Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Breakfast & Repentance

A few weeks ago I decided that this year I would ponder in advance what I wanted to do for Mother's Day and what I wanted my family to do for me. First decision: request the breakfast menu and thereby avoid another round of cold, burnt toast. This was the yummiest breakfast ever, and despite Mark's complaints, is very easy. (Next year I think I'll take pity and assemble everything for him the night before.)
Baked French Toast Casserole

1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash salt
Praline Topping, recipe follows
Maple syrup

Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.

Praline Topping:
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Makes enough for Baked French Toast Casserole.

Allison's Yummy Salad

1 pt fresh strawberries, sliced
1 bunch spinach, washed and torn

1/2 c mayonnaise
2 T vinegar
1/3 c sugar
1/4 c whole milk
2 T poppy seeds

Mix dressing and chill ahead of time. Toss all together at the last minute.

Second decision: What I really need to do for Mother's Day is repent. In the sense of having a change of heart. I need to change, I realize. And I spent the day pondering and praying and studying the Atonement to figure out how to make that happen from the inside out.

In a word, my sin is shortsightedness. For mothers, “giving our lives” for others giving moment by moment, day after day. Sacrificing our time, talents, attention, and patience for our families, sometimes at the expense of our own pursuits or preferences. (Of course, of course, this can be taken too far. We must nourish and preserve our selves so that we have something of substance to give—among other reasons.) Many times I get so caught up in the mundane duties—getting dinner on, getting the kids out the door, getting there on time, cleaning up this mess—that I don’t delight in praising and mentoring and rewarding and teaching and even really seeing my children and their efforts.

On my favorite yoga DVD, while we’re holding a deep stretch, the teacher says, “Gradually, with time, we open—on all levels.” I need to open, on all levels. Open to letting us be late if we must, to letting a mess sit a moment longer while I take care of a child. Open to the chaos that surely will reign during these short years while my children are here. Open to my children’s needs and emotions and desires--and my husband’s too, for that matter. Open to loosen my gaze, to look up beyond the demands of the meaningless moment to see to the horizon, with clearer focus on what really matters.

Here's to another year of stretching and opening as I try to be the mother my children need.


  1. Yum!! I'm with you about laying out specific expectations. Otherwise it's a day of wallowing about how I'm the only one who does anything around here, and can't these people be nice to me for just one day??? Can't wait to try the recipe.

    As usual, you are speaking right to the heart of all my misgivings of how I'm living my life. Shortsightedness. I actually ignore crying to finish wiping off the table (or to finish reading a paragraph of my book). But on the other hand, when I try to loosen up and live in the moment my kids look at me suspiciously like I must have finally cracked. :0)

  2. Last night we listened to Elder Ballard's talk on Mother's again. Remember the line he said about focusing more time on the
    "doing" than the "getting it done". I really liked that and I think that's a little of what you're trying to say here. So, here's to repentance.

  3. Being in the same womb must have aligned our karmic (you know cosmic karma) frequencies.

    I have been feeling woefully underarmed in the battle of remembering that weasels are actually kind of like small people...that they are actually kind of like very small people who, while they have not yet been revealed, are in actuality very special and individual souls who are merely in our temporary custody. It's hard to remember to respect someone who hasn't uttered a non-whine in what seems like centuries.
    This parenting thing is soooo much harder than it looks.

    At least we have Ginger who has recently learned to say, "I love you sooooo much" in a very sincere tone.

    I spect we just have to cling to those few moments like some sort of force field to block the gatling-gun speed of whine/contention that is spewed forth. Pray for me - and I'll try to remember to pray for you (sorry, that is the best I can do.)

  4. That French toast sounds delicious! As for repentance, I think that is what we're all striving for, giving our lives completely. We're not going to make it overnight.