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 20, 2014

Weight Loss Update: 150 pounds gone

A photo by David from a recent trip to Big Spring Park.
He loves to go feed the fish and ducks.
Today's weigh-in at TOPS had some milestones.  I reached 20 pounds lost in 2014 and a grand total of 151 pounds lost since January 8, 2013.  Every weight loss milestone is personally rewarding to reach, especially now since weight loss is becoming slower and more difficult now that I am getting closer to my goal weight. 

I do have a disadvantage of weight loss to report and this disadvantage has caused me a bit of an identity crisis.  As I am becoming closer in size to my daughters, laundry is becoming harder to sort and return to the proper owner.  Therefore, I spent some time this weekend labeling my clothes with a laundry pen.  As I started labeling, I realized that most initials in our laundry system were used.  Matt, Luke and I had already had a sock mix up as the kids thought L meant Leatta and M meant Mom...so I was a bit clueless on what to label my clothes so I decided to go with "MOM".  It is short and unclaimed.  However, about the time, that I started writing "MOM" on all my unmentionables, I realized....I may be taking this "MOM" role a bit to seriously!  Leatta would have been too long to write, but having "MOM" on all my undies is killing my secret self-image...well, not such a secret now!  Gotta love blog "secrets". LOL!

My next milestone will be to be half the woman that I was in January 2013...and that is only 10 pounds away!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Healing My Heart in Haiti

In honor and recognition of the 7 years that have passed since my only brother died suddenly from an undetected brain tumor called a colloid cyst,  I am posting a journal entry that I wrote many years ago.  It explains how an adoption trip to Haiti helped me to recognize God's loving care even in death.

On May 17, 2007, my only brother passed from this world into the loving arms of our Heavenly Father.  He was only 29 years old.  Around 5pm, I had just finished sitting by his bedside until he passed and I was standing in a hospital corridor, while my mom proclaimed, “He’s home.  He’s home.  God is good!  He is home.”  It was like my heart was being pulled in two directions:  the spiritual direction of rejoicing with my mother knowing his suffering had ended and the earthly direction of separation, despair and grief.  So I chose to try to stay numb and function to make arrangements and deal with the details until several weeks later when I could painfully sort out the realities and balance these emotions.
A year and a month later, I got to revisit these emotions in a most unlikely place and time.  My husband and I were in Haiti bringing home our children David and Vanessa.  The remainder of our children’s birth families came to the orphanage to meet us and say goodbye to their beloved family members whom we already called our son and daughter.   Their hearts were pulled in two directions:  the side of rejoicing that their beloved ones had permanent and loving family and the side of separation and loss.  I watched as one family member went numb and just functioned.  Others judged her for being so stony, but I understood.  I ached for her as I knew the time ahead would be difficult. 

During that visit, I realized that this part of adoption was yet another beautiful picture of our relationship with the Lord.  Just as we called David and Vanessa our children before we traveled to get them, God calls us His children before He brings us to a perfect home with Him.  Just as I felt the void of my brother’s passing, these family members would feel a void.   Just as I rejoiced that my brother was home with the Father so these family members rejoiced that we loved our children and thanked us for coming to get them.  It was after this meeting in Haiti that I was able to thank God for accepting my brother, whom He already called His son, home to a perfect home.  I was comforted.
Behold, what manner of love
the Father hath bestowed upon us,
that we should be called the sons of God:
therefore the world knoweth us not,
because it knew him not.~~I John 3:1

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Rhubarb: Revisited

As part of my search for a healthier lifestyle, I have revisited many veggies to see if I could find more variety for my diet.  Today rhubarb was available from a locally grown source so I bought $1 worth.  Then I started searching for a healthy way to eat this veggie, which has less than 30 calories an cup and is a good source of Vitamin C and calcium.

Prior today, I had only ate rhubarb in a pie.  However, after finding several interesting options, I decided that a Roasted Rhubarb and Walnut Salad would work well with what I have in my pantry.  After preparing this easy dish, I am not sure that I will ever put rhubarb in a pie again.  I thought this was much tastier and the salad was very satisfying.

Roasted Rhubarb and Walnut Salad

1 cup of rhubarb (raw & cut into bite size pieces) 
2 tablespoons of honey
1/4 cup of walnuts
A goat cheese such as feta
Mixed greens or baby spinach

I preheated the oven to 425 degrees.  I tossed 1 cup of rhubarb with 1 Tablespoon of honey and placed the mixture on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Then I tossed the walnuts with a Tablespoon of honey and put them on the parchment lined cookie sheet too.

I happened to have some honey whipped with berry juice and some cinnamon infused honey from my cousin in Durango, Colorado so I used the berry honey on the rhubarb and the cinnamon on the walnuts, but plain honey would work fine.

I let these cook for about 7 minutes until the rhubarb could be easily pierced with a fork.  Then after it had cooled for a few minutes (but it was still warm), I put it on top of my mixed greens and sprinkled on feta.  Finally I used a light raspberry vinaigrette for the dressing.

The flavor is similar to a salad with a tart apple on it.  The rhubarb has a texture like a cooked apple and even the peel which can seem very tough when it is raw will become soft after it is cooked.  I found the warm rhubarb to be a good combination with the greens, and the warmth seemed to make the salad more satisfying.  I will definitely be making this again and I am looking forward to trying other rhubarb recipes.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The BUSY Weekend

Matt with the cake Angela made
for his birthday.
This weekend could not have been more packed full of excitement and energy.  In fact it has spilled on over into the start of this week!  Friday was Matt's 7th Birthday.  Saturday was lunch with family at grandma's. Sunday was David's 11th Birthday and Mother's Day.  Then Monday evening was Vanessa's 4th grade graduation and tonight (Tuesday) was Hannah's band concert. 

Friday started with Matt bouncing off the walls and he left for school almost vibrating! He had been waiting impatiently for this day for months!  So after the twins, Nate and I took Hannah to Pittsburg to school, I headed to Wal-Mart to get cupcakes and juice for Matt's class AND David's class.  (I must have looked like a pack mule carrying 48 cupcakes and 40 juice boxes into school!)

New glasses!
After school, we had to make a quick trip to the Vision Center because Vanessa had broke her glasses at school so we had to buy new frames (of course the warranty had expired..ugh).  Then we headed home for me to make Matt's requested birthday dinner....frozen pizza!  Have I mentioned how much I love this kid!  Such a simple request!  And he was more excited about his frozen pizza than the other kids have been about culinary masterpieces that they have requested! 

Saturday morning started at 5:40am.  Not because it had to start so early, but because the twins decided that we had overslept and should be on the way to Grandma's house!  Ed kept them busy until it was finally time to go and we loaded the bus...and found out the battery was dead.  So we UNloaded the bus and tightly packed everyone and everything into both of our cars.  At Grandma's the kids ran and played with cousins and ate ice cream/cake and opened birthday presents.  Then we packed back up and drove home.  After we got home, I cut 4 little boys' hair and Ed's hair.  Finally ending the day with head washings and baths.

David's pick!
Sunday started with church.  Then a light lunch at home before Grace took David and I out for OrangeLeaf.  While we were in Joplin, David did some shopping with his birthday money and I picked up the final groceries for his requested birthday dinner of salmon with shrimp and watermelon.  David did not want a cake...just watermelon..so that is what we did!

Photo by Barb Lake of the graduation program
Monday which originally had only one appointment quickly filled with activity, and it was afternoon before I was ready!  However, we still made it to Vanessa's graduation program on time.

Hannah at her concert.
Tonight, Hannah had a band concert in Pittsburg and she did great.  Hannah has only been back in Pittsburg Schools for about 6 weeks so we did not know if she would be ready for tonight, but she did it.  She obviously enjoyed the second song that they did.  It included marching and she smiled and would laugh every time that it was time to march.  A man sitting next to me who did not know that she was my daughter and said, "She loves music."  I said, "Yes she does.  She is my daughter." He said, "She is a joy to watch."  I thought to myself, "I couldn't agree more".

Busy weekends are fun, but I am ready for a slower pace next weekend!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Simple Weekend Fun

This last weekend was a simple, easy weekend at home with Daddy away at the state debate tournament.  The kids played in the yard.  Matt finally wiggled free his front tooth...this has been a long awaited tooth fairy visit!  We ate pizza for dinner, and David had picked movies from the library so we had a movie night.

Matt's tooth!
Luke in his favorite truck.  He wouldn't
believe me that it was also Grace's
favorite truck.  She got it for her 1st birthday!

Nate watching the neighbors play
catch so we discussed bird watching
to try to give his binocular interest a less
stalker-like focus.
 After Daddy got home, we went to the park on Sunday and had an easy picnic of Wendy's $1 sandwiches and McDonald's $1 large drinks. (McDonald's drinks are a great value because I can split one large into 3 plastic cups from home and get 3 little ones a drink for a $1.)  The kids fed the fish and played until it was almost time to take baths and go to bed.

Vanessa feeding fish
David & Nate watching the fish jump
for food.
Don't anyone faint from the shock, but it is a picture of
me.  David took some pictures at the park and he took
this one of me.  I thought he took a good picture.