Thursday, May 31, 2012

Book Review: Great For God

Let me say right up front, do not, DO NOT, let the title of this book, "Great for God", turn you away!  Do not judge the title before you have read the introduction to the book.  :)

Mitch and I love reading about missionaries, do you?  Do you have any idea?  What do you know about missionaries?  If your son or daughter came home and said they felt called by God to carry the Gospel to the Middle East--to a "closed" country that is hostile to Christians--how would you respond?

In Great for God , David Shibley has compiled biographies of 23 real life missionaries who gave up their own lives to live to share the Gospel with "all the world".  These stories are uplifting and inspiring.  The missionaries featured here are no longer living, but as I read them I am filled with a sense of awe of how God is moving in the world around us even now.  It creates in me a desire to be involved with the mission of sharing the Gospel in our world today.  One of my favorite quotes in the book is by Jim Elliot, "You are immortal until your work is finished."  With all the things I worry about, Jim's life is an astonishing reminder that I can rest in the sovereignty of God.

The book is organized so that each chapter is about one missionary.  The chapter begins with short biographical data organized into a chart format for quick reference facts about that missionary and a quote that gives a snapshot of the missionary's life.  A passage of Scripture also accompanies each chapter.  The biographical stories are written in a conversational tone that is easy to read or listen to.  These are brief enough to be read for a time of family devotions, but long enough to give a good overview of the missionary's life (and hopefully "whet your appetite" for more).

I love the versatility of this book.  Some of the missionaries in the book I already know about.  I have read several of the books in the Christian Heroes Then & Now series by Janet and Geoff Benge (which are excellent), so I know there's more to the story and feel a little sad that you can't hear it all!  But on the other hand, this is a GREAT way to introduce a good handful of missionaries all in one place.  And there are many that I haven't read about before.  This is a resource that I plan on weaving into our history and geography curriculum this year.  It would also be good for personal or family devotions, small groups, or even Christian school classrooms.

I'm grateful to New Leaf Press for sharing a complimentary copy of the Kindle version of this book for review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Update (somewhat random)

God is so faithful and so patient, and I am such a slow learner.  I wish I could be the kind of parent to my children that He is to me.

Our school year is winding down, but it doesn't really feel like it.  I am wound up with excitement for the next school year to the point that I am already planning "summer school" activities for each of the kids.  I can't wait to share our curriculum choices with you and the long journey that has been for me these last couple of months!

I can't believe how fast time is flying.  Mitch's birthday was last week.  A week ago tomorrow!  I lost some days this month I think.  Not only did I not put up any pictures, I didn't even get them off the camera card yet.

 I made this yummy cake.  And oh it was so good!

I was inspired by this post on Grace Full Mama, and the posts it links to, to create a family mission statement.  Oh, at first I wasn't inspired, but God worked on my heart for a while to get me there.  You can see if you follow the link that the post is over 4 months old.  ::blush::  This is something that Mitch and I worked on while we made our way back from Florida a couple weeks ago.  I have been trying to work on it more since then.  It's not really Mitch's "thing" but it really helps *me*.  After scribbling down some ideas about what our vision for our family is, we started trying to piece together our own mission statement.  In the end, we actually settled on adopting our church's mission statement.  Not that we couldn't come up with something good enough on our own, but that it made a lot of sense.  First of all, our local church is the spiritual body in which we operate.  So it makes sense that our family mission statement line up with our church's.  Secondly, our church's mission statement is so well written:  "We exist to live, share, and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the glory of God and our abundant joy."  Isn't that exactly what we are doing in our home and as we reach out to the community around us?  So now with the mission statement overarching, and our visions or goals underneath, I began to wrap this up into an action plan with priorities.  I transposed this onto school...and it really helped form a framework of how we should "do" school around here.  More on that to come in a future post!

I was sick with strep again over the weekend and I can't say if I was re-infected because I didn't knock it out the first time or if I had a new infection.  Since there was almost 4 weeks between the incidents, and as far as I know I didn't spread the infection to anyone else (Mitch? Or the children I watch?), I am skeptical.  (I admit I don't know as much as I would like to about immunology).  Regardless, I was absolutely miserable.  This strike was worse than the first, though my fever wasn't as high.  My uvula swelled up and I could hardly talk.  I didn't sleep all night the first night because as I would doze off I would instinctively swallow, then jolt awake in pain.  The second night I kept waking thinking that I was choking on my uvula.  ;)  The doctor was very sweet and prescribed me azithromycin...a tri-pack, not a z-pack, but pretty much the same thing...once a day for five days.  SIMPLE.  That's exactly what I need.  She also wrote me a prescription for valtrex, which has worked like a charm.  No fever blisters in sight and I didn't even have to take them.  Just having them in the house is prevention!  Now what do you say to that?  I had two outbreaks already this month, and now that I have some meds...nothing.  Perfect!

(Now that I said that, what do you think will happen tomorrow?)

I read the results of a study done on lab rats recently that suggests a diet high in fructose can make you...um...stupid (for lack of a more scientific term).  It can impair brain function, cause loss of focus, impair memory function, etc.  Hmmmm.  Time to give up Pepsi?  The study also showed that taking a DHA supplement can counteract the effects.  So make sure I take DHA if I'm drinking Pepsi?  Or how about taking DHA and not drinking Pepsi?  I may have to think about this.  I'm not easily motivated to give up my vice.  Nor am I easily motivated to take a vitamin nor any other supplement on a daily basis.  I have developed a habit of eating an egg sandwich every morning for breakfast, and I have been consistently staying caught up with the church's Bible reading plan this year too--whoohoo!  So I am capable of adopting new habits.  Watch out, you just never know what will happen.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Garden Update and Free Kindle Book

It was fun to come home after a few days away and check things out in the garden.  I am happy to report that I only lost 3 tomato plants and that 6 survived.  When I came home, to my surprise I found 3 new, strong plants in place of the 3 that I had lost.  That was Grandpa Marc's doing.  ;)  To my delight I found buds on the marigold plants.  ::yippee::

These pics were taken on Tuesday, and they've grown even more since then.  It's been very rainy this week and also a little cool.

 Left to Right:  Flowers, okra, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes (which I probably won't end up transplanting), and in the pot in front is some kind of flower.  I transplanted the flowers and okra and cucumbers on Friday morning.  No new pictures yet, though.  We'll see how they're doing next week!


 Radishes are looking good, with the lettuce and/or spinach really trying to make an appearance.

 These two are two of the new tomato plants.

 Marigolds

 Mitch's class at school did a project and started some corn in dixie cups.  I planted out three of the plants.  On Friday I planted some more corn seeds, so we'll see if anything comes of it.  I have some rogue sunflowers that I left to let grow.  I also have some rogue pumpkins growing, but I have pulled up all of those shoots because I know they can really take over.


The plant in front here is a new tomato plant, from Pattison nursery behind our house.

A friend of mine, who knows I love to read, alerted me to a free kindle book on amazon.  I don't know how long it will be free, and I haven't read it yet, but be sure to check it out!



If you don't have a Kindle or an e-reader, you can download a free program right from amazon to be able to read the book on your computer.  We actually have hundreds of free books.  It's nice because I can read them on my iPod or Mitch has them on his iPad (for school use).  Zeke and Josh are just discovering these and ask to read!


Friday, May 25, 2012

Book Review: Eye of the Sword

I actually read Eye of the Sword by Karyn Henley over a month ago.  I feel bad that I've been so busy and didn't get the review written right away.

Eye of the Sword is book two in the Angelaeon Circle series, and is in the Christian Fantasy genre.  It is published by (my favorite publisher) Waterbrook Press.  Since Waterbrook has earned a good reputation with me, I decided to do a little research and bought book one in the series, Breath of Angel, to read before I read Eye of the Sword.

In Breath of Angel we are introduced to a new world in which angels live--in hiding--among humans.  The "stairway to heaven" has been broken and the angels are stuck on the planet.  Many have chosen to try to live as best as they can among the humans.  Some have turned to evil.  Some have taken a stand to fight against evil and search for a way to rebuild the stairway.  A prophesy reveals that a half-angel half-human person will be the one to restore the stairway.  In book one we meet that person and with many surprising twists and turns follow her on the journey of discovering herself.

In Eye of the Sword the mystery continues to unfold.  In the first book we are also introduced to Trevin, who betrays the good side at first and later turns.  It was a great part of that story and a good reflection of redemption.  In book two we focus mainly on Trevin and his journey to discover himself while at the same time proving his loyalty to the King.  The book has fun twists and turns and a good balance of mystery and action.  There is a little romance by the way of watching Trevin and Melaia's relationship develop.

I let my teens read these books and they both really liked them and can't wait for the third book.  I felt the developing relationship between Trevin and Melaia was handled tastefully.  The story was interesting and easy to keep the pages turning (I think I finished it in a little over a day).  I didn't have trouble keeping the characters straight, but there are quite a few characters and I occasionally had to flip back to remind myself of certain events.  Take this with a grain of salt--I am easily distracted!

My biggest con about this book is the type of story that it is.  I guess I'm not really all that big on fiction dealing with angels.  The Bible tells us very little about angels, so in writing a story like this the author had to take great liberty of imagination.  It's one thing to do when you are creating mythical characters, but when you take something that exists in reality (I DO believe that angels exist) and write fiction about them it's a whole different ball game.  Something else that nagged at me was there wasn't the depth of theology in this that Donita K. Paul skillfully brings into her fantasy fiction, and I really missed that.

This aside, it is still an enjoyable read and we will definitely be watching for the third book in the series!

I am thankful to Waterbrook Mulnomah for providing me a complimentary copy of this book for review.  I was not required to write a positive review, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

Did you read all the way through my review?  Please take a moment to rate how you think I did.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hair Cut

As if it didn't look bad enough, Malachi just gave Tirzah a hair cut.  Right up front and as short as a buzz cut.  Now I REALLY don't know what to do with it!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday Is Date Night


Mitch and I try to come up with creative date ideas--whether it is dinner at a restaurant or just curling up in bed to watch a sermon on youtube and share a bag of Jelly Belly Jellybeans. Yes, I'm serious. :) We don't always get out on Tuesday nights, but we try to nearly every week. Last week he took me on an airplane ride. ;) He probably won't beat the thrill of that one for a while.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Follow-Up

I'm probably not going to answer ALL your questions about our trip to Florida, but my time is limited and I will try to answer what I can.  :)


The trip as a whole wasn't a really great photo opportunity for us, but here we are flying *First Class* back home.  Oh, and the windows aren't any bigger in First Class.  Just Sayin'.

We arrived in Orlando barely before Midnight Tuesday.  On Wednesday morning we were waiting at the door at 7:30 a.m. to be picked up and taken to Converge.  I was nervous and not knowing what to expect...plus about to be introduced to a room-full of new people.  Both Wednesday and Thursday were long, full days with us spending nearly the entire time on the church campus that hosts Converge.  By the time we were shuttled back to our hotel, it was late and time for bed both nights.  Friday we were dropped off at the airport not long after lunch, and we began our journey home (which was like a whole separate trip in itself...story to come).

What our time at Converge was (as we expected):
It was a time to learn about ourselves and what God has gifted us to do.  We heard the results of 3 different personality profiles we had taken--the DISC, the Pearson Golden, for Mitch the Strengths Finder 2.0 and for me the Strengths Finder 1.0.  Jerry and Steve Dahl from Strategic Team Makers here in Minnesota were our "guides" (for lack of a better word) through this, and they were phenomenal.  I'm skipping ahead a little bit here, but after we had heard all the results, we were grouped together to work on a "missions project".  This project was actually just a strategy development rather than something hands-on, but it was fun to hear about our personalities then jump in together and try to form a team and accomplish a goal.  We met with Jerry alone as a couple and received positive encouragement about our individual mental health and our health as a couple.  It was really fun because he was doubting our test results based on his observations of seeing us work in the group--while Mitch tested on paper to be more of an extrovert-leader and I more of an introvert, our roles in the group seemed flipped.  Alone in the meeting with Jerry, however, our roles seemed to be right where we had tested.  He said that given our personality types our marriage can be more difficult, but also much more interesting and fulfilling.  From our exit interview we were also encouraged that based on the wonderful referrals sent in, they felt our ministry here in our community is thriving.  We are effectively sharing the Gospel and using our talents well.

What our time at Converge wasn't:
It wasn't exactly what we expected.  This is harder to put into words.  I think we went into the MAC expecting to leave having a better view of what our ministry options are based on information we would receive there.  It was more of an elimination of options than opening of options (at first appearance).  I think that the assessors actually interpreted this as a lack of focus or calling.  Because our ministry here is thriving, they questioned why we would want to go overseas.  Mitch's question back was, "What would you say if we did not have an effective ministry here?"  And I think that is a valid question.  But to say we have a lack of vision, or even zeal, was kind of startling.  This is something we have discussed at lengths on the way home, wondering how we could have done/said things differently.  I also kind of thought we might get more insight into things that we need to do better in our lives/ministry NOW, where we are.  I think that information is there, but it will take a little more work to dig it out rather than just having it given back to us in assessment format.  We also learned a little better how Converge is focused, and that is a different picture than we expected.  It gives us a better frame of reference now.  Converge is actually a small organization and doesn't send out that many missionaries (Converge is also committed to taking excellent care of its missionaries, and from everyone we have talked to this is true).  They are focused on spreading the Gospel through church plants.  This is also a GREAT focus.  But when you translate this to what Mitch and I are called to do, it doesn't make us a really good fit.  We eventually want to serve overseas in support roles--Mitch as a teacher, and I anywhere else I am able to serve (outside of taking care of our own children, and I have LOTS of ideas).  This is not a focus of Converge.  It led to many deficiencies in our own resumes (if you will) that shaped the advice we received from our assessors.  As we walked away, it felt that their main concern was whether we were a good fit for them (which we weren't) and that was the end of it.  Don't get me wrong, Converge sends support missionaries and I can give you examples of who they have sent, even teachers. But where they are now as an organization and where they are headed does not line up with where we are now...and who knows where we are headed, but it was clear where we are not headed.

What happens next:
Our initial feeling was that this is rejection, and we also felt frustration because we felt misrepresented in a way (because we didn't realize the terms of what we were actually being assessed for).  That quickly gives way when we examine our belief that God brought us down to Florida for a reason, and we need to continue to work on fleshing out what that reason was.  So we take the information we were given (especially the info from Jerry Dahl) and piece together the picture God wants us to see.  We plan to pursue other options.  There are many other organizations that send missionaries, and we have learned that we need to examine those organizations just as thoroughly as they examine us, so that we can find the right fit.  We suggested some ideas that we have and our assessors actually encouraged us to pursue these--even giving us the names of missionaries to contact.  There is more that I'm leaving out, but it gets a little too deep.  I need to make a final note that this is a long process and we went into this with a very long-term mindset of the entire process taking AT LEAST two years.  So if this is the first time you have heard of this from our family, don't be worried.  We're not uprooting anytime soon.

Our trip home:
This part was the craziest, it was like a whole separate trip in itself, yet God also used it as a time of growth and encouragement for us.  We arrived at the airport at 1:30 p.m. but our flight didn't leave until after 5 p.m.  We were in a loooooong line to go through security, and it would be our first time going through the full-body scanners.  I know this is stupid, and thousands of people do it every day, but I was having a bit of anxiety about it.  Just as we rounded the corner and were getting close to the end of the line, the guard in the special needs line next to us opened the barrier and said, "Why don't you guys come around through here."  I got to walk through a standard metal detector.  Stupid little thing, but yes, it was pretty cool for me.  We spent part of our time waiting for the plane talking with another couple that had been at the MAC with us.  It was a good time to debrief even though it was hard at first to be honest about the assessment we had just received, I felt very vulnerable.  Our flight ended up being delayed.  While we sat, we talked with people (remember I am an introvert).  You know the best conversations happen when you are flying (or waiting to fly).

Because the flight was delayed so long we missed our connecting flight in Memphis by just a few minutes.  We literally ran to the gate to see the plane backing away.  I was bummed, and there were no more flights to Minneapolis leaving that night.  (I was also coughing after that little run...so now I suspect I may have a little asthma?)  We approached a Delta kiosk and handed them our boarding passes, he scanned the pass, and the machine automatically printed new boarding passes for the next day (they had already rebooked us), a hotel room, and vouchers for food.  I was impressed with the seamlessness of this procedure.  We had to exit the airport and wait for a hotel shuttle.  We were hot and sweaty and a group of 30+ people soon gathered.  We called the hotel numerous times, and finally asked how many people their shuttle could hold.  I think it wasn't 30.  :)  Mitch approached the Enterprise bus that was sitting at the curb and asked if he could give us a ride.  He said "sure!" and we started boarding just as the shuttle showed up (a 12-passenger van).  Way to go, Mitch!!

The hotel was nice, I think nicer than all of us were expecting. (Memphis Airport Hotel).  There was a very long line naturally, and we were behind a couple with two young kids.  Someone from the front of the line approached the couple and said, "We all voted and think you guys should go to the front of the line."  SO cool to see people caring for each other!  We dropped our stuff in our room and made our way down to dinner.  At this point I think it was about 8:30 p.m.  The restaurant was starting to fill and there was only one woman to wait tables and to host.  She was BUSY.  We crowded around a small table with a retired couple (actually they have retired 4 times and are currently working!) close to the one t.v. in the room playing a basketball game, and enjoyed an evening of pleasant conversation.  A young man sitting in the room jumped up and began serving drinks, bussing tables, and even bringing out orders when they were ready.  We learned that he and his wife were on their honeymoon.  :)  (And yes, we made sure to leave a tip just for them).

The next morning we got up early and arrived at the airport just after 6:30 a.m.  Just as our place in line approached the full body scanner, I was again pulled out of line and sent through a normal metal detector.  Just try to tell me that God doesn't care about little things.  Go ahead and try.  We teamed up with a young airman who was returning to duty in Spokane, Washington.  We chatted with him all morning while we waited for our 8:30 a.m. flight.  Which was delayed.  When it finally came time to board, they announced over the p.a. that they were overbooked by 4 seats and were looking for anyone willing to give up their seats and wait for a 2:00 p.m. flight in exchange for $400 delta dollars (to be used toward a future flight).  We jumped at the opportunity--so we not only received $800 (total), we also received $50 gift card to spend and we were bumped to First Class for the ride home.  Whoohoo!

As it turns out, the next 5 hours we spent in the airport were sorely needed.  We had so much good time to talk together.  Flying first class was a lot of fun.  We were in row 1, so we joked that we made it back to Minneapolis before everyone else.  Did you know the engine sounds totally different from the front than it does from the back?  The flight attendant who was working first class was so sweet.  She was reading Shepherding a Child's Heart (for the second time she said), so I wrote down the name of the book Don't Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman and suggested it for good application.  She gave me some candy to stuff in my bags and bring home to the kids--awesome.  :)  We arrived home 20 hours later than we originally had planned, but it was sweet time together.  The biggest drawback to our delay was that Grandma Karen and Grandpa Marc had to leave literally within minutes of us getting in the door.  :(

It has been busy trying to transition back to home.  The kids missed us and are glad to have us home--yay!  Besides candy and some blankets from Delta, we didn't have anything to give the kids for souvenirs.  Oh well!  It's good to be back.  I'm glad there's only 2 weeks left to the school year, because I'm ready to be done and get on to summer.  I've sat here trying to type all this out for long enough so I should get moving.  There's lots of good stories and details I'm leaving out.  It was a really great time and I'm glad that we went.  The people we met were amazing.  I'm going to have a lot to think about for a long time.  :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Flying the Coop

Sorry for the lack of posts and pictures...it's been insanely busy here.  But here is my facebook status:

"In a few hours Mitch and I will be heading to Orlando, FL for our first time away from the kids, away from our home, overnight, together, in (correct me if I'm wrong) 9 years! Back then we only had 3 kids...so to say that this is more difficult is an understatement. We are attending a Missionary Assessment Center at Converge Worldwide. I'm nervous and excited as we take time out to take an intensive look at where we are currently and where the Lord is directing us. Please pray for traveling mercies, a joy-full time in FL, and for our family staying at home in MN. ♥"

Friday, May 11, 2012

Transplant Shock?

Mitch turned over and cleaned up my garden this week, getting it ready to plant.  I felt that my tomato plants must be getting too big for their planters, so I decided to transplant them to the garden and the straw bales.  Unfortunately I think they are experiencing transplant shock.  After a day they started to turn white and die.  :(  Here are pics when I transplanted them...we'll see if any of them survive.

Turning the garden on Monday, always lots of helpers:

 Micah is an especially good helper!


 Josh enjoys getting his hands (and gloves) dirty.

 My oak trees are always last to get their leaves.

In addition to my transplants, I planted marigold seeds around the perimeter of the garden, as well as a small bit of lettuce, spinach, and radishes.



Inside I left my peppers to continue growing in the planters.  I started some cucumbers and some okra.  After I found out about my tomato plants not doing so well I started some more seeds.  It's probably too late, but I figured since I already own the seeds I might as well try.  ::shrug::  Mitch is growing some seeds with his class and will bring those home to transplant at some point.  Our weather is still kind of cool at night, so maybe by June we'll be doing better with the outside garden!

Adoption

I posted a few days ago that Connie and Scott were leaving to travel to get Ethan, their new son.  It has been amazing to "watch" on facebook the events of the past few days as they get to know Ethan and prepare to bring him home.  I have had so many thoughts swirling but I've had a hard time getting them articulated.  Today Connie wrote a post on facebook and it pretty much sums up exactly what is going through my head.  With her permission, I share it here:

"I am praying that our son will be teaching us and all of you what the love of Christ-followers can do to a child who doesn't even understand what words we are saying!!! What a rich example this has been of how the Lord loves us when we are ugly in our selfish pride...when we want our way... when we bite and kick and scream...when we don't want to do what is right, pure, godly...when we don't do what we have been asked....when we look at God and stick our finger right back in the open socket after being told not to...when we unlovable and mean...God loves us BUT ALSO lovingly but painfully disciplines us. Ethan has NOT thought that this process has been fun being with us as strangers...he has found this process painful and yet....he comes back and cuddles in and wants more!!! My prayer is that if you have never found Jesus to be in charge of your life...that you would cuddle into Him...not so your life would be easier but because He has forgiven you and loves you and wants you as His own daughter/son. I am not sorry if this rubs some the wrong way but i want to explain...this part of my relationship with Christ, my God and my Savior, has never been more clear than this week. (enter eyes filling with tears!)"
How amazing God's love is for us!  How amazing that it can be shown through adoption!!  

Saturday, May 05, 2012

3 weeks' worth of growth

 The marigolds I'm not so worried about...I have plenty of seeds that I will plant directly in the ground when it's ready.  But, wow, my tomato plants will be searching for more room very soon.  Each day amazes me to see how much they have changed!
Gardening is a fun way to observe the miracle of life God has placed all around us!

Friday, May 04, 2012

Hearing voices

It gets to the point where it seems every crumb, piece of garbage, food, etc, on the floor seems to take on its own voice until at last there are a million noisy voices screaming at me and I am going to go crazy unless they are swept away. 

Don't you have more important things to do, you say?

Yes, and I do them.  That's why I typically only get to sweep once per day, which means that my floor is clean for about 10 min and dirty for about...well, you do the math.  Now before you think that the obvious conclusion is that I am going crazy nearly all day long, I must add this one caveat:  God in His great mercy has given me a handicap.  I am easily distracted.  Thankfully I am distracted from noticing the mess for a large portion of the day.  Then when I finally notice it, the urgency falls upon me and it must be done! 

I love my broom.  I love my easier-to-clean-than-carpet laminate flooring.

The kids are outside, my floor is clean, why am I blogging?  I should go lay on the clean floor.  :)

Bringing Home Ethan

Back in July I shared with you that the Lindquists are adopting.  I am so excited as today Scott and Connie leave the United States to go pick up their son Ethan.  Please take time to pray for Scott and Connie.  Some specific things they are asking prayers for are 1) protection--physical and spiritual--while they are traveling, 2) protection for their girls who are staying behind, 3) emotional strength for their older girls, 4) peace for little Sophina who won't understand why Mommy and Daddy aren't home.  Check out their blog for more specific information and updates while they are gone!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Tough Lessons

Yesterday I learned a tough lesson:  When you don't have a spleen, it's best not to ignore your body's warning signs of infection.

Last week I noticed that it burned a little when I needed to pee.  I thought, "Gee, I hope I don't have a urinary tract infection," and left it at that.  The discomfort seemed to lessen (or I got used to it?).

Also last week I worked on weaning Obi some.  During the day it's really easy to distract him from nursing.  I can easily offer him a cup of milk or water or a snack to eat.  At night it's not so easy.  As a result of my efforts, I became engorged during the day and he became whiny and clingy and wanted to nurse all night.  He also was cutting a new tooth.  He may have even had a sore throat or something else going on--who knows?!  By Friday night I was miserable.  When I got ready for bed I realized I had made a grave error--do not wear bras with underwires when you are engorged.  Just sayin'.  I was achy all night long and thought for sure it was mastitis.  I had every intention of going to urgent care on Saturday.  But I never got a fever, so I waited it out.  Sunday I felt better.  Oh, and I let Obi nurse as much as he wanted.  He felt better, too.

On Tuesday I had no daycare kids here during the day, so I got Tirzah a doctor appointment for the afternoon.  She has had some bad eczema on the backs of her knees for 3 months now.  I had tried a few different things, including hydrocortisone, and it's still crusty and inflamed and it is spreading all over.  Before we left to go to the doctor I felt achy and tired.  I just knew a fever was coming on.  Side note:  I took Malachi along with us so he could be a little more familiar with the doctor--last year's visit for him was NOT good (he hid under the chair and screamed the entire time she examined him).  He did great, especially since this visit was for Tirzah, not for him.  I'll make sure to take him in a couple more times before it's his turn again.  Ok, so anyway the doctor prescribed triamcinolone acetonide for Tirzah's eczema and gave me some great tips for getting her cleared up and staying that way.  We headed out to the pharmacy to pick up the prescription.  The day was warm, but I was freezing.  Malachi and Tirzah were such troopers.

When I got home Tuesday afternoon my fever was up to 101.  I slugged it out until Mitch got home, then I excused myself to bed.  I asked him to do laundry and supper and clean house and keep the kids quiet--HA!  Sometime after 6 pm I suddenly woke when I heard the tornado sirens going off outside.  I stumbled out of the bedroom and asked if we were headed to the lower level of our home.  Thankfully all was well and the storm moved through very quickly.  I didn't have to sit downstairs too long and I was soon crawling back into bed.  I finally decided that "letting the fever run its course" was kicking my butt and I took tylenol to bring it down.  I managed to feel good enough to fold a couple baskets of laundry and sweep the floor under the table.

Wednesday morning I took more tylenol, and I was able to function throughout the morning.  In the afternoon I crawled into bed and had some of the kids join me (Zeke, Josh, and others) as I read aloud from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  We were just finishing up the book when I noticed I was shivering again.  My temp had climbed to 103.  Mitch came home from work and told me that, yes, I need to go to the doctor, even though that meant he would have to take all the kids to church events by himself. 

At this point, I just didn't even know what to say.  A 103 temp?  Probably a virus, right?  "They" say wait until you've had a fever for 48 hours, which it had not been.  I didn't really have any other symptoms.  Maybe a slight sore throat.  Achiness.  Things that could be caused by a fever.  Oh, and I noticed I was needing to pee a lot more often than normal, yet not much was coming out.  Hmmm.  I also didn't want to take tylenol going in--I felt that getting an accurate reading on *their* thermometer would be more authentic.  But then would I get "yelled" at for not managing my fever?  Like, is this a stupid thing to do? ::sigh::

I picked out a book to read (The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson) and at least looked forward to being alone with my thoughts as I read.  It was 80 F outside and I was wearing jeans, a polo shirt, and a sweatshirt over top, driving with the windows rolled up, and as happy as pie.  I noticed that my throat was a little more sore than it had been previously, and I touched it to confirm my lymph nodes were swollen.  When I got checked in at the clinic I was first horrified by my weight and next gratified to see my temp was a balmy 103.2.  So my temporal thermometer is accurate, eh?  The doctor was concerned from the moment he stepped in the room, but he was also perplexed.  When I said, "Oh, and I don't have a spleen," things got exciting.  He said (with a great middle-eastern accent), you will definitely have an antibiotic, but we would like to figure out what is causing all this and I don't know where to start.  He started with sending his nurse in with 2 extra-strength tylenol to get my fever down asap, then he sent me to lab.  I got everything--complete blood count, strep test, influenza test, chest xray, and urinalysis.  The results came back with a high white blood count (and my hgb is still over 13--I did a private cheer!!!), positive for strep, negative for influenza A or B, clear lungs, and moderate blood in the urine.  So I have strep AND a bladder infection.  Not wanting to under-treat either, the doctor recommended a shot of rocephin to aggressively go after the bladder infection (in case it is actually a kidney infection) and then some augmentin.  At this point I really wanted to speak up and ask for the z-pack (1 a day for 5 days vs. 2 a day for 10 days), but the doctor was so grave that I thought if I said anything he would send me to the hospital instead!  I promised to be a good girl, drink water (yeah, high ketones too), take the shot in my butt like a big girl (man, that STINGS), and take all my antibiotics.  Actually the shot took me by surprise.  I thought it would be in the arm.  When my (male!) nurse came in with a (male!) nursing student (after asking if it was ok) to administer the shot, I was momentarily embarrassed when he said he would have to give it in my back side 2 inches below the waist.  It took me a minute to figure out I would need to drop my pants.  ::blush::  I'm glad I don't know those guys.

I came home to a quiet home (after stopping again at the pharmacy then filling the car up with gas), and had a few minutes to relax (and clean, of course!) before everyone got home.  I slept better last night and today I've stayed with the tylenol to keep the fever away, so I feel better already.  Unfortunately my lips are swelled up with fever blisters now.  Such a miserable outbreak!  My throat is terribly sore today and coated white.  If I hadn't gone in yesterday, who knows what I would be like today?!  From now on I think I will take those small warning signs a little more seriously.  Letting it go until it is a full-blown infection (or two full-blown infections) is a really bad idea!

Book Review: God Helps Me Bible

The God Helps Me Bible, written by Juliet David and illustrated by Clare Caddy is a sweet little children's storybook published by Kregel Publications.

The God Helps Me Bible storybook has short Bible stories retold, each with the recurring theme of how God has helped the main character.  The book has a sturdy board cover and is spiral bound, making it more durable than other children's books we have.  Each page is also sturdy, though not as thick as in a "board book".  After having this book for over a month in our home, it has held up perfectly (and my children are notoriously not gentle).  The book lies flat when open, which is especially helpful.  The illustrations are high-quality and easily draw my children into the stories.  The short stories are appropriate for my toddler and preschoolers.  The wording is easy enough for my young readers to read alone.  An extra blessing is the inclusion of references so that my children can use their Bibles to find the original stories quickly.

I find each story within the God Helps Me Bible to be sweet, like a song that brings peace.  It's so comforting for children--of all ages--to be reassured that they will have help when they need it.  I think this book would make a great gift!  It is not recommended for children under age 3, however I think as long as the parents are reading to the child and not leaving the book for the child (to eat), it is completely appropriate.  What a wonderful bedtime storybook for small children!


Tirzah (3 years old) has taken the book away from me twice just now while I've been writing this post.  :)  I think that alone is proof that the book is attractive and fun.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel Publications for review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  My thoughts and opinions are completely my own.