Monday, October 10, 2011

So blessed!!!

It's funny how as a believer, I feel more blessed going through a trial than I did before the trials! I think I appreciate the little things more and I have just felt so loved by people. Many people have written notes to tell us they are thinking and praying. Some brought meals. Others big hugs. It's amazing how loved and blessed I have felt.

A few praises.

* My dad's growth in his pancreas turned out to not be cancerous and it is very slow growing. It is still a very dangerous tumor and needs to be dealt with so we continue to pray that it is operable. The operation is very major and has a long difficult we are praying for that also....and salvation.

*Mom's scan after her radio-iodine treatment looks really good, with one small area to keep their eye on.

*My recovery was much quicker and easier than I thought...God was so merciful! And baby took a bottle with no problem at all, even though she had never had one before. Daddy did such a great job taking care of her and I that day.

*Husband had an MRI done for some bad dizziness etc that has been going on for months and nothing more than a bad sinus infection showed up. What a praise. He still needs to do the heart test done in the next 2 weeks.

*Husband loves his new job, we have a great church and a wonderful network of friends. We are so blessed and so thankful for God's continual mercies, which are new every day! Praying we never take this for granted and always have a thankful heart.

For those of you who have encouraged and loved us through sweet notes and prayer....thank you from the bottom of our hearts! xoxoxo

Monday, October 3, 2011

His People

Funny how my blog has completely changed in the last year. I am really hoping and praying that I can go back to posting recipes and fun tips that I learn. I really want to go back to lighter-hearted days. But, that is not what God has for me right now.

I don't think God wants me to be comfortable. As soon as I take comfort in one step or something being behind me, something new seems to pop up. I am thankful that my surgery went well and I recovered quickly. I am thankful that the furniture is all put back in my house (although we still have repairs to do). I was thankful that my mom finished radiation and completed her body scan (the last step), and that my dad felt good about his surgical team at UCLA.

Today, my mom wrote and told me that she got a call from the radiologist saying she needs to come down for another scan (we don't know why). My dad wrote and told me that he has been researching the type of surgery he is supposed to have and since it is such a big deal, he is not sure he wants to have it. My husband (who still has to go get his heart tested) has also been feeling dizzy all summer. He had a follow-up appt with the ENT Dr today, who now wants to do an MRI on Thursday, with a follow-up on Monday. Then, my husband starts asking me about his life insurance policy (just casually). Um.....really? I was doing ok with his scan until that.

I am definitely learning that I CANNOT think about everything or even pray about everything ALL  AT ONCE. It is WAY to much for my heart to handle. I am pretty much learning that I can only live ONE DAY AT A TIME. This is really big for me. I am a worrier and end up worrying about many things that never even happen. Although...I must say....a lot has happened this year that I wan't worrying about. Anyway...I physically and emotionally can't even go there right now. It is just WAY too much for me. So, along with the lessons I listed last week or so, living one day at a time is another one.

You might be wondering why I titled this post the way I did. Well, it is because of another blessing I have felt through all of this. I know that God wants to care for me and comfort me. What I have lived through this is that a major way He does that is through His people. so many people have come out of the woodwork and sent me the sweetest, most caring and encouraging notes. People have faithfully prayed. People have brought meals, even when I have wanted to refuse them. I feel God's love for me, through His church. I am so thankful for that. I continue to press on, trusting Him and waiting for Him to teach me all He has for me. I am praying for mercy and relief from suffering, but I know that He will be with me, whatever the road may bring!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I am trying to combat the anxiousness I am feeling as I wait for my dad's results. Here are a few verses on my heart (emphasis mine):

"Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him,
my salvation and my God."
Psalm 42:11

" The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in You,
for you, O Lord, have not foresaken those who seek You."
Psalm 9:9-10

"I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
Psalm 27: 13-14

"When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all."
Psalm 34:17-19

"Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you;
He will never permit the righteous to be moved."
Psalm 55:22

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us."
Romans 8:18

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I feel like I dedicated this huge post to trials so I need to write a post to mention some praises from the last couple of days. CHOOSING to focus on things to be thankful for!

1. My mom (who was in isolation, receiving radioactive iodine for cancer), was released yesterday ( 2 days early) because her toxic levels dropped so quickly. She is so happy to be in her own home!!!

2. My husband, who works SOOO hard, was promoted to Engineer at work (LA County Fire Dept) yesterday

3. Amidst the complete mess in my torn-apart house, we have the sweetest company working on drying the water-damage. It is a pleasure to see them and they are working hard for us and even bought a very expensive Heap Filter system to use at our house because of the baby.

4. My sweet husband took off work, the day after I found out about my surgery, so I wouldn't have to be alone.....just in case I was sad!

5. My dad has been so sweet to help pick the kids up from various places, to make life a little less crazy for me.

6. Sweet friends have called a written to encourage me, pray with me and/or tell me they are praying for me.

7. I have healthy, wonderful children that I love with all my heart !

(totally trivial in comparison.....) 8. We finally found the type of car (used) that we have been searching for for almost a year! In process of purchasing it!

I am truly blessed!!!

*More praises to come!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I really don't know where to begin with this post or why I am posting it, other than to journal a pretty significant time in my life. I feel like I have gone through so many trials in such a short time and I know that God is definitely trying to teach me something. I just want to be sure I get it. I am hoping this doesn't continue to go on and on, but I also know that each one of these circumstances was handpicked for me, they do not surprise God, He loves me, He promises to use them for good, and I can glorify Him through them. It is hard to see clearly in the middle of it all but I don't want to waste them. I definitely think 2 major themes that have reoccurred are: Not To Take Things for Granted, and I Do Not Have Control Over the Circumstances in My Life.

At the end of May, the trials began. They 1st couple seem fairly minor looking back but felt significant at the time.

1. My eldest son went in an ambulance to the hospital for chest pains and breathing problems. In a nut shell, more things surfaced that required testing and waiting through a long holiday weekend for results. Everything turned out ok...praise God. I definitely viewed my son differently after that....Things that bugged me didn't matter any more. I just wanted him to be ok

2. After my sweet baby girl was born in June, the Dr told me my hemoglobin was so low, I almost needed a transfusion. This resulted in a long recovery from child birth and a hard time having energy to get things done. It also resulted in not producing milk to feed the baby and the baby not gaining weight for about a week. May not seem big to some...but...this was my last baby and I desperately wanted to be able to nurse her. It all turned out ok and she has more than caught up. praise God

3. The day I was leaving the hospital, I found out my mom had thyroid cancer. Not easy to hear. Not a lot of explanation needed on that one. But, after further testing, it was a kind with a great prognosis. She has since had her thyroid removed and 3 very involved lymph nodes. This week, she is currently spending the week in isolation, receiving a large dose of radiation. Next week....a body scan to see if the cancer spread to other areas.

4. While trying to adjust to #6 and recover from childbirth, baby screamed all day, every day and seemed inconsolable. I know plenty of people have collicky babies but this was especially hard becasue of the 5 other kids to care for, including a 2 year old. I feel like my husband and kids didn't get to enjoy her the way they did Jonah because she was never happy and no one else could hold her. At a couple weeks, we discovered that she had blood in her stool and this was most likely food allergies from food I was eating. So, I needed to cut out dairy, eggs, nuts and fish. I thought "no problem". Ya right! Don't think I realized how many things dairy was in. It was worth it though, and that trial was resolved, too (about 2 weeks after changing my diet)! Now she is such a sweet, easy going girl and the kids all love to play with her and hold her all the time!

5. Soon after, my dad had some routine tests where we discovered he has a slow-growing growth on his pancreas. We had to wait a couple of weeks for a biopsy, which shows that is is not cancerous. However, they sent everything down to UCLA, where he needs to have further testing done next Tuesday (Sept 27) to see how to proceed.

6. Then, I had some problems recently with one of my eyes whenever I moved it or blinked (not with my vision). I wondered if I was starting to get an infection. For 3-1/2 weeks, it didn't get better or worse. Upon careful examination, I noticed it appeared to be sunken in a bit. It kind of freaked me out so I got into and eye Dr the next day who referred me to another Dr.,  who did a CT scan right in the office. The scan showed some sort of bad infection in my right sinus cavity that has eaten away some of the bone and is subsequently causing my right eye to sink toward the sinus cavity. Not fun news to get at all. This is resulting in at least 2 surgeries (the 1st one is next Tuesday, the 27th, to clear out the sinus cavity and take a culture of the infection.The 2nd one will be with a plastic surgeon to repair the bone and re-place the eye in it's proper position). I really struggled with accepting how this will all fit into my life of homeschooling, working, caring for my family, a newborn, etc. I cannot control it and God has allowed it for a reason. I am thankful it isn't something worse, is fixable and that God orchestrated it to where I was able to see every Dr, get a scan, and get results all within about a 5 hour window of time. Praise God! He is in every detail and nothing takes Him by surprise.  Surgery is the same day as dad's procedure.

7. Seems trivial after all of that...but, in my busyness, I flooded my upstairs bathroom today by forgetting to turn off the faucet to the sink I was filling, as I went downstairs. Husband had to come home and has torn out the ceiling of our living room. We had to file a homeowner insurance claim and are waiting for someone to come out. I'm sure the house will be torn apart for weeks....all while being stuck at home, recovering from surgery.

8. Just got a text form my husband that his physical with the fire dept revealed a problem requiring him to get a CT scan of his heart quite a distance from our house next week.

So, next week is My surgery, my husband's CT scan, My dad's tests/procedure and my mom's body scan....all while repairs and construction will be going on at my house. God is definitely working. I feel so "not cut-out" for any of this. I feel like it is more than I can carry while still taking care of my day-to-day responsibilities. . Then, I remember that God does not give us more than we can handle, that we do not need to worry about tomorrow and that He WANTS us  to allow Him to carry our burdens. He sees and knows the end result....I just need to cling to Him and trust Him through it.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Here I am! I can't believe it. Life has been so insane that I have neglected my blog since the last day in January! I am so sad because this was my one and only form of journaling life and this makes it look like NOTHING has happened....when in all has been the busiest time I can ever remember. I am on here to commit to myself and anyone out there that cares (maybe there's one person), that I WILL be back very soon!!! I doubt I will ever completely catch up but maybe I can do a very quick and simple summary of the last 7 months! Yikes....quite an undertaking. But, I am up to the challenge (I think). I miss this blogging world. I miss reading up on others' lives. I will be back Very soon. Just needed to warm up my fingers and my keyboard!!! "See" you soon!

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Dream.....

I feel like I need to document this emotional journey of the last couple of weeks. This whole pregnancy, I have been thankful for a healthy baby, and have been prepared to have another little boy. Jonah melts my heart so much and is so fun-loving that I can't imagine not welcoming another sweet boy. However, knowing this will be our last baby, I was really dreaming of having 1 more girl. Julia is so sweet and brings a softer element to our house, among all of these boys. She has been praying for a sister for so many years. I can't deny that I would love to balance out all of these boys a little, too. Plus, we have 3 upstairs bedrooms available to the kids and a girl would also allow a nice division among the rooms : 2 boys, 2 boys and 2 girls. I prayed and prayed. I worked hard not to get my heart set on a girl, but the desire was always there and I would share that with God constantly (while trusting His perfect plan).
     At 16 weeks (2 1/2 weeks ago), I had an ultrasound with my OB. I started to get really nervous because, that day, it dawned on me that I may find out the gender. My OB looked and looked and all he would tell me is that he "couldn't see anything between the legs". I don't think I realized how much those words would torture me for the next 2 weeks. It gave me a hope that it might be a girl but it was really too early to confirm anything. So, all of these months, all the work I put in to trying to convince myself it was a boy, was kind of starting to fade. I didn't want that. I didn't want to start envisioning the baby as a girl, unless I knew for sure. I needed to guard my heart. It was a long 2 weeks because of how hard I had to work on controlling my thoughts.
     So, last Wednesday (at 18 weeks), I was at the perinatologist for an ultrasound. My appointment was at 4:00 and I was so nervous. I continued to be tested as I sat in the waiting room until 5:45, when they called me back...the last appt of the day. Well....both the assistant and the Dr. confirmed that it was a girl. I thought I would faint. My heart was beating so hard during my ultrasound (before I found out it was a girl) that the assistant said it sounded like the baby's heartbeat. I found it so hard to believe them and had them tell me over and over. They even gave me a picture to take home with the "3 little lines" to show me it was a girl. When I left, I felt like I was floating on a cloud. I cried on the way home.
    The kids wanted me to tell them in person. So, I stopped at the party store on the way home and got a bunch of pink balloons. When I walked in the door, all the kids came running to greet me. Their jaws dropped and they all screamed and jumped with happiness. There was a giant group hug. Julia told me that she felt like she needed to cry for Joy. So, she clung onto me and whaled for quite a while. The boys kept checking to see if she was ok. It was so surreal and so fun to see how excited everyone was.
     Today is Sunday, and it still hasn't completely sunk in. Every time I think about it, I can't believe it. God is so good to give me my heart's desire, even though I don't deserve it at all.  I am so humbled. God is good...even when He answers us differently than what we ask for...but He has been so gracious to us. The funny thing is, if I had a girl instead of Jonah, I have a feeling I would have felt "complete" and maybe wouldn't have had such a strong desire for another baby. Then, I wouldn't have sweet Jonah. I am so happy that it happened this way. Now I have Jonah and a baby girl on the way.      Excited for a new journey again, after not having a baby girl for 8 years! It should be fun. ( many cute girlie things have come out in the last 8 years!)  I am even excited for Jonah to have a baby sister, because Josh and Julia have such a sweet relationship with each other. I feel like I MAY just finally have a feeling of "completion" after this little one. I never have felt like our family was complete. The Lord always put this desire in my heart for another baby. I can't know for sure now, but I am hoping and praying to have that feeling after this precious one is born. Loving this baby and excited to meet her. The kids are wishing it was already June. In some ways, I agree with them!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Griffith Park

When our 2 oldest boys were young, we use to love taking them to Griffith Park. There is this cute little place with train and pony rides and then Travel Town Museum is at the other end of the park. Jeremy use to be so obsessed with trains, that they loved to go and climb on all of them! Today was the 1st time we took Jonah there. He loves anything with a motor and/or wheels : trucks, trains, planes, cars....etc. 

When we got there, he was so excited to be out of his stroller and running around. The thing that cracks me up about him is his funny little "trot" he does. He doesn't run. He frolics, or gallops, or trots. I really don't know how to explain it but it is totally hysterical and we crack up about it all the time. The more excited he is, the more dramatic the frolicking! I had to post this picture because it actually caught him in action!

I think the kids were more excited for him to ride the little train than he was. But once he heard the whistle and it started moving, he was beside himself.

Very happy after his ride!

Then......he got to go on his 1st pony ride. He felt so "big". We loved his proud expression. I couldn't believe how little he looked as the pony circled the track with him.

Then, of course, he had a blast chasing the pigeons.  

And he took his 1st drink from a drinking fountain....big day for little man!

Then, we finished up by looking at and climbing in the trains at Travel Town. He will probably never remember this day...but we will. :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Snow souvenir

Is it weird that this snowball is still crammed in my freezer and 2 of my little ones were hoping to save it until next winter?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

These are a few of my new favorite things.....

I had to share a few of my new favorite things in my house. They make me smile, so I thought they deserved and honorable mention!
One set of grandparent bought this new cute chair for Jonah for Christmas.  He feels so "big" when he watches his shows in it. Funny thing is.... I catch all of my other kids trying to sit in it....even my 14 year old!
The other set of grandparents go this cute table and chairs for Jonah. I love that we have this, especially now that we are expecting another baby that can share it with him. It has a cute little drawer for pencils and paper and he loves to sit and eat snacks at it!
 We have been wanting a new rug for the family room for a while. So, I went to one of my favorite places, Homegoods, and found this wool rug at a fraction of the retail price. With Spring on it's way, I wanted to play up the green in the walls a little more. I am ready for something a little more cheery. I found a few pretty green pillows for the couch also......

.....but this pillow got a place of honor because it was my favorite!!!!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Pots and Chili!

So, for Christmas, my mom got me these new enamel-covered, cast-iron pots. I am obsessed. I love them so much. I love the quality, the color, the sizes....everything. I couldn't wait to use them! All of this cold weather and SNOW, made me NEED to make chili. This is a simple recipe that I have been making for years. Originally, I got it from Weight Watchers. I think it was something like 2 points a bowl....and really filled me up. I make it from memory now. It may have gotten tweaked slightly, but nothing that would affect calories. Someone told me once that it won a chili contest.....but I can't confirm it. What I love most about it is that I can always keep the ingredients on hand, I can make it in a very short time or I can leave it in the crock pot all day...and it makes great left overs!

Weight Watchers Chili Recipe (from memory)

1 lb ground turkey (I have used ground beef when making it for other people)
1 onion
3 cans beans, drained (I like a variety so I use pinto, black and kidney)
1 can corn, drained (I've also used Trader Joes frozen, roasted corn)
2 cans diced tomatoes in juice
1 can tomato sauce
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 envelope dry ranch mix
1-2 cups water (depending on preferred thickness)

So, I chop the onion and brown the meat with the onion. Then, I dump everything else in the pot and heat until warm. I have also done this in the morning and allowed it to slow cook all day so that the kitchen is clean and it is ready and waiting when we are hungry. Toppings my kids love are: shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips. 

The nice thing about this recipe is that you can add or take away ingredients, according to your taste. We love it. It's basic and healthy! Hope your family will like it, too!!!
(I think the original recipe also added a small can of diced green chilies but I usually leave these out)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Snow Day!!!! the last time I remember getting snow in Santa Clarita, where it stuck to the ground was in high school. That was a LONG............. time ...........ago! Well, we were sitting home yesterday afternoon, anticipating the rain, when we saw snow flurries! The kids were giddy and running around the house with excitement. However, this has happened before and then stopped several minutes later. Not this time!!!!! We didn't know that at 1st, so we ran right out to get pictures.

 I wasn't sure how well the snow was showing up in the picture so we were trying to capture the snowflakes on their hair. 

 Jake was trying to catch snowflakes on his tongue!

 The snow started coming down harder! Is this really happening in Santa Clarita???? :)
 Jonah wasn't sure how he felt about he decided to watch from inside the warm house!
 The snow started to stick! The kids were so excited!!! We had to get another picture!!!

 I cracked up when I saw that they got out our sleds!

 ...and when I saw them making their tiny snowman! So cute!

A view from upstairs! So beautiful!!!! what a great last day of Christmas Break!!!! 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Big News and a Good Explanation (I promise)

Well....if there is ANYONE who still even bothers to read my blog (out of the 2 of you that ever did, when I was writing regularly), I think I owe you an explanation for my absence. I would have explained sooner, but couldn't.

Around the time that I stopped posted regularly, was around the same time that my morning sickness kicked in. heard right...morning sickness. I am sure you are not nearly as shocked as we were but we are starting to get use to the idea now. In 2 days, I will be 14 weeks. We told our parents and our children on Christmas. Now that my kids know, it will be public knowledge!

It's hard to believe that in about a month, we will know the gender of the baby. Everyone in our house is praying HARD for a girl. However, we realize that we seem to make boys a little easier than girls. We also know that God chooses for us, exactly what he wants us to have, and what is best for us. So, we will be thankful for whatever precious gift he chooses to give us.

For those who care, I am due in June, again! Jonah will be 2 in June, right before this baby is due. That will be our 3rd June birthday.

Anyway, I thought things would make more sense  (to anyone who bothers to read this blog), now that you know why I have been so absent. The last couple months, I have been on survival mode....adjusting to the news....trying to figure out how I will get by with more on my plate....rejoicing that Jonah will have a playmate and that we will see another baby in our house....dealing with sickness....going to bed right when the kids do...homeschooling in PJs lots of days...etc. You get the picture. It's almost comical. I was off to such a great start to this school year and was on a real roll with my attempted organization and healthier cooking, etc....all to come to a screeching halt! I know it will all be worth it and I am going to attempt to ease back into the blogging. I do need to be realistic, though, with my expectations!

Thanks to the 1 or 2 of you that may read this!!!! Otherwise, it is here for my documentation! A new and exciting journey is ahead!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I'm still here....

I'm still here and have several things to share. I just haven't been able to get myself to sit and do it, because of a few things going on lately.
For one, a precious family in our church was watching their beloved mother/wife fight her last days of a battle with stomach cancer. She was diagnosed in April and it was evident, these last couple of weeks, would be her last. They amazed me, as they were such an example of trusting God through this. They mourned the loss of the many plans they had shared, but recognized that the Lord ordained this long ago. She went to be with her Lord on Monday afternoon and her Memorial Service will be this Saturday at the Master's College. They are expecting as many as 1000 people, because of how many lives she touched. I  feel privileged to have known her, even just a little bit.
On a much more trivial note....I got sick again a few days ago and have spent the better part of the last few days in bed. So...there you have it. I have been here but have been pre-occupied. I do have things to share (for those of you that care). I will be back soon! :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween 2010

 Halloween was fun again. We have a tradition of going down to the Hartungs' house and trick-or-treating with a huge group of people. The kids had a good time dressing up and being with their good friends!

 Kip, from Napoleon Dynamite

Some sort of wizard?

 Jack Sparrow

Princess Tiana, from Princess and the Frog

Our sweet little monkey