Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Walk in the Park

Today we got to pick up my niece and spend the day with her.
We went to the park.

We hiked out to where the big slides are.

Next we went to the new nature center.

We learned about the history of the area.

Afterward, we hiked back to our car and drove to another park to have a picnic. After that we went to another park. I got very tired so I had to go back to the house and take a nap while the kids occupied themselves. After my nap we went out for ice cream. Yum!

Monday, June 29, 2009

California Sunset

This was tonight's sunset, isn't it gorgeous?

I have not been feeling well lately, but I am hanging in there. Very thankful that we are on summer vacation because I am able to rest. It is so nice to be able to relax.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Frugal Meals

Since the down turn in the economy, I have been trying to economize. Cooking at home has become a big part of my effort in saving money. My husband (who takes care of our finances) says it is helping. Fortunately, a new market came to our area called Fresh & Easy. The neat thing about this market is that they will mark items down for clearance. Sometimes they will have bread at half price. Recently, they were selling tuna packed in oil for 39 cents a can! I used the tuna in a dish called Fusilli with Tuna. I made the simple tomato sauce recipe in the crock-pot. I only made half the recipe of tomato sauce, by using two 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes (Italian style) and an 8 oz can of tomato sauce. I used a hand blender to puree the sauce. The dish was very tasty.

Another easy and frugal recipe is Campbell's Beef Taco Skillet which is one of Mark's favorite dishes. I can get tomato soup for 69 cents a can at Fresh & Easy. I use corn tortillas in the recipe which have less calories than flour tortillas and tend to be cheaper.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Relaxing Morning

Spent some time on the sofa reading my Better Homes & Gardens magazines. Someone surprised me with a subscription. I finally have some time to enjoy them.

Baked some banana muffins. These are fresh out of the oven. Yum!

Had a cup of Chai tea. I painted the cup myself.

Watched my amazing son solve his Rubik's Cube.

Other summer things we have been doing:
Haircuts for my men with a relaxing shampoo afterward
Visited thrift stores looking for bargains
Went to the public library
Reading (Bible & devotionals)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into bits
3/4 cup raisins (or blueberries)

1. Preheat oven to 400*F. Whisk the egg and milk together in glass measuring cup. In a mixing bowl measure out dry ingredients.

2. Drop the butter into the flour. Use pastry blender or your hands to blend until pebbly. Pour in milk & egg mixture. Mix with a fork until the dough is evenly moist. Add the raisins/blueberries and give the sticky dough a few more stirs.

3. Spoon the mixture onto a foil or parchment lined baking sheet. I sprinkle each with a bit of sugar.

4. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes (although mine were done at 18 minutes) or browned to your liking. Cool for a bit and serve warm with butter and/or jam. Makes 10 to 12.

My boys loved waking up to these scones. I used fresh blueberries and they came out nice. If you make the recipe I hope you enjoy it.

In other news, I took my first Arimidex pill. I have been in pain for days so I decided to just go ahead and take one. Some of my pain has calmed down so I guess it is already working. However some of my other pain is still bothering me. Sigh. I just have to keep praying.

Mark is a bit down these days and it is no wonder with his father having health problems and then all the lay-offs at work. He said that the office is really empty and quiet. The company leased two buildings to house all the employees it had. Now they have laid off enough employees that everyone can fit into one building. That is a lot of employees!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chit Chat

Hello everyone, here is my latest update. Father's Day Mark and I each took a boy and went to visit our father's separately. There was a family gathering at my sister's. My other sister flew in from up north. We had a BBQ and sat outside by the pool. I wore a cute little shorts outfit, but neglected to put sunscreen on as I was late getting out the door. I thought if I kept in the shade I would be fine. Silly me! My knees got burned so bad it hurt to touch them. On top of that, my tummy was acting up.

Monday, I took Brandon to the orthodontist to get him started with braces. It felt so good to be able to work with them on a payment plan. With the boys going to public school we have money to make the payments. Also on Monday, the boys had a friend over in the afternoon and he stayed for dinner. Their friend was amazed at our family dinner time and really enjoyed it. He said his family rarely sits down together. It was fun to have him over.

Today, the pain of the sunburn is starting to fade, but my tummy is acting up badly and I have congestion in my head. Then Mark called me before lunch and let me know that his boss got laid off. When I heard that news I started crying. Mark's boss is a lovely man and I am very sorry that this has happened to him. Mark says that the office is very quiet and feels empty. There were 8 people in Mark's group and now there are only 4 left. I asked Mark if he has put feelers out for jobs and he said he has, but there is nothing out there. It is times like this when our faith gets stretched.

As I drove to the grocery store I listened to the radio. It seems so doom and gloom. California's budget crisis is heating up. The government wants more money out of us. Prices have gone up at the stores. Mark's company is not giving out any raises or cost of living increases. We are barely able to afford braces for our son! If the government takes more money from us, how are we going to live?

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11)

Lovely Blog Award

I humbly thank Rachel for thinking of me with this award.
Rachel is an amazing wife and mother.
She is a thoughtful and loving person.
Her husband is Pastor at Crossroads Baptist Church in Alabama.
Please check out her blog and see the awesome things
God is doing through the Smith family.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Thinking about my Health

The other day I picked up my prescription of Arimidex at the pharmacy. To be completely honest I am not thrilled. Standing at the kitchen sink looking out the window I felt a sense of rebellion come over me. I really do not want to take this medicine, it has nasty side effects. It isn't going to do anything nice to my bones, I know that. The doctor is allowing 6 refills. AS IF!

I feel like I am beat up, especially with not taking hormones. Every once in awhile I sneak some DHEA or progesterone cream just because I can't stand the body aches, moodiness, etc. Arimidex will only add to what I already have. I have been taking Vitamin D supplement and I feel that has really helped my immune system. But, ever since what happened to me, the ruptured bowel, the sepsis, etc. I do not have strength and stamina like I used. My boys notice it. When riding a bike I can be unstable at times. Or when when I do the vacuuming, I have to stop and rest. My boys look out for me, they are sweets for that.

The pain is better than when I began this journey I have to admit that. And whatever is wrong on the left side of my intestine is not as painful as it was after the take down of my colostomy. The pain I used to feel in my colon before this whole mess is gone. No more pulling or terrible cramping when I have a BM. The reconnection is fine, no pain at all there. Praise God.

I might be able to live with this intestinal pain, the feeling of it is like a lap band (it keeps me thin). Something gets hung up there and I feel pressure, so I press on that pain spot which brings on a burp. Then it feels like the food moves on through. Strange. I have managed to stay in the range of 100 to 102 lbs. for months now. Not taking hormones seems to have helped lessen the pain, but I still get mild flare ups. I try to track them on a calendar, but I am finding there is no definite pattern. I am not quite sure if the lessening of pain is the loosening of scar tissue or the endo has shrunk. I know for sure the lump inside my tummy on the left has shrunk along with the pain.

Well, sickness is round about this house. Brandon is doing better, but now Mark and Eric are coughing. Still no one is as sick as Brandon was. I have decided to wait till sickness is gone before trying this medicine. I can only handle so much at a time.

Friday, June 19, 2009


There was a lay-off at Mark's place of work today. Twenty people this time. Mark was not chosen and for that we are thankful. We are sad for those that are leaving, it hurts to see them go. Those left feel unprotected.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Good Things

First off, I want to lift up a fellow Christian blogger named Pam at Chaos Cottage. Her husband is looking for a job and needs our prayers. Check out her blog and please say a prayer.

I want to share about a recipe I tried to duplicate from my favorite restaurant Rutabegorz. They have a vegetarian stew that is so good. I made my own version which is easy and healthy.

Veggie Stew

1 - 26 oz. jar of spaghetti sauce (tomato-basil is good)
2 - 12 oz. bags of veggies (carrots, broccoli & cauliflower)
1 - 10 oz. bag of sliced mushrooms
2 to 3 sliced zucchini
3 stalks of sliced celery
1/2 cup of water
Season to taste with salt & pepper (or fancy salt like onion or garlic)

Throw all ingredients into a stock pot. Mix around, then let it cook till the veggies are tender. Do not worry if it seems there is not enough sauce. The juices from the veggies will change that as it cooks. When done garnish with some cooked chicken, cheese, fresh tomatoes and sunflower seeds. Serve with your favorite bread, or on brown rice or pilaf.

This is the plain version, believe me, it tastes better than it looks.

This is the same stew garnished with cheese & sunflower seeds.
If my boys will gladly eat this, it has got to be good. ;-)

Sharing this picture of a cute pink cottage that I happened upon last week. The diamond shaped window has a beautiful glass cross hanging in the window. I love the color pink and I love white picket fences. And it has a porch for sitting!

I also wanted to share this movie with you.

I remember seeing this on TV when I was in high school (30 years ago now). It made an impression on me and when I saw it at the grocery store for $9.99 I just had to get it. I think it is a good Christian movie.

Two other movies that I like are: The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio. I think Evelyn Ryan is very inspirational (beware of the cussing though). I also like the new Jane Eyre put out by the BBC and seen on PBS. I did not see it on PBS, but came across it at my local library and checked it out.

This is now my favorite version so,
I splurged and bought it at Barnes & Noble.
The version with Timothy Dalton is also available there,
which used to be my favorite next to the
version with Orson Wells.

Enjoy your summer!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thank you!

To those that responded to my last post, thank you very much!!! Your comments were so helpful, a gift from the Lord. The other night I was talking to Mark and telling him about the women I have met through blogging. As I told him, I began to realized what an incredible blessing you all have been. How the Lord has used each of you to help me. And I hope that I have been used to bless you as well. Isn't the Lord so good to us? Praise Him!

Well, your prayers have worked because my Brandon is getting better. Granted, he is still sick, but he is over the worst of it, I hope. Also, my father in-law is getting out of the hospital tonight. He got a blood infection from the procedure he had done in Arizona in May. They also found an abscess by his pancreas. His white blood cell count was sky high, but now it has gone down into normal range since administering IV antibiotics. Mark took off work today and drove out to see his parents who are presently in California to begin cancer treatment. Of course the treatment for cancer has been delayed, but at least my father in-law is getting good care now.

Lady Bird is still coming by. This morning I went out to turn the sprinkler on and she swooped down on me to say "Good morning!". I still feed her. Today she sat in the tree to be near me while I was on the phone on the back patio. I love her!

Eric is having a nice summer vacation so far. He has been chatting with friends on Facebook. He hooked up with one of his old teachers who had moved to Colorado Springs. She is out in California visiting and he got to have dinner with her and a group of his classmates. Today he went to an old friends' house and he is going to spend the night. This Saturday he is supposed to bike to the beach with the Boy Scouts and next weekend he is going hiking. I am so proud of him for all the good friendships he has made and kept over the years.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Blogging and Asking for Prayer

Been thinking about blogging. Why do I do it? Should I quit? Etc. I have never been very sure what my blog is about. Some people have a definite direction or theme for their blog. Not me. As my subtitle says, I am writing about life from a modest little home. Sometimes I am happy, sometimes depressed, sometimes grumpy (I try not to write on those days). My blog is what is it is. It is not about popularity, it is not about looking good. I hope through my blog to touch other hearts for Jesus.

I am far from being a perfect Christian. Sometimes I am quite the hypocrite. At the same time I can be a complainer. Other days I am a huge all around brat. Praise God for Jesus and His shed blood! Because of Jesus I enjoy a relationship with the Father who is patiently molding me into something of lasting beauty. In a humorous worldly term: Everyday is a spa day with the Lord.

Last night I felt quite horrible and I thought for sure I would wake up full on sick. Despite all that, I woke up feeling alright. Granted I am not feeling my best, but well enough to accomplish all my tasks. I did need a nap in the morning and the afternoon to get through, but thank God for those naps! Mostly, I was thankful to be well enough to care for my poor sick Brandon who remained in bed for the 3rd day in a row.

Please if you could spare a prayer for my son and also for my father in-law. My father in-law is struggling with that kidney stone of his and cannot eat. He can only keep Ensure down and nothing else. He is also getting prepared to receive treatment for his prostate cancer. My sincere thanks to you for caring.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pretty Things in my Day

Roses against a June sky.

A bird flying.

My rabbit.

I laid in the grass in the backyard today and snapped off these pictures. The ocean breeze was blowing and it felt so good. Often when I do not feel well, I love to lie in the grass and look at the sky. While I was doing that, Bun came up and snuggled me.

Brandon is still sick, he spent the day in his room sniffing, sneezing and coughing. For him to stay in his room all day without complaint means he feels bad. I am not feeling well either, granted I am not as sick as Brandon, but my immune system is definitely in a struggle. I felt so poorly I spent part of yesterday in bed. Today I went to the grocery store with Eric in tow. I needed his help as I did not feel strong enough to do it all myself.

Eric is planning social engagements for himself which I really do want him to enjoy, but I had to let him know that the way I am feeling he may not be going. Tomorrow I have to take the books down to the school for the used book sale on Tuesday. That is probably the only outing I will tackle. I have two moms that want to buy books from me, so I have some definite money coming in which is a blessing...thank you Lord!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Chit Chat

Busy, is how things have been.
Exhausted, is how I feel.

Talked to my endometriosis doctor on Friday, going to try the Arimidex (which is used after breast cancer treatment to suck estrogen out of the body). Have to try it. My pain level is down and I have noticed I am able to eat more, but still something wrong in there. Might be able to live with it. Taking it on a month by month basis.

Went to my niece's graduation and party. My niece is a very accomplished young lady. Her parents (my sister) are so proud.

Got all my books ready for the book sale. We have lots of books. Hoping to make some decent money. Eric turned in his final project for my history class. It took a bit to get him to do a good job of it. He is so capable, but lacks effort. Sigh. Have to grade it and enter it into my books. Do my final write ups, etc. and submit the paperwork.

Mark & I took Brandon out to lunch and gave him his graduation present & card. He felt blessed. He has come down sick, so I am mothering him. I do not feel well myself, body aches and a bit of a scratchy throat. Going to need a nap.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


This is a picture of my boys cooperating and getting along.
I just had to snap this off, despite them saying "Mom!".
It was so nice to see them like this.

When I opened my freezer this evening I found the Invisable Woman from the Fantastic Four.
When she is cold she turns blue, when warm she is clear.
The boys have a tradition of breaking out their favorite toys when summer vacation begins, so when I see her in my freezer it is officially summer vacation.

This is something Eric built with Knex.
At the top is a ping pong ball.
When the ball is released it goes through the maze he has built.

This is Brandon with his army men.
He has always loved to put things in rows since he was a toddler.

I know, this is a very odd picture.
Actually, I am documenting my son's bad habit of not throwing
his trash away. Since I was going to take a picture he picked it up.

Here he is laughing after throwing the banana peel away.

We had a nice day.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summer is Coming

This week is finals week so our workload for school is light. The boys went to school today. After school Eric and I started cleaning up the sunroom. It has been a mess of books, papers, school supplies, etc. It certainly feels nice to have that room cleaned up. Next I have to go through all their books and tag them for the used book sale at the school next week. The last day of school will be June 12th. The boys and I have mixed emotions because they will be leaving private school behind. It will be a big change for all of us. Even so, we are looking forward to summer, especially since I am in less pain since staying off hormones. It looks like we will be able to have some fun this summer.

I have been feeling melancholy, but certainly perk up when Lady Bird comes for a visit. Before I left for my uncle's memorial she would come by at least 3 times a day. Since then, I only get to see her once a day if I am blessed. She comes with the other birds to eat the seed I put out. Sometimes she waits for me in the plum tree where I feed her worms and we visit. Monday morning when I came out she flew from the plum tree and sat on my head. She is always happy to see me, but then she flies away and I miss her.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Been Thinking

I love to write, but it is hard when there comes a flood of emotions. At those times it is best to be quiet and reflect. To sort out the mess. In untangling the emotions I came face to face with a verse of scripture after tripping over my slippers. It is written on a cross that hangs on the wall by my bed. A familiar verse, "In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy path." Proverbs 3:6. Looking at that verse the Lord spoke to me very clearly. I realized that I have done what this verse says.

When I was in college I laid out a fleece about meeting the right man. When I wanted children I went to the Lord. Before I adopted my boys I went away by myself to pray. And before I had my surgery, I went on my knees in prayer. Staring at this verse, I realized He has directed my path. All this flood of emotion has been an attack of the enemy. I got hit, but not without good reason. It is an area that the Lord wants to work on.

Whatever your calling, remember… spiritual growth impacts our fruitfulness. The longer we’ve been believers, the greater our service should be. That does not mean tasks will be highly visible. Satan tries to convince people that some jobs are trivial. But the moment a believer falls for that lie, growth is stunted. God will promote those who put forth the best effort, no matter what the task is. ~Charles Stanley

The society that we live in does not respect the stay-at-home mother, but the Lord does. In His eyes my work here is important. When I work hard at the job He has given me, I please Him. There are days when I feel like giving up; that I am not able to make a difference. In those times I need to let go and let Him take over. I need not think on my feelings, but I do need to think of others'.

I remember the Lord speaking to me in the hospital when I had sepsis (which nearly killed me). He spoke to me through several people. I was chosen to stay, because my work is not finished. Because He wants me to take care of my family. This is His work for me, this is what He deems important.

NOTE: The picture above is of my boys when they were in elementary school.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Living for Him

"Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it." (Luke 9:24)

Are you in a situation where you must put up with misunderstanding and loss of esteem? Do you get little or no credit for the work you do?

The proper response is the willing attitude of "dying" daily that continually characterized our Lord. He was willing to be misunderstood and maligned, to take an obscure place, to give up those things that made Him look good in other people's eyes. He met His detractors with kindness and meekness, reacting not in strength, but in weakness.

And if we die with Him, God's gift to us is "the life of Jesus" the most attractive life that ever was lived. His beauty will gradually grow in us and become our beauty as well.

The portrait you draw of Jesus by your humble, tranquil presence in the face of grievous wrong is worth a spate of words.

(Taken from the book "Out of the Ordinary" by David Roper pgs. 96-97)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thank You!

Dear Readers, thank you so much for your prayers for our family. I am very thankful to God for your prayers.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

All in the Family

I am back from my trip to my hometown, but I have yet to unpack. I was very tired on Sunday after arriving home. Monday, the boys were finishing up projects and studying for tests. Things were going fairly well until I got an email from the principal. The email informed me of something my youngest son has been doing at the school. Something that broke my heart. The matter caused me grief not only with my son, but with my husband. I have been the one to handle the matter with the principal and thankfully he has been kind.

Because this has happened, I am questioning my choices in life, my marriage, my abilities as a mother. But I know what the Lord wants me to do. He wants me to reach out to Him, not rely on my own strength. He put me here in this little family for just such a time as this. Colossians 3:23-24 says, "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve."

Please, if you feel lead, could pray for our family. Thank you!