Friday, December 2, 2011

Banana Split Cookies

1/2 c. butter 1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. sugar 2 tsp. baking powder
medium banana 2 3/4 c. flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream butter and sugar with mixer. Add smashed banana, vanilla, and baking powder beating slowly until mixed. Add flour slowly-I usually end up adding more to make a stiff enough dough to cut out cookies. Roll and cut on floured board. Bake 6 minutes on top rack of the oven. Add frosting and sprinkles when cooled.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Schizophrenia was a big word for me growing up. I heard many stories about my grandmother who had trouble taking care of my dad because of her schizophrenia. The stories are now becoming more real as I see someone close to me exhibit psychosis.

The stories of my grandmother came from frustration over her, love toward her, and the gentle wish from family to answer my adolescent questions (that never were completely answered, but I don't think that they knew the answers).

My grandmother did not want to take her medicine. Her medicine caused a paralysis in her face, tremors, and muscle weakness. I don't know what medicine she took. Without medicine, she wasn't always aware of her surroundings. She thought people were the devil, and could have bizarre behavior.

Now someone I love very much has had many hallucinations. They are "spirits" talking, explaining the world. I've seen social isolation, tenseness, lack of emotion, anxiousness, lack of activity and problems paying attention.

The medicine can control the hallucinations but when we we're going through a psychotic episode we don't know what to expect. We keep a close watch. We keep knives away. There are extreme laughing, rocking back and forth crying, screaming, good conversation, and sleepless nights.

I don't know anyone dealing with this. Please leave a comment if you can relate. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

If Satan gets me down then God picks me up

I just read an editorial by Andrea Seu where she states, "I'm trying to figure out what I am worrying about so I can worry about it properly." This hit me so profoundly because I have been going through a Beth Moore series on Esther. In this book study, Esther goes through tremondous anxiety for her people, and I have tried to dissect why I am feeling down, depressed, anxious, overwhelmed (you can fill in the adjective) so that it can all be processed.

Today I went to the dentist with Jacob. It becomes a 2 hour visit. I finish the paperwork for my Boys and Girls club job, I read some magazines, I work on my Beth Moore workbook and I still have more time. Before I know it, I am frustrated, tired, and my mind is whirling. Why?

Beth Moore points out how the devil has us telling ourselves that if __________ever happens, then I'll just ________________. Our fears become our vulnerabilities. Once the hold is there it is hard to overcome the feeling of inevitable failure. These same difficulties can become our strengths. For example: "If money is not there (the difficulty) then God will take care of me (the strength). If I stay unemployed (the difficulty) then God has a plan (the strength). If I don't continue teaching (the difficulty) then God desires to accomplish something monumental in me (the strength). If I feel unsure (the difficulty) then God's going to demonstrate His sufficiency to me (the strength). Of course that was personal, but anyone can complete the "If ____________then ______________________" statements concerning their fears.

A couple of weeks ago I was at the hospital with Paul. He was anxious about work which gives him both asthma and high blood pressure, neither of which are good going into surgery. I had many concerns over my yougest child and the health care he needed. My brother called about his employment situation, my son from France called to check in, and my mom called to talk about Paul and my brother. By the time I got home with Paul, just in time for Jacob's tutor, my brain was a mush of anxiety. After much thought and thinking it was too overwhelming for the "If ______________ then ________________" statements. Today I realized, "If I become overwhelmed then I can still serve God." I had proof. I supported Paul, I talked kindly to everyone who called, I was there for my son's tutor, and I managed to feed, comfort, and take care of Paul after surgery. "If Satan gets me down, then God picks me up." If I am overwhelmed then I can still be a blessing. Had I seriously never realized this! I think after difficult days, I curl up and cry. I'm thinking now that this might be okay.

Normally I would grade the day "FAIL." Now I have a different opinion.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Lessons my daughter taught me

I grew up in the era of "There is no free lunch." I've actually found myself many times over the years when the discussion is started on whether to give to the homeless. The concensus has been "No." The story has been that if you hand them a hamburger they will throw it away because they want money for drugs. Others have said that they've given people (asking for money) their business card, and noone called to get employment. Occassionally over the years I have given money to people. I think it was because my children were watching, and I wanted them to help people in need.

A few years ago my daughter and I were shopping and she suggested that we buy an apple for the lady laying on the bench in front of the store. She said the lady was there most of the time and that she didn't think the lady had a home. I told her that I didn't think the apple would get the lady out of her situation. Someone overheard the conversation and said, "Young people just don't get it, do they?"

We didn't give the lady the apple, and today driving past the same grocery store it hit me hard. I'm unemployed. It is hard to find a job. So many homeless have not chosen to be homeless. There are homeless that are educated, hard workers, veterans... I know now that helping is the right thing to do. Chelsea knew it was the right thing to do. I want to go get Chelsea and a bag of apples and feed some people.

Every city needs people to go to the homeless-give them food. Give them hope.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Asparagus Soup

Two weeks since my hiatal hernia repair and still on a liquid diet. Here is a soup recipe that I like.

1 lb. fresh asparagus spears
3 cups chicken stock
1 medium potato peeled and diced
3-4 stalks celery chopped
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Soak and rinse asparagus. Remove top inch of each spear, discard tough lower part, reserving middle portion of stalks. Add chicken stock, asparagus tips and stems, potato, celery, thyme, and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Remove asparagus stems and set aside.

Place half of the soup at a time in a blender container. Cover and blend at high speed for 20 to 30 seconds or until very smooth. Pass through a fine sieve and return blended soup to saucepan. Add reserved asparagus tips and milk and heat thoroughly, or refriegerate to be served cold.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Quiet Drive in the Country

Galm Road near Culebra

I went driving today. I needed to get out of San Antonio and go to a quiet place to read. I decided to go to Government Canyon State Natural area. The surrounding area reminded me of the Farm to Market roads around my hometown. There were large fields of wild flowers, trees that are growing on top of each other not having been thinned out in years, if at all.

It was tranquil to me. I love the beauty of a quiet river, or bench in a beautiful garden. This is the first time I had seen beauty driving along a country road. You may not see beauty in my pictures, but it meant something to me.

Take the time. Enjoy where you are.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Collier Bliss

It seems a typical busy day even though I am technically on summer break. I don't know now if I will have a job in the fall. We haven't received contracts. This causes stress, but also opportunity to think of the skills I have and how they can be transferred to a new equally rewarding occupation.

This week we plan for Chelsea's graduation. I hope for a nice get together for her where she will feel loved and spurred on for a bigger, brighter future. She's my baby girl, and I love her so much.

Justin is safely in Antibes, France to study business and French. Take a look:

I love seeing him with such an adventurous spirit and no fear. He's met many in the week he's been there.

Jacob is 15. Trying to find independence, and we are trying for it to remain a safe venture for him. The loud music and incence gives me a headache, but this will pass. His veganism continues. I made vegie burgers. I used the blender to blend potatoes, beets, brocoli, carrots, and spinach with coconut milk. Then I added flour, flax seed and oats. I put it in the refrigerator then formed it into patties. We fried the patties on both sides, and then put it on the grill. Jacob said it tasted like the store bought vegie burgers. I was suprised they were any good. We'll keep working to perfect the recipe.

My esphageal manometry showed that I am a candidate for surgery. It's necessary to fix my hiatal hernia. He said the pressure in my esophagus was 250-normal is 50. I can feel that! Because of my stomach pushing up into my esophagus, it is normal for food to get stuck in my esophagus and I have acid reflux, trouble swallowing and chest pain because it becomes hard to breathe.

Ah, the adventures. I am happy to have a great support system-particulary Paul and Mom. I am totally surrounded in love.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 cup non-dairy butter
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup almond milk
water for desired texture
1 cup non-dairy chocolate chips

Blend well and stir in non-dairy chocolate chips.

Strawberry Smoothie

Put the following ingredients in a blender:

1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup chopped strawberries
1 banana
2 pieces tofu
1 scoop Spiru-ten Protein supplement

Blend until smooth.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fruit and Vegetable Smoothie

Put the following ingredients in the blender and blend on high until fully liquified.

1 banana
1 orange
5-6 fresh or frozen strawberries
3-4 pieces pineapple
1 carrot cut in pieces
1/2 cup chopped fresh kale
1 cup orange juice

Friday, May 6, 2011

Vegan Stir Fry

3/4 c. vegetable broth
3 T. soy sauce
1 T. vinegar
2 t. sugar
2 T. corn starch
1/4 c. tofu
snow peas

In a small saucepan stir 3/4 c. vegetable broth, 3 T. soy sauce, 1 T. vinegar, and 2 t. sugar. Heat to boiling and whisk in 2 T. corn starch.

Dredge tofu in cornstarch and fry in hot oil turning to brown on both sides. Add snow peas, carrots, mushroom, ginger and garlic. Drain. Add sauce.

Serve on rice.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

When values go amuck!

As a young child he was quiet, not easily provoked, never took up for himself and very deep in his thought process. At 3 he could add a list of numbers in his head. By 2 nd grade he was writing books, complete with titles to chapters and illustrations. By 6th grade these stories had turned into comic books that clearly illustrated his view of the world.

When he was in 4th grade he stated that he didn't think that an animal God created should be eaten when we have other food to eat. No one had seen a child make such an ethical choice at such a young age, and stick with it as long as has he has (6 years now).

The boy now is struggling with teenage problems. He has experienced marijuana, pills, and sneaking out in the night. The boy has high ethics, respect and integrity so we ask, "What happened?" The bible says in Proverbs 22:6 that children will return to the way they were raised.

As our children get older and life moves faster, activities take over, and less time is spent in the amount of time we spend talking. This boy with both strong ethics and bad choices can be brought back to making good choices. There are many ways to teach values to teens:

-Make a list of family values.

-Write a contract of expectations.

-Require time that the family eats together.

-Have one-on-one time just to talk.

-Take an interest in your child's friends.

-Spend time together doing fun, family activities.

-Volunteer together.

We are checking in daily and praying....

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Vegan Pesto Pasta

This recipe came from Leah Farmer.
Whole wheat pasta with pesto and roasted asparagus, onion, mushroom, and garlic topped with cherry tomatoes and a side of crispy garlic flat bread. Vegan delight!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Vegan Lasagna

12 oz. lasagna noodles
2 (16 oz) firm tofu
2 T. olive oil
small bunch chopped kale
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups marinara sauce
2 small sliced zucchini or squash
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place thin layer of marinara sauce on bottom of 9 x 13 inch baking dish. On top of marinara sauce place a layer of noodles. Mix tufu, oil, kale, salt, pepper. Add layer of zucchini. Top with 1/2 of tofu mixure and half of marinara sauce. Place another layer of noodles, tofu and marinara sauce. Bake for 45 minutes uncovered or until hot and bubbly. Let sit for 10 minutes before cutting.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Reflection 3/12/11

What a week! I have had a persistent stomach ache that will not stop. I go back to the GI doctor Monday but don't have hope that they have an answer. I am praying and waiting to feel better.

The week at work has been full...the first graders raised more money for cancer than any other grade at CHS. I am so proud of them. They are a caring, sharing, loving group of 6 year olds. We went to the Children's museum Thursday and their excitement about the riverwalk we walked by, the bird under the bushes, and the vents on the street blowing hot air was contagious. How fun it is to live through the eyes of the young.

On a sad note, one of my students have taken to crying at the smallest inconveniences. It is so hard to teach when a child cries and gets louder and louder. Oh, how I don't like to deal with crying. Reasoning doesn't seem to work.

My middle school students had a great week finishing the book The Witch of Blackbird Pond and having a 17th century feast on Friday. I love spending time with a group of teenagers commited to making right choices.

Now I am focused on Spring Break-getting the house and car cleaned, spending time with Dad in Temple, Mom in Georgetown, and Paul, Jacob, and Justin in Port Aransas.

Life, you will NOT get me down. You have succeeded too many times depressing my mood, but that is over and I am committed to living a life of righteousness.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Examples of Godliness

There are people in your life that you can depend on. I think God specifically places these people like angels serving as instruments of His purpose. My first memory is Nettie Green bringing our family cinnamon bread. The next is living in North Dakota and Grace Hendrickson coming over to help me through the concussion I sustained, and get me back to church. There are many Godly people who have shown Christ through their actions.

I feel I have come full circle as I see my family as those bringing Godliness to others. I am proud to see Chelsea and her love for others as she gives the "extra cookie" to those coming through the drive thru at Schlotzsky's, and Justin as he works for Habitat for Humanity. I've seen Jacob from a very small child stand up for what he believes in and work hard to show others God's way. Now as he turns into a teenager, he's coming into his own and making mature decisions.

The men in my life that I am so proud of.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Soup time

Trying to cook vegan on a cold and snowy is what we came up with.

Vegetable Apple Soup

2 small grated apples
1 large potato grated
2 cups thinly sliced carrots
2 pints vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste

Saute vegetables and apples in 2 T. butter for 5 minutes. Add stock and simmer for 30 minutes.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Vegan chocolate cupcakes

Have you ever been at the place where you've seen your children make choices and you wonder where did they ever get an idea like that???? That is where I am with Jacob's choice to be vegan but it is getting easier to substitute for an egg or leave an ingredient out to meet his choices. This is a tested and approved recipe:

Vegan chocolate cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 t. baking soda
3 T. vegetable oil
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1 t. vanilla
1 T. cocoa
1 c. cold water

Add ingredients in order adding the water slowly as you blend to get the desired consistency. Pour into muffin tins lined with cupcake papers.
Bake 25-30 minutes.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tomato Pasta

The newest challenge is to learn how to cook vegan. The stir-fry with tofu did not go over well today. This is recipe we all like:

Tomato Pasta

3 T. sun dried tomato
2 cloves garlic
1 small bunch kale
1/3 c. olive oil
2 T. hot pasta water
2 t. lemon juice
12 oz. pasta
1 t. thyme

Boil pasta with garlic and salt. In the last few minutes add kale chopped well. Drain pasta and kale saving 2 T. water. Butter casserole dish. Stir in pasta and other ingredients. Serve.

My Three Grandmothers

Pictured first is Mary Daniel with my grandfather Charlie Daniel and 3 of their sons. Mary is the only grandmother I met in person. Since she lived in Georgia and we lived in Texas the visits were rare. Mary Graf, shown above holding my sister, died before I was born and Mattie Daniel shown with her husband Charlie died when I was 11. The three women have stayed alive in my memory by pictures, stories from those who knew them and letters they have written. I have felt most close to my Grandmother Graf. I always felt her presence at my grandfather's house where we went atleast once a month growing up.

Mary Graf was a first born child. She was a leader, active in her church, taught her children scripture and always looked out for others. I have felt her presence my entire life by reading stories written by her sisters and brothers, and from stories my mother would tell. I remember getting together with my Uncle Charles before my grandfather's funeral and all the stories that were told of both my grandmother and grandfather. There was a lot of love and I feel that still today.

Mattie Daniel was a little more of a mystery. My Uncle Gary tells me he knew her as a wonderful woman. I have talked through email with several of her cousins, aunts, and uncles. Just like my Grandmother Graf, my grandmother Daniel is alive to me through the pictures I have seen of her.

I knew my grandfather's second wife better, Mary Daniel. I corresponded with Mary Daniel through letter writing from elementary school until her death in 1998 and met her several times. Mary Daniel was a sweet, happy person that I enjoyed being around.

All of these ladies have influenced my life even though they were never able to attend a single function of my childhood. I've always felt part of something bigger. In Max Lucado's book Outlive your Life, he begins with a fable. The moral of the fable is to live your life so that you make a mark that does not end when you die. The three grandmothers I have did just that. They outlived their lives.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Precious Gifts from our children

What parent doesn't like to see their children get along? When a second child is born, you want to see the older children enjoy or atleast tolerate the new child entering their life. As time progresses and you see them bond it is even more rewarding.

I can remember Justin and Chelsea behind the couch putting on a puppet show by lifting the puppet above the couch. Justin and Chelsea had many games they enjoyed together. They each had separate interest but they could and would often play together. Then Jacob was born. He was king. Chelsea thought he was the best gift God could have given her. Jacob lovingly called her Gecky. Justin also loved it when Jacob was born. He carried him everywhere, swung him on the swing and put things inside his shirt that Jacob would instantly fish out.

The past few weeks Paul and I have both watched Justin and Chelsea in conversation. We can see the love between them and it feels so good. You want them to get along as children but when they get along as adults, you have received a precious gift.

Angie Collier has been blogging about eating vegan, raising teenagers, memories of childhood, family medical problems (hospice care, cancer, knee replacement surgery) and my children's childhood since 2009.