Sunday, August 10, 2014

A New Chapter

If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you are familiar with Master Hand Grenade's story.  Although strong and able, he is not your average young man. 

Master Hand Grenade's hearing and motor functions were compromised shortly after birth.  His prognosis was dim.  After surviving his initial trauma, doctors were not at all encouraging about his future.  They declared him deaf, mentally and physically retarded and perhaps even blind.  They encouraged Sir Knight and I to apply for Medicaid to cover his health care expenses and Social Security Disability to help with the costs associated with raising a disabled child.  We didn't do either.  We figured that God had given us this child and would provide for his care.  And we never looked back.

As Hand Grenade grew, we didn't know what to expect.  Would he be as disabled as the doctors expected?  Or would he develop as a normal little boy?  We worried and we watched and we waited.  We knew that he did not hear as well as Maid Elizabeth, but was he deaf?  He didn't come close to hitting the "normal" milestones for a healthy infant, but did that just mean he would develop more slowly, or not at all?  We prayed and prayed and prayed some more.

Those first few years were a mixture of joy and sorrow, triumph and tribulation.  Early on, we decided that Master Hand Grenade was going to learn to function as a productive member of society.  It was going to be harder for him than for "normal" children, but he would just have to learn to overcome.  We taught him to communicate through sign language so that we could talk to him and he could talk to us.  When we figured out that he could hear (a little anyway), we taught him to always be close enough to the house to hear the dinner bell when we rang it.  We had him repeat our instructions back to us so that we could be certain that he understood what we expected of him.  We gave him chores and responsibility and expected him to complete his tasks, even if he had to develop an unconventional method to accomplish his duties.  We forced him (even when it was hard) to push past his comfort zone and do things that were hard for him just so that he knew he could.

Over the years Hand Grenade has grown from a challenged little boy into a competent young man.  He doesn't always do things in a conventional manner, but he always gets things done.  He doesn't hear very well, but he pays attention, repeats instructions and asks people to speak up.  He doesn't move like every other 18 year old man, but he is fast and steady and strong as an ox.  What he lacks in motor skills and hearing he more than makes up for in determination and ingenuity.  Although not like everyone else, Hand Grenade is a young man to be proud of.

And now a new chapter has begun for our son.  Having finished high school, Master Hand Grenade turned his mind toward his future.  Knowing that Hand Grenade wanted to become a butcher, our friend Patrice put in a good word for him with our regional mobile butcher.  After numerous phone conversations and visits to the butcher shop, Master Hand Grenade secured a job.  Beginning tomorrow, Hand Grenade will be training to be a butcher, doing everything from killing, gutting and skinning the animal to cutting and wrapping meat and curing bacon and hams and making sausage.  He will be learning to be a butcher from the ground up.  Master Hand Grenade is taking the first step into his future.

The one requirement for Hand Grenade's job - rubber boots
Along with a new job, Hand Grenade will be adjusting to a lengthy commute.  This young man, who had such a dismal prognosis as a baby, will now be driving himself 80 miles a day to and from work.  All these years we have been preparing Hand Grenade for this moment and now, all too soon, it is here.  Our home has been (and will continue to be) filled with praises and prayers!

Gathered around table to celebrate our son
This morning we gathered as a family in the living room to read the word of God, seek wisdom and pray for Hand Grenade as he embarks on his future.  As Hand Grenade knelt before his father, Sir Knight lay his hands on this young man and blessed him and prayed for him .  As with all of our children, we want Hand Grenade to walk with God, to seek Him and to serve Him.  For us, there "is no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth". 3 John 1:4

We gathered for a lovely afternoon tea to celebrate Hand Grenade's new chapter in life.  We indulged in (Quick)  Maple Nut Cinnamon Rolls and English Breakfast tea.  The recipe is quick and yummy - but you might want to cut the filling recipe in half - very sweet!

(Quick) Maple Nut Cinnamon Rolls

For the filling:
3/4 C brown sugar (packed)
1/4 C granulated sugar
3/4 C chopped pecans or walnuts
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 tsp. salt
1 T butter, melted

For the dough:
3 C flour
3 T sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C buttermilk (or sweet milk with a splash of lemon juice or vinegar)
6 T butter, melted
1/3 C maple syrup

For the Icing:
2 T butter, softened
3 T maple syrup
2 tsp. milk
1 C confectioners sugar

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Brush a 9" inch round cake pan with melted butter.  Set aside.

For the filling:  Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add melted butter and stir until the mixture is moistened.

For the dough:  Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir.  Add the buttermilk, melted butter and maple syrup.  Stir well.  Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead just until smooth.  Place in a lightly floured bowl, cover and chill for 20 minutes.

After chilled, roll into a 12x8 inch rectangle.  Spread with softened or melted butter.  Spread the filling evenly over the dough, leaving 1/2 inch border.  Press the filling into the dough.

Roll the dough, from the long side, pinch the seam close.  Cut into 8 even pieces and transfer into the prepared cake pan.  Brush with melted butter. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

For the icing:  Cream the butter and add the sugar.  Mix until the sugar and butter combine a bit.  Add the syrup and whisk well.  If it is too thick, add the milk until it is your desired consistency.

Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then pour icing over the top.  Serve while warm.

NOTE:  I doubled this recipe and put in a larger rectangle pan.  I also mixed up the icing and served it in a bowl so that people could choose to smooth icing or butter over their warm rolls.  In the future, I would cut the filling recipe in half, they would be plenty sweet.  Also, I added about 1 1/2 tsp. maple extract to the icing, just to amp up the flavor.


  1. Your children make me weep.
    With both joy & a humble heart. And with thanks to God that there are still good parents out there. I'll be looking to see him on Patrice's blog the next time she has the mobile butcher out.
    God Bless you & your family!
    Jan in NWGA

  2. What a joy you must be feeling. Your son has selected an honorable profession and I am sure he will do well. I have watched him work with Patrice and family for a number of years and he does not appear to be afraid of hard work. That alone seems to make him an outlier among today's youth. I wish him well, I just wish we had similar service here in Texas.

  3. Your family's faith in relying on the Lord alone and not wordly systems in the raising of your son is inspiring. What a fine young man and what a great profession!!! The art of good butchery is being lost and it's good to know that there are still those interested in learning. God bless all of you.


  4. It is the end of the day and your happy news just made me feel such joy. Joy for your son and for your family and for the living proof that the Lord in one's life makes everyone a new creation. Master Hand Grenade will be set apart, not because of limitations, but because he is a man of God. May he continue to grow in his new vocation and may he grow in the knowledge of Christ. Beautiful!
    ~~Tricia P.

  5. Thank you for a deeply moving post. You have every right to be proud and overjoyed. I just wiped my tears of joy and pride for you from my eyes. I just KNOW without a doubt that God has the most special blessing awaiting you and your family. You are truly THE PEOPLE who have been where God wanted you to be when He wanted you to be there. Years ago you could never have seen this and yet you worked steadfastly towards it. You are THE BEST!!!! And may God bless Master Hand Grenade and the Potlatch Pack, and may their business thrive with their new employee.

    God Bless,
    Janet in MA

  6. Ah, such a fine young man. I join others in weeping, both with joy for your glorious son and in sorrow for thousands of other "disabled" young people across this country who have been "disabled," not by one of a sea of conditions, but by the attitudes of those who should have been helping them along the way.

    Been there, done that, still cleaning up the mess.

    You, and Sir Knight, and Master Hand Grenade have done a doubly fine job; I am doubly proud of you all. This country could do with a few butchers who don't hear well and accomplish things in unconventional ways, and a few less "brilliant, perfect" academics who make it their business to look at babies and decide what they will never do.

    BRAVO!! BRAVO!! Give that glorious young man a big hug from me and mine.

  7. Man does not know what God has in store for special children. We had a similar experience with our daughter. At three she was diagnosed as severely autistic with the possibility of needing to be institutionalized. We decided that we would challenge her in every way, in addition to a lot of prayer for guidance. By the age of six she was assessed as high functioning with an IQ of over 180. Now at the age of eleven she has been withdrawn from the spectrum. She is unique and quirky in her ways, God made her special. We encourage parents to believe in God and his path for your child, not the limitations of mere men.
    Congratulations to Master Hand Grenade on getting the opportunity to apprentice in such a needed field. That was such the advice my husband gave our youngest son. Chose a job service that people need, something that they don't want to do and get their hands dirty. You will always have work. Our son became an HVAC tech.
    Blessed be to you and your husband for raising and guiding your children to be productive members of society. I pray that my daughter meets as fine a young man as Master Hand Grenade when she gets older. He will be an awesome catch, able to provide for his family and be the spiritual leader.

  8. Wow - may God continue to Bless you all! I have been reading your blog on and off for more than a year and did not realize the challenges Master Hand Grenade and your family have faced. It is a shame that more people do not parent with God's guidance as you do. You have set him on a course and have a productive son who will be a contributing member of society.

    Unfortunately many of us know young people who have had the world handed to them by mom and/or dad ("my baby can't do anything wrong"), have a chip on their shoulder or a real attitude problem, are living in the folk's basement or on government money, won't do work because they do not have to and did not face the challenges your son has. They have an excuse for their lot in life and it is all "someone else's" fault. They are rude and unpleasant to be around. Sometimes the parents did everything "right" and the child chose the wrong path, but much of the time the problem starts at home......

    You have a son anyone would be proud of! Natokadn

  9. God bless you and your family.

  10. What wonderful parents you are, and what a loving, kind Heavenly Father we have! I wish your son all the best as he embarks on this new phase of his life!

  11. I am so proud of your son for his accomplishments and you and Sir Knight as parents. While I don't know you folks except through your blog it is evident that you care for and nurture your family in a most wonderful way. Parenting is hard work and not all are up to the task sadly.

  12. Wonderful news. You have done a great job preparing him for life. It will be a real blessing to watch him shine in this new chapter of his life.

  13. God's blessings for your son!! What an awesome accomplishment.

  14. Congratulations to your son for his amazing new journey. You and your husband have done a fine job raising him.

    I enjoy your blog so very much.

  15. How wonderful! Congratulations to Young Mister Hand Grenade! You have done such a wonderful job raising your children, it brings tears to my eyes!

  16. Yahweh sent him to the right parents. Congrats on a job well done!

  17. Doctors make educated guesses based on past cases, which may or may not mean anything. There will always be a need for basic trades, and a butcher is one of them. He's an apprentice now, I take it.

  18. Awesome young man, family and parents!!!

  19. Congratulations to Hand Grenade on his new career! How exciting to be 18 and just starting out. You and Sir Knight have honored the Father in the way you have raised your children and your sharing the journey of your family and faith is a shining example for all who find this site.

  20. Congrats to him. That is awesome. 80 miles one way or 80 round trip? Round trip is doable but one way, I'd look for a place to crash or a piece of forest to throw a tent up in for most of the weeek, maybe coming home in the middle or something. Still however you all work it that is great news.