Favorite "Meditation of My Heart"

Call unto me,

and I will answer thee,

and shew thee great and mighty things,

which thou knowest not. --Jeremiah 33:3 KJV

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Giving Up.....

I gave up something today that I never thought I would....it involved giving up some pride, some control, some perfectionism, some mommy guilt and some money, but I think this "giving up" is for the best.

I have always provided the kids' home medical care and I have always felt that was my job as their mom. I felt it encouraged bonding/trust and assured quality of care. If the doctors said drop a tube down their nose, then I did it; cath this, bandage that, inject this, pack that, suction this, nebulize that....no matter what was needed or when (round the clock), I learned it and I did it. Likewise, Grace, Corrine & David each have even learned parts of care routines from putting on Vanessa's braces to adjusting the settings on Hannah's cochlear implant processor.

BUT I have decided that it is time to rethink and re-prioritize how and when I am encouraging bonding. Specifically, I realized that almost 100% of my interactions with Jon involved his care....feedings, diaper changes, stretches, bathing, dressing, bandage changes, breathing treatments, medications, feeding tube problems, etc. Plus a great deal of Grace & Corrine's interactions with Jon involve care too. Very little of Jon & my relationship is just loving on each other and doing things like curling up in the big rocker with a snugly blanket to read or watch TV or going outside to blow bubbles. SO I hired a NURSE and an aide....yes, I did....well, and our insurance company did too. However, for a few hours a week a nurse will come and an aid will come and help with Jon's care AND a couple hours of Nate's care.

My hope is that this will give me more uninterrupted time with each of the other kids and make my time with Jon and Nate less about suctioning and more about hugging, holding, playing and just enjoying each other. I really feel convinced that this "giving up" may help avoid problems in the future for all our kids. The kids and I will each continue helping each other and having responsibilities, but hopefully we can focus more on the responsibilities of caring for the mind and soul...and less on the body.

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit
before a fall.--Proverbs 16:18

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old,
he will not depart from it.--Proverbs 22:6

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Today is Mr. Workman & my 12th Wedding Anniversary. As we reflected on our 12 years last night at dinner, it was an amazingly long list of accomplishments, challenges, and changes.

We started our marriage by selling my house and moving to a new town for me to take a dream job. We couldn't find a suitable place to buy so we rented an old, small (wheelchair friendly) duplex in a retirement community in Joplin for 8 months. During that time, Mr. Workman had trouble finding decent employment in Joplin and was driving 80 miles a day back to Springfield to work. After 8 months, Mr. Workman had a terrible job in Joplin and a previously unsuitable house that we had seen 8 months before started looking more suitable.

We bought that small house and soon Mr. Workman decided to go back to school to be a teacher. Corrine was born the day he took his teacher exam (the Praxis). We built a storage shed. Then we tried to adopt from Korea & had it end in a heart breaking "no" because of my disability. Soon we converted the garage into a family room. Then we were told about Hannah & 9 months later, we traveled to Ecuador for 3 weeks to finalize the adoption, which ended up costing several thousand more than we had been told so we refinanced the house and brought home the greatest blessing and the greatest challenge to our marriage that we have had to-date.

Hannah had lots of needs for the first year. She needed around the clock supervision, lots of instruction, therapies, medical procedures and most of all tons of patience! The financial strains, balancing the time at work vs the time at the doctor/therapies, the endless fits as Hannah tried to tell us about her willful, 3 year old opinions and the struggles to get the school to provide the specialists that she needed to learn to read Braille, to use a cane for mobility and to teach her sign language/tadoma; all took their toll. As a result, I can honestly say that we let Hannah's first year in our home be the darkest time for our marriage...we were sleep deprived, short on patience and taking no time for ourselves...we were doing EVERYTHING right for Hannah, except possibly the most important thing: protecting our marriage and the stability of our home.

We finally pulled ourselves together and got our priorities in order. Hannah started making big strides and and so did our marriage...we bought a bigger house, we faced unemployment and re-employment, and three years later we were ready to adopt again, and as it would turn out again, and again and again........However, we had learned from Hannah many important things including that keeping our relationship to each other nurtured is key to our being available to serve God's purposes for our family...especially when it currently includes three terrific 1 year olds and one very demanding, incredibly adorable 3 year old, who it turns out is not so different than Hannah was at that same age.

12 years ago: I was "in" love with my new husband's looks, mannerisms, interests and love for me. I did not yet really recognize or compliment his strengths and weaknesses nor did I understand the depth of his character and devotion. The first 6 years of our marriage was tough as we learned to truly love each other. The past 6 years have had their trials, but I wouldn't have wanted to go through them with anyone other than Mr. Workman.

If our relationship was likened to a boat on a stormy sea, then the first 6 years were spent trying to "put up with" the annoyance of the waves and the last 6 years were spent enjoying the security of being in the storm together. I cannot imagine a better boat than our relationship or a better Captain than Mr. Workman and am thankful that my Captain knows my God and is depending on Him, as I depend on him.

Today I am loving and appreciating an incredible father to our children, a patient partner, a great listener, a soft spoken and sincere counselor, a giving provider, a Christ-lead leader, an amazing lover, a most-devoted best friend, and (at times) my biggest annoyance. I wouldn't want life any other way.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Grocery Shopping

Some people have a dream house...I have a "dream" grocery store....keep in mind that I shop weekly and one time a month I spend 3 to 4 hours in the grocery store and exit with 3 to 4 carts full.

Here are the details of my dream grocery store:
  • The grocery store would install cup holders on each cart and offer Rt 44 Sonic drinks (for non-US readers, this is a 44 oz drink with awesome crushed ice) as I arrive.
  • They would allow me to fax in my orders for the items that I buy one or more cases of and have the cases waiting for me.
  • They would have "St. Louis-style" carts...okay, so I have no idea of the carts "real name", but ones like in the picture to the left...with a high shallow basket, room for cases to stack below and the front is hinged so everything in the basket just gets slid onto the checkout conveyor belt. (For readers who don't know me personally, I use a wheelchair and dangling over a cart to try to reach the items at bottom of a typical deep basket is no fun.)
  • Any aisle with items over 50 pounds each (ie. dog food) would have a button to press call for assistance.
  • A pouch with see thru pockets should be on the cart to hold grocery lists and coupons being used.
  • When its time for carryout, the carryout person will arrive before the ice cream melts.

I use coupons and generally save 20% with coupons each shopping trip. I organize them by the order that the items are from the front of Wal-Mart grocery to the back (rather than by category). Even when I shop places other than Wal-Mart, I find this arrangement works well.

NOW, for what everyone seems to want to know...where do I get my coupons?

  1. web site of frequently purchased brands such as Betty Crocker and Cascade,
  2. online newspaper coupons,
  3. Boxtops for Education,
  4. couponmom,
  5. ebay to purchase coupons for specific favorite products,
  6. newspapers and magazines
  7. friends and family.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Folate Deficiency

Jon has now been on Deplin for folate deficiency for a month now. I saw some improvements at first and in the last week I have seem more strength and more movements.
It is hard to tell if these newest improvements are the folate or perhaps the improved nutrition now that he is getting Isosource formula through his tube. Either way I think the specialists are getting Jon's needs figured out and we are heading down the right path.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Many people ask me, "How do you feed them all?" I am always unsure if they mean how to we afford it OR how we physically put food on the spoon and in the mouths of 4 kids who cannot yet feed themselves OR how we get it cooked OR how we get it from the pan to their plates. In this blog I'm going to talk about the food budget. Next time I'll talk about shopping; and later cooking.

In a typical month, I spend $600 on food & $300 more on cleaning supplies, baby food, wipes, bottle liners, formula and diapers. I budget $1000, but usually spend $900 by the time I use the ads, coupons and/or coast along out of the pantry if there aren't any good deals. I do make up a menu, but I don't insist we follow it exact so we mix up the days and meals based on what the kids want.

I clip coupons, print online coupons, buy coupons on ebay, match the coupons with advertised sale items for more impact. This usually saves 20% of the total receipt. We shop at the farmers market for seasonal bargains. I know when certain store items will be at their lowest prices and I buy enough for the year. Some examples are the following:
  • apple sauce will soon be at its lowest price
  • In November-pumpkin, broth, au gratin potatoes, boxed stuffing, cranberry juice, and green beans
  • In December-flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and summer sausage
  • In January-Cheez Whiz, Velveeta, chips, pretzels, soda pop and soup
  • In February-laundry soap and dishwasher liquid
  • In March-cabbage, ham and some paper products
  • In April-diapers, wipes, and baby food
  • In May-chicken, paper products, chips, soda pop and fruit juice
  • In August-canned pastas and soups, pasta, pasta sauce, ice cream, pizza rolls, mac n cheese, frozen pizzas, snack crackers, popcorn (and even though its not a food...this is when underwear is cheapest!)

When I do the BIG shopping trip, I try to do so the third week of the month, when the sales are usually most impressive.

Lastly, I have a very small container garden to supply our lettuce in the Spring and Tomatoes and Peppers and Herb in the Summer and Fall. Friends and family give us samplings out of their gardens too. A few friends and family bless us with meat from butchering from their farm or hunting.

I have some pet peeve BUDGET BUSTERS when I shop which include the following:
  • Being asked to send monthly snacks to school for 22 to 24 kids that must be individually wrapped and not homemade (and without nuts)...I do this for 3 classes. We don't eat convenience items like that in our home so I resent being asked to donate something that is usually outside of our budget and lifestyle...if we need snacks at home, they come in a jumbo bag or I make them.

  • Food allergies: I am often forced to buy higher priced brands due to allergies and sensitivities in our family. By the time I get no MSG, no milk and no citric acid, then the top brands tend to be the only option.

  • Deals like Angel Food Ministries can be BIG budget busters. We only order 1 or 2 times a year and usually it is near the holidays for the cases of fruit. I do not generally order because the packages are loaded with one time convenience foods, and meats that we may not be able to use due to it having bones, being too tough or too spicy.

  • Single frozen items are a waste for us.....I end up opening small package after small package so I buy jumbo family size or commercial sizes, split it in 1/2 and store it.
Today's after school snack is an affordable easy treat. Corrine helped me today. The recipe is from my great aunt Wanita.

No-Bake Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Oatmeal Cookies
½ cup (1 stick) butter
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup milk
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups quick-cooking oats

1. Add the first four ingredients (through the cocoa powder) to a 4-quart saucepan.
2. Bring to a rolling boil and let boil for 1 minute. (If you don't get a good boil for 1 minute,
then the sugar doesn't fully dissolve and the cookie are kind of gritty.)
3. Remove from heat.
4. Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until smooth, then stir in the oats.
5. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto wax paper-lined baking sheets.
6. Let cool until set.
Yield: 2 to 3 dozen cookies or bars

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do,
do all to the glory of God.--I Cor. 10:31

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Now what was I doing?

"Now....what was I doing?" would best describe the last couple days. For some reason, the minutes since Sunday would best be counted by the number of interruptions to my interruptions. Some people probably think this is how everyday is at our house...but thankfully...no.

Time is typically marked by
who is awake,
who is napping,
who gets meds,
who gets fed,
who gets to color,
who wants to sing,
who wants to read a book,
who wants a hug,
who has homework,
who needs a diaper change,
and who will let momma go do some work in her office.

We follow an orderly schedule. Things may not always happen at the same time each day due to therapies, music lessons, home school co-op, sports and visitors, but the order of activities stays about the same.

I think a variety of things have us a bit off from our usual flow.
One big one is grandma was here last week and the kids are ALWAYS more demanding when grandma is here or has just been here.
A second one is a new house is being built next door on the lot that we were going to buy. The older kids are grieving the loss of space for soccer, flying kites and such. (I would be lying if I said that I wasn't disappointed too. We had been saving to pay cash rather than finance, but we thought that the seller knew that we would get financing if needed to keep it from being sold!) BUT is like I told Grace, God knows our needs and meets our needs....apparently we just "thought" we needed that lot...God knows best.

However, the builder shows NO AWARENESS of having so many children close by as he works. The foundation is only 15 feet off our property line. I asked the builder to put up a construction zone fence for Hannah's safety, but he says its my job to watch my own kids....I agree with him completely, but it only takes a moment for an accident to happen especially when a child cannot see and does not hear well. Ed says we will see about having the last 35' on that side of the yard fenced and hopefully we can get it done quickly....I've always thought dogs should be fenced in and NOT children, but trying to track who is inside, who is outside and where are they in the yard is a full time job....everything else is an interruption!

The Lord IS my Shepherd; I shall NOT want. --Psalm 23:1

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Nate, Hannah & the universe

I was VERY disappointed today to learn that in Stephen Hawking's latest book, The Grand Design, Hawking and his co-author are claiming, “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.”

So many people look to science for answers that it saddens me to think how many of them will avoid or skip spiritual exploration because they will accept Hawking's claim as truth. It must be pointed out that Hawking did not say that there is no God. Nor did he say that there is no need for man to have a relationship with God, but these messages are implied.

It would be hard to live in our home and not acknowledge an Almighty God who is reaching out to help us. Nate shouldn't have lived to make it out of Haiti, let alone long enough to have a successful repair of his heart. Hannah survived being born pre-mature in the jungle with conditions that should have required thousands of dollars of NICU care, but she survived and through amazing provisions came to live at our home at age 3 1/2. Hannah experienced the equivalent of winning the lottery 7 or 8 times by the time that she was 4 years old! It is hard to explain these types of "luck" without considering the reality God's provision in their lives.

A friend once stated to me that I had "saved" Hannah and Nate, but she is very wrong. Their critical hours of need occurred before I knew of their existence and in circumstances where only God could meet their needs.

So while Hawking writes, "Spontaneous creation is the reason....why we exist". I think he needs to consider, "what is the reason we survive?" If he could see what I've seen, then he would reconsider "why we exist" too.

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap,
or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? --Matthew 6:26
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. --1 Peter 5:7