Snowmaggedon 2 or storm Rocky happened last night. We are digging out this morning and enjoying some snow ice cream.

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ImageSeptember 2012 looked very hopeful for my blog. I had gotten a much better start posting regularly and had the goal of becoming a consistent blogger. A visit to the doctor by my husband, Brent, on September 17th changed all of that.

Brent had been struggling with his health for months, never quite recovering from injuries and getting sick regularly. At the time we certainly did not put all the pieces together but were frustrated by his continuing lack of full, vigorous health. On that Monday, September 17th during his visit to our doctor’s office they finally did extensive testing to see why Brent was feeling like he may have “walking pneumonia” in his words. He came back home and told me that they took so many vials of blood he was surprised he had any left. We waited for a call back to get his lab results. When the Nurse Practitioner called to give him the results in person, he was immediately alert to the seriousness. She sent him directly to the emergency room and told him that they may need to give him transfusions because his platelets and white blood cell counts were so low.

Our journey began at North Kansas City Hospital ER. They took Brent back and began the process of discovering why his blood cell counts were so low. The search began with possible blood loss. He went through many tests and was placed in the intensive care unit. On Wednesday, the 19th, we were finally given a diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. We were told that it would be possible he would need a bone marrow transplant and that those were not available at NKCH so they contacted KU Medical Center to see if he would be accepted as a patient there. He was accepted and we transferred within hours to KU Med’s BMT Unit.

Brent began chemotherapy almost immediately. We found out that he had the markers for Philadelphia Positive ALL and that they would definitely plan to do a bone marrow transplant if they could find a donor. Brent went through two rounds of Chemotherapy and then on November 19th he received a stem cell transplant with a donation from his brother, Dwayne, who was a virtually perfect match. Brent is recovering well and has almost reached the 100 day mark where he will undergo extensive testing. All in all everything related to his current battle with cancer has been “best case scenario.” He was in remission after the first round of chemotherapy. He had one more round, which is the minimum they recommend. The transplant was exactly two months after diagnosis with a wonderfully matched sibling donor. Our family has had such wonderful encouragement and support from friends, family, acquaintances, above all we could ask or think the Lord has blessed us throughout this trial. If you would like to read a more detailed account or would like to follow Brent’s journal follow this link.

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Today my daughter, Gaubri, and I took my foster son to Kauffman Memorial Gardens to have his picture taken for his adoption profile. We met his new Wendy’s Wonderful Kids worker and admired the beautiful gardens.

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Enjoying a beautiful evening at the field. My son, Shakur, is living his dream by playing football with the Central Sharks.

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Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Outside in Kansas City~It is a beautiful autumn day and the high is predicted to be 91 degrees. I love these cool nights and warm days after the weeks of heat this summer.

I am thinking~about new beginnings. I can beat myself up about the things I had hoped to have accomplished or I can begin again TODAY. God is so faithful to assure us that his mercies are new every morning and His steadfast love never ceases.

I am thankful for~time at home. Working from home as a full-time mom allows me to spend time with all the kids, structure my day around their schedules and my husband’s, and enjoy just being at home. I enjoy folding clothes, paying bills, or reading on the deck while the baby plays on a blanket and just soaking in the beautiful weather.

In my kitchen~I have been researching saving on food costs. This will be a real challenge because I am already dealing with several children who are very picky eaters and my husband, Brent, and I both need to cut down on calories without feeling starved. I am not a short order cook; just ask anyone who has lived with me. What is prepared for the meal is what diners are expected to eat and they may be extra ready for the next meal if they refuse. I definitely need wisdom in how to meet all these needs/preferences in the best possible way.

I am wearing~jeans, pink t-shirt and pink toenail polish.

Last creative endeavor~too long ago to remember…

I am going~to go to mandatory training tonight at Missouri Baptist Children’s Home. Each year as part of our licensing requirement we attend a Medication Refresher class. In class we are taught by a Registered Nurse how to measure and dispense a variety of medications. We are typically updated on any changes in foster care requirements that are specific to medication or health care.

Can’t wait for~my January cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line’s ship “Sky” with some of my favorite ladies. We are sharing a suite with Butler and Concierge service and it is going to be a blast.

Family News~We are impatiently awaiting the birth of our newest grandchild to Nicholas and Staci. He should join the family around the middle of December. Our daughter-in-law makes a very beautiful momma to be.

Current Read~I am reading books about saving money on everyday expenses, again. See prior post.

I am hearing~the dishwasher and the quiet click of the laptop keys as I hide in the bathroom to finish this post. Too much information?

I am hoping~to wake up to find that the toilet water that leaked from an overflow in the upstairs kid’s bathroom has dried up and that the hard wired smoke alarm that it tripped, after bedtime, is not fried.

Around the house~the interior and exterior are sadly neglected due to the long hot summer, many struggling children to care for and a husband who has been fighting injury after injury for the last several months.Here’s hoping for a productive Autumn.

Simple pleasure~a few moments of reading a sweet fiction novel on my phone before passing out for the night.“Sixty Acres and a Bride”, is a retelling of the story of Naomi, Ruth and Boaz. 

This week’s project to tackle is cutting food costs for our family of eight. We currently have the following: one five month old, one eight year old, one eleven year old, two fourteen year olds, one seventeen year old and two adults. When it comes to appetites we are basically feeding seven adults.
We have been in survival mode adjusting to the increase by three people after a new foster placement over two months ago. It is now time to evaluate ways to keep our costs down.
I am a reader, an absolute book fan so when it comes to any question I tend to gather my resources and get to researching. My current “cutting food costs” stack contains Family Feasts for $75 a Week by Mary Ostyn, Cutting Your Grocery Bill in Half with America’s Cheapest Family by Steve & Annette Economides, and Dig Out of Debt by Jill Cooper & Tawra Kellam.
While I start formulating a plan I will concentrate on using what I have. This morning I put on a rich, hearty stew to simmer so I can fill all those hungry bellies before Football and Karate this evening. I will serve it with fresh bread from the much neglected bread machine.

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Please feel free to comment with your family’s food stretching and money saving tips.

I mentioned earlier that my daughter, Gaubri, and I plan to go on a mission trip in March with a group from Faith Community Church so I wanted to share more details.
The trip  will be 10 days and 9 nights in Chalchuapa, El Salvador, March 8-17th. We plan to have a vacation Bible school, do door-to-door evangelism, build a home for a church family that lost their home in a typhoon, and spend some time in a music ministry as we serve a church in Chalchuapa.
This is the timeline we were given in December:
TIMETABLE – This is a best estimate of the next 13 weeks:
  • Immediate – Passport secured DONE!
  • 12/19/11 or before – Prayer / financial support letters out 1/2 DONE
  • 01/11/12 – Team meeting after Wednesday service / El Salvador pics / Q & A  LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS, MATT GRECO IS IN EL SALVADOR THIS WEEK SO HE WILL HAVE MORE INFO TO SHARE WITH US DURING THIS MEETING.
  • 01/15/12 – $400 EACH deposit due – We’ll buy tickets after we have this deposit!
  • 01/29/12 – Team meeting / covered dish dinner – Time and place TBA
  • 02/12/12 – $500  EACH payment due
  • 02/29/12 – Team meeting after Wednesday service
  • 03/04/12 – $600  EACH (balance) payment due
  • 03/07/12 – Wednesday Night dedication of El Salvador team
  • 03/08/12 – Leave for El Salvador!

I am super excited for the opportunity to go and serve in El Salvador and be a part of this team.  I am also so grateful for the chance to take Gaubri to experience another culture and expand her view of the world, I think she will come back with a much better appreciation of how very blessed she is.

Please pray for all of us as we prepare and if you feel led to contribute to the trip you can make donations through Faith Community Church.

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Gaubri plays with the Faith Christian Academy Knights. They had a nail biter game in Grandview last night. A spectator behind me said “that’s a good team.” A lot of hard work from players and coaches has reaped reward!

Outside in Kansas City~Sunny and 37 degrees.  We have been enjoying record highs lately and the forecast predicts 60 degree weather again this week!

I am thinking~that I would like to blog on a regular basis this year. I am also hoping to start training for a 5k and am entering into a new discipleship relationship.  Excited about new things in 2012.

I am thankful for~family time over the holidays.  It was such a blessing to have all our children and grandchildren with us on Christmas.  I know there will be years that this can’t happen so I truly appreciate it.

In my kitchen~I am planning to eat from the current fridge, freezer and pantry offerings this week.  It will help to clear things out before they go bad and save some money after the Christmas spending. After that I am planning to try out Once a Month Mom’s real food challenge and the Whole Food’s Menu.

I am wearing~My new fleece pullover from Land’s End, Jeans, Nike’s.

Last creative endeavor~is to regularly entertain, distract, and care for a nine month old 😉

Sleeping Sweetie!

I am going~to travel to El Salvador with a group from Faith Community Church for 10 days in March.  My daughter, Gaubri, will be going too. We are very excited about going to serve others and share the love of Christ.

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Can’t wait for~tomorrow, every day is a new adventure. Longer term I am looking forward to a trip to Europe in spring 2013, Lord willing.

Family News~We are down to five people at our house right now.  Our foster son who has been with us since last January transitioned to his new home the day before Thanksgiving. He is being adopted by a family member who really loves him so this is a great ending for our placement with him.  We really need prayer about future placements, if, who, when, we take in more children.  Initially we were just focused on having a “break” and even though we have gotten several calls about placements we have told everyone that is what we are doing.  We still have our foster daughter, and she is spending three nights a week with her birth mom so we are in a very doable place right now. Unfortunately (or fortunately) that internal nudging that there is such a need and the constant reminder from the calls and the postings looking for placements on the foster care email loop keep me pondering what our next step should be.

Current Read~I am starting Feminine Threads: Women in the Tapestry of Christian History by Diana Lynn Severance.

I am hearing~The hum of the computer, Brent took Gaubri and Shakur to basketball practice and baby D is taking a nap.

I am hoping~to keep the household organized with a new app I purchased for my Iphone called Motivated Moms 2012. It also comes in printable versions and breaks household tasks down into daily lists, similar to the old card system that the Sidetracked Executives used or Flylady without the deluge of emails.

Around the house~the dead Christmas tree has been taken to the woods and the living room is back to normal. The house seems very empty and quiet after the holiday invasion…

Simple pleasure~quiet time to blog and meal plan.

Outside in Kansas City~ It is already hot and muggy at 7:20am this Saturday morning. According to Weather.com:  The common weather themes this holiday weekend are what you would expect them to be during the first week of July: heat and thunderstorms.

I am thinking~a lot about Biblical Counseling, biblical change; especially how it needs to affect my life, and about anger specifically.

I am thankful for~God’s grace and mercy and the insight and dedication of his people. On another note I am grateful that I got a full night’s sleep last night for the first time in months, both babies had a super good night, no dog barking, no husband snoring, and no older son coming in late. Bliss!

In my kitchen~there is a happy, well-rested three-month-old playing happily in her bouncy seat and a 13-year-old boy munching his way through a big bowl of cereal.

I am wearing~Gray capri sweat pants and my Faith Christian Academy Walkathon t-shirt.

Last creative endeavor~was to start writing my first biblical counseling certification paper.  It may be a very challenging and painful endeavor because I have not written a paper in years. My book choices are Why Christian’s Can’t Trust Psychology which I read months ago and really loved and Competent to Counsel which I am currently reading.

I am going~to attend the IABC National Bible Conference in Colorado the first week of August (Lord willing). Julie Ganschow will be one of the conference speakers.

Can’t wait for~school to start…I know weird.  I will miss the some things but I really prefer for the kids to have the structure of school.  In our neighborhood there are not a lot of good options and it is hard to provide recreational opportunities that work for 3 months to 16 years.

Family News~My son, Nicholas and, his wife, Staci, graduated from Dordt College this spring and moved to Holland, Michigan where he is working for Gentex and she is working in a shop that sells wine from a nearby vineyard.

Current Read~Getting a Grip: The Heart of Anger Handbook for Teens by Lou Priolo. This book was recommended to me recently and I am so glad to have it. It is written in a really practical way.  Lou Priolo is a newly discovered and appreciated author for me.  The church I attend, Faith Community Church, recently had men’s book studies utilizing his book The Complete Husband and his writing and heart for Biblical counseling is refreshing.

I am hearing~our little foster son babble from his stander.

I am hoping~to get lots accomplished over this holiday weekend.  I may use the 15 minute approach because I have such a variety of things that need to be done.  We will see how that works-15 minutes of decluttering my bedroom where every stray piece of  paper and clothing seems to congregate, painting on the ongoing woodwork project as we move from brown trim to white, etc…

Around the house~still working on the trim throughout the interior of the house and I love the change to warm white so much.  It’s amazing how there are constant repairs to do to any house you own.  We have a list right now that includes replacing the garage doors (unfortunately a necessity), mudjacking the driveway, rebuilding a crumbling brick area in the front of the house (caused by the need for mudjacking the driveway) among other less pressing things like finishing the exterior painting started last summer and repainting/staining the deck which was just done last year but because I chose the wrong stain has to be done again already.

Simple pleasure~Iced Coffee

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