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

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Chaos & Joy

My family has always opened presents on Christmas eve, but my hubby's family usually opened presents on Christmas morning so when we got married we had to pick a tradition to follow.  Because my parents like to be at our house when presents are opened, we ultimately decided to follow my family's tradition.  The kids stay up late on Christmas Eve playing, and Christmas morning is more leisurely.  The kids sleep while we are up early starting Christmas dinner.  They have small stocking gifts waiting on them; then breakfast; get dressed and play some more before dinner!

Christmas Eve this year was especially chaotic.  The twins had clogged the downstair's bathroom's sink, played in the water and left the water running until the wet family room carpet was discovered sometime later.  So around noon, Mr. Workman started intensive clean up with the wet vac and using every fan in the house.  As you might guess, this is the same carpet that I JUST had professionally cleaned two weeks ago and NO it was NOT dry by the time we opened gifts in the evening (or even yet this evening).  So gift opening was restricted to the dry side of the family room, which made picture taking angles difficult.  

We usually take turns opening gifts in an orderly fashion, but with three 3 year olds and a 4 year old running on crazy-high octane-Christmas-grandparents-candy-adenaline...well, orderly wasn't going to happen!!!  So with paper ripping, screaches of joy and lining up for Grandpa to free their new toys from the packaging...the boys opened their own gifts AND each others gifts AND came to help each of us open our gifts in all of 10 minutes.  (The clean-up took forever!  But they didn't care or know since they were playing with their new toys.) 

Antonio & Pauline with their 2 kids &
our kids from Haiti

This year, a big dinner and church, were pitted against each other so we had a big turkey dinner with all the fixings last Saturday with friends and our special guests Pauline and Antonio who worked at "our" orphanage in Haiti.  It was so nice to see them.  They are currently living in Tulsa, but they will be moving soon to Florida.

So today on Christmas Day, we decided to go with something easy for lunch after church.  We went Italian.  All the kids ate great except the twins who each fell asleep on sofas in different rooms during the brief 20 minute prep-time.  When they woke up an hour or so later, they feasted too.  I got a long nap.   Mr. Workman kept working on drying the carpet.  The kids played with new toys or read new books, and it was a VERY good Christmas Day!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.~~Isaiah 9:6

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Spirit

Salvation Army Band in front of the Fox Theatre.
This year I have been determined to take time to feel and live the Christmas Spirit.  The last few years, our Christmastimes have included surgeries and doctor visits and hurry and rush and stress.  However, I promised myself that would not be the case this year.  I would take time for friends and family, for celebrations, for decorations and if we get any, I may even play in the snow!   

So the first weekend in December, Ed & I headed to St. Louis for an overnight stay and to see "A Christmas Carol" at the Fox Theatre.  We are so out of practice with these get-a-way things that we forgot to take cash for parking, but disaster was averted after a complete search of pockets, bags, and floorboards yeilded the $8 we needed.  THEN, we had the "fun" of handing the change to the attendant and wishing him a "Merry Christmas".  He didn't want to accept it, but his boss assured him that it was legal tender and they accepted it!  The show and the Fox Theatre were as awesome as when I had visited last and I especially enjoyed the details and personality that actor Jeff Horst injected into his character Scrooge.   Then after the show, the Salvation Army Band was playing on the sidewalk outside the theatre.  It was positively Christmas perfect, except I had left the 11 cents of "extra cash" on the dash of the car and didn't have even a penny to put in the Kettle!  The group still insisted on taking a request and it was wonderful! 

Live Nativity by our friends John & Nancy Young

This year I have taken time to enjoy hosting a get together, which we hadn't done since July 2008!  Our whole family has enjoyed time with friends and special projects, the parade, a live nativity and Christmas lights in Carthage and Monett.  For the first year ever our Annual DVD is not yet done, but it will be soon for those who are thinking that I forgot you!  My Christmas shopping is not done.  My celebratating is just not finished, and I'm not worried because I have almost 5 days to enjoy the process of finishing Christmas preparations. 
Corrine enjoying the "Way of Salvation"
 light display in Carthage.

 If you are needing a little help feeling in the Christmas Spirit, then I have two small project suggestions for you that are less than a dollar and would really improve someone's day.

PROJECT 1: Write a note and/or send a card to Ashlea Burkhart.  She lives in Joplin and was severely injuried in the tornado.  The recovery and rehabilitation process from the brain injury has been especially tough for this mother of two and her husband.  Her mother has had to quit her job to help with Ashlea's care, but Ashlea IS improving, especially since a group of friends took on a project to get cards of encouragement sent to her.  Since November 15th, she has received over 1,000 cards and these are used as part of her recovery is to go get the mail everyday and read the cards aloud.  You can mail the card to the following address: 
Ashlea Burkhart
3609 E. 13th St.
Joplin, MO 64801

PROJECT 2:  Send a Christmas card to and pray for Troy and Angie Jensen.  Troy had a bone marrow transplant in Oct. and under normal conditions would have been able to leave the hospital in November. Unfortunately he has had many set backs and is still in the hospital and will not be leaving before the holidays. Angie has put a small Christmas tree in his room and plans to fill his window with the Christmas cards that are sent, so that when Troy is able, he can see the evidence of all the people who care for him and have been praying for him.  Angie's St. Louis address is below.

Troy and Angie Jensen
4555 Forest Parkway
Apt 301
St. Louis, MO 63108

   "I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!"~~Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Twins are 3!

Luke waving bye.  Mark already up the bus steps.
 The twins turned 3 today and took the big step of going to their first day of 1/2 day preschool.  Mark was ready to ride the bus, but Luke was a little less sure about this new adventure.  In the end, they both rode the bus without tears, and they returned home ready to go to school again tomorrow.  Here are some pictures of their BIG day.  Could they be anymore cute?!  I don't think so!
Present time!!
Cake with REAL candles for the 1st time.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Drive III Wheelchair Review

As many of you know from Facebook, about a month ago my trusty wheelchair of 15 years had its frame break.  It is repairable and will be repaired, but it will take months to get the part due to the age of the chair.  Plus the chair really does need to be retired to being a backup chair.  My current backup chair is about 22 years old; the frame has been twisted and screws have been stripped by the abuses of jumping many curbs and international travel so it is literally "on its last wheel".

A Quickie RX
The replacement with a new Quickie® with the features similar to my old chair would be between $2200 and $1800 depending on discounts that I might or might not be able to get.  This is a BIG, unexpected expense so I checked ebay and second hand sales places like Missouri Assistive Technology's Swap N Shop, but I was unable to find what I needed at a reasonable price.  I decided to look for other brands that might offer better prices and I was intrigued to find a chair listed for $235.  It looked a lot like my first Quickie called a Quickie RX.  (Some of you may remember the old Quickie company slogan, "You'll never forget your first Quickie"...well its true.  My Quickie RX made me a lifetime customer and a wheelchair snob*.)  The $235 chair's knock-off design intrigued me.

Drive Cruiser III
 I researched this knock off called a Drive Cruiser III and found it at Wal-Mart online for only $195.  Plus it had free shipping to the store or 97 cent shipping to my house.  I have NEVER considered buying a wheelchair from Wal-Mart and certainly not for less than $200.  I ordered the chair on Tuesday and it arrived on Friday.  So we took it out of the box, made some adjustments and I've been using it for 4 days now.  The following is my thoughts about the chair.
  • I was pleasantly surprised by the two axle heights that truly assure it is a hemi-height (can be pushed with a foot because your feet touch the ground when adjusted for this use).  Additionally, I was surprised by the 3 position fork so I could have the inclined seat that I like to reduce the pressure on my left hip.
  • The seat is comfortable and seems very durable.  Since I like to fold and load the chair with my right hand only, I would have preferred a single strap across the seat to help fold the chair rather than the loops on each side.  The back is not adjustable and too high for my preferences.
  • MAIN POSITIVE:  The front wheels are welded to the frame rather than screwed so it is more durable.  My 22 year old backup Quickie chair suffers from the screws shifting and enlarging the holes until the front tires no longer functioned properly.  I've made temporary repairs on this problem for years.
  • The chair weighs about 7 pounds more than my Quickie did so right now I feel like I'm in an exercise program when I load and unload the chair.
  • MOST SERIOUS NEGATIVE:  The wheels are bald indoor tires that can leave black streaks on the floor.
  • The look and style is not bad.  It is kind of like owning a knock off Coach bag, but only a few people can identify a knock-off wheelchair.  For my preferences, the back push handles are TOO inviting.  As a full time chair use, those handles are a part of my "personal space" so if someone wouldn't touch my shoulders, they shouldn't push my chair especially without asking.  My kids even get this and from age 5 on, they don't push me unless I ask.  (Before age 5, it can be a handy way to keep track of kids, if they quit pushing, then I know to start looking for them because kids push all the time even when you stop.)
  • MY SUMMARY:  A seriously good value for indoor home use.  An excellent choice for a back-up chair for a wheelchair snob, but I'll be saving up for a new Quickie as my full time chair.  This chair could have been my full time chair 1) if the back was adjustable to be lower, 2) if the tires had tread, and 3) if it were 3 to 5 pounds lighter. 
*DEFINITION Wheelchair Snob:  A wheelchair user with the attitude that medical supply sales people should not try to endorse or recommend a brand of wheelchair unless the sales person has personally used the chair constantly for a year, hauled it in/our of taxis, checked it on an airline and navigated many curbs without twisting the frame beyond what the warranty on the chair will cover.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The victory in being 3!

1st Birthday

The BIG news, Nate IS 3 years old!  I took off his Oxygen for a few minutes and let him play in his cake and open presents this year.  He knew what to do as he tore into his cake and presents without hesitation.  He would tear the paper, peak in the package and clap with delight over each of his presents.  It didn't seem possible that he was the same kid as his 1st birthday when he was so sick and so scared of his cake.  It had been hard to even get a picture of him with his 1st birthday's cake because he didn't want it that close to himself!  We have certainly been blessed to see God provide doctors, surgeries and continued healing to our growing toddler.  It truly is hard to believe that he is the same child with whom I would wake up, and pray while listening for him to gasp his next breath, pause, pause and then the feeling of relief as he gasp again and again.  What a tough, but fragile little guy; he was!  Oh how hard I prayed!

Three years old!
Yeap, Nate's definately 3!

Now next week, Nate will start a developmental pre-school program two mornings a week so he can get his therapies while he is there.   He seems ready to go after his couple visits, but I'm still getting geared up to actually take him and leave him for 3 hours with people who don't know what each snort, wheeze or glassy eyed expression means.  Nate and I have a long list of sounds and signals that mean all sorts of things such as more Oxygen, less Oxygen, nose spray, suctioning, breathing treatments, too hot, too cold or too much air freshner/parfum/dust.  However, even I know that I'm not sending him when he is actively sick and a few hours of needing a squirt of nose spray is not life theatening.....but oh, this is going to be hard....almost as hard as waiting for the next gasp.  So if you could pray for Nate & me next Monday the 14th, we would each appreciate it!  Nate needs to fight off the germs and keep healthy, and I'm depending on those prayers to get me through what is a little change for most folks.

Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD
 hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living
 thing, and the breath of all mankind. ~~Job 12:9-10

Monday, October 31, 2011

Money $aving $auces

Below are two money saving sauces that are easy to make, AND these are favorites at our house. 

The FIRST one is an enchilada sauce, which falls between mild & medium on my spice index.  The recipe comes from Daddy's Deli in Little Rock, Arkansas and was originally made with 28 oz diced tomatos and 8 oz of water added.  (If you make it with the diced tomatos it needs to cook down for 30 minutes or more.)  However, I have picky eaters who don't like tomato chunks so I substitute the equal amount of tomato sauce.

28 oz tomato sauce 
1 can diced green chili
1 T dried onion
2 T chili powder
2 t cumin
1 t garlic powder

Stir together and heat over medium heat for 10-15 minutes.  Stir occassionally as it starts boiling.  This recipe typically costs $1.60 to make.  If I bought this much store bought enchilada sauce, then it would cost over $8 AND it would not taste as good.  This sauce is a favorite at our house.  Mild enough for the kids and spicy enough to have great flavor.  This sauce is also great mixed with ranch dressing for a Southwest Ranch flavor, and it is a fabulous base for tortilla soup.

SECOND SAUCE:  My kids eat lots of chocolate syrup to add to milk, pediasure, ice cream and squeezed directly into their mouth when they think I'm not looking.  The next recipe is for homemade chocolate syrup.  The recipe taste so much better than store bought syrup.

½ cup cocoa powder
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
After removed from heat add
¼ teaspoon vanilla

Twins Mark & Luke enjoying a drink together.
Photo by La Marie Photography/Angela Covington
Mix all the ingredients except the vanilla in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Bring to a low boil for 2 minutes to fully dissolve the sugar.  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.  Remember to let this cool in the pan for 10 minute or so because it can melt a plastic squeeze bottle.  Stores in the refrigerator in a glass or plastic container.  I've been told it lasts a month in the refrigerator, BUT not at our house! It is also great on pears!  I especially like that it does not contain milk because of the milk allergies in our family.  The syrup costs $1.50 to make the same amount that I buy for $2.57 in the off brand.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Too busy & its my fault!

I let myself take on way too much in September and I'm still paying the price.  I'm exhausted, fighting off a cold, and in desperate need of a break, with no break in sight.  I am working through an ambitious work schedule that would have work's work caught up by Friday.  If I can get some sleep, some quiet time, and keep focused, then I'll make it with the help of God & his marvelous creation...coffee.  It is almost the light at the end of the tunnel.

What I like about my work is I generally control my work schedule and the pace at which I work.  I typically have room for all the "surprises" that 10 children can bring, BUT let me get overbooked and over committed and yes, even their needs intensify to help me learn my lesson AGAIN.  When I let the flood gates open a little extra in August, well, to be blunt, I was stupid!  The thoughts of making up for currently delinquent accounts and the potential extra earnings and...I got greedy.  Plain & simple...the thought of curing stress through extra earnings completely backfired.

Mark in Daddy's shoes and
reminding me that he's
watching our choices: 
hug on babies OR work
In the past 4 weeks, Jon broke his arm at school and needed care in St. Louis.  The local ER doctor hot lined the situation as he was sure someone at school had been too rough with Jon.  I had no doubt that it was an accident because everyone at school is so careful with Jon, and I figured it might have happened on the bus since that would be the easiest place for an accident.  It turned out to that his arm was likely broken during a routine transfer from his chair.  It could have happened anywhere.  HOWEVER, the hotline call resulted in our first Family Services visit at our home.  I was a nervous wreck.  I wasn't even sure what to tell the kids.  David would have behaviors for months if he thought someone or something could separate him from us.  (This is the kid who I had to promise him that he never had to move out when he got bigger.  The thought of being away from us for very long causes him a lot of stress.)  So I told the kids a lady was bringing by a police officer to meet us and she might have some questions about our family like the newspaper and TV people did.  Then the middle group (David, Vanessa & Corrine) wanted to know if there would be pictures, and I assured them that there probably would not be pictures.  Matt was already for the police officer and even had his police cars out, and no one except me was stressed.  It frankly could not have gone better.

Then no more than that was done and everyone except three got sick with bad colds.  My mom came down and spent the day so I could spend Saturday at Urgent Care getting the crew seen.

Then last week, I'm taking Jon & Nate to Springfield to the brace shop and while driving got a call that Vanessa arrived at school with a lump on her leg and it might be broke.  I knew immediately it was from her goofing around in the travel stroller and not buckling in because Corrine had already told me that Vanessa had fallen out of her chair while playing tag.  However, there wasn't a mark and Vanessa didn't even cry so I thought she was fine.  Angela picked her up from school.  We got an x-ray and the next day we got the results that it was just a bruise.  I was SO thankful! 

I'm looking forward to a better week next week.  With home school grading, coupon clipping, more hugs, more playtime and some work, "things" should just be "things" again and the children will be the clear center of my focus again.

And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD;
and great shall be the peace of thy children.~~Isaiah 54:13

Friday, September 30, 2011

Temporary Marriage Licenses

This morning I read this article below at this link.

Mexico City legislators propose temporary marriage licenses

Reuters Sep 30, 2011 – 8:46 AM ET

MEXICO CITY — Mexico City lawmakers want to help newlyweds avoid the hassle of divorce by giving them an easy exit strategy: temporary marriage licenses.

Leftists in the city’s assembly — who have already riled conservatives by legalizing gay marriage — proposed a reform to the civil code this week that would allow couples to decide on the length of their commitment, opting out of a lifetime.

The minimum marriage contract would be for two years and could be renewed if the couple stays happy. The contracts would include provisions on how children and property would be handled if the couple splits.

“The proposal is, when the two-year period is up, if the relationship is not stable or harmonious, the contract simply ends,” said Leonel Luna, the Mexico City assemblyman who co-authored the bill.

“You wouldn’t have to go through the tortuous process of divorce,” said Luna, from the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution, which has the most seats in the 66-member chamber.

Luna says the proposed law is gaining support and he expects a vote by the end of this year.  Around half of Mexico City marriages end in divorce, usually in the first two years.  The bustling capital, one of the world’s largest cities, is much more liberal than the rest of the country, where the divorce rate is significantly lower although on the rise.

Abortion is legal in Mexico City, while the Supreme Court ruled this week to uphold state laws in Baja California that say life begins at conception.

Leftist Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, who angered the Catholic Church when he made Mexico City the first Latin American city to legalize gay marriage in late 2009, announced this month he would soon step down to run for president.  The church criticized the proposed change.  “This reform is absurd. It contradicts the nature of marriage,” said Hugo Valdemar, spokesman for the Mexican archdiocese. “It’s another one of these electoral theatrics the assembly tends to do that are irresponsible and immoral.”  The Church holds considerable sway in the country with the world’s second largest Catholic population after Brazil.

© Thomson Reuters 2011


When I started reading the article, my first thought was a rather humorous one, "I can't even remember to renew the car tags on time!"  I would sure hate the thought of needing to renew my marriage license, but I wondered if it could be done at the DMV office...some marriages might end just over the long wait to renew!  Then my thoughts became suspicious of how much revenue these temporary license would create.

However, the real issue here is what a sad condition "unconditional love" has fallen into in our "modern society".  We have become a happiness seeking society of grazers and samplers.  We'll try a bit of this and then some of that and finally choose what is the "best" at the time.  Marketers depend on these behaviors and are always offering new and improved to our lives...from dish soap to hair styles to fashion it is not all bad...it's possibly just innovation, but society has let sampling into relationships.  Our world is about the product, the situation and now the person who pleases us most, who makes us happiest.  We dream of "happily ever after", but we live for the pleasure of the moments and our society disregards the "ever after". 

In these modern times, it is rarely about the person who will care for us enough to be loyal through a lifetime of changes and adjustments.  Even more RARE, is our own willingness to love someone else through a lifetime of ups and downs, of I love you and I don't feel love for you right now.  Over and over the message is sent,  mainly through Christian based media, that love is a verb (an action) and not an adjective (description).  Yet so many Christian people are looking for some short cut to happiness.  Seeking wisdom and choosing sacrifice are not the "modern way".  People are "trying out" pre-martial sex, affairs, living together and a whole multitude of "stuff" to make sure they will be happy or (even more disastrous) that the other person will make them happy.    

"Unconditional love" is not measured in happiness.  Unconditional love is measured in security, patience, peace, understanding and being treasured, and it includes the long lost values of loyalty and forgiveness.  Unfortunately, in the last year, I played matchmaker thinking that I was offering a young man an opportunity for a peaceful, secure home life with a young woman who would forgive him, love him and be a great match for his strengths and weaknesses.   As the evening went on, I watch as the young man involved ignored the amazing woman that I had placed in his presence and I soon realized that he was a "sampler".  He was dismissing a woman with unconditional love because she wasn't offering samples of "happiness".  Too bad he missed that she was offering a lifetime of true love. 

Mr. Workman & I celebrated our 13th Wedding Anniversary on Monday...I'm sure glad that we don't ever have to "decide" if we WANT to renew our marriage license OR for that matter REMEMBER that we NEED to renew our marriage license. 

I sure hope that by the time our kids are getting married, we don't have to ask, which marriage license they plan to get....a real one or a fake one?

For the love of money is the root of all evil:
which while some coveted after,
they have erred from the faith, and
pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and
follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love,
 patience, meekness. ~~I Timothy 6:10-11

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sales You Shouldn't Miss

People often wonder how I find good sales, match them with coupons & plan a menu.  So I'm going to give you some examples, from ads in my area from my shopping this week.

First Price Cutter (good until closing on 8/30/2011)
Don't miss the following!
Kellogg's Frosted Flakes 17-23 oz for $1.99
       & use with coupons from Kelloggs to bring it down to $1.49-1.74 per box.
Post Cereals 9.5 to 20 oz $1.69 each (I got Honeycomb)
Cheerios Asst types 8.9-12 oz $2.00 each
        & use with coupons from places like Box Tops & Betty Crocker so I paid $1.30 to 1.50/box
Ocean Spray Juice 64oz.  $1.99 each
Hiland 1/2 gallon OJ  $1.89 each

Tyson Split Fryer Breast (boneless) $1.29/lb
Boneless Pork Roast $1.89/lb
Corn King 12oz Bacon $2.79 (if you have a Save-A-Lot..better deal at Save-A-Lot)
Black Angus Ground Chuck Patties $2.89lb

Fruits & Veggies:
Green Giant Veggies LIMIT 6 for $.49 each
Pictsweet Steamers 10-12oz 5/$5
California Red Seedless Grapes $.99/lb (ALSO at Save-A-Lot for same price on any color grapes)

5lbs potatos $1.99

Sweet Stuffs & Treats:
C& H Sugar 4lbs 2/$5
       & use 2 $.50 off coupons from All You Magazine for 2/$3 because these DOUBLE!!
Hiland Sour Cream or Dip 8oz. $.89
Hiland 56oz Ice cream $1.79 plus use 2* Sundaycoupons for $.55 each = $1.24
Dole Fruit cups 4/4.3oz 2/$4
        & todays paper saves $.75 off 2 so 2/$3.25
Oscar Mayer Lunch Meat 4/$5

Second, Save-A-Lot (good until 9/10/11)

First, if you haven't already, go to the web site & sign up so you get a $5 of $25 coupon.  Then print their in-house coupons.  Currently there are 4 & one is for a free party pizza.  The ad is also online.

Malt-O-Meal bag cereal $1.88 each
       & buy 3 use coupon from MaltOMeal for $1.00 off        $5.64-$1=$4.64
Campbell's Chunky Soup 2/$3
        & buy 10 use 2 of Campbell's web site for $2 off 5        $15-$4=$11.00
Hunts Snack 4 Pk pudding $.99 each
        & buy 2 use 2 $.45 off coupons from All*You Mag   $1.98-$.90=$1.08
Snack Pizza Bagels 40ct $4.99 -$1 Save A Lot Coupon      $4.99-$1=$3.99 
8 pk Juice Drink Boxes $1.49-$1 Save A Lot Coupon         $1.49-$1=$.49
Sugardale Bacon 12 oz                                                               $1.99
12 oz cod, talapia or pollock                                                       $2.99      
               TOTAL is 26.18+free party pizza-$5coupon=$21.18 plus tax
Plus check out their prices on fresh produce!

Oh & enter to win a year's worth of groceries at
If one of us win, then that is the ULTIMATE SAVINGS!

*Thanks to Aunt Doris..I had two of these coupons.  This month I bought 2 All*You Magazine & 2 of the newspapers from the 28th due to the quality of coupons.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Backyard Fun!

Twins posing for the camera.
The kids played in the pool today.  Vanessa is now out of her brace during the day and she was dying to swim, but ultimately she decided the babies were too rough.  Her legs are spasming a lot especially if she is unexpectantly touched and the spasms hurt so I was relieved when she decided on a "Scooby Doo" Netflix marathon with Grace, Nate and Jon.  (It was too hot for Nate.  Jon is not a water lover.) 

Hannah getting sprayed by Corrine.

Hannah sitting on Corrine.
I love it when the kids play together nicely...or at least when they each can hold their own against one another.  Corrine sprayed Hannah with the hose which upset the twins, but Hannah went across the pool and sat on Corrine!  The twins then got the hose and well....yeah, I had to suggest it was time to turn off the water.  Its always a joy for me to see them playing together and REALLY enjoying each other's company.  (Plus it makes the twins take a longer nap so I get more of my work done!)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Summertime Fun/Work Continued

This summer all of the kids have gone along with me to one workplace or another and then on to some "fun" activity.  Well, someone got left out!  Mr.Workman got forgot!  So this morning before dawn, we snuck out to Kansas for me to do some surveys.  Then when our work was done, I took him to a restaurant that we had not been to since my birthday in January...yeah, be jealous, we went to lunch at Cafe on the Route in Baxter Springs, KS.  It was delicious!  I had smoked salmon with apple and chive chutney with a side of rice and awesome veggies.  Mr. W had some lots of meat pasta dish...not my thing.  Of course, we had desserts too.  Mr. W had the fried carmel cheesecake and I had a very tasty chocolate torte.

We even got Mr. W a souvenir t-shirt so he too would feel "vacationed".  Plus we were home by 3pm so he could go pay the electric bill and save the stamp.  Speaking of which, my customers are getting paid up on their invoices and only a few are still delinquent from the government shut-down scare.  Life is sure sweeter when people are paying their bills so I can pay mine!
Mr. W holding up his new t-shirt beside of a great place
to eat on old Route 66.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Newlyweds again

If you have been married for a few years, then you can probably relate to what I'm about to talk about.  If you are not married or are indeed newlyweds, don't be frightened by what might seen like the sad existence of happily married couples.

About a dozen years ago, I had to have the perfect makeup, the lightly tanned skin, the great smelling, shiny hair, the perfect nails, well-shaped eyebrows and the softest skin and lips.  However, it all came from one costly bottle or another or from my favorite salon.  The point is it all was costing money.  It didn't take long after Ed and I were married to start trimming the budget.  He was going to school, working part-time and Grace was little so as time passed the nails didn't get done, the expensive perfume was replaced with a dab of vanilla.  Shiny highlights were replaced with home hair coloring kits.  Bottles of lotions, creams, lip balms and expensive shampoos eventually ran out and less expensive, more practical beauty supplies took over our bathroom.  Things like shaving lotion was replaced with a bar of soap.  Make-up became a "dress-up" thing to save time and money.  Lip balms and lotions were replaced with a never ending tub of Eucerin and Vaseline.

Overtime our silky, sateen sheets gave way to cotton and eventually even to a set of flannel sheets that showed up for winter so we could keep the thermostat set a little lower.  The days of  Victoria Secret pajamas and matching bras, panties and slips gave way to having 2 bras and a lot of mismatched "10 pairs for $8" Wal-Mart cotton undies.  I'm not complaining, it just what happens over a dozen years and 10 kids; priorities change.  The days of newlywed ideals give way to the simple and rewarding realities of family life.

Get your own $1 coupon here
as long as the link last.
So this weekend I was matching ads and coupons, I found that I could get an awesome razor for 25 cents, but it was bundled with a free sample of Skintimate (R) shaving lotion.  I hadn't bought that brand in at least a dozen years since a bar of soap works for shaving legs too, but I wanted the 25 cent razor.  I brought it home and told Grace she could have the shaving lotion, but she didn't want it.  I'm not one to waste anything so of course I used it when I shaved.  Later when I went to bed, Ed comments, "Your legs are so smooth and soft just like when we were newlyweds."   I had to smile and try not to laugh at the thought that my husband who may or may not notice when one of our children is missing...would notice my use of a product again after a dozen years of saving money.

So who knows maybe this is the start of returning to our former "newlywed-selves" or maybe its just a small step in the direction of memories, but either way that can of shaving lotion had a $1 off coupon on it so there is probably at least one more can of soft newlywed legs in our future. LOL!

And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us:
and establish thou the work of our hands upon us;
yea, the work of our hands establish thou it. --Psalms 90:17

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Summertime Fun/Work

I've been doing a lot off extra work this summer.  Partly because there has been lots of work available and mostly because I knew big bills would be rolling in this month and next.  So with all the extra travel, I have tried to incorporate in some fun for the kids.  (Those of you who are FB friends know I travel some exciting "sounding" places, but ultimately places like Paris, TX; Greenland, AR; Prague, OK; Cleveland, MO; and Havana, KS...well, they tend to lack the awesome activities of their namesakes, especially for the kids.)  Despite my working being in mostly incredibly boring locations, we have been able to hit a few fun stops together and I have a few more on the calendar "for them"/"for my work" yet this summer.
While Grace was at camp for two weeks, David & Corrine got to enjoy a few sites in Oklahoma including the Aquarium and the fountains in "Central Park".   Hannah, Corrine & David also got to do some swimming, and Matt arranged his escape to grandma's house for a week.  Matt got back just in time to go to VBS with David next week at our neighbors church.  This is the boys 3rd VBS of the Summer, but they are excited. 

Jon & Vanessa have been mostly stuck at home while they heal after surgery.  Jon's pressure sores are almost gone and he is to start therapy any day now.  Vanessa is only two weeks out so she still has to wear a brace for 2 to 4 more weeks.  Unfortunately, with her long legs, the brace makes her almost impossible to transfer into a car.  Plus her wheelchair for the brace is even huge-er!  She has a check-up next week so hopefully we will learn that she can be out of the brace soon.

The babies have been mainly kept near home this summer.  Between the heat and therapies 4 days a week, it doesn't seem very smart to have them out and about for too long.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

What ifs....Camp & Food

Grace  (second from the left) shortly after
arriving at Camp Kivu this weekend.
Things have been really tight at our house this summer.  We still don't have our tax return due to our adoption tax credit being "reviewed" and the regular expenses of a family with 10 kids have been MORE regular than usual....I think everyone purposefully waited to outgrow their shoes, socks and undies simultaneously!   Talk about a serious investment!

However, all the tight living, car trouble and working as fast as I can to catch up has me thinking....well, actually worrying.  The "what ifs" are in full bloom!  What if we don't have put tax return in time to pay the attorney and for homeschool curriculum; what if the Durango needs more repairs; what if so many need our help if social security checks are help;  what if my contract work for Social Security has the payments tied up in the budget problems...BUT then right there in the middle of my worries....God starts dropping blessings.  Its just amazing.  Grace's summer fun had been postponed, but Grace just recently got a scholarship to go back to Camp Kivu this year and we had the funds to get her to camp.  Grace LOVES Camp Kivu so this is the highlight of her summer!  And then a fellow Freecycler offered us boxes of "extra" food including cereals, canned goods, pastas, and rice dinners...undoubtedly $100 plus worth of food.  Truly a blessing!

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. ~~I Peter 5:7 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

5 More MBA Graduates & Carrot Cookies

I know the people below look like they belong to a legal defense team, but they are actually the newest graduates from William Woods University's MBA program.  I had the honor of facilitating their final Capstone class and tonight they presented and defended their business plan for a local foods distributorship. 

L to R:  Mickey Plummer, Jeannette Gibbons, John Harris, Elizabeth
Robertson, & Eric McGuire 

They did an amazing job and can be proud to have ended the program with a solid "A" on this important final project required before being allowed to graduate.  Their presentation and marketing props including chocolate covered strawberries and carrot cookies were impressive and delicious!  However, having learned from their presentation that the produce at my local supermarket has traveled 1,500 miles on average has made me a bit queasy.  Makes me really wish one of them was turning their project into a real company!

Carrot Cookies that they made are a light cake-like cookie with delicate flavor and my kids even liked the ones I brought home to them.  The recipe is below.

Carrot Cookies

Hand Dipped Chocolate Strawberries & Carrot Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons grated orange rind
1 egg
1 1/4 cups grated carrots
2 2/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 dash salt

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.  Fold in the the egg (beaten) and orange rind.  Then fold in the carrots.  Combine flour, salt,baking powder and cinnamon and add these to butter mixture stirring as you add the dry ingredients.   Once it is well mixed drop teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.   Bake at 375* for about 12 minutes or until very light brown around the edges. Let cool 1 minute, before removing from cookie sheet.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

William Woods Offers 10 Scholarships to Joplin

I've worked for William Woods University for 5 years as an instructor in their Joplin MBA program.  I have also taught at a number of their other outreach sites including Springfield, Branson, Houston and West Plains.  I'm so proud to see that they are offering this assistance.  They are a great school.   If you know someone who might benefit from these one year scholarships please pass this information along.

William Woods Provides Assistance to Joplin Students

7/5/2011 Mary Ann Beahon


Paying for college could prove difficult for those affected by the devastating and destructive tornado that ripped through Joplin May 22. Now William Woods University is offering a helping hand.

WWU will provide 10 one-year, tuition-free awards for residential students from the southwest Missouri community. The award will be available to students entering William Woods this fall or fall of 2012.

The recipients must meet the university’s entrance requirements and participate in LEAD (Leading, Educating, Achieving and Developing). LEAD is an innovative program developed by William Woods University. It is intended to encourage and reward campus and community involvement that contributes to a complete, well-rounded liberal arts background.

“During what will continue to be a challenging time for the Joplin residents in the months to come, we are thrilled to be able to take a away a financial burden for these 10 students during their first year at William Woods,” Sarah Munns, dean of admissions, said.

William Woods University is an independent, professions-oriented, liberal arts-based institution serving the educational needs of both men and women. William Woods has an enrollment of about 3,800 students, and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of disciplines in both campus and outreach settings.

The 200-acre main campus is located in the mid-Missouri community of Fulton. Since its founding in 1870, the mission of William Woods has been to provide a quality education while ensuring the development of the individual.

Interested students may contact Munns at admissions@williamwoods.edu, (573) 592-4221 or (800) 995-3159. More information about William Woods University is available at www.williamwoods.edu.

Monday, July 4, 2011

2 Years in the Planning...

For 43 years, the descendants of my great grandmother Julia and great grandfather Andrew Fleming have gathered every year around the time of the 4th of July and spent 3 days connecting and reconnecting to family.  In 1973, I was the youngest at the reunion and that was my first reunion.  Like most of those early reunions, it was at Camp Joy and there was no pool, only a creek; there was no air conditioning (except in the chapel), only screened cabins and lots of fans in the dining hall.  There was nothing to keep snakes and wasps out of the shower house, and we thought the camp was great because the toilets flushed.  However, we also thought the Camp Joy was great because it reflected our family values.  It had a chapel, a horseshoe pit and lots of great outdoors to explore with cousins...all the stuff you need to make great memories.

So 2 years ago, I was elected to be Secretary for this year's Family Reunion.  I was excited to get to help plan it because planning is what I do EVERYDAY at home and at work.  However, I was also nervous because I knew our family's reunion expectations had outgrown just "a chapel, a horseshoe pit and lots of great outdoors."  People now expected air conditioning, who am I kidding, I expect air conditioning!  As family members have aged, people now need sidewalks, ramps, wider doorways, grab bars and shorter walking distances too to name a few issues.  Once again these are all things that I can appreciate too, especially with my family.

2011 Invite Cover
The planning started with preparing an invite with large print (14 font or bigger) on most major sections.  Then continued to preparing a menu that could allow diets choices for diabetics, no glutin, low cards, low salt and low fat diets and that kids would eat too...that was as easy as it sounds.  Compromises had to be ultimately made but most meals met my goals through offering variety.  Then the planning unfortunately had to include finding a camp as our usual camp had double booked our weekend.  I looked at 8 camps.  I saw neat ideas and terrible set ups; high price$ AND  lots of hills, steps, walking, gravel and little air conditioning.  Finally we found a camp in Niangua, Missouri that had a chapel, place to put horseshoes (the official "sport" of the family), and lots of great outdoors; but it also had sidewalks, curbless showers, grab bars, and LOTS of GREAT air conditioning.  (When we rented they also had a pool, but it ended up being torn out before our visit.)

Judging the pie contest.
Attendance was down this year in part to all the flooding along the Missouri River that has I-29 underwater and in part to gas prices, but we had 104 family members attend the reunion with some even driving around all the closed flooded roads to join us.  I think everyone had a good time, and I know the 12.5%, of the crowd that are my immediate family, LOVED it!  However, David says he's only going next year if his cousin Evan is there.

The last month has incuded all the final preparations and my front foyer became completely filled with food, paper products, games, prizes, etc. Now the reunion is over and my foyer is empty and I've enjoyed a nice long post reunion nap and I'm taking comfort in knowing the family rules say there has to be 6 years between being asked to serve again.  So now I have video and photos to turn into a DVD for everyone who attended and the minutes to type up and then my reunion work will be done.
2011 Bumper Sticker

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Jon & Milk

Being in this leg brace position 24/7 for
6 to 8 weeks, it is wearing on Jon.

Jon has been having a rough time since surgery.  About 10 days ago, he started having some skin breakdown from his brace rubbing when he has muscle spasms.  Then over the weekend before last, 4 of the 6 areas became full-blown, open, nasty, pressure sores.  Since then we have had the area cultured and Jon has been on several antibiotics.  I am pleased to report that all the original spots are showing signs for improvement and healing, but now he has 2 newer spots trying to form.  Jon is finally getting more comfortable, but he is still in a lot of pain and especially at night.  Last nights thunder storms had his muscles tense and spasming and he slept very little.  Thankfully so far tonight, he is sleeping well.  Please continue to pray for Jon.

Someone my mom knows blessed us with lots of milk the last couple weeks.  It is lactose-free milk, but our kids cannot taste the difference.  I've lost count, but I think we have been given 9 to 12 gallons.  It was close to the expiration date so I froze it.  The kids think it is awesome to have so much milk and they have been devouring it!  Honestly, it goes so fast that I haven't even tried it.  I'm constantly amazed at God's provisions that just shows-up...like the bags of clothes in our garage last week...what a blessing!

"Thank you Lord for leading people our way with supplies that we can use.  We appreciate the gift, the giver and Your guidance in getting the items we need to us. Amen"

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them
shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Matthew 10:29-30

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Jon's Surgery

Jon had this picture taken by Anita
in May.  She does such a good job.
Jon's surgery was a week ago Monday and at first he was doing really well.  However, the past few days have been hard and he has been especially uncomfortable.  Pain control has been more spotty and an hour or more before it is time for more medication, Jon is in pain.  Of all our children, Jon is the hardest for me to see in pain.  Especially now, when there is little that I can do to offer relief.  Please keep Jon in your thoughts and prayers.  I talk to the nurse in St. Louis again on Monday and hopefully she can offer some new options for pain control.

Friday, June 3, 2011


I do an aweful job blogging the "stuff" that falls out of heaven and into our home just when we need it and I need to get better at documenting it because the volume of "stuff" is simply....unbelieveable.  This week we were given 11 cases of pediasure through a friend of a former William Woods University student.  We usually use 150 cans a month and I have been paying $50 per case....so yes, we were given $550 worth of Pediasure, which will last us two months!  BIG thank you to my NEW favorite former student and her daughters who even delivered it!  Plus this week, we were given 18 quarts of lactose free milk from a friend of my mom. 

PediaSure® with Fiber ImageI went grocery shopping last night and spent $695.60 (and I forgot hot dog buns)!  So far with grocery prices on the rise, I've been able to hold to our budgeted $1000 per month, but even with coupons and using price matches, it couldn't be done without the "stuff" that finds its way to bless us and our home.

But my God shall supply all your need
according to his riches in glory by
Christ Jesus. --Philippians 4:19

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Info on Helping Joplin

Many people have been contacting me to see how to help the people of Joplin who have lost so much in the tornado.  I have been working with several groups and here are the things that I can tell you.

With the exception of plus size clothing for men and women, there is SO much!  Churches and other help groups are currently struggling to manage/organize all the generous gifts.  Please wait to bring furniture or send a list with photos first and let it be matched with a need so the items can go directly to the persons new temporary home.  Send items like hand soap, diapers, BABY WIPES, big trash bags, plastic tubs with lids (to put found items like photos in, especially since it keeps raining) and work gloves.  There are several places to take these including the following:
There are two main areas of need: clean-up and organizing/sorting donations.  College Heights & Forest Park/Samaritan's Purse sends out groups all day.  MSSU can only send out groups at 8am each morning.  MSSU and New Creation Church needs help sorting, but there are numerous others.  If you know when you want to come to the area, let me know and I can probably link you to a specific project.  For example, today our pediatrician's office needed help painting their new temporary location so they could move in faster.

 Everyone is collecting funds and lots of funds will be needed.  However I recommend "Angels Over Joplin"100% of the proceeds will go directly and quickly to storm victims.  It has been set up by volunteers and there is no administration fees.  Right now, the Schroeder family will match all donations up to $50,000. Their companies lost their headquarters & 300 apartments, BUT they are still giving generously during this time of need. I'm really impressed by their actions. I've worked for them on projects since 1996 and I've always liked what I see and hear at their low income housing properties. HOWEVER, their own loss is TREMENDOUS so this matching gift really makes me proud to be affiliated with their companies!

Senior Apartment residents of this property on
Rex Street will benefit from "Angels Over Joplin".
If you would like to be an Angel over Joplin, please send your donation to Arvest Bank of Joplin at 701 S. Main St., Joplin, MO 64801, Attn: Jackie Schell. Please make checks payable to "Angels Over Joplin", a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation, making your donation tax deductible. At least 50% of the funds will go to those who lost their apartments, of which most are low income and many are seniors.  It is my understanding that FEMA provides very little for those who lived in rented apartments. 

And do not forget to do good and to share
 with others, for with such sacrifices
God is pleased.--Hebrews 13:16