Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ker ij

Mental or moral strength to venture, perservere or withstand danger, fear or difficulty (Merriam Webster)


Isn't that a big word?  Somewhere along in February or March of this year, everytime I would sit quietly with God, that big word, courage, came flitting through my head.  Or started stirring in my heart.  That word started appearing in newspaper articles, seriously.  I would open a magazine and see that word.  Seriously!  Why did that word keep appearing?  Because sometimes I just don't "get it" that God wants to review something with me.  Remind me to tell you about my baptism sometime.  That is a really funny story how He used people and circumstances to invite me to be baptised again.


After about the ka-jillioneth time of running into that word I decided to give in.  Did you know God will never force you to do something?  He is all about loving me (us) so very much that He would give me (us)options, options, options to explore His best for me ( get the picture here with the me/us).  So He will throw that word at me in many different ways and in different situations to get my attention because sometimes I just don't see it the first time!  When I say I "gave in" it means that after years and years of having Him show me His love for me, after years and years of trusting Him and years and years of following Him, He knows best and I want to give in to His ways. 


What I've learned when God wants my attention, is to 1) spend time with Him asking Him to teach me and make it clear what I am to learn, 2) get into the Bible to read in His word about the subject.

In the back of my Bible is a concordance and I found the word courage listed.  I started looking up every verse that had the word courage in it.  In fact, I wrote the verses out in my journal. 

Spending time with God.  Did you know God is into communication!  Communication is made up of two action words:  speaking and listening.  I can speak to God and I can listen to Him.  He loves to communicate with me.  This may stretch your mind a little, but the way God communicates to me may not be the same way He communicates to you!  For many years God would give me visions or pictures "in my head" to teach me.  I am a visual learner so I appreciated the pictures!  Now those early pictures were always about food, too.  He would tie a teaching point to some food-related vision!  Yes, my heavenly Father knows me...He knows my love of food so He used that to teach me.  Thankfully we've moved out of the food-themed visions but He still uses pictures to communicate with me. 

During my communication times with God (which happens during my devotion time with Him, when I'm driving, standing in front of a class teaching, sometime when I'm talking to someone else I'm checking in with God, too, asking Him to bless the person I'm talking too) I just asked Him to give me courage.  If He felt this was important for me, I wanted it.


"Now when all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until we had crossed over, their hearts melted and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites."  Joshua 5:1

"Now when Ishosheth, Saul's son, heard that Abner had died in Hebron, he lost courage and all Israel was distrubed."  II Samuel 4:1

These were a couple of the first verses I looked up.  Sure wasn't a great way to learn about courage except for the fact that there have been times I have lost courage and so did people in the Bible.  Hey, they were like me!!  There were times they lost courage, too!

The next 10 or so verses were like this one:

"For thou, O my God, has revealed to thy servant that Thou wilt build for him a house; therefore thy servant has found courage to pray before thee."  I Chronicles 17:25

To me that verse means that the person praying saw (understood) something that God wanted him to know so he had courage to continue praying.

I kept reading.  Starting from the front of the Bible (Old Testament to the back of the Bible (New Testament) I looked up and wrote out those verses.  I saw the word become a choice and an action.  Here is a smattering of examples:

Act with courage
Do not lose courage
Take courage and do it
Found courage
Saw the courage
Take courage
Take courage
Take courage


It is there for our taking!  So I've been asking my Lord to give me courage.  To be honest, I don't know why He felt I needed this lesson/review at this time.  But I trust Him and I know He is preparing me for something.  He is giving me what I need.  He is like that in all things...He gives me what I need and is always faithful to me. 


Do you need any?  I don't have any to give you but I know someone Who does. 


Make the choice to stop right now and ask God to communicate with you.  Ask Him to talk to you so you can learn His voice.  He probably won't talk to you about courage, but what He has to say to you will blow your socks off.  Take the courage to talk to Him but also, to listen.  Be patient...He may show you pictures, He may stir something inside of you, He may sing over you, you may feel something physical.  He is God.  He can communicate in any language or form!


"Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified.  For the Lord your God goes with you.  He will never leave you nor forsake you."  Deuteronomy 31:6

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Little Bit of Lunch

Vacation days are so good.  Last Friday I had the day off and it turned out a friend called wondering if I could meet for lunch.  Instead of eating "out" I invited her to stop by the house for a Little Bit of Lunch.

Are you catching a theme on the web site?  I like food and I like cooking?  I hope that doesn't bore you!

Opening the cupboards to see what was available for this Little Bit of Lunch affair revealed...not much in the cupboards!  Someone has not gone grocery shopping for awhile....ME!  I was up the challange, though.  A neighbor recently gave us a 50-pound bag of potatoes.  That was a start!  The weather was cool so soup was definitely a possibilty....

I ended up making Potato Chowder.  This is a staple soup in our house during the winter.

This is a picture of the potatoes cooking in chicken bouillion, onion, parsley, salt and pepper.  Cook the potatoes until they are almost tender.  Because I was going to keep the soup warm in the crockpot for several hours and I didn't want mushy potatoes, I only cooked them until they were almost done.  They continued cooking in the crock pot.

To the boiling potatoes I added shredded carrots.  Because I am a meat lover, I also cooked up three chicken breasts with a bunch of herbs, cubed it and added it to the potatoes.  Thus, we had Chicken Potato Chowder!  The soup is even better with shredded cheddar cheese on it so cheese was shredded for each of us to spoon on our soup.

Digging in the freezer, I pulled out some raspberries.  I stirred up Sour Cream Raspberry Muffins!  Yum...yum!

And then a fresh fruit salad.  Bananas, oranges, and raspberries sprinkled on the top with a little orange juice to keep the bananas from turning brown...kept chilled in the refrigerator until it was time to eat.  If you look closely, the raspberries have frost on them from the freezer!

A Little Bit of Lunch with a friend should be special so I set a fun table.  Tablecloth, candles, worship music and a pretty display of food.

It was fun to hear my friend exclaim, "oh look at this table and the food...!" 

This friend is a prayer partner.  Once a week we find time to pray together.  After we enjoyed our soup, muffins and fruit, we prayed.  Did you notice I didn't have a dessert on my menu?

Prayer was the dessert for this Little Bit of Lunch! 

What a great menu!  Email me if you'd like recipes!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Keep it Up!!

Keep up the prayers!  Diabetes Clinic went really well last week.  We were told repeatedly what a great job we've been doing managing Kidlet Three's diabetes.  His 3-month average blood sugar results were great and the one test they really watch is the A1c blood test.  Our goal is 7.5 but he has been at an 8 the past year and a half.  Believe it or 8 is great!  Apparently many kids are closer to 9.  The doctor's words were "I'm very, very happy with this and wouldn't change anything!"  What a blessing!  Thank you, God!

In my last post I asked you to pray for Kidlet Three.  That he would have the courage to start giving himself his shots.  We did talk at Diabetes Clinic about this...a lot.  We made a plan to achieve this goal.  A part of the plan included Kidlet One....

Kidlet One is a child life specialist.  She works at a clinic and hospital with kids sitting with them through tests and procedures, educating kids and parents, providing distraction, basically using the gifts that God gave her.  She came home this past weekend and worked with Kidlet Three on his diabetes goals.  Around the kitchen table, with their heads together, glue sticks uncapped with scissers and markers nearby, they created a visual of goals.

Here is the finished board game...Kidlet Three is very competitive so this is a perfect way for him to work toward achieving his goals.  The game is taped on the refrigerator and the game piece, magnetic, can be moved along the "squares".  Would you believe that Kidlet Three has jumped ahead squares and is so motivated by this game it is absolutely AMAZING!  Hang onto your seat...he is going to be giving himself these shots before you know it...but...KEEP IT UP!  I truly believe your prayers are part of the "game board of Kidlet Three's life."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Diabetes Clinic

Today is Diabetes Clinic Day.  Two times a year we have appointments scheduled in the Diabetes Clinic.   Kidlet Three has Type 1 diabetes and was diagnosed four years ago. 

Speaking from the mother's perspective, it is an extremely emotional day.  Already this morning we've been to the Clinic for fasting bloodwork.  At 7 a.m. the other five children sitting in the lobby with us all have diabetes and they are all waiting for their bloodwork.  A little bit of sadness settles in on me when I look at those kids and families and know that we share a common diagnosis.  A diagnosis that affects the child and the entire family with no chance of remission or "healing"...yet. 

After bloodwork we always take Kidlet Three out for breakfast.  It is our Diabetes Day tradition.  He usuallys gets lunch with us today, too.  A real treat, ha! ha!  At 9:30 we meet with a diabetes nurse.  During that visit the record book that we record the five fingerprick blood test results in will be reviewed like under a microscope.  The nurse is looking for patterns of blood sugar readings that are too high or too low.  There are a ton of questions asked of Kidlet Three and us as parents.  There will be weight and height checks.  Verification that we have his eyes checked every year since diabetes likes to affect eyesight.  Then the social worker comes in.  Then the psychologist or pyschiatrist comes in.  How is Kidlet Three handling diabetes.  Has he been able to give himself his shots yet (still a no on that one and if any of you are the praying type...he needs prayer in this area).  Today I know there will be a lot of talk about giving himself his shots.  There will be more freedom for him when he can start doing this but oh the thought of sticking a needle in his skin is just oh so overwhelming.  There is a lot of fear on his part and I have to admit, I don't blame him. 

We'll also meet with the diabetes doctor and the dietitian.  It is definitely a day of teamwork.  A well-designed day of covering all the bases of life with diabetes for a kid and the family.  I am so very appreciative of this day.  We leave this day with many answers to our questions, always new information and a new set of goals for Kidlet Three.  This team of Diabetes care providers are like cheerleaders that bring encouragement but also are life coaches asking us to work even harder at getting normal blood sugars all the time. 

So as I get ready to leave the house again for the poo-pah appointments, I was contemplating the pros and cons of life with diabetes. 

Pros:  None except if it causes you to make good food choices (which we do)
Cons:  Insulin shots; expenses for all the supplies needed; eating at specific times; measuring food; managing blood sugars for an active 11-year-old that is involved in baseball and hockey; emotions affect blood sugars; this week hockey tryouts and surges of adrenaline affect blood sugars; every night The Husband or I check Kidlet Three's blood sugar at 2 a.m. because of the insulin regimen he is on can cause a blood sugar drop at 2 a.m.; blah blah blah.  There just isn't a whole lot to like about this diagnosis. 

Yet, our family has changed because of this.  We pay attention to what each other is doing; we evaluate our commitments; we are commited to giving Kidlet Three the best care we can while he still lives at home so he can be healthier in his adult life.  God has given us such grace to deal with this diagnosis.  This lifestyle. 

We have quite a team:  God and the wisdom and knowledge from the Diabetes Clinic care team.  Cheering us on!  I'm thankful.  And I'm late so off we go.....

Saturday, October 3, 2009

It Is Fall

**UPDATE**  Suzi's doing amazing post-op from her surgery.  THANK YOU for praying for her.  The cancer was contained just to her kidney, not in any lymph nodes nor her bladder.  No chemo necessary for her!  Check out Free Peace link below for the original posting.  Praise God!

It is fall!  The weather cools down, colors change outside, and believe it or not, there is a sense of anticipation.  For some it is dreaded anticipation of the cold, ice, and wind.  For others, it is a welcome anticipation of the beauty and transformation that winter brings. 

It is fall!  In my childhood years fall meant a couple of things:  visiting Grandma's garden of glorious mum plants in oh so many colors; pheasant hunting with my Dad and I even have a faint memory of duck hunting in the rain with my Dad; freezing corn, canning tomatoes and making dill pickles with Mom. 

It is fall!  Why did God decide to make color for us?  Why did He decide that the leaves should change colors in the fall?  I just love that about Him.  In fact, I celebrate leave colors in my house.  Would you believe I bought window cling-ons (okay, so they are really called window clings but I like to say cling-ons) of fall leaves!    This week it rained almost every day but what fun to glance out the deck doors and see some color coming from my "cling-ons"!

It is fall!  My backyard is full of fall change.  My flowers have, for the most part, turned brown.  The pansies love the cool weather so they are beautiful!  The apple tree branches are drooping in bounty.  Here is a snapshot of a branch taken in the rain this week.  The apples are Honeycrisp and are really good.  Oh, and the truth...I have MORE THAN A LUG of apples to deal with!  Can you hear the freezer calling:  apple pies, apple muffins, applesauce...come..come..come fill me up!  The raspberry patch has been picked and the berries frozen for jam.  Our tomatoes have been harvested and made into spaghetti sauce for the winter months.  How I will miss a bacon-lettuce-and real tomato sandwich in the coming months!
It is fall!  A time of routines and reflection.  The routine of school has been once again established and with it homework, school projects and play dates.  A time of reflection around the great summer we've had and even reflecting on what is ahead. 

It is fall!  Life totally resolves around football for many people.  This year I joined two fantasy football leagues.  Oh what fun it was to watch the face of my next door neighbor as he really, really tried not to smirk as I said I'd be on his wife's GIRLS ONLY FF team.  And then when I asked him if I could have Fran Trankenton on my team to watch him really, really, really try not to say, oh forget really don't want to be on this team.  It was a great moment when I admitted that I knew Fran Tarkenton didn't play football anymore and that I'd have to settle for Brad Johnson (just kidding). 

It is fall!  A time of Anticipation.  What anticipation group did you put yourself into as you read my first paragraph?   Dread or welcoming?  Seriously...where are you at?  We've certainly seen our share of gloomy, rainy days this week and that can have an affect on anticipation.  If winter is all about getting busy and caught up in the preparations for Thanksgiving and Christmas, all about ice, snow and being cold, then, I'd have to admit that dread could be a word that I would choose for fall.  There is more, however.  Thank God there is more!  Can you close your eyes right now and picture that first snowfall where everything is blanketed in purity?  Can you picture a quiet winter's night with the moon gleaming on tranquility?  And yes, can you imagine that first step outside where it is so cold you can hardly catch your breath!  What an awesome, incredible God to create four seasons for us!  I welcome fall.  I anticipate winter.  I love my boots, coat, gloves and Cuddle Duds, too.  I anticipate a glorious next few months as we transition into winter.  I anticipate preparing for the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving.  I anticipate preparing for weeks of celebrating the Birth of My Savior.  I anticipate school Christmas programs, needing to put on my boots, taking a bath to try to warm up, sitting in cold hockey rinks cheering Kidlet Three on in his games, baking my pear pies, looking through the seed catalogs, meeting for hot Chai tea with friends, and oh so much more. 

It is fall.  Welcome it!  Embrace it!  Enjoy it! 

An Amazing God made fall for us!