Monthly Archives: September 2015

Nutter Butter Cookies & Baba

While at the local Dollar General today, I had to pick up a pack of Nutter Butters. These cookies lead back to one important person in my life, Kathryn A. Charnougrsky Blascak. She was my great Grandma but everyone called her “Baba.”

Upon opening that pack of cookies at my house, I find myself sitting at her kitchen table and her asking if I wanted some. Of course, I never refused the peanut butter goodness. I always hoped she would offer me some when I was over for a visit. Most importantly, cookies meant sitting down and talking with Baba would happen. I never cared what we talked about. It was just being in her presence that made me feel so special. I knew we had a special bond when she would take her wig off and just sit there being her with no hair.

Baba was born October 14th, 1908. She was a tough woman who lost her husband who was 14 years older than her when she was in her early thirties. She went through the Depression. Baba was a woman who could stand her own ground. She had worked on the family farm. Growing up, I never recalled Baba talking about my Great Grandpa Stefan. I know she must have loved him so much because she never remarried. I do not think she pursued or was pursued by any other man.

Sometimes I wish I had asked her more questions. What was my great Grandpa like? How did they meet? What was it like growing up for Baba? What was my grandmother like as a child? What advice do you have for me about marriage, children, etc.? She never talked about these things. In many ways she was a very private person.

If I could see Baba now I would say, “Thank You!” Thank you for having such strong faith that you past it down to my grandma who passed down her faith to my Mom who passed it down to me. I did not always have strong faith and had several years in my life where I drifted from God. They were very tough years for me. I came back and I am stronger in my faith thanks to the strong women in my family.

I recall as a child, helping Baba and my Mom clean the church. I recall Sundays sitting up front with Baba during mass. Afterwards, she would come with us for a Sunday drive. I loved Sundays, because if Baba was around my Dad was on his best behavior. For some reason he had a lot of respect for her and did not drink around her. I was always excited on Sundays and felt hope and joy.

I do not think Baba knew how much she influenced my life. She was a fighter to the end. I remember how we would go watch her bowl in a league and by then she was blind. Her teammates just told her what pin numbers were up and she still would bowl amazing games. I looked up to her for her strength, faith, and perseverance.

On November 9, 1992, I was sitting in class and the phone rang. I had a pit in my stomach and I just knew. My Dad could barely choke the words out into the phone that he was there to pick me up. Right then I knew she was gone, my Baba was gone. I turned pure white and rushed out of my classroom to the office. On the drive home, my brother, my Dad, and I were crying. It hurt so badly. I remember crying for my Mom who had to drive 45 minutes home from work. In many ways she was a second Mom to my Mom. Baba was the first relative that was close to me that I had lost. We lost her to cancer. It saddens me that back then I could not see that it was a blessing that God took Baba. She was hurting, suffering, losing weight, deteriorating fast. It was just too much for me at the age of fourteen to completely understand.

After that, I had doubt. I hated God. When I should have ran to him, I ran away from him fast and hard. I did not look back either. I struggled with my faith for close to 7 years. Often times, I would think if I did an action, what would Baba think? That lasted for a while and it helped me to make some good choices. But as time went on, I stopped asking what she would think. I know now I should have been thinking is this what God want me to do but I was not there yet. During my struggling, I made some bad choices. These choices I can never take back.

I am happy that I know God today and I know he has forgiven me for the things that happened between 14-21 years of age. God had helped me to be forgiven and to forgive others. My faith is stronger than it ever has been and continues to strengthen. I can only hope that when I die, my girls know I have a strong faith and that they have strong faith too.

If Gathering / If Equip

If Gathering was established to: “gather, equip, and unleash the next generation of women to live out their purpose.” Jennie Allen is the founder and visionary behind if gathering. It is run by ten leaders, four advisors, and two staff. If equip which I am familiar with is a part of if gathering along with if unleash. If equip is a free, simple equipping tool for reading the Bible daily. Their hope is for women all over the world to “know God more deeply and to live out their purpose.” I am so very grateful for all the hard work that the women put into if equip! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

On  if equip Monday through Friday there is a bible passage to be read and discussed. Sometimes on Fridays a spiritual poem will be used. After the passage there is a prerecorded video of two ladies that vary daily talking about the passage. There is always a question around the passage that is discussed too. The videos usually last 2-3 minutes long and are wonderful. You really get to know the personalities and hearts of the women in the videos. Personally as a visual learner, I enjoy the videos so much.  Also, it appears like it is just two friends sitting on couches talking about the Bible over coffee.  After reading the Bible passage and watching the video, then it is the online communities turn.  The brave women in the online community choose to leave comments. I enjoy reading each and every one. Often, I learn so much from the if equip community. Some ladies go very deep into their personal life which is awesome. They trust us to pray for them. I have made some friends whom I have never met yet. I cannot say enough about if equip. I truly look forward to Mondays and am saddened on our weeks off. Currently, we are studying some important ladies from the bible. We studied Eve last week and this week we are focusing on Sarah. There is just something about a community learning together that is amazing and calming to me. If you are looking for a safe place to learn about the Bible among other women I encourage you to check it out. You will not be sorry that you did!

‘Hallelujah’ Parody for Stay At Home Moms

Shannon Christensen Abbott sang Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” in her town’s talent show, but changed the lyrics to an ode to stay at home moms (SAHM). She created a video to share on her Facebook page for friends and family who could not attend the talent show. The video has gone viral with over 12 million views.

As a SAHM, I can relate to the Abbot’s lyrics. “It’s 3 a.m. and you’re wide awake. Baby, go to sleep for heaven’s sake. Mama’s gonna be a zombie in the morning. Yet Daddy’s asleep without a care. How does he do that? It isn’t fair!” The past 2 weeks I have been dealing with this exact issue with my baby. Briella has been waking up and taking 30 minutes – over an hour to get back to sleep. Then she has been waking multiple times a night. I have been zombie like and now fighting a cold to boot.

With all four of our girls, somehow my husband never heard the girls’ nighttime cries. I recall one day when my oldest Jessica was a baby she fell asleep on the couch next to my husband. My husband suddenly falls asleep while I am taking a shower. I come down to a screaming baby and a sleeping husband. I still cannot understand how he did not hear her screaming right next to him. However, here is a man who literally slept through a hurricane with wild winds just outside the window as I was awake worried hearing the howling wind. Can anyone relate to husbands who cannot hear your babies/children?

Shannon did an awesome job with creating new lyrics. She has an amazing voice. Sit back and enjoy it because I am sure it will put a smile on your face.

Anyone else a Klutz?

At least one to two times a week, I find myself doing something klutzy.  Sometimes it is bumping into a piece of furniture which almost always turns into a black and blue mark.  This mark over days starts to change into different colors: red, purple, yellow.  I am so bad that often I cannot even recall what in the world I bumped into.  My poor children are klutzy/ accident prone too.  They never had a chance.

Yesterday it was the lid of the deep fryer that got me in the kitchen.  I was taking out homemade french fries and turned my head for a second towards the conversation occurring at the kitchen table.  Simultaneously, I lowered my right hand that was holding the lid onto the top of my left hand.  Did I mention that I am left handed?  Luckily I had my wits about me and put lavender essential oil with fractioned coconut oil on it and the pain ceased.  Normally I would have ran for the ice or ran my hand under cold water for 15-20 minutes.  I am getting smarter in my old age.  Too bad my sight and balance especially in the dark are not increasing as I age.  Hoping no other injuries occur this week!  Feel free to leave a comment about your klutzy moment this week.

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Meatless Monday Veggie Pot Pies

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If you are looking for a wonderful dinner idea for Monday, then make the veggie pot pies. I used the recipe from Gloria at Revolution in Bloom http://www.revolutioninbloom.com/recipe/veggie-pot-pie/#comment-2261211156.  I substituted the cashew cream with oat milk.  I had to use a nut free milk so I could pack the leftover’s in my daughter’s lunch.  A side salad and mashed potatoes made this dinner complete.

“War Room” Review

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In case you have not seen the trailer

I finally took the time to go see “War Room.”  It was time well spent. I had not watched the preview and had no clue what actors/actresses were in the movie. I was pleasantly surprised to see Priscilla Shirer as Elizabeth the main character. The Tuesday morning women’s bible study I attend has completed her ‘Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted’ and ‘Breathe’ bible studies. She is an amazing warrior of God. The fact that Alex and Steven Hendricks were intentional in asking her to play the role makes complete sense. Why wouldn’t they want a well- known Christian to play the role, someone who understands the Bible? She does an amazing job acting despite the fact that it was her first appearance in a movie.

Elizabeth who is married to Tony (T.C. Stallings) is struggling in life. More specifically, their marriage is struggling and slowly falling apart. T.C. Stallings does a wonderful job of playing the role of the tough money driven husband. He thrives on making the sale and earning respect from his peers. Many men spend their lives chasing the almighty dollar, when their wives would “rather have a man chasing Jesus than a house full of stuff,” just as Elizabeth begins to realize.

Tony faces many challenges and temptations during the movie. His best friend Michael (Michael Jr.) is a Christian who stands beside his pal. Michael is true to his beliefs and shares this with Tony. In several scenes, Michael questions Tony and challenges his beliefs and behavior. Do you have Michaels in your life? If not we all need them.

Ms. Clara (Karen Abercrombie) is the wiser older woman that comes into Elizabeth’s life and shows her how powerful prayer can be. Ms. Clara is the one who questions Elizabeth about her prayer life. She explains the War Room to her and directs her how to use it. “You need to plea to God to do what only He can do. Then you need to get out of the way and let him do it.” “You need to kick the real enemy out of your house with the word.” What an awesome gift Ms. Clara gives Elizabeth. We all need Ms. Clara’s in our lives. Better yet we all need to be the Ms. Clara’s in someone else’s life! I challenge you to be there for someone else and teach them about the power of prayer!

While watching the movie, you will be touched by John Waller’s song Crazy faith during the movie.

You can find the lyrics here:
http://www.newreleasetoday.com/lyricsdetail.php?lyrics_id=86194

The movie was everything I expected and more. “You need to do your fighting in prayer.” People need to fight their battles in prayer first. The movie is based on: “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matt. 6:6 New International Version).

“War Room” has ignited a passion for me to pray more. I do pray but not on a specific schedule or in a specific room. I have not been praying with a specific strategy like mentioned in the movie.  I need a prayer strategy. It is time I really pray for my husband, my marriage, my children, family, friends, the country etc.

This short interview with the Hendricks brothers was amazing. I was touched how much the movie has touched the reporter who is doing the interview. I imagine this movie has had this effect on so many other people. Praise God!

I want my prayer life to be hot and amped up. I have prepared my War Room. Who else is ready to get their prayer on?

Easy Grillable Veggie Burgers

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This was my yummy dinner tonight! The recipe was from http://minimalistbaker.com/easy-grillable-veggie-burgers/

My picture taken from my phone does this burger no justice. Check out the recipe through the link above and her much better picture.  The veggie burger was very flavorful.  The only changes I made was that I used almonds rather than walnuts.  I had no walnuts in the house. Enjoy!

Essential Oils Take Me Away!

“Mommy! Mom! Mom! Sarah, wah wah!”  I am being pulled in so many directions.  There is not enough of me to go around.  I am feeling like someone is always not getting help when they need it.  I am feeling guilty about this.  I am feeling that I am barely getting things done like the basics.  I struggle with making lunch and dinner because my baby needs me.  Do not even ask me about the house cleaning.  I manage to get the dishes done and the laundry usually sits for several days before I get to it.

I know I am stressed because I have my 3 year old asking me, “Mommy are you happy?”  Then my 8 year old saying,” Mom I wish we would win the Powerball so Dad would not be so stressed and you could pay all the bills.”  This child is smart beyond her years.  I had to explain to her that there is nothing to worry about.  We have more than enough to pay our bills.  Also, I told her it would be awesome to win the lottery because there would be so many people we could help!  The truth is my husband was born stressed, it is in his DNA.  I was not born this way yet I see myself being stressed a lot lately.

It has been a hard two days.  I am worn out from being in charge of 4 children.  The past two days I have had failures.  I screamed at my girls twice in the past two days.  I am not proud of it, and do not like to admit it.  It needs to be said, and I want to keep it real here.  I am not perfect, far from it.  I make mistakes every day, several times a day.  I sin just like every other human.  Being a Mom is a really tough calling sometimes – okay a lot of the time.  I have been feeling pulled in so many different directions that I snapped.  Tonight I yelled so loud that I scared the baby.  That is so bad.  I realized that I need a break and I am giving it to myself.

I have had one night where I was away from our baby and she is 4 months old already.  It was not a Mommy’s night out or anything like that.  I was taking my 5 year old daughter to Kindergarten Orientation.  That night does not count.  I decide that this week I am going to go to the movies to see War Room.  I am not one for watching TV or movies really.  There are many reasons for this and I will save it for another post.   However, this movie I want to see.  I will treat myself to some time away from the family.  Time where I get to just be Sarah.  Sarah hello I know you are in there somewhere.

To help me deal with my stress tonight, I took a hot bath.  I used Epsom salt to literally allow the negativity and impurities out.  I sat there pondering what essential oil would be my friend tonight.  I decided on Roman Chamomile essential oil.  It can be diffused to soothe anger and irritability.  I dumped 4 drops into my bath.  I slipped into it and felt my shoulders relax, my back relax, and my mind become calm.  I need to reach for my friends, my essential oils more often in times like this.  The certified pure oils help me with having a feeling of well being and they support healthy immune function.*   (If you ever thought about trying essential oils or need more information contact me.)

I know I need to get into a better morning routine.  I need to wake up before the girls, pray and/or read Bible, diffuse oils, eat breakfast, and begin my day.  I need to start walking again.  I was feeling wonderful when I was doing this.  I need to squeeze in a 30 minute workout of some kind.  If I do these things, I know I will have a more positive attitude.  If I do not care for myself, how can I care for others to the best of my ability?

Tomorrow will be a better day.  I will be positive and I will whisper tomorrow.  Yes may tomorrow be a day of whispering and laughter!

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Feeling Guilty

Before you click on the you tube video, have your tissues ready.  I am forewarning you – you will want them.  This video has been around for a while. Yesterday was the first time that I viewed it.  It tugged at my heart and yes I cried.  Each time I watch it, I cry.  I really bawl when she wears her Dad’s shirt as a nightgown and it still smells like him.

The total of individuals who lost their lives during the September 11th attacks was 2,977.  So many more lives were affected by these deaths.  My heart goes out to anyone who lost someone during these attacks.  I cannot truly understand the emotions you went through and continue to go through.  I have not had anything like this happen to my loved ones., though I have loved ones who have passed.

When these attacks occurred I had just started my teaching career.  I was not a parent at this time.  However, I still thought about the children.  These poor children who lost their parent(s).  Some of them becoming orphans.  There were many of them whom had not even been born yet still growing in the womb.  They would not be given the chance to know their Earthly fathers.

Now being a parent myself I still think of the children.  It takes a different light now though.  I think about how blessed I am to be here with my 4 girls.  How sad I would be if I was suddenly taken home to God before I was able to see my girls grow.  I would feel awful for missing their firsts and their smiling faces daily.  I sit here feeling guilty, that I get to live my life with my children yet I sometimes take that for granted.  If I am honest I take that for granted more than I would like to admit.  When I get frustrated and yes happen to yell at my children, I feel guilty.  The author of that video would probably do anything to see her Daddy again even if it was just for a minute.  God please forgive me for not enjoying my children like I should.

I am going to be honest with you all.  I feel guilty for another reason too.  It has to do with my very own Earthly Father.  I have not seen him for the past 10 years.  I have tried to have a relationship with him several times.  I do not believe that he wants to have a relationship with me.  My children have never met him.  They only know about him because they have seen a picture from my wedding day and asked about him.  I am torn in regard to him because he is an alcoholic and there were so many ups and downs during the 21 years of my life that we lived under the same roof.  I do not want my children to experience the emotional roller coaster that I did growing up.  Nor do I want to relive that again.  It would not be fair to them or my husband.  I do wish things were different.  I will always love my Dad just from afar for now.  My guilt lies in that my Dad is alive and this author’s is not.  We share in wanting a relationship with our Daddy but cannot have one for different reasons.  I am sorry that I have my Dad on Earth and she does not.  God please continue to work on this broken relationship.  I believe you alone can restore this relationship in your time.

She brings up an interesting thought: Daddy can you see me?  This is something that I have pondered.  Can our loved ones see us from Heaven? I do not think they can see us.  I believe they are aware of our spiritual wellness.  I believe our loved ones whom have passed can and do pray for us.  I believe they definitely pray for those that have not been saved yet.  I imagine an announcement or bell being rung when another person has professed Jesus as their savior.  I imagine those in Heaven rejoicing and celebrating each and every time for each soul.