Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Good News!!!

Well, I finally connected with my doctor's office and got the test results back. According to the test, my test for Celiac disease was completely negative, not even borderline. I am more relieved than I realized I would be. This means that although gluten is still a problem for me, it is not potentially fatal.

I got the phone number for a GI specialist, but I think I will wait until after we move before I make an appointment. Just knowing that Celiac is not the culprit really has set me more at ease. And leaves me with more hope that this can be reversed and although I don't intend to eat a lot of gluten containing items, it gives me the ability to at least enjoy a few things every now and then.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Waiting For Lab Results...

I am waiting for the lab results of a blood test taken last week. My doctor's office called me, but I was driving and unable to take the call. They asked me to call back for the results. I've called back, but had to leave a message, so it's telephone tag time.

I decided that I ought to know if I have Celiac disease for sure and not just a gluten intolerance. I decided that after I learned that gluten can be fatal if Celiac disease is involved, so I need to know just how careful I need to be.

I was never a fan of waiting....

I've already eliminated gluten from my diet. About the only thing left is taking the sacrament, which means I will have to talk to my bishop. Maybe those arrangements have already been made for other gluten intolerant members in this ward.

Speaking of my new ward... I got a call this morning from the ward clerk. My records have already been transferred! I didn't request it, I was going to when I actually attended that ward, the week after next. Man are they efficient here! I hope I get assigned home teachers quickly. I never did get any when I was in Tualatin, although I kept asking. I was told last Sunday, when I went to say goodbye, that home teachers were finally assigned to me. Oh well. I did have visiting teachers.

For those who are not members and don't know what those are, home teachers are two men or a man with a young man (like a father and son), that visit each family in the ward to give a spiritual message and make sure the family is getting their needs met. Visiting teachers are a pair or women who are assigned to each sister to also deliver a message of spiritual matters and also make sure she is doing ok. I like having home teachers and visiting teachers, it helps in the process of trying to feel connected.

Feeling connected is such a challenge to me...

Monday, March 29, 2010

On Hold...

Ever feel like your life is on hold? Like all you can do is be patient and wait it out? I'm feeling that way now. Tiffany has been wonderful, but she must be feeling that way too.

We are two adult women and two little girls living in a one bedroom apartment. Yes, it is crowded, but surprisingly not as much as you would think. Tiffany is amazing at making use of space and keeping it open. Most of my belongings are in a garage at the new apartment complex, and anything she isn't using is also there or going there shortly. The new apartment won't be ready for at least two more weeks.

I do not consider myself to be a materialistic person, but I have found it difficult to function when my belongings are packed away. I have been living this way more or less for two years. It will still be that way after we move, with a big exception that I hope will make a difference for me... full access to a garage.

We are keeping the garage after we move into the apartment, and installing deep, heavy duty shelves (thanks to Ikea). One side is already installed and I got the rest of the hardware today for the other side. So although there will still be belongings in boxes and crates, I will have full access to it all. As I sort through my things, I will be setting the garage up to organize my craft supplies. It will be like a regular attached garage, only down the parking lot a little. One thing I thought was neat was that the manager gave us the very closest garage to the apartment, so the walk won't be that bad.

I am trying to take this experience I am having and use it to have empathy for others. Until I experienced the disconnected feeling of being a perpetual guest, of having limited access to my belongings over an extended period of time, I did not understand how frustrating it could be. I think frustrating isn't the right word, but I can't think of another. Actually, "disconnected" is a good choice of words. It has felt for so long that my life is on hold. Just as I started to feel just a tad bit organized I had to pack up again.

But it was only a tad bit. I was also feeling cramped. I had too much stuff to cram into a small bedroom with a tiny closet. And dispersing my belongings throughout the house was not the answer, it just left me feeling even more at a loss to my individuality. I have learned that everyone needs a certain amount of space just for themselves, not to be shared with another. Children probably don't need very much, but by the time you are my age, having been the woman of the house for 31 years, more than a little bedroom is needed.

Sometimes I appear to be unhappy with my life. But it is just what appears, it isn't the truth. I am happy with the progress I have made, I have moved forward from the frightened, unwanted wife I was a few years ago. I am content to be single right now. I think what others have sensed from me is the frustration of being disconnected. I have A.D.D., and with that I have found I need to be grounded into a place, a starting point to be functional from. And the place I ground myself to has to be private space, not shared with another. It also takes me time to be able to do it. I do not transition quickly, it takes time to become familiar with my surroundings, sometimes as much as 6 months. Until I feel familiar and comfortable with my surroundings, I feel like I am floating through life, disconnected and unfocused. Having moved 3 times in l6 months, I haven't been grounded for some time.

I hope this transitory time will settle down soon. I do know that when I am finished organizing the garage I will be more organized than I have ever been in my life. That is a good thing to be coming out of this.

In the meantime, I will take each day as it comes...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gratitude and movies...

I've been having a hard time thinking of something to write about. So I thought I would just start typing and see what happens.

Gratitude.... that is what came to mind.

Am I showing enough gratitude for the blessings I have received? Do those around me and who have helped me know I am grateful? Can I be grateful for the good but still be uncomfortable with the baggage that sometimes comes along?

I don't think I should have to compromise myself or my standards in order to be grateful to someone else. I'm not saying I think I am better than another, not at all. But I do have a right to my standards, even if someone else thinks I have set my standards too high. They are not too high for me and that is how I choose to live, to judge whether or not I want to participate in an activity or behave in a certain manner. My standards are not used to judge another, only how I choose to involve myself in a given situation.

An example in point... I choose for myself to not watch "R" rated movies. This was a matter of slight contention in my last marriage because my husband liked to watch certain "R" rated movies. I have watched a few and always felt bad afterwards, degraded, compromised. So I would leave the room or he would have to go to the movie theater with a friend or one of his sons. I appreciated the thought of including me in a movie activity, but not the movie of choice. He eventually stopped asking me and automatically called his son. We did go to a lot of movies together, just not "R" rated ones.

I do what to clarify that this is not the reason we divorced. He clearly crossed the line with his online addiction and eventual affairs. My not watching "R" rated movies with him did not lead to his very bad behavior. He made choices of his own, based on the standards he chose to keep. I should never have had to lower my standards in order to keep him from violating his vows.

So if I set a standard that is higher than another's standard, am I behaving ungrateful to decline the offer? I don't think so, but at times I am treated like I am. Like I am snobby because I won't watch the movie. I'm not rude about it, others can choose the movie if they want to, but so can I choose not to watch it.

Sometimes I am left feeling really alone, because there are more people who choose to watch than choose not to. But I honestly don't want to change my standard, I am comfortable with this choice, uncomfortable in letting it down. The last time I compromised my standard and watched the movie I promised myself after it was over that I would never do that to myself again. This is a promise I intend to keep.

I know there are others out there that feel the same way I do, I need to find some of them. Maybe we can watch movies together, ones we find more appropriate.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Still sick...

Sorry I haven't written anything new or interesting lately. I'm still sick. It's just a bad cold, but I'm ready for it to be over. And to top that off, I'm entering the "weepy time" again.

I understand the Eve thing... I've accepted the whole curse of womanhood and all that, but geeze... must it include pathetic weeping??

I told Tiffany last night that it is probably good that I'm not married, I think I would drive a guy nuts about now. Hopefully this will end soon and I will be allowed to "graduate" out of this phase and into the next one. The one free of monthly weeping, soreness, cramps, etc.

Until then, I will probably continue to cry myself to sleep for a few more nights.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Decisions... Part 2

Well, some decisions have been made. I am very grateful to be able to pray about important decisions and truly feel prompted in a direction and then feel a confirmation that my decision is correct.

First of all, I am moving in with Tiffany. I am with her all the time anyway, and it just seems the logical thing to do. We are getting along quite well. There is a larger apartment available mid April, so, we are packing up again.

We moved all my stuff out of my sister's attic on Saturday. We have a garage at the new apartment complex and it is now a little over half full. We moved Tiff's stuff out of a smaller storage unit also. We then went to IKEA and got some heavy duty storage shelving. Tiff and I were going to get them up this week, but with her bronchitis and my trying to follow suit, we haven't gotten to it yet.

We also decided to move my bed over. The girls think it is really neat that grandma has her bed set up in their room right now. The laugh and giggle as they climb up on it. I have it set high, on risers, to make it easier for me to get in and out. Raising the bed about 6 inches really does help. So they climb up and jump on me. Kullie used to do the same thing when I lived in Mesa. I do love all these little girls.

We are also beginning the process to become foster parents. I've thought about doing this for decades, but never found myself in a position to be able to do it. Now I am. Tiffany has also wanted to do it, but not as long as me of course. We qualify to take in just girls, since there isn't a man in the house. That is okay with both of us.

We were supposed to go to the first class this week, but the sicknesses won over. So, next week I believe we will start. I believe there are 8 classes, and we are also asking for additional training for special needs children. I certainly have lots of experience taking care of an autistic child... and hopefully the patience that HAS to go with it.

Those are my two big decisions I was working on. I will have to transfer my church records yet again. This will be my 14th move since I was first married, but I'm not counting this small detour by itself. I'm counting this move and the one in a few weeks as one move. I'm technically living with Tiff now, since my my bed has been moved over. It was just too hard with the previous sleeping arrangements. But everything else is going straight over to the new place.

As I contemplate over my life I have come to a conclusion.... I am destined to take care of little children... a job I dearly love.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Taking a break...

Ever feel like taking a break from life?

What a silly question...

Yesterday started out a good day. I took my walk and got into the shower... that's when it changed... I slipped... I fell... I am a huge bruise now. I went to my chiropractor and surprisingly my bones were ok. That's probably because I didn't land on my bottom, I hit a shelf with my left side, at my ribs. That area is now swollen and tender and turning purple.

I want to crawl back into bed and go comatose. That would be nice. But two little girls still need attention, and frankly... laying down hurts.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Decisions... Decisions...

Life is full of so many decisions. Some are little and probably pretty insignificant. What do I wear today? What do I want to eat? Sometimes I just hate making decisions.

Then there are the big ones. Like... do I stay married to this unfaithful man? It may seem like an easy answer... no.... but there are so many things to consider. Where will I live? How will I support myself? Can I be okay alone?

It took me three years to make that decision final. I had a lot of work to do on me, to get me to a place where I was okay being alone. Then there were the financial considerations, which for me are temporarily covered. I have been thinking long-term though. When the alimony stops, how will I support myself?

I do not want to be a burden on my family. I do not want them having to support me. I have already tried to get a regular job, and it hasn't worked. The desire is there, but my body tires too easily. I am on SSD for a reason. My back has also been a problem. I am learning a few things to help both with my health and my back, but they take time. For my back I have discovered that drinking a packet of gelatin mixed with diluted fruit juice each day has greatly improved my spinal stability. It works a lot better than glucosamine/chondroitin, and is a lot less expensive.

I have some decisions to make, decisions that will change the course of my life. It's not a matter of whether or not I want to do them, it is a matter of whether or not I can.. do I have the energy to follow this path? I think the answer is yes, I can. Prayer is definitely needed to help me solidify my decisions.

I know I have been vague, in time I will clarify.

In the meantime, I am remembering... When God closes a door, He opens a window.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New Books!!

I got some new books from Amazon yesterday. I love to read, to learn new things I didn't know before. I especially like books on history. The problem with history, though, is that so much has been rewritten, distorted, and outright fabricated. How can we know what is true anymore?

I have had a longing to learn the truth about the Founding Fathers. About what really created and shaped the United States of America. I believe those men to be men of integrity, men of honor, to have been inspired and directed by God to write the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I believe that there are rights that are given to us by God, and not a government. It saddens me that those truths are not taught today, nor have they been for a very long time.

I suspect this is the same throughout the world. I wonder how many other countries have distorted histories or have been rewritten to satisfy the progressives?

One of the books I got is called "A Patriot's History of the United States: From Columbus's Great Discovery to the War on Terror". I was excited when I learned about this book (thank you Glenn Beck), because it was written though documented facts, not progressive distortions. The book is really thick, about 2 inches, so it will take me a while to finish it.

Although this is not a political blog, I do have political views. Being LDS lends itself to being conservative, and I am. I am concerned about the condition of both the USA and the world. Scriptural history is repeating itself. People are enslaved but through their righteousness are, in time, delivered out of bondage... they become prosperous... they become self-serving... they forget God... great wickedness becomes common and accepted... they fall into bondage again. This is a circle that has repeated itself over and over again.

I believe we are falling into bondage again. Great wickedness has prevailed for far too long. I'm wondering if this is the last time this cycle will be completed? Is our Lord and Savior coming back in His Glory soon? Will I be as I need to be to be counted among the righteous?

I think this is one of the reasons I am so interested in history, in learning the truth. I want to be counted among the righteous and I don't think that will happen in ignorance.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Is wanting to look nice... vain?

I'm definitely out of the dumps. Getting the better picture of me really helped. I really don't know who that other person was, I was shocked at the picture to be honest. This latest picture is true to what I really look like. I like to think I am not quite so plump, but oh well...


With all that is going on in the world, the earthquakes, the wars, the hunger... you would think I would have been less self-absorbed. There are millions of people who have much worse problems than me. Daily. Hourly. I guess now that my head is working a little better I'm a bit ashamed of myself for being so concerned about my age. Not ashamed like I want to hide under a rock... but more disappointed in me, I let the vain part of me take over for a while.

But we all want to look good, feel good, be good. Don't we?

I would love to have some guy turn his head and say "Wow!". Ok, I doubt that will ever happen again, it's been years since... well... I have had 6 kids after all.

Ok, I'll be honest... I was freaking out over those pictures taken of me last week. The ones I posted online. Gad, I did want to hide under a rock then.

But I did something about it.

I got my hair cut in a new style...

I pulled out my trusty little bottle of Sun-In and went at it with a hair dryer. My hair keeps wanting to go dark, instead of staying the color it was for so long. So I helped it with a little artificial sun bleaching...

I went shopping and got some new clothes that fit better, after all, I have lost 40 lbs...

I got some make-up...

I'm not sure it was so much vanity as just wanting to look nice. And I did help the economy in the process.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A New ME!!

Tiffany and I had a lot of fun on Saturday. Since I had been feeling down lately... feeling OLD, Tiffany decided to help me out.

First, I got my hair cut. I'm still getting used to it, but I'm liking it. I let Tiffany choose the style. I know, daring... but she was right, I needed a change. I have been stuck in a rut of my own making.

We decided to go shopping, but took some pictures first.

Tiffany introduced me to The Dress Barn. I am not a fan of clothes shopping. I hate having to go to the plus size department. We got to the store and she started pulling dresses off the racks. Dresses in bright colors I didn't think would look good on me. But I had put her in charge of the day, so I went along and started trying dresses on.

I was amazed! The colors looked good on me. She took this picture thinking I wouldn't be buying it.

I commented that the dress felt a bit big on me, and so she went out and got the same dress in the next size smaller...... The dress was STILL too big!! Another size smaller and I was thrilled!! I bought the dress!!

I've dropped two dress sizes! Needless to say, I'm not so in the dumps anymore.... Nor am I in the plus sizes either!!!!!!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

I want to start out by saying I am grateful for those who have welcomed me into their homes over the last few years. I do not know what I would have done without you.

That said, I am living in a difficult circumstance. My income is limited, consisting of Social Security Disability, short-term alimony, and some unreliable past due child support. I would love to hold down a job, but every time I've tried I've gotten too sick to last more than a few months. Hence, the SSD.

Because of my limited income, I am dependent on others for a place to live. I have not felt "home" since I moved out of my home, 1-1/2 years ago. It was this problem that kept me in the same house for 6 months after I knew there was no hope for the marriage.

It became apparent in May of 2008 that my marriage was over, despite all the "chances" and patience I had shown towards my husband. The more I tried to work with him - ie believed his lies - the more he lied. He confessed on May 9th, just 3 days after my birthday that he purposefully ignored, that he had resumed seeing his girlfriend the previous year. He decided to confess now because they had again broken up and he felt it was time to be "completely honest" with me.

"Remember a few months back when I was so depressed?" he asked me. "It was because she told me her bishop told her she needed to stop seeing me, so we broke up."

OH BROTHER!!! And yes, she was also a member of my church, different ward, but same church. Wards are congregations that are set up by geographical boundaries, we are assigned to wards according to where we live, so neighbors are in the same wards.

My response was "Do you remember what I told you I would do if you ever saw her again?"

"No, what?"

"We're through."

"I don't remember that!!" He was quite indignant.

"The marriage is over"

"Well, I'll just find another place to live!!"

Yea, right, like he could afford it and continue to make the house payment that was in his name only. We talked for a long time, then I told him I wanted to pray and wondered if we should even still pray together. He wanted to..

So we prayed, he went first and I don't remember what he said, but I doubt I believed any of it. When it came my turn I didn't know what to say, I was pretty numb inside. So I said - and I quote because I actually wrote this in my journal - "Heavenly Father, for now he is still my husband. But I don't know what to do with him. I give him to you, do with him as you will."

I didn't sleep well that night, but the next morning I knew what I needed to do. Neither of us had enough money at that time to make it alone, so he would move into the living room and I would stay in the bedroom. Something inside said it would take 6 months to get things in order for us to really separate and get the divorce started.

His response? "What will it look like?"

OH BROTHER!!! Who cares???? What does it look like for a man to cheat on his wife over and over and over again???

I really didn't care what it would look like.

At that time I was determined to keep the house. I didn't know HOW, but I felt that with the Lord on my side, the way would make itself known. I was wrong... not about the Lord being on my side... but about what the Lord had in mind.

It took several months for me to finally change my prayer from "How do I make enough money to keep the house?" to "What is YOUR will in this matter?"

His will was that I had to be willing to give up my house. The only house that had ever been mine in my whole life, I had to be willing to walk away from it. Understand, having a home of my own was at the top of my list of earthy desires. To have my roots in the ground... even Arizona desert ground... was so important to me. I was so tired of moving, I felt like a nomad. On the flip side, being homeless is at the top of my list of fears. I've come close several times, that happens when your husband won't go to work and the rent is late month after month... or when your house catches fire in the middle of the night... but that is another story.

I searched my heart, really searched it. This was probably one of the hardest things I was ever asked to do. I knew I needed to give my will to the Lord, but I also knew I had to be 100% sincere about it, nothing wavering. When I was able to bring myself to the place where I could, without doubt, tell the Lord I was willing to walk away, to give up my home, a miracle happened.

My daughter-in-law Crystal called. She and Chris had been trying to sell their tiny, one bedroom condo ever since they found out she was pregnant with Kullie. Kullie was now 1-1/2 years old. They needed to buy a bigger house. Crystal told me they had been praying about their problem and came to realize that they needed to include me - and at the time Chris's brothers too. She invited us to live with them when they were able to get a bigger house.

Well, circumstances developed that made it possible for Danny to move back to Oregon, so with my encouragement he took it. Now it was just Bobby and me.

Then Chris and Crystal got approved to buy a house AND keep the condo, so they started looking and found a huge, 3000 sq ft, 5 bedroom home they could afford. The condo got rented, they got the house, and on November 15th, 2008, Bobby and I moved in with them. It did take 6 months, just as the feeling told me.

Living with an autistic person is hard, and especially hard if you have not grown up with it. Bobby is difficult, even for those of us who are used to him. He may be 20 on the outside, but he is only 7 on the inside. He is stubborn, self-centered, loud, argumentative, and he has violent meltdowns sometimes when he doesn't get his way. He was really hard on Crystal. I again prayed for answers as to what to do.

Don't get me wrong, I love my son. He has been a blessing to the whole family. I thought I would be taking care of him for the rest of my life. I was willing to do it. Again, the Lord had something else in mind.

Another miracle happened... My daughter, Bridgette, and her husband were also able to get a 5 bedroom house, finally, after years of trying. Bridgette called and asked if Bobby could live with them. At first I said no, because I knew he would test her to the limit. But my mother convinced me to give Bridgette an ear and hear what she had to say. Then I prayed.... The answer was to let Bobby move in with her. Another hard thing to do.

So right before the start of the school year, we moved Bobby to Oregon to live with his sister. I went back to Arizona alone.

Shortly after that my sister asked me, again, to move in with her. This time I decided to take her up on it. With the help of my mother and step-father, I was able to move, again in November, to be near my sister, 3 daughters, 2 sons and 8 grand children.

Like I stated in the beginning, I am grateful for those who have given me a place to live. I really am. But something is missing. I do not seem to be able to connect with my surroundings. I'm not grounded. I feel like I am floating, for 1-1/2 years now, like I am a perpetual guest. My belongings are still largely packed in boxes, kept in an attic I cannot access. Climbing a ladder is near the top of the list of really dumb things I could do. Right next to stepping in front of a moving truck. I have a fragile spine, as my chiropractor put it once, and it would not be good should I fall... Think wheelchair...

This has been a matter of prayer as well... I feel the Lord isn't finished moving me around. So far I have moved 13 times since I was 19 and newly married the first time. That is a lot of moves for someone who has a core desire to stay put.

I need to find the way to feel grounded and okay in however I find myself. But I would also really like to access my belongings... as few as I have left... in order to function in daily life. I would like to resume my crafts like scrapbooking and other things. I would like to find my books.

I would also like to resume building my food storage. Especially now, with the condition of this country and the world, I believe a good, working food storage is a wise thing to have.

Every time a change is coming, I feel it before I know what it is... I'm feeling it now. I think I know what it is. I pray I will make the right choices, that I will recognize the Lord's will and not confuse it with my own.

I also pray that at some point, the Lord will see fit to let my roots take hold. That I will finally, someday, be really, truly, home.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

An Inconvenient Book

I'm reading Glenn Beck's book titled "An Inconvenient Book" right now. Chapter two, called "Marriage, Porn, Adultery, Divorce: The Circle of Life" was really hard to read. Been there, done that.....

I absolutely agree with his assessment.

He makes a very strong point that as healthy as the family/marriage is, is as healthy as society/economy is as a whole.

We need healthier marriages and a whole lot less porn - like NONE!!

I'm not giving up on the idea of a healthy marriage...

I'm not holding my breath either.
When Tiff got home last night she had a pizza in her hands... Papa Murphy's pizza... I love Papa Murphy's pizza. It used to be Papa Aldo's many years ago, and I still think of it that way sometimes. But it sold and the new owner changed the name. It is a large pizza chain, probably in several states. But not in Arizona.

Papa Murphy's is a take-and-bake pizza shop. Very popular here. I looked for a take-and-bake when I first moved to Arizona and found out they didn't exist. It didn't take me long to figure out why. Heat. It is very hot in the desert valley. When it is 100+ at 7am, you don't want to be heating your oven up for dinner. So in Arizona, you let someone else do the baking.

Back to the pizza... Tiff went into the kitchen, heated up the oven and put that beautiful pizza in. The aroma of Hawaiian pizza filled the air. A wonderful pizza I couldn't eat. I wasn't even tempted. But it sure smelled good.

It was with pizza that I finally gave up wheat. I was living in Mesa, Arizona, still married, and my son, Chris, brought some pizzas over for dinner. I LOVE PIZZA!! I figured I could eat a little bit, as long as I was careful. Four slices later (not being so careful) I was in dire pain. Up to that point I had never been so sick from eating wheat. Maybe a little intestinal discomfort & time in the bathroom, but that was all. Oh yea, and a bit of irrational thinking for a day or two... But it wasn't enough to burn a change in me. This time it literally took me four days to recover. I couldn't leave the house... I was mostly curled up in the fetal position groaning... I couldn't think clearly at all... I finally learned my lesson. And this time the lesson has stuck.

So, with the pizza baking in the over, I decided to get that cornbread I was thinking of making... made.

I found a recipe on a blog for gluten-free cornbread I could use butter with, and then decided to make it into a meal.

So I lined the pan with a can of black beans, corn, onions and a little too much chili powder. Then I topped it with the cornbread. It took longer to bake than the recipe said, but, besides the too much chili powder, it was good. Not a pizza, but still a good meal.

As usual, I modified the recipe. I just don't seem to be able to not tweak it a little. I will post the recipe for the gluten-free flour mix when I get it right. Michelle has my mill right now, so I can't grind more brown rice flour and being A.D.D. I forgot to write down what I did last time.

Beans and Cornbread

1 cup milk
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil (I used butter)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup,agave syrup, or honey (I used agave)
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup brown rice flour or gluten-free flour mix (I used the mix)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Xanthan gum (omit if using gluten-free flour mix, it already has it in it)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (I use celtic sea salt)

Beat together first four ingredients. Mix dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Pour in wet ingredients and mix until just moistened. Set aside.

1 can black beans
1 cup frozen corn
1 medium onion, chopped
chili powder to taste (but not too much)
sea salt to taste

Drain black beans and pour into an 8 or 9 inch square baking pan. Spread it out evenly. Top this layer with the corn, then onion. Finally sprinkle the chili powder and salt on top. Pour the cornbread mix over the top of all. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes. The original recipe said 25 minutes, but it took mine about 45 minutes to be done.

I found the original recipe here:

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I'm a grandma now and I love being a grandma.

I've been a grandma for over 8 years.

I've been a mom for over 30.

I guess it's that part that is getting to me.

I was 19 when Michelle was born. I'm 49 now. What happened to all those years? She was a baby.... then a toddler.... the first to go to school...

I remember putting her on the school bus that first day. Other mothers told me how it tore at their hearts, it was so hard to see the first one go off to school... NOT ME... I was thrilled to see her happy, excited, ready to take on the world. I didn't cry.

I kept having babies... Next came Bridgette... She didn't like me, didn't want to be held. Independent from day one... I couldn't get any cuddles from her til she learned to walk - at 9 months. Then she was happy, she could get around, so she let me hold her.

Chris was my first boy. Full of red hair. It's thinning now, but he still has red hair. I took him with me to put Michelle on the bus, just a year and a half old. Their dad must have been home because there was no way I would have left Bridgette alone. On the way back to the house we walked around a mud puddle. Chris was wearing his little cowboy boots.... How he loved those boots!! We passed the puddle... he stopped... I could tell he was thinking REALLY HARD... then he let go of my had and beelined back to the puddle... STOMP!! STOMP!! STOMP!! Then back to me, took my hand and continued walking as if nothing had happened. That was when I KNEW he was a boy!

Danny... Danny was difficult... He talked really slow and it drove me nuts... I've made a lot of apologies to Danny for my impatience with him.... He forgives me.

Tiffany... bouncy... Tigger... Tiffany. She had another nick-name too, but I'm not allowed to tell it....

Finally Bobby. My baby that will never fully grow up. We learned he had autism at 2-1/2 years old. My heart broke... My husband didn't deal.... The sliding marriage took a deep dive from here.

I will be 50 in a few months. Age has never been an issue for me. I turned 30 and it was no big deal. Like putting Michelle on the bus, I was happy for the coming adventure. I turned 40, alone, not yet divorced, but doing fine. It was just a number.

Why is this one bothering me so badly? I'm alone again. I gave those good years away... Twice... To two men who didn't want to hang on... who chose addictions over their family.

Forgive me, I guess I'm feeling a bit down. Big change over yesterday. Somewhere inside the happiness is still there, it's just hiding right now, it's just gotten a little wet.

... Less than an hour later...

I'm feeling lots better now, I guess I just needed to do a wee little bit of talking it out...

I went online and found a recipe for gluten-free cornbread. Can't wait to make it, I have all the ingredients but the lard... I don't use shortening because it is hydrogenated and that is a BAD oil. The recipe says to not use butter, so I have to get some lard before I can make this. Or find another recipe...


This is my beautiful daughter Tiffany. I've been writing about her, so I thought I ought to let you see her too, now that I've grown enough brain cells to figure out how to get a picture on here.

She has declined permission to put Alison and Chloe's pictures on too, so for now just imagine two beautiful little girls, in the reflection of their mommy.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

This is ME!!

I did it!

I put a face to the words.

This is ME!!!

No Court Today...

Child Support...

I needed it.... I didn't get it for a decade.

The court ruled in my favor, the assignment for both spousal and child support was issued, but it wasn't paid.

I raised and supported my children - all 6 of them - through some really lean times. The oldest was 16, the youngest 6. Every once in a while a garnishment would go through and I would get a little check of $100 or $200. Every once in a while meant several months or years between payments. I always treated it as a bonus, a special treat for the kids, since we couldn't count on it. Once I used it to buy a year's membership at the zoo. Portland, Oregon has a fantastic zoo. That was fun.

I didn't get the money, but it continue to accrue. For a few years it grew as did the 9% interest. But then the state gave up on trying to collect and zeroed out my account. UGH!!!!

I had to find out how to reverse that action, I kept running into brick walls. I couldn't even get the case reopened. In the meantime, I was getting sicker and sicker from the stress of raising 6 children alone, one of which is autistic.

I prayed for help... if you have ever had to work with a government agency to get something set right, you will know the necessity of this.

My prayer was answered at long last and I was able to get the proper form sent to me to get the case moving forward again. With this form I petitioned the state to add back the years of accrued support that were taken off the books. He fought it, but I won.

Then I learned that the interest isn't added unless I petition for it, even though it is plainly stated in the divorce decree that 9% simple interest is to be added on any past due amounts. So I petitioned to get the decade plus of interest on the books. It came to something like $86,000! I won that one last year. It is accruing close to $1000 a month interest alone at this time! It was and is important to me to have the correct amounts on the books, even if I never get it. I hope to get it though.

A few years ago my ex was finally located and forced to start paying a token amount. He was not consistent, so he was put on probation a year ago. The minimal amount was doubled, which still does not cover the monthly amount. He faithfully paid for a few months, then he defaulted again. This time it was a probation violation. A court date was set.

This is where I got the call last week from the D.A.'s office that I needed to come to court and testify against my ex-husband. My three daughters agreed (with reservation) to testify too. We were nervously preparing to go, when God saw fit to smile on us again...

I got a phone call yesterday afternoon from the D.A.'s office. She was reviewing the record and saw that he did pay support since his last court date in December. He made a double payment on Dec 18th, then a single payment on Dec 28th. I know he thought the second Dec payment would show up in Jan, but it didn't. No payment is showing in Jan, but he made another double payment last week (Feb). Because he was actually showing some effort, she wanted to hold off on bringing me in to testify and instead ask for a continuance on what was already in place, assuming he will continue to pay at least a single payment each month.

I told her I believed he did want to make the payments now. He has told both Michelle and Tiffany that he wants to comply. For the first time since all this started, since he abandoned us so long ago, I felt compassion for him. I believe he is sincere. I never thought I would ever feel that for him.

I have prayed to have my hard feelings softened. I don't intend to lessen the financial obligation, it is rightfully owed to me, and I need it. Those years of stress have taken a tole on my health and I am not able to sustain a job now. Believe me, I've tried. I am permanently disabled according to SSA. But I don't like the bitterness that is trying to take hold in my heart towards him. There were so many hurts. I don't want them. The Lord has promised through his incredible Atonement that those hurts can be taken from me. I want that blessing. I continue to pray and I feel the blessings of those prayers starting to take root inside me.

I guess the next step is for me to pray for him... and mean it.

A Good Day.

What is it that makes a day good? Is it the things that happen around me or is it my attitude towards the things that go on around me?

Today didn't start out much different from any other day in recent history. I am still staying at Tiffany's very little apartment during the week because my car is acting up and I don't trust it to not completely break down in the middle of rush hour traffic on the freeway. It is something in the fuel line. Even though I replaced the fuel filter less than a year ago, I have been told it could be that or some other part of the line. Whatever it is, it needs to be fixed before I will be comfortable driving it around again.

The car actually belongs to my middle son, he bought it because my husband-at-the-time (we will call him "D" from now on) drove my beautiful 1994 Plymouth Grand Voyager mini-van into the ground and I was without wheels. I paid a fortune to replace the transmission and then a bunch of other things fell apart, so I called it quits on my long, up to then faithful friend. It was so hard letting go. I bought it shortly after I became a single parent and it was the first time I financed a vehicle totally on my own. That van meant a lot to me... perseverance, commitment, determination, and independence. I took good care of it and it ran beautifully until "D" started driving it. He is really hard on vehicles, and my poor van was only able to hang on for a few more years. Yes, it was old, would be 16 now, but I firmly believe it would still be going had I been the only driver. I certainly wouldn't have destroyed the transmission to a pile of broken metal parts.

Anyway, my son, Danny, does not have his driver's license but he did have some money for a down payment. Danny had two objectives in buying a car... 1-make sure mom had a way to get around and 2-make sure he had a way to get to where he wanted to go. So Danny pays for the car and I drive it, and when he needs to get somewhere, I take him. I feel very blessed to have this arrangement right now, because I don't have enough income to handle car payments. Anyway, I have paid for pretty much every repair the car has needed. I'm still not sure who will pay for this repair, the family thinks it should be Danny this time. Presently it is parked at my house, I got it there last night, and I am waiting to hear what Danny has decided to do.

What does this all have with having a good day? I guess I was thinking about it because despite this rather large crimp in my life, I am happy. If I don't let it get me down, I can stay happy.

My heart is happy. I have 6 beautiful and very different from each other children. I have a basket FULL of grand children. I am back in Oregon, I love the Pacific Northwest. I feel like my life is falling into place. I have many reasons to be happy.

Did I mention I have had a migraine trying to grab a hold of my head for the past week. It was awful last week, then I saw my chiropractor on Saturday and after the adjustment I felt a whole lot better. But I need another adjustment, which is happening on Saturday again. But I'm still happy.... just don't make any loud noises please.