Thursday, October 31, 2013

    Where do I start?... My brain feels like it's in fast forward mode & I can't keep up. There are so many things I want to share here today but I'm having a hard time putting everything into coherent sentences.
    I wonder how often I've told my friends, who are currently or have in the past had to deal with major life struggles, that they need to tell us what their needs are so we can help. If we don't know, we can't help.
    When life threw us this curve ball called cancer, people told us the same thing, it's very humbling having to ask for help, but we are really struggling these last few weeks. Andy & I feel like strangers in the night. There is literally no time to connect. The little bit of time that we do have together after Dr. appointments, is spent with the children, trying to keep life as normal as possible for them. I guess what we are asking is, if you are a local youth girl, single lady, or even a couple with no children reading this & you enjoy being with children, we would love to have you in our home, to give the children dinner & tuck them into bed. I would love to be able to go with Andy to a therapy session then have time to sit at a coffee shop & be able to connect with my Husband without any interruptions, where it's just us & a few hours, to cry together, pray together, catch up with life as we know it now.
    Or if you are a mom, who knows how difficult it can be to get a meal on the table under 'normal' circumstances, & would like to help out with a would never be turned down here :)
    Today I put in a load of laundry, started lunch then went out to the garage to put trash in the recycling bins, only to find that the laundry room was filled with smoke, I immediately assumed it was the washing machine, when I opened the top, smoke came billowing out . Our washing machine of 11years has finally called it quits, had it not been for the wet laundry in the washer, it would have gone up in flames. I'm so grateful God had His angels watching out for us today. But we are now desperately in need of a dependable washing machine, with 7 people in the household, laundry piles up very quickly. Our dryer is also about to give out, the heating element is shot & it takes multiple cycles sometimes to get the clothes dry.  If anyone has a good/dependable washing machine/dryer that you don't need, please let us know. We aren't looking for a hand out, we just can't afford brand news one right now. we are more than willing to pay for good-dependable used ones.
    Tonight we meet with Andy's natural Dr. to finally get some updates & to see what type of progress he is making & if the regimen that he is on is helping him. Pleas keep us in your prayers this evening that God would prepare us for whatever news we may get & wisdom to make decisions if there is anything we may need to change.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The hard days.

I sit here, staring at my computer screen thinking, am I really going to put my thoughts here for all to see? The answer is yes, I don't believe in always posting the good days, the days where we have been blessed beyond words, where things go right and good! Because they aren't always, some days are dark, overwhelming & I get so frustrated & angry.
When we found out Andy had cancer, there was never any doubt that he would be healed, but this emotional roller coaster was never supposed to be part of the journey & sometimes it doesn't even directly involve the journey. There are days when I feel as if I'm constantly treading water, barely able to keep my head above the waves that come crashing in. On some of those same days I sometimes wonder, how would it feel to just stop treading, to sink into an oblivion of nothing.
This past week there were many days like this. Not only are we still adjusting to a new way of life that brings many changes, but dear little man is teething like nothing I've ever seen before. Four days of holding my baby, as I listened to him cry, feeling completely helpless as I try yet another thing to ease his pain. Nothing seems to work so I hold him a little tighter, crying-praying with him that I could somehow take the pain for him as he vomits due to the extreme pain he is in. Those 4oz. of warm milk that I tried so hard to get him to drink, all coming back up & I wonder how his little body, so much smaller than most his age can possibly afford to lose more weight.
In the darkest of those moments, God sends people to bring comfort.
I got a text message awhile back that I just skimmed over a little bit, but today I took the time to really read it Isaiah 40:28-31 Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of His understanding. He gives power to the weak & strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak & tired & young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run & not grow weary. They will walk & not faint...He really does understand the way that I feel, it's ok to get frustrated with the journey, it's ok to get angry at the circumstances, it's ok to feel like you don't want to go on, as long as I take those feelings to God, give them to the One person who understands every trial I am going through. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I sometimes take those feelings out on the people around me, the ones I love the most, instead of giving it to God, & it's not pretty. I am ever so grateful that my family offers grace in those times. Thankful that I have a forgiving Father who reaches out & embraces the ugly & reminds me again that I'm not perfect,(and don't have to be)but I am forgiven.
And I am beyond grateful for those times that you all have listened to that still small voice & have given notes, cards text messages, meals & a helping hand  reminding me that we are not alone on this journey. Bless you for caring!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

For my Friends.

Today, as the babies settled down for naps, I put on some worship music & picked up my devotional to spend some time with God. Halfway through the devotional, I felt the need to pray. Pray for my friends who are hurting, friends who have family that are hurting... I got to the end of my list, a song started playing that has brought so much healing to my own heart in the last few months.
 There were days when I would listen to it over & over again as healing tears streamed down my face. Listening to God's promises...even when it hurts, even when it's hard, He is there, holding us, in the palm of His hands. He cares. Cares that we are hurting. Cares that we are going through hard times.
He is lover of your soul & Healer of your heart. Claim it & trust Him with your hurt. He is able to make something beautiful from it.
Our God is strong & mighty, Our God is faithful...He is able. Praying these songs touch your hearts as they have mine.
You are in our prayers. You know who you are, love you guys!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Update-October 13

   Today I've gotten several phone calls asking how Andy is doing & I realized I haven't updated in awhile.
   The tumor on Andy's neck continues to shrink-good things are happening there! Praise God!
   There have been no repeat scans done as of yet but according to our Natural Dr., things are looking good. We are due for an update here soon so we should have more info for you all later.
I did receive a call from Andy's oncologist this week that once again confirmed God's hand in this whole journey! They had originally staged Andy at grade 3/stage 4, meaning it was an aggressive cancer, throughout most of his body.
  At this point, if we had gone through with chemo, Andy would have received 2 rounds of the most aggressive/highly toxic chemotherapy.
   We are so thankful today that God lead us down a different path!
   The oncologist had sent the biopsies to Cleveland for further-more in-depth testing & was calling us to tell us that Andy actually had grade 2/stage 4 cancer. Which would have been treated with a much less aggressive chemotherapy regimen.
   Again, so thankful we chose not to go that route! His body would literally have been pumped full of toxic drugs that it didn't really need.
  We have learned, so far, on this journey, that we may not always know why God does what He does, but He only wants what is best for us & He is taking care of us each step of this journey. All He is asking us to do is trust Him.
   This Saturday, Andy will be going in for a minor, outpatient procedure where they will be removing the port that was implanted to administer the chemo-it will not be needed!
   We were advised to do repeat CAT scans every 3months to track his progress & in the event the Dr.s would need to step in & do something, above & beyond what we are doing now(but we are praying & believing that that will not be necessary!)they would be on top of things & know what is going on.
 Thank you for all the prayers sent on our behalf-please continue to pray & we will update as we get more information on Andy's progress.
Andy, Ruth & kiddos

Monday, October 7, 2013

A new love & my "dirty" little secret

Disclaimer: This one may get lengthy :)...grab a snack & stay for awhile :)
Today I discovered there is hope; life, after gluten & sugar free.
My new love...Organic Sprouted Spelt flour!
It has the taste of whole wheat, bakes like white & makes a mean gravy!
Today was a typical Monday for me. My Mondays are spent entirely in the kitchen, prepping food for the week, baking etc.
Baking bread was 1st on my list of things to make. I haven't baked bread in over 2 months due to all the GF flours that are out there, & I simply have not been having any luck with them. All that will change starting today :)
A Facebook Friend & fellow cancer survivor shared this recipe with me & I intend to put it to many uses! This recipe can be used for pizza crust, cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls & bread loaves. I halved the recipe she gave me so it can easily be doubled too.
2c. warm water
2T yeast
1T sea salt
2T plus 2t raw/local honey
1T raw apple cider vinegar
1/2c olive oil
7-8c organic spelt flour
-add flour till it pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Shape into loaves & place in a greased loaf pan. Let rise till bread reaches 1inch above pans. Bake @ 350' for 30min.
So easy & so versatile-my kind of recipe!
Next on my list was "cookie bars" as my family likes to call them.
I made a basic coffee cake-bar & added nuts & cane sugar chips, replaced the sugar in the recipe for coconut sugar & the flour with organic spelt flour. they turned out delish, Husband & children approved!
The croutons were made from forgotten bagels that were no longer as fresh as they could have been.
I cubed them up, added olive oil, sea salt, pepper, & Italian seasoning. I let them cool then put them through the blender to make bread crumbs, they will make some delicious breading for fish or chicken tenders!
Yogurt was next on the list, this is the best yogurt recipe I've ever used! it is rich, creamy & thick. It's best if you make it from milk straight from the cow, cream & all! :) Here is the recipe...
Last but certainly not least, were the granola bars. You will not find any better granola bars bought or homemade than this recipe & it is very versatile!
In a saucepan, on low heat combine:           
1/2c raw organic Almond or Peanut butter
1/3c raw, local honey
1/4c coconut oil
Remove from heat & add:
21/2c Gluten free oatmeal (we like the quick cooking)
1/2c organic coconut flakes
1c dried fruit, nuts or cane sugar chips
 I always double this batch & divide between 2 brownie pans, cool completely then cut into strips & wrap individually. I store them in the fridge cause they can get pretty sticky/soft when left out.
*if you use almond butter, they are really good with dried fruit(the almond butter has a fresher flavor). If using peanut butter, then the cane sugar chips are really good.
Little man always wants to be front & center when I'm in the kitchen, so to keep him busy I sat him on the counter beside me & gave him a little scissor & a coloring book & he had the time of his life cutting tiny little bits of paper that fell like snowflakes to the kitchen floor :) He was with me, he was happy & the mess could easily be cleaned up later. "dirty" little secret... :)
On any given Monday, you will find my house completely turned upside-down & inside out & it looks something like this...
Cupboards hanging open, pots & pans everywhere. Half the time I spent looking for things that mysteriously disappeared under this or behind that. But usually before the kiddos get home from school & the Man of the house gets home from work, the house once again looks like this...
For some of you who are OCD, my bar chairs will really bother you in this photo :)
Lucky for me, by the time I had the kitchen cleaned up, dinner was ready to be served! Crock pots are handy like that :) I seared off a roast this morning, added some celery, carrots, onions & broth to the pot & it had been simmering all day till the roast fell right off the bones. It went well with the fresh, homemade bread I made earlier today!
Now it's time to take that good-creamy yogurt out of the oven & into the fridge for breakfast in the morning.
Good night y'all & happy Monday, have a blessed week!