Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Merry Merry Merry Christmas

Thanks to Keith for finding and posting this great video. Carol of the Bells is one of my favorites, and the light display is gorgeous.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Mr. Chubby's new socks

We've had a hard time finding socks for Stephen because his legs are so chubby. Either socks will not stay up, or they'll squeeze way too tight, or both. So the other night, I decided to go extreme, and I tried on some socks that are labelled "Fits 4-6 1/2, Shoe Sizes 5 1/2 - 8 1/2."

Crazy, but true... they work! They're long in the foot, but they work.



This also demonstrates that I'm not always on the ball enough to keep the boy in cloth diapers. And that's okay! :-)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sledding!

The Blessings and I had fun today sledding. We don't have any super hills on our property, but we made the best of what we have. :-)

Short but steep - this one gave a nice ride down the driveway.

The older kids were sweet about taking the little girls with them...

Unfortunately, B. was already inside when I got the camera out for pictures, but he had a blast as well.

Thank you, Lord, for the beautiful snow!

Ice and Snow

On December 10 (last Monday), everything was covered with ice. It was beautiful, though I realize it can also be deadly. It was surreal to have so much ice and not have any snow.

Then on Friday, Dec 15, after all the ice had melted, the snow started to fall.

I LOVE snow!!

Here's the bottom step of our front steps... I thought it was cool that the snow came right up to the step.

This shot gives a bit more perspective... and a reminder to rake those leaves before the snow falls!


Christmas Card '07

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Praying for Kate

I've been praying for Kate all day, as she had her second brain surgery today. But I haven't gotten it blogged about so that you can pray too! If you haven't started reading her blog yet, you really should! You will be both blessed and used.

Surgery apparently went well today, though Dave's last post was this:

Urgent Prayer Needed
Kate is in the post-op recovery room. We just met with Dr. Forget and he said that she is awake and responsive and can follow simple commands (counting on fingers,etc). However, she is very weak on the left side of her body. This is either do to swelling at the surgical site in her brain which is affecting the adjacent area that controls motor function, or it is due to the aggressiveness of the surgery.
Please pray that it is the former and will improve as the swelling subsides.
Dave



Please join us in our prayers for this dear lady of God! See this post for more specific prayer requests.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Mr. Smiley

Stephen was sitting on the floor in front of the couch tonight, enjoying the freedom that sitting up (mostly steadily) is affording him. It was fun to watch him, and very sweet that every little bit he would look back at me on the couch to see if I was watching him and to give me that sweet grin. See?







Thanks G'ma Byrd!

Mama found this sweet outfit for Grace and sent it home with us last month. I was thinking I would save it for next year, then I realized I should really see if it would work now. It does, and she loves it. :-) J got a picture of her this evening.


Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Little Drummer Boy

video

Stephen discovered the wonder of making noise by banging today. You can tell the girls thoroughly enjoyed his fun!

Friday, December 07, 2007

More Dining Room Work!

Here's the outside wall of the dining room stripped to the studs at the end of September. When Papa and Jonathan put up the staircase to the attic a couple of years ago, the only option was for it to cross the dining room window. Like so:



The plan has been to put in a window over the the landing, but window's aren't cheap. Usually. :-) Jonathan found a 32"x66" window at Lowe's - it was a special order window that hadn't worked for the customer for some reason or another. The regular price of the window was $176. It was marked down to $55! Yay for Jonathan the bargain shopper!

So last weekend, he cut open the wall and installed the window. I absolutely LOVE having all that light in the dining room now. When he brought the window in the house, I jumped up and down like a little girl and exclaimed, "Light! Look at all that light!" And it definitely lives up to my expectations.



Notice the clever way I've camouflaged all that light I'm so excited about by taking a picture of the window at night. What a great sense of timing.

Next up... drywall, mud, and paint on that wall!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Rainbow

On Tuesday night, on our way into St. Louis, the sky was gorgeous. We had a lovely view of an entire rainbow, and the effect of the clouds on the rainbow was something. I took several pictures, none of which truly captured the beauty of the rainbow. This one seems the best to J and I:




As I was struck by the beauty of the rainbow, I tried to imagine what Noah and family must have thought as they saw the first rainbow. As lovely as this one seemed to us, the first rainbow surely put this one to shame. How full of awe that moment must have been! A promise that God would never again destroy the world with a flood. And a reminder of the picture the ark gives us of our own way of escape - the Savior who was born to die to save us from our sins.

A neat thing about God's timing is that the next day, we talked about Noah, the ark, the flood, the picture of the coming Savior, the rainbow, etc, as we got ready to make and put up Wednesday's ornament for our Jesse tree. God is good.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Stowaway

When I met my dear friend Sue last week for dinner, one of our cats hopped in the van with Stephen and I, and I was well on the road before I realized it. Thankfully, "Brownie" found a comfy spot to ride, and didn't jump out any of the times the door was open. Since our cats are outside cats, this was Stephen's first close up.

Monday, December 03, 2007

A Button for Kate

Kate is a friend of mine that I have known since we staffed together at Turkey Hill Ranch Bible Camp in our teens. I was blessed to reconnect with her last fall at a bonfire/hayride. Within a week of that event, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. God has done amazing things in Kate's life over the past year and it has been a blessing to share in His work by reading her blog.

Recently, testing has shown what looks to be a regrowth of the tumor. My desire to increase the army of prayer warriors praying for Kate and her family has finally resulted in a "blog button" for Kate. Please consider adding Kate's button to your webpage and/or blog.

Here is the html code for the button -


or if you want a wider version -


It is relatively simple to add elements in blogspot, but if you have questions or if you work with a different format, I'll do all I can to help make it work for you.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Here I am

I've been a bad blogger lately... just busy trying to get caught up on everything after being gone for a couple of weeks, being in a wreck, etc.


So, you're probably wondering what moved me to actually post.


Here it is -


My wonderful hubby brought home our first Trans-Siberian Orchestra CD. And I just have to say that it is fabulous. Truly.
I've only listened to it once, but I'm looking forward to listening to it over and over.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Praise-ful Update!

We're at my brother's in Hendersonville, NC right now and we are so very thankful to be driving a "new" van! The Lord is good and has worked out many details in ways that were far beyond us. The van is beyond what we could have asked or thought, and is a testament to the grace and sovereignty of God as well as of the wonderfulness that is our immediate and extended family!

The van is the 1999 Ford. It's a 12 passenger, not the 15 that I mistakenly stated before. I will post pictures, but will probably wait till we're back and Papa and Mama's. It's a beautiful van, and is in excellent condition. It's been a long time since we've owned anything rust-free! It's the basic model, not the luxury, and that's great with us as it's easier to clean vinyl. :-) It's comfortable, quiet, and even has dual air!

We will be headed to Florida tomorrow, will return to North Carolina next Tuesday and plan to drive home next Thursday.

Thank you for your continued prayers!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Stress?

Maegan mentioned after my post from last night that it sounds like a stressful time. And while I totally understand how you could get that impression, her comment prompted me to share some things that I ran out of time for last night.

By God's grace alone, stressful is not at all the way that we have been experiencing this time. He has been so good to us, and He has kept His faithfulness in the forefront of our minds. The last several days have been a wonderful time of rest in Him and sweet fellowship with each other and with family. We are waiting with a great sense of expectation to see what He is going to do in our lives.

As regards our vehicle situation, we are looking to see what He has for us. Our gray van is done for... it's old enough and worn enough that the cost of repair would exceed its value. The Lord has already shown us a few options.

Our dear Byrd family has together promised $3,000 toward a new vehicle! Through a trusted friend of a cousin, we have the opportunity to purchase a 1999 15 passenger van in excellent condition for $6,000. $3,000 puts us halfway there. We are reluctant to go into debt for a van when things are already so tight for us financially, so we are praying about that option.

There is a slightly older van for sale by owner about 50 miles from here. We don't know much about it - it is a 1996 and is reportedly in good condition. They are asking $4,500. We will probably be looking into that, but my personal thoughts are that God can provide $3,000 more as easily as $1,500 more, so I'm not deferring to the cheaper van yet. :-)

The other possibility so far is that we have been offered a Suburban by some friends by home. A Suburban officially only has belts for 8, though another friend of ours is able to install an additional belt. We will be looking into that possibility as far as legality and such, and continuing to pray for wisdom and guidance.

We are so grateful that we can trust that the Lord will guide and direct our steps, and that He will provide abundantly for all of our needs.

The next big adventure on our list, aside from continuing to watch the Lord work to provide for us, is a trip to Florida to see my G'ma Dawson. She's my last grandparent and we haven't seen her for about a year and a half, so we don't think we should miss this opportunity to go visit her. A family member here in NC is loaning us a mini-van, so we will be caravaning with Papa and Mama.

And now, a Quiddler game is calling me! More later...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

More about our adventures

I'm finally getting another opportunity to post more about post-crash events and post some pictures.

The crash occured on I-24, near downtown Nashville. We came to a stop just past an exit ramp, and evidently there was enough room behind the crashsite for the police to route folks down the exit ramp, for which I'm sure all the people behind us were glad. All of the public servants we encountered were helpful and considerate - I was pleased and grateful.


I forgot to mention in my last post that there was no declaration of anyone being at fault and no tickets were issued. That's a big praise, because often even when there's no wrong done, the driver whose car does the "hitting" is issued a ticket.


When we were given the okay to go (I signed a refusal of medical care form because they wanted to take me to the hospital and we decided to wait and seek care later if needed), they cleared the ramp so that we could back up and exit the interstate. Thankfully, the van made it down the ramp and to a nearby hotel, where we unloaded every bit of our stuff, thinking that the tow truck was going to come and tow the van that night. While he was gone to take the remains of the first car we hit to the salvage yard, we decided to wait to have it towed and see if we could get it to a mechanic in the morning. We finally got to sleep sometime after midnight.

Thursday morning, Jonathan went out to look at the van and discovered that the impact had destroyed the radiator and it would not hold any coolant. See?






Since we only have the required liability on our van and our insurance would not be covering our vehicle, we decided to see if we could limp our way to NC, stopping to let it cool off whenever it got hot. We might have made it ten miles at the most before we overheated the first time. Not the 40 miles or so for which we had hoped! It became obvious that we were not going to limp our way to North Carolina. As a matter of fact, we only managed to limp to the bottom of an exit ramp before the van died for good.

In the meantime, our friend Bob was working all through the day to secure a rental vehicle large enough to transport us all. We're so thankful for cell phones - I'll have to count the calls we made that day once we get our bill. Bob's people were finally able to find a van for us; a policeman came and called a tow truck as well as a "flashing lights truck" to guard our backs and direct traffic around us. And Enterprise really does pick you up!

Here's our van being prepared for towing.


And here we are on our way to the Enterprise office to finalize details.


We were told we would not be taking this same van as our rental, but were so grateful when plans changed and we did not have to unload and reload all of our stuff yet again. By 6.30 (central time) that evening, we were finally on the road again, and arrived at my folks house around 3am (eastern time). The drive took some extra time because there was no way we were eating in that rental van. Not after seeing the havoc that the drive from Missouri to Nashville had wrought on our gray van (which had been swept before we left home)!

We are supposed to go by the towing company's office on our way back through Nashville to settle with them. I was suprised they let us go without taking payment first, but that $65 or $75 in gas left in the van probably had something to do with it!

Friday, October 26, 2007

God's Goodness

Wednesday afternoon we left home for North Carolina to visit my folks, participate in memorial activities for my grandparents, make some money, and jog down to Florida to visit my G'ma there.

Wednesday night around 9.30, we hit Nashville.
Really.
Well, okay, we didn't hit the whole city, but the two cars we did hit probably feel like we did.

It was a dark and rainy night... and Jonathan doesn't like driving in the rain. I understand why.

He saw a long line of brake lights ahead of us, and hit the brakes. In retrospect, he thinks that it should have been soon enough to stop (taking distance into account and all...). But the brakes locked up, and down the wet road we slid.

When we hit the first car, we were probably going between 20-30 mph. Despite the fact that the turning was ineffectual due to everything being locked up, because Jonathan was trying to turn the van into the empty lane, we knocked that first car out of the way. When we hit the second car, we had slowed down to around 5 mph, we're guessing.

I say "we're guessing," but that's a lie. Jonathan is guessing. I have nothing on which to base a guess. I threw the book I had been reading aloud onto the dashboard (face down to save our place, hilariously enough), covered my face with my hands, and cried out "Oh God!" No, I was not taking His name in vain - it was a heartfelt cry for help.

Help was given.

The lady driving the first car we hit was not seriously injured, though the back half of her car was completely smashed. Thankfully, she had no one riding with her. Anyone who had been in that back seat would have had slim chances of survival (I would say none, but we have a big God, you know). They did have to cut the woman out, but the EMT's seemed convinced she did not have any "serious" injuries. But I pray that she has a good chiropractor and that our insurance is generous in paying for her treatment.

The couple in the second car we hit did not appear to be injured (though again, I hope they see the chiropractor). They drove off once all reports were filed.

And us?

I've never been so thankful to hear 7 children cry at the same time. Well, maybe I've never heard that before, but it was a sweet sound because it meant that they were all okay enough to cry.

It turns out that the Blessings are all fine. We will be getting follow-up care to insure that they have no lingering effects from the wreck, as their little bodies took quite a shaking up. But they have no critical immediate injuries. Jonathan is sore, but okay. I must have hit the dashboard/console area pretty hard - my left elbow/arm was unusable for the first day or so (I changed a diaper by myself for the first time this morning - kudos to my sweetie!), and my right shoulder has some developing soreness from the seat belt impact. All the relaxin in my system left over from my pregnancy makes a crash like that worse than at another time, but I am functioning pretty well for the most part. Yesterday I would have been typing with one hand, so I'm thankful for my progress.

We have so much to be thankful for in this, and the Lord has kept His faithfulness at the forefront of our minds. He is so good to us!

I'll write more later about what happened after the wreck, but my body needs a break from the computer.

God is good. All the time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Good gravy, I'm glad I sat down for a little break

I'm busy today getting our family ready for a two week road trip. And yes, the in-laws will be at the house, so I'm not afraid to say it. Actually, I trust God to protect my home, but it's just nice to be able to add that in there.

Anyway...

I sat down for a break and a cup of chai (yumm!) and after I posted that last link to BooMama's wisdom, I headed over to Humble Amy's (that's what we call her at our house) to see what was up. More blessed wisdom for my little heart! I'm thanking the Lord and wanting to share.

Just a sample:

But the place to begin the work is always at the beginning. Where is that? That is here– that this task, this work before me was given by God, and He will enable to do it. He is good. I belong to Him, so all that He gives me is from His mercy. The “how”, the “why”, the “what for” is for later. Settle once and for all Who you belong to and Who you are working for.

The rest comes after that.

Must Share!

Some of you who regularly enjoy BooMama have already seen her fabulous post today. But for those of you who have not, go read. And have your socks blessed off!

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Sleep-Anywhere-Kind-of-Guy


The Blender Pancakes Recipe

Here's the recipe - it works for Waffles or Pancakes, she says, but I've only made pancakes:

Place in blender; blend on high for 3 minutes -
1 3/4 c buttermilk (I didn't have buttermilk and added a bit of apple cider vinegar to not quite the amount of milk)
2 T olive oil 1 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 c brown rice or uncooked rolled oats (I actually doubled the recipe and used half and half)

Put lid on blender, let it stand overnight (this allows for better assimilation of the nutrients in the grain)

When you're ready to cook them, add 1 egg and reblend for 1 minute.

Last, add the leavening ingredients and blend briefly.
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt (I used 1t for my double batch)
She recommends sifting these through a strainer to break up lumps. I added them to a 1/4 c milk because I felt more comfortable knowing they would be dissolved, and because... well, it's fun! :-)

Then you're ready to go!

She mentions lots of other grains you can use - millet, kamut, spelt, wheat, buckwheat, barley (hulled, not pearled), corn (dry whole corn), and quinoa. I think it will be fun to experiment.

If you try them, let me know what you think!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Blender Pancakes

I've been borrowing some Sue Gregg cookbooks from a friend. I don't agree with all of her principles, but she has some great practical ideas that I'm interested in trying. One of the things that has piqued my interest most is the Blender Method. You use your blender the night before to get most of the batter ingredients mixed up, and you can use whole grains without investing in a mill! We'd like to invest in a mill, but in the meantime, this seems like a great (and inexpensive!) way to incorporate some true whole grains into our family's diet.

Last night, I started my first batch of Blender Pancakes, using 1/2 brown rice and 1/2 steel cut oats. I can share the recipe later if anyone is interested, but I need to run for now. I will say that most of my family really liked the pancakes. I found them very light, yummy, and filling. I'm looking forward to getting some wheat berries and other whole grains for making muffins and breads.

Have any of you tried this?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Barn Dance


Some dear friends of ours started a wonderful tradition a couple years ago... they host a Barn Dance each fall and spring. It is a wonderfully fun and wholesome evening, fun enough to make it worth the fact that I can hardly move come morning!


This year after the spring Barn Dance, some of us talked about the fact that it would be easier for folks to learn the dances if some of us practiced together. Well, Sue and I had babies in the meantime, so the practicing didn't start until mid-summer, but four of us couples got in enough practice that we were able to easily teach quite a few people a few basic dances last night. And we made it obvious in our demonstrations that it was okay if you didn't get it perfect - because we sure didn't! :-)


Our camera had some condensation on the lens, apparently, but I've posted our pictures from last night's Barn Dance. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The 12 days of Smitty Christmas!

Okay, I realize my last post was about fall color and now I'm jumping ahead to Christmas. But I logged on to Shoutlife this morning for the first time in ages, and found that Michael W. Smith is having a special "ramp-up" to the release of his new Christmas album. Each day of the "12 Days of Smitty," there will be a new song up on his myspace player. They each last for 24 hours (although there are 2 there right now...), so go take a listen. I LOVE Michael W. Smith Christmas music; he has such a gift for capturing the season. I was trying to explain this to Jonathan this morning and he was laughing at my sappiness. But that's okay. :-) So, if you just don't know what to give me for Thanksgiving, here's your clue - It's a Wonderful Christmas - release date October 16!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Some Fall Color

Though it's not feeling much like fall around here, I thought I'd start my fall decorations on my blog. :-)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Happy Birthday Mama!

I hope you have a chance to catch this video of your youngest grandson. :-)

video

Friday, October 05, 2007

Precious Things

It's amazing to me how the things that are the most important are sometimes the hardest things to write about. I've posted five times in the last week, and I haven't said a word about the events in my life that matter most.


On Monday, September 24, I had never experienced the loss of a grandparent. My Grandfather Morgan and my Grandma Marie Byrd died before I arrived in this world. They each left their own legacy to me, but I did not experience the pain of their passing.


Last Tuesday, September 25, my G'ma Byrd, who my G'pa had married before I was born, and who was the only G'ma Byrd I've ever had the honor of knowing personally, died in the wee hours of the morning. The grief of her passing was intense. She the first G'ma I've ever lost, but much more painful is the fact that as far as we know she resisted God until her last moment of awareness. I was going to write more about that, but can't seem to do it...


Thursday afternoon, September 27, my G'pa Byrd went home to be with Jesus. We knew that he wasn't long for this world, but I was still surprised that it was so soon. An amazing thing is that he was never consciously aware that G'ma was gone... not even that she was out of their room. And yet he was somehow released from his hanging on to take care of G'ma. Here's what I posted to EBCAlumni.net that afternoon (blogspot wouldn't let me in):



My Grandpa Byrd went home to be with Jesus this afternoon. It's amazing how differently I feel about his passing than I feel about Grandma's two days ago. While I'm sad and have shed quite a few tears, there is such peace and joy for him, knowing that he is with his Savior - no more pain, no more tears. Here's one of my favorite pictures of my G'pa and G'ma Byrd. This is on the front porch of their home in the Smoky Mountains.


My G'pa and G'ma were so very precious to me. I know that I am still processing and working through their passing, and it's probably a sign of progress that I'm finally able to write a little about it.
Here are links to their obituary pages - G'pa and G'ma Byrd. Much loved. Much missed.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Coming October 30th



New Eagles studio album. Woot!

More dining room renovation!

Quite a while back (maybe two years ago?), we tore out a wall between our kitchen and dining rooms, giving the area a much larger feel. We've been living with very much un"done" space ever since, however.

Last Sunday we worked on tearing out and sheetrocking one section of the wall... yay!




















Here's a shot of that wall sheetrocked (with the last coat of mud finished):















And yesterday, after the chapel work day that totally kicked my pa-tootie, Jonathan tore out the outside wall. Lovely lack of insulation, eh?
The plans for this wall (besides adding insulation) are to bring it out a few inches so that the wall is flush with the stairs, and to move the window over to the landing at the right. Not move that old window, of course, but move the window location. ;-)

More updates as we get more work done!

The truck that ran over me

I feel today as if I've been run over by a truck. Didn't even make it to church today... didn't get out of bed (except to feed Stephen) until after noon.

So here's what did me in...

Our chapel workday was yesterday, and Sue and I finally tackled the nursery (a project we've been wanting to work on for a year or so). The first thing on the agenda was stripping the wallpaper from the lower portion of the wall. Actually that was second - first was taking down the hideous drapes!

I had totally unrealistic expectations of how long everything would take, but realized that we did a great job to get the wallpaper stripped in the time we had available. Here are the "after" pictures:



Next comes paint!

Friday, September 28, 2007

I've been locked out!

I haven't been able to login to Blogger lately. I'm not sure why, because I'm logging in and out of Gmail on the same account just fine. But I can't login on the main Blogger screen. I finally got in today by leaving a comment on Katie's blog - the login to leave a comment works for me. Anyone else been having trouble lately?

This has been quite a week for me. I don't have time to write more now, but I'll "sneak" in later and post.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Health Stuff

I'm rather tardy about getting about to writing this post, but here I sit with gritted teeth, and I'm gonna get it done!

The last few months have been interesting ones for me health wise. In brief, I spent from June 2 to August 27 waiting to find out whether or not I had cervical cancer. Praise the Lord, the results came back negative (which is a big positive!). However, they did find some precancerous cells (CIN1), and I go back in six months (from the end of August) to get re-tested.

In the meantime, we'll be working on making my body the least hospitable host possible for any nastiness trying to grow. For the record, here's most of the regime that we've formulated:

**Daily Multi-vitamin/Multi-mineral supplement.

**Progesterone cream - Excess estrogen promotes cancer growth, and as I've discussed here
before (and no, I haven't finished that series yet...), I discovered last year that I was waaay estrogen dominant. I've recently gone back to using the bio-identical progesterone cream to help with that.

**Liver Support - Among a myriad of other functions, the liver helps with hormone issues. I'm taking Milk Thistle and Dandelion supplements to support liver function.

**Thyroid Support - I'm taking a natural supplement to support thyroid function, as well as taking an iodine supplement (under the supervision of a qualified health practitioner) to help restore my body's iodine supply, which is critical to thyroid function.

**Topical Regime - I will also soon be starting a mostly topical regime targetting my cervix (under the supervision of the aforementioned qualified health practitioner). I'm not going to go into the details of that on this blog. :-)

**Ph Balance - I've found that my body is extremely acidic, and getting a better ph balance will help create that inhospitable environment I'm working for. This is pretty much done through food, so I'm in the process of revising my diet. And I'll admit that it's not fun. :-) But it's worth it.

I think that's all. All - Ha! By the time I get all these systems working right, I suspect that I'll be feeling better than I have in years.

This post is pretty much a sketch version of most of these issues. If you're curious, I might work on posting more details on some of them. And if you want to read about the journey from "What's that?" in labor to "There's no cancer, but..." email me at
grace_and_glory@shammelle.com and I'll see about getting you access to the private blog I started for blogging about that.

And now, I must go nurse the little man!

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Green Salve Project... explained

I was cruel enough to post a picture last week on my photo blog with the title "The Green Salve Project" and then not explain a thing about it. And I know that you, my faithful 3 or 4 readers, have just been expiring from curiousity about that green salve business. So, hear I am to sate your wonder by giving you the scoop.

Last Christmas, one of the families at our chapel gave away 2 oz jars Green Salve. My friend Sue and I quickly realized it was fabulous stuff, and this spring as our 2 oz jars began to run out, we decided we had to make some ourselves. It's great for so many things! Infected owies, preventing infected owies, bug bites, rashes, acne, burns, etc, etc. I don't think we've found the end of the uses for it.

Green salve has plantain, comfrey leaf and root, red clover blossoms, vitamin E, tea tree oil, and goldenseal powder, in a base of olive oil and beeswax. If you look up all those herbs separately, you'll see why it's great for such a variety of uses.

So last Wednesday, after months of talking about it, Sue and I finally got to make our first batch of Green Salve. And it worked! We were like little girls when we got done - so excited that we'd actually done it. :-)

We got about 85 ounces out of our double batch, which should last a long time! We're planning on making some for Christmas gifts, too. Isn't it lovely?


And now, to fill the day's cuteness quota, I bring you a picture of the two adorable babies in the background:


That's Grace and Stephen. The arranged marriage contracts are still being negotiated. ;-) Just kidding, but she sure is a cutie, and she's growing up with a terrific example of a mom who is a wonderful helpmeet.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

This last weekend

We spent a great weekend up at Mark Twain State Park in Stoutsville, MO, at the second annual Friends of Missouri Midwives Family Retreat. It was a fun time of fellowship, learning, and getting business done. The only bummer was Jonathan getting sick Saturday evening. He was pretty much out of it until late morning on Sunday. Thankfully, he felt better as the day went on, and was able to drive home, etc.

Here's a shot of the main building where we ate and met, with my dear friend Mary walking along. It looks like she's reading while she walks... she's good at that. ;-)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

An interesting question

I was asked this question today - "Laurel, why is it important that midwives who do not have medical training to be able to deliver a baby when you can have a midwife that does have a medical background?"

Here is my answer. I thought it was worth posting here"
For one thing, I cannot have a CNM ("a midwife that does have a medical background") attend my birth in my home. CNM's can only attend home births in Missouri (or get hospital delivery privileges) if they have a collaborative practice agreement with a doctor. Only 2 CNM's have been able to accomplish that feat in Missouri; neither of them live anywhere near me.

Secondly, while Certified Professional Midwives are not trained in the medical model of birth, the Midwives Model of Care in which they are trained is an excellent model. Their training is extensive, and is specifically focused on assisting women in home births. No other certification requires training and experience with home birth, so they are the logical choice for families who decide to have their babies at home. Additionally, study after study has shown that planned homebirth with a CPM is at least as "safe" as hospital birth, with fewer of the interventions that some families wish to avoid.

We personally have had a baby in a Missouri hospital with a CNM. We appreciated the services of our CNM, but it was obvious that the hospital environment was not the birth environment for us, except in the case that we needed medical assistance. That is why we have chosen to return to Kansas for subsequent births - to legally have the assistance of a CPM in a home environment.

Those of us who are striving to legalize CPMs in Missouri seek to not judge those who chose to birth differently than we do. We simply would like to see more healthy birth options available to the families in our state, and would like for parents to be affirmed in their responsibility and ability to make well-informed decisions on behalf of their children (instead of having their rights to make those decisions limited by the state). If that choice for someone else is to go to the hospital, that's a choice that I respect.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Coverage on national Fox News

video

Our legal situation in concerning midwives in Missouri has been receiving national attention, and was covered last Friday on the Fox news network. I'm posting the video that a friend recorded. If there is a problem with posting it (legally, I mean), please let me know.

And in case you were wondering, I am less than thrilled that my 3 seconds on national tv is of me scowling! ;-)

Monday, September 10, 2007

New Clothes!

Thanks Papa and Mama!

This dress in blue.

And this embroidered skirt.

I'm thrilled with them both!

Nifty Linkage

I am past behind on blogging, but I have a couple of cool things I want to holler about, so I'm going to post this real quick. :-)

First of all, Saints Serving! This is a great site with free hymn recordings. For some of the hymns they have separate recordings to help you learn your parts. The downloads are all free, and I love listening. For those familiar with the black hymnal Hymns of Worship and Remembrance, many of those wonderful songs can be found on Saints Serving.

Second, on a more earthly note...
Aldi has developed an amazing meal planning/shopping site. I was floored by how easy to use and helpful it is. Check it out!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Monday, August 20, 2007

Know what?

I realized today that the age of digital cameras has, at least in our house, done away with the traditional lack of picture-taking of younger children. I think this boy has been photographed more than any of our other children at his age - maybe more than 2 or 3 of them combined!

But isn't he adorable?!?

By the way, the scale hit 15 pounds when I weighed him today. Wowsers!

He's found them!

The little man doesn't know what to do with his hands yet, but they keep popping up...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Be Still My Soul

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.

Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, believing, to Thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.

Words: Katharina A. von Schlegel, in Neue Sammlung Geistlicher Lieder, 1752 (Stille, meine Wille, dein Jesus hilft siegen); translated from German to English by Jane L. Borthwick in Hymns from the Land of Luther, 1855.

Music: Fin­land­ia, Jean Si­bel­i­us, 1899

Be Still My Soul on Cyberhymnal


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.
Psalm 46.10


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Jesus, I am resting, resting, In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee, And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power, Thou hast made me whole.
Jesus, I am resting, resting, In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness Of Thy loving heart.
O, how great Thy loving kindness, Vaster, broader than the sea!
O, how marvelous Thy goodness, Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Belovèd, Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise, And have made it mine.
Jesus, I am resting, resting, In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness Of Thy loving heart.
Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus, I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless, Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings, Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings: Thine is love indeed!
Jesus, I am resting, resting, In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness Of Thy loving heart.
Ever lift Thy face upon me As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ’neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus, Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory, Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting, Fill me with Thy grace.
Jesus, I am resting, resting, In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness Of Thy loving heart.
Words: Jean S. Pig­ott, 1876.
Music: Tran­quil­i­ty, James Mount­ain, Hymns of Con­se­cra­tion and Faith, 1876

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

So hot


Today around 2.45 in Washington MO. Hottest I've seen it since we moved to Missouri in 2000.

So cute

Time with Cousins and Friends

We were blessed to get to spend time yesterday with the Blessings' Cousins from western NC. Not only that, but we got to see my long-time friend Katie from KC, and have our dear friend Georgia along for the day, and, of course, the Cousins sweet Mama Beka!


We spent a couple hours at the zoo in the morning, went to Steak and Shake for lunch, then made our way (slowly, oh so slowly, in the the hot hot heat) to the Science Center. I didn't get pics of the Science Center, as I was nursing most of our time there - it wasn't that long of a visit. ;-)


Here's a picture of the Cousins at the zoo...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Missouri families and midwives lose in court today...

I haven't talked much on this blog about our work here in Missouri to legalize midwives. I find that rather strange, as it is such a big part of our life right now. Anyway... if the following announcement raises questions for you, feel free to ask.

Cole County Judge Patricia Joyce ruled against the midwifery provision contained in HB818 today. Her final judgment in the case says that the midwifery provision is unconstitutional because it does not relate to the underlying purpose and subject of the bill - expanding health insurance coverage.

She doesn't write favorably of the practice of Certified Professional Midwives, saying:"The midwife provision broadly authorizes certain unregulated persons to provide pregnancy services without limitation," Joyce wrote. "Since the midwife provision does not relate to health insurance, and is therefore not encompassed within the title for House Bill 818, the title "relating to health insurance" is underinclusive."

Seeing some of Judge Joyce's descriptions and choices of words, one attorney reading through her judgment today commented, "It looks like she let the plaintiffs write her judgment for her and then she signed her name at the bottom." Not exactly, but her judgment seems to have a smidgen of her personal dislike for the midwifery issue showing through. We had heard some things through the rumor mill about her personal opinions on the matter, but hoped that she would review the constitutional issues in an unbiased manner in spite of her personal opinions and preconceived ideas about midwives. Her decision is disappointing, but not entirely surprising.

HOWEVER, this is not the final verdict! We intend to appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court and we feel hopeful for a eventual favorable outcome there. The MO Supreme Court has a strong precedent in recent cases of upholding whatever the legislature passes and saying, "We are not here to make laws. If the legislature passed it, and the Governor signed it, it should probably not be thrown out by us."
We have 30 days before we can file papers to appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court. During that time, we MUST raise money to cover our legal fees to continue fighting this battle as it makes it way through the court system.

If you have not already contributed to our legal expenses fund, I hope that you will consider doing so today. If you have considered it, but are financially challenged right now, I hope you will consider how you can raise some money or solicit donations, whether through a dinner party, a garage sale, a bake sale, or sending letters to your friends. Feel free to forward this email on to your friends.

All contributions should be made online at: FreeTheMidwives
Or mailed to:
Free the Midwives
PO Box 2319
Rolla, MO 65402
Contributions are not tax-deductible.

Lastly, there is a great need for the homebirth families of Missouri to speak up about this and how Judge Joyce's ruling will negatively affect their families and their access to quality, affordable healthcare. Send letters to the editor, talk to the media, blog.... Remind people that this was all about organized medicine, mad that they lost the battle in the legislature, now attempting to regain their turf and reclaim the pregnant women that they consider "their patients" in the court system.

Please go here and here and add some comments to the blog posts above about the midwifery ruling, including the statement issued by Senator Chuck Graham. I hope some of the pro-choice feminists that he claims to represent and who's life and health he claims to care so much about protecting, call him out on his statement!

Thank you, and let's keep up the fight! Never, never, ever give up!
Mary Ueland

Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. - Thomas Edison


The only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over the government. - Franklin D Roosevelt

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Great Video

From the Kentucky Midwifery Advocacy Taskforce - fellow supporters of midwives.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

A wonderful thing just happened!

Ellie helped Kate and Grace get their baths, and even helped them wash their hair. Not the cleanest hair they've ever had, but I'm excited both about her helpfulness and for the growing responsibility she's developing.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New Blog

Inspired by Tracy, I've started what is intended to a be a picture-a-day blog. I'll link to it on my sidebar soon, but in the meantime, you can find it here.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Too exciting

This morning while in the kitchen, I heard bloodcurdling screams coming from the back deck. Looking outside, I realized that they were coming from Barak, our child who rarely gets vocal about pain. But sure enough, there he is, screaming like crazy and waving his arms and legs around like ... well I don't know like what. But it was impressive.

My first thought was that he must've been stung, and sure enough, that was it. Once on his arm and once on each leg - whopper stings that looked like they drew blood.

I ran out in the yard to get some plantain and dashed back, chewing as I went. I didn't realize how many times he'd been stung, and I had to send Siah out for some more. Once I put the chewed up plantain on the stings, it was obvious the pain started to lessen, but he already had pretty impressive swelling. Within a couple hours, there were just little red bumps at the sting spots. Yay for plantain.

And yes, we had a little chat about the fact that flailing one's arms and legs like a wild thing when one has been stung by something is generally not to one's advantage. :-)

Sweet sleepy eyes


Friday, July 27, 2007

Thoughts on Gentleness

God has really been working on me lately in the area of gentleness. I find this in some ways ironic, because the following passage has long been a favorite of mine, representing some of my biggest goals...

I Peter 3.1-4
In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be merely external--braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.


A couple of weeks ago at church, I Peter 2.4 jumped out at me. Referring to Jesus, it describes Him as "a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God."

I was overwhelmed by the thought that the same expression is used of Christ as is used of the "spirit" that God desires of me. To have a gentle and quiet spirit (true beauty!) is precious in the sight of God. As Christ, our living stone, is precious in the sight of God. That wows me.

And then...

I'm reading Joyce Landorf's Richest Lady in Town right now. It's an older book that I've had for years and never read. If my family knew what I've been missing...

Landorf talks in one chapter about the whole gentleness issue, stating that she was not naturally a gentle person, and that for years she refused to even adopt gentleness as a goal. Then one day, she saw a young mother completely lose it with her children in the store. As the mother ranted and raved, and employees and patrons alike tried to clean up the rack of items the little boy had knocked over, Landorf watched him sneak his blue blanket out of his mother's bag. In the midst of the chaos and the yelling, this little boy found refuge and gentleness in his blanket. Landorf realized how sad it was that the mother was not the one to give her son gentleness. Somehow, that experience was so impactful that she begin to actively pursue gentleness. And do you know what?? That especially included gentleness with her children.

And that's when she went to meddling.

I've long pursued a gentle and quiet spirit. Folks around me have even given me feedback indicating that the Lord's making good progress with me in this area. But do you know what? They don't see me behind closed doors when my beloved Blessings have me ready to pull out my hair. And they don't see me when I fail to forgive my husband and let bitterness grow until it explodes.

I have such a long way to go.

The wonderful and encouraging thing is that I have a faithful God who is constantly working to conform me to the image of His beloved (precious!) Son. He has started a work in me, and He won't stop until He completes it.

"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." ~ Jesus~ Matthew 11.29

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Template help

I just realized I still have my little ticker for Stephen Wayne at the bottom of my blog. I can't remember how I put it there or figure out how to get it out. :-) Any help?

Locks of Love

We were inspired by a friend, and Kate and Ellie decided a couple weeks ago to get their hair cut for Locks of Love. We finally got it done today, and I thought I'd share some pictures.

Before:

During:



And after:


We took them to the local cosmotology college, and think they did a nice job. The only thing that made me less than happy with it is that they took off way more than they needed on Kate's. Her ponytail is over 12" long, and they only need 10" for L o L. If the girls want to do it again, I'm taking my own ruler. Thankfully the student realized that the comb was longer than 6" and pointed it out to the teacher before they cut Ellie's hair - she didn't have the extra to spare. :-)

Big bonus - it ended up being free! Though I asked when I called if they did comp cuts for Locks and Love and they said no, she said when they got done that there would be no charge. A wonderful extra blessing.