Monday, March 31, 2008

This Week

Today is my last day of work! I've been working here since before Christmas. I knew it would only be temporary, and it actually ended up lasting a little longer than I thought it would. The timing is perfect though!

This week will be spent getting ready for Neal's heart surgery and his recovery afterward. I'm going to make up a few meals and freeze them, and I'm going to give the house a deep cleaning. This will make me feel better when we leave for the hospital on Tuesday and when we come home the following week. :o)

I have a few more items to finish for the Single Mom's Retreat.

I need to get back into my Names of God study. I have read a few more chapters and will blog about them soon.

Tonight we're taking the kids to the dollar theater again. We're going to see Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Tomorrow the kids and I are going to visit my good friend Jennifer. It's actually been months since we've gotten together. I can't believe it! I look forward to seeing her and letting our kids play together.

Wednesday will be grocery shopping (probably) and church. Neal will be staying home from here on out except for work. With God's help, we're going to try to keep him healthy until the 9th!

Thursday will be piano for Beth and then we're having a friend and her boys over that evening for supper. They were supposed to come last Thursday, but Beth had a fever. They're moving to Arkansas at the end of April, so we want to have them over before Neal's surgery. (right now it seems we think in terms of "before surgery" and "after surgery")

I think we'll be home the entire weekend. We need to bathe Suzi and perhaps do a little yard work. I'll also have to give Neal and Ben haircuts.

I guess that's it. Oh, our fireplace is now operational! Yaah! I'll post about that later. :o)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Another Postcard Update

Here's an updated list of the post cards Ben still needs for his geography project.

COLORADO (on its way) Got it!


KANSAS **Update: Someone is sending this one**


MARYLAND (on its way)

MASSACHUSETTS **Update** Jackie called me today from MA and they are mailing a postcard...Yaah! Got it!

MINNESOTA **Update** On its way... Got it...thanks Becky!!!


NEBRASKA **Update: Someone is sending this one**


NEW MEXICO (my brother is going there this week so we may get this one) Got it! Thanks Darrell!




UTAH (on its way! Got it! Thank you Lynne!)

WEST VIRGINIA Got it! Thanks Wood Family!


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Family Pics

Neal started growing a beard last August when we were on a camping trip. He decided last week that he was going to shave it off for surgery, so we decided to have some pictures made before he shaved it off. Tonight Neal's sister Janet came over and we took some shots outside.

"Young and in Love" Well, maybe not as young as we used to be, but still very much in love!

This is my favorite picture of us as a family!

Here's one more shot of us in our Memory Garden.

Thanks Aunt Janet!

What Kind of Flower are You?

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

You Are a Sunflower
"When your friends think smile, they think of you. There is not a day that goes by that you can't find something good about the world and your fellow human."

After I read this to the kids, Ben asked "so what's good about today?" So I told him again how thankful I am that we found out about his Daddy's heart and that he can have surgery to fix it, and I told him how glad I am that he did so well in math today. Beth said "what about me?" So I thought, and thought (not that she's bad, but I had to think of something for today), and then she said "I reminded you that I needed to use my eye drops!" So there you have it...good things about all the people in my household! But don't ask me to find good things about our pets....that's not going to happen!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Fun Night

After having the "what if" talk tonight...which, by the way, was okay, we decided to take the kids to the movies. We took them to the dollar theater to see the second National Treasure movie. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. I don't usually like sequels (except Spiderman), but this one was pretty good. I won't give anything away, but the only part I didn't really like was toward the end. It had to do with the bad guy. I won't say anymore than that, but if you've seen it you probably know what I'm talking about. It wasn't "bad," it was just kinda corny.

When we walked up to the theater there was a long line stretching out into the parking lot. We saw three families from church right off the bat. It was pretty funny. Then when we left the theater we saw more. On Monday nights the tickets are only .50 each, so the four of us got in for only $2.00. We did splurge and buy popcorn though since we hadn't eaten supper yet.

After the movie we went to Cracker Barrel for supper. We didn't get there until about 9:15, and we were the last to leave the restaurant. Beth, Ben and I ordered off the kids menu (I like that about Cracker Barrel -- kids of all ages!). It was pretty good.

Now everyone else is in bed, and that's where I need to be!


I can't remember the last time we didn't go to church on Easter morning, but we didn't get to go yesterday. Beth had pink eye and we didn't get it diagnosed until Saturday. She needed to be on antibiotic drops 24 hours before we took her to church, so that ruled out Sunday morning. Neal still felt really bad Saturday evening. He had a cough, congestion, and he kept running a fever off and on. I let both of them sleep in yesterday and they didn't get up until 11:00! Beth woke up with clear eyes, and when Neal woke up he felt fine, too!

Around 1:00 we went to Neal's grandfather's house for lunch. (Beth had strict orders not to shake hands with anyone :o) There were 25 people there, and we all had a nice time catching up and eating.

Last night, since everyone was feeling better and Beth has her drops in for 24 hours, we went to church. It ended up mostly being a song service, and was so worshipful. The last song we sang touched me deeply. It's an old song that I've known all my life, but I guess with what we're going through right now it was very comforting.

Because He Lives

God sent His Son - they called Him Jesus,
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.


Because He lives I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

How sweet to hold a newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy he gives;
But greater still the calm assurance:
This child can face uncertain days because Christ lives.


And then one day I'll cross the river,
I'll fight life's final war with pain;
And then, as death gives way to victory,
I'll see the lights of glory - and I'll know He lives.


Written by Bill and Gloria Gaither

Tonight Neal and I have to have our "what if" talk. "What if something goes wrong and Neal doesn't make it through surgery," or "what if something happens before he makes it to surgery." I really don't think this shows a lack of faith. I believe God wants us to be prepared at all times to take care of our families. We've actually had this talk before, but Neal has more to add to it this time. He's put more thought into it, and wants to write it down for me. I can't say I'm looking forward to it, but I know it needs to be done.

We are hoping to go out on a date Friday night, so I told him to get this talk over with and not bring that up on the date. :o) He agreed.

Happy Easter Monday!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Update on Postcards

Here's an updated list of the post cards Ben still needs for his geography project. I sure hope we get all 50 by May!

COLORADO (on its way)


KANSAS **Update: Someone is sending this one**


MARYLAND (on its way)

MASSACHUSETTS **Update** Jackie called me today from MA and they are mailing a postcard...Yaah!

MINNESOTA **Update** On its way...thanks Becky!!!


NEBRASKA **Update: Someone is sending this one**


NEW MEXICO (my brother is going there this week so we may get this one)




UTAH (on its way! Thank you Lynne!)



Resurrection Eggs

We're having our monthly single mom's Bible study this morning. We normally meet with the ladies on Friday nights and we separate the moms and the kids, but we're doing it differently this month. We're having a brunch at 10:00, and then I'll have a little devotional with the entire group (moms and kids) and then we'll have an Easter egg hunt. I've decided to use the visual of Resurrection Eggs. I've never used these before, but I've heard it works nicely.

All you need are 12 plastic eggs, an egg carton, and the following 11 items to go in the eggs: (all small enough to fit in a plastic egg)

Purple cloth (representing a purple robe)
Whip (a small piece of rope or thick string)
Sign (a little handwritten sign)
Spear (a little stick with a sharp end)
(and then the last egg will be empty)

Then you can print out the following verses to go with each egg:


(Bread) Matthew 26:26
While they were eating Jesus took a piece of bread,
gave a prayer of thanks, broke it, and gave it to His disciples.
"Take and eat it," He said, "This is My body."

(Coins) Matthew 26: 14-15
Then one of the twelve disciples, named Judas Iscariot, went to
the chief priests and asked, "What will you give me if I betray
Jesus to you?" They counted out thirty silver coins and gave
them to him.

(Purple cloth, representing a purple robe) Mark 15:17
They put a purple robe on Jesus. . .

(Thorns) Matthew 27:29
Then they made a crown out of thorny branches and placed it on
His head, and put a stick on His right hand; then they knelt
before Him and made fun of Him. "Long live the King, of the
Jews!" they said.

(Scourge-a small piece of rope or thick string) Mark 15:15
Pilate wanted to please the crowd, so he set Barabbas free for
them. Then he had Jesus whipped and handed Him over to be

(Cross) John 19: 17-18a
He went out, carrying His cross, and came to "The Place of the
Skull," as it is called. (In Hebrew it is called "Galgotha.") There
they crucified Him.

(Nails) John 20:25b
Thomas said to them, "Unless I see the scars of the nails in His
hands and put my finger on those scars and my hand in His
side, I will not believe."

(Sign) Luke 23:38
Above Him were written these words: THIS IS THE KING OF

(Sponge) Matthew 27:48
One of them ran up at once, took a sponge, soaked it in cheap
wine, put it on the end of a stick, and tried to make Him drink it.

(Spear) John 19:34
One of the soldiers plunged his spear into Jesus' side, and at
once blood and water poured out.

(Rock) Matthew 27:59-60
Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a new linen sheet, and
placed it in his own new tomb, which he had just recently dug
out of solid rock. Then he rolled a large stone across the
entrance to the tomb and went away.

(Empty) Matthew 28:6
He is not here He has risen just as He said.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Visit with Surgeon

First of all, thank you ALL for your prayers! God is wonderful to give us such good friends and family to lift us up in prayer!

Neal's visit with the surgeon went well. His surgery is scheduled for Wednesday, April 9th, but he will go in on the 8th for a heart catherization and will stay overnight. They need to make sure he has no blockages in his heart before they open him up. If he does, they will fix those while in there.

The doctor emphasized that this is a major surgery...even more serious than bypass surgery. That kind of took my breath away a bit. They will be replacing his ascending aorta with a man-made part, and they will be replacing his defective aortic valve with a pig valve. We had three options on the valve: cadaver, pig, or mechanical. At first glance, the mechanical part sounds the best because they say it lasts a lifetime; however, the doctor said after 20 years or so it builds up scar tissue around it and would need surgery anyway. Plus if he were to use the mechanical part, Neal would have to take cumidin (sp?) or blood thinner for the rest of his life. This would put him at an increased chance for stroke. We are going with the pig part. The down side is that he will have to go through this again in about 15 years, but the doctor said he firmly believes that is less risky than being on the blood thinner all his life and having to have surgery again anyway.

Let's will last 6 to 7 hours. They will have to stop his heart for 3 to 4 hours during surgery and have him on a heart/lung machine (I think that's what it's called). He will be in the hospital about a week, and recover is about 3 months. However, since he has a desk job, he should be able to go back to work in 4 to 6 weeks or whenever he feels his body can handle it. Just nothing strenuous.

We are very pleased with the surgeon. This is "his favorite surgery." :o) He actually got his PhD in this particular surgery, so we feel very blessed to have him operate on Neal. We told him we were already praying for him, and he thanked us.

That's all I can think of right now. If you have any questions, leave me a comment and I'll answer them.

Thank you, again, for your prayers!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Verses to Ponder

Our good friends Gary and Frankie sent us these verses yesterday and I wanted to share them here:

Romans 15:13 (ESV)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Deuteronomy 31:8
“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord is the one who goes before you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor forsake you.”

Psalm 27:1
“The Lord is my light and my salvation — so why should I be afraid?
The Lord protects me from danger — so why should I tremble?”

Proverbs 18:10
“The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.”

Homeschool Family

And I can't leave this one out...the first time I ever heard of Tim Hawkins was through this video.

Cletus Take the Reel

Here's an actual music video by Tim Hawkins. It's a spoof of a beautiful song...Jesus Take the Wheel. This one is called "Cletus Take the Reel."

I Don't Drink Beer

Tim Hawkins is one of the funniest comedians I have seen in a long time! Hopefully this video will work. If it does, I'll post a few more. Ben and I are at work and having fun watching some videos.


The kids had 4-H last night. They didn't shoot last night, instead they had an awards ceremony and a party. Almost two weeks ago they had their state shooting competition, and they found out how they did last night. This was the first year for both of our kids to participate in this club, and they both did really well. Ben didn't place, but shot well, got an 84 on the written test, and just handled himself well in his first competition. Beth got a silver ribbon, she got a 90 on her written test, and she also handled herself well in her first competition.

We also awarded them their rocker patches for their uniforms. Both of our kids earned their Pro-Marksman, Marksman and their Marksman 1st Class badges. We're really proud of them!

I had never thought about putting them in a shooting club (they only shoot bb guns now, but will have the opportunity to move up to air rifles and pistols later), but it's been a really good experience for all of us. They are definitely learning responsibility. You cannot be in a gun club and not learn responsibility. If you are irresponsible you will not be allowed to stay. So it teaches them to listen closely to instructions and pay attention to their surroundings.

I'm at work now and I don't have access to my camera, so I'll post pictures later.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Postcards Across America -- Revisited

Ben is still in search of a few state postcards for his geography project! I had some success posting this here last time, so I thought I'd give it another try. In May, our homeschool group has a project fair. Ben is doing a geography project this year and one aspect of it is "Postcards Across America." He wants to have a state postcard from each of the 50 states. If you, or someone you know, can send him one of the following state postcards would you please email me at: ihomeschool247 at yahoo dot com (written correctly, of course) and I'll send you our mailing address. Thanks so much! Here's the list of states he still needs:

COLORADO (on its way)


KANSAS **Update: Someone is sending this one**


MARYLAND (on its way)

MASSACHUSETTS **Update** Jackie called me today from MA and they are mailing a postcard...Yaah!



NEBRASKA **Update: Someone is sending this one**


NEW MEXICO (my brother is going there this week so we may get this one)




UTAH (on its way! Thank you Lynne!)



El Elyon

The second name of God I read about was El Elyon, the Most High. He is the sovereign ruler of all the universe. There is nothing that can happen to us without God's knowledge or permission.

A good example in the Bible of El Elyon is in Job. Satan could not do anything to Job without God's permission. First God gave him permission to do anything he wanted, but not touch Job's body. Satan thought Job would curse God we he took away all of his wealth and children. But he didn't. So then Satan said it was because he didn't do anything to Job's "person." So God told him he could do whatever he wanted to Job, but not to kill him. So Satan put painful boils all over Job's body from head to toe just knowing that Job would curse God. But he didn't. Instead Job said "Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?"

One might wonder why God would allow Satan to harm one of His children. I don't pretend to know the mind of God, but I do know that we can bring Him glory through our trials in the way we respond to them.

My prayer is that in whatever trials I face in the days, weeks, months and years ahead, that I bring glory to my Lord and Savior in my thoughts, words, and actions.

Monday, March 17, 2008


I've decided to make an heart album for our family to remember this time in our lives. I talked to Neal about it and he thinks it's a good idea. I'll print off all the comments I receive here, the personal emails, and the posts I write regarding the surgery and what the Lord is teaching us. I'll also have a book for people to sign at the hospital. Then there will be pictures...lots of pictures! Then I'll compile everthing in an album for us to look back on. I think that will be a good project for the kids to help me with, too!


This time I was blessed by my husband. Last night after we climbed into bed, we prayed together. As I was listening to Neal pray I heard him say "and thank you Lord for blessing us so much...especially these last few days." And I thought wow, it would be so easy to wonder why something like this was happening, and yet he was praising God for it and thanking Him for his blessings!

But we do have so much to be thankful for. As we were sitting in church yesterday hearing other prayer requests...those with cancer, those who have lost loved ones, we know how blessed we are. Neal had a many do not!

So thank you Lord for blessing us so much...especially these last few days!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Precious Lord

Marsha left a comment on my last post and she mentioned this song. I thought I'd post the words here. They are so comforting:

Words & Music by Thomas A. Dorsey

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I'm tired, I'm weak, I'm lone
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home.

When my way grows drear
Precious Lord linger near
When my light is almost gone
Hear my cry, hear my call
Hold my hand lest I fall
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home.

When the darkness appears
And the night draws near
And the day is past and gone
At the river I stand
Guide my feet, hold my hand
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home.

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I'm tired, I'm weak, I'm lone
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home


We started the day with a little bit of apprehension. Today was our first day at church since Neal had found out his news about heart surgery. Neal's a pretty private person, and he's not one to share prayer requests very often. We have a marker board in our Adult Bible Fellowship (ABF) room that we write prayer requests on. I can probably count on one hand how many times we've written prayer requests on there. Not because we don't have them, but because Neal always tells me to "save it for the big stuff." Well, I guess heart surgery = "big stuff." We didn't write it on the board, however. We actually stood up in front of the class and told them what's going on. It was an emotional time for Neal. I was surprised that I didn't cry. I cried a lot on Thursday. I didn't cry any on Friday, and I had a "weepy" day on Saturday. Today I was able to hold it together. I almost felt guilty for not crying if that makes any sense at all. Anyway, after Neal filled everyone in, Jim asked the class to pray for us. Neal and I sat up front and then the class gathered around us and layed hands on us. People prayed one by one as they felt led. I have to say it was one of the most humbling and precious times in mine and Neal's lives.

Our church calls our adult Sunday school classes - Adult Bible Fellowship (ABF Class). Our church is pretty large, and we consider our class our community. Today Neal and I really felt what a blessing it is to be in our class. Even though we have family here, it's such an honor to belong to a group of people who care about you and cry and pray with you.

We are truly humbled and blessed! Thank you Chara!!!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Tired & Distracted

I've been awake since before 4:00 this morning. I was hungry then, but didn't let myself eat anything. Around 10:00 I finally got an opportunity to make me some oatmeal (I was excited to use my new microwave). Around 11:00 I took my shower and about 12:00 I went into the kitchen to make the kids lunch. For the past couple of hours I kept wondering why I was so hungry after eating a bowl of oatmeal, but just shrugged it off. When I walked into the kitchen I noticed something was in the microwave. Guess why I was so hungry?

There was my bowl of oatmeal! I never did eat it!!!

Ever have one of those "DUH" moments??? That wasn't my first one, but it was a pretty bad one. :o)


A couple of days ago I posted about Elohim -- Creator God. Now I want to talk about how I came to be studying the names of God.

At the beginning of the year I started reading through the Bible. When I would come across different names for God, I kind of felt like the Holy Spirit was prompting me to learn about these names and who God is. I can remember thinking "that's a good idea, I should do that sometime." Then I'd keep on reading.

On Monday of this week, I met with a couple of ladies who are going to be speakers at our single mom's retreat next month. One of the ladies started talking about the names of God with such an intensity and intimacy that I was drawn in. She thought it would be a good idea to bring that into our retreat. I thought "aha...that's why God wanted me to learn the names of God." It could be, but yesterday afternoon I had a different idea.

After I found out about Neal's impending surgery, the Lord brought to mind the name I'd studied only the day before -- Elohim -- mighty God, Creator! And it struck me...God created Neal. God created Neal's heart. Elohim created Neal's heart! We think of Neal's heart as having a "defect," but God didn't make him and say "Oops...messed up on that one." No. For one reason or another, he allowed Neal's heart to have a "defect." God knew from the beginning of time that Neal would have to go through this surgery at this time. He makes no mistakes.

Now we just have to trust Elohim. Trust that He is in control. After all, if He can create the entire universe, I'm sure if He so chooses, he can fix a broken heart!

As Neal told the kids yesterday, "the doctors have been working on this procedure for many years now so that they'd have it down just right for me." ;o)

Ta Daaaaa!

Remember the romantic evening Neal and I had looking for microwaves? Well, it finally arrived! Wahoo!!!! It was a booger to put up though. Beth and I held it up, while Neal screwed it in. The problem was with the template though. They have this easy to use template to guide you for the holes for the screws. Pshaw...not! Poor guy had to redo the holes three times before he got it to work! This picture was of the last time he was working on it...I decided to give my poor arms a break and let my back do the work. I felt kinda like a pack mule!

The Latest in Fashion

I love making homemade bread, but for some reason I get "air pockets" at the top of my bread. This time, however, it was a bit ridiculous:

Beth said "Look Mom, it's a Vera 'Breadly'." Cute, Beth!

It's 4:45 am

and unfortunately I'm wide awake. I'm not surprised though...yesterday was one crazy, emotional day.

Yesterday was a day that I guess will change our lives around here forever.

I'll back up a bit. Just over a year ago, my husband Neal was having chest pains and went to the ER. Long story short, they don't know what caused the chest pains, but after much testing told him they needed to keep a closer eye on his bicuspid aortic valve (something he was born with). So two weeks ago he went for his yearly check-up with the cardiologist. The doctor did an echo cardiogram and said his aorta was a little big and he'd like to get a better look at it with an MRI. On Monday, March 3rd he had the MRI. The doctor told him he'd only contact him if there was a problem. When over a week had passed, we figured there was no problem and started putting it out of our minds.

Yesterday the doctor called...

It seems the MRI showed a much clearer picture. His aorta is over double in size of what it should be, and needs to be replaced. Now I don't pretend to know very much about the heart or about his condition, I'm still learning, so I may make mistakes in some of the information I give. I'll correct myself along the way if I do. But what I understand right now is that the problem is in the ascending aorta which is the main artery that pumps the blood through the heart. The doctor said while they are in there they should go ahead and replace his defective aortic valve, as well. That makes good sense, so that he has one less major surgery to deal with.

We will go to see the surgeon on Thursday of next week (3/20). We're figuring the surgery will be within the next few weeks.

The kids are handling it well, so far. It was difficult when we told them...scary for them! They truly do have such comfort in knowing that God is in control though! They were cute last night...not wanting their daddy to do anything for himself. They'll probably have a tough time this weekend. He has some things he really wants to get done before his surgery, such as planting spinach in the garden. He said he won't be able to do anything for a while, so he needs to get things done now. That's fine...just nothing strenuous!

Thank you to all who are praying. We know Who holds our future, and I can't imagine going through life without Christ to hang onto!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Creator

In my previous post I mentioned I was going to start reading "LORD, I Want to Know You" by Kay Arthur. Well, I've started it and it's really good. I thought I would start briefly blogging about the Names of God as I find out about them. So, the first name I learned is Elohim. This name basically tells us who God is...he is our Creator. El means "mighty" or "strong."

So when we think of the God who created the heavens and the earth and who created you and me...we are thinking of Elohim -- The Creator.

Lots on my Plate

And I'm not talking about food. :o) I'm actually trying to have less food on my plate. LOL

It's beautiful outside today. I went out to the courtyard on my lunch break. There's a picnic table out there and I sat on the side that faces the mountains. The sky was blue, and the mountains looked an even deeper blue. Gorgeous! The sun was shining, but their was a continual breeze that made the 57 degrees feel a bit cooler.

I wasn't hungry, so I took my Bible out and read some. I came across a really neat verse: Psalm 39:6 "We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it." Verse 7 goes on to say "And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you."

Moving shadows...

Speaking of shadows, last night Neal, the kids, and I went to see the play "Shadowlands." It was about C.S. Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia author), or rather about a short time in his life...the time from when he met his wife Joy - until her death. A short time...only a few years. There was a movie made in the 90's by the same name. Anthony Hopkins played Lewis (don't know if I can get past the Hannibal Lecter image here) and Debra Winger played Joy.

We are blessed to live in an area with a University with an excellent drama department. We've been to every production this year with the exception of one -- Much Ado About Nothing. That played last month when I had the stomach flu. I'd already purchased 4 tickets, so Grandma and Grandpa took the kids. They loved it. Next month is West Side Story...I can't wait!

I'm continuing to work part-time at our Registrar's office. My last day will be March 31st. I've really enjoyed the job and the extra money, but I look forward to being home full-time again!

Right now I'm busy planning a single mom's retreat for April. Our theme is Extreme Make-Over: Heart Edition. I have two speakers lined up, plus me. One lady will speak Saturday night, I'll do an early Sunday devotional and then the other lady will speak later Sunday morning. I still have lots of planning and preparing to do, but the final pieces are falling into place.

The fireplace is still not operating yet! We did find an insert and logs to fit, but we're waiting on a blower to come in. We ordered one and it came in and didn't work. We got another one, brought it home and it didn't work. Now they're ordering another. We also have to have the gas lines run for us. That should happen any day now.

Our new microwave came in and Neal picked it up yesterday. Yaah! We should install it tomorrow night. We borrowed one from a friend and it's been sitting on our counter. It'll be nice to have one installed over our stove again...out of the way! What a blessing the borrowed microwave has been though!

Oh, I just finished a really good book: The Healing Quilt by Lauraine Snelling. It's a book that deals with loss...loss of a child, parent, marriage, a child through abortion, etc. Although it's fictionalized, it has a lot of good truths in it, and was a book to really make me take stock and think about what I have in my life!

Now I'm going to be reading LORD, I Want to Know You by Kay Arthur...not fiction. This is a study on the Names of God. I'm so excited about doing this. I'll not be going through it at a leisurely pace though, as I want to use some of this material at our retreat next month. I may be sharing some of what I learn here.


Monday, March 10, 2008


Here are a couple of our favorite main course and one dessert:

Mexican Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
chili powder
1 T Canola Oil

1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup salsa
2 T chopped cilantro
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

Tortilla chips
lettuce, chopped

Sprinkle sides of chicken with chili powder, salt and pepper. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add chicken and cook until brown on both sides. (I like to cut my chicken up into bite size pieces after it browns -- it's easier for the little ones to eat and it cooks faster). Stir in corn, salsa, cilantro, tomatoes, and black beans. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer until chicken is done. 4 servings.

I serve this with salsa, lettuce and tortilla chips.

Fu Fu (Don't know the real name, but this is what we call it)

(This recipe is sugar free)

1 small box sugar free chocolate instant pudding mix
1 10 oz box soft tofu (try'll like it!)
1 heaping Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp instant coffee (more or less depending on how much mocha flavoring you want)
1 small tub sugar free whipped cream

With an electric mixer, beat pudding mix, tofu, cocoa, and coffee until smooth. Then add whipped cream. Blend on lowest setting or by hand. Don't overbeat or texture will become too thick. If you want it fluffier...add more whipped cream.


For more recipes check out Lysa TerKeurst's blog...there's lots of 'em!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Taking a Break

Grandma called and the kids have run next door to visit with her for a little while. So, I was eating my lunch and checking my friends blogs and saw this on Perri's blog, and thought I'd give it a whirl. If you do it, let me know!

It's a really long one, so I reserve the right to skip any I don't want to answer! ;o)

1. Do you like blue cheese? Not by itself, but I like it in certain dishes.

2. Have you ever read a book in one sitting? Yes, but it was a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away!

3. Do you own a gun? Not personally, but "we" own guns.

4. Your favorite song? I can't pick just one favorite, but I like contemporary Christian music, praise and worship, oldies (50's to 70's and some 80's), and classic country (like Alabama and the Judds).

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Not usually, but it's not my favorite place to go!

6. What do you think of hot dogs? I like them grilled with chili and onions.

7. Favorite Christmas song? Again...can't pick just one. I love listening to Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra at Christmas. I also love the song "Mary Did You Know."

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? The first thing I drink in the morning is water, and then it depends on what I eat.

9. Can you do push-ups? Just the wimpy kind on my knees.

10. Favorite thing about the person who sent this to you? Perri is one of the funniest people I know and one of the most giving. She is constantly doing things for others and teaching her children the same giving spirit! I love her!

11. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry? My wedding band.

12. Favorite hobby? Reading and cooking

13. Do you put butter on your popcorn? I like butter on it, but I usually just salt it.

14. Do you have A.D.D.? nope

15. What one trait do you hate about yourself? I'm a procrastinator!

16. Middle Name(s): Dawn

17. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment: Why do I procrastinate? I wonder what time the kids will be back? Are the clothes almost dry?

18. Name 3 things you bought yesterday. I didn't buy anything, but I spent a lot of money? (Can you figure out the riddle?)

19. Name 3 things you drink on a regular basis. water, sweet tea, and milk

20. Current worry right now? I'm not worrying about it, but my mind is on the single mom's retreat in April and if it will all come together or not!

21. Current hate right now? I hate that Ben's allergies are already starting to bother him.

22. Favorite place to be? At home with my family.

23. How did you bring in the New Year? With two other families at a friends house.

24. Where would you like to go? Hawaii!

25. Name three people who will also do this? Not sure, but whoever does, let me know.

26. Do you own slippers? yes, blue ones with stars

27. What shirt are you wearing? A gray Disney t-shirt

28. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? Nope, cotton.

29. Can you whistle? yes, off-key.

30. Favorite color? Green

31. Would you be a pirate? nope

32. What songs do you sing in the shower? I usually pray in the shower, but if I'm not praying I usually sing hymns.

33. Favorite girl’s name? Besides Elizabeth -- Aubrey

34. Favorite boy’s name? Besides Benjamin -- Nick

35. What’s in your pocket right now? Lint

36. Last thing that made you laugh? my husband

37. Best bed sheets as a child? Dry ones

38. Worst injury you’ve ever had? I've been blessed and the worst injury I've had is a broken nose.

39. Do you love where you live? Absolutely

40. How many TVs do you have in your house? 3

41. Who is your loudest friend? Ben :o)

42. How many dogs do you have? One

43. Does someone have a crush on you? Golly, there's this cute boy that comes to my house at supper every night and he sure does like my cookin'...maybe he has a crush on me.

45. What is your favorite book? The Bible

46. What is your favorite candy? This changes from day to day, but today I'll say Caramel Bullseyes or Cow Tails

47. Favorite Sports Team? Any team my son plays on

48. What song do you want played at your funeral? Praise music (I'll take Perri's answer on this one. Music at funerals always makes me cry, so maybe Praise music would make people happy!)

49. What were you doing 12 AM last night? snoozing away

50. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up? Am I going to exercise today?

51. Do you have a dishwasher? Yep, thank God!

52. Is your living room carpeted or does it have hardwood floors? carpeted

53. What room is your computer in? our Study

54. Are there pictures hanging in your living room? Yes, several

55. What personality trait gets on your nerves the most? laziness

56. What decade were you born in? the 60’s!

56. Do you like to entertain? Most of the time.

57. What were you doing exactly an hour ago? Eating lunch

58. Do you like to wear hats? No

59. Last thing you read? Kalaedescope Eyes by Karen Ball

60. Favorite website? Blogs of friends

61. Last person you emailed? My cousin Merle about our Yahoo Fantasy Baseball league.

62. Last person who emailed you? My friend Donna

63. Do you own any season DVDs? Yes, we own a couple of Star Trek seasons, Leave it to Beaver, and the Little Rascals.

64. Last thing you ate? pistachios

65. Favorite toy as a child? Barbies and my bicycle

66. Have you ever ridden on a train? Yes, but just short little tourist types

67. Favorite subject in school? Recess ;o)

68. What do you see out your window? lots and lots of trees

69. Baths or showers? Showers

70. Name of favorite cousin? I can't choose just one since I have more than 30 first cousins!

71. Worst movie you ever saw? Since I tend not to finish a movie if I don't like it, this is a hard question. One that might suprise some people is that I did not enjoy Lord of the Rings, and didn't even watch any after the first movie (I don't think I even finished the first).

72. Biggest change this past year? Grinding my own wheat and making all our bread from scratch.

73. What hurts you the most? Seeing elderly people mistreated.

74. Biggest regret? I try not to have regrets, and those I have I try not to think about!

75. Person from your childhood that you remember most fondly? Not naming childhood friends here, there was an older lady named Alta (I called her Aunt Alta) who used to come and visit our neighbors. She would visit several weeks at a time, and we would write back and forth when she went home to Illinois. She was very sweet and I have such good memories of visiting with her.

76. What is the third digit of your current weight? 4

77. How many personal snail mail notes or letters have you sent in the past month?about 30

78. Favorite form of art? I'm very eclectic in my tastes of art.

77. Worst date you ever had? There was a bar in a neighboring town that I always said would be the worse place a guy could ever take me on a date. When a blind date suggested we go there, I knew I was in trouble! Sad thing was he was supposedly a millionaire??? Just goes to show that money's not everything! I'd rather go to McDonald's with a poor boy! LOL

78. Second favorite color? Blue

79. Have you ever met anyone in person that you had first met online? Yes, Perri from Indiana and Gwen from South Carolina. I've actually met up with Perri three times...once at her house, once at my house, and once in Myrtle Beach, SC.

80. Funniest person you know? Neal

81. Last word you googled? I don't remember

82. Favorite author? Karen Kingsbury

83. Favorite fictional character?

84. Last time you ate out? We're eating out tonight...does that count?

85. The hardest thing you have ever done? Leave the hospital when I knew I'd never see my Dad alive again.

86. Talent you wish you had? a better singing voice

87. Are you a good cook? my family thinks so

88. How do you like your eggs? Scrambled or omelette

89. Favorite vegetable? ooohhhh, this is hard, so I'll name a few: yellow squash, green beans and lima beans

90. Are you a good speller? Usauly

91. What should you be doing right now? folding laundry

92. Pet Peeve: Children who read over my shoulder when I'm typing and don't do what they're told to do! (hint, hint, Beth!)

93. Who is your hero? my pastor

94. Nicest thing that happened to you today? My son told me he was sorry about a way he acted toward me.

95. Favorite way to eat a potato? fried

96. Do you have a blog? Yes

97. Is your hair long or short? shortish

98. What did you do last night? Reviewed BB gun questions with the kids (they have a test and competition this Saturday)

99. Are you glad this is about done? Very, I need to get off of here!

100. Favorite question? This one, because it means I’m done! (Amen, Perri!)
Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."