Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Merry Christmas! The birth of Jesus is always an occasion to celebrate, but this year our celebration is especially joyful! We are soaking in the moments with those we love, realizing that life is fleeting and every minute must be cherished. We have been given the opportunity to glimpse what could have been lost, and so we have gained new appreciation for the presence of friends and family which is so easily taken for granted
This past year has been life-changing for our little family. In May I was diagnosed with liver failure and was blessed to receive a liver-transplant which has given me renewed energy and vigor. Late this summer Thomas lost his job, but was able to find a new, better job just 3 weeks later. We’ve been fortunate to experience God’s amazing peace and comfort through difficult times and our lives have been forever touched and changed by the love and kindness we were shown by friends, family, and even strangers.
But most importantly, the challenges we faced this past year have brought us closer in our relationship with our heavenly Father, who has been ever faithful through it all! We have seen him answer prayer , experienced joy through our relationship with him when my very life seemed to be crumbling, received peace beyond understanding when things just didn’t seem to make sense, and we’ve seen him provide for our every need. We can say with confidence that God is good and worthy of praise no matter what circumstances we may be facing. So the birth of Christ is definitely something to celebrate, for it is because of his life and death on this earth that our family can go through what we have been through this last year and feel only grateful!
Merry Christmas With Love!
Thomas & Melissa
The skies don't seem to be as dark as usual
The stars seem brighter then they've been before
Deep within I feel my soul a stirring
As though my hope has been restored
The shepherds say they've heard the voice of angels
Confirming rumors spread across the land
That a child protected well from Herod's anger
Is our Father's Son, and the son of man
Love is raining down on the world tonight
There's a presence here I can tell
God is in us, God is for us, God is with us, Emmanuel
He's the Savior we have been praying for
In our humble hearts He will dwell
God is in us, God is for us, God is with us, Emmanuel
I feel compelled to tell all who will listen
That peace on earth is not so out of reach
If we can find grace, mercy and forgiveness
He has come to save, He is all of these
You're the Savior we have been praying for
In our humble hearts You will dwell
You are in us, You are for us, You are with us, Emmanuel
~God Is With Us, by Casting Crowns
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I am thankful for God's provision! My husband was able to shoot a small buck, which we butchered (well, Tom did the butchering) and we estimated that we got about 30 lbs of meat to fill our freezer. It would have been more, but we didn't use the front quarter of the deer because it had an old open wound and we weren't sure the meat would be safe to eat. Tom ground about 3/4 of it, and we got several nice roasts. God owns the cows on a thousand hills, and he owns the deer too! So thankful he decided to give one to us this year! :)
To participate or read more Thankful thursday posts visit http://womentakingastand.blogspot.com/
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
So if I'm a bit lax about blogging you can be sure it is because I'm busy celebrating this wonderful time of year with my family. But don't worry, I'll be back! :)
My liver failed due to a genetic disease called Wilson’s Disease. The last few years I had sunk deeper and deeper into a sea of exhaustion, but now with my angel’s liver I feel good, I have more energy than I’ve had in years. I’m able to truly enjoy my family and cherish the precious moments of life with them instead of trudging through each day just trying to make it from one chore to the next. The Holidays are especially joyful for my entire family this year as we soak in the moments spent with those we love. We have been given the opportunity to glimpse what could have been lost and we realize that each day with our family and friends is a gift beyond value.
Being the recipient of such a donation has been personally life-changing as well. I do not think a person can receive something of such great value, and at such great cost to the giver without being changed; without having the insatiable desire to give back somehow. . . someway. . .
Again I thank you for this gift and I pray that you will be blessed this year as much as I have been blessed by you.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
than when their grain and new wine abound.
for you alone, O LORD,
make me dwell in safety.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
Acts 15:5-11 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, "The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses."
The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: "Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe.God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are."
Jeremiah 17:9-10 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
"I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve."
Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
It is way too easy for me to walk around from day to day thinking I'm just fine and dandy. I am humbled, but grateful that God brought this to my attention today. Please God, help me not to be a judgmental--prideful--blind to my own sins--person. Keep me humble in my relationships. Show me my true heart, and shine Your light so that sin cannot hide there.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Yesterday I found a wonderful surprise in my mailbox. A kind couple sent me a little note letting me know that they are still praying for me, and with the note they included a gift card to The Texas Roadhouse. My heart is filled with gratitude for their prayers and their sweet gift! Wow! The outpouring of love and kindness that we have received from others has so challenged me to do the same when I know of someone with a need. . .But that is another post for another day.
I am so thankful for their thoughtfulness. Tom and I are hopeful to squeeze not one, but TWO dates out of the gift card! LOL! Date nights for us are much too few and far between. You just can't imagine how excited it makes me to get to look forward to two of them!!!!
To read more Thankful Thursday posts visit Iris at Grace Alone.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
1. Must thank the person who gave you the award and list their blog and link it.
2. Share "10 Honest things" about yourself.
3. Present this award to 7 others whose blogs you find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have encouraged you.
4. Tell those 7 people they've been awarded HONEST SCRAP and inform them of these guidelines in receiving the award.
Ten honest things about myself.
1. I have a horrible sweet tooth, and no will-power. I have to keep junk food out of my house or I'll eat it all myself. Seriously, it is bad. I've not been good at that lately either. I need to do some cupboard purging.
2. I used to think I was an animal-lover. But since having kids I realize that though I like animals, I really prefer it when they belong to someone else. I do however still love my two kitties and wish they wouldn't pee in the house and could be indoor instead of out. At the same time, I do enjoy not having to vacuum the cat hair every single day.
3. I get very uptight when my house is messy. I can't sit down and relax in the evening until things are picked up and neatened. Sometimes I have to make myself stop cleaning or cooking in order to spend time with my family.
4. Generally speaking, I am a very positive person. I don't spend my day worrying about my health or complaining about my circumstances, whatever they may be. I am a 'glass half full' kind of person. I see the positive things even in 'bad' circumstances. And frankly, I don't really understand people who tend towards pessimism.
5. I am not the most patient of people. Especially when it comes to waiting in line, or driving, or other people being late. A few weeks ago I was waiting in line at AT&T. There was a sign-in sheet at the front of the store, so I didn't bother actually waiting in a line. I browsed the store while I waited. A woman came in after me and signed in on the sheet. We looked at each other and made eye contact, so it was obvious that I was there before her, not to mention her name was the last one on the list. Well, as soon as the person ahead of me got done at the desk she hopped right up there as quick as she could. The clerk didn't even bother checking the sign-in sheet. I have to say that I was pretty darn annoyed. Not just at her, but at the clerk who didn't check the sheet. Seriously, what IS the point of a sign-in sheet if you aren't going to check it? See. . . I'm getting worked up again just thinking about it. Patience is something I definitely need to work on!
6. I love water activities in the summer. Swimming, boating, water-skiing, fishing--though I won't actually touch the fish and do freak out a little bit if they get too close to me when they are caught.
7. When I read a book I get so caught up in the story that I tune out the rest of life. My husband could talk at me until he is blue in the face and I wouldn't hear a thing he says. He actually has to physically get my attention and I have to physically set the book down and concentrate on what he is saying or I'll go right back to reading and even though i tried to listen, I won't remember a thing he said.
8. I learned to play the clarinet when I was in elementary and high school. I haven't picked it up in years. It is sitting in my closet. I also took piano lessons in high school. I have an electric keyboard which is sitting in my attic. Regularly I think to myself, "I need to get those out and start playing again." I do enjoy music! I enjoy singing most of all! I even love to do solos. Which reminds me, I need to pick out a song for this Sunday evening! I better do that tonight!
9. I'm losing my hair. I have always had incredibly thick hair. The kind of thick that doesn't fit into some ponytail holders, or barrets. Well, the transplant medication I'm on has a side affect of hair loss. Most people can't tell that I've probably lost about half of my thickness of hair, but it was so thick before that now it's 'normal'. At the same time it is rather disturbing to see that much hair coming out in the shower and clogging the drain each morning. They say it will stop falling out so much as they lower the medication. I hope so!
10. I can't smell skunk. It could be so strong that it is making my husband's eyes water and I still wouldn't be able to smell it at all. My older two brothers can't smell it either.
Seven blogs that have encouraged me or I find brilliant in content or design.
1. Tiffany at A Moment Cherished has such a sweet blog. She has already received this award, but I'm awarding it to her again. I love reading her new posts and seeing her great pictures!
2. Janna at The Adventure of Motherhood has such a wonderful blog! She is reading through the book "Shepherding a Child's Heart" and has some great things to say about it. I really need to pull out my copy and read through it again.
3. Gracie at Grace is in my Kitchen has an amazing cooking blog. She takes great photos the 'process' and the finished product. She's inspiring! And I can't read her blog without my mouth watering and wanting a snack afterwards!
4. Karen at Hallelujah Anyhow has such an encouraging blog. With all that our little family has been through the last few months, I can really relate to her posts and find them to be such a blessing.
5. Heather at Not a DIY Life has a delightful blog! She blogs about her life with her 'ladybug'. I really enjoy reading her thoughts from day to day.
6. Erica at Amazing Adventures Await has a fun little blog about life with her two girls. I discovered her blog through my participation in the Thankful Thursday meme. Her blog is upbeat and fun and makes me smile.
7. Melissa at Hidden Valley Simplicity has a great blog with lots of good information. She also is part owner of mamabzz.com which is another great blog for moms. Both blogs are worth mentioning. I enjoy and follow each of them! Melissa is doing a new series on natural/healthy living which I am looking forward to reading.
So if you get a chance, head on over to these blogs and check them out, and say "hi" from me while you are there!
Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
I'm sitting in the transplant clinic waiting to be seen by my wonderful transplant team members. They are such a great group of people. So very caring, helpful, and they take great care of me! They are always kind and cheerful, even when they've been up all weekend with other transplant emergencies. I know them on a first name basis and can't wait to share pictures of my kids when I come back for visits. It really almost feels like an extended family. I'm 5 1/2 months post transplant and feeling so good these days! I'm looking forward to a good update today!
I'm also thankful that they have wireless internet access so I can blog while I wait! Such a wonderful thing to keep me occupied when the wait gets long, which it often does. They don't just treat healthy post-transplant people, they also treat very sick people who are waiting for their transplant, and people whose own transplant just didn't go so well. So they've got their hands full and there is no sense getting upset when they can't get me in on time. If I were in the other patients' shoes I wouldn't want them to be rushed while seeing me. So it keeps me happy to type and they can take as long as they need.
I am thankful for other transplant patients. I have found that other transplant recipients love to share their story with each other. . . people who will understand and have gone through it themselves. I know that I do. Today in the waiting room I met another nice young lady (younger than myself) who received a liver transplant 2 years ago. It is always encouraging to see people who are further out from their surgery and are very healthy and happy. Anyway, we got to chatting and discovered that we both had experienced liver failure from the same genetic disease, Wilson's disease. We were so excited! LOL! A strange thing to be excited about, but it's a rare disease so it isn't every day that you meet someone from another family who has gone through the same thing. She also has a younger sister with the disease (I have 2 older brothers with the disease). I gave her my blog address. I'd love for her family to get in contact with my family. They could be a big support to each other I think. After all, I'm sure her mom and my mom have a lot of the same worries and concerns.
I am again thankful for the gift of life! I got the chance to celebrate Kyle's 4th birthday this week! I love my children and am so grateful for these opportunities that were almost lost.
And though I am thankful for all these earthly things, I am most thankful for my God, the maker of heaven and earth, who graciously spared my life and gives me hope no matter the circumstances I may face!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Here is the recipe for the Crunchy Caramel Apple Pie. It is quite literally the BEST apple pie ever!
I used Libby's Classic Pumpkin Pie recipe here. Which is very easy, and my personal favorite as far as pumpkin pie recipes go.
And this is the recipe that I used for the Shoefly. It's a recipe that my mom has made since I was just a little girl. I think it is absolutely wonderful, but I do believe shoefly is one of those pies that you either like or you don't. If you like molasses desserts you'll probably like this pie.
1/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup hot water
3/4 cup molasses
pinch of ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
In unbaked piecrust layer liquid and crumb alternately starting with liquid layer and ending with crumb layer. Bake for 15 minutes at 450 and 20 minutes at 350. Makes one 9" pie.
To participate in this meme or view other Friday Showcases visit mamabzz.com
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How vast is the sum of them!
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
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."
Monday, October 19, 2009
I've also checked off several other chores off my list, including washing dishes, sweeping and mopping floors, and I've started the laundry. Now that I've got the boys in bed and Megan is entertained I am going to take a few minutes to review our Bible Study lesson from yesterday.
Tom and I are a part of the young couples Bible Study class at our church. It includes anyone who has been married for 10 years or less. Yesterday's study was focused on parenting, and specifically discipline. I'm sure I'm not the only mother who struggles with disciplining her children. After all, the world's idea of discipline and God's idea of discipline aren't exactly similar. I do believe that spanking is Biblical. In fact, the Bible has some pretty strong things to say about those who 'spare the rod'. Modern day parenting experts say spanking isn't loving, or spanking just teaches violence, but what does the Bible say? I know many Christians who say they believe that the Bible is the Word of God and His authority for our lives, yet don't 'believe' in spanking their children. Well, in that instance they are contradicting themselves. Here are a collection of verses that deal specifically with parenting and discipline.
Deuteronomy 6:4-7 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! you shall love the Lord you God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. and these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
Proverbs 13:24 He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
Proverbs 22:8 He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow, and the rod of his anger will fail.
Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him.
Proverbs 23:13-14 Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you spank him with a rod, he will not die. You shall spank him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell.
Proverbs 29:15 The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
Proverbs 19:18 Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his crying.
Proverbs 29:17 Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Ephesians 6:1-4 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth. And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
Being a mother is the hardest job that I've ever committed to. There are black and white and gray areas to wade through, and not just for the sake of raising children that act right, but for the sake of raising children who know and love God. There is heartache and joy; challenges and triumphs. And I can think of no other job that has shown me my own shortcomings so clearly and pushed me in my own relationship with Christ. I know without Him I am nothing, but through Christ all things are possible, including this amazingly difficult job of raising my children!
1-2 If God doesn't build the house, the builders only build shacks.
If God doesn't guard the city,
the night watchman might as well nap.
It's useless to rise early and go to bed late,
and work your worried fingers to the bone.
Don't you know he enjoys
giving rest to those he loves?
3-5 Don't you see that children are God's best gift?
the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior's fistful of arrows
are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
with your quivers full of children!
Your enemies don't stand a chance against you;
you'll sweep them right off your doorstep.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
With this sudden onslaught of cold weather that we got this week I was forced to sit down and work on some knitting for my family. I've been meaning to do so for a while, knowing that neither Megan nor Kyle have hats or mittens that fit them this winter. I felt like a bad mom on Friday when I had to send them to school in the cold without them.
So yesterday I started Kyle's pair of mittens. I finished them just before dinnertime this evening. I takes me about 3 hours per mitten. I'm not a pro-knitter, or very experienced, so I'm a little slow. Someone more experienced could probably whip out a pair in a couple hours, but I'm still proud of how they turned out (even with the couple mistakes, but as long as you don't look too closely you'll never notice). I'm just using extra yarn I have leftover from other projects I've done so they won't really match their coats, but that's ok. It doesn't take a lot of yarn to do children's mittens. Plus, it saves me a few bucks to not have to go buy anything so it's worth it. I plan to start Megan's mittens tomorrow afternoon. I hope to have those done by Tuesday and then I'll knit all 3 of them a winter hat. I'm not doing mittens for Caleb because I know from experience that he won't keep them on. Instead, I use a pair of Kyle's socks for Caleb's hands. They are a little snugger and he can't pull them off so easily. Anyway, these knitting projects will keep me happily occupied (I really do enjoy it) for a couple weeks or so.
To view other Friday Showcases, visit www.mamabzz.com
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Today I am thankful for people. . . many people.
~I am thankful for the billing specialists in the hospitals and doctors offices who work to get the insurances to pay the medical bills. I happen to know that it takes a lot more than just sending a bill to the insurance company to get them to pay. These people spend time doing tedious work, and sometimes HOURS calling the insurance companies fighting, yes FIGHTING, to get them to pay what they should. I have personal experience with this because my MIL is a medical billing specialist, and I also had some wonderful billing people at Rochester fighting to get my medical bills covered from my transplant and after-care. They did a great job, and I really really appreciate all their hard work!
~I'm thankful for the people who teach my children. I'm thankful for their patience and hard work. I know that working with children is an exhausting job, and not always so fun. But their teachers do it well AND with a smile on their faces! I so appreciate that!
~I'm not just thankful for their teachers, but I'm also thankful for all the support staff at the school who do so much of the behind the scenes work to keep the schools running smoothly and allow the teachers to do what they need to do with the children. I know they don't get thanked very often. They are behind the scenes and we all tend to forget about them (at least I do). Well, today I'm not forgetting. I'm putting my thankfulness into action. I've baked a batch of super yummy homemade brownies that I'm going to drop off with a nice thank you note to the office girls at Kyle's preschool when I pick him up today. I do believe that everyone has a need to be, not just told, but shown that they are appreciated. So that is what I'm going to do!
This is my encouragement to everyone today. . . Don't just tell someone you are thankful for them, SHOW them!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Kyle to me: "Mom, what's her name?"
Me: "I don't know Kyle, why don't you ask her."
Kyle to little girl: "Hi, I'm Kyle. What's your name?"
Being shy (at least shyer than my not-even-a-tiny-bit-shy child), she shrugged her shoulders and didn't answer.
Kyle to me: "She doesn't know her name either, mom."
2. Johnson & Johnson bath toy offer: Purchase one Johnson’s Baby Bath or Lotion product by between 9/28 and 12/1 and get a FREE Baby Bath Toy Frog Gift Set (a $10 value) by mail. Allow 6-8 weeks for delivery.
Just mail your name, complete mailing address, and dated receipt to:
Johnson & Johnson / Parents GWP
375 Lexington Avenue, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10017
3. SC Johnson Rebate offer: Purchase any 3 of the following products and get a $5.00 rebate, up to 3 rebates per family!
Drano, Fantastik, Glade, Nature’s Source, Off, Pledge, Raid, Saran, Scrubbing Bubbles, Shout, Windex, Ziploc
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1. Buy three (3) specially marked boxes of Kellogg’s® cereal and collect the codes inside each box.
2. Enter codes at www.kelloggbonusbucks.com.
3. Receive your $10 Bonus Bucks certificate by mail.
4. Redeem your certificate at a variety of participating retailers.
Codes must be entered all at one time in order to qualify to receive the certificate. Codes must be entered by 09/30/2010. Certificates expire 11/30/2010.
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