Thursday, December 29, 2011

The expected end of the year healthy post

Doesn't everyone at this point in the year talk about eaing more fruit & veggies? Ok, maybe not this point, but next week we all will! So in that theme, I have to share my Secret Cupcake recipe! They actually turned out wayyy better than I thought they would.
When it comes to cooking and baking, I like to play it safe and keep the expectations LOW...that way I'm never disapointed. So I was surprised that these were so super yummy! They *look* yummy, but so many times I taste by beautiful creations and it would have better just to look at it.
So here's what I used...

You could try a differnt combo of fruits and veggies. I think spinach would have been a great addition! Next time.
First I juiced...and passed out the juice to any kid that would drink it! And I can always count on our youngest, he LOVES *Green Juice*!

YUMMMM...I kinda want that right now! So I get weird about it seperating so quickly, so I am all about mixing it up or even better, pull out my blender ( stink, I'm making more dirty dishes, oh well) add some ice and a spoonfull of Vanilla yogurt and make a smoothie!!! This is a great place to add a handful of frozen spinach too!
So here's the part that is PRECIOUS!!! DON'T THROW IT OUT!!!!! A juicer friend gave me a tip here...if you are wanting an easier clean up or you plan on freezing the pulp, put a gallon sized zip lock bag in the back and collect the pulp in there! EASY!!

Pulp is great for a smoothie. It depends on what kind of pulp you end up with. Some of it is just too much weird, so pick out what you think will not go over so well. But you will be surprised what WILL work in a smoothie!
But this pulp has a different fate...CUPCAKES!!!!!
Grab a cake mix of your choice...chocolate is a great one for sneaking in most fruits and veggies! And make it per box directions and add in as much pulp as you think will go over :) Blend away..

Pour the into cupcake papers and bake as directed. I wasn't sure if they would need to bake longer since they were going to be moister, I just kept checking with a toothpick at the end.
I made a cream cheese chocolate frosting ( no fruits and veggies here)

Oh my they turned out sooooo yummy! Of course the kid test is necessary and YEP, it passed big time! So funny...look closely at these cupcake papers...can you see?? My mom picked these up for me from Target after Halloween, she thought they were cute, some kind of Victorian theme. Um no, there are SKULLS on them! YIKES! Oh well, they were 75% off!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Was it for her??

If you haven't read the previous post, please do first before this one :)

In the middle of April, and smack in the middle of my pain, I got a text from a very sweet girl in Trinidad that God gave me the priviledge of sharing Christ with a few years ago. What an absolute sweetheart she is!

Over the past couple years of seeing her during our mission trip to T&T, she has avery couple months sent me a sweet little text. "How are you Auntie Amber? I miss you! Tell your family HI" And every single time I respond with a smile and tell her we are all doing well, we love you and miss you too!!
Isn't that what we do?? When someone says "hey, how are you?" We answer about EVERY SINGLE TIME "great, how are you?" No matter what is going on in our lives, we say "great". I'm not sure how I feel about this habit. I do it. You know you do it.
Sure I think we feel that we don't want others to have to hear what is really going on in our lives. It's complicated right?
We this day in April I received a text from her and again is read "Hello Auntie Amber, what's going on? How are you?"
This time, I stopped and thought *Ok God, I'm going to tell her the truth*
"Well sweetie, I'm actually not doing so well. I've been in alot of pain for months now and doctors don't know why. Will you pray with me that I will get answers and relief soon?"
Her response ( which is still saved on my phone)
"I will be praying! Auntie Amber, Our God is a God of healing! We serve an awesome God!"
I cried.
From time to time I would pull up her response and read it over and over. YES our God HEALS and HE IS AWESOME!! What an encouragement this 11 year old was to ME!
So many of the kids in T&T are an encouragement to me! Some have FB accounts send little notes from time to time. I LOVE IT!!! I love hearing from them!

I am so thankful that several years ago we were introduced to the Singh family there and what a treasure their friendship is as well. I knew that they were also praying for me! What a blessing that people thousands of miles away were praying too!! Aloma is like a sister to me, what an encouragement!
FAST FORWARD through my visit with Mr.W in June to July.
This year, I went to T&T by myself, usually Nate and some of the kids are with me. I was with our team from church, but it's very different than it was in previous trips.
I had alot to time to pray and focus on what God had for me there.
Even in the airport as we waited for hours, I had time to share with others on our team what the last several months were all about and what God did!! I appreciated the time to share in person what HE did! I prayed that God would continue to use HIS story!
Here I was, on my trip PAIN FREE!!!!
This is something that was such a concern to me months earlier I thought how in the world am I going to do this in pain??!!
But I gave it to the Lord and trusted that even if I was still in pain, He would give me what I need to get through each day. My goodness, people serve Him ALL THE TIME in pain and agony!! Who am I to complain??
So my heart was overwhelmed with thankfulness that I was there PAIN FREE!!!
I would lay there in my bed at night and be in awe that I truly was with no pain. I was so overwhelmed!!
About two nights into out time there, I was getting really excited...the kids were coming the next day!!! It was the day our whole team gets excited about. It's all about the KIDS!!!

As I laid there that night before, it hit me....
I was going to SEE her!! I started to tear up. I get to tell her FACE TO FACE, that YES, our God HEALS! He HEALED me! And that her specific words were such an encourgagement to me! God used HER!
I started thinking back to when I first got to know her, fresh in her new faith and so eager to grow! Her family had a VERY different faith. I was concerned about that, but continued to pray for her.
Then it hit me.... Ok Lord,IF she needed something tangible to know YOU ARE GOD, if she needed something that built up her faith in You...if I needed to go through this pain, then in truth share it with her...You then choose to heal me, and now I get to tell her what You did!! Well if this is WHY...for HER, her faith...then it was ALL WORTH IT!!!
Ok, so now there were more then just tears in my eyes, I cried and cried. Praised God for His wisdom and goodness. I fell asleep dreaming of seeing her the next day!

Here they came...the kids were trickling into camp, one by one, group by group. We LOVE this day! Grabbing each one and giving big 'ol hugs. I was working in the kitchen, waiting for the word that she was here. I kept looking around the corner. My heart was sooooo excited!!
Here she is!!!!! I tried to keep my emotions together, goodness gracious!!!
She is such a peaceful thing, I didn't want to scare her to death by running her down :)
Our eyes met and she smiled. She walked over to me and I gave her A BIG 'OL HUG.
I put my hands around her sweet face and told her " I have been waiting to tell you this, so I could tell you face to face...God has healed me! I am no longer in any pain, it's gone, HE HEALED!! Thank you for telling me the TRUTH, that He is an awesome God! You were such an encouragement to me!!"
She smiled. So humble. She even said " well I didn't heal you, God did!" :)
We hugged and hugged.
God uses us big adults to encourage others. We often forget that God also uses CHILDREN to bring Him glory and build faith. I was challenged at this point to LOOK for how God uses children, I'm pretty sure we miss it wayyyy to often!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

What a year!!

So far, we are ending the year with ALOT of laughs!! God has done so many dramatic things in our fam in 2011...would love to share with you about the two big ones. Got a minute? Great...
In June of this year, I WAS HEALED. There is no other way to put it really, a true physical healing. Not by doctors visits, not by taking vitamins or the perfect cocktail of RX meds. God used a simple man, and over months and months of constant pain, God built my faith in Himself, His plan and His timing.
Rewind to December of 2010.
I knew one day that first week in December that I was about to get a cold or something. Just didn't feel good, and strangely something I had never noticed before, pain under my arms where my lymph nodes are, lead me to think I was fighting a virus that was coming on. So I geared up, eat well, rested and drank lots of water.
A couple days later I got a mild head cold, but the following day I broke out in hives. Something else that had never happend to me. They were huge welts around my waist and down my legs. Took meds for them and a few days later they left. HOWEVER....
Smack dab in the middle of this strange *cold* pain set in my arms and legs. Pain that was deep, burning, more than an ache. PAIN. But not my whole legs or arms, just the bottom half of both legs and arms. SO VERY STRANGE!

Over the next weeks and months ahead, I searched for answers...relief!! I kept thinking when I wake up tomorrow, it will be GONE. Ok, the next day. Ok then, the next day!! PLEASE GOD THE NEXT DAY!!??
Each doctor I saw had tests run, all but one came back normal. Just one lab out of all the x-rays, bone scan, nerve tests, bloodwork, came back abnormal. They only thing it *said* was something was going on with my immune system, but no one could say *what* was going on.
Many tears, many prayers. Nate and I would cry together and pray together for God to show us what He wanted us to do. I never stopped trusting HIM!
My life was purposely filled with one distraction after the other, month after month. As night time would come each day the distractions would settle and the pain would be at it's most intense. My sleep was minimal. I hated taking meds, hated it. I couldn't be a momma and work full time during the day with pain meds. So I just functioned somehow. At night, about every 3rd night, I would take something to help me go to sleep. Pain meds. Strange though, the pain never went away, I would just fall asleep.

I think this is the ONLY picture of me during those months. This night with my two closest friends from hign school, involved attending an African wedding and reception. What a wonderful distraction!!
So many of my talks with God involved asking Him to use me, to use this time in pain, always to bring Him glory. I prayed that it would END, that this wouldn't be my new life! I know so many dear ones where daily pain IS their life. I knew that if this is what He had planned for me, that He would give me what I need to get through each day. One at a time. Oh but I prayed for answers!!!
One of my wonderful daily distractons was that I work at a Christian school. Oh what a blessing!!! Some co-workers knew what I was in the middle of, and they joined me in prayer!
But then one day, a sweet co-worker shared with me the story of her journey...
With out going into details, she had been given a diagnosis that was unwelcomed. Life-changing! But some one shared with her about a dear old man in Indiana who just might be able to help her. So she went! In faith, that if this was legit, then it just might be worth it! She saw Mr. Solomon Wickey. And he gave her answers!!!! Life-changing for the good!

Dear Mr. Wickey...I would like to make an appointment to see you, Thank you.
It was that simple. That was my letter. This wasn't written the next day after she shared with me. I did as much research as I could. It was hard. Mr.W is an Amish man who has no website, ( unheard of right?!), you can't find a picture of him! If it wasn't her telling me her first hand experience with him, I would have doubted he was even real! What I did find is many others documented experiences of getting answers, relief and even some who had been healed!!
I started reading about how Christ healed in the Bible. Some were immediate, others had to *do* a little something before they were healed.
So after many nights praying and even talking with a couple of my docs about him, we were ALL in agreement that I needed to GO!
This was it. It was all I had left. Please Lord, what ever it is that you ask for me to do, let it lead to complete healing! It's ALL FROM YOU LORD!
I received a letter back a couple weeks later with a appointment date. It was about 6 weeks away!! In the meantime, story after story of others God placed in my path who had seen him and heard of his MINISTRY! That is truly what he has, a ministry!
During the waiting time, the Lord nudged me to share with a friend from high school whos dear wife had been struggling with severe health issues for years with NO relief. So I took a moment and sent a simple message letting them know this just might be what they are looking for as well. You can read their story here See what the Lord did through Mr.W for his wife!!! AMAZING!!!
We even had appointments with Mr.W the same day!!!

A few friends came with me and our son that day. It was a beautiful sunny day. My pain was intense as I drove the 3 hrs to his place. We arrived and my heart was so excited and strangely at complete peace.
We let his wife know we were there and we sat in a very hot waiting area. Posters on the wall were of the line of Christ, and another was of foods we should avoid. They both made me smile. I sat and read a National Geographic from 1989. Somthing else that made me smile. But what made me smile the most was the people there in that room. All waiting to see Mr. W. I wondered why. Are they in pain? no answers anywhere else either? A perfectly quiet Amish family walked in with their children. None of them said a word. The children were shoeless and still. No fooling around in there. They were little, like my boys, but they stood next to their momma totally silent. I was taking notes!!! My son, and the two other teens that were with me that day, also sat in silence...but only because they all had earphones in, listening to music!! We have alot to learn from the Amish!!!
About one hour later, my name was called. This whole time, as silent as this room was, I NEVER heard Mr.W's voice. Was he even here?? People would be called back to see him, be in there a few minutes and leave with smiles but I never heard him talking.
So I wondered when I walked in, if he was even there!!
His quaint little office was simple and clean. A wall of apothocary items were to my right, perfectly labeled. I knew of many who has seen him that he would perscribe herbs for their healing process.

Oh, and then I looked down...there he was!!!! It was all I had not to just reach down and hug this white bearded man. I had been praying for HIM!!! I had! I had prayed that God would use him, that He would give him wisdom!! Please Lord give him wisdom this day!
"hi mr.wickey" ( my voice was little...nervous I guess).
He said hello, then "ok, what brings you here today; who is first?" I sat down and told him for many months I have had severe pain in the lower half of my legs and arms and no one knows why. I'm in ALOT of pain.
We sat knee to knee as he listened and that was all I said. I felt stragely simple.
I prayed as he looked at my face. He said "well, I can see by looking at your face that your spleen isn't working". OK. not sure how to take that. All I verbalized was *OK*.
He then uses a iridology magnifying glass and looked into my eyes. He practices iridology ( study of the map of the iris). He then said "wow, you have alot going on". Again all I could say was OK. My mind was going a mile a minute.
He quietly laid a couple bottles of herbs against my left knee as he asked me to hold up my right arm ( a muscle test). I kept praying and I could see he was too.
He said again." You HAD alot going on" He then told me FOUR other issues that explained my pain. Issues that involved my inability to filter toxins, which have now built up in my system causing the pain.
I noticed right away that the verb tense had changed. ( have to HAD). He said " I wouldn't have guessed all this was going on by looking at you" I told him God has given me what I need to try to keep a smile on my face. He smiled. Then he said something I honestly wasn't expecting...
"It's taken care of,it's been released."
"what? I'm sorry...what?" He patiently repeated himself in such a humble way.
I got quite emotional and told him "thank you for letting God use you".
That was ALL I SAID. Those of you that know me...heck, those of you that are still reading this know that I am NOT one of little words. Not at all!!!
But the Lord was in COMPLETE control of me and I felt Him say in my spirit. TRUST ME, IM IN THE PROCESS OF HEALING YOU!!!
On my drive home as I made phone call after phone call, my pain was at this point 50% GONE!!! I still have the text on my phone from my husband in which his response was "Praise God, I am in tears!"
Each day following my pain was less and less. I kept telling the Lord "You are in the process of healing me!!" I would walk down the halls at school and say it again and again!
I have a special story to share with you about our mission trip to Trinidad that we took just weeks late...all pain free!!!
This is alot to take in for now....I'll give you some time to take it all in.
God is good! He is the Healer. He HEALS. It's his name, Jehovah Rapha - THE GOD THAT HEALS!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

What's in a box?

Are you wondering what's in those beautiful boxes?? I know you probably filled your box with candy, toys, puzzles, new socks, hair bows, matchbox cars and school supplies...good job!! But our (MG and I)have found that many boxes DON'T have the typical items included. Oh just you wait...
But before I share with you what interesting items we have found during our inspections, let me tell you about what Operation Christmas Child is all about.

OCC is all about the children that will be receiving a box, and they don't look at these children as a large group, but as individuals. Each child has dreams and hopes and many have even prayed for a gift to come their way.
I can guess what they might have prayed for...a doll, school supplies, a new hat. But there just might be a child with a differnt prayer.
OCC stops several times through out the day as we process boxes and shares a story of a received box. Yesterday, they even brought up one of the young volunteers that we had seen working hard through out the day. Years earlier HE had received a shoebox when he lived overseas as a young child. HE had PRAYED for a new pair of DRESS shoes so he could go to school, his parents just couldn't afford them. Is it no surprise that the box that seemingly was RANDOMLY handed to him had a brand new pair of DRESS shoes JUST HIS SIZE!
OCC talked about *keeping the integrity of the box* We will find bozes marked BOYS that have bows and purses in them. But they know of storied where boys have been praying for a gift to give their Momma for Christmas, and their prayers are answered. So they encourage us to KEEP THE INTEGRITY if we can.
Yep, I thought it was strange yesterday when I opened a box full of random hand tools, including a crow bar! I even asked one of our team leaders if I should throw it out...( crow bars have a bad reputation ya know).
But as a started listening to the Lord speak to me...this older boy may now have what he needs and may even been praying for, to build and provide for his family!!! God lead that packer to PACK THOSE THINGS JUST FOR HIM! And HE will be the one to receive THAT BOX!! Our God does that!!!
I almost threw out a antique lead dog figurine, the paint was all chipped off, he was VERY OLD and on the bottom in was marked made in Germany. I knew it was actually worth money, a vintage collectable!! It was wrapped nicely in the middle of the box in a tissue...someone took the time to do that. I don't know why. Again, I asked our team OCC leader if it was ok. It was in such poor condition. She had this look on her face. I knew what she was thinking. Keep it in there. Then I heard the Lord again...someone is praying for a dog. He knows the child that will receive THIS box!
More stories to come.....I can't wait to tell you MY FAVORITE thing to do...