December 2013 (Facebook Compilation)

December 3

Elisha: I can’t sleep. Too many scary thoughts.
Me: Choose nice thoughts.
Elisha: [more rambling excuses]
me [going back to Hulu and the Castle episode with the baby that is totally cracking me up]: Fine. Diaper’s clean. Snap up the baby’s onesie.
[He does. Tries to come over and watch with me.]
Me: Nope. Now snap closed his jammies. You’re not doing anything anyway. “Can’t sleep,” remember?
E: I don’t want to snap his jammies closed.
Me: You can do that or go to bed…
E: I’ll go to bed. [Walks off.]


December 5

Jay and I are still trying to see if we can get away without putting up a tree this year.

I held the kids off with “wait till Daddy gets home [from Antarctica],” and so far the delight (and work– we restarted schooling) of his return has kept it out of mind.

We parents would be fully content with no seasonal rearranging.


December 10

Good list.

It has been said that the Church is not a museum of saints, but a hospital for sinners. Yet, most of us would much rather pretend to be a saint on display than call…
Joanna Holman: Yes x5 (especially for discussions on loneliness that are more than just join MORE things!)
December 12
Becky Heishman's photo.

Since taking in a baby at the beginning of November, I’ve had a few people ask how they could help me out.

The consistent answer I’ve settled on is giving me time to write.

That is, if I trust you enough to watch my kids (and I am pretty particular on this), and the “you” is also willing to watch a baby, I will have you here, or drive to your place, then tuck into a corner somewhere and write for an hour or two.

The funny thing to me is how people respond.

I had two different ppl volunteer for this, and others who shrug and roll with it, but a couple people hesitated, or offered and alternative before I insisted there was nothing I needed more.

My guess was the fourth kid (and being a baby) was a sticking point. But I saw another commonality between hesitaters.

Best I can read them, they’re all extroverts. Asking for help to be alone has got to seem like raking snow: “What’s the point?!”

~ ~ ~

Grammarly's photo.
Grammarly's photo.
December 13

One of the things that went wrong while Jay was gone (other than crazy weather– slick roads, -30, and two huge dumps of snow that I had to personally shovel while the surprise baby slept– and the water pump dying and needing to be replaced) was that my dishwasher also died.

So for the past month my inefficient self (and my wonderful mother, weekly while Jay was gone) has been hand-washing all our dishes.

Replacing said dishwasher is tricky, b/c it’s the portable type you roll from its waterless resting place to the sink where you hook it up for the wash cycle.

New is over $600, so I’ve been watching Craigslist for a month praying for an adequate replacement.

And that prayer was answered this week. Another family replaced their old portable DW, and put this one up as free. Jay said he wouldn’t have paid money, looking at it, but it WORKS!

I just loaded my third batch of dishes, and I’m finally guessing my source of unexpected margin.

I’m trying to decide if this is the first time this year I have both a settled baby and dishwasher that works.


December 15

Know what’s interesting? Running into grown-ups with kids your age who knew you when you were little.

They remember things you don’t.

And what they remember is interesting, because it was writ large enough to stick in their brain all these years.

Today I spoke with a woman who remembers me as a very detail-oriented child who liked things *just so*, very orderly.

And that sparked some long-buried memories about my child self that still has echoes today: I was never orderly in the clean-room sense of the word, but even now I have categories for everything, and (for example) out of hundreds of books in my home I can put my hand on exactly what I’m looking for in less than a minute.

I don’t like detail-management (which makes life tough for a homeschooling mama of three) but I relish precision.

And somehow these truths have coexisted for over 30 years.

Jen Sparks: I ran into the father of a primary school friend yesterday. Apparently, he thought I’d never have kids, as I was “too much of a free spirit”. Wasn’t quite sure how to process that one. I never thought of myself as a free spirit.

Me: Jen, I see your spirit “free” in its resistance to being put down. I see your spirit unwilling to accept the you-diminishing roles other people have tried to write for you– whether in church, relationships or even body image.

You are a formidable woman, and six kids only underscores your great strength.

Jen: I’ll be over here trying not to cry…

~ ~ ~

Equal opportunity snuggler.

Amy Jane Helmericks's photo.

New blog post at Untangling Tales.

By writing about what we fear, we invite others to see us, and to be known, even if the reader is someone we will never meet, because there will be that person whose fear matches mine.
December 19

Deep breath.
Walk on.

Kitchen Stewardship

“In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.”

For all the times you say, “This world is starting to scare me,” and “It seems like things are just getting worse and worse,” remember that We Were Made for These Times – cling to the Cross and stand strong!

(The rest of the article from The Unbounded Spirit –>

“A depressive person sleeps less, and the nighttime becomes a dreaded chore that one can never achieve properly.”

(from, A First Rate Madness, by Ghaemi)

So well-said! I laughed out-loud in the bookstore.


December 23

Appointment-making has never been so soft and cuddly.

Amy Jane Helmericks's photo.

Just passed 70K on the Novel I started last month. My goal: finish the first draft– the whole of the first draft– by the end of Christmas break.

Huge thanks and kudos to Jay for making this possible.

December 24
Not ready for Christmas? You’re not alone, and it’s okay. Here’s why.
December 27

Fresh Sherlock (fanfic) news, Tiana and Becky.

The legendary detective and his sidekick, Dr. Watson, are now in the public domain, a judge has ruled.
December 28

So much beauty and truth here:

“I’m a lesbian. You’re talking about all of this love and mercy. What does this mean for me?”
I answered, “It means the same for you as anybody else.”

For all I don’t know, I am confident that nobody gets a separate gospel.

~ ~ ~


Becky Miller: That made me burst out laughing.

Me: YES! Me too!

~ ~ ~

You need to read this.

Yes, you.

You train those around you how to treat you. Never say no? Here are four types…
December 30

So happy:

The Good Samaritan with the plow truck was working across the street again today.
I grabbed the braided loaf out of the freezer and ran it across the street to him.

Poor guy seemed to think I was asking him to do it again, but I said my husband was home and we have a snowblower now, this was just a thank-you.

Backstory for you new folks– we had a 10″ snow dump less than a week after Jay left for a month in Antarctica. I was shoveling like Crazy– 3 HOURS!– when this old guy drove across the street and took over. 5 minutes and things were clear.

Absolute Godsend.


December 31


Thomas Crandall

My New Year’s resolution is to write ‘2014’ instead of ‘2013’

My year-end letter is up at Untangling Tales.

Here’s my annual letter, the one I decided not to mail because I prefer readers who volunteer to read the info (blog visitors) rather than “forcing” it on folks. 😉 I would describe 2013 as the mos…

Perpetual Menu

So my latest foray into menu planning is with a “perpetual menu.”

That is, instead of doing an entire month (which worked twice just the way it was supposed to, but never again—in the two years since).

Don’t get me wrong– I’ve used all the menus, and having a whole month (or several) of gluten free meals in front of me is a HUGE confidence-booster when I am depressed or tempted to freak out or eat what will hurt me…

But I’d still prefer a system I don’t have to maintain, or even hours of time when I don’t have to wonder where the next meal is coming from.

Doh– ME! Why did I wonder?

So in honor of the new year (and a few days off that gave me a taste of not being responsible for every. bite. of healthy, edible food that five humans eat), I’m alpha testing a perpetual menu.

Family Meals (Click on that if you have Excel and want your own high-tech boxes to fill-in ^^) This image gets more clear when you click on it.

perpetual menu image

So you can see I color-coded it per kid, and gave my husband the job he does better than me (dealing with multiple input– including children– while pursuing an output-goal.)

How we did it:

  • Passed out paper to each kid, insisted on no talking or comparing notes till it was done.
  • Determined the number of evenings we need to be out of the house by a certain time (3 or 4)
  • Gave kids the nights without that deadline
  • Negotiated where chosen food overlapped (M & E both wanted to make pizza– They’ll make it together with Daddy. E & N both wanted to do salmon– I asked the 10yo to let E have the easy fish and take on the more-complex Chicken and Rice. Which she loves, so it was win-win.  Whew.)

I should pause here to say for the folks that don’t know that I don’t eat gluten. And I actually do way better when I don’t eat a lot of grains. There are grains on this menu, but except for the Cinnamon Rolls (yes, they deserve to be capitalized), everything, even the bread that I’ll happily feed anyone is GF.

This is why the Chix&Rice is a multi-step process. We don’t have to go back as far as plucking the chickens, but we do have to make our own “cream-of” base for the casserole.

So this is the plan.

If enough people are interested I can make an effort to photograph and record recipes as we go along. I’m not a typical GF blogger (there are lots in my sidebar if you need to find those), but I do feed my family what I’m eating, and any company. And I think I strike a pretty manageable balance between easy and esoteric in this whole-foods endeavor.

Cheers, and Happy New Year!