Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lisa's Corn Soufflé

I don't know Lisa, but this was a great creation! I found it in the Southern Generations cookbook. Noah loved this dish, and commented that it should now be made on the holidays. It has the same flavor as corn pudding, but it was much lighter. The worst things that you can do on a holiday is get filled up on one dish!
(serves 6 to9)
6T of butter
2T of sugar
2T of flour
1/2C half and half cream
4 eggs well beaten
1,1/2 tsp baking powder
2 (12 oz) cans cream style corn (I accidentally put in almost all of the 14 oz can and it turned out to be fine)

Heat butter with sugar in a saucepan until melted. Stir in flour until well blended. Remove from heat. Gradually add cream, eggs, and baking powder. Blend well. Combine with corn and pour into a buttered 1,1/2 quart casserole dish. Bake uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes.

If I can do it, you can do it!

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Friday's Luau

On friday evening the seminary had their annual luau, and this year Noah and I were so happy to participate! Noah did his favorite thing by cooking hamburgers the entire time! Life is different now for us because this luau is the perfect example of how we participate in normal life again. Noah enters into it wonderfully, while I struggle to know what to do. It must sound crazy, but it is hard to explain too. Walt is having a blast living near kids that he can "play" with and attempt to pull their hair. He continues to flirt with his smile, but he is just a little sleepy in this family photo.







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Monday, August 30, 2010

Updated Blog

Many of you are thinking that it is about time that I do this to my blog!! Look around at the cool new features that are happening! You can follow on Twitter, join our FB group, send me a nice email, or subscribe to the blog. If you subscribe, you will be sent an email to know when a new entry has been written! I am behind in technology so I am completely amazed!!
I love organization, so the top part is my favorite! If you are doing the One Year of Hope study, or if you start it late, you can click on the link above to read all of the entries associated with it. I hope that all of you like the new look and cool new things that are happening!

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Week 8 - Death

I have avoided this week's study and put it off as long as possible. It forces me to consciously think about the day that Magdalena died. Just as Nancy begins the chapter with how she "feels the weight and trauma of it as if it were yesterday", I do too. January 13th is that day, and just its presence creeping up on my causes my heart to triple in weight. I remember holding onto her life, not wanting her to leave me, but also, I did not want her to suffer. Even now as I look back, I can see how God gave her and our family so much mercy by now allowing her to suffer when he brought her to be with Him. This eases my mind, but it doesn't make me miss her any less. Before Magdalena I am not sure how often I thought of death. I think that I associated it more with getting old and a natural part of life, but I can't say that I have ever feared it, and now, after losing Magdalena, fear has not crossed my mind. I know that it is not like that for all of you. "It is not what you know but who you know that calms the fear of the unknowns surrounding death." God sent us His Holy Spirit to reside in us to give us this peace (1 John 4:13-18). Every breath we take on this earth should be taken with the confidence that God has truly conquered death! By truly knowing Jesus you can have the confidence that this earth is really just our temporary home (Carrie Underwood's song is a great reminder.).
Small things in life can really cause me to choke up and think about Magdalena, and one of those is the song "I Can Only Imagine". I do think that the radios overplayed this song so much that people began to just sing the words instead of truly reflecting on what the song says. But there is no way possible for me to do that because just the mention of heaven and I think about what Magdalena might be doing at this very moment. As I listened to that song with tears in my eyes, I wondered how soon after arriving in heaven will God reunite me with her. Will he hand her to me so that we can praise Him together? By the time this thought crossed my mind as it does now I could feel the weight of her in my arms and smell her sweet scent again. So I would like to think for now that is what God would do.

Phillipians 1:20-24
as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.

I was glad for the story Nancy shared with us on page 61, and how after the death of his wife, Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse used the analogy of a shade for his children to understand their feelings. "Death is like that. It blocks the sunshine, but the sun is still shining." When I read this story I remembered holding Magdalena singing my song to her. "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are grey. You'll never know dear how much I love you. Please don't take my sunshine away." It was our private song because we knew that her hearing was not perfect, but by the way she responded we knew that she could hear tones. So we sang together. The shade and the skies being grey don't adequately describe the intensity of the pain associated with saying goodbye to someone you love. The weight of suffering the death of a loved one feels like you are under water when it is time to take that next breath. So many days my heart felt heavy and painful that I wondered if it would ever go away. But the sun is still shining, and I enjoy those days when God's word, His promises, and His faithfulness pushes away the shade and I can bask in his sunshine. This is where my Hope lies. That although my heart is heavy, God has not left me, but everyday he is there with new comfort to give. Sometimes this can be through certain passages in the bible while other days it can be through a little girl wearing a butterfly for Magdalena. He is there.

Isaiah 57:1-2
The righteous pass away; the godly often die before their time. And no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. For the godly who die will rest in peace.

Revelation 21:1-7
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

Let us pray that God will change our perspectives about life and death so that we can rest in His faithfulness and live wholeheartedly for Christ.

Nancy Guthrie, One Year of Hope

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Walt Washing the Cars

Did you see on the previous post what I had just bought? Well, it wasn't 24 hours before I needed it with Walt. I am SO thankful that I had bought it. Walt is not happy about it at all! And he has gotten so strong that I have had to figure out a position to hold him down where his head doesn't move and all arms are out of the way so that I can actually use the red dragon! After I use it he continues to fuss at me for a little while too, which are just pitiful yells that are hard not to chuckle at.
Walt's name is quickly changing from my "little man" to my "wild man" because he is a handful!! He and I will get out his toys together, and before I know it, he has left his toys and is into something of mine, a drawer full of cards, or something that he could tear or poke his eye with! I have tried to baby proof, but it is not working! Because I am working from home I am really having to learn how to juggle my time of cleaning, playing with Walt, and being a good teacher to those in my class. This last week was stressful with all of that, but I really believe that each day will get a bit better because I will learn what makes the day flow more easily. I love to make lists of things to accomplish for the day, so I make a list for the home and another for work! It is so rewarding to be able to check something off! The downfall is that because I love to check things off, I get frustrated if things don't flow well for my to get all of my goals accomplished, even things that are not a big deal to push off for the next day! God is using this time of my life to really mold me to be a bit more flexible! If I don't get a new recipe cooked because Walt and I needed to have some time outside to play, that is ok! We can throw something on the grill instead! There is a time for both!

Noah and Walt gave me some time last weekend to do a bit of work inside while they worked outside washing the cars. That sweet boy is already taking care of his mommy!



Friday, August 27, 2010

Black-Eyed Peas and The Red Dragon

One of the new vegetable dishes definitely caught me by surprise last night. I was expecting more of a black-eyed pea dish with some seasoning additions, but the recipe really made everything equal. It is definitely good and tasty, but you can't have the thought of traditional black-eyed peas in your mind. I never cook with bacon, so I really ventured out there with this one! I got the recipe from the Southern Generations cookbook.


Just like his sister, Walt hates to have his snot removed from his nose, but it is that time of year and our syringe busted. The one from the hospital is the BEST, so I went on a search there to get another one. Thankfully, they do sell them. The best five bucks I have ever spent! And the irony is that we woke up this morning and Walt had a runny nose, so it was perfect timing! We call our syringe The Red Dragon, a name given to it by our wonderful, sweet hospice nurse, Rosa, when Magdalena had to use it.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Moving

When I found out that I would be a working-from-home mom, Noah and I really thought about moving into a different townhome, one that would be closer to other families and other moms. At first, the technical part of it seemed easy because we would put everything in exactly the same place but in a different home. Well, all of the homes are different so it was much more drastic of a move than I had thought. Emotionally, it was tiring. We had to realize that this home was temporary, and one day we would have to move away from the place that Magdalena was with us, and this was best for our family. Noah and I took turns dealing with small things of hers. I moved her boxes and clothes before the real moving began and found a special, new place for them. But there were some small, unexpected things that I had to deal with that caught me off guard. Some things I had left around the house just for me as a reminder of her, and it wasn't until the move that I realized Noah didn't even know that they were there. One was this bottle of water. In a cabinet in the living room we had kept her formula, diapers, and all of her things. This bottle of water was used to clean out her tube after she ate. I had given her other things away, but I could never just toss out the water. As we were moving Noah came up to me and said "look at what I found!". I knew it was there, and I had been dreading it because this would be the day that I would have to throw it away. Yes, I could keep it, but some things I just have to let go. Also, I just enjoyed the comfort of it being there as a small reminder when other things quickly filled the shelves.

Then, her purple spoon never left its place in the drawer. It is the one they used at the hospital on Christmas Eve to test her swallowing skills. She did awesome and was able to eat rice cereal! We were such proud parents that day! Shortly before we moved my family came over for cake and ice cream, and after everyone had gone home I noticed the spoon had been used! My heart dropped for a moment because you forget that it is visible to everyone else. They don't know that it is there for me just as a reminder and not to be used! The spoon is still there, and it probably will be for awhile because I like those sweet little reminders of her here with us.

And a surprise came for me when I found this little basket in the baby's bathroom full of her things just as the day she left us. Her tape cut and ready to replace the tube when she pulled it out of her nose. Also, were the soap and eye cream from when she had her first bath at the hospital.

I love little surprises that are a reminder of her existence. That she was here, and it all isn't just a memory.
Now, the purple spoon is surrounded by Walt's things too. They get to share the spot!




Wednesday, August 25, 2010

About a month ago, Noah and I moved to be closer to other seminary families. It didn't take long before we realized that the mud hole close to our door was going to be a major problem. It was gross and my friend, Aimee, who helped move us, stepped in it once (although there were many "almost" times). It was funny, but I knew that my time to fall in was quickly approaching! The neighborhood kids loved this hole, and they played in it with sticks everyday. This didn't bother us. In fact, we enjoyed having everyone around until the rain came. When it rained the mud that had been pushed on the sidewalk by the kids became wet and found its way into our house when we would come inside. Noah worked so hard for me and filled in the hole with sand, etc. to get it not to form. It took so long that he is still trying to regroup to do the opposite side! Here are some pics of that fun event. Walt helped daddy by playing with the sand and eating some too!





Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Toys for Batson

This sweet lady came downstairs to get all of the toys from the car, and she had to wait on us to arrive! I began to lose time towards the end of the day and was late! She was so sweet with us, so I thought I would give her a little shout out on the blog! Thank you!

These are all of the toys that we collected for Batson Children's Hospital from Magdalena's Birthday Balloons party! Thank you so much to everyone who came and celebrated the day that Magdalena was born by helping other children! A sweet friend took pictures of the party, so I will post those soon!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Today is the big day! I am officially a work-from-home mom! Because I taught high school, I have felt for the last week that it was still summer while everyone else began school. But today as my students get to working on their online classwork (enthusiastically, I'm sure) I feel as though I have officially moved into a different direction. It feels more natural than weird, but I am terrified! So far Walt is hanging in there with me, and we are having a blast! One of my favorite things to do so far is cook, which I didn't have time for while working. I am not a chef. I like things simple. But I love being able to give my Noah a good meal after he has been working or at school all day. I think that he is enjoying it too! His pants were getting a little too loose! I have not been taking pictures of my new creations, but I think that I should so that we can all cheer each other on! I will try to post pictures and links to the recipe so that if you are interested, you can try it out too! So far I have made paella (a Spanish dish), an Italian pasta dish, eggplant parmesan (do not recommend this), and a few others. The recipe that I am most proud of our the blueberry muffins that I made. Not only were they delicious, but they were beautiful! I was so proud of them that I took pictures! Then, two friends came over and shared them with me over a cup of coffee.

I am glad to have the time now to invest in friendships. Noah and I returned from Mexico in 2007, and at that time I began finishing graduate school full-time, which included driving an hour and a half to classes. Then, by December I found out that I was pregnant with Magdalena. I don't know if you have truly suffered during your life, but if you have, you know that this is the time when you feel the least social. So from that time up until recently I have not sought out or truly invested in relationships. Noah was so patient with me because he married a talkative, social person, and even today I am awkward in large groups of people I don't know when before I would have loved to have met people. I still depend on Noah a lot to get me through parties or times when people talk with us, but I am glad to have this time where I can spend some time over coffee with a friend when Walt is napping. Walt is my little man and the reason why I work from home, but all of these little extras are amazing.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Measure not God's love and favor by your own feelings. The sun shines as clearly in the darkest day as it does in the brightest. The difference is not in the sun, but in some clouds which hinder the manifestation of the light thereof. - Richard Sibbes

This past spring break Noah and I decided it was time to finalize Magdalena's marker. It seems like a simple, obvious next step, but really we had to commit ourselves to doing it because it is not something either of us wanted to do. We got there only to realize that our vision of what we wanted could not happen, so we left in tears and very angry. Couldn't I give my daughter what I wanted? I wanted something pink and girly, but it is hard to make this happen in a place where it isn't natural to bury your child.
This dragged out until the summer when again Noah and I told ourselves that this must be done. We had to decide on something for her marker. We revisited the situation, and although we didn't get exactly what we wanted, we chose what would be in our minds "second best". Then, the dreaded wait came, and on the morning of our anniversary, about a week after Magdalena's birthday, the call came saying that the marker had been placed. With the dirt still fresh, I went and sat, and surprisingly I felt peace out there for the first time ever. I cried to her and I cried to God, but as the breeze passed by I knew that God was giving me comfort. He wrapped His arms around me as I had to finalize Magdalena's passing. What made this day even harder was the dream that I had the night before. Any time that I dream about Magdalena it is always a fearful, scary, nightmare of something happening to her, and they are obvious Satan dreams. The night of my birthday, the day before our anniversary, I had a dream of Noah and I holding Magdalena. It was so real that I woke up having to shake it off remembering reality, and although I tried to fall asleep to dream it again, it didn't happen again. I had to realize that God gave me that sweet dream, not a nightmare, as a reality of what she is doing right now. She is happy and healthy, and although, selfishly, I wish she were with me, I know that my Lord is taking good care of her because he too had to watch his son die. I am glad to have this place to go now, a place that I can be with God and let out all of my tears. I don't feel like this is a dreaded place anymore because I know this is not where she is, and God is His loving mercy gives me a good peace about that. I will forever be wearing waterproof mascara, but my heart is in God's hands.


Monday, August 16, 2010

After a Long Time of Saving

Noah and I have been saving for a long time to have multiple things done with our pictures. We LOVE pictures and little things to capture memories. Well, this past spring we finally got everything ordered, and my mom and grandmom have one framed for my birthday. I had to share because I adore all of these things around my home!
This is my favorite, and I am so thankful to have a mom who knows about framing and hanging pictures. Even though it was extremely emotional for her to do so, she went and picked out the perfect frame. Because my camera lacks quality, this picture does not do the portrait justice at all, but I hope that you can get an idea! I can definitely see how a picture like this might make someone sad, but for Noah and me it helps us to have a sweet, beautiful reminder of her.


Noah and I decided to get canvases of both Walt and Magdalena so that if God should bless us with more children we could add all of their newborn shots together or easily put them in small groupings. Andrea did an amazing job with these. When I ordered these I didn't notice how similar the one of Walt sleeping in the hat and Magdalena sleeping on the pillow look, but I love how you can tell that they are siblings!


And lastly, since there isn't ever going to be enough wall space for all of Magdalena's pictures, Andrea created this beautiful book for me with all of my favorite little Magdalena shots.




















Friday, August 13, 2010

Birthday Fun

August is always a big month for us. Shortly after a bittersweet beginning remembering our sweet Magdalena, we move on to my birthday and our anniversary. Walt has not completely grasped the concept of how to behave on birthdays because screamed a lot that day. Don't let this smile fool you! But he is a sweet boy, and it looks like he will be showing us some teeth any day now.
Here is a pic of my little man and me as we head to Chili's to eat a birthday meal. Walt was great for most of the meal, and Noah and I were so glad for a change and eating out!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Would you be Willing?

There is a ticket being given away here to the Relevant Conference, which I have posted about before. You guys may be getting sick of hearing about it! Sorry about that, but I really want to go! I would love to use the blog to help more parents who are grieving, and maybe it can help push Joy in the Morning off of the ground.

So...would you be will to put in a good word for me on the website. You do this by liking the company on Facebook, Twitter, or any of the gadgets, and tell them that you did it for this particular blog! You have to be sure to return to My Blessed Life letting them know what you did. It technically is not part of the rules, but I thought that maybe it could help!

I am not sure how I will get there once I get a ticket, but getting a ticket is half the battle! Thanks for your help!

Monday, August 09, 2010

A Big Weekend....Really a Big Week

This week was such a good, exhausting week, and I am spending today trying to rest emotionally and physically from it all. We took the butterfly cake to the NICU nurses, and here is Walt with some of our favorites! They were so busy that day, but they still took the time to come out and say hello to my little man! I remember sitting in the hospital bed meeting Diane, Magdalena's nurse, for the first time on August 6, 2008. Little did I know how special these women would become to me and my entire family. They made us leaving our sweet Magdalena in the hospital a little easier and bent the rules so that everyone, even my nieces, had the chance to celebrate her life. Words will never be able to express how much we love these sweet ladies (and some that aren't pictured).
He would be smiling like he does normally but it was just about nap time.


Because the people in my family are close and everyone would want a way to recognize Friday as Magdalena's day, I made these cupcakes for everyone to eat.


One of the hardest things to do is to go visit Magdalena's grave on days like today. It is a reminder of the pain in my heart. I usually lose it completely there, and so I like to go alone. We all went together, and although I was uncertain about Walt going, I am glad that we went as a family. It is easier to introduce Walt to Magdalena and death now, so that it will be easier to talk about later. I never want it to be something that makes Mommy too sad for him to ask questions because all of the questions and answers would be wrapped around Jesus!
Noah and I finally went earlier this summer to pick out Magdalena's headstone, which we are still waiting to come in. We had to make some of the hardest decisions concerning what it would look like, but we finally realized that nothing would ever really be good enough or describe her life well enough, so we had to get what would do.