Monday, December 29, 2014

"when will I get my new sister"

'When will I get my new sister"...This is a question I hear almost daily from an impatient, almost 4 yr. old.
About 2 years ago, Andy & I began talking about adoption. The timing never felt right though so it was one of those things that was "put on the back burner" so to speak.

This past summer, God revealed Himself so clearly to us, in this area that even now, as I type, my arms feel all shaky. Not only was He asking us to open our home to another child to call our own, but to be the family that a little girl(s) needs till her parents are capable of caring for her again. Fostering is something that is unbelievably scary to us. The thought of caring for & coming to love a child like one of our own, only to have her taken from us again is almost more than our hearts could bear.

  We asked God, "WHY?, Why NOW?" we were about a year into our cancer journey & God was telling us that now was the right time?-It made no sense to us, but God's timing is always perfect. He asks us only to be willing & He will provide the way.

About 2 months ago, after much prayer & seeking direction, we prayed..."okay God, if this is your will for our lives, for our family, then show us where to go & who to call. Open doors to each new decision that needs to be made. If we reach a closed door, then we stop.

We have been overwhelmed by each wide open door that  stands before us. We don't know what the future holds for us, but we are confident in The One who goes before us & prepares the way.

We start 39 hours of classes on January 24th, along with  our home studies. As long as God continues to open doors for us, we will keep moving forward.

We begin this new journey with nervous excitement! We have a peace, knowing that God goes before us. We are excited to see what He has planned for our family's future. And someday soon, River will finally meet the little sister that today, he only dreams about....

We felt very strongly that God wanted us to stay local, within our own county even if possible...
...Did you know there are currently 150+ children in just Wayne Co, who need good, stable, loving homes? Thats too many children, with out enough love. Without their forever family.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

2 weeks that were

The last 2 weeks have been a blur of emotions, weddings, doctor appointments, neglected children...I feel as if I don't document it, then it never happened & it was all for naught...wasted.
It all started with a doctor appointment that would change the course of the journey in a very real way. The tumors have grown, Husband has 2-3 months before the tumor pushes his small intestine completely closed. Chemotherapy is his only chance at giving him more time-we need more time. He signs consent forms giving them permission to start treatment as soon as insurance clears. 
I'm committed to help coordinate a has an allergic reaction to milk & becomes sick...2 full days of sitters, putting children here & there as I help create the day of her dreams...dreams & wishes are carried out in the midst of a blustery, cold to the bone, rainy day. Warm, salty tears weren't noticed as the bone chilling rain came pouring down intermittently...
The Dr. calls. Chemotherapy starts Wednesday. We mentally prepare ourselves for the side affects that come with chemo. Fatigue. Nausea. Skin irritations. Hair loss. Decrease in white & red blood cells.
My mind is spinning. Will Husband be able to continue to work? Will he have enough energy to keep up with the 5 littles? Will his quality of life be the same after chemo?
Wednesday comes too soon...Husband sits in a stiff- backed, cold, plastic recliner while potent drugs are pumped through his veins. Grabbing a hold of tumors, shrinking to give him more time...I pray.
3 days, of the 5 littles being put to sitters while I sit beside Husband, praying for time, so much more time. Praying for no side affects, no suffering.
We make it through 3 days of doctor appointments, Bio therapy & chemotherapy. 
No time to breathe. There are things that need done. Food needs ordered & prepped for a fund raising meal that will help off-set medical expenses...
It feels as if the littles have bickered for days, the babies can't sleep-mama & daddy try for hours to get babies to sleep. All they need is to be loved on. It's hard to give love when there is nothing left to give. We are physically & emotionally spent.
Food is prepped, we are ready.
I take the littles home & I hold them, taking a few moments with each one as I tuck them in to get some much needed rest, much needed time at home, much needed love & attention from mama.
As I lay with the tiniest little, he fights sleep, scared that mama won't be there when he wakes. He takes my hand in his, holding tightly till sleep finally takes him. Blessed rest comes, hours...days of stress finally melt away & sleep comes. It will be okay.
Twenty-four hours...then forty-eight hours after chemo have passed. No side affects. God answers our prayers.
Cancer doesn't just affect the individual, cancer affects the whole family...friends.
We need your continued prayers. For mental, physical & spiritual strength, to endure the ride this journey has taken us on.
Someday, it will all be okay again...someday.

Friday, October 3, 2014

In my Kitchen Today: Perfect(every time)Homemade Bread

My mom messaged me last night, asking if I would have time to make a batch of homemade bread for her. I was planning to make some today anyway, why not make enough for her as well...

You can use sprouted grains, whole wheat or white flour with this recipe & it will be perfect every time. Just don't supplement, change out or eliminate  any of the other ingredients or you will get a flop. And follow the recipe precisely. 

If you own the cookbook "Healthy Choices" It's the recipe on page 57. If not, then I have it here for you...
Perfect Whole Wheat Bread
4 1/2 cups lukewarm water
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup honey
3 Tbs. instant yeast
2 Tbs. lecithin granules(non GMO)
2 heaping Tbs. wheat gluten
2 Tbs. sea salt
12-14 cups whole wheat flour(I use fresh milled spelt)
-In my mixer, I add the first 7 ingredients in the order given. Mix lightly to incorporate all the ingredients. Then add 5 cups flour & mix till flour is all incorporated. Now mix 6 cup more flour & mix on low till well mixed. Keep adding flour by 1/2 cup-fulls till dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. knead on low speed for 10 minutes then let rest for 5 minutes. 
-I use the small bread pans from Wal-mart. They sell for under 1.00 & they are a perfect loaf size. Divide dough into 5 parts. Roll out each part till about 1/2 inch thickness, then roll it up, tucking the ends in as you go. Place in a well greased bread pan.
-place inside the oven(turned off & closed) for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn oven to 300' leaving loaves inside. bake for approximately 30 minutes till golden brown.

I've been making this bread recipe weekly(or more) for about 6 months & have never had it flop(except when I've tried to change it up) 
It's dense, super soft, & we even used it in place of hotdog buns this summer, when we had cookouts. 
It won't get crumbly  & fall apart, not even when wrapped around a hotdog :)

A little tip my mom passed on to me: "Rainy days are the best days to bake good homemade bread. the extra moisture in the air helps the bread to rise beautifully"

Happy, Rainy, Friday!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Apples & Mamas

There is no store-bought applesauce that compares to the flavor & texture of homemade applesauce!
We've been out for at least 6 months & I was about to cave & buy the store bought when I saw that a local business had the apples we love for sauce, & they were on sale for 15.50 a bushel! 
I'll take about 4 of those, Please & Thank you!
These 2 were kept busy filling bowls with apples as fast as we could slice & cook them...

Thank God for Mamas!! And I don't say that lightly.
The day we had apples to do, I woke up with one of those, make-you-sick-to-your-stomach, headaches & had about zero energy!
Mama came to help & kept putting apples through even when I needed to stop every now & then to rest so as to avoid becoming a heap on the floor.
A job that would likely have taken me several days, only took us about half  a day with her help.

This year I used an organic, crystallized, cane sugar to sweeten my applesauce.
We use the "Ginger Gold" & they require very little to no sweeteners, but we like our sauce extra sweet & the cane sugar worked great! 

Applesauce always comes towards the end of canning season so I feel like I'm finally winding down from the hustle & bustle that is canning season.
Grape juice & apple pie filling are still on the "to do" list, then I can rest assured that I can hibernate for the winter  & my family won't go hungry ;)

What have you been canning & preserving this Fall? or am I the only crazy canning lady out there?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Labor Day Weekend

Disclaimer: There will be tons of photos-that's all.

This post should have happened 2 weeks ago but I made like a crazy person trying to get all the produce from our garden preserved & into the cellar!

Labor Day weekend, we took the children to Columbus Saturday morning to watch the annual softball tournaments that our church family participates in every year, got a room at the same hotel as the team that evening & let the kiddos swim to their hearts content.
In the morning we ventured out to what looked like a very rainy, zoo day.
We prayed with the children that morning, asking God to give us a day with no rain.
One minute is was pouring down rain & as we pulled into the parking lot of the Columbus Zoo, it all stopped. Not only was there no rain but the sunshine poked through the clouds & we had a beautiful day for watching animals!!
Greeting us at the Zoo...Hello Mr. T!

The sting rays & giraffes were a highlight for us all! touching the animals was so freakin cool!
We were all alittle hesitant with the sting rays at first, but once we started feeding them & being able to touch their backs as they swam past us...priceless!

3.00 for 3 pieces of lettuce=crazy! 
The children were afraid to feed the giraffes, but there was no way that I was missing out on this!
It may have been one of the coolest things I've ever done!

The animals all seemed to be sleepy, especially the cats.

This guy was posing for me :)

We saw sharks! & the coolest saltwater fish-beautiful colors!

Although super stinky, these little guys intrigued me :)

This was one of the children's favorite things there. We almost couldn't get Dawson to leave, he loved feeding the birds.

The dinosaur boat ride was fun too, whats not to love about water-spitting dinosaurs!

The boys making sure we're going the right way ;)

2 days of non-stop fun for these three got the best of them on the way home.
we left the 2 little boys at home with Grandma so we could spend some one-on-one quality time with the older children. As much as we all love the littles(& fought who would get to hold them 1st when we got home), they tend to monopolize all time & energy & it was so much fun having these few days with the older ones.
I'm a kid at heart any way but experiencing these 2 days through the eyes of our kids a beautiful thing!

About 10 minutes from home, God blessed us with one of the most beautiful sunsets!
We live in God-country! #countrygirl :)