Thursday, July 31, 2008

One Step At A Time

At times I am urged to consider those who are experiencing troubles and trials in their lives. It is even more difficult when those individuals are loved ones. My mind will often focus on their suffering and pain that results from occurrences or circumstances.

It is at times like this that God's Word becomes priority reading for the day. Knowing that He is in control of all things, makes me rest (for the most part) and learn to trust Him(by His grace and strength) for what the future may hold.

This beautiful passage, made me think of the transforming power of God as He walks with us "through the valley of the shadow."

From Amy Carmichael's "His Thoughts Said, His Father Said":

"His thoughts said, The sting of grief abideth.
His Father said, My word to thee is, 'Pray for them which despitefully use thee.' The word is not, 'Wait till the stinger be sorry for stinging.' Art thou stung? Thou wilt find as thou prayest that the sting will lose its power. Thy thinking will be kindly. Thou wilt remember Him who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously. Thy Savior hath left thee an example that thou shouldest follow His steps."

May we have the strength to follow His steps along a difficult and rugged path, especially when that path becomes more treacherous at times. That journey begins with just one step. One step at a time..
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Monday, July 21, 2008


Ashley & Rachel
Ashley, Mom, I, & Rachel
Ashley & I
Clockwise from left: Rachel, John, Greyson, Noah, Elijah, & Malcom (Sam is missing from the photo..:o()

Rachel's custom-made "Taiwan Shoes!"

I hope you enjoy the pictures!



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Friday, July 18, 2008


Here is a photo of a few family members at our local festival. My mom, nephews, grandmother, sister, I, and 5 of my children pose outside a local sandwich joint. We were quite a troup!

Sis, I miss you already, and it was so nice to have you visit us! Now I shall recover the sleep lost to our late-night/early morning chats (grin).
I apologize to all of you readers for neglecting the blog the past few weeks. There are a few works in progress at this point that may be of interest to you, so keep checking back!
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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I Thought I Was Perfect

At 40 years old, it seemed to me that my person was the perfect anatomical specimen. Talk about delusional thinking!

Since my miscarriage in June 2007, I have felt tired and worn. It seemed to me that my age and numerous daily duties would be a likely explanation for this state of physical condition. After all, don't we get tired as we get older, and those of us homeschoolers with many children of different ages push it even further?

Well, last week it made sense to me to get my hemoglobin checked in order to evaluate the thought that I could still be anemic from the miscarriage. The doctor also decided that I needed the range of "Congratulations your 40 and now we need to check other things, too" gamut of tests.

It surprised the doctor (and me) when the tests showed that I was very anemic (groan) and hypothyroid! All I could think was "What???!!" No, not me, the super achiever (wannabe..grin)! Sigh.

However, these tests did reassure me somewhat. I have been tired and other physical system issues were put into perspective. So, I am in the midst of figuring these things out and seeking out my family physician's expertise. Those of you w/ either hypothyroid or anemia, please don't hesitate to give comment on your experiences.

I also had my first mammogram (warning: those of you who hate to hear about these things, exit now. Do not read the rest of the story :o). It occurred to me that I should be very thankful for this technology...*and* for the beautiful facility which did the examination (very "spa" like).

I sat in the gorgeous waiting room w/ my pretty gown on, while watching the news on a large, flat-screen television. As I sipped on ice-cold mineral water, the technician called my name. My number was up.

After having numerous children, my modesty and sense of privacy has been given a new definition. Many things that compromise those areas pale in comparison to childbirth (grin). The mammogram seemed like a walk in the park, but it was a bit humorous to me.

I realized a few things during the examination:

  1. Mammogram technicians are great at giving instructions on what to do during the process (i.e. "You may stick to the plate, so be careful as you step back after the x-ray is taken" LOL).
  2. The particular part of the female anatomy that is being x-rayed, cannot move itself like a limb, and it must be moved and put into proper position (thank you, attendant..grin).
  3. The exclusive part of the female anatomy being referred to is very flexible and subject to various contortionist positions...LOL).
  4. I need to get my rear in gear and keep up w/ different diagnostic testing as I get older.

I can now say that I have graduated from "now you're a real woman" school of physcial experiences and diagnostic tests. Oh, I take that back...can you say "colonoscopy?" That may be next.....



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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Specifically Summer Part 2

Hello, everyone! Hope the summer is going well so far for you.
I have been having a blast! My younger sister (17 years younger than I!!) is visiting from Taiwan. It has been so wonderful to have her home. She and I get along very well and laugh a lot. Each evening we are up until past midnight, talking and giggling. She'll be here for a few more weeks. Here is a photo of her and her boyfriend (who also lives in Taiwan).

That is why entries have been limited (grin).

Now that summer is in full-swing, we are in the throes of different activities and oddly-scheduled days. The calendar and planner are important items for me at this time especially. You can print free planners from all over the Internet (try Google). Also, Donna Young has some great planners (see sidebar for link).

To keep our house in decent (or semi-decent) order, we continue to use a morning and evening routine. Morning is for making beds, collecting dirty laundry, straightening rooms, putting clean clothes away, and reading our Bibles. Our children have morning & afternoon jobs in addition to the morning routine as follows:
  • Malcom (14) puts away clean dishes in kitchen. Sets table and assists breakfast prep. Makes coffee. Cleans upstairs bathroom after breakfast.

  • Noah (14) and Greyson (11) collect trash from all receptacles in the house and then get it to the outside dumpster. Dump dehumidifier water. Feed and water chickens. Noah cleans downstairs bathroom after breakfast. Greyson washes dishes.

  • Elijah (9) puts away clean silverware. Helps set table. Wipes table after breakfast.

  • Rachel (7) Helps set table for breakfast. Takes care of Sam and makes sure he stays out of trouble. Sweeps after breakfast.

  • John (5) helps momma make her bed and tidy living and dining rooms. Helps clear table after breakfast.

  • Sam (2) does the same as John.

Afternoon Jobs

  • Malcom cleans and tidies the entryway (he uses a list that splits up jobs for the week: Mon: wash door fingerprints Tues: Dust wainscot trim and baseboards Wed: Tidies closet. Thurs: Mops the floor.
  • Noah cleans and straightens the downstairs family room. Jobs are spread through the week just as Malcom's are.
  • Greyson maintains the living room w/ the same concept as the jobs above.
  • Elijah and Rachel set the dinner table and make sure the condiments are put on.
  • John helps a big brother with his jobs.
  • Sam helps a big brother as well.
That much will help things stay sane in the house. It is even better to have an evening routine, which we do, yet at times the long summer days will prevent us from adhering to our plans. We do our best.

A few summer raw foods and other staples in our house are the following:
  • plenty of fresh fruit and veggies
  • fresh salsa, not canned (homemade or Sam's Club fresh salsa). Dice up a tomato and 1/4 of an onion. Chop 1/2 of a jalapeno (or use canned for convenience). Add a dash of salt, some freshly chopped cilantro, and stir. This is delicious! I use salsa to top rice, burritos, salads, etc. This will last a few days in the refrigerator. If you add a tablespoon of lemon juice, it will last a week.
  • frozen fruit. We have picked and frozen almost 10 gallons of local strawberries so far. These are great for homemade smoothies and sorbets! We try to get in-season fruits into the freezer as much as possible.
  • Hot dogs & browned, ground beef. (for meal-prep ease). Browned ground beef can be turned into sloppy joes, tacos, burritos, spaghetti sauce, potpies, stews, etc.
  • Tortilla chips and tortillas (for quick wraps or burritos).
  • Yogurt by the gallon ( see homemade recipe blog entry. Quadruple it to get one gallon). Use the fruit recipe from previous posts to create flavor for the yogurt.
  • Styrofoam cooler (kept in our van at all times). I use this and a freezer pack for keeping a gallon jug of water or other perishable items when we are out and about. This is also used for take-along snacks. The cooler will stay in the van all summer.
  • Paper cups and paper plates. These are great for summer convenience. I like to keep some of these in the van as well along w/ plastic eating utensils. Don't forget the paper towels.
  • Cooked brown and white rice. Great for wraps. You can also blend cooked rice w/ a bit of water to make rice porridge for breakfast (our favorite!). After blending the rice, put in a pan and add more water until porridge is your preferred consistency.
  • Carrot sticks
  • Baby wipes for easy clean up.
Here is a recipe for the mashed beans that we put in our tortillas:
  • 4 cups cooked pinto or black beans
  • 3 tablespoons oil of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

I throw all of this into a food processor and whiz until a paste forms. We then place about 1/2 of paste in tortillas and wrap them up. If you don't have a food processor, just use your potato masher. You may have to add a bit of water to ease the mashing. It is nice to do a bunch of these and keep them in the refrigerator for quick or portable meals. Try warming them in a covered casserole w/ the oven set at 375 for about 1/2 hour. Serve w/ cheese, salsa, and other toppings. Rice makes a great side dish for the burritos. Yummy.

We have a busy weekend ahead, including our local festival's airshow. The Blue Angels are here this year! They are our favorite. More berry picking may be in store as well.

Enjoy the days!