Friday, July 31, 2015

Surrender vs. Quitting


verb (used without object)
6. to give oneself up, as into the power of another; submit or yield.
verb (used without object)
11. to stop trying, struggling, or the like; accept or acknowledge defeat.
The difference between these two words or actions, for me, is the feeling I get after I have decided to either surrender or quit. When I have surrendered, I feel like I have started a new chapter. I feel empowered. When I quit, I feel defeated, like I gave in and then struggle with guilt. They have a strong characteristic that is the same - I choose to stop struggling. But for me, the difference is the feeling I have after I either surrender or quit.
I have been reflecting on examples of each, from my own life. This has been a sobering and humbling revelation. When I surrender, the power I give myself over to is God. When I quit, I give up to no one, I appease my ego that has been screaming at me.
I was 25 and hadn't dated anyone seriously in 4 years. Since I was a little girl, I dreamed and desired more than anything else to be a wife and mommy. I mean...that was my life mission. I couldn't imagine anything better than that. [I have since learned that it's awesome AND there is even more!;)] Mr. Wonderful wasn't showing up. I found all my decisions were being based on where I may find this dude that was going to realize what a gem I was. Then.....I realized I was really weary from that. I surrendered and said to myself, "He'll show up or he won't. IN the meantime, I am going to enjoy life now." It might have been a month later. A Friday night. It had been a tough week at work. My girlfriend and I decided to go to a bar in Coralville to commiserate and chill with a couple brews. To get a picture how much I was at peace with my decision that "he'd show up when it was right", I truly looked terrible. I am the kind of gal that HAS to wear make up. And I have never had a hair cut that didn't require at least 10 minutes of styling, in order to look public-ready. I didn't do either of these things. I had a pair of mom jeans on and a long-sleeve t shirt that was 5 or 6 years old. I was relaxed. While it is a story I love to Inigo Montoya's words, "Let me 'splain. No, there is too much, let me sum up." Mr. Wonderful was there.  That night, I met my husband. It was the night I looked at myself, in the mirror, leaving my apartment and said, "Ha! have a good time."  I had a blast. I was sweaty and clammy and sheepish because this big, strapping ginger covered in freckles was definitely interested. [Anyone who knows me, knows I have a big thing for red hair and freckles.] We will be married 10 years in a few months.  That is an example of when I surrendered. A fun example.
Later that year, I decided to go back to school. I was attending classes and found it very difficult to juggle a full time job - a demanding job as a district property manager for a region of Section 42 housing, and my new-found social life with Mr. Wonderful. I didn't have my priorities straight and I quit school. A much shorter story, isn't it? No empowerment. No excitement. No peace except I cut myself a big break...which I still regret. Guess what? I started school another year after that, only left the good job I had, moved in with my dad and stepmom to save on expenses only to quit school again. Lots of factors, but if I had realized then how fast 2-4 years go - well...that's all I can really say about that.
I am now realizing I have, countless examples of when I surrendered and when I quit. I've been thinking back on the "big" decisions, in my life. As I sit here, I realize I surrender and quit countless times each day, as a wife and mom. Like this.....Bennett comes downstairs from where I have a pile of stuff that I still have to go through from the NICU.....
I was annoyed at first because I don't want him going through stuff I have yet to go through. After a moment, I realize he can play with that if he wants to. I have several other flanges and that one is WAY too small. lolol He wanted to use it as a trumpet. "Go for it!"  Four minutes later, he is telling me he's hungry. I offer an apple? A cheese stick? Grapes? Watermelon? He stands in front of the rice krispy log I made. He didn't even communicate with words. It was all eyes and shlumpy shoulders and I gave in. I quit because I just wanted to get this blog post done before Katie woke up from her nap. I felt bad. He didn't. He was over the moon. Oh well....that's example 4 minutes apart on a much smaller scale of life. ;)
What is my point of writing this? I know there are issues we are each facing. Let's surrender more. Let's surrender the images we hold of ourselves to God. Let's surrender the relationships that have broken our hearts to God. Let's surrender the health of family members to God. Let's surrender the way the perfect picture of how family and success look. I think back to the NICU days.....I was so freaked out about getting a milk supply built up for my micropreemie because that rested on me and I didn't quit. But I was not freaked out about the miracle transpiring and transforming, in an incubator, 2 feet away. Honestly, I am pretty sure Bennett's birth and 13 day NICU stay helped prepare me for what we would go through with Katie. Katie's birth was bigger than anything I had experienced. I knew she was a promise -another example of surrendering a vivid vision I had of a baby girl 5 years ago. I had no hope of her ever coming to pass. We were done having babies........until we weren't. In my heart, when I met her, I handed her to our Maker - the Father of Lights who gives us every good and perfect gift. I didn't know I did it until I watched other mommies breathe down my neck about why wasn't I calling every 30 minutes from RMH?? I knew if she was here, she was in the very best possible place. I look forward to the day - a long time from now - when we live in Iowa City so I can help and volunteer time and energy and love for NICU parents and the nurses. Oh my gosh I love my peeps at UIHC NICU and Mother/Baby and Labor/Delivery.
Listen to this song. It is my "theme" song for the past week and for who knows how long. I think it "sums up" perfectly what I have been feeling and why I feel this idea of surrendering is a really good one.
I am taking the weekend off from the blog. We have another busy weekend, who doesn't? It's August - gotta cram in as much as possible before school starts. However, I will be excited to post and show you some further changes - another example of surrender. You're flipping out, aren't you? What could it be?
xoxo ~Beth

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Jacob's birthday cake and frosting recipes

Well, good morning! After waking up at 4:45 to take Tilly out and feeding Katie at 5AM, I have made a pot of coffee, started laundry for the day, played with Tilly acting as a fellow ewok, [An ewok she resembles, yes?] so I may sit down and tell you how much I appreciate all the love and comments on the blog and Facebook last night over the post about Katie's birth. Thank you!!!! I am working on more posts, from our NICU and post NICU adventure. For today, I want to share the recipes I used Sunday for Jacob's birthday cake and frosting.

I discovered these recipes several years ago when I had a baking business, out of our home. I have been told numerous times, this chocolate cake is the best ever eaten. It is from scratch. It is heavier than a box cake, but so moist and so tasty. Another thing I like is it doesn't call for eggs! It's great! I don't  understand the science of how this recipe works. Any Alton Brown commentary is welcome so we can learn.

I acquired the recipe from

Oh! That's right! It is a cupcake recipe and this was the first time I made it into a filled cake. I have often used the batter recipe without the "surprise" to bake a cake. However, I decided to try something different Sunday. I poured a portion of the chocolate batter in bottom of my 9x13 cake pan. Then I dotted that with the cream cheese filling until it was mostly covered and I gently spread to fill in the holes. After that came the rest of the chocolate batter poured over the top. I baked at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

My family and I do not enjoy a heavy buttercream frosting. I used to feel I had no option to decorate cakes but in a buttercream, until I stumbled upon this gem of a frosting recipe!

It is another recipe. It calls for cream cheese, so it can't be left out in Iowa heat and humidity for hours at a time. However, it holds it's form better than any buttercream recipe I have used. It is light and just the right amount of sweet. We love it. I also love that it makes so much. I have enough in the fridge to frost another 9x13 cake or cupcakes.

After the cake was frosted, I put it in the fridge. It tastes really good after it is chilled. It doesn't need to be chilled, but in summer? Oh yeah. Steven is not a huge sweet tooth. He told me two nights ago, "Please don't make this often. It's so good I could sit down with a fork and eat it out of the pan." Is there anything more satisfying, as a wife and mommy to have your main man and the litte men rave about what you cook or bake them?

Voila! I am done. Jacob just woke up, Steve is getting ready for work. Bennett will be up soon. Enjoy
your day lovely folks! Feel free to share and keep giving me feedback. I should also say, if you have questions about Katie, please feel free to ask! I believe her story is important to share.

xoxo ~Beth

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Warrior Princess is born!

I haven't written about the night Katie was born. No where. It has been coming up for me. I am going to write about it now.

November 2, 2014 my water broke at 24 weeks 3 days pregnancy. The events of that evening are a story of their own. I relay it to give a short backdrop. Waverly hospital and Dr. Lau sent me by ambulance to UIHC. There, I was told I would stay until I either started labor or took infection and they would take my baby by C-section.. The goal? 10 weeks. Make it to 34 weeks with a dried up uterus and deliver by C-section a baby that would go to NICU until she could go home. That is not how they described it to me. That is how I was thinking of it. I made it 12 days. 26 weeks 1 day pregnant. The morning before Katie was born, I finally expressed to the team of wonderful doctors, my fear of a C-section and spinal/epidural and what the plan is IF I didn't make it another 8 weeks. Bennett's birth was very traumatic to me. I had been dreading the actual birth of our daughter ever since I peed on a stick and it showed positive. Understand, I welcomed the life I would bring into the world. I didn't welcome the process. Looking back, it is amazing how we just know stuff, isn't it? I'll never forget the somber tone the room took after asking the doctors. It was as though, they had been waiting for me to bring it up. Up til that morning, by the time rounds happened every morning by 8AM, I was showered, dressed, oiled-up and make-up, "game face" on waiting for them. I started crying and the High Risk OB {there were always 5 staff that entered my room every morning} looked me square in the face, "Your uterus is a topic of our discussion several times a day." As I remember it, I felt relieved and also reminded that this was a big deal.

The next day, November 14. I had no idea Katie would be born by the end of that day. We were closing on a house we sold in Independence. Our realtor was coming to my hospital room where Steve and I would close that chapter. Kari came and we enjoyed our closing, between contractions. I had no idea they were contractions. They didn't feel like contractions because ....I'd never had contractions with no water in a uterus. Honestly? I was sitting there, in great discomfort, quickly transitioning to pain, thinking, "Beth get yourself together because she is growing in there and there is no buoyancy for her to shift and move this is going to hurt more as she grows over the next 8 weeks." I went on like this until I felt chilled. I knew what a fever felt like. I called the nurse, and quickly my angel nurse practitioner Lastascia entered. She sat on the side of my bed, held my hand and assured me all would be well and that we'd have our Katie in an hour. I almost made it to the 3rd trimester. We called our boys. I called my parents. To be honest? I trusted the baby would come out ok....but I didn't know how my body would take a 5th abdominal procedure and was sort of preparing to say goodbye just in case. I was tired and it was so overwhelming. I had been in denial and then everything changed so rapidly.
It was closing in on 6pm when prep started. I walked to operating room and there....was my angel doctor...Dr. Wernimont. Her shift was almost done and she was coming in with me when she was 37 weeks pregnant. Remembering her sweet face and Lastascia - make me emotional. SO emotional. They are the best at their job. They don't treat it like a job. They love their patients. They are passionate. I truly love them. I still have days where I wish I was in the hospital just to feel that reinforcement. Mommies at UIHC are so blessed to have the best attention and support and reinforcement. Dr. Wernimont came in the OR to hold my hands and help me concentrate while I got the epidural. She took every bit of squeezing of those hands I gave her. She reminded me to keep my breath slow as the anesthesiologist couldn't get the catheter fed through my spine in the first port and had to put a second one in. I wanted to die. I can still feel where they fed both those lines through in my back. I will never understand women that want a hole poked in their back to feed a line through to avoid child birth pain. I don't judge. I simply do not understand. INVASIVE! in the world then does one lie on their back with a thing stuck in their back? Too late....will never know the particulars because I am over spinals. I told Steve that I will never have another one, ever again, for anything ...ever. I can't imagine what else would come up to require one, but never again.

Steve brought my headphones. After Bennett's birth and when we learned we were expecting again...I knew I would not want to hear the operation chatter. I had hoped to have a play list made of inspirational songs...My playlist ended  up being one song, on repeat.  I decided I was tuning the rest of the world out. Even Steve. I needed him to sit there with me and play with my hair while I listened and sang, 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman. Katie Beth was a promise to me after Levi died. We weren't trying to get pregnant. Lordy....not to be TMI...but it was a "dry season" if you catch my drift. As the table shook with them using their tools and tugging and pulling on my skin and organs, I knew I wanted this sweet baby to come into her world hearing praise being sung by her mama to God. Remember that song, "Praise You in the Storm" which was my theme after Levi? I know this mode. I think about the Israelites, battle after battle with all their color and pageantry and instruments and songs, ahead of the soldiers. In some bible stories, this action struck fear in their enemy's hearts merely by singing praise to their God. The bible says, "God inhabits the praises of his people." I knew that night - I wanted his presence in the room our 14 week early daughter would enter. I sang and sang. I sang until it was too tight across my chest. I sang while I shook from the anesthesia. I sang when Steve would lift the ear buds from my ears to ask me a question or tell me something. I shouted to stick the ear buds back in my ears when the doctors and nurses wanted to ask me a question. I wouldn't take the risk anything they may say, could reach my ears, strike fear, doubt or anxiety and begin to chink away at my faith.  I couldn't have possibly been in the right key or sang my best - and I didn't care. I was in battle mode. When I am myself and singing I am nervous to sound anything less than terrific. Not this night. I don't care how poor I sounded. I believe in a principle, "Avert focus to my Maker when I am scared and He shows up." He's never really not there, worshipping Him, reveals Him.

At 6:29pm, Katharine "Katie" Beth was born. I asked how much she weighed. The doctor said, in a tone quite different than I heard for our boys, "1 pound 11oz." She was in an incubator and wheeled over for us to see her. I pretended I could see her, but I couldn't. I was in shock at how tiny she was. I was expecting to hear 3lbs. and something. I mean, that was what the ticker on Baby Center showed for 26 weeks pregnant. At that point, I knew this adventure had only just begun. We were in for a bigger battle. Also, it was a several days later, I surrendered. I surrendered because there wasn't a thing I could do except get out of the way. There's a difference between surrendering and quitting. But that's for another post. We had no formula. We had no idea what in the heck we were doing. But God did. And just look at what a gift He gave us!

Just after she was born....1 lb. 11 oz and 13 inches long.

She is teething. 8 months actual, 5 adjusted. She loves life! She just couldn't wait to start living it!

I love this picture. Last night, Jacob fed her a bottle. It was his first time. She thought he did a fabulous job.


Monday, July 27, 2015

Meet Matilda!

I had a great weekend. Truly. We celebrated our firstborn's 9th birthday. Jacob also known as Boy Wonder - had a great weekend. This weekend had a little bit of everything: new family member [see below], short time with friends, short time with extended family, birthday celebration with really good turkey breast. I may have made the best cake of my life for Jacob. Maybe not. Maybe it was just really nice to enjoy baking a cake for my #1.

Photo courtesy of his Grandma Diers. I will post the recipes for this cake. It was so yummy.

 Jacob's birthday was Sunday. Steve and I had something in the works for Saturday. We decided now is as good as any time to get a puppy. We are adjusted to not sleeping at night with Katie. heehee [I don't know why I say, "we". I don't carry a turd around in my pocket.] When this stage is over, the stage of middle of night feedings [yes, 4-5AM feedings is still in the middle of the night] is over. We ain't going back. Therefore, let's get our puppy now. My classmate from high school posted on Facebook she was breeding her dog. Ginger is a Bichon/shih Tzu mix. She mated with a Maltese and........we get a...............................Tilly.

Steve picked her name. Turns out he is real great at picking girl names. He liked the name Matilda and we call her Tilly for short. She is the sweetest and sassy little darling. She tuckers out easily and when this photo was taken, she had the biggest day of her  young life. She has already been such therapy to each of us. We all are smitten.

Bennett & Tilly. Just after this pic was snapped, Tilly jumped out of his arms, landed on all short legs. Bennett exclaimed, "She just jumped right out of my arms!"

This picture doesn't need a caption. A very happy boy with his new puppy. He did say for the rest of the weekend, " I can't believe we have a puppy!"

After a super weekend - these two were zonked. Steve got to reap that benefit. Snuggles!

My girls and me. I can't tell you how pleased I am to have the male/female energies balanced. hahahahaha!

 I feel inspired to write more...but that is a draft for another post. This was a big weekend. A special weekend.


Friday, July 24, 2015

After the NICU triggers: "Are you coming home tonight?"

Last night, Katie and I traveled to Mason City to finish up birthday gift shopping.  We also started and finished shopping for a BIG, BIG change coming to our family this weekend. Stay tuned Monday for that post. :D IF I can wait that long to share!

I was leaving Mason City, it was 8:41. I received a text from hubby. I called him and told him, I was hoping I could drive the 33 miles home before having to feed Katie, but I was going to have to pull over and nurse our girl. The boys wanted to say, "good night" since they were getting ready for bed. Their voices are so sweet. One of these days, they will have deep, low voices - I am realizing how fast this is coming with Jacob halfway to 18 this weekend. Jacob got on the phone after Bennett, "Hi Mom!" In a cautiously positive but bracing for disappointment tone, he asked, "Are you coming home tonight Mommy?" ....PANG in my heart and THUD in my throat .... It was one of those unexpected moments that happen and I don't know how long they will continue to happen. When they happen, I have to let it out. I choked and said, "Yes honey. Katie and I are on our way home. I have to stop to feed her first though. We'll be home when you are asleep, and I'll see you in the morning." He was satisfied and put his dad on the phone. I was crying. My boys and hubby will never know the physical pain I felt not being in two places at once for those days and nights from November 2 to February 9. My mom knew. I would cry with her on the phone - and she could feel through my sobbing. I remember her crying with me several times because she could feel how much it hurt. I explained to the boys during this weird reality -  we couldn't leave our littlest, newest family member 2 1/2 hours away from all of her very own family. Of course, I left for Thanksgiving and Christmas and the occasional over night. But at the end, I went 21 days without seeing my boys. That was the longest stretch we'd endured without seeing and spending time together. The weather was too unreliable for travel. Also, as Katie progressed, on her feedings, I needed to be close for breastfeeding, not to mention, simply producing.

 I don't regret how we dealt with the birth and hospitalization of Katie Beth. We did what we knew to do. We did our best. I have to say, not all wives could rely on their husband to take care of two little boys for 3 months. He did it. Only 8 months into a brand new job, he was cutting out at 3pm to pick up the older one from school , the younger one from daycare and spend the evening keeping it somewhat "normal". I am crying again. It was hard. Steve is the best husband and daddy, simply because he put down everything else to do what needed to be done and he loved on our boys which is what they needed. I wish every kid was blessed with such a daddy.

We will celebrate 10 years of marriage this Fall. We heard Daughtry's song, "Home" on the radio Sunday afternoon. I asked Steve if he knew what that song made me think of. He didn't. I told him, "You. Wherever you are, is home."

This was our very first "Family of 5" picture. Katie was 2 months old.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

What does it mean when your favorite color has changed?

This is a random question that I am throwing out to any and all whom have an answer. :) My favorite color used to be lime green. I really liked lime green combined with navy blue. Since the pregnancy of my daughter, Katie Beth, I have been drawn to magenta. Magenta is my new favorite color. ????? I do not find Magenta is a color I want to decorate everything in our home with, but I do want more "pops" of the color. I am also heavily drawn to two blues. This tissue box [see below] is inspiration for my kitchen. I love the two blue colors. I bought this box of tissues while Katie was in the NICU. I have kept it for when I paint our kitchen. [that will require a small act of God, unless any local readers are handy with sand paper, removing hardware, painting, and installing new, updated hardware and you are willing to come make this a party time with me? I make a yummy cup of coffee and an even yummier beer margarita.]

Tissue box with that luxurious blue and is that an aquamarine teal? I have already bought paint in the darker blue to paint a lamp we have to make an accent piece in our living room. Surprisingly, I didn't realize I picked a paint card at Sherwin Williams with the very same dark blue that is in this tissue box for my kitchen. So there should be a nice flow.

Now, a favorite color, changing may not be big news. I find it interesting though. It has to be a reflection of something. I have been a jewel-tone gal since I got my first apartment. In our homes, I have gravitated towards warm browns and greens and rusts and oranges. Suddenly - I love BRIGHT and HAPPY and COOL tones. I begin painting in the living/dining area next week. I will do before and after pics. I have curtains and I think I want to create my own artwork for above the fire place. Next week, you'll see why. ;)

This week has been more organization and off-loading AND getting ready for this guy's 9th birthday!
Look at Boy Wonder, finishing up today's golf clinic session. Jacob has had the biggest transformation physically and emotionally this past year. I am proud beyond words. He is a great kid and an incredible big brother.



Finally, when we returned from picking up Jacob, Bennett sweetly asked me, "Mommy will you come to my shop? I want to make you sumfin." I grabbed my cup of heaven a.k.a. coffee, and sat down in the toy room. Bennett brought me his "fish bowl" with the pretend fish named "Goldie like from Peppa Pig" [his words].
Bennett's fish bowl, see Goldie? :)
 I was gazing at Bennett's fish bowl when he brought me my morning special. A "chocolate and white cookie". I told him it was the best cookie I had eaten since Jacob baked me a cookie 4 years ago. I asked Bennett to cook supper tonight. He said he would. I asked him what we would have. He said, "Cookies and meat." Daddy will like tonight's supper!
My "chocolate and white cookie" with Aromas Sulawesi Toraja roasted coffee.
 Enjoy the rest of your Thursday!



Wednesday, July 22, 2015

My Aunt Chook's blueberry sour cream pie

Fareway had a deal on blueberries this past week. I picked up 3 pints for $5. I saw that amount of blueberries and knew I'd have enough to make a sentimental treat.....after I had eaten 1/3 of those berries myself. ;)

My Aunt Chook, is my dad's aunt. She is a special lady to me. We [my brother, sister and I] spent many weekends and summer days "on the farm", as kids. I remember Sunday dinners, after church, she and my gram scrambling around the kitchen, to get that meal on the table for about 10-12 of us to sit down to. It was always good eats, especially this time of the year because there would be sweet corn my great Uncle Don and Aunt Betty (Chookie's little brother) grew. Those were the days.......stable childhood....with no crystal ball to look into the future to see how much would change - I expected life would be just like that and that some day I would bring my kids there and so on and so forth. Being at "the farm" was exactly like a story from a Reminisce magazine.

When I saw the blueberries at Fareway, Friday night. I pictured one of Aunt Chook's blueberry sour cream pies cooling on her kitchen counter. She has never been able to give me the recipe because she just eye-balled everything. I have tried on two other occasions to duplicate her work of a pie, with no success. Yesterday, I googled "blueberry sour cream pie". I went to images to pick the picture that looks the most like I remember it. I chose:

Only, I used about 3 cups of blueberries and I substituted plain greek yogurt for the sour cream. I probably baked it for 10 minutes longer too.

Jacob, Steve and I had a piece with a dollop of vanilla ice cream last night before hitting the hay. It was delicious.

That will be all. I must finish off the pot of coffee with a slice of sweet memories.

xoxo Beth

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Frank & Joy

My distributor id # is 1456580.

I am an avid Young Living essential oil user. I am not an avid network marketer. is how this works. I will share my stories, my experiences, point out what references I use to learn more about my oils because let's face it - if one is serious about using essential oils and incorporating them into their lives, have to learn about it and since we aren't kindergartners, have to have resources to research. If you choose you'd like to enroll with me - great! Let me know and I will hook you up with these wonderful bottles of healing Nature. I love them - they will always be a part of my life because I have reaped so many benefits from them. Today, I want to introduce you to "Frank & Joy".

 ***I do not diagnose or prescribe.*** I share a product that has been on the earth as long as we have. I choose, when possible, to use holistic methods for health. I believe the symptoms we experience are a result of our environment - physically, mentally, spiritually. I do not have anything against modern medicine. Modern medicine has saved my life and the lives of 2 of my children. I believe in a balance. If we could appreciate the marriage between Nature and modern medicine.....who knows how different our society could become? I strongly believe ultimate health comes from a basis of fueling our bodies with nutrients. REAL nutrients.

I had been without these 2 oils the past few months. Young Living also has great supplements, which is what I had been budgeting for after the pregnancy and as a nursing mommy - to build up my body.

I hold Frankincense above my head about 6 inches and anoint my crown. Did you know our crown is the energy field which is our direct connection to God? I like being plugged in to my Source - Jesus. Frankincense supports the immune system as well as our emotions and is great for prayer and meditation. I was so excited the first time I was going to get to smell Frankincense. I was a gift the Wise Men brought baby Jesus. My friend handed me the bottle of oil, I got in my reflective mode and expression, put it under my nose, reared back and put my scrunched up "Yuck" face on and exclaimed, "they brought THAT to baby Jesus? Poor baby." ;) Obviously, this oil was not one of my favorites. It is a perfume - sweet smelling in a way I had not known. I started to use the oil and the fragrance grew on me. It is a precious oil. I have enjoyed the preciousness of it on my head for 2 years.

Joy is a blend of oils, created by D. Gary Young. It was created with the frequencies and properties in mind to guessed I apply a drop of it directly on my heart. Joy is also an oil I didn't appreciate at the beginning. It is very floral smelling. However, I find it is a wonderful oil to diffuse when I have company or when my kids are owly and growly.  It is fresh and smells wonderful through the diffuser. I used Joy every day I was in the hospital. The doctors and nurses would enter my room and  Katie's room and want to linger. That is what they told me. I didn't diffuse in the hospital because it is a cool mist humidifier.

When I wear the oils, I am a human wick. Once I got used to using oils, I couldn't go back to Scentsy or air fresheners....even my favorite perfume. It gave me headaches, because of the chemicals and toxins in it. fill my home and wherever I go with a clean aromatic presence, boosting their immune systems and presence of minds - I feel like I am doing the best I can with the knowledge I have, for my family. That feels GOOD!!


Monday, July 20, 2015

My now....

This video sums up what I won't miss out on when I am present, in the present. The past year has been a ...I don't even know the right word. I was inclined to say tornado because it was that violent, that sudden, that ground-shaking and uprooting. Thoughts, beliefs I have nurtured my entire life or any portion thereof, have been called into question. It has been another season of the Father whispering and calling to me, "I am speaking to you. You know what is best for you, for your family because I am in you. Stop. Listen. Allow yourself peace. And grace."

That [above] is what I would share with NICU parents going home once their darling is discharged.

Enjoy this video. I think it is an awesome picture of how I want my kids to remember me.  In the moments when the "should dos" mount up as a rebellion....I will sit down with my kids. They are beautiful spirits and deserve my best. Not stress. Not pressure I feel from things that don't matter. Not me trying to please others. I am enough. Not "when will you get back to this or that..". Right now - this moment is all that matters.

The video is after Bennett's bath last night. Katie Beth just finished a feeding.

Love & Grace,



Burrito Gravy.....Mmmmmmm

I had you at burrito gravy, did I?

My husband suggested I write about this. We left church yesterday and decided to head to Mason City Panchero's. I don't know the history of Panchero's. My husband does. In fact, his time attending the University of Iowa - he is the one that launched this simple, authentic Mexican food haven into turbo growth mode. He averaged...I believe he told me....4 burritos a week.

Hubby and I have been together for almost 13 years. He has been trying for all that time to get me to enjoy Panchero's. I don't know if it was his torrid love affair with their burrito, which felt like a rival to me, or if it was how badly he wanted me to love Panchero's, or if it was what I always said, "That looks like a cloth diaper ....full...and not of Mexican food." - but I have had no interest in enjoying Panchero's.

Two months ago, we were in Waterloo. It was lunch time. My family was hungry. We entered Panchero's. All these years, when I go to Panchero's with Steve, I felt like it is one of my ways to say, "See? I love  you. I will go here and order something I am not excited about -one of their salads- and eat it while you devour a burrito the way T-Rex tears apart an insurance man in Jurassic Park." I wasn't particularly hungry this time and ordered chips and salsa. Here I need to tell you that while I stayed at Ronald McDonald House [daughter's premature birth landed us an 87 day NICU stay- a story for another post] I did fall in love with Panchero's salsa. The entire pregnancy of our daughter, I craved salsa. Panchero's delivered to RMH at least twice that I know of while I lived there. They would leave behind little black cups, filled with their fabulous salsa. I am not ashamed to say that on several occasions when I couldn't sleep at night, I would scurry to the kitchen of RMH and raid the fridge. The night shade concoction helped put me to sleep. It is the best salsa of my life.

Back to the day in Waterloo..I ordered salsa and chips. I watched my boys eat their cheese quesadillas and realized I am hungrier than I thought. Steve offered me a bite of burrito, on a whim, I took it. Upon that bite, I looked up at him with my big doe eyes, holding that huge burrito in my hands, salsa running from my lower lip.....he said I never looked "hotter". I sheepishly asked him, "Would you please go get me one of these?" He asked me to marry him again. Ever since, I crave a burrito at least once a week. This has been really good for our marriage.

On our drive to Mason City yesterday, I grabbed Steve's hand and said, "Oh man...I can't wait to eat one of those burritos. The way the sour cream, guacamole and mild salsa mix's like.....burrito gravy." He pulled my hand to his mouth while driving and kissed it. "That's good honey. You should write about burrito gravy." he said.
Do you see the "gravy"?