Saturday, August 29, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

Wait Just A Minute!

It was one of those moments the other day..."I wonder if he'll stay in that pose long enough for me to grab the camera." I ran to get it...and he had moved. Bummer. But I will try to see if he will do something similar and give me a cute picture.

Rarely these days does The Prairie Kid hold still long enough to satisfy my "looking-for-a-cute-portrait-like-shot" mommy hunger. And then, something rare happened...he posed, naturally smiled, froze, and was captured.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Come To Me Party Or Walk The Plank!

The Invitation
The Grub

The Gang

The Lads
The Bounty
The Vessel
Examining The Plunder

The Buccaneers

My Buccaneers

And The Birthdays are accomplished. May you both have a very blessed year!

Thar She Blows

The Prairie Kid wanted a pirate themed birthday party after thumbing through an Oriental Trading Post catalog. I decided we could attempt to pull that off. Weeks before The Party I started Googling pictures of pirate ship cakes. I would drift off to sleep imagining how I could create such a thing. I had a plan in my head...or so I hoped.

I found out what kind of cake The Prairie Dad wanted, since this was his birthday cake too. He voted for German chocolate. Doable.
Cake Making Day

So, I made the cake one afternoon when I was feeling pretty good. I was scared because I had never made a homemade German chocolate cake before.

I was relieved that it all went well. I let the cake completely cool and bravely began to "construct" the ship. It was like making Legos and then building with them. Only it was cake...not as easy to put together and pull apart as Legos.

This was the only thing I used as a pattern. After I cut this piece out the rest was winging it!

I used canned Coconut Pecan frosting as the "glue"
Piece by piece...
It slowly came together...

The Nephew and I made a bunch of applique pieces with Royal Icing. It would take a few days for them to dry so we did those the day I made and built the cake.
When the cake was built we froze it for 30 minutes, then wrapped it tightly in Saran and put it back into the freezer until the day of the party.
Party Day
The morning of The Party Day I woke up after very little sleep feeling quite miserable. I honestly didn't know how we'd pull off having The Party. I tearfully and prayerfully moved throughout the morning trying to accomplish this for My Boys. I sat on a bar stool at the counter to frost the cake and munched on an apple trying to maintain energy.
I made a whipped ganache for the outer frosting. It was a little speckled but it tasted delightful.
Crumb Coat

Outer Coat

And after the all the final touches are put on....

WA-LAH! A Pirate Ship Birthday Cake!

Thankfully we had these little pirates and the canon and treasure chest from The Prairie Kid's toys
The ladders, rail, anchor, portholes and bowsprit (spear at the front, I learned a lot about ships!) were all made out of Royal Icing

All in all it turned out satisfactory. I would have put more perfection into it if I had been feeling better but at this point I was seriously just glad to be able to get through the day and not have to cancel. The thing that was most special about The Adventures Of Pirate Ship Cake Making was the response from The Prairie Kid. When he would find me working on the cake he would whole-heartedly say, "Mom! Kank you! Kanks for my pirate ship cake!" And several times I received the most sincere, thankful hugs that a preschooler could ever offer a mommy.

Adventures Up North

On The Prairie Kid's birthday we headed north. The Nephew was flying out of Billings the next day and we thought it was a great opportunity to celebrate as a family. We were celebrating the 4th birthday of The Prairie Kid and the accomplishments of The Nephew living with us and working on the ranch this summer. It was bittersweet.

We started out at Fuddrucker's. The Nephew hadn't ever been there and it was the perfect start to our trip. Afterward we checked out the ducks by the pond at the side of the restaurant.

Then we headed to Geyser Park...a family fun center. We had a blast! We were able to golf 18 holes of put-put.
Here is The Birthday Boy and his pink ball (of course)
Serious Contemplation
Uh, Where's The Ball?

And then we took advantage of the bumper boats!

And then the go-karts...

I did drive one too but bailed out early so that I could snap some pictures. This is not my favorite thing to do because I am SCARED! I always think I will roll them and I drove like a grandma! I bet the guys working there probably hadn't seen someone drive so slow!!!
We went inside and enjoyed a game of laser tag and then hit the arcade.

And before we left we played laser tag again! It was a blast! We checked into our hotel, ran some errands, went out for BBQ for dinner and then went swimming before hitting the pillow and sleeping like babies!
The next morning we took The Nephew to the airport and sadly said our goodbyes. What a great summer had with you, Nephew. We love and miss you!

Into The Deep

~This post is connected to the one before it, so it might make sense to read both~
I have been challenged by God this summer to take a different look at Him as Healer. I haven't ever not thought that God could heal, I just hadn't applied it fully personally. God is miraculous. I read over and over the history of His healing many. I sing a song from church with The Prairie Kid often..."He is able. He is able. I know He is able. I know my God is able to carry me through. He heals the broken hearted and He sets the captives free. He makes the lame to walk again and He can cause the blind to see." I believe this. I have a friend who was recently healed by God on a Sunday morning at the altar of an ailment she had suffered from for a long time. I believe God can heal in the blink of an eye, through prayers and laying on of hands, through the wisdom and grace He gives medical professionals, or many other means. God can heal whenever, however. He is God. He doesn't fit in a box that says "This is God's healing formula."

One thing I haven't done is really press into His healing for me. He blessed me with a baby the doctors questioned I could ever have. I didn't think I deserved healing. Who am I to ask for more? And the truth is I don't deserve healing. None of us do. None of us deserve anything good from God. How sad that there are many out there that really believe they can "be good enough" or "try hard enough" to earn God's love. It is by His great, great mercy, love and grace that we can receive good gifts from the God of the universe. He has already purchased these gifts...forgiveness, life, healing, redemption, eternity...all we have to do is receive them. When I realized in a new way that Isaiah proclaims "He took up my infirmities on the cross" and "by His wounds I am healed" I realized that I just needed to receive what was already accomplished. He had already purchased healing for me...had I accepted this gift?

As I spent time this summer looking into this and seeking His truth I had much conviction over my sinful choices and my continual need to crawl back to the cross and ask to be forgiven for my transgressions. I grieved the mess I make in my relationship with Jesus day after day. I cried in sorrow that I would never not have to come back and apologize. I realized that He would never have to apologize to me and I would never stop apologizing to Him. But then He spoke to me. He comforted me with words that He loves me anyway. He delights in my anyway. He already knows what offenses I will bring to the relationship. He told me that if I didn't mess up then I wouldn't be able to grow and that it is awesome that we have the opportunity to grow! He told me that He will never tire of me or my offenses. I experienced such awe again peering into the eyes of Jesus...His love is amazing.

Through pressing into these truths I found a place deep within my being crying out "search my heart, O God. I want nothing between us! I want nothing hindering my relationship with you! I want nothing displeasing to remain!" And I felt that I could not ask to receive His gift of healing until I was willing to walk out in obedience the process of facing the darkness in my life. And so the process started.

I had more unforgiveness in my heart than I wanted to admit. I have held things in my heart against others. Sinned in gossip and self-preservation. There was a giant root of pride in need of being uncovered and severed. This wasn't a job for pruning shears...this was a job for a God-sized chain saw. As these things were brought up and revealed in me I was sick to my stomach and felt like a worm crawling on my belly on the ground. I felt humiliated and wretched. I have a totally new perspective of brokenness. I believe God allowed my physical sickness to parallel my spiritual walk. If I hadn't been on my face physically would I have cried out in this way? Would I have realized that there were things to deal with? Would I have been as willing to walk in obedience? Only God knows. And He knows what is best for me.

I asked God to guide my steps. I had many apologies to make. I tearfully and embarrassingly crossed each thing off my list as I pressed toward obedience. I discovered some interesting things during the process and found freedom and restoration at the other end. I knew that as I finished the grueling tasks laid before me there would be a fantastic testimony at the other end. Each day was a tough day though, coming back to the Lord in my quiet times and "fearfully" asking "what else? What else do I need to deal with? What's next?" And I would sigh as I wrote down what He gave me and think, "wow...yep. I forgot about that." I was also wondering "will it ever end? How much more is there?"

Eventually I felt like we were nearing the end. And then God became quiet. I knew that I could then feel free to ask to receive the healing for my body. It didn't proceed as I expected but then again, we have a mysterious God. His ways are not my ways. And through His way of using the naturopath I believe I am being healed. Amen.

Where To Begin Again...

I have several posts that I would like to put together. These last weeks have been such a roller coaster and so challenging that I don't quite know how to post about it all. I will start with a general update and then I think we'll break it down from there.

We had a wonderful trip to Billings last week for The Prairie Kid's birthday and taking The Nephew to the airport. It was by the grace of God (and the ceasing of the detox) that I had the energy and health to truly have a fantastic time. That post will come soon. Unfortunately, I decided to try one of the detox pills again when we returned and that proved to be a really, really bad choice. I got violently ill and was completely down for 2 days because of it. We were very close to needing to take me to the hospital but thankfully God gave me the strength and hydration to not have to.

Whatever problem was lingering in my body came back with a vengeance during the weekend. Again, by God's grace and sustenance I made it through The Birthday Party. Another post on that.

On Tuesday The Prairie Daddy and I decided enough was enough and we headed to my naturopath 5 1/2 hours one way. Every three months I am able to see him in our area if I need to and he comes next week again but we decided it was wise to just get down there and see him right away. (La-La, if you're reading this I thought about you the whole day and wondered how we could have pulled off seeing you. We ended up having to eat quickly and leave right away after the appointment. I miss you so much and hope to plan a visit in the near future).

It took him awhile to figure things out but then he definitively said he found the issue. I have a strep infection in my kidneys! Thankfully he had everything on hand to get rid of it and I started on the remedies right away. I received much mental relief and hope from getting an answer.

I feel better during the days but nights are still really hard. I am hopeful that every night will get better.

My next post will be about the spiritual connection to all of this.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Prairie Kid

I can't believe you're four today. Where does time go? It makes me sad when I think about how fast you grow up. But I am so blessed by you and love to watch you learn new things and see you blossom. God gave me one wonderful boy in you. You are a miracle and an answered of the greatest gifts I've ever received. I love you to pieces. Happy Birthday.

One Hour Old
A Few Days
One Week

1st Birthday
2nd Birthday
3rd Birthday

And It Snowed

Four years ago tonight I went into labor with The Prairie Kid. We left our house around 11pm for the long drive to the hospital. I remember how anxious we were and excited. And on the 40 minute drive it snowed. And it was the night past a full moon I think. Or maybe it was a full moon. All I know, is that after 17 1/2 grueling hours we were blessed with a healthy little miracle.

Monday, August 17, 2009

As Of Late

I have still been more under the weather than I would like to be. I have not stopped praying for healing. God's timing is perfect. I have not been to "the big town" for 2 weeks. I have actually left the house twice in the last two weeks to take big adventures to the post office. After a nasty relapse this weekend I have ceased taking the slew of homeopathic remedies I have been on to get a bit of relief. I am on all of these remedies in hopes to detox my body of a possible parasite or bug that has caused a hidden infection and issues with my blood sugar. Detoxing something like this isn't easy...I can now attest to that personally.

This is a big week for our family...The Prairie Kid's birthday is Wednesday, The Nephew leaves on Thursday, The Prairie Kid's best friend's birthday party is on Friday, and The Prairie Daddy's birthday and combined party with The Prairie Kid is on Saturday. Whew. I am hoping to gain back a little more energy every day. Today was good. I was able to clean house and bake the cake for The Party for Saturday. There will eventually be another post on that.

The other day God blessed us with this beautiful double rainbow outside. I thought you'd enjoy seeing it too.

Today was a treat for The Nephew. The Cowboys had to move cattle and The Nephew got to saddle up for the first time this summer. I am so glad he got to do this while he is here! I was able to grab some pics while they moved the yearlings past the house.

Before they left I had to take a few pictures of The Prairie Kid and The Nephew. Although they were not the best of friends all summer, I know The Prairie Kid will miss his cousin. I wonder if he'll keep trying to fight over who sits where...that has been the on-going "issue" this summer.

My brother-in-law and The Nephew rode horses to move the yearlings

That's "my" horse, Dually
And The Prairie Daddy and Kid rode the 4-wheeler