Heath&Home started out as such a simple hobby a few years ago when my husband took a call to be the Lutheran pastor in a small, rural, Wisconsin town. We moved, sight unseen, to our first house with our 18 month daughter and big fluffy dog. Since then this blog has grown into a platform to advocate for international adoption and orphans with special needs. All that advocating and fundraising for orphans soon led to my husband and I committing to adoption and I documented our own family’s adoption journey where we grew from a family of 4 to a family of 6 (hopefully we still have some growing). What a difference 3 1/2 years makes!
What once was a place where I shared pictures and stories for my family and friends (hi mom) has become a place where people from all over the world come to read. The reason I return to this blog and write about things that make me cry is because of the impact these words can have. I write for the children we saw in the orphanages, the ones who reached up their hands to us and called out “mama mama! papa, my papa!” though we were not there to adopt them. I write for the ones we left behind. My incredible readers have shared many advocacy stories far and wide; some of those shared posts have changed lives.
When we traveled home from Ukraine in summer of 2016 with our two newly adopted children, I took time to re-examine this blog. I know many adoptive families go silent after they arrive home; if they kept up a blog during the adoption process they might post an update every 6 months that usually goes something like this: “aaaaaahhhhhhh adoption is beautiful and painful and ugly and we will write when things calm down.” Six months later, another post comes up that says the same thing again. Living that life now, I totally understand those posts because yeah, adoption is beautiful and painful and ugly and it’s nice to imagine that someday out there things will calm down and I can write nostalgic little posts about these days – but not when they are so raw.
I was all ready to shelve this blog for a few months (or years), work through hard things, and come back. The death of my cousin Vernon changed this decision. My cousin Allison blogged about life in the aftermath of her husband suffering major injuries, including a traumatic brain injury, after he was hit by a truck. The day I decided to close this blog, she shared the news that they had come to a new chapter in their journey, the hospice chapter, which was a short chapter. Reading her blog was hard, she shared the beautiful and painful and ugly, just like adoption, just like life.
Few people can take their day to day life, filter it into words, and share with others the way Allison can. And the fact that she shared their story was a gift for many people. For family members scattered around the world it was a way to keep in touch and keep in prayer. For people who lost loved ones in similar scenarios, it has been a way to work through grief and feel less isolated. For everyone who read it, it is a glimpse into a family’ life that is working through grief, pain, healing, hope and faith.
I come from a family of musicians, artists, and storytellers. While I am not a musician or an artists, I am a storyteller and I can tell a story of my own family living our daily lives which is beautiful and painful and ugly because in the grief and pain there is healing, hope, faith and love. The greatest of these is love.
Our daily life has some gritty parts, but a lot of the time it is full of fun, family, faith, and friends. Here you will find advocacy stories, international adoption resources, insights about homeschooling (we’re new to this too), reviews of books I’m reading, and talks about tea. So much tea. In fact, this may be one of the most useful resources of your entire life – my mom’s scone recipe. Enjoy!
My Mom’s Scone Recipe:
1 3/4 cup flour
3 Tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup unsalted butter (cold or frozen)
1 slightly beaten egg
6 Tbsp cream
grated orange peel (technically 2 tsp but i usually do the whole orange) be sure to thoroughly wash oranges before
handful of crasins (dried cranberries. some people put in raisins, but that is yucky)
Preheat the oven to 425
Food processor directions:
Combine dry ingredients in food processor with blade attachment and pulse till combined. Drop in pieces of the butter and pulse till it is a sandy texture, you don’t want to over-mix it and have the butter start to warm up. Pour egg, cream, and orange zest over mixture and pulse 3ish times for a few seconds until the cream isn’t visible anymore but the mixture is still grainy. Dump into a large mixing bowl, add crasins (not raisins -yuck) and knead with your hands for about 10 seconds. It should be a malleable ball by this point. Roll it out on a floured surface into a 12″ circle and cut into triangles. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, they will be ever so lightly brown on top.
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix till combined. Add butter and cut into mixture with pastry cutter till it is tiny pebbles, err on the smaller side vs having larger lumps of butter. mmmmmm butter. Add lightly beaten egg, cream, orange zest, and crasins and mix gently with a rubber spatula till a ball of dough begins to form, bits of dough will still be hangingout on the sidelines. Gently knead (not forcefully like bread dough, it’s more like a gentle patting and shaping) it all together for approximately 10 seconds at which point you should have a dense ball. Roll it out on a floured surface into 12″ circle and cut into triangles – 8 or 12 scones depending on how big you make it. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.