Because, so long and steep feels the mountain of life, that I find myself totally feeling like this one….
After a long, hot week here in Arizona (115 plus) along with all the normal stress of a weekend, I had a lovely string of success moments that made me really feel grateful. And since my lesson in primary today was on sharing, I had to share my awesome tiny victories of this evening.
- Oldest smiles and tries hard to laugh with sibs even tho a migraine is raging. Then he catches his dad in private and whispers “Thanks Dad, I really like talking with you.”
- DK says “Can I watch a movie please?” (note full sentences and manners- especially after a hard weekend and church)
- Hubby says “Did you like me talking it thru calmly till we figured out where our miscommunication was? I am really trying to learn good communication, I’m not perfect but I’m trying”
- TeaRose and I have been newly called as primary teachers together.. she was really panicking, but afterwards today- she admitted being around the 6 yr olds was very fun today.
- Brand made it all the way thru the full 3 meeting block of YSA (young single adults)meetings, and stayed for their after church mingle to get some of his home teaching with his partner done.
- And the house is quiet and at peace. What a great way to end the day.
Well- I promised the recipe for the bars I used for my sweetie to take with her to her Pioneer Trek. As a success note- she tried her best, and ended up only needing to rely on these bars once. (whoo hoo!!!!)
So, I found the original recipe here; and she does a really great job with cooking photos (which I don’t) so I am going to let you hop over to her site for that kind of details if you need them…
So, here’s the original recipe ingredients…
2 cups oats (regular or quick)
2 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons honey
1 3 oz package jello (orange or lemon–these bars already have a high sugar content, and a sweeter jello just makes them more sweet)
3 Tablespoons water
- Mix oats, powdered milk, sugar in a mixing bowl.
- Mix water, jello, honey in a saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil.
- Add jello mixture to oats mixture and blend well with a mixer. If the dough is too dry to stick together, add water one tablespoon at a time- here in dry Arizona, I needed 4 tablespoons to get a mix that clumped, but was not too wet.
- After it’s thoroughly mixed, press into a lined (with parchment paper) 9″x13″ pan. (*if you put another parchment paper on top, you can use your rolling pin, then discard the top paper) Make sure to press it down firmly.
- Cut dough into bars before you bake, and ensure they’re completely cut through. (I cut it into 24 bars, in a four pieces by six arrangement.)
- Bake bars at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 1.5 to 2 hours. Remove from pan and allow to cool. (Alternatively, you can dehydrate them at 145 degrees for 4-6 hours.) (the goal is totally dry)
- After dry and cooled, separate bars and package in a foodsaver bag or mylar bag.
We used quick oats, for an easier to chew bar, and orange flavored jello; and I also added 1/4 Cup chia seeds, for the added protein and nutrition I have been trying to get into her. The resulting bar is really sweet tasting (which she loved) and tasted a lot like a lemon drop in crunchy form. For myself, I might try reducing the sugar a bit next try, but it doesn’t bother me much as this is not a diet bar- it’s a trying to get food IN my kids bar. 🙂 Even so, it is still way under 200 calories per bar, when cut into 24 bars like I did, which easily compares with commercial brands. I found another blog that tried this recipe too- and he did some basic math for calories- for those who are interested, here.
We are already planning our next flavors- starting with strawberry. And I have also started playing with an idea in my head for bone-broth crackers. I’ll let you know if they work.
It’s been a Family History kind of week, this week; dominated mostly, by the once-every-four-years handcart reenactment that our church organizes for the youth. Called “Trek”, it’s an off the grid space during the summer where they work as groups to pull their stuff in real handcarts; bringing them closer to the pioneers, their own ancestors, and each other. Last Sunday saw me still finishing the sewing the pioneer clothes for my youngest (yup, it’s been that kind of year) but it turned out super cute! Then she was packed, and I could focus on packing for her brother.
Well- that was my hopes anyway. In the end he was overcome with bad scout camp memories and fears stuck in rigid thinking mode- and I just couldn’t find it in my heart to force him to go. So I let him stay home, tho I still have yet to feel up to unpacking his gear; while bright and early Wednesday morning, off went my youngest. I was more than a little jealous.
(oh- I should include a side note here; one of the few invisible struggles that Kydee inherited is a real sensitivity to a lot of foods. So we also experimented with a pintrest recipe for high protein survival bars. They turned out great- I’ll put them on a post sometime soon.)
Moving thru the week was quiet- all the other kids missed their joyous sister. but some of it was good. Everyone was on such a zoned-out even keel, that for much of Friday, I enjoyed participating in the “World Indexing Event” with my church. This had me reading all sorts of marriage records for people in Kentucky- a place I have never been, but now I feel lovingly connected to.
Then Saturday came and it was time to go get Kydee, and hear all the stories from their adventure. Quite the adventure of fun it was. We were regaled with the story of her being caught wrong against the bushes and knocked over–right into the path of the cart-wheel. And we were all amazed and our faith strengthened to find out that all she got was a couple of small bruises. And her Great Grandpa would be suitably proud to hear that she did exceptionally awesome at the rifle range. 🙂
DK was a little sad about his choice to stay home when he heard that; but then not, as he listened to the talk from the other boys about how they all enjoyed talking together. His peers are growing old enough to not tease or actively hurt, but they still never talk to him as a friend. sigh. I ache for him, well for all of my angels really in my most private heart; but if I frown or let the tears escape, it makes them sad and panic– so I smile.
anyway-speaking of angels; Angels sure watched over my Kydee on her trek. The spirit has whispered a lot to me this week too, prompting me in pondering some of my own ancestors that traveled those long paths of immigration. Crossing vast landscapes for what they believed in. I actually have a lot of pioneers in my heritage- but one in particular has been on my mind all week. Her name was Marianne Gardiol; a lovely little (under 5′ tall) Italian girl from the Pyranees Mountains. At 19, she left her home and family and all she knew, and traveled by foot, boat, and train from Italy to frontier Utah. I wonder in awe at the courage and determination in such an adventure. And when she landed in Salt Lake City, meeting Brigham Young, she still did not speak any English. But When President Young called to John Dalton Jr. and said “I want you to look after her”- Her faith was great enough to trust the Prophet of her new faith and marry the blonde man who was nearly 18″ taller than she was. 🙂 And she never did waver in her commitment, tho family stories say that she never really got good at English. Still, I feel a strong connection. Her dark hair changed my family line for all the following generations till my and my sister’s girls. And I think likewise, it might be thru her that my family has always felt so strongly about Sticking true to your faith no matter what… and also of the power of close family ties to make it thru all that life throws at you. She was truly a mighty woman of valor.
You know, perhaps this is why we are encouraged to seek out our family stories. tonight’s ponderings have really helped me. Knowing someone who loves you, has gone thru it all before, and out the other side– it helps. Tonight has brought comfort and courage to the trenches of daily life. It helps me remember that we can make it too. (And I sure have some cute pioneer girls of my own 🙂 )
“In spite of discouragement and adversity, those who are happiest seem to have a way of learning from difficult times, becoming stronger, wiser and happier as a result.” – Joseph B. Wirthlin
It sure has been a long space of time since I last sat down with total peace and quiet around me. On the other hand, I think it’s actually a good thing that I waited to write about the end of this school year- It has given me the chance to breathe after the amazingly high-stress black-hole of this year. Time to refresh my perspectives. (LONG POST ALERT)
First, the not-so-good, ok- really bad, so that the good can be truly appreciated…..
Bluntly put- 12th grade for a kid who is quite autistic, but smart enough that she can’t get an IEP (cause her grades are above the “failing” requirement) is hard to describe any other way than harsh. The nasty catch 22 of what some people call “Twice Exceptional” (learning issues/asd/etc. plus smart) has no foot-hold in the school systems, every inch must be carved out by hand. This is not the first time I have had to walk the path of end of high school with my kids, but every kid is different- and so never can I walk a path that I have already done. It’s new every time.
I am blessed, that even with 5 peeps on the Autism spectrum in my family, I don’t have to deal with major years for all of them at the same time very often. (phew) This year has bean close, but was mostly my TeaRose’s turn. With the lovely (not) addition of starting the year off with a full major back fusion surgery to treat her serious scoliosis– much of the time, neither of us thought we would get out of this year alive. We were lucky to have good teachers, and also a couple really good friends; but I think that I will actually, gratefully, leave most of the details of the red-tape “fun” in my journal. Suffice it to say that the curling up in a ball in mommy’s lap shaking with anxiety attacks, had degenerated into a more than once a day thing, and functioning skills were actually going backwards. There are still a few loose ends that we have to tidy up this summer – BUT WE MADE IT! BREATHING, AND SANITY INTACT!
At this point- I want to totally put a plug in for my personal anchors in the storm–And I would be very ungrateful if I didn’t mention some of the Good moments.
1- Kydee was super excited to be on the Principal’s Golden Scholar list for straight A’s. She has really enjoyed the 9th grade, and is a true friend and source of fun for all her siblings. She handles it all with a grace that she is not even aware of.
2- Friends. TeaRose has had the amazing blessing of being pulled into a great group of kids that hung together all the way thru jr High and High school. They probably don’t know how instrumental they were in keeping T successful on a day to day basis, but they were- and I send a prayer of thanks for them. Some of them even invited T to the Comicon at the end of May. I went the first day, and took Kydee. She and I geeked out on science, while T went off with her friends. In fact I sent T on her own with her friends the next day. It is a huge blessing to know I can trust those who she is with enough to be totally relaxed.
3-My Father in Heaven, and the Priesthood. I don’t know how many days I would have stopped breathing if I couldn’t have had access to the love of Him who asked me to take on this mortal assignment.
4- I read an article once that talked about a spiritual 72 hour kit; or in other words, writing down good moment and spiritual feelings during good days, to be able to go back and read on bad days when your too tired or overloaded to get past the blackness. That is also what has been one of my major survival tools. This blog and my journal are my well of faith, to draw up buckets of “I remember that” when my day is too heavy to think at the time. I go back and re-read other years where I have pulled thru and gained the tiny victories of the day. It helps. A lot.
5- Service. This year has been hard to keep this up, as the daily grind has drained away my health and emotional reserves– but it is a life-vest that I fight to keep hold of. The act of thinking about someone else’s needs instead of your own for a moment in time is amazingly good for the soul- it elevates and gives perspective, not even counting the blessings down the road. And I did find a few things to do. This spring, I spent a week doing a huge painting. I also started working on a book… I’ll tell you about it sometime. Then after school got out, I had the privilege of hauling my family cross-country with me to install the huge mural that I painted, to brighten the wall of a friend’s young son. That little boy is also a special needs warrior, and the day was a HUGE win for me and my family.
6- Family. I am so grateful for my those treasured great souls who rally around me when I am in need. And that brings me to the rest of our first week of Summer. As we drove down the California coast to meet my sister’s family at SanDiego. Something good about spending time with people who have a true interest in your life and how you’re doing.
Then off we went for the real Highlight event. It really hurt Me and my sweet TeaRose that the school wouldn’t let her walk the stage with her friends at graduation (she still has an online class to finish to get the “required credits” done- did I mention the catch 22 red-tape). So my own personal make-a-wish foundation (ie- my family) all got together to really help TeaRose feel like she had accomplished a major thing in getting thru 12th grade with such a mountain to climb. And we took her and her cousin the same age, and gave them a swim with the Dolphins. 🙂 They both deserved it so much!
It was good, even tho we had one with a migraine, and one with a massive sunburn. We even had the blessing of an awesome extra stop at the “Medieval Inn” with our huge extended family. But you know, there is only so much fun that a family full of Autism spectrum peeps can have in a short amount of time; and we all piled into the van just in time, as I could see the meltdowns beginning to build. (Everyone needed to recover for a week.) But I am very grateful. Grateful for my folks who care so much. Grateful for my Hubby who put all his own asd stresses aside to be my wonderful knight in shiny armor. Grateful to my kids who still let me drag them around on my adventures; and who try really hard to make me happy in return.
So now, even tho the load is still there and not finished, and even tho we are now back into the 115 degree summer weather, I am also very grateful that the good parts are bigger than the struggle. Gonna keep watching for those good moments for my journal. Hope you do too.
I made the mistake once, of telling someone that I hated Mother’s Day. I was hurting, and hoping for some comfort, but instead got a lecture about how it gives families a chance to show their mother how much they are grateful to them. Well, the years roll on, and my awesome family makes the effort to tell me every. single. day. how much they love me and are grateful for the things I do. I’m good now, tho I still don’t expect get a traditional “normal” day, with the trappings and cards. Perhaps because of these things, it has been on my heart all week, to give a card, instead of getting one.
So I drew up this coloring page and wrote a poem for you— all my loved ones and friends; Whether we are young, old, with families or not- we care for each other, putting us all in this boat of life together. Feel free to pull off this picture and take it with you to color and get silly with, whatever you like.
I Love You.
Just a day:
Hubby had to help drive the girls to school because yesterday I had an angiogram to try to find causes for neuropathy (can’t drive for 24 hours after that kind of office visit) Then he had to help pick them up- still keeping up with job, too… One asd hubby curled into a ball on the couch for a while.
Meanwhile, both older boys had a migraine (at the same time is rare, but the dust and pollen outside is remarkably high today).
Get home and both girls are not feeling the best, but after a break they let me push them thru homework time and getting ready for church volleyball.
I used to like volleyball.
But today was super loud for my T’s sensory hearing struggles, and it was especially hard when the coach’s whistle was right near her; and the crowd was especially loud and competitive; and her coach had a very hard time letting her rotate in with normal turns… So the drive home was a very long session of finding ways to forgive those who get lost in the competition too far to think of others’ feelings.
Then, as she curled her 5’10” into a ball in my lap, she finally whispered her biggest dread of the day- she got so panicked in seminary that she couldn’t respond to the nice comments from the girls near her, and “mom- I just rocked, and rocked and couldn’t stop for a long time” -she hates doing that in front of others. (the Substitute teacher had asked her to stand up and do the devotional)
Well, they are all finally in bed and asleep, Mommy has indulged in one of the big pain pills from yesterday, and it’s finally time to look for silver linings, the moments of seeing the good.
So— Well, I am truly blessed with a hubby so devoted to me. He pushes himself beyond his pain and fears daily to fill in for my weak spots and take care of me.
— My older boys both care about me and still hug me, they are also getting downright good at staying-if not cheerful- at least in control and pleasant with sibs right thru a migraine attack.
–Not to forget my DK, he is trying hard to work on his attitude and self control when I tell him it’s time to get off the computer. It’s our goal at the moment, and he is not always successful, but I see him try, and grow, and I notice profusely when he succeeds.
—My angel girls care so much for each other, and physically hurt if they hurt the other one’s feelings. And T finally let me guide her thru looking up our favorite scripture on Fear Not (Isaiah 41:10) and print it up for tomorrow,
—And Hubby is massaging my feet- that counts for double 🙂
Not too bad, I can sleep now.
It started somewhere in the first days of Junior High. A lovely sweet girl did the tiniest act of kindness on instinct. She invited my young TeaRose to sit with her and her group of friends for lunch. She probably didn’t even think it was that big of a deal.
That one small gift built. The group of friends she had gathered around her, all had that same spark that drew them together, the spark of reaching out in kindness. They drew T in, and others along the way, becoming a tight core of friends-changing a little here and there with the changes in school lunches and other fortunes of life- but always sticking it out with each other. All the way.
Today that gift had reached all the way to the night of Senior Spring Prom- which T did not want to attend. And it turned out some of the others didn’t either. So one lovely young lady decided to throw an “un-prom” pizza party, and didn’t even think twice about inviting T, she was totally just part of the group.
OH, how much fun TeaRose had!!!!! She came home giddy with joy, telling me how wonderful her friend’s parents were and how silly her friend’s brothers were, and how much she loved her friends. Oh, and how she had never stayed up this late at a friend’s house before. 😉 So now, it’s quarter to 11:00, and she barely made it thru prayers before the sugar crash and the late bedtime tackled her hard… but I am so grateful. Life is hard. Some years are harder than others, and this year has been crushing. But for this one moment in time, my sweet warrior had the gift of just being a normal friend at a senior party. Such a beautiful gift.