Saturday, May 20, 2017

Handmade Birthday Present

Last weekend our second grandson turned three.  This little guy usually has one thing on his mind, cars, his most favorite things.  So much so, he takes one special car to bed with him each night.  And when he leaves the house for an extended time his favorites go with him. So when I saw this DIY on Pinterest I knew I had to make it for him.

Here are some photos of the car caddy I made for Jools.

I was hoping his name looked like a car, but I might be stretching here.

You can find the full, easy to follow tutorial here. Thanks homemade by Jill.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Why have a Mother's Day?

I was lucky enough to spend Mother's day with all four of our children, albeit not at the same time.  That doesn’t happen every year.  We juggled schedules and extended families' celebrations to make it happen.  My two daughters and I went out for a lovely brunch in the morning and later my husband and I threw a barbecue dinner for our sons' families.

Thanks to social media this year I read all sorts of opinions on Mother's Day.  Sure, we don't need a commercial holiday to tell us to appreciate our mothers.  For that matter, why do we need any designated holiday to honor any specific person or event?

There's no one holiday I can think of that's celebrated by every person.   But in the reality of most of our busy lives, holidays make it easier for us to come together as a family, or surrogate families, and spend some time with the people who are important to us, should we choose to do so.

When it comes to parenting, my husband has often said that we parents of each generation take the best of how our parents raised us, leave behind the bad, and hopefully become better parents than our own.  These recent years Mother's day has been for me a time to not only think of myself as a mother, but of my children and the parents they've become.  I'm proud to watch them take the good, eliminate the bad, and become better than we were.

A few weeks ago one of my daughters was relaying to me a conversation she had with a friend.  They were discussing the everyday fear you have of just getting through the day with toddlers and keeping them safe.  It reminded me of a passage I read in a book I was reading at the time when my own children were teenagers and young adults.  It resonated with me so much I copied it down. 

"All the times when he and I lay like this, side by side, in the dark, unsure, unknowing, scared as children; while the children moved dangerously around in the world, learning to be adults."

I didn’t mention at the time that the fear they feel today will never leave them, mostly because I know she already knows that.

So this past Sunday I was able to tell my daughters how proud I am of not only the women they are, but the mothers they are.  And on Father's Day I will take the opportunity to make a special point to tell my sons how proud I am of the fathers they've become, as well as thank my husband for being the father he is and my partner in parenting.  And I will remember my own father even though he is gone.  I'll do this because parenting is a damn hard job and I think it’s nice to have a day to remind us to remember those who helped us become the people we are and appreciate those who choose to take on the job.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

A Letter to the Church

This week the Kansas City Archdiocese severed ties with the Girl Scouts.  Not only was it all over our local news, it made national news as well so maybe you saw it.  What follows below is my letter to Archbishop Naumann, because sometimes you just have to speak up.

Dear Archbishop Naumann:

I’m writing to you today because I am saddened by your decision to have the church sever ties with the Girl Scouts.

In the few days since this story has become public, I’ve been trying to find if indeed, the Girl Scouts do give money to Planned Parenthood.  But the only mention I find of this is in Catholic written articles.

I know you site the revision of Girl Scout material to include inappropriate content.  I don’t have access to this material but I’m sure you’re able to produce it, as I’m sure I probably wouldn’t find it as offensive as you. 

I read the church concerns include having Margaret Sanger, Betty Friedan, and Gloria Steinem as role models for the Girl Scouts. Following this logic, albeit convoluted, Paul Ryan is a Catholic, a Republican and a conservative. Mr. Ryan is also fighting for a health care bill that will greatly harm the poor, sick and elderly.  I believe in fighting for those groups.  I believe “Whatsoever you do to the least of your brothers, that you do unto me.”  So therefore, I should sever ties with the Catholic Church because Mr. Ryan is a Catholic.

As I see it, the Girl Scouts is a world wide organization, who reaches out to girls of all races and religions.  When you deal with a world wide group you have to be respectful, and inclusive, inclusive being the operative word.  At a time when the world needs a church that fights segregation and intolerance, your decision fosters both. As far as I can tell, your decision also legitimizes false news spread through the internet.  Another issue we should be fighting.

I was raised a Catholic and was a Girl Scout.  Over the past ten years I’ve found it very had to be a Catholic.  I found it hard to be liberal and listen to homilies that have nothing to do with the gospel but more to do with the Republican conservative agenda.  I found it ridiculous passing the newsstand in the hallway holding pamphlets of what books, movies, and television shows to boycott.  And now we’re to boycott the Girl Scouts.

I feel that the church wants to close me off from exposure to anything different from Catholic opinions for fear I will believe something other than the church’s teachings, rather than trusting me to stand by my beliefs.  For me, this method has back fired.  Instead of keeping me close, the church continues to push me away.

It is your right, as head of the church, to enforce this decision.  It’s part of what makes this country great, freedom of religion, freedom to shape your preaching to fit your needs.  But I see this as yet another door closed between me and the Catholic Church.

Sincerely, a saddened Catholic without a church that represents me,

Lisa Jewell

Thursday, May 4, 2017

A First Attempt

I think I mentioned in my last post my grandparents were Hispanic and lived in south Texas when I was growing up.  There in the little town where they lived they had a restaurant  and tavern, Raymond's Cafe.  The food was amazing, good old fashioned American and Tex Mex cuisine.  I'm sure the tavern was nice too, but I wasn't allowed in there.  When we visited we ate all of our meals at the cafe.  I grew up eating enchiladas, chalupas (tostadas), guacamole, and homemade flour tortillas long before Tex Mex was readily available in the southern Illinois town where we lived.

Later after the restaurant was gone, and I was a new wife and mother, I asked my grandmother how to make those homemade flour tortillas.  Maybe it was because she was already well into the task standing at the stove heating the tortillas, but I didn't get much of an answer.  No measurements for the ingredients were given, just a quick "throw some flour, salt and lard together, shape into tortillas, and cook".

Since my mother didn't know how to make them either, I always thought they must be too difficult.  And of course back when I was a new wife and mother Google didn't exist.  

Well last night I made my first attempt at making this lovely flat bread.  I swear it felt like I was channeling my grandmother while standing at the stove.  Just the smell alone of that piece of dough hitting that scorching hot cast iron skillet filled me with nostalgia.

I'm happy to say they turned out just like hers.  They are perfect, depending on what you are serving them with.  Next time, if I intend to use them for fajitas or tacos I might make them thinner.  But for saucy recipes, I won't change a thing.  Now I only wish I knew how to make my Aunt Cookie's Spanish chicken and rice.