Thursday, December 12, 2013

IceMageddon 2013

We interrupt this "quiet, peaceful" month of Advent for.....a crippling ice storm.
This last weekend, most of North Texas screeched to a halt.  Literally.
Last Wednesday, December 4th, it was 75 - 80 degrees and I was out for a lovely walk in a tank top and capri's.  I clicked the following pictures to document the glory:

The following day the temperatures dropped by 50 degrees and the precipitation started after dark.
The next morning, we woke up to this:

It was quite beautiful, but it was truly a crisis for many people.
I am so very grateful that I determined to switch my normal weekly shopping day from Friday to Thursday that week, so we would be sure to have what we needed.
A couple years ago, we had a similar situation happen, but at the same time, I was very sick in bed, and so was my husband.
We had 6 children home under 13 trapped inside......and then the power went out.
Misery like I've never experienced before.
I could not get out of bed without I could not cook.
The roads were so ice coated that even our friends in town who wanted to help could not get to us.
I learned my lesson well during that experience and was determined to be well stocked and prepared for the worst.
We had plenty of food and water, firewood, and toilet paper!!
I also had enough forethought to purchase items needed for some fun wintery crafts and treats.....since we were going to be cooped up in the house!

So on Friday, our little town's annual Christmas parade was completely cancelled.
The first time in 13 year's we missed it!
To keep our morale up, we made some of these:

Let me just say here, for the record, that I would NOT file these under the "Simple, sane, and sacred" folder.
These were anything BUT simple and sane.
In fact, my children abandoned the whole project before their roofs were on.
In other words, I had to finish everything.
But, I did like the way they ended up all folksy and cute.
What WAS I thinking though, that these would dress up our dining room until Christmas?!
Let's just say that they are all gone now!

On Saturday, December 7, our church's annual Ladies Christmas Brunch was cancelled as well as the morning dress rehearsal for the children's Christmas program scheduled for Sunday evening.  It was postponed to 4 pm on Sunday.
We did more of this:

 And I made some of my very favorite Christmas treats:  Secret Kiss Cookies

By Sunday, our church services were cancelled completely and the children's Christmas program postponed until later in the month.

The children had been getting outside nearly everyday for sledding, and on Sunday afternoon I ventured out with them.  Everything was still beautifully coated with ice.  

We also made a batch of our very most favorite Christmas treat:  Buckeyes 

 We were so thankful that nothing forced us to have to try to get out of our driveway (which would have been impossible with the ice coating it and the slight incline to the street).  We had 4 days that were unexpectedly wiped clean of outside activities, and even though we were still busy at home, it was so lovely because it made our days much more....simple.....sane....and yes, even sacred.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Simple. Sane. Sacred: "It is more blessed to give than to receive.." Acts 20:35

We are so blessed. Some days I fret over the things that I think my children need that we cannot supply for them. Then I fret over all the "stuff" we have piled here, there, and everywhere. Toys have a way of cluttering up our lives and stressing me out. They get played with for a few days, parts get lost, batteries run down, and I'm sliding across the linoleum on some little piece of something. Last year, I decided that instead of just filling up our house with more stuff like that, I wanted my children to learn how to let go of some things that they don't even appreciate anymore, and share with other children who are much less fortunate. We are going to do this EVERY year now. It's AWESOME!!!

In our town, an organization collects used toys and puts them all together in a sort of "store" where 10 families from each of the 9 public schools have been given vouchers to go pick up some toys at no cost to them. These are families recommended to them by school personnel who are chosen as in "desperate need." I was so encouraged to know that our family was having a part in encouraging nearly 90 families who are struggling and broken-hearted because they have no way of shopping for and choosing something really special for their child.

Obviously my girls were excited about it too!!

Thursday, November 7, 2013


**This article was originally published in August of 2009 just 6 months after our second daughter 
was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.
My goodness, how times have changed for us!!***

On the 1st of June, over 2 months ago, my husband and I attended a 3-hour class at the Children's Medical Center Endocrinology Clinic entitled "Take Charge". The purpose of this class was to learn how to ratio Ashlyn's carb to insulin intake. We were there to basically learn how to "take MORE charge" of Ashlyn's eating/insulin regimen. We'd been hearing that once we learned this concept she would have so much more freedom; things would be so much easier. Well, I'm here to tell you that I'm STILL waiting to see how this gives her more freedom. Honestly, I can't tell you why this adjustment and new regimen has been so difficult to transition to. It's not that terribly confusing. It's definitely a LOT more math. Since her diagnosis in February we've just carefully followed the plan that our endocrinologist and diabetes educator's gave us. Her meal plans looked like this:

Breakfast 50-55 carbs
Mid-morning snack (no less than 2 hours after breakfast) 15 carbs

Lunch 50-55 carbs
Mid-afternoon snack (2 hours after lunch) 15 carbs

Dinner 50-55 carbs
Bedtime snack 15 carbs plus a protein

With every meal we were told how much insulin to give her. We checked her blood sugar before every meal, charted her numbers, and then emailed these numbers every week to the diabetes educator who would then email back any recommended changes to her insulin amounts based on how high or low her blood sugar levels had been that week. Sometimes we adjusted just one meal's insulin amount, sometimes we would adjust more than one. It has become very easy for us now to have that "lifeline" of sorts where we are just told what to change.

Now they want us to learn how to make the changes on our own. I guess I feel like my parents are trying to break free of us a little. Like we're making these baby steps toward Diabetic Adulthood. And I'm not comfortable with this AT ALL!! Her meal plans now look like this:

Breakfast 1:14 (Humalog)
Snack two hours later

Lunch 1:11 (Humalog)
Snack two hours later

Dinner 1:16 (Humalog)

Bedtime - 6 units of Lantus with 15 carbs

It's very confusing at times. For instance, the other night we had "Friday Night Movie Night" here at home and I had purchased drumsticks ice cream for everybody to have. So I know automatically that we're going to have to use our ratios for this snack because it has 33 carbs in it. But I couldn't find in any of the information ANYTHING about using our ratios for bedtime snack. The difference is that at bedtime we use a different insulin (Lantus) than at mealtime, and I know it works differently than the mealtime insulin (Humalog). So I figured I would just add another dose of the Humalog to cover the extra carbs in the drumstick, but then I didn't know where to start counting the carbs that needed the coverage. Normally, we don't give humalog at the bedtime snack which is 15 carbs. Ashlyn's dinner ration is 1(unit of insulin):16 (carbs). So I was questioning if I needed to add insulin to cover the entire 33 carbs in the drumstick or just what was over the normal snack amount of 15 carbs? Do you see my confusion??
So I called and talked to one of the diabetic educators this morning to get clarification on that as well as to just vent some of my hesitations about this whole ratios thing. Supposedly Ashlyn will have more freedom, but I'm not seein' it yet!!! She will still have to look at all her food before a meal, decide what she will want to eat, and then get her insulin before she eats. Once she's got that insulin in her, she's then committed to eating ALL the food she chose. But what 9 year old do YOU know that will actually eat EVERYTHING at every meal every time?? So she before she eats, she thinks, "Yeah, I'm starving, I'll eat 3 pieces of pizza." But after the first piece or so, she's full and doesn't want any more. Too've had the insulin and if you don't eat all the carbs, you're blood sugar will plummet and you'll feel terrible. Now I ask you, WHERE is the freedom in THAT????
I've also been concerned that now we're moving into this new zone of freedom that we will inadvertently give her more calories or insulin per day than she is supposed to have for her age/weight. I certainly don't want to make food become an issue or a focal point in our family because I know of the eating disorders that can come from that. But I do want to be aware, and teach her how to eat healthy and appropriate amounts instead of just gorging on junk food to get in all the carbs she needs.
I guess all of this is just a reminder to me that living with diabetes is a daily journey. We're always to be learning and growing in our skills and management of this, but we cannot make it better. It will always be elusive and changing and frustrating, all we can do is learn to manage it as best we can. So many aspects of it are mysterious to both us and the doctors, and I have to constantly remind myself that that is what living with an incurable disease is all about. I can't change the daily up's and down's and mysterious problems that pop up out of nowhere, and her regimens and routines will always be changing as she grows. Some days I just wish that everything would just stay the same. I used to have it in my mind that with every insulin change we were getting closer to the point where there wouldn't BE any changes, that somehow it was like a medicine we were giving her that would make her better over time. But we're just simply MANAGING life with this disease. I have to keep reminding myself of will always be changing. To keep her alive, we will always have to be on top of it. But that's a small sacrifice to have her here with us lighting up our days with her smile, her laugh, her exuberance, her corny jokes. We love her so much and thank the Lord for how precious she is to us and for what He has in store for her life because of this disease!!

Monday, October 7, 2013

She got to meet the Chief! (Final installment of "Our red head goes on a journey")

Oh my.
How time has gotten away from me!!
It's almost the middle of OCTOBER now.
I have so many other things that I've wanted to journal and document
about our summer, but time is just getting away from me.
Especially since starting another year of homeschooling.
Even though there are many other aspects of Lexi's summer mission trip that
I really want to write about (including her day trip to London!!!),
I must move on to other things we are experiencing!!
So this will be the last of the series "Our red head goes on a journey......"

Meet Krobo Hene
Chief of the tribe of Krobo,
and "wealthy" landowner of the region who
donated the land for a new church building.

Here you can see the chief (under the back part of the umbrella)
flanked by his entourage as they are leaving the church building dedication ceremony.

The tribal chief (Krobo Hene) with the "Queen Mother".
This is not his wife nor his mother, but a woman in the political structure
that is entirely unfamiliar to me.
His position is similar to the mayor of an American city with higher heads of leadership
above him.
Those surrounding him here are "sub-chiefs."


The mission team in front of the chief's palace.

The chief's palace.

When I saw this picture and heard my daughter's stories of how the people of Ghana live,
I was reminded that here in America, we all live wealthy spoiled lives.
My home (which is very small by American standards) would be considered a PALACE to most people
living in third world countries.
So why does it even seem important to find the cutest thing on sale at Hobby Lobby to crown my mantel with for this autumn season?

What can I do for Jesus?
In a wealthy nation such as ours, where even those living in poverty here have so much more available to them than those living ordinary lives in Ghana, what should my responsibility be to promote the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Am I living with an awareness that I did not have to be born in this country?
That I do not deserve the freedoms and opportunities that living here affords me.......
simply because I was BORN here?  I did not choose that.
How can I live a life of gratitude for the blessings I never earned and have an attitude
of continual contentment for what I do have?
To see that my cup overFLOWS and that I have so much to share.
So. much.
Especially the knowledge of the saving grace of Jesus Christ from a life of bondage.....
a life of no options......
a salvation that is free for the taking.

"By and by when on look on His face......
I'll wish I had given Christ more."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Our red-head goes on a journey {part 8}

Things you see in Ghana:
{And you can see these pictures bigger and clearer by simply clicking on the picture}

And isn't this just it?  I mean really....isn't everything?

The local highway rest-stop

Especially while babywearing...

So apparently, this is a problem....

There's one of these on every corner in America too, isn't there?

Just relax....

Finally, isn't it all?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Our red-head goes on a journey {part 7}

Apparently, this new American craze of baby-wearing isn't all that new.
Look at how content {and mostly sleeping} all the babies are.