Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sunday Scones

I thought I would celebrate this morning. It's our first Sunday as a family back in our house, and I wanted to make some Blackberry Lemon Scones with some beautiful blackberries I found at the commissary. But this isn't really a blog about scones and I really hate when people write these long blogs with the recipe aaalllll the way down at the bottom. So if you opened this hoping to find a delicious Blackberry Lemon Scone Recipe, you can find that here. I used lemon instead of lime and my advice to you is not to pop the blackberries when you stir, if you can help it. They will still be delicious, just purple.

As I was saying, I was trying to celebrate. I've been having a rough time lately. I haven't been able to focus on much, except for my brother, and I've been on this hamster wheel in my brain that takes my brain in a circle back to my brother, no matter what I'm doing. To the point that I had to withdraw from my classes, just because I couldn't. It's been a nice break from the hamster wheel to plan some changes in our house, set up the space to function for our family again, and make it pretty (duh.) It feels so good to be back in our own house, it's been so helpful for processing the events of the last few weeks, and what better way than to celebrate with freshly baked goodies in my kitchen?

I'm not sure if it's the same in other houses, but the kids never want to be right next to me more than when I am in the kitchen. This morning was no different. I had four little ducklings quacking at my feet. They always ask me a million times what I am making and I always answer until the tenth or so time where I usually get annoyed and make a rude comment about already answering that question. Then, they like to pester me by asking for other types of food. This cycle happens almost three times a day in our house. With. Out. Fail. This morning it sounded like this: "Mom, can I have a cracker?" "Not right now, I'm cooking." "Can I have goldfish [crackers]?" "No." "Can I have a graham cracker?" "No." "((Whining)) BUT I WAAAANNT A CRAAACCKKKER!" "I said no. Get out of my kitchen. I'm making beautiful blackberry lemon scones, Why would you want a cracker?! If you could just WAIT a few minutes and let me cook, I will give you something so much BETTER!"

Sometimes I hear God when I'm running. Sometimes when I'm praying. But mostly, When I feel His educating tap on my shoulder, it is when I am annoyed with, and talking to, my children. It's almost as if He's the knowing Father behind me, clearing his throat at something obvious that I've been completely unaware of. How many times have I *begged* Him for a measly cracker when He's been busy making something more beautiful? How many times have I stopped His progress in the 'kitchen' because of something *I* wanted?

This revelation makes me think of my brother. ((I may be able to take breaks from the hamster wheel, but I'm still on it.)) How much of God's beautiful work was interrupted by my brother's choice to take his own life? God is faithful to us, it says so in many places in the bible. He can redeem us, make us new. He makes beauty from ashes - IN ANY SITUATION. You just have to accept His help and wait.

So I say to you, Don't interrupt the chef. If you're in a dark place, or waiting place, or unsure place. If you are staring at a cracker, *begging* for a cracker because that is all that is in front of you right this second,


He's working on something SO MUCH BETTER for YOU.

"Wait for the LORD;
be strong and TAKE HEART
and wait for the LORD." ~Psalms 27:14

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Thursday, February 25, 2016


For a long time I haven't been able to talk out loud about my little brother. The truth is, I couldn't even speak of him without crying. I didn't know what to say, or how to stay it, and so, I just didn't. I've sat down to write his story so many times and every time I would get hung up on the fact that it wasn't really my story to tell, and delete the whole post.

Terry was diagnosed with PTSD before he was honorably discharged, after serving a four year term in the Army. He was very symptomatic. He was disabled at 70% due to PTSD in 2013.
In the seven years since his separation, his mental health has decreased at an impossible rate. The last three years have been exceedingly hard on our family.

In his sickness, my brother demanded that we not talk about him. He told me once to forget he ever existed and to move on. It's so hard because nothing I write here could ever be enough of an explanation. Our silence about him and his condition was done out of love. We felt we were giving him what he needed: time to heal, on his own terms. In reality we should have been fighting with him, for him, more.

On February 5th, 2016, my brother was found hanged in his kitchen. Less than one week after being released from a VA Behavioral Health Inpatient facility, alone. Exactly one week after the social worker in that hospital dismissed my mothers concerns for his follow up care and told my mother that they had a "care plan" and she needed to let them "do their job." Six days from being sent home alone, ON A SHUTTLE BUS, with a piece of paper labeled "care plan" on which he stated he would call "NO ONE" if he was feeling bad. A paper that also stated his PTSD disability, his severe depression, suicidal state, and anxiety, that was also signed by THREE DIFFERENT MENTAL HEALTH EMPLOYEES.

He went home alone with that stupid piece of paper, that "care plan",

and he hung himself.

My brother. A son. An uncle. A cousin. A friend. A VETERAN OF TWO WARS. Someone who was more loved by so many people than he even understood or could grasp.


I may not have understood. I may have been silent then, I may have been too scared to talk about him before, but I'm not scared any more.

Now, I'm just PISSED OFF.