When the Plot Thickens

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I few weeks ago I met the grandmother of a child newly diagnosed with Autism.  A new chapter for the whole family as a mind boggling reality begins to sink in.  I promised my new friend that I would write a post to let that little mother know that she’s not alone! And already I see I need the tissue box…

The night before we went to the University where our son received a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome a friend came to me in a dream.  She had been like an older sister to me and had passed away during childbirth a few years earlier.  In my dream, I walked into a beautiful building and she came out of an adjacent room and into the hallway where I was standing.  She looked at me with compassion and walked to me and hugged me. That was the whole dream, but I woke up feeling so comforted and understood and stronger.

It wasn’t until the next day when the doctor said, “Asperger’s” that I realized that Anne had been there in my dream to help me deal with all that the diagnosis implies, the grieving and the restructuring of my plans. Of course at the time there is no way to know what doors having a diagnosis might open and which doors it might inevitably close.  And then you realize that a diagnosis only represents what you already knew somewhere inside; that this child is seeing the world differently than you do and you’re headed on a journey to try to understand that unique perspective!

You walk around in a daze for awhile. You forget and then you remember again.  You get sad and wonder if there has been a mistake.  Then you see a new issue arise and you hope that someone will know what to do to help!

Of course no two lives are just alike and no two family’s stories could possibly be the same.  But there are certainly similarities and so for what it’s worth let me just express, that to some degree, I know how you’re feeling.  As I have looked back, I have a clearer view of the road we have traveled, and so I offer this list of things to consider that might be helpful to you as you begin your walk.

~Your child with disabilities has many abilities that others don’t have.  Know that this is true and look for those abilities and capitalize on them!  My son is incapable of saying anything bad about anyone.  He is kind to animals and does not know how to be depressed.  He is tenacious beyond reason and keeps growing even when it is very difficult.  He is my hero.  As a couple and as a family, we have come to realize that being a family with a disability has grown us in ways we are still figuring out.  I am profoundly grateful that in the midst of such struggle comes such growth.

~You are the only mom.  There will be doctors and therapists and specialists of all sorts, but you are the only mom.  And as the mom you are entitled to inspiration and insights that only you and your spouse qualify to receive.  I say this because there were many times that I second-guessed myself and my ideas and those are the times I have regrets.  Yes, you will need the expertise of others, but ultimately you are the one who is calling the shots and you need to feel good about the plans that are made for your child.  So if you feel uneasy, listen to that feeling and give it expression!  Everyone else involved is there to support you and your family, not to tell you what to do, so listen to and consider their counsel, but claim the final say.

~If you have other children, know that this challenge is theirs too.  Do your best to let them talk and then validate their feelings of frustration and sadness or even anger when they hit. You don’t need to fix them! Just listen to understand. Ultimately, my children have grown in ways that they couldn’t have without this experience.  Listen to them and help them find ways to deal with their feelings.

~Just as your children need to be heard, YOU need to be heard too.  Express your frustration, your sadness, or whatever you are experiencing to a qualified professional or find a secluded spot in nature and LET IT OUT!  The problems come when all of your intense feelings stay inside.  You may be tempted to try to explain things to those who have not lived with your situation and for me, that led to increased frustration!  Do you know other moms who are dealing with similar challenges?  Do you have a therapist who knows your situation?  Those are the people who can offer validation and empathy.  But even if you just shout out to the trees you’ll be better off than holding your tongue and expecting yourself to stop feeling.  You’re welcome to write to me, I will hear you!

~You need breaks.  All moms do, but you need them more often.  Please, please accept that fact and create a way to keep yourself healthy and balanced.  Ask for help and become the best receiver of all time!  Being a hyper-vigilant parent when it is needed has a price, and believe me you will be paying the piper if you don’t take the bull by the horns and advocate for yourself while you are advocating for your child. {Contact me if I can help you figure this out.  No charge!}

~Life is hard and love hurts.  It’s supposed to be a challenge to grow us so don’t be tempted to get caught on the wheel of “what if.”  It is worth the risk to love and to hope.  I experienced times when I would be so overcome with the challenge that I would feel completely alone.  Those are exactly the times when we have the choice to opt out of feeling or turn to God for his comfort and strength.  Do your best to allow this experience to grow you and your family, without resistance.  (I know that sounds crazy, but remember this is my retrospective view!)

~I firmly believe that all things work together for our good when we put our hand in God’s and let Him lead us along.  Events that could be devastating can actually turn to joy when your perspective is that of a humble child asking for guidance from someone much wiser than you.  He loves you and He loves your child.

I hope that something I have expressed here might be inspiring to you.  Mostly, my message to you is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  I understand the grieving process that you will or have gone through.  The prayers and pleadings that will arise from your heart.  The tears that will come and the ultimate joy that will be yours.

I send you my love and my best wishes. Please kiss your little one for me!

Sincerely,

Jacque

 

 

 

 

 

Eclair Dessert Recipe!

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Hey you Provo girls!  It was fun to be with you yesterday!  Thank you for coming to the 7 Steps to Family Wellness class.  I hope you found value in what we learned together.

Here is the recipe for the Eclair Dessert we ate that I promised to share…

It is a favorite in the Sorenson family, but as you may have guessed, I tweaked the original idea.

The crust is made from:

1 cup of water and 1 cube of butter and a dash of salt, heated in a sauce pan until the butter melts.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in a cup of *flour. Then add four eggs, one at a time, stirring each one into the dough for about a minute.  Yep, your arm may hurt.  ; )

When the eggs are blended in well, spread the dough onto a greased cookie sheet (I use coconut oil or butter for greasing) and bake in a 400° oven for ten minutes. Then let it cool.

To make the pudding:

In a saucepan, warm 2 cups of milk stirring frequently.

In a separate bowl, mix together:

2 eggs

2 Tbs cornstarch or 3 Tbs arrowroot powder

1/3 cup honey or agave

1/4 tsp salt

Add the egg mixture into the milk in the saucepan and cook on medium heat and stir until it thickens.  Remove from heat and add

1 tsp vanilla

and chill it in the refrigerator. This makes pudding for one pie or one eclair dessert.

You can make chocolate pudding by adding:

1 Tbs cocoa

To make the eclair dessert:

After the pudding thickens, mix in 8 oz. cream cheese and then chill.  When the crust is cooled, spread the pudding/cream cheese evenly over the crust.  Top that with your choice of sliced bananas, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, kiwi or whatever you like.  After the fruit, spread on a layer of freshly whipped cream (I drizzle it with agave and vanilla as it’s whipping) THEN top it all of with a crisscross pattern of chocolate sauce.

Chocolate sauce can be made from:

1/4 cup agave

1 Tbs cocoa

dash of salt

a few drops of vanilla

*I have tried several flour combinations for the eclair.  If you need gluten-free, I use

1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 cup coconut flour

It makes a stiffer crust, but just allow the pudding to soak into it for awhile and it is delicious!

If I’m using regular flour, I go for the King Arthur brand which is the highest quality I’m aware of.  You can try whole wheat, which I’m sure I’ve done, but I don’t remember the outcome.  ; )

I hope you love this recipe for special occasions.  It is beautiful and doesn’t leave you with a sugar crash later.

Enjoy!

Love,

Jacque

 

New Year, New You!

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Happy January Everyone!
I hope that this new year finds you well.

For the past few years, I have been presenting a seminar entitled, “Seven Steps to Family Wellness” and it has been helpful to a lot of moms! This past fall, I decided to broaden out the seminar to offer each step in a full 1 1/2 hour seminar once a month to cover all seven steps in much greater detail.

I am so excited to offer this series to you! It is a game-changer and I want to teach, encourage and support as many families as I can this year!  Would you consider jumping in and signing-up for this support I’ve prepared to help you and your family succeed at home?  Will this be the year you take the bull by the horns, shift things around and make the changes you have dreamed about making?  I hope so!

Here’s what to expect from this seminar:

Steps 1-3 are focused on mindset and they are powerful!

What kind of climate is the conversation in your head creating in your life? Are you encouraging yourself and declaring your strengths and goals or are you discouraged and putting up with negative noise in your head?

Do you have a clear vision of where you are going and what you want to accomplish? Have you made decisions about where to focus your time and energy this year and what you want to learn?

Are your physical surroundings inviting and evolving or are you living in stuck piles of indecision, fear and clutter?

At each class, assignments will be given to make major strides in each of these areas!

I don’t know about you, but if I have someone to whom I am accountable, I get the work done. That is why coaching works! Otherwise, it’s easy to stay in “gathering more info” mode and never really get through the inevitable uncertain spots!

Steps 4-7 are about nutrition and the practical pieces of step-by-step planning, everything from meals to household management. It’s all about taking baby steps to reach and then to maintain the order that makes life less of a putting-out-fires business to, “Hey, I have time for self-care now!” game.

What’s amazing is that most of what we do in running a home and raising a family depends on making daily decisions, and often that is exactly what becomes overwhelming and burdensome!  So why not make some of those decisions long before it’s crucial and save yourself a lot of time and grief?

Planning really works.  Coaching really works.  All you have to do is make the decision to join this class and wa-la! You’re on your way to greater possibilities and then to greater peace!

If you are interested in having a seminar in your area, contact me!

I am offering 1/2 tuition to those who:

-gather a group of friends (minimum of 15) for a 1 1/2 hour long preview of this class, which is a stand alone, inspiring event,

-and receive a minimum of six registrations for the full seminar series.

I’ll do the traveling so you can stay close to home!  You invite your friends to a free, information-packed event, and we can get started.  That’s it.

I care about families and I want to see you succeed.  When things are right at home, you win!  Society wins!  And most importantly, kids win.

Hope to hear from you!!!

 

Much love,

Jacque

 

 

Pumpkin Pasta

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I’ve been cooking pumpkin and squash like crazy!  Then I’ve been using it to make cookies or cheesecake or pancakes or I just throw it in freezer bags to use later. Last week though I tried making a sauce with pumpkin, garlic and basil and I was really pleased with how it turned out!

As with all of my recipes, there are few ingredients and they’re very easy to put together. Here’s the full dinner idea: I served this pasta with a simple salad of leaf lettuce, grape tomatoes and grated Parmesan dressed with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing and hot fresh garlic bread. And since I’m not worried about too much pumpkin, I served pumpkin cheesecake for dessert!

Oh, I’ll throw that recipe in too since it’s time for pie!

But first the pasta…

All you need to get started is a 12 oz. bag of pasta.  I use brown rice pasta, but any would work.

While it is cooking, according to the instructions on the bag, cook 4 medium sized minced cloves of garlic in 1-2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet.

To the garlic and butter add 1 cup of cream, 1/2 cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin, about 16 fresh minced basil leaves, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and a 1/4-1/2 cup of grated Parmesan  cheese.  Stir and heat through. Then pour over the hot, drained pasta.  Garnish with more basil, grape or cherry tomatoes and more cheese.

This dish is so tasty! I hope trying it will lead to more of your own creative recipes.  You could use any squash in place of the pumpkin, banana or butternut would be most similar, or you could vary the herbs and spices and varieties of pasta. Hopefully you can grow some herbs in a sunny window and just clip them with your kitchen shears when you need them. It’s certainly much less expensive that way and I love cutting into my basil plant and smelling that heavenly scent!

Ok, now the cheesecake!

Pumpkin Cheesecake
from Lioness at the Door

Beat together:
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups cooked, mashed pumpkin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

You could make a nut crust or graham cracker crust for this, but so far I’ve just greased the pie dish with butter or coconut oil and cooked the filling without a crust. If you opt to use the chocolate chips, they sink to the bottom and turn into a crust of sorts. Bake at 350 for 60 minutes. Cool and then refrigerate for several hours at least, overnight is best. We served this with freshly whipped cream and a little chocolate sauce made of agave, cocoa and vanilla. I would guess that a sprinkle of nutmeg would be yummy on the cream and or a little orange zest would be nice too!

Happy, happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! May you have a healthy, happy celebration with your loved ones.
Much love,
Jacque
 

Real Food & Real Inspiration

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Ok my friends! This week’s video blog presents an analogy for you to consider:

How does shifting from a processed foods diet to a real foods diet compare to changing your negative self-talk into real inspiration?

Well, I’d say those two experiences are very much alike! I’ve been working on both for many years and I’d say the results I have had thus far feel quite similar. It works like day follows night and how the sun emerges after the rain; eating better leads to greater health and thinking better leads to joyful creativity!

We are creating our world every moment of every day by how we treat our bodies and by what we create in our minds. So here’s the test: Are you “living” on empty calories full of toxins? (Mmmm, like soda and candy?) Or are you putting beautiful, real food into your body to really hydrate and nourish you?

Are you dwelling on every negative detail of your life? Are you mulling over every challenge and every possible negative scenario you can think of? Or are you using your creative energy to envision the outcome of all the exciting things you are working on and dwelling on the love you feel for your family and friends?

Please check out the video post and take the challenge! All you have to do is decide to begin, decide to exercise your faith and your health will improve and your load will be lighter– right now!

You can do this! It’s your God-given life and you get to design it! And it’s never, ever too late to begin.

Love and light and blessings to you!
Jacque