Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Megan Moment:

She thought it was her turn to be highlighted on the blog!

 Megan is much like me.
She loves projects.
She loves making things.
She is persistent and will not give up
until I sit down with her and her project.
Which is why I bought this book:

Though I have a creative mind, I also have a busy mind,
and those creative juices that used to overflow the banks of my mind
are now as a stream struggling after a drought.
Today Megan pestered me for a project.
So I pestered back.
I insisted she finish her schoolwork.
And piano.
And lunch.
And I needed a break after lunch.

And THEN I grabbed the book
and we did our project:

This is a Feel-Good Box;
To be opened only when we are in particular need
of  an emotional boost.
We are going to fill it with things that make us smile.
Robb's and my engagement photo.
Megan's grape lip gloss princess necklace.
(She says the smell calms her down!)
A small game.
A joke book.
And of course, Chocolate!
I think the box is lovely.
How about you?

p.s. Yes, I recently acquired Photoshop Elements from the PRIME office.
I wonder what other gems Robb has hiding there...

Tasty Tuesday

Granola with Apple

5 cups whole oats
1/4 cup 10 grain cereal
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped almonds or cashews
1/2 cup apple or pineapple juice
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar(optional- will make granola chunkier)

Drizzle liquids over dry ingredients. Mix well.

2 cups shredded dried apple
1 pkg  (1/8 c) sesame seeds
Add apple and sesame seeds for the last half of drying so they do not burn.

Dry in food dehydrator 3 hours
or in oven at 300F for 30-35 minutes.

Serve with yogurt. Yum!


Monday, September 28, 2009

A Dear Faithful Friend

 Otherwise known as a poem in which I use the word poop.

Once upon a time
there was a little boy
whose great grandma won a stuffed duck .
The boy got the duck
and the two formed a bond.
not with grandma, but the kid and duck.

The boy had a nuk
that he liked to suck too,
he was happy with nuk and duck.
The funny thing is
Boy pulled silly duck's fur
and formed an unusual habit.

Boy loved on that duck
as he pinched all that fur
in small tufts which he placed on the nuk.
Then into his mouth
went the fur and the nuk,
and soon fast asleep he would fall.

Next morning he woke
an unusual find:
Duck's hair had come out in his poop.

Now poor duck is bald
That old sad ragged toy;
Mitchell loves that bald duck still.
His friends tease and laugh
but the boy remains true
to his dear faithful friend, the duck.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

John Update

I spoke with my brother-in-law John this morning and received his current medical status.

If you don't know what I'm talking about maybe you missed this post.

His CMV is active again. The virus is undetectable in his body, but it is affecting his left eye. Every time it reoccurs, his eye sustains more damage and the blurriness increases. The doctor said it will be a fight to keep his  eye, and the natural progression is for the CMV to move to the right eye. The doctor was actually surprised it hasn't affected the other eye yet. Present worst case scenario: eventually John would go blind. John will receive treatment every two weeks to try to keep the CMV in his eye under control. He also has monthly blood work to check his HIV viral load and his CD4 count. He is on HIV meds that are currently controlling the viral load but his CD4 count is presently low,(229) barely above the CDC's threshold for AIDS. HIV meds need to be tweaked often to keep these numbers under control. (Sorry about all the gibberish. Some of this is for my Dr. dad.) I need to research this a bit more to have a better understanding of the numbers and the lab history.

The bottom line is, John's afraid. He wants to know what is going to happen. He wants to know what his chances are. He wants answers. But there aren't any. We just have to wait and see how his body responds to treatment. But he's been treated twice, and the CMV keeps reappearing. He wants to prepare himself for the worst. But how does one prepare to go blind? And will it come to that?

John is not mad at God. He said that. He says he brought this on himself. But he never expected his sight to be the issue he would face. He is grateful for your prayers.

I'm not sure what to ask you to pray today. I guess I'm afraid to ask God to do anything more than what normal statistics would allow. I just don't know the stats. But I do know my God. And He's done the impossible before. So throw caution to the wind. Ask big. Ask for healing and that the damage be as little as possible. But mostly, pray that God would move John's heart in a big way. Pray for inner healing. Restoration.

Thanks, my friends.
You are a blessing.

P.S. Last week I asked you to pray that we would communicate with John better about his health status. Our conversation today was an answer to that prayer as well as the fact that he gave me access to his online medical chart.

The Swing

How do you like to go up in a swing
up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!
Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside.
 Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown.
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A new pet?

This is Madison and her new pet. Crickey the Cricket.
Crickey is housed in a ziplock storage container
and carried around in a Pucci Pups pet carrier.
Yesterday Crickey went to Target.
Mitchell said Madison couldn't bring Crickey in
because the sign said, "No Pets."
She did anyway.
We were lucky and the Target employees didn't notice
Crickey until we were checking out.
Crickey also got to go to the grocery store,
and the playground.
Today Crickey took a bath.
His home floated nicely on the water.
He watched the kids complete their schoolwork
and took a ride on the lazy susan.
I wonder if he got dizzy?
Crickey also observed Mitchell annoying Madison
and learned the meaning of time out.
This is Crickey the Cricket making lovely music.

We expect to have many more happy memories with Crickey.
And if something should happen to him, never fear.
We have at least 5 more crickets somewhere in the house.

An Esther Style Makeover

Recent homework for my current Bible Study, esther:It's Tough Being a Woman discussed beauty. Young, beautiful girls were chosen for King Xerxes harem, but evidently their young beauty wasn't enough. A full year of beauty treatments followed their royal abduction. The point is, beauty wasn't something to posses, it was something to be DONE.

Sound familiar? We're never quite done attaining beauty, are we? It's a never ending process. Hair to cut, color, wash, and style. Nails to file, paint. Fingers and toes! Skin to moisturize. Legs to shave. Every day. (Or not!) Eyebrows to pluck. (Just kidding beauty know-it-alls. I know the proper verb is TWEEZE) Eyelashes to curl. Makeup to apply. New clothes. New shoes. Soaps and creams and gels and sprays and deodorizers....you know what I'm talking about. Gosh, it's a lot of darn work! And a lot of pressure. And since not many of us are willing to give up even a brush-full of bronzer , how are we to escape self-absorption? Or avoid painful insecurity? I think you know. It's a HEART thing. Esther didn't rise from the likes of Persia's top model contestants to be queen solely because of her beauty. Those over her care were drawn to her inner beauty.

I wonder what Esther honestly thought of the beauty applications. I wonder if she judged them silly and pagan or if she enjoyed the pampering. I wonder if she remembered God's thoughts on beauty as she was subjected to each "treatment". I bet she did.

"Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart." 1 Sam. 16:7

Let us not be as Jesus called the Pharisees in Matt. 23:27: "... like white-washed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of bones..."

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment... Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."1 Peter 3:4

I submit to you a meditation for your personal beauty treatment.  As each product is applied, pray the corresponding prayer.

Cleanser: Lord, exfoliate my heart. Remove the deadness and hardness of my heart that is hindering your complete work in my life. "Create in me a pure heart, Oh, God and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me." Psalm 51:10-12

Moisturizer: Lord, forgive my failures and soften my heart to do your will.

Day Solution: Lord protect me from evil today. Help me to stand up to temptation and remember that no temptation comes that is not common to mankind, and you will provide a way out of the temptation. 1 Co. 10:13

Foundation: Lord, I put on the shield of faith today. I believe you. I trust you. Ephesians 6:16

Lipstick Let the words of my mouth be acceptable to you today, Lord. Psalm 19:14

Eye color: Lord, let my eyes reflect the Spirit of Christ that lives in me. Let the light of your countenance shine through my eyes for your glory. Matthew 6:22, Luke 11:34

Fragrance: Lord, help me share the grace of your Son with someone today. "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in Christ's triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ." 2 Corinthians 2:15

May our inner beauty grow and our focus remain, always, on our King.

I designed this post in a printable card to post on your bathroom mirror or tuck in your make-up bag:


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Tough Post

I broach this subject publicly with some hesitation, but at this point, prayer is a greater need than privacy. I post this with permission.

We are a family touched by HIV/AIDS. The diagnosis came 8 years ago for John, my husband’s twin brother, and until recently he's been essentially healthy. Earlier this spring, after experiencing vision problems, he was diagnosed with Cytomegalovirus (CMV), which in healthy individuals rarely causes illness. Because of his HIV, CMV almost cost John the eyesight in one eye. He underwent a lengthy treatment at that time, and appeared to recover. He has since suffered a relapse of CMV and also recovered from pneumonia. Today, he appears healthy, but his health is precarious.

He recently requested we begin praying for him. Robb and John’s family live out of state and John has preferred to remain emotionally distant from them. We are his support. Being a twin myself, my heart understands and aches for my husband and his twin brother as we face the road ahead.

Please pray with us.

  • Pray that John would feel the love and forgiveness of Christ
  • Pray that Truth will prevail and all false beliefs will be exposed
  • Pray that John would find comfort and peace in Christ instead of fear
  • Pray for protection from illness, especially as flu season approaches
  • Pray that we would communicate clearly with John and have an accurate understanding of his health status. The unknowns are hard. Denial comes easy.

Thank you.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Memory Monday: Where there's smoke, there's always a fire, right?

Memory Monday: my opportunity to share humorous tidbits from our family's history. This one is from Oct. 2006.

So, the kids and I were upstairs- me cleaning, and them, riding their sleeping bags down the stairs (a pastime of which I am quickly tiring ) when Megan yells from the bottom of the stairs, "It smells like smoke down here!"

I rush down and she's right. The kitchen is hazy and definitely smells like smoke.

The problem is, I can't figure out where the smoke is coming from or why. I hadn't cooked anything that morning except a mean bowl of Rice Krispies! And everyone knows those aren't cooked!

The oven was off, the stove was off and there was not a spark in sight.

I yell at the kids to go outside, which, of course, is freezing cold, and they are dressed in tutus. OK, Mitchell's not wearing a tutu, but he IS shirtless. They bundle up with blankets in the van and I start a movie to keep them occupied.

I proceed to go back in the house to find out the source of the smoke. It occurs to me that the house was recently rewired and maybe the problem is hidden. I can't find anything, so I do what any normal person SHOULD do: I call 911.

The fire department comes out. Just great for a newcomer to the neighborhood. The first responder goes through the house with me, looking for the fire. We find nothing. We determine the source is most likely the kitchen and by the time we get back there, the whole fire crew is there in full firefighting garb, including a member of our church.

The first responder asks his crew, "What do you smell?" The police officer on the scene thoughtfully replies, "It smells like burnt plastic." In that instant I think, "There are two places I've seen plastic burn in the kitchen, the top of the stove and (here's my light bulb moment)....the....MICROWAVE!"

A firefighter opens the implicated appliance and pulls out a well-charred, melted  bottle of Costco brand children's vitamins. The true guilty party: none other than our precious two-and-a-half year old, Madison.

The fire crew was kind to offer encouraging words that I did the right thing to call them. My true consolation comes from the fact that it took a kitchen-full of burly men, and a lady police officer, a full ten minutes to find my fire.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sacred Sunday

Isaiah 45:5-8

        I am the LORD, and there is no other;
       apart from me there is no God.
       I will strengthen you,
       though you have not acknowledged me,
     so that from the rising of the sun
       to the place of its setting
       men may know there is none besides me.
       I am the LORD, and there is no other.
    I form the light and create darkness,
       I bring prosperity and create disaster;
       I, the LORD, do all these things.
    "You heavens above, rain down righteousness;
       let the clouds shower it down.
       Let the earth open wide,
       let salvation spring up,
       let righteousness grow with it;
       I, the LORD, have created it.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What was she thinking?

No pictures for this post.
That would be illegal.
Curious yet?

Last night, Robb, in his anxiousness to restart the show our family was watching together, went to check on the girls, who were taking a potty break. He hears through the bathroom door Madison talking to Megan. Assuming she is guarding the door for Megan(the door doesn't lock), he gently opens it. To his astonishment, he finds Madison awkwardly perched over the pedestal sink relieving herself. She is just as surprised to get caught in such a mischievous act. What is a parent to think of such a thing? Very naughty to be sure. But hilarious in a bewildering way.  What was she thinking?!

And what am I to think? Have I failed as a mom? Do I need a childproof sink? I never could have guessed I needed to instruct my children not to EVER pee in a sink. Well, I may have mentioned it to my son once. I just never thought it was necessary to tell my daughters. I thought only boys did crazy, gross stuff. Guess I was wrong.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Playing (and Fighting) Fair

Megan has spent most of Mitchell's football practices on the sidelines, creating cheers and routines with her friends. This week that all changed. Boys entered the picture. They wanted the girls to cheer for THEM, specifically.  The girls would have none of it. They wanted to play ball. Tackle football. The rule was made that the girls could tackle but the boys could only tag. Megan reported to me quite proudly after their scrimmage that she took two different boys down to the ground. Guess having a brother around has it's advantages. For football anyway.

I got to thinking. I do that sometimes. This story has a familiar dynamic. What man doesn't want a beauty by his side cheering him on? But we'd rather take him on straightaway. Those rules sound familiar....like the rules we make with our husbands. Seems the rules are always tilted in our direction. And then we take him down. To the ground. Doesn't seem fair. Or respectful.

Sorry Honey.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


from my sister's blog

Footstool Poems


In the garden, for the apple, beyond what was good,
Eve reached.

On the cross, arms outstretched, in love for all,
God reached.

I must not reach so far as she, and cannot reach so far as He.

In grace, away from sin, toward my only help,
I reach.

Toward holiness, toward my God, in divine love triumphant,
I reach.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Unsinkable Women

This is Violet Jessop, Titanic stewardess. At least that's who she was for bit, anyway. On any other day, she would be known as one of our landladies. Today Debra Jean also became Nora, a flamboyant Titanic music hall performer, and the unsinkable Molly Brown, as she presented a shortened version of her one woman show "Unsinkable Women: Stories and songs from the Titanic" at a nearby nursing home.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Taco Soup

A mainstay in our family's diet. Best of all, Robb loves it and makes it himself. I'm a fan of any meal I don't have to cook!

1 lb hamburger, browned
1-2 pkg taco seasoning
2 cans undrained corn
2 cans undrained chili beans
2 cans undrained diced tomatoes

Heat and serve with cheddar cheese and Tortilla chips. We also use it as a dip with Scoops chips.

Fruit Salsa

I couldn't find a recipe that I liked, so I merged two together and came up with this!

10 apples
5 firm peaches
1 bunch cilantro
1 c green pepper (about 2 peppers)
2 jalapeno, seeded
1 red onion
1/2 c cider vinegar
1/2 c lemon juice
1/2 c lime juice
2-3 c Roma tomatoes
1 t salt
2 c brown sugar

Chop all, combine and eat fresh or simmer 10 minutes and pack in sterilized jars. Process 15 minutes in boiling-water canner.

Football, Bible Study, Bible Quizzing

Our fall has started with a BANG! Our evening are full M-T-W-Th, so we barely have time on the weekends to gather our thoughts and start again!

Mitchell started football after a year of anticipation and planning with his friends. Mitchell was proud to tell me that his coach likes the way he and his friend Matt practice tackling. They're not shy, and plow right into each other! As you can see from the photo, his buddies are all happy to be attending practice at the same time and place....and their parents are as well!   The track is next to the field so I can get in my walking while my girls play with their friends. And so, football practice couldn't work out any better for everyone!

 Wednesday was our first Bible quiz practice, and I have the opportunity to coach four great girls-one of them being my daughter Megs. I am grateful for this chance to focus on my middle child and cultivate her relationships - and mine- with her friends. We will memorize two verses each week from the book of 1-2 Corinthians, and hopefully have some fun along the way.

Today (Mon.) I start Beth Moore's study esther: It's tough being a woman! I can't wait! We have a total of 28 ladies signed up, so we will have three discussion tables and I will facilitate at one of them. After doing so many studies taught by Beth, I feel a bit like she's my friend. Over the summer I missed her- and the way she leads me in my study of the Best Book!