Friday, August 22, 2014

This Week with My Luggage

Did you ever notice
that the first piece of luggage
on the carousel
never belongs to anyone?
~Erma Bombeck

Lookie who I got to hold Wednesday evening...

Let me back up...

Before we left Manila, last Saturday (09 August) all the missionary wives were afforded some lovely fillyship, first, at Chili's for lunch below.

in front from left Lolita, Becky, Donna, Nory
Next to me is Kathy right.

Lolita, Kathy and I then walked to Foot Zone where we met the rest of the ladies and each endured a 1.5 hour massage for P500 (US$12). What a treat!

We flew to Guam the following Wednesday (13 August) where Purpose Institute's semester 6 began. This was my first semester to teach as a "full fledged" instructor and 12 had registered for my class!

I'm an avid admirer of the Old Testament, so I embraced the challenge of teaching "Harmony of the Four Gospels" in the New. It has been thrilling, to say the least, studying the life of Jesus from the "slideshows" of the Gospel writers Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

In these photos above and below, I am sharing the testimony I recently heard about a minister who travels from underground church to underground church. He said that most pastors of these underground churches do not possess a complete copy of the Bible. 

You need to stop and let that sink in. Think how privileged we are. Many of us possess more than one copy of God's Holy Writ.

The minister also stated that often he is approached by the members of the underground churches, staring at his Bible. They look upon the Book in his hands and meekly ask, "Would it be too much trouble for you to let us just look in your Bible? I've never seen a whole Bible before."

He said he is occasionally asked after an underground church member has looked through his Bible, "Would it be possible," he or she begins, holding one or two pages between their fingers, "for you to tear out these pages and leave them here with us?" This account moved me so, I couldn't tell the story without crying.

At the conclusion of my class, I ask three questions:
-- What is something I learned tonight?
-- What can I apply as soon as I go home?
-- What can I study further?

During class, I noticed one young lady, McEllen, read our scriptures by looking at her classmate's Bible. I remember thinking, McEllen didn't even bring her Bible tonight. When I asked the students to share an answer from any of the concluding questions above, McEllen shared this personal testimony.

She said, "It's so true, this Treasure we have, this privilege of owning a Bible. I recently went back home to my island of Chuuk (chook; a Federated State of Micronesia) and of course I took my Bible. My cousin oo-ed and ah-ed over It. As I was packing my suitcase to leave, I felt a prompting in my spirit, Give her your Bible. I argued with the Lord over that," McEllen admitted as she tearfully told us her story, "but I obeyed and left my Bible with her."


My husband's teaching a class for ministers below, and Lesson 1 was on prayer. I attended his class and What I learned and What I can apply as soon as I go home was to pray with a list. I used to always pray with a list, so the very next time I prayed, I had my list. It was amazing the difference!  

Tuesday, August 19, our Boytes closed on their first house. They are so excited!


When we visit them for the first time in their home, we will take special note of two lists on the refrigerator:

Daddy-Do List
Momma-Do List

Speaking of... Handsome checked off our apar-tel list the installation of this shelf in the closet cabinet. Thanks, Babe!

Earlier this year, I shared that these were to be the colors in our 2014 fam' photo.

They were changed to "colors of the sea." Fortunately for me, I had this pretty aqua print in my fabric stash, perfect for a simple dress. I used two patterns to make it just like Mother's 1956 Football Court Dress I replicated.


In the photo, the sleeves nor the skirt are hemmed, and I can't wait to show you the most remarkably-installed invisible zipper you ever cast your eyes upon! *wink*

Finally, an encouraging update you've been waiting for regarding our sweet Amber Sullivan Todd. Thank you again for all your prayers for her.

We visited her Wednesday evening, the night we arrived on the mainland. However, I didn't feel right asking to take her picture; thanks for understanding. Happily I report that there is breath in her lungs, tubes no longer on her face-- Hallelujah!-- nor down her throat or nose, and she is chuckling and smiling and making everyone's life brighter!

When we entered Amber's room, I went straight to her bedside and began kissing her beautiful face. My voice caught when I whispered, "I'm pretending I'm Carolyn [her mother], and she's here, and this is what she would do." (Tearing up...)

After all that kissin' was done, Dave parked a chair at her bedside for me. "I just have to touch you, honey," I told her. "I have to feel you." Every so often I reached up and caressed her brow or cheek and I'd think, For Carolyn.

Prior to her emergency surgery last Saturday to repair the hole in her colon, Amber and her mother Skyped together, to say their goodbyes. (Remember Amber was not expected to even make it as she was prepped for surgery, much less make it to the other side of surgery.) Mother and daughter still have not been able to be with each other as Carolyn is at home recuperating from knee replacement surgery. My thoughts kept going back to that fact, to Carolyn, for Carolyn. This is what she would do. This is what Carolyn would say. (Here come the tears again...)

Jason continually relayed the goodnesses and blessings of the Lord through his family's harrowing ordeal. He said he felt the Lord impress upon him two things: Jaselyn would be born healthy, and Jaselyn would be paid for.

WHEN Jaselyn's mother's liver transplant takes place-- AND IT WILL!-- the cost for that organ will be at least $350,000! We're so thankful for their insurance! We will not fear; we put our full trust in an able God Who knows the beginning from the ending.

that the liver's enzymes will decrease.

When that happens, Amber's name will be placed on the liver transplant recipient's list.

Here are some pics of the fillyship I shared with Princess Jaselyn Shea Todd who had consumed "her entire feeding" at 8 p.m. that evening! She's gained two ounces and weighs four pounds, 12 ounces now. Her nurse said, "What a li'l piggy!"

OK, Dana, I'll give you a turn!

Jaselyn had taken a test-drive
in her carseat earlier that day!

Daddy Jason soaked up some fellowship, too!

Today, this moment,
all is right in our world...
thanks to the mercies of the Lord our God!

from left Our Justin, Jaselyn's daddy, and Handsome Husband

As we get over jet lag... but a great report of no cavities at the dentist Thursday, I bid you a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I'd Rather Be a Could-Be

I'd rather be a could-be
If I cannot be an are;
Because a could-be is a maybe
Who is reaching for a star.

I'd rather be a has-been
Than a might-have-been by far;
For a might-have-been has never been
But a has was once an are.
~Milton Berle,
American Comedian and Actor

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Get Over It

You can measure the happiness of a marriage
by the number of scars that each partner carries
on their tongues,
earned from years of biting back angry words.
~Elizabeth Gilbert

August 2011 iphoto

"Stay in there. Finish the fight. I'm sure during long operations, surgeons would like to quit, go home, and sleep for eight hours. But they can't. The open wound needs to be cleaned out and sewn up to heal.  So do arguments. Leaving them open is inviting gangrene into the relationship. You can take a 10-minute breather, but get back to business and sew it up.

"When I'm in the red-hot zone, I ask myself, How important will this be to me three months from now? Or if I found out I had an incurable disease? Chances are that the argument is not that important. Don't go to bed angry (see Ephesians 4:26). Besides, if you go to bed with unresolved anger, you'll be tossing and turning all night.  Get up and get over it.

"Thanks to our fight strategy, our arguments have been shorter, and we both end up 'winning' with a renewed sense of love and commitment to each other. That's something worth fighting for."

~ an old Christian Reader

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sunday's on the Way

Sunday clears away
the rust of the whole week.
~Joseph Addsion

1 a.m. Wednesday morning

Amber's Friday had been the best yet, everybody said. She had laughed. She was alert.

She had visitors. On their first wedding anniversary, Justin and Dana stopped by the hospital en route to their weekend-long Purpose Institute classes in Illinois.

Exactly a year later from this day...

15 August 2013

15 August 2013

... Dana and Justin were awestruck
by this tiny four-pound miracle.

15 August 2014

Saturday, though, was a different story. After Amber complained of pain and, "I can't breathe," a hole in her colon was discovered. To repair it, emergency surgery was scheduled.

The doctor painted black upon a pink-ribboned canvas. "With the toxins in her body, I do not expect her to live through the surgery."

"I'll call the family," Jason replied. "Her dad's on his way." Amber's mother was in another hospital as a result of knee replacement post-surgery complications.

"I cannot wait until her dad gets here. You need to say your goodbyes now."

I. cannot. even. imagine.

When our daughter Danielle heard the news, she packed a bag, jumped into her car, and with her husband's blessing, drove from Central Ohio to Missouri.

There were people praying around the world, round the clock as the minutes turned into hours. Day turned into darkest night, but Sunday was on its way.

Amber's doctors are amazed at how well she pulled through. They even used words like "doing remarkably well" and "very strong."

The added blessing as a result of the necessary surgery: The surgeon looked at the liver and found it to be in a condition in which Amber could survive another three months. "The liver looked better than we had thought, so this will afford us some time for her to not only stabilize and heal, but to make a more ideal donor-match for a liver transplant." She has to stabilize before this can happen.

So all of you prayed. Oh, thank you, thank you , thank you for those prayers!

When Danielle went in to visit her in post-surgery ICU, Amber "cried and reached out for a hug." Danielle said it was wonderful to see her "awake," though her hands were mittened to keep all the wires and tubes in place. Amber couldn't speak, but the two old friends communicated, smiled and enjoyed their short visit together. Amber conveyed her longing to hold her precious daughter again and even joked, "You need to have a baby, too, Danielle!" Danielle took that as a great sign to see Amber "joking around."

Auntie Danielle
got to love on baby Jaselyn
and feed her.
"Momma, she is the most beautiful baby!"

10 days old

When Dana held her,
the little peanut had the hiccups.

She texted me later saying, "Before I left I went in and told Jaselyn that her mommy made it and she just kept on sleeping there in her pink cammo jammies."

Later, Amber's bridesmaids were all there and made a memory for her.

Dana, Danielle far left
At the hospital
Dana, third from left, next Angela- Amber's sister,
Jaselyn's middle namesake Auntie Shea stands next to Danielle

After Danielle was safely back home in the heartland, she received this spectacular gem.

"No more mittens or tubes!"

"Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week" (Joseph Addison). 

God does all things well. Keep Amber in your prayers, please. Oh, how we appreciate you for them!

1:33 a.m.
Departing Guam, 6:15 a.m.

Laine's Letters: 12 August 1999

Whenever and wherever I shop,
I am praying for "eyes to see"
and "His will to be done..."
 I never want to go shopping
without the LORD!

"In My Home This Week"
12 August 1999
By Laine

Dear Sisters,

It has been such a nice week. My oldest boy spent the week in the Yucatan down in Mexico with his high school group. They worked in an orphanage there. And my son, Brady, was away at camp. So my husband took a day off to spend with me and the little kids (as we affectionately call them.) We went for a stroll by the sea and took the kids out for lunch. Since we don't eat out very often, it is a lot of fun for all of us. We had such a good time. Here's what went on in my home this week.

1~ We love to make muffins. Each time we make a batch, we have a few left over. This week I started a "muffin bag" in the freezer. So far I have two different kinds of muffins in there. Once I have a dozen, I will put them in a muffin tin and warm them up in the oven for everyone to try from my assortment!

2~ Remember when I worked at my friend's house who is down now with a difficult pregnancy? Well, I learned some neat things. One of them is how she takes a dish pan and puts odds and ends from the kitchen drawers in it. That way her kitchen drawers are not all cluttered. Then you can pull out the dish pan easily from the cupboard and see at a glance what you need. I did that with one of my drawers today using a dish pan that someone gave to me.

3~ There are some things that are too delicate to put in the washer. And the delicate things are so lovely to wash by hand, aren't they? Usually these are things that are finely made and require a little bit more attention. Today I did a small load of delicates in my bathroom sink. I use Fels Naptha soap just like Mama Tweten use to use for her wash. (Hopefully, you can find a bar of it in your local supermarket.) Then while I was rinsing these fine washables, I added a few drops of rosemary oil. What a beautiful smell! Next time I'd like to try lemon. My grandmother always used a lemon rinse in her wash.

4~ Since the zucchini dried so well last week, I dried yellow squash this week. It also dried so well. I will be drying a lot of it all summer.

5~ My peach tree did not do too well this year. But I still had a small crop. I sliced up all the peaches today, dipped them in water mixed with a little lemon, and froze some and dried the others.

6~ Rhubarb was on sale at the farm stand. My rhubarb is giving some problems, so I wasn't sure if I would have a crop this year. I bought some rhubarb and chopped it up, put it in a freezer bag, and put it into the freezer. Summer cake in the winter. Mmmmm. I also shredded up some zucchini in one cup measurements for winter baking as well.

7~ I ask the LORD to remind me of things I surely don't want to forget. He reminded me of one of those things today! My son's birthday is this week, but he is away at camp. So I wrote him a birthday card and sent it out to him that he might receive it in time for his 13th birthday. Another thing the LORD showed me just in time. I was getting ready to have my son take out the trash when I noticed it leaking. I looked under it and saw my house/car keys poking out of the trash. You can't imagine the shock on my face. How I was thanking the LORD for showing me my keys. How did they get there? How does anything like this happen in a house full of kids?!

8~ Some of my house plants were getting a little straggly. With Christmas coming, I hope to make up some plants for gifts. So I put the cuttings in pretty vases and set one of the vases in my kitchen (it is an old blue ball jar) and the other vase in my bathroom (it is an old blue sugar container). I'll keep an eye on them to see when they start to root and can be potted.

9~ Since I homeschool, my summer is the time for me to get lots of things done that I usually do not have time for during the school season. One of those things is shopping. I like to buy ahead for birthdays, special occasions, and Christmas. The summer is the season for me to do this. I got quite a few great deals this week and filled up the gift box in my closet. Now when a special occasion arises, I can go to my gift box and pull out a gift. It is much easier for me to "shop" there most of the year than in the stores.

10~ Since I will be doing some transplanting and potting for Christmas presents, I came across a wonderful old child's wheelbarrow at a garage sale this week. It was perfect to hold dirt for potting and all. I bought it for $2. Whenever and wherever I shop, I am praying for "eyes to see" and "His will to be done." I can't tell you how many times He will show me something I didn't see before at a wonderful price. I never want to go shopping without the LORD! It is a valuable part of my job, but I don't want to abuse the privilege as I use to do.

11~ I'm going to be making turkey enchiladas tonight. I love to use my mother-in-law's sauce recipe. It calls for 3 large cooking spoons of oil and 6 large cooking spoons of flour. I use the same cooking spoons as my mother-in-law which are these large, red granite ware cooking spoons. I also whisk the sauce with a wire whisk while adding the chicken broth and water to keep it free from lumps. Here it is:

Rachel's Enchilada Sauce
3 large cooking spoons of oil
6 large cooking spoons of flour

Brown together over medium heat. Then add:
3 crushed garlic cloves
6 Tablespoons Gebhardt chili powder (She says this is the only brand to use.)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups chicken broth (or water mixed with chicken broth)

Heat until thick and adjust thickness with a little water. Also adjust salt if necessary.

I take my corn tortillas and soften them in a little hot oil over medium heat. Then I fill them with shredded cheese and shredded chicken or turkey or beef. I roll them up and put them in a greased long casserole dish that has a little of Rachel's Enchilada Sauce in the bottom. Once I fill the dish, I put some more sauce over the top and heat the dish at 350 for 20 minutes or so. I save some sauce to keep warm over the stove and pour a little on each serving along with some shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced black olives, and shredded cheese. It's very pretty, but can be messy to make. My family loves these! They are not hot as the Gebhardt is not a hot chili powder. Just right.

12~ My son, Brady, makes a delicious salsa. So does his father. Here is Brady's recipe dictated to me when he was 10 years old:

Brady's Grilled Salsa
5 Tomatoes

Put directly on stove and char (keep turning until partially blackened and skin is loose). We have an electric stove and he doesn't use any skillet for this, just places the tomatoes right on the medium high burner. Peel tomatoes while submerged in a bowl of water. Put the peeled tomatoes in a bowl.

6 tomatillos (small green Mexican tomatoes in husks) with husks removed

Put tomatillos in a pan with 1/2 cup water. Cover, and heat over medium-high heat until color of tomatillos changes to a light yellow, about 5-7 minutes. Keep turning them. Add to the bowl above with the peeled tomatoes.

4 yellow wax chilies

Put directly on stove and char (keep turning until partially blackened). Cut off ends. (Don't remove seeds.) Peel charred skin gently with a sharp knife. Add to bowl with above tomatoes and tomatillos.

4 minced garlic cloves
Juice of one lemon
1 Tablespoon canola oil

Add to above bowl with tomatoes, tomatillos, and chilies. Blend all together with a hand blender until all fluid. Salt to taste. (May add some chopped cilantro, although Brady does not. His mom just likes it!)

If you do not have tomatillos in your area, you do not need to add them. My husband just made this recipe this week without the tomatillos. It was delicious. I can build a meal around my man's salsa!

Have a wonderful week, dear Sisters. It is a pleasure for me to serve this family and to share with you all what I am learning each week.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Special Prayer Request: AMBER SULLIVAN TODD

Saturday evening's updates have been added at the end.

Mrs. Amber Sullivan Todd
needs your prayers.

Both of our girls served as Amber's bridesmaids.

2003 ~ Manila

2003~ Manila
Our girls gave Amber her very first "official" birthday party.

Little did we know that 360 days after the next pair of B&W photos were taken below at Justin and Dana's wedding, Jason and Amber would be eight months pregnant with their miracle child.  See, several years ago, Amber was diagnosed with cirrhosis, a chronic disease of the liver that was likely a result of years spent in the Philippines as a missionary kid. (Not a drop of alcohol passed her lips, though besides hepatitis, alcoholism can also cause cirrhosis.)

15 August 2013

15 August 2013
Justin and Amber chat with the father of the bride 
at the Stouder wedding picnic.

I shared this photo earlier in the year. Pastor Jason and Amber Todd had joyfully announced to their flock that their little princess would arrive in September.

Last Friday, August 8, Amber's obstetrician noted a complication, so via C-section baby Jaselyn Shea arrived, named after her daddy Jason, her maternal grandmother Carolyn and her paternal Aunt Shea who is unable to bear a child.

After spending many hours in ICU, Amber was finally moved to another room and able to hold God's beautiful miracle gift in her arms for the first time.

08 August 2014

Princess Jaselyn Shea
(33 weeks gestation)
weighed 4 pounds, 10 ounces.


Here's Tuesday evening, August 12's update:

Calling all prayer warriors.
Amber Sullivan Todd
is in critical condition.
She is in the 4th stage
of cirrhosis.
She has ammonia
in her blood.
Infection in
the [C-section] incision.
And her liver
is not working enough
to fight
the poisons and toxins
to heal it.
They are moving her
from the baby floor
to the liver floor.
Jesus is
the only answer.

Next update:

Basically Amber has
urine in her blood
because her kidneys
and liver are not filtering
her blood.
They are trying to drain
her body of excessive fluid
that is making her
very bloated
[as seen in the Jaselyn photos].
Baby and Daddy Jason
are doing well.

Wednesday evening, August 13's update from our daughter Danielle:

"I spoke with Amber's parents.
Her dad has had shingles
since February.
Her mother is recuperating
from knee replacement surgery
she had on/around the day
Jaselyn was born,
and spoke with Amber today.
[Apparently neither of
Amber's parents are able
to go see their
youngest child of three
or their new grandchild.]
Angela, their oldest, says
Amber's appetite is returning,
although she has moments
of incoherence because
her brain thinks she's drunk
due to the toxins in bloodstream.
Amber is able to see
princess Jaselyn Shea
once a day."

Danielle relayed Amber's sister Angela's Thursday evening, August 14's update:

"Amber has not improved.
The ammonia in her blood
is causing hallucinations
and blurred vision.
Her doctors are saying
that if there is no improvement
this weekend,
they are going to try
to get her on a
[liver] transplant list."

Friday evening, August 15's update from our daughter Dana on her own first wedding anniversary:

15 August 2013

Jason and Amber Todd were there
one year ago.

15 August 2013

Exactly one year later,
Dana held li'l princess
Jaselyn Shea Todd in her arms.

15 August 2014
Dana's husband Justin looks on top left.
 Is that a smile, Baby Jaselyn?!

"Amber seems to be in
pretty good spirits.
Very tired though."

And from our daughter Danielle:

"The doctors
are discussing
transplant options
with Amber."

Saturday, August 16's update:

Friday Amber was alert,
laughing and had her best day.
In fact, it looked like
she would be well enough
to undergo
the liver transplant.

However, today
she began complaining
that she couldn't breathe
and felt pain.
The culprit, it was discovered,
was a hole in her colon.

Knowing the gravity
of Amber's situation,
her doctor instructed
her husband Jason
to call all the family in.
"Because of the toxins
in Amber's bloodstream,"
Jason was told,
"I do not expect your wife to live
through the [two-hour]
emergency surgery
to repair the colon."

At this writing,
Amber is in ICU
after coming through surgery
"as well as expected."
While the surgeon was "in,"
he looked at the liver
and says it looks better
than he thought it would
and stated, "She could likely
survive with that liver
for another three months."

Presently, Amber
has low blood pressure,
is swollen beyond
the reader's imagination,
and is on a ventilator.
Jason has been told that,
if Amber can stabilize
following the surgery,
she would be placed
at the top of the
liver transplant recipient list.

Folks, that's how we need to pray, please:  Dear Lord, stabilize Amber so she can receive the new liver. You gave Jason and Amber a miracle child. Is there any else too hard for You? [NO!]

In addition to your prayers for Amber, please remember Jason and both of their folks and families. Unless you have been where Jason is, you can only imagine the roller coaster of emotions he has experienced in the past week.

And Carolyn Sullivan, Amber's mother, was having knee replacement surgery in Illinois when Amber's OB delivered her miracle baby via C-section in Missouri; obviously, Carolyn didn't even get to be there. Now she is back in the hospital following the knee replacement surgery so she has not gotten to be there with her daughter during this traumatic event nor even hold or see her new granddaughter yet. Mothers/Grandmothers, put yourself in the Sullivans' shoes......

Hearing that the family had been called in, our girls got to the hospital as soon as they could; this was a feat. Justin and Dana were in Mattoon, Illinois, attending their first weekend of Purpose Institute classes. Danielle, of course, lives in CENTRAL OHIO! Justin drove Dana directly to the hospital, and Danielle shoved "a bunch of stuff" into a bag and she was out the door. Her six-hour drive turned into seven due to rain in Illinois.

Dana got to hold Jaselyn photo above and Danielle said she held and fed her tonight. "Mother," she sighed, "I'm telling you, she is the most beautiful baby in the world!" Isn't she pretty in the photos above?! She said, "She has a dimple in her left cheek." When I looked again at the photo above of Jason looking at Jaselyn in the isolette, I can see where she got that little dimple! Daddy Jason has one in his left cheek, too!

The girls crept their way back to Dana's house at nearly 3 a.m. Sunday morning. They will head back to the hospital after a little rest. After they hold and love on Jaselyn again and check on their beautiful friend Amber, Danielle must start back home in the afternoon sometime. I would appreciate your prayers for her for traveling mercies.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Make a Honeymoon Journal

A husband may forget where he went
on his honeymoon,
but he never forgets why.
~ Evan Esar

For our Stouders' honeymoon journal, I gutted Paul Gallico's ©1940 The Snow Goose for its lovely hardbound mustardness.

After removing the spine, gouging two holes and adding rings,

the fun began.

For dividers, vintage Anagrams tiles
were photographed upon lace

and doilies.

Envelopes to hold fun things, like clip art I saved when I made their wedding invitation.

And to hold little things.

Like a felt monogram.

A place to practice signing
her new "Mrs."

... and record memories.

Activities {from vintage books}
to combat
honeymoon boredom

For a donut-loving bride

Wedding gifts
A reminder to get those thank you notes written and mailed...

Good reads

Wedding day's devotion, page 1

page 2

n. marriage


First flight as man and wife

Making memories at the beach

Vintage map of the wedding city

Where a Missouri "mule"
a Tennessee "volunteer"

For this Honeymoon Journal bridal shower gift, I enclosed inside a snack-size zip-top bag a teensy bottle of Aleene's tacky glue {to prevent a problem in airport security}, a date stamp and an ink pad, and everything went inside a large zip-top bag for travel.

Happy Anniversary today, you two!

Inspiration for this gift
was found here on My Sweet Savannah.