Friday, February 25, 2011

What a GREAT B-day Present!

Leona is getting over some Croop & early Pneumonia.  Her cough is finally beginning to die-down!  Thank Heavens!  She spent several nights waking up everytime to coughed...needless to say I was a worn out Mommy!  The coughing came on really suddenly.  She was on some antibiotics & got a steriod injection...not fun!?!?!?  Leona hasn't had too many colds, mild chicken pox, some fevers, but I think this was her real one that sent us to the dr's office, so we have been blessed.

Earlier this week, Leona had another dr's check-up.  I can't tell you how excited I am writing this....

Leona is now
drum roll please!
10% for her weight
and 25% for her height!

That's incredible.  She had just made it onto the chart for weight at the end of October.  She has soared since September when she went on the Bright Beginnings Soy Pediatric drink & the Duocal!  We are just thrilled. What a great early birthday present!

FINALLY we don't have to trapse to the dr's office every month! Sigh  The dr joked that she needs to go on a diet :)  We are going to cut out her Duocal staring in March and see how things go.  She will continue the Bright Beginnings until at least 24 mos. and then the joy of figuring out her dairy allergy will set-in as we look at milk. 

Leona is still scheduled to see a Pediatric GI Specialist in April. We are tracking her vomitting patterns & wondering if it is an allergy related.  We are down to only 2x a month for the past 2 months! YAY!  If she shows no stomach pains, good eating & no vomitting, we might just cancel this appt. We'll see, though!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What is Baby Dedication?

Well, I know that several of you are planning on attending Leona's baby dedication, March 13th.  I want to share with you exactly what this day means in the life of our family.

Is it Baby Baptism?
In some religions or faiths they have something called Christening or baby baptism.  Some faiths give a Christian name to a child.  Many who practice baby baptism believe that a child is brought into the Christian family & washed clean of original sin so they can go to Heaven.  Later they go through other initiations like Confirmation (verbal pronouncement of following Jesus) & Eucharist (communion). I grew up under the Presbyterian church where these ideas were practiced.

We do not believe in baby baptism or Christening. 
Many of you may not understand this, so I will try to explain why.  First is our example of Jesus Christ.  He was not baptized until he was about to begin his ministry.  We can read this in several verses, one of them being Matthew 3:13 which says "Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John."

Secondly, is Acts 2:38 "Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."  Notice the word "repent" comes before "be baptized".  Repent means to make a u-turn... turn from your sin & begin living for God.

We DO believe in baptism.  We DO believe in proclaiming one's faith in Christ in water baptism. We DO NOT believe in baby baptism because a baby is not of age to make those decisions for themselves.

OK, so back to the original ?....
What is Baby Dedication?
In many churches, baby dedication is a simple ceremony where the parents come together, stand before the church and make a lifelong committment to raise their child according to God's Word.  It is a promise to lay aside their will and desires and raise them up in God's ways. Some of the responsibilities are teaching them God's Word, praying earnestly for and with them, disciplining with the purpose of training a child, and providing a Godly example for them to learn from.

Baby dedication centers on some passages in scripture.
First, there is Hannah's example in I Samuel.  Here is 1:11 "And she made a vow, saying, “LORD Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”" Later in 1:24, she dedicates him to the Lord. This is what she says in 1:28 "So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there."

Next, there is Mary & Joseph's example in Luke 2:22 which says "When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord "

Thirdly, is the implication of Deuteronomy 6:4-7, which says "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

The responsibility of training up a child in the ways of the Lord is given to the parent. Ephesians 6:4 says "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." Bringing a child up in this world is going to take more than just what we have to offer.

We Are Orange Parents!
Baby dedication means a little more to us and our church family. We need our church, family and even close friends to partner with us. So with that being said... Leona's baby dedication is more than just about us standing up and taking a vow to raise our daughter in the ways of the Lord. We have become Orange Parents. (See my Think Orange! post for more information.) If you are a part of our lives, we want your help.  We want you to take the vow with us and support us in this parenting endeavor.

If you have any other questions about the information found in this post, please leave a comment.  I would love to try to answer them!
If you'd like more information on why we don't believe in baby baptism, you can also read John MacArthur's sermon here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Think Orange!

Our church is revolutionizing the way they do things under the umbrella of helping parents. Instead of a simple baby dedication where you walk across the stage, vow to train your child up in the Lord, and then the church and parents go their own way, we have taken a hold of the idea of "Think Orange"!

We are now

The idea of "Think Orange" was created by Reggie Joiner.  It is a strategy for combining the Light of the Church with the Love of the parents.  It is about merging the two to raise a generation who loves and follows God.  It is about synchronizing this goal between the church & parent so that they can have a huge impact!

It is not that the church or that the parents are not trying to raise their children up in the right way.  It is that the 2 need to be in sync and driving towards the same goal together!

Alright, let me see if I can sum up what the idea of "Think Orange" for you:


Still want to know more? 

Check out these videos

Check out these books:

Think Orange by Reggie Joiner

Parenting Beyond Your Capacity
by Reggie Joiner

Check out this Think Orange publication 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent!

Well I guess I am becoming the next Susie-homemaker :) hahaha
I have started making my own homemade dishwasher detergent!

 Here is the recipe:
(yields: 32 loads)
1 cup Borax
1 cup Baking Soda
1/2 cup vinegar, if needed
--Mix borax & baking soda. Store in a sealed container.
--Add 1-2 Tbs. borax/soda mix to your dishwasher compartment & run the WASH cycle.
--Add 1/2 cup vinegar to dishwasher & run the RINSE cycle.

Our dishwasher is pretty old, but runs pretty well.  Just running the borax & soda left a film on our dishes, so I had to add the vinegar to the rinse cycle to make them clean & clear :) Yours may not require it!

 So here is the bottom line cost for this detergent:
$3.12 for 20 Mule Team Borax (76 oz. or 9.5 cups)--- $.33 a cup or $.02 per load
$1.79 for Meijer brand Baking Soda (64 oz. or 8 cups)--- $.22 a cup or $.012 per load
$2.79 for Meijer brand vinegar (128 oz. or 16 cups)--- $.09 a 1/2 cup

So that's LESS THAN
$.12 per load
or $3.34 for 1 recipe (32 loads)!

You can check out the laundry soap recipe on my blog too!

I am trying out lots of homemade cleaner recipes, so check back for more that I try out :)

I looked up some common brands & here is the cost difference:
-Cascade Complete All-in-1 tablets 48 count container $11.75-$16.00 or $.22-33 per load ($.10-20 load)
-Cascade liquid 75 oz. (approx 28 loads) $4.28-$6.99 or $.15-25 per load (few cents to $.09 load)
-Palmolive 75 oz. (approx 28 loads) $5.79-$7.99 or $.21-29 per load ($.09-19 load)

Want to make this a liquid detergent?

Just add these ingredients...
Liquid Detergent recipe:
(yield 32 loads)
1 cup borax
1 cup baking soda
1 cup water
1 drop of orange or lemon essential oils
--Mix borax, soda, water & oil in a pourable container like a 1/2 gallon picture or jug.
--Use 2-3 Tbs. for each load
lemon essential oils
Your new cost would be a little higher...ranging from 1-2 cents more per load depending upon the cost of the oil. WOW! That's $.13-14 per load! That is amazing!

UPDATE: The dry detergent worked for a while.  I think this would def work in a pinch; however, long term it eventually built up in the dishwasher.  I have had to run some bleach in it a few times to clean it out.  I am going to try the liquid kind next to see how it works.  I also found a recipe stated here:

1 cup Borax
1 cup super washing soda (like we use in the laundry detergent)
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup citric acid or 4 little packages Kool-Aid lemonade (it will be unsweetened)
1/2 cup white vinegar for rinse

-Combine all but vinegar.  Use 2 Tbs. per load.
-Add vinegar to rinse cycle.

Note: The citric acid seems to break down the hard water more than the vinegar. You'll need more depending on how hard your water is.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Journey Continues...

Today was the day for answers---or at least it was supposed to be.

I met with my neurosurgeon this morning to go over my MRI & X-ray results & make a plan from here.  I am going to attempt to explain this as easily as possible, but know that I haven't fully processed & researched some of here it goes...

My disc herniation story 
My L5/S1 has healed significantly since Dec 2009.  YAY!  As the dr. had stated before, my pain is MOST LIKELY (common words for today) not from herniations.  Both my L4 & L5 herniations are small.  He felt they were more mechanical when I met with him 2 weeks ago, thus why I got my X-rays of my mid-back.

My X-ray story 
My X-rays did show slight scolosis, but this is MOST LIKELY not the cause for my pain.

"Who among the gods is like you, LORD? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?" Exodus 15:11

More of my disc story 
My discs are dehydrated, making them "trouble makers" (as he called them).  Dehydration is as common as crows feet & wrinkles.  It is how your body ages; however, mine are a little more degenerative that most ppl my age.  They have no findings of why some ppl have a faster or slower degeneration of their discs & why some ppl have pain associated with it & others don't.  He said some ppl have "ugly" MRI's & have no pain & vice-versa.


There is a possibility that the vertebral facets are causing the pain in my back too.  Basically he said that the bones could be rubbing more instead of the soft cartilidge allowing smooth movement.  So basically this would be arthritis. 

What about surgery?

It is possible that a fusion surgery would be in my future; however, he has a more reserved approach to surgery. He said that if I was older, this would probably be more of an option.  He said that there would be future risk of getting more surgeries done. The fusion puts pressure on the upper discs & then eventually causes them to degenerate.

He also talked about putting in an artifical disc.  He basically compared it to getting a hip replacement. After about 10-20 years they need replaced.  He said that studies show about the same success rates (compared to a fusion). 

Next Step?
He did order an epidural block (steriod injection) for my 2 discs & around the facets as well.  I will be making an appointment with my OSMC dr. for that soon.  I have to tell you that I dread it though.  They are so painful & so far have not worked for me.  I will have a couple down days afterwards, most likely.

What A Pain!
So...some GOOD news...but the realization that I have to learn to deal with this pain coming in & out of my life I am sure is going to hit me over the next day or so.  I am more concerned about how my family will function with this, especially Ben, when I have these times that I am down & out!  He really picks up a lot of the pieces, literally & figuratively :)

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." Psalm 19:1

We have a lot of praying to do, especially about me taking on any more pregnancies.  The dr. did say that they can't know for certain what it would look like, but that some pain meds & the injections could be given during pregnancy.  I'll be making an appt. with  my OBGYN for my yearly appt & going over some more of my questions with her.

We appreciate all of you that have been praying & encouraging us.  My Dad said something last night as encouragement to me...have faith in the doctors, that they know what they are doing.  I am truly thankful for the dr's that have come alongside me during this process, but I am also looking to the Great Physican for His strength.  I know that only He has the "play calls" book!  He has His plan for my life.  Lord just give us wisdom!

"And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

My prayer lately is related to the idea of Cat & Dog Theology.  My friend Ann reminded me a few weeks ago that we so often think of God as the personal God who is there for me. 

"Ok God...I have a problem back hurts...heal me to feel better....let me just come to you with my grocery list of problems." 

Ann brought me back to the idea of Dog Theology instead.  I must instead think God is a personal God that I must live for & bring glory to with how I live my life. 

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." I Corinthians 10:31

"Ok God...I am strugglig back hurts...give me the strength to endure my back pain... heal me... help me to glorify you through my me to point others to You...because you are the Almighty God who is worthy of my praise.

"Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Appt's Are Scheduled

Rachael's Appointments MRI & X-rays are scheduled for Friday morning at 9:15AM.  We are so thankful that we weren't scheduled earlier this week.  We got a blizzard & the hospital was shut-down for 2 days for outpatient care.  They kept nurses & doctors there 24 hours until it started to clear up.  Leona is going to a friend's house b/c we have no idea how long it is going to take.  My guess is like 2 1/2 to 3 hours total.  You know how they like you to wait in the waiting room!  The MRI should take about 45 min. from beginning to end & who knows for the X-rays.

I am scheduled to see my neurosurgeon next Wed. for all of the results & to make a plan from here.  I  really feel like the small herniation in my L4 might be more severe than last year & going in the opposite direction causing the pain in my right leg & that my L5/S1 herniation has had no healing, but we will pray & hope that my thoughts are not correct.  We'll see what the X-rays of my mid-back show too.  I am thinking that it is muscular & not bone related.

Leona's Appointment

Leona will not be going to Riley's for her GI appt.  She'll acutally be going to Peyton Manning's Children's Hospital.  How cool is that!?!?!?!  She is scheduled for April 5, so we have awhile to wait on that.  Her appt. is early in the morning so not sure how we are going to work that out.  If they decide to schedule her for a scope I think that is an all-day event too.

Continue to pray for Leona's Medicaid renewal.  Our case manager is not the brightest bulb on the tree & has made a pain out of this whole renewal process by filling out several things incorrectly on her forms.  Pray that she can work it all out so that we don't have to appear before a judge for an appeal.

We are praising God for His recent provisions lately & just praying that the Lord continues to take care of our financial, spiritual, emotional & physical needs.  We know & trust that His plan is make us more into His image!  Thanks for your prayers & support!!!!