Loss

IMG_6511Our children have faced so much loss in their short little lives. The loss of getting to grow up with their bio parents. The loss of relationships with their extended bio family. The loss of love and comfort and safety and so much more. Loss is hard for anyone. For children who come from hard places though, loss is all the more difficult because they have known way too much of it. They constantly fear it. When will the next bad thing happen? And the thing is, that loss and walking through hard things hasn’t stopped since becoming a part of our family.

I will never forget our children’s excitement about meeting their new grandma for the first time, and then their fear when they realized she didn’t have any hair because of her cancer treatment. It’s been a year now since she died, and there are still plenty of days that our kids bring her up and shed tears for this woman whom they only met once. Sometimes I will be in church and look over and see my son crying. As I put my arm around him and draw him close to me he let’s me know how much he is missing her.

When I first told our children that their Pops (my dad) is really sick, there was no stopping their tears. They love their Pops and want him around for a long time. When we have visited with him, I can still picture one of our sons laying on the bed with him watching a movie. There are days when one of the kids will anxiously say to me, “I don’t want anything to happen to Pops.”

During the winter and spring there was no hiding from our kids that mommy and daddy were really hurting because of some hard stuff that happened outside of our family. We tried to protect them from it, but they are all too perceptive. They have felt great loss as they have seen us cry and feel utterly broken. When things were happening that didn’t make sense, we have had to hold them as they shed tears of sorrow time and time again.

Recently my kiddos were in church with me when they heard an announcement that someone they consider like an aunt to them was needing surgery on her heart. They turned to me with eyes like saucers and I could tell they were super scared. They love this woman. This woman has loved them and seen them when others may have been too uncomfortable to do so. When we got to visit her in the hospital after her surgery, they were so happy she was doing well.

Less than a week later and our children are standing in the hospital room of another dear friend who just had a double lung transplant. This woman truly enjoys our children, has taught them, has spent time with them, and has even let them sleep on her bedroom floor when our kids have been scared. As we walked together as a family through the hospital, one of our sons squeezed my hand as tight as he could and wouldn’t let it go. I held him close on my lap as we visited with this friend. They pray for her and their “auntie” every day.

Today our son just found out that one of the teachers that works one on one with him died last night. The unexpected blessing was that my hubby was there with him when he found out about her death. It is clear that God was at work and knew our boy needed his daddy who got to spend some time holding him and crying with him. Our boy’s heart is heavy. Through tears he said some precious words about his teacher, “She was the best teacher ever.” And with sadness, “my brother and sister never got to meet her.”

So much loss. So many hard things. Things that you wish you could protect your children from. Things you wish they didn’t have to go through. And yet, as we have seen them walk through so much even since becoming our children, we have seen their hearts grow. Their hearts have been broken, but not hardened. Broken, but not deadened. Broken….and softened. Broken….and enlarged.

We have witnessed our children pray over one of these friends in her hospital room. We have seen them gently hug and care for another friend while visiting her. We have seen them love on friends who needed extra care by seeking to make the day about them instead of their own desires. We have witnessed our kiddos pray for people who have hurt us. We have seen our children’s righteous anger over injustice and loss and seen them love despite their deep wounds. We have gotten to watch them lay down their own rights for the good of another.

I have loved the book The Broken Way by Ann Voscamp. In it she says, “There is no way to avoid pain. There is no way to avoid brokenness. There is absolutely no way but a broken way…being brave enough to lay your heart out there, to be rejected in a thousand little ways, this may hurt like a kind of hell-but it will be holy…Love only comes to those brave enough to risk being broken-hearted.”

I see my children being brave when no one would fault them for not. I see them beautifully, imperfectly reaching out to love and be loved even in the midst of their fear. I learn from this. I ask God to continue to help me be as brave as they. To love people who may not even want my love. To love those I have wounded and who have wounded me. To love our kiddos despite the rejection we feel when harsh words are said, when we are betrayed, or when one of them tries to run away when their past trauma is triggered.

Loss. Brokenness. Being undone.

May it lead to greater love!

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Foster Adoption Realities

We love our children.

It is hard to believe that the 4 year old girl we first met is going to be 6 in a few short months! When they were adopted we gave each kiddo a choice on whether they would keep their middle name or take one we chose for them. Our little girl was very excited to change hers to Joy. And there is a reason we picked that name. This girl brings a lot of joy and smiles to those around her. She loves helping other people and making things for them.

Our middle boy who practically shares the same birthday as me is 8 now. He is a lot like his momma in his spontaneity, adventuress heart, and out of the box thinking. He gets a kick out of being so much like me in this way. 🙂 This kiddo has a heart of gold. We have often witnessed him seek to comfort a child at the bus stop who is crying, or reach out to someone who seems left out.

Our oldest is 10 1/2! Wow! This funny boy  continues to remind us often that he is a pre-teen. 🙂 This guy can do things I can’t even wrap my mind around. He is much more like his daddy in this. He loves doing scientific type things like snap circuits…I tried to do it with him and boy was I lost! And funny?! Well, actually the correct phraseology would be “punny.” He can make up puns like no one else I have met!

Yes, we love our children, and we are grateful that they love us too. That said, don’t let that fool you into thinking that adoption is easy….for us or for our kiddos. We have often heard, “Your kids must be so grateful to have you.” Though well intentioned and having some truth to it, let’s look at it from a different point of view. Having us in their lives means they were taken away from their biological family. They were ripped out of the home they knew since birth, never to be able to go back. Even though it wasn’t a good place for them to be, it still hurt so much. In fact, it still hurts our kids so much. Can you imagine for a moment what that would feel like?

Some of the hardness for us comes with parenting three children from hard places…children who have much trauma…children who are high-needs in many ways. For our first 9 months together, we were woken up probably 12-15 times a night, and only lived off of 2 hours of sleep. Bedtime routines would take us hours because we had to stay in our kiddo’s rooms until they finally fell asleep. I had to sleep on a hard couch for months because one of our children was too scared for me to sleep in our bedroom. We had to sleep with every light on upstairs or else you would hear screaming and no one would be able to fall asleep. And these are just the sleep issues we have faced.

Adoption is a hard road. It is a beautiful road, but very difficult nonetheless. It is a road in which you often get to come face to face with your own selfishness. It is a road that needs to be about the kid’s, not about meeting some need of your own. It is a road of sacrifice. And it is a road that we would still take, even with all that we have gone through.

-Lori

 

Purple and Turquoise Patterned Canvas

Though I have been MIA in the blogging world for a while, I haven’t stopped “creating beauty throughout our home.” 🙂

This new piece of artwork has been in the making for months….in my head, that is. All those months of thinking about it and yet it only took me an hour or so to do. I find that funny. Surprisingly, or actually maybe not so surprisingly, this is not at all what I had envisioned. And I love it!

I’ll give you one guess as to how I made it…..

Drum roll please…..

Decoupage! 😉

I know, I know….I am so full of surprises. 😉

This piece is on our dining room wall and my goal was to pull in the purple from the kitchen and turquoise from the dining room into one beautiful combination that brings the two rooms together.

Go HERE to see how to decoupage a piece of canvas like this.

It has been so long since I have been to the party. You know which one I am talking about….Fiesta Friday! 🙂 So, popping my head in this week with some DIY artwork to look at while you enjoy eating all the goodies everyone brought!

A big thank you to Angie and the co-hosts!

fiesta-friday-badge-button-i-party

A Wonderful Take on Quinoa by Sonal at Simply Vegetarian

It is my pleasure today to bring you a guest post from the lovely, creative, and inspiring Sonal from Simply Vegetarian!

I have mentioned a time or two before that I used to not be very adventurous when it came to trying foods. It is actually hard for me to believe now. I remember going to a particular restaurant with my hubby off and on over the years and he would often get something that I was totally unwilling to try. For some reason, after years of my unwillingness, I took a bite of what he was eating, and wow! I absolutely loved it! Who knew I had been missing out for so long. So many times of watching him eat something so delicious and never taking a bite.

All that said to say, one of the many reasons I am drawn to Sonal is that she inspires me to try new foods! Indian food happens to be something that I have just barely dipped my pinky toe in, so I often find myself excited to see what she posts and saving her creations! Take a look at her Kadhai Paneer, and I absolutely love when she makes a spice blend for us!

I am super, duper excited by the recipe she has brought us all today! I know you will love it!

Time for me to hand you over to Sonal ❤ …

Hello Gorgeous Readers of Creating Beauty in the Kitchen,
When Lori contacted me at the end of July to do a guest post for her blog, I said yes and you know better than me why? :). She is such a charmer and a sweet sweet girl. You all are one lucky group of people to be here with Lori, not only reading and recreating her gorgeous recipes but now gorging at her beautiful art work. One multi talented blogger she is. I just adore her for her spirit and that ever smiling humble character.
Her blog tag line says it all !
Low Glycemic, No Refined Sugars, Fresh Ingredients and Mostly Gluten Free with Some Fun Crafting Thrown In !
As Lori’s blog is all about low glycemic index, gluten free and fresh ingredients involved recipes, I zeroed it down to Quinoa. It is the only grain/seed which is low in carbs and high in proteins, low in glycemic index and gluten free. So I have prepared Quinoa Pilaf or Pulav as we say, with fresh vegetables and Indian seasonings for you all.
Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf / Pulav with Indian Spices !
 
I often make pilaf / pulav at home with basmati rice. But I have to say that Quinoa being so nutty and distinctive in flavor has a unique quality. It just absorbs the flavors from any cuisine so well that it becomes one with that cuisine. I have experimented with Quinoa a lot and this grain has never failed to amaze me. Just awesome.
The freshness of peas, carrots, cauliflower and onion with a delicate seasoning of cumin, bay leaf, cloves and black pepper corns along with turmeric and curry powder / garam masala when cooked with quinoa, created a magic. To tell you the truth, my 2 beautiful daughters loved it too along with my husband…who runs in the other direction when sees “healthy” stuff ;)…lol !
This is how I made this !

Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf / Pulav with Indian Spices

Kitchen Equipments Required : chopping board, knife, deep cooking pot with lid, cooking spatula.
Ingredients : Please refer to the picture # 1 in the pictogram given in the end.
Quinoa : 1 cup uncooked
Oil : 1 tbsp
Bay leaf : 1 small
Cloves : 2 – 3
Black pepper corns : 2 – 3
Garam masala or curry powder : 1/2 to 1 tsp as per taste
Turmeric : 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder : 1/4 tsp or less as per taste or skip if you don’t like much spice.
Salt to taste
Onion : 1/2 cup chopped
Peas : 1/2 cup
Ginger : 1 tsp chopped
Garlic : 1 tsp chopped
Cauliflower : 1/2 cup, cut into small florets
Carrots : 1/2 cup
Water : 1&1/2 cups
Method : Please refer to the pictorial collage given in the end.
 
1. Wash and soak quinoa in enough water till it is ready to be used.
2. Heat oil in the pot. Lower the gas flame. Add cumin seeds, cloves, black pepper corns and bay leaf to it. Refer pic # 2.
3. Once cumin seeds crackle a bit, add onions and brown them a bit. It takes 3 odd minutes on medium flame to brown the onions slightly. Refer pic #3.
4. Now add other vegetables and drained Quinoa to the pot. Stir it well and cook for 2 minutes like that, stirring often. Refer to pic # 4.
5. Now add all the other spices to it. Mix well. Refer pic # 5.
6. Add water to the pot. Stir well. Refer pic # 6.
7. Cover with lid and cook on slow till water evaporates. Refer pic # 7.
8. Once the water is gone. Switch the gas stove off. Keep it covered and don’t touch it. The quinoa is still cooking in the steam. We added less water than recommended but this trick works well and saves lot of gas and gives well cooked quinoa.
9. Open and fork it gently. Serve and eat warm. I ate it with some whisked plain yogurt and spicy Indian pickles.
Notes :
1. You may add any vegetable available. Frozen mixed vegetable pack comes in handy a lot if times.
2. It is good for diabetics.
3. If you decide to use the potato, then you may also use sweet potato instead of white potato to keep it healthier.
4. You can whisk this dish any busy weeknight since it is done in under 30 minutes and healthy and filling.
5. If you have any leftover cooked quinoa, then you can cook this dish with that too. Just make a veg stirfry with Indian spices and let them
Cook well. Once Veges are cooked, add leftover cooked quinoa.
6. This will work with quick cooking oats and brown rice too if low glycemic indecisive not a restriction.
 
 

Sonal, you know how much I LOVE quinoa! Oh, I am so excited by this delicious recipe! Thank you, thank you, thank you for bringing this lovely and (for me) adventurous dish! I can’t wait to take a big bite! 😀
To see more of Sonal’s creations, go HERE!
My Signature2

I hope most of you know Chad at The Cooking Cove …if not, now is a great time to meet him! He has been super helpful in my cooking adventures…introducing me to new things like mascarpone cream (which I made and love), and he often explains things to me when I ask lots of cooking questions. 🙂 He is a great cook with very creative ideas. This cheesecake of his speaks of exactly that: creativity! It looks amazing!  Check it out and vote for him if you have a chance!

Rantings of an Amateur Chef

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