Monday, December 30, 2013

He's Gone To Share God's Love In Thailand

Matt, Tim, and Grandma.... 

As some of you know our Tim left early this fall for a 6 month Mission training and Outreach with YWAM. He attended 3 months of Discipleship Training. I know he is involved in videography too.  He was originally set to go to India and Nepal with his Outreach Team. God had other plans. After some paperwork that needed to be straightened out Tim had a choice to make. To wait a couple of weeks and go on to meet his Team, or to leave with another Team. Tim prayed, and then he went.  

This is Team Thailand/Cambodia

Tim arrived in country just a day after the others. He loves it and is deep in the ministry to a children's home. The team is busy getting to know the kids and teaching them conversational English.

* a note here there will be no children's pictures posted here. The children have made it know to the adults that they feel like zoo animals when folks come waving cameras in their faces. This wonderful team has chosen to honor their request and take no photos of the children. I will post projects that involve photos of team members here when they are appropriate.. 

I have been overwhelmed by the beauty of the Country. It's breathtaking. 

On the Team's first day off they decided to spend the day at an Elephant park.. The photos are awesome. Dillon Engstrom is the photographer. Most of the photos I post here will be his work. I'll post them along with a few from Tim and a few here and there from other Team members.   

Tim getting his Elephant ride. 
There was a show to watch then they rode the elephants for about 20 minutes through water, down pathways, over bridges. The Team also experienced a long river raft journey, a ride in a cart pulled by Oxen, and a large buffet meal to top it all off.. 

I ask that you remember this team in your prayers. They are so excited to share the love and Gospel of Christ with everyone they meet. I'll try and post something each week as Dillon does an update of activities once per week. Please pray for the health of the team. Some are feeling a bit sick. Also pray for the children that they understand all that is being taught to them. 

A big THANK YOU to those who have supported our Tim financially and with their prayers. Your support is allowing him to live out God's plan. 

UPDATE: you can follow Tim and the team on Facebook..  just click this URL..  and make a request..  

Wow.. That Was A Wild Christmas ...

Sunday Dec. 22nd we had an ice storm. Kind of weird for Michigan. We are def. a snow state. When we didn't lose power overnight we figured we were in the clear. We were wrong. 

about 1:30 that afternoon we lost power. Like thousands of others throughout the storm area. Husband got out the Kerosene lamps, the camp stove, the old peculator coffee pot, and a Coleman light. We were ready for the couple of hours (normally) we might be without power. I had filled 5 gal. buckets with water and put them in the tub the day before..  goooo me..  

We waited. I put up a cotton blanket to block in the heat generated by the kerosene lamps and Coleman lamp. Considering we had no heat source it stayed pretty comfy, that is till the next day. We headed out to find kerosene, 1lb propane tanks for the stove and light, and a new heater. As you already have guessed.. Nada for any of those. We did have friends give us their Kerosene heater to use. We found a place close with Kerosene, and we found the last 1 lb propane tanks in town and bought some. 

We had some snow. It was beautiful stuck to the icy trees. 
We were fortunate. When we called in to report the outage we were given the Date of Saturday Dec. 28th for restoration of power. YIKES...  We  got our power back Monday night about mid-night. Many didn't get their power back until that Saturday. 

We had a plan for a big family dinner and gift exchange for Tuesday afternoon.. I made some calls and said the cancelled party was back on. I moved the furniture back, put the food back in the full size freezer in the basement, and the food to the fridge.. then threw all the unwrapped gifts in any Christmas bag I could find that would hold them, scrawled names on the bags in black sharpie marker.. ordered Pizza, Salad, and bread sticks,and we  had Christmas.  

Husband still says our best gift of the year was our heat and power back on. I totally agree.. the "jingle bell shotgun shell" Christmas lights came in 2nd. LOL  he is easy to please. 

We realized we spend way to much time watching TV. We had no board games, puzzles, not even a deck of UNO cards..  I gave them all to the kids when they moved out.. I plan on rectifying that this year. 

I've also ordered a free-standing propane vent free heater. 30,000 BTU.  We have a similar one at our place in Kentucky. We love it. We'll get some Propane tanks (I'm not sure what size, we'll see what the propane co. suggests) when the heater gets here. I'm making a corner for our emergency supplies so we'll be more prepared next time, and I won't have to spend so much time looking for stuff. We're gonna get a generator too. We have a couple of small ones husband picked up at yard sales here and there. They're small and I'm not sure they would be of much use. I want one big enough to run our fridge and freezer, maybe a light or two and a TV.  

It's always good to be prepared for the unexpected. 
I hope your Christmas was warm, full of family and friends. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Lesson Remembered At Walmart...

O Come All Ye Faithful....

It was another busy day today. I had to pick up a the last 3 gifts on my list, I had to go to 2 different stores before I could find one of them. I had to pick up some antibiotics for Hubby. Then I had to run home, unload the truck, and head out to grab a friend for our trip to Sams Club to pick up a few more baking goodies. 

My list was full and I was already tired. I hadn't even washed the dishes from 2 days ago. I haven't done laundry for 2 weeks, I haven't watched the videos for the new sound system at Church and I have to run the sound this Sunday. I haven't made any cookies. I haven't mailed my grandson's Christmas gift to Hawaii. I haven't gotten out the tree or the other decorations. I haven't changed out the everyday dishes to my favorite Snowman dishes. I haven't sent out my Christmas cards. * I did make some photo cards for the family that hubby didn't like. apparently I was suppose to get his OK first. 

I'm running and running and I'm tired. My list of "things to do" is so un-done. 

I decided to head to Walmart after leaving the mall. I only had to look for a gift card and buy some treats for the dogs. We're almost out and I don't want to run out of them before the end of the month. I parked and literally ran, well I kind of hobble along quickly, toward the door.. 

oh goodness. Another one of those Salvation Army red kettles. I love the Salvation Army. I always give a bit here and there throughout the season. As I started to dig through my purse for some loose bills. I hear it. He's singing. That big and I mean tall and stocky, Flannel shirt wearing, Santa hat bobbing man is singing. 

I finally get close enough to hear him and it stops me in my tracks. It was one of the purest and sweetest voices I've ever heard. I really hadn't expected that from that "hunting bears with a switch" man. I slowed a bit and stopped looking for my money. I immediately recognized the song he was singing."Oh come all ye Faithful". It stopped me in my tracks. The tears started to fall. and my heart cried out.. "Oh come let us adore Him". 

Oh my, I had once again let my plans, my lists of things to do, and my Christmas, fog up the real reason I love Christmas so. It's that King of Angels that I love. I had shoved that baby back to the bottom of the list. I had made everything else a priority. 

As I got to that wonderful big man. I was sobbing. He broke into a smile that brightened my very soul. I hugged him and thanked him for his song. He gave me a wonderful huge hug. I swear he was an angel God placed there just for me.  I walked through the store thanking God for reminding me the reason I celebrate Christmas. It's that Baby Jesus. 

4 yrs. ago I first wrote of how easy it is for me to get all into "the preparation" for Christmas without a thought of the Love that came to earth that night over 2000 yrs. ago. (you can read it here

I still have some Christmas preparations to make, gifts to wrap, the tree to put up, gifts to mail etc. But I can tell you I'm going to be singing with joy and praise about that baby that came.

 I hope you join with me. You may not feel like celebrating. You may have suffered great loss of some kind. I've heard several of my friends say how they just can't feel any Christmas spirit. You may not feel it either, But I ask you to remember the Love that God showed us that night.. The first and greatest gift ever given. His only son Jesus. He sent Him to earth to be your Savior. 

come on,  sing with me..   

O come all ye faithful
Joyful and triumphant
O come ye, o come ye to Bethlehem
Come and behold Him
Born the King of angels
oh, come let us adore Him
Oh, come let us adore Him
Oh, come let us adore Him
Christ the Lord... 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

We're On A Roll....

Some of you have asked for the Pumpkin Roll Recipe I am using. Here it is. I got it from my dear friend Cindy. It's really yummy. The recipe is a bit long and I really didn't know how to explain the "rolling the cake in the towel" part. so I'm also including a short Video I found on YouTube.  Enjoy !!!

Pumpkin Rolls.... 
preheat the oven to 350 degrees
you need to prep your pan/pans first. I used 2 small cookie sheets. you can also use a full size sheet pan. either will work fine. then use parchment paper or wax paper to line the pan/pans.
get out your electric hand mixer or your stand mixer. 

1- cup white sugar
2/3- cup canned pumpkin
3- eggs
 put in a mixing bowl and beat together for 5 minutes until light and very fluffy. * I use a hand mixer and tilt the bowl some toward me. so that the beaters pick up some air along with mixture. you'll know by the air bubbles if you are doing it right.. 

then add 3/4 cup of self rising flour 
1- teaspoon cinnamon
mix until well blended. 

pour the mixture onto your prepared cookie sheet/sheets. 
** If you use 2 small cookie sheets try to put an equal amount on each sheet. it doesn't look like it will work, but it does.. :D 

Bake about 13-15 min. the cake should feel spongy. 
remove from oven and cool in the pan.. 
It should be cool to the touch in about 20-30 minutes.. 

** while you are waiting prepare your towels.  tea towels only.. the ones that have no nap/fuzz. flour sack cloth works well too.  Spread it out on the counter and sprinkle with powdered sugar. make sure you sift the powdered sugar on so there are no hard pieces. 

Remove the cake from the pan. I just used the edges of the parchment paper and carried it to the towel. I then turned the cake over on top of the towel. * make sure the towel is smooth. 
CAREFULLY remove the parchment paper. do it very slowly. 

I like to roll mine from the short side, but you could do it from the long side if you wanted to. carefully roll the towel up.. and  let cool another 15 minutes.  

Make the filling.. 

1- 8oz box cream cheese softened.. 
2- Tablespoons soft butter
1- teaspoon vanilla
1- cup powdered Sugar
mix w/ hand mixer until Frosting consistency..  

Make sure the roll is completely cool, Unroll the towel. 
spread on the filling almost to the end of each side. 
now re-roll the cake in the same direction you did at first.. 

I have placed the finished roll  in plastic wrap.. but I don't like the way it works..  I tried using wax paper and then wrapped it in foil.. you can refrigerate it or store in the freezer..  :D 

for a similar recipe and to see how to roll the cake in the towel   Watch this quick you tube video.. 

Your ThanksGiving Table....

Corn Casserole... 

Wow, Thanksgiving is upon us. I can't believe it's here already. I got out the recipe cards and have already whipped up a pumpkin roll (the first one I've tried on my own). It turned out pretty good for a first attempt. 

I don't know if you're like me, but I like to change it up. Now my family, well that's another story. They are totally traditionalists and don't want one item changed. Knowing that. I have looked and found some very yummy and acceptable ways to prepare their favorite Traditional Thanksgiving dishes.  I'll be posting a few of those recipes here. 

I am just posting a few recipes for side dishes and a dessert. A couple of my favorites are new and I'll just direct you to the website where they were found.  

The first one is for "Cornbread Dressing Easy and Moist"   The recipe is from Southern plate and looks delish. I'm trying it for the first time this year. Husband, being a good Southern boy, totally hates white bread dressing (our favorite) I have tried forever to make his "mama's cornbread dressing". it's never quite right. After looking this one over, I am sure it will be much more like his mama's then my previous attempts. I don't think I will ever be able to make mine as good as his mama's, but that's the way it should be. If you are looking for loads of Thanksgiving recipes look here. It's another link to the Southern plate site and contains about 60 Holiday recipes. I highly recommend this site. 

My first recipe is for " Corn Casserole" it's a hit with our family and everyone loves it. It takes you back to grandma's table. You may have heard it referred to as "Corn Pudding" I think the names are interchangeable. This recipe I got from a dear Christian lady. Miss Fannie Shelton. this was one of her "always asked for" recipes. Enjoy....  

Corn Casserole:
preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

3- eggs 
3- Tablespoons of flour
3- Tablespoons White sugar
1/2- teaspoon Salt
1- 15oz can cream style corn
1- can evaporated milk
1/2- stick of butter or margarine

Beat together eggs, milk, sugar, flour, and salt until light and foamy. (you'll need to use a hand mixer or put this in your stand mixer.
Blend in corn. pour into a greased/sprayed casserole dish. 
slice butter into small squares and place on top of the corn mixture. bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes or until custard consistency.  serve while hot. 
*I use an old glass Pyrex baking dish that holds about 4 cups or so.  

The next favorite is "Green Bean Casserole" you just can't beat the original recipe found at or  we leave out the soy sauce and pepper.. We love it. I've tried to replace the dish with brussel sprouts. (my own families traditional veggie) but that's a giant NO. so green bean casserole it is. 

The next recipe is for a fabulous and yummy Cranberry Sauce. My bunch don't like cranberry sauce. I served this for the first time a couple of years ago and they all loved it. A friend from our Troop Support group shared it with me. I make it throughout the year when something a bit fruity is needed. It's fabulous with pork loin, pork chops etc. I always double this recipe for 20 or more of us. some of the kids take it home.. LOL  

Yummy Cranberry Sauce... 

1- can of cranberry sauce * I use whole berry
1- small box of red jello * I use cranberry but any red jello is fine
1/2- of a 15oz can of crushed pineapple or a full 7oz can
chopped nuts of your choice. * I use walnuts

pour the can of cranberry sauce into a bowl. add the crushed pineapple and the nuts. 
then sprinkle the powdered jello over all and mix well. 
this makes about 3 cups of sauce

The last recipe I think is the hands down best Pecan pie recipe I've ever tasted anywhere ever. Our friend Greg aka: Critter, from Ky. makes some of the best pies I've ever tasted. He can make the best meringue I've ever seen. I can't do meringue.. it's crazy. but he makes the best pies. You'll love this one. Now it may be kind of like making granny's pie.. It may not taste exactly the same cause granny threw in a big hunk o love.. I'm really hoping this turns out half as good as Critter's .. if it does, I'll be satisfied. 

Critter's Pecan Pie.. 

pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
1- cup white Karo syrup
1- cup brown sugar
1- stick of butter melted. please use the real stuff
3- eggs beaten
1- teaspoon vanilla
1- teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 cups of Pecans (whole or chopped doesn't matter) 

prepare your crust and get it in your pie pan. 
put your pecans in the bottom of pan on top of the crust.

get your bowl and hand mixer out. beat the eggs, then add the Karo syrup, brown sugar, melted butter, the vanilla, and the salt. And mix. 
*I haven't made this for a while so I can't recall how thick it is. use the mixer if it's thin enough.. if not mix it well by hand. 
Then pour it over the pecans in the bottom of the crust. 

bake at 350 degrees for 70 minutes. keep an eye on the crust and cover it with strips of foil if it starts to get to brown. 

I am hoping your Thanksgiving is full of good food, good friends, and family. When we think about it our lives are all about relationships. I love to share food that reminds me of those special people and special relationships.
 Remember to be Thankful I know I am. 
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Grandma's Sunday Dinners....

My Grandparents George and Geneva Sykes 
on their 25th wedding Anniversary 1947

 Some of my favorite memories were spent with my grandparents at their farm in Parma MI. The ride to Parma was just right for a nice Sunday afternoon. It wouldn't be very long before we'd be pulling into the driveway lined with Peonies. When I was small the house looked huge. I loved it. Grandma and Grandpa would meet us on the porch with hellos and hugs. Grandma always wearing one of her best Sunday dresses and one of her good Sunday aprons.  

I don't remember seeing grandma without an apron unless she was heading to Church or the grocery store. She had everyday aprons. Sunday aprons, Holiday aprons and even aprons she wore working out in the garden. I don't remember her ever wearing pants. I think she may have in the winter when they still had the cows, but I never saw her in anything but dresses. 

Grandma, My aunt Lenora, Mom, Dad, and us kids. 

Sunday dinner with grandma and grandpa was always a big treat. Grandpa would usually have charge of us while the women finished preparing the meal. Apparently they didn't like us kids running in and out of the kitchen. Grandma had a wooden swinging door from the dinning area (see above) into the kitchen. It swung both ways and was a very real temptation for us kids. 

Grandpa  would take us on a walking tour of the yard and the barn. We were never allowed in the barn by ourselves. The cows had been gone for years and there were holes in the floor that we may or may not see. The old hay still covered most of the floor and he was afraid we'd get hurt on the loose boards. I loved that old barn and it's smell. Grandpa still stored hay up in the loft. I loved to watch him during haying putting the hay on the conveyor and up in the loft. 

Sometimes Grandpa would get out the tractor and take us on a ride down the lanes. Grandpa didn't grow crops anymore, but he did let some guys cut the hay off the fields and he let folks hunt there if they stopped and asked permission. 

Blackberries grew in the lane. I remember grandmother giving grandpa a pail and asking for him to pick some berries and bring them back up to the house. She also gave us the "strict grandma" look and said for us not to eat any of the berries. We'd ruin our dinner. We all promised not to eat even one berry and ran out the back letting the wooden door whack. (a favorite sound of mine) We headed to the tractor and rode straight to the patch. Grandpa told us we better make sure the berries were good, so we would need to eat a few. Well you know what little kids smashing blackberries in our mouths would look like. Yep.. berry juice staining our mouths, hands, and I'll bet our clothes too. 

We never returned to the house without picking a nice bunch of wild flowers for grandma. When we returned to the house that day we marched in the kitchen with a bucket full of blackberries, a big bunch of flowers and big grins. She looked right at us and asked if we ate any berries. We quickly looked at grandpa.. he got the biggest grin on his face, winked at us, and we all said.. " oh no grandma, we didn't eat any berries"..  LOL  she started laughing and sent us to wash our hands and get to the table. 

Sunday dinners were always at the large dinning table. table pads were added. Tablecloths were placed along with napkins, dishes, silverware and real glass glasses. Something we were never allowed to use at home. We were always instructed to make sure to hold our glasses with both hands. There was always some type of Jello salad with vegetables (mostly carrots and or celery) served on a bed of lettuce on a salad plate brought to the table first. My mouth was about table high.. so it slid in pretty good. I never did care for veggies in my jello, but you always ate what was put in front of you, and boy was the food put in front of us. Plates full of Roast beef or Fried chicken, Mashed potatoes with gravy, some corn and maybe peas. Grandma canned and froze everything. so it was all homemade and very yummy. Then when the dishes were cleared the cake or pie grandma made earlier in the day was brought out with coffee for the adults and more milk for us kids. 

Grandpa was always worried that we weren't eating enough. He would make sure we had an extra serving or two of some dinner item and then would make sure grandmother cut our piece of pie a bit bigger then it should have been. After dinner the rest of the dishes were cleared and all of us women would head to the kitchen to do the dishes. I would stand on a box in the kitchen and rinse the silverware and wipe it. That was my job. Then I was off to play with grandpa on the big swing in the front yard. 

soon enough we'd head off home. Once we were a mile or two from from grandmas we'd have to stop so us kids could throw up. LOL  I remember the day my papa had to tell grandpa we just couldn't eat that much food. Our bellies were just to little. 

Dad, mom, Keith, and I

Those were some of the most vivid and wonderful memories I have of my grandparents. Sunday dinners were something. They were an important part of the family. If we went for the weekend  we'd go to Church. My grandparents lived just down the road from the little Methodist Church. We would walk on nice days. One of Grandpa's jobs was to ring the bell. It alerted the families in the area it was time to start heading to Church. One of my brother's favorite moments was when grandpa let him ring the bell. 

 My grandmother played the organ for the service. When I was older I would practice with the choir for a few minutes before service. Grandma always made sure I had a hankie. Then out I would go and sing just like I did it every Sunday. The choir members loved it. Well they acted like they did. 

Every family gathered on Sunday for a very similar dinner. Maybe there were no table pads, or tablecloths, or fancy jello salads. But there was family gathered to share their day. I really miss those dinners. Now families seem to gather at the local restaurants if they gather at all. I know lives are busy and fixing a big meal when you are busy with Church and kids and such may not be practical. I understand that a trip to the local Bob Evans or KFC is a nice break for mom. But I wonder how much we have really given up. Those walks with grandpa were precious. Grandma letting me help rinse the silverware even when it would have been much easier for her to do it herself was important. I wonder what part of that special relationship we may be letting slip away..  

I'll never forget those wonderful Sunday dinners. I hope you have many wonderful memories of Sunday dinners and If you haven't had one lately call your family together. Make them put their phones and ipods away. gather them up around the table and let them share some good roast beef, Or KFC.. what you are eating is not nearly as important as what you are saying to each other.... 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Giant Killers wanted...

Yesterday was a roller coaster of a day. Dear friends from Church received the news that the tumor was cancer..  

The day began with fervent prayer that the biopsy would come back good.. Our ladies prayer meeting took place and as we were gathered for breakfast at a local restaurant the call came. Cancer. 

Time stopped..  we tried to wrap our heads around how a 15 yr old could have cancer. How is that possible, and not just any 15 yr. old.. one of ours. That is just how it felt. Our daughter. One of the Aunts was there, and of course her pain was a million times more acute then ours, but still we felt the pain of the situation fill our hearts and minds. 

I spent the day praying.. praying for mom and dad. praying for the siblings and the extended family members. Praying for the Doctors that will read all the tests and make a treatment plan, and of course, praying for "our" kid. 

I saw where Dad made a post on facebook. He called the cancer a giant, but immediately followed that with "looking for the right stone"..  I know this has been a blow to Mom and Dad like nothing they have faced before..  They must feel like young David of the Bible.. Standing and looking at the Giant that is sneering at their smallness and laughing at their funny looking armor. For now, that giant looks mighty big. They are unsure of just how they need to attack ... But they know something that giant doesn't know..  

That funny looking armor is the Armor of God.. They are very familiar with it They've worn it before. This giant is different, it appears bigger then others they have faced, but they know God is the one who will fight for them. God will enable them, just like David, to defeat this giant. I'm not sure how God will do it, but I know He will. I know that as they assemble their chosen rocks. Other believers will be assembling to encircle them with prayer and support. I can't wait to see this giant hit the ground. I can't wait to shout with "our kid" Cancer Free.. 

I know that today they are not the only ones who face a giant. Maybe you have one you are about to face or are facing. Know that God can and will help you face and defeat your giant. Ask for His help. He is waiting and willing to help you choose the right stones and He'll help you fight. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Don't Forget To Thank A Vet...

On this Veterans Day I want to say Thank you to our Veterans. There are many that I have had the pleasure of meeting over the years. Since I am a member of a Troop Support Group I've gotten a chance to meet some awesome Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, and Sailors. Many I've never had a chance to meet in person, but I've become acquainted with them through emails, facebook, and letters. 

I wrote a blog post in July of 2012 thanking some of those I've had the pleasure of sending packages to. I always take a name or two off our mailing list and "adopt" them. That means I pack their boxes, write letters, and pick up a few extra things I send them. 

You can read the post and see the photos Here. I have a couple of more thank yous to mention here. 

this is Austin, I'm packing him boxes now. 

Ryan is sitting in the truck. He's recently come home. 

Justin.. The son of a dear friend home now.. 

I have by no means thanked all those I've had the joy of "adopting" over the past 10 years, there have been over 60 of them.. That doesn't include all the Veterans I've met as part of our local VFW Post and those my husband, a Vietnam Vet, and I have met as he uses the benefits from the VA medical community. 

If you stop and think about it, you know a Vet or two. Make sure you thank them today.  Thank their families too. They also make sacrifices so their family member can serve. 

If you have served or are serving our Country. I want to say Thank you. I wish there were better words. Words that could convey the depth of my thank you, But thank you is all I have. It is said from the depths of my heart...  

Friday, November 8, 2013

I'm Still Here....

Wow, Time has flown by since my last post. A lot has been happening. I'll make a quick run down.  

1.  I had my hysterectomy. It went well. 
2.  I'm on week 5 of recovery.  yahoo. 
3.  I've learned you probably should be really careful when you open a huge container of corn starch.. 

It was quite funny at the time.. It went everywhere. I'm still finding it in the strangest places. 
4.  Our leaves are mostly gone along with the warmer temps. I fear winter is really on the way.. 
5.  Our sweet and funny little squirrel friends are gone. We have only 2 now that visit on a regular basis. We fear a hunter got them. I'm hoping they headed off to Phoenix to visit relatives for the winter. 
6.  Our grandson Tim is half-way through  his classes, and will be leaving for India and Nepal for 3 months in just a few short weeks. 
7.  I have gotten a big part of my Christmas shopping done. Not because I'm a planner, but because all the grand kids asked for gift cards and or money. I'm thinking they don't appreciate the unique and unusual items I find for them..  (ROTFL) 
8.  I am again participating in the annual facebook 30 days of thankful posts.

Well that's it for now. I'll write more on my surgery later. Don't worry nothing graphic.. and I promise not to post the photos the surgeon took. (they are really cool)  

Enjoy the last of the leaves, a good snuggle blanket, your favorite hot beverage, and a good book..  

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Things You Can See At Wal-mart. And No, It's Not What You Think....

  I was at Wal-mart Thursday.. well actually I've been there the past 3 days in a row. I'm trying to get things stocked up. I'm trying to pick up some Christmas things. I have surgery next week and I need to get things ready for winter; well at least for fall. 

 I know what most people like to share those funny photos of people dressed all kinds of ways. This is not one of those posts. I wanted to share one of the most precious things I've ever seen. A look. 

I know, a look????  Ya, I've seen lots of looks at Wal-mart. You know those "get out of my way before I run you over with this cart" looks, "you want me to give you something to cry about" looks. Frustrated looks, quizzical looks. Yep, I've definitely seen a lot of looks, but never a look like this. A look of complete and total devotion. A look of deep love. A look at the time I wish I could have captured some way to give to them. They really didn't need it captured. I have a feeling they look at each other this way a lot.  

The woman was in a wheelchair. She was maybe in her middle to late 30's. I noticed the tubing almost immediately. I recognized it. It was the same kind of tubing my dad had when he was on a Ventilator. As I looked at her, I realized she was also on a Vent. A portable one. 

Next I saw the children, two of them I think, darting around the wheel chair looking at the racks that were within the area Dad approved as acceptable. Dad was picking out a few tops for mom and checking to see if they won her approval. 

Then I saw it. That look. I think I noticed it in his eyes first. Then I looked at her..  that look was the look of love, but even more then that. It was deep. It was a look of admiration, peace, love, security, passion, joy, and strength. It was a look of the deepest kind of love. You could not only see it, you could feel it. 

I almost felt like I was intruding on a very private moment. I turned back toward my destination, the grocery aisles. I thought of them as I walked.  I don't know all the details or the reason for the vent,  if they lived together, If he took care of her, or if she, like my dad, lived in a nursing home and could leave with a portable vent for outings. I didn't know but it really didn't make any difference. I took a few moments as I headed for the dairy aisle to pray for them. What a wonderful blessing to see, and to think I saw all that at Wal-mart.  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Trying Again....

I'm Trying again. I had finally decided that I would get a hysterectomy. I decided last year, but then I kind of chickened out. The thought of surgery does not appeal to me. 

I decided this summer I would suck it up and have the surgery. Little did I know that things would not go as I had planned. 

Some of you know me well enough to know I'm kind of, sort of, a control freak. I plan. I really plan. I want to plan. I feel security in my planning. Maybe that's why God occasionally throws a kink in my plans. 

I had several kinks this summer. The Plan was for August 25th. The end of July I ended up in ER. spent the night and got the chance to have a colonoscopy. whoopie.. NOT

My surgeon wanted to make sure I was OK. Apparently while I'm sort of standing on my head (during the surgery) my intestines are shoved up by my tonsils. He wanted to make sure they wouldn't be all gnarly and pop down and surprise him while he was wielding the scalpel...  I agreed.  We got the okey doke so everything was on schedule for Aug. 25th, but I wasn't done with the ER yet. 

During the Stress test (which a Dr. I'd never seen before wanted me to have) I had some chest pain and back pain so off to the ER I went. Since this little problem occurred the day before said surgery it was cancelled. It was probably a good move. 

I thought I'd try for Sept.. 25th..  oh oh..  I had to have Cardiologist send clearance to said Surgeon..  apparently they don't want me having chest pain during surgery..  picky picky picky...  so we waited for that. 

Do you hear my fingernails clicking on the table... while I wait.  
I thought you would. It seems poor Surgeon, who has not had a sick day in over 4 yrs; got a bad case of stomach flu so surgeries had to be postponed and that was me included. 

By this time I know all my scheduled stuff is over pretty much. Any day is good now as long as I can make Thanksgiving dinner and pack my "special Marine" his big Christmas box.. and decorate for Christmas of course..  

Today I got my big packet of papers from the Hospital. My surgery has been scheduled for Oct. 2nd.  woo hooo..  I'm trying not to get to excited. I really just want it done and over with. I want to hurry through the worst part of it and get right to the feeling good part. 

I have a little extra time now. So I'm going to try and work in a few more things. I got all the winter sheets washed yesterday so they are ready for winter use. I've put away all the canning stuff. I'm hoping to get my living room carpet cleaned if my Sue can get a free day to come down and help me move furniture. She is a whiz at carpet cleaning.  Oh I almost forgot our New Chairs are coming around the 25th. I have my first recliner ever (In Michigan) coming. glad I'll have it before the surgery. 

Maybe God really did know what He was doing when He changed my plans. The great thing is I know He really does care enough about me that He has plans for me. I'm good with following His plans. They are always the best ones...  

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Happy Labor Day...

I'm getting excited for Labor Day. I love the family cookout. I do see it as the official end to summer, But thankfully we still have beautiful weather here. I'm still hoping for a few tomatoes. (we didn't get the garden in till the first week in July) I was really hoping to can salsa. I won't be doing that, but I will enjoy those wonderful round orbs of yumminess no matter how many we get. 

I also like to remind myself to honor those who Labor. Wow This country wouldn't be anything if wasn't for millions of men and women who worked to make us a great nation. Look around you. Everything you see. Businesses, Banks, government buildings, Farms, manufacturing plants (yes I know many of these have closed due to companies choosing to move to other countries) Everything is the result of someone deciding to work their hind-ends off to provide a good life for their families and their communities. 

I have a couple of thanks to send out this weekend. First to our local heroes. Our Police officers, our Fire Fighters, our EMT's, Those who search and rescue, Our local Red Cross Volunteers, Our State of Michigan Disaster Relief teams, food banks,shelters,  and Social workers. Volunteers of any kind who make our lives better because they choose serve us. THANK YOU.. 

Some won't agree with me, but that's OK. I want to thank the Union. Thanks to them we all enjoy benefits at our jobs. Even if you don't belong to a union you benefit from what they have bargained for.  40 hr. work weeks, child labor laws, overtime pay, Safety regulations, Pensions, Health ins, Life Ins, minimum wage, and my favorite...  The Middle Class...  

I raise my voice to say thank you to all who sat down in Flint and refused to work until you were allowed to form a Union (UAW) that would bargain for you. I want to thank those who struck in the coal mines. Who stood against the Company when they called in the government to attack you. I want to thank those who made our lives so much better. Many suffered and didn't get to enjoy the benefits they fought so hard to win.  I know my life and that of my family has been made wonderful thanks to them.  Today I salute you. The American Worker..  Member of a Union or not.. I Thank you.  I also Thank the Union. The best friend a Working man ever had.   

It's All Good..

After all the excitement of last week, I'm happy to report that my visit with the Cardiologist went well. My heart is working perfectly. My pain could have been coming from acid reflux. I've had issues in the past. I think it could also be a bit of a reaction to the chemical used in the test. I'm pretty sure I have a hernia. I plan on keeping it for a while, well at least until it has to have some attention. It doesn't bother me often so it's OK for now and I'm not even sure it's a hernia. I say if it ain't broke leave it alone. 

  I'm in the process of rescheduling my hysterectomy. Yippee. Really I just want the surgery done and over with. This girl has stuff to do. I'm putting it off till the end of Sept. I have a Family bridal shower, My niece's Baby shower, a Conference with my Church Family, and a goodbye dinner for my grandson that heads off for training and then on to the mission field for 6 months. 

A busy month for sure. I love busy. I'll have a couple of weeks full of rest and naps.  LOL  I'm planning on being good to go by the first of Nov. I love the Holidays and I have to be in good shape to pack my "special Soldier" boxes for Christmas. There's also Thanksgiving baking and dinner, Black Friday shopping, Christmas shopping at the outlet mall, and Christmas decorating and baking. Hard to believe that the fall is closing in on us. 

I'm thanking God that my Heart is working just as he designed it to. I'm so thankful that I can be part of family celebrations and be involved in Serving God with my Church family. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

It's Been A Busy Week....

It's been a busy week.  I was suppose to have my Hysterectomy on wed. It's been scheduled since June. Well, I did change the date once so I could attend the Rascal Flatts concert, but It was still scheduled in June.

 I spent the week before laying in microwave meals so hubby could feed us, and scrubbing everything I could reach; well not everything, but the main things. I got my bedroom set up with everything I would need close at hand since I guessed my first few days home would be spent in there. I was, for the most part ready.  

I had decided to make a Dr. appt. when I saw my tongue looked a little weird. The office also called saying I needed to come in and go over a few questions with my Primary care Dr. She was out of the office so I saw another one. She said my tongue/throat was fine and decided I should have a stress test before she would clear me for Surgery. I was not pleased, especially since my Surgery was Wed. and this visit took place the Monday before. 

The impossible happened and I was scheduled for my Nuclear stress test early Tuesday morning. Nothing to it really get an IV, and injection of Nuclear dye, drink some water, take some pictures, sit in a bed, get a chemical that will stress the heart, more nuclear dye, more water and more pictures.. Then out the door and on my way to Arby's to grab lunch for Hubby and myself. Wrong !!!

All was well until I was sitting out drinking my water waiting to take the 2nd set of pictures. There are sometimes side effects of nausea and headache with the chemical injection. I had those symptoms but nothing unusual until the chest tightness and pain in my back between my shoulder blades started. YIKES 

I told the tech when he came to get me for my 2nd set of pictures. He was concerned. I got through those fine, but the tightness and pain were getting worse. More then noticeable. Not horrible but more then bothersome. After another EKG the decision was made to send me to the ER as a precaution. oh yippee.  NOT

I was whisked away by two good looking young men into an ambulance and taken less then 1/2 a mile to the Hospital. I was  poked a few times for an IV. (I still had the one from the test, but it wasn't big enough)  I have learned that the ER is all about putting in the biggest bore IV's known to man. Unfortunately my teeny tiny veins detest them, and do not co-operate well. I can tell by looking at my right hand that's still bruised from every vein being blown in the attempt to start an IV. 

To make my very long story short. I was poked and prodded, had another assortment of sticky heart monitor tabs attached. (I still had the 2 sets from the stress test and the ones from the ambulance ride) apparently everybody uses a different type. I'm hoping that I won't have to bathe in goo gone to remove all the leftover glue bits. I was filled with oxygen, and blood tested a couple of times. Then declared good to go. 

The Cardiologist said that he had read my stress test and I was clear for surgery the next morning. Hubby had gotten a ride to the testing facility, picked up my truck and whisked me home. 

When the Hospital didn't call to tell me my surgery time, I called them. Hmmm I wasn't on the list. I had to be. I had just done all that pre-admission testing. I had just spent the day from H E double toothpicks with a stress test. I had to be on the surgical schedule. They suggested I call my Surgeon. I did. He had received a call from the Stress Test folks telling him the surgery had been cancelled. I had flunked the test.. I think you automatically flunk the test when you have to go to the ER even if your test didn't show any problems. I was a little irritated that my well planned surgery had to be re-scheduled. I had done such a great job planning it just so it wouldn't interfere with any of my other plans. I like to schedule everything. Feel free to laugh here. I'm a planner, what can I say.. I'm kind of a control freak too. 

I had been praying through everything that God would be in charge and that if there was an issue the Dr.'s would find it and He would heal it. I have learned a change in my plans is God's plan. and His plans are always best. His timing is always perfect. 

I visited my primary care Dr. Thursday. She confirmed the stress test was good. Told me to call the stress test place and have the Cardio guy I saw in ER give me surgical clearance so I could reschedule my surgery with my guy. I made the call. Later that day I got a call from the Cardio guy saying I had to see him first. I have an appt. late next week. Apparently I now have a Cardiologist. I've never had one. Even though I have been in the hospital for angina pain (back in 2000) Apparently I was suppose to have had a Cardiologist all this time. Who knew?  

So As of now I have a Cardiologist we'll call him Dr. Ramon. He seems nice enough. I checked him out on the Internet. He seems to have a good reputation. I'll have to question him more on my visit. If I have to have a Cardio guy, I want a good one. 

As soon as Dr. Ramon gives me the OK. I'll be scheduling the surgery. It will have to be later next month now. Dr. apts. with hubby, and a special baby shower for my niece and a special dinner with my grandson who will be leaving for a 6 month Mission trip are my priorities. I figure if I plan it right, I should be able to work the General election in Nov. along with being able to make Thanksgiving dinner and doing my usual Christmas decorating.

 I know my plans can be changed, but as long as it's God changing them. I'm good with that. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Blessed In So Many Ways....

I've been thinking all weekend about how Blessed I am. This weekend in particular was a revelation. 

I started my week with a liquid diet and some other wonderful prep for a (cough) colonoscopy. I definitely did not feel blessed. I felt hungry. I also felt out of control.. (friends who know me, it's OK to laugh here) they are laughing because I have real issues with being a control freak, but that's another blog post. 

Test day came and I wasn't fearful of the outcome. That was a blessing in itself. I have always been full of fear over tests. For the past year or so I find that I am overwhelmed with calm and trust that God is taking good care of me. I don't have to fear tests. Even when I had to go to ER and was admitted to the hopital; I didn't have a bit of fear, but again a calm (the Peace of God) just filled me.. The results were perfect. No problems. I am Blessed. 

The following few days were busy with the usual day to day things. I had to run to Wal-mart on Saturday to pick up a few things. I was overwhelmed right there with a sense of Joy and Peace so profound that it was difficult to just walk calmly through the store. God just pulled me aside and flooded my with His peace. A peace I can't describe to you. I felt so abundantly blessed. God showed me how blessed I am. I can't even describe it to you. I just saw all that He has done for me and how deeply He loves me. I know my little pee wee human mind can't really know or understand the depth of Love the God who created the universe has for me. But I sure felt and Understood what He showed me. 

Again today during Bible study when we discussed the women who went to the tomb to prepare Jesus' body for burial and found he was not there the sense of wonder at the love that was expressed through that sacrifice flooded my soul. 

To know the Love of my family, my Church family, and friends both near and far overwhelms me. I know that many of you have prayed for me the past couple of weeks. I've felt it. 
I am overjoyed by it, and by the Blessings I have. So richly blessed. 

As we stood and sang " I stand amazed" in Worship this morning. I could really say I stand amazed. Amazed at a full life, amazed at my Savior's love for me. 

The best part is that He loves you like that too. I hope today you feel Blessed.. Richly Blessed...  Loved beyond understanding,  full of Joy and Hope.