Sunday, April 7, 2013

Grand Granola

This recipe is for my friends Jess and Sandy, who asked for it. It makes a lot, but since they each have five children, I don't think they will mind:)

First, you need a VERY big bowl. Perhaps your washing machine might be big enough because you have to put 8 cups of whole oat goodness in there. That's a lot of oats. Did I mention you need a big bowl?

Next put in 1 cup olive oil, 1 cup honey and 3 tablespoons of brown sugar. Then toss in 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. of vanilla and 1 tsp. of cinnamon. You can stop right there, mix it up and cook it at 350 until just before you burn it (if you wait any longer, it will be burned).


You can make the fancy kind.

For the fancy kind, you can add in a half cup of sunflower seeds or a half cup of chopped almonds or a half cup of walnuts or even pecans. Or you can do a half cup of each!

However, you do it, just know that you can bake it or you can keep it raw by putting it in your dehydrator for a very long time (like 12-14 hours??). If you put it in your dehydrator, it may all disappear before you can get it put away. The little fingers in my house like to snatch it up quickly.

Once it has cooled, you can mix raisins or dried cranberries in it. And, if you're blogging late at night and you want something sweet but still good for you, you can put some chocolate chips in it and then stick it in the microwave for about 20-25 seconds. Then you can mix it up and eat some yummy chocolate/granola goodness without anyone asking you for some because it's really late and you're the only one crazy enough to still be up. Not that I've done this, of course. And not that I'm doing it right now. I'm just saying "if". (And if you do, be sure to rinse out your bowl so no one will find it in the morning!)

Now, when you're not being an up-all-night troll, you can serve this to your children and/or hubby instead of boxed cereal for breakfast. Just add some almond milk (or cow's milk, if you drink that) and maybe even cut up some bananas into it- but only if you're banana-obsessed like I am. You can also mix it into some yogurt or use it in a trail mix. Or you can put it waaaaaaaaay on the back of the pantry shelf where none of your troll offspring can find it and it will be saved it for your healthy-eating self.
Anyway you dish it, you will be in granola heaven and your body will be, too:)

How I Became a Mother of Many Children

A dozen years ago, I had delivered my 3rd child in three years. Our third child was a complete surprise. Before she came along, we had a boy and a girl and an appointment to see about getting a vasectomy for my husband. But blessing Numero Tres came before we could get in for our appt. Oops.

The first time I held our third child, I cried uncontrollably for what seemed like an eternity. The first two births were special too but, you see, "we" had planned the pregnancies so we almost took a little credit for those babies but this one... she was a gift from God that I didn't even ask for. In fact, she was a gift that I had tried to reject. Gulp.

How could I be worthy enough to receive such a gift? How could the Lord have known that we needed her when we thought we didn't? How many other blessings could the Lord have planned for us that we would miss out on if we tried to take matters into our own hands.

Needless to say, after our third child was born, I had a lot of unanswered questions and a whole new pattern of thinking was beginning to take shape in my mind. I began to read God's word to see what He had to say about children. I also began to read books by people who had decided to put their fertility into God's hands. And I began to ask other women about their decisions to use or not use birth control.

Ultimately, I began to feel as though God should have His way over this area of my life. I had given Him control of every other area so why would I hold this back and not trust Him?


I was so fearful that if I let God have control that He would ruin my life and that I would be overrun with a dozen or more children.

I love children. I always have.

So I guess it wasn't the dozen children themselves that scared me. It was the responsibility that came along with them that made me want to get my tubes tied, get my husband the big "V", take the pill and practice abstinence... just in case.  There were several unknowns that made me tremble but, as crazy as it sounds, I was the most terrified when I thought of having to feed them all. I wasn't one of those women who buzzed effortlessly around the kitchen, tossing a little of this with a bit of that while entertaining a circulating frenzy of children, children's friends, neighbors, the church pastor and the local women's society. I, on the other hand, had to call my mom to find out how to boil water and thought that cooking a different variety of Hamburger Helper six nights a week counted as getting creative in the kitchen. I had also started a collection of pictures of nightmares that occurred in my kitchen- everything from burnt potpies to homemade bread, colored green for St. Patrick's day, that ended up being inedible and instead used as a model of the surface of the moon. More children in my house would certainly starve.

It was during this time that I had walked three miles, with all three children (the youngest was only weeks old), to attend a women's only revival meeting at our church. I was desperate to hear from the Lord and just knew I had to be there. During the worship set, we began to sing "He is Able" and it was during that song that I clearly hear the Lord speak these words to me:

I am able to make you a Mother of Many Children.

Whoa! Stop the music! I sat down as the color drained from my face and immediately leaned over to a friend next to me and asked her, "Did you just hear that?".
         "Hear what?", she asked.
         "Did God just tell you that He's able to make you a Mother of Many Children?"

She shook her head emphatically and began to scoot away to make sure that she didn't hear any such thing.

And me? I just sat there, stunned as the words played over and over in my head and heart. And then I began to question God:

"How many is many? Because I think three is plenty many, you know."

But those words kept repeating...

He is able. 

More than able.

He is able to make me what He wants me to be.

And if He wants me to be the Mother of Many Children, then He is able. If that means cooking like a mad cafeteria lady, then so be it. He is able. Not me.

God had me right where He wanted me. I felt weak and inadequate so He would be strong through me and show Himself able.

So here I sit, 12 years later and I am now the Mother of Many Children, by any definition. I have seven children here on Earth and one that I never met that's in heaven. I have long since given up being fearful about how I would feed such a large brood as none of them have starved yet. Instead, I've replaced that fear with many others over the years...

... how will I teach them all? will I keep up with so much laundry? will we afford a bigger car? can I give each one the love and attention they need? will I ever have time for me?
... how will we fit them all in one house? will I not turn into a house after so many pregnancies? will I handle another pregnancy with horrible varicose veins or with a brain condition?

You name it, I've thought it. And to each fear-based question, God has comforted me with the same phrase He spoke to me all those years ago and I know now that He is able because I certainly couldn't do this without Him.

And so here's my new blog, perfectly titled, "A Mother of Many Children" because that, by the grace of God, is what I am. Most of what I do in the day falls under that title and so this all-encompassing blog should be pretty varied in topics. However, if there's one thing I hope it will do is show that I am weak and incapable but He is strong and he is able. May He be glorified through my life and my words.

Those Moments

In church this morning we sang a hymn that had something to do with holding a newborn baby and I... I just lost it. It's been 2 and a half months since I found out that our precious number 8's heart had stopped beating in my womb and over-all I'm doing well. I hope to share, in-depth, the whole journey but for now, let's just say that I'm doing well. I've been well-loved, well-comforted and well-cared for. I've grieved well and took my time with that so as not to miss any of the feelings that needed to surface. I've shared well with others in order to make sure that I'm not holding things in. I've done well at making new plans and am, well, moving on.

But there are still those moments.

Those moments when I'm driving down the road and a song comes on that, months ago, helped me through my grief but now when I hear it, it just stirs everything up again and I have to pull over and cry and then try to be thankful and move on but instead I just cry some more.

Those moments when I see a family at church bring their new baby and I get all excited for them and rush over to congratulate them and to gush over their perfect little gift and then I walk back to my pew full of my amazingly large family, yet for some reason, all of a sudden my genuine smile drops and I feel so empty inside because I should have a growing stomach and I should be pregnant and I should be looking forward to having my own newborn in a few months but instead I'm just... empty.

And that moment when we sang the song at church about holding a newborn baby and I got all choked up and I couldn't sing and everything went blurry and I couldn't read the words even if I could have sung and then my cheeks were all wet and my nose was running and I had to go to the bathroom and just cry and then clean up my face but just as I was getting control of the mascara mess, I started to cry more.

And then there's the moment when I have to walk back into church and I excuse my way back into my empty seat and scoot close to my husband who wraps his arm around me and holds me close and through the entire service, he's either rubbing my shoulder with his work-worn hands or he's holding my hand in his and every once in a while, giving it a knowing squeeze that says, "I'm sorry, Baby. I know how you feel and I'm here for you. I'm here for you."

And his silence speaks louder than the sermon.

Yes, there are those moments.