Friday, November 30, 2012

The real story

Yesterday I blithely mentioned that I was going to make some rye bread for dinner. As I was making it, I realized that those words didn't really communicate what was involved and why it took so much of my afternoon to accomplish this task. Here's the real story.

Now, I know that I make a little more work for myself by grinding my own flour for things and that making bread from scratch is more time-consuming than buying it off the shelf. That's a choice I happily make because the bread tastes so much better and is much more economical. (Once you've paid for the wheat grinder and heavy duty mixer, that is.) So I'm not feeling sorry for myself. Amused, perhaps, but not sorry.

Making rye bread is a little more involved than making straight wheat bread because it uses two types of flour. In preparation, I grabbed the bucket of rye berries and started the grinder to get that out of the way first. Sometimes efficiency isn't all it's cracked up to be, because in my desire to get things going, I didn't check the basement to see if I had any rye flour already ground. I really didn't think I did and so merely went down to get the container I keep it in. Well, now I have a lot of rye flour and I'll probably be making a lot more rye bread in the future. But step one in the bread making process was done.

Step two involved grinding regular wheat. I head to the pantry to get a bucket of wheat berries and discover they are all empty. Never fear, I have more. Over two hundred pounds more. It's just in the basement. Back down I go to haul up a new 50# bag and then proceed to fill my empty storage buckets. With that done, I can proceed to grind the wheat. (Have a mentioned that my wheat grinder sounds like a 747 taking off from the kitchen?)

Normally while wheat is being ground, I leave it and to other things, such as clean up the kitchen. Yesterday, I had very industrious children who wanted to do things. Instead of cleaning up the kitchen, I get TM settled in the butler's pantry because he wants to continue to practice his soldering skills so that he can eventually assemble the robot he got for his birthday. He is getting pretty good at it. I don't know about you, but the idea of arming a ten year old boy with a soldering iron is something that needs a little supervision. So, in between keeping on eye on the wheat, I was keeping an eye on him. And just to add a festive touch, I was also occupying teaching K. and H. how to make construction paper chains. G. and L. are still up in bed at this point, thus keeping the chaos at a slightly lower level.

The jet airplane lands, er, the wheat grinder finishes and I can start the bread. The boy is still soldering and the chain makers are still cutting and gluing. I'm standing in my pantry and digging out molasses. Molasses is one of those things which I always assume I have, so I'm not concerned that I have enough. And when I see three bottles of molasses on the shelf, I'm sure I have enough. What is it about molasses that causes people to use a bottle to the last third and then open a new one? It turns out I did have enough, but only because I made TM put down his soldering iron and come hold molasses jars upside down over the mixing bowl while we let every bit of molasses possible drain out. There are now no bottles of molasses on my pantry shelf.

The dough gets mixed up and I put a damp towel over it to sponge for a bit and I think I will finally get a chance to clean up the kitchen. Until I realize that I have two dishwashers full of clean dishes. Now I have to go look at my chart and see which child is responsible for emptying the dishwashers, find that child, convince that child he wants nothing better than to drop everything he is currently doing and empty the dishwasher, and wait for the dishwashers to be unloaded. And then, I can clean up the kitchen.

Of course, while I'm waiting for the dishwashers to be unloaded, G. and L. make their appearance. I spend the next few minutes trying to convince G. and she wants to go upstairs and put her underwear and pants back on. L. has already accessorized with her superman cape and cowboy boots. (We don't let her sleep in either of those things, if you can imagine.) By the time all of this is done, the dough is done sponging and I have to pay attention to it again. I add in the rest of the flour, let it knead, put it in the bread pans, and place them into the oven to rise.

This would be the perfect time to clean up the kitchen, except that some children remembered my mentioning cookies, and are starting to hover around the edges wondering when they will make an appearance. So I start the cookies. These go off uneventfully, aside from one moment when I realized I had doubled some ingredients and not others, and then having to stop and refill various sugar containers. Now, the bread is baking, the first cookie sheet is in the oven. B. wanders in asking if dinner will be ready before he has to leave to babysit. I say what I always say, "I don't know... possibly... I hope so." He starts rummaging around in the refrigerator because he has enough experience to understand what this really means is, "Fat chance, you're on your  own."

I get a couple more trays of cookies ready for the oven and then start to clean up the kitchen. Until I remember that the next morning our history co-op will be arriving and we (meaning the children) need to get the third floor picked-up and the rest of the house as well, if possible. I stop cleaning the kitchen and start herding the masses towards the worst of the mess. Before I can even turn the sink on, the timer goes off and it's time to switch the cookies.

And so it goes until J. gets home. Bread? Check. Cookies? Check. Soldering practice which didn't involve major burns or fires? Check. Crafts made and cleaned up? Check. House made marginally presentable? Check. Dinner ready? Check... but only because A. took care of heating the sauerkraut and German potato salad. (B. did find something to eat, don't worry about him.) Clean kitchen? Hmm, not so much.

Continuing to advocate for the children in Bulgaria. Their files were sent back which means that they cannot be advocated for on Reese's Rainbow or have any funds donated towards their adoptions. It means they are essentially invisible and unwanted. It tells the government and the agencies that yes, indeed, their initial assumptions were correct. No one wants a child like these. They are not worth it.

But they are! They are created by God in His image and we are called to care for them. They are truly the least of these. I cannot let them go; I think about them in nearly every free moment that I have. I'm going to post one of their pictures here at the bottom of each of my posts each day. Would you join me in praying for each of these children? Pray that a family would come forward who is willing to adopt them. Love them. Pray that they will know they are not forgotten? There is still hope for these little ones as their files can be specially asked for, it just adds time to the process.

This is Brandi. She is 6 years old. She lies in her crib and waits and waits and waits for someone to scoop her up and tell her how loved she is. Just imagine a grin on her face, her hair allowed to grow out. Imagine how transformed she will look when she is loved. Pray that she doesn't have to wait too much longer for her parents to find her.

(You'll get a break from these pictures on Saturday because Theodore officially has a family! That leaves five of the seven children I've been advocating for. Sadly, there are still more children in much the same situation from the same area who also need families. Susanna at The Blessing of Verity has their pictures and stories.)

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