Monday, March 28, 2011

Recipes

Recipes make sense.  You add this to that, you mix these with those, you stir, you steam, you cream, you bake... and at the end you have something that is real. Is good. It makes sense. There are certain scientific evidences in cooking and baking that are the same every time.  Butter+heat = melted butter.  Baking soda+vinegar will produce the same results every time.  And my favorite... chocolate+coconut=yummy!  (Okay, not everyone will agree with that, but it is a constant for me at least.)

Life, is a little different.  There aren't recipes, or at least they don't always make sense. Crying babies+rocking in a chair with mommy doesn't always equal a soothed baby.  Working 40 hours a week plus overtime doesn't always equal all the bills getting paid. And eating healthy+working out doesn't always equal the weight you want to be, at least not as fast as you want it to come.

Perhaps there isn't a recipe for everything, but there are constants. And for this I am grateful. God's love is constant. Certain friends are constant. Love is the better way, that is a constant. 

And for everything that isn't constant... I guess we'll have to substitute a yummy recipe instead.  Here's the recipe for today :)   I made it for the recent cake auction, and I hope the people who paid $65 for it were as happy eating it as I was making it.  And to Mackenzie's family, I hope you enjoyed the one I made for her birthday, and understand the love we have for you in our hearts, and the hope we have for the future.

Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Chips,  Layered with Chocolate Fudge Icing and Maple Cream Cheese Frosting


1 box spice cake mix
1 box yellow cake mix
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 29 oz can pumpkin puree
4 eggs

Mix them up, add chocolate chips. Pour them into well greased round cake pans, half as tall as you'd like them to end up. Bake according to cake mix directions, testing when done by lightly touching the top and seeing if it springs back.

Meanwhile, melt 1 cup butter and add
2/3 cup whole milk
2/3 cup dark cocoa
2/3 cup regular cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
When smooth, add 12 oz bag of chocolate chips

And with your mixer, whip up
1 stick butter
1 8oz package cream cheese
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp maple extract

Whip for 5 minutes at least.

When the cake is cool, cover it with the chocolate icing. Stick it in the freezer to cool for a few minutes, frost with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting, layer another cake, cover with chocolate icing, cool, and frost again with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting.

Twas the Last Sunday Night...

Ha.  I forgot I twittered this little poem so long ago.  I am looking forward more beautiful Southern Utah weather this year!!

The children are nestled all over the porch,
while visions of ice cream dance in their heads.


The baby is crying again for his bottle,
or maybe it's nightmares of Brae holding him in a throttle.


Mercy is eating peaches and cream,
she's adjusting pretty well to school, it seems.


Momma is ready for some quiet tonight,
the kids have been good but she's glad it's GOODNIGHT!


We're all missing Papa, he's jolly and merry
but his belly doesn't shake like a bowlful of jelly.


With great anticipation we are all awaiting
the next time Papa gets some needed vacation.


Come Friday the 4th, what will we hear?
A big blue Ford - sometimes used as a hotel.


And what to our wondering eyes shall appear?
Papa himself and his laugh and good cheer.


And so now you know what the Jessops are doing
down Hurricane way where a storm has been brewing.


On the last Sunday night before Daddy comes home
to see his Sweet Peppers and Mama Bear again. 


The End.

The best picture...

One street down from where we live is a dead end road circled in pomegranate bushes, and at the end of that road a walking trail begins.  It winds along the old canal and then turns into a small canyon where in the rainy season, there are three small waterfalls.  These are the namesake for Three Falls Elementary that my kids attend, and it is a favorite hike for my kids anytime they have guests down to visit. There are multiple caves along the canyon walls, and Taliesin's last scout camp used some of them for sleeping in last time they camped out.

Yesterday while the weather was beautiful we went on a family hike up the canyon, and while there are many good pictures that could have taken, my favorite was one of Ryan kneeling on one knee by his daughter with a small scrape on her knee, making sure she was okay and giving her a kiss on her forehead.  Too bad I didn't bring my camera.

I cannot tell you how wonderful it has been to have Ryan home for a couple weeks. To see his face and feel his touch and hear him singing has been truly a much needed comfort to my soul.

I love you Ry.  Thanks for loving me.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Bricks

It's no secret, I get depressed. Have for years. Had a hell of a time over the past couple years fighting it and dealing with it. You probably get sick of reading about it on this blog. Guess what. I get sick of living it.

I was diagnosed as "clinically depressed" 9 years ago. And for 7 years, I fought that diagnosis and fought the reality of what I was facing. I fought and fought and worked and worked and took the herbal remedies and the natural solutions and the vitamins and the oils and the homeopathics and the advice and helpful suggestions wherever I could. I changed my diet, I ate this instead of that. I cut out sugar. I ate protein at every meal. I balanced my electrolytes, my iron, my vitamin C. I got vitamin b shots. I took vitamin b drops. I pounded omega 3's, 6's, and 9's. I had lavender baths. I worked on the contributing factors where I could recognize them. I read books and took walks and worked out. I exercised daily, and put more miles on my stroller walking around the small town I lived in one summer than I did on my van.  I took supplements of this and supplements of that, vitamins and minerals and calcium and got lots of sunshine and breaks from the kids and took time for me. I sought help and solutions in every way shape or form I could find them, except for the drugs that the doctors offered.  I did mental reconditioning and surrounded myself with positive reinforcing statements and affirmations posted all over my house and even inside my cupboard doors.  I prayed and I prayed and I prayed and I read and I did everything I knew how to do. For seven years.

And then, I snapped.

There were definitely a lot of contributing factors. As much as I did to try to reverse the situation and make sure that with each baby I wasn't going to have to deal with postpartum depression... in the end, real life kicks in. The icing on the cake, of course, was the new baby and all that came with him.  And while it helps to define the factors involved, the end result is what I have to deal with on a daily and consistent basis. This new me. This me post-baby-number-seven. This me post-mental breakdown.

I was forever changed.

I needed help. I knew it. I could feel myself at the edge of a cliff and knowing that if I didnt' get help soon there would be no more Rachel. There would be no more me. At the time, I was inexplicably terrified of driving, or I would have gotten in the van, drove off, and never come back. I don't kno were I would be. I have no idea. And I don't ever want to find out.

I couldn't handle the baby. I couldn't handle the kids. I couldn't deal with the stress. I was shutting down more and more and more. Like quicksand, it was surroundg me, pulling me farther in, and every effort to not surrender to it sunk me farther and farther.

My last ditch effort to have Ryan finally understand where I was at, was a miracle that at that point I could even express it to him adequately.  I knew that if I didn't get help, I would die. I knew I was cracking, splintering, and that if I didn't get help I would be in a million pieces on the floor and there would be no way to fix what was wrong. I had been bad off before, but this was nothing like I'd ever experienced.

I remember just bawling and bawling and saying over and over "I need help." It was three in the morning, I think, before he realized the extent of what I was saying. And to his credit, he got me help. He drove me to the doctor's office the next day. He filled my prescription, and held me as I went through the rollercoaster from hell that comes with getting on, and off, those drugs.

He has been amazing, and I rely on his strength and fortitude. It is no wonder I miss him so much when he is gone working.

Now, it's two years later, and I still hate the drugs.  I worked hard, and with the help of my husband, my family, and my friends, and especially with the help of beautiful priesthood blessings, I was able to get off the drugs and stay off of them. It has been 11 months since I last took my prescriptions, and I'm proud of it. But I still can't throw the rest of them out. They are expired, and I don't ever want to take them again, and yet I can't throw them away. I panic.

Partly why I panic is because of days like today. Days when I should be fine, when there is nothing "wrong", and definitely nothing to be crying about. And yet I do. Even more than crying, I sit, with a weight upon my back, like forty tons of brick pressing down on me. I curl up and tears stream down my face and my head swirls round and round.  I can't move. I can't vocalize. I don't function.

What I've found I have to do is label the bricks. Try to identify them. And visually, forcibly, remove them from my back, off my shoulders, out of my lap, and set them down. Sometimes I can set them aside. Sometimes I don't know where to put them, and I have to give them to Father in Heaven and ask Him to take care of them for me. I have to recognize if I'm carrying the bricks that belong to someone else, taking on their stress or responsibility.

Sometimes the bricks are fragile and whe I go to pick them up, the bricks in that particular pile will break apart and fall back down on me, and I have to pick each piece up carefully and set it aside gently, because those feelings are so real and so raw.

And if someone comes along and asks "how are you?" I smile cheerfully. I answer the phone as though nothing is wrong. Even if they could see the bricks, they would not recognize what I was doing. I just try to shrug and make it look like there is nothing wrong.  I'm quite good at it actually. There probably isn't anyone I came in contact with today that realized just how much I was struggling. 

At least, until Joe called. Somehow he could tell, even before he called.  Maybe he read my last post, maybe he was just prompted.  I don't know. But I hope he also knows how much it means that he did call. That he does care. That he listens to me and doesn't make me feel bad for being weighed down by my load of bricks today. That he doesn't remind me it's all just in my head. That he doesn't make me feel like I'm just wrong for how I feel.

Thank you Joe. And thank you Father, for a brother who loves me so much. And for helping me to know...

I will be okay. One brick, one day, at a time.
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