Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Making butter...

As some of you know, I love to make homemade things for my family. Homemade ingredients just make things taste better in my opinion, better than all that nasty processed stuff. No, I have not gotten away from all of that other stuff but I am trying to really provide better meals for my family. Anyway, the kids and I decided to make some homemade butter this summer and it was so easy and so yummy. All you do it take some heavy whipping cream and some salt if you desire your butter to be salted.
Shake it up and you get butter - no lie, it's really that easy. We placed the whipping cream into a tight container and shook, and shook, and shook (actually it really didn't take that long but Andrew will tell you otherwise - hehe).
We were left with a clump of butter. We removed the excess liquid which is actually buttermilk that forms so you could definitely use it in other recipes but we just chucked it :). We added a smidgen of salt and placed the butter in a container in the frig -- there you have it - some super yummy (yes, better than the store bought kind) homemade butter. Try it sometime. It really was a fun activity and the kids couldn't get over how great it tasted over piping hot raisin bread :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Shock and Peace...

There has been so much going on in our lives right now that I don't even know where to begin. If you would have told me back at my cousin's wedding that I would be making another trip up to PA for my mom to have brain surgery for a tumor/lesion, I would have fell over at the thought, but alas that is what happened. Mom had been having some neurological issues - losing her memory, difficulty walking, etc. I knew she was being followed by a neurologist but never would have dreamed we would be dealing with the things we are now. After an MRI that was taken of mom's brain the end of June, she was placed in the hospital to try to place a diagnosis on this "thing" that has taken over the right side of her temporal lobe (think above right ear - in that area). After multiple scans, tests, spinal taps, blood work, no one could diagnose what this was, but our fears were there. As some of you know, mom was diagnosed with stage 3-4 HER 2+ breast cancer almost 5 years ago. We were told at that time that her risk of reoccurence and metastasis would be extremely high. She went through a double mastectomy, lots and lots of chemo, another special drug for the specific type of cancer she had, as well as radiation. Fast forward almost 5 years to now...
Anyway, with nothing pointing to what this was except for hunches on ours as well as the neurologist's part, mom went through a procedure where they drilled into her skull and removed a piece of the mass (or so we thought). Mom had a really difficult time after the surgery. My aunt and brother called me to let me know it may be a good idea to come because we just weren't sure what she would "get back" so to speak. She wound up needing full care, unable to really do anything on her own, she was having seizures, her memory was awful (praise God she was able to remember my brothers, me, my dad, and my aunt consistently). Needless to say, I was on the first flight out the next day. The 9 days I spent there with her and my family were truly some of the most difficult times in my life. I mean just a month before, my mom was fine (sure I knew she was having some issues but never dreamed of this).

I think that is where my peace has come. Peace that truly passes all understanding, peace that no one can explain. Don't get me wrong, I cried, I yelled, I felt lost at times but there was this peace that though this was a shock to our family, it was not a shock for our God!!
Nothing surprises God - sure I know this, I mean He is sovrein, omnipresent, omniscient, but I think He allowed me to really focus and understand it at this time. He created us, He knew us before the world existed, and nothing surprises Him!! This is what I have rested in - knowing that the God of this universe loves us, knows every detail of our lives, knows the very number of hairs on our head, and desires for us to know Him deeply and intensely and never is surprised or shocked at the things that have happened. What peace and rest there is in that.

Mom has since gone to rehab and is improving there. She is able to feed herself, is walking with a walker, getting memory training and speech therapy, and is doing well.
Do we have an official diagnosis yet? NO! Do the doctors believe this is a cancerous tumor - Yes!
The plan now is for mom to have a full-body PET scan (more diagnostic than an MRI) to make sure they have not missed cancer in other parts of her body. She is also going to go see a new neuro-surgeon as well as a neuro-oncologist. The difficult part is that she may very well have to go through a full craniotomy (surgery to remove her skull, visualize the tumor, and get a good piece of tissue) in order for them to have a definitive diagnosis and treat her correctly. Please pray for peace, wisdom, healing and comfort for us all right now.
The most blessed part of this is that I have seen a love in my parents that I have not seen in years, I have seen our family grow closer together, I have seen relationships being restored and hurt disappearing. Sometimes God uses the difficult things to remind us how fragile and short this life is and the neatest thing is that mom is grateful that God can use her in this way.
Please take a moment to say I'm sorry to your loved ones - don't let hurt and bitterness, and pride stop you from enjoying those precious moments. And don't forget, there is so much more than just the life we live on this earth - God has Heaven and eternity awaiting those who have repented and placed their trust in Him. May we all be living in the light of eternity (thanks K.P.) and realize this life is short and share Jesus with those around us!!