Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sunday Poem (On Wednesday): Uncle Greg

Uncle Greg changed his life
and then, barely baptized
into newness,
his spirit left us
behind. His soul rose up
and took the hand of Jesus,
and I am so deeply grateful
to know those final months
of my Uncle's life were
counted to him as righteousness,
and he received the generous reward
promised to the faithful. Greg is
the vineyard worker paid the same
for his one hour as others
are paid for twelve, and I
don't want the Kingdom to be fair,
because fairness never feels as good
as God's love falling down on this,
my often ungrateful, always undeserving,


Friday, August 24, 2012

a hip hop the hippie to the hippie

Friday Felicities

Habanero BBQ almonds
Going to a movie with my man tonight
Kids on an overnight trip
Lunch at the park with friends
My silver owl necklace
Accidentally discovering a really good book
Metallic Sharpies
Free goodies
Homemade bread with butter and strawberry preserves
My nephew's early morning arrival
The fact that I didn't have to be up all night birthing a baby (wink)
Scripture doodles in my art journal
Hip hop poetry

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pancakes Were Not Meant to Taste Like Cornbread

I haven't done a good job of blogging our food journey. Life got hectic with school starting back and me working daily on my latest novel project. I finish baking and realize I didn't take any pictures. I can at least link you to recipes we have tried and tell you how they went over around here.

We found an ice cream maker on sale at Kroger, so I bought it and tried making dairy-free ice cream. The first recipe I tried was vanilla flavored and made with coconut milk. I used a recipe from The Nourishing Gourmet. The ice cream came out more ice than cream. Part of that was my fault, however. I was not using enough ice and rock salt for the maker to do its job properly.

Next, I made a chocolate coconut milk ice cream and used dark chocolate chips and slivered almonds as add-ins. I got the hang of the ice and salt ratio and the ice cream turned out very well. I'm not a fan of chocolate ice cream, but I tasted it and it tasted like, well, chocolate ice cream. Haydn loves it, though once frozen a couple of days it can be hard to scoop. As I am typing this, Haydn is cleaning up the chunks he just dropped on the floor and whining as he does so. Anyhow, that recipe came from Whole New Mom, and it's going on my list of Food Victories.

I've tried a handful of GF pizza crust mixes and recipes. None of them were outright failures, but the one I find myself returning to every Friday is from Gluten Free Goddess. I shape it differently, however. I spray a sheet of wax paper and lay it on top of the dough. Then, I roll out the dough directly on the pizza pan. This is way less frustrating for me, because dough sticking to my fingers and getting holes in it makes my blood pressure sky rocket. I have a very low frustration tolerance, in case you wondered. ;)

We made these quinoa pizza bites, but they didn't hold together very well and also didn't freeze well. So, I'm on the lookout for a really good pizza bite recipe.

We're still happy with this baked doughnut recipe. Haydn carries one of these to church every Sunday.

We made the Frugal Farm Wife's cinnamon biscuits, and Haydn liked them fine, but I wasn't in love with the taste. They were easy to shape and he was happy with them, so they will stay on our list of wins.

The other things he's been eating are either naturally gluten free, store-bought or from a mix. We're using Pam's pancake mix. It tastes fine, but the batter is very very thin, so I don't enjoy making them. Honestly, Bisquik's gluten free pancake mix is our favorite. I've learned to check for cornmeal in the ingredients. Pancakes were not meant to taste like cornbread.

The boys have their annual Back to School overnight this weekend. The camp is aware of food issues, but I am nervous anyway. Say a prayer for Haydn to have a good attitude while there.

edited to add: I just pulled these out of the oven, and we both love them. Gluten Free Goddess is amazing. Haydn felt very left out when we had rolls at Logan's, so I set out to find some he can have. These are an absolute win.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Creative Energy

I have paused writing the cake book while I work out an issue in my head. Also, I am waiting for news after chatting with an editor. Rather than letting my brain go crazy, I am doing other creative things. Usually, if I focus my energies on some project or another, my writing issue can work itself out. Mostly, I've been drawing and coloring in a sketch book Ashley gave me on my last birthday. My art is nothing like Canaan's sketchbook in Tornado, but I'm having fun. I also put together an iMovie using a poem I wrote a few years ago.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

“December is the toughest month of the year. Others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, October, August, and February.” Mark Twain

Current Books: I'm reading Tom Sawyer with the boys and we're listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in the car. For homeschool, Haydn and I are nearing the end of a Mark Twain biography and just started Story of the World Volume II. I'm reading As I Wake by Elizabeth Scott and dipping into a new poetry book by Ursula K. Le Guin and my always wonderful collection of Nikki Giovanni's poems. In my Bible, I'm reading Psalms.

Current Playlist: In anticipation of Tornado rewrites, I'm listening to mostly 90s music and some other songs from the Tornado playlist. R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion," Aerosmith's "Jaded," Goo Goo Dolls' "Black Balloon," Superchick's "Beauty from Pain," and others.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Sleeping in. I need to get into the habit of staying awake when I get David up for school.

Current Colors: bright blue and yellow and pretty much anything happy

Current Fetish: School supplies. I can hardly walk into Walmart without buying a new notebook that I don't really need.

Current Food: Maple Nut ice cream from Kroger. A gorgeously delightful taste on the tongue.

Current Drink: Coffee with a packet of Truvia and yummy creamer. Today, it's creme brûlée.

Current Favorite Favorite: Walks down memory lane with Girlchild.

Current Wishlist: To repierce my nose. I should get on that.

Current Needs: My kitchen floor needs a good scrub.

Current Bane-Of-My-Existence: Tiredness. I ran out of B12. I have it back now, so hopefully this will cease.

Current Celebrity Crush: Can't think of one.

Current Indulgence: I ordered a Nikki Giovanni hip-hop book for the creative writing class I'll be teaching this semester. I can't wait to get it.

Current Mood: Not bad, actually. I'm optimistic about my career and my parenting. Notice, I said optimistic. I'm not arrogantly confident. I trust God's plan, and I am expecting good things.

Current #1 Blessing: My supportive husband, Corey.

Current Slang or Saying: I came across the word "step" in my Senior Book (Class of 2000). Now I say it in my head a lot. "You best step." If you remember this phrase, I *heart* you to bits and pieces.

Current Outfit: Today, it's blue jeans, flip-flops, and a female superhero tee.

Current Link: A lovely poem by Nancy

Current Quote: I say the following to Corey when I edit his papers, and I should keep it in mind myself:

“Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very;' your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”  -Mark Twain

Current Photo:  Our youth. Love these kids.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Origin of Motherhood

Sometimes, the love I feel for my children takes me by surprise. It's not that I forget I love them. It's more about the busyness of days. Our time together is about learning math or reading books. Sometimes, it's about discipline and arguing and refereeing brother battles. Every minute of everyday is packed with something to do or say or think or feel. By bedtime, I'm spent. I just want to curl up in bed and read a book until my eyelids drift closed and I can rest.

In the middle of the tempest that is parenting two boys, love is something that floats all around you, like the ocean. You might forget it is the ocean at all until the tide jerks you out to sea. Love for my sons is like the air that I breathe, rarely pausing to think about it's existence, until it swirls around me like a storm. Then my breath is caught and my heart is stopped, feeling a primal instinct deep in my gut, the origin of motherhood, the place it all began.

On Tuesday, I had one of those moments. David is doing public school again this year. We live close enough for him to walk. On Tuesday, when it was time to leave, I walked him down our road and another, until the crossing guard was in sight. Then, I sent him on his way. As I stood on the curb, watching my eight-year-old take confident strides away from me, fear screamed inside me. In my head, I heard:

"What if someone takes him? These abductions get more and more prevalent. What if a van slows down and snatches him? How will I know? What could I do?"


"What if a driver doesn't pay attention? What if they fly around the bend and hit him?"

I had to resist running after him, showing him that Mommy is more afraid of the boogeyman than he is. I need to teach him independence and how to make wise decisions, but I don't need to teach him fear.

So I stood there, love twisting in my gut, proud and also terrified.

It surprised me again... how much I love these boys.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sunday Poem: Where I'm From

I spent only the first four years of my life
living in Kentucky. I was there
just long enough to learn my letters
and cement the hillbilly twang
that marks my tongue, but my mother
is from Kentucky too, and I
am from my mother and my father
and from the families that gave
them life, made my life somehow
possible. I learned to walk on a porch
in Van Lear, chasing a cat, and I am
still a cat person, still running after
everything I want. I fell in the yard;
Mom says they had to use a
straight jacket just to get those
stitches into my scalp, and my
husband will testify to my
continuing intolerance for pain, and
the truth that I could still use
a straight jacket on some afternoons,
because I will sabotage my own
good plans. I will drop out for fear
of failure. I spun baton and slept
in curlers before winning the title
Kentucky's Tiny Miss, 1984. I was
prissy by my trophies and wearing a tiara
that I still set atop my head
once a year. I've never forgotten
how it feels to be a queen, how it feels
to be loved the best, the most, to own
my daddy's heart and be the center
of my mama's world. I was wrenched away
from those hills when I was four, and
my grandpa died and left me a legacy
of favored patriarchal love. I stood
at the church house doors and called
the mourners to come and see, come
and see this man who loved me, who called me
by name.

So is it any surprise today
that I live my life in hopes of calling
each of you to come and see
the man named Jesus who loved me
to the cross and gave me
His life.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I have the kind of friends who...

post uterus mourning photos on a friend's wall
after her hysterectomy...

have entire conversations pretending to be 
Obama and Laura Bush...

show up on my doorstep with coconut flour
and let me break into their house for sorghum flour...

hand me their precious chapstick 
and let me keep it when I forget mine at home...

pray for me when this autism thing
makes me want to quit it all...

ask me how many words I wrote today...

listen to me read sections of a rough draft...

send me photos of their scrubs 
so I can use them in a book...

squeal with excitement over
publishing possibilities...

keep my children for an entire week 
while I fly to Seattle with teenagers...

understand the importance
of small keychains from Bali...

honk in the mornings on their way to work 
and make me smile...

order nearly everything
on my Amazon wish list
(yes, she really did)...

send me gluten free goodies 
after Whole Foods shopping...

ask my opinion and then
listen thoughtfully when I share it...

buy me squirrels and owls...

make me believe I am
the person they see me as...

agree and disagree 
with all sorts of things, 
but remember that love is more important 
than being right...

Purchase entire sets of antique Oz...

I could go on and on. 
I am very very blessed.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Baking Cake (and other goodness)

I love checking my stats and seeing some of the things people type into Google before landing on my blog. Some of them make sense, like searches for "Madamerubieswrites," "Madame rubies blog," etc... Others don't make sense at all, or else I understand why my site popped up with those keywords, but they make me curious. Who was searching for that? Sometimes, I'm found by someone searching for a friend of mine. Then I wonder who is looking for said friend.

Here are some search terms (misspellings left in tact):

  • army sweatshirts
  • carolyn morrison homeschool
  • emerald city isn't green
  • holocust museum dc this will never
  • how to spell banana
  • mexican virgin mary tattoo
  • black woman beauty cartone
  • pointe shoes

I was stuck at a point in the work-in-progress today. Working title: Let Them Eat Cake. We'll just call it Cake on the blog. So, I was stuck at a point in Cake, trying to decide what happens next, before the big scary I-don't-want-to-write-it-but-I-have-to part. My mind felt empty. So I cooked. I used the tomatoes given to me from a sweet lady's garden to make tomato soup from scratch. Yummy! Then I started the dough for cinnamon swirl bread. Then I baked Haydn a gluten-free chocolate cake before finishing my cinnamon bread. I made the bread once before. It turned out pretty but over baked. This time, I think it will be perfect. I whipped up some icing and will have a slice soon.

A funny thing happened while I stirred and measured and listened to hymns on Pandora. Slowly, a scene began to unfold in my mind. I knew with certainty, Elliot must be baptized. Crazy baptized. Suddenly urgently desperately baptized before her mother can die. After cleaning the kitchen, I started typing, but the baptism scene didn't appear. Apparently, it has to happen next, after the scene I wrote today. Before Elliot can get crazy baptized, she has to somehow get crazy bald. So, when I finish shaving her head, we can dunk her under water. Aren't you super excited to read this book, now? *snicker*

Have a beautiful week, friends!

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