Worshiping Together as a Family

We were together at church tonight. The whole family! It has been months since this has happened; and it was wonderful!

What a week we have had. It was a week ago on Monday since Rachel had her surgery. Tuesday she came down with pneumonia; but the rest of the week has been uneventful. Or, perhaps, it has been very eventful - but in the right direction. On Thursday both Rob and I noticed that she was looking better. The dark circles under her eyes were better and she had color in her cheeks. She was looking healthier. That has continued through the weekend. We are pleased! She attended the Sunday evening service. It was a blessing to be there as a family.

There has been so many questions going on in my head. Thoughts and pondering on prayer. So deeply I have pondered these things that I have even laid awake at night thinking. The Bible passages have been read over and over again. Questions still remain. Many questions. I wish that we had the ability to put the questions into God's google system and have the answers appear on screen moments after the question was typed in.

Prayer is something I do not understand fully. Perhaps that makes so much of it a faith issue. I know God is drawing me to a deeper understanding of this discipline. So much of my heart cry throughout the day is as the disciples, 'teach me, Lord to pray!'. It is exciting to know that when God leads us to a deeper understanding of truth - He answers the question - or gives us the faith to accept the things we can not understand.

On a lighter note, Zak prayed tonight for us to get another baby. Does Zak know something we do not? If we get a call here in the next few months about a baby - I will know that is God's way of telling me I need to talk to Zak and get his insight on this matter of prayer. :)

Tonight I will go to bed, lay my head on my pillow and thank God for allowing us the privilege of going to church as a family. I will think to myself how I will never take that for granted again.

Just my thoughts. Good night.


Answered Prayers

Yesterday was quite a day. On Tuesday evening Rachel began feeling tightness in the chest and had heavy breathing. I was concerned; but did not want to overreact. By the time she went to bed (on the couch by our room) she was sounding much more congested and had a pretty nasty cough. She also had trouble coughing due to the pain in her throat. My concern was growing. I also kept trying to remember if Zak had any of these symptoms when he had his surgery a little over a year ago. I was coming up blank.

I have been getting up during the night and giving Rachel her pain meds to keep the pain cycle bearable. When I got up with her at midnight - I knew we had something more here. When she sat up to take the medication I could hear how bad the congestion was. Rob slept in the recliner by her. We prayed and decided to wait till morning to take her in.

The condition had worsened at 4:30 am. Rob and I both were quite concerned. I called the doctor promptly at 8 am and she said she would see her right away. I was thankful that her doctor is close and in town. By 8:45 after watching the doctor listen to her lungs - I grew very concerned at the look on the doctor's face. She was sure it was pneumonia - but needed to order a chest x ray for confirmation. A nebulizer treatment was given; but there was no change in the lung sounds following the treatment. She also was given an anti-biotic through a shot to try to get it into her system faster. The x ray showed what we had thought. The doctor assured me that she was going to treat this aggressively and try to keep her from having to be readmitted into the hospital.

We came home with a list of new instructions and breathing treatments to do every several hours. Rachel became quite lethargic throughout the day - and that was a concern to me. Finally last night, while Rob as at church, she started to sound better - not as congested. My concerns began to subside a little. (I also could not help but notice that while so many of our friends were at church prayer meetings - Rachel seemed to be getting better!)

Today, she is in a lot of pain with the throat. (The fourth day after surgery is supposed to be the most painful day she will have after surgery) However, she does seem to be breathing better - much better than yesterday! We will continue to breathing treatments until Monday.

We know God has heard our prayers - and the prayers of you are friends. God is healing and strengthening her today. Thank you so much for praying. We are looking forward to seeing all that God has for us throughout this trial of Rachel being sick. It has been so long. God has given real direction here in our hearts - even in the last 12 hours. Thanks for your prayers.



Rachel has contracted pneumonia. It seems to be quite aggressive. We are tying to be just as aggressive in treatment - (an antibiotic shot, neb treatments and steroids).

Pray that the treatment will stop the pneumonia from getting worse. If it gets worse we will be having another hospital stay.

Thanks for your prayers.


Surgery Complete and Prayer Request

Rachel had her surgery this morning. A pretty bad snow storm yesterday and through the night last night threatened that we would be able to make it to the appointment. We left 2 hours before we were due there - and made it there thirty minutes early.

The surgery went well. She now has an incredibly sore throat and does not feel well at all. We have stocked up on ice cream and Popsicles. Hopefully that will be able to help her feel a little better.

We are praying that this surgery will really help her get better and start feeling better soon. The doctor said that there were infections in the pores of the tonsils. He felt that it was good that they came out and is hopeful that we will see an improvement in her overall health. We are praying for that to be the outcome.

We also are praying for our friends who are burying their little baby born last week - and only being alive for a few minutes. Our hearts have been with them this morning as we were in another part of the state for the surgery and unable to make it to the funeral. Please keep the Ali's in your prayers. Such a painful loss!

Well, pain meds due here soon - so I will let you go. Thanks for stopping by - I am so glad you did.


The Question

I was in the kitchen this morning getting things around for breakfast. Zak came down. Dressed. In yesterday's clothes. Now, I have nothing against wearing clothes more than once before laundering; but the shirt he had on showed definite signs of needed washing - and it was only 6:30 in the morning!

I showed him the problem areas and told him it would be best if he would put that shirt into the hamper so I could tend to it later. I sent him on his way back upstairs to change into a fresh shirt for the day.

A few moments passed. He returned. Looking mighty handsome - I might say; with shirt tucked in and zipper even zipped. (A small victory that has been happening quite regularly here - and a battle of reminders that has been going on for over 6 years! - Yes, I am quite pleased that I am FINALLY seeing results!) :)

I continued making breakfast. As I poured the water into the coffee maker I was taken back by the question I heard. "Mom, does this shirt make me look fat?" I had to pierce my lips firmly shut to keep the laughter from coming out. Zak - the little man who eats everything in sight but looks like he has gone a few meals with nothing. That very same Zak is asking me if the shirt he has on makes him look fat!

My mind went racing. Where in the word did he get a question like that? Why would he think that he would look fat in anything? Then I remembered it was Zak. Zak who hears everything and has everything he hears get up into that brain of his - and then get scrambled. Anything and everything at any time can come out! This question just happened to be coming out at 6:30 in the morning! I knew the moment I heard it that I was going to have a good day. How can you not - when you get asked that question by the skinniest kid in your household?

"No, Son, you look very handsome this morning. The shirt does not make you look fat at all!" I replied confidently.

He looked straight into my eyes and asked, "Are you sure?"

He was so sincere with his question; that duty bounded me to make sure I hid the pure delight of my heart and swallow the smile that was threatening to escape my lips. I looked him straight into the eye and answered. "Positive!"

"Good!" He then took the bowls and headed over to the table to help me set it for breakfast.

Man, I love that kid! He makes me laugh every. single. day.

Enjoying being with him - and all of them - all day long from morning to night!

Thanks for stopping by. I am so glad you did.



Preperation, Plans, Projects

We have been so busy around here. Wanted to put an update on life as we know it.

Rachel's lip biopsy came back the first part of this week. Everything looked pretty good. There was signs of acute inflammation - but no cancer. Praise the Lord. In the past day it looks better than it has. She saw the ENT on Friday. The decision has been made to take the tonsils out. Surgery is scheduled for Monday morning next week. We are hoping that this will help improve her health. I am not an advocate for just ripping something God put into your body out as a first option. However, since she has been sick for so long; and we have tried so much - we feel that this is by far not our first option. This also will allow them to biopsy a part of her lymph system and check for cancer. We are praying for a positive outcome there - and also that perhaps the tonsils have been holding in virus' and bacteria that are making her sick. We do not know that for sure - but it is a shot we feel we need to take at this time.

We see the pain management clinic tomorrow and are hoping for a change in one of her meds. The side effects have been quite debilitating. The surgery coming up may also allow us the chance to get her off of a few meds for the actual surgery and then be able to reevaluate which ones she still needs. I am praying for a good appointment tomorrow. They are not my favorite group of docs to work with - so we will see.

Since Christmas, Rachel has been pretty sick and back and forth to the doctor and even a hospitalization - with that said, school has been put on hold. We also had transcripts to work out and books to get ordered for the new semester. God has shut doors and opened others - so it has been a bit of a trip and we are finding ourselves in different waters in regards to doing school at home different than we have ever done it. Everything is in and we are ready to start. We had our first walk through day today and tomorrow will start everything out as normal. It is hard for me to even post this - as school and academics are a strong point for me and to say we have had this long of an extended break seems to somewhat be admitting to defeat. However, it seems very clear that God has allowed for the delay as there were so many things out of our control in order to get the semester started. I am encouraged by the fact that so much can be learned outside of the classroom and my kids have been learning of things the world of academia does not teach. We will start bright and early in the morning - and be working through some summer months to finish up the school year. When it comes to a close we will have a high school graduate, a junior high graduate, an elementary graduate and a kindergarten graduate. It has been a big year. :)

Zak had a follow up appointment with his hearing. There has been no further hearing loss in the last 6 months! We were thankful for that. For the time being, he only needs the one hearing aid and everything seems to be working perfectly! I have so much fun watching him do his hearing tests. Maybe next time I will take my camera. The smile he makes when he hears the sounds through the giant headphones on his head is enough to melt any mother's heart!

Sorry the posts have been lacking; but I have just not been home much. Seems this week has been the doctor appointment week of the year. We also are finishing up a remodel on the kitchen. I should have an oven that is in working order and baking something come this time Saturday night. YES!

Thanks for stopping by. I am so glad you did.


Our Forever Love Story

Twenty-one years ago he asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. Our love story began that day. Just the two of us. So much of life ahead of us. So young. So ready to start on the journey together.

I did not know it was going to go by so fast. It seems twenty years has come and gone by in a blink of an eye. I have thought about that a lot lately. How fast time goes. Twenty one years ago it was just us.

Three years we were together as just the two of us. Then there was the two of us with one. Every milestone was enjoyed with the one. The first smile, the day she rolled over, the first steps, the first notes sung, the first words read. It was us enjoying one.

Three years later it was us and them. My dream was becoming a reality. I was a Mommy everyday with them. There were ribbons and bows to adorn in the hair on Sundays. There were pacifiers to locate, squabbles to settle and morning sickness to overcome; because all most as quickly as there was them - two of them - there was three.

Three girls. A surprise to us at how fast our family had grown; but we were happy. The two of us enjoying 'them'. There was another bow to add to the heads of hair on Sundays, and plenty of pink to go around. Our love story was being lived out right before our very eyes! We were so busy living. There were diapers to change, bottles to clean and pictures to be taken. Then it happened again. As quickly, almost, as there had been three there was to be another one. We were shocked.

Then as quickly as there had been four there were only three. One was gone. Not forever; but for a long time. Our love story hurt. We hurt more than we had every hurt before. It was the two of us trying to maneuver through the sadness. It was both of us - crippled by pain- trying to walk together; but hurting too much to accomplish that.

Suddenly, it was us walking together through life; but alone in our hearts. The pain hurt too much to be close. It was each of us walking alone - emotionally broken. It was dark. It was hard. Then HE reminded us of His plan. Faith made us act on TRUTH rather than feelings. We committed to stay us forever. HE sent healing, gave each of us the ability to forgive; and through His power we became closer than we had been ever before. It became us again - - walking together. We learned to love each other even when it hurt. It was our love story lived out in HIS plan for us.

We lived together - with the three of them and missed deeply the one who had completed her story sooner than we had planned. Then, HE began to show us that HE was not done with the addition process of our family. He began to show us those that had no family. Children who were alone. A child - a him - that needed us. (Little did we know how much we needed him!) After months in our home that little him became part of our 'them'. It was us loving and being loved by the four of them.

I thought the addition to our love story was complete; but HE said no. We knew there was another one that HE wanted to add. We thought it would happen suddenly; but alas, month after month it just continued to be us with the four of them. We were happy; but something - or should I say someone was still missing. A chapter was still waiting to be written. It appeared that it would never happen. Then the call came. There was one - a little one - a little her - with a need for a family. Through tears we said yes. Through tears one was added to four and suddenly there were five. Five here - one in waiting - six to complete us.

Our love story has brought us this far. Someday our story will be over. I do not know when that will be; but as I think about it I realize that our love story is really HIS story for us. How quickly it seems to be told - this love story of ours. How quickly the pages seem to turn. Twenty- one years ago I said 'yes'. I did not know the story would be read so fast, or at times would be so hard; but one thing I knew. I wanted it to be forever. Our forever love story.

So, today I say 'yes' again. I want to walk together and live our love story out as long and as far as it will take us. This Valentine Day I say 'yes' again - and hope that we have twenty-one more years to live out the story.

My Dearest Rob,

"Forever and for always - you and me. I love you, my Valentine. Hand in hand I want us to walk through our love story realizing someday soon that the blessings God has given us will start to live out their own love stories - the love stories HE has planned for them. I am just glad that God allowed their stories to begin in our love story. I love you, Rob. Forever and for always - you and me.
All my love,


The other day while Rachel was sitting on the couch - she decided to snap a few pics of Anna. Can I be honest with you and tell you the truth? We are smitten with her! I can't believe she is three already. Where does the time go?

Thanks for stopping by. I am so glad you did!

Father Knows Best

We believe very strongly that the dating philosophy is not a biblical view; and often is a very dangerous and emotionally crippling practice of our American culture. We have chosen to believe and teach our children the principle of courtship. There are many different parts of the courtship principles; but one of the main ones is that the Father and Mother of both the boy and the girl play a strategic role in the marrying off of their children. (Not to be mistaken with prearranged marriages where the parents actually choose the mate for their child.)

We have always taught our children, even from a young age, that Dad will help them when it comes time for them to get married to the spouse God has chosen for them. Our intent is to train them in this mindset even when they are very little to think counter culturally and biblically in the regards to engagement and marriage.

Anna seems to have a firm grasp of this already.

Today, we were sitting at the lunch table. She was busy eating and the older girls and I were talking about someone that was getting married soon. (I did not even know she was listening, to the conversation.) Then out of the clear blue sky she said, "Daddy is going to get me married."

Well, I guess even at three she has a pretty good concept of courtship. If that is all that she thinks until she is 18 - I think we should be home free with this one. :)

How much I am realizing right now, that it is so important that our children know they can trust us. We have had two situations in the past month - with two different children - that have required us to ask them to simply trust what Dad has decided even though they do not understand the decision. Both times, both children have chosen to do that in spite of some disappointment on their parts. They also have both come to see that Dad knew what was best and that they are happier with the decision that he had chosen more than they would have been had they been able to do the choosing.

It was a gentle reminder to me as a Mom - that it is important for me to be building up Rob in my children's eyes. They need to trust him. How sweet the simple trust a three year old has in knowing her Daddy will do what is best for her.

Thanks for stopping by. I am so glad you did.




Another devotional blessing. The devotional was talking about being still. I like this quote: "I do not believe that we have begun to understand the marvelous power there is in stillness. We are in such a hurry - we must be doing - so that we are in danger of not giving God a chance to work.

You may depend upon it: God never says to us, "Stand still", or "Sit still," or "Be still," unless HE is going to do something.


Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
Nor deem these days--these waiting days--as ill!
The One who loves you best, who plans your way,
Has not forgotten your great need today!
And, if He waits, it's sure He waits to prove
To you His tender child, His heart's deep love.

Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
You greatly long to know your dear Lord's will!
While anxious thoughts would almost steal their way
Corroding within, because of His delay--
Persuade yourself in simple faith to rest
That He, who knows and loves, will do the best.

Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
Nor move one step, not even one, until
His way has opened. Then, ah, then how sweet!
How glad your heart, and then how swift your feet,
Your inner being then, ah then, how strong!
And waiting days not counted then too long.

Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
What higher service could you for Him fill?
It's hard! ah yes! But choicest things must cost!
For lack of losing all how much is lost!
It's hard, it's true! But then--He gives you grace
To count the hardest spot on the sweetest place.

By J. Danson Smith

How I am enjoying having the time to sit still and let God speak to me. How easy it is to think that unless I am busy doing, ministering, being active that only then can God work. Yet, how much more I learn when I stop and let Him do. How fretful and anxious my thoughts. Not necessarily thoughts of worry; but thoughts of working things out. How clear everything is when I allow Him to lead, allow Him to order my thoughts and my days. Somehow I know that my children need a Mom who spends more time at His feet than cleaning the house or cooking dinner.

So today, I will sit, be still, and know - that HE is my God!

Thanks for stopping by - I am so glad you did!



What's For Dinner

I enjoy visiting other blogs when I have the time. Several of the blogs that I visit post their weekly menu on Monday's. I do try to plan a menu to be able to have some semblance of normal when it comes to kitchen duties. My plan is to post my menu each week - not as much for you all to see (which I don't mind if you do) :) - but more for me to have a day set aside that I have to have the menu posted. I will post only the dinner menu - as that is the only one I have to make since our breakfast and lunch menus are on a rotating schedule. So here is my first Menu posting - done this week on Tuesday.

Monday: Stroganoff / Green Beans (made by Abbey*)

Tuesday: Italian Cream Cheese Chicken / Tossed Salad (made by Rachel*)

Wednesday: Pasta Fagioli / Homemade Bread

Thursday: Farmhouse Chicken / Tossed Salad

Friday: Homemade Pizza / Tossed Salad

Saturday: Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese (found a crock pot recipe that I am going to try)

Sunday: Roast / Baked Potatoes / Green Beans / Carrot Sticks

*The older girls have their nights that they fix dinner. They tell me what they are making and I put it on the menu and purchase the ingredients for it when I go shopping. Abbey cooks on Monday nights and Rachel has the kitchen all to herself on Tuesday nights. I enjoy having a couple of nights off from cooking.

I did not realize how many of my recipes this week were from Tammy's site. I LOVE Tammy's site! If you have not visited her - I hope you are able to find the time to visit for a spell there. The recipes she has posted are easy and seem to be user friendly for a Mom with kids - since they were made by a Mom with kids.
So that is my first posted menu. What's your plans for dinner this week?

Moving Forward

Just a quick update on Rachel. We finally got the results back from her Tcell test. (This was the one to test if there was something seriously wrong with her immune system.) The test came back normal - and everything looks good in regards to her immune system. This was wonderful news! We were so thankful that something so serious was officially ruled out!

They are looking into two different things in regards to the sore on her lip. One is that she has a drug resistant virus in her lip. They are going to do another culture if another one comes on. (We are currently waiting for her lip to heal - it is pretty nasty right now.)

The other thought is that the virus is in her tonsils. She has had quite inflamed tonsils for the past several months. She also has a chronic sore throat. These two things make them think that if the virus is lodged in her tonsils it could be causing the frequent sores on her lips. We meet with the ENT on Friday to get his opinion on the condition of the tonsils.

She still has a lot of pain in her nerves and joints. The feel that this is continued issue from both the shingles in December and also the GBS from this July. We are working with pain meds to manage the pain. It seems a fine line to walk in the regard. We would like her off of all pain medication - but when she is off of the meds she is in so much pain she is not able to get around well. So we continue to walk the narrow line - and hope and pray we are making the right decision.

Overall, we are very happy with how things are progressing. We have ruled out a lot; and what they are looking at now really seems quite probable for the recurrent infections.

Thanks so much for all your prayers. I feel like I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. (It looks really really good! ) :)

Been out running errands all day. I am so tired. It is off to bed I go - even at an early hour.


He is There

A dear friend gave me a devotional book entitled: Streams in the Desert. To say this book has been a huge blessing to me would be an understatement. Every day there has been yet another blessing to my heart. I thought from time to time I would share these little thoughts with you. Hopefully they can be an encouragement to you like they were to me.

This was a little poem that just encouraged me. I am not sure what the title of the poem is; but have just posted it as it was written in the devotional that day.

In "pastures green" ? Not always; sometimes He

Who knowest best, in kindness leadeth me

In weary ways, where heavy shadow be.

So, whether on the hill-tops high and fair

I dwell, or in the sunless valleys, where

The shadows lie, what matter? He is there.


Deferred Dreams

It was the day for his six month checkup. I had to make the trip to the doctor. It was in the early afternoon we would leave. Zak and me.

Dad is always at work in the early afternoon hours. He knows what time Dad gets home. He can tell it by where the sun is located. He asks every morning when Dad is getting off work. Most days the answer is the same. He listens to the time, and then tells me his own version of the time. "When I get up from my nap then my Dad will be home from work." I nod in agreement. This happens every. single. day. This day I explained that we would be going to the doctor during his nap time . He quickly added, "then Dad will be home when I get home from the doctor." I nodded. All was well.

Lunch came. He was to eat his lunch and then we would head out for the scheduled appointment. Then the unthinkable happened. Dad came home from work early! Normally, this causes great excitement. His Dad is home. This day, it caused tears. Quite a lot of tears. Tears that started flowing down on his sandwich. The reason for them, unmentioned. I thought he had bit his tongue - or perhaps a finger. I made my inquiry as to why the sudden burst of tears.

"Dad is home!" The cry got louder. The food in his mouth evident to all as he let go of all the emotion inside.

"Zak, why are you crying? Daddy just got home a little early."

"Because I have to go with you!" The words were spoken as an indictment to the terrible injustice that was before him.

"But son," I tried to comfort, "you and Mom get to go to the doctor this afternoon. You get to spend the whole day with Mom all by yourself!" I tried to make it sound as good as the most exciting of elementary field trip every offered in the history of education.

Then he asked as sincerely as is possible for an eight year old, " Why would I want to spend the afternoon with you when I could be with my Dad?"

I was trumped. No rebuttal. No recourse. No answer in the entire world could dispute the fact that he had a point. An afternoon. Mom? Dad? No contest.

We left. He was sad. We had the whole afternoon to ourselves. The question of the afternoon: "How much longer till we can get home and I can be with my Dad?" (A gluten free snack on the way home helped my low ratings rise a little; but not anywhere close to as high as Dad's ratings!)

They are bonded. Father and Son. The way it should be. Zak's best friend is his Dad.

Thanks for stopping by. I am so glad you did!