Posted in Musings

The Winter Chill

We are in what feels like the throes of winter. The nights here have been in the single digit numbers for a couple of nights now and tonight we have a wind advisory. Winds will exceed 50 miles per hour, so I’d say the wind chill is really going to hit us hard tonight. I don’t mind too much, as we run a kerosene heater to keep our bedrooms nice and warm and leave the furnace to just help out as needed, which isn’t much, thank goodness.

All in all though, this winter hasn’t been too bad. We have been having dinner parties every couple of weeks or so, so that we and our friends would have something to do through the cold season. Being in a band, our friends are usually with us at every show, but as most of our shows are outdoor venues, we often don’t have a lot of bookings through the cold weather months. So we’ve been doing this instead.

And it has been awesome.

We have had friends come from out of state to drop by and jam with us, family has come by and spent lots of time, the kids have had their friends over and there’s always something for them to do. Our son, who recently started playing drums in addition to guitar, has really made some impressive changes on the kit and he’s gotten some great advice from the drummers who have been here.

I just feel so blessed to have everyone around, it’s just beyond words. And just when I thought that I had made all the friends in life that I was going to, along comes my cousin with his girlfriend, and I’m happy to say that I’ve added to those ranks. It’s been wonderful.

I guess this post has no real point other than to say that these get togethers are like the flower seed waiting for spring. There is still life to be had, even when things so bleak and cold. Just a little effort to put together a bit of entertainment for everyone has, I think, helped fend off the cabin fever for this year, all while excitement builds for the warmer weather, camping and fishing trips, horseback riding, bike rallies and so much more that we know are coming. We might not all be together for all of that, but at least we’ve had a great time so far this winter, a time when most everything comes to a halt.

I hope that everyone else is making through the weather as well. God Bless!

Posted in Special Needs Children

See A Need, Fill A Need!

You know, being the mother of a special needs child whose diagnosis’ includes: autism, central auditory processing disorder, sensory dysfunction, obsessive compulsive disorder, dyslexia and attention deficit disorder, I’m fairly well versed in what that entails. Upon first receiving the news of the diagnosis’ I spent more time researching than eating or sleeping or pretty much anything else. This was happening to my first born child, and I was GOING to understand it!

My son, at the age of 5, when we received the “actual” diagnosis of autism.

After compiling enough research to wonder why I hadn’t pursued a degree of some sort in the field, I decided that I needed an outlet to share it. So, I founded a family support group. And it wasn’t just your run of the mill “support group” because I wanted it to be all the things I couldn’t find when I was looking for a support group to attend. (I never did find one, by the way).

I had been looking for a support group just to have some like-minded parents to talk to, but every time I found one, upon further investigation, I realized I couldn’t go. By this time, we’d had our second child, our daughter, who was not special needs and was only a toddler. So, instead of either myself or my husband going, and one of us staying home to watch her, we just decided not to go because none of them offered child care. OR, of all things, they didn’t have anything for the special needs child, the reason we were suppose to be coming together in the first place!

One thing led to another, and I had finally reached the end of my rope. While dropping my son off to school one day, I stopped to talk to the Family Resource Center Director and was telling her of this dilemma. She asked me why I hadn’t started one myself, and at first, I simply laughed. Start a support group? Me? Why, I couldn’t do something like that! Ah, but you can, she told me with more excitement than I would have for awhile even myself ūüôā

She went on to tell me about a grant that was being offered by our state mental health agency. This was the first I had even heard of such a thing, but listened to what she had to say as we walked to her office. She gave me the paperwork that she had printed off, just a bit earlier, and told me I should give it a try. I said I would think about it.

That night, I looked over the paperwork and realized it would be quite a job. I had to write a grant proposal, which didn’t seem like such a big deal. I’d been a “writer” all my life in one form or another, and the instructions looked pretty simple. It laid out everything I had to include: names of parents in the area who might be interested in going, what I hoped to accomplish, how I would spend the money, and a slew of other laundry-list items.

Over the next few days, little by little, I put everything together and mailed it off. It wasn’t that very much longer that I received a reply, and our little support group that had started from one parent’s desire to fill a need, got $1,000 for that year! To say that I was elated was the understatement of the year! I wouldn’t have made it without the help of that Director, and she helped me put everything together and it was wonderful while it lasted. I had to turn the group over to another wonderful friend I had made along the way when we moved out of the area.

Over the course of the 4-5 years or so, we got that grant each year. Our little group of – originally – three families, grew exponentially. We put together a lending library with books and other print resources, we offered referrals to specialists in every field imaginable that family of a special needs child might need, we hired students from our local community college who were pursuing careers surrounding special needs to provide activities and entertainment for our special needs children while someone else would oversee the siblings, and the two groups were always together, we had community outings monthly, to provide a group atmosphere in which to play and relax and by the last year, we were offering continuing education certificates to foster and adoptive families who attended our meetings and seminars where we would have expert speakers.

Our meetings were weekly, and for at least two of them, we would have special speakers who spoke on a variety of topics relating to life with a special needs child. There were experts in education, therapy, home-helps, medicine and an array of others. We always served refreshments and had a time of “visiting” before and after the meetings. It had become like family.

So if you’re in a situation where you see a need, and there’s any inkling of a chance that you could possibly do something to fill it – GO FOR IT! You might be surprised what you’ll wind up with.

So good luck! And thanks, as always, for stopping by to have a read.

Posted in Faith

Eve: Mother Of All Living

And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
Imagine that… Eve was the mother of all living. ALL of us. Every. Single. One.
Let that sink in…
Then Cain rose up and killed Abel…
And so it began…
And ye shall hear of¬†wars and rumours¬†of¬†wars…
Wars aren’t always fought with armies…knowing that these things have been around forever don’t make a heart hurt any less.
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Posted in Food

How To Make Biscuits Just Like Mom’s!

Step 1: Follow the recipe to a “T”, the way she told you, showed you how and wrote it down for you (at least half a million times, I swear!).

Step 2: Try your hardest to make sure to do everything the same way she did.

Step 3: FAIL!!

HAHA! ¬†This is how my every attempt at making my mother’s perfect, light, fluffy, mouth-watering biscuits has always turned out. Of course, they don’t teach you this stuff in school! ¬†Home-Ec never saw anything like my mother, coming or going, OR her biscuit making abilities.

I watched her all of my growing up years. ¬†I saw how she did it, morning after morning. ¬†I thought I was taking mental notes of her technique and I just knew I could do it. ¬†Let’s see now, how did she describe it…?

Okay, so you take out your big old vintage McCoy bowl that Dad bought at a flea market in Knoxville…no, wait, I don’t have one of those. ¬†Oh well, any old glass bowl will do, right? It’s not as big as the McCoy, but that’s okay. Check! ¬†Now, fill it about half full of flour, then make a “well” in the middle, shoving all the flour up on the sides of the bowl, but don’t – under any circumstances – go all the way to the bottom of the bowl. ¬†Leave some flour on the bottom too, so that when you put in your wet ingredients it doesn’t stick to the bowl. ¬†Check! (This isn’t so hard, I got this!) ¬†Now drop in some lard…

At this point I’d like to interject that I don’t believe I ever saw my mother with a measuring cup or measuring spoon in her hand. ¬†That’s not to say she didn’t have them. ¬†I think I remember some yellow ones that use to hang above the sink in our kitchen. On a nail. Out of reach. Dusty.

Get my drift?

Now where was I? Oh yeah, the lard. Drop some of that in. ¬†Was it two spoonfuls or two cups? (Just picture me, if you will, standing over my own glass bowl, flour everywhere from trying to make it look like it did in Mom’s bowl, with my head cocked trying to see far enough back in my memory to that lowly lump of lard…)

Oh, sweet Jesus, a good fistful should work!! ¬†Check! ¬†Now how in the name of all that is sacred did she even get the milk out with that lard on her hands?? She did use two hands for the lard, right? I mean, you have to use one hand to grab that fistful, and the other hand to scrape it off of the hand that grabbed it in the first place…

Well, now it occurs to me as I’m washing my hands for the sixty-fourth time, ¬†that maybe that was the dough she was getting off her hands after the mixing.

Have I messed up already? ¬†Oh surely not…

Okay, back with clean hands, putting in the milk. ¬†Oh no, how much of THAT did she use?! ¬†Okay, be calm, just pour til you think it’s enough (I tell myself). ¬†There. ¬†Check!

Alright, now if memory serves me correctly, she said NOT to squeeze or dig your fingers down into the flour. ¬†She said to just squish the lard and milk together and once that’s mixed, you take your fingers and just swirl it around and around and the wet mixture would start to collect flour off the sides of the bowl, and as you just tossed that around, eventually your dough would come together…

And hers did.

Every time.

Flawless and without fail or mess, my mother’s biscuits would just appear. ¬†Once her dough “came together”, she would pat on it for a moment and then begin “choking off” the biscuits.

She laid each one either in a cast iron skillet or a baking sheet and put them all nice and close together. ¬†As if she hadn’t already put magicians to shame with her ninja-bread-making skills, she bent her first two fingers and made knuckle imprints in the tops of every one of them. (Please, Lord, don’t ask, I have no idea).

And then, a few minutes later, out came the sheer perfection…


I know, right? Perfect. I never knew her to burn a batch or make a batch that didn’t get completely devoured.

What happened to mine, you ask?

Oh, haha, well, right after the whole lard and milk thing, I did try to “bring it all together”. ¬†I’ve lost a lot of bowls that way, come to think of it. ¬†Anyway, have you ever seen ‘Edward Scissor Hands’? ¬†Well, you could just as well have called me ‘Stacey Dough Ball Hands’ because at about this point in my own feeble attempt to make those biscuits her way, I would inadvertently wind up standing there, dough covering both hands (none left in the bowl now) screaming at the top of my lungs for someone to “please turn the water on!!”

Annnd, out come the whop biscuits. You know, the ones in the can you have to whop on the side of the counter to bust open?  Yeah.

Hey, step 3 was “FAIL”. Might as well fail all the way.

Ahem, now I can’t exactly close here without saying that I CAN, in fact, make biscuits from scratch. ¬†They are good and tall and fluffy and my family absolutely loves them and my heart gets all warm and fuzzy… ¬†I found the recipe on the side of a baking powder tin and I even use measuring cups and spoons, the whole nine yards.

I can’t help but feel like I’m cheating though, especially when I take the whole lump of dough and plop it in my cast iron skillet and cut it with a knife while it’s still uncooked. ¬†I even learned (the hard way) to brush melted butter on top before doing that, so it doesn’t make a huge mess, use up the last of my patience, and get thrown in the trash. Again. ¬†Anyway, cutting the dough before baking means we can just tear them apart when they come out.

Ah, my nice square “not Mom’s” biscuits. ¬†Not Mom’s, but not bad, so I guess it’s not a complete loss.

I’ll share my own recipe, with pics, a little later. ¬†In the mean time, I’d like to thank my mom for sending me the picture of her biscuits.

I love you Mom!