Friday, February 28, 2014

Five Friday Favorites

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ONE: The amount of baby and maternity items friends and even a few people we hardly know keep bringing to us is overwhelming-in a completely good way!  Some of it is on loan, other items are ours to  keep, but we have an entire room full of nothing but baby things, and my closest is bursting with maternity clothes.  God is showing His faithfulness and presence at every turn in this pregnancy, and it's so exciting to see where we'll find Him working next.  Not to mention the HUGE financial burden that all of these generous gifts are alleviating for us!

TWO: Yesterday I wrote about the She Reads Truth: Hosea study I just completed with some other blogging friends.  Still processing all I've learned, but God's Word never returns void!

THREE: Mom, Nanny, and I are going tomorrow to order this beautiful set, or at least part of it!  No worries, there will be NO pink in Andrew's room.  Just all things Zambian.  :)

FOUR: It thrills me that friends are coming up to me left and right asking about essential oils.  I think more and more people are trying to find chemical free, toxin free ways way to keep their families clean and healthy, and I'm so excited to share what I'm learning.  I could care less if I ever make a penny off being a distributor.  I honestly just want as many families as possible to have oils in their homes.  I know we feel healthier and have been less sick lately, even with allergy season in Texas starting to roar it's ugly head.  And what I'm learning about oils and their positive effects from friends who have children with ADHD, Austism, and other conditions is just incredible.  Thank You, Lord!

FIVE: Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo starts this week!  Here's my favorite picture from last year's festivities!  My nieces were here, and we had a blast taking them to their first rodeo.  Joelle is younger in that picture than I was at my first rodeo.  She was 3, and I was 4.  Precious loves!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

In the Word: Hosea

Cheers Y'all and Wifessionals challenged their readers to go through the book of Hosea this month using She Reads Truth.  I loved the idea, and here's what I've learned from the study.

Hosea was a man willing to follow God even when what God said to do didn't make sense.  The Almighty told Hosea to marry Gomer, a woman Hosea knew from the beginning wouldn't be faithful to him.  Hosea was then to name and raise her children "I will punish", "Not loved", and "Not my people", and he didn't even know for sure if these kids were his own!  This man had the willingness to follow God wherever He leads, and I so needed to be reminded that this is faithfulness.  I'm struggling right now to follow God from full time teaching to full time mommyhood with a part time job.  I'm struggling to trust that our needs will be met in this new situation.  That's a lack of faith on my part, and not glorify to God Almighty.

Back to Hosea.  God asked his prophet to lead this life of perpetual heartbreak to be an earthly example to Israel of all that God experiences when we turn our back on Him.  Hosea represents God in this story with his unwavering devotion to Gomer, and we're Gomer.  We turn away, we stray, we follow after worthless idols, and waste our time on nonsense.  So many times reading Hosea, I wanted to reach through the pages and smack Gomer on the backside of her head, but the more I read, the more I realized I was just disappointed in myself for being just like her.

Yet, just as Hosea opened Gomer with open arms, God does the same to me.  He used Hosea's mouth to speak words of redemption to all Israel: One was coming that would give His all for our sakes.  The words in the book of Hosea forced me to stare my own sin straight in the face, and when I take time to examine my own faulty heart, the cross looks more beautiful than ever before.

God watched Israel turn from Him over and over again.  They chose golden calves, the grossness of having kings rule over them instead of the One True God, and the temporal pleasures of living in the moment to be their gods.  I can't say I've ever been tempted to bow down to a statue, but I waste my time on other things: chasing after an image I want my family to fit into, time perusing my Facebook news feed, trying to get my blog to look and be just so.  All of that fits nice and neat into the idol category.  God wants all of me, and I fall short each time I selfishly think I can give myself something better than turning my all over to Christ.

Do any of you ever tire of being the prodigal child like I do?  Why do we do that to ourselves?  Praise God for welcoming me with open arms each time I turn from sin and choose to follow Him more closely.  My prayer and my goal, through the Spirit, is to learn to stay with God and not fall away.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Meal Planning Monday

I'm taking meals to 3 families this week, so I'm pulling out old favorites, some from very recently, to cook.  I don't usually repeat meals this often, I promise.  Isaac isn't being tortured.  :)

Sunday: Church

Monday: Pork Chops in Mushroom Sauce

Tuesday: Spaghetti

Wednesday: Grilled Mesquite Lime Chicken, Fresh Green Beans, Mac & Cheese

Thursday: Chicken Parmesan Soup

Friday: GNO

Saturday: Soup Leftovers 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Five Friday Favorites

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ONE: Little Man has a name!  Not sure I even like sharing this much about him on the Internet, but here it is!
TWO: These three are such sweet friends!  We had Ceally, the chocolate lab for four days earlier this week.  One morning, Isaac had left early for a 50 mile bike ride, and I was still sound asleep.  I woke up to Aggie curled around my head, Bailey pressed against my side, and Ceally's head on my feet.  That was pretty much perfect for me!
THREE: We've officially become an 'oily family'.  Joining Young Living has been something we've contemplated for years now, and we finally dove in this month.  Our starter kit arrived last night, and I'm so excited to keep learning more about how to be medicine free for the humans and canines in this family!  For example, my friend Courtney had sent me a sample of RC and Peppermint oil a few months ago.  This week I woke up with a nasty, vice-like headache two different mornings.  I applied some peppermint to my temples, the last little bit I had, and by the time I was finished brushing my teeth, my headaches was nearly gone.  This excites me so much!  Not to mention I love using what God has naturally given us to treat ailments.  The research coming out about how oils are helping children with Autism, chronic pain, seasonal allergies, and other issues is just amazing.  I'm NOT opposed to modern medicine, but with all my drug allergies, this just might completely change the status quo for me!  
I was so excited to start exploring that I forgot to take a picture when it still looked neat and tidy!
FOUR: Two dear friends have had babies in the last week and a half, and I can't wait to go meet these precious girls!  I've got to get in all my girly time with them.  Ha!

FIVE: Spring Break is in 2 weeks.  9 1/2 teaching days.  My kids are hanging in their like the troopers that they are, but 6th grade hormones are kicking in, and they need a break from each other.  It's been a long haul since Christmas, and it's time.  I'm so proud of this bunch of over 100 this year, but we have built in breaks for a reason!  They need to recharge as much, if not more, than the adults!  And I need some time in the sun.  It's time for that too!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Cheesy Chicken Veggie Pasta

My friend threw all this together last week and had the leftovers at lunch.  We were all looking on in envy and this yummy looking dish she said her boys just raved over!

~4 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
~1/2 bag of frozen, precooked fajita chicken
~half jar of Ragu cheesy sauce (Alfredo would probably taste good too!)
~half box of veggie rotini
~dab of olive oil

~Slice mushrooms.  Add them to a skillet with the olive oil and frozen chicken.  Cook on medium heat until chicken is thawed and mushrooms are tender.  Stir occasionally.

~Boil pasta for 10 minutes.
~Drain pasta and return to pot.
~Add chicken, mushrooms, and sauce.  Heat on low until warm.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Works for Me Wednesday: ABLE Act

Many of you know about my dearest Kaitlin and her adorable Conqueror.


Here's the deal: In 1986, the IRS code created Section 529 which forbids the creation of tax-free savings accounts for persons with disabilities.  In other words, parents, grandparents, and other cannot create a savings account in the name of a person with disabilities to be used for health care, education, and other living expenses.  While it might not seem needed while a child's parents are alive, the advancements in therapy and treatments for people with disabilities is improving by leaps and bounds.  This is awesome, but it means may kiddos with special needs are out living their parents and are left with nothing.  This is not good!

The ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Act is a bipartisan, bicameral bill.  It aims to make access to savings and care easier for all people.  The details, and in fairly non-legal gargon, can be found here

A petition is currently active, seeking to have the ABLE act passed.  Please take a moment to research more about the ABLE act, and if you agree with it, sign the petition, and ask others to do the same.  Our government isn't all bad, nor is it incapable of seeing the good in well rounded change.  Let's make sure that we allow parents the ability to know that their children will be well cared for long after they are gone!

Advocating for the rights of others works for me!  Linking up with Kristen.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Monuments Men


Two weekends ago, my grandparents took me to see Monuments Men.  Yes, my grandparents and I still have dates together.  There are some things from childhood I refuse to relinquish, and this is one of them.  ;)

Around the holidays, I first saw the previews for Monuments Men.  I was excited to see a World War II movie that didn't appear to be full of blood, guts, gore, and depressing themes.  I study WWII in depth frequently, and have for years, and while all of those elements are very much a reality of this war, sometimes I need to be reminded that good comes out of evil.  Monuments Men succeeded in doing just that.  Oh, and it's a safe movie for older kids!  There's some era-appropriate foul language, but no kissing, no affairs, no gore, and lots of light moments that had me giggling several times.

This is a true story of 345 men and women, American, British, French, and others, tasked to find the art stolen by the Nazis before the Allied forces entered a city and accidentally destroyed it by bombing a building in efforts to chase out Nazis.   The film focus on 6 of these men and one women, and the story is beautifully interwoven.  I'm still waiting on the library list to get the book the tells the full story, but here's what I know about the film that is true:

In the last year of the war, museum curators, historians, and architects were brought together by the military to save the great art works of Europe.  Many at the time thought it was a stupid ploy, doomed from the beginning, and not worth it's weight in the budget of the war.  Yet many realized that if the works stolen by the Nazis weren't recovered, or worse, were destroyed either through the Nero Decree or Allied bombs, history, culture, and the basis of much of modern society would be lost forever.

See, Hitler was an artist, and honestly, a decent one at that.  He firmly believed his denial into art school was because a group of Jews were on the selection committee, and they had it out for him.  This was one of many instances Hitler created in his mind to fuel his hatred and antisemitism that grew into the Holocaust.  We also know that Hitler was obsessive in ways that defy most definitions of OCD.  In his conquest of Europe, he not only wanted the land, people, and natural resources, but all the art too.  Hitler wanted to create a museum to showcase greatness in artistic developments through the ages.  As he conquered a town, the art was ransacked out of homes and museums, documented, and stored away.  All Jews lost their art, and many other private citizens did too.  Sadly, many modern pieces, those created by Jews, and other 'inferior' works were destroyed immediately.  Personally, my heart aches at all the greatness lost.

What the Allies didn't know was where Hitler was storing these works while development of the great museum was underway.  These Monuments Men took on the responsibility of gaining the trust of locals in various towns the Allies were reclaiming and find the art hidden away.  There truly was a rush to beat the Russians to it.  The Russians wanted to keep the art as retribution payment for all the lives they'd lost fighting the Nazis.  The other Allied nations wanted to return the art to their rightful owners.  Russia essentially 're-stole' countless pieces that are still being uncovered today.  As the Allies found pieces, they took the carefully kept records of the Nazis and returned as many pieces to the rightful church, synagogue, museum, or private owner.

These men and women saved a huge chunk of culture.  Honestly, they also saved a lasting testament to how many chose to show their worship of the One True King.  I'm grateful for their sacrifice, diligence, and efforts in trying to restore what could have never been replaced.  For a change, Hollywood did it right in the way they chose to honor the Monuments Men

Monday, February 17, 2014

Meal Planning Monday

Sunday: Rigatoni

Monday: Pork Chops in Mushroom Sauce

Tuesday: Homemade Eggwhite McMuffins

Wednesday: Veggie Pasta

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Out with my brother and SIL

Saturday: Birthday Party

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

This was an all around fabulous day!

The district had an early dismissal day, so our school used it to make our now annual school wide lip-synch video.  The kids did a phenomenal job and were just so excited about all of it!  The final won't be ready for a while, but here's a glimpse of how it ended.

This morning, I mentioned that I thought some students had a surprise for today.   I was right!  One of my ESL kiddos was so intrigued by my stories of Zambia, that she decided she wanted to do something to help the kids I shared with them.  She went to her Advisory class a couple of days ago, shared about the students in Zambia in her best English, and asked them to bring in money to help.  Her little advisory class brought her $34 in just a couple of days, and she presented it to me as my Valentine present today.  Pretty sure that's the best gift this teacher has ever gotten.  It was be sent to help the students that I know so well and help keep Helen Devos at a 100% graduation rate!

Isaac had today off for his flex Friday, so he picked me up at 1:00, and we headed into town to visit the zoo.  It's been in the 30s and 40 for weeks and weeks, but today was in the mid-70s.  Oh, thank You, Lord, for the change!  I know so much of the country would love to be in the 30s and 40s, but I live in Houston for a reason.  It's not supposed to be that cold!  Ugh.  Anyway, 10 days ago, Tara the giraffe had a new baby named Baridi (Swahili for cold because it's been so gosh darn cold), and Shanti the Asian elephant had Duncan a week ago today.  We were itching to get to the zoo to 'meet' these new darlings.  Baridi was totally soaking up the sun and the visitors.  Duncan was inside with Shanti getting a vet check, but he was still showing off a bit through the window.  For an elephant, he's just tiny!  Both babes are precious, and if the weather holds, we'll be back in a week!

Duncan blends in with Shanti's back leg, but you can see his eye pretty clearly!  :)
After the zoo we headed to Central Market for their Chocolate Extravaganza.  We wanted the samples, and they were yummy!  We'll have dinner out tomorrow; neither of us felt like fighting crowds tonight.  And, we have an extra pup this weekend and figured the 3 furbabies had been left home alone long enough.  They're playing and munching doggie strawberry Valentine cookies while we watch the Olympics.  Very, very awesome day!

Five Friday Favorites

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Happy Valentine's Day!  

I have a new favorite cereal.  I saw this on the shelf at Kroger the other day.  The word 'baobab' caught my eye.  That is one of my favorite trees in Zambia, and I had no idea that it was edible.  This granola is so tasty, and I love the coconut flakes in it.

A baobab tree in Livingstone, Zambia


Every once in a while, I come up with a fun idea all on my own.  I wanted to make pancakes last night to have for a Valentine breakfast today.  I threw some chocolate chips in the batter, and then decided to cook them in heart shaped cookie cutters.  I tried a cupid too, but even with having cooking spray on the cutter, it stuck too badly to be cute.  I had fresh strawberries for garnish, and this way we had a quick but festive breakfast this morning.

THREE: The school district decided to make today an early release day, so I'm out at 1:00.  It's Isaac's flex Friday, so he's picking me up and taking me to the zoo to see our brand spanking, not even two week old baby giraffe and elephant.  Can. Not. Wait.

Team USA Skeleton athletes.  One of Isaac's former profs has spent the last 6 years working with the skeleton team to make a better sled.  See, aerospace engineers are good for more than just NASA!  Anyway, Isaac and Grant have kept in touch, and it's been a blast getting his updates from Sochi and watching the team compete the past couple of days.  So fun!

FIVE: My students have something sneaky up their sleeve for me today.  I'm not quite sure who is involved or what they're doing, but there's been an awful lot of whispering this week.  And a lot of borrowing markers and paper and talking to other teachers when they think I'm not noticing.  Love them! Oh how my heart aches to give this after this year!  Check back later today or over the weekend, and I'll let you know what these darlings were up to!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A 9 Year Journey

Today marks 9 years since I was first diagnosed with endometrisos.  That seems so weird.  I remember most of it like it was just last month, but other parts seem so distant.
We knew in January of 2005 that I had a golf ball sized cyst on one of my ovaries.  The doctor had said my body would absorb it in time and it wouldn't be an issue.  Late on the night of February 11th, I began having much more intense pain than I'd been experiencing the past several weeks.  Mom was in town (I was in college) for the weekend, and we'd just finished seeing a movie.  After about an hour of me sobbing my eyes out, she took me to the ER.  We arrived about 10:00, but I wasn't seen until after 1:00 am.  Ugh.  The pain was growing worse, and I was just a crying mess.  The OB/GYN on call saw my records about the cyst and figured something was wrong with it.  During emergency surgery, he found it was a blood cyst, had ruptured, and was gushing blood into my abdominal cavity.  Joy.  He also discovered lots and lots of endometriosis, all developed to a variety of different stages.  He didn't feel comfortable enough to clean out most of it because it was on nerves, ligaments, inside and outside of my uterus, bladder, colon, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and ureter.  Double joy.  At least we had a diagnosis for the agony of pain that was roaming throughout my body.
Several weeks after that surgery, I wasn't feeling any better.  The daily pain I had consumed everything I did.  Because of the location of the endo growths, my legs would sometimes 'give out' on me from the pain.  Simple tasks like walking to class, driving, and going up and down stairs were nearly unbearable.  The doctor had put me on birth control pills to try to stop the growth of the endometriosis and to control the pain.  I was also on Tylenol 3, but since I'm allergic to all codeine based meds, I was also on Benadryl to not get hives.  Let's just say I don't remember much about anything from that semester, and after that semester, I had to go the rest of the journey pain med free because I just couldn't handle the hives.  We did acupuncture, yoga, and everything else we could think of to help me cope with the pain.

Mom took me to some specialists in Houston at various Med Center hospitals.  The consensus of all of them was to put me on Lupron, a drug that would throw my 20 year old body into menopause.  The purpose of that was to 'restart' my system and hopefully trick my white blood cells into attacking the endouterine lining as it sheds into the abdominal cavity each month.  Most women's bodies do this naturally, but mine wasn't for whatever reason, hence the massive growth of endometriosis.  I had no peace about trying this drug and refused.  Mom was convinced I was just being stubborn, but something just wasn't right.
We finally found at Texas Women's Hospital a microscopic surgery specialist whose main focus was endometriosis.  He looked at my first surgery report and said that there was no way Lupron would even stand a chance of working if there was still endo growing in my body, which we knew there was.  He scheduled another surgery with the goal of lasering out all of the endo growths.  That surgery took over 2 hours.  When I woke up, I felt completely normal.  It was amazing!  I had no idea how much living in constant extreme pain had worn me down for 6 months. 

He then suggested trying the Lupron to restart my system.  Since I knew the endo was out, I was ok with trying it.  The monthly shots into my hip were unbelievably painful, and often left me with a limp for a few days.  My hip hurts just thinking about it!  I don't recommend menopause for 20 year olds.  That was totally an experience I dread having to relieve in a decade or two.  Ugh.  I wouldn't have minded it if the process had worked, but it didn't.

After the Lupron, the doctor wanted me to have an IUD in the hopes of stopping my period.  Let me first say that no woman who hasn't given birth to children should ever have an IUD.  They are made for ladies who've been 'stretched out a little', and that wasn't me!  After 6 months of an IUD and still having periods, I convinced my doctor to stop this approach.  In August of 2006, I went back on birth control pills, hoping they'd stop my periods.  No periods means no endouterine lining shedding into the abdominal cavity each month which means no endo can grow.  Unfortunately by Christmas I was having to have surgery number 3 to clean out stage 4 endo growths yet again.  Bummer.
After that surgery, the doctor upped the hormone level in the pills.  I hated the side effects, but I wanted to be healthy more than I cared about the hormone levels.  I managed to graduate on time (all through the grace of God alone!) and landed my first teaching job.  My periods hadn't stopped though.  And by Christmas of '07, I had my 4th clean out surgery.  Ugh.

The doctor upped the hormone level again, and this time we had success!  I still hated the side effects, but I could teach without being in pain, there was no chance of an endo recurrence since I was all cleaned out and not having periods, and things were finally looking up.  It had been a long 3 years.
Unfortunately, or, in my mind, I could have cared less, four laser surgeries left quite a toll on my girly parts.  The inside of my uterus was a battlefield of scar tissue.  My ovaries were so scarred no one was sure I even ovulated anymore.  I was blessed that I didn't have scar tissue pain in my abdominal cavity.  All of this left the doctors saying I'd never have children without IVF.  I personally feel IVF isn't for me because that's too close to playing God in my mind.  At the same time, I have prayers journals since age 12 telling God I only wanted to adopt someday.  I was totally ok with this infertile diagnosis.  I knew God could still do anything He wanted, but I was quite content adopting someday.  Once I found a man who felt the same way, life was seriously looking up after that 3 year battle! 
All of this long story to say, you can imagine the surprise when we found out we were pregnant this past November.  Say what?!?!  Like I said though, God can do anything He wants anytime He wants, and He obviously needs this little boy come July. 

All in all, I'm just thrilled that I've not lost my mind over the last nine years and that I've been healthy now for 6.  God is so good not to let a relapse occur, and I'm grateful each day!

WFMW: Phiten Tape

Link up with We Are That Family today!

Phiten has radically changed the way I approach pain management, and it most definitely works for me!  Phiten uses titanium and gold to increase blood flows to painful areas of the body to decrease pain.  I like the tape best, but they have a whole line of products from clothing to necklaces to lotions that all serve the same purpose.

In high school, we were rear ended, and I developed a huge knot in my right shoulder.  Chiropractic care helped some, but I still had pain.  I also had neck pain from falling and breaking my tail bone in 6th grade.  Basically I landed so hard the impact jolted the vertebrae in my neck out of alignment.  Joy.  Our hair stylist was using Phiten on her hand to help with arthritis pain and told Mom to get some for me to try on my shoulder.  It didn't heal the knot, but it helped sooooo much with the pain!  Increased blood flow can loosen tight muscles and help relax the body.

Since high school, I've used it to help a twisted ankle, a sprained wrist, and back pain.  The tape stays in place 2-4 days and works well the whole time.  I also suffer from TMJ and even with a mouth guard, I clench horribly in my sleep.  Two months ago, I started putting a piece of Phtien on my right jaw line each night before bed.  It doesn't make me stop clenching, but it does help me not be so sore from it in the morning.

Please keep in mind Phiten isn't for open wounds or sores.  It's for muscle aches and pains.  It doesn't heal or cure anything.  It is perfect for people like me who are allergic to most pain meds or who are looking for more natural, or at least medicine free, approaches to treating pain.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Astronaut Wives Club: Review

The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel..just the title told me I had to read it.  When I dove into the pages and found that I was face to face with my own neighborhood, well, yeah, it hit home.  I so often forget the thrill of living smack dab in the middle of the space capital of America. It surrounds me.  I drive roads like NASA Rd 1, Space Center Blvd, and Saturn Lane each and every day.  Our church is about to host a huge ceremony to honor NASA employees for 55 years of service to the community. The house my street is on leads into the subdivision that many of the first astronauts chose for their Houston homes.  We ride bikes and walk the dogs past those homes frequently.  Many NASA employees live there still.  The school where I teach is called Space Center for crying out loud.  But I don't give it two thoughts most days.  It's just been life for me since age 4.  The people I know that others see as celebrities or national heroes are just regular old people with families and lives that are so very normal to me. 
Ah, but this book took me back and made me stop and realize all that living in Clear Lake really is about.  I giggled as the wives of the Mercury 7, America's first astronauts, were introduce on the pages of the books.  They were all military wives, used to husbands who were test pilots with high risks jobs.  They each had their own hopes and dreams, and were trying to be the perfect American, 1950s housewife.  Ha.  I choked with laughter on so many stories of how LIFE magazine and the government wanted the world to see these women as perfect, well coiffed wives and mamas who could do it all.  We had to prove that not only our men had the right stuff to make it to space before the Russians, but that their families had the best of the best and were the best of the best, the perfect standard for families all over the world.  Oh, please! 
In truth, these families had struggles, but they loved each other.  As Houston, specifically the piece of swamp on Clear Lake, was named the home of the Manned Space Flight Center, these families were united in location.  And they bonded.  No one else had lived through and experienced shooting their husbands and fathers into space on thousands of pounds of jet fuel.  Um, stress much?!  There was no handbook on how to handle the fear, anxiety, stress, and media that hounded their front doors.  They had each other, and they clung to each other.  Ladies, take note; this is how it should be.  Throw out the how-to books, be honest with each other, and support each other.  That's how we really fight!

Eventually, more astronauts were named for more test rockets and projects, and the Astronaut Wives Club grew.  Growing pains between the originals and newbies occurred, but at the end of the day, they had to help each other. And, they all wanted know what Jackie was wearing at the White House when the latest wife returned from a visit.  Duh, that's important!  :)  And Kennedy kept pushing the space race further and faster.  Russia beat us to space, but by George, we would beat them to the moon!  And, we did.  The fear of those wives on earth over their hubbies landing on the moon was probably touchable to those sitting with them as they watched live on TV.  These ladies were strong, y'all.

Tragedies weren't ever far away.  T-38 training jets crashed.  Grissom's hatch popped early on Mercury 2, causing the capsule to sink and Grissom to be scrutinized for ages.  A motorcycle crash killed another before he could fly.  Odd ball health issues grounded otherwise fit astronauts and dashed dreams.  Apollo 1 had a flash fire during a preflight run, killing all 3 of the astronauts trapped inside.  Apollo 13 had an explosion in an oxygen tank that nearly resulted in a lost capsule.  Thanks to the dedication of quick thinking engineers, astronauts on the ground, and the American spirit that never gives up or leaves a man behind, all 3 on board were brought home safely. 

And yet, these women kept their families together while their husbands lived one of the greatest dreams ever dreamed.  It was a team effort, and they have deserved this credit for a long, long time.  Many of the marriages didn't survive after their husbands' space days, and that makes my heart hurt.  I think the culture of America at the time, saying all had to be perfect, had a large part in this.  Still, the wives get together, those who are still living, when they can.  They relive the glory days of finally having electrical appliances, the trips around the world to show off the American astronaut heroes, the thrill of close friendships just houses away from each other.

My favorite couple is John and Annie Glenn.  This April, they will have been married for 71 years.  They've literally known each other since toddlerhood.  Y'all, their love story is just precious.  Read it and be encouraged.  Another favorite is Jim and Marilyn Lovell.  They're something else too.

While I think Koppel did a fabulous job with her research and writing, I wish she'd had an epilogue that talked about astronaut spouse life today.  The book ends with the end of the Apollo program.  So much has changed at NASA and in American culture since then.  The shuttle program introduced female astronauts.  With co-ed spouses in the club and a culture that almost expects women to work outside of the home, the pressure to look perfect to the world has diminished.  It's ok to seek help when the family has problems.  The media doesn't focus so much on the families but more on the science and achievements of NASA.  There's not a feeling that these families have to be perfect little American dream replicas to tout to the world now.  Thank goodness, because whose real life is that anyway?!!  The area has grown so much that the spouses have opportunities to seek their own passions while their astronaut spouses are pursuing theirs.  It's a good thing...a beautiful thing.  This community is what it is because of the literally thousands of people who keep NASA running each day.  I'm grateful to be a part of it, and I'm thrilled to get to see this community continue to rally around all that NASA is. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Meal Planning Monday

Sunday: Kashi Mushroom and Spinach Pizza

Monday: We're both in a different directions, so whatever we grab between events on our own.  :)

Tuesday: BBQ Quesadillas  These were so good last week, we're having them again!

Wednesday: Chicken Parmesan Soup

Thursday: Frito Pie

Friday: Whatever sounds good after our trip to the zoo to see the new baby elephant and giraffe!

Saturday: Somewhere yummy in Rice Village

Friday, February 7, 2014

Five Friday Favorites


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Linking up today with The Good Life Blog and The Diary of a Real Housewife.

ONE: There's no doubt in my mind that animals know who there Creator is because I believe this verse:
So it doesn't surprise me that on the days he's actually awake when I have my quiet time, this little boy is in my lap.  I swear Bailey is very aware that those words are God's.  Understand them, nope.  But know it comes from his Maker, yep.

TWO: The thought ran across my head to see if Kelly's Kids was still in business this week.  Did you wear Kelly's Kids clothes when you were little?  It was all catalog sales through consultants, like Tupperware, Pampered Chef, and Scentsy, so Mom was always going to parties to get David and me clothes.  I wish I had some of the pics of us in Kelly's Kids.  We'd match and be so gosh darn cute.  Sure enough, the company still seems to be going strong and has a website now for consultant free purchasing!  I can't wait to for family to start shopping this line for our sweet one!  Names won't be on the clothes at our house, but monograms and the adorable appliques will be!  My current favorite:
THREE: I needed this yesterday and was so glad when a sweet blog friend posted it.  I'm learning this daily in this season.

FOUR: I needed this one too.  Who cares if it doesn't bring glory to Jesus?!?

FIVE: The Olympics began yesterday, and I can't wait to see the opening ceremonies tonight!  I do like the summer games better than the winter, but it's still fun seeing so much talent in one place.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Meal Planning Monday

Sunday: Super Bowl Party
Monday: Birthday dinner leftovers
Wednesday: Meat Loaf

Thursday: Poppyseed Chicken Casserole

Friday: Cracker Barrel

Saturday: Leftovers

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Birthday Girls

Aggie Belle turned 3 big girl years old today!
Um, my girl is gorgeous.

The pups started out their day with an hour long play session in their favorite neighbor's back yard.  Mrs. Barb may have snuck them both a few puppy treats too!

After Daddy came home from his 50 mile bike ride, we went through the Chick-fil-a drive through for grilled nuggets for a birthday lunch in-the-car picnic.  Bailey has no problem celebrating Sister's birthday right along with her!

Those eyes say it all: YUM!
It's super fun in Aggie's eyes to share her birthday with her most favorite Mama.  The whole family came over tonight for dinner.  I made beef tenderloin, Fall salad, and roasted asparagus with mushrooms and garlic.  Nanny made a banana pudding for dessert.  It was so nice to get to host because we have a table for all of us now!!!  Yay for dining room furniture!  The best part wasa loving on the birthday girls and enjoying family.  Happy birthday, you two!

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