Monthly Archives: June 2015

Easy Dinner Tonight

I went to the fridge and I saw a bunch of leftovers.  I am a big fan of not wasting things, and I am not a fan of grocery shopping.  I came up with a bunch of stuff and put it in a pan and the kids want me to make more.

What I used was:

1/2 cup of fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup of feta cheese
2 boneless skinless well seasoned baked chicken thighs
1/2 cup of corn
2 slices of american or cheddar cheese (I used one of each)
I made 2 cups of rice (I used white because I was out of brown)
4 strips of bacon

I put the rice in a baking dish and added the feta cheese.  I shredded the chicken and added that.  Then I made the bacon in the oven and broke it into smaller pieces.  I added the corn and stirred it all really well.  Then, I placed the spinach on top and mixed it again.  Last, I put the sliced cheese on top, torn in halves, and baked it for 10 minutes on 350.  It was so good.  Seriously.

No one complained that I did not go to the grocery store.

How to bake bacon in the oven:

Use a baking pan lined with foil, place bacon on the pan.  DO NOT PREHEAT THE OVEN.  Turn your oven to 400 degrees and set a 15 minute timer.  15 minutes is always too short of a time for me, but I like mine a little burned.

Vengeful God?

I am so confused right now.  I keep seeing grown men and women talking about devils and gods and the end of times, as mad men and women have done now for 2000 years.  For 2000 years, men and women have looked at things that confuse them and things that astound them and stand in open mouthed wonderment befuddled enough to buy into a story of a god who is coming, but right now, maybe he is playing monopoly or something with his self, or son, or whatever a god does when a world has gone mad.  Maybe he is listening to a cry of billions of voices coming from this crazy planet of these mad men and women and just decided to check out because of all of the noise.

I am really uninterested in the reason, I refuse to buy the story.  You can print it and shout it and try to sell it in any way you wish, but in truth, if you really believed you would keep that faith and not be cowering down asking for a sign.

We are at that moment where Dorothy clicks her heels and she realizes it is her, not the slippers.  She had it all in her all along.  A crutch is nice, but it is not really necessary.

I cannot buy Christianity.  I do not care how you try to sell it.  It makes a god you are supposed to fear and a conformity no one can wholly commit to.  It makes mad men out of strangers.  There is no one to save you in that free-fall.

There is a famous story of the man who asked Buddha if there was a God, he said yes or no then the next time he asked the answer was different.  The point of the story is kind of that whether or not you believe there is a god, you can live as if there is one.  It is a simple, basic belief.  Maybe there is a beautiful wonderful god who is not a sadistic horrible monster I read about, and maybe this god is truly merciful, and maybe if I live my life minding my own business and doing what I believe is right, and maybe if I hold strong to hope without killing anyone else’s, maybe one day I may be in the graces of that wonderful being of light, if not, I still lived the way I think I should.

We are capable of defining our own moral path.  This means your moral code may not be the same as mine.  I may believe differently, I may love differently, I may even make different mistakes, but my life was not wasted waiting on a man that may or not have died and undied 2000 years back.  The story is crazy, and it does not define me.  It is not my story.

I write my story.

 

Something to consider:

It is always the will of divine intervention, unless it is something with which you disagree.
Child dies? The will of omnipotent being.
Gays marry? It cannot be both ways.
Fatalism cannot be a part time answe

Marriage

The wonderful thing about owning my own blog is that I can say whatever I am thinking, and I do not have to water it down or censor it for you.  I will not water it down or censor it for you, either.  This is my opinion, which I am still entitled to, and if it means we are no longer friends, we really did not have a strong friendship to begin with.

There is a constant push in the news about what defines marriage. So much is wrong with our world right now.  Men still beat their wives, parents still get into arguments with their spouse and kill their own children.  We still have children who are in foster systems, drug addicted parents, overcrowded prisons, we still have all the issues that have always been.  We still have our distractions.  We still project blame.

Where is the rage over this?  While we push marriage and define it and while we still, as women and wives, have to fight men who control and abuse with control, yet the problems inside of marriages are minimized because two guys want to get married.   We are going to push marriage as this epitome of perfection, this sacred thing most everyone finds an out from anyway, and we still do not address the scars that remain.

Marriage is not a sacred institution for most people, anymore, and it hasn’t been for a long time.  We keep fucking it up.  We glorify it, and we already tore it down.  Gay couples are not ruining the sanctity of marriage, straight couples did that on their own.

Love doesn’t do that.  We failed at love.  You see it everywhere.  We failed at compassion and truth and understanding of ourselves and those around us, and we gave up.  Partners are expendable.  If this one doesn’t suit you, go for the next one.  Just like buying a car.  We are in a throw away society, and we are throwing away people, now.

Somehow we got lost, yet we want to define what is right and pretend it still works.  This is not love.

You quote the scripture and you shake your finger and your head, and I am pretty sure you sit there with disgust and lust in your heart and you probably unaware.  Maybe we all need to feel superior. Maybe we all need to believe somehow we did the right things and walk a righteous path.  Maybe you should read more of that scripture you are yelling out and direct it towards yourself.  Love doesn’t act like our society does.

The truth is people are not going to stop loving who they love because it makes you uncomfortable. People are not going to stop having sex because you want them to. It is not up to you to control either of these things. We are still individuals. Gay marriage is completely unrelated to pedophilia, incest, beasteality, or any other perversion you come up with in your head. That is YOU thinking that and projecting it on someone else. YOU own that perversion. And, you can pray about it, but YOU allowed that image in your head. YOU are the problem. Love is not.  

We keep on pointing the finger the wrong way.

 

Pumpkin Cake Recipe

I have found several pumpkin cake recipes I liked online, but I decided to modify a few and come up with my own.

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I can never seem to get a picture before the kids dig in.

So, my modified recipe is preheat your oven to 350.

Spray some nonstick spray on a cake pan.

Mix in a bowl 2 cups of sugar and 1 1/4 cup of oil.

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Add 1 teaspoon of  Vanilla and one 15 oz. can of pumpkin.  Just pumpkin.

Beat in 4 eggs.

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Beat in 2 cups of flower.

Add 2 teaspoons of baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg.

After you mix all of that together, add 1 cup of chocolate chips.

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Pour it all into a pan and bake it for around 30 minutes.  It took mine around 45 minutes, just check on it at 30 because this recipe is basically a combo of three different ones, and I am winging it.

Before it bakes, it looks like this.

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All of my kids love this cake, and I do too.  It is not too sweet or rich.  Mine came out perfectly.

 

 

Chivalry and the Fact that I Still Mourn Its Loss

My daughter has never gone first at school simply because she is a girl.  No boy has ever carried her backpack to another classroom.  No boy has ever given her his seat just because he thought it was the right thing to do.  I have to remind my boys to get up out of chairs for even their grandmother when she comes to visit, which I find really odd and rude that it isn’t second nature.

I love the small gestures.  I love when a man takes my jacket.  I love even more when he helps me put it back on.

I am not expecting anyone to rise when I come into a room, or even pull out my chair.  I would not object to either, but I am not saying that has any importance to me, but I really find it nice when doors are opened or hats are tipped.

Maybe it is from growing up in a small Texas town.  I remember older men, who would sit outside the grocery store in metal folding chairs, jumping up when they saw a lady approaching the door just to hold it open.  This was back when grocery stores were small and local, and the doors were not automatic.  Everything was at such a slower pace.

I am not in any form against the advancements we, as women, have made.  I do not think, though, that it is a step back to have someone treat you in a respectful manner and treat you like you matter.  It is the small gestures like this that are so romantic.  I like a man to take the lead.

I am a little sad that the kids do not do this anymore.  I am sad that my daughter will not feel that little rush where her palms get sweaty and her hair on the back of her neck stands up on end when that cute boy she has been staring at, and looking away from, asks to carry her books to the next class or open her locker.  I am sad he may not open the doors to a restaurant or take her hand and lead her in.  What if he just hands her his jacket and says, “Here, wear this,” instead of putting it on her?  What if she misses this magical first kiss that you get when a man opens a car door and you get in and he gives that quick little peck before he closes the door?  All of these things are important, because they make you feel important.

It really is the little things that matter.  Although it is not a popular opinion, I am pretty old fashioned when it comes to the roll of men and women, anyway.  At the end of the day, though, the rest doesn’t matter.  What does is how you feel.  How you feel comes from how you are treated.

Nothing is sexier than a gentleman.  At least in my journey, that has proven to be true.  I remember every boy and man who was.

Thank you for the memories.

I hope my daughter has the opportunity to say the same.

Corsicana, Moncrief, and the New Mobile Cancer Clinic

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The last meeting for our cancer survivors and caretakers group was on Tuesday.  It was a really awesome meeting where we discussed nutrition.  The lecture on Nutrition was delivered by Moncrief Cancer Institute, which is a wonderful organization, doing wonderful things.

Moncrief now has a mobile cancer survivor clinic for survivors and patients.  They offer exercise support.  They have clinical support.   They can tell you about healthy eating habits.  They also offer cancer screening.

This is huge.  I had a very small adenocarcinoma four years ago that put me in hypochondriac mode.  It was removed surgically, so I guess I shouldn’t worry so much, but when you have ever heard the word cancer said to you, you really do.  Every time I have had a fear I have hit a brick wall getting help.  I have been uninsured, as so many other people have.  This is really huge.

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Cost always is a major factor in any type of health care issue.  Most services have no cost.  I am excited.

This mobile clinic will be in Corsicana at Brookshire’s parking lot twice a month.  The month of June, it will be the 11th and 23rd.  I am not sure if you have to have an appointment.  The phone number is 800-405-7739.  The number you text “enroll” to is 29217 so you can recieve updates of when they will be in town.

Other counties served besides Navarro are: Tarrant, Ellis, Erath, Hood, Johnson, Parker, Sommervell, and Wise.

I am not really sure what other information I may be leaving out. If you have any questions, you can call the number listed above.

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I wish you all wellness on your journeys.

Much love, Steph and Sam’s Voice.

Rude Lady in the Grocery Store

I had just left the cancer support group meeting.  It was, as usual, amazing.  We talked about healthy eating styles.  Afterwards, the kids and I were shopping for foods that were healthy. I had a bag of quinoa in my hand.  I said hello to the checker, and did the small talk, and here she came.

I didn’t really see her coming.  I am sure if I had paid attention I could have felt the ground beneath us quake as she stomped in a tantrum up to the boy checking my groceries.

“I only bought one of these,” she hurriedly said.

I didn’t really mind the interruption.  It was, after all, small talk.

“She charged me for three.  Three.  If she would slow down a little bit, maybe she could do her job.”

I tuned the woman out.  I really do not care for people like her, and I am sure nothing I had to say would contribute to her suddenly having a sunny disposition.  I continued putting my groceries on the belt, and he continued scanning.

I went to Aldi.  This is a store where you bag your own groceries.  I start bagging.  My three children are helping me.  That sometimes feels a little annoying,  but if they want to help, I let them.  Here come her two children right up to my cart.  The first one touches it.

Now, I do not like anyone touching me or my stuff.  I do not find it cute for the children of any strangers to come in the vicinity of my own personal exclusive bubble.  My personal space is not your kids’ zone.  I am completely uncomfortable around strange children. This is not the child’s fault.  His mother, though, continued her bagging of her groceries and outright ignoring her children.  I saw the woman glance over at least twice.

I say hello in a rather neutral tone.  What I received as a reply sounded a bit like bitty bitty bop bop boop.  I am not sure what this meant, so I tell my kids, “Just bag the groceries and let’s go.”

The woman was within earshot.  I do not suspect she was stupid.  I do suspect she may be a bit lacking in any social graces, but she does not seem incapable of comprehending that her children are rudely standing there, calling my children weird.

It is not my job to correct a stranger’s children.  I know this woman heard it.  The funny thing is, she complained about a young lady at a register being too hurried to do her job correctly, and this woman is a complete and utter failure at hers. This was so infinitely ironic, yet she was far too consumed in her blind corner of the world to even see it.

Character is sometimes easy to define just by how we treat people who are in the service industries.  If you treat a waiter, a fast food worker, or a checker in this manner, I honestly believe it shows a severe flaw in who you are.  Working people are not your door mats. They are not someone who you can use to boost the way you view yourself by putting them down.  We are all busy.  That really is not an excuse.

I really hope to never run into her again.  My life is too short, and that is a vibe my journey can do without.

So, our journey continues on.

The Psychiatric Evaluation: Autism

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A psychological exam can always be pretty terrifying, but when it is your 5 or 6 year old children who are getting one, that terror is amplified.

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We had come so far.  We just needed our diagnosis.

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I remember the drive to Waxahache.  We were discussing the possibility that this may be a three day appointment, and we were discussing how we would go about doing it.  It was not that it was far from Kerens to Waxahache, it was not the time spent.  The issue was the way the kids would react to being away from home three days in a row.

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So, with the fear of impending “tantrums” and “strange behaviors” coming from my children during these exams, we still moved forward.

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The waiting room in the office was rather unwelcoming.  There were tall shelves of files stacked upon files, papers upon papers, all behind tall wooden counters to separate the front desk from the waiting area. The waiting area was 4 chairs and a small aisle to pass through.  This was where we would possibly be spending three whole days.  My anxiety was continuing to rise.

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When we were called back to be seen, I felt much more at ease.  The exam room was a light, earthy shade of green.  There was a couch with calm, warm corresponding colors, and a large, matching chair for the psychiatrist.

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The psychiatrist was an attractive, young, blonde woman.  She had a very calm voice and her attire was pretty much in the same tone as the rest of the room.

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Because of the passage of time, I do not remember much of what was done during the exam.  What I do recall was that the boys had an IQ test.  I am also unsure the amount of time that was spent testing.  It was each boy, alone, in a room, with this very calm, very quiet woman.

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Being in that waiting room with a toddler and one Autistic pre-school or kindergarten age child was the hardest part.  I felt they were safe during the examination.  They did get breaks, which, again, I do not remember the time frame of.  What we were dealing with, though, was two children who were not really communicating with anyone.  We were dealing with two very small children who were destroying the things in my home.  We were dealing with children who hit themselves, threw themselves into walls, threw objects into everything, and undressed in public.

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Now, we were finally where we were going to find out why.

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A lot of what was said after the exam was lost to me because the passage of time.  I do know she said Matthew threw himself on the floor and refused to take the test.  He hummed to himself and stared at the ceiling.  I recall that being said.  I also recall asking how you can get an accurate IQ result on a child, but not only a child, but one with a developmental delay, and one who refused to participate.  She said not to worry, she assured me she had all she needed.

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Now, it was around Christmas time, and we just had to wait for the results.

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If you need help getting a diagnosis, I have a  list of agencies posted as one of my blogs.

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Our journey did continue.

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Much love, Steph and Sam’s Voice.

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Part 3 of Our Journey to Autism Support and Help

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CPS had come into my home.  It felt like an interrogation, an unwarranted interrogation.

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I do not spank my children.  I do not neglect my children.  The reason for them even coming over was they had received a complaint that two children lived in my home who were school age and did not talk. It was a hurtful accusation, and partly true.  My kids did not communicate the way most children do.  My children grunted and used their own languages.  My children were different.

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That is absolutely no reason to call CPS.

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The same day CPS stopped by, they dropped the case.  The question was, where do we go from here?

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CPS had the answer.

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I am not sure if I called Presbyterian Family Services, or if CPS did.  I do remember the first time I met with them.  They came to my home, and they were wonderful.  This was the first time anyone actually had a plan.

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The ladies from Presbyterian referred us to Lakes Regional MHMR.  I remember I was so nervous, and I had absolutely no idea what to expect.  What I had expected was not what happened.

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What I got was someone who listened.  What I got was compassion and understanding.  For the very first time, I got someone who knew what we were going through.  They got the ball rolling.

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All of these years, all of this time I had spent not knowing where to go and what to do, all this waiting, it was about to be over.  I had people on my side, and people who wanted the best for my family.  All this time we spent in the dark, I was on my way to finding out exactly what this was.

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And what it was was Autism.

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We just had a few more steps to go, and we would finally get there.  We would finally have our diagnosis.  We were just one psychological exam away.

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And the next part of the journey began.

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