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Cheese Biscuits   Leave a comment

If you like the biscuits at a major chain seafood restaurant, here’s how to make them.


Preheat the oven to 450.


1/2 cup butter

2 cups flour

1 T. sugar

1 T. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2-3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

3/4 cup milk


Using a pastry blender cut the butter into the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cheese.  Add the milk and stir until all the dough is uniform.  I always have to add a bit more water or milk to get most of the flour in.  Drop the dough by spoonfuls onto an un-greased pizza sheet.  Bake for 14 minutes until they look golden and crunchy on top.

In the meantime, melt 1/4 cup butter and add to that 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. garlic powder and 1 tsp. onion powder, stirring together.  Immediately after the biscuits come out of the oven, top each biscuit with a bit of the butter mix.


Posted May 11, 2019 by swanatbagend in recipes

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Breakfast on an Island   Leave a comment

Here’s a recipe I put together this morning for breakfast.  I hope it takes you away to the beach!


Mango Coconut Muffins


2 medium bananas, mashed

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp. almond extract

7 oz. whole fat canned coconut milk

1/2 cup Monin brand (or other brand) mango fruit puree

2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. sea salt

3/4 cup toasted flaked sweetened coconut

1/2 cup chopped cashews


Mash the bananas and then add the oil and sugar, mix well.  Stir in the egg and the almond extract.  Stir in the coconut milk and the mango puree.

Add the flour, baking powder and salt.  Then stir in the coconut and the cashews.  Bake in lined muffin tins for 20 minutes in a 350 oven.  Cool and enjoy.  Makes about 15 or 16 muffins.

You could probably add some crushed pineapple for even more of the islands, but I don’t think it’s necessary.  The mango puree and bananas make it pretty sweet so you may not need any extra sugar.

If you haven’t toasted coconut before, spread it out on a thin layer on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for about 5 minutes, checking every couple minutes until it is lightly toasted.  Don’t leave it unsupervised because once it starts toasting, it toasts (and burns) quickly.

Posted May 9, 2019 by swanatbagend in recipes

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Forward   Leave a comment

One walks through any day of life one step at a time, but there are some times when the steps are harder to take.  I made upward progress throughout the winter while recovering from a six month long depression and rejoiced in every moment of normalcy.  However, the progress is definitely a process, and I’m not quite out of the valley yet.

When fighting anxiety and depression, the advice to live one day at a time can be helpful, or not so helpful.  You may feel like what you really need is some outside power that will walk with you hour by hour, minute by minute or maybe second by second, breath by breath.  It’s a fight to respond to the tiredness with “I will just do the next thing.”  It’s a fight to replace the idea that it won’t be possible to get the projects or work done with the truth that all you have to do is the next thing.  It’s a fight to remind yourself that the reason you don’t have many loving feelings for others is because of the depression, not because of you.  It’s a fight to replace the inner condemnation, guilt and shame for just being like this in the first place, with the truth that you are a dearly loved child of God.

It’s a struggle to remember the truths you knew and believed when you were yourself, when you weren’t covered by the cloud.  The mind comprehends truths that you know apply to every person you know, but depression makes it harder to believe they apply to you.

Depression blocks your view of what God has done in the past, and what you’ve done right.  We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses and so we run with endurance the race set before us.  When you’re feeling well, this seems like a glorious thing.  But when you’re in the cloud of depression and anxiety it just seems an impossible thing.

It’s a good thing that the final results of any battle aren’t in the hands of the fallible human who is going through the battle.  I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel yet, but I do believe that at some point in the future, I will see the light at the end of the tunnel, and eventually, I will come out of the tunnel and be on the other side.

One thing about depression and anxiety–or about any valley–is it sure keeps you humble.  You experience your weakness; you admit to others where you are.  To admit to others that I am broken in this way is humiliating, and it should be.  Not in the sense of depression being an unacceptable crime, but simply because being broken IS humiliating.  I don’t like it.  I want to be self-sufficient.  I want to be together.  I want to be the best at what I am.  I want to be some sort of encouragement or example or something.  Not this.

But that’s not where I am right now.

I’m looking forward to being on the other side of this.  I’m told that He who began a good work in me will bring it to the day of completion.  I’m looking toward that promise.

Posted May 1, 2019 by swanatbagend in mental health, reflections

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Cleaning Up   Leave a comment

We’ve gone through quite a few transitions at our house lately.  Some have been good, others more difficult.

My daughter graduated last June, and in the fall she took several college courses while living at home.  She wasn’t interested in going away to college and had not settled on a career path, so that seemed like a decent idea.  It didn’t turn out that way, because she discovered in the process that she really wasn’t all that interested in taking several random college classes.  This led to an existential meltdown for both of us.

Life transitions can do that sometimes.  They can push you to the edge.

It’s pretty terrifying when you’re at that type of juncture, and there is no obvious path into the future.  For that matter, there may not even seem to be an obvious next step into the future.

However, the sun rises, the sun sets, and you have to take steps forward, but only, apparently, when you are good and ready.

After Christmas break, my daughter decided with our agreement that she would take a break from classes until she knew more about what she wanted to do with life.  So, if she wasn’t at school, the plan was for her to get a job.

However, January started to pass away without any serious movement on her part (that I could see) toward applying for jobs.  I was a bit perturbed.  More than once I have mentally called her Bartleby, because when asked when she was going to make a step toward the future, the overall response appeared to be “I would prefer not to.”

However, she was very helpful at home, she was talking with and getting together with friends again, and she was doing a lot of extra cleaning chores that I really appreciated because I never get to them.

Then she started cleaning out her bedroom.

The closet floor had been a pile for years.  One step at a time, she tossed, recycled, re-gifted and reorganized that space.

Then, the Fisher Price toy castle that had been in her room for years went downstairs to the school room, where we keep age-appropriate toys for the children of friends who visit our house regularly.

A variety of other toys she had long since outgrown went to Goodwill or to the children of friends.

The large Plan Toys dollhouse and doll family that were the center of funny movies the kids used to make got moved to the empty kids’ bedroom.  She dusted off all the furniture and miniatures in it and shook out all the tiny rugs.  It didn’t get given away because we are not ready yet as a family to say a final farewell to the Fraw family, but, it’s not in her room any more.

Then, and only then, when her bedroom was updated to her adult sensibilities, did she start researching jobs.

Within a week, she had her first interview.  It went really well and she wasn’t even nervous.

Three more interviews followed and from start to finish the job hunting process was only three weeks. She has a job at Hobby Lobby, which is exactly where she wanted to be, and she loves it.  She’s driving herself to work and making all kinds of plans and taking on responsibilities that can only be described as adult.

But she was only ready, when she was ready.  She cleaned out her room and her life, reinventing herself in the process.

We’ve homeschooled since 2000, and I’m now in what you might call the home stretch.  I have only one student left and he will finish up his freshman year of high school at the end of May.  There are only a few more years to go; a mere 14% of the total time I will have spent homeschooling lies before me.  It’s been difficult to imagine what I will do after he graduates, although of course I do have some appealing ideas.  But mainly, graduating my daughter and seeing this future change coming has been mysterious and a bit scary.

However, I am finally ready to move on.  It took a trip downward into depression and the wrestling with my purpose to do it, but I too am cleaning out my room and my life.

I’ve wanted to really get the creeping Charlie and overflowing iris out of the flower garden for years, but just didn’t have the time.  It’s now done and I’m working on shade loving flowers to plant to replace the bare spots.

Getting back into embroidery sometime in the past twenty years would have been nice, but I never had the time.  Yesterday I emptied out my sewing bag and found a beautiful kit I never finished.  I washed the entire bag, which was covered with dust.  I gave away kits I didn’t want.  I threw away random pins and scraps of fabric that I knew I would never use.  And last night, while my son read to us, I was cross-stitching.

I cleaned out a magazine rack that was stuffed full of a wonderful magazine, long since ceased publishing, called Welcome Home.  I first subscribed twenty years ago.  It was just what I needed for encouragement to love and parent well.  The articles were so good, I saved every issue, thinking I would re-read them someday.

Twenty years later, that day hasn’t come.  I now have not just one but two adult children.

I donated the magazines to the library–when I was good and ready.


Posted April 29, 2019 by swanatbagend in transitions

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At the End of Your Rope   Leave a comment

You know what they say. “When you’re at the end of your rope–tie a knot and hang on.”

When I was a teenager posters were definitely in and I still have a mental image of a stock photo of an extremely cute kitten hanging on to the end of a rope.  Maybe I even had this poster in my room.

I hope not because that image really bothers me.  I know something about sliding off the end of the rope, and if you’re like me, at that moment you either don’t have the strength to tie the knot as you’re sliding downward, or knot tying is the farthest thing from your mind.

Good news: if you can’t tie knots, all is not lost.

You can even fall from the rope, and you will be caught.

Posted March 27, 2019 by swanatbagend in mental health, reflections

A Grown up Meltdown   Leave a comment

You could say that that’s what I’ve been having since last October.  Maybe it would be wiser to call it a midlife crisis.  Maybe it’s just plain old mental health issues.  Maybe it’s all of the above.

The midlife crisis part has led me to select new clothes including high-heeled boots, leggings and loose sweaters.  Then there’s the make-up I just bought.  Dear reader, I have not worn any make-up for the past twenty years.  My husband has always told me, “If the barn don’t need painting, don’t paint it.”

But, the midlife crisis part of my current situation just bought some make-up.

The meltdown part felt like things were spiraling out of control and that the responsibilities I had were too much.  This article which a friend shared made me think that my being an undiagnosed Aspie was part of the reason I went into a meltdown.

Regardless, you can know for sure that this crisis is why I haven’t blogged at all since October.  Things completely fell apart for a while, and now I’m trying to figure out what happened and why, and how to make it not happen again.

I’m feeling pretty decent today and that’s why I can even write about the subject.  I’ll definitely sit on this blog post for a while before I’m sure that it’s something I can share with my readers.  It’s hard to take the plunge and abandon your writing to the public eye at any point, but even more so when until recently you felt that every blog entry you had ever written was a hypocritical farce.

Such are the joys of overwhelming depression and anxiety.

But, if you’re seeing this, it means I was in a place where I was well enough to formulate my thoughts and put this explanation of my four-month long silence out there.


Posted March 20, 2019 by swanatbagend in mental health

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Parenting Solo   Leave a comment

This phrase usually means without another parent, but for me today it just means on my own in some way.  I am supposed to be able to do this on my own.  Nobody is saying that single parenting is ideal long term, but for the day, week or even a month, if I’m an adult I’m expected to do this crazy hard job myself.  I care for, love, dress feed clothe heal comfort and teach because that’s what parents are expected to do, and rightly so.

But I’m telling my children a story and not in a good way if I make them think I can do it all, I have all the answers within myself, if I live in such a way that my message in our lives is that doing the next thing is all there is.

And honestly they figured that out themselves!  My kids know that I can’t fix their problems or answer their questions on my own.  I have lost track of how many years ago my son told me he knew that I couldn’t do that.  He wasn’t an adult yet, that’s for sure.

I don’t have all the information I need to guide them perfectly.  And even if I did, I certainly wouldn’t have the power to implement it.  I can’t possibly parent solo.

Frankly, I need the gospel in order to do this job at all.

What do I have to offer my kids without it?

Posted March 13, 2019 by swanatbagend in parenting

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