*June 9--My 95 y/o grandfather fell at the nursing home and broke his hip. He had hip surgery June 10, and was in the hospital for 5 days. We spent a *lot* of time at the hospital during that time...especially that weekend. My aunt came that Sunday and stayed until the following Saturday. Despite the doctors' original concerns that he wouldn't make it through the surgery at all and that he might not make it through the week, he came through with flying colors.
*June 11--This date had already been on the calendar due to an extended family situation. My friend J kept the kids that day so that I could deal with all that was going on that day and help my mom.
*June 16--I talked to my mom around 6:15...we marvelled at the fact that a week after my grandfather fell on the way to the dining room for lunch, he was back at the nursing home and they had taken him to the dining room for supper! My aunt had started her 2.5 hour trip home about 30 minutes before our conversation. About 15 minutes after I got off the phone with my mom the first time, the phone rang again and my mom was screaming, "Come quick, come quick, I think I've broken my wrist." Sure enough, we spent the evening in the ER and discovered that she had multiple fractures in her right arm near her wrist and a displaced thumb. They almost did surgery that night, but then decided against it.
*June 20--Finally got in to see the orthopedic surgeon, after a very painful few days for my mom, and a busy few for the rest of us. He scheduled surgery for the next morning.
*My friend J had the kids Wed. afternoon during the dr. appt., and immediately offered to keep them during the surgery. Later that evening, my friend K also offered to help. K ended up taking the oldest two home with her to spend the night, and I met J at the church the next morning with the younger two before I picked up Mother. I have the most wonderful friends in the world....K had had a horrible day Wed., had a full schedule already planned for Thursday, but she came by the house after church, picked up *stuff* for the two big kids and headed home for an impromptu *slumber party* with her two and mine. (She's still speaking to me, btw, even after the kids woke her up at **5:30 a.m.** the next morning...YIKES!) J wasn't having the best of weeks herself...and she has had my kids three times in two weeks and has fed us three times (actually 6 or 7, counting leftovers) in the past few weeks as well. I can't imagine making it through the past few weeks (or years, actually), without such wonderful friends.
(ETA for clarity...I started this post *last* Tuesday and didn't ever get it finished...so there is almost a week's break right here while it sat in draft. :))
* After surgery, we entered *nightmare weekend*. :) I honestly don't remember much of it...it was a complete blur. Thursday night I spent the night at my mom's and was literally up and down all night. I was already somewhat sleep deprived, and the main thing I remember about Friday and Saturday is that I have never...at any point...been as tired as I was those two days. Somewhere in there I also got *sick*. I thought at first it was just allergies, and then realized it was some sort of cold/virus thing that was apparently going around...a couple of friends had already had it, my kids had it in varying degrees, and then Billy got it just in time for his vacation last week! But...we survived the week and managed to even make all of VBS last week...more about that later.
So...things have been a bit busy here. ;-) But believe it or not, last week, VBS and all, was a bit calmer, and I did get a bit rested (my house is a testimony to the fact that I decided I was going to have to just *make* myself rest...so now it's catch-up week...:)). Hopefully this week will also be a bit calmer, and we will get caught up on the house, laundry, cooking, my ever-growing to do list...and maybe even my blog! Lots to blog about when I have time and coherant brain cells to type it all out. :)
But I'm going to try again this week. *Hopefully* this week will be a bit calmer. (Pretty scary when you are looking at VBS week as being *calmer*. ;-)) I'm just going to list our *main meal* for each day....since Billy's off and we have VBS this week, some days our main meal will be lunch and others it will be supper. We're all about flexible around here these days!
Monday--Tortellini, Salad, French Bread
Tuesday--Twice Baked Potatoes
Wednesday--Bacon-Swiss Bread and Salad
Thursday--Breaded Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, veggies
Friday--Tacos, Rice, and Beans
I have posted several times about how thankful I am for the friends God has blessed me with. One has fed our family twice (actually, four meals, counting leftovers :)) in the past week. Both times, it has been at just the right time...when I have been literally too tired to make a peanut butter sandwich (and didn't have the brain-power to ;-)). I am amazed with God's provision. What a blessing! One has been checking every day "Do you have food? Do you need help with the kids?" I know that she is ready at a moment's notice to feed us, keep the kids, whatever. Most of all, they have listened and prayed and made me laugh through all the *stuff* that has been going on here.
In addition to my *best* friends, God has blessed us with a church family who are wonderful at ministering in times of crisis. Last night we thought I was going to have to take my mom back to the ER, as she was having severe swelling in her casted arm/hand. I was already exhausted and frankly just plain out of sorts. The kids and I had spent the afternoon helping her (the kids helped clean her house and did *great* job), and I was ready to go home, feed everyone, and go to bed. Instead, we ran through a drive-through, I dropped the kids off at the house to Billy, and Mother and I headed to the hospital. They sent her home with instructions to *try this and come back if it doesn't get better*. I took her home, followed their instructions, and left her elevating her arm on ice while I went to the grocery store. Just as I was leaving, Billy called. Friends from church had called and said they were on their way to our house with food. Mrs. C had mentioned Sunday that she had been through a similar situation with her mother breaking her arm, and been very encouraging and sympathetic.
When I got home much later that evening, I opened the fridge to put groceries away...and couldn't resist opening the unfamiliar container on the top shelf. When I did, I got a whiff of the most wonderful-smelling roast I have ever smelled. Yummmm! And then came the "Wow!"
A couple of weeks ago, I took a roast to a friend who is having health problems. When I bought it, I bought a two-pack at Sams, thinking I would cook one for her and one for us. Then I realized I only have *one* crock pot and I was *not* cooking one in the oven in my un-air-conditioned kitchen...so I stuck ours in the fridge to cook the next day. Well...in all the chaos around here lately, the next day turned into the next day, and the next day turned into the next day...and the next...and those next days turned into an uncooked roast in my trash can. :-(
Ever since, I have been *craving* roast. Couldn't justify buying one, since I had let the first one go to waste, and knew I wouldn't have any more time to cook it right now than I would have the first time even if I did. But every time I had opened the refrigerator lately to scrounge up food for people...I had wished for that roast!
And there one sits...all cooked and ready to eat. Isn't God good? Not only does He provide for our needs...He throws in some of our silly *wants* as well. Now the only problem is going to be waiting till Billy gets home tonight to eat it for supper! :) I am so thankful for friends and church family who listen to God's promptings and truly act as His hands and feet during hard times. We are blessed.
Monday--spaghetti and meatballs, green beans
Tuesday--chicken salad* sandwiches
Wednesday--church, I guess...Mother's appt. is Wednesday so we will have to see what happens there.
Thursday--Bacon-Swiss Bread and salad
I thought I'd post this chicken salad recipe...it is so easy and so good. They were sampling it at Sam's one day when the kids and I were shopping, and the kids all *loved* it. *That* made me stop in my tracks, because chicken salad is one of my very favorite things on *earth*...and usually I can't get anyone else in the house to eat it. Then when I made it at home, *Billy* loved it. He's requested it twice since then. :) So...it's definitely a keeper here!
I have no amounts...just keep adding to taste. The chicken in the original salad we tasted was Member's Mark from Sam's, and that is what we have used so far when we've made it. You could use any canned or cooked, shredded or diced chicken.
Hormel Real Bacon Pieces
Mrs. Dash seasoning
That's it. I think my kids like it because there is nothing *crunchy* in it. :)
Hopefully later in the week I'll have time to head to Laura's site for more menu ideas...there are always lots of great ideas on MPM!
I kept saying last night this was our *4th* broken bone in 54 weeks...Ammah Grace broke her arm just over a year ago, and then I broke my ankle in March, Papa broke his hip last week, and now Mother. I realized this morning, though, that I missed one...Billy's mom is just getting over a broken arm as well. She broke her arm just as my ankle was getting better. I guess the rest of the family had better take cover!
It's going to be a very interesting week. We will be spending a lot of time with *Mamoe*, helping her do what needs to be done this week...not to mention the looming possibility of surgery. I told Billy today that I am tireder than I *ever* remember being...even those last few months before Daddy died when he was so sick and we were all so drained. This year has just been *extremely* intense (for want of a better word) for us, and the stress and lost sleep the past couple of weeks has really hit hard.
God always seems to send encouragement through music, and today was no exception. As I was standing in the choir loft fighting exhaustion this morning, the words to this old hymn took on new meaning. We have really experienced His perfect peace...and the promise this morning of His perfect rest was such an encouragement:
Like a river glorious is God's perfect peace,
Over all victorious in its bright increase;
Perfect yet it floweth fuller every day;
Perfect yet it groweth deeper all the way.
Stayed upon Jehovah, Hearts are fully blest;
Finding as He promised, Perfect peace and rest.
Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, Never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, Not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry Touch the spirit there.
Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Trac'd upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
We may trust Him fully all for us to do;
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.
(By the way, I had planned to post a Father's Day post today, but it's not going to happen. I'll try to post belated Father's Day thoughts later in the week.)
1. A husband who will make emergency diet coke runs at any time of the day or night. I was down to a couple of (almost certainly *flat*) inches of Diet Sam's Choice in the bottom of a 2 liter, because I forgot to get sodas Sunday night at the store and I didn't have time to yesterday. My wonderful hubby made a detour on the way to work to bring me a two liter and a bag of ice. :) Isn't he wonderful?? I am also thankful for the way that he is ready at any time to do whatever is needed in a crisis. My grandfather has been in the hospital since Sunday, and Billy has not once complained about all the time I have had to spend up there. He has taken over things at home and even helped keep the dishes and laundry (semi--it's never *completely* caught up here!) caught up. And mopped up my tears more than once this weekend to boot...
2. Friends who are the *best* at *being there*. My friend J kept my children all day yesterday *and* sent supper home last night. My friend K took me out for yummy dessert last night. She is great at not only *listening*, but saying what I *need* to hear. Both of them were there by phone *all* day yesterday and all through this long weekend, during which we were dealing with one very difficult extended family situation that was *scheduled* and one that entered the picture as a weekend emergency. My friend T has kept me laughing (and cried with me) from 500 miles away.
3. A nurse named Connie. More about her later, but I am so thankful for God's working in the smallest details of our lives. I've been reminded again what a difference *one* person can make in a rough time.
4. Peace that passes understanding. More on this later, too...but I am so thankful for our Awesome God, who gives indescribable peace even when our prayers are answered *completely opposite-ly* (I know...that is *not* a word, but it was the only one that would work!) from the way we *thought* we needed them to be.
5. Good Books. Enough said. :-)
Today I am thankful for...
...a five dollar bill. The story is going to get a blog post all its own, but I'm thankful for God's use of a stranger to change my attitude and remind me of some much-needed lessons. (ETA: Story has now been added here . )
...my hard-working husband. His job in the ER is stressful at best, overwhelming on *ordinary* days, and occasionally just flat-out heartbreaking...but he is committed to working "as unto the Lord", and it shows. Yesterday he received a thank you note in the mail from the CEO of the hospital, following a note from his boss earlier in the week, due to the comments of a grateful patient. I know from our experiences what a tremendous difference caring, committed, Christian medical personnel can make during a crisis...and I'm very thankful that God is allowing Billy to pass that blessing along to others.
...a 20th anniversary--of a church, and of one of the most difficult, and most wonderful, experiences of my life. That, too, is going to have a blog post of its very own, but I'm thankful for God allowing me to *happen* upon the notice this week of Woodland Heights Baptist's 20th anniversary. His timing is perfect, and I think it is no coincidence that He allowed me to be reminded of all that was going on 20 years ago this time just as we go into what promises to be one of the most difficult weeks ever.
...the computer I'm typing on at the moment. After years of using *really* antiquated machines passed on 2nd (and sometimes 3rd and 4th ) hand, it is *so* nice to be able to sit down at the computer and know that it will *do* what I want it to do (well, *if* I can figure it out, that is!) It was so exciting to be able to actually *watch* a podcast (I think that is what it was...I may be off with my tech-terms here ;-)) of a local church service the other night! And after years of knowing I didn't have the capacity to play with digital imaging, it has been fun to dabble in that a bit lately, too.
...our church. I have been reminded several times this week how thankful I am that God led us to Oak Cliff over 10 years ago. I am thankful for a pastor who is committed to expository preaching and to glorifying God rather than man. I am thankful that God uses him every week to speak to *exactly* what I need to hear. And I am thankful for a minister of music who is committed to God-honoring music, and who uses His incredible talent and ability to provide that in every service. I am thankful that hymns and anthems are the *norm* and that my children are growing up with the same heritage of excellence and worship in church music that I had growing up.
...God's mercies which are truly *new every morning*. What a blessing after one of *those* days (see yesterday's "You Didible!" post if you don't know what one of *those* days is!) to be able to go to bed and know that *tomorrow is a new day*, and get up with the hope that (usually!) *those* days don't come two days in a row! I am thankful that even more than *I* still love *my* children after one of *those* days, and am ready for a fresh start with them, *God* still loves *me* after *those* days, and is always waiting to forgive and pull me back up out of the pit.
...the character of God, which never changes regardless of our *feelings*. That even on *those* days when I am so down and discouraged, God is still good, He is still faithful, He is still sovereign, and His love never wavers.
See more Thankful Thursdays here.
I was putting my hair up in rollers, trying to get in the mood to go to church tonight, thinking how * much* I would like to stay home...when Ammah Grace came in. I've always said that God gave her to us to make us smile during the hardest years of our lives...and once again, she did it.
"Mama, you didable!" (Didable=adorable in Ammah Grace speak)
Mind you, at this point I had hot rollers in my hair and looked like a space alien.
"Yes, Mama, you *weeaaallly* didable."
*Big Cheesy Grin* from Ammah Grace.
*Big smile* from Mom.
Haven't had time to work out sides for sure yet, and this is going to be one of those weeks where I'm figuring out breakfasts and lunches as I go...but here are the basics. :)
Monday: Twice Baked Potatoes
Tuesday: Mexican Chicken Casserole
Wednesday: Macaroni and Cheese
Friday: Honey Mustard Chicken
I'll be heading to check out other menu plans here to get some fresh ideas for next week!
He then asked the question that has been on my mind in so many ways over recent months...both in asking and attempting to answer it:
"If God is sovereign, why am I going through this?"
The answers he gave confirmed what God has been teaching me through much anguish lately...
(these are my own very loose paraphrases...Bro. Kent said it all *much* better!)
* Trials are a consequence of sin--If our trials are because of our own sin...then God will likely let us suffer the consequences. And often...our trials are because of the sin of others/evil in the world. Regardless...he has our best interests at heart. He does have a purpose and plan for us in it...all of our days were written down before one came to be...none of it has taken him by surprise (Ps. 139).
*Trials are to make us more like Jesus--We are to "count it all joy" (James 1), as our suffering, no matter what the cause, is to make us more like Jesus. He perfects us through suffering. When he leads us through a valley, it is because He is in the process of making us more like Him.
*God does not owe us an explanation! He *owes* us His wrath....anything we get other than that is purely His mercy and grace. He does NOT have to explain Himself to his creations. Our confidence and assurance must be in Him...whether we ever see the *whys* or not.
I loved these quotes:
"Whatever He is doing will result in the greatest glory possible to God."
"We know that His Will and His Plan and His Work are perfect."
Those were the words I heard over the phone Monday morning from my very excited son. He and Billy went out to Flightmaster's Field (the local radio controlled airplane club) to their Memorial Day event, and Peter won the drawing for a brand new plane! As you can see from the photo, he is quite the proud new pilot!
I found this recipe years ago in a Taste of Home Quick Cooking magazine, and it has been a lifesaver for us:
4 Lbs. Ground beef
4 medium onions, chopped
5 celery ribs, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cans (28 oz. Each) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cans (6 oz. each) tomato paste
2 jars (4.5 oz each) mushrooms, drained, optional
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 tsp. Dried oregano
2 tsp. Dried basil
1 tsp. Pepper
Cook beef, onions, celery and garlic over med. heat until meet is no longer pink and vegetables are tender ; drain. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 1-1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Cool. Transfer to freezer bags or containers, about 2 cups in each. May be frozen for up to 3 months. Makes about 15 cups. Use in the following recipes:
2 cups Big-Batch Beef Sauce
1 can (8 oz.) Tomato sauce
1 jar (4.5 oz) sliced mushrooms, drained (opt.)
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
Hot cooked spaghetti
2 cups Big-Batch Beef Sauce
1 envelope taco seasoning
1/4 cup water
6 to 8 taco shells or flour tortillas
Combine beef sauce, taco seasoning and water and bring to boil in saucepan. Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, until heated through. Spoon about 1/4 cup meat mixture into each taco shell or tortilla and serve with above toppings.
2 cups Big-Batch Beef Sauce
1 can (6 oz.) Tomato paste
2 tsp. Dried basil
2 cups (16 oz) small-curd cottage cheese
6 no-cook lasagna noodles
4 cups (16 oz.) Shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Combine beef sauce, tomato paste and basil in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 5 minutes. Mix cottage cheese and egg. Spoon a third of the meat sauce into a greased 13-inch x 9-inch x 2-inch baking dish. Layer with three noodles, half of the cottage cheese mixture and a third of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining meat sauce and mozzarella. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until bubbly and the cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
2 cups Big-Batch Beef Sauce
1 can (16 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1-2 tsp. Chili powder
1/4 tsp. Crushed red pepper flakes
Shredded cheddar cheese
Combine the beef sauce, beans, tomato sauce, chili powder and red pepper flakes in saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until heated through. Garnish servings with cheese.
Check out other freezer recipes at Overwhelmed With Joy .