Saturday, June 15, 2013

Another Special Birthday...

Today marks a very special day in our house.  Our youngest blessing, Matthew, turns 3.

I cannot help but reflect back to three years ago, when I was unexpectedly sent to the doctors office three weeks before my due date because I woke up dizzy.  At the office, my blood pressure was high so I was sent to the hospital for a stress test.  With the tests, there were also several checks of my blood pressure which just kept steadily going up.
This was a huge concern to me.  I have already had seven children on earth and one in heaven prior to all of this.  Of my seven earthly children, each of them were anywhere from 4 to 9 days past their scheduled "due date."
At the time that all of this was going on, we were also having our septic system replaced.  I'm on my way to the hospital, and the man who is taking care of replacing the septic system is dropping the big machinery off in our driveway.  At home, Laura is holding down the fort with her four younger brothers.  Beth is my chauffeur getting me from the doctor's office to the hospital (via McDonald's since I was finally able to convince her that she needed to keep up her strength for me!)  Hubby was working overtime and I knew if I needed him at the hospital, it would only take him minutes to get there!
To make a long story short, at 8:30 pm on June 14th the doctor came in from an emergency surgery to check on me in triage.  I knew she had already made her decision on whether I was going to be going home or if there was an induction in my future.  Taking into account my age, elevating blood pressure, and closeness of my due date the induction was put into motion.

The IV's were put in, along with the magnesium to keep me from having a seizure.  The magnesium effected me badly.  Throughout that night I was having the strangest dreams.  My husband and daughter (Beth) were trying to sleep in the uncomfortable rocking chairs covered in blankets.  While I'm laying in bed with perspiration on my upper lip and forehead.  Side effects from the magnesium, which I would not with upon my worst enemy!
On the morning of the 15th, my cervix had thinned out enough thanks to the medication that was put on it the night before.  An epidural happened in the next hour.

It was after 3 that afternoon when Matthew was born.  He was at least 2 pounds smaller than any of my other children had been at birth.  He looked so fragile and precious.  I was so thankful to finally hold him in my arms!

Even today, he loves to cuddle.  I look at all of those kisses, hugs, cuddles, and "I love you, Mom!" as gifts from God....just as Matthew is to our family.  For the name Matthew means, "Gift from God."
And as you can tell from all the pictures....Matthew is very much loved.  None of us can imagine what our lives would be like without him.  We thank God each day for him!

May God bless you and yours abundantly!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

It's hard to believe that today is the last day of May.  (Excuse me, please...I started this post on May 31st...was interrupted with life in my I'm posting it today, June 1st.) With the scorching weather we've had this week, it feels more like July or August.  On Wednesday evening, we had some of the most intense thunder/lightning storms that I've seen in a long time.
This month has been filled with many special memories.  From turkey hunting......
Three of us were blessed to get turkeys this year.  I was able to go out more this year.  And even though I didn't bring home a bird, there are many special things that took place out in God's Creation on these beautiful spring mornings.  John Paul (pictured above with Dad) helped Dad call his bird in using a slate call.  A few days later....Dad, John Paul, and I went out for a couple hours.  While we didn't hear any gobblers, John Paul thought it would be great to capture a few (silly) pictures of us sitting in the blind....
There were LOTS more silly pictures....but I don't want to bore you with those...
The rhubarb is coming in, and the offers to get more is a welcome event.  I tried a recipe for a Rhubarb Cake.  It was delicious, and there are several requests to make it again.  Here is the link to the recipe I used:
If you are looking for a recipe that you want to be delicious, then I would suggest that you use a BING search....then type in what kind of recipe you are looking for, and add in words Taste of Home at the end.  I guarantee that any recipe you try from their site, you and your family will enjoy!
 4-H fair season is quickly approaching.  There is lots of work washing and clipping animals, but the best memories are made with friends who attend the Big East.....together.

The warm weather also means lots of time outside for everyone.  One day, I had walked out of the room briefly....but came in to find my youngest son zonked out on the living room floor.  He stayed there for a couple of hours.  I did not have the heart to move him...he looked so peaceful! 
Then there are older siblings who love helping the younger ones...
Whether it's walking through the garden (so they don't step on the plants that are coming up) or trying to scale a retention wall near the house.....
Enjoy the beautiful weather that God blesses us with each day.  Rain or shine it all has a Purpose....His Purpose!
May God bless you and yours abundantly!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

 Today is Memorial Day.  A day to reflect and remember those soldiers who have paid the ultimate, unselfish sacrifice of their own lives for the United States of America.  For you, and for me.  I felt that it's only fitting to post the history behind Memorial Day.  The following information was taken from

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, "Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping" by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication "To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead" (Source: Duke University's Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860's tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all. 
General John A. Logan
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [LC-B8172- 6403 DLC (b&w film neg.)]
 Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 - 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis' birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.  In 1915, inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields," Moina Michael replied with her own poem:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms.Michael and when she returned to France, made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children's League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans' organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their "Buddy" Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.

Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.  There are a few notable exceptions. Since the late 50's on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye's Heights (the Luminaria Program). And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years.
 To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans "To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to 'Taps."   The Moment of Remembrance is a step in the right direction to returning the meaning back to the day. What is needed is a full return to the original day of observance. Set aside one day out of the year for the nation to get together to remember, reflect and honor those who have given their all in service to their country.  But what may be needed to return the solemn, and even sacred, spirit back to Memorial Day is for a return to its traditional day of observance. Many feel that when Congress made the day into a three-day weekend in with the National Holiday Act of 1971, it made it all the easier for people to be distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day. As the VFW stated in its 2002 Memorial Day address: "Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day."  On January 19, 1999 Senator Inouye introduced bill S 189 to the Senate which proposes to restore the traditional day of observance of Memorial Day back to May 30th instead of "the last Monday in May". On April 19, 1999 Representative Gibbons introduced the bill to the House (H.R. 1474). The bills were referred the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Government Reform.
To date, there has been no further developments on the bill. Please write your Representative and your Senators, urging them to support these bills. You can also contact Mr. Inouye to let him know of your support.

So, take this day to reflect and give thanks to those soldiers and their families that have sacrificed so very much, for each and every one of us.

May God bless you and yours abundantly!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Gratitude Sunday...

Let me begin by saying...I'm not an optimist by nature so I actually do have to take special note of the blessings all around me. A friend and co blogger (Blessed By God) suggested we do a Gratitude Sunday link up.  I don't have the link up, but I do want to be grateful on a regular basis.  Thank you, Amy, for the wonderful idea!

Prayerfully, this will be my first of many "Gratitude Sunday" blog posts.  Back in November, while still having an active account on Facebook, I posted something each day that month saying what I was grateful for.  I vowed that none of my posts would relate to material things.  I will attempt to do the same thing here.  Posting daily gratitude was a challenge for me.  I'm thinking that on God's Day, it will be much easier.  You will have to wait and see if it holds true.  So, here I go.....

Gratitude for warming temperatures to melt the snow to fill the well.  For remembering that to clean a hairbrush very well is to clean it, and wash it in the washing machine with a load of clothes (a lingerie bag or tied pillow case will help with snagging).  Thank you, Mom!
For the trees that are bursting with buds and the flowers with their beautiful colors and scents...

For the eyesight to take in God's beautiful gifts of nature...

For these and so many others, I am truly grateful!
May God bless you and yours abundantly.