12/24/09

Merry Christmas!

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

"My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name. AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM. He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble. HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS; And sent away the rich empty-handed. He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy, As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and his descendants forever." ~ Luke 1:46-55

11/11/09

Sometimes it's just nice knowing

photo by flicker
So yesterday Chris and I played hookie from work so we could get some important things taken care of. Most importantly the reason for us taking work off yesterday was so that we could both be present at the much anticipated doctors appointment where we could discuss fertility options (for those of you who don't know, Chris and I have been trying for a baby for one year now). Chris and I really wanted to work with The Center for Reproductive Medicine on the U of M campus because our good friends had so much success working with them to conceive their baby boy and they come very highly recommended for women who have PCOS. We unfortunately do not have the ability with our strict work schedules to drive back and forth between down town etc... for the numerous tests that would need to be preformed. Therefore we have been researching for a great OBGYN in our area. With prayer we were able to find Western OBGYN that actually is a satellite clinic for one of the doctors that works at The Center of Reproductive Medicine! This is very exciting to us because this means we will be able to get the same care, if not better, closer to home.

The appointment yesterday was a preliminary appointment where they went over our medical history and discussed options that would best suit our needs and concerns. Chris and I are looking at the beginning stages of infertility treatments and have thought, and prayed long and hard about how far we are willing to go. Our doctor thought it would be best for us to have some preliminary test taken to rule out some probable causes for us not being able to conceive. This would include getting Chris checked out to make sure he is not a contributing factor for our inability to conceive. It would also mean getting my glucose levels checked as well as getting an x-ray and ultrasound done to rule out tubal blockage, and endometriosis. Getting an ultrasound done will be beneficial for my doctor as well because then she will be able to determine what shape my ovaries are in (scaring, cysts, etc...).

My doctor believes that, pending the lab results, the best option for Chris and I at this time would be for me to start taking a prescription called Clomid, to assist my body in ovulation. She believes that my body is probably having trouble producing enough estrogen to ovulate completely. This is her speculation and she will know more after the test results come back. She may also decide to put me on a combination of Clomid and Metformin. Metformin is a diabetic medication that helps with the control of insulin resistance. If she determines that I am insulin resistant combining the meds will help my body have more chance to ovulate as too much insulin can cause hormonal imbalance.

Chris and I will be going into the clinic the day after Thanksgiving for our lab tests. Please be praying for us just that we can have wisdom and peace with the many different options and tests that we might be faced with. Also be praying for our finances because fertility tests can be expensive. I have a $3000 deductible so that has to come out of pocket before any insurance kicks in. Then insurance will only cover up to so much for fertility tests.

Its a nervous and exciting adventure we are embarking on because on one hand it makes us excited to know that we are getting closer to having a baby, and on the other side we are nervous for all that it entails, not just the "having" or "raising" of a baby, but the "trying" for the baby is a bigger worry for us because of the financial, emotional, and spiritual toll it can sometimes take. We decided to go see a fertility doctor to put our mind at ease, sometimes it is just nice knowing what is going on if we are able. There is no guarantee we will find out what is going on but for peace of mind we decided to try. Any encouragement and prayer you would like to give us is greatly appreciated, we are comfortable being open about what is going on.

Chris and I are very happy where God has lead us thus far in our marriage. We are a joyfully blessed family just the way we are, just the two of us. We relish our time together, and I often think about how much different our lives would be if we had a child, and am truly grateful for the time we have just Chris and I. Its not that we feel like we need a baby, or are unhappy without one, no matter what we want to be in God's will. Wherever, God wants us to be that is where we want to be. Yes, we truly have the desire on our heart to raise godly children one day, and at times this can be emotionally difficult, however our hope is in the Lord and His good promises, and to that end we stay encouraged with our infertility. Oh the great and wonderful plans the Lord has for us, plans to help us succeed, to become strong, to flourish and not to harm us, but to give us hope and a future.

11/9/09

Sparking People to loose the weight





I wanted to take a second and share with you a little news story that was done about the website I am using to track my food journal, weight, fitness etc... all in an effort to help me lose weight. SPARKPeople is a great website and very user friendly. Check out the video at:
http://www.sparkpeople.com/video/fox_video.asp
If you wanted to check out the website yourself just go to SPARKPeople.com

11/5/09

South Beach Diet Chronicles




So Chris and I have been trying to get pregnant for about a year now with no avail. We have done steps to find out what is going on and one of the major factors is that I have something called PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) which in laymen's terms means I have trouble ovulating due to blood sugar in my body throwing my hormones off balance. So how do you solve this? Well you have a few options, go on birth control pill to help with the hormones...um did I mention we are trying to get prego?, or you can take Clomid to stimulate ovulation, or 3rd and usually combined with the use of Clomid, loose weight! Simple Right...not exactly. One thing my doctor recommended was going on the South Beach Diet because it really does help with blood sugar stabilization. I have struggled with my weight much my life, and both Chris and I have the desire to live a more healthy active lifestyle so we thought we would do it. We started on Monday, November 2nd and I have already lost 8 pounds! You can visually see it yet, as I am sure much of it is water weight but something is happening! There is no doubt...this is super exciting for us so I thought I would post what we have been doing so far:


Ok here is my meal plan thus far:

Day 1

Breakfast: 8:30-9am
2 Hard Boiled Eggs - you may eat the yoke!
1 or 2 Cheese Sticks (usually 1 but depends on how hungry)
1 5.5fl oz V8 Juice (for veggie, this has a little sugar in it from the carrots, but is aloud on the SBD Ph1)
1 Snack Cup Sugar Free Jello (I like this because I can't have fruit on phase 1, you may also make your own sugar free jello at home to save a little $ and then poor in travel friendly sizes, you are supposed to limit "sweet treats" to 75 calories a day, usually a jello snack pack is only 10 calories)
If I am still hungry I can either have more eggs or have some sort of raw veggie like : Cucumber, snow peas, celery, broccoli, green peppers or a salad...but usually I an not that hungry. If you want to you can have black beans or some sort of legume to go with your eggs this is ok too.

Mid Morning Snack: 11:30-Noon
a salad or veggies and dip

for the Salad on Phase 1 you must look for Salad Dressing with out Sugar! this is hard so I usually like Newman's Own Oil and Vinegar dressing...there is no sugar in this so its a safe bet, you may also use his Balsamic Vinegar Dressing...it does have a little sugar but if you use sparingly he says its ok to use on the diet...not light...usually light dressings have more carbs so always go for the Regular.

For the Dip you can buy Ranch Dressing or Dip season packets and mix it with low fat Sour Cream....you need to watch how much dip

Lunch: 1-1:30pm
Homemade Chili: 2 Cans Crushed Tomatoes (no sugar), 1 bag of dried kidney beans prepared (canned kidney beans have sugar),Zucchini, jalapeno pepper, green pepper, 1 pound Extra lean Ground Beef or Ground Turkey, Spices: (make sure they don't have sugar in them) onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, 1 or 2 cups water to help the broth.

Afternoon Snack: 3:30-4:00pm
More veggies and dip or salad, cheese stick, or sugar free jello cup, chicken or turkey (no sugar) - (Chris and I grilled an entire bag of Chicken on Saturday so we could have plenty of chicken for the week for snacks etc... makes it easy)

Dinner: 5:30-6:00pm
Mustard Curry Chicken : Take as many frozen chicken breasts as you would like rise them season with curry powder, and coat with mustard of choice (no sugar). Throw in oven around 375 until done...sometimes I turn up the oven near the end to 400 to get it extra done...the way I like it.
Side Dish: Black Beans and cilantro - throw in mini crock pot or pan and simmer canned black beans with cilantro and garlic
Additional Side: Frozen Green Beans

Evening Snack: 7:30-8:00pm
Sugar Free (No Sugar Added) Fudgesicle

Beverages:
Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day, to flush out system it helps you loose water weight too! you will pee a lot at first but your body will stabilize. (That's 2 Nalgeen 32oz Water bottles full a day)
V8 100% Vegetable Juice - Not V8 Splash or Fusion
Crystal Light or Sugar Free Drink Mixes
Diet Soda (drink sparingly)
Coffee - No sugar added, Black
Tea - Sugar Free
No Alcohol as it is high in Sugar
No more than 1 caffeinated beverage a day!

Most importantly it says if you are hungry you need to eat!!! Not eating slows down your metabolism, so I eat pretty much every 2 hours even if I don't feel super hungry...and thus I have not had that crazed starving hypoglycemic feeling. I make sure I don't eat at least 2 hrs before bed but if I am really hungry after trying to drink water and other things...it probably means I didn't eat enough at snack time or dinner time and then I will have some low cal snack...but try not to eat at least 2 hrs before bed.

That is one day on the South Beach Diet - I can give you more ideas if you would like. 4 Things I recommend if you go on the diet

1. Buy this book as it will tell you all the food you can and cannot have: South Beach Diet Good Fats/ Good Carbs
2. No need to buy the SBD cookbook Check this website out for recipies! And SBD tips: Kalyn's Kitchen
3. Check these websites out for other SBD tips and support: South Beach Diet Plan & South Beach Diet 101 & just Google it lots of sites come up with ideas and tips.
4. Check out Spark People to track your SBD success for free!

Ask me if you have any more questions! I am not a dietitian or Doctor so you will want to talk with them first but I would be happy to share some tricks and tips I found useful!

10/21/09

Prayer Request

It has been awhile since I have posted anything, but I wanted to let you know that a very dear friend of mine is battling a very rare form of cancer called DPAM. Chris and I have been very busy trying to serve her and her family during this time. Below are two websites that we have created to help the family during this difficult time. Please feel free to check out Dana's CaringBridge website to learn more about what our friend Dana and her family is going through. This will also give you an idea of what whe have been up too lately. Thank you for all your prayers and support for the family. I will be updating the blog soon with some more info about our recent weekend away.

Dana's CaringBridge Website













Dana's Lots of Helping Hands Website

Hugs,

Chris & Joy

9/29/09

A Family of Two | MarriagePartnership.com

A Family of Two | MarriagePartnership.com
We didn't choose to be child-less, but we've discovered some great things about our marriage because of it.
Posted using ShareThis

9/22/09

Evoclin is my friend












So I have been prescribed the acne medication Evoclin for my face and I have to tell you I am so happy I finally went to a dermatologist and stopped messing around with over the counter meds. Not to mention that I didn't mess around when it came to finding a quality dermatologist. I highly recommend Crutchfield Dermatology...they are not the cheapest route but they are no BS if you know what I mean and they have a great staff that really listen to your needs and explain things. anyways...so after a few months of using Evoclin...it is rare if I get a breakout. Usually the only time that I get a breakout is after wearing makeup which is horrible for your face anyways. If I do get a breakout I dab a little of my convenient Evoclin foam on my face and vola overnight it is GONE! I love this stuff...but let me tell you it does have a hefty price tag. If your insurance doesn't cover it to buy it would cost you $299. Luckily Crutchfield knows about this and will help you get an insurance discount card so you can easily afford the medication. I was lucky enough to have my appendix out this year so my prescription deductible was meat so it didn't cost me anything...I guess we will see what happens when my insurance renews, but until then I am getting a free refill and using sparingly. Hope this encourages those out there that know the angst and pain of dealing with painful adult acne. Remember I am not a Doctor so Evoclin may not be right for you...check with your dermatologist for the best option. (I know, I sound like a prescription drug commercial)

Made an Offer!

















Chris and I made an offer on a house last night! This is the picture that is up on the MLS right now, unfortunately there are no inside pictures right now. We could be up against some competition on this house. This is ok, because we don't have a lot of wiggle room for our price, we are firm, therefore if we don't get it its just meant to be. Please pray that if it is Gods will for us to have this house that we will, and that if it is not that we would not be able to get this house. This house is a ranch style home...not the style I tend to gravitate too as I enjoy the wide open spaces of most split entry homes. However I have to say that this house is very cute! Not to mention my favorite part is that it has a LARGE kitchen! Plus they have done updates throughout. Finally it is really close to my church family which would be a huge blessing. I will be sure to keep you all posted!

9/17/09

DIY Garden Pots


photo credit: Carly Hennigan/ Istock
I have always wanted to start a container garden on my deck/patio, as I live in an apartment and do not have land to start my own garden. One problem, containers can be so expensive and the cheap ones break really easy after a few years. So I have been bound and determined to find a solution to my gardening container needs and thanks to HGTV I have finally found that recourse I needed. Here is a video that explains how to make your very own containers from practically any old container you have laying around. These containers look great, and when I finally get the chance to test this awesome gardening recipe out I will post my findings! Hope you enjoy.

DIY Gardening Pots by HGTV

9/14/09

NEW "New Moon" Trailers!

Click here for the latest trailers for the November 20th release of New Moon!

Meet Jacob Black










Picture thanks to Summit Entertainment


Expanded New Moon Trailer thanks to the VMA awards!









Picture thanks to Summit Entertainment


Its just around the corner!

9/11/09

Quick n’ Easy Crock Pot Lasagna

Serves 6- 8 people (depending on your crock pot size and how big you

cut your pieces.)


Lasagna is one of my favorite meals to make and I am always amazed by the number of people I talk to who think Lasagna can be difficult or too time consuming to make. I don’t like to spend a lot of time cooking and since I am an inpatient person when it comes to cooking I make my Lasagna with little prep time. I usually make my lasagna in my casserole dish in the oven but recently I discovered a super easy way to make Lasagna in a Crock Pot / Slow Cooker.

Now to save on time and money I usually make vegetarian Lasagna but if you would like to add meat you may do so. I will add special “meat step” to my fellow meat lovers out there.

The Ingredients:

You can make your lasagna as complex or simple as you would like, really there are no rules. Just relax and have fun with it.

  • 1 Box Regular Lasagna Noodles (you may use the “no boil / oven ready” noodles if you wish, however this is not needed and can cost more $)
  • 2 – 14.5oz Cans of Tomato Sauce (you may substitute your favorite pasta sauce but I like to make mine from scratch to save on crabs and preservatives)
  • 2 – 14.5oz Cans of Crushed or Stewed Tomatoes - Do Not Drain!! You need the extra moisture for the crock pot. (Feel free to mix it up with Crushed Tomatoes with green chilies or with Italian seasonings…or whatever kind you prefer)
  • 2 – 14.5oz Cans of Diced Tomatoes – Do Not Drain!! Once again you need the extra moisture
  • 1 – 6oz Can of Tomato Paste
  • 4 – 1Cup of Mozzarella Cheese (I usually use about a cup of cheese per layer of noodles, feel free to use more or less depending on your tastes.)
  • 4 – ½ Cup of Parmesan Cheese (once again feel free to use more or less depending on your tastes, I usually just sprinkle on a medium coating over the mozzarella cheese per layer of noodles)
  • 1 – 8oz Can of Mushrooms – Do Not Drain!! Once again you need the extra moisture
  • 1 – Medium/ Large Onion – Chopped
  • Italian Spices to Taste – (Have fun with this part, and don’t worry too much about exact amounts. I spice by looks and taste so the Spice Suggestions below are just general guidelines to follow.)
  • ¼ Cup of Garlic Powder
  • ¼ Cup Parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons Basil
  • 2 Tablespoons Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoons of Bay Leaf

Optional Ingredients

  • 1 – 8oz or 16oz Ricotta or Cottage Cheese (Small Container, If using Ricotta Cheese consider putting one additional can of crushed tomatoes in)
  • 1 Package Spinach (use fresh or bagged next to the lettuce in the grocery store)
  • 1 – ½ pound Meat (Hamburger, Italian Sausage, Ground Turkey, etc…)
  • 1 – ½ or 1 cup Chopped Veggies (zucchini, peppers, broccoli, okra, cauliflower, eggplant, etc… If you are using frozen vegetables this will help the moisture of your lasagna)
  • 1 – ¼ cup water (put the 1/4 cup of water into your empty pasta sauce jar/can. Pour tomatoey juice over the whole pile of food for added moisture if your lasagna is looking to thick after adding the added ingredients.)

The Directions:




My Crock Pot





For the Meat Lovers Start Here:

  1. Brown Meat and Drain. (If you don’t drain your meat you may put in some of your chosen spices with the meat during the browning process for extra flavor.)

For the Vegetarians Start Here:

  1. Mix together tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, crushed / stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, mushrooms, onions, remaining spices and any optional ingredients i.e. vegetables. (Vegetarians need to use a separate bowl, Meat Eaters you can mix all of this in with the meat on your stove. Remember to save a jar, don't rinse or throw away if you are going to use some of the optional ingredients!)
  2. Spread one cup full of sauce mixture into the bottom of your Crockpot. (this helps prevent burning or sticking of the noodles)
  3. Top with a layer of dried lasagna noodles. (No Boiling Required! You'll have to break them to fit, and little pieces will fly all over the place. Don’t worry about getting the pieces to lay pretty, I usually just break up a bunch of noodles and throw them in.)
  4. Top with a layer of sauce mixture. (Always layer sauce on both sides of noodles for added moisture to help them cook)
  5. Top sauce with your layer of Cheese (I usually put my cup of mozzarella down first then sprinkle the top with an even coating of Parmesan cheese. If you are using Ricotta Cheese then put this down first then layer mozzarella etc… on top)
  6. Top Cheese with a thin layer of sauce mixture
  7. Top with dried lasagna noodles.
  8. Top with sauce again.
  9. Top with cheese.
  10. Repeat steps until you have filled your crock pot ending with cheese as the final layer.

Tip: For Denser Lasagna’s consider pouring the 1/4 cup of water into your empty pasta jar and shake. Pour tomatoey juice over the whole pile of food before your last layer of cheese. This will help keep your Lasagna from becoming too dry.


Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. If your crock pot cooks hot like mine I only cook it on low for 4 hours. If it is your 1st time trying this recipe I recommend the 4hr time for your first run, if it does not seem done you can always put it on for longer. If you are cooking meat make sure you have cooked it completely before placing it in crock pot.


Printer Friendly Recipe (Copy & paste text listed below)


Quick n’ Easy Crock Pot Lasagna - Serves 6- 8 people

The Ingredients:

1 Box Regular Lasagna Noodles

2 – 14.5oz Cans Tomato Sauce

2 – 14.5oz Cans Crush or Stewed Tomatoes - Do Not Drain!!

2 – 14.5oz Cans of Diced Tomatoes – Do Not Drain!!

1 – 6oz Can of Tomato Paste

4 – 1Cup of Mozzarella Cheese

4 – ½ Cup of Parmesan Cheese

1 – 8oz Can of Mushrooms – Do Not Drain!!

1 – Medium/ Large Onion – Chopped

Italian Spices to Taste –

¼ Cup of Garlic Powder

¼ Cup Parsley

2 Tablespoons Basil

2 Tablespoons Oregano

1 Tablespoons of Bay Leaf

The Directions:

  1. Mix together tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, crushed / stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, mushrooms, onions, remaining spices and any optional ingredients i.e. vegetables in separate bowl.
  2. Spread one cup full of sauce mixture into the bottom of your Crockpot
  3. Top with a layer of dried lasagna noodles.
  4. Top with a layer of sauce mixture.
  5. Top sauce with your layer of Cheese
  6. Top Cheese with a thin layer of sauce mixture
  7. Top with dried lasagna noodles.
  8. Top with sauce again.
  9. Top with cheese.
  10. Repeat steps until you have filled your crock pot ending with cheese as the final layer.

  1. Cover and cook on low for 4- 8 hours.
Recipie Provided by Joy Harings

6/9/09

Encouraging Verses from a friend

I got these encouraging verses from a friend today and I thought they were so great I immediately needed to post them to share. I am definitely going to be pondering these for the next few days.

Psalm 112:7
"They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them"

2 Timothy 1:7
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

Let me know if this encourages or speaks to you in some way today.

6/1/09

New Moon

Check out the New Moon Trailer just released under the video section of this Widget. I can't wait until November, and this time the movie looks better.

5/15/09

If you are a Jane Eyre fan

So I absolutely love the book Jane Eyre and being such a fan have desired to find a movie that stays true to what I love about the book. So I am going to gush here but bare with me. There were so many different versions of the book on film that it has taken me some time but I think I have finally found my favorite. Since I have discovered my favorite and did all the pre-screening for you I thought I would share. I have been doing this with a few of Jane Austin's books as well but I figured I would start with Jane Eyre first. As you know the books are always better then the movie, but if you are going to watch the movie, watch the good one.

Jane Eyre
There are actually a lot of movies out there for this book. My favorite however is Masterpiece Theater's 2006 version of Jane Eyre.
Toby Stephens, Francesca Annis and Ruth Wilson star in this "Masterpiece Theatre" production of the Charlotte Brontë classic about the titular governess who, resist she may, falls deeply in love with her employer, Edward Rochester. Blissfully, he, too, feels the same way, but fate tears them apart. The wrenching tale is packed with sorrow and missed opportunities, but in the end, true romance finds a way to a satisfying, if unexpected, ending.

My Review:
This adaptation of Jane Eyre is my favorite version and exceeded my previous love for the 1983 Timothy Dalton adaptation of the movie. Although Timothy Dalton's movie was entertaining it had many limitations; one being suspense. The Masterpiece Theater rendition is both cinematic, suspenseful, entertaining and faithful to the book. Since Charlotte Brontës Jane Eyre is a 500 page book it is often difficult for the film to stay true to the story while keeping it a reasonable watching time length. However, writer, Sandy Welch was able to stay true to the book all while keeping it to a 4 hour program. Jane's childhood is told in less then 30 minutes and omits Miss Temples character yet it still accurately portrays how Jane lost herself in books and lead a very lonely childhood. Actress, Ruth Willson has given by far the best interpretation of Jane that I have seen. Although she is very lovely she has a sort of forlorn, simple, sadness look to her. I feel that Ruth Willson truly understood how to accurately portray Jane's kindness and intelligence just as Charlotte Bronte wrote her. Toby Stephens plays the mysterious Mr. Rochester and gives a very captivating and thoughtful performance. Toby Stephens is also much more dashing than I imagined Mr. Rochester although his beauty does not take away from the story as he has a harshness to him that makes his character work. By far this is the most Romantic version of Jane Eyre I have ever seen. The Ruth and Toby have amazing chemistry on screen and leave the viewers heart beating. The flirtation and tension between the characters seems very realistic and natural. Although, there is one scene in the movie where their physical relationship is slightly more intense than in the book, director Susan White does an excellent job of keeping the one appropriate and clean. Since the movie is not rated if I were to give the movie a MPAA rating I would say it is PG as there is no nudity however, there are some scary scenes and concepts that children may not grasp. Overall this movie was visually stunning, well-acted, and a sincere retelling of the beloved book. I could easily watch this movie over and over again. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

5/14/09

Venting to God is OK

I am subscribed to the GCC Faithwalkers Journal which has short daily devotionals/ words of encouragement, and today's Journal was especially significant to me today. I have been feeling pretty emotional lately and its a good reminder that I can go to God with all my crap as well as all my praise. This isn't always easy for me to remember but I often find out that when I go to Him first before Chris or a girlfriend...I process through things better, am way more encouraged, and then therefore know how to communicate my feelings and struggles to other. Plus I feel closer to God and more able through Gods strength to deal with all the crap this world throws at us sometimes. I hope this encourages you today as it did me.


Struggle With God - Thursday May 14, 2009

from GCC Faithwalkers Journal by Mike Bergen


God said to him, 'Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.' So He named him Israel. Genesis 35:10

"Israel" is the name God has chosen for His people for the last four thousand years and until Jesus returns-from Genesis to Revelation. Since this name has such high publicity around the world, do you know what it means? "He struggles with God." For some of us this might not seem very complimentary, but I'm convinced God gave it as a compliment to Jacob. Normally, it doesn't seem very kind to struggle with someone. But life is full of struggles. Jacob's life had been full of struggles. In fact, his name "Jacob" meant "he grasps the heel" or "deceiver." It came from hanging on to his brother's heel when he came into the world as a twin. Then throughout his life he struggled with his brother, his dad, his uncle, and his wives. Finally, when he struggled with God, God was pleased and gave him a new name. Another person who struggled with God a lot was David. You can read about the struggle of his thoughts and feelings toward God in the Psalms. And God called him a man after His own heart. God wants us to come to Him with all of our problems and negative feelings. He wants us to "vent" ourselves on Him and struggle with Him. He wants this because He knows that when our focus is on Him, He is able to communicate with us, which enables Him ultimately to help us. It really doesn't matter what our motive is for coming to Him. But if our focus is elsewhere-whether we're happy or not-he'll have difficulty communicating. So let's be like Israel and go to God whenever we feel we need to struggle.


Mike Bergen
Lee's Summit Community Church

4/28/09

All Your Appendix Are Belong To Us...Continued


I wanted to give everyone an update on how things are going with me, and share some of what actually happened since I have been getting a lot of phone calls. Well anyways the entire Appendix Saga started on Thursday night around 8:30pm, I was just getting back from spending some time with some girlfriends. I was feeling a little tired but otherwise fine when I was hanging out with the girls, but by the time I got home I started to have sharp pain in my stomach.

I assumed it was either gas or indigestion so I decided to try some Rolaids as this has helped settle my stomach in the past. As I don't get sick to my stomach or even indigestion very often I figured it was just a bad case of it. I told Chris to go to bed without me that night as I wanted to stay up until my tummy felt better. Well it was around 11:30 that I started getting so nauseated that I wanted to vomit, although however I couldn't do it. I then started to get the chills and started getting all shaky...I was feeling so sick but still thought it was some weird stomach thing, like gas or constipation or something like that. I tried going to the bathroom and walking around and all the fun things you try to do when you feel like that and nothing seemed to work.

Finally at 3:00 am I went into the bedroom and finally woke Chris up cause I was hurting so bad. He rubbed my back for awhile and also he gave me some Maalox to help settle my stomach. Finally I just passed out mostly from exhaustion and fighting the pain all night. I woke up with him at 5:00 and he said that I should go see the Dr. when the clinic opened at 8:00am. I agreed that I should go see the Dr. but I told him I would see how I felt at that time, and if I felt better that maybe I should wait it out. I was also worried about missing work.

So at 8:00 I decided that I would go into work and make an appointment with my Dr. during my lunch hour as to avoid waiting for a long period of time in the urgent care lobby, and also to hopefully pay less in expensive medical bills. I went into work and explained to a few co-workers how my stomach was very upset and how I went on to WebMD to try to figure out what it might be and hoped that it wasn't something serious because every time I went to the symptom checker and I listed my symptoms I would get a window saying "Please seek emergency medical attention right away." I was like "blah" it can't be that bad, and my co-workers also tried to reassure me that it probably was constipation or indigestion or something like that.

So anyways at my lunch time I went into the Dr. office and was like "so my tummy is really bothering me it hurts a lot with sharp pains in my sides and I was thinking it might be really bad gas or constipation or something, can you give me something to settle my stomach?" My Dr. was like you are probably right its probably just constipation but I want to do an exam. So she had me lay down on the exam bed and she pushed and poked around my stomach and listened with her stethoscope. She was like, "humm its kinda quiet in there," and "humm it hurts when I push on your lower right side? I think we should take a few X-rays." So after taking a few X-rays, my Dr. was like yeah I am going to need to do a more invasive exam. After doing the "fun" exam she was like "yeppers its your appendix." To which I was like "yipee! I get to go in surgery!" Just kidding. I was more like "really? hu?" She did all the fun pre-opp questions, and then said that she was going to call the surgeon to see what he thought. The surgeon was like "I would like to see her as I am fairly confident it is her appendix." So my Dr. told me to call my husband and let my work know that I would be going into surgery that day. She discharged me with all the fun paperwork that I needed to take to the hospital and wished me good luck.

I called Chris immediately and told him that he should come home from work and pack things just in case they needed to keep me overnight at the hospital. When I got home I immediately took a shower thinking to myself that if I did go in surgery the last thing I would want to do is take a shower when I was done. I also changed into my comfy clothes and by that time Chris was home. We packed up the laptop and a movie, and some books and off to the hospital we went.

When we got to the hospital we registered and then went up to my room. They wanted to bring me down into surgery right away but I was like "Whoa, I need to talk to the Dr. first." So finally the Dr. examined me and let me know he was 99.9% confident it was my appendix and that I should go into surgery. So off to surgery we went!

They prepped me for surgery with lots of poking and prodding. I actually got an IV for the first time in my life. So exciting! Not really, I was so dehydrated from not being able to eat or drink anything due to the pain that they had a lot of problems trying to find my veins. They finally stuck it in my arm. Note to anyone who has not had an IV, tell them to go for the forearm verses the hand...I don't think it is such a sensitive area. They tired forever in my hand and I think I was about ready to punch the nurse.

So then they gave me the anesthesia which was a lot of fun. I always try to fight it as long as possible to stay awake. One, because I am very inquisitive of my surroundings. The second reason is because I don't want them to think I am sleeping before I really am. So anyways the nurse was like just tell me about how you and your husband met, and think about an island and....

Next thing I knew I was waking up and the nurses were like "you did such a good job sweetie" and I was like "You guys are awesome!, you did a good job" and when they kinda just smiled and didn't say anything I said it again like 10 more times because I really wanted them to know they did a good job. Mind you I think the fact that I was coming out of anesthesia hand nothing to do with it. lol So as I laid there in the recovery room after surgery before going up to my room my mind was racing with thoughts of how cold it was, as well as how I really wished I could roll on my side to go to sleep but I couldn't seem to make my body do that. They also had this really cute stuffed animal of a puppy sitting on the reception desk and I kept thinking to myself, "Puppy! he is so cute!" Anesthesia makes you think the craziest things. The surgeon finally came in and let me know that I did a tremendous job and that it was defiantly my appendix. I was like "Thank you you are awesome!" He just laughed at me.

Finally they moved me upstairs into my room when I finally got to see Chris. I stayed in the hospital overnight and was able to watch HGTV which was pretty exciting for me as I don't have TV reception at home. I had to take some fun pain medications as otherwise I felt like someone riped out my insides. I also had to get up and go to the bathroom a few times...boy was that so not fun. Finally on Saturday morning however they let me go home. More to come on the home recovery.

All in all my hospital experience was great. I had the nicest nurses and greatest Dr. I had a nice big room to myself and I didn't even mind the liquid diet. I defiantly wouldn't wish appendicitis on anyone but I was truly blessed to have such great people working on me. Although this not been fun, God still blessed Chris and I in this experience.

More to come soon...

4/24/09

All Your Appendix Are Belong To Us

This is just a quick update to let everyone know, because I don't have access to Facebook right now, that I had my appendix taken out at 3:20 PM today. More fun pictures and things to come. Please just keep me in your prayers, but I am doing well.

4/21/09

Cascade 2009 - Resturants & Things


So every year around April 4th or so Chris and I make the weekend trek up to Grand Marais, MN. This year however we decided to take some pictures of some of our favorite stomping grounds, and bizarre novelties we spot every year when we are in Grand Marais.
How about going to the local blacksmith to get some new horseshoes!


Ah the world famously over priced Sven and Ole's Pizza where you can enjoy average tasting pizza at an expensive price. Not to mention you get to eat it in the comfort of your very own booth complimentary with your very own moose head! Did I mention that the Swedish accent of the server is authentic!
The Blue Water Cafe is the best little dinner in town. They make the most creamy blueberry malts in the state! They are by far, hands down the best malt I have ever had. Their menu includes a variety of home cooked American favorites, including all you can eat Friday Night Fish Fry and Saturday Night Steak Fry. They are extremely family friendly and even play some surprisingly upbeat music.


Beth's Fudge and Gifts is one of my favorite little stores to go into. She usually isn't open until May but she does offer a wide variety of Fudge flavors and has a more unique selection of affordable gifts then some of the other shops in town.


Did I mention that the Ben Franklin & Joynes Dpt. Store? It think this store would be equivalent to a tiny merge between an Ace Hardware, Fleet Farm and Target or something. It is the only department store in a very small town and did I mention it is a very tiny store? It carries a wide variety of things everything from moccasins and high class hiking boots, to cheap souvenirs. I would recommend bringing the kids here for an inexpensive souvenir. However, Claustrophobic be warned as this store has extremely narrow isles. Finally, if you forgot to pack something in your suitcase you are sure to find it here.
Now maybe its just me...but nothing says Live Bait like a giant creepy Fish going through the side of your shop, and a name like Beaver House.

I am a quality time lover

Ok, so we did this Love Language Test in our last small group and I thought it was kind of fun so I thought I would share. As Chris and I discovered it was a bit more challenging to take this test then we first thought it would be. What you are supposed to do (I think) is pick the sentence that best describes you or that you most agree with. Basically the option you are more drawn too, but it’s not easy to choose between them. Its like saying choose either the statement "I like peanut butter" and "I enjoy long car rides" they are completely unrelated, and you might agree with both statements. How do you choose something you agree with more? Anyways I did the test and although I felt like my top language was correct, I felt that the numbers might be a little off. My 1st love language is quality time. I tied on my second place language with Words of Affirmation and Receiving Gifts. Although I agree with the Quality Time and Words of Affirmation part, I am not entirely sure I agree with the receiving gifts part. I mean I love to get gifts, especially on my Birthday or Christmas, however I am kind of picky when it comes to gifts, I like practical things. Often times I consider different acts of services like a gift too me. So either I am completely out of touch with my inner love languages or the test might have confused my love of acts of service with my love of receiving gifts. Well I guess I will leave that decision up to those who know me best. Hope you enjoy taking this test. Let me know what love language you get.

LOVE LANGUAGE TEST:

1. I like to receive notes of affirmation. (A) – OR – I like to be hugged. (E)
2. I like to spend one-to-one time with a person who is special to me. (B) – OR – I feel loved when someone gives practical help to me. (D)

3. I like it when people give me gifts. (C) – OR – I like leisurely visits with friends and loved ones (B)
4. I feel loved when people do things to help me. (D) – OR – I feel loved when people touch me. (E)

5. I feel loved when someone I love or admire puts his or her arm around me. (E) – OR – I feel loved when I receive a gift from someone I love or admire. (C)
6. I like to go places with friends and loved ones. (B) – OR – I like to high-five or hold hands with people who are special to me. (E)

7. Visible symbols of love (gifts) are very important to me. (C) – OR – I feel loved when people affirm me. (A)
8. I like to sit close to people whom I enjoy being around. (E) – OR – I like for people to tell me I am attractive/handsome. (A)

9. I like to spend time with friends and loved ones. (B) – OR – I like to receive little gifts from friends and loved ones. (C)
10. Words of acceptance are important to me. (A) – OR – I know someone loves me when he or she helps me. (D)

11. I like being together and doing things with friends and loved ones. (B) – OR – I like it when kind words are spoken to me. (A)
12. What someone does affects me more than what he or she says. (D) – OR – Hugs make me feel connected and valued. (E)

13. I value praise and try to avoid criticism. (A) – OR – Several small gifts mean more to me than one large gift. (C)
14. I feel close to someone when we are talking or doing something together. (B) – OR – I feel closer to friends and loved ones when they touch me often. (E)

15. I like for people to compliment my achievements. (A) – OR – I know people love me when they do things for me that they don’t enjoy doing. (D)
16. I like to be touched as friends and loved ones walk by. (E) – OR – I like it when people listen to me & show genuine interest in what I am saying. (B)

17. I feel loved when friends and loved ones help me with jobs or projects.(D) – OR – I really enjoy receiving gifts from friends and loved ones. (C)
18. I like for people to compliment my appearance. (A) – OR – I feel loved when people take time to understand my feelings. (B)

19. I feel secure when a special person is touching me. (E) – OR – Acts of service make me feel loved. (D)
20. I appreciate the many things that special people do for me. (D) – OR – I like receiving gifts that special people make for me. (C)

21. I really enjoy the feeling I get when someone gives me undivided attention. (B) – OR – I really enjoy the feeling I get when someone does some act of service for me. (D)
22. I feel loved when a person celebrates my birthday with a gift. (C) – OR – I feel loved when a person celebrates my birthday with meaningful words. (A)

23. I know a person is thinking of me when he or she gives me a gift. (C) – OR – I fell loved when a person helps with my chores. (D)
24. I appreciate it when someone listens patiently and doesn’t interrupt me. (B) – OR – I appreciate it when someone remembers special days with a gift. (C)

25. I like knowing loved ones are concerned enough to help with my daily tasks. (D) – OR – I enjoy extended trips with someone who is special to me. (B)
26. I enjoy kissing or being kissed by people with whom I am close. (E) – OR – Receiving a gift given for no special reason excites me. (C)

27. I like to be told that I am appreciated. (A) – OR – I like for a person to look at me when we are talking. (B)
28. Gifts from a friend or loved one are always special to me. (C) – OR – I feel good when a friend or loved one touches me. (E)

29. I feel loved when a person enthusiastically does some task I have requested. (D) – OR – I feel loved when I am told how much I am appreciated. (A)
30. I need to be touched every day. (E) – OR – I need words of affirmation daily. (A)

TOTALS:
A. Words of Affirmation
B: Quality Time
C: Receiving Gifts
D. Acts of Service
E. Physical Touch

WHAT IS A LOVE LANGUAGE?
A love language put simply is how you express and perceive love. Basically its how you show love to others, and what others do to you that you understand as love. Gary Chapman wrote a book on this called "The Five Love Languages." You can learn more about your love language and take more tests at his website: The Five Love Languages

P.S. Ok I take it back I think after reading more about what the Love Language Receiving Gifts, I might be inclined to this one…but I am still very practically minded when it comes to these. Chris is also a Quality Time lover but his second is Acts of Service.

4/20/09

The Zoo with The Smith's

Chris and I recently had the privilege of spending some time with The Smith's while visiting Como Zoo, in St. Paul, MN on Easter weekend. It was quite the zoo there literly but we had a blast spending time with their family getting to know them better. Xavier their little boy was such a fun little boy fun of energy and excitement. Here are some fun pictures of the day.

This is Xavier and his mama Alexis in the Fern Room of the Conservatory. Xavier was having a blast running up and down the isles and playing in the little stream there.

This is a close up that Chris was able to get of Xavier on Dougs back. Doug and Alexis were trying out their baby backpack thingy for the first time. I think that Chris got a great shot!

Here are the Smiths and My back as we were examining the Lions Den...to bad we weren't posed for this shot...but its kind of fun anyways.

Spring is in bloom for with Easter Lilly's in their flower room.

Doug said he liked the Big Fish at the Zoo so we made sure to get a picture of it.

I love this goldfish pool and beautiful statue.

These are my favorite little guys. I always tell Chris I waddle just like a penguin when I walk.

More flowers in bloom.

Pretty Kitty!


Shakopee Fire

So my co-worker and I were coming home from Lunch one day when we saw this huge cloud of black smoke in the air. We kind of joked to each other that RTI was going up in flames and we would have to take the day off. Well RTI was ok, but directly across the street...ok freeway (169) from RTI was a huge brush fire that had gotten out of control.

Unfortunately when we were stuck on 169 in bumper to bumper traffic we didn't think to take pictures of the awesome flames. We had a good excuse though...we were trying to figure out which option would be better; to either roll down the windows, or to keep them up as we couldn't breath as smoke was filling the car. 169 was clouded with the smoke that was coming from the brush fire, and since there was bumper to bumper traffic we had little options but to just wait there while the traffic cleared.

Luckily for our lungs it cleared quickly and on our drive up the frontage road to RTI we finally remembered to stop and take some pictures. The rest of the day we spent smelling like we had just been to a bond fire but we didn't seem to mind as we were use to putting out fires at RTI...well not literally though.

Here are some news clips form that day:

KSTP Channel 5 News & KARE 11