Friday, October 29, 2010

A Pumpkin Parable



A lady was asked by a co-worker what it was like to be a Christian. She replied, "It's like being a pumpkin: God picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off you may have gotten from the other pumpkins. Then He cuts the top off and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc. Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see."

I love the book by Liz Curtis Higgs, The Pumpkin Patch Parable.



It is such a sweet little book and a great reminder of what God does for us.



Missing Emma's sweet baby girl face this fall.



Check out this blog post for an opportunity to help with something amazing...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall Fun

We had the best time last night carving pumpkins. The kids loved scraping out the insides.
They did a great job drawing their pumpkin's face and carving their creations. Cora had a ball drinking a juice pouch, stealing cookies, driving (I use that term loosely) the golf cart, and chasing the other little one there.


I was so impressed with all the fancy carvings! Can't wait for nightfall so we can light our new front porch smiles!


Not much better than yummy food, all kinds of wonderful fun, and good friends! The kids had so much fun riding through the spooooky barn on the golf cart with the some of the dads. The camp fire and s'mores were a huge hit! And how could they not be? We ate some of the yummiest candy corn/popcorn! And the adorable candy corn cupcakes were terrific! They were so cute!


Of course, the chili cheese dogs and chips & dips were a huge hit too!

I hope you have carved a pumpkin or two too! We are looking forward to all the fun fall festivities this weekend! What are y'all doing?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday

How's your Sunday going? We had a good day in church. Really good music this morning paired with some good reminders from the Word, makes for a good day in church to me. How about you? Hear anything good, or not so good, maybe?

We're going to a pumpkin carving party this evening. I love fall. I wish the temp out was just a tad cooler, but it's okay. We will enjoy the fall festivities nevertheless. I'm headed to the store in just a minute to buy a couple of pumpkins and some food to add to the table. I'll be whipping up a batch of my, well one of my favorite dips, Texas Caviar. Have you tried it? Mercy, it will take you to a happy place! There are probably as many versions of this recipe as there are counties in Texas, but here is one I like to make.

1 15 oz can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz can black beans
1 15 oz can Southwest style corn
2 cloves garlic
handful chopped cilantro
2 T cooking/olive oil
2 T cider vinegar
1/4 t cracked black pepper
dash salt
Mix all together and chill overnight or several hours (or for as long a time period as you have.) Serve with chips or as a side dish, or just eat it straight out of the bowl, licking it when you're done.

I've tweeked it to fit our tastes, and that's the glorious thing about this dip. Put in it what you like.

I'm hoping to take some sweet pictures of the kiddos carving their pumpkins tonight. I forgot the camera or forgot to take it out of my bag when we carved last week.

Happy fall, y'all!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

PSA from Govenor Perry in Texas



I'm so glad people in position like Govenor Perry are taking the time to become aware and hopefully aid in the funding for rare diseases. Take some time to visit Beyond Batten and Batten Disease Support and Research Association to see how you might be able to help.


Emma, my precious princess

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Oh my

I received a call the other day from a desperate and hurting mama. She has received news from doctors that her sweet new little baby girl is probably blind. Of course there are tests that still have to be done to confirm the doctors' suspicions, but this is the news she has been given so far. I told this sweet mama I would pray for her little baby girl. Will you join me?

My very good friend and I were talking the other day, and she told me about her aunt whose brain tumor has returned after about 12 years of remission. She is currently out of work, has no insurance and is trying to get in to M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. She has a wonderful outlook, knowing that God is on her side, and believes He will use this for His glory to minister to others. WOW! I told my sweet friend I would pray for her aunt. Will you join me?

Another very good friend called recently and asked me to pray for her friend's daughter who passed away from cervical cancer leaving behind her husband and 1 1/2 year old son. Will you join me?

My sister is suffering from Interstitial Cystitis-Chronic Pelvic Pain. She is married with two junior high-aged kiddos. Her condition is very debilitating. I'll be praying for her too. Will you join me?

I hope this week brings more fall weather and opportunities to make many happy memories for you and your family.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How may I oblige you?

I find I'm not quick to share much about my life right now. Questions that were once surface level and easy to answer, are no longer so easy. Nothing is easy. Nothing is simple. Hopefully one day I'll be able to sort all of this through my head and answers will come quickly again, but not now. For now I will just listen to others speak and smile and nod...

I have met a few people recently who encouraged me to write more on the blog. They informed me that I need to give more insight as to the happenings in the Dunnam world. Frankly, I don't really know what to write most days. I mean, what do you really want to know? Life for everyone in our household seems pretty normal most days. You all probably don't really want to know about the days that are so hard to bear I wish I could close my eyes and never wake up, or the constant struggle I face of whether or not I should take something to help me through these rough days. Do you really want to know things like the fright that takes over my entire being when I can't see one of my kids for a second in the store or the sheer terror that consumes me when I can't hear the big kids playing in the backyard, or a hundred other things just like those? I wish I were more eloquent and could think of a way to write about the things that terrify me without sounding so (hmm, what's the word am I looking for?) weird.


I think it's just a little strange or maybe even a little insulting when someone I haven't seen in a while hugs my neck and says how sorry they were to hear about Emma, then looks at me with a slight head tilt and says, "how are you doing?" What do they want to hear? Would it make them happy to know my daily struggles? Do they really think everything is really already okay? It's only been 8 months, for crying out loud!! I remember going to the pediatrician a couple of months after Emma passed away, and someone in the office said, "are things starting to get back to normal now?" Seriously!? I buried my almost 4 year old daughter a couple of months ago! Will things ever be normal again? My standard answer has become something like, "hanging in there" or "we're making it." I guess I needed to vent a bit. Sorry. For the most part, we are doing pretty well, and I don't want to dig a hole and bury myself in it every day. But some days are very hard, and it really never ceases to amaze me what comes out of people's mouths. I'll never forget the words of one well-meaning woman one day, when upon looking at Emma (before her last couple of weeks with us) said, "poor thing is just wasting away to nothing isn't she?" How do you respond to that one without losing it in front of your children? Or maybe I should have lost it. Kelvin and I had a line we shared between us and a few of our friends when someone would say or do something that didn't set quite so well with us. We would look at each other and say, "they need a stupid sticker." One of our friends actually printed some "stupid" stickers for us. I wish I really could give them to some people.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Digging Out

I have begun efforts to dig my way out of the funk that's been consuming my life, my thoughts, my dreams. I guess some would call it depression, and maybe it is. But it's also grief. The two are probably intertwined. I mean really, who wouldn't be depressed after the loss of her child? It has been 8 months since we lost Emma, and I feel as if my head were going to spin right off my body sometimes, much like Beetle Juice. I can't concentrate, I don't remember things, I am quick-tempered and yell at my kids too much, anything sad is not good for me, and life is just not as sweet as it once was. It broke my heart one day when Luke was saying his prayers and asked that Mommy would sleep well and wouldn't be so gripey the next day. WOW! Ouch! The doctor said I need to grieve. I know he is right, but sometimes it's just more than I can handle. It's hard to admit that something is more than I can handle. I kind of like to have control of everything, don't you?

I took a couple of weeks off from Emma's Hugs work in the medical center. Sometimes meeting so many families who are struggling to fight for life for a sick child or grown men and women who are enduring stem cell transplants is more than I can bear. The time off was good. I rested and read a little and tried to take care of myself. This is a new week. Hopefully I'll be able to visit the medical center again at least once.

Forgot to give you the weekly menu...

Monday Fin(sp?)for yourself...kids eat at Mom and Dad's and Kelvin goes to school, so I don't usually cook

Tuesday Pecan Crusted Trout (Tilapia) with Orange Rosemary Sauce
This recipe was sooo yummy and I can't believe how easy it is to make. Serve it with Roasted Cauliflower Poppers and rice pilaf.

1-1 1/2 lbs. whole boned trout (have the fish market do this) or trout, tilapia or flounder fillets
1/2 cup pecans
1 tsp. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg, white only, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp. butter
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp. fresh or dried rosemary, chopped

(If you are making the cauliflower and rice pilaf, start them first.) Rinse the trout and pat it dry with paper towels. In a food processor, finely grind the pecans with the flour and salt. (If you do not have a food processor or don't want to dust it off, use a mallet to pulverize the nuts in a plastic bag, then shake it thoroughly with the flour and salt.) Using a pastry brush, brush the egg white on the flesh side of the trout (or both sides of fillets). Coat the fish by sprinkling the nut mixture onto the flesh and pressing firmly.

In a large nonstick skillet or a heavy skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, melt 1 Tbsp. butter over medium to medium-high heat. Add the trout, flesh side down. Cook it until the pecans are lightly browned, 5 - 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the orange juice and rosemary to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer it for a few minutes until the sauce is slightly reduced. Add 1 Tbsp. butter, stirring until it is melted. Reduce the heat to low to keep it warm.

Transfer the trout to plates (if using whole trout, cut them in half down the middle, if desired), pecan side up, and drizzle them with the orange-rosemary sauce.

Wednesday Spinach and (Saut├ęd) Onion Quesadillas

Thursday Slow Cooker Veggie Chili

Friday Speedy Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas

Saturday Israeli Couscous, Artichoke and Feta Bake

Sunday Hopefully deer steak on the grill with veggies

Monday, October 11, 2010

Charity Ball

I don't have any pictures, but Kelvin and I had a great time Saturday evening at Charity Ball, and he was lookin' HOT! The service league in our town puts on the ball every year, and this year we went. We had such a good time! The silent auction had all kinds of good stuff, and we came home with some really good loot! My friends and I even got to be back up dancers for the band! We visited with friends we haven't seen in a long time, and enjoyed ourselves into the wee hours! Looking forward to next year!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fall is in the air

We had a great weekend at the deer lease. The weather has been just gorgeous the past few days. We woke this morning to a crispness in the air. I love each season. I really enjoy what each one brings and find I am ready for the next one as soon as it arrives. God knew just what He was doing when He made seasons for us. I wish fall around our neck of the woods would last a bit longer, and sometimes winter is pretty much none existent, but I'm going to try to savor the change in the weather as much as I can.

Fall has found its home around our place too. I thought I would share some pictures of our house all "falled" up! I'm not the best photographer, and some of my pictures didn't turn out nearly as pretty as I think it looks in real life, but you'll get the idea...



Here's the view from the front porch




The Entryway...



The den...




LOVE Carleigh and Luke's sweet little preschool creations



The Eating Nook...


There are no chairs because Cora climbs in them and onto the table. Makes me a little nervous, so I moved them.




The Kitchen...





and the Laundry/Back Entry...




Of course, there are different seasons to our lives as well. When I was in the midst of being a new mom, delirious from lack of sleep and exhausted from lack of food and nursing for hours on end, I would remind myself it was just a season. Even though we are still changing diapers, and have been for the past 8 years, many of those two babies strong, the infant phase of our lives is gone. I miss swaddling a sweet little baby. They are only little bitty for such a short time. Now we're moving to a new season of our lives...bigger kids and all their activities. I wrestle with the knowledge that we only really have these little ones for a few more short years. Before I know it, they will graduate from high school and be out of our nest. Carleigh reminds us all the time she wants a "lime green slug bug." It seems like forever away in her little mind, but I know that day will come way too soon. We have faced many spring and summer seasons in our lives. We have seen falls and winters as well. As beautiful as winter can be, it can also be extremely cold and dark. I will have to rest in the warmth of the Savior's arms until spring comes again.

Here's what is for dinner this week...

Monday was leftovers for Kelvin and a sandwich for me. The kids do pasta with Grammy and Papa on Monday nights, and Kelvin goes to school, so I didn't cook.

Tuesday is Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole and Cheddar Cauliflower. Yummy fall comfort food with a healthy twist. You can find the recipe at Weelicious!

Wednesday will be Chicken, Cheese & Bean Quesadillas! Ole!

Thursday is Broiled White Fish with Lemon, Tomatoes & Olives from the Six O' Clock Scramble.

Friday is White Chili

Menu is subject to change or be swapped around without notice.

Friday, October 1, 2010

8 months

Today is October 1, 2010, exactly 8 months since my beautiful little girl breathed her last breath and left this world. My arms ache from not holding her. I miss her more each day.

The other day Luke said, "I just want to hold her."

I said, "I do too."

I love you, Emma.
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