Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Open Letter to "Chef" Damian Cardone

Dear Damian,
I am a gluten-free potential restaurant patron and as such, would like to educate you a bit on your anti-"gluten-free" rants on facebook.
(For those not on, Karina's Kitchen blog, or any number of other high-profile gluten-free websites, here is a sample link to the online explosion discussing this "chef" and what he posted on his facebook wall for the entire world to see: Damian Cardone )

I am certain you know absolutely nothing about Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, or various other reasons why one would find it necessary to maintain a strict gluten-free diet, but as you call yourself a "chef" and claim to have studied under an entire host of more famous, better educated chefs whom I am certain would be embarrassed to be lumped together with you right now (severely anger any large people group who sustains your livelihood and you stand alone), I decided I should personally educate you.

I should also mention that I have been one of those "liberal hippie idiot" diners (and anyone who knows me is spitting coffee at their computer screens right now) ordering the gluten-free meal. I have been gluten-free for five years now. I was gluten-free before gluten-free was cool.

You posted:
"May god help the Liberal hippie idiot whos going to ask for gluten free pasta this weekend."
"Gluten free is bullXXX!! Flour and bread have been a staple of life for thousands, THOUSANDS of years. People who claim to be gluten intolorent dont realize that its all in there disturbed liitle heads. People ask me for gluten free pasta in my restaurant all the time, I tell em sure, Then I serve serve em our pasta, Which I make from scratch with high gluten flour. And you know what? nothing, NOTHING! ever happens! People leave talking about how good they feel gluten free and guess what, They just had a full dose! Idiots!" 

(by the way... you misspelled "intolerant" ... just an ironic little heads up.)

If you would like to know why it is that your patrons leave and you never see any effects of their just being poisoned, it's because (and this is KEY for you to understand) this is not an "allergic reaction" type dietary restriction on the same level as a nut allergy which would cause anaphylaxis. Many of those who are gluten-free do have a secondary skin-inflammation that happens when they use lotions or creams with wheat protein, but that's not central to the actual dietary need to remain gluten-free. This is an "allergy" that happens in the INTESTINES. Now, I doubt you have the type of establishment in which diners hang out for hours on end after being poisoned, but if you did... I feel quite certain that you would be witness to some of the most atrocious "reactions" you have ever witnessed. 

If you have ever had food poisoning, ever had the flu, ever laid on the floor of the bathroom with your cheek on the cold ceramic tile - shaking and shivering  - you have a clue as to what happens when you poison your diners with "high-gluten flour" pasta. I can't even imagine anyone hiring or continuing to employ such a flagrant liability as you, but I can guarantee if I were to eat at your restaurant and become that sick, I would know without a doubt that I had eaten gluten and that you and your restaurant were the culprit. And I would show up at the restaurant the next day (or 48 hours since usually I can't leave the house for that long when I get poisoned) and discuss these ramifications in person. 

Furthermore, the effects of such a poisoning can last many days. Those with full-blown Celiac Disease actually have intestinal damage which can be seen during a scoping procedure following even a slight gluten-ingestion (such as the gluten in a beef base containing Modified Food Starch coming from wheat or barley)... much less a full onslaught from being intentionally poisoned. I am sure that any unsuspecting diner would welcome you into the exam room while they have such a procedure preformed, and you can even have one as well for comparison purposes! 

Lest you think I am being hard on you because I don't understand the stressful nature of your job, my husband is a chef. A really awesome one at that. He has won competitions all over the country and has ACF medals stashed in his glove compartment, cups in the garage, and various drawers all over the house. He teaches morons uninformed chefs like yourself. He judges competitions and tests chefs for their next certification level. What is your ACF certification level? I bet I know. 
When we go out to eat, he helps me decipher menu items under the lens of his experience in kitchens for the past 20 years. He has multiple family members who are gluten-free and has many, many years of experience and I am sure he would gladly come to your restaurant and inform you personally of the culinary malpractice of which you are so boldly admitting. 

Finally, Mr. Cardone, good luck finding employment. Last I checked, a quick "googling" of your name brought up blog posts like this one, articles quoting your facebook rants, and various websites mentioning your ineptness. Not ONE result was a good review, a competition you have won, or a newspaper article singing your praises.

I would recommend an apology, and that you take some continuing education classes on allergen awareness, celiac disease, cooking for those with intolerances, and perhaps good business practices in the electronic/social media age. 

(*Edited* - This news report (the video feed) covers the story well: Colorado News Story )

Sunday, March 27, 2011


My sweet baby girl is 13 today.

She has walked right into "the teen years" as of this morning.
There's no turning back.

It's been coming for awhile... and while I might not always handle the changing tide the very best possible way, my little girl is growing up with our without my consent.

She was so little! Just 6lbs and 12 ounces when she was born! Our smallest baby by far!

I remember finding out I was pregnant with her... and crying to my Granny that I wish Dadums were still here because he would be so excited for another grandbaby.

I still remember taking that tiny little baby and placing her into her carseat for the ride home from the hospital!

I remember how HUGE her 19-month-old "big" brother suddenly became the day she was born!

I remember our first trip out - to Babies R Us to buy her some preemie clothes since she was being swallowed up by every "newborn" outfit we had purchased in varying shades of pink.

I remember timing her feeding and her brother's naptime so that I could fall asleep with her on the couch for an hour or so in the middle of the day!

 I remember when she became a big sister, too.

There was the time I walked into the kitchen and her big brother was sitting on her back giving her a haircut.

I remember on her 2nd birthday when she reached out to touch the flame of the candle on her cake before her Daddy and I could stop her.

I have pictures of her with yellow rubber cleaning gloves on her feet - pretending to be a duck.

There was the sad day that she fell off of the barstool at the kitchen counter and cracked her front tooth in half and we had to get it pulled. I almost had to be restrained at the dentists office.

I remember her playing with her first friends and her first day of school in Colorado Springs!

And I remember worrying when she was very sick and sitting on her chest to squirt medicine down her throat while she screamed and kicked and turned bright red and I remember crying afterwards that I had traumatized her but knowing that the benefit of this medicine would far outweigh that memory.

She had equal parts girly-girl and tom-boy... mani-pedi dates with her Aunt and her Nona, and camping in a tent in the wilderness of Colorado... and she was equally at home in either environment.

And then, the unthinkable happened.
My little girl started getting taller... and smarter... and wiser... and turned from being an adorable little baby girl into a beautiful young woman.

Oh, I wish I could bottle up the stuff that makes her who she is... I would share it with you all... she's just that amazing.

She has a great sense of humor...she's always quick with something to say that makes us laugh.

She is wonderful with little kids... even though she says how much she hates to babysit, she is in high demand!

She somehow navigates the turbulent waters of middle school without getting too much of it on her, and maintains her personality and charm without becoming a clone of the people around her.
She chooses great friends who I gladly welcome into our home because they are really wonderful girls.

I pray for the man she will marry someday... that the Lord is already preparing that boy, that he's growing up in a godly home with parents who love him as much as we love our baby girl. But that boy...he will have to prove himself worthy of her heart because she loves her Daddy and she will be looking for someone as wonderful as he is.

And ...she loves Jesus. She's after HIS heart and that makes me SO proud!
Her baptism day! Aug. 25, 2009

Sweet baby girl, I am blessed to be your Mommy!  I know these years are hard - I've been there before!
I know we don't always handle ourselves perfectly...and sometimes we fight...
but no matter where you go,
no matter what you do,
no matter what happens...
you will ALWAYS be my baby
and I love you more than you could ever possibly understand!
Happy 13th birthday, sweetheart!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Then who?

I don't know what it is.

I don't know why, or rather... why me.

But over the past 2 years of my life, the Lord has broken my heart for His children all over the world.
They need a mommy. They need hugs and kisses and bandaids on barely-scratched owies. They need to play in bubble baths and tease their daddy and "can't-like-it-cantelope" but "love-it-pretzels!" They need to jump on the trampoline with the sprinkler spraying in their faces in the heat of July and take 15 minutes to get bundled up to go out in the snow for 5 minutes. Oh, my heart can't take it. It's just not okay with me that there are so many children out there waiting for what we have. I think about it and I get this pain in the pit of my chest like someone just punched me and knocked the air out of my lungs. It's just NOT okay.

And then I get scared and I say...
"Uhm... Lord? Hi. Yeah, remember last year when we brought home these adorable babies? That made 7 in our house. And, by the way... we don't exactly have unlimited space within these walls."

And he says...
"Whose children are they? Who gave you that house? Who gave you the heart that beats within your chest?"

And I say...
"I know. YOU did. It's all yours anyway...But..."

And He says...
"But? Really?  Child, I put that heart inside YOU because I know YOU will live a life chasing after MY heart. I don't make mistakes."

And I...
I have nothing to say.

Because what can I say??

If the Lord put in my heart to be a mommy to kids who don't have anyone to tuck them in at night...
who am I to say "no thanks."?

What about our house? We don't have any more room! Well... I'm sure we could squeeze another bunk bed in here somewhere if we really wanted to.

What about finances? We probably won't ever be able to take big family cars for their 16th birthdays ... or pay for their full college tuitions... or have big elaborate East-Coast weddings... but imagine Thanksgiving at OUR house! I would trade every family vacation from here until forever if it meant we could be open to bringing more children into our family who need parents!

I don't know, dear bloggy friends...maybe I am insane.

Maybe I am misreading all of this and the whispers into my heart aren't saying "bring them home" as much as "help someone else figure it all out".

Maybe I'm wrong. I've been told that perhaps the calling I am hearing is to "JUST advocate for orphans."
But I doubt it. I will gladly shout from the rooftops about the immense need for families for children, gladly help walk anyone through the process to adopt a child, but I don't think that's the full extent of this "whisper" in my heart.

Or maybe, maybe, just MAYBE... Jesus calls crazy people because He knows that crazy stuff sounds normal to them!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I can relate.

I promise I'm a grown-up.
Keep that in mind as you read further.

My hubby travels a lot for work. 
When he is gone overnight... I have a hard time relaxing enough to fall asleep.
I tend to stay up late...
watching a movie, watching House Hunters International, writing a blog post, chatting with Jamey...
anything but going to bed early and banking a few extra hours of sleep.
I sit in my bed doing whatever I can until I exhaust myself to the point where I can just fall asleep quickly.

I can relate to my babies.
I'm hyper-vigilant.
My youngest two are "hyper-vigilant". In the adoption world, this means a child who has dealt with trauma in the past, and who now finds it nearly impossible to relax - especially at bed/nap times. 

This hasn't always been the case. He used to be one of the easiest of the little three to put to bed. Just lately though, he has become very difficult to put to bed at night. He goes right to sleep at nap time, it's just bed time that causes stress. He sticks out his bottom lip, makes the biggest frown I've ever seen, his eyes get even bigger, and he starts to cry. It's so hard. I don't want to let him cry since he isn't trying to manipulate me. At some point over the past couple of weeks, someone flipped a bed time switch in his brain. I don't know what's wrong!

Then tonight...
he used a word!
When I was bribing him offering benefits for compliance, I suggested that we can go ride bikes in the morning! He loves to roll down the hill on his "bike", so I thought it might get his mind off of things.
He looked at me like I was nuts... stuck that lip out EVEN farther and said 
"No! No bike... dark! Scary!"  ...and he pointed to the window.
Ah HA! The darkness is the instigator. 

Poor baby boy.
I told him he doesn't have to be scared anymore... that he is safe in his room, in our house, and that Mommy is here to take care of him. Then I grabbed a blankie, covered up... and laid down next to my baby until he went to sleep. 

Because, after all, I know how it is.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Winter Jam / Holt child sponsorship night


Let me just start by saying that I am officially OLD.

"Old" as in "why does it have to be so LOUD in here?!?"
and "I think my ear drums are bleeding...". That kind of "old".

Last night I took my two oldest kiddos and two of their friends and we went to the Winter Jam concert here in Nashville.

If you happen to be just super un-cool and you have no idea what Winter Jam is... it's an annual concert that travels all over the USA with many of the top bands in Christian music.
Not Christian music like Amy Grant and Twila Paris.
Christian music like LOUD, rock/rap/pop music.
Newsong, The David Crowder Band, Newsboys, Francesca Battistelli, Kutless, KJ 52, Sidewalk Prophets, Chris August, and the very frightening - Red.

So, I figured... heck, I listen to christian radio... I know of most of these bands... and besides, I can help get kids sponsors which helps keep kids in their birth families... win/win.

So I signed up to volunteer.

This meant we got to get to the concert 2 hours early, wait in line at the VIP entrance, and then wear this awesome yellow vest.
And no, there are no photos of me WEARING this vest.
You're welcome.

So, my kids and their friends were super excited because they got to get in early and find seats. 
They chose to sit on the third row - right next to the stage. 
Super close.
View from our seats. SUPER close.

I looked through the stack of "my kids" - the 5 envelopes in my pocket. I prayed for them and looked through the endless rows of other children needing sponsors.
Crazy, right?? This was one of three long sets of tables in 
ONE area of the venue.

So, not being able to just sit and wait...
I decided to go hang out over at the main table on the floor.
There weren't many people working over there, so it seemed like a good place to be.
Given my fancy yellow vest... no one really asks questions about who you are and why you are there.
At one point I went to go find some coffee and wound up in the backstage area. Ooops.

This is obviously BEFORE they opened the doors to general tickets.
The concert was a sell-out with 16,000+ people in attendance. 
16 THOUSAND. People. In one place. 
I kept thinking "oh dear Lord, what would happen if there were an emergency??"
But then, I'm old..

So, hanging out in the center-court area of the arena, right under the guy with the huge camera, I realized that I was standing right next to famous people that I didn't know I was standing next to. 
Case in point:
Tony Nolan - pastor/speaker, 5 feet away.
I'm so famous by proximity.
Tony Nolan wrote a book called Hurt Healer. He spoke about the pain from his childhood, being born to a mentally unstable/prostitute mother, living in an abusive home till he was 3 at which point he was adopted (at a "blue light special" rate of $200) into a family that further abused him. He talks about how God had a bigger plan to redeem his life and how satan wanted to do anything possible to keep him from that plan. He has also adopted a daughter from China. I wasn't a huge fan of the particular terminology he used in describing his own adoption experiences, but to a mostly positive-adoption-terminology-ignorant crowd, he got the point across.

He was a good speaker for this particular demographic for sure. 

As for our Holt sponsorship mission? I believe our final count was around 450 kids sponsored last night! Given the 16,000 people in attendance, not a huge percentage, but when you take out the kids who can't really make those decisions for themselves... I'm happy 450 kids have sponsors to help them get the medical and educational things they need.

And me??
Well, I noticed abnormally large amounts of cleavage on many of the girls in attendance.
(pun intended)
What is going on with girls?? I mean, at what point are you getting dressed to go to a Christian concert and you say "is this enough cleavage, or not enough cleavage?" I mean, some of the outfits I saw were outright offensive to me as a woman, much less offensive to me as a mother of boys. Put some freaking clothes on, girls! Women have fought for years to be taken seriously, and you are sending us back in time 70 years with your flagrant disregard for your own modesty. 
(and no, I don't have a photo to prove it. You're welcome.)

Oh, and my hearing came back today.
And the kids had a great time!
See? Doesn't she seem to be having fun?
The one in the front is mine,
 the one behind him might as well be too.
This was the line we had to wait in outside.
Just the VIP line. Seriously.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Babycakes launch!

Hi everyone!
Well, I have officially lost my mind finished my babycakes blog site!
I will begin selling my hair and body butter over on that site, via paypal ordering as of now!

I'm starting off small...
handwritten labels even...
until I see what the demand will be for this particular product.
I ask that you be gentle...
I *AM* after all a mom of seven kiddos and I do not live at the UPS store.
It may take me a few days to get your product in the mail and I have no expedited shipping offer since most people I know hate to pay anything for shipping!

Anyway... without much further ado...
here it is! My babycakes!

Ah...and I'm offering peppermint patty right now!
More flavors/scents to come!

Aren't they adorable!
Go see that blog and click around...
read ingredients...
why I think it's the best...
and other info!

I even have a hair photos tab!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

...And then I broke my toe.

So... if you read my blog yesterday ( Rocks and Rivers ) you know that it was all about faith, believing God, and remembering when He was faithful before so you can get through your hard times today.

Hee hee hee, ha ha ha, hoooo! You know what happens when you step out in faith?
You engage the enemy.
Oh, yes you do, dear baby cakes.

Here's how my day went on Sunday.
Let's call this "the REST of the story."

Sunday morning... hubby out of town for work...
whiney #3 since two sleepovers in two nights clearly leaves her with a sleep-deficit.
Making good time getting the little three ready to go... shoe drama ensues.
Had to do hair... times three... since I had taken out both little girls' styles Saturday night then ran out of time to re-do them.
Breakfast... donuts... clearly I was thinking time-saving over health-consciousness.
So far, so good.
Things are getting done...
everyone ready to go.
Walk into church a mildly-respectable 3 minutes late... heck, with 7 kids in tow... I think I deserve a 5 minute buffer on ALL appointments and scheduled events. Still... so far so good.

Got the kids to their classes and went into service for an awesome worship time... I love the many different musical talents at our church!

Sat down to peruse my newly purchased 3-ring binder for my church-note-taking and found an old bible study I wrote in one of my college classes on the Jordan River crossing. I LOVED that lesson. It's like my baby. I loved what the Lord taught me through that lesson, I loved the story I had never really known before... and I loved teaching it (hence the super long post yesterday).

Pastor stands up to teach... on the same passages! Yay! It was like a nice warm hug from Jesus! He knows I love that story.

Then it happened. I started getting this panicked feeling in my chest.
I kept feeling literally pushed out of my seat.
Distract and divert... frantic note taking...argue with the Holy Spirit in my head.

Prayer and response time comes.
More frantic panic in my heart...
suddenly, I realize I am walking to the front!
Too embarrassed to walk back to my seat (since clearly, everyone comes to church to see what crazy thing *I'm* going to do... right? No?? Hmm. Anyway...)...
I walk up to our pastor and my friend - Ridley and he gives me a hug. I say... "I have something to say."
I forced those words out like you would not believe.
He says "okay... to everyone?"
I said "Yes. I don't feel like I can... but I have something I need to say."
(makes my hands shake and I feel like throwing up just talking about it.)
He says, "Okay! Stay here!"

I think what he MEANT to say was "Crazy cakes, lets talk about this after the service. Let's pray about it for a month, and THEN if you want to say something... we will videotape it and edit it down into a minute or less and show it when it's convenient."

That was what I was hoping for I think.

So I waited there. Shaking.

He tells them all... "Chrissy has a word to share with us..." and motions for me to come up.

I'm not sure what I said...
something to the effect of
JUMP in the water if and when God calls because the beautiful stones he gives you as souvenirs? Well... they are WAY worth the fear it takes to step off of the cliff into the river!
Yes, darlings... I have the tendency to take a metaphor and run with it for miles and miles.

And then that was over.
WHEW!! THERE! There, God... I listened, okay??? Sheesh! Don't ask me to talk in front of people EVER. EVER. EVER. Again!! Okay? Please? Scary stuff... rambling in front of a crowd! Did I even make sense? What DID  I say? Did I really just call my babies "rocks"?

So... I gathered my 7 and got the HECK out of Dodge.

Went to my mom's house... ate lunch... had a nice time visiting. I am so thankful that we were able to move back "home" 3 years ago. I have missed being able to just "drop in" to visit my family! It does my heart good to see the littles with their grandparents! They are so LOVED and I just could never, ever, ever fathom that my family would/could accept these children the way that they have. SO incredibly thankful!!

So, we came home and had a nice, gloomy-day, restful time watching a movie on the couch while I re-read parts of my Tennessee gardening book my sister gave me a few years back! Dreaming of garden-fresh tomatoes in July... ahhhh!!

I spend a few moments encouraging some friends (online) with my sprinklets of "wisdom"... "Be STRONG and VERY courageous!" and I come up with this witty "Stick your toes in the river and start a rock collection!" that I then shared with some friends from church. Because I'm cool like that.

Well... it was a great day for me and Jesus.
We were talking, I was feeling encouraged....


I fully believe Hairy Butt (aka satan... my friend Lisa calls him that!) started whispering in my ear.
"You are SO stupid!"
"WHY would you go up front like that and then to ask to TALK? Out LOUD? You did nothing but ramble. White noise. That's what you were. White noise at the end of a perfectly good sermon. A distraction. A diversion. Laughable. And you embarrassed your friend, Ridley. You embarrassed yourself. Good thing your husband wasn't there... you would have embarrassed him too. Well... he will find out and he WILL be embarrassed. You should have just SAT THERE. Just listen. That's what you do in church. You listen. What do you have to offer anyway? Your perspective? Your thoughts? Your past? Your history? Really? You think anyone wants to hear what you have to say? How arrogant to think you could add anything to that message."

Oh yeah... I can be beaten down with the best of them.

And then, while carrying laundry out of my bedroom, I kicked the leg of a table barefooted.
And that's when I broke my toe.

Don't think I missed the irony.

Stick your toes in the water...
Jump in with both feet...
God wants you to stick that toe in the water first...
uh huh.
"Psst... P.S you crazy, pastor-embarrassing, lunatic... stick your toes ANYWHERE and pain follows."

Guess what??
I'm not listening.
Picture me with my fingers in my ears...
God is who HE says He is.
God can do what HE says He can do.
I AM WHO GOD says I am.
I can do ALL things through Christ.
God's word is alive and active in ME.
( I love you, Beth Moore...)

I don't listen to lies.
I don't believe I can't be used.
I don't believe I am an embarrassment.
I am adopted, redeemed, and worthy of love.
I am a child of the King.
I have a broken toe... not a broken heart.

And THAT'S the rest of the story.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Rocks and Rivers

There's been a lot going on in my heart.
I apologize in advance... this is neither short nor funny... but someone out there needs to hear this and I pray you hear the desperation in my voice as I give you this message. I hope you feel my hands on your shoulders shaking you and making you understand what I am telling you! 
  • This past week, my bible study has been about Joshua.
  • Sunday, I got to church and pulled a stack of papers out of the inside pocket of my Bible cover and found a study I had written years ago on Joshua and the Israelites crossing the Jordan River.
  • Then our pastor stood up and his entire message was about this very same story!
  • Some friends have been going through some potentially scary stuff with Ethiopian adoptions and some unknowns... and the verses that pop into my head to encourage them are "Be strong and VERY courageous!" also from the same story.
So... not being TOO dense...
I figure the Lord wants me to think about this story a little deeper.

Go read Joshua 1-5... then come back and follow along.

Background: Joshua is now leading the Israelites who have been wandering in the desert outside the promised land. The Lord tells Joshua to have the priests carry the Arc of the Covenant ahead of them, walk right into the middle of the Jordan River, and let the entire nation of Israel walk by while they wait - - that HE would dry up the river for them making it possible to cross.

Some important things to know:
  • Spring in the Jordan River = flood stage water. 
  • At its most narrow point, the river in the spring is 200 yards across and 20-40 feet deep.
  • Spring snow melt + spring rain = rapids
Note: God didn't say "walk on over and I'll dry the water up so you can all walk across." He commanded that they take a big giant step into the rapids, into the flood-stage icy cold, very deep water - IN FAITH, before He was going to act! 
So many times we say "Lord, if you would just ___, then I will do ___!" It doesn't always work that way! SO many times, the Lord calls us to demonstrate our FAITH in Him before he is going to show us HIS faithfulness! Here's the funny thing: God is ALWAYS faithful to do what He promises, WE aren't. WE are the ones who can't be trusted. WE are the ones who fail HIM... not the other way around.

So, the priests (after 3 days) walked to the edge of the river... and the two guys in the front, well, they displayed their faith in the God who had provided quail and manna for 40 years... and they took that first GIANT step into the river. 

The Bible records that the entire nation of Israel walked across on DRY land. NOT mushy mud, not gooey silt, not smooshy sand... DRY land. Men, women, children, old, young... all walked across the river bed. Two football fields wide... they walked across by the hundreds-of-thousands! It's estimated that with the number of men known (601,730) you can double that to include women and double that number to include children... and you have between 1.5-2 MILLION people!

Side note - if I had a time machine, this is one of those days I would travel back to see! Can you imagine looking up-river and seeing the mighty hand of God holding the water back so you can cross? Can you just see the guys carrying the Arc closing their eyes, taking a deep breath, whispering a fast prayer of "Lord, we know you are faithful..." and taking that step?? 

The next part of the story... God tells Joshua to have one person from each of the 12 tribes to enter back into the river while the Arc is still waiting on the river bed and has them collect a giant stone from the bottom of the riverbed! 
Now... work with me here. 
You've seen field rocks - bumpy, rough, gray or tan. 
These were BIG, heavy RIVER rocks. Sedimentary rocks, smoothed by years of rushing water... colorful and beautiful! 

The men carried these beautiful rocks out of the river bed and placed them in the field as a memorial to the awesome thing the Lord did that day! AND they made another pile IN the river bed so that once fall and winter arrived, and the water level was lower... or it was a time of drought... the people could look into the river and see the stones sticking out of the water and REMEMBER the amazing thing the Lord had done!

Don't miss the significance of this, friends!
The Lord was giving them a VISUAL reminder (because he knows how easily we forget) of His faithfulness!
He knew the lean times would come. He knew the drought would come. He knew they would have times when they would doubt that He even cared for them anymore. So... knowing these things, knowing how we all are... He had the men pile up these beautiful rocks- - so they would remember.

When have you taken that first step into the seemingly impossible rapids?
When have you said "Ok, Lord... here goes... I know you are faithful..."?
Do you have the smooth rocks to show for it?

When Paul and I decided to adopt we had our doubts just like anyone.
We didn't have the money in the bank.
We didn't know how this process would affect our family.
We didn't know how we would manage more children.
We didn't know if we could afford it in our budget.
We didn't know if we were taking on something more difficult than we could have imagined.
We didn't know if we were hearing the Lord correctly... 
but we decided to just jump on in and, sink or swim, we were going to obey!

Now... don't hear me saying "look how awesome we are!".
We had our doubts along the way. 
Many times we thought Lord was going to forget we were standing in the river bed and the water would wash us away. 
Many times along the way when we were short on money or short on patience... we wondered if we were feeling smooshy mud beneath our feet. 

But we crossed it.
And we collected our smooth rocks along the way.

I can look at my children today and say, "SEE!! See what the Lord did?"

I can look back on the months of waiting, 
the money that wasn't there but then it was... and I can show you my smooth river rocks. 

And now... on those days when I feel discouraged, my river is running a little shallow or I wander out in a field all alone to have a pity party....I see my beautiful, smooth rocks sticking out of the water.

I look up and see the reminders that the Lord placed all over my life, in my family, in my home, in my heart...and I remember that He DOES do what He says He can do!

He IS faithful...and He will not let you drown if he tells you to jump in the river!

To my friends who are fearful of the changes looming in the Ethiopian adoption process... Be STRONG and VERY courageous! Pick up some beautiful rocks along your path so you can look back and remember WHO got you through this time!

To my friends dealing with difficult situations, the daily routine they just don't want to do anymore... the marriage they struggle to maintain, the child they fear they can not love... Be STRONG and VERY courageous! Pray for courage, pray for faith, pray for the Lord to show you the rocks from the riverbeds you already crossed in your life! Be encouraged... you are NEVER alone.

To my friends who have said "If God would just provide ____, then I would _____..." 

Stick that toe in there... fully expecting not to shiver from the cold rushing water!

Jump in wearing your good clothes. 

Jump in with socks and shoes on. 

Jump in with your hair all fixed fancy.

You won't drown. 
You will hit solid ground and won't even get muddy.
I know it's true!
I've been there!

Be strong and courageous my friends!

Step off of the river bank and start a rock collection!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Wanna play doctor?

Back in January I got this strange little bump on my thumb.
It was red and itchy... I figured I got a bite.
Mosquito, spider, some sort of blood-sucking insect.

it got bigger.
When it was about the size of a dime, it looked like this:

So, I thought it could be ringworm, since we dealt with that for months when we first got home from Ethiopia.

Then it didn't act like ringworm.

When it began spreading with tiny blisters and waking me up at night clawing at my hand because of the itching... I called the dermatologist.
Turns out, even he didn't know what it was, but he gave me a cream thinking it might be an allergy (like poison ivy), AND an antibiotic thinking it could also be staph.

Over the course of the next few weeks... I treated it with the prescription and watched it grow.

Then, I decided to experiment and treated it with:
tea tree oil,
allergy/itch cream,
antibiotic ointment,
apple cider vinegar,
colloidial silver,
sugar paste,
salt scrubs,
frogs eyeballs boiled in goats blood with the hair of a werewolf...
Okay... not really.
But honestly, there is nothing I did not try.

Finally, when I could not take it anymore...
I went back to the dermatologist yesterday.
It looked like this when I was sitting on the table waiting:

SO glad I went back to the doctor because NOW I can honestly tell you...
my fear that I have been infected with some sort of flesh-eating-bacteria that is slowly spreading to my entire body have only been confirmed.

Two different dermatologists...
neither one knows what the HECK this IS!!!

And do you know what they wanted to DO to me???
Chop off a piece of my thumb to send to a lab.
Uh... no thank you.
I saw E.T. when I was a kid and I do NOT intend to be in a oxygen tent in a few weeks being poked by guys in white haz-mat suits.
Thank you for your concern for the greater scientific community... but NO! You can NOT chop off a piece of my hand!!
Sheesh! What is WRONG with people???

So... since the doctors can't figure this thing out...
I decided the next, most logical thing to do (other than allowing them to cut me up for science)...
is to ask the mostly-anonymous internet community to diagnose my flesh-eating bacteria for me!

They did try three creams in the office yesterday and picked which one to use based on which one didn't make me scream from the burning pain. That was fun.

So... this cream seems to be working (as much as I can tell after less than 24 hours)...

What do you think?
Rare, flesh-eating bacteria?

Oh, and that's the little trial-sized cream in the background.
Diflorasone something.

Just awesome.