Tuesday, April 19, 2011

With These Hands

I meet with a couple of friends once a month to pray for our kids. We share about our triumphs and trials as mothers, support each other in prayer and work through the prayers offered in Stormie Omartian's book "The Power of a Praying Parent." We met last Monday, and since I was feeling quite discouraged in my role as a mom, I spent a good portion of the night unloading onto my unsuspecting friends! It was good to talk to other mothers who I quickly realized have gone through the same things I've been experiencing. And it was great to be able to pray about it with others. I'm a verbal processor, so it's amazing how much smaller my problems seem as soon as I talk about them and feel validated.

On my way home, however, I was listening to praise 106.5. A Family Life program was on, discussing preparing your teen for post-graduation life. I'm really good at tuning out talk radio, especially when it has nothing to do with my own life. But they began to read a poem that caught my attention. It made me realize just how fleeting my moments are with my kids here at home. I know in the blink of an eye I'll be at Nate's graduation, or sending Cody off to college and my heart will ache, wanting to hold them on my lap for bedtime snuggles just one last time. While my days seem long and mundane as a stay at home mom right now, it's only for a brief time and I know I'll never be able to get this time back. So here's that poem that brought tears to my eyes. I'd give credit to whoever wrote it, but they didn't say... It was the youth pastor at their church, at a service centered around sending off their high school grads.


With these hands, I gently cradled this child;
Held him close to my heart,
Nursed his wounds and calmed her fears,
Held the books that I would read
And rock this child fast asleep.

With these hands, I made his lunches
And drove the car that carried her to school;
Snapped endless pictures, wrapped countless gifts,
Then did my best to assemble those gifts.

Combed his hair and wiped her tear,
Let her know that I was near
To nurse his wounds and heal her heart
When it would break.

With these hands, I made mistakes,
And with these hands I prayed and prayed and prayed.

These hands are feeble, these hands are worn,
These hands can no longer calm the storms;
These hands have done all they can do;
These hands now release this child, my child
To You.

For Your hands are able,
Your hands are strong,
Your hands alone can calm the storms.
Your hands will continue to do
What they are so gifted to do,

To shape his life and make her new,
Into Your hand receive this child,
For my child I now give back to You.

In the strong name of Jesus,
And with all my heart I pray,

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Nope, it's not a typo. I'm not blogging about pasta. It's paska - one of our family's favourite Easter treats! I waited ever so patiently until April to whip out my recipe, and now I've got a batch whirring in my bread machine. It's an Easter tradition that you don't often hear about until you become familiar with the mennonite community. I'm mennonite only by marriage, so this tradition is fairly new to me. But sweet bread with icing and sprinkles? Sign me up! Here's the recipe I use every spring to celebrate one of the best holidays of the year. Beware: it's for a bread machine and the first time I tried it as a loaf baked right in the machine, it overflowed - big time. It didn't wreck my bread-maker, but the loaf was not pretty! So now I just make it on the dough setting and bake it up however I want in the oven, as directed by my bread machine manual. I've done one giant french-bread-looking loaf, several mini-loaves, and today I'm going to try making paska buns (more icing per square inch of bread!).

Bread Machine Paska
1 c warm water
2 large eggs
3 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp butter or margarine
2 tbsp grated lemon rind
4 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp bread machine yeast
Put ingredients into the bread machine in the order listed above; follow your bread machine's directions for making bread, or set the machine on the dough setting and bake the bread the oven. Makes a 2 pound loaf.

ICING: Cream 3 tbsp butter/margarine, then add 2 cups icing sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and 2-3 tbsp milk and mix well. Spread over loaf and top with holiday sprinkles!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Vintage Love

It all started with a rocking chair - one my parents had from before I can remember. It had seen better days and was being stored in their garage. With Nate brewing in my belly, I figured it would be a great addition to his room. Monte sanded down the chair and painted it white, while I put my finishing touches on it with a little sandpaper around the edges to give it a distressed look. And I was hooked. I loved the look of something that appeared "gently loved" and one of a kind. It adds to our home that country/shabby-chic look that I seem to be drawn to. So whenever the need came up for a piece of furniture, I'd spend weeks scouring local thrift stores in search of the perfect piece. I've refinished a dresser, a desk and a stand for our TV, and I've got a beautiful 1920's hutch waiting for a facelift in my garage, as well as our "new" kitchen table with four mismatched wooden chairs I'm in the middle of painting. I love shopping for vintage furniture, looking for a great deal and visualizing the potential in various pieces. I have to exercise some restraint to only pick up the pieces I actually need! Now if only I remembered to take before and after pictures... Maybe for my next project.