Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Comfort and Peace in the Word

Last Friday, my left arm began hurting.  A slight pain every time I tried to move it high or even parallel to the floor.  I thought I may have slept wrong and it would get better with time.  I was wrong.  Saturday was a little worse, although it wasn't too big of a problem during the time I spent at the Vine and Branches Conference listening and learning.  But by Saturday night it really, really hurt and I could barely move it.  Sunday was the same and even a bit worse as the day wore on.

Monday morning David awoke me and took me to urgent care.  They gave me a pregnancy test (-) before they would xray my shoulder.  The xray turned out normal, so the doctor ordered an MRI, and gave me two range of motion exercises to do twice a day so as not to have my shoulder "lock." Fortunately for us an opening in the MRI department was available in one hour, giving us the ability to stay in town and not have to drive home and then back.

About three or four years ago I had a full body MRI done to rule out MS as a cause of unusual back tinglings I was experiencing.  At that time it was scheduled and they gave me instructions on what to expect and to bring.  I was able to dress in my own comfortable clothing and bring along some favorite music.  I chose the Kantorei's "With Angels & Archangels."  On the day of the testing, which would last for a good hour, I laid on the table in an open MRI machine listening to the Kanteroi amidst the banging, pinging, and pounding of the MRI testing.

That is what I remembered from that first MRI, the loud banging of the machine, but having the Kantorei singing God's praises (which I couldn't really hear during the banging, but was so crystal clear in between) and that kept me peaceful and comforted.  But yesterday, I was going right to the testing and my Kantorei CD's were at home.

This time, I had to wear their supplied hospital gown and shorts, was in a closed machine, and was able to choose music to listen to on their sirius radio headset.  As they maneuvered me into the correct position for testing (ending up with the harness needing to press firmly on the sorest spot of my shoulder for the entire test) they asked me what kind of music I wanted to listen to; I chose classical.

They then slid me into the closed machine and I didn't close my eyes fast enough and I began to slightly panic and feel closed in.  But I immediately took a couple of deep breaths, and began praying the Lord's Prayer and the Apostle's Creed.  At some point in praying, I relaxed, and the machine began testing and all the pounding, pinging, and banging began.

But this time I had no Kantorei to sing for me, so I sang hymns.  But like I always have when testing time comes, I panic and all that I learned leaves my brain and I stare at the question, "Sing a Hymn," and think to myself, "What? I don't know any hymns! Aaaack!"

But God put the liturgy into my mouth and I began to sing "This is the Feast," all the while picturing this:

And I became even calmer, the banging, pinging, and pounding less annoying, and I was even able to sing more hymns and liturgy.  When the testing was done (only about 30 minutes this time), I wasn't ready to stop as I was sort of half asleep, although my arm was starting to hurt more, so it was nice to stop.

I walked back to the dressing room still singing and praying; thankful that God who is faithful and just, whose peace surpasses all understanding, will keep my heart and mind in faith toward Him and bring me to everlasting life.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Forest

Too often I don't see the "big picture."  I get so caught up in the daily grind, I forget to focus on what is most important.  Theoretically, I know how to stay on the path, but too many distractions keep me running off chasing after this or that which generally ends in trouble like Godlilocks or Little Red Riding Hood. I think I'll just sit down amongst these trees, cry a little (or a lot) and wonder where the forest is.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Days of Our Life

It is the third beautiful day in a row, in the 70's today.  I'm having a hard time keeping myself and the children motivated to complete our schoolwork.

I didn't even get to walk outside the last two days.  Wednesday (the first of the three beautiful days) I ended up walking on the elliptical after supper, and yesterday I walked around grocery stores and the mall all afternoon and evening.  Today I'm getting out there and enjoying the weather!

I've not made a menu plan for the week in about two weeks, and it is starting to wear me down. I forced myself to write things down this week, even if it has been after the fact, in order to get my head into planning mode again.  Tonight I'm fixing a full turkey dinner, that way I'll have leftovers to work with once again.

We will need to buy a new chest freezer.  Ours has gone kaput.  I went to get out hamburger for today's dinner of spaghetti and noticed things thawing.  Fortunately most everything was still frozen and we quickly moved it all to the downstairs upright.  Another good thing is that most of the quarter beef we bought last fall is gone and only steaks are left. (I always save those for spring/summer grill time).  We should be all right to wait to buy one till later and gives us an opportunity to check out any used ones listed in the local paper.

Tomorrow is Ellie's birthday so I need to bake a cake and make homemade ice-cream.  She requested a white cake with lemon filling.  I've no clue how to make a lemon filling, any ideas? I might just put lemon flavoring in the frosting and call it good.  The birthday person gets to pick the meals for the day.  Ellie picked fettucini alfredo with garlic bread for dinner, and for supper; brats with macaroni and cheese.  I'll throw some cut-up veggies and/or a salad to help curb the carb explosion.

I've eaten to many sweets in the last few days and my tummy is rebelling.  Probably should go drink another glass of water to help.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

That's My Boy

We watched the movie, Holes, the other day.  At the dinner table as we were discussing the movie, I asked, "Who can tell me the equivalent line in Holes, to 'As you wish' in The Princess Bride?"

My nine year old piped up while his sisters were looking confused, "Oh I know," he said with a big grin, "It is, 'I can fix that.'"

I know that my Redeemer Lives!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

A Blessed Holy Week

On my heart imprint Your image,
Blessed Jesus, King of Grace.
That life's riches, cares, and pleasures
Never may Your work erase;
Let the clear inscription be:
Jesus, crucified for me.
Is my life, my hope's foundation,
And my glory and salvation!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

March Goal Met - Reward Day 3!

This monthly goal challenge we began in January has really kept our feet to the fire.  Three months in and everything has been accomplished.  Woo Hoo!!!  Our January reward was dinner and a movie.  February's reward was pajama day and movie day.  Today we had March's reward Day.

We went to the family series concert by the Mankato orchestra.  Can you guess who was the featured composer for this year's series?

Yes the red priest himself, Antonio Vivaldi.  Today's concert was "spring."  Vivaldi told us about his poem which inspired the music.  How he wanted to make the music sound like the birds chirping, and the thunder and the lightening.  After each section's description, the quintet played for us to hear what Vivaldi had explained.
The kids all sat and enjoyed it.  It was a little hard to hear Vivaldi speak, because he spoke in such a high voice and his voice didn't project well into the room.
Unfortunately David wasn't able to join us today.  He originally was going to, but Earl was called to his eternal home and was given Christian burial this morning.  That meant the baptism originally scheduled for the morning was pushed till the afternoon, at the same time as the concert.  So a friend of Hannah and Ellie came instead.

At the beginning and end Vivaldi sang a song; the first two lines being, "My name is Antonio Vivaldi, Under my wig I am baldy."  And at that point he did this:
It made all the kids (and adults) giggle.

After about an hour, the concert was over and we were able to come up an meet Vivaldi. Nathan asked him for his autograph.
He wrote: "Happy Spring! Tony."  I then took a picture of all the kids with Vivaldi.  He is such a character.
We then walked over and talked a bit with the celloist.  She told the kids a little about the cello and played a few notes for them.
It was a nice afternoon listening to "Spring" even though the weather outside isn't so spring-like today.

Vivald's "Summer" will be in June, I hope we'll be able to attend. I wish I had checked the symphony schedule earlier because Vivaldi "Autumn" was in September and Vivaldi "Winter" was in December. But "Spring" is my favorite, so I'm glad we heard it, and I'm also glad Hannah was given "The Four Seasons" by Vivaldi as a birthday gift from Grandpa and Grandma.  We can listen whenever we like and remember our fun afternoon.


I finally read Jane Eyre after several friends mentioned it was a favorite.  I really enjoyed it, but now I'm lost.  I had spent every minute I could reading a few more pages, the compelling story engaging me to keep reading.  Now that I'm finished, there is an emptiness to the day. I don't have the book helping me to get my work done quickly so I can sit and read.

It is always a bit of a let down when I finish a book.  For however many days, I've been stealing time to read and find out what happens.  With the last page, I know what happens, the story is ended, but I'm still "living" the story. I need to have time to unwind from this book, be able to get back to "normal" life, before I can think about starting a new story.  And I often have to begin a different genre of book in order to help me expect something different.

Even though my mind still contemplates Jane's life, thoughts, and mannerism's, I forced myself to get another book to read; Free to Choose by Milton and Rose Friedman.  Hopefully I'll be able to free my mind from Bronte's work long enough to delve in to Friedman and get lost in his analysis of economics and freedom.

Oh and I can't wait for summer when most of our school work is done and I can read and read and read and read and read.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Mommapalooza Day 2: Lucianos and Day 3

After our day of sightseeing, we went to supper at:

Unfortunately Rachel had to say good-bye and drive home, which left nine of us to gather around a big table.

The interior was beautiful.  I loved the tin ceiling.

Lucianos has a martini bar.  I had never had a martini before, neither had some of the others. We can't say that now!  I had the Raspberritini.  A couple of them had the Chocolatini, two had an Espressotini, one a Flirtini, and one had a couple of Margaratinis.


We then scoured the menu for what sounded delicious (it was a hard choice - everything looked great).  I chose the chicken tuscano.  (Sorry no picture, I forgot.)  It was roasted chicken strips with roasted peppers served over linguini.  But the best ingredient was the caramalized roasted walnuts.  Yum, yum, yum.

Dessert time came.  Suzanne and I shared the special of the day, vanilla bean cheesecake.  Oh wow!  It was so delicious;  smooth, creamy, heavenly.  It was so good, I asked for a piece to go, brought it home, and David and I shared it on Sunday evening.

We had a great time at Lucianos.  If you are ever in Sioux City, be sure to stop by and try it.  For all our Looper friends who were unable to make it, this toast was for you, we hope to see you at a Mommapalooza in the future!

After Lucianos, we went back to Suzanne's home.  We played Apples to Apples and laughed ourselves silly.  Then we played Catch Phrase and didn't know we could laugh any harder.  Poor Kim had to stop and catch her breath a time or two, which of course made the rest of us laugh even harder.

We all slept quite well that night and awoke refreshed, ready for the breakfast Melanie and I made (overnight French Toast, with sausage, and fresh fruit) before going to be fed Christ's Word and His Body and Blood at Trinity Lutheran, Suzanne's home church.

After church we packed our things, ate a lunch of sandwiches (I have no idea who provided these, but they were good - thanks!), some more talking and laughing before good byes were said, hugs were given, cars loaded, and Suzanne's home was back again to her and Kit.

Good bye my friends - I can't wait to see you all again!