Sunday, September 30, 2007

Tick Tock Tick Tock

There are so many ways to start this blog I'm not sure which one to use.
"Manipulative Tactics Wives Use to Make their Husbands Stay Home from Hunting Trips"
"A Stroke of Bad Luck."
When I began talking like this "hujan canook won labilly ham!" my daughter Amy, bless her heart knew she should take me to the Dr. immediately, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars.
Unfortunately, he was gone for the day and I was able to convince Amy to bring me back home where I began calling friends, now that I could communicate a bit better. I was hoping to find someone who would tell me that I didn't need to see an m.d.
Couldn't find one, so Rod and I headed to the e.r.
FYI: if you ever want medical people stumbling over themselves to help you in the e.r., rather than that lovely 6 hour wait with the partying, bleeding pajama clad people in the waiting room,(You've all seen them, you know who I'm talking about) just mention how you have been speaking wrong. Works like a charm. I was whisked back in a nano second and had all sorts of people hovering and testing within moments. Very impressive.
By the time Rod had parked the car, I was being wheeled in for the first cat scan. I am not kidding. These people were fast. Throw a few "gar chew manap!" at them and they acquire superhuman speed.
Long story short (er, sorry, was it already a long story?) they found that an artery in my neck had torn, causing bleeding or clotting in my brain. This tear needs to heal so that it doesn't bleed again causing a stroke. (they can't operate because of where the tear is located)
They kept me in the hospital for the next three days, where I met the most amazing doctors and nurses. So kind and patient and most with great senses of humor. Except for one notable exception who might have not been a nurse at all but was apparently taking time off from the set of "Children of the Corn." Still not sure. But that is an entirely different post.
So I have to take it easy for a few weeks. No lifting, no exercising, being especially careful of my neck. When the medical professionals throw out statements like, "possible blindness, vegetative state or sudden death," Things get serious pretty quickly. (Oregon IS one of the vegetative states, right?)

Actually, it's all good. Today I can hear the "tick tock" of my life's clock, the time that God has allocated for me loud and clear. That is a gift.
Our church is working through John Piper's book, "Don't Waste Your Life" right now. Perfect timing for me and lots of others, I'm certain.
There are so many vital important points that are made in this book,(and I'm grateful to GSCC to introducing us to it, and very much indebted to Alan H. and Dan Franklin for preparing and giving messages on it already) but it boils down so far to this: whether I live or die, whatever I do, I want (really desire) to do it for the glory of God.(I am happiest when he is glorified.) I will pray to this end daily. Sounds so simple, but these have become just words to our generation. Piper dissects them and lays out the meaning so we can embrace it wholeheartedly.
So there is no way that this inoperable artery of God's is a curse or a handicap. It is a blessing and a reminder of a loving creative Father who sings over us with joy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Avast, Matey!

I've been reading other people's posts about how God is working in their lives, and posts with titles like "How to Have a Mary Spirit," and "When I'm on My Knees." Good stuff. Stuff you can learn from.
So I figure we can get fluff here.
That said, tomorrow is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. I am not kidding.

Don't you think you needed to know that? Exactly. Me, too.
You also probably need a pirate name.

Here you go: Go to this site to generate your very own pirate name. Think of the fun you can have.

I am Pirate Dora the Bitter.
Cool, huh? (and yet, strangely appropriate)
So, celebrate tomorrow by talking like a pirate. But please try to keep your pillaging and looting to a minimum.
Thank you. And Arrrggggg!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Recipe Monday!!

Karen( suggested that we offer soup recipes today and it is a perfect soup day here in Oregon. Football yesterday, soup in the slow cooker today: Life is good.

Rod and I love this soup because, frankly, we love anything we can make in the crock pot. Just the other day, I was making Korean short ribs in it. I left to drive to town and do some errands.(It is quite a drive for us. When I arrived home and walked in the door, my first thought, and I am not making this up, was "Who broke into my house and made dinner?" It smelled wonderful.
I am sometimes one sandwich short of a picnic.

This is our recipe for a great chicken tortilla soup. You can use either the already cooked chicken from the grocery store deli, or chopped up chicken breasts. We also put put out cheese, sour cream and more cilantro for each person to add to their bowl. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 pound shredded, cooked chicken
1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
7 corn tortillas
vegetable oil

Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chiles, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in water and chicken broth, and season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir in corn and cilantro. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with oil. Cut tortillas into strips, then spread on a baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, sprinkle tortilla strips over soup.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

It's all about ME

I know it's not really, but I was pretty encouraged this weekend, so I felt like it might have been at least partially about me.
We finally received an email from Josiah letting us know he was safe. Part of the email is posted down below in the update section.
It felt SO GOOD to hear from him, I just can't explain it. Huge sigh.
Then last night I won a drawing for "Facing the Giants" A great football movie. WooHoo!! Wendy, the lady I won it from is sending it straight to Josiah, so isn't that neat? (Yes, it is!) You can visit her blog here and see my winning moment as well as a really creative site and cute family.
Finally, to cap off my day, I got a phone call from my sister and friend last night after they had been to church. Brenda said that the message had been on friendship, and how blessed you are if you have a friend who keeps you on track. Well, she thought of me, and proceeded to tell me all the ways I do this for her. (granted, she didn't stand up in church and share our friendship testimony like REAL grateful friends would do, but still. Just kidding, Brenda!)
So, what an encouraging weekend it has been!

Of course, Sunday's not over yet, so maybe I should just keep my head down or stay in bed today....

Josiah update: Here is a part of his email to us yesterday morning:
Hey guys, I got to sharona FOB (forward operating base) about 4 days ago. I took a 6 seater plane to get over here and it was awesome the pilot was insane! We had to to a combat landing which means the pilot has night vision goggles on and no lights on in or outside the plane. Also the FOB we are at is a blackout base which means there are no lights on at night what so ever everything is black so the enemy cant see us and the lights off in the plane obviously so they cant see the plane landing and shoot a rpg at it. So anyways the pilot drops into a nose dive from about 10,000 feet swerving left and right (combat maneuvers) until we land. We hit the runway pretty hard and no one knew what was going on because we couldn't see anything we thought we got hit by something until we felt the brakes being put on. So yeah it was a pretty crazy, but it was a fun flight.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

In the Gym

Yesterday I strode confidently into the health club that we are members of with my iPod strapped to my bicep (see, I'm already using working out-type words!) ready to lift weights. My confidence didn't last long.
First I headed for the rows of gleaming Nautilus equipment. Normally, I have headed upstairs to the cardio equipment, where everything is safe and familiar. But since I have been walking at home, I really needed to become better acquainted with the weight machines.
Boy, these machines looked kind of daunting and pretty confusing. I glanced surreptitiously around and everyone in there seemed to know exactly what they were doing as they heaved and hefted.
I just needed to pretend like I knew what I was doing so that no one would notice me. Thankfully, there weren't that many people in there.
I sat down on a seat with padded bars by my ankles. By glancing quickly at the instructions (thank goodness for pictures!) I could tell I should place my ankles under the bar and raise my feet, thus working my quads. See, I can do this! I tried to raise my legs but nothing budged. Oops, adjust the weight level. Then it was doable.
I did 10 lifts and then rested and took the opportunity to glance around in this weight room, that I now officially belonged in. I could learn to enjoy this. It wasn't so bad.
The next 10 lifts were quite difficult, I must admit. In fact it hurt, like something was burning, or tearing. That can't be good.
"My body is a body is a temple..." I needed to encourage myself. I glanced up again at my next rest.
Oh my gosh, that woman is so in shape. I wouldn't mind looking like that, to be perfectly honest. She must work out all the time. Oh, please don't come over here. Don't sit by me, don't sit by me, please don't sit by me. It figures. We are going to look like the perfect example of the "before and after" picture.
Here's me:

Here's her:

Okay, I really don't smoke. The cigarette was just for show.
And I really don't want to look like the very fit woman. Rod would tak one look at me and run screaming for his life. He would be afraid....very afraid.

After a few half-hearted attempts at working various muscle groups, I scuttled out, thoroughly discouraged.
Today, it hurts to lift anything,including a cereal box, or even laugh. So, I guess that the weights do their job.
I'll keep it up though...I have a goal in mind. :-)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Recipe Monday!

Oops. Yes, I am aware that it is Tuesday, not Monday. But I came into the game late, so I am just now going to post my recipe.
Lately, I have not been eating so great. For some this might mean not having a balanced dinner, or too many carbs during the day. But for me, it means stuff like Mike and Ikes for breakfast(tropical flavor) and a Costco hot dog for lunch.
Yes, Ang, I too have the dreaded Costco addiction. But I embrace it.
So I am aware of my need to restore my healthier eating habits.
Something I came across not too long ago is bok choy. I love it, and you have to admit it even sounds healthy. I am thrilled with it because it adds another veggie to my lackluster repertoire and it tastes good! Who knew?
It is great with grilled chicken or salmon, or as the side for an Indian curry or a stir-fry.
Maybe if I eat enough of it, the bok choy's healthy goodness will cancel out the sugary,tooth decaying Mike and Ikes breakfast.

Braised Bok Choy
2 cups chicken broth
6 T butter (or less, if you want)
1 1/2 lbs bok choy, chopped into 2-3 inch pieces
1 t Asian sesame oil
salt/pepper to taste

Bring butter and broth to a boil in a large, deep skillet. Place bok choy in the skillet and simmer, covered, until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer bok choy with tongs to a serving dish and keep warm. Boil broth mixture until reduced to about 1/2 cup, then stir in sesame oil and seasoning to taste. Pour mixture over bok choy and serve.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Breathe in. Breathe out. Pray.

That is how I figure I'll be getting through the next few months as Josiah left for Afghanistan today. I know his life is, and always has been in God's hands. (Can you hear the "but" coming?)
But the thing is, I don't know what God has planned. And that is particularly hard, I think, when your son is going into combat zones where people seriously want to harm him.
That is the hardest thing to wrap my mind around. Maybe I'm naive or just stupid, but I can't think of why someone would want to hurt my boy.
The picture at the top is how Josiah would like us, his parents, to think of him. The pictures below are how I actually see him, so sending him into war, into harm's way literally hurts my heart. I remember kissing his baby feet and bouncing him after his bath while we dried him off. I remember how his Dad made him laugh first. Priceless, really. I remember how he always tried so hard to take car of his baby sister, usually to the point of almost hurting her.

Moms remember all those chubby baby moments and superimpose them on their their soldier sons.
Even though I know intellectually he is grown up, trained and ready to go, I still see my precious boy, and man, does that hurt.

Lord God I pray for you to protect Josiah and bring him home to us. I know you see him with perfect vision, both the man and the boy.Help me to see things from your perspective, because sometimes I get too wrapped up in mine.
But remember how adorable he was when he would hide his eyes and think we couldn't see him? And remember when he fed Amy that lemon pie on Easter morning, before Rod and I got up?
I know you remember those times, and I'm so thankful that you love Siah even more than us.Let him see his need for you every day,and be ready with an answer for the guys around him. Please, Lord, keep him safe.

He was always skilled and multi talented, as you can see.You can probably tell, just from these pictures, that he would grow up to put out fires and save peoples' lives. I know we could.

Also, cute as a bug's ear, wasn't he?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A need for speed

I never thought I had a need for it, but recently I have discovered a joy in riding on a fast moving ATV. Who knew?
The wind whipping in my hair, the bugs in my throat, the gritty dirt in my eyes and the exhilarating speed. Ah yes, the speed.
Yesterday, I confronted my fear demons and gradually pressed on the gas until the world was flowing by like I was in the center of a fast moving tropical storm. When my tearing eyes were able to make out the speedometer I saw I had indeed broken my previous speed records. I was flying along the sun dappled forest trail, with no thought to my own safety, at 22 mph.
Woo hoo!!
Has life ever been any better?
That would be a "No".
This is F-U-N.
My friend, Nanci, says we have "Quadwife Syndrome", which apparently means our husbands will suffer when we no longer cook or clean for them.
But they did promise to love us, in SICKNESS or in health and I'm guessing Nanci, that a syndrome qualifies as a sickness. Besides, aren't they out there with us on the quads? They'll never notice that the bed is not made or that they're having cereal for dinner....again.
Besides, I think that the only known cure for Quadwife syndrome is more....speed. :-)
(up above you can see me along with fellow Quadwife sufferers, Brenda,(with her daughter) and Pat. We are starting a support group soon. Below you can clearly see the after effects of quading on a dry dusty day. Joy and dirt)