Wednesday, February 9, 2011

This one is all over the place....

There are so many things running through my mind that I want to share with you, my friends, but I haven't had a chance to slow down & type them up. I'm going to try, though.
First & foremost on my mind tonight is this sweet baby's family. My heart is heavy as I lift her in prayers.

In July of 2009, I first heard about Kate McRae on Angie Smith's blog. She was 5 at the time & newly diagnosed with a brain tumor. Over the course of the past year + a few months, her family has watched her go through major surgery & treatment for cancer. She initially lost all use of her right side, but has regained much of that through therapy. She has had chemo & enough radiation for a lifetime. She was finally declared to be disease-free a few months ago & went to Kindergarten this past Fall with great excitement because she'd had to miss attending school the previous year due to her diagnosis. She has regular scans to make sure that she remains cancer-free. Unfortunately, earlier this week they found out that her cancer has returned. It's on the opposite side of her brain than the original tumor. Treatment options are few, but they are researching & attempting to find the best options for little Kate. Please join me in visiting her website & signing up for updates to her journal so you can keep up with her progress as she is treated. You can find her website here.
Tonight, I am also lifting up this cute little guy.

Noah Estes is the son of a blogging mommy who I've been keeping up with for a few years now. Noah has mitochondrial encephalomyopathy. Noah's health is poor, but he is a happy little boy with a sweet family. Noah has recently begun using a wheelchair due to the progression of his disease. He has a large family (8 children + mom & dad). They drive a 15 passenger van. Noah is getting bigger so it's becoming more clear that they need a wheelchair lift for their family vehicle, but modifying their family van would mean taking out some seats and then the whole family wouldn't fit! They are doing a fundraiser to raise money to purchase a people mover style bus. You can read more about it on THIS website. Please take a minute to check it out & see if there is something you can do to help the family make this purchase.
On a totally different note, I've apparently relocated to Antarctica without realizing it. After all, I know this wintery weather can't be happening in East Texas! On January 9th, we got a 1 or 2" dusting of snow. It was a nice little treat for all of us -- not enough to cancel school or work, but enough for the kids to make a few snowballs & throw at each other. The power went out for a little while so we had to go out to eat dinner that night. I can deal with that. It wasn't a huge inconvenience and it melted quickly. Then last Friday it happened AGAIN. But this time it was enough to cancel school! The kids loved having the day off, but the reality soon set in that we Texans don't REALLY want snow & winter like we claim that we do. After all the cheers & excitement, the kids went into the yard to enjoy the white stuff. That was at 7:30am. By 10am my kids were all in the house, making a mess & arguing with each other. I actually sat down & made a schedule to keep them busy all day! They had lots of screen time that day....more than usual...but they had a much nicer day when there was a schedule to follow. (I'm telling you, my kids have all been routine-driven since toddlerhood....and that works just fine for this list-making mama!)

All of that would be fine because we had beautiful 70+ degree weather last weekend! We all loved going outside & enjoying the sunshine. It was almost warm enough for flip flops! But then it (winter) happened AGAIN today. This time we didn't get any snow (like some of the surrounding counties) but we did get freezing rain/sleet so school let out early. Ironically, if the forecast is correct, we will have temperatures in the 60s by the weekend and (maybe?) this is the end of our artic winter! Of course, who knows? It could just be another teaser building up to a blizzard in late February! (gosh I hope not!) I've seen as many of these as I can stand for one year.

(Sorry kids....they're cute, but I'm done with Winter.) Texas weather is so weird.

In an effort to push my family a little further into vegetarian mode (shhh....they don't know that's my secret goal), I joined a Yahoogroup for vegetarian recipes. I'm so excited because I've got a whole list of veggie-heavy recipes that I'm going to be using over the next few weeks. I love to introduce them to new veggies or to work veggies into meals that we already eat when I can! While I figure I won't actually ever truly convert any of them (myself included), it is cost-effective & good for our health to eat meatless meals 1 or 2 nights a week when possible. And when I find something that everyone loves, it's a big thrill for me!

A couple of weeks ago, a girlfriend of mine posted a recipe for Eggplant Parmesan on her blog. As I read it, I thought it looked good....especially since I'd *NEVER* eaten a single bite of eggplant in my whole life. I'm really not sure how I've made it 35 years without eating it, so I knew it would be a must-cook! I bought the ingredients last weekend and created my very first eggplant dish last week. Everyone enjoyed it, but we figured out that 3 out of 5 of us are actually allergic to eggplant! While I was eating, I noticed a tingling/burning/itchy sort of sensation in my mouth. It wasn't enough to make me stop eating, but I kept having to get a drink in an attempt to "wash out" the stinging sensation. I didn't say anything about it because I didn't want to give the kids a reason to quit eating---you know, the power of suggestion-- but by the 2nd or 3rd bite, I know there was definitely something going on and it wasn't just in my head. While I was thinking about whether I should stop eating or not, Savannah spoke up. She was having the same sensations I was. And then Samuel admitted that it was happening to him, too. We all finished the meal, though. It wasn't life-threatening or anything, just weird. I looked it up online later that night & realized that it's a very common food allergy that MANY people have. While some sites say you can peel the eggplant or soak it in salt water before cooking to pull out the enzyme that creates that reaction, other websites suggest that each time you expose yourself to the food, the reaction gets more severe and you should really avoid eating it if you've had 1 bad reaction to it. So while we did enjoy it, there are a whole lot of other veggies that we can all eat without a problem, so I think we'll just skip eggplant from now on.

In the next couple of weeks, I've got a new Vegetarian Lasagna recipe, a new type of squash casserole to try out, a tomato zucchini casserole recipe, a black bean sweet potato chili to try and several others. I can't wait!
This week, I've had the joy of collecting items for a girl we met in the Fall who needs a little help. Can I just say that I'm thankful for Facebook? While I realize that Facebook is certainly not always a positive thing in the world today, there are a million great reasons that I don't plan to give it up. You must be careful what info you put on your profile...or at least check your privacy settings frequently to verify that your info is only available to the people you'd like to be allowed to see it. While I can never keep up with all my facebook friends (I have over 1000!), the perk to having that many friends on the website is that with 1 post I can have 1000+ friends praying...or helping to donate to a young single mom in need...or answering a question that I can't figure out, etc. It really is a useful tool when used wisely!

And besides, if it weren't for Facebook, I would've never met some of my dearest friends! (Right Tara & JennahRose?)
This past week, I finished reading this book.

It is the autobiography of Gayle Haggard, the wife of Ted Haggard, a Christian pastor & influential member of the evangelical world, who admitted in the Fall of 2006 to having an inappropriate relationship with a male escort & massage therapist. By the time I finished reading the book, I just wanted to hug Mrs. Haggard. I felt like I'd sat & had a talk with a good friend, not just read her book. While the struggles that Ted Haggard faced are not the same as the ones my own husband faces, I could see so many similarities between the way they were both made to feel --- like you can't dare admit to your humanness or sinful nature while serving in a ministerial role. Mr. Haggard had struggled with homosexual desires for much of his adult life & fought against those urges & desires, but eventually stumbled in that area. When his sin was found out (because the other man came forward to the media), Mr. and Mrs. Haggard's worlds were torn apart. Not only did they have to deal with the unfaithfulness in their marriage, but also the urges & desires Mr. Haggard had battled with most of his life. Then on top of all of that (as if that wasn't enough!) they lost their church family and the home they had lived in for 20+ years and had to deal very poor treatment by a group of overseers & restorers who did more damage than help. In the end, the Haggards' marriage was completely restored, their lives were changed in huge ways, but they were able to see God's hand in it all & were able to glorify Him through their most difficult times.

At first, I didn't think I was going to like the book because I felt like Mrs. Haggard's storyline was a little too perfect...a little too pretty & happy & positive. I was not feeling like I would be able to follow the story because she didn't seem REAL. You know, a little too much plastic smile & fancy facade. But as the story goes on, you realize that those initial reactions were just the tip of the iceberg. As more information comes to light and she has longer to deal with the reality of what has happened in her marriage & life, the walls come down and you see her for who she really is. I cried with her and was left with nothing but respect for the way she handled the most difficult situation of her life. I would be pleased to call her a friend if I were to know her in real life. I'd definitely recommend this book!
I have lots more roaming around in my brain, but I think I'm going to close this post up for the night. Until nex long!


Lauree said...

I'll being praying for both those families and the single mom. What is the yahoo group you joined?? I'm always looking for vegetarian recipes for my family!

Rachel said...

I have been following little Kate for a little bit now, and praying my heart out. I will also pray for the other child and his family. There are so many many people out there that need prayers!