Saturday, January 31, 2015

Fight Back With Joy. Celebrate More. Regret Less. Stare Down Your Greatest Fears.

As this is a personal review I didn't feel obligated to stay within the 200-300 word count. LOL

"What if joy is better than you imagined? The cherished virtue has been wrapped in clichés, stamped on coffee mugs, and sewn onto decorative pillows. Fight Back With Joy declares that joy is more than whimsy but a weapon we can use to fight life's greatest battles."

I saw FightBack With Joy by Margaret Feinberg recommended for one who is battling breast cancer. I ordered the book with the intent to give it to a friend.  It arrived this week. I randomly flipped the pages and read this quote, "Practicing defiant joy is the declaration that the darkness does not and will not win. When we fight back with joy, we embrace a reality that is more real than what we're enduring and we awake to the deepest reality of our identity as beloved, joyful children of God."  This quote resonated with me on several levels, in regards to several situations (and yes, I understand some of you think it is poor word choice. ::wink:: but for ME - it resonates).
God has persistently written the word "joy" on my heart for the past 10 years....He's used joy to transform me. I have learned much and have much more to learn. I couldn't put this book down and have read it cover to cover.  I loved the insights Margaret gained about joy as she battled cancer. Joy was her "word" for the year and then she received the diagnosis of breast cancer....and began to learn that joy is much deeper than she expected and can be a weapon. Excellent truths to explore.
Margaret mentions those who "leave" when you are in the middle of a battle and those who "stay."  Of those who "stay," some wreak havoc. She shared four categories of those who stayed and wreaked havoc: projectors (attempt to turn every crisis into their crisis), pretenders (looking for the latest scoop), predators (harvest others hardship for their gain) and pain inflictors (hurt with cruel or cold comments). Whew....may we always be ones who stay and bless and not fall into these  often well-intentioned categories.
Included in the book are lists of "5 Things to Say When You Don't Know What to Say,"  "8 Things Those Facing Crisis Can't Tell You,"6 Lessons I Learned from Crisis," and a letter from Leif, Margaret's husband about walking through these sorts of crisis' with a spouse.  There is also a "play list" to accompany each chapter. Very helpful info.
Margaret is real about her journey.  I learned more about chemo than I really wanted to know. I really am not SURE if this is a book to give to all who struggle with cancer. I know it's a great book for all to read who are facing various trials.  There were times I thought this would be a great gift for my friend and times I wanted to throw the book across the room as it made me ache and fear for my friend. In the end, I'm giving the book to her mom to read and decide what SHE thinks.
The only other criticism I had for this book is Margaret continues the recently trendy practice of quoting Scripture without providing a Scriptural reference.  Yes, this bugs me. I saw years ago the trend moved to quoting and  leaving a footnote to the reference. I've read several books recently by trendy authors who no longer even foot note. Sure I can look up references with a concordance, but I think the practice is a bad one as many won't look up references...I find this a slippery slope....but this book is good enough I'd still recommend it. LOL
I did NOT receive this book free from the publishers. ::wink::
Choosing Joy!
©2015 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Friday, January 30, 2015

Ducks and Dinner

We had an absolutely GORGEOUS January day here in CA.....When Cheri said she had bread and asked if we'd like to meet her at Ellis Lake we jumped at the chance. We've been meaning to do this for some time. 

LOVED this.....I said, "Look at the camera" and he did. LOL
Jonathan is a charming conversationalist. Seriously.  He heard I was going to dinner with friends and I had recently had a birthday. He quickly asked, "How old are you?"
"Wow, I hope I live that long!" 

This feathered follower WANTED the bread badly!
It was a beautiful day for a walk around the "lake."  Nolan said these days are perfect - and I agree.  Nolan walked over to Little Caesar's and picked up some pizzas for the kids for dinner.

We got home a few minutes before Hope and Emma arrived. Arielle watched Emma at our house and Hope drove Jen and I to Roseville. Katie, Cynthia and I all have birthdays clustered around NOW. They organized a dinner....and it was great fun. "Someone" may have had a bit of sugar tonight.
Katie and Cynthia

Me, Hope and Amber (Hi Amber)

Hope, Amber (and Charley) Kristen, Katie, Jen, Cynthia

Choosing Joy!
©2015 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Surgery Fun

Warning there is a mild photo of Michael's stomach at the end of the post. If you think that immodest, just don't read this - click away now. Don't leave comments about immodestly or inappropriateness - it's our family journal and I want a photo.

Several have asked for a Michael update.

This season in our lives is certainly not about me. I write - therefore - you get my perspective.   This has been a rough season for Michael. We went in on 7 Jan  expecting a same day laparoscopic surgery.....he is still not feeling "chipper."

Care giving is not for the faint of heart or the sour of disposition. I am in awe of those who do it for years on end. We are three weeks post surgery. I've not been updating because the "lazy" days are full. 

From the moment I roll out of bed there is something or someone who needs care...and that's o.k. but it can be draining. My schedule has resumed it's pace with homeschooling and ministry projects, Michael's hasn't. If we had known this was going to be this involved, I'd have made sure to have lighter weeks scheduled.

 He's certainly doing much better than he was a week ago.

About this time last week Michael had a few days of vomiting and feeling generally  terrible. We aren't sure what happened, but we're rejoicing the phase is over. I am still perplexed about why men rattle the rafters (or the heating vents) when they vomit. The kids were in awe of how Dad could be heard around the house.

Sleep patterns are hard right now - we're working to get back to normal. I'd say it feels like I'm burning the candle from both ends, but it sort of feels like the whole thing is one big, hot, melting mess of wax.

Monday he seemed to be feeling well and it seemed like a good idea to get out. I needed to pick up our van from the auto body shop, and that meant I was driving the car with the screaming brakes....I encouraged Michael to go on an outing, he wanted to be sure the brakes were o.k. . He got dressed - woohoo - wearing pants - and we headed across town. I got the van. The plan was for Arielle to drive home, Michael to continue sitting in the car while I ran to Sam's, and then drive home with the screaming brakes. I was counting this as a date. He couldn't. He got into the van and Arielle drove him home. He told me I had time after the brakes begin screaming before they go out. ::snort::  He spent the rest of the day in pjs and in bed.

There was hope he'd be back at chapel by now...but until he can wear pants it  isn't appropriate and could prove awkward - military protocol being what it is. I've begun sharing "my mandate," - "You can't go to chapel or the office until you can wear pants." He'll be driving again on 10 Feb. I don't really WANT to drive him to work daily  come to think of it. ::snort::

Wednesday we heard Mom G had been taken to the hospital in the middle of the night and had her own surgery. I guess she thought the boys were hogging all the fun surgeries. I know it weighs on Michael that he can't zip up there...but an 8 hour drive at this point is out of the question.

He is feeling well enough to sit and do some work, before he lays down again. He's off  pain meds. He's still in sweats or Pjs.....but with  "my mandate" ringing in his ears, Michael came down PANTS today. Yes, I know it's a bad picture - but he's since removed the pants and I can't retake the photo.

He lasted a few hours, before donning his trusty flannel pjs. We're working towards wearing pants and staying up for a full duty day.....he has convalescent leave through 11 Feb.  Maybe we can have PJ Sunday at chapel.....

I got a call at the end of Bible study yesterday. "This is Dr. Zanzi's office, can you come in tomorrow?"


"Yes, De'Etta. We can work you in tomorrow."

I know Dr. Zanzi. We spend a lot of time with Dr. Mrs. and Dr. Dr. but my brain is tired and I couldn't remember which doctor this was for ANYTHING. I feared it may finally be that dreaded colonoscopy referral.  I wasn't going to commit to a doc until I knew what I was getting into. I finally replied, "Which doctor are you?

"Your dentist, De'Etta."

I went in. They wanted to check my gums....down to mostly 2's and 3's with a few 4's.....but the thing is I sat there for 45 minutes with darkening glasses, elevator music, and a massage chair....and yeah the little vacuum hose which I didn't pay attention to and left a hicky on the inside of my cheek....what WAS I talking about? Oh yes, I sat there and relaxed.....and prayed....and no one could call me, I couldn't do a thing for anyone, I couldn't answer a school problem or a phone call or email, I couldn't work on any ministry phone vibrated and clicked away with notifications...all I had to do was lay there and endure a numb mouth, water and suction for 45 min..... The 45 min trip both ways made for several hours of solitude. I call this self-care.

Dr. Mrs. came in at the end and said, "Wow. People don't usually look this happy when they are in here."  ::snort::

I told her it was my happy place.

When I got home, Michael was back in PJs.....I don't remember pants being such a problem after the first or second surgery....but this is what same day surgery looks like in our house....The main incision looks good to me. I think it's all the little ones around his stomach that are  making clothes painful....and now maybe you understand how they missed a staple. They took them out of the main incision...but all those pesky little ones are hard to track.

There you have it - an update on Michael.

Choosing Joy!
©2015 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Rolling Office

The seam is ripping out of my red 31's my PWOC I bought the rolling crate you see above. It works well. If we were staying around a bit, I'd get one for each child's school work. LOL I justified the purchase as it folds flat and will be useful for hauling things here and there while we live in the trailer. It was SURE nice to get everything into one bag  as I headed for PWOC.  The laptop is in the Korean Coach bag and fits nicely on top of the rolling crate.....and it only took me five months to figure out a workable solution.

Choosing Joy!
©2015 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

This Man

....makes me smile each and every morning. I decided when we took down Christmas decorations that he would stay up until spring. 
I'm shamelessly burning him every waking hour. He'll not fit in a suitcase or move to the trailer....I need to enjoy him fully now. LOL 

Choosing Joy!
©2015 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Monday, January 26, 2015

Breakfast Oatmeal Cupcakes To Go (Vegan/DF option )

Michael said these were "ok." Stacia said they were "good." Theirs had chocolate in them. I like them with fruit. I'm going to call these boatmeal cakes and think of Melissa each time I make them. I think the ones with fruit and a smoothie will become my breakfast of choice most mornings. Recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie.  Yep, have had these for breakfast all week - and dinner on Wed too. LOL
Mine don't have chocolate in them and I don't miss it - but others would

5 C rolled oats (I used 4 1/2 C oats and 1/2 C protein powder)
2 1/2 C ripe mashed banana (I used 1 C banana and 1 1/2 C applesauce)
1 tsp salt
5 T pure maple syrup or agave (for sugar free skip and add dates or raisins)
2/3 C mini-chocolate chips (optional - left out for sugar free/DF)
2 1/2 C water
1/4 C plus 1 T coconut or veg oil
2 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract - I used 1 T and splashes

Other Extras I added - several good shakes of cinnamon, 4 T of ground flax seed, a good amount of pecans and craisins.

Optional Add-ins: coconut, dried fruit, etc (I want to try with blueberries).

Preheat oven to 380*.

Line 24 cupcake tins.

In large bowl mix dry ingredients.

In another bowl mix all liquid ingredients (including banana or applesauce).

Mix - pour into cupcake liners.

Bake 21 minutes.

Broil 1 - 2 minutes - optional.

If you let them cool overnight, they won't stick.

Eat right away or freeze and reheat for a quick breakfast....pair with fruit, toast for a total breakfast.

Calories - 88

Choosing Joy!
©2015 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Sugar-Free Deep Dish Cookie Pie (Vegan)

I've previously shared the recipe for Deep Dish Cookie Pie (vegan). It's ALWAYS a winner at potlucks...and it's not that they take it and realize it's healthy and puke. No, they EAT it. See?

I was thrilled when thumbing through my new cookbook, Chocolate Covered Katie, to find a recipe for SUGAR-FREE Deep Dish Cookie Pie. I'm currently eating no sugar. I've begun experimenting with dates - that "fruit" which used to terrify me.  I knew this is what I wanted for my birthday "cake".

2 (15 oz) cans of white beans or garbanzo beans, chick peas, drained and rinsed VERY WELL
2 C pitted dates
1 C quick-cooking oats
2/3 C milk of choice
1/4 C applesauce3 T coconut or vegetable oil
1 T pure vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pure Stevia extract (I didn't have and left out)
1 C chocolate chips (for completely sugar-free pie, use sugar free chocolate chips)

Pre heat oven to 350*.

Grease a 10 in spring form pan and set aside.

Stir together all ingredients except the chips. Take 1/3 of mixture and process in food processor until completely smooth. Scoop batter into prepared pan.  Repeat twice. Stir in chocolate chips.

Bake 40 minutes, until firm. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 min before removing the sides of pan.

Refrigerate leftovers in a covered container for up to 4 days or freeze for up to a month.

Notes: We prefer to warm it up a bit before eating it - but it tastes good either way.

If you add ice cream it is no longer sugar-free; but it's a dessert I feel good serving the family.

Calories 130; fiber 4 grams; protein 2 grams, fat 5 grams, carbs 23 grams, WW points 4

Choosing Joy!
©2015 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...