re·form: (r-fôrm) v. re·formed, re·form·ing, re·forms v. tr. 1. To improve by alteration, correction of error, or removal of defects; put into a better form or condition. 2. To cause (a person) to give up harmful or immoral practices; persuade to adopt a better way of life.
ma·ma or mam·ma also mom·ma: n. (also m-mä) Informal. Mother.


Mel Gibson's Tirade

I think he's a fake who's been outed.

I suspect that he made the Passion of the Christ for money and fame and all that, but I doubt he made it because he really was all that concerned about getting the Gospel message out there. Otherwise, I suspect he would have stopped making some of the vulgar movies he's made and the Passion would have been more biblically accurate. True, he did only use Scripture *for the dialogue* but there were other things in the movie that were wrong. And how much money did he make from that?

He hasn't changed his ways. He's still a drunkard -- obviously. And apparently he hates Jews. While alcohol can make you lose control over the things you say, it can't make you say things that aren't already in your heart.

When Christ truly grabs ahold of a person's life, they change. Sometimes it's a gradual change, other times it's not so gradual. I've seen no change in good ole Mel. Not that I am up close and personal with him, but there would be some evidence of a renewed life. Know what I mean.

So do you think I'm judgemental now? Sorry. I don't mean to offend. I just call it as I see it.

80's Again

This evening a madde a quick run to the grocery store for a few things. While I was on the milk aisle I noticed a girl who was about 7 or 8 years old sitting in a grocery cart. She could have been a little younger. Wanna know what made me notice her?

She was singing.

WHAT was she singing?

Funky Cold Medina.

How scary is THAT?

Yes, not I am convinced that the End times are upon us.

Where Did My Baby Go?

It seems that my son who used to be so cuddly and who wanted me around all the time is changing his ways. *sniff*

Feeding him babyfood and table food is now a challenge. I have to guess what he wants -- pureed stuff or table food -- it changes from bite to bite. Sometimes he wants to feed himself. Sometimes he wants to eat from the spoon that I hold. Sometimes he wants me to feed him with my fingers. I'm always guessing with him.

It also seems as though he is wanting to play independently more and more now. He gets fussy whenever anyone holds him for more than a few minutes. He wants his feet on the ground at all times now. I'm guessing that's so that when he finally figures out the walking thing he ca take off running and never stop. As energetic as he is, I would not be the least bit surprised if that's exactly what happened. *sniff sniff*

He doesn't give hugs anymore when I ask. He just looks at me like I'm crazy and grins. Sometimes he bops up and down, but that's it.

He's not even 1 yet -- not actually and not his adjusted age. It's not fair that he's changing so fast. He's supposed to stay a baby forever, right? Okay, maybe not stay a BABY, but he's supposed to want to cuddle and play with mommy and eat and all that forever. Or is that just my own little dream world.

I can see that I am *CLEARLY* going to have issues when he is old enough to fall in love and run off and get married (of course, he's not allowed to do that until he's 35). I'll homeschool him through college just to keep him here. :) Kidding.

Maybe it won't be so bad if we just keep having babies so that there is ALWAYS a baby in the house. lol! Kidding. Sort of.

I Double-Dog Dare You

I double-dog dare you to check out women's clothing on the Target website.

Didja check it out? Do you see what I see? A woman wearing leggings, a miniskirt and a fat belt. It's not just Target either. Gap is selling those "skinny jeans." Take a look around the next time you are out -- see what other familiar fashion trend you notice.

Big, fat stripes on a shirt. Skinny jeans. Miniskirts. Leggings. Members Only jackets. Jelly shoes. Leg warmers. Will the big hair come back around too? What about mullets?

I dunno about you, but I am afraid. Very afraid. Not necessarily for me. I've never been on the fashion train. BUT, my dear sweet husband STILL has a some of his 80's clothing. *gasp* He claims that the clothes still look good. I won't let him wear them though -- I don't think they EVER looked good.

Ed, bless his heart, still had 2 teal silk shirts when we got married -- IN 2002! He also had TWO M.C. Hammer "Can't Touch This" CDs. I am completely serious. The other week he was upset because he could not find his Vanilla Ice CD. Again, I am not kidding.

I dunno if I could survive an 80's revival.
Duh-nuh-nuh-nuhhhh... Can't Touch This!

I dunno if our marriage could survive an 80's revival.
Da-da-da-dada-da-da. Ice Ice Baby.

Sadly though, I am afraid we will have to survive. Our marriage will be force to travel this long, hard, dusty road. We will have no choice but to fight against all odds. We will overcome this. Afterall, back then we were the world and we were gonna make a brighter day. Right?

That means the 80's revival CAN'T possibly last for long. Right?

God, please save us from this plague.


Movie making 101

First lesson: Windows Movie Maker is a pain. LOL!

Seriously, the video part is finished for Eddie's birthday video. I am working on the audio now. I think I will use Great is Thy Faithfulness sung by Selah (my most favoritest group in the WHOLE entire world) for the segment of the video from the NICU.

I found another Selah song that I like and am contemplating using. It's definitely a message I want to convey to Eddie, but it's about being in pain. The lyrics go like this:

One Thing I Know
Jason Alan Whitmore, Joel

Something in your eyes I see
Reminds me of what used to be
When i was still uncertain of the truth
Sleepless nights that turn to days
Alone inside an endless maze
Counting on someone to see me through

If there’s one thing I know,
You are never left alone
‘cause You can always call on Jesus’ name
If there’s one thing I pray,
It’s Jesus helps you find a way
To make a change and listen to Your heart
God will take away your pain
If you choose to let it go
If there’s one thing I know

How can I convince your heart
His light can find you in the dark
And only He can make your blind eyes see
For if we speak of lost things found
Of lives that have been turned around
Then tell me who knows better, child, than me?

(Repeat chorus)

Bridge: I would never stake my life on any lesser thing Than the cross of
Christ where he gave His life to ease my suffering.

(Repeat chorus)

Breaking down why I like this song... The something I see in Eddie's eyes; besides the fact that Eddie definitely physically has my eyes, while he has not yet committed an outright act of sin, he is sinful in his nature. And sadly, he gets that from me also. I know his dad contributed too, but...

Sleepless nights... hmmm, that's too easy of a joke.

Right now, Eddie does count on me and Ed to see him through. The only way we can do that is to point him towards Christ. God forbid something should happen to me or Ed or both of us. I want my son to know that no matter what, he can call on Christ. Even when Ed and I fail him, he can call on Christ.

More than anything though, if there's one thing I pray, it's that God will save my son and help him find his way to becoming a godly man.

Because I don't have godly parents and didn' have that growing up, I do wonder how I can convince Eddie's heart that His light can find him in the darkness. I have no clue. I can only share what I KNOW. And what do I know better than how my life has been changed -- hence the name reformed mama.

So, I can see how the song fits. Thoughts from the peanut gallery?

Birthday Blog

Well, I reckon this is about as loud as I will let my blog get since it is just for a birthday and all.

Hopefully I will be able to change the look of my blog periodically with not too much of a hassle. I like c=to change things up. I get bored easy. :)

Anyway... Hope it's not too loud for you.

5 Minute Meal #1

5 Minute Meal #1
So I've decided to share a few of my favorite quickie meals. There are days when I'd much rather grab a burger from Cook-Out rather than slave away in the kitchen, but finances don't always permit that. I'm sure you can relate.
Today's meal is a yummy favorite that anyone can make -- even your husband's. lol!
Black Bean Quesadillas
1 can black beans
1 pack of flour tortillas (small)
16 oz. fresh mushrooms
1 bell pepper
pinch of chili powder
2 pinches of cumin
pinch of pepper
1 package Mexican 4-cheese blend (Kraft makes this and most stores have a generic version)
1 small chopped onion (optional)
Put black beans UNDRAINED in a saucepan and add chili powder, cumin and pepper to taste. Simmer on medium. In the meantime, sautee peppers, mushrooms and onion.
Place tortilla in skillet. Top with cheese, beans, peppers and 'shrooms. Top the veggies with cheese. Then, top that with a tortilla. Heat until the cheese is melted and flip to heat the topside.
Serve with your favorite salsa, some sour cream, lettuce and tomato.
Takes all of 5 minutes to prepare and everyone will like it.


It's Par-tay Time!

Pardon the loudness of my blog for right now. I'll make my header just as loud as the background soon enough. Why?

It's Par-tay Time! Eddie and I both have birthdays in August. I like to celebrate my birthday for about a week and I certainly think it's worth celebrating his birthday for AT least a week.

And, as if I need another excuse to party, I could list about 15 more birthdays of friends and family this month.

Sooo... I thought my blog home should have a party too.

Cranky Day

I am sooo cranky today. Nope -- not PMSing either.

I'm tired. I want one full night's sleep with no interruptions. I want one meal that I don't have to cook or clean up or feed anyone else. I want a long, long soak in the tub with no one bothering me. I want a night out doing something fun -- laughing, eating and carrying on.

In short, I'm tired so I'm whining that I want a break. I'm being selfish and I need to get over it. Maybe after a nap I won't be so whiney.


50 Things About Me

So I'm borrowing this idea from someone else. I hope they don't mind. I thought it would be fun.

  1. I HATE talking on the phone, but I sometimes am able to enjoy it when talking to a new person or someone I really want to get to know better.
  2. I am absolutely terrified of lightening and thunder -- so much so that I have been known to cry over a thunderstorm.
  3. I am 30 yrs. old, but only for 17 days and 54 minutes.
  4. I am kind of shy, but I am also pretty sociable. I prefer being around others to being alone.
  5. People think I have it all together, but I really don't.
  6. My master's degree is in counseling.
  7. It really bothers me that no one I know has ever asked my thoughts on ADD/ADHD, depression, anxiety, etc...
  8. I like to eat -- a LOT.
  9. I wish I ate healthier. I try to eat very healthy, but fail miserably when Ed's away.
  10. I used to be very anal retentive about some things.
  11. I think personality tests are rubbish -- same with that book, "The Five Love Languages."
  12. I have a lot of really strong opinions. I tend to be a black and white kind of person.
  13. I like bright colors -- like that really bright green or orange or fuschia or red.
  14. I HATE having white walls in my apartment.
  15. I am a total night owl -- I have trouble going to bed before 10:30.
  16. I hate waking up in the morning.
  17. I have 1 son, 1 hubby, 1 dog, 1 cat.
  18. I am a procrastinator in the worst way.
  19. I used to read tons, then I went to grad school and got burned out on reading.
  20. I HATE HATE HATE most of the current literature that's being published -- even "Christian" literature.
  21. I wish someone would write some quality Christian novels tha could compare to some of the classics.
  22. I love Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, and Edgar Allen Poe, but sometimes the subject matter or the language is not what I should be reading.
  23. I never read The Grapes of Wrath, but I am reading it now -- and not really enjoying it.
  24. I used to write a lot of short stories, poetry and such.
  25. Studying journalism sort of robbed me of my creativity.
  26. I'd love to have the time to write something -- anything -- again.
  27. I really don't pay attention to grammar and the like when writing online.
  28. Graphic design was just a job for me, but I did enjoy it.
  29. I always feel like I am spinning my wheels at everything I attempt.
  30. I'm pretty sure I weigh less now than I did before I got pregnant.
  31. I have not been to the dentist since 1998.
  32. I think dentists are evil.
  33. Most days I only talk to Ed or Eddie -- no one else.
  34. I like to entertain people.
  35. I sometimes don't shave for a week or two at a time. My hair is blonde and soft so I can get away with that.
  36. Women got the short end of the stick when it comes to clothing.
  37. I am a bit of a hypochondriac.
  38. I think wearing a bathing suit is just like wearing underwear in public so I always wear a t-shirt over mine.
  39. I will never have a tan.
  40. I hate to drive.
  41. I really try to not speed.
  42. I love mint chip ice cream.
  43. I am soooo blessed to have Eddie on loan to me.
  44. I'd absolutely love to move to Honduras someday.
  45. I thoroughly enjoy working with people that the rest of the world shuns.
  46. I don't usually fit in or get along with people my age.
  47. I am really really looking forward to the toddler years with Eddie.
  48. I'd love to have a wedding every year. I had so much fun at ours. I would do a different wedding each year -- a beach theme, a country theme, an elvis wedding, etc...
  49. For our 10th anniversary i really and truly want to fly to Vegas and renew our vows with Elvis. That would just be so completely AWESOME!!!!
  50. I am dead serious about that last one.

Short Lessons In Motherhood

Over the past year I've learned a thing or two. Can you believe that? After all these years it seems that I am still teachable. :)

Now most of what I've learned is not anything Earth-shattering or even new, but it's all new to me and it's all stuff I think expecting mom should know.

Lesson 1. Sleep when the baby sleeps. This is the absolute MOST important lesson in motherhood. Fail this lesson and it's likely you won't survive the first year. I am not good at just chillin' when stuff needs to be done, so a nap with the baby was quite the novel idea for me.

Lesson 2. Stop worrying about keeping the house perfect. As soon as you finally get it clean (in between all the diaper changes and feedings) the baby will knock over the open box of cheerios or will spit up all over your freshly cleaned floor. Or, worse yet, your hubby will come home. Besides... why spend time cleaning when you could be cuddling that new baby?

Lesson 3. Do try to at least get a shower everyday. Your hubby will thank you and you'll feel better about yourself. You don't need to bother with fancy clothes though because oyu'll have pee poop or spit up on them within about 5 minutes of putting them on. Who knew I'd even consider not showering for a day?

Lesson 4. Relax. I wish someone would have told me this earlier. Seriously. I am surprised I didn't drop dead from a heart attack as much as I worried. Your baby will survive. You will survive. Your baby is more durable than you think. You *probably* won't break him.

Lesson 5. Find some older women who can help you through the transition to mommy-hood. I didn't have this. My mom is not in the picture and I don't really have anyone in real life to help me out in those oh-so-practical ways. You may think you can manage and all that, but there will come a time when you have a "dumb" question, like, "why won't he burp?" or "what's the best way to not get peed on during a diaper change?" Not to mention, older women are great for holding babies when your arms get tired. ;)

So those are my five lessons in motherhood. Like I said, nothing too special, but important nonetheless.


1 yr photos

these are the lo-res. versions from the website. My prints won't be in until the 8th.

I Wasn't Going To Do This.

I really was trying to not think about last year and all. I kind of knew that some parts of this year would be tricky, but really, I have a healthy, happy mess of a son, so I really shouldn't be sad or anything like that, rihgt???

I guess I can blame my sister-in-law though. :) She sent me a really sweet email today saying that she was thinking of us. She is 29 weeks pregnant -- the same as I was this time last year. She said that Eddie's prematurity really kind of hit her because of where she is in her pregnancy and all. It really was a sweet email.

It did bring back a flood of memories though. I'm not sure what to do with them. I kept a journal at another online site, so everything I went through is documented there. It was one year ago today that I was put on strict bedrest and that they ran the fetal fibernectin test to see if I was at risk of delivering early. The rest of the story is in an earlier post on my blog.

Anyway... so what do I do with these memories? I have other bad memories from other times in my life, but they don't seem to bother me like these do. I'd like to just repress all my bad memories, but I don't think that's a good thing. lol! I suppose I should use them to learn. Or to remember God's faithfulness.

In happy news, Eddie and I went to have his 1 year pictures made today. I'll post those later maybe. Perhaps that's what instead of being sad about last year, each year I'll start celebrating his birthday on July 26 since that's when he started screaming that he was ready to come out and play.


So I'm trying to figure out songs to play with the video I'm making. Ed and I thought that song, "T-R-O-U-B-L-E" by Travis Tritt would be appropriate, but then I re-read the lyrics. Too bad I can't just use the chorus. I think that would be too cute with photos of Eddie screaming or grinning mischeviously. While Eddie might look like trouble, he's not a sweet-talkin, sexy-walkin' anything. lol!

Another song I thought about using was a song that was playing one day while I was visiting Eddie in the NICU. It was "Raise your hands to Heaven and Pray..." I lost it when it got to the chorus where it says, "Raise your hands to Heaven and pray, that we'll be back together someday." The lyrics to that one are a little iffy too. So... I dunno.

Still pondering.


Eddie's First Year In Pictures... the short version.

Look how tiny his arm was.
This is one of my favorite pictures. It was the first time I got to hold my son -- about 9 days after he was born. I was absolutely in HEAVEN!

This was taken about an hour and a half after Eddie was born. I'd had no sleep in like two days -- and no shower. I even still had the IV in my arm. I am smiling in the picture, but I was on the verge of tears. When I went into the NICU, the nurse said, "Congratulations!" I didn't understand why because my son was hooked up to all this junk and wasn't supposed to be here yet.
Eddie at our recent trip to the zoo. He's not so small anymore. :)


Eddie's First Year

Don't laugh. Ed and I write INTENTIONALLY bad cheesy poetry to each other. I figure Eddie should get in of the fun too. :)
Eddie's First Year

In the beginning Eddie was very, very small.
"Wimpy White Boy" is what he was called.
Tubes and wires and lights
were among our first sights.
That took us by surpise --
the sight before our eyes.
We just wanted our little boy
who we knew would bring us so much joy.
We waited and waited
with breath that was bated
for them to say,
"Eddie goes home today!"
When that day finally came,
we knew nothing would ever be the same.
Boy, were we right --
we've never experienced such delight!
The smiles and the coos
were worth all the sleepless nights and smelly poos!
The giggles and tears
make us look forward to the coming years.
He's grown so big and so strong;
he'll be walking before long;
then running, and jumping and singing a song...
In the beginning, Eddie was very, very small
then, he was not small at all.
As a side note... blogger's photo thing is a pain in the rear.

Work In Progress

I'm working on a project for Eddie's birthday. I'm making a video using tons of photos from this year. It's hard for me to look at some of the early photos, but they are a part of Eddie's lie, so I will include them.

I wonder if people will be offended by them.

I'm also trying to figure out which songs I should use in the background.

Two days after Eddie was born I was at church and we sang, "Great Is Thy Faithfulness." I lost it because God had been so faithful in keeping Eddie and me safe. I include me in that because some of the complications I had can have very serious consequences for the mom. So, I think I will use that song, but I'd like a fun, happy song too. Any ideas?


New Link

I just added another blog to my bloglines list. It's the Isreali Bunker blog. Check it out, but be warned that it is basically a live blog from a war-zone.

Spelling Trouble

Tonight I watched the movie, Bee Season. I had read the back cover prior to renting the movie. The cover said that the movie was the story of a man who pushed his daughter too hard to help her win the national spelling bee. Since I like smarty-pants stuff like that, I decided to rent it.

Too bad the back cover lied.

The movie was about a family of four that was faling apart because they all were looking for some "divine light." The dad was a Jew who believed that you could reach the "ear of God" by employing the techniques of Kabbalah. He believed his daughter had this mystical ability to reach God and have God speak to her. I suppose he was half right because God DOES speak to us through Scripture and because we DO have the ability to speak to God.

He was so obsessed with the idea that Jewish mystics could receive divine light that he pushed his wife into a mental institution and his son into a Hari Krishna group. His wife wanted so badly to see this divine light that she stole thousands of items in an effort create some masterpiece to please this mystical God.

The son just ran away to the Krishna place. And the daughter, well she spelled her way to God. The movie portrayed the girl doing what I would suppose to be the Jewish equivalent of speaking in tongues and being slain in the spirit when she reached this "divine light." Don't you know that when you find God you have all sorts of visions, speak in tongues and fall out on the floor having a seizure-like fit.

The sad thing is that while this is "just" a movie, people will still be influenced by this. Who knows how it will impact their view of God? It's a shame that their view of God will be sadly distorted because some mystical, cultish rubbish.

I will say that the movie did have a bit of truth to it though. I do believe everyone is born lacking something -- that something being a relationship with God. I also believe (and I think real life is evidence of this) that we seek to fill that emptiness with something. That something could be food, drugs, sex, control, a husband, a child, money, material possessions, some false religion; in short, idols.

I think the movie was also dead on in portraying false religions in such a positive light. Yeah, you read that right. Satan is a liar. If you've EVER told a lie, you know the best way to deceive someone is to make the lie resemble the truth as much as possible. The religions portrayed in this movie looked like they would be peaceful and loving and like they would draw you closer to God. They won't though.

Suddenly I am thinking of that children's song that goes like this:

(VS 1) Oh, be careful little ears, what you hear (repeat)
For the Father Up above,
Is looking down in love,
So be careful little ears
what you hear.

(VS 2) Oh, be careful little eyes, what you see, (repeat)
For the Father up above,
is looking down in love,
So be careful little eyes
What you hear.

Now if only I could get the movie companies to be a bit more truthful when they wrote the copy for the back cover.

Grandma's Nana Puddin'

My grandma makes the absolute BEST banana puddin' in all of the Triad. Seriously.

If she is going to a cookout at teh Moose Lodge, they ask her to bring a 'nana puddin'. It's what she brings to the family reunion every year and it's the one dish of hers that I seriously could eat until I literally burst open.

I'm pretty sure that there is nothing very different about her recipe or anything like that, but honestly, no one can make puddin' like hers. Maybe it's the way she holds her mouth while she's mixin' the puddin'. I dunno.

At any rate, here's the recipe as she dictated it to me.

2 boxes of instant vanilla pudding
2 cans of sweetened condensed milk
some chilled whole milk
several bananas sliced
1 box of vanilla wafers
1 tub of whipped cream

Pour your pudding mis into a bowl. Pour both cans of sweetened condensed milk into a large measuring cup. See how much that measures. The pudding mix will only tell you how much milk you need, not how much condensed milk you need. So, subtract the amount of condensed milk that you have from the total amount of milk you need for both boxes of mix. The remainder is the amount of whole milk you need. Blend your milk and condensed milk together.

Mix the pudding mix and the milk blend together thoroughly and chill for about 5 minutes.

Line a large bowl with vanilla wafers. Then add a layer of bananas. Top with about half of your pudding. Put another layer of vanilla wafers and banans on the pudding. Top with the remainder of your pudding. Top with bananas and then wafers. Finish off by topping with whipped cream. If you want to dress the pudding a little more, sprinkle the whipped cream with wafer crumbs.

It's the perfect dish for those Sunday evening potlucks.

Why Am I Not At Church?

Well, let me tell you...

Eddie did not sleep well last night, which meant he slept late today. Church is 15 minutes away and he woke up at 9:10 AM. Church starts at 10:30. I've given up on Sunday School for now. Ed's not here, so I had right at an hour to get myself and Eddie ready and fed and to church.

On top of all that, I need to get to church early because if I don't get there in time to get Eddie to sleep for naptime then I miss the sermon. My church, bless its heart, doesn't have speakers in a place where I could take Eddie and still hear the sermon when he's noisy. (I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY could rant on that and why that is, but I'll spare you.)

By the time we were ready to go, it was 10:20, so no point in even trying.

I know... that sounds bad. I am just frustrated. We really like our church, but feel like we don't fit there. But, we also feel like if we leave and go somewhere else, the few people we really care about there would "disown" us. I dunno.

Ideally I'd like a church that encourages parents to keep their children with them and that assists parents with that. I'd like a church that is more exegetical in it's preaching. I'd like a church where people my age are not so competitive (in general -- if you are reading this, you are not one of those people). I don't care about keeping up with the Joneses, unless I am made to feel like a lesser person because I don't even attempt to keep up.

Man, you guys are gonna think I'm a whiner after the past several blog posts. Sorry.


NOT My Week

Earlier this week I managed to splatter a complete stranger with babyfood -- IN PUBLIC.

Yesterday, I managed to fatally wound our vacuum. Today, I tried to surgically repair said vacuum and the vacuum flatlined instead. How did all this happen? Well, let me tell you so that you can laugh at my idiocy.

A while back we bought one of those bagless vacuums. It was all the rage, ya know. "Just think about all the money you will save on bags," people were saying.

They were lying. While you may not be spending cold hard cash on vacuum bags, you would still be spending money on filters for your bagless vacuum. UN-cheap filters, might I add.

Well, I decided that instead of replacing the filter I just bought a week ago that was already ucky looking, I would rinse it off. Sounds good, right? Well, it worked. I rinsed it in the sink and sat it out to dry overnight.

Yesterday I prepared to do my daily vacuuming and put the filter back in place -- WITHOUT checking to see if it was dry. Idiot mistake #1. It vacuumed the livingroom great. Then I started on the hallway. There was black sludge coming from the bottom of the vacuum and it was starting to smell funny -- like something electrical. So I dd the proper thing and unplugged the vacuum.

Then I made idiot mistake #2. I decided that since Ed was not home, I would take the vacuum apart and let it dry out. In the course of doing so I failed to label where all the little screws went. That would be idiot mistake #3.

This morning I started putting it back together. What a mess. Finally I got all the screws back in place. I dunno if they were in the right place, but they were in place. I turned it on and the light flickered for a few seconds. That scared me, so I turned it off. Now it won't come back on.


Ed is gonna kill me. I left him a message on his cell telling him I broke the vacuum and asking him not to lecture me or be mad at me. :) I guess I could always tell him that I was helping him out. He's wanted to get rid of this vacuum practically since we got it. Now we have an excuse to buy a new one. All we need now is the moo-lah.

To Sleep, Perchance To Dream...

I've never been a good sleeper. I tend to delay going to bed and I rarely feel refreshed when I wake. I can probably count on one hand the number of times that I awoke refreshed and relaxed and ready for the new day; and that's throughout my entire 31 years of life.

Since childhood, I have been plagued with nightmares. I remember some very vivid nightmares from my childhood STILL because they were so horrific. Last night I had another. Last night's nightmare was so vivid that I was almost afraid to get out of bed this morning. I can still feel the hand in my dream grabbing my hair as I reached for the knife I had hidden under my pillow (in my dream, of course).

Some have suggested that what I eat before bed impacts my dreams. I say, "Hooey." It doesn't matter if i eat an apple (as I did last night) or a steak or if I drink a nice glass of milk before bed. I still have these nightmares.

This site suggests that the things I dream happened to me ina past life. I say, "Hooey!" to that too. There is no past life, just this one and the afterlife.

Freud would say that my dreams mean something about my life and that he could understand my dreams by analyzing my psyche. I say, "Hooey!" to Freud too. He was a druggie whose brain looked like swiss cheese after the syphillis rotted it out.

Personally, I tend to think my dreams have more to do with spiritual warfare than anything else. (If you heard the details of my dreams, then you might agree.)

So... what do I do? I pray. Psalm 4 has been a great comfort to me on nights when I have these nightmares. I don't know if my dreams "mean" something that I am supposed to understand.

I dunno... I think praying is probably the best means of combatting these dreams. I mean, even if Freud was right and my dreams have something to do with my psyche, since "psyche" means SOUL, I would think prayer would be about the only viable option. That's just me though.

While We Are On The Subject of Pride...

I'm sorry, but I have to say that I have got the CUTEST little boy EVER!!!


My Battle

Ha -- as if I only have one battle. I could think of about twenty things (at least) that I battle regularly. Among my list of battles you'll find, the tongue (HUGE WAR), pride, lack of faith, self-centeredness, etc...

Today my biggest battle has been pride. Well, I guess it's pride, in a way.

As a child I decided that I was not going to be poor and uneducated like my family was/is. While Ed and I may be broke, we aren't poor. There's a difference, but I suspect that only those who have been poor could understand.

In an effort to achieve my goal of becoming un-poor I went to college and graduate school. The funny thing is that neither of the things I went to school for pay very well. I always imagined myself being some fancy smancy business woman who everyone knew and liked and wanted to be. See... there's that pride thing.

Along with my education came independence. I know that if need be, I could certainly go get a job to provide for myself. Independence is not necessarily a good thing -- not when God created us to be communal.

Anyway... Along with my education and independence came an expectation from society that I would work and become a "productive member of society." Ya know... stay-at-home-moms really do nothing for society. (That was sarcasm.)

I'm stubborn enough to be okay with going against what society expects. In fact, most days I kind of like going against the grain. I'm really not one for following the crowd -- just take a look at my wardrobe and you'll see that.

But today it bothered me. It bothered me that people see me as "just" a stay-at-home-mom. It bothered me that the education I paid for *appears* to be going to waste. It bothered me to realize that I really am insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Then, it bothered me that that bothered me.

I know, in my head, that being a full-time mom is a great thing. I love it. And truth be told, I wouldn't want to work a 9-5er again. It was the idea that if I fell off the planet, no one would really notice; well aside from family and all three of my friends.

How sad is that? I mean sad that I care about that.

Continuing My Thought

So I'm sure someone somewhere is mad at me for my post last night. I'm sorry.

Allow me to continue my thought.

My family is non-Christian. If they were to die today I would have *almost* no hope that they were in Heaven. The only way I would be able to find peace would be to put my trust in God that perhaps they were saved in the very final moments of their life.

And then, to trust *EVEN IF* (read the story of Shadrach, Meshach & Abendigo -- sure I butchered those names) my family is not in Heaven. While the thought of my mom spending an eternity in Hell is enough to torment me every single day of my life, I know that ultimately, when I get to Heaven, if she is not there, my tears will still be wiped away by Christ.

That's just enough to give me hope while still keeping the fire lit under me to keep sharing Christ with her and the rest of my family.


I Should Jus Rename My Blog

To the "Trusting God Blog."

Seriously. It seems that everytme I turn around I'm babbling about trusting God. Not that that's a bad thing.

It's funny (or not); I start to *think* I trust God in some area of my life and then something else pops up to prove me wrong. No matter the issue though, it always boils down to the issue of trust.

Do I trust God to handle our finances and to provide for our needs?
Do I trust God with my heart enough so that no matter how hard the heartbreak I still carry on?
Do I trust God enough to be obedient, even if that means we could end up back in hell... er... Florida? (THAT is a tough one.)
Do I trust God for my salvation? If I can't trust Him for this, then why shoud I trust Him for the rest of the stuff?
Do I trust God enough that whether or not I see my parents or my own children come to know Christ, I carry on?

That last one is a tough-y too. I know that I can't KNOW this side of Heaven who is saved/elect and who isn't. It sure would be nice to know if my parents, brothers, grandma, uncles, friends, SON, etc... were saved/God's elect.

There's been much talk around the blogosphere lately about infants who die and the eternal destination of their souls. I can't imagine miscarrying a baby or losing a child period. I would imagine that such grief is the hardest to overcome because you never really get to know what you lost. Truly, my heart goes out to those who have lost a child or children.

It seems as though some people have been hurt by people saying that there is no guarantee that a child who dies in infancy is in Heaven. I can understand how that would hurt. I'd probably have words with someone who said such a thing to me during my time of grief (which I imagine for a mother never ends).

Here's my thought though... Truthfully Scripture does NOT say what happens to those infants. I know there is some talk about David's child, but was David hoping and trusting God or did David KNOW that his child was with God?

Now, before you throw tomatoes at me, let me finish. If Scripture does not clarify what happens to those infants and if we know that we all are born with a sin nature and if we believe in sola scriptura, then is it not adding to Scripture to say one way or the other what happens to those infants? I would think so.

Here's the thing though... Titus warns us against arguments that are useless. This is one of those useless arguments. We CAN'T know, but we CAN trust God with the outcome.

Ultimately, God knows what will bring Himself the most glory. He alone knows who will be with Him in eternity. He simply wants us to trust Him -- even with the eternal state of our child's soul. Trusting Him should be enough. It should be all we need.

Now, here's my disclaimer: I mean absolutely NO bad thoughts towards anyone on either side of the argument. I am not intending to minimize the grief process or the pain incurred by the loss of a child. I simply mean to encourage those who have lost a child to trust God with their child(ren), both living and not.

I have put on my flame-proof suit, but please be gentle with me. :)

Just HOW Far Will A Jar Of Babyfood Go?

I don't mean how many meals will one jar of babyfood last. I mean how far will a jar of babyfood go -- specifically the contents of said jar -- when the jar rolls off the table at the food court in a mall.

Tonight I decided that since it was just me and Eddie for dinner, we would eat at the mall. I don't like eating alone and while technically, I was still alone at the mall, there were other adults around.

I ordered my dinner and chose a table. I got Eddie situated in a high chair and we began our dinner. Silly me forgot Eddie's spoons for his dinner so he had to eat with an adult-size plastic fork. Translation: Eddie's face was a mess.

We finished our dinner and I started to clean up our mess. Eddie had a fit of the giggles while he had a mouth FULL of apricots which meant my shorts, the table and the high chair were splattered with apricots. I got that cleaned up and put the *NEAR* empty jar of apricots in the paper bag containing the rest of my trash. I took my hand off the bag and turned towards Eddie.


The bag hadleaned just enough to allow the *NEAR* empty jar of apricots to fall onto the floor. The jar broke open and apricots went everywhere.

Let me clarify what I mean by everywhere. Apricots were on the floor right next to our table. They were on the floor clear on the other side of the table in front of ours. And yes, they were even on the man sitting at the table in front of ours.

Color me embarrassed.

Lesson learned... Always pack Eddie's food in those handy dandy little baby disposable food containers.

Planning Ahead

I like to plan everything at least 12 years in advance. HA!

I had my wedding planned completely about three weeks after we were engaged. We were engaged for a year and a half.

I often write lists detailing the next day, right down to my wake up time and shower time.

I have actually sat down and planned menus for 6 weeks, complete with coordinating grocery lists.

Last night I was trying to plan Eddie's education when the boy cna't even walk on his own yet.

I think it's safe to say I have a planning problem.

What's really funny is that I never follow my plan to the tee. Life happens all the time and interrupts my plans. 98% of the time I am okay with that. Honest. Once in a while it irks me though.

I'd love to be one of those people who didn't have a plan, who just threw caution to the wind and said, "Okay let's really have some fun." I've done that a once or twice. Like the time I quit my good job and moved to NC with no job and lived with grandma. Or the time when I quit my really really good job to move to Wake Forest to attend seminary -- again, with no job or job prospects.

Fun times, I tell ya.

I guess it's not always bad to plan, nor is it always bad to throw caution to the wind. Everything in moderation, right? Unfortunately, I think right now my need for control is leading to excessive planning that really won't give me anymore control anyways.

One of my old profs used to say that control is an illusion. We think we have control when we are driving, but really the brakes could fail at any moment. (Hope you aren't travelling soon.)

There again though, if we REALLY trust God, the brakes can fail and we will KNOW we will be alright. Right?


I Have GOT To Stop Reading!

I read too much. I read about EVERYTHING. That's good, but it's sooo bad.

I read patient inserts on all prescription medication thoroughly and then I am afraid to take the medication because 1/100000 of 1% of the people who tested the medication grew an extra head.

I read about weird medical conditions and then convince myself that I could drop dead at any second as the result of some unheard of medical condition.

You get the idea. At some point I have GOT to stop reading and just trust God to take care of me and my family. But I gotta know. I have this stupid, (or not) insane desire to know about EVERYTHING. I'm gonna worry myself sick if I keep reading though.

Tonight I was looking for a chart or something that listed goals for each grade level. yes, I am already planning Eddie's education. Stop laughing at me. :) Anyway... I found this page.

That page lists study after study after study indicating that preemies have various long-lasting effects of their prematurity, including developmental delays and learning disabilities. DANG IT!!!

I had read something similar before, but without the studies to back it up, and decided to put that little tidbit of info in the back of my brain's filing cabinet. Now what I had chosen to file away for future reference is right in front of me like a stupid fly that won't go away.

I know I shouldn't worry. I know Eddie is absolutely perfect the way he is -- even if he is a little sinner. I just don't want him to have any troubles at all. And of course, while I now it's absolutely not my fault that he was a preemie, I still blame myself.

Ya know... that one chocolate chip cookie the night before I ended up in the hospital that last time is what made him come so early. (Yeah, I roll my eyes at that too... sometimes.)

If Eddie were to have long-term side effects of his prematurity, I would be so heartbroken. He would still be absolutely the most amazing person to me, of course. I just want him to have the most amazing life possible.

I really don't know how moms with children who have disabilities do it. My hat is off to you.

I used to work with disabled children and I used to be just amazed by the parents of these children. Now I think I understand that while it's hard work, *most* parents would walk the Earth to help their child, no matter what that journey may entail.

I know I would do about anything for Eddie Bear.

Something Bigger

What is going on??

I find myself pondering that question a lot lately. What in the world is going on?

Crime rates are skyrocketing.
We are battling Iraq and terrorists in Afghanistan.
N. Korea is wiggin' out.
Israel is battling Lebanon.
Contrary to it's name, the UNITED States is not United.
Half the world hates America.
The other half hates the rest of the world.

I dunno... Scary times that we are livin'. Are we on the brink of WWIII -- or something bigger? I dunno. WWIII would be a terrifying thing to live through -- if it were possible to live through a WW with the nukes and all that we have now.

I've only seen images of war from history lessons and from the news. I've not seen anything like that up close and personal. The closest thing (and it's really no comparison) that I can say I've seen is hurricane Charlie that devastated FL while we were there.

I don't want to see war up close and personal. I wish no one had to see it. BUT, I'm not trembling in my seat or anything -- yet. I'm just watching with anticipation (NOT ANXIETY) the events of the world unfold around me. Much better than any movie, but a lot less entertaining.

As far as the "something bigger," I have no idea when "that" will happen. In Bible times, they thought the "something bigger" was coming soon. They were obviously wrong.

I can't say that I have formed an opinion as to when the rapture will take place -- pre, mid, or post-tribulation. I can't say that I think it's all that important to dwell on either. I know that at some point I will be raptured. Whether that's prior to any tribulation or right smack dab in the middle of it doesn't matter a hill of beans. That is, of course, if I TRULY believe that God will be with me during even the most trying of circumstances.

As for now... I'm just watching and waiting for that "something bigger." I'm just a little more anxious for the "something bigger" than I am for WWIII.


White Chicken Chili

So I guess I should just assume that my recipes will not ever be out on Sunday mornings. Sorry about that. Sunday's are generally our family days.

Today's recipe is White Chicken Chili. It's a quick little diddy that will use up those chicken leftovers without anyone complaining about eating leftovers.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small can of green chilis
2 tablespoons of flour
2 cups of chicken leftovers
2 cans of great northern beans
1 can of chicken broth


Heat oil in a saucepan, add chilis. When chilis are heated thoroughly, add flour. Mix so that the flour is thoroughly blended and not clumpy. Add broth, chicken and undrained beans. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve with shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream and tortilla chips. Super easy and YUMMY!


AAAAckkkk! so behind.

I have a ton of stuff I need to do.
  1. vacuum -- I do this at least once daily because summer time brings fleas and vacuuming is the only way to keep them at bay.
  2. make cover for army chest -- The army chest is old old old, but it's our coffee table. Since Eddie is on his way to being mobile, I thought I should cover it to protect the chest and Eddie.
  3. update my favorite blog links (I need to add lots of people) -- I've found lots of blogs that I like. Several people have left comments here and I'd like to link to some of their blogs.
  4. update Succulent Sunday Blog -- I created a separate blog for Succulent Sundays to act as an archive of sorts. That's easier than me creating separate links here and all that jazz.
  5. make quilt for friend -- Been working on this tooooo long now, I must finish.
  6. add links to my posts so you all know what I'm talking about -- usually when I am blogging, I am typing one-handed because my other arm is occupied by a wriggly nursling. That makes it difficult to add links where they should be.
  7. build website for our plane that's for sale -- wanna buy it and save me the hassle? Finally convinced Ed to sell the money pit -- I mean the plane. :)
  8. find cheap airfare to san diego -- gotta go visit Ed's mom and grandma and pick up the car they are giving us. Yep... they are giving us a '99 Camry that only has 38K miles on it because Ed's grandma -- who is 92 or so -- can no longer drive.
  9. write up tomorrow's recipe -- will it be nana puddin' or chicken chili?
  10. visit with grandma

I could go on and on and on... I should get busy on some of this.


Mommy's Little Sinner

I think you can probably tell that I think my son is about the cutest, most wonderful thing EVER. To me, he is absolutely 100% amazing. Even still, he is my little sinner.

When they called me on the intercom to tell me Eddie's stats after he had been whisked away to the NICU they tild me he was born "officially" at 3:23 AM. Almost immediately I asked Ed to recite Romans 3:23 for me and instantly Eddie became our little sinner.

While Eddie hasn't committed an outright sin yet, he is a sinner nonetheless. He has a heart that is wicked and capable of wretched things. He is dead in his sin. My son is a dead boy walking... or attempting to walk.

For him, the effects of sin in his life have not really begun to show so much. My parents and brothers though, who are still dead in their trespasses, look dead. (This is a spinoff from Challies post today, but it's been on my mind for a day or two.)

When I visit my family, I can clearly see the results of sin in their lives. They look tired and haggard and unclean and well... dead. And aside from praying for them and sharing the Word with them, there is not a thing I can do to "revive" them.

Sometimes I wonder why I am saved and they are not. I certainly did not do anything do deserve salvation. I believe God calls some to salvation and others, well... are not called. Why did God choose me and why has he not called my family yet? I don't know.

There are days when I am greatly saddened by this -- of course. I don't want my family to be eternally separated from God. What a devastating thought.

Then, there are days when... I dunno how to describe it. It's not that I am happy my family is lost - that's not it at all. But I am filled with awe that I was chosen. It's humbling that a wretch like me would be chosen for salvation. I am overcome with gratitude that God would love me enough to call me unto Himself. And I have hope that God may still call my family to salvation. I am filled with peace that God is sovereign and knows EXACTLY what He is doing.

I can only assume that someone somewhere prayed for me. It could have been a Sunday School teacher, a friend or even an ancestor who was godly and prayed that a remnant would be left in the family. I have no idea.

I have an obligation to continually pray for my parents and my brothers. I have an even bigger obligation to pray for my little sinner. I must raise him in a home that loves the Lord. I must teach him the Word and he must see God working and active in Ed and me. I must trust God with my son's life. Aside from that... I can do nothing to aide in my son's salvation. Salvation is the Lord's work.


I'm So Excited, I Just Can't Hide It

Why? My son's very FIRST birthday is comin' up fast, quick and in a hurry. While I don't want to rush his childhood, this birthday is super special. It means we survived a whole year without me "breaking" him. HA!!!

Seriously. That has got to be every first time mom's fear -- that she will "break" her baby. I thought for sure that I'd screw up majorly SOMEHOW this first year, and while the year hasn't been absolutely perfect by any stretch, my son is still alive and well and so am I.

That last part is the clencher. The first month and a half of Eddie's life he was in the hospital, but I was an emotional mess. I'm surprised that didn't land me in an institution somewhere. Then when he first came home I had not a clue nor a soul who could clue me in any where around me. I don't think I showered often those first few weeks. And that apnea monitor... that THING could cause anyone to have a stroke... goin' off at 3:00 AM while momma's in a dead sleep. Then there was the stress of moving to a "new" state with only a month's notice. And getting here with no medical insurance, thus no way to get the RSV shot, without which, Eddie would surely die. (Yep, rollin' my eyes over that one).

So yes, I am celebrating already (three weeks ahead of time) that we survived this first year without too many hiccups or band-aids. Afterall, it's not like Eddie will even realize it's his birthday and survival seems as good a reason as any to celebrate.

Now to plan THE party of the decade. Well, maybe not THE party, but a little gathering of family to celebrate our survival.


Abundantly Blessed

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all
that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

Ephesians 3:20

I realize that verse is only a portion of a whole chapter that is just AWESOME, but that's all I can take in right now.

Think about it. God is able to do not just above all we ask or think, but exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think. And what's that? That same power is at work in us to make us holy. Of course, the power that works in us is the Holy Spirit.

Well blow me down, why don't ya!

I already consider myself blessed. Just read my post from the other day. I have more than I need. Much more than I deserve. I sometimes forget how blessed I am (just see my wish list a few days after the blessed post). I get whiney and forgetful.

I forget that I really don't deserve life, much less an abundant life. That's not me beating myself up either. When you get down to it, none of us deserves a single thing that we have. Even the bad stuff that happens to us is often too good for us.

We deserve an eternity in Hell, separated completely from God.

Yet, here we are; sinners who dare to stand before a HOLY God. As if that wasn't guts-y enough, we dare to ask Him to bless us. The funny thing is that HIS GRACE and MERCY gives us the ability to ask such things. HIS GRACE and MERCY provided a covering for our sins. HIS GRACE and MERCY promises hope for tomorrow and salvation for those who call on the name of the Lord -- not because they called, but because God called them.

HIS GRACE and MERCY promises that our needs will be met. His Word promises that not only will our needs be met, but that we will be purified. It also promises that (*glory hallelujah!*) he will do far more than we can even think to ask of Him -- because of HIS infinite grace and mercy and love.

Now, again, I'm not beating myself up when I say this, but I can be quite idiotic at times. I KNOW God's Word says he will do far more than what I could imagine, but when He answers even small little prayers, I act all surprised. Why should I? Where is my faith? Apparently it's lacking if I actually get surprised when God does something -- big or small.

Still, in spite of my idiocy, He blesses me... far above -- exceedingly and abundantly above what I could have ever imagined.


Bless His Heart

If you are from the South, you know that the phrase, "bless his heart" will be followed by something unflattering.

While my son is adorable and cute and funny and a miracle and absolutely 100% wonderful, bless his heart, the poor thing just cannot fall asleep easily.

To say that sleep is a battle in our house is an understatement. It's more like a bloody massacre where mom ends up half dead and only sometimes victorious.

My son, bless his heart, fight sleep like no one I've ever see before. I suppose I could take that as a compliment meaning that I am just tons of fun and all. Eddie could be dead tired, barely able to hold his eyes open, but he'll turn and look at the dog or start talking or biting or laughing or whatever... just to not go to sleep.

Then up until just a week ago or so, I'd put the poor boy down to bed after he was already asleep and sometime between 5 minutes and 45 minutes after he went to bed, he'd be awake again, crying. Why? Because he couldn't feel me or my shirt. Bless his little heart.

Lately Ed and I have decided that he can just sleep in our arms until we go to bed. Eddie gets sleep and I get sleep because he sleeps for longer stretches at night when we do this. If the people we knew in real life knew we did this we would get lectured 1000 times over. I know they would mean well, but...

We do what works for us. I think that parenthood is at least partly about survival -- especially in these early years. Eddie will not sleep with us forever. I promise that he'll be out of our bed, at the latest, by the time he hits puberty.:)

And just so you knkow... the picture is from a recent naptime.


My Wish List

If money were no object I'd have the following things:
  1. new to us (but not new) car
  2. new bath linens
  3. a house in the country
  4. good health insurance where i wouldn't have to worry about med. bills if i had another preemie
  5. a new to me wardrobe
  6. a pressure cooker
  7. one of those vacuums that vacuums automatically
  8. the latest and greatest mac, fully loaded with all my favorite graphics software (photoshop, illustrator, quarkxpress, etc...)
  9. new bed linens
  10. pro picts made of us

For now, I'll just dream. :)

Spider's Gone... I think.

At least I hope he is, of course, I keep "feeling" him crawling on me.

I hate spiders. I reckon they serve a purpose though...


Last night as I was struggling to drift off to sleep I found myself thinking about the nurses that cared for me and Eddie last year.

I had NEVER been in the hospital for any reason, so or me to have been in and out a few times within just a few months was kind of a shock for me. The hardest thing was to be told that I couldn't do anything besides lay there, talk and eat. That was it. That meant someone else was bringing me a bowl and my toothbrush. Someone else was making my food. Someone else was emptying the catheter bag. Someone else cleaned up after my "messes."

Never have I been surrounded by so many wonderful, compassionate people.

Then I got to know the nurses who worked the NICU. Amazingly, they were even more kind and compassionate than the nurses who cared for me.

It seems to me that often nurses get short-changed. They do the hardest work, are the most caring people and get paid less than the doctors who are only around the patient when absolutely necessary.

I wish I had the means to offer some gift to the nurses we had last year. For now, my most sincere thanks will have to do.


Succulent Sundays Links

Sorry these are late. I felt horrible last night -- probably 1 too many hot dogs. I'm still feelin' rough today.

Amanda posted Spinach Mushroom Quiche. Must try his soon, but I've NEVER even tasted quiche!

Stephanie postedSzechuan Chicken with Peanuts! I LOVE nuts.

Maria posted Sweet and Sour Meatloaf.

Lindsey posted her yummy yeast rolls.

Sorry this is just so down and dirty and short. There's a spider on the desk though.

Saucy Spaghetti

I like tons and tons and tons of sauce on my spaghetti. I like to mop it up with my toasted garlic bread when I'm done with the pasta. I like to just eat the sauce plain. I like spaghetti sauce. That's why it was soooooo important for me to find a recipe for yummy spaghetti sauce.

The recipe I am sharing today is a recipe that I've used for years. I REFUSE to use jarred Prego or Ragu or whatever that "stuff" is unless I'm really really really in a pinch. This particular recipe is a little bit tart and a little bit spicey. I know some people put sugar in their spaghetti sauce, but i think that's weird. No offense.

Anyway... I've also (long before I knew Ed) had guys propose to me after eating this sauce. Now, I don't think that was due to me or this particular sauce, but probably more likely due to the fact that they had only had that jarred stuff.

1 large can (28 oz or so) of crushed tomatoes
1 large can (28 oz or so) of tomato sauce
1 small can of tomato paste
1/2 large can filled with water
1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion
3-4 cloves of garlic -- crushed

Brown the ground beef in a bit of olive oil. Toss in the garlic and the chopped onion. Cook until onion is clear.

Put the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste in a large sauce pan. Add beef, garlic and onion. Add water.

You'll notice that I didn't add measurements for the spices. That's because you may like it spicier than I do. I typically just dump in enough that the top of the sauce mix is covered with spices, then I stir it up. Feel free to improvise. You really can't mess this up.

Stir together all ingredients. Cover and cook on medium for 30 minutes, stirring periodically. Remove lid and lower heat, cook for an additional hour and a half. You can let it cook for less time, but the longer it cooks, the more flavoring the herbs and spices give off.

Serve over your favorite pasta or with some yummy garlic bread.



To many people it may not appear that I am blessed. Afterall, we live off very little income, we drive old, beat up cars and live in an apartment. Throw my family into the mix and I'm sure people (especially non-christians) wonder how it is that I can say I am blessed. To be honest, there are days when I forget how truly blessed I am.

Today is not one of those days.

My whole life, even during my difficult childhood, God has been watching out for me -- guiding my path. Society says I should be a druggie with 12 kids who all have different fathers -- based on my upbringing. And but for the grace of God, there go I.

I've had people put in my life who taught me things my parents couldn't -- like scripture, a love of reading, the importance of education, etc... I've had people who had confidence in me when I didn't. Not that confidence should come from oneself, but you know what I mean.

I've been given opportunities that have offered me education, provision and mentors. I've had friends who have stood by me in tough times.

Those friends are so dear to me. For some reason they see something worthwhile in me. I am not bashing myself at all. I just know me. I know I am not the best friend and I know I foul up often. They love me anyway. That's baffling to me. Truly baffling. That is, unless I look at it as a demonstration of Christ's love for me -- another thing of which I am undeserving.

So yes, I drive an ugly, beat up car and I wear out-of date fashions and my childhood stunk, but I AM blessed -- blessed beyond measure.

Check this out

Challies has a great post today on lactivism and how our culture has decided somehow that breastfeeding is shameful, but that it's okay for a woman to flaunt her breasts as part of her sexuality.

Boobs were made for feeding too.

How Can You Not Love THIS Face?

Mommy Brag Time

Okay, I KNOW everyone else's child will learn or has already learned to eat on his or her own, but I'm still gonna brag on Eddie Bear.

When he was in the hospital they fed him my milk first through a tube that went down his nose and into his belly, then through a bottle. Finally they let me nurse my son. When he came home he still got a bottle so that I could give him his meds. Once he no longer needed the meds I had no need to give him a bottle. Ed tried a few times to feed Eddie with a bottle, but since maybe April Eddie has refused a bottle. He also only took a paci for about a month or two.

YAY -- fewer things for me to worry with later and fewer things for me to wash. :)

He's ALWAYS been a great eater. Even the lactation consultant at the NICU noted how well he took to nursing on the first attempt. I have NEVER seen the boy turn down food.

When Eddie started solid food he immediately -- as in the first solids feeding -- took the spoon from me and got mad when I tried to feed him. Gosh, I wonder where he got that independence from? lol!

Anyway... I decided I'd let him have the spoon as long as I also had a spoon and could sneak bites in so I could make sure he was eating. I figure this is not a battle worth fighting, besides, he needs to learn to feed himself one day, right.

He's been on solid food for a while now. Lately he's getting better about using the spoon and drinking from a cup. He knows where the food goes on the spoon and will suck it off of there, then he chews on the handle.

As for the cup... he does great, as long as I help him. Today I decided to let him try the cup without my help. He did alright until he tipped the cup too far and spilled water all over him and the floor. (Don't worry, it was a small amount fo water.)

I took some pictures today during lunch so I could show off my good little eater. Today's menu included boiled chicken and some pureed squash -- oh and Cheerios of course. The last photo is his rear after he spilled the water all over everyhting. HA!


A Few Late Recipe Links

I'm sorry ladies, I didn't get a chance to post links to your recipes before today. (actually, I attempted to post these yesterday, but blogger was wonky and didn't post this.)

Here are a few more Succulent Sundays recipes.

1. Amanda posted a recipe for Chicken Divan.
2. Charlene posted a recipe for Irish Potato Soup.
3. Lindsey posted a recipe for garlic butter that you can eat without bread or anything else.


The Good Life

The good life I dream of is not living in the city and driving a Lexus (though I wouldn't mind the car). It's not living in suburbia and having 2.3 kids and driving a white minivan with a "my kid is an honor student..." sticker on it. I don't dream of keeping up with the Joneses or living within walking distance of the mall. I don't care if the shopping is good and I don't care if there are only three hole-in-the-wall restaurants in town. Nothing wrong if those are your dreams, they just aren't mine.

I dream instead, of living on a huge plot of land off of some dirt road located somewhere in the south (but not in FL).

I can picture our house -- an old farmhouse with a big front porch littered with rocking chairs; perfect for sippin' sweet tea or lemonade in the summertime.

The front door has an old wooden screen door that squeaks when it's opened and that bounces a few times when it's slammed shut by the kids running in and out. Of course, there are lots of kids around. I dunno how many -- just lots.

The driveway is just a dirt path leading up to a building out back where we can stor our vehicles. (as if Ed would EVER go for a dirt driveway.) Our nearest neighbor is a fifteen minute walk away and we don't have to worry about the dog being on a leash or anything like that.

The inside of the house has refinished hardwood floors and enough bedroom sto house everyone. We have decent furniture, but nothing fancy and there is NO TV in the house.

Out back, aside from the building for the vehicles, there are stables that house one horse for each member of the family. There's a hen house from which we gather eggs regularly and a barn for the livestock that provides our food.

There's also a garden where we grow any sort of vegetable that the climate will allow and an orchard where we have apple and pear trees.

My girls and I spend our days in the kitchen making jelly (ha ha), breads, dinner, canning various veggies, etc... Of course, they get plenty of time for schoolwork and for free time.

My boys tend to the yard -- bailing hay, feeding the livestock, etc...

We eat homemade dinner everynight and don't have to depend on anyone else (aside from the One who makes the rain to fall and the plants to grow) in order to survive.

As expensive as everything is nowdays, I dunno if that will evre happen, but I can dream of the good life, right.


Eddie Loves His Daddy!

I can say this now, since Ed is home to protect me; Ed was out of town last week with his National Guard unit. (Even if Ed wasn't home, I am heavily armed, so don't try anything stupid.)
Anyways... That meant I had a long week with Eddie all by myself. That meant little -- if any adult interaction. It also meant I ate horribly. I don't cook if Ed's not home.

Apparently though I wasn't the only one who missed Ed. I probably made poor Eddie crazy with my obnoxious babbling and singing.

When Ed got home late Friday afternoon, Eddie was just waking up from a nap. As soon as he realized Daddy was home he wanted nothing more to do with me. Something about that just made me incredibly happy. (Maybe it's just the fact that I got a break.) HA! It's nice to know that Daddy can make Eddie a happy boy.

Why I Hate Email Forwards

I'm the first to admit that I DO NOT read email forwards. Half the time the email is a hoax and the other half of the time it's bordering on blasphemy.

God says NOTHING in the Bible about blessing you or making your wishes come true if you forward an email. Got it? Good.

Once in a while though a forward comes through that has an interesting subject line, so I read it. I'm almost always sorry I did. I received one such email today. This is what it read:

This is something I've wondered about for some time now: How & why do
the Muslims hate us & everyone else so much? Doesn't their God
them to love? Apparently not!

Can a good Muslim be a good American? I sent that question to
a friend
who worked in Saudi Arabia for 20 years.

The following is his reply:

Theologically - no. Because his allegiance is to Allah, the moon god
of Arabia.

Religiously - no. Because no other religion is accepted by his Allah
except Islam (Quran, 2:256)

Scripturally - no. Because his allegiance is to the five pillars of Islam
and the
Quran (Koran).

Geographically - no. Because his allegiance is to Mecca, to which he turns
in prayer five times a day.

Socially - no. Because his allegiance to Islam forbids him to make
friends with Christians or Jews.

Politically - no. Because he must submit to the mullah (spiritual
leaders), who teach annihilation of Israel and Destruction of
America, the great Satan.

Domestically - no. Because he is instructed to marry four women and beat
scourge his wife when she disobeys him (Quran

Intellectually - no. Because he cannot accept the American Constitution
since it is based on Biblical principles and he believes the Bible
to be corrupt.

Philosophically - no. Because Islam, Muhammad, and the Quran do not allow
freedom of religion and _expression. Democracy and Islam cannot co-exist.
Muslim government is either dictatorial or

Spiritually - no. Because when we declare "one nation under God," the
Christian's God is loving and kind, while Allah is NEVER referred to as heavenly
father, nor is he ever called love in The Quran's 99 excellent names.

Therefore after much study and deliberation....perhaps we should be
very suspicious of ALL MUSLIMS in this country. They obviously cannot be
both "good" Muslims and good

Call it what you's still the truth.

If you find yourself intellectually in agreement with the above statements,
perhaps you will share this with your friends. The more who
understand this, the better it will be for our country and our

Pass it on Fellow Americans. The religious war is bigger than we know or

GRRRRR! That came to me from a Christian. Obviously a racist Christian. While I understand that Islam is a false religion and that it's not a religion of peace as some say it is, we, as Christians have an obligation to love Muslims.

If we really want to get to the nitty gritty in this email, then Christians can't be good Americans either.

Theologically our allegience is to Jehovah, NOT America.
Religiously, no other religion is accepted as truth.
Scripturally, our allegience is to God, not America.
Geographically, we have no allegience. Christians exist in EVERY nation in the world.
Socially, while we can associate with non-Christians, we are to be IN the world, not OF the world.
Politically, while we should elect Christian leaders, often the leaders we elect are Christian in name only.
Domestically, wives are commanded to SUBMIT to their husbands, an idea that is not accepted inthe US.
Intellectually... while the constitution may be based on the Bible, many of the founding fathers were Deists, not Christians. As such, they chose general parameters on which to build this country. The ideas supported in teh Constitution are not strictly Christian. Should Christians obey then?
Philosophically, Christians cannot allow false religions to exist without, on some aspect, evangelizing the lost.
Spiritually, While we do pledge to One Nation under God, our nation is sadly, far from God. Lately, I find myself distancing myself from the US and drawing nearer to God. While some say this is a Christian nation, I say, take a look around. It's anything but.

So that's my rant for the day.

Jelly Making 101

Lesson 1:
Just buy your jelly from the store.

Lesson 2:
If you decide to ignore lesson 1, make sure you wear OLD clothes and start the process in an already clean kitchen.

Lesson 3:
Don't try the sugar-free pectin. It's nasty and the "jelly" is bland.

Lesson 4:
Wear gloves.

Lesson 5:
Your recipe will multiply. The box of pectin that I used said I'd have enough jelly for 4-8oz. jars. WRONG. I had enough for 20 jars.

Lesson 6:
Don't let your attempt to make jelly be the first time you attempt to can something.

Lesson 7:
Please leave jelly making to the professionals.


Mixed Berry Cobbler

Happy Sunday Folks!

Today's recipe is for Mixed Berry Cobbler. This cobbler is my absolute favorite thing to bake. It's easy and DEEEEEELICIOUS!!

1 c. all purpose flour
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 stick of butter (margarine may be substituted)
1 c. milk
1 can of sliced peaches -- drained
1/2 package of frozen mixed berry medley (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. Mix dry ingredients, then add milk and butter. Make sure ingredients are throroughly mixed. It's okay if the butter is clumpy though.

Pour batter into baking dish. Top with berries and peaches. You may add as much fruit as you like and you may, of course, use fresh fruit if that is available.

Bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown. Sometimes I have to cover the top with foil to make sure the inside cooks without burning the crust.

Serve with vanilla ice cream and enjoy.

Remember to send me a link to your Succulent Sunday recipes!