Sunday, September 27, 2009

What?!! You want to give what for Christmas?!!!

This year. those on my Christmas list will be receiving homemade vanilla extract. At least, those are my plans.
I got the idea over at Laura gives a step-by-step tutorial and it seemed simple enough, so I thought I'd give it a try. There are only two ingredients: vodka and vanilla beans.

Since my husband and I don't drink alcohol and don't want to give others the impression that we do, I had to give some serious consideration as to how I was going to acquire a gallon of vodka ( Yes, you read this correctly, a GALLON of vodka). Fortunately, our little town doesn't have any liquor stores (makes for a nice community), but the next little town has a lot of them and I considered driving over there and purchasing some. But, unfortunately, I did teach in that town for a year and it would be just my luck that some little boy or girl would be driving by about then and think, "Wasn't that my second grade teacher coming out of that liquor store with a brown paper bag?" Let's see, those kids would be about 14 years old now and very impressionable.

So....on to my next idea. I was getting ready to take a trip to Oklahoma to visit my sister and decided to ask someone in her family to get the vodka for me. (Most of them drink and know that I don't approve of it, so I did feel a little like a hypocrite asking for their help.) Anyway, that didn't stop me though, and when my grown nephew walked through the livingroom, I called him over and said, "Kelly, do you still drink?" He stammered a little and said, "Well, once in a while, but, but, not like I used to." I could just see him thinking, "Uh-oh, here goes another of her little sermons," so you can just imagine the look on his face when I asked him if he'd mind going and purchasing a GALLON of vodka for me!

Did you know that you can buy vodka in plastic bottles? That was a relief! Because my second concern was that once I had the vodka, I might have a car accident, the bottles would break, and the newspaper report would show that I had open containers in my car! Anyway, despite all these obstacles and a very stressful drive back, I arrived safely with my vodka, ordered some wonderful smelling vanilla beans off the internet and set about making the vanilla.

It's now been in the jar for a month and once a week, I shake it, open it, and take a big sniff.

It's really beginning to smell more like vanilla and less like alcohol! I think it's going to work!!!

Now, on to the next problem.........where do I get little glass bottles suitable for gift giving? Do I order a case over the internet? Does that look suspicious? Will they think I'm making something illegal in my home distillery ...I mean, my glass jar? Next year, I'm giving monogrammed towel sets. That's a lot less stressful!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Grandparenting a Special Needs Child

Last Friday our granddaughter, Lilly Grace, spent the night with us. It's always a joy to keep Lilly, even though we can't do the typical things that other grandparents do with their two year old granddaughters.

Lilly isn't able to see us, can't hold her head up without assistance, and has never rolled over on her own. She has to be fed mostly by feeding tube and has three or four seizures a day.

At this point, you are probably thinking, "How can these people find any joy in this situation?"

Honestly, I would have felt the same way before grandparenting this child. But when I hold this beautiful little girl in my arms, I experience the same pride that all grandparents feel.

In my eyes, Lilly could not be anymore perfect. When she squeals in response to my voice, I wouldn't be anymore thrilled if she were able to say "Googoo" or "I love you". When she rubs her little nose against my shirt, it's just as special as if she were able to reach out and hug me.

If I catch her very early in the morning, she might even smile in response to my "Good morning, Sunshine!''

I know that Lilly will never be able to walk, ride a bike, or run and play with other children.

She will probably never be able to see a blue sky, a rainbow or rain falling from the sky. But I know that Lilly experiences love every minute of her life. She knows the tender caress of each member of our family and is never alone in her darkness.

We often have friends tell us that we are an encouragement to them because of the way we, as a family, handle Lilly's condition. I don't feel that we are exceptional in any way. Lilly truly is a gift from God. Through her, he has taught us unconditional love, patience, and to rely on Him for strength in all situations.

When our lives provide us with unexpected circumstances, we can either choose to be "victims" or to be "victorious". We have chosen the latter and will continue to love and cherish each day with our special grandchild!


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