Friday, October 25, 2013

School Pictures


I can't tell you how much I dread school picture day.

Lily is just not interested in "smiling for the camera".

To get a decent family picture typically requires someone doing all sorts of gymnastic maneuvers while holding an iPad playing Backyardigans videos over the camera.  And that's just to get her to look in the general direction of the camera.  No guarantees for smiles.

So when I get the dreaded picture package from the school, I simply select the absolute cheapest option, enclose my check, and say a prayer for everyone involved.

I have never gotten a school picture worth displaying.

Until this year.

Check out the Bird:


Also.  She looks like a bit of a pistol here, wouldn't you say?

P.S. That cute picture calls for a much cuter frame but I scrounged around for one to get by with this morning because I couldn't wait to share it with you. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

In Which I Pray with a New Expectation

Do you remember when you were a little kid and you wanted something so you asked your parents for it?

Remember when the answer was "yes"?  That feeling of sweet relief that came flooding over you because you knew that your wish was about to come true.  That baseball glove, that Barbie Townhouse, that treat from the ice cream man was yours.

Because you asked.  And the answer was, "yes".  It was decided.

But remember when the answer was "no"?  The crush of disappointment, the dropping of the head, the shoulders sagging with the weight of the world because that Silly Putty, that book, that candy bar at the grocery store checkout line was not to be yours.

Because you asked. And the answer was, "no".  It was decided.

But how about when the answer was "maybe" or "wait and see"?  The building anticipation.  The breathless wondering.  The cautious hopefulness. The constant checking-in to see if an answer had been decided upon yet.

Because you asked.  And the answer was, "we'll see".   My least favorite answer.  Because it wasn't decided.

I sometimes feel this same way when I pray.

But instead of requesting something of my parents, I'm asking the Lord for something.

And while my parents' answers might have delighted or disappointed me in the moment,  my response to God's answer has the capacity to affect the rest of my days here on this earth.

I've been praying one specific prayer for twenty years now.  And another prayer for seven years.  To these two distinct prayers, God's answer has been, "wait and see".

Honestly, I hate when God's answer is "wait and see".  I hate the swinging between hopeful and hopeless.  I don't like the breathless wondering.  I grow weary of the same old prayers.

But the crux of "wait and see" is this:  when I know deep down inside that God could so easily answer my chronic, constant pleas, so effortlessly heal, yet for some reason I cannot fathom, He chooses not to, what am I going to do?

I have to figure out a way to keep trusting my God, day in and day out, no matter what.

In trying to discern how I am to respond to God's "wait and see", to keep trusting that He loves me and wants only good for me, I'm looking at these two prayers, and other requests of mine, a little bit differently these days.

In Psalm 5:3, it says, "in the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning, I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly."

This verse is simply to encourage us, to remind us that when we pray, we can whole-heartedly expect that God hears us and He will answer.  The verse does not give us any clues as to what that answer might be.

I think that most of my life, I have expected the answer to be yes.  Because many times, it has been.

But herein lies the problem - when the answer is not yes, when my expectations are not met, my world is rocked.

On these two particular consistent prayers of mine, my faith has been shaken.  Because I expected the answer to be yes.

So I'm going to do a bit of an experiment.

I'm going to try a different approach because God knows better than anyone else that my response to His "wait and see" hasn't been all that effective.

I'm going to pray with a new expectation.  I'm going to quit assuming the the answer will be "yes".  I'm just going to expect an answer.

In fact, I'm going to anticipate that the answer could very well be "no".

Why "no"?

Frankly, because it hurts less if I don't get my hopes up.  Total defense mechanism, I know, but hey, I'm just keeping it real here.

And if you'll allow me to dig a little bit deeper for a moment, I'm going to consider the answer might be "no" because I'm not supposed to get everything I want from this life.  All my prayers aren't supposed to be answered with a "yes".  Earth is full of suffering and pain and heartache.  But this world is not my permanent home.  I don't belong here.

C.S. Lewis explains this so well - "If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world."

Does that mean I don't believe God can answer these two prayers of mine with a big, fat "yes"?  Not at all.  In fact, I am 100% sure that God can.  However, I'm not 100% sure that He will.  He may have something different in mind.  

Does this mean that I quit praying, especially those two long-standing prayers of mine?  No, because there is more to prayer than just making requests.  Praying is a relationship.  And through prayer, my Lord and I communicate and my heart is drawn closer to His.  

Soren Kiekegaard said, 'Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays"  And that is why I keep praying.  Because it changes me in the best possible way.

Sometimes, here on earth, the answer will be "yes".  And that's a pleasant surprise, an unexpected gift from a loving God who does not want us to suffer, but to put our hope in bigger things than what we can get from this earth.  I'll be grateful and thankful for the unexpected "yes".

But Heaven is where all the answers are "yes".  Where we can forever expect the positive, the good, the awesome glory, the perfection that we are so longing for.  The life that will deliver beyond what I can ask or imagine.

Romans 8:18 says, "we have sufferings now, but these are nothing compared to the great glory that will be given to us."

I, for one, am really looking forward to that great glory.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What I Cook When I Don't Feel Like Cooking

Some kind of special diet oftentimes just comes with the special needs kid territory.  In Lily's seven years of life, she (and as a result, we) have been on four specific eating plans.

In other words, I spend an enormous amount of my time thinking about food.  Meal planning.  Menu creating.  Grocery shopping.  Food preparation.  School lunch packing.  Healthy snack searching.

It's almost like having a full-time job.  But with no pay or benefits and some pretty demanding co-workers.

And while I know all the terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad ingredients in most of our food today, I'll be honest and say there are many nights that I'd love to just whip up some hot dogs with a side of Kraft macaroni and cheese and call it supper.

So what's a mom to do when she doesn't feel like cooking?  When eating out isn't an option, nor is eating just any old thing?

Have a few tricks up her sleeve, that's what. 

Here's a few go-to meals for when Mama is pooped and the kids still insist on eating.  

These sloppy joes are the gold standard.  At one time in my life, I thought sloppy joes consisted of ground beef with canned Manwich sauce.  How wrong I was.  This recipe comes from my mother-in-law.  My non-paleo kid eats hers on a white bun (awful, I know) and the rest of us eat ours open-faced on this paleo bread.  Or my husband has been known to eat his with a spoon.  Even easier!

Vickie's Sloppy Joes

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion (or leave it out if you don't feel like chopping onion)
1/2 cup ketchup (will want to taste because odds are good you'll end up adding more)
1 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp white vinegar
1/4 tsp celery seed (optional)

Brown beef and onion together.  Drain and put back in skillet.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Taste.  Adjust as needed. Serve.

Chili is another easy go-to meal.  Try this Simple, Perfect Chili recipe but skip the masa harina and the beans to stay more on the paleo track.  This cornbread is sweet and super delicious.  Or forget paleo for a night and use this recipe and serve Frito Pie style.  Use either recipe to make chili dogs (sans buns) on another night when you don't feel like cooking.   

I know what you're thinking right about now.  "Hey Lana - you said these were recipes for when I don't feel like cooking.  Hello.  Browning ground beef = cooking."


How about buying this gluten-free salmon (I get mine at Costco), baking some sweet potatoes, and opening a can of green beans?  Voila!  Supper is served.

If I'm really feeling lazy, I buy a caesar salad kit along with a rotisserie chicken.  I plate the salad and add chopped up chicken to the top.

If you don't mind doing a tiny bit of prep work in the morning in order to have nothing to do at supper time, break out the crock pot and make this soup.  (I skip the potatoes in this one)

Breakfast for dinner is usually a treat for both the kids (because it's tasty) and mom (because it's easy) and here's a fun twist on an egg sandwich, omitting the bread if you're paleo.

And there you have it.  A nice little round-up of some of my quick, easy go-to meals when Mama has her mind more on putting her feet up and watching a little TV as opposed to whipping up a gourmet meal.

What about you?  What do you cook when you don't feel like cooking?
I'm sure every mom feels like this at some point in their life... right? I'm not the only one?! lol

Friday, October 4, 2013

Kickin' Off the Weekend with a List of Links

Just sharing a few things with you.

Just for today.

Just for fun.

A great hot chocolate/coffee recipe passed along by a friend, along with her picture that I stole. (Thank you, Miss Linda!) Want to kick it up a notch?  Make it with 1/2 cup hot water and 1/2 cup half and half.  Gracious. 

Come on cool weather.  I'm ready for you.  Because I want to wear this.

And speaking of clothes, have you seen the raglan sweatshirts at Old Navy?  Comfy and cute. And I got one for $12 the other day.  Love me a bargain.

The best show on TV, Parenthood, started Season Five last week.  Woohoo, hallelujah, and amen!  Besides loving the show, I am loving Monica Potter's (aka Kristina Braverman's) new haircut.   So much so that it has me thinking about cutting my hair.  This one would still go in a ponytail, my one requirement for all my haircuts.  Hmmmm... can I pull this off?
Monica Potter Hair - if I cut my hair shorter, this is it!
I would love to find these adorable go rings in my Christmas stocking.  Yes, my daughters - I am talking to you. Hint, hint.

If you're the type who loans out books, these cute book stickers could be helpful.

Satisfy your sweet tooth while staying paleo with these yummy chocolate coconut macaroons.

Lily Bird got this swing and this papasan chair (but with a bright blue cushion) for her birthday.  And she loves both - a big win for a hard-to-shop-for kiddo.

Since I still use a paper calendar and Ryan really wishes I would move to all things electronic, I found this video to be quite funny.

This is a model the world needs to see more of.

Alright my dear ones, have a terrific weekend - hope you get in lots of good snuggle time.

Photo: Peekin'

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Why You Should Be in a Support Group

What's the first thing that pops in your mind when I say "support group"?

Do you picture a sad group of people, circled up in uncomfortable chairs in some dark church basement, drinking awful coffee, sharing one sob story after another and leaving more depressed than ever?

Well have I got news for you.

Just like book clubs, supper clubs, mothers of preschoolers clubs, or drivers of Volkswagen Bugs clubs, special needs support groups can be places of encouragement, ideas, refreshment, comfort, and laughter.

I myself have been a part of three support groups at one time or another (including the one Ryan and I currently host monthly at our church) and I've found all of them to be beneficial.  At support group meetings, I've...

  • learned from parents farther down the path of special needs.
  • picked up some great tips for handling certain behaviors.  
  • discovered some of the best doctors in our town. 
  • listened to some incredible guest speakers share a wealth of information.
  • swapped lots of gluten-free, dairy-free recipes.
  • laughed at things our kids do with people who totally get it.
  • gotten some amazing book recommendations. 
  • learned what to ask for in an IEP and what to expect at an ARD meeting.
  • discovered some fabulous and fun community services for Lily, like dance and sports.
  • even learned how to teach Lily to unwrap presents on her own. (click here to find out how)
If I haven't quite convinced you to give support group meetings a try, here's a great article from Friendship Circle that just might give you that final push.

Yes, special needs may be the common bond that all of us share but that doesn't mean that our meetings have to be mopey, depressing, weepy gatherings.  

So let me encourage you to find a support group. You might even find yourself having a little bit of fun.  And we could all use a little more of that.
image courtesy of

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...