Thursday, August 29, 2013

finding the GOOD in ALL things.

Since starting this journey, God has made Himself  REAL to us as a Family in SO MANY ways. It hasn't even been 3weeks that we know Andy has cancer, and as scared as we were in the beginning, so many unknowns, so many things to comprehend, we have found complete peace, through grace, by our Heavenly Father.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2Timothy 1:7
We have been blessed in so many ways, that we can't help but see that God allowed this to happen, to bring a huge change in our lives & the relationships with people around us.
 Andy struggled, many years, with feelings of  anger & bitterness and because of that, he often lashed out in anger towards myself & the children. I'm not sharing this to put him down, but to show how God can transform a person's heart & life.
For many years the children & I have prayed that he could be set free from the anger that held him fast. Not long after we found out that Andy had cancer, a friend of ours shared a few verses with us & God spoke volumes through that verse, to change the heart of the man I love. He found freedom from all that anger & bitterness and I now have a new husband in Christ & I can't love him enough.
These were the verses that were shared with us.
Mark 11:22 Have faith in God, Jesus answered. 23.I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, go throw yourself into the sea, & does not doubt in his heart, but believes what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24.Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours....but then Andy read further.
25.And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
That evening, he gathered us all around him & asked us all to forgive him for being an angry husband & father. Dawson burst into tears...followed by the rest of us.... Little did we know that that was just the beginning of a chain of events...Last night, the children were listening to one of their bible school CDs & the one song was how God hears our prayers & answers them if we believe...Dawson said, "momma, I started thinking God wasn't real. I prayed & prayed for daddy not to be angry all the time & I thought he wasn't listening to me or hearing my prayers. But when daddy said he was sorry & asked me to forgive him, I knew Jesus was real." Talk about being overwhelmed with emotion right then & there.
Another God-moment, was when we were driving up to see the Dr.s to get Andy's results. I could sense that he was nervous-anxious to know...I just reached over, closed my eyes & said a prayer of peace over him. I opened my eyes & within seconds of each other, we noticed that right in front of us, the sky opened up & brilliant beams of sunlight shined down in front of us, and everywhere else, the sky was overcast. we looked at each other with tears in our eyes, knowing that it would all be ok.
Dr. Lun gave us the results & said he has a 90% success with this type of cancer, & with God on our side, we believe Andy will recover fully from it.
Are we sad that we need to take this journey? absolutely!, it's not easy seeing someone you love go through a difficult time. But what Satan meant for evil, God is using for GOOD!
We would never trade our lives now for the life we knew a mere month ago, because through this process, God has blessed our family in so many ways that it's hard to fathom. Our marriage is stronger now than it's ever been, Jesus has been made real to our children. Gifts of encouragement, flowers, money, groceries, gift cards, gas money, & meals have been given at the exact moment we needed them, in some instances, without people even knowing that that was what we needed right at that moment.
God is providing for all the little things, right down to groceries given in the exact brands that I buy for us(without the giver knowing),He cares about the details of our lives & He is holding us in the palm of His hand. so I leave you with a song...keep praying and believing with us.
Thank you-Andy, Ruth & kiddos

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Andy's results...a new normal

I will be sharing this Journey called Stage 2,Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, here on my blog.
I had thought I'd set up an entirely different page to post all the updates & progress but it all seemed too time-consuming. So I'm hoping you will visit us here, share our journey, & Pray for us as we go along.
On Friday, August 9th, Andy went to see our Family practitioner for what we thought was an infection that was causing 3 lymph nodes to swell on the right side of his neck.
The Dr. checked it out, prescribed a strong antibiotic & scheduled a CAT scan the following Monday, August 12th.
Turns out that it wasn't an infection at all, but severely enlarged lymph nodes. Large enough that it alarmed the Dr.s & we were called in to see a surgeon that same afternoon.
The surgeon recommended Andy to do a biopsy in the office before we left cause he suspected Malignant Lymphoma. That will be a day I will never forget. Driving home in complete silence, both of us trying to comprehend what had just transpired. Three of the longest days of our lives, we waited for biopsy results, praying that somehow the test would prove the Dr.s wrong, only to have them call & tell us that the biopsy that they removed on the 12th, wasn't significant enough to do all the testing they needed & that Andy would need to be scheduled for a repeat biopsy Wednesday the 21st. This time they would need to surgically remove it. All went well with the surgery & then we had another looong few days ahead of us, waiting for that biopsy result. Finally, on Monday the 26th they called to tell us that what they had suspected was true, Andy has cancer, BUT that is all they would tell us. The nurses scheduled us to come in this morning to let us know what type of Lymphoma, what stage he's at & to discuss treatment options.
Andy does have Stage 2, Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. They want to do a repeat CAT scan & a bone marrow biopsy before starting Chemo. The Dr.s will also be surgically placing a port just under his skin to more easily administrate the chemo. Most of these tests will take place next week. Then we meet with Dr. Lun to discuss Andy's chemo schedule....
....In the mean time, we are all adjusting to a complete diet change. It was recommended that he starts eating Gluten & Sugar free, raw nuts & organic as much as possible. 
I have started making my own organic butter...
organic yogurt...
....and juicing our fruits & veggies
You can find the recipe for the homemade-organic yogurt here,
Since eating this way & supplementing with natural vitamins, Andy has made the comment numerous times, that he feels better & has more energy now than when he was a teenager! Physically, he feels & looks amazing & that can only help him in this journey that we will be on the next few months.
So we ask that you continue to keep us all in your prayers as we help Andy to fight this thing called cancer. I will update as we go along.
-Andy, Ruth & kiddos

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Canning: Turkey

Canned turkey pieces is something I don't like to be out of. I use this in so many recipes. I also do chicken pieces, but we all prefer the turkey over the chicken.
-I wait to buy the turkeys till they go on sale(around Thanksgiving)I usually buy two, but Husband informed me that next time, 3 or 4 might be ok(he saw the amount of jars that I got from 2 turkeys & thought that will never last us for a year :).
-Bake the turkeys according to instructions on the pkg., let cool then drain all the broth into a water pitcher, refrigerate broth & turkeys overnight.All the fat will have risen to the top of the pitcher & hardened overnight & can be easily removed. Warm the broth in a sauce pan over low heat while you pick all the meat off the turkeys(remove all the skin 1st and discard).
-I like to use wide-mouthed pint jars to can the turkey. Fill jars with turkey, up to the neck of the jar. -Add 1/2tsp. salt to each jar & then take the broth that you reheated & pour into the jars,(up to the necks of the jar).
-Clean the rims of the jar well! (If any greasy residue is left on the rim, the jar will not seal properly).
-Place the lids & rings on the jars & place in your canner.
-Fill the canner with water, up to the neck of the jars & add 1/2c. vinegar(to keep your jars from getting covered in a chalky residue).
-Bring the water to a rolling boil & time it for 3hours.
-Remove from the canner & place jars onto tea towels for 24hrs.(to insure proper cooling & sealing of the jars).
-The next day, remove the rings & clean the jars with lukewarm soapy water, then they are ready to store.
The recipe I'm sharing with you is a family favorite! I haven't made it in awhile cause I've been out of the canned turkey. When I made it for my family tonight, it disappeared in under 10min.! no joke. There wasn't nearly enough so next time I'll be needing to make 2 pans!
It is definitely a recipe for the busy-get dinner on the table quickly-mom. It will likely take me longer to type up this recipe than it will take to make it!
Turkey Dumplings
2TBS. butter
1can cream of chicken soup
1can, canned turkey
salt & pepper to taste
Bisquick mix
fresh or dried parsley
Preheat oven to 375'
-melt butter in a large cast iron pan, add flour & stir till smooth. Add 1-11/2 cup milk till smooth & bubbly then add canned turkey.Add 1can cream of chicken soup & salt & pepper to taste.
Mix 2cups bisquick with 2/3cup milk & drop by spoonful onto the turkey mixture.
Sprinkle with parsley flakes. Place in the oven at 375' till the tops of the biscuits are golden brown. remove from the stove & ENJOY! (we sure did).
Happy canning!