Tag Archives: Thankful List

The Most Precious Gift

Daddy-J    In Memorium

December 13, 1935 – December 02, 2011

    For his anger is but for a moment,
        and his favor is for a lifetime.
    Weeping may tarry for the night,
        but joy comes with the morning.
(Psalm 30:5 ESV)

The Lord in His graciousness to me has given me a gift that has left me stunned in its magnitude.

I opened my email this afternoon to find a message from one of mom’s very dear friends, who is also a customer of mine.  Mr & Mrs Q had called to talk to Daddy-J about his need for a personal relationship with Jesus.   Their call was about the same time my letter arrived.  They read scripture to him and…

Daddy-J acknowledged Jesus as his Savior!

Words escape me, but my heart is filled with joy!!

6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.

7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

1 Corinthians 3:6 – 7

Praise the Lord!!

Blessings,  ~Mrs. R

Some Hard News

Just a quick note today…

Daddy-J, my step-dad, was back in the hospital again.  He had his first chemo treatment and it nearly killed him.  It didn’t kill the cancer at all and it continues to spread quickly.  His doctor gave him only a few weeks to live.

My mom & he are leaving for Michigan on Friday so they can spend his last days near the rest of his family and friends.

He has become so precious to me this past year.  He spent more individual time with me over the past year helping me with my soap business than I have had with my own biological father in the last 35 years.

And he doesn’t try to make me someone I am not, but loves me for who I am.  He never tried to push me with my business farther or faster than I could go.  He completely understood I have other obligations!!

A funny story from their last visit.  Daddy-J and I had spent a day and half talking about my soap business, making plans for next year and especially discussing my other time commitments  – homeschooling Arrow, the home front, church commitment, state homeschool organization commitment, and piano lessons.   We also talked about the things that were hindrances to my business progress – a lack of a reliable source of beef fat and my own lack of organization (time and clutter). That last bit isn’t the funny part so stop laughing!  Anyway… later that evening my mom was ‘showering’ me with gifts.  These were things she found in her home that she thought I would like.  Daddy-J said she was so excited about these things and was collecting them for months prior to their visit.  And we had been talking about my soap business and the things Daddy-J and I talked about earlier that day.  And I got to listing some ‘other’ things I said I would like to do… and then mo would give me another gift… and so I piped up with “OH and I can start a such-and-such business” (based on whatever the gift was)!!  Daddy-J & I laughed, with the rest joining in our merriment.  At one point we laughed so hard our sides ached.  So the next day he told me that mom asked him if I was really serious about starting one of those businesses and he laughed and said no!

Eight things I am thankful for:

#1 – that Daddy-J & I had the time we did to spend together on the phone and face-to-face, just the two of us

#2 – his patience with my mom

#3 – his politeness while in the hospital, even when very uncomfortable or in lost of pain

#4 – his encouragement to me in the things he knew were important to me, my family, homeschooling, piano, my soap business, and church and homeschooling commitments

#5 – his deep love for Arrow

#6 – his encouragement of Arrow in his chores and schoolwork

#7 – his encouragement for mom to respect our family policies

#8 – his funny childhood stories

I will cherish the time we still have, short as it will seem!  Please pray with me for his & mom’s salvation.

Blessings,  ~Mrs. R

More Strokes & Other News

Hello everyone!  Phew…  In my previous post I told you about my folks visiting and my step-Dad having a stroke while in my backyard.  Well the medical upheaval continued.

Step-Dad was released from the hospital on Saturday, September 24th.  He rested that day and we all went out to dinner (his request) and they attended church with us on Sunday.  He was able to talk with Mr. CR who had lymphoma and was an encouragement to him.  Yes, my step-Dad was diagnosed with cancer about 4 weeks before their annual trip to see us.  His doctor said it wouldn’t be a problem to take the visit.

Monday and Tuesday he and I spent many hours talking about my soap business.  He has been helping me ‘launch’ my business as well as help me stream line the production process where I can, think through establishing a website and all the behind the scenes things that have to happen before the website is ready for the public.  Don’t ask me about domain names… what hard work THAT was!  😉

Also on Tuesday we were supposed to visit some local gift shops in order to find a few that would be willing carry my soaps.  We had stopped at 3 and were on our way to the 4th one when my mom said step-Dad’s tongue sounded “thick” and asked how he was feeling.  We then got to the gift shop and I had gotten out of the car and he had opened his door.  He was sitting in the back with Arrow.  He had started to swing his feet out of the car when he slurred a word.  He had not lost any strength on his right side.  We shut the car door and by the providence of God we were across the street from the firehouse, so we drove there.  Also by God’s providence they were “home”!  My step-Dad walked into the firehouse, and was slurring his words a little and sat in their chair.  The firemen drove the ambulance around and brought the gurney in.  By that time (less than 10 minutes) he had lost strength in his right side and had to be helped onto the gurney.  Off he went to the hospital… again.  We followed… not “followed” but drove along at a safe speed behind the ambulance and actually arrived only a few minutes after them.

Step-Dad was taken to the emergency room.  They were very busy.  He was offered the same drug taken previously (t-PA), but because of his very high blood pressure his risk factor for significant bleeding, possibly leading to death, was significantly higher.  They declined the t-PA this time around.  The doctor ordered Heparin, but then changed his mind and after 20 minutes that was stopped.  He had a CAT scan somewhere in there…

Then we waited… and waited… and waited… and waited some more.

The emergency room nurses were unfriendly, stood around the counter talking and acted like we were an interruption to them if we came out to ask for anything.  Step-Dad was unable to find a comfortable position in the very uncomfortable emergency room bed.  There was also no way to get out of the emergency room to other parts of the hospital without having to go through security doors… and then no way back in… we didn’t have a badge to open those doors.  So we couldn’t leave to get food or water.

After 4 1/2 hours he was sent up to the 5th floor ICU because the doctor was up there.  He hadn’t even been “officially” admitted.  Even the nurse said she had never heard of this before.  She had no orders and couldn’t do anything for him.  We were told that the doctor would see him in about half an hour so we went down to have dinner… at 9:30 PM.  Poor Arrow!  It had now been over 9 hours since he had eaten lunch.  He was a real trooper, but v-e-r-y hungry!  We got back up to Step-Dad’s room 45 minutes later and the doctor came in a little after that.  He explained the treatments options and what tests he was ordering.  Step-Dad was given a blood thinner.

The doctor asked how they wanted to have his care handled if his heart stopped.  Mom told the Dr. that they have a living will and wanted no artificial life support.  Step-Dad agreed with her.  The Doc verified that step-Dad was “Do Not Resuscitate” and they both agreed.  I stopped them to ask if step-Dad’s heart were to stop they really didn’t want the hospital to attempt to restart it at all???  They had not understood what the doctor was asking, for all they wanted was not to be kept alive artificially long term.  And your care options are much more limited with a DNR code… so please be careful!  There is no “life saving” treatments with a DNR… for you have asked for no life saving measures.

Thursday step-Dad had another CAT scan and a Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE).  The latter is a more in depth scope of the heart from inside the body instead of through the chest wall.  It showed that his heart is fine.  The cancer raises the white cell count in the blood, making the blood thicker.  The thicker blood is what ’caused’ step-Dad’s  strokes.

The CAT scan showed lesions in 4 new areas that were not there on his CAT scan a month ago.  These new areas are the left axillary armpit, left lower neck, right kidney and the liver.  The first biopsy found cancer in the lymph nodes on the right side, in his back, just above the waist.  That is where his pain has consistently been.  The doctors here said these new lesions were suspicious for cancer and they suspect lymphoma.

The folks changed their flight to fly home on Saturday evening.They have already scheduled an appointment with an oncologist for the end of the week.  They were given copies of all Step-Dad’s scans, records, and treatments to give to his doctors in Minnesota.

May the Lord’s will be done and He be given glory through all this.

Fourteen things I am thankful for:

#1 – medical technology that allows doctors to “see” inside our bodies

#2 – the gift of my step-Dad.  He is like a dad to me and he says I am like the daughter he never had.  🙂

#3 – that Arrow & I were able to be there at the hospital with my folks for support and encouragement

#4 – Step-Dad’s positive attitude and generally cheerful disposition, even through all the hospitalizations, ambulance rides, numerous needle pokes, scans, etc

#5 – Step-Dad’s planner – he had his MN doctor’s phone numbers, list of all his medications he was taking, travel info & phone numbers so travel plans could be changed, and his file on my soap business

#6 – the hospital’s free parking & free Valet parking service

#7 – the general cheerful decorating of the hospital building & grounds

#8 – Mrs. GB, who came to visit with her dear children – such a sweet blessing

#9 – AMcD, who works at the hospital Step-Dad was in & stopped by to see him… twice!  Last time to pray with him the day before he was released the second time

#10 – BMcK, who called to talk with Step-Dad & pray with him

#11 – my church family & extended brothers and sisters in Christ who have prayed diligently for Step-Dad since his cancer diagnosis

#12 – the Lord’s gracious arrangement of small details: changing my menu to accommodate being at the hospital, being “right there” at the firehouse, parking spaces right inside the parking garage,

#13 – I didn’t eat out of frustration, or stress during the entire visit

#14 – I was prepared for an emergency: I knew when to call 911, my cell was charged, when I couldn’t eat anything at the hospital cafeteria (very little gf & df) I could easily pack my own food, Arrow could easily grab some games & drawing materials to keep him occupied at the hospital, my gas tank is kept full, I have maps & atlases in the car (GPS might not work!), I had easily prepared food on hand for those late night meals

Blessings, ~Mrs. R

Broken Arm Blessings – Arrow Learns Kitchen Knife Skills & Cooking!

Anticipation 1940 click to go to Shorpy.com for full size view

We continue with our mini series on “Broken Arm Blessings” here with this newest installment.  Yes it is a year later (plus a little) but it seemed fitting somehow.  In case you missed them, you can read part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here, part 4 here & part 5 here.

Right after I broke my arm the Lord impressed upon The Patriarch & me that “this time” was for Arrow’s training.  That was confirmed (without us having said a word) by Papa & Mama B on the Sunday four days after the initial break.  Yes, I did actually attend church with a very banged up face.  We didn’t want to deny anyone the blessing of helping us, but we needed to obey the Lord in this.  So, we turned down meals from our church in order to have this time of real life training for Arrow.

Baby Blue Cast & Casted Thumb

I was quite limited in what I could do in taking care of my family and out home.  My left thumb was cast immobile so I couldn’t move the radius bone.  That alone really limited my arm movements.  (Insert NON-evolutionary note here:  Even in just this I saw how we truly are fearfully and wonderfully made!! … end note)  Anything requiring two hands was o-u-t for me… for a time.  I found creative work arounds for a few things, but most things I had to have someone else do.  It was amazing to me how many things I actually HAD to use two hands for… that I did without thinking about “how” I did them.  And now I had to teach someone else the how… without being able to do the show.

YouTube!!  Did I ever think I would thank the Lord for YouTube..??!!

Arrow had to do all the majority of the house cleaning, cooking, laundry, garden watering, dishes, dog care (including giving doggy medications), as per the Lord’s direction.  I did a few little things that weren’t taxing & easily be done with one hand.  Many of the tasks that Arrow was now responsible for he had some training in.  He had just never been responsible for it all… all at the same time before!  We prayed that this time of training would 1) help develop a servant’s heart, 2) learn to work cheerfully as unto the Lord, 3) scheduling various household chores, 4) scheduling cooking so all items were done at the same time and able to be served together, 5) know what is required to ‘run the home’ so he will be a better manager of his own home (should the Lord provide him with a wife), 6) give him the skills and training to help around the house when all the children are too young to take charge on their own and his wife is incapacitated by morning sickness (should the Lord so graciously provide!) …and??

We had training in using larger knives (very interesting when I can’t ‘show’ how it is to be done!)  have you ever tried to cut an onion with only one hand… that thing rolls all over the place!  These youtube videos were Arrow’s ‘knife skill school classes’:

  – (This is an excellent explanation of how to cut, and the principles of the cutting action, how to hold you hands, etc.  This would have been tops if he had also shown better how to hold the knife and how to stand, but that is covered in the 2nd link.);

  – (This second one show how to hold the knife properly, how to stand while cutting, but I don’t like his knife action as much as the first video.);

(Sorry I tried embedding the video code… grrr….!)  And the audio quality on these isn’t the greatest, but the information is top notch!  So I included them here for your learning as well!  🙂  Here is the Gluten Free Girl’s Hubby showing how to dice vegetables (different info than how to cut them!;

Gluten Free Girl & the Chef show why it’s important to start with a  hot pan!!; – this was “MY” cooking epiphany!!  Oh!!  Oh!!  Oh!!  Revolutionized and IMPROVED my cooking dramatically… I never knew.

I thought these “training” videos were for teaching Arrow how to cook.  Ha!  Just like any other subject I teach in our homeschool, I learn SO MUCH!!  I wasn’t even taught the proper way to hold a knife in my home-ec classes way back in the 70’s!!  You know, the “old” days when girls were till being taught some home skills.  I was taught the basics of the how but none of the why and much of the details were never taught at all!  I have learned them now when training Arrow and in being part of the Ratio Rally.

Our learning continued in using the stove safely, washing up as you go so you don’t have such a large mess later, tips for hardboiling eggs, tips for frying eggs so they don’t have that hard plastic edge, 1) the eggs MUST be at room temperature.  I usually place them in a container with hot water while I prep the rest of the things, 2) The pan MUST be heated completely on LOW heat.  It takes my stove about 5 – 6 minutes.  The butter should NOT sizzle and neither should the eggs., 3) Cook the eggs slowly, they should slide around in the bottom of the pan when they are ready to turn and there should not be lots of the white still uncooked.  I still use butter, but skim off the foam as that is the protein that causes me a problem.  Guess I need to make my own ghee…, 4)  get the spatula completely under the eggs before trying to turn them so you don’t break the yolks… turn gently!, 5) Only cook 2 – 3 eggs at a time in a pan of the proper size.  If you use a larger griddle for lots of eggs… the same principles apply, but you may need some kind of ring to keep the whites separated so they don’t spread all over the place.  I don’t cook our eggs on our cast iron griddle as I don’t like the iron taste it leaves behind in the eggs.

how to coordinate laundry, cooking, etc and MUCH MORE!  So far his attitude has been pretty good.

Some of the things he made are:  a pot roast in the crock pot, chicken salad, gluten free pasta salad, GF pancakes, fried eggs, salads, roast beef hash, GF  cherry peach cobbler, hamburgers (not on buns), cole slaw, potato salad, fresh brewed coffee and iced tea.  I didn’t keep a complete record of all Arrow cooked during that time.  There would have been many other things not listed here.  And a dear, sweet friend, Mrs. G.B. made us a couple of meals anyway.  On a few days when we were gone for the better part of a day with various doctor’s appointments & such we heated up these meals.  Those were such blessings!  Thank you dear!!

Do you realize just how long it takes an 11 (at the time) year old boy to fix a complete dinner??  “MY” timing was W-A-Y off as to how long I needed to give him to get the food ready.  What took me 30 minutes was taking him 3 times that long.  I sure wasn’t about to tell him to hurry up when slicing, dicing and chopping with 12-inch sharp chefs knives!!!  So we got very little else done but the bare essentials.

I looked at this time as “my season of stillness” given as a blessing to me by my heavenly Father.   NOT that I want to run right out and break my arm again…  🙂  My ‘learning’ was in extending patience, letting go of perfectionist tendencies (do those towels REALLY need to be folded just that way??), relying on others help without demanding, new knife skills (yep I had NO clue…) and much more.  I couldn’t change what “crook in my lot” (or arm – ouch!) the Lord had given me, and complaining about it would only make me & those around me miserable!  So I spent much more time praising God for my… “Broken Arm Blessings”!

Ten blessings I am thankful for:

1) YouTube videos for teaching essential kitchen knife skills!

2 ) dear friends from church who made meals anyway.

3) that I had done some of this training before I broke my arm

4) watching Arrow chop and slice like a pro! (though more slowly!!) AND keep all his fingers

5) how pleased The Patriarch was with the fried eggs cooked by Arrow for the very first time

6) for a good set of Cutco Knives, thanks honey!!

7) Arrow’s pleasant attitude towards learning all this food prep stuff

9) watching Arrow carefully cup up a large watermelon for our church fellowship meal and do so safely

10) for the learning I had while teaching kitchen skills to Arrow!!

Blessings,  ~Mrs. R

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