Good Intentions

I love cooking shows. I make sure I have my DVR set for them, but ironically, I don’t really cook. Bake, yes. Cook, no.

My sisters and my mom have the cooking gene, but somehow this gene is suppressed in me. It is dominated by the “thaw, heat and serve” gene instead.

I became painfully aware of this truth once again when I made meatloaf last November. Meatloaf. How can I mess up meatloaf?! It is ground meat in loaf form; not rocket science here.

The recipe called for strips of bacon to be placed on top of the meatloaf. As the meatloaf cooked, theoretically, the bacon would crisp up for a crunchy ‘bacon-y-oh- so- good’ topping.

This was not the case.

The bacon grease dripped down onto the oven floor. (Wait. Was I supposed to put a cookie sheet under the meatloaf pan? Make a note on the recipe card.) Unfortunately, enough grease fell to the oven floor and began to smoke and catch fire.

Not to worry! I remembered that I saw on one of those cooking shows about throwing something on the grease fire and it will extinguish it. Was it flour? I ran to the pantry to grab my bag of flour and I took two large handfuls and threw them onto the grease.

Whoomp! The flour immediately caught on fire. So the answer to my question is: NOT FLOUR. (Make a note on the recipe card.) The kitchen began to fill with smoke and the smoke alarm in the kitchen went off.  Scrambling, I grabbed a chair to climb up on to try to knock the battery out of the alarm as the siren pierced my ears.

“Come! On! Battery! Door!” I was tugging with all my might to slide that tiny door open. Seriously, how can a small piece of plastic be so difficult? Finally the cover door gave way along with the entire smoke alarm. I stood there on the chair with the alarm in my hands; four screws staring back at me and me remembering that I read one time the importance of using drywall anchors. (Make a note…probably somewhere other than the recipe card.)

Jack said, “Should I open the door wall?”



“YES!” Not realizing I was shouting too as my ears tried to recover from the loud piercing alarm.

Turning my attention back to the oven, the flames continue to grow and the entire oven coil was set ablaze. I carefully grabbed the meatloaf pan and put it on top of the oven and was trying not to gag over the grease/burnt flour smell that was pouring out of it. I turned on the exhaust fan on high hoping to cut down on the smoke. Baffled that my flour idea did not extinguish the flames but only made it grow, I went to the next best thing….the fire extinguisher under my kitchen sink. I got it as a gift from my mother. She knows me well.

Since I have not used one in a long time (honest), I was trying to read the canister ‘Pull pin, squeeze trigger…’

“Mom? Is the oven supposed to be on fire?” said one of my teenagers inquisitively as he walked into the kitchen. As my oldest he has witnessed many of my incidents in the kitchen but even this one left him puzzled.

“WORKING ON IT!”  (I am going to say that my tone was because my hearing was not quite back yet from the smoke alarm and not that I was losing my patience.)

With that I pulled the pin and pointed the can at the oven.

WHOOOSH! A thick cloud of fine white powder descended over the kitchen and it went everywhere covering the oven, counters, floor, ceiling and the meatloaf. Basically my one spray covered a surface area of 1,000 square feet. Impressive!

Whew! The fire was out and the only thing remained was the sound of the exhaust fan feverishly running.

I sighed and did a quick clean up of the counters and floor and put the flame retardant covered meatloaf into the sink to cool off before I trashed it. Accepting my defeat, I grabbed my keys to run out to grab a $5 pizza.

I had such good intentions! I was making a dinner for my family. Meatloaf! That is as American as you can get! I had such good intentions when I thought flour extinguished grease fires. After sharing my story to friends, it seems like everyone but me knows its baking soda.

I had such good intentions…

Many times in this life with Sarah I have had such good intentions. When Sarah was first diagnosed with autism I was desperate to try anything and everything to “fix” her condition. We were told that to see the best results with her therapy we needed to devote 40 hours a week to it. I was resolved that was what we were going to do. We tried, we really tried, but things don’t always go as planned or fit into our life with three other kids. We struggled even getting 15-20 hours of therapy a week in. We even hired 4 to 5 therapists to come help, but we were still nowhere near the 40 hours. I felt like I was failing her. I knew God gave us her and my heart was willing to do anything to help her, but I just couldn’t do it all. I felt so defeated. I couldn’t balance being wife, mom, therapist, and caregiver. All my good intentions fell short.

I am thankful the Lord reminded me that I can’t be on this autism marathon on my own strength. It depletes my energy and leaves me empty. In fact, He never asked me to be on this journey without Him. He knows me. He knows my strengths, weaknesses, and all my good intentions. When I find myself collapsed in a puddle of defeat, He lifts my head, wipes my tear stained face and helps me back up on my feet again.

I am grateful for that and that He is not looking for perfection in me but a willing and obedient heart. When I finally open my hands to let Him have control, putting all my good intentions in view of what He is calling me to do and be, it’s a recipe for peace and joy.

Now that’s my kind of cooking!

The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7

*April Praise and Prayer Requests are found under the “Praise and Prayer Request” page. We can never thank you enough for praying!!

A Place for Sarah         

“Is she normally this hyper?” asked one of the Capernaum leaders.

“No, she is just very happy.”

With that Sarah came around the corner running and skipping. Seeing that she might run into other kids, I stood in front of her and tried to stop her and she dove into a bean bag that was just to the left of me. She burst into her guttural laugh that sounded a bit like a hyena.

Correction: She was very, very happy!

Mary, a member at the church I previously worked at, wanted to share with me a ministry she was involved in with Young Life. This program, called Capernaum, specializes in ministering to special needs teens and adults and has a local chapter at an area church. This was the first time I met Mary face to face (all our correspondence prior to this was via email) and I was awestruck by this beautiful young woman as she shared her heart about this ministry.  She truly loves it!  It was very evident that she deeply cares for her Capernaum friends. Her face lit up as she spoke about a recent a girls’ movie night watching “Frozen” and how much fun she had with them.  Her excitement was infectious and I left our time optimistic for Sarah to try Capernaum out.

The night of the next Capernaum meeting I told Sarah that we were going to a place for her to make some new friends. Sarah blankly looked at me but turned around to grab her boots.

Okay, looks like she’s in!

As we walked into the church Sarah grew in excitement. She held my hand but started to skip and pull me. I opened the door to the classroom and Sarah took off like a bullet! She ran, skipped and laughed. Actually, lots of laughing.  Kendall came, too, and stayed with her while I joined the other parents for a parent meeting about guardianship, SSI benefits, trusts and many other things we need to think about as she quickly approaches age 18. It was overwhelming (more like “mind-blowing, ‘I need prayer’” overwhelming) but I am so glad I went! David and I now have a starting point.

When I picked up Sarah at the end of the meeting she was in the sensory room. The church has a sensory room! Wow!! (The church uses these rooms for their special needs ministry on Sunday mornings.) She came out of the sensory room calmer but still very happy. She had a blue plastic necklace on. I asked about it and Mary said that they strung fruit loops on them but Sarah ate all of hers off her necklace. Yup, that’s my girl!

The rest of the night Sarah laughed and clapped as she just couldn’t contain her excitement. She was so pleased with herself! One point she came into the Family room where Kendall and I were watching a TV show and she did this jump and twirl in the air and landed with a loud thud. (She gets her gracefulness from her mother obviously) Then she ran out of the room again laughing.

Kendall and I looked at each other and smiled. I said, “I think we found a place for Sarah.”

What an answer to prayer! This is something that Sarah can do and enjoy.  I am so deeply grateful for Mary for reaching out to me about this!

This month’s praise and prayer requests I mentioned a praise that on the Sundays we do not have an aide for Sarah at our church I have been attending a Family Service (basically a cry room) that allows me to bring Sarah. It has been such a blessing and I do love this church! It is my extended church family! My friend, Jill W, read this praise and wanted to let me know about her church’s special needs ministry that could benefit and be a blessing to Sarah. Jill W has such a tender heart towards our girl! She is the one that sent the “The Big Game” blog about the basketball game to Sarah’s principal so she could read it.

I am humbled and grateful that the Church is not defined by brick or mortar but by a common love and worship of our Lord Jesus Christ.  I LOVE my church. It is our home. It is our family. Yet, I am thankful for the larger corporate body of Christ that offers ministries like these that we can participate in to create… a place for Sarah.

I see a lot of laughing, clapping and the occasional one foot axel jump in our future!

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” I John 4:11

**I made a new page that lists past blogs. The archives just give a month’s totals but it does not list out what the blogs were about. This ‘List of Past Blogs’ page names each blog with a brief description. I hope this helps if you are looking for a particular blog.  Bless and thank you for reading and praying!!