Monday, October 29, 2012

Invading the Impossible

About a month ago our pastor preached a series of sermons on 
destiny that really hit home with me. Since it meant so much to me I thought I would share some of the thoughts here. 

God has a destiny for each of us, He created each of us with a specific destiny in mind. This destiny is one that can only be fulfilled and lived out through Him and His grace. Destiny is God's purpose for your life, it is the the blueprint of His plan for you. Who has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time. 2 Timothy 1:9

When we come to God through Jesus we are placed on a course to fulfill the impossible by His power in us.  We have been called by God to invade the impossible, not to call things impossible. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work in us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

However we are not called to invade and accomplish the impossible on our own, but through Him and His power within us. As we grow in Him He shows us bit by bit this plan He has for our lives. And because He is God, and His ways and thoughts are so much greater than ours, His plan for our lives is often far beyond anything we ever dreamed. And it can only be walked out with Him. 
To this end I labor, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me. Colossians 1:29

These are just a few of the thoughts shared with us and not as well expressed and explained as our pastor did. But I hope they are an encouragement. Hopefully I'll be sharing more from that series soon. 

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Walnut Acre Weekly - Outdoor Work, Learning, Cooking and More

Left to Right - Doug and Austin working on Austin's bicycle, Michael and Doug shelling beans, playing with playdough, checking  on Michael's sunflowers, making words with letter tiles and putting together number puzzles. 

 We did some work in the garden and found a few critters while we were at it - a toad and a praying mantis.

Fun with beads and playdough and Doug and CJ working on CJ's homework.

Pictures of Amanda from the last two Tuesday afternoons volunteering at the SPCA.

Amanda made us some absolutely delicious twice baked chicken stuffed potatoes. Austin saw me about to crush some crackers and said he wanted to do it. 

Saturday Doug got the generator out to see if it would start - and it did. Pretty good after sitting unused for nine years. It needed some cleaning and some adjustments but it runs. 

The kids were outside a lot Saturday afternoon. They spent a lot of time raking leaves and putting them on the garden. I was glad they got to enjoy the outdoor time because it looks like it's going to be getting a lot cooler now. 

It was a good week!

Books we've been reading this week.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Playdough Pattern Fun

Our current focus in math with the younger kids is patterns. We've enjoyed some videos and worksheets on patterns but their favorite activity so far is making patterns with playdough. The first day we did this I used two colors - blue and green. I simply made blue and green circles with marker in patterns and then had the kids put the correct color of playdough on each circle. The second time we did this I used blue, green, yellow and red. I rolled the playdough balls ahead of time but kids who are able and have the patience could do this for themselves. It's a fun sensory experience (and this homemade playdough is peppermint scented, adding to the sensory fun) as well as math. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Practicing His Casting Skills - A Fisherman in the Making

This is what I saw when I looked out the kitchen window a few days ago. 

Love it!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Taco Chicken Meatloaf

I found a good deal on ground chicken one of the last times I went shopping and bought ten pounds of it. Saturday I used some of that ground chicken in this meatloaf that my family loved. Because I knew I was going to be gone Saturday evening for Michael's sleep study and wasn't sure what time I would be back Sunday morning I made enough for two meals so I wouldn't have to worry about Sunday lunch. It was as popular reheated as it was the first time.

Here is the recipe for this meatloaf with a mild taco flavor.

3 lbs ground chicken
6 eggs
1 onion, chopped
4 cups bread crumbs
1 cup mild salsa
1 (1.25 ounce) package dry Ranch seasoning mix
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease three loaf pans. 

In a large bowl mix together all ingredients. Pack into the prepared loaf pans.

Bake for approximately one hour. If desired top with ketchup for the last ten minutes of baking time.


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Monday, October 15, 2012

The Walnut Acre Daily - Catching Up . . . Again

Since school has started and since I had appendicitis I have had a hard time keeping up here. I want to write but before I know it the day is gone and I'm exhausted.

So here I am, trying to catch up again. The main thing that has happened since I've last posted is Michael's sleep study.

We went Tuesday to see the sleep specialist and she agreed that we should do a sleep study to see if we can find out why Michael has such restless sleep. I was surprised when it was scheduled for Saturday night. I was expecting a longer wait, but I was glad to get in quickly. In these pictures he's already had his night time meds and is getting really sleepy. He was a little more wired up than most sleep study patients because not only were they watching for sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome but also for any seizure activity during his sleep. He did so well allowing the technician to get him all set up and he went to sleep quickly. He was restless although I've seen it much worse before. I'm hoping they got enough information to help us understand what is going on at night. We should know in about two weeks when we get the results back.

We got home in time Sunday morning to go to church. I hadn't expected to get back that early and Doug was going to let my Sunday School class just come in with his. Since I was earlier than I had expected I hurriedly put together the supplies for my Sunday School class. Our lesson was on how God supplies all our needs. I took along some playdough to use with the lesson. At first we used the play dough to play a guessing game. One person would pick up a card with a word on it describing a need that God supplies - water, food, shelter, etc. - and then make something with the playdough to illustrate that word while the other person guessed. After we played that my one student wanted to make some other things with the playdough so we made these critters and talked about how God supplies their needs as well. Somehow a snowman showed up for the discussion too.

Sunday afternoon I had choir practice and then Sunday evening their was a group singing at church that we went to hear.

And here are a few pictures from today. Lauren brought cookies and blueberry muffins this morning and they were very good. Lauren and Michael put on a little concert for us. And CJ was busy crafting as usual. 

Hopefully I'll do a little better now about posting regularly. I miss it when I don't get here to update.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Walnut Acre Daily - Moving, Gathering Eggs, Model Building and More

What a long day!

The weather today was beautiful and according to the forecast it looks like we're going to see a big cool down starting tomorrow. I took this picture standing in front of our garage looking across our back yard toward the mountains. On the left you can see a little of our house.

We started off this morning by going to help a friend who is getting ready to move. Since she's going to be moving to a smaller place she needed to clear out a lot of things. We loaded two trailer loads of things, most of which went to the landfill. We also did some cleaning while we were there. CJ and Amanda both worked hard and were a great help. Amanda helped go through the two little girls rooms and get things sorted and organized. CJ helped to carry things out to the trailer to haul away and also did a lot of sweeping in the basement. We got there around 10:00 this morning and we got back home around 3:00 this afternoon. We ate a big breakfast this morning and didn't stop for lunch, so on my way home I stopped at McDonald's and got a big bag of burgers, chicken sandwiches and fries for us to eat when we got home. I knew everyone would be hungry and I really didn't feel like trying to cook another big meal. 

After we got home and relaxed a little Amanda, CJ, Michael and I went down to my parents house and Amanda gathered the eggs and fed the cat. My parents have been on vacation this week so Amanda has been taking care of the animals for them.

Michael and Doug spent some time working on the little wooden garage they are building for Michael's toy cars and trucks.

CJ made himself a set of shelves from cardboard boxes to store his papers on. He's letting it dry overnight and planning to test it tomorrow to see if it's strong enough for what he wants.

And now it's time to get some sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a pretty full day. Church in the morning and it will be my first Sunday teaching a class. It's grades 3-5 and it should be interesting. I've taught before but most of the time it's been the PreK/K class. I'm looking forward to it. Then tomorrow afternoon is choir practice. It will be this season's first practice of our Christmas music and it should be fun. Tomorrow evening there is a prayer meeting. So it will be a full day!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Walnut Acre Daily - Catching Up After Appendicitis

Looking back I see it's been about a week and a half since I've posted here. In my last post I mentioned not sleeping well the night before. That would have been Sunday night. Monday evening I started having some abdominal pain that was pretty sharp. I tried to just work through it, getting the kids to bed and doing some schoolwork with Austin and Amanda. Tuesday morning I felt a little better, enough better to force my way through most of the morning work. I ate lunch and that seemed to make the pain much worse. After resting on the couch a few minutes I managed to get Lauren to preschool and came home and pretty much collapsed on the couch. Austin and Amanda got the little ones down for naps and I supervised from the couch. All afternoon I just felt worse, finally throwing up, which brought no relief. When Doug came home a little after 3:00 I told him something is really wrong. He wanted me to call the ambulance and be taken in because I would be taken straight to a room instead of waiting in the waiting room. But I didn't want to, and said I'd just wait until the last of the daycare kids left and have him drive me. We found places for our kids to go and by about 5:30 we were at the ER. It wasn't long until I wished I had let the ambulance take me in. We sat in the waiting room for nearly five hours before we were called back. The pain was horrible. I tried to lean on Doug but leaning sideways just made it hurt worse. The waiting room was so cold I was shivering which was making the pain worse as well. When I was finally called back it was to a cot in the hallway, but the nurse brought me a warm blanket and I almost thought I was in heaven. I could lay back and relax and I was warm!

I was given some pain medication and sent for a CT scan. That's when we realized I had appendicitis! As soon as I heard that I knew  surgery was in my future. My worst fear when I think of having surgery is that I'm going to come out of anesthesia sick and hysterical. I guess watching Michael come out of anesthesia that way and also hearing others while I was with Michael made me a little fearful. The surgeon decided that, unless there were complications, he would do a laparoscopic appendectomy  I went in for surgery around 1:30AM on Wednesday and woke up in a room around 7:00AM that morning. Doug said I came out of anesthesia like a lamb and that about 4:30 I told him to go home and get some sleep. I don't remember that but I'm glad he listened because by that point he had been up for over 24 hours and at the hospital with me for almost 12 of those hours. 

When I woke up at 7:00 I was in pain but was able to get up and move around a little. I was told I needed to sit up awhile and that made the pain a lot worse. I was so glad to get back in bed! The plan was for me to go home later in the day but the nurses were having trouble getting in touch with the surgeon to have him come in and release me. I honestly wouldn't have cared if they had just let me stay in the hospital another night. But around 5:30 I was finally released and heading home. 

Thursday and Friday are kind of a blur for me. Doug took the rest of the week off from work to be home and take care of things. Austin and Amanda were very helpful. Some of the parents of the daycare kids were able to make other arrangements for the week and the ones that couldn't were here with Doug, Austin and Amanda. 

Saturday I was more alert and moving around more. By Sunday morning I was feeling much better and able to go to church. 

Austin and Amanda were planning to go on vacation with my parents but after I got sick Amanda said she wasn't going anywhere, she was going to stay home and take care of her Mommy. Doug went back to work Monday morning and Amanda has done an awesome job helping me keep things going here. For the first few days she did all the lifting of babies in out of high chairs and beds, as well as changing diapers. Each day has been a little better and today has been great. No Ibuprofen and I was able to keep going all day. 

I am amazed and grateful for how fast I am feeling better. I have felt all the prayers and support and appreciated the food brought in and enjoyed the flowers I was given. And I have a new appreciation for the blessing of feeling strong and healthy.