scriptures higher than grade level and know most of the rote answers; so in the 3 hours of Sunday that they see them- they seem, mostly, just normal.   Obviously, then, I must be handling things just fine.  And I have finally decided that if the Lord keeps helping me,  I’ll be ok with that.  Well, except for the moments that creep up on me like today.   So I was trying to keep a prayer in my heart, that I would be able to find a good moment to put me back on the right side of the track.

This evening, the good moments finally came.

In our funny little family, finding origins and where traditions come from has taken root, and become a bit of a tradition of it’s own. I take full blame; that’s just what you get when you take an Anthropologist and turn her into a home school mom of fairly intelligent, spectrum driven kids, and stir well.   :)

So it was no surprise to me that our St. Patrick’s discussion at dinner was about the man himself  (I had looked up, and taught a lesson last year, on who St Patrick was:)  then, my oldest had to regale all his siblings- all about how he had learned that in Ireland, St. Patrick’s isn’t about partying or parades, except for the one they do for tourists.  For the people tho’, it’s more like a Thanksgiving day.

In the same spirit of keeping close to original, I made a peasant’s style Cabbage stew for dinner.  And I also tried my hand at fish and chip. (I know- that’s not really Irish, but I was dying to try my Gluten Free ideas.)   The Verdict?  “Not bad” -which, coming from 6 different styles of picky eaters, is a smashing success!  Even more smashing-it was all Gluten Free, and I made up the recipes myself!  (gasp!)    In the confessions-of-an-artist way, a culinary success like this is kinda something to celebrate!

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I’ll try to get the recipes up soon.  But in the mean-time, the hyper-rush of a great end to the day has finally worn off.   It’s another school day tomorrow,  I am way more than ready for bed!

Wishing you rainbows before you, and friends beside you.  And may you hold fast to Heaven and your Family.

Lots of love,  Good Night.

Categories: LDS Mom of Autism, Midnight musings | Leave a comment

Just a Wednesday

Nothing out of the ordinary- at least in my house.

March 12–Dear Journal-
Today was a very long, ordinary, sometimes amazing Wednesday day of rescues…

It is Spring break, so I am taking advantage of no school to sleep in, and hopefully catch up on some much needed rest. and repair some sleep-deprivation poor health.  But not today-  somewhere around 3 (am) my TeaRose came in and crawled in bed with Mark and I.  She hasn’t done that in a long time, so I figured it must have been a really bad nightmare, and let her stay.  (first rescue- before we even got up)   Tho’ Mark and I decided that next time we will either have him trade and sleep in her bed, or have me take her back, and stay with her for a while; ’cause 3 in a bed made for a very sleepless night. (sigh)

Needless to say, I didn’t sleep in much; and the little kids (I’m going to have to think of a different word for the 3 younger ones- they’re really not little anymore)  were up by 7:30, just that extra little time makes a big difference, I sure don’t look forward to back-to-school next week and getting them up by 6.

Anyway, by 8 it was time to start waking Ryan for his dentist appointment.  He has been waking on his own at 7 or 8 for the last 3 days, so I crossed my fingers, and didn’t reschedule the dentist. (He doesn’t like me to talk about him- but it was part of my day, and turned out good, so I am)  Oh!,  he was hard to wake!  I am amazed how fast his brain can sabotage his sleep schedule!  It took till 8:30 to get him to sit up, and I had to be strong and insistent the whole way there, just to make it to the 9:15 appointment only 5 minutes late.  I’m glad he let me, it was to put the permanent crown on; his temporary crown has been there for almost 2 months.  His mouth will feel so much better when it’s done.  But I needed Mark to come and trade with me, as I had made an appointment at 10, with a sister in our ward to measure for a hem. (an emergency rescue of my own, her normal person she gets to help has shingles- yuck)  So Mark had just barely had time to get to work, and had happened to get a co-worker laughing and rescued his day, when he turned around and came and rescued me, by waiting for Ryan to be done and bringing him home.

I went to the house of the family in our ward, and enjoy talking, and pinning the dress measurement, and lo and behold- I had locked my keys in my van.  I have not done that in years!  Totally shows how hard it is getting to keep my brain going straight.  another sigh.  But she drove me home, and when Mark got home from the Dentist, he took me back to the van on his way back to work. (how many rescues are we up to now?- 5, I think)

Well, when I got home, Brand was still not doing well- he had woken up groggy and withdrawn, Mark and I had both noticed, but he said he was just tired.  While Mark had taken me to the Van, he had decided to go walking- with his Christmas present sword and a backpack full of water and exercise weights.  I called his phone and asked if he would like a pick-up rescue.  (“yes please”)  Well- I got him in the car, and told him that I could tell something was up, and he needed to tell me…. and I got more than I expected.

He told me  that sometimes he feels attacked, and many other direct things, and it wasn’t just the medicine he takes for his headaches and seizure prevention- he has been having this problem for a long time.  He’s 18, and loves the Lord, so I wasn’t too surprised, I know of many who have had to bear this trial.  Anyway- I instantly decided that we needed to go strait to someplace safe to talk… and I took him to the new Gilbert temple- he said “I don’t really feel like talking much” and I said, that’s ok, I will do the talking- and we went and sat by the waterfalls.  And while he drifted his hand in the calm running water, I asked him what he knew of the war in Heaven.  He said- “just the Sunday School stuff- two plans, and one third followed satan and were kicked out”  I told him yes, but there was much more to it.

I told him – the Lord’s plan wasn’t just get a body and return, no effort spent; but to learn and grow enough to return and gain all he had, (like every really good father)  -and that meant choosing and making mistakes and learning from them.  -that we don’t really know if it was just words, or if it got violent, but all account agree in the word used, they all call it a War.   -Then I told him of the account my Uncle (a patriarch for over 30 years) told me when I was a teenager, of the young Downs Syndrome man, who got a Patriarchal blessing that told him he was one of those that escorted Satan out of heaven.– I said that Satan did not accept loosing, he did not want to go, and he refused to admit defeat, even as he was escorted out, he was like the movies that say “this war is not over,” and he knew those who made sure he left, knew them Personally,  this young man among them.  And a protective armor was given to him to protect him from the attacks of an angry enemy. — And I said I had just seen this same story in a note from another mom, who’s daughter received a similar blessing during a hospital stay,  that said she had been one of those who held a sword to make the adversary leave, and that she had been similarly protected. — And that Grandpa and I have agreed that all those with Autism are among that sort of special spirits.   – I also told him of others I know that feel the veil that separates us from them.  It is a special gift of the spirit for the veil to be that thin; but it is a two-edged sword…to feel the presence of those spirits who care for us,  is also to be close enough to the veil to hear the spirits of those under the command of the evil one too.  And people of the world don’t like to hear about any of  it.   But it also meant that the Lord had great trust in him.

So I spent time reminding him of the things the Lord has given us as shields and armor against such direct attacks… (we are no longer talking about standing up against peer pressure here)  like the family records Indexing I had been getting him to do, which allows all those people to have a vested interest in helping him stand against the spikes of the adversary,  and of course the things they already talk about in church like scriptures and prayer- and I told him that I had chosen the Temple grounds because it was now dedicated to the Lord, and the adversary could not come…it’s a safe place he can always go to when he is in need and our house is too noisy,  and that meant a good thing about pushing the fear envelope, and getting his drivers license done, is so he can drive himself there when he needed to… and I also made sure he knew that the priesthood had the power over the adversary, and that he could ask a blessing any time he needed to- not a healing, but a strength and power blessing, and I said we were blessed with a Dad who held this priesthood so well that he could do this blessing.  And I listed other men he could go to, if Dad was out of town,who would understand, like the Stake President and our home teacher. (and I told him Grandpa understood and could do this also- so when he comes to visit, he will be able to add him to the list)  –

And that brought up another thought, that I think was a bit of revelation… I said, in the Heavenly meetings where the great spirits were gathered to get their assignments of Kings and Prophets and stuff, there were also many great spirits who were asked to take a very different assignment, of being , umm “salt” for want of a better word; as in sprinkled about and looking like just ordinary people, so that they can help the next generation of great ones and others… because prophets and kings can’t be there one-on-one to help in the daily needs of growing up that these young, next generation of great ones would need.  So some were kings; and some were disguised as ordinary men, to be the intimate guides. And that Grandpa was one of those hidden great men.  It was awesome- and made so much sense, that I wanted to shout this new piece of revelation from the housetops, but I knew I couldn’t- nor on the phone, or on the facebook type parts of technology; it’s too open to the view of all.  Here in my journal, and maybe the email part of the internet, perhaps my blog, will be about it.  So I packed it tight in my memory, and we went to the store to get bread, and went home to feed lunch to everyone.  (And I had a lot of hugs for the rest of the day)

Well, I was not surprised to find that even tho’ the kids are capable of making sandwiches or eating cold cereal, none of them had thought of it till I got home (about 1pm) and they needed rescuing.  It’s the autism disconnect in the link between knowing “how” to make lunch, and feeling “able” to do so.  They just stand there and look around and then get out of the kitchen and ask for help.  I’m not upset- it’s the part of life we are in. So rescue number 7 was pretty easy.

Soon in was time for TeaRose’s flute lesson.  That lady is so awesome!  She loves my sweet girl, and she has said that her best times as a teacher is to learn different ways to teach so that the unique ones can find the benefits and love of music.  TeaRose seldom has time to practice anything at home, with her load of homework (not counting spring break) and so it is just the half hour a week, but already, she is up to sight-reading sheet music.  I really need to figure out how to write the music I want the kids to play together.

On this high, I went back out to the garage to see what I had the energy to do- and I got a lot more bits cut and measured for the girls’ toy shelves unit, and Kydee’s mini night stand.  and I also started cleaning up the wood and stuff on the work table (the goal is to have it ready to hold all the tools, and be organized by the time my dad gets here)  And, again- it wasn’t really very long before I got tired and achy.  It was time to think about diner anyway.

So- burrito time, and it was good, then Mark got home from work.

That poor guy has been having a hard time at work.   His Aspergers is screaming with inconsistencies  he is seeing and can’t do anything about.  And he is using soooo much energy to remember all his hard-won people skills, so that he doesn’t get victimized in the wake.  And on top of it, he has to keep up fixing the hardware and software bugs of his regular job.  But I know he can do it,  and make things work, because he really is that smart.

So- instead of telling Mark about my cool experiences, I had to do one more rescue of the day, and listen to him tell me all about his day, so he could decompress and recover.  He needed it, but I didn’t do a very good job, I’m afraid- I was too tired to handle his frustration very well.  It wasn’t pointed at me, but his spirit is very strong, and it gets me right in my heart.  I hope he and the Lord forgive me for that- trying to do better.  Tried to get to sleep earlier, but Ryan went out with friends, and didn’t get back till after 11(pm), and the muscle relaxant the Doctor prescribed isn’t helping my night-time leg pain today.   Tomorrow I need to do dishes, and try to remember to do something that I know I am forgetting, but I just can’t grab it and pull it out. Hope it comes back to me.

Night.

Categories: LDS Mom of Autism | Leave a comment

Of Sinking Feelings, and Angels Wings and the new Gilbert Temple

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All that’s left of the Celebration and rain on the Monday morning after.

The Laundry is finally done (at least I think I have found all the soaked stuff.)  The dedication of the LDS, Gilbert Temple was a week ago, but it has taken a while to fully feel like all of the huge happenings of the last couple months are really done.  And I am still having a hard time finding enough words to write about it all… so I think I’ll stick with a bit of a photo essay-maybe the words will come as I go.

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Finally rising above the foundation, April, 2011

Like so many of our local friends, this building has captured our love and attention; and taking the occasional moment to get photos was one of my favorite quick escapes.

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Early February 2012

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The Day Angel Moroni flew

March of 2012, I spent all day parked across the street to watch and photograph the placing of the angel.  By this time, last year, it was finished enough on the outside to make for a perfect family photo backdrop, I used it in my post “Moving though Whispers of Pain” for a long time there was nothing else to see on the outside- it was all interior work going on, but it was still good to visit and take family- We brought my Grandma over, when she visited us from Utah.

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April 2012

But mostly we kept busy with the start of a very heavy school year- Kydee’s first year in Junior High (7th grade) and DK in another Jr. High for 8th grade, TeaRose in High School and Brand in Jr Tech and working on finishing up High School- in and around all the other things that crop up in a out-of-normal family like mine.  It was a time that I was just hanging in there, my health was sinking fast, and I was trying trying not to sink with it.

But Last December, the excitement became much more real and tangible when the dance practices began.  And it lifted us. I don’t remember much of the hard- I remember being more at peace.  I remember suddenly knowing which things were ok to drop from the to-do list.   I think there were many Angel’s wings-Lifting.

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very first practice for the Cultural Celebration

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Very first time at the Stake level- several hundred strong now.

For instance- There was not a single practice that did not have someone in my lap from overload.  And not just my TeaRose and DK, who had a bad struggle with the volume of the music and instructor’s mike (which I solved for the most part with swimmer’s ear-putty and/or foam ear plugs) but also Kydee started having bad leg pains that we still have not fully figured out. And yet, all three let me keep pushing them to keep going every week, and somehow homework kept getting done too. (minor miracle)

In late January, we went thru a tour session.  To make it manageable for my family, I took the 3 younger ones on a morning session (we took a sick day from school) and then Brand and Dad and I went the next day.  It was such a gift.  My special needs kids totally got it- they were focused and aware, and the water features brought them special peace.

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outside, after our tour.

Then it was time for our Ward’s turn for hosting at the Open House.  They needed more help than they originally thought so I convinced my Awesome Hubby and Brand to come with me.  Those inspired coordinators put them right where they could really help without being overloaded at all- Mark ended up being one of two lead parking ushers, and Brand was put in charge of wheelchairs for the special needs.  Vital jobs- but no load whatsoever on their people skills, etc.  I was in the air-conditioning inside :) and another miracle, not once did I hurt the whole time!  It was a spiritual High.

In light of all that, I was totally wanting to try some more gluten free baking… but I forgot a few hints that I had read. I totally forgot that the cooking times are really, um lets just say that I made a pan of brownies -a regular cake pan– and it came out perfect, almost burned on the outside two inches, and pudding in the center– totally a sinking feeling day.  Lesson learned.  Smaller pans.
Onward.

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The start of Super Saturday morning.

Then came the grand day -one week before the celebration- and the day of the first time all of the youth (from all of the stakes who will be in this Temple’s district) came together in one place.  It was a glorious day, unseasonably warm, even for us.  I knew that the park across the street from the temple was large, but I never knew how huge until 12000 kids, and all their leaders,  poured in and seathed in excitement and the park still did not feel overloaded or claustrophobic- like it was made just for this day.

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Having fun watching them trying to get 12000 kids to calm down at their first full group practice.

My kids are in this picture, at the back- you can almost tell- here in the blow up, the 2 white hats, and the little one in front of the right whit hat.  :)

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Another pic to get a feel for the volume… Everyone was learning new things- the stake people told me that they had never had to provide a meal for 600 before.  But the only place it really showed was the lines at the porta-poties  :)   But that many kids dancing hard on the winter turf stirred up a dust-cloud that was incredible, and hung in the dell like our own personal city smog.  The paramedics were undermanned for the cases of asthma collapse, and more and more trucks kept being brought in.  By the end of the evening they had given an ultimatum that next week would be banned if there was a repeat.  Water trucks were brought in during the week, and we all started praying for a bit of rain.

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Super Saturday- this is what 12000 kids plus assorted adult looks like from the air. My kids are in the very top of the upper fork of the golds; just above center in the photo.

Guess what?  Heaven answered in buckets!  But it was perfectly timed… tiny drifts of sprinkles during lunch, not enough to hurt anything, just enough to bring everyone cozy together, and nothing but tons of heaven’s windows during their dress rehearsal!

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Game day-early afternoon

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Then it was time to start the real deal- and the rain began.

As I was sitting with the kids in my care, they wondered if everything would work out ok- and I told them, the Lord had heard their prayers and a miracle would come; it might not be the rain stopping, but it would be awesome.

And it was.

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The rain poured.  But so did the miracles.   For me, the first miracle was that not one of my special needs kids hit any sort of overload at all.  They were again held in that zone that I call “held up by angels;”-  capable, aware, not feeling like complaining, and in fact, they spent the whole time worrying and caring for others’ needs around them- sharing their umbrellas to as many people as they could possibly fit.  It was perfect.   I know the cameras tried- but they just could not capture the rain well enough to capture the depth of the power of watching the fire-dance in the rain; and the aura and spirit of the many declarations in song and dance, of following the examples of  Abraham, Moroni, and other great heroes, no matter what.  It was thundering,  awe-inspiring, cold, wet, and  Spectacular to everyone who was involved, and to everyone watching.   Many lives were touched and memories made.

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The AWE and the RAIN

I can only say thanks to everyone who gave of themselves so freely.

The next day, our Temple was dedicated.  I didn’t get to the cornerstone ceremony,  Our family was back to normal, and a recovering normal no less.  But we got to the the dedication itself.  And then it was a school day.  I took myself back to the park- looking for what was left of such a momentous occasion.  It was almost cleared.  Just a little mud and the stage, and everyone’s photos flying around the internet, and our memories.  I think we also gained strength in layers that will not even show until years down the road.  And of course- there’s the blessing of the Temple itself.  It took major help from the Lord to have that much time in a block, but last Thursday I managed to go-    Happy Sigh–

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Monday morning after the Celebration- a flood control pond pretending to be a reflection pool.
Categories: LDS Mom of Autism | Leave a comment

A Funny Thing Happened in My Van…it’s a Spectrum Life

I have been trying to think clearly enough to write about our life and experiences during Gilbert Temple Open house and Dedication– but I was totally distracted last night by a moment that I just HAVE to tell you about.

Last night was the youth Cast party put on by the stake for the kids- a cake and ice cream celebration of a job well done at the Cultural Celebration… it was fun, but the best part for me personally was the ride home.

There is a young man in our ward, a year younger than DK, that was diagnosed a couple of years ago, Asperger and ADHD.  He and DK have been discovering that they have a lot in common.   So I was not surprised when they asked if I could bring him home.  (for all you readers who do not have spectrum kids in your home- it actually went like this: DK-”Have to take J” me-”Did he call his folks so they won’t come and wonder where he is?” J- “I’m doing that right now” me to DK “Can we……?” (prompt) DK-”Can we bring J home?” me-”Sure”)

Anyway- enough back story– On the ride home, there ensued a one-up conversation that only could happen in My van—-

“I have Aspergers and ADHD.”  “Well I have High  Functioning Autism.”  “Yeah, I have High Functioning Autism, but my grades are too high to get any IEP help.”  “Well I have to take meds for my ADHD but they don’t work, we are up to 700m but they still don’t work on me..” (and from the back seat) “I’m the only one in my family besides my Mom, whose normal.”    etc.  It went on for quite a while- till I finally overrode the chatter and asked J if he would like a hint for people skills.  “yes”  so I told him that he can’t always win the conversation, it will make kids quit talking to him after a while.  Sometimes you have to let them win.  “yeah,” he says “but I have a friend at school that always lets me win and we’re still friends….” I dropped it and the chatter continued all the way home.  Sometime next week they will think about it.

When I got home and told hubby, we both were giggling… such is the life in my van.  :)

Categories: LDS Mom of Autism | 2 Comments

The Peanut Butter Months

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I’m calling this our peanut butter sandwiches months.

I have been sooo tired and sore, and did I say tired? lately, that fixing fancy lunches, or 3 course meals,  is often more than I am up to.  I keep fresh fruit in the fridge, and make peanut butter sandwiches.  When I get really bad, I start trying to figure out who I know that has a shoulder to cry on.  I’m lucky to have an awesome hero for a hubby- but he’s been working long hours, and even out of town.  So when I can think of anyone at all,  I often end up falling into a pondering mood.

Recently,  I was mulling over a comment given to me.  It was said with the best of intentions and meant, I think, to encourage and strengthen me– but it didn’t work, in fact, it sat like a lead weight in my stomach, and I couldn’t figure out why.  Then, it came to me.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Backing up to the start of the story…..

I am by nature, extremely shy.  But I fully embraced the need to communicate and  try to do the “awareness helps” thing, and tell everyone about Autism and what it does and doesn’t do to our family’s lives.  After a while, tho’,  I kinda stopped.  I got feeling like I had talked myself blue, and maybe too much, because it started to feel a bit like people have withdrawn even farther from me, probably from overload.   But recently, I found out that there were still some key people I had not told, and who did not know what my health had turned into.  In fact, recently, one lovely lady came right out and asked me what fibromyalgia was.  (careful with that open door, I’ll answer.  :) )
So I pulled up a brief synopsis I had already made of the various things that move through our family on a daily basis, and sent it to her.  Now I certainly don’t want to hurt any feelings; but I need to paraphrase some of her response…
“Wow! Lots of info!   Good job!  That symptom list goes on forever doesn’t it-
“This life sure is a test – Can’t tell what will come up.  It is our job to figure out how to handle it and just get the job done, no matter what it is. I am glad  you are starting to find answers, and I will pray that you have continued strength to help your sweet family travel the path back to God.”

Now I’m positive it was said in love, and I am grateful she even responded, so many of my attempts have not even gone that far.   But suddenly it hit me why it hurt instead of helped.  First, it’s important to know that I was not really asking for help- I cannot bear the thought of trying to handle the mega meltdown of all my kids at once, if any “group cleaning event” showed up at my door;  nor do many people know how to cook gluten free to send dinners.   I guess I was hoping for some understanding- maybe, I won’t lie,  even a little comforting hug.  But I did not expect a “man-up” lecture.

On the surface, her note looks kinda wonderful, and rather unremarkable.  I’m afraid it tends crop up as a by-product of the culture we live in sometimes in the gospel;  You know- the self reliance, be strong in the trials, with a bit of blazing-the-trail stuff thrown in for good measure.  These things are good points to be sure, and as the tail end of a long line of pioneer stock, I was raised with the value of do-it-yourself.

But then I had an amazing thought.
Maybe even an Epiphany Moment-
This life is NOT just to learn how to handle pain.

Yes it does that too.  Enduring is not un-important, and we gain much strength and faith through that process. But as I searched for scriptural advice on how to just “handle” things and work out our salvation ALONE, (the endure to the end stuff)  and even tho many people do have to make it thru life alone as their personal trial, still-   I found a very different thread running throughout history….   The more I pondered and  searched, the more I found things things like “Visit the Poor”  “lift the hands that hang down” and “bear one another’s burdens”.   And it’s found not just in our own corner of the world.  In fact, nearly every culture and religion of the earth has a version of the Golden Rule; some way to say “Love thy neighbor.”   Not love just our own inner circle “for even the wicked do thus,”  but when we come upon one “who had fallen among thieves,”  we are asked to go beyond just praying for him as we walk by–  we are asked to be more than that- we are asked to stop, and take the time to look and see, and to do.  Even if it is just a small thing,  like the other day, I saw a  note on someones mailbox that read “you left your key in your mailbox, it is safe.  call ###”  What a tiny, valuable, thing to do for a neighbor.  There is so much that we can do to help each other’s burden be lighter to bear.  This a a great lesson that the Lord is trying to teach us.  How to empathize.  How to see beyond ourselves.  It is the lesson I work on hardest with my  ASD kiddies, because empathy is the hardest thing for them to understand, and it is one of the biggest tools required for them to gain their emotional maturity.   One of my favorite movies (The Ghost’s of Dicken’s Past”) says “How healing is a simple act of charity…”

Look at our ultimate example– Christ was sent down to the Earth, and everything about his whole Earthly experience is about helping others besides himself.  He was sent into a regular working class family, in a troubled time period- “that he may know of his own experience how to succor his people.”  As we follow him around his homeland through the writings of his disciples, we see He constantly journeys among those who were having the harder struggles, not the ones who felt they had “handled” everything.  Finally he paid a price that no-one could handle on their own, so that we may have the chance to repent and recover from our weakness and mistakes… and He gifted us the resurrection on top of it all- Simply because he loves us enough to want to be with us again.

Of faith, hope, and charity,   “The  greatest of these is Charity”

I think I’ll go make some peanut butter sandwiches.e

Categories: LDS Mom of Autism, Midnight musings | 1 Comment

A Valentine for my Superhero

It Started as a Friendship

Like all beginnings should

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And it wasn’t really very long

Before all the world felt good.

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They say that True Love

Is just Friendship Set on Fire

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And the adventure we have traveled

Has just made that flame grow higher.

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So here we are -still on the road

My Superhero and Me

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It’s been good- but hang on for the ride,

The best is yet to be.

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Categories: LDS Mom of Autism, Poetry | 5 Comments

Courage Quote Monday- Leaning on the Lord

Sometimes I like to try to convince myself to just hang on till the weekend, and then I can rest…silly me.  So I have decided that by Monday afternoon, I desperately need a good courage quote to pick me up and help me get running again.

This one is a tiny bit from an Ensign article, from March of 1991, “Living With Chronic Illness” by Libby Knapp It was incredibly just what I needed today,  and I highly recommend reading the whole thing, find it Here.

“And he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” (Alma 7:12.)

Leaning on the Lord enables me to find joy now, despite the world’s insistence that “when you have your health, you have just about everything.” In contrast, consider the Savior’s words: “Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear,  for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you.” (D&C 68:6.)

…I have come to realize that one of the purposes of trials, even those that seem unfair and undeserved, is to prepare a heart to bear testimony that “waiting on the Lord” does make a difference.

“Blessed is he that keepeth my commandments, whether in life or in death; and he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven. …

“For this cause I have sent you—that you might be obedient, and that your hearts might be prepared to bear testimony of the things which are to come.” (D&C 58:2, 6.)

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Categories: Courage quotes | Leave a comment

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