Sunday, March 30, 2008

It's Come to This...

I've mentioned before that I'm struggling financially. Well...I mean it this time.
I'm busy about the task of applying for higher paying jobs in OKC, but in the meantime, I need help. Besides the fact that moving is expensive and I have nothing left of the savings I had when I made the original move to OK.'s come to this...
I'm going to try peddling my wares here on the internet. I love sewing, and a generous friend bought me a v
ery nice sewing machine for Christmas. I've used it off and on to make a bit of money here and there. My favorite items to make are things for little girls. I've never had a little girl, but I used to be one, and I remember what it felt like to have pretty little girl things. It was good. And now, since I can't actually WEAR this sort of stuff, I enjoy it vicariously by making it for others.

If you have a pretty little girl in your life who might enjoy a new summer dress, hat, purse....or maybe ALL three!....I can make t
hem for you.

Here are pictures of a few I've made so far. The edges have pretty stitching thanks to my wonderful sewing machine.

Prices are: Dress-$20 Purse-$15 Hat $10 Email me if you're interested. Thanks!

love and grace,
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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Molasses crinkles

You may recall that Willful Grace fans mark_and_patrick were kind enough to share their molasses crinkle recipe with us a short time ago on this very blog.

Well, I just got back from the Willful Grace test kitchen where I whipped up a big Easter Sunday batch of these scrumptious morsels, and I gotta tell you they are some kinda tasty! To save you the inconvenience of looking up mark_and_patrick's recipe in the comments area I have reproduced it here:

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses (I prefer the flavor of organic)
2 1/4 C. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger

Cream shortening, sugar, molasses and egg together.
Sift remaining ingredients together and slowly add to creamed mixture. Chill dough for at least one hour (easier to roll into 1" balls).

After dough has chilled, preheat oven to 375. Roll into 1" diameter balls or I use a cookie scoop. Dip the tops of the balls in granulated sugar and place on a parchment lined or lightly greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle each ball with a couple drops of water (this is what makes them crinkle!).
Bake until just set, about 10-12 minutes.

Do not overbake or the cookies will be crunchy, no chewy in the centers. Once removed from the oven as with any cookie or baked item, it is still baking until it has cooled.

I only made a couple of changes. Number one, I left out the baking soda. Not that I have anything against baking soda, I just couldn't find mine. Must have used it all in the cat box or something. However, because I am Catholic I can make my cookies rise by praying to any one of six patron saints of bakers. (For the record, I went with Elizabeth of Hungary.) Also, I used butter instead of shortening. "La buerre, la buerre! Toujours la buerre!" as we say here at Willful Grace (especially right after Lent).

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Friday, March 21, 2008

That Guy I Was Seeing

Ok, other than making sure the boys are okay and figuring out if I think homosexuals are "in" or "out".....(very tongue-in-cheek there if you didn't catch that)

I know the most burning question around here is..."What happened with that guy you were seeing?"

Well, he's still around. I just don't see him very often. He lives in OKC and besides a bunch of other stuff, he takes care of his two very sick and very elderly parents. He is a nurse (he was actually a doctor in China but the credentials aren't the same here)and between tending to his parents who are in and out of the hospital, taking more university classes, teaching some martial arts, and consulting for corporations who have dealings with China, well, the guy stays pretty darn busy. In case you missed this before, he's not Chinese, he just lived there for 13 years. Oh, he also speaks Mandarin fluently and translates old Chinese texts which apparently there's quite the market for. Who knew? It will be much easier to spend some more time with him after I move to that area.

Honestly, though, it's been very good for me to take it extremely slow as I meet someone, get to know them, and form a romantic relationship. As I've learned the hard way - don't we all - jumping into a relationship quickly when you still have open wounding is just plain stupid.

I'm also trying to be very careful because of the boys. They are all young and vulnerable in a way that's different from when they were toddlers. Daniel is 20, but the other three are now 16, 14, and 13. Those are extremely volatile ages for any family of children, let alone one that has gone through the turmoil that we've experienced. I'm finding it important to keep myself dedicated first and foremost to them and just be available. If I were to get all caught up in some whirlwind romance thing....well....I just wouldn't be as able to be tuned in to them the way I need to be. Sometimes I think kids go off the deep end simply because there's no one there who seems attentive enough to them to stop them. After two marriages and years of heartache and just plain CRAP, I'm determined to try and get this one part correct. I'm going to put them first no matter what.

That doesn't mean I'm not going to date this Chinese guy. (lol...i love calling him that!) I'm just doing my best to keep it in the proper perspective and keep things with the boys first and foremost in my heart and mind.

And that's all I have to say about that.
(the previous sentence is what 4th grade students like to call "a conclusion".....makes me literally crrrriiinge.)

love and grace,

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Da Boys

We're having a lovely time here at Casa de Momela this week. (momela is one of daniel's nicknames for me....get it...pamela, momela?) I've basically let the boys turn the entire house into one big sort of hotel room. They have the TV from the living room hooked up in my bedroom because the XBox Live hook-up can reach it that way....and they are all three "camped out" in there still asleep after having stayed up until all hours battling it out at some game against other kids from who knows where.

Zach seems great. We'll see. I've had several small talks with him, as opposed to one great big long one, and he knows that he has a home here if it comes to that point. That point could have come during this Spring Break, but he wants me to talk to Tdub about giving him one more chance. His biggest issue at this point is that he keeps skipping classes at school. Amazingly, his grades are pretty decent. But, he's got a job and of course all his friends that he would be very sad to leave behind should he end up making the move to Oklahoma. Selfishly, I'd love to have him here. We'll see. I'm 95% sure at this point that he'll go back home to Granbury at the end of spring break. Hayden, as always, is his usual all's-right-with-the-world self. That kid is just incredible in his resilience and attitude. Drew. I write more about him individually than any of the others. For one thing, he's here. But more than that, he tends to be the most "quirky" of the four. (might be that he's his mother's son)....anyway. Drew is Drew and that's that. He has been very very happy to be with his brothers this week. Actually, they've all been so great together that it's almost scary. I'm sort of expecting the bottom to fall out and a big row to ensue at any moment.

I know alot of you who read this are friends who actually know real've lived and worked and worshiped with us. So, I know you like hearing updates about the boys and that you continue to pray for all of us. I do value that. I also know that alot of you who are virtual friends email me now and then to check on them because you've come to care about them even though you've never met them. That means alot as well. More than you probably know, actually.

These boys are doing well. It's been, and continues to be, a difficult road for them but they know that their hope and foundation is in Christ. I know that they know that.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

First Time for Everything

I just disabled comments for the FIRST. TIME. EVER. on this blog. It's a pretty interesting read, if you're interested and have the time...much longer than things I typically post.

It's on Rambling Update from March 8.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Boys are Back in Town

A long time ago, in a land far far away, being greeted by this scene as I entered my kitchen bright and early in the morning would have put me in a disgusted, feeling-put-upon frump for the better part of the day.

Followed by this,

and I'd have flown into sort of mini-rage which included stomping up stairs, throwing off covers, and coming as close as possible to cursing without actually doing so.

For your added viewing pleasure, a few close-up shots.

Hey, at least the lid is back on the bean-dip, right?

Yes, the boys are back in town. I met Tdub (and his new partner) yesterday at the half-way point between here and there so that Zach and Hayden could spend spring break with me and Drew. Daniel's college spring break was last week, which spoiled the opportunity for a full-on, 4-boy reunion.

It's funny how your perspective can so completely change your reactions and sentiment about something. While the scene which greeted me this morning is still unacceptable, in the grand scheme of things, it's just not that big of a deal. I miss them, and all of this, is part of THEM. I'm still going make them clean it all up, but I'm not mad about it. In fact, while taking these pictures, I had a great idea for a book. All kids love these I Spy books and Walter Wick does an incredible job at setting up imaginary lands using all sorts of common and uncommon items from a variety of environments. The next great idea for one of these books has got to be a sort of "morning after" series. I'd never have set up a thing. Just arrive at various homes on the morning after more than one boy has had the run of the house, and bam, it's a pre-made I Spy book. Granted, some of them might not be fit for young eyes (take note that the DVD in the floor in my picture is The Bee Movie and not South Park), but even the older kids are fascinated with these sorts of books. After the boy version takes off, I could publish a girl's version. As to the co-ed version, I'd just rather not go there. I think I'm on to something here.

I'll get back to my theological rambling later. I just had to share this along with my joy at having most of the boys here with me for the week. There's ALOT more I could say (notice how I blazed right past the part about meeting Tdub and his partner), but for now I'm leaving it at this.

love and grace,

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Rambling Update

Warning: Unless you've been reading regularly for the past 3 years, some of this stuff may either not make sense or be downright offensive to you. But, I feel the need to ramble. p.s. If you've read this but your blog reader says this is a new post, it's not. I discovered a ton of typos and I'm attempting to fix them.

First of all, I have this new dog. Actually, I don't have a new dog, but I think I do have a new "dog project". This is Marilyn.

While Emma is completely jealous, she loves the extra playtime. Marylin was recently acquired by the 12-year old couple who lives next door to me. Ok, maybe they look at least 16, and I'm sure they're in their 20's, but still. Is it just me or are young people looking younger than they used to? Anyway, I'm not sure what the little couple does with all their time, and they do have a toddler of about a year and a half, but they are rarely ever home. Marilyn is outside needing attention (in my opinion) almost all the time. I gave her a little attention one day last week, and she's been hanging out at my house ever since. I don't understand why people adopt a dog and pay no attention to it.

I've made some art this week and I'm thinking of trying to turn this into a little business. I will call it something like "artifact art" or something like that. The stimulus for it is this; I have all sorts of odds and ends I've collected in boxes and scrapbooks. Sometimes it's a leftover earring from a pair I really loved, or something I clipped out of the newspaper, pictures or words from cards the boys gave me or made for me, or even bits of a quail egg that I saved because I loved the mottled pattern and the delicacy of the shell. Weird stuff, sentimental stuff, or just stuff that somehow appeals to me. And I made art out of that. Here's a picture of one of them. I have a few more in the works.
This one has a picture of the boys in it. It's from an awesome vacation we took to Colorado and New Mexico (pre-blogging days) and it's one of my favorites. I tore the picture to represent the tear in our families, and then found a silver heart to place next to it.

If you're still reading and you're wondering when I'm going to get to the offensive part, well, here it is. I've been having a long email conversation with a close friend and spiritual adviser (he would chuckle at that, probably) about sin and life in general. He's a person I listen to and trust and he challenges me to keep things in perspective when it comes to the meaning of life. For me, the meaning of life is that we are, ultimately, designed to be eternal creatures and eternity begins at birth. My friend and I talk alot about the Bible and what it really means.

I've recognize that I've spent an incredible amount of time (my thinking time) since the divorce working through the issue of homosexuality and whether or not it's a redeemed and sanctifiable human attribute in God's eyes. I'm not sure if anyone but me has noticed, but I've backed away from calling homosexual behavior, in and of itself, sin. I used to say that I believed that homosex was sin. Then, the more I came to understand gay people by getting to know them and then by experiencing the tragedy of the loss of my marriage, the less able I was to declare with such certainty that it is sin. I've never come right out and said, "Homosexual behavior is not sin", but I have certainly come to the conclusion that I don't know for sure, and that I'm not even sure I'm supposed to decide if it is or not. The more I questioned about this in my mind, the more I questioned all sin and the very nature of what sin is. The place where I seem to get most bogged down on the whole sin thing is this; I'm sinful. And I mean....really...really sinful. And yet, I'm redeemed. Furthermore, I have entire political parties who support and promote my sinfulness.

I'm of the opinion that the Republican party is full of, and run by, a bunch of greedy people. They pass legislation that helps me and others like me continue to live in a greedy state of being. They encourage me to horde wealth, which is a laughable concept to me at this point, but I know that I have a TON of stuff that I don't need. I'm choosing to pick on the Republican party because they appear to think they have a lock on what's moral and even Christian for our country. I disagree strongly. I believe they promote sinful lifestyles, most importantly to me, my own. I also believe they set up standards for others that they themselves don't follow. I think voting Democrat or Republican on the basis of sin and morality is just stupid. It makes no sense to me because I'm not willing to pick my sin over someone else's sin as "the better sin" and vote for someone based on that opinion. That sort of thinking is not scriptural, even IF you could actually somehow prove that voting Democrat or Republican has anything to do with being a Christian. It blows me away that so many people think that way.

I support Hillary Clinton for president because I think she's extremely smart (the smartest person running), I think she would do a good job, I admire her for sticking it out in her marriage, and I want to vote for the first woman president. Of all the people running, I believe she has the most at stake for doing an outstanding job, and I believe she will rise to the occasion and make sure the history books glow with her legacy.

Ok...I really AM rambling now.

I'll get back to this ramble later because I have alot more to say regarding my conversations with my friend. I'm still mulling over most of it. Thanks for hanging in there with me on this!

love and grace,

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Hey Girlfriend!

Emma has a couple of "girlfriends" in the yard next door. Sparky tolerates them, but Emma frets over them. One day last week, on a particularly cold evening, the grey poodle yipped off and on all night. Poor Emma stayed perched at the top of the bed, facing the big window and looking outside for almost the entire night. Her personality is like Mrs. Kravitz from "Bewitched" and Aunt Bea from "Andy Griffith" all rolled into one little hyper-active dog. I give her complete credit for the fact that Sparky, the calm, submissive one, is not overweight. She makes sure he plays at least a few rounds of chase through the house with her every evening. As they come barreling down the hallway, into the living room, around the ottoman and back out again, it sounds like the thundering hoof beats of dog-sized horses. I have no idea how many paces she runs him through during the day while I'm at school, but it's obviously enough to keep him in shape. Sparky and Emma have been an incredible comfort and at times a blessed distraction to me during this past year. I snapped these pictures of them this morning before I left for school. The light dusting of snow we got last night was a welcome treat and Emma's first experience with it.

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