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Holding together and falling apart

"I am made up of two worlds; one in which I exist to hold everyone together and the other where I watch myself constantly fall apart." --K. Piper

I read this quote today and it felt profound. It evoked emotions that I couldn't quite identify. Today has been a heavy day. People dear to my heart are suffering for a variety of reasons, and none self-inflicted or remotely deserved. I have spent much of the day with a lump in my throat, not for myself, but in thinking of how the people I care about must be feeling, and out of helplessness that there is nothing I can do to ease their pain or change their circumstances.

When I was 21, my younger sister died in a car accident. Though many years have passed since that day, I have vivid and almost visceral memories of many of the events of the day, and many of them have come flooding back to my mind today. I can remember the strangest details of certain things, like reaching into the handle of the truck to get the phone out after …
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Dearest daughter,

There have been many times in your almost 8 years that we have had to have tough conversations. Tonight was one of those nights. Tonight, I asked you if you could tell me why you've been having a hard time wanting to go to bed lately. I ask you questions like that sometimes and never know if I'm going to hear an answer from you or not, but this time you did answer.

You told me that your teacher has been reading the book Wonder to your class. You told me that it's about a boy with special needs who has had a lot of surgeries. Then you said something that kind of knocked the wind out of me.

"I realized that I have special needs."

I asked you who told you that and you said, "Nobody. I figured it out myself." That part didn't surprise me at all. You are incredibly smart, and so beyond your years in many ways. I've uttered the phrase "special needs" countless times in the past 7 years without really batting an eye. It alway…

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins with Sorghum Flour

Today's experimental gluten-free baking challenge was chocolate chip muffins. Raya has been doing SO well with the blueberry mini muffins I made her last week that I thought I would try to branch out on that same concept. "Food chaining" is a common practice in feeding therapy where you take a food that the child likes and making small changes to help them expand what they are comfortable with eating. When Raya tried the blueberry muffins last week, one of the comments she made was, "These are good but I wish they were chocolate chip instead of blueberry." At first I was thinking I would just use the same muffin mix but add chocolate chips instead of stirring in the little can of blueberries, but then I realized there is probably blueberry flavor in the actual muffin mix too, and that would be gross. Being that it's now September, I keep seeing pumpkin flavored everything popping up everywhere so I decided I'd embrace the pumpkin and see if I could gra…

Gluten-free, Allergy-friendly Beef Stew

We have a problem. Raya wants to eat and I don't know what to feed her! I'm kidding, it's not a problem. I've been waiting for this for years so I'm finding a lot of joy in cooking for her and trying to find new foods for her to eat that won't cause problems for her.

Last night, I had thawed out a roast but then when it came time to start cooking and we got the meat trimmed, we realized it was a smaller roast than I thought it was when I got it out, so stew in the Instant Pot became plan B. I looked on Pinterest and didn't find any recipes that worked exactly as written so I combined ideas from a few and decided to just wing it. Here's what I came up with:

Gluten-Free, Allergy Friendly Beef Stew 1-2 lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes 2T tapioca flour 1/2 large sweet onion, chopped 8 medium red potatoes, cut and diced 4-5 large carrots, peeled and diced 2 cans beef broth (approx. 4 cups) 2T tomato paste 1T Worchestershire sauce 1T soy sauce 1T bro…


I happened to be walking past the gluten-free section at Walmart a couple days ago and on a whim, decided to look at a couple of baking mixes on one of the shelves. Pretty much every GF baking mix has something in it that Raya can't have, but I look at them every now and then anyway. SO. This time, it just so happened that there was a blueberry muffin mix that did NOT have rice or tree nut ingredients in it!

Krusteaz Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin Mix
I think Krusteaz is kind of a gross sounding name for a food company but HOORAY FOR KRUSTEAZ!! The main ingredients in the muffins are sorghum flour and millet flour. I was a bit nervous about the millet. We did some experimental baking last summer with millet and it was AWFUL. We made chocolate chip cookies and while they were baking, they smelled like barf. They tasted fine until the aftertaste came. It was barfy too. Or is it barfesque... Either way, they were gross so I didn't get my hopes too high for these muffins, but decided…

Self care: Sanctuary and a day of rest

I don't know if it's just me or if the messages that have been shared at church recently really have gotten better, but I have found church to be so uplifting and refreshing lately. Of course that's how it's supposed to be, but some days I find it easier than others to focus on what's being shared and figure out how it applies to my life.

Today, I walked into church {15 minutes late...okay maybe more like 20} in time to hear my brother-in-law's name announced as the first speaker. It was nice having him speak, if for no other reason than my kids were excited to see him up there so they were quiet while he was talking. {Kidding...sort of...} I sat on the bench and listened intently as he shared his feelings about the temple, and how attending the temple has changed his focus in life and given him peace when he has needed it the most. The strength of the testimony behind his words was palpable in the room and his words resonated with me. Perhaps because I have c…

Settling in to new routines and schedules

It's hard to believe how quickly the first weeks of school have gone by! This year, we have kids in 3 different schools and they take 4 different modes of transportation to and from school (none of which is me driving, haha). I thought that would make things completely crazy but it has actually been really nice. Instead of having to rush to get 3 or 4 kids out the door all at once, I can check in with each of them individually to make sure that they have everything they need and are ready to go. It has made getting Raya ready in the morning SO much easier than the past 2 school years.

One of the struggles she has had in the past is difficulty focusing on the things she needs to do to get ready for school in the morning. She was (and is) very easily distracted. Last year was especially difficult. Even with frequent reminders throughout the morning, I would find her playing with toys because she had gotten distracted and forgotten what she was supposed to be doing. It wasn't tha…