Monday, November 29, 2010


Today is Monday, November 29.  I've been in the US for just shy of 2 weeks now and in some ways it feels like 2 months and in other ways it was like I arrived yesterday.  I am still making my way through the emotions that have overwhelmed me since I arrived.
On Sunday, November 7 my Grandma suffered a major brain hemorrhage and was immediately placed on life support.  My sister called me with the news that evening (Monday morning in China). 
I knew when I saw the number on my phone that something was wrong-it was that feeling you get when the phone rings in the middle of the night.  My fear was correct and at that moment my life as I had always known it changed forever.  I spent the next couple of days making multiple phone calls per day to get the latest report and to try and make a plan for what I needed to do.  If she got better then I'd be needed to help with the rehab and all that goes along with getting her better and back home.  If she got worse then I'd want to be there before anything happened.  Not knowing what to do was a bad place to be.....I just didn't know and I prayed and prayed that the LORD would be clear in showing me  His plan for what I was to do.
As usual, He was faithful and one evening my dear husband told me with such gentle, assuring authority to go and be there as long as I needed to be.  I knew that it was right and it was time.....I made the arrangements, packed for what would be at least a 2 month trip, and tried to think clearly enough to line things up for him in China.  Xan and I flew out early one morning, traveled 29+ hours and arrived in Lubbock on Tuesday.  God was so  gracious because that night Xan and I both slept almost 8 hours and the jet lag was providentially not an issue.
Wednesday morning, November 17, I was at the hospital for the first allowed visitation time for ICU.  It was Grandma's 76th birthday and I would be the first to tell her Happy Birthday!  I was both excited and anxious to go and actually lay eyes on the woman who had been so incredibly strong my whole life.  I knew that she was on life support and that she was weak and tired so I tried to prepare myself mentally.  My dear friend Marilyn met me in the parking lot to hug me and take Xan for a couple of hours and what a blessing that was.  My wonderful aunt Freddi accompanied me into the room to hold me and cry with me as she "just knew" that I would need her as the initial shock of seeing Grandma would be almost overwhelming. I was able to get past my initial sadness of seeing her with all of the machines and equipment and get up near her face to begin speaking to her.  Immediately I got a response from her and I knew without a doubt that she knew I was there.  Oh God was so good!  I continued to get responses (raised eyebrows, 1/2 smiles around her vent tube, and even some tears) on and off for about 15 minutes or so.  I was so happy!  The Grandma that I had spent countless hours with was now fighting for her life.  I was so sad!    The next day Grandma was moved to the hospice unit. She was never in any visible pain and seemed to rest peacefully for the majority of the following 5 days.  I had a couple of other times with Grandma when I knew she was aware of my presence and we enjoyed our time together.  I would just talk with her and recall so many wonderful memories and I thanked her over and over for the innumerable times she had so selflessly helped me.  I thanked her for always sharing her Jesus with me.  I thanked her for the prayers that I knew had been lifted on my behalf for years and years.  I cried and laughed and cried some more while spending time just being with her and holding her hand or rubbing her feet (things she liked for me to do). There weren't any apologies or regrets that I felt I needed to speak with her was just a sweet time to be together.    
My Grandma and I have always had a very special relationship.  I was her first grandchild and even lived with them for the first 2 years of my life.  She has always been my #1 fan.  I could do no wrong (most of the time) in her eyes and her approval meant so much to me.  She was a young Grandma and was very actively involved in my formative years.  It was her that made sure I had the right outfits, the prom dress, the patches for my letter jacket, the perfect throw pillows for my first apartment, my favorite foods when I came home, and so, so much more. 
The LORD chose Tuesday evening, November 23 to bring my Grandma to His side.  My sadness is truly unspeakable and I'm not even sure that I completely comprehend the magnitude of the loss yet but I'm also extremely excited and rejoice that she is literally at the feet of Jesus. I can't imagine anything more wonderful.  I praise God for my Grandma and her life and I thank Him for allowing me to be one of hers.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tastes of Fall

In continued effort to elevate myself to an official domestic diva I have been baking a bit this past week. I made 2 different Pioneer Woman recipes, roasted and pureed a fresh pumpkin, and made homemade applesauce. Of course I did all this during a week when we have not had any sugar at all around here (yeah right....only 37 pounds from all the Halloween pre-parties, parties, and after parties).

The flat apple pie (from PW's cookbook) I made earlier in the week tasted ok but after the juice ran off the pan and onto the floor of the oven and the house filled with smoke in about 13 seconds it just kinda ruined it for me. I had to take it out, move it to another pan and.... side bar: have you ever tried to move 1/2 baked dough- yeah well it wasn't pretty..back to the story.... clean the oven (ok-confession-my helper actually did this part) and then wait for the oven to reheat and complete the baking process. The juice was definitely missed but the apples had a good flavor and the dough, although ugly, turned out ok. I'll make it again but I'll be sure open my windows BEFORE I begin. Looks like the domestic diva has got a ways to go.

That being said, I did have a successful creation this week that was oh so delicious. It's fall and that always makes me hungry for apples and pumpkins and turkey and pumkin spice lattes and I could go on and on. Well..... since canned pumpkin costs almost $8 per can here I resorted to going old school and roasted and pureed it myself. My friend Carleigh talked me through it and I gotta's way easy and so good. So I had a very large bowl of pumpkin (that only costs $2.) in the fridge that I have been looking for ways to use it. I found this recipe and tried it on Saturday. Pumpkin Creme Pies were a hit with my both my adult friends and their kids that we had a little dinner party with that night. They are a soft pumpkin sandwich cookie with a sweet cream cheese filling that is wonderful. I highly recommend that you make these and you should do it rather that you can make them again.....I promise you will want to.

They are a bit more work than a regular cookie but oh-so-worth-it. The parchment paper squares are key so be sure to use them when baking- the cookies are very soft and the parchment paper allows you to handle them without using a spatula and breaking them. Also....I had alot of pineapple cream cheese so I used that when making the cream filling. It was a very good move b/c the pineapple was subtle but very nice. Be sure to put the cream cheese mixture in a baggie and pipe it on- much easier. You should store them in the fridge too. I saved the parchment squares and used them as separators and it worked great.

So....enough for now. I'm certainly no food blogger but I had to tell you about these and I do hope you enjoy. Xan sure did!!

Chat with ya later.