Thursday, May 12, 2016

PRAYER NEED (and maybe you can be our solution too)

We are having major challenges finding summer housing (affordable would be helpful, but at this point we need ANY options) for our very quite, kind, mature 16-year-old son this summer, near the Stanford University (Palo Alto, California) campus where he will be interning for the months of June and July. Because he is under the age of 18, every option we have explored thus far (on campus housing, typical rental/room share arrangement, etc.) has been a dead end. I'm thinking a host family might be our best option but we have no further leads. Does anyone know anyone who might know someone who might be able to help???

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Yes, I'm Alive

Family and writing updates at I'm Dizzy!

Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 and 2016 Word

I introduced my word of the year for 2016, marriage, over on my stroke blog, in a post titled Divorce last night. In recap of my 2015 word, Sing, I thought it would do me good to write an overview post of 2015.

I wasn't real sure what impact of Sing would look like, but I originally chose it based on this quote:

"Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark." - Unknown

I think 2015 was, indeed, a year of cautious hope emerging, as characterized by steps like posting a public resume to "put myself back out there" to be contacted for public speaking and such.


My own voice is still not strong nor on key, but is certainly improved enough over the past year that I often find myself singing around the house now, when no one else is around.  Our daughter took grand prize in a local talent show this past year and won a free year of weekly music lessons as a result!

2014 contest. I couldn't find her picture from 2015 where she won.
My hair has grown a LOT, but this was also the year, mid-year, when I decided that in addition to headcovering for spiritual reasons, I would also adopt the purely personal/cultural choice of no longer wearing my hair loose in public, saving it for my husband's viewing. Nothing to do with my faith, just a personal gift from me to him, so this as as "down" as you see it now:


In thinking through skills gained this past year, it is such slow progress now that I rarely see day-to-day changes, but one big-picture change that has happened since last year is that this was the first year I was able to wrap Christmas gifts since the strokes! Singing indeed!!! Thanks to my husband's wisdom, I did not accept a single Christmas party invitation this year and did not put up a traditional tree (this little "wall tree" is 3 feet high, flat the back side, hangs from a single hook, and took well under 5 minutes to totally set up. Because it was such a low-stress, low-energy December, and with the slow gains added over the past year, I was able to work on a couple of presents each day, over the course of several weeks, and even though I don't have enough fine motor dexterity to type with both hands, I was able to wrap each of these presents, all by myself!


With my kids' help, I also manged to make 3 double batches of my great-grandmother's cranberry bread (one of the double batches was both wheat-free and egg-free and turned out very dense, so one of the skills I need to work on for 2016 is better taste and texture in allergy-safe cooking) that I used to make as Christmas gifts every year before the strokes. We also made a quadruple batch of chocolate peanut-butter balls. (I know that this could be adapted to be top 8 allergy safe by using a different nut or seed butter, but surprisingly actual peanut butter works with the unique needs of our family!) Turn a strokie, a 12-year-old and a 9-year-old loose in a kitchen, add late night hours (we started early in the evening but it took hour so was very late when we ended!), and it was a recipe for MESS and hilarity!!! But we managed. We did it! :D


I'm call Christmas 2015 my "cranberry Christmas." Not only did I make cranberry bread again (see it pictured on the cooling rack to the left), but my gifts seemed to carry a beautiful color theme - a cranberry-colored tea kettle from my in-laws, a set of three bakeware stones from my kids and a large Pampered Chef stoneware that was cranberry glazed from my hubby. :) (My parents got me a pair of earrings and 2 sweatshirts that aren't pictured because they aren't this color.) :)


Kendra, I thought you would enjoy seeing my butterfly corners. :)


Edited to add: (I forgot to mention that a large part of 2015 revolved around tummy pain, surgeries and recovery. Glad to leave that behind in last year!

I also went #WheatFree this past fall and have lost nearly 20 pounds since mid September. Now to see if I can loose 20 more and KEEP it off this year!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Give Away

Don't miss the give away for the book You're Chronically Ill...So Now What? by Shelly Benoit Hendricks (of RenewedDaily) over on my chronic illness blog (you must comment THERE to be entered) - http://givenmeathorn.blogspot.com/2015/12/book-give-away.html

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Wheat-Free Christmas Treat

I am planning to try this what-free treat with my kids over their break in a few weeks. Don't want to loose it before then!




Aunt Donna' Peanut Butter Balls (via Linda Lindsay)
Mix
1 16oz jar creamy any seed or nut butter (peanut butter, sun butter, etc.)
1 cube butter or margarine
1 lb powdered sugar
Add
3 cups crispy rice cereal.
Mix with hands. It will be crumbly. Squeeze enough to make walnut sized balls. Place on cookie sheet and freeze overnight.
In a double boiler, add 12oz semisweet chocolate chips, a large Hershey special dark chocolate candy bar (6.8-8 ounces), 1/2 of a stick of paraffin wax (In the canning section. I believe it is called parowax). Sounds wierd, but it works!
With toothpicks, dip frozen balls in chocolate mixture and place on wax paper. Using a spoon with chocolate to cover holes. Drizzle with extra chocolate to beautify, if desired. Store in container in fridge.
My previous photo showed 4 batches. Fyi, 3 batches of chocolate will cover 4 batches of PB Balls.
Enjoy!

Photo credit: Linda Lindsay
My mouth is watering already! Can't wait to try!!! I anticipate this becoming a new Saake family favorite tradition.

A really cool idea is this reverse advent calandar, counting days until Christmas by giving instead of getting: http://eatnorth.com/eat-north/julie-van-rosendaals-reverse-advent-calendar

Monday, November 30, 2015

A Month of Thankful Pictures


Of course I had the best intention when I started out on a 30 day journey of blogging thankfulness pictures this month...

I made it almost half way through the month! Do I get extra credit for posting a recap and transferring my facebook list over here (I did better there than on this blog!) before the month ends? I truly am thankful, for ever so much! I'm just a sadly undisciplined blogger! #30DaysOfThanks

I already linked to days one and two above, in short I shared thankfulness for Christian freedoms, fellowship and worship in our country, for my strokes and all God's teaching me as a result, for ministry opportunities.
So thankful I have a new body coming!
Day 3 was all about my Daddy.

On Facebook, I also shared, I'm so thankful for my Kathy who gives up a day of her life every two weeks to come help me clean house and invest in friendship! 
heart emoticon Tomorrow is a Kathy Day!

On Nov. 4 and 5 I shared exciting news about our 12-year-old pilot daughter and about my slowly improving post-stoke voice control.

Days 6 and 7 were thankfulness for a recent health scare that turned out not to be a problem after all, thankfulness for our homeschooling years, and an extensive, specific list of many people, ministries, authors and organizations who have profoundly touched my life. 

Day 8 was a celebration of my precious husband!!!

9 was thankfulness that I've recovered from surgery and can return to water therapy to get my body functioning as well as possible again. 

Day 10 brought praise for a snow delay and also amazed wonder about Rick's grace.

Day 11 briefly acknowledged our veterans (with a promise to go into more depth later in the month), and was unfortunately the last post I managed to get up on the blog, but a fitting one to revisit on this Cyber Monday, a thanks tribute to small business women in my life and links to lots of businesses, a fantastic shopping guide!


OK, now to grab the ones I missed here off of Facebook: Some silly and small, all important to my heart!

12 -  I'm thankful for our pastors/church family.

13 - I'm thankful for writing progress this week (this is still such an agonizingly slow process this time around!).

Three generations of Camp/Saake women. Community Bible Church, November 2015, Reno, NV.
November 14 offered prayers for all impacted by the Paris attacks  and, "I'm thankful for the rare treat of getting to attend a lady's tea at my mom's church today. Great fellowship, sweet speaker, beautiful decor, yummy food (though I didn't stay wheat free today!)."

15 - Not written in sarcasm. A true praise after one of my worst stroke symptom days in two years! "Thankful that every day isn't as physically nasty as today has been!"

And my Mommy brought me a warm, yummy pot of soup to feed my family that night!

16 - I'm back to the basics today. I'm thankful for clean drinking water that I don't have to walk 3 miles for with a jug on my head each day!


17 - Thankful that I got one load of laundry and one dishwasher load done today. Tomorrow I hope to do more!

On a side note Rick Saake took this picture in Reno, Nevada tonight:
(c) copyright Rick Saake, Reno, Nevada, 2015
18 - I wasn't able to read Rick Saake's updates as they unfolded 4 years ago. I only, last month, figured out to enable the "on this date" look back feature on Facebook, not specifically for any reason or awareness of dates, just because I occasionally saw friends posting what had happened on various dates in their lives, so I figured it would be fun. 
Each day this month has been filled with Rick's recording of our lives unraveling 4 years ago. The medical as well as peeks into the emotional and spiritual struggles and questions too. So often my throat tightens and my eyes get hot as they prick with un-fallen tears (I wish they would fall - I hate the way my emotions are still so messed up!) both from the flood of my own memories, but also to read the events through his eyes, the love and grief poured out. heart emoticon Thank you for loving me well when I could only TAKE and not give back, Sweetheart.


19 - God know best - 

20 - Where we were 4 years ago. I actually remember this conversation (or at least one like it), where I turned my head toward Rick (couldn't see well enough to actually focus on him, but I remember knowing he was standing between my bed and the bright spot that was my window) with tears in my eyes and told him that I was scared and that our kids were too young (5, 8, 11) for me to leave them yet. I don't think the forward will show up for everyone, so I'll paste.
My friend Stephanie Shargel Bishop wrote, "It's official; I'm a wreck tonight. While I've shed tears for my friend Jenni Saake over the last several weeks, tonight it's progressed to me sobbing and crying my eyes out. If you can walk; if you can hold your children and raise them at home; if you can speak and hold your head up on your shoulders; will you please, in gratitude for these little blessings that we all take for granted, stop what you're doing right now and pray for my beautiful friend Jenni. Here's the most recent update from Rick:
Update 11.20.11:
We just got back from visiting Jenni in the Rehabilitation Hospital, it was a pretty solemn time. We received confirmation that she has had a/an additional "event or events" in the last 3-4 days that has effected an additional 2 parts of her brain. Currently, unless she is lying down, she has no control over the muscles in her neck, and her head bobs back and forth, and she is having difficulty with short term memory. Both Jenni and I are concerned, but have both come to the realization that we have no control over these "events".
We know that she is being moved back to the neurological floor at the main hospital, and that they will most likely be recommending us having a stint put in the ventricular artery, where the damage from the chiropractor happened. 
Jenni's greatest fears right now is that she will never make it out of the hospital, and that the kids are too young to be without their mother. I am at a point where I don't have the answers for her except that God is in control.

21 - I'm thankful for page numbers on my manuscript. Yes, I do the bulk of my writing on the computer, but some things can only be edited or worked out on paper. I would be SO lost without these little numbers!!!

22 - I'm so excited for my friend Shelly Benoit Hendricks is the release of this book. The cover is perfect!!!
Give the gift of HOPE this holiday season!!! 
http://amzn.to/1I8Rpit
I had just gotten down to from size large to size small before my strokes. Even went out and bought a new jacket to celebrate my weight loss just DAYS before the strokes. By the time I regained enough dexterity to put that jacket on again, I had dropped an additional 15-20 pounds, put all that weight back on, and was well on my way up into larges and XLs again with post-stroke weight gain, so it hangs in my closet nearly unworn still. Today, Mom and I finally had a chance to take my birthday (nearly 4 months ago) shopping trip with the gift card she gave me clear back in July (I'm sick, she is sick, I have sick kids, or something else unexpected happens each time we have tried to go before). I got some cute deals like a hat with patriotic bow and scarf with BUTTERFLIES all over it. 


Just as we were headed to check out, I found an adorable top on clearance for 90% off, but the only size they had was medium. For the price, I added it to my purchase thinking I might be able to use it some day. Guess what? Today is some day! The medium fits me just fine! My ‪#‎30DayOfThanks‬ praise for day 23 is that my new diet lifestle choice is showing encouraging results on nearly every level! Weight is VERY SLOWLY creeping downward, but inches of belly fat dissolving is the real tell!!! ‪#‎NoWheat‬

24 -  I'm not in surgery this morning. (4 years ago today's date, though it fell on Thanksgiving Day that year, I spent the morning in two back-to-back, life saving surgeries.)

25 - My Most ‪#‎TreasuredGift‬
Christmas Eve, 1999, I came home from the hospital with a tiny two-day-old baby. Sweet story. Rather unremarkable sounding. Folks bring home babies every day, year round...
What made this event unique was the years of ‪#‎infertility‬ that had proceeded his birth, all the yearning and striving and longing and heartache and tears and doctors visits and surgeries and losses (of dignity as well as of chances to parent), exchanged in a moment by the wonder of this child the hospital literally placed in a Christmas stocking for me!
It had been 5 years since the Christmas we thought his big sister would be joining our family, a Christmas subdued by pain and grief and numbness and tears. A new child would never "replace" the one who did not come home, but his addition to our lives certainly brought a level of healing previously unknown in our hearts.
And now this perfect living, breathing, miniature (less than 5 pounds, a whole other aspect to the miracle journey!) infant wriggeled beneath the lights of our Christmas tree, mirroring the wonder of the Christ-Child whose humble birth we celebrated from 2,000 years prior.
And the best "thing" I ever received? Several years (and two more losses and two more living children) later, one Mother's Day, my husband presented me with a beautiful gold mother's necklace with a charm for each of our six children, the three treasures I am amazingly blessed to hold in my arms as well as the three blessings I forever hold in my heart. I added our first daughter's baby ring to the chain and wear it on special occasions, but hang it where I can see it daily. (Thank you for sharing the journey Rick. You are an amazing Daddy.)


26 - Thanksgiving Day - Also Ralph Camp (my dad)'s 73rd birthday! - 
Dad saluting in the blue Navy cap, just home from a veteran honor flight this month!

27 - I'm thankful to live in a day, and country with access to amazing medical know-how and ability.

28  - Posting this verse specifically for our youngest. "They will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord." Jeremiah 31:12
heart emoticon

After a good but physically long holiday weekend where I had several food issues due to my picky body needs, "I am home. I get to sleep in my own bed tonight and eat my own food again and get to return to my regular therapy schedule my body likes best! "

29 - Our house has great windows that don't let in the damp cold!

Love these thoughts on choosing your priorities. Maybe you love The Elf, or Santa Mouse or... Great! Joy, not stress! - http://www.foreverymom.com/this-is-why-the-elf-is-not-on-my-shelf-and-why-im-not-even-kinda-sorry/#.VlvYF-MSdoE.facebook
First Sunday of Advent
Today. day 30, I shared, Here's my Cyber Monday contribution to the economy. My friend Tami sells these adorable LuLaRoe Tami Majtan "butter leggings" (butter referencing softness) and I've already had her keeping an eye out for anything (she sells a great line of dresses, tops and skirts too!) in a butterfly pattern for me. 
Today she posted these bears. If you know me, that's about as good as a butterfly, my pre-stroke favorite animal! I'm so thankful for the trickles of book royalties fom Hannah's Hope by Jennifer Saake that let me make fun little splurges like this occassionally! ( ‪#‎30DaysOfThanks‬ )
Can't wait to see Tami later this week! smile emoticon I don't know if I will quite fit the leggins yet (maybe?) but they are good inspiration to keep fighting to move that scale downward! ‪#‎NoWheat‬

Final praise to post this month, I finally got all these thankfuls and pictures listed together in one place! For this fact-keeper with poor memory, that is important and has been concerning to me for days now! Joyful relief!!!