Sunday, January 13, 2013

Our year in COOKIES!

We are going to bake our way through a cookie recipe magazine this year. The magazine has 65 recipes.  I'm hoping we can try at least 50 of them!

First of all I love cookies.  Really I love everything sweet.  Cake. Pie. Ice cream. Candy.  I am a dessert kind of gal.

The second reason is to have a fun project do to with the important girls and women in my life.  Someone once asked me if I thought I was doing a disservice to my daughters by not working (no I didn't kill her).  She implied or I inferred from her question that girls should see their moms doing it all, mother, wife, career...  I don't think there is a right or a wrong way when it comes to parenting.  Every family is different with ever changing needs and wants.  My husband and I have always thought it best for me to be a stay at home mom.  It's a job I love and one that I take seriously. 

I am proud that my daughters are surrounded by strong, intelligent, compassionate and diverse women.  They have wonderful teachers that are wives, mothers, grandmothers and are active in our community.  They have aunts and cousins that have careers and are also wives and mothers.  They have an aunt that raised a daughter on her own and has lived all over the country.  We have close friends in the community and at church that love my daughters.  These women come to see my girls play softball, they support them in school activities, they celebrate and cry with us.  My daughters are blessed to have two wonderful grandmothers that adore them.  All of these women love my children and I know pray for them.

Our year in cookies is a way to celebrate these relationships.  When these women come to visit us or we visit in their homes I hope we will make time for baking cookies or at least eating them.  No television or video games.  No texting or playing with apps.  Just us girls, working side by side in the kitchen, talking, laughing, getting to know one another a little better with each batch.

We began the cookie journey today.  My mom, my daughters, and I.  We started with the first recipe. Cornmeal-Orange Cookies.

We measured, poured, cracked eggs and went back and forth between my parent's home (next door) and mine in search of extra cookie sheets and needed ingredients.  The kids were in and out of the kitchen.  They helped a little, played a little and talked a little.  My mom told me stories about her days baking and cooking in the kitchen with me by her side as a young child.

And of course when the cookies were done we had to taste them.  They are a good dipping cookie.  They will be great with my morning coffee.  Even good with an afternoon cup of tea. I bet they will be delicious with orange sherbert!  And if I need a little snack in the evening they would even go well with a glass of Sangria.

If you come to our back door in the coming year you are likely to find a yummy smelling kitchen, flour footprints on the floor, and an abundance of cookies that must be shared!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Who needs the lottery?

Once in awhile when the lottery gets really high my husband buys a ticket.  We fantasize about all the things we could do if we hit it big.  We want to have some land and fill it with fruit trees and gardens.  I want more chickens, ducks and a goat.  The kids want horses.  Each of us has favorite organizations we would support.  It is a fun waste of time to dream of such things.

Last week Mike said he was thinking of buying a ticket.  And then he realized he has already won the lottery.

Our children are happy.
Our children are silly.
Our children are healthy, that's all we need!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It is time for the 4th Annual Blessing of the Birds! We will be celebrating this heart warming event On April 13th and 14th. We are honored to be partnering with Great Clips of Middle Georgia to raise awareness about childhood cancer and to raise funds for Jay’s HOPE.   Some of our Jay's HOPE kiddos will get to shave my head at the Great Clips on Hartley Bridge Road on April 13!

I will begin by telling you the story of the Blessing of the Birds.

Blessing of the Birds

Holly lost her hair for the first time in 2009 as a first grader. She wanted to toss it out in the yard so the birds could use her soft hair to make their nests. She learned about this from her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Lengel. Holly said something like this.…“the mama birds will feel blessed to find my hair and use it to make a soft nest for their babies“. We did in deed gather up all of her hair and toss it outside in the early spring of 2009.

Her hair grew back in the summer and autumn to a cute little pixie type of hair style. Our Holly was very proud of her hair.

Not long after her first chemo post relapse (October 2009) I sat in the bathroom with her while she bathed. Her freshly grown hair floated on the water mixing in with the bubbles. Holly saw my tears when her hair came out in clumps in my hands as I shampooed her hair.

I said "my God, how could this happen to my baby again." Holly said "Don't be sad Mommy, it is only hair it will grow back." I gathered up all of Holl's hair from the tub and all of the hair that came out over the next 24 hours and put it safely in a ziplock bag.

Many times Holly heard from various people that "it is only hair it will grow back". Our smart Holly said to me one day "Mommy, if it is only hair and it will grow back than shave yours." My response came quickly and easily, "you are right, go get the razor." We stood in the bathroom all five of us together and shaved my head. Holly, Mike, and my mom all helped, Mimi watched.

When our friend, Brian Ernst, relapsed he had a difficult time loosing his hair again. I shared Holl's Blessing of the Birds story with his family. Holly spoke of it herself to Brian.  Brian was a wonderful young man and it so unfair that he is gone. He was so strong and kind in front of the kids on the floor...Anyway, our Holly said to Brian "it is recycling". Brian laughed and said "this kid is amazing". Brian was amazing too.

I saved some of Holly's hair just in case she was not here with us for the Blessing of the Birds 2011. I would still be able to scatter some of her beautiful hair outside for the birds with her watching from heaven. Well, my friends, it is now time for the Blessing of the Birds 2012 and I am more thankful every day that Holly is here to lead the way!

We would love to have you join us at any Great Clips in Middle Georgia for the 4th Annual Blessing of the Birds - 2012. Great Clips is going to donate $1 for every hair cut on April 13th and 14th to Jay’s HOPE. I ask that you take some of your hair clippings home and scatter them in your yard to bless the birds. Please remember to pray for the survivors, the warriors, and the angels.  If you can not join us at Great Clips but would like to make a donation you can send it to:
Jay's Hope
1157-B Forsyth Street
Macon, Georgia 31201
Please write Blessing of the Birds in the memo section of your check.

Matthew Chapter 10:29-31

-Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. "So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

Jesus taught His disciples to have confidence in God's love. The God who cares for all of His creation, even the insignificant sparrow, certainly He cares for His children. God knows how many hairs fell from Holly's head and he knows how many she has now. Our blessings are abundant.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Jay's HOPE

I am headed to a Jay's HOPE fundraiser tonight.  Jay's HOPE is a non profit that supports families with childhood cancer.  Tonight's event is a blind wine tasting.  As you know I gave up all beverages except water for Lent.  I am going to taste a few of the wines and pray for forgiveness!  I already feel guilty!!!!!

I am also missing the girls first softball game which gives me another reason to feel guilty!  However, I need some adult time with my friends and I know the time away makes me a better mom (it's only 3 hours).

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Can we ever do enough to earn Easter?

Every year I begin Lent with this idea that I can do everything just right.  I can pray enough, sacrifice enough, I can repent enough to earn Easter.  And every year at some point I feel as though I have failed.  It shouldn't surprise me that this Lent hasn't been any different.  .But once again I am surprised.

I know Lent is not supposed to be easy.  I am focusing this year on the desert.  I think I remind my family at least once a day about Jesus' 40 days.  Jesus fasted and resisted temptation in the desert.  The very least we can do children is sacrifice meat one day a week.  The very least you can do for 40 days, kids, is to stop fighting.  Offer up all of those little annoyances and then let them go! 

I went on a trip to Sams last week to get supplies for a PTO spaghetti dinner.  Imagine my surprise when I got to the grocery section and smelled freshly brewed coffee (I have given up all beverages except water).  I considered putting my Keurig away for Lent but opted to leave it out on the counter as a daily reminder of my sacrifice.  I am not the type of coffee drinker that has to have a cup or two every morning but I do enjoy my Jamaica Me Crazy coffee most mornings.  Now that I can't have it, I crave it... big time.  The closer I got to the sample table that had the coffee the more I wanted just a sip.  And then when I saw the table and the Keurig brewing hot coffee I really felt the temptation.  I had to remind myself of my simple sacrifice that means so much to my relationship with Jesus.  I said a little prayer and chuckled a little at the irony before I continued my shopping trip.

I received a letter from Atlanta about Holly's scans in June.  They scheduled them for a Wednesday and the echo was missing from the itinerary completely.  We always scan on Tuesdays.    Outpatient chemo was always on Tuesdays.  Clinic appointments are always on Tuesdays.  All of the medical staff and Holly's team works on Tuesdays.  I was annoyed at the error.  I called the radiology department which told me the appointment was linked to her clinic visit so they couldn't change it.  I called the clinic which told me it is difficult to get time on the table and they could not change the clinic appointment unless I could change the scans.  And I still had the echo to schedule.  I was frustrated and mad, hard to believe I know.  I reminded myself of this season of Lent and I needed to stop being annoyed and let it go.  Luckily Sarah, Holly's oncology nurse, was able to switch everything to Tuesday and get the echo scheduled as well.

I falter, grow discouraged, and struggle, sometimes resentfully, with the weight of the cross God sends me.  The desert, though, is a difficult place—dry, uncomfortable, and very lonely. Some days I want to turn back, I am tempted to give in and it is on those days that I need to turn back to God and ask for his help.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


 This is my beautiful daughter Holly.

Holly was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma in 2009.

The cancer was in her eye muscle.

The road to recovery wasn't easy...

But it was worth it!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

This is our Lenten candle.
We used four different clors and textures of sand.
Mike, Holly, Mimi and I poured our sand into the vase.
Once our sands mixed it became impossible to sepeerate them.
The sand also symbolizes Jesus' 40 days in the desert,
as a reminder of our Lenten journey.

I learned from flylady, that it takes 30 days for a new habit to form. I have also learned this lesson from Lent. After giving up sugar in my coffee a few years ago I never went back to using it. I encourage my family to give something up but also add something in to their daily lives. This year I will be working on adding more prayer time into my life and hopefully my family‘s as well. I hope after 40 days it will be an automatic habit for us.

"Start your day right. Before you do anything else,
get up early and spend time with God."  

I've heard it since I was a young girl in Catholic school taught by sisters, and as a teenager in CYO, and I'm still hearing it as an adult at my church. Most likely you have heard it too.

Generally, I would let these comments go in one ear and out the other, (another bad habit of mine). I get up super early as it is, or at least it feels that way, to take care of my family, and surely no one expects me to get up even earlier to read my Bible and pray. I wouldn't be able to focus anyhow (after all I‘ve given up coffee). I can handle getting up early to get the kids ready for school, because they immediately throw me into movement, and that wakes me up. But sitting down and reading the Bible and praying BEFORE anyone gets up? It happens occasionally but not often and mostly on weekends.

My time with God has generally shifted with whatever stage of life I am currently living. When my children were little, I would spend time with God while holding them, or pray at night after putting them to sleep. As preschoolers we prayed in the car on our way to school. When Holly was fighting cancer I remained in constant prayer or at least it felt that way. I know I could not have walked a single step without God by my side. Now, I generally pray after the kids have gone to the bed. Most days it is a few minutes here and there. Usually, it's a good system. Except on the days that we are up late doing homework. Or Holly is having a panic attack at bedtime. Or, I’m busy with PTO, chickens, family, housework…Or *insert another million possibilities here*.

To be honest, this habit of taking time with God at night isn‘t working for me, because most nights I am too tired and distracted to fully engage in meaningful prayer. We made major lifestyle changes when Holly was sick. Not one other thing was more important to me then caring for Holly’s needs, no matter what they were. I cleaned, I comforted, I advocated, I researched, I disciplined, I taught, I comforted, I gave everything I had to my daughter, I gave up everything that I thought was important to care for my child that had cancer. If I could make a massive lifestyle change to care for her, shouldn't I also be able (and willing) to do it for God?

I have a friend that gets up early every single day to say the rosary. No matter what else is going on in this person’s life, time is made for that. So I know it is possible.

I have decided that this is something I want to implement into my life. Even though it's really hard to get up so early to do it, I know I won't regret it. My day will be better because of it. My perspective becomes more aligned what it should be when I spend intimate time with God. I want to have that properly aligned perspective from the moment I wake up.

I am adding morning prayer time in to my Lenten journey. This means I will have to set my alarm to wake up earlier than the children. This also means I will have to go to bed at a reasonable hour. I hope that by the time Easter comes I have prepared the way of the Lord in my life. I hope that this morning prayer time had become a habit that I love so I can continue through out the year.