Going Underground

Good friends!

I’m about to become a spy of sorts…

And this photo may seem unrelated, but it’s not.

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My son had a play date!

When you have a child with developmental struggles, then you might understand the  underlying meaning of my excitement. We have entered a new season here at the Meyer home.  A season of a new school, and new friends, and new hope.

You see… Last year was hard.

And this new season–a season of play dates!!!–has my mama’s heart, and my writer’s mind headed in new directions. All of my creative energies, all of my practical, and emotional, and physical energies… much of my spiritual life has all been pointed in one direction these last two years. Toward one little blonde boy, whom we adore with all our hearts. But finally I have help. Right now, he has a whole team rooting him on, teaching him things we have tried to share out of sheer instinct. He’s on a new road and progressing well. We are on a new road together.

I’m so grateful that the baking, and the giving have become second nature to me. I don’t mix one loaf, I mix two. I cart the other off to a neighbor, to someone hungry on the street, to a new mom, or someone struggling with illness. I get asked to bake for potlucks, and to add to the homeless meals on Mondays. I’ve felt my heart stretch and have been thankful for this online community who has cheered me on… Thank you!

Thank you.

But I’m ready for my giving to go underground. For it to be between me and my family, and between me and my God. I’m ready to write about other things. To write about others who give. And to write about one little boy and this home that supports him, and my friends who pray for me, and to allow those other words, struggling to come out, to find a place.

This is not the end. This blog will continue to grow and stretch. I’ll still post baking tips from time to time. And recipes. And I’ll find ways to share, but there will definitely be a shift. Just wanted you to know, since you have only offered me encouragement these last many years.

Thank you for being such lovely supporters of my giving, and my blogging about it. I’ve enjoyed sharing with you some of the ups (mostly ups!) and downs.

And I thought it’d be nice to put in some links to some of my favorite posts over the last four plus years. Maybe I’m just sentimental, but I sure have enjoyed this space…

Thankful for family. November 2009

A trip back to the family house in France. November 2009

Struggling to give. December 2009

On Silliness. December 2009

Learning from the poor. January 2010

Making salt from scratch. April 2010

Asking reluctant children to give. June 2010

Musings on blogging publicly about my giving. July 2010

A very large, sloppy cake and a birthday party in the forest. November 2010

One of my favorite ways to bake–rolls in the round. March 2011

On being a better giver. March 2011

It really does snow in the mountains above Santa Barbara. March 2011

Changed through giving. April 2011

Morning light. May 2011

The best scone recipe in the world. May 2011

On not blogging, but just giving. August 2011

All about Saint Brigid. January 2012

Slowing down. January 2012

Staying thin. February 2012

Planting wheat berries to grow wheat grass. May 2012

Learning from those who leave us. September 2012

Giving with teens. November 2012

The beauty of Simple and Slow. November 2012

Recipe for making prosphoron. December 2012

At the monastery–the best way to start a new year. January 2013

Making butter from scratch. January 2013

Two reasons I don’t often blog (my children!). March 2013

A short trip to Paris! July 2013

Sending you all love and good cheer, my friends. And happy baking!

In the meantime, you can always find me on instagram, facebook, sometimes on twitter, I log all the books I like and read on goodreads, and you can always contact me through my website.

jane

Him and Her

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When is the last time I baked a loaf of bread? Last Saturday, when I baked prosphoron all day (post coming about the new pan soon!), then hiked it over to a neighbor’s house so they could get it to church because I was off to a school play where I set up tables for three hours, then waited on tables for another three.

I have been running, folks. I have spent the last month grateful when I had time for a shower, and so thrilled to lay my head down on the pillow each night. It’s that kind of season in our home and I haven’t been baking.

In fact, my husband made a pot of jambalaya last week and sent my dad off to the store for a baguette. 😦

My little fellow above has needed extra attention as of late. Struggling in the school setting, we brought him home to do school here, then added back in half days at school in the afternoons; I even spent an entire week observing in the first grade classroom (A Whole Week in First Grade!). His life has been unsettled as we seek to find the very best situation for his learning, and on top of that we are filling out paperwork and meeting with teachers and administrators, and assessing his behavior with district folk … It’s a lot, but it’s where much of my energy is flowing at the moment. And he’s so worth it…

And then there’s her:

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Almost sixteen, a caring friend to those around her and an adorable daughter–a gifted girl. Madeleine’s world just got more exciting with a high school play (stories by Chekhov–it was awesome!) overlapped by being chosen as a finalist in a local teen show that highlights singers. She will be performing on Saturday, March 23rd at the Granada Theatre–all five feet of her, up on that giant, gorgeous stage. Every day it’s another email, another set of photos, another mentoring session or rehearsal. Because there is so much media involved, and because she is still a minor, that means parents need to be a part of everything. Everything! It’s super fun, but where’s the bread? 🙂

So, that’s the kind of giving I’m doing these days. Being a mom on two fronts, for two precious people who need my support. I am beginning to long for some sourdough, but think I can wait a little longer until life settles.

It’s their season, and things will shift soon enough, I’m sure.

Hoping your season is filled with joy and good things. What is holding your attention at the moment–I’d love to know!

Celebrating a Sister-in-Law

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When I started baking several years ago, a few of my sister-in-laws were curious. Over these many years of family trips back and forth between here and there (eight hours by car–Santa Barbara to Scottsdale) we have talked more than a bit about bread, we have baked together, and broken many a loaf together as families do…

Fast forward a couple of years and now these girls bake for their families, their friends, and even bake for me! During our family’s last trip to Arizona, without any prompting from my corner, I spied one sister-in-law baking three times over seven days! I didn’t say much–not wanting to scare her out of the habit, but, WoW!

I’m so thrilled that this habit caught on and that she’s finding meaning in doing something the Slow way, and offering her family

food made with two hands

and lots and lots of love.

 

Within the Stable Cave

Be prepared, O Bethlehem; Eden opens now to all;

O Ephratha, ready make; for within the stable cave

from the Virgin Mary pure, the tree of life has blossomed forth.

For her womb is shown to be paradise in spirit

in which is the plant divine, from which having truly fed;

We will  live forevermore, and not die as Adam did.

Christ the Lord is born to raise the image that had fallen long before.

–troparion of the pre-feast of the nativity

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Christmas is here and we have settled into the slow moments of being together–right here. Our little home is tidied, the presents are wrapped, and my husband is smiling in the kitchen. The kids are filled with anticipation, and off to church tonight we go!

We’ve been fasting for 40 days and ready for a change.

Here’s what’s coming off the stove, and out of the oven tomorrow!

Breakfast: Green tea, hot coffee, orange juice whipped with a bit of cream. Chocolate chip scones and Scottish eggs.

Dinner: Beef tenderloin with pepper and parsley crust, ginger braised red cabbage, Brussel sprouts in brown butter and lemon, truffle cheese no-knead bread, polenta with pancetta, sweet and sour cippoline onions, with a bottle of Ridge/Lytton Springs 2008 Zinfandel.

Holy feasting!

Sending you all love, from our house to yours. May this season of love, peace, and giving fill your hearts with joy and thanksgiving.

And my prayers continue to speed toward those who are bathed in sorrow. May the light that shines from that stable cave, bring comfort and mercy…

Hit the Road, Jack

Nineteen days on the road. The first three days we clocked 29 hours of sitting, so I stopped counting hours in the car after that. Five people, in one rented (thankfully large) car,

What did we do?!

Played the Harmonica

Fiddled with Yarn

Really, REALLY Enjoyed Picnicking at the Rest Stops

Sang

Were Weird with the Cousins

Stopped at Diners

Exercised

Looked at the Scenery (and the cows… and the giant buffalo statues…)

Scoped out license plates

Chatted with the Highway Patrolmen

Loaded and Unloaded the Car

Read

Slept

We also snacked, and listened to audio books, and Mad drew pictures on her arm, and Andrew sang SO loud–and sometimes all was quiet, and we simply looked out the window at the changing scenery…

If you like details, then here is the tour–Santa Barbara, California to Las Vegas, Nevada to Glenwood Springs, Colorado to Fort Collins, Colorado to Randolf, Nebraska to Keystone, South Dakota to Bozeman, Montana to Goldendale, Washington to Portland, Oregon to Crater Lake National Park to Fort Klamath, Oregon to Lassen Volcanic National Park to San Jose, California–then once again home, to Santa Barbara.

5,244 miles

Many dollars in gasoline

Will we do it again next summer?

No way. That would be pressing our luck–plus, we’re hoping to revisit la sourceand let our sourdough starter soak up some more yeasties from the place of its origin–if we can drum up a few free plane tickets. Anyone with a few free plane tickets?

But that’s then, and this is now, and …we’re HOME!

Nebraska

Mud is not reviled
Bread is almost always white, and soft, and not nearly as popular as pies
Summer is hot, and the weather changeable, and ten year-olds drive tractors in parades
Farmers are like superheroes with superhuman strength
Fireflies flicker at dusk, low over the lawns that stretch and roll and are pure enchantment
Community is family,
and family is everything

Las Vegas to Glenwood Springs

Leg One took us to Las Vegas. On Leg One I discovered that I had earnestly packed all (nine skeins of) my new yarn,

but had forgotten the crochet hooks. Hmmm.

It wasn’t much later, when I peeked back at my sweet youngest boy, and realized that there was no cure for his bare feet. Yes, I forgot his shoes.

Brownie points to my husband who took my forgetting in stride. He’s a good man, that Douglas.

So, I wound the skeins into balls, that took some time. And we rocked out to Andrew’s emo music as we approached Barstow. And we marveled at all the space inside our rented SUV, having random pillow fights and tossing snacks to the back seat. And we tried to count Joshua trees but had to stop when we got to 4,567. We designated Andrew as the trash man. And we ate a whole box of Trader Joe’s chocolate chip chewy granola bars. Six hours–it took–Santa Barbara to Las Vegas. A shortish driving day.

There was no bread baking to do in Las Vegas. Sheesh. If I had opened my bag of starter in that hotel I’m sure it would have died on the spot. I am just not a Las Vegas type of girl.

Between the binging of the slot machines, and the smoke, and the flashing lights (even the STOP lights in the parking lot had flashing lights around the edges, I’m not kidding) and the folks who at 7am are gambling and looking desperate… well, it just doesn’t put me in a happy place. But we made it through. Slept well enough, rose at 6am, left at 7am, bidding Josh, the bell guy, good bye.

And I can’t say there was any bread baking to do on Leg Two either. On the road for ten hours, crossing some of Nevada, all of Utah, and half of Colorado. But, guess what? We found shoes for the little one, and a crochet hook for me. Again, my sweet Douglas steered us straight to a Michaels in Saint George, Utah, and not only did they have hooks and needles and scissors… they had a 5mm rosewood hook that I just had to have!

So, I’m 14 rows into my bag. I found this pattern on Attic 24 and, once I saw the stripes, just couldn’t resist. I’m a sucker for stripes.

Lunch at Mom’s Cafe in Salina, Utah! A BLT on sourdough, no mayo. Yum. And… they had books on every table. Funny books–all by Ben Goode. We giggled through some wise thoughts from this book, Understanding Women: A Guidebook for Guys Who Are Often Confused.

What else? Dust storms, rain storms, wind storms, lightning storms–all that was Utah. Having lived in Santa Barbara for these last eleven years, I forget what a real character the weather can be. In California our sun and fog provide a sweet little backdrop to days that vary little from season to season. But in these vast states of the West–Nevada, Utah, Colorado, places of rock and sky, the weather is oftentimes the hero or villain, not the setting. Fun to experience this all anew.

And even though there have been storms swirling around us outside the Chevy Traverse, inside we’ve enjoyed a blissfully peaceful ride. (!!!!!) Already we’ve logged 16 hours of close quarters, and not one fight, not one struggle, not one tantrum.

Just me, forgetting the shoes.