Saturday, July 24, 2010

Happy Birthday, Love!



William's birthday was a little unbirthday-like.  He had to be at Ethan's swim meet by 6:45 a.m, so birthday coffee on the back porch and his favorite breakfast were out of the question.   On the other hand, he loves to watch his boys' sports, so he really didn't mind.  That's one of the things I love about him.  He is always there for his boys, cheering them along or coaching their teams.






Ethan had a PR in his backstroke.  Their team placed 2nd in the A Conference Meet!



I had to work at the meet and didn't get home until early afternoon, but I planned to make William his Italian birthday dinner.  By that time the boys had already eaten lunch and were back home, anxious to check out our flooded neighborhood.  It rained and rained last night, and several of our neighbors woke up to flooded basements and most of the downtown streets were closed.  We got a serious amount of rain.  Ugh.  Not fun.  Ethan spent part of the afternoon helping a neighbor clean up.  I think at this point in the day our whole family had been together maybe 5 minutes.  Evening quickly approached.  What happened to my grand thoughts about making my sweetie a special candlelit dinner?  Well, they vanished.  Take-out was as good as it got.  At least he got his annual banana cream pie.






By this point we're all weary and a bit crabby, ready to go to bed.  The only spry one in the house was little Gia, who took a 3.5 hour afternoon nap.  What in the world?   We ended the day with the boys playing games on the computer while we watched Hitch for the gazillionth time.  Not exactly the most celebratory b-day, but you know what?  We're together tonight.  We're healthy.  We're blessed beyond measure.    And the take-out Italian was pretty good.  
I love you, William!  You are a gift straight from the Lord, a wonderful husband and father who loves us so.  Happy Birthday!
(Our friend Nicholas has A.L.L. leukemia, the most treatable kind.  He started chemo and will most likely be receiving treatment throughout his high school years.  Thank you for your prayers and we are continuing to claim that God will do the miraculous in Nicholas's life.)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Urgent Prayer

I have a wonderful friend named Christy.  More than a wonderful friend, over the years she has been a living testimony for Jesus and her faith has inspired me and shown me what it's like to really know that God is good.  ALWAYS.  She knows all about His peace, which is beyond our human understanding.  Her husband was diagnosed with brain cancer some years ago and she can tell you about that journey, how the Lord was with them and gave them His peace and faith.  Her husband was supposed to die.  He did not.  Every MRI is a testimony of the Lord's healing and sustaining grace.  


Then their daughter was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.  They called everyone to pray for healing.  Their daughter's thyroid was removed,  but not before the phone call that said, wait a minute, there is NO cancer. God healed her, no question.   


This family has known God as their Healer, their Peace, their Sustenance, the Author of Faith like no family I've known.


Which brings me to today.  Their son Nicholas was our babysitter for a couple years.  He's a handsome kid, full of life and a lover of Jesus, in high school.  Today I received another call to pray, this time for Nicholas.  They are saying he has leukemia.  We do not know anymore details yet. 


Please pray for Nicholas.  You all know how life can turn on a dime, and really all there is is JESUS.  May He be magnified even in this time, may they know His unfailing love and, once again, experience the healing touch of Jesus.  


My heart breaks.  It is too much.  Thank you for praying for this precious family.


Father, please give the doctors your wisdom today.   May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage their hearts and strengthen Nicholas and his family.   May they once again know you as Healer today and the God of Comfort.  In Jesus' name, Amen

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Teff and The Garden



Teff: Before we went to Ethiopia, my sweet friend dropped off a yummy delicious banana bread and homemade granola, along with a bag of teff grain.   She said that she just threw in a cupful of the tiny grain when making her normal recipes because it's a nutritional powerhouse.   Looking at the label, it's true.  It's high in protein, fiber and iron, which we need more of around here.   When we were in Ethiopia we were introduced to injera, made from teff.  Injera is interesting, a kind of moist and spongy sourdough flatbread.  Since I'm not ambitious enough to make injera at home, the teff is going into other things.  My mom added teff to muffins and made teff porridge with dates and honey (the recipe on the back of the package).  Today I experimented with zucchini bread from here, substituting other sweeteners for the sugar and adding about a cup of teff. 



It turned out pretty good, although the minute my kids heard "zucchini," the poor bread had three strikes against it.   When, oh when will I learn?!  One of these days I'll learn to keep quiet when I'm asked, what's in that?   At least Gia loved it.



Here's her teff baby food (gross, says Christian) with some garlicky asparagus.  I am totally taking advantage of her inability to say "gross"!



Gardening: Every year we plant a vegetable garden, the kind where you do the best you can and end up with more weeds than vegetables, but those juicy summertime tomatoes are always faithful nevertheless and make it all worthwhile.  This plot is not at our house; we don't get enough sun.  My neighbor graciously lends me some space at his business, so the veggie garden is smack dab in the middle of an industrial parking lot with semis occasionally rolling past.  It's sunny dirt and works just fine.  Plus the truck drivers don't care about weeds.  There is no one to impress.   I love it.   My neighbor grows tons of vegetables too and we get to share the bounty.  I have barely been out there this year (been a little busy), but a ripe tomato and summer squash were left on my doorstep last night. 
I can grow herbs at home and some lettuce. This year I was inspired by my in-laws’ community garden in Michigan and came back dreaming of a couple small raised beds.  One woman's plot had six or so of these, and the companion plantings were so beautiful.

William made me a couple of small beds for radishes, beets, greens and carrots.  We'll see how they turn out, since it is the middle of July!  Yes, it needs to be thinned.  No, I do not plant in neat rows. 

There is something so encouraging about seedlings.  Peeking at their progress every morning reminds me of what the seraphim in Isaiah say:
"Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory!"

Saturday, July 17, 2010

9 Months

Nine months ago we celebrated our 17th anniversary, wondering aloud that weekend about our child, where she was, who she was, how old she was.  Little did we know that our daughter was being welcomed into the world that very weekend.  Is God amazing?   Yes, He is.  Happy 9 months, sweet girl!




Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer Goodbye

Another goodbye.  I managed to hold the tears back until I got inside.   It stinks to live far from family.  In my ideal world, mom and dad would live close enough for Sunday dinners and Saturday baseball games.  But until some glorious day in heaven, I’ll settle for summer visits and every other Christmas/Thanksgiving.

My mom has been here for all of my babies’ first month home.  For me it’s a month full of blessings.  My freezer is now packed with her wonderfully tasty spaghetti sauce, individually wrapped muffins and -- one of Ethan’s favorites -- her brisket.  I will miss the quesadillas she made for us almost every day for lunch.  Not your normal quesadillas, but the ones only she makes...full of fresh veggies and greens with a sprinkle of goat cheese.   She always whipped up papaya and rice milk shakes in the morning and reminded me to take my vitamins.  I wonder when I’m going to turn into my mother.  Every time I leave her, I vow to eat more greens and remember my calcium.  Maybe this time I’ll last longer than two weeks?  We’ll see.  And we laugh.  A lot.  I’ll miss her laughter.
My dad brought me Starbucks this morning.  After a night of dealing with a sick dog and a baby that kept losing her pacifier, it was the perfect thing.  My dad’s in a lot of pain these days.  But in the midst of that, he is full of the little surprises that brighten our days.  Graham’s Chocolate had a very good week last week.  When he comes, he always walks down to Graham’s and buys us different chocolates, always remembering peanut butter cups for William.  The boys and I are not so picky.  The boys love their papa.  I love him too.  We love his stories and the twinkle in his eye when he’s pulling someone’s leg...which is often.  
I will miss them.  My little Gia will probably be walking when we see them next, the boys will be a little taller, and autumn will be a memory.  
Father, thank you for a month of togetherness and a month wrapped in love.  I know that all good things are straight from your hand, gifts of grace and mercy.  I do not deserve all the love you shower upon me through family.  Life is sometimes rough, really hard, and You give us each other.  May You transform me to be more like You so that I desire to bless those closest to me, just as I have been so blessed this month.
In Jesus’ name, Amen

Friday, July 2, 2010

Midweek Beach Break

On Tuesday we drove up to Michigan to grandpa and grandma’s house on the beach.  My mom came too.  For the first time, Gia dug her little toes in the sand...
slept on the beach...
and was rescued from the rushing tide by Abuelita.
Out in the distance the boys crashed their bodies into the rhythmic waves, one after another, until they were waterlogged and tired.  
We visited the community garden the next day, a wonderful and prolific project headed up by grandpa and grandma.  On this day they were pulling weeds for one of the plant-for-the-hungry beds.  They donate the produce to the food pantry and other organizations.  

And those vivid Michigan sunsets...
along with 4th of July fireworks on the beach (a little early)...
give us our annual snapshot of  summertime.

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