Thursday, April 29, 2010

Private Chef

We have a Private Chef appear every Thursday night. Want to know what's cooking? Jump on over and read about it. She always posts her menu and recipe. Check it out here: http://cookingandteaching.blogspot.com/

Turning in early tonight.

Love you all.
Diane

Family dynamics

My family dynamic seems to change from year to year. I don't know what the future holds and I don't know what God has in store for us but I do know that we have learned to go with the flow. We just enjoy where we are when we are there and be prepared for a sudden change. This is our family picture so far in 2010.




I was a mom to girls for 18 years.




God sent us a son.



And then another for us to care for......





Who could resist a face like this?????




Not me!

Love you all,
Diane

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Comfort Food

Today started out really really bad. I had a migraine. I've had problems in the past with these vicious monsters, but not recently. For that I'm super thankful. I was awakened at 4:30 a.m. with the thought of head exploding through the face. Yep - that's my description. Getting up was not an option. I fumbled to find my phone and while blinded by that little bit of light managed to text Ashley for some assistance. Drink and Drugs. That's all I wanted - something to drink (Coke Zero) and any type of pain killer. (advil) The day was spent lying in bed - cold dark room. Now, of course, I feel worthless. The entire day spent laying in bed. Ugh. I hope the next migraine has several years between it and this one. I'm over it. Both literally and physically. I feel soooo much better and am thrilled to be up and about. So what comes next? Comfort Food!!!

What is your favorite comfort food? My favorite comfort food is Chicken 'N Dumplin's. I relate this food to either feeling bad or not being able to eat solid food. For as long as I can remember, if I went to the Dentist, my mom would cook chicken and dumplings. Food that I could eat without needing to really chew. Even after I was married she would feel sorry for me and cook some chicken and dumplings. So, naturally, I continue the tradition. When one of my girls was either sick or in need of soft food I would cook some dumplings. The only problem with cooking dumplings is that Mike does not like them. I know - he's not normal. Who doesn't like them? Just him as far as I know. Most people cook chicken soup - but not me - it's dumplings.

Some people are afraid of cooking dumplings. Hint! They are really super easy. I spent many hours in my mom's kitchen, so I learned lots of her cooking abilities. I love to cook so I don't fear tackling the hard stuff. I am a super picky eater so my cooking is limited. I really don't like that about myself. I wish I liked more foods. I wish I liked lots of healthy vegetables. I try - I really really do. More than anything - I wish that food was not a comfort for me. I wish that food never entered my mind when I feel blue or sick. I would rather desire to pick up my Bible and search scripture in order to feel comforted. I feel bad that I've passed along this same comfort item to my kids. But food is not just a comfort item - it's a celebration item as well. How I wish I would have said - hey you made all A's lets go for a walk to celebrate! Something other than let's go eat! We are sad - we eat. We are happy - we eat.

The Bible is full of comfort food. Psalm 18:2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. He is my Rock. Why do I lean on other things? Why food? Just yet another tradition. Isaiah 40:18-31
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint
. He increases the power of the weak. Weak - it is in our weakness that His power increases. We will stumble, we will feel bad. Just have bad days - migraine days. They are guaranteed. If all of our days were rosy and perfect - would He be seen in us. Not me - I feel certain that when things are going perfect in my life - you see me and Not Jesus. As much as I don't want trials - I don't want to be seen - I want to show Jesus. I fail on a daily basis - and it's those times I cook dumplins! But I hope that I will cook them less often and feed on the Word of God.

What is your comfort scripture? Share it here. Want to cook some dumplings?

A couple chicken breasts - boiled and deboned.
Save the broth.
Season with Nature's Seasoning, salt and pepper.

Mix some bisquick (2 to 3 cups) with milk. Don't kill dough - let it be soft - I add flour to help mix after I've stirred the bisquick. Pinch and drop in boiling broth. Let simmer.

Love you all,
Diane

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Memories - Deborah

Monday Memories – Deborah

She was described as having “the gift of gab”. We can all chuckle on that one. For those of us that knew and loved Deborah know that to be true, but also know that we all have it as well. She could tell a story. When she told you a story it was the “whole” story. She had a distinct voice that stood out from others. She always started out a phone conversation with “hey this is Deborah” as if I didn’t already know from “hey” who was calling! I’m pretty positive that I never lunched with her that she didn’t take a call from or make a call to Amanda. She was the light of her mom’s life. Amanda gifted her with a sweet grandson, Grayson, which gave her so much joy. Glenn and Deborah were inseparable. Time spent with them was never dull. There were jokes and stories and lots and lots of laughter. Everything was at break neck speed. They only knew fast motion. Deborah never ever did something half heartedly. I never make a dessert using chocolate and think – oh Deborah won’t eat this. I’ve never know anyone that would not eat chocolate. No chocolate of any kind. She was a one of a kind in many ways. I could share story after story that would keep you in stitches, but my point in sharing about Deborah is to remind us to Never take for granted a true friend.

The phone call from my boss on New Years Day about the tragic accident was life changing for me. I could never again call and talk to Deborah. I could not go to lunch or go shopping with her. We could not solve the world’s problems together. She and I had not spent much time together the previous year. I was raising new children and she was busy with job change and biking and whatever else she could do to stay busy. Our lives were moving in different directions for a time. I was busy in my own world. I was losing my dear friend, Connie, and was not making time to nurture friendships with others. She would call and check on me and Connie. I would give her updates and that was that. She was reaching out to me to support me and I was merely accepting her friendship but not really appreciating the gestures. She emailed me wanting an update on Connie’s condition and suggested we get together and catch up. She wanted to know how all of my children were doing and what everyone was up to. In my own self absorbed world I just promptly responded with an update on everyone. That was that – I felt that was sufficient. After all, I was busy and didn’t have time to spend visit. I had things to do. It was the holiday. I had gifts to buy, wrap and prepare for Christmas. My house needed a good cleaning for Christmas guests, goodies to be cooked. I was simply busy. I, in all my glory, had my own agenda and didn’t need to add anything to it. So – I wrote that email and sent it off and felt accomplished. After all, there would be time for catching up after the holidays. You know the feeling, there is always tomorrow.

Deborah called me faithfully during those last days of Connie’s life. She stopped by the hospital when she knew I was there. She came, both to check on Connie and to support me in my grief of losing a dear friend. One week prior to her own death, she attended Connie’s funeral. She sought me out at the service to hug me and tell me she loved me. She wanted to know if I was ok. I assured her I was and that we would get together after the holidays. I was ready to make time for my friend. That time was not to be. When I received that call about Deborah’s death, I was numb. I sat in silence for several hours pondering the loss and the grief that Glenn would be going through. My heart ached like never before. I was filled with grief and with guilt. I had avoided spending time with my friend and could not go back and change it. The opportunity was lost forever. My heart hurt for Glenn and Amanda and I simply could not begin to imagine the grief that they were feeling. She was the center of their world. As evidenced by her visitation, she knew and loved everyone. She had touched the lives of more people that I could count. She was a blessing to so many. She served and ministered to people on a daily basis. She was a go-getter and she was my friend. I hear her voice regularly. I miss her often. Her death taught me a valuable lesson in life. Never take for granted your friends and family. Express to them how much they mean to you and how much you love them. Losing Deborah changed me. It brought reality front and center. I know that tomorrow is not guaranteed. I know that we must cherish our loved ones. I know that we must make time for them. There is peace and there is hope where we think there is hopelessness. Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We are called to love one another. I Peter 4:8 tells us to “Love one another deeply.” Deborah loved deeply. I long to love deeply just as scripture suggests and just as she did. She left me that legacy. No other scripture tells it better than I Corinthians 13.
1If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. 4Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Tell someone you love them today. Know that I love you and am praying for you today.

Love to all,
Diane

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The world of Brenden

The world of Brenden

In the world of Brenden, 4 a.m. is an excellent time to bond. He loves to look into your eyes and smile and jabber. A bottle is required some mornings and and just a little snuggle time others. I try hard not to make eye contact hoping he will instantly fall back asleep. This is new territory for this mommy. Ashley and Spenser both slept through the night at a very early age. I was very young and na├»ve when they were babies. God most certainly takes care of babies and fools. They survived and haven’t started therapy yet. Still time, but so far they have survived.

In the world of Brenden, a pacifier makes things all better. But that same pacifier must be located during the night quite frequently. One loud shrill and the pacifier is promptly located by a sleep walking Aunt Diane or Uncle Mike. Once again, unchartered territory for this mommy. Neither Ashley nor Spenser had a pacifier. It’s a life saver, but I fear the day it needs to be taken away.

In the world of Brenden, a baby bed has a very small purpose. It is good for some quick naps or for watching a mobile for a short time. But now a big bed right between his Uncle Mike and Aunt Diane is some kind of comfy. He is able to reach over all during the night and touch one of us and know that all is right in the world. Why would anyone want to sleep all alone in a little small bed???? Our age is definitely on his side. We are too old to get up and down so – we oblige. Good thing we have a king size bed so he has plenty room to spread out. Would hate to crowd the little guy!!

In the world of Brenden, bath water should always be christened by urine. Spraying the bather is a plus. I’ve pondered whether it’s just a boy thing or whether I just didn’t know with the girls. You know – was not obvious if they did.
In the world of Brenden, fit throwing includes bowed back and immediate backward hurling of head. I invision some serious headaches in his future. I have experience with breath holding – but not body slamming. This is going to interesting and painful. Sorry for him that we have hard wood floors. Not that he is on the floor very often. He prefers laps.

In the world of Brenden, big sloppy kisses are the best. He loves to just slobber all over your cheeks to give you some super sweet kisses. Some of us are glad to receive those sweet kisses. I think baby kisses are the sweetest things on earth. I love when they know how to love you physically. It just melts my heart for them to snuggle up and kiss on you.

I never dreamed that I would be parenting an infant at 45 years of age. I just know that he is a delight and joy. Yes, he is a handful and my energy level is Not that of a 23 year old mommy, but it is so much more experienced than that mommy of 23 years ago. He has stolen the hearts of my family and look forward to his nights at our house. God has a purpose for him and a purpose for our being involved in his care. We are often asked why. Why do you have him? For how long? We don’t have answers really. We know that when he was growing in his mommy’s womb we were called upon to pray without ceasing for him. We understood that we were being led to provide for him in some way. We don’t know the future. We may be his part time parents for many years. We do know that God has placed him in our lives for this time and we will do what is required of us. We will cherish this time. We will be stretched in ways we never dreamed we would be stretched. We are doing this with the help of lots of people in our family. From my mom, down to Owen, everyone takes part in his care. Psalm 127:3 reminds us that: Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

Brenden is a reward. He is a reward to us just as our two biological children and two adopted children. They were given to us as gifts from God. He is a nephew by nature, but a child of our hearts. We will pray that he will also follow scripture and grow in the Lord.

Love you all.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rants and Rambles on Tough Love

My thoughts are overflowing on this post. Not sure how to put it into words, but here I go.

Rant:

There should absolutely be shopping line etiquette. You should never talk loudly on your cell phone while in line – and certainly NOT right into the ear of the person in front of you. Not cool!

There should be a course on cashier etiquette also. When the line is about 10 people deep and you open a register, the proper thing to say is “May I get the NEXT person in line.” Not “I can get you (looking specifically at someone they know five people back) over here.” Leaving the one’s who have been in the line the longest more time to WAIT. It is RUDE people RUDE.

Ramble:

I wondered who should teach this particular etiquette. One would assume the manager of the store would train the cashier. Obviously Not. But what about the parents of the cashier. If this person would have learned manners at an early age – this act would have been a natural act. If the person behind me would have learned manners they most certainly would not want to have a loud conversation over my head. Seriously. Manners. So this leads me to another rant that has been bottled up for quite some time. It is full of opinion but I just feel completely lead to write it down. I really really don’t mean for it to be offensive, yet I fear it may be.

Years ago someone said to me that they could not get their child (around age 10) to go to church. My immediate thought was – wow! Seriously? I didn’t know that 10 year old children could make those decisions. Maybe I missed out on that lesson. I thought that while we were raising children that WE made the decisions about their comings and goings. But it dawned on me that my children never questioned me on such things. We went as a family and that was that. No discussion. We never looked for excuses not to go and never discussed that one or more would skip classes or programs. It was/is what God wants us to do and we do it. No discussion. We actually love it. "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." [Proverbs 22:6] This does not say that they will never stray. But it does say to train – and that is directed at us – not at the children. Our example is Why they may or may not want to attend church. (our church).

Make it a point to let them hear you talk about the great things happening in your church. Let them hear how much you've been helped by being in the midst of people with similar beliefs who pray for you and you for them. Many kids are self centered. Train them to love others, to be a blessing to others. Train them to serve. Train them to be leaders – what an awesome experience it is to watch your teen be a leader. To stand firm in their faith no matter the persecution they face. Jesus didn’t pave an easy road for us. It’s tough time keeping our teens involved and active in youth activities. Bro. Bart once taught during a sermon that it was a privilege to raise “an honorable student rather than an honor student”. So true. Grades are important – but the love of God in their lives is eternal.

I’m just saddened today by so many allowing their children/youth dictate to the household. Tough love is almost unbearable some days. I am speaking from direct experience. When God puts us in charge and we don’t get in charge – destruction is inevitable. I have watched it – I’ve lived it. My parents over-loved. They allowed us to make decisions that we should not have been allowed to make. Praise God that I knew Jesus and had a relationship with Him. I wanted boundaries from my parents. I wanted their leadership. That was not the case with all of my siblings.

I feel strongly about following God and not our children. It is so much easier to allow them to make their own decisions. To manipulate us into believing they know best. God gave everything for His children. He suffered and died a brutal death. He did not take the easy road. He Never once faltered in order to please His children. He stood firm and went to the cross for us. How on earth can we do anything less than stand firm with our children? We are the parents. Be the parents. Train by example. Love tough.

Do we wonder why our churches are weakening? Could we not look in the mirror and see? I know I can.

Know that I love you guys.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Connie in Monday Memories

Monday memories

This blog post is extremely tough to write for more than one reason. Memories can bring some regrets to the forefront. It can also remind us of loss. But my point in sharing is to remind us to love like there is no tomorrow. I learned this valuable lesson more than once.

I believed with all my heart that I would see God bring healing on earth to my friend Connie. Years earlier I struggled with the loss of someone to breast cancer. I looked up to Carolyn like a second mom. She was a rock and a great source of strength to me as a young mother. I adored her. I struggled with her loss. She was absolutely one of the most faithful Godly women that I’ve known. I could not understand why God would not allow her to continue here on earth ministering to me and to countless others. I questioned God for many years. When faced with my own diagnosis, I didn’t question God. This was a very strange line of thinking, but true. I knew immediately that I was not immune to suffering. Cancer does not discriminate. During my year of treatments, Connie Freeman became a source of encouragement and strength to me. She helped me work on my house. She walked with me at Relay. She became near and dear to me. One year after my diagnosis, she was also diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I knew immediately, that I would be there every step of the way through her journey. Our children shared the same fears. They were able to support one another just as Connie and I did. She took her regime of treatments and was declared in remission by the end of the treatments. We worked together tirelessly on Relay For Life projects. We formed a Cancer Support Ministry through our church and supported others.

Unfortunately, within 3 years her cancer returned. It returned with a vengeance. This was a devastating time for her and for me. I was celebrating 5 years being cancer free and she was beginning treatment for a recurrence. My heart broke the moment I saw her face at my surprise celebration. How could I possibly celebrate when she was fighting for her life? She even spoke at the reception. She was a brave soul that day. I will never forget that day. Honestly, it was the most emotional day I have ever experienced. It was the day I longed for. It was my target. I would feel healed if I could make it to that mark.

The last day I saw my friend walk – was a few days after my birthday. We shared October birthdays. We exchanged pink ribbon gifts. She came to my office to drop off my gift. She visited a short time and then I helped her walk back to the truck where Danny waited. I never saw her walk again. She deteriorated rapidly. She didn’t give up. She fought and Dr. R. fought for her. He tried every drug and every option available. In the end, we are fighting a battle that has already been won. She knew Jesus. She knew where she would spend eternity. She would be healed. Yet, not the way we would have chosen. Her funeral was the same day we celebrated Christmas at my house. We celebrated loss and life in the same day. It was an awakening to me. To look at my family and know that life is not a guarantee. It was at her funeral that I also spoke to another dear friend for the very last time. Deborah made a point to seek me out to make sure I was ok. She knew how much Connie meant to me and kept in close contact throughout those final days. She wanted to support me. She was a true friend as well. I plan to finish this post…but not today. My heart is heavy today. Today, cancer is hurting another friend and another and many many more. I need to pray without ceasing today. But I need to remember those that I love and those that I loved. If you want to share a prayer request in my comments, please do. If you want to share a memory of Connie, please do. I would love to hear from others.

Love to all,

Diane

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Exploding Tradition and Carrot Souffle

Traditions. I love having traditions. I've learned this year that traditions can also create needless habits. Traditions can interfere with the meaning of special holidays. Some behavior or actions that we follow from one generation to the next are simply unexplainable. I have still not heard the end of the fact that I exploded some Christmas traditions this year. One is that I did not buy my children new pj's to wear Christmas Eve night. Holy Cow - you would think that they got nothing for gifts. Seriously - I never even thought it would be noticed. But I was most certainly wrong. The scramble for pj's on Christmas Eve was quite funny. See - I always wanted everyone to have new pj's that would be appropriate in pictures on Christmas morning. I put thought into these pj's. Well well well. I wasn't the one that had to put thought into the pj's this year. My daughters had to do that task. Maybe one day they will forgive me. Creatures of habit we are.

My mom passed down some traditions, habits, thoughts and the like as well. She feared pressure cookers. She refused to use them because she was afraid the pressure thing would blow off in her face. So - guess who else feared pressure cookers? Yes - that would be me. I simply followed the tradition of being afraid of pressure cookers. I had zero experience with one yet refused to use one.

Enter carrot souffle to my life. I love Carrot Souffle. Funny thing is that I HATE cooked carrots. The thought of carrot souffle disgusted me - but I put on my big girl panties one day and tried it. Love at first bite. This year I put it on the menu for Easter Sunday. I made the usual purchase of two bags of baby carrots. I don't' learn lessons well. The last time I cooked the souffle I used the baby carrots. They DO NOT cook well. They take forever and ever to boil. Seriously - four hours to get them tender. I was reminded by my mother that chopped carrots cook much faster. Or use a pressure cooker. *gasp* She suggested the pressure cooker. Moving on. Yes the chopped whole carrots would have been the better idea - but I wanted to save time - I did not want to chop carrots. Finally, on the Saturday night before Easter my carrot souffle was put together and in the fridge. All that would be needed on Easter Sunday was to bake it. Perfect. Except for the frustration I suffered due to the boiling of baby carrots. Fast forward to today. I wanted carrot souffle again. I purchased regular whole carrots. I peeled them and chopped them (or started and Mike finished) No short cuts for me. I suggested to Mike that he get out the pressure cooker that he received for Christmas and cook the carrots. (yes he got a pressure cooker - not me!) He agreed but not before reading the instructions clearly. This was the moment that I learned a valuable lesson. The carrots took TWO minutes to cook. Yes - for those that don't use a pressure cooker. TWO MINUTES not two hours. Not four hours. Two little bitty minutes. I am flooded with thoughts of previous cooking experiences that this little thing called a pressure cooker would have saved me in time and energy. And all self inflicted waste of time and energy. I'm still pondering the craziness of my fear of and refusal to use a pressure cooker.

What other traditions control me? Something to ponder. But I, for one, will be utilizing the pressure cooker from this point on. That is one tradition that is being exploded at this house. I don't choose to pass down senseless traditions - but I'm sure I will.

There is one tradition that I want to pass down. If no other, one matters. Corporate Worship. I hope my children always desire to attend church. To grow and develop a daily relationship with Jesus. The one and only tradition that has eternal significance.

Want to try carrot souffle?

2 lbs. carrots (peeled and chopped)
2 sticks butter
4 eggs
2/3 cup self rising flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Boil carrots with 1/2 tsp salt until tender. A mere two minutes if using pressure cooker! Drain. Add butter to carrots, let melt and then whip. Mix in flour, baking powder and sugar. Stir in cinnamon. Pour into 9x13 casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.

Enjoy!

Love you all.
Diane

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Blog for a cause

I read several blogs and jump around and read others periodically. Most of the time I am sent there from another blog that I read on a regular basis. Earlier this week I received a tweet about this blog giveaway. It is more than a give-a-way. It is an opportunity to make a difference. You can make a very small donation that may save the life of a child. I read through the blog and knew instantly I wanted to make a donation. The story is heartbreaking and one that needs to be shared. I normally would not be giving a carseat much thought, but these days I am in the market for a new one. Our little guy has outgrown his infant seat and needs a big boy seat. I have shopped and shopped and my budget does not allow us to buy the seat of my desires. But after reading about the story of Kyle - I must say I am much more inclined to dig a little deeper and see what can be cut in order to provide the best possible seat for Brenden. I have heard others talk about the Britax seat - but didn't realize until reading this blog that the seat is more than a desire. It is a need. A prize is not the reason one should make a donation, but it is certainly worth making a donation and a prize being gravy. So - for those of you that do read this. Please consider following the site and making a donation for a worthy cause. Below is the link to the blog. Thanks for looking.

Win a cowmooflage Britax Marathon in the KDMF contest here - http://tinyurl.com/y3yajxd

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday means American Idol

It's Tuesday. I love Tuesday's. We don't follow many television shows at our house. Mike likes fishing and hunting shows and sports. Ashley likes cooking shows. Owen likes cartoons. I like sports. I will watch the Atlanta Braves any day of the week. I will watch the New Orleans Saints every Sunday. I even watched golf on Saturday. Seriously....Golf! I love that Phil Mickelson won. I love that his wife encouraged him to return to golf after her diagnosis with breast cancer. I've seen firsthand how "the beast" affects the entire family. Especially the spouse. I love that he persevered through adversity.

Now to Idol. I love love love American Idol. I love it for more than one reason. I love the music. When I get to Heaven I hope that I get one of those angelic voices! I was not gifted with the talent to sing. I was given the love of music. I tried to fulfill my desire to play piano through my daughters. They tried - they quit. I was disappointed - but they tried. I believe they wish they had continued. But I digress from my point. I love music so therefore I like the show. I even agree with Simon Cowell most of the time. I can 8 times out of ten pick what he is going to say. But that said - those people are the absolute bravest people I know. I would NEVER get on a stage and be judged by Simon. He most certainly scares me. That being said - I face the only judge that counts on a daily basis. Why do I not fear Him the way I should? Why do I get on stage and make a complete idiot of myself on a daily basis. I have habitual sins that I just can't seem to break free from. I don't perform up to His expectations as I should. I most certainly disappoint others. If I were put on television and the audience voted on whether or not I get into Heaven, would I get the votes or be voted off? Do others see Jesus in me? I certainly hope so and I strive to live for Jesus but I am a sinner. Saved by grace but a sinner all the same. I do desire to be held accountable. As uncomfortable as it is - it is my desire.

Now secondly - I love American Idol because it creates family night at my house. Each of us love it. We watch it together. We critique each contestant together. We don't agree on each person - but we agree that we love the show and love watching it. It even buys Owen a later bedtime. It does a family good around our house. I have a few all-time favorites. Glad you asked! Carrie Underwood - love her pure voice. Just beautiful. Mandisa - she was a favorite of mine prior to Idol. I used to listen to her with Travis Cottrell and say that when I get to Heaven I wanted to sing just like her. I am so glad she is making Christian music. What a testimony she has. And last but not least. Kris Allen. I could go back and watch his pre-idol video of "The City" over and over again. I pray that he avoids the worldly influence that he is surrounded by.

There you have it. I love Tuesday night at my house. I love American Idol.

Love to all.
Diane

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Memories

It's Monday. Going down memory lane today. I will do better in the future (hopefully) to add related pictures to the posts.

A memory of my dad is one that I don't like to recall. It's one of those memories that was not pleasant. I don't know why it always haunted me, but it did. It caused me pain and I never really forgave him. But the truth is that he really didn't need forgiven and I didn't need to be hurt by the situation. Age and time do heal things and make pictures much more clear. This memory is from my childhood. I am not sure of my exact age but I can still see the situation vividly. I had to be younger than 10 but older than 7. I am the baby of the family and was the tag-a-long for the most part. My dad was enlisted in the Army and we were living in Ft. Polk, Louisiana. He and my mom had lots of friends in this little town. Most of them had children around the same age as my siblings. We often spent weekends in our little trailer park with our friends. We lived in a very small trailer park on a little traveled road that was perfect for walking and riding bikes. Small creeks and wooded areas were all along this road. It was a great place to grow up. One particular afternoon my dad was loading up our station wagon and going into town for ice cream treats for the kids. Everyone ran to the car and jumped in. When I realized what was going on, I also ran to get in. My heart was broken when my dad turned and said "there's not any room for you". He assured me that they would come back quickly and bring my treat to me. Oh the pain of rejection that flooded my soul that day. No room for me. It was heart breaking. I took that very personally and clung to that pain for many many years. But my dad did just what he promised. He brought me ice cream and candy. I didn't miss out on one thing other than the ride into town. But I did miss out on a lesson about sacrifice and selflessness for many years. At that age I didn't understand sacrifice. I only understood rejection. I am reminded of the greatest story of rejection. Mary and Joseph were rejected from a room for Jesus to be born. They faced their rejection with no bitter feelings. They accepted the situation that was at hand and fulfilled God's plan. They didn't miss out on God's will based on their selfish desires. They willingly accepted the animal trough as a bed for Jesus. The Bible does not say that they complained for years to come. They were thankful for what they were provided. I was not thankful for what was given to me. I was bitter for what I missed out on.

Through the years, I came to understand that my father was selfless. He was willing to give up personal and financial gain in order for others to be provided for. Yes, we as his family also sacrificed along the way. We may not have been afforded some of the same luxuries others were, but we were always provided for. Even when I was left behind, I received the same treat everyone else did. But I also received a lesson on sacrifice. See, my dad was loving on other children, giving to them, treating them with a simple ride to the local store for treats. They were thrilled. He was showing them the love of Jesus that he possessed. My dad did things like that his entire life. He would cut firewood for a widower lady (without accepting pay). He would bail out others financially time and time again. He would work long hours in less than perfect conditions in order to provide for his family. He would use his tractor to help others farm their fields. He would plant way more vegetables than he could use in order to give to others. He loved to help others. He was a kind and giving man. Those small things in life that I didn't understand when I was young, are the big things in life that made him who he was. How sad that I wasted time being hurt when I could have been proud. I was young when it originally happened. It is understandable to get your feelings hurt. But when I was old enough to see the bigger picture, I should have turned that hurt into a life lesson. Today I see a man used by God to love on others.

Mark 12:31 NKJ
31 "And the second, like it, is this: `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."

Seven other times in the Bible we are told to love our neighbor -- one of the Bible's most repeated commands.

What are you doing to show God's love to your neighbor? Love without actions is dead. I can't tell my dad that I am proud of him - but I can remember his love for others by telling you about him.

I would love to hear about some of your fondest memories. Share one here.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Rambles or Rants

Wow! Is it Monday and someone forgot to tell me??? Let's begin with something good. I found a ten dollar bill in my pants pocket this morning. All washed and crisp. Yippee - I love to find lost money. I guess it's not really lost since I didn't actually look for it. But, it's fun to find money. Other good stuff - Owen knew his spelling words and the spelling of his five states for the week. We usually spend our thirty minute ride to school going over test material. I walked a mile last night and slept well. Anytime I sleep well it's a good thing.

And the buck stops here! Rant #1 - Why oh why do I choose to hit the snooze button? Why do I think that 15 extra minutes of sleep will make a difference? It does make a difference though - it makes me rush and it makes me grumpy to have to rush. Self inflicted frustration - crazy just plain crazy. I am already NOT a morning person. I have four children and a husband that will attest to that. I like to wake on my own - and chill out prior to speaking or being spoken to. The night time is a completely different story. I will stay awake forever trying to do or accomplish one more thing or even say or read one more thing. I'm all about nightime. I am way over morning time. It bites me in the rear when I drag around. Had to rush out the door with makeup bag in tow this morning. Of course I needed to go inside the school with no makeup. THEN, the morning just slapped me right square in the face. My car ran hot! White smoke - HOT. Drive to the shop. (still no makeup) New radiator, new fans, blah blah blah blah - A mere $1168.19. It's been a costly month for repairs. New tires for same car. New brakes for same car. Minivan mom is over the repairs on minivan - Seriously! New Hot water heater in house. Dishwasher broke - water line to fridge broke. Should I go on? I'm thinkin I've depressed all two readers by now - so I'll stop. But I did make it to work by now and have put on some makeup so as to not scare the boss away!

Rant #2 - Why do kids think playing dumb is cute? Really - I'm to old for dumb. When your child says "can you get online and say I can have a cheese stick?" - Am I seriously supposed to know what that means? So I question - what - why - when? And I get "what do you mean?" Really???? What do I mean? How about what do YOU mean? I'm losing the ability to read minds with child number 4. I'll spare you the rest of the endless questioning- I gave up and went into the school without makeup and found out for myself - what the heck a cheese stick is and why he needed one. So - you are not left hanging - it's a large breadstick filled with cheese. You can get it for lunch in place of a sandwich. It should not have been difficult to relay to me what the heck a cheese stick is. Ok - done now.

Rant #3 - Three times in the past week I've been afforded the opportunity to get behind a truck with bull testicles hanging from the bumper. I DO NOT WANT TO SEE THAT! I cannot for the life of me understand WHY. Why does someone want to display testicles? I'm clueless on this - and frustrated as well. I'm as country as it gets. You may call me redneck - but I just must draw the line. I want to pull up next to these drivers and ask why - why - why. Really - can anyone really tell me why? I have this conversation with my Oncological Nurse every four months. It's a conspiracy. Each time I have a check up - I see one of these lovely displays just before going in. Without fail - it happens! BTW - she is the one who politely corrected me when I said cow balls! Yes - I know cow's don't have them. hahahahaha at my expense!

Enough rants - I need to save some for next week!

I WILL do taxes this weekend. I may miss having our dear sweet baby this weekend due to, well - lack of minivan to haul all parties in. So - I may actually accomplish those darn taxes that I love so much. Wish me luck on that one.

Ok - I'm off to be constructive.

Love to all!
Diane

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Eight years ago...........

Recently, specifically on March 25, another milestone in my life occurred. My eight year cancerversary. The day went un-noticed. There were no celebrations, no tears, no hurrahs. Just another day. That is a beautiful thing. Beautiful in that it is not at the forefront of my mind. Survival is now the norm. As if the cancer part of my life is merely a thing that happened and not THE thing. Eight years ago I was completely oblivious to how breast cancer would affect my life. My thought was that "oh I HAD a tumor that was cancer - they took it out - that's it". NOT. Breast cancer is not a take it out and go on about your business type of cancer. It's a beast that does not like to lay dormant. So - off to treatments I went. Six brutal rounds of chemo and 37 days of radiation, followed by five years of tamoxifen and now five more of Femara. It seems never ending. Some people could not believe that I was calm and cool about the experience. Some thought I was in denial. The diagnosis was not devastating. It was what it was and could not be changed. The chemo was a different story. The loss of my hair was life changing. Vanity can be a killer. Hair loss told people that I had cancer. I was embarrassed to have breast cancer. I was hurt that my children (ages 13 and 15) had to tell people their mom had cancer. Physically, I was suffering terribly from the effects of chemo. My body rebelled at the thought of those drugs each time. I could re-created the smell of the drugs even before getting to the office. I would walk in and turn green with nausea. The mind is very powerful.

The mind is powerful and can deceive you and destroy your very being. The cancer can destroy your body - it can test your faith - it can weaken you emotionally. But it can also build you up in ways you could never dream. From the very first moment I felt like my Heavenly Father lifted me into His arms and carried me. I don't think my feet ever touched the ground. The love of friends and family and the prayers that were sent to Heaven on my behalf were more that I could have ever imagined. Cards from strangers all across the country. I felt so unworthy. Reality of the situation was summed up at a Beth Moore conference where she spoke about Job. Job was chosen to walk through his journey of loss because God trusted him. God knew he would stand firm no matter what would happen to him. He trusted Job completely. Job endured - he stood the test time and time again. What a privelege that God would entrust me with such a challenge as Breast Cancer. That He would allow me to minister to others. That He would allow me to support other survivors. That He would allow me to sit at the bedside of those that were losing their battle. That because of my battle, I would development new lifelong relationships with others that I may never have known otherwise. Afforded the opportunity to grow in my relationship with Jesus like never before. To strengthen my relationship with my husband and children.

The journey has never been easy - but it's been a blessing in so many ways.

Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Reader's Version)

11 "I know the plans I have for you," announces the Lord. "I want you to enjoy success. I do not plan to harm you. I will give you hope for the years to come.


He had a plan for me. He still does. Thank you Jesus for the last eight years. It's been a privelege.

Love to all.
Diane

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday events

Today was a busy yet successful day. Needed a new tire which meant two of course. Oil changed. Dr. visit - PERFECT! Music to my ears. I celebrate today having completed 4 more months of remission. That's 8 years. That's exciting! Planning to post a survivor post tomorrow. Only had one little two year old tonight at church. That's ok because she enjoyed the undivided attention. Was able to love on our precious Brenden. He is such a joy to our family. Now I'm staying up way to late when I should be asleep and preparing to wake early to exercise. hopeful...........

The beginning of something new.

Well, I've contemplated doing this for a while and here it is. Hopefully I will be able to ramble and ramble and connect with others who experience life as I do. Fast and furious with lots of bumps in the road. Some days - I wonder what on earth God is thinking - that me Diane, can handle this stuff. I am not worthy of His expectations. I am honored that He believes that I can deal with the tough stuff on a regular basis - but somedays I'm just flat tired. I don't want to be tough. But, then I'm reminded that God desires me to be weak - and that maybe my pigheaded self is creating the stress. What happened to fully relying on God? Where is my faith? My former Sunday School teacher, Steve Brock, reminded us often to rest in God. Rest? Reliance requires trust. To fully rely on God we must fully trust God. Why do I lack trust when He has seen me through the storm time and time again? When not trusting one tends to experience a humbling. Somedays I would like to shout - ok I'm humble - I'm humble. I get it. But truly I don't get it. But - I've decided that accountability is the best way for me. It's time to get accountable for lots of things. I hope that I will have friends and family join me in this journey to Survive. Survive myself. My shortcomings. I'm hoping to be accountable to others for much needed exercise and healthy eating. I hate to fail, so hopefully, by putting myself out there I will strive to do my best. To conquer some deamons that seek to test my faith. So - I hope you will join me - help me be accountable and have some fun along the way. I hope you will be willing to share some funny memories on Monday's. Share some Tough Stuff on Thursdays and also swap some great recipes and meal plans on Saturday's. Those are the tentative plans. Obviously subject to change at a moment's notice! But here it goes. Blog post #1. Love to all of you!
Diane