Saturday, November 27, 2010

How eternally grateful I am that God promises that His mercies are NEW every morning! Ok so Thanksgiving Day was not the wonderful memory I wanted it to be, or envisioned that it would be, and even if daughter Hannah says "Mamma, only ONE PART of the day was not-so-good, the REST was WONDERFUL" my hormonally influenced state of being is sort of stuck on that not-so-good part. My spirit KNOWS better, and I am praying over those hormonally tainted memories!
My 6 home schooled children had worked really hard on putting their thoughts together about being thankful; they each wrote down 5 things for 5 days in a row to share with us at dinner. UN -fortunately, one of those ugly things that happen too often when God's children are having a good time and the enemy decides to stir up "something" ... happened and the 6 kids x 25 THANKFUL THINGS got left in the dust. I am hoping we will share them tonight. We DO have so much to be thankful for and I do not want us to waste the time and effort the children put into articulating their thoughts or ever cause them to think that expressing thankfulness is a waste of any time or effort!
The meal was fantastic, it was. Everyone helped so much in getting it all ready. Wednesday we tore up 10 loaves of bread for bread stuffing, chopped 7 pounds of onions and 3 bunches of celery for corn bread and bread stuffing, the boys peeled 10# of potatoes and cut them up for me, the younger girls helped me make the pies, taking turns cracking eggs into the bowl, adding the sugars, Karo syrup, pumpkin and all that goes into a Pecan pie and a Pumpkin pie. I didn't get my cranberries cooked, or Pecan Pie cake baked until after we got home for the Oklahoma city Thunder basketball game so Wednesday night was a really late one, but that left only turkey and potatoes for Thursday. Yes a long day to be sure, but a really good full day ( well except for that losing my phone at the basketball game anyhow. *funny story, as I am writing this post, the phone rang and a lady told me she was trying to get back with Greg who had called her from this # ,she'd been calling it over and over but it was going to a voice mail. AH HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My phone has/had DID a new "owner". It didn't get left under my seat. I explained to her how Greg came to be calling her from that number and asked her if she could please ask Greg or whomever actually had my old phone if they could all me and we could make arrangements for me to get the phone from them? I really would like all my photos and old phone numbers. She was very nice and very apologetic over my losing the phone and a bit embarrassed at how she had the number. I just want my old data. I lost the phone legitimately I am sure, I don't think anyone stole it...just an inconvenience to me and he has a very dead batteries, no longer active phone anyhow, if he didn't throw it away.)
BUT I digress.............
I got to watch the May's Thanksgiving parade, Thanksgiving morning: MY personal tradition. This year was super special because Hannah and Grand baby Charlie came over to watch with me. Charlie LOVES the floats and balloons. We had a very special time making a new three generation tradition together! I have loved the parades sine I was a tiny girl and went to the Downtown Detroit Hudson's Thanksgiving parades with my aunt and uncle and cousins. Most of our children do not share my love of the parades sadly. I'll take what I an get !
As it turned out we had not "extra" guests and for that I'm thankful , but only because the folks I invited didn't think they were going to be able to be with family and things turned out for them that they could. Having three married children home along with their spouses was special, Gideon was here, but only one grand child on this occasion, with my 83 year old mom, and the at-home Smiths we filled up two big tables nonetheless.
With my boys growing up as big and hearty as they are, it would be natural for the quantities of food to disappear more quickly but I have NEVER seen Pecan pie cake disappear as totally and rapidly as I did this year!!!!!!!!!! I gave a portion to son-in-law Jon, to take home as he's hooked now too, but still........................ a whole pecan pie went along with it in its disappearing act 
 and only  a bit of pumpkin pie was left as a dessert souvenir !
There are a few photos from the day. My most treasured photos of the day are of Daniel in his THANKFUL FOR MOMMY and DADDY outfit. I bought it in summer of 2009 when Hannah was pregnant with her Charlie; we bought matching outfits for our boys, planning to dress our babies alike last Thanksgiving. Charlie , it turned out was too big for his last year, but Daniel's is even a tad too big this year. Daniel had a really good day and there were lots of SMILES from him when I was shooting pictures !

A year ago we rally had no idea if  Daniel, Junior or Diamoh would be home , soon or ever. Right now we wait for any hope of homecoming for Junior and Diamoh and that will be purely God's timing. We believe that they WILL be home one day, and we praise Him for how He is caring for them until that day. It is incredible that Daniel is home and such a testimony to God's hand upon a whole lot of us. As I watch Daniel smile or spasm, search the air for my voice, or randomly switch his tongue "like a lizard" Jael says, I am over whelmed with joy that he is HERE, with us, able to be loved round the clock , played with, medial are obtained when ever he needs it, to lay cozily in his wagon and pulled from room to room so he is never out of sight, tucked snugly into his bed, or when I am rocking him and stroking his hair. This baby should not be alive to be approaching his 3rd birthday at all, and yet he IS and he is an orphan NO LONGER. He has his official certificate of citizenship as of this week. He is 100% adopted, and except for the official name change which is in the works right now, he is as Daniel Elijah Smith as he could possibly be. We are able to speak to Junior and Diamoh often, to make sure they are cared for and their immediate needs met UNTIL we are able to bring them home. We hear from our other far away children : Kari  and family in Texas, Joshua in Afghanistan (Diana, Emily and Ethan in Maryland)  and Caleb and family in Kentucky at Fort Campbell. I wish, I dream we could all be together for a holiday, or ANY day, and I hope that one day this dream will come true. For now, I am grateful for electronic media which pull us together regardless of global geography!

When my internet connection speeds up and I an upload photos I will. Right now the speed is too slow and everything freezes

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Two photos I really like!

Noah,  13, Isaiah 12 and Isaac 14 1/2,   three of the blessings that make my Thanksgiving so rich!
They are so busy so much of the time, its hard to get a photo of them standing still!

My beautiful Leah age 14 1/2 who only recently let her face any where near a camera.


Its that time of year again for the richness of pecan-laced baked goods and partiularly for my all time favorite , PECAN PIE CAKE . Since October of 1998 when I first read this recipe, it has been a big  BY REQUEST dessert at our house, our church, and the hosues of our friends. A bit labor-intensive it is for sure, but you will agree when you take your first bite that every minute was well spent!!! Employ your kiddos of a friend to help wit the pecan grinding, egg beating, ingredient measuring and one more time you'll find that "Many hands make light the work"  The Cranberry Zucchini Muffins recipe I found online and I really don't remember where, but it is a wonderful one too! I've made it as a bread in a 9" loaf pan rather than muffins and it works very well that way  too.

PECAN PIE CAKE       from Southern Living Magazine Oct 1998


• 3 cups finely chopped pecans

• 1 cup butter, softened and divided

• 1/2 cup shortening

• 2 cups white sugar

• 5 egg yolks (separate the eggs and set aside the whites)

• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

• 1 cup buttermilk

• 2 cups all-purpose flour

• 1 teaspoon baking soda

• 1 cup chopped pecans

• 5 egg whites (saved from above)

• 3/4 cup dark corn syrup


• 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

• 1/3 cup cornstarch

• 4 egg yolks

• 1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream

• 3/4 cup dark corn syrup

• 1/8 teaspoon salt

• 3 tablespoons butter

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• Garnish

• 1 prepared pie crust, rolled flat, leaf shaped cookie cutters

• about 15 pecan halves

• 1 egg white beaten frothy


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Generously butter 3 (9 inch) pans. ***For large gatherings I use 2 – 10 “ pans but nothing else is different throughout. Divide 2 cups chopped pecans evenly between the pans. Shake to coat bottoms and sides of pans. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream together 1/2 cup butter, shortening and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the yolks one at a time, then stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Combine the flour and baking soda and beat into creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Stir in 1 cup chopped pecans.

3. In a large glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into the batter, then quickly fold in remaining whites until no streaks remain. Divide batter equally into prepared pans.

4. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. *Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. (*Any longer and your cake layers will stick and break apart!!) Invert layers onto wire racks lined with wax paper. Using a pastry ( or a BBQ brush) brush, brush tops and sides of cake layers with 2/3 cup corn syrup, and cool completely.

5. Make the Filling: In a large saucepan, combine 1/2 cup brown sugar and cornstarch. Stir in 4 egg yolks, half-and-half, 3/4 cup corn syrup and salt. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Continue boiling, whisking constantly for 1 minute, or until thickened. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter and vanilla.

6. Chill.*My method is to put the pan of filling into a bowl of ice cubes and stir the filling for a few minutes. It’s SUPER FAST especially if you are wanting to assemble your art work all in one session.

7. Assemble the cake: Place first layer on serving plate, pecan side up. Spread with half (or *nearly all if you are doing 2 10” pans) of the filling. Place second layer, pecan side up, on filling. Spread with remaining filling. Top with remaining cake layer, pecan side up. (*Reserve a few teaspoons of filling for garnish leaves)

8. IF you are decorating with pie crust leaves as a garnish, heat oven to 425. Cut out leaves with cookie cutters out of prepared dough. Using a sharp knife carefully etch veins onto the leaves. Crumble small pieces of tin foil, spray them on a cookie sheet sprayed liberally with no- stick spray. Drape the leaves over the tin foil balls so that they will bake looking like naturally dropped leaves on the ground. Using scraps of dough and pecan halves, wrap pecan halves in dough so that they look like "acorns" Brush with egg white. Bake for about 7 -9 minutes or until golden. Remove carefully from cookie sheet. Using a bit of filling for "glue" place your leaves and "acorns " randomly on the top and sides of your cake.



Cranberry  Zucchini Muffins Recipe

For those of you who prefer to use oil over butter, be my guest (use 1 cup vegetable oil instead of the butter) but I have to tell you, I've made these both ways, and the butter version just tastes better.

3 cups grated fresh zucchini

2/3 cup melted unsalted butter

1 1/3 cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 teaspoons baking soda

Pinch salt

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup walnuts  or   pecans (optional)  WE  prefer  pecans

1 cup raisins or dried cranberries

You won't need a mixer for this recipe.

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). In a large bowl combine the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the zucchini mixture and mix in. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Stir these dry ingredients into the zucchini mixture. Stir in walnuts, raisins or cranberries if using.

2 Coat each muffin cup in your muffin pan with a little butter or vegetable oil spray. Use a spoon to distribute the muffin dough equally among the cups, filling the cups up completely. Bake on the middle rack until muffins are golden brown, and the top of the muffins bounce back when you press on them, about 25 to 30 minutes. Test with a long toothpick or a thin bamboo skewer to make sure the center of the muffins are done. Set on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from the tin let cool another 20 minutes.

*Note, if you are including walnuts and dried fruit, you will likely have more batter than is needed for 12 muffins. I got about 14 muffins from this batch, and that included filling the muffin cups up as far as they could possibly go (above the surface of the muffin tin).  This also works  VERY WELL baked as a loaf.  USe a well greased 9"  laof pan and bake the batter fro about45 minutes. Test as with the muffins for doneness.  This recipe doubles well .

If you stop by and meet my family and me through this blog, please do leave me a comment. I'd love to know who you are!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What a wonderful weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!

Despite a yucky cold, and despite Jael's tough week, this week had an amazing week-end!!! My dear friend Jill whom I've known via the internet for over three years but not known face -to-face , flew in for the weekend with her precious daughter Jordan. Her visit was actually two-fold: I was not her only friend-destination, but she was not my only friend -to-visit this weekend either. We've been hoping to meet for so long , she had planned on taking me with her to Ethiopia earlier in the year when she traveled to get her newly adopted daughter Lilly (for whom I had a tee-ninesy bit of input in naming!) but God had other plans and we did not get that longed for February shared birthday-hug. Not then....
..HOWEVER................... a mutual friend was planning a celebration for her 5 year old daughter Abby and we both wanted to be at that celebration. Abby was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia about a year after being adopted by our friends the Riggs Family. . The last two+ years have been a real walk of faith for them as well as for those of us who are their friends. This past week Abby completed her two years of chemotherapy, was tested and declared to BE IN REMISSION and a big party of celebration was planned in her honor . I've shared about Abby as I 've blogged ; my daughters grew and then had their hair cut to donate it to Locks of Love in Abby's honor, I've shared prayer requests for her over time as well as praises for positive steps. Jill too has been a part of those who love the Lord and who, loving Abby, have prayed and advocated for her during this long stretch of many valleys
.WHAT A THRILL to see Jill at long last , waiting at the curb of the airport passenger drop off and pick up point! I knew that we were truly kindred spirits, but when I saw that she and I were both wearing the SAME SHADE OF GREEN, I just had to smile a huge smile. Of all the hues, shades, tones and tints, we BOTH had selected Kelly green. I knew it would be really good from that moment! Naomi and Jordan struck up a friendship right away as Jill and I just took up side by side in the car where we'd been online and on the telephone. As soon as we got home, and all afternoon Jill, an incredible photographer and the little girl, were in Heaven On Earth on our farm. Jordan got to play with the horses, got to ride, got to pose with new friend Naomi for Jill and her impressive camera as Oklahoma showed us one more of its incredibly beautiful fall days! The tree-house, the rope swing, the big swing set, the kittens, goats and chickens.............all were thoroughly enjoyed by two little girls and the Mammas who love them and took great delight in watching them together.
How fun it was to be able to introduce Jill to my family, little bit by little bit, starting with a quick pass through with my older at-home children as they prepared to head out to a basketball tournament with Malachi,  then picking Jael up from school, picking Sopheak up from work, my husband getting home especially early from work and then finally running clothing out to Gideon. SO many pieces of Calico Ares Farm lore and Smithsoup blog posts all fell right into place with real faces to plug into the written words and to associate with my many photos.
I loved being able to just let the conversation flow with no "gotta go bathe babies" ( read: brb.....) no "phone" (brb) "milk customer" (brb) no short phone call, just awesome sit -and- visit time! The day started so early for Jill and Jordan with a 2:45 AM departure from their home to the airport in Pa, and the time zone change too... for ME it was 8 PM. For them it was 9 PM and a loooooong time since real sleep. Too early we said our good nights and made our plans for Saturday and the ABBY IS DONE WITH CHEMOTHERAPY Party.
As happens with real life my big plans for a whole morning with Jill had to be altered. Jael had a horrible night, a really bad fall, maybe a broken nose, some blood sugars which were definitely NOT in the hypoglycemic ranges , Charlie had morning farm obligations and I just could not leave Jael alone as sick as she was , and Jill's allergies would not allow her to come back to our house. Naomi had a great time with Jill and Jordan while I ministered to Jael and Daniel. Thankfully Jael's boy friend was able to come stay and "Nose sit" I called it so that I would feel safe leaving until Charlie got home again. His hoped -for plans to come to the Party had to take a back seat to helping are for Jael and Daniel (for whom I simply didn't have a space in my car. I WANTED to bring him with is!)
It was still a very special day of being together! Arriving at Abby's house we were able to help mom Michelle with some early party set-up, Jill got to have a terrific ( but all GREEK TO ME) conversation about photography with daddy Brent, the kids all got to run and play together with Abby who was still a bit stressed from all the events of the week AND with the fact that her favorite brother Garret was NOT at the house, but cute as can be regardless. After seeing quite a bit of "Boo Hoo" Abby, it was really good to see her playing dishes and tea party with one of her friends and seeing her run and play and laugh as she relaxed! I can't imagine what it would like to 3,4, or 5 years old and have so much attention on myself in so many different venues as Abby has had to live through. I wondered if she had had any real idea , at age 5 the magnitude of the celebration party her parents had put together in her honor, or if she had a clue as to why all these strangers were all over her house, or why so many people she'd met in so many other settings were now suddenly at her house together and bringing gifts. It was not her birthday, she knew that much. . It had to be a bit overwhelming even without a lumbar puncture and bone marrow aspiration the day before! I can not imagine parenting a post-toddler/pre-schooler through life- threatening illness while trying to teach manners and courtesy along with the other things that parents teach toddler-aged kiddos, in the midst of pokings and proddings , or obedience and respect through painful medical procedures and frequent ER visits and hospital stays. How does one teach a child not to be selfish or self-centered while EVERYTHING, or so it must seem for a little one, IS all about THEM? It's not a parenting skill I envy or desire to have to learn, thank you!! For all that God has given to us, having to figure out all of those kinds of issues is NOT on our plate (at least not now or that I am aware we will need to learn!) I have not asked Brent or Michelle many of those questions, but she and I have talked a little.
Lots of fun meeting other friends of my friends and discovering all of our commonalities as we chatted. There were many people that I met whom I hope to maintain communication with in weeks and months ahead.

THE PARTY. Oh MY!! ! This mommy and daddy were so thrilled to celebrate Abby being in Remission, they had    A      P A   R  T   !!!  I don't know how many families actually came, it seemed like quite a few, but I can tell you they were well fed and their children were  thoroughly entertained with this amazing church's video game room, sound system ,  a super  blow-up "Moon Walk" house, face painting, candy and more candy!     It was so precious to be part of this awesome kind of  celebration after praying through so many of the valley days when Abby was  very very seriously  ill!
It was also  a  lot of  fun to be together with so many other adoptive families, to hear their stories, share our good and bad memories, make suggestions for future experiences, share learning experiences that made our own subsequent adoptions better, helped us to "adopt smarter"...just seeing the many many blended adoptive/bio families with children was a blessing!
As a mom of no Guatemalan or Ethiopian children, who is used to gatherings of the SE Asian adoptive families ,it was  very different to be the only mom with Asian children present, and  as the mamma of  So Many, it was weird that I only had two of our children with me.  I missed ALL of my wonderful family! Naomi and Rachel had a really great time, and I'm glad they were able to come with me. ( I did hold Daniel and snuggle with him for a loong time after we got home. I really missed him. I've not left him that long before and it was very strange!!!)

All too soon, we needed to leave for the 1 3/4 hour drive back home and it was my turn to be the tired one who called it an "early evening". I knew we'll  see Michelle and Brent, Abby. Landis and Hannah again, but the tears let loose when I started my "farewell hugs" with Jill. We have some hopes and tentative plans; God knows how those will pan out later.we just knew this was THE END of a wonderful but short very full visit for her and me. **** It was so sweet to see her "I'm getting on the plane" text right after worship was over this morning and SO SO good to hear Jill's voice a little while ago telling me that she was down on the ground and all went well. I miss my dear friend already!!!

Photos will not do us justice, but I'll share some. Jill really has the good ones and I will have to wait for her to upload and share  later!!

Jordan, Naomi and Abby with their BABY BE BLESSED dolls. Jordan gave one to both Naomi and Abby so the  three of them could play dolls together!! THANK YOU AGAIN   JORDAN  for your sweet gifts!!

One happy little party girl! This is  definitely not the face Abby had on when  we first arrived at her house

Jill and  Jordan

Naomi. Jordan and Rachel...and balloon animals!

Jordan getting her face painted
Naomi opted for a hand painting of a ladybug

but then decided on an arm vine too

Jordan and Naomi and balloon animals. Jordan had the best poodle I have ever seen!!

Brent giving goodies to the party goers!
 TOTALLY  "O T "  but   I had to take a photo of this young girl. Her strawberry blonde hair and its gorgeous highlights were so beautiful!! God  does ALL things well, doesn't He!!

some of the party  children around  Miss Abby

Brent and  Michelle had planned on pinatas but with no where to hang them, he opted to do a huge candy drop instead!!

How I praise GOD for friendships that He ordains, for the wonderful bonds we are able to forge in His Name, and for the absolute pure joy of celebrating with friends that their little daughter is in REMISSION of a terrible cancerous disease. Thank you Brent and Michelle for inviting all of us to share your very speial moment . I don't think anyone will soon forget this evening ! God IS good ALL THE TIME, but there are some times that He just lets us see a bit more clearly or deeply HOW GOOD. This weekend was one of those times !

Jill, me and Michelle

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My honey and me,

Is there really a caption for this photo???
Yes, one more from THE  wedding!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Sometimes life is just not easy or full of the "fun stuff". Like when your 16 year old daughter suddenly begins blacking out in random places and at random times of the day, begins vomiting most of her meals and starts testing her blood sugar only to discover that at any given moment she is running in the 40-70s when 80 + to 120 is a "normal" random test result. Jael started showing symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar, sort of the opposite of diabetes: too much insulin production rather than too little as with diabetes) about a  month and a half  ago while  we were  also  starting to get  busier and busier with Esther's wedding and Daniel's surgery . After the first 3 episodes of blacking out we went to our doctor who was very pro-active about figuring out what was going on.  Our doctor made a tentative diagonosis of  hypoglycemia but I suspected that was the problem  since I am hypo; my dad was diabetic as well as is Charlie's mom. It's something that I caution our children about regularly:FAMILY HEALTH HISTORY. I am all too aware of the potential for diabetes in our children and as a result have always promoted good foods and eating habits. TEENAGERS however, just seem to need to figure that out on their own and when disorder rears its ugly head.............teens seem to pledge all the harder to figure out their own way and how to include junk food, no food or dopey big Sonic meals and somehow make it work for them. HA!!!!!!!!!!!

SO, after weeks of glucose monitoring, a Holter monitor test to assess potential cardiac malfunctioning, weeks of glucose results- recording and journal -writing about fainting and vomiting episodes, some days being really good and some being really bad and a few flukey ones in between, Jael blacking out every day for the past 6 days at least once, today we saw the doctor again.  Seeing Dr. Evans for Jael and or Daniel has been a weekly event  for a while now. Jael blacked out right after dinner last night at a quite the "floor show" to the other customers who saw her plummet headlong and land on her face on the tile floor.  Her brother Gideon and I rushed to her aide as restaurant staff offered all the help we might need as well. Today I had to go get her early from school because she blacked out on the stairs . Fortunately, her boy friend was with her, and he has been with her when she's fainted before . He kept a very cool head when all the people around them , teachers included all were frankly wigging out.. Jokingly I told her that I think her brain is checking out to getaway from her for a while and laughingly she agreed. Our doctor set up an appointment wit h an endocrinologist for December to assess if there could be anything else going on that needs addressing and went over her most recent lab results with us. Its clear that hypoglycemia IS her issue so food is the base line approach to helping Jael for now. I have been trying to promote small frequent meals but she has been a pretty typical teen in that this is "not convenient" or she "didn't' feel like it" but today reaffirmed to her that what she "felt like was frankly in the "tough noougies department" for now and her foreseeable future.

She asked me to go shop for things that she could or would eat throughout the day: protein shakes, beef jerky, cheese sticks, sunflower seeds, nuts, and she promised to stay away from the fries and chicken strips at Sonic.

She is sore from the hard bumps to her head and her shoulders. I am amazed at her spunk and ability to keep a great attitude. I am thankful for that attitude as we forge a new path of dietary changes and modifications . She was in a hurry to get done at the doctor's this afternoon because it's Wednesday night and YOUTH GROUP. About two minutes after she got home from church she fell sound asleep on the sofa and I am going to let her stay there .I think right now she needs a good nights' sleep while her Mamma prays over her!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Thanksgiving Memory Revisited

This week we were visited by an elderly couple who are on the board for our Electric company co-op. The reason for the visit? Knowing that we are a large family with quite a few children still at home,  she asked if first of all we 'd be offended if they asked us if they could give us a turkey for Thanksgiving as the co-op was making a list of families who could use some help over the holidays and second, if they could bring that turkey to us. I gave the woman a hug and thanked her for thinking of us. My response to her question caused her to give me a hug right back. We ARE a very large family , this is true. We are in no way "financially" wealthy, this too is true, we are not financially "poor" either, also true. We are blessed, we have enough, we have enough to share, to plan to share and then to be able to share. I told the woman this and that we really appreciated what they had asked, I had a request of her: to please give that turkey to a family who needed it truly more than we did , in our name since WE were their original "target family". It was not pride and it wasn't turning down a blessing. It was passing on a blessing ...................... THAT stirred a memory of a much different time in our family history.
My husband's business had not been doing very well that particular autumn. We had several clients who had not paid their bills to us, and when you're self-employed, that means a lot of other folks don't get paid either and that things tend to get very lean in the household of the self-employed. In spite of that, I always managed to buy some extra canned goods and staples so that there was something to share with someone who simply could not buy those things at all. Our church was having its annual food drive to put together Thanksgiving baskets for needy families and of course each of our children brought their canned goods to the church kitchen to add to the growing stacks and piles. They were so exited to help and share! They were so looking forward to helping put those gift boxes together out of all that food stuff! Later in that same evening the ladies in charge of assembling and distributing the boxes called me aside from my AWANA Sparks group (K-2nd graders Bible  class).

They both had tears in their eyes when they told me, "we were speechless when you and your children came in with bags of things for the Thanksgiving Boxes. YOUR FAMILY is one that we are doing a box for!" THAT made ME speechless. I had not thought of us as "needy" and it just didn't our to me that anyone else would.
They asked me not to tell my children because the ids were all starting to work on the boxes that night and were having so much fun. My bringing things to share had really touched and blessed them and they wanted me to know that. I was so very blessed by their loving words and our family was beyond blessed by the Thanksgiving Boxes! I had not thought of that for a while, but this morning that memory came flooding back.

With the Apostle Paul I an say that I know what it is to" be abased and to abound", and I am reminded often "in all things to be content" We had plenty when we "didn't have plenty" and this year we have plenty enough to share more of that plenty and to ask a blessing to be passed along.

God has been faithful to us every single day! We have seen incredibly lean times and some that were pretty amazingly "plump" but for the most part we have been quite comfortable.............not "if I need a thing I can go right out and buy it NOW" comfortable, but comfortable. Having been in many places where people have nothing whatsoever, I am  all the more aware of how precious and how huge "comfortable" really is. It reminds me to stay thankful  and to be mindful of when I start to complain about my "stuff" or circumstances.

I am reminded so often by my own children how blessed we are . I will never forget our Isaac's first Thanksgiving in America. He was 8, and had been home about 9 months. We had talked about Thanksgiving being a feast, or really big special meal to celebrate all the things we are thankful for. I tried to explain turkey , as bigger than any chicken he'd ever seen. He'd seen me buy this huge turkey package but it was wrapped in plastic so still pretty hidden away . I roasted the turkey, Charlie came and carved it up, putting the platter of sliced meat into the oven to stay warm while we prepared the other food items for the meal. Isaac came into the kitchen, saw the carcass in the roasting pan, scraps of meat hanging off of it , intended for soup for another meal and his eyes got bigger and bigger as his thoughts raced through his head and words began to sputter out of his mouth. "Mommy?   Is T H A T the feast?" he asked with an enormous smile of amazement stretched across his whole face. I lost it. What I was referring to as scraps was the picture of a feast to a small boy from a very impoverished previous life.

"Give thanks with a grateful heart   Give thanks to the Holy One    Give Thanks because He's given Jesus Christ His Son.........AND NOW let the weak say 'I am strong'    Let the poor say 'I am rich'
 because of what the Lord has done for us       Give thanks!!!"
"Praise God from Whom all blessings flow      Praise Him all creatures here below    Praise Him all ye heavenly host Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost! AMEN!!"

Saturday, November 13, 2010

There is life after a wedding!

I am so thankful that Esther' s wedding was LAST Saturday and not today.What a difference a week makes in the climate of a place! Last week we had those odd but -oh-so-welcome 70+ degree sunny days and this week we had more normal 40s and 50 with rain and mud . While its sunny today, it's pretty hilly and rather muddy. It would not have been the awesome setting for a late autumn wedding as last Saturday was.
SO............... what did we do today , a week after THE  Wedding and all the busyness involved therein??
Our dear friends who live in Tulsa have a Khmer daughter who is right between our youngest daughters' ages and she got to visit for the day while her parents were doing other "grown-up"stuff here in Stillwater. We don't get to see any of the Gillispies often enough but when the girls get together, excitement mounts for days and fun is non-stop when they are together! Taevy got to visit with Naomi and Rachel today and it was a fun day!
They went to assess the goats and the kittens (who were born when Taevy and her sibs spent two weeks with us in late spring) gather eggs from the hens, they rode bikes, they ran and played, inside, they ate our usual friend Ramen lunch with cabbage and sliced meat and we baked white chocolate hip macadamia nut cookies. I assigned measuring duties to each of the three girls and we added and added to my industrial strength Kitchen Aide mixer until we had an incredibly delicious cookie dough which made a wonderful bath of cookies! Granted the girls lost interest in the spooning of dough onto cookie sheets and waiting for cookies to get done, but we had a great time with the assembly process, at least I "think" we did!

\Naomi and the afternoon's  gathering of eggs

Taevy going to gather eggs with Naomi

Taevy and Naomi

Sweet Taevy brought me a new piggy for my ever-expanding collection too. SO cute!!! A pair of piggies side by side who immediately got the place of honor on my kitchen window sill .
I got another unexpected piggy gift this week too! My cyber -friend Kerry whose little boy Teddy I got to meet when I went to go get Daniel sent me a wooden plaque which simply states WHEN PIGS FLY. That new addition is now parked in front of my cookbook collection.
THANK YOU TAEVY and KERRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Daniel was having a really good day today and while its hard for me to hold him, coax a smile or two out of him AND get those smiles and laughs on camera, today I really DID IT!!!! AS my spaghetti sauce simmers for family dinner later tonight, I will hopefully get some photos to upload. Face Book and my slow computer just could not get them uploaded. I hope Blogger has better "luck"

Taevy, Rachel and Naomi enjoy the fruits of our labor

Blue bow  Pink bow  Piggies from Taevy

"  WHEN PIGS FLY  " from Kerry!

Something made Daniel just burst out in loud laughter!

Daniel and I were talking; he was smling and telling me all kinds of things!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Love is Worth Fighting For." song for the wedding

MORE wedding photos!

Jael, Maid of Honor

Hannah walking in

Leah walking down the aisle

Amy, Esther's forever dear friend

Terri , another good friend

MR and Mrs Rogers

Esther and her Ring Bearer

Esther and Hannah

Jael gives a "High 5" to someone......
Groom and a pal
The Groom was having a  VERY good time!

More photos, more fun!

AS Esther walked down the aisle, her groom was  waiting

Jael sang for the first two step
"Imagine Me  Without You"
She was  lovely!

Bride and groom leaving together. Esther did NOT  go side saddle!

The Wedding Table

on top

Had to share another one of the  girls and Lady

the wedding again, a different view

Esther's "other man"

Will long as you both shall live? WE WILL!!

Jael, Hannah, Amy , Linda  and
line dance together