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

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Day 127: Weighing in for Week 17

Losing weight is hard work!  There is lots of meal planning, cooking, and not much eating!  There is exercise (ideally) and there is watching out for stress that can stop weight loss in its tracks!  Frankly, I'm getting rather worn down by the whole process and especially by the constant cooking of tasty, but not the tastiest of foods.

So today's weigh in was a good time for the encouragement of  breaking the 60 pound mark.  As of today, I am exactly 62 pounds lighter than I was on my 40th birthday on January 8th, when this all got started.  That may sound like fast weight loss to you, but it feels pretty slow to me.

This means that I am now 30.4% of the way to my goal.  I still have a long way to go, but 4 more pounds and I'll be completing 1/3 of this battle!

Dieting means lots of lunches that look like this.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day in an Adoptive Family

My parents: I look like them, and we
have been a family my whole life.
Mother's Day is not all fun and happiness at our house.  It is not that it is bad either, but it is different when children have a family of origin.  Like many families, our kids make plans and loudly whisper secrets the week before.  They make cards and gifts and pick dandelions.  They tell me to go back to bed so they can "surprise" me and everyone works hard to celebrate me. 

However, as an adoptive mom there is a "shadow" over the day.  Some of my children acknowledge it and others think it doesn't matter, but I know it matters.  Maybe it doesn't matter at age 4 or 6, but it matters a lot by the time the kids are tweens because the "shadow" is a part of their history, their genetics and their future.  Most of my kids will have children that look more like a stranger than like my hubby and I.  That is not a bad thing, but the future will reveal more about their past and they will wonder whose nose their child has and if members of their first family were very tall and if they liked the same things. 

To make this day tougher, our children have already lost their first parents to death or abandonment or unfortunate circumstances.  The question of why does God let bad things happen is very real, especially around Mother's Day.  We don't want to rewrite the past into a fairy tale, but we don't want any of our children to ever think that they were unloved for even a second of their life!  So we focus Mother's Day on God's love.  God loves me and blessed me with the incredible experience of being mom 10 times!  God loves them and when bad things happened, He helped make a path for them to be in our family as He had planned for them.  God is the reason that we are a family, and we try to focus our thanks to God who gave birth mom's and caring orphanage workers and brought about adoptions.  It doesn't make the celebrations any simpler, but I wouldn't want it to because God had beautiful plans for each of my children and those plans started in the womb, not when I became their mom.  

"A child born to another woman calls me mommy. The magnitude of that tragedy & the depth of that privilege are not lost on me." -Jody Landers

Sunday, May 12, 2013

David Turns 11!

David chose his birthday celebration to start with going to a movie with his big sister and hero Grace. 

Then he chose for him, Vanessa, Corrine and Grace to head to Carousel Park.  This was Vanessa's first trip to the park and David took lots of pictures.

Finally he ended his celebrating with presents and his favorite meal, which is breakfast with lots of bacon.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Wedding & A New Addition

On Saturday, we attended Amber and Stephen's very cold and very lovely outdoor wedding in a wonderful country setting.  The entire ceremony was very intentionally planned to reflect Christ's relationship with the church and the outcome was a spiritually uplifting experience.  And as a BONUS the musician played the hammered dulcimer flawlessly.  It was truly a privilege to be in attendance.

For those of you asking, "Who is Amber?"  Amber is our house hero Angela's twin sister and she has been Jon's devoted care giver for over a year.  More importantly Amber is as awesome as Angela, and therefore quickly became one of Jon's most favorite people.  Amber has not only bathed, fed and dressed Jon most weekdays, but they have ridden horses, went swimming, tried hairstyles, worked on school lessons, learned to drive a power wheelchair and much more!  So Jon wasn't exactly thrilled that she got married and moved away without him!

Of course going to a wedding has risks.  There could be tears, lots of hugs, good friends, frost bite (joking, but in this case), and to my surprise there could be orphan puppies.  Yes, we went to a wedding and got a puppy.  Who knew?!

We were leaving the wedding and some cruel person had dumped 4 puppies in a taped closed box on the side of this isolated country road.  Another family that we know was looking at something in a box so we stopped and of course my kids jumped out of the car to look too.  Before I could even assess what was happening, Matt had a puppy, David had a puppy and Corrine had a puppy.  All of them wanting to keep "their" puppy.  (Keep in mind that Corrine just got a puppy!)  So in a moment of parental weakness...by the way, if you have ever seen David and Matt's eyes light up over dogs, then you understand what caused my weakness...I agreed that we could keep one.  (Don't worry, our friends kept one puppy and we made sure the other two would be found good homes.)

So we brought Oreo home and he is about the calmest, huggable, lovable puppy ever.  Oreo made fast friends with our already beloved Pippi and the two are great playmates.  Needless to say I was feeling pretty good about this decision to add Oreo until David put me on the spot about why we couldn't keep all the puppies.  David had observed that Oreo cried the first couple nights and he pointed out that the puppy was missing his mom and siblings.  David told me, "Mom, I'm surprised that you wouldn't keep their family together.  You kept Mark, Luke and Matt together."  With a lump in my throat, I started explaining that it was time for the dogs to live in different places and have their own people families, just like it will someday be time for him to have his own place to live.  (BTW-I THOUGHT my answer was fabulous!...and pride does come before the fall.)  David responded, "But I'll still be in our family and see my brothers and sisters.  Oreo may never see them again and maybe not even remember them."  At this point, I knew I was in dangerous water!  This wasn't about Oreo, this was about David who doesn't remember his family of origin.  So what did I do?  I said, "You're right David.  I should have taken them all.  I just didn't think we could keep up with so many dogs."  David's response was, "I just wish that you would have listened to me that day."  This broke my heart!  So in a final effort to "fix" this situation, I explained, "David, we wouldn't have been able to keep them all because the city has a law that limits the number of dogs that we can have."  David responded, "That is sad because I would have taken good care of them all."  I said, "I know you would have and I'm so pleased that you are so thoughtful as to want to keep Oreo with his family."

Have I mentioned lately that I have the BEST kids!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cinco de Mayo Baja Grasa (Low Fat)

With Cinco de Mayo this month, I have been experimenting with low fat dishes that are full of flavor to satisfy my love of foods from the southwest.  These are what I've tried so far.

Enchilada Chicken

I put chicken in the crock pot with my homemade enchilada sauce and let it cook on low for about 5 hours.  Then I added a cup of the sauce and red beans to the rice and water in my steamer for a flavorful and easy Spanish rice.  I topped it with black olives and cheese.  This was yummy and easy!


For a light lunch, I put some cooked lean taco meat and the leftover Spanish rice (from above recipe) in a raw 1/2 of a green pepper and I topped it with cheese.  It could be baked for stuffed peppers, but the raw crunch is very satisfying.

I LOVE green chili and I LOVE cheese sauce.  This next one will become a frequent dinner at our house.  It has so much flavor.

I seasoned my raw chicken with Ms. Dash Fiesta Lime seasoning and then seared the breast in a pan with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. When it was well seared, I added lime juice and chopped green chili. Then I covered it with a lid and let it simmer until the chicken was done.

Then I took 3 wedges of low fat Laughing Cow Veggie Cream Cheese spread and added 3 tablespoons of milk and 2 tablespoons of green chili.  Finally, I microwaved it for 1 minutes and stirred it until it was smooth.  Lastly I drizzled some of the cheese sauce over the chicken.  This was definately our family's favorite of my experiments with low fat Cinco de Mayo foods!!!


Friday, May 3, 2013

May Snow & Pippi

Today was not the typical May morning.  Our puppy Pippi got to play in snow for the first time.  It was a very quick trip outside to play because Pippi did NOT like the snow.  It is a good thing that its melting fast because Pippi doesn't want to go outside to potty.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Turning 13: Workman Style

We have a tradition in our family to take our children on a retreat over their 13th birthday weekend.  The retreat is a surprise place with a surprise activity list, and it is geared around the likes and preferences of the birthday teen.  Corrine turned 13 last weekend and is our 3rd teenager so she and I (mom) went to Branson for the weekend.

During our retreat, we had a lot of fun together.  We went to see the Haygoods, which is Corrine's favorite Branson show.  I had not seen their show and I was impressed.  It is fair to say that Corrine has good taste in Branson shows.  We also took an outing on the Branson Belle.  (I refuse to call this a cruise!)  Corrine had never been on the Branson Belle and the show was excellent.  Plus Corrine also enjoyed the indoor pool at our hotel, shopping at the outlet mall and eating out.

Our Workman Retreats are more than just fun.  We completed 5 sessions on what we want for and expect from our new teen as she becomes a young adult.  We cover all the "hot topics"...dating, drinking, drugs, peer pressure, fashion, personal safety, mood swings, kissing (and all that stuff), and more.   We also talk about "other parents" and why their decisions are not going to look like our decisions.    In our sessions, we cover a lot so by the end of our weekend our new teen has a lot to think about! 

So far each new teen's retreat has been just as rewarding for me as it has been for them, and I strongly recommend our tradition to other moms.  The retreats can be simple and inexpensive or they can be elaborate and costly, but the outcome is the same so moms don't need to be rich to make a lasting impression.  I use a program called Passport2Purity and build on it to cover topics like personal safety and helping hurting friends (especially those with complex situations).  Until now my kids' friends have had fairly simple and one dimensional problems, but I know very soon my teen's black and white world issues will start looking more gray.  I want to be one of the resources that they use as they officially define their own values, and a retreat weekend helps set us on a path to work together to navigate the teen years.

A key scripture from our weekend was Philippians 2:3-8:
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death
even death on a cross!