Friday, October 29, 2010

Recipes we enjoyed this week at Calico Acres Farm


10  large square  Bell peppers, gutted, save the tops, blanche for 3 minutes  and remove from boiling salted water, set aside
16 cups of cooked rice ( we like Jasmine)
4 large cans of tomato sauce
4 large cans of diced tomatos
2-3 # of lean ground beef of turkey
2 large onions, diced
Chili powder about 3 tablespoons
Garlic powder  about 3 tablespoons
cumin about 1 tablespoon
salt  and fresh ground pepper
4-6 cups of V-8 vegetable juice
Brown the meat  with the onions, drain off the fat.
Mix rice tomatos, rice and meat together in a large pot
stir in spices. These are so individual I only make guidelines, I often add more as I test taste
Grease or spray with no-stick spray  a large roasting pan.  Place peppers in the roasting pan, Fill   prepared peppers with rice  meat -tomato mixture, spoon the remainder over the peppers and even out in the pan.  Plae pepper tops  on top of the rice stuffed peppers.Cover  and bake for 2 hours at 300 degrees.  IF your pepper stuffing gets too dry  or you want them a bit juicier,  pour the V-8 juice over the peppers and rice mixture during the last 30 minutes.  Serve with home made bread or corn bread,   Makes about 20 servings. I usually cut the peppers  into  halves when I serve the meal for more pepper servings with the  stuffing. Stuffing is great leftover as the pepper flavor simmers into the stuffing


6 chicken breasts, stewed  Save the stock and into it add:
1 pkg  frozen seasoning mix  veggies ( this is a cheat thing. The peppers, celery and onion are precut)  You can cut your own veggies  to total 2 cups and simmer in  chicken stock till tender.
3 large cans of Cream of Mushroom soup
1- 4 oz  ajr of diced pimientos, drained,
6 oz can mushrooms
4cups plain yogurt
3 #  thin spaghetti, cooked an drained
salt and pepper to taste
4 -6 cups  of shredded cheese

Cube the chicken, mix together in a large bowl or pot with the soup, yogurt , veggies and chicken stock, pimientos and mushrooms . Pour this mixture and spaghetti into 3 9x13  pans or  1  three-cake mix  sized pan. Stir and dmix together thoroughly.  Top tetrazzini with shredded cheese and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.
About 20 servings  and leftovers are delicious hot or cold!!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

That Halloween question

Tom Davis whose writings I enjoy an am challenged by regularly ( RED LETTERS Living a Life that Bleeds....  PRICELESS the novel about sex trade in Russia....his blog, his Face Book page) posted about Halloween today that prompted quite a few comments about the subject. His  post is here  and its a good one.  Halloween  an ongoing discussion amongst my friends, some with long held postions ( "yes we do"   as well as  "no we do not")  and some with recently worn down positions,  and some still trying to figure it out .
I shared a comment on Tom's page and decided that I would share it here as well. His question was Do you celebrate Halloween?"

We don't, we haven't, and we won't particpate. My thoughts on it are that we do not encourage our children to tinker with things occult any other day of the year and that disguising them in candy and games doesn't make them any less occult. The underlying themes of witchcraft and demonic activty have no place in our lives any day of the year but Americans in their fun-loving ignorance have invited satan into a day of the year with no restraints. That day has turned into a more -than -a -month with all the store hype and sales promotions of things demonic scary, occult, and just plain ugly. There's nothing Phil. 4: 8 about it anywhere. Because we hae a lot of new believers in our circle lately, I think its even more important to remember not to cause anyone else to stumble. IF we say "avoid the very appearance of evil " but play with halloween, what message do we send? IF we quote "resist the devil and he will flee from you" but invite the things of the devil (again occult costumes, dead-play toys and symbols, witches and ghosts) into a "Celebration" of candy and "fun, what message do we send? We'll flee the devil tomorrow??? On the surface this "one day" may look like "simple fun" but lighten up??? I don't think so. The enemy is prowling like a lion to see whom he can devour. IF I'm munching Halloween candy and lugging my kids around in the dark amongst demon-mimicking children and their ghostly-ghouly looking friends, I might just be the next thing "munched on" and it won't be by a hardy late- fall mosquito.

Have a blessed day whate ever you all do on the 31st, but can we really ask God to bless us when we praticipate in something that condones and promotes anything of the devil and encourages others to do the same? That's my question.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wedding preparation and another birthday! late afternoon additions

October is our really "birthday-heavy"  month with Isaiah on the 1st, Caleb on the 9th, Rachel on the 15th and then Naomi on the 30th. No other month has as many birthdays except September and except for DH  Charlie's birthday, those are Grandchildren ( Joshua's son and daughter, Caleb's son, Hannah's  daughter and son:  please note  I don't differentitate between bio and step...the children in this family are entirely IN the family!)  it is also our anniversary month.   SO, all tht said, we are going to eat Chinese  food for Naomi's birthday at her request and go the the Brandon Heath /  Jars of Clay concert  being held at a church about an hour from here.  She also has a very warm fuzzy fleece blanket being made for her by her mommy who is obviously NOT working on it becasue she is blogging about it!!   We actually missed Naomi's first birthday because we were traveling home from Cambodia with Noah on that  October 30. We lovingly remind her that she got a new big  brother for her first birthday!
The wedding is coming together , I HOPE  nicely! I am purchasing the necessary items a bit at a time to maintain cardiac efficiency, and I am really relegating tasks to others...REALLY!!! Well, OK one whom I recruited to help sew the  bridesmaid's dresses has been sick and then had a sick daughter, but  I'm TRYING!!!
I did get three bridesmaid's dresses marked for hemming on Monday night. I hadn't noticed at the store but was a bit aghast as a (former frequent and semi-professional) seamstress that the hems of the dresses were top-stitched on a machine!!!! If you don't sew this is meaningless to you but if you DO,  you know what I'm talking about. No nice invisible machine stitch or  hand sewn hemming job: TOP STITCHED, with no real hem at all! OUR finished dresses will be hand hemmed and the stitches will be invisible. If my helper  is well and her daughter is well, I'll have her mark my dress so I can get it hemmed too,  or maybe we can sew together while my girls play with her children. That would be fun! I still need to take Naomi and Rchel dress shopping.
Food:  I bought all the meat  two weeks ago, veggies can't be purchased till next week later for maximum freshness, but all the supporting food items will be purchased tomorrow, ditto the remaining paper products.
I have nothing to do with the cakes. They are a gift from Casey's aunt.  THANK YOU Aunt Sherri! !!!!!!!
Esther will have fresh yellow and white roses tied into green and yellow ribbons, her bridesmaids will have bouquets of fresh or silk or both, harvest flowers: sunflowers, mums, pansies, also tied into yellow and green streamer ribbons. Our groomsmen will have a yellow rose boutinierre (spell check says I got tht right on the first try!! LOL)  . We can make the floral arrangemnts  (we...ME) on Friday night after the rehearsal.
Barn and pasture preparation is NOT my department but I did go out and assess the needs yesterday when moving some buck goats from one pasture to another... to avoid being downwind of the muskiness of buck goats during the wedding ya  see... its all good now. Stands have been built and painted for the Bride  and her party to dismount their horses and be walked up the path to the barn.  Hirching posts have been made sound and are also painted. A railing is now being built to keep people from getting too close to our lagoon as they walk to the reception and we hope to have some golf carts to valet folks too! A 10 day ahead look at the forecast so far promises us a sunny  slightly cool day but  NO RAIN is in the forecast!! I am hoping for 70s temps but we'll seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! The bridal party has jackets to go over their dresses but they also have STRICT  instructions from Esther that the jackets are for AFTER the ceremony, not during..
This falls into the "something borrowed "category along with my mother's /grandmothers/my ring. WE do not have enough horses of our own for all fothe bridesmaids, Esther, Casey and Charlie too. BUT we have 2 neighbors with horses that we will be borrowing to complete the procession. One neighbor who is pretty much a grafted in daugther  is going to bathe and  groom the horses for us, braid  manes and tails and keep them wedding -ready. I heard a little rumor that the Daddy of the Bride is going to buy some sort of Wedding Bling  for Sugar, Esther's pretty Paint mare too. That Daddy !!!
The house.
WILL not be as ready as I'd like just because it won't be. It will be as ready as I can get, but we live here every day. We home school here, we really  LIVE  here.............I'm hoping the back bathroom will be remodeled this weekend, That is my biggie expectation.
 It can happen, but Brandon Heath and celebrating Naomi's 9th birthday WILL come first!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Celebrating 8 years of life with Noah

One of my very  favorite photos
of Noah ever!
 My dear friend Jennifer traveled with Jael and me to Cambodia 8 years ago to complete our newest son  Noah's  adoption.  The day I met Noah for the first time, he was standing with the orphanage director waiting for our car to drive up. I didn't want to overwhelm this tiny boy with all my pent -up excitement but OH  I wanted to snatch him up into my arms,   kiss those dimpled cheks I' been  dreaming of for  so long, talk to him in words I knew he would not understand,  but  I held  back, "some"!!  I  grabbed him ently, hugged him pretty snuggly but not for  a long time and I kissed the top of his head. He hugged me back right away and I knew I was melting and this little boy was being blended into my being right there on the spot!We had waited far longer than we'd anticipated for Noah's adoption to complete. A suspension on adoptions in Cambodia imposed by the US governemnt left hundreds of us wondering how  and if ever, we' be united with our children. Some of us who had been politically active before jumped right in with both feet ready and many who'd never done a political thing in their lives jumped in too. That group of prospective adoptive parents was ENERGIZED and we let our Congress know it, state by state , Elected official by elected official until a "Pipeline" was established for those families who wished to persevere. That action was responsible before God for many childen being able to come home. How incredible  that journey was  and how unbelievable that it was eight years ago already! That tiny twinkly eyed little boy has grown into a  tall winkly eyed  teenager who is skilled athletically ( baseball, basketball,   tennis, swimming, soccer....) and academically, is a great helper and has a super sense of humor.
What we didn't know then (or in March that year when Charlie and I were in Vietnam together completing Naomi's adoption)  was that when Charlie went to meet Noah that God would be preparing his heart and then later mine, for a whole lot more than this one trip to Cambodia! We both met four other children we never DREAMED we would be able to think about adopting, much less actually DOING IT! The boy who was Noah's best friend ( and the bond between them was so obvious to us as we watched the children together) the boy to whom Noah turned to share whatever he had in his hand , was the subject of one of our very first halting English conversations. "Mommy, a boy at t'orph-nige, he like my brother. He not my brother, but like  brother. Sang Thai. You go 'dop him too?"  WHO KNEW that in February 2004 that request would be a reality?
When I met a little Inca -Mayan  looking cherub of a toddler-aged  girl behind one of the buildings at the compound, another older curly -haired girl was pulling her hair and she was crying. I picked her up, dried her tears as I told the other girl in words she did not understand to "stop that. Don't hurt this little one!" I asked the director about this girl, and was told her name, Narene, and that she had a brother, Guhn Kear and  a sister, Narong,  both older than she was.  She was 3 they said, and the other two 4 and 6. I HAD to meet them too.  No fanfare, but I watched them play, I asked as  much as I could about them, knowing that the "Pipeline" was only at that point for matched children, and  no more. Oh the adventures God was getting ready to reveal to us!!!!!!!!!!!!! Charlie and I compared stories and photos later  only to discover we BOTH had been smitten by the same siblings. Thinking that there was "no way" for any other adoptions, he kept his photos to himself. Obviously God had other plans already "in His Book"
I  have to share some of my favorite photos of my favorite first-adopted son !!! Thank You Heavenly Father so very much for our wonderful son and all the blessings that have come  with being his Mom and having Noah in our family!
Noah with  Leah and Isaac August 2010

Tractor time!

Isaac, Csey, Malachi and Daniel, Jon, Isaiah and  NOAH, Gideon, and Caleb

First days of school  ALPHA PHONICS with Noah (and baby Naomi)

WInter 2002-03 Horse drawn "sleigh" tote . Malachi  pulls Noah behind  Windstar

Noah's Giving and Recieving Ceremony 10-24-2002

Early photos of Noah ,age 4 and then age 5 PASSPORT PHOTO!!!
                                                       First  Thanksgiving. Noah got his own drumstick!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


After  a week of tests and doctor visits and negative test results so far, Jael  is still blacking out, still feeling queasy, light headed, nauseated and unsteady...most of the time  but not ALL of the time. The doctor asked that we start tracking Jael's blood glucose and so far she has tested in the low side of average or the high side of low, but not in the clearly " low" zone. Until tonight. In the middle of Praise and Worship music practice Jael called me and a very weak little, NOT-my-typical-bouncy-Jael sounding voice asked me, "IS 46 bad?"
I responded by asking if she meant her blood glucose and she said yes "That."   YES  JAEL, 46  is clearly  not normal, clearly  LOW LOW LOW"  I told her to get some milk and fruit into her system as quickly as she could and pormised toget home as fast as I could.
AH-------------HAA!!! perhaps we have found the culprit causing Jael's week-long mis-adventure! We will be monitoring  her diet, modifying her diet and checking her glucose levels to follow up, for sure!! I don't know if this has been brewing for a while. She hasn't had these kinds of symptoms before last week. I don't know WHY  or WHAT would cause it to start now, but if her root issue IS  hypo-glycemia, we can work with that!   Idenitfying the problem is always the first step. I hope we are on that step!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Field Trip at Calico Acres Farm

Well a little field trip anyhow. My friend Kember and her 2 year old son wnted to come and see our goats and maybe even get to milk a goat. Kember's friend and helper Elena wanted to milk a goat too so we set up a Mini-Field Day for yesterday. Baeden pettted the goats and had a blast . He was a bit hesitant about that milking thing and backed off from the opportunity but that didn't stop Kember or Elena! Rose was very helpful, stood very nicely still in her milk stand and Isaac and I (mostly Isaac ) taught the ladies how to feel for "the right spot" to squeeze and how to let the teat flow and how to let it re-fill. My photos are from my phone camera, and not very good at all. I know Kember and Elena took some which I hope are better meomentos of the day than are mine. On the way to the milking barn, we saw an unusual sight on the fence post of the buck goats' pen. A rather large spider was carrying a VERY large cricket on its back, I am guessing she was  en route to a web. Again, my photos are not good and the reason is two-fold. First : phone camera again with slow shutter speed and Second: Ribs is so friendly and affectionate! He kept trying to lick my hand as I steadied it on the post of his pen. His licking and prodding bumped my hand every time I centered on a "good shot" and I got Rib's assistant-type shots instead. We all got a great laugh from the experience anyhow!

Kember and Rose
Kember Rose and  Baeden

Elena and Rose

Elena excited at milking  successfully!

The spider and the cricket

Fascinating to watch, but I guess ya had to be there!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bridal shower, fainting, goat medicine and Matthew 19

Esther's  church bridal shower  was Sunday and we had a really good time celebrating  the upcoming wedding!
Here Grand daughter  Mady and daughter Esther share a smiley moment in between opening gifts. Mady was the the Gift Bringer and quite happy to have such an important job!

 Esther was blessed with many wonderful gifts  from a vacuum cleaner to coasters, dishes, kitchen laundry (as I call it)  a stock pot, gift cards, and more,   and she was surrounded with love and encouragement all the while!
The "Gag gift'"of the day came from Malachi and Sopheak (mostly Malachi) when he gathered a wide variety of colorful beverage cups from Esther's place of employ MEXICO  JOE'S. (We have so many of them  and we share them as souvenirs with visiting friends because they are THE standard measure and most frequently used beverage cup in all of Stillwater) He wanted to be sure that he didn't repeat  a color in his set  so she has about 12 of all different  hues and tones!

 A Paula Deen stock pot from Mom and the Smith sisters, "Stocked" with lots of other kitchen goodies

 My beautiful Esther Miriam   who could not be much happier with the way God has ordered her steps!

Yellow roses and black cowboy boots represent the wedding itself. Esther's colors are yellow and green ( not quite  John Deere but that was the original plan!!)  and yellow roses will be a favored flower in the wedding bouquets. The black boot? OH YES!!! The bridal party will be wearing those black boots for the wedding! ( Mother of the Bride TOO!!)

On the heels of the shower and planning for the wedding something started happening to 16 year old Jael. She began to get queasy, weak, and to pass out cold. After several hours at our dear doctor's office on Friday , we had ruled out any pulmonary issues with a chest x-ray, ruled out extremely obvious cardiac issues with an ECG, and targeted the simpler issues with a blood draw for analysis, A Holter monitor to evaluate cardiac activity for a 24 hour period was ordered and today we  got that taken care of. It will feed cardiac data to a computer until tomorrow morning and the data will be assessed for any  hidden cardiac issues that the ECG didn't catch. The blood work came back  all within normal parameters so the next thing  is to monitor blood glucose to see if perhaps  hypoglycemia ( low blood sugar) is the culprit.Among Jael's symptoms are nausea, lack of appetite, vomiting, some lower intestinal involvement, but mostly a feeling of weakness and that fainitng thing. I found her on the bathroom floor today right before we went to the doctor.
She had no idea what triggered that episode. Earlier  in the day she had been helping me to trim goat's hooves when one of the bucks kicked at her and ripped off a couple of the Holter leads. THAT caused no problems. When Gideon thought he could help with the trimming and  then seriously injured young buck Edward, Jael went right to work, being the future Veterinarian  that she is. That  too, caused no fainting issues.  I think I will spare you the photos of poor Edward's mis-trimmed hooves. Suffice it to say Jael and I were upset, Gideon was contrite,  and Edward was a mess.
I think we have stabilized him, controlled the bleeding and hopefully got the rest of the hoof trimming done so that Edward is not lame or infected..............
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH life on a farm with a large family. NEVER  a dull monment, ever!!

I am so thankful for God's hand on each of our children! When Jesus admonished His disciples in
Matthew 19,  "Let the little children come to Me and do not forbid them, for such is the Kingdom of Heaven, And He laid hands on them"    ( "and departed from there") He showed us how special  and precious children are! He didn't say they were perfect, He didn't say that this blessing was  in any way an imparting of salvation to them, or that they got the blessing  of something that others didn't get  or would not get in some other way, but  He reminded everyone for all ages to come, that children are worth stopping what one is doing  to tend to, to minister to, to encourage  and to treasure as symbols  of Heaven their simplicity and their basic uncluttered faith and I suspect, their pure desire to just BE with Jesus,   asking nothing from Him except  to BE WITH THEM. It was parents who brought them so that Jesus might lay hands upon them and pray for them , but scripture does not say the children asked for ANYTHING.
How often do our own children  approach US  this way? Wanting nothing but to be with US: their Mommies and Daddies? I love that I have been able to home school my children, work from home when I did have a "Not-the -Mommy- job" but I know I wasted a lot of the "just be with "  moments. Events this weekend reminded me of how special each moment with my children is: be it teaching complicated grammatical terms and uses, or cleaning up a wounded goat, encouraging the wounder of the goat that no one hates him, watching basketball  or tennis games, playing board games, emersing the female part of the family in bridal celebration , reading the Word together at the family table,  re-building a bathroom with help of our children,  LIFE WITH OUR CHILDREN IS PRECIOUS!!    I would remind myself  and each of you who might be reading this
"Let the children come..and forbid them NOT!"
 I do not think that is taking a scripture out of its context or changing its meaning one bit to not quote the entire passage. The meaning is so clear that Jesus valued the lives and presence of the children deeply!
I am praying  for a very specific child  this week who needs a family and soon. She has  known much pain and suffering in her short 8 years, much rejection and much abuse. My deepest prayers are for a family who can lead her to Jesus so she can know that she is not going to be forbidden   or turned away  EVER AGAIN. A family who can lead her t ohealing and restoration and revival... I "think" I know  who that family is. The family thinks so too, but its not a slam -dunk  done deal by any stretch.  Will you pray with me  for " Miss A" and her future? As you do, please take a moment to hug on your own children and thank God for them  one more  extra time. Pray for children in our country and our world  who are waiting to be told "COME TO ME", told they won't be forbidden or denied....loved and accepted by a family who will love and treaure THEM?     I love that God has given my husband and  me  the capacity to love so many children and I know that soon the day will come when we know that our family is complete: no more additions through adoption for us to be Mommy  and Daddy to. My heart is heavy for more families who will also adopt, who will  foster children,  who will mentor children, because the need is not going  away. As we ache to be able to bring our precious African children home, we continue to pray for the many  other children who wait. In my joy at celebrating weddings and birthdays, teaching moments and chastiisng moments, there is a burden for incompleted families and unmatched children. So many many many families many people waiting for so many other people!!!!!!!!!!
Show us how You want us to participate  Dear Heavenly Father!

I wish I 'd known about this event sooner!!!

Pro-Life Students Nationwide Take Vow of Silence Tomorrow to Highlight Abortion

by Steven Ertelt Editor         

October 18, 2010

Washington, DC ( -- Tens of thousands of pro-life students in high schools, middle schools and colleges and universities across the country will take a vow of silence tomorrow. They will refuse to speak to their friends and teachers because they are representing the voices of millions of unborn children killed in abortions.                 
The Pro-life Day of Silent Solidarity, a project of Stand True that is now marking its seventh year is observed by students who want to stand in solidarity with unborn children who would otherwise have become their classmates.
With 52 million babies killed via abortions since 1973, an entire generation of students has been lost to abortion.
"By refusing to speak the students create a huge buzz and abortion will be the most talked about subject on campus," Bryan Kemper, Stand True's president, told "This generation is fed up with the senseless violence of abortion as is determined to bring an end the abortion holocaust."

Kemper says the event has not only changed hearts and minds on abortion but has resulted in at least 80 confirmations of students who decided against keeping an appointment for an abortion.

Students will not only remain silent; they will also wear red armbands and/or red duct tape on their mouths, and distribute educational flyers to anyone who asks why they are silent.

Home-school students will also participate in the event by visiting local malls and other public areas to distribute pro-life literature.
Students are instructed to be respectful to teachers and other officials and to speak with them when required.

The Pro-Life Day has the support of Students for Life of America, says Kristan Hawkins, the director of the collegiate pro-life organization.                                                                                 
  "Students for Life is proud to co-sponsor the Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity. It is critical that we, the pro-life generation, take a stand for Life in our society, and I can think of no better way than standing in silent solidarity with the millions of pre-born Americans who do not have a voice. We stand in silent solidarity with them so that through our silence, they may have a voice," she said.

Jeff White, founder of Survivors, a pro-life group for those born after the Roe v. Wade decision was handed down in 1973, also supports the event.

“As a father, youth leader and national pro-life leader, I believe we must give young people the tools to stand up for their faith and convictions," he said. “The pro-life Day of Silent Solidarity is one of the most effective avenues for young people to take a stand for the most important cause of their generation; the fight for life.”

Over the past few years, some schools have tried to stop students from participating and have tried to quash their First Amendment rights. Every year, attorneys from the Alliance Defense Fund defend these students and file lawsuits to protect their rights.

“Pro-life students shouldn't be discriminated against for expressing their beliefs. ADF and its team of more than 1,800 allied attorneys is ready to defend any students participating in this event who have their free speech rights violated on campus,” ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman told
“These students have the constitutional right to express their viewpoint on abortion just as other students have the right to express their views," he continued.
TESTIMONY  from my friend Amy's  daughter who participated in a day of Silence at her school. I was so blessed by this 12 year old girl's courage to take a stand for those who were never able to . My only public schooled child was not able to praticipate herself due to a  Statewide Leadership Conference in which she was called upon ALL day to be doing presentations and interacting with other students and teachers. while in unifrom. She took opportunity to talk ABOUT the event and was excited  to hear about Caroline's experience.  From an email Amy wrote about her daughter:
 Caroline did awesome!!! She got stopped by a teacher immediately and asked what she was doing, so she showed them the sign, which she had made herself that said "Today I will be silent, only speaking when required. Today I will be silent in honor of those who have no voice. Today I will be silent for the 52 million babies killed by abortion". She went to 1st period, and this same teacher came and pulled her out of class. Another teacher was in the hallway and she asked the other teacher "Do you think this is appropriate for school?" She responded "no" and they sent her to the office. A woman Caroline has never seen took her into an office and asked her what she was doing and Caroline explained. She asked her if she thought she was disrupting her class and Caroline said "no". The woman told her it was okay to wear/do and sent her on her way. Caroline went the entire day without speaking. Apparently the janitor responded in a nasty way to her sign, but no one else did except some immature classmates. In fact a few students/teachers hugged her, patted her back, etc. It drew TONS of attention though, so Praise the Lord for that!!!

WE CAN  make our voices heard, even when we don't say anything at all! Things don't have to keep happening around us while we "feel helpless" . I have to confess, none of our other children participated in this event this year. When I heard about it , I shared what information I had. It was not a day that we were going to be "out and about" but next year I intend that we will be spear-headers for our community!!

Thank you Dr. Jefferson You will be missed!!

October 18, 2010
May the Angels Carry Her Safely Home

Human Life Alliance mourns the loss of Dr. Mildred Jefferson who passed away Friday at the age of 84.

Dr. Jefferson, the first African-American woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School and the first female surgical intern at Boston City Hospital, was also a pioneer and leader in the pro-life movement. She was one of the founders of National Right to Life.
Dr. Jefferson said the anti-abortion movement was "second only to the abolitionist movement'' in the way it changed American thinking. In a 2003 interview for American Feminist magazine, Dr. Jefferson said "I am at once a physician, a citizen, and a woman, and I am not willing to stand aside and allow this concept of expendable human lives to turn this great land of ours into just another exclusive reservation where only the perfect, the privileged, and the planned have the right to live.''
We remember Dr. Jefferson as an eloquent, articulate lady of great wisdom, intellect and dignity. Her leadership and inspiration will be greatly missed. Our condolences to family and friends.  is a  Yoru  video  interview with Dr. Jefferson

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Josiah Benjamin and Keren Jubilee on my mind

AS I am praying for my far  away children today and day dreaming about them being home, being in our home school, sharing clothes and games, adding their preferences to the meal preparation plans, their voices to the conversations and songs,  their prayers to the rest of the family prayers, I am thinking of how absolutely wonderful it will be to reach out and ask if I may give them a hug ANY TIME THE URGE HITS ME!! How wonderful it will be to hear "Mommy?"  or "Mommy I love you!" from either of their voices and it not be over a telephone. We are so ready to welcome them, when the day comes. Until then we pray and wait and trust God to sustain our children and remind them of His love  and of ours for them!!
I received a note from dear friend Jill telling me about a young teen boy and   Teens4Orphans ,  the organization he is part of. He wanted that group to be involved in praying for our  children!! We welcome prayer support from anyone who is truly following God and who has a heart for orphans !  Please go take a look at this website and see what this great group is  up to! You'll be blessed! Thank you Kade for your heart!! 

Friday, October 8, 2010

One more football fan in the family

Charlie and I went out to eat tonight and took Daniel with us. Its a football game night so of course we were watching OSU  Cowboy football. They were playing LaFayette, Lousiana, so I had some split emotions. When a Louisiana team is playing , we usually cheer for them.  Louisiana is still where we call  HOME!!! As we ate, Daniel cuddled and didn't cheer much but when we got home and turned the second half of the game on, Daniel started to let loose ! He is laughing and hollering and roaring his very loudest roars of pure delight as the crowds are cheering. I'm laughing because the only other  time I heard him cheer for a team was when I was helping him cheer for the New Orleans Saints. We watch a lot of football ( and baseball, and basketball and tennis too) so I know his usual  responses. I don't know what it is that he is enjoying so much  but he is having a great time and THAT makes me very happy!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

2 days without bibs!

YES!! We have gone two whole days and Daniel has not used up 6+ bibs , which was his minimum  in the pre-op days. He has not used up ONE bib! NO reflux, minimal drooling from a change in positioning, but  WOW WOW WOW, I have not needed to change his shirts frequently throughout the day either! Feedings  are going so well: there is no crying, no trauma, no frustration, spitting and not knowing what to do( Daniel  OR  me)  and Daniel is noteably a happier baby! He talked to me quite a bit today, he sang, I am sure he was a bit confused about feedings. I watched his face as his meals were flowing via the tube right into his tummy and he had the funniest look going on! I could tell he knew something was going on, a familiar fillng tummy sensation perhaps  but absent was the struggle to GET that  tummy filled. I love it!! Naomi loves to help me with Daniel's meals now. She has learned how to set up his equipment, she helps me set up the tube, is so careful to clamp the tube shut, close the ports on the top end of the tube, unclamp for me when we are set up to let Daniel's meal flow, she gives him his water flush to clear the tube before we disconnect.I know we needed to get the shunt put in  and very sufficiently healed before  we scheduled the feeding tube surgery, that is fine  but I am so very glad that it is done now. IF  ALL this feeding tube does is make meals comfortable for Daniel, with no major weight gains or other "improvements" it will have been enough! Whatever benefits may result from having the Mic  button and tube pale in my mind right now to the comfort  and ease with which Daniel can have nourishment . If you are among those who never watched me feed Daniel before, you have no clue how horrific meals were. This tube is PRASIE MUSIC-worthy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And Daniel himself. NO adverse effects from anything. He is doing absolutely GREAT! Dear HEavenly Father, thank You for getting Daniel to this point and for keeping his body strong and healthy enough to fly through these two surgeries and to heal so easily. This Mamma's heart is over flowing with gratitude, praise,  and relief for our baby an his improved state of affairs!
We are now in WEDDING COUNT DOWN MODE . ONE month from today October 6 is ESTHER and CASEY's WEDDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Still lots to do, but its coming together. It really is!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Waiting, praying, sending money

Waiting and praying over the children who will be Josiah and Keren Jubilee...............
It was so exciting  this afternoon   to send the CAR WASH  and BAKE SALE  money over for new clothing and for  food !!! Western Union is an amazing establishment, and while I'd prefer the fees that it takes to use Western Union   go directly to my children, the fact that I can guarantee delivery of funds from here to West Africa in MERE MINUTES  is just about worth its fees. I don't  say that often or about every organization or mechanism which I need to use.  THANK YOU  TO EVERY PERSON seen and unseen  who let us wash their cars  and  /  or   who gave to our fundraiser to help our children while they wait for us and hope that we will be able to come and get them :  LAST YEAR.....................  This year already... WHEN MOMMY????
 All I can say is "GOD  YOU REIGN!" I hate that they are not home with us yet, but  I rejoice that  my children are in school  and have food and  will have clothing that fits!!!

New morning

Sweet Daniel is so stiff from the IV immobilizing his leg for  4  days, he is way  more "Froggie" than usual. I see a lot of massage and warm compresses in tthe future of his leg therapy. He was a bit disoriented this morning I think, but for the first time since surgery as I'm holding him, he is talking his little "coo and  roar" talk to me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Even has  a smile or too!!
The kids are fascinated that feeding is so simple and stressfree with the tube and big syringe. He had goat milk and cereal last night, his first food through the tube and that went very well. He has not needed any pain medication and fell peacefully to sleep in my arms as I rocked him and had a whole night of uninterrupted sleep. ME TOO!!!!
His rocking chair ,which I thought would be so great for a long time to come,  is not so great  after all because its at too high of an angle, even though it is quite reclined. At almost any angle, he can't do his passive  swallowing, and the drool factor takes over,We have had  no reflux or vomiting since surgery but the drool will continue to be an issue. I'm thinking that I will get him a wagon, pad it nicely and prop him up at just a bit of an angle so we can keep him in whatever room we're in, but in a more comfortable fashion since that cute rocking chair  didn't work.
I am really blessed by the music  of the band, Kutlass. Their version of one of my other all time favorite hymns (  "It is Well" )   is my #1 song to share with you today, I   also  REALLY   like their song, "Amazed" from that same cd, but I can't find it for  my playlist just yet. . I did find   a Youtube video I hope you'll play late. It is super!!! I pray that you will be blessed by this young band and their heart of worship for our God. I can't wait to be in Heaven to hear the composers of 1700's  music playing in concert with the 21st Century musicians. I am thinking when the clouds are " rolled back as a scroll" there will be a whole lot more understanding  across the ages of how The Church has worshipped in music in its various stages and styles.Kutlass does a great job of cutting across some decades. See if you agree!

Monday, October 4, 2010

No photos, just GLAD TO BE HOME!!!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Even though I was only home for about 25 minutes before it was time to pick Jael up from  the high school, take her to a doctor's appointment and to go the grocery store for things run out of over my absent weekend, it was HOME!!!!!!!!!! Daniel seemed to sense it too. His eyes were just darting from sound to sound as if trying to reconnect with them and put himself back into them. He  is doing very well, was not nearly as disappointed as his sister Naomi or brother Gideon that the Dolphins lost their football game so miserably , but rather fell asleep prettyearly on into the game.
Home cooked  Sloppy Joes with chips, Tater Tots and lots of conversation made for a great evening back with everyone. That wonderful lunch at Olive Garden with Charlie between Hospital and Home was pretty awesome too! Can't beat Minestrone Soup with fresh salad and bread sticks. Daniel didn't care about that. Lortab and a full tummy caused him to sleep though that entire part of his day.
How thankful we are to be home and that Daniel is doing so very very well! Better than a "Scoobey Doobey  Do Yah!!"

why is accurate medical charting so important?

Because a baby who was promised a Sunday discharge will NOT be discharged if someone passes on a bad piece of information or puts it in the WRONG CHART. We are still in the hospital at 9 AM  Monday. The Resident came in at 6 AM and  asked how Daniel was this morning (sound asleep thank you until you came in and threw his covers back and poked his tummy  without speaking to him and you scared him silly) and I  replied that he was fine, just like he had been on Saturday and all day Sunday:no fever, no vomiting, lots of wet diapers, tolerating feedings well, no need of pain medicine....what I had said Saturday night and Sunday morning. I asked why we had been told yesterday morning we would be going home and then the orders were not written and discharge denied  last night. He said that they had to keep an eye on Daniel because he had diarrhea yesterday."NO he did not have any diarrhea or any other form of  b m .."  No one asked us all day long about this so it makes me think it is not in Daniel's actual chart, but that this bad info was passed or mistakenly noted by the Surgical Residents themselves when making rounds.  As I was trying to console Daniel from the Resident's  assessment skills, one of the Residents made the comment,
boy he is really whiney fussy isn't he?" (DEEP BREATH Mamma, deep breath!)
   I slowly explained that while  I understood that they could not stop and explain everything to every patient before they did an assessment, in Daniel's case, he is blind, has severe spastic cerebral palsy, is very cold sensitive, and very easily startled. By not speaking to him before exposing his body to cold and touching him, it would most likely take me 20 minutes to calm him down. etc, etc..... (It did.) I hope that by not going ballistic or rude on this young group of future physicians, but gently teaching about PATIENT as PERSON that they will remember Daniel and take a bit of time in the future  to approach other patients as people before they approach the object of their rotation in med school.
Nurse pause.

AAhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! We are discharged! No more leads, no IV, no pulse oxymitor , just a calmed dowwn contented-looking baby in my arms as I type one-handed! Charlie is on his way!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

There are no "night rounds"

so there will be no discharge orders tonight. We are here until whenever the orders are written tomorrow.
Peanut butter and graham crackers and tea anyone?

The latest update is not making me smile...

Well, we are not released and its 6:30 PM. The resident said just now that they want to keep Daniel one more night "to observe him". He has taken his tube feedings, he is peeing and passing gas, no fever, no vomiting...everything they told me he had to do and not do. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I am waiting for them to make rounds so I can ask them in person why we have to stay when we have been told since Friday morning that if these things were good, we'd go home on Sunday, and why they told me this even this morning. Even the nurses who were prepared to discharge him are confused because Daniel has done so well.
I did get to share some good fellowship with the Sunday chaplain a  little  while ago. I had a nice visit
with the  other chaplain last night, but this visit was fellowship,and after we'd talked for a while, he asked f he could pray for Daniel and for our family and we prayed together...That was very welcome!!! I love being able to share our story  because I  love what God has done  and continues to do in our family, every chance  I get and I think that God used us to really encourage both of those men to follow after what God had for each of them. I'll stay an extra night if there is someone else that God might use me to encourage!!1


YES!  Daniel has done so well with his feedings, with needing less pain medication, and with being very stable, that we have discharge orders for this afternoon as long as he does not have any unforeseen issues! Thank You Father for Your hand upon our baby boy. For all his "issues" he is strong and healthy and I think, simply amazing! AND since he is waking up and its time for a feeding , I am going to happily  oblige him!!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I just love my baby boy!

I am so thankful that he knows my voice so that when he is afraid or hurting it really does calm him when I stroke his face or his hair, sing to him or pray over him. Yes it makes me feel good that I can minister to his needs,  but more than that,  I am so thankful that I am able to minister to him!  I am glad that he feels ministered to and loved on.How scary must it be, no matter how much brain material one has or does not be in the dark all the time, be in a place which smells totally different from home, to have pain all over  his belly, no food for more than a day and a half, even if getting that food  into his belly was pretty crummy, to hurt too badly for his mommy to pick him up and hold him when he is used to be held a LOT. I always speak to him before I touch  him and  I always touch his arm or leg before I do anything to or with him. MOST of the staff do not. They come in, start to poke and prod and give little thought to Daniel THE PERSON. They are quite nice, but are very obviously not used to thinking about a blind, brain challenged baby's responses to their approach or activities.  I am sure someone silently removing YOUR covers off of your body in the dark would be unnerving to you   but you, or I could say "What do you need?" and have some understanding of our surroundings.When I see any staff coming to do anything , I try to jump up and be right at bedside to talk to Daniel and touch him before any assessments start.
BUT, the kind student nurse did turn the lights out so Daniel "could go to sleep"!  Somehow I don't think he noticed that. He is having a good night. I am so very thankful for how strong and healthy  Daniel's body is. He is a very precious treasure who shows me more of what makes him precious every day. Dear Heavenly Father, THANK YOU for Daniel and thank You for bringing him through these surgeries so that we might have more time to love him!

15 ml at a time... and 2 Corinthians 8

It isn't much when you think about it, but 15 milliliters at a time is what Daniel is getting through his new feeding tube. That is just about three teaspoons of liquid, or half an ounce, and that only every three hours! I can give him some sips (or little squirts of  his syringe) of water by mouth too and he is doing well. We don't want to give him too much a tine time to start out so that the stitches at the top of his stomach/ bottom of his esophagus won't be stressed by too much fluid at one time. He has an IV running so he is getting lots of fluid and electrolytes  but this morning I could tell that Daniel was HUNGRY! Hunger is not something that he exhibits typically  but he has not gone this many hours without being fed either! It made  him pretty cranky to be so hungry! The morphine didn't seem to do a good enough job of managing Daniel's pain so Lortab via his feeding tube was substituted and that seems to help him quite nicely. There  have been no signs of infection, and we are keeping his body temp up with layers of blankets and socks on his hands and feet. I didn't have a cap for him but he has a towel covering the top of his head.  Its so good to know that we've kept him warm during this surgical experience. We should be coming home tomorrow, and from the number of phone calls and emails I've received today, I can be assured my family is VERY READY!!
Thank you all so very much for your prayers for Daniel at this time. We have been so aware of God's presence !!
As we continue to pray over  our children,JOSIAH BENJAMIN  and KEREN JUBILEE, as we fund raise for them in the here- and -now, and for the future, God continues to be so faithful in showing His providence for them! People gave to our car wash and we will be able to provide the necessary funds for clothing and food. HALLELUJAH!  People have continued to bless us through my friend Jill's CHIP IN Fund. I know that ONLY  God can move on people's hearts to give to a family essentially sight-unseen because someone else, essentially sight-unseen, asks them to.Yes people that she and I  know have blessed us, but mostly people who know God, but not us. As I  was thinking about  that this week,God showed me a verse He had put on my heart  over FIVE YEARS AGO for these children!!!We were still nose deep in trying to get our Isaiah home and reunited with his BIO-sisters whom we'd adopted the year before. A series of not-in-the -best-interests-of-the-child decisions had been made  and those caused us to dig in so deep in prayer and political activism for Isaiah's very life. GOD PREVAILED and the three siblings Charlie and I met in 2002 WERE finally home by August 2006. In May 2005, God gave me a challenge from 2 Corinthians8:8-15"...It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago but now you must also complete the doing of it that as there was a readiness to desire it so there may also be a completion out of what you have,....." We had been talking about  a sibling pair in Africa  even before Isaiah came home. We were not ready quite then, Charlie in Iraq  for two years and  Isaiah then coming home, but God was really calling us to COMPLETE what He had called us to. We won't stop praying and trusting God until this chapter of our life is completed and THEN we can start praying and trusting for the NEXT chapter!!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Surgery....Scoobey Doobey DO YAH!!!

We  are praising God that Daniel's surgery was uneventful, uncomplicated and so far Daniel is doing very well. THANK YOU for your prayers for our precious baby boy! He is still sound asleep, and heavily sedated  but we've reaffirmed that he is definitely conscious, not  in a coma! His tummy looks like a 4 year old got loose with a box of bandaids because of the laparoscopy incisions on his tiny tummy, and in the  middle of the bandaids is his new Mickey Button.

Keeping warm!!!

My sweet baby boy!

Scoobey Doobey DOO-YAH! Daniel has  a Mickey Button!
No more traumatic feedings!
We have not used it yet, but will give him some Pedialyte a bit later in the afternoon. When Daniel had the shunt surgery we discovered just how inadequate Daniel's thermo-regulatory capabilities were when he got so chilled internally that it took us hours to warm his core temp back up to normal. Even Sunday when the outdoor temps dropped  in Oklahoma, our house chilled and so did Daniel. We need to be very mindful  of the temps and how they affect him. With the last surgery showing us how careful we have to be with Daniel, the staff were super about getting Daniel warmed before the surgery and keeping him warmed during and afterward. He's been awake a little bit now, in and out, his nurse was quite happy to see that  he had a nice wet diaper! Next we need to see that his intestinal system starts up again (you know...gas, maybe some BM...) and then of course make sure that he tolerates the feeding tube feedings.
We are so thankful for how well Daniel has done with both of his surgeries! God certainly has a plan straight out of Jeremiah 29:11 for him,"...plans for a hope and  future............." We have been able to share parts of Daniel's story with many people, and every time to give God the glory for sparing Daniel's life until He could put us together with this special baby and become his forever family.How  "funny" that I just said that because the Chaplain just came in to ask if he could pray for Daniel. I ended up sharing Jesus with him!! He was raised in India  as a hindu but became  Christian as a teen, he explained to me.
He stayed and shared some things with me,but then asked me lots of questions about my faith and how God gives me strength for my life. My mention of goat farming led to even more conversation and I suspect that we will be seeing him again!!! It makes me smile to see how God has used our goat farm to make new friendships and provide opportunities to share our faith!
Daniel is waking up a bit more and was pretty alert. We gave him some morphine for pain. He really did seem to be hurting since the caudal anesthesia wore off (kind of like an epidural for labor and birth) and back to sleep he went!  He is however  now wearing his big bulky warm OSU orange and black socks, even though this is OU territory and OU / OSU are fierce rivals!

OSU socks!