Everything Changes

I'm still trying to adjust to this new set of circumstances I have found myself in. Blindness. Not being able to drive. Being let go from my job. Some days it's all just too much to take in. I've enjoyed the slower pace of being at home. My house is clean, and I've had loads of time to cook and experiment in the kitchen. But I don't know what to do with it all yet. One of the more difficult things for me to come to terms with, silly as it may be, is being let go from my job. I was petrified of going back to work. I don't think I was emotionally ready to go back yet, but not having the choice to go back is hard to swallow. It's hard to swallow that, whatever reason they have to label it with, they didn't want me any more. Was it convenient because I was already on leave? Would they have let me go if I'd never have been sick? Or would I have still been let go had I not missed any work? I'll probably never know the answers to my questions. I guess what's next is for me to rest in the knowledge that God knows what he's doing and that he has a better plan for me than what I can even imagine.

the storm

I once was captain of my own ship. Clever, courageous, and driven.

I have been taken captive, I am shackled and chained in the belly of my ship. I'm beaten and bruised, being tossed about by the raging storm above. My head barely remains above water as the storm tosses the ship about. I begin to wonder if I will ever see the light of day again.

My head tells me liberation will come, but my heart is not so trusting.

Remembering My Papa

* Ice cream
* Rootbeer
* Drums
* Aquanet hairspray to keep those handsome locks in just the right place.
* The exclamation of "Glory!"
* Shared birthday cakes when they were in town (our birthdays are 3 days apart).
* Funny faces
* Eagles
* Happy
* Gentle
* Bibleville
* Boxer dogs
* That twinkle always in his eye
* Rummicube
* Special trips visiting Papa & Grama all by myself.
* Electric razor
* Old spice
* Skating rink smooth baked potatoes
* "Eat every potato and pea on your plate"
* "Why does the gravy dish drip? Because it can't go *snniiiifff*!"
* Sailboats
* Always a jokester
* Big warm hugs
* Overflowing with love

upcoming changes — roadmap and rationale

Over the coming months, I plan to make a number of changes to the way my family and I connect with the world. The first change will be to our email server. Last spring, we quit using our Google accounts for anything except access to Google’s Android application store. I moved all our email, contacts and calendar to a server “in the cloud” that I administer myself. That’s been a successful experiment, and I’m ready to move it into the next phase: Bringing that server down out of cloud and under my physical control at home. It’ll save us a few dollars, too, and that’s always welcome.

In addition to bringing the mailserver home, I will be merging my online personae. For a number of years, I’ve maintained a public/private persona split. I’ll begin bringing those together in coming weeks, and eventually all of my email and blogging will move to The Melton Plantation. That merge is as much about consistency and values as it is about simplicity. It’s time everyone who finds me online sees the same picture, for better or worse. I’ll also be closing down Kristina’s eponymous site, moving her email and blog to The Melton Plantation.

These moves will, among other things, allow me to continue teaching myself a few new things. I like server administration, and this is going to be a good stretch for me in that respect. I have no experience in building, launching or maintaining personal websites, and I plan to move our blogs off free hosted services (Tumblr and Posterous) to self-hosted solutions. This will give me an opportunity to work with a number of different blogging platforms. My reasoning for consolidating our domains, then, is in part to keep the task manageable. It will also save us some money. Just as I don’t need compartmentalized sharing, having come to realize it’s inconsistent with my other values; I don’t need vanity link-shortening. And so the five domains we now own will point to one for a time, after which four of them will revert to ownership by others.

At the same time, I’ll be closing my Twitter accounts, moving to an account at App.net. There are few people with whom I regularly interact only on Twitter, and all of you know how to find me elsewhere. I’ll not go into great detail here about that change. That may best be served by a post of its own, but those of you who know something about my philosophies on technology, privacy and the internet won’t need much of an explanation. The rest of you will be utterly and irreparably confused. [waves at Mom] There are precious few of my close friends and acquaintances who both understand and agree with my positions, so I’ll not waste our time pontificating. My App.net username will likely be changing during this transition, as well, but I doubt that will matter to many of you. If you want to find me there, suffice it to say it’ll be linked from my blog. Kristina will, as far as I know, be keeping her Facebook and Twitter accounts live.

I also expect I’ll be implementing significant changes to my mobile connectivity over the coming months. Once the transition is complete, I won’t be checking email, IM or whatever-else while I’m out, and I probably won’t respond to text messages. That will most likely mean you’ll need to pick up the phone, dial my number, and talk to me live if you want to get in touch with me right away. I’m out of contract on our cellphone plan, so it’s a good time for me to consider other options. I don’t need constant connectivity; I probably never did. In fact, I’m not convinced it’s healthy for any of us, but that’s another rabbit trail I won’t chase just yet. I’ve talked about moving to a no-contract pay-as-you-go service with a top-end smartphone — and I may yet do that — but it’s looking less likely by the day. It would be simpler, of course, if I kept the phone number I’ve had for nearly 11 years. But that has its own philosophical and practical implications. So my number is likely to also change as part of this process. In fact, I may eventually take a cue from a friend on App.net, and eschew myself of a mobile phone altogether, in favor of a portable HAM radio. I recognize many of the limitations and complications of taking a step like that, and I understand there are probably issues I’ve yet to consider, so it’s not a move I’ll make lightly. Kristina will — again, as far as I know — be keeping her mobile phone and number. As with the internet-based changes, my motivations here orbit primarily around simplicity and economics. There are deeper philosophical motivations, perhaps, but those aren’t well-formed enough to yet be put into words, so I’ll leave them for now to percolate.

I’m still mapping out some of this in my head, and since a good bit of this is new territory, I’ll be taking it slowly. It may be an ugly, frustrating process, during which I expect to curse a great deal, either publicly or privately. So it is with new endeavors, valuable as they may be. I’m posting this everywhere in hopes that no one will worry or get left behind. I may take as little as three months to get all the server work done, but I’d say it’s more likely to take me six. The unused domains will probably (hopefully?) redirect until November-ish, when they’ll revert to other owners. The Posterous and Tumblr blogs may stay live through the end of 2013, solely to point stragglers to the new site. We’ll see. Any phone transition will happen over a relatively short period of time, and is more likely to be sooner than later. Since I don’t yet have an amateur radio license, any moves I’d make to HAM will take somewhat longer.

As always, you’re welcome to ask questions. I may not answer them at all, or to your satisfaction. Such is life.


After reading: They Smile, But Do They Laugh (http://www.homeschoolconvention.com/blog/they-smile-but-do-they-laugh/), I can't help but cringe.

My family was a part of ATI for 4 or 5 years starting around the time I was 11 or so. We were not as deeply involved as some families, but involved enough just the same. My parents did not follow Michael Pearl's teachings on discipline, thankfully. But the repressing of emotions was so real. At 30 years old I still struggle to understand my emotions because they were buried so deep. Now that I've released them, its hard to know what to do with them half the time.

I am so thankful to have a patient, loving husband who is willing to help me figure them out. Someone who is patient when my emotions frustrate, or confuse me. Most importantly, someone to love me despite the messy emotions.

Gothard's teachings are so dangerous. Even when "taken with a grain of salt".

There is so much more I could say, but I don't think I have the processing power at the moment.

So for now; Live freely, Love deeply, and Laugh often.

Double Crust Taco Pie Recipe

For those of you who have requested the recipe for double crust taco pie I posted about recently: here you go!

This is the smaller version of the recipe. Good for apx 4 adult portions. You can easily double the recipe.

1lb ground beef, browned & drained
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 8oz brick of Monterey Jack cheese.
3 cans of refrigerated Crescent Rolls.

Preheat oven to temperature listed on Crescent Roll instructions.
Follow directions for taco seasoning with ground beef.
Shred the brick of cheese.
Line a 7x11 baking dish with Crescent roll dough, leaving at least 1 can unused.
Place taco seasoned ground beef in the bottom of the dish. Top with shredded cheese. Then place remaining crescent roll dough on top to seal it all in.
Bake for apx 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Serve with sour cream and salsa (black olives are a nice addition as well).

Adventures in the Kitchen, with Teena

Over the last month or two I've been enjoying branching out and cooking new things. A lot of which stems from what we get from our farm share each week. By going to the Farmers Market each week I then got hooked on trying meats from local farmers as well. I want to see if I can keep track of all these new and exciting things!

¤ Lamb shanks roasted with (fresh) rosemary and (fresh) garlic butter. With onions, new potatoes, and baby carrots. *all items were either from our farm share or purchased at the farmers market! ** this meal was amazing!

¤ Cole slaw from farm share cabbage (and store bought carrots and dressing). *next time I'll make my own dressing. And next time I'll know that a little dressing goes a long way...

¤ Skillet cabbage (shredded cabbage, sliced green peppers, brick of cream cheese, salt & pepper). Cabbage and peppers were from the farm share. * very delicious! Makes a lot! Probably better as a side dish as is, or if done as a meal add sausage.

¤ Bisquick made shortcake * this may seem trivial, but I stumbled upon it when I had strawberries I needed to use but didn't have shortcake. Turns out I'll probably never buy those little store cakes again!

¤ 100% homemade blackberry cobbler. * made from blackberries from the farm.

¤ Oven roasted bourbon honey peaches. Peaches from the farmers market topped with homemade whipped cream.

¤ Homemade whipped cream! * now that I've discovered how easy - and super yummy - this is homemade I'll default to this over the tub stuff!

¤ Roasted leg of lamb with (fresh) Rosemary, carrots, golden potatoes, and onions. * only the onion was store bought. ** super delicious!

¤ Homemade fresh salsa! Made from onion, tomatoes, banana peppers, and garlic from our farm share (plus 1 1/2 jalapenos and lime juice from Walmart). * can't wait to do this again. Sooo delicious!

¤ Apple wood smoked sausage added to the leftover skillet cabbage. *Jeff cooked the sausage **Yum yum yummy!

¤ Spaghetti (store bought sauce) spruced up with fresh sauteed onion, green pepper, and tomatoes from the farm share. The remainder of the apple wood smoked sausage added in.

¤ Meatballs made with ground lamb and ground pork from the farmers market. Diced green pepper, garlic,and onion from farm share in the meatballs. * these were amazing!

¤ Sauteed Swiss Chard. * definitely different, will use less of the stalk next time. Very good flavor in the greens.

¤ Homemade ice cream! We've done a chocolate, peanut butter, with chocolate chunks and then also a vanilla peach with farmers market peaches. So much fun!

It seems like there was more, but thats all I can think of off the top of my head.

Stay tuned for more Adventures in the Kitchen with Teena! ;-)

The Anniversary of a Metaphorical Hurricane

Today marks the date where 1 year ago the little Melton family would change forever. I think I can speak for all of when I say that we are all greatful it had a much better ending than any of us might have imagined one year ago. 

1 year ago, I packed up a little U-Haul with pieces from the home that Jeff and I made in Stella Missouri, left a note stating my intentions for divorce, and moved into another house.

Both of our worlds were rocked. Both of us were broken. Miraculously, and through our Heavenly Father's loving guidance and provision, the planned end result was never achieved. The separation only lasted 6 weeks. It seems so trivial to say *only* 6 weeks. It felt like so much longer. There was so much that went on in that 6 weeks. Fear, Anger, Resentment. Those things slowly melted into Love once again in *only* 6 weeks. I was able to receive love again, in a way that I was never able to before.

Don't get me wrong, it's taken far more than 6 weeks to find healing and for us to be in a healthy place once again. But 6 weeks was what it took to knock the wind out of me completely and to see what was right in front of me. What I stood to lose, and what I was trying to throw away.

We've spent the better part of the last year repairing the damage, on both sides. But on so many levels we are in a much healthier place *because* of where we've been. Past the hurt, the anger, and the fear there was a garden of love, passion, tenderness and caring that I never knew existed.

I have learned a lot about myself in the last year. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I will never be the same person that I once was, and I'm certain that's a good thing. God has shown me that I am so much more than I ever gave myself credit for. I *am* lovable. I *am* special. I *am* worth it.

Thank you, Jeffrey, for sticking it out with me. For being willing to walk through the fire with me, and for helping me be the Teena you always knew I could be. I am proud to walk with you through this craziness we call life. I. Love. You.

{Loved ones} Celebrate with us, as we continue to learn and grow and follow whatever path He has in store for us. We have many people who have helped guide us over the last year, and for you we are forever greatful. Your loving arms around us and your faithful prayers covering us were such a huge part in helping us find peace and healing.

Grace abounds.

"Mom, I'm Fat" & "You Never Marry the Right Person"

A couple of really great articles that I came across this afternoon.
Mom, I'm Fat: http://huff.to/ycgdex
I can only pray that I would have the courage and the wisdom to respond as this mom did.
You Never Marry the Right Person: http://bit.ly/wmVy20
And all I can say is this is so very true. Love/Marriage is not about simply accepting someone as they are, but wanting to learn and grow *with* that person. It takes work, and you have to want to do the work.