Sunday, January 31, 2010

PM Post

Emma seemed to be awake much of today. Her eyes were open , bright and tracking. After some really good oral hygiene this morning I noticed she stayed awake, so I put three drops of warm honey on her tongue. She can't swallow, but I hope she enjoyed the sweet taste. After that, there is not any change to report on her condition.

Carleigh came in the bedroom with Emma and I today and sang some hymns with me. Then she drew a picture of Emma with huge angel's wings. We taped it to the head board. I am very proud of Carleigh for handling Emma's situation so courageously.

Our house was blessed again today with dozens of friends, not to mention some to-die-for banana pudding and some of the best gumbo you have ever tasted!

We continue to pray for a miracle and understand that God can easily do such a feat. Hey, it would even make more sense to perform one now, in the final hour, than it would have a year ago (more bang for the buck!). If He did it then people would have just said she had a vitamin deficiency! If He performs the miracle now there will be people on at least 4 continents singing His praises. We are also thankful that God has tempered and prepared us for her healing on the other side of this life.

k

Another Sunday AM Update

Emma had another peaceful night. She is amazing. She blessed us with a lot of eye opening this morning (reminder for new blog readers: she has been blind for 18 months).

For those keeping count (and I am), it has now been 10 days since she lost her swallow function and quit eating. Her digestive system had slowed well before that, so she couldn't process food even if she did eat it. I have given a lot of thought to how she is hanging on and believe she is getting some fluids from a couple of areas and all are through absorption: eye drops several times a day, oral hygiene swabs and the water content in her morphine (rectal). Don't mistake my utilitarian thoughts as discounting the caring God who holds her tight; Holy, Holy is He.

Christy says to tell everyone "hi" and she will be back to posting when her writing ability returns!

Should there ever be a need to summarize my life in a single picture, feel free to use this one:




k

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Rough Times- Good Memories

A pattern has emerged over the past week: the days are busy with guests and well wishers, food trays come in every other hour, prayer groups stop by and bless us, and Christy and I split our time between working in the house and lying with Emma. We each spend about 15 hours a day lying beside her.

At night however, many of the same friends return, the living room fills with good people and great stories and the house gets almost too loud with laughter. I laid down with Emma around 5:30 this afternoon. I spent a while singing songs and reading Psalms to her until I fell asleep. When I awoke around 8 pm and went to take her vital signs, it was difficult to hear her heart beat...due to the loud laughter in the rest of the house. I smiled. We are blessed.

I was reminded of Hurricane Ike; the power was off for weeks, tens of thousands of homes were destroyed and loved ones were displaced. But the biggest thing I remember when I think back to those few tough weeks was the great times we had every night when the neighbors brought over their food and we all cooked on the fire pit. I suppose that is the natural thing to do in dire situations. You circle the wagons, take care of each other and once the work is done, you laugh.

Emma continues to have a peaceful day. Respirations and heart rate have dropped signifigantly, at 12 and 60, respectively. She has been this way most of the day and her hands are getting tougher to keep warm. Also, she is beautiful. Her unblimished skin is a joy to kiss. Her lips are still full and I love to touch mine against hers while singing Jesus Loves you...she is awesome.

k

Saturday AM Update

Emma continues to march on.

People continue to lift us.

God continues to sustain us.

Several posts ago we discussed POINT TWO, and how the last 0.2 miles of a marathon were the hardest, and how it offers the greatest rewards. We easily see how Emma's impact grows exponentially each day her Life Race stretches on. The heavenly gains from Emma's Battle are comforting, but don't equal justification in a parents eyes and heart. And for that, we abandon reason and call upon the LORD to give us faith in our "un-faith". He answers our call.

We love Emma. We thank you for loving her too.

k

Friday, January 29, 2010

Global "Heart" Warming

While scientist argue in front of the media about global warming and politicians select their best climate change strategies to earn another 4 year free ride on the tax payers pocketbook, one type of global warming has certainly occurred; a global heart-warming. E-mails and Facebook messages have rolled in from around the globe. Adults, children, and couples of all ages are cheering for Emma. Hits on the blog and the charity she inspired (www.emmashugs.com) have sky rocketed. Emma is loved around the entire Earth.

The stories of new found hope, restored marriages, improved relationships with children and faith in God have one at a time begun to smudge out the face of Death. It is replaced with a picture of love and peace and that is what life is truly about. The toothpaste tube analogy this morning may have thrown some for a loop, but I have long said life on Earth is so temporary that the ever giving toothpaste tube is the closest thing we understand to eternity.

We are thankful for the crowds that are packing the sidelines of Emma's race. She is hosting the ultimate charity run and she is running off of the crowds enthusiasm. How awesome it is that she has a global fan base who will explode in excitement as she crosses the finish line, one that truly understands her accomplishments. She will hear the cheers and smile.

We are humbled that God entrusted us with such a world-moving being as Emma. We are thankful He has used her as such a mighty tool. We are challenged to bring her honor and Him glory, for each are worthy.

Little Em is tired. Her heart rate ranged from 130-200 today. Her color is better than yesterday and she is resting peacefully. Friends continue to bless our home. Our cup runneth over.

Kelvin

Lance Armstrong: A Little Like Emma

I once read where Lance Armstrong could maintain his high performance with as little as 88% oxygen concentration in his blood. Also, on the hard days of pumping his bike up the mountains of France he has lost as much as 11 pounds in a single day. Not too shabby, Lance. Stick with it and you'll be as tough as Emma. I'm a big fan of Armstrong for his determination after fighting cancer. One in a Yellow Jersey, the other a Yellow Rose; Coincidence? I think not.

So, where are we now? Our hearts are heavy. Our minds are confused and frustrated. We are prone to get upset on Emma's behalf. We are weak and weary. Our emotions are going numb. Our tears still flow...and they fall onto God's lap. Whatever strength we do have is enough and comes from a gracious God. We are buoyed by an army of Believers in prayer and person. Our home has been blessed by hundreds of loving hearts and prayer warriors in addition to the thousands in blog-land.

Emma's legacy will begin soon, and it will be celebration worthy.

She had a very peaceful night. Things have slowed more, although we are not sure how. She reminds me of a tube of tooth paste; regardless how empty it seems, you can always squeeze just a little more out.

Kelvin

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Yellow Rose

We have discussed several aspects of Emma's drive; God, human spirit, etc. There is another thing that plays a part as well...she is a Texas Lady, a Yellow Rose, if you will.

Texas Ladies are a bit different from most regions of the world. They tend to be slightly more determined, sometimes to a fault. They can compliment a man, or tend to things on their own. They all have "grit" as well; that little extra something deep down that they reach for when the going gets tough. Emma has grit.

And without exception, Texas Ladies are beautiful. From 3 to 83 they stand out in a crowd. They are not afraid to wear a hat.

Emma is beautiful and a Yellow Rose, indeed.



She is doing about the same this afternoon...heart rate too fast...breathing too shallow...lungs too full...body too light...will too strong...

Kelvin

Thursday AM Update

Emma had another peaceful night. We saw a step change at 05:15 AM as breathing went more labored and reduced by half and heart rate doubled.

We have decided that to give up is not within her. Period.

She has now gone 7 days without food or water.

She is a testimony to the human spirit.

Kelvin

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

okay

"How are you?" they ask. "Okay," I say. I don't know what else to say. Sometimes I feel like I'm broken into a million pieces, like my heart is being ripped from my body, like there's a giant whole in me, but other times, everything seems completely normal...like this morning when Luke wouldn't make a decision about anything, and the big kids were getting ready for school, and each time I nursed Cora. Then I walk into my room where a little angel is lying on my bed, and I hear her shallow, labored breathing, and see her beautiful, but frail little frame and I wonder how in the world life will go on without her. I think of things like Valentines Day and Easter and summer vacation, and I am, I don't even know the word for it, as I try to picture all of those things and many more without Emma. I like to picture her happy and well. I like to imagine her playing and laughing, dancing and singing, skipping through fields of green, catching butterflies and flying kites, and eating watermelon on the beach, as it drips down her bathing suit. I like to imagine her calling my name, because she never did. I like to dream and wish that she could do all those wonderful things here, with us. I continue to believe and ask God to give her a miraculous healing. "Wouldn't that be wonderful, God," I ask. "I know you are totally able. All you have to do is think the word, and she can spring from the bed, and give me a big 'ol hug! Wouldn't it be absolutely amazing, God? We will totally give you all the glory and honor. God, help me to give you the same glory and honor now matter what you decide."

So, I'm okay, right now. In a few minutes I might not be. Kelvin is such a rock. He seems to keep me balanced. What a blessing to go through this trial with him.

Emma is about the same. Her heart rate is about 100 and respiration around 20. Her new nick name is "Toughy." I wonder why she is hanging on for so long? One day, all of these questions will be revealed. And when that day comes, it will be but a speck in the grand scheme of life, for when it is revealed, it will no longer matter, because we will all be in such a better place. Here is a description of Heaven I like to think about...

'[Heaven] is a picture of my bride, the Church: individuals who together form a spiritual city with a living river flowing through the middle, and on both shores trees growing with fruit that will heal the hurt and sorrows of the nations. And this city is always open, and each gate into it is made of a single pearl'...'That would be me!' [Mack said]. He saw Mack's question and explained, 'Pearls, Mack. The only precious stone made by pain, suffering and--finally--death.'


Emma is my precious pearl.

Emma's Bucket List

We're not sure who or what she still needs to accomplish, but it seems Emma has an unfinished task on her "Bucket List".

After about 11 pm she had a very peaceful night. (rectal morphine did the trick)

At 1200 breaths an hour, we have been blessed with an opportunity to slow down enough and focus on our child's every single breath for 10's of thousands of breaths in the past week. Imagine how pure it is to lay beside a precious angel and listen to her breath 5,000 times without interruption. A blessing indeed.

We hang on each breath.

Kelvin

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Evening Update

Emma just loves this place.

We have spent the day telling her every awesome thing we can think of about Heaven. She has been assured that Mommy and Daddy will be fine without her. Her "second" has just not arrived yet.

Emma is in a lot of pain. Her metobolism has slowed so the morphine and valium aren't as effective. She has lost her swallow function so the oral meds aren't making the trip. We are depending on it absorbing through her gums. She has lost all muscle and body fat so shots aren't an option either.

So, here's the plan...pray for acute and effective grace.

Good Morning All

Emma continues to stay and comfort us, despite encouragement to break from her cocoon and spread her wings. Her breathing is almost indistinguishable. She had a very peaceful night, which was likely a gift to us. Take care, friends, and be sure to scroll down and read Christy's letter to Emma.

Kelvin

Monday, January 25, 2010

We want a "second" opinion.

(author warning: kelvin)

Tick...Tock...Tick...Tock...

There is a particular second of time in our near future and we are very anxious to know its name.

Tick...Tock...Tick...Tock...

Have you ever slept with a stethoscope?

Tick...Tock...Tick...Tock...

The name of that second was written down ages ago.

Tick...Tock...Tick...Tock...

I suppose we all want to know the name of our "second", but it is best we don't know it.

Tick...Tock...Tick...Tock...

________________________________________________________________

A lot of new folks are reading the blog over the past few days. With that in mind, we would like to repost a couple of videos. The first reminds us of Emma's determination, even while her milestones were stripped from her. The second one shows you what an incredible community we live in and what God does through people in action.

Emma-


video



Sunday, January 24, 2010

To my sweet Emma

Okay, I don't know what happened, but I had a ton of wonderful pictures in this post and they are gone now. I will edit it later and include them. For now, enjoy what is here. Please forgive my errors. I am tired. Thank you for your love.

Precious Emma,
You have made me so proud with your short little life. I remember how excited I was for your arrival. I just knew you would be early like Carleigh and Luke, but you came on your due date, and you were perfect...so sweet and snuggly. I loved putting the cute little pink beannie on your sweet head. Your big brother and sister thought you were so neat. They wanted to climb in the crib with you and drag you around like a doll. I tried to soak in your baby stage as much as I could. I knew the time would fly by so quickly, and it did. You started scooting and crawling around so fast. Your personality was so adorable. You were so fun-loving and sociable. You wanted to be in the middle of everything. I loved how you adored your big brother and sister. You called out to them in your precious little toddler voice in a way we all understood, even though there were no real words. You always had a hearty appetite and could make me understand very well exactly what you wanted to eat or drink. I loved watching you grow. One of my favorite things was snuggling with you during the night, then watching you toddle into the kitchen all sleepy-eyed to find me and see what was going on. You loved to play in the water, whether at the beach, in the bath tub, or in the swimming pool.

When your big brother and sister went to Wee School during the day, you missed them. You were so excited when you got to go too. I was just a little bit sad when you didn't seem to miss me at all and shed not one tear when I dropped you off in your classroom the first day. You were so excited. You ran to the toys and play house and looked like you were having the best time. It wasn't too long into the year you went to Wee school we started noticing something wasn't quite right. You were starting to fall a lot, and you had not begun to talk with the exception of 2 or 3 words. I took you to the ear doctor and we found you had fluid on your ears. The doctor assured us you would be fine after some tubes and speech therapy. How I wish they would have been. My heart began to hurt a little more each time we understood there was something else wrong. You were still such a precious little girl...so sweet and determined. Even if you fell 100 times, you got back up each time. Nothing was going to keep you from getting to where you wanted to go. Later we noticed your vision didn't seem so good. After a visit to the doctor, we found out you would be blind before too much longer. Still, you weren't deterred. You continued on playing and being the adorable child God created you to be. I was so scared and worried. A mother never wants to see her sweet baby suffer with anything. During the summer of 2008 we found out you had a terrible disease. I was devestated. You are my precious baby, my little Em. My worst nightmare was about to become a reality. Still, you continued to be precious. You started losing more physical ability, but continued to try and walk and play. Your appetite remained big, and eating wasn't an issue for a very long time. Even when you had to start eating pureed foods, you still enjoyed meal times.


I have started a list of things I love about you that I never want to forget. I can always close my eyes and remember your precious little grin or the way you climbed in my lap and snuggled or the way you tumbled around on the floor with your brother and sister.

Here is my list of things so far...
Things I Don’t Want to Forget About Emma

You had the cutest little grin.
You climbed anything and did so at a very young age.
You had spunk.
You liked to tumble around with Carleigh and Luke.
You were precious going to the baby gate at the foot of the stairs and calling for your brother and sister to come down and play with you.
You loved climbing up the stairs. When we would go to get you down, you would give us that mischievous grin and try to go all the faster.
You were adorable trying to talk and would mock anything I would say.
You loved eating sand at the beach. You loved the water too. We always had to watch you like a hawk.
You looked beyond cute in your bathing suit with watermelon dripping down the front of it.
You loved to clap and sing.
You did the motions to “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “The Itsy, Bitsy Spider”.
You danced and moved your head side to side with all kinds of rhythm.
You loved music and liked it loud.
You were very curious.
You ate like a horse. You could down several pancakes at breakfast and eat just as much as your older siblings at lunch and supper.
You weren’t afraid of anything.
You were so excited when you got to go to Wee School like your big brother and sister.
You ran into your classroom at Wee School for the first time and squealed with delight. There were no tears for Mommy, much to my dismay.
You loved your friends and teachers at Wee School. Your second year wasn’t as delightful as the first because of your disease progression, but your little friends were precious. They all loved you, Emma.
You loved Abby Cadabby.
You loved your baby dolls.
You were adorable first thing in the morning. I loved it when you would crawl out of bed and come find me in the kitchen. I want to burn the image of you looking up at me in my mind forever.
You had endless energy
You never wanted to be still.
You were stubborn.
You loved to take a bath.
You loved people.
You were my little m, my m&m, my Emmers, my Em.
You loved running up to your daddy when came home from work and giving him a big hug.
You loved to open every single cabinet door and drawer in the house all day long.
You loved your paci.
You seemed to like the Celtic Woman dvds.
You loved your therapists.

Emma, there are so many things I love about you. My heart is heavy. I know you will be happier soon. Playing and laughing, and free. I love you, my precious child. I am especially fond of you.

Love,
Mommy

Good Morning from Baytown

(author warning: kelvin)

Today is Sunday, January 24, 2010.

I wonder if that will be a significant date in our lives. It certainly may be.

We have been blanketed by your love the past few days (actually, 2 years) just as sea fog covers the bay. The text messages have rolled in like a bull tide. The hot meals which magically appear on the counter each hour surprise and excite us like a flight of ducks on the horizon. Friends through the door have been more warming than seeing a child catch his first fish. Your prayers have been answered as comfort and strength are doled out to us in adequate portions just as a breeze gently keeps a sailboat moving. Emma continues to walk against the increasingly strong current and exhibits the strength and endurance she always has.

Christy is preparing a very special blog post. I encourage everyone to check back this afternoon.

Friday, January 22, 2010

POINT TWO

(author warning: kelvin)

Have you ever discussed running with a marathon runner? It can be kind of humorous as they describe their training and so forth. It is always interesting when someone asks them how long a marathon is. Do they say "Twenty something miles"? No. Do they say "Oh, around 25 miles"? No. Do they say "Twenty six miles"? No. They say "Twenty six POINT TWO miles". If asked why they always mention the POINT TWO they will tell you it is because that's the hardest part of the race.

Emma has passed the 26 mile marker. She can see the finish line and is holding a steady pace. The hardest part of the race is behind her and she is ready to finish and rest. Emma is getting ready to go run and laugh and sing praises to God all while seeing the beautiful colors of heaven. She has pneumonia now and we are enjoying every minute holding her. Join us beside the course as we cheer her through the final paces and congratulate her for a race well ran.

We want to take a moment to thank everyone for your constant prayers, words of encouragement and kind deeds. Feel free to call or come by (if we don't feel like talking we won't answer the phone and if we want to be alone we will just stare at you through the door without answering it;)...).

Again, we lift praises to the Lord! We thank Him for his patience with our weakness. We praise Him for giving us more faith than we could muster on our own. We thank Him for carrying us. Our friends are good and we thank God for you. Our God is awesome. God, we love you.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Not much there...and more...

Hey folks, Kelvin here...

Emma is so thin it hurts to look at her. We are wrapping cloth diapers around her to give the points of her pelvis and hips some protection. She is gravely thin. She is now under 18 pounds, although eating steady. I recently had the realization that her physical whithering and ability is probably a mirror of her mental state.

It seems as if it may be a mirror of our mental state as well...

Prayers accepted!

On a brighter note, Christy and I ran another 6 miler yesterday as we train for our half marathon in March. We are soooo looking forward to that race! I tagged along with Carleigh and Luke for a few mile bike ride today and they did wonderful. They have so much energy.

On to another line of thinking...it has been awhile since I reminded everyone how awesome Christy is (hint: nod your head up and down). Well, I never do it justice, but let me just say she is an indestructible mother, the warmest of lovers, a friend to all and overflows with instinctive wisdom;
She lovingly looks past the flaws of her husband and focuses on Christ, her children know the warmth of her voice and hold (and the business end of her wooden spoon!) and she keeps up her juggling act even without sleep;
Christy is an amazing woman about whom books should be written.

Over the past 2 years I have walked through the deepest of life's dark and jagged valleys. Even then, the lowest areas of my journey could be used as a perch to view down into the places where Christy does battle. As a mother holding a dying child, I concede her mental, physical and emotional journey to be beyond my understanding.

Christy, you are my hero.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Recipes

Here are a couple of the recipes for the brunch we had last Sunday for Cora. They are really yummy and quite easy to make. I subscribe to a recipe service called
The Six O'Clock Scramble. She emails me 5 recipes a week which include a grocery list itemized by sections of the grocery store. Also available is an entire data base from which to get recipes if you don't like the ones she sends, which you can add to and customize your weekly list and get a grocery list as well. I. love. it! Happy Brunching! Before I forget, the book of blessings we use is called Bless Your Children Every Day by Dr. Mary Ruth Swope.

Spanish Oven Omelet
Servings & Prep Time
30 minutes Prep + Cook Time
Servings: 4
Special Features
Low-SodiumWheat/Gluten-freeVegetarian or Veg-friendly alternativeNut-freeLow-SodiumKosher-style or Kosher AlternativeScramble Express (30 minutes or less total)Potluck/BuffetMake aheadBreakfast/Brunch


Spanish tortillas, or oven omelets, make a delicious breakfast, brunch or dinner. They can be served warm, cold or in between (in Spain they cut them into small wedges and eat them cold!). Though the recipe calls for goat or feta cheese, you can use any hard or soft cheese that you like. Serve it with steamed green beans with goat or feta cheese and with whole wheat or corn tortillas.


•2 medium Yukon Gold or russet potatoes, (about 3/4 lb. total), peeled and diced
•2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
•1 yellow onion, finely chopped
•1/2-1 tsp. fresh or dried rosemary, or more to taste
•1/2 tsp. salt
•1/4 tsp. black pepper
•5 eggs
•1/4 cup nonfat milk
•3 Tbsp. goat or feta cheese, crumbled, crumbled
•1/2 cup chopped ham or smoked turkey, sun dried tomatoes, or sliced mushrooms (optional) I used the tomatoes and mushrooms and left out the meat since we were having sausage separately.

In a medium-sized, microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the diced potatoes with about 1 Tbsp. water, cover them lightly, and microwave them on high heat for about 3-5 minutes until they are fork tender. (Alternatively, boil or steam them for 5 minutes on the stove top.) (Meanwhile, prepare the green beans, if you are serving them.)

Preheat the broiler and set the rack 4-5 inches from the heat source. Spray a heavy 10-inch oven-proof skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat the oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onions until they are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the softened potatoes, any optional fillings, rosemary, salt and pepper and sauté it for about 3 more minutes. (You can wrap the tortillas in foil and warm them on the lower shelf of the oven for a few minutes while the broiler is heating.)

In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, milk and goat or feta cheese and pour the mixture over the potatoes in the skillet. Raise the heat to medium-high, and cook the mixture for about 2 minutes, until the eggs start to harden. Place the skillet under the broiler and cook it until it is golden brown on top, about 3-5 minutes. Watch closely so it doesn't burn. Remove the oven omelet from the oven, let it cool for a few minutes, cut it, and serve it warm (or cold, if you prefer).

SERVE WITH STEAMED GREEN BEANS WITH GOAT OR FETA CHEESE & WHOLE WHEAT OR CORN TORTILLAS

Trim and halve 1 lb. of green beans and steam them in 1 - 2 inches of boiling water for 5 - 8 minutes to desired tenderness. Drain and toss them immediately with 1 - 2 Tbsp. goat or feta cheese, 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (about 1/4 lemon), and salt and black pepper to taste.

Serve with warm whole wheat or corn tortillas.


Fresh Tomato and Basil Quiche
Servings & Prep Time
Prep time: 20 minutes. Cook time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8
Special Features
Vegetarian or Veg-friendly alternativeNut-freeLow-SodiumKosher-style or Kosher AlternativeLow-SodiumPotluck/BuffetMake aheadLunchCompany/EntertainingBreakfast/Brunch


The yogurt in this quiche makes for light and healthy summer fare. This would also make a good dish for a Father's Day brunch (you could also add a fruit salad and muffins for the special occasion.) Serve it with hash browns.


•1 9-inch unbaked pie crust, completely thawed, if frozen
•6 eggs
•1 cup plain nonfat or low fat yogurt
•1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped and divided
•1/2 tsp. salt
•1/2 tsp. black pepper
•1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese, (or use Parmesan or mozzarella)
•2-3 tomatoes, diced into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups total)
•2 Tbsp. grated or shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Press the crust into a tart or pie pan and trim the excess crust from the edges. Bake it for 10-15 minutes until it is very lightly browned. Remove it from the oven.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, 1/4 cup of basil, salt, pepper and Swiss cheese. Pour the mixture into the pie shell. Top it evenly with the tomatoes and remaining basil. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top (optional) and bake it for 40-45 minutes or until it is firm and lightly browned. (Meanwhile, prepare the hash browns if you are serving them.) Allow the quiche to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting it into wedges to serve.

You can freeze quiche for up to 2 months, if desired, wrapped tightly. To reheat it, put the cooked and frozen quiche in the oven at 375 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes or until it is heated through.

SERVE WITH HASH BROWNS

To make hash browns, cut 2 - 3 russet potatoes into 3/4-inch cubes. Boil or microwave them until they are slightly softened, about 5-7 minutes, and drain them. (Alternatively, you can grate the potatoes and cook them with the onions, flipping occasionally). Meanwhile, in a heavy skillet over medium heat, sauté 1 diced small yellow onion in 2 Tbsp. olive oil until the onions are translucent, and just starting to brown, about 5 - 7 minutes. Add the potatoes and sauté for about 5-7 minutes, until they are browned. Season with 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/8 - 1/4 tsp. black pepper and 1/8 tsp. garlic powder, or to taste. Serve them hot with salsa or ketchup, or topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, if desired.

I love serving good food to good friends or family. We were just remembering the other day how many pancakes Emma used to be able to eat. She could out eat her big brother and sister sometimes. Even her OT was amazed at the amount of food the child could consume! I know there will again be a day when she'll be able to feast at her Father's table, enjoying all the pancakes, watermelon with Pawtaw, strawberries, Rocky Road ice cream with Aunt Lori, and anything else her little heart desires.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cora, meet Emma




Cora is one mobile little girl these days. She must have a turbo crawl button, because she can get from point A to point B and everywhere in between faster than I can keep up with her. The other day she was pulling up on Emma's bean bag chair and discovered there was a pretty little girl in there who is in perfect reach and looks like a whole lotta fun to play with! So keeping Cora from hitting her big sister, pulling her hair or climbing all over her has become quite a challenge, or my newest work out, whichever you want to call it.

I had lunch with my good friend whose husband was killed in a plane accident last year around this time. She is doing amazingly well. She is forming a charity to help take care of widows and is trying to get legislation passed which will require all private planes to have insurance. Did you realize plane owners aren't required to have insurance currently? Even planes as big as 747 jets? Crazy! I'm hoping for some positive legislation to come from her efforts. She said these projects are what keep her sane. She wants something good to honor her husband. I totally understood. We both shared some of our struggles with each other and shed a couple of tears together. It was good to see her.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dedication and Blessings

Sunday Cora was presented before our church for prayer and dedication to the Lord. It was a time where we stood before the church and the pastor asked the congregation to lift us up in prayer and hold us accountable to raise her in a Godly home, one that will lead her to a relationship with Jesus once she understands about his love and sacrifice. She was presented with a certificate of dedication as well as a letter from the pastor to be opened on her 12th birthday, describing the events of the day and presenting the plan of salvation to her in case she has not already received Jesus as her Savior. She was so sweet. She was smiling and waiving to everyone. Carleigh and Luke were precious too. They were so proud of her. Emma was having a quiet morning and was awake in Kelvin's arms as we stood at the front of the church. Since Carleigh and Emma were about 4 months for their dedications and Cora was 9 months, I was relieved that Cora fit in the same little dress Carleigh and Emma both wore for their dedication day. After the church service we came home and had our family over for brunch. It was so yummy...quiche Lorraine, Spanish oven omelet, fresh tomato and basil quiche, sausage, fruit salad, rolls and orange juice. I'll have to give you the recipes later. We also had marble cake. It was in the shape of a cross and decorated in cream icing with pink highlights. It read, "Children are a blessing from the Lord," and had Cora's name on it...perfect! After we ate, Kelvin and I, as well as his mom and my parents, read blessings over Cora. My aunt gave me a book of blessings for children several years ago and we have used it for all the children. It's just a neat thing to take the time to actually speak blessings over your children. I think we'll take the time again real soon to speak them over the bigger kids now that they are older and might remember it more. I know Carleigh especially seems to really like it when I pray over her before she goes to school sometimes. I need to be more diligent about doing that! Enjoy the pictures...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Heaven is the Face

It has been said that God does not waste our hurts. We don't go through anything that He is not able to use for His glory. (Romans 8:28) When we face trials of any kind, He is able to use us to minister to those who may face something similar. Steven Curtis Chapman is a Christian singer whose daughter was killed in a freak accident. I hate he and his family are facing the grief of losing a child. His song has definitely ministered to my spirit.

(don't forget to pause the music at the bottom of the blog)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A perspective like Luke's

I love my kids. Each of them is so unique. Carleigh and Luke process things so differently. Luke is very concrete, black and white, say what you mean, mean what you say. He's so sweet in his faith, too. A while back, maybe a month or two ago, he told me he wanted to go see Jesus. We have all learned and believe Heaven is a wonderful place, Jesus is a fabulous friend, and his Pawtaw, Grandpa, and Aunt Lori are there, so he was thinking he would like to go there too. I had to explain that we don't get to decide when we go see Jesus, He does. I also explained that I would be very sad if that happened soon. I want him around here a whole lot longer. He seemed to understand and be fine with that explanation. So, the other day we explained to the big kids that if God didn't see fit to provide Emma with a miracle healing here on Earth, she would be completely healed in Heaven probably in the not too distant future. Carleigh internalized that information and didn't want to talk about it anymore. She writes and draws pictures and shares her journal with us on occasion. Luke, on the other hand, had several questions...

Luke: Mommy, when Emma gets to Heaven, will she run faster than me?
Me: Yes, Luke, I think she probably will.
Luke: Oh. Mommy, will Emma run faster than a deer?
Me: Yes sir, I think she will.
Luke: (with a sly little smile) Mommy, will Emma run faster than Jesus?
Me: No, Luke, I don't think she'll run faster than Jesus.
Luke: Okay...heeheehee.

He constantly tells his counselor, Mrs. Kathy, that he is hoping God will give Emma a miracle. Wouldn't it be nice to see it? I fantasize about it all the time. I know He is more than able. I also know it might not be His plan. I don't understand why, but I know He is bigger than my understanding. I'm glad He is there to comfort and carry us through this awful season of life.

Emma isn't doing so well. She has lost more weight and is incredibly thin. She sleeps a lot of the day, and only eats about two baby food jars worth of food a day. Feeding her is a very long process. She continually has seizures throughout the feeding, her mouth clinches shut, she cringes and cries out in pain or discomfort. It's the saddest thing I've ever seen. Her fingers and feet are a bluish tint, there are dark circles under her eyes some of the time, and her little body is in a constant curl. She is waking now, and is not comfortable...morphine to the rescue.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Hope you have all had your black eyed peas and greens! We're having ours for dinner in a bit. I love this day. A day for new beginnings. We're hoping this year brings joy and blessings for our family and yours. Can't wait to see what God has in store.
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