Thursday, November 27, 2014

Come on In!!


This morning at our home in pictures....

And since I'll be adding pictures throughout the day,
this will be in backwards order....

Please link in the bottom so others
can visit your home too or 
post a picture on Instagram and 
tag me in it...
#APlaceCalledSimplicity



Clearly, Ruby thinks her niece Everlly is quite spectacular,
and welcomed her into her wheelchair!


Ruby's smiles and smirks say it all!


Some pumpkin muffins made and frosted to run over to our precious 
friends and neighbors Dane and Laura.

Oh how thankful I am to be living {again} in the same neighborhood!!  


Elizabeth's working on the sweet potato casserole...



Jubilee's singing We Believe and bobbing Ruby's foot to the music.
{Ruby loves it!} 



Others are working, but the pictures didn't do them justice so
we'll try again for next round!




Last night: 
***********    

As I ready to snuggle in for the night this chilly {haha} Thanksgiving Eve it seems that I've had a little touch from each of my treasures...

First I had a little giggle a few minutes ago with Abigail who had phoned to ask me for an old recipe.  She's expecting brother and family in a few hours to arrive {it will be middle of the night, they've encountered terrible accidents along their route}.

Autumn, Karl and Everlly have arrived and together we shared a late dinner.  Then we
Skyped for a few minutes with Emma and Little Man who are just beginning their
Thanksgiving day on the mission field.  Graham and Savannah have gone to spend
Thanksgiving in Colorado with her family.  Everyone else is tucked in and sleeping.    

Even though we are spread apart by miles and continents, we are so very grateful for the 
beauty of Skype and cell phones.  I can't imagine without!!

I'm super excited to visit your homes again this year.  We have soooo much to be thankful for!

I will be adding pictures throughout our day as well....

But for now here is how we spent our pre-Thanksgiving day....

No doubt, over the years we've found that the favorite things of the kids to play with are the things that didn't cost any money.....

Like boxes that turn into an elaborate fort...

{and no, the giant tv box is not ours but rather the box was left behind by
the previous owner!}. No doubt, they likely left it because they *knew* that it would make a darn good Thanksgiving table!!  *smile*




Their fort is centered on a Thanksgiving table - complete with flower centerpieces and "turkey"
with "all the fixins"....



Old friends from Colorado came through and I met up with them
as they said they had brought some goodies for us. 
Jerry owns a restaurant and loaded us up - 
He was totally being His hands and feet to our family!!
We have been abundantly blessed and our tummies will be so happy!

A couple of hours ago Evey arrived....
I almost forgot but her mommy and daddy were with her as well....




and it appears that Miss Everlly thinks that being at Mimi's is a-ok!

I'll add more pictures over the day....but please link below to invite bloggy friends {and me!} to come visit...whether it's a picture of your front door wreath, your home, your family or you and others gathered around a Thanksgiving table!  If you do not have a blog, please Instagram a picture and hashtag it #aplacecalledsimplicity  .  I can be found on Instagram at APlaceCalledSimplicity.

So please link below.....I can't wait to visit your homes agin... or instagram a picture of your day or eve...and remember to hashtage  #aplacecalledsimplicity

Off to sleep.....xoxo

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Thanksgiving Invitation....

Does anyone remember me mentioning that next to Mother's Day, 

Thanksgiving is my most favorite holiday celebration? 

There is something about the lingering together that makes for 
warm memories that delight the soul for years to come.

These last few weeks I have been pondering
different Thanksgivings and the joy we've shared 
over the years...

Two years ago stands out as it was
Emma's last one home.
Such precious memories...
wonderful giggles, football in the neighborhood park,
one mighty big bird, festive food, 
Ruby lifting her head for the first time{!}
sitting around the fire pit at night,
precious friends joining us for the week-end...





Soooo, 

Being an enormous softy for Thanksgiving, 
I was wondering if my bloggy friends would want to play a 
little game with me, just like last year?

And last year we even accommodated those who 
don't have blogs...
and I know many of you don't have blogs, and so this is what
 we did last year - 

If you have a blog, even if you haven't posted in forever...

Would you be willing to link to our Place Called Simplicity, 
so we could stop over 
and 'visit' this Thanksgiving?  It was absolutely delightful 
to see your day last year...so this year....post your 
Thanksgiving celebration or preparations or friends and
 family visiting or your front door or some part of your day?

No doubt, it would be a way of saying, 
"Here's some of the things I'm thankful for..."  

You don't even have to write on the post...
just post a single picture or a steady stream of pictures...

I will be posting pictures of our special day in 
our new home with Autumn, Karl and Everlly here!
Now, what if you don't have a blog?  

Many have Instagram these days...and you can post a picture 
and just be sure to tag #APlaceCalledSimplicity on your photo you post...

I am so excited...I cannot wait to stop in and have a peek at 
your day in one way or another...truly, even the picture at the top of 
this post just makes my heart say, "Ahhhhh"....how about yours?

I will have the post up just after midnight with the linking 
capabilities like when we do Memorial Box Monday...

Monday, November 24, 2014

Ferguson, Missouri

I made a little deal with myself.  {Does anyone else ever do this?}  I decided that I would not work on a blog post {favorite thing to do} until I had found something I had been searching for for weeks.  I had absolutely no clue where it was before the move, let alone where it was since the move and there are "paperwork boxes" galore left to unpack.

But God in His gracious nature, led me to what I needed and I continued to clear through some paperwork and now I have the privilege of doing a bit of writing.

Today much of the United States is waiting for the Grand Jury to speak regarding the Ferguson, Missouri situation.  I keep refreshing my laptop news screen.  My stomach feels like throwing up each time I do.   You too?


Please join me in praying for the citizens, the clergy, the police officers and the government officials of Ferguson.

No one wins, no matter the outcome and no doubt, there is much at stake.

More than we can begin to imagine or grasp.

Please Lord, come and heal our broken land.


The LORD hears his people when

they call to him for help....
Psalm 34:17a
 









Saturday, November 22, 2014

Log Cabin Living: Another Favorite Meal - B & R

I am loving sharing some of our Log Cabin Living
ideas with my bloggy friends.

Just to recap what it is though, in case you missed it...

In my heart of hearts, pre-Ruby, I have always 
longed to move to a remote area 
{with the desert weather!} 
where we could enjoy Log Cabin Living 
as a sweet, large family.  

I am so grateful that I had the privilege of living in our little log home
before we lost it in the fire. 

No doubt, with Ruby's fragile health, this is not in the realm of
possibility unless the Lord totally heals her - 
which is, of course, totally possible!




So in this season, we embrace our wonderful home in Phoenix, 
with close proximity to Phoenix Children's Hospital 
while we enjoy the gorgeous Phoenix 
weather and all the beautiful perks of big city living!!

The series will be an on-going and I will share our version of 
large family living, on a very limited budget while practicing Simplicity.  
We graciously invite you to journey with us.  

************* 

I have had so many requests for recipes that we enjoy
as a large family on a limited budget. 
Here's another favorite, yet simple and inexpensive 
meal from our home to yours.


Beans and Rice

Yes, beans and rice.

Don't knock it if you haven't tried it,
but please try it with an open heart!

Here's what we do:



1.  Sift through beans for small rocks.
I have found some on occasion,
so please don't skip this step
{unless you're married to a dentist}.

2.  Rinse beans.

3.  Place sorted and rinsed beans in crock pot
and fill with water to at least 2" above beans.

4.  Soak overnight.

5.  In the morning, sauté an onion and stir into beans. 

6.   Cook on low for at least two days,
stirring often. 

7.  Serve over steamed rice.
We love Basmati.

We eat this often and truly is one of our favorites.

We also use the now cooked beans for another 
favorite meal of ours - 
which I am planning on sharing next. 


Food for Thought:


I have had people tell me over the years that their spouse or children 
"would never stand for that for dinner" 
when I have shared some of our meals.

For our family, over the years the way we eat has been a journey.

A long journey.  


Yet a very purposeful, intentional journey. 

Bringing treasures home from places where food was sparse, 
has given us all a renewed thankfulness for all that we do have.
Most of our treasures remember well their stomachs gnawing from
 hunger.  One remembers 'chewing' on rocks to ease the hunger.

Food is a necessity, however, what and how much we eat is 
not a 'right'.  We have the privilege of living in one of the wealthiest
nations in the world.   Our simple meal of Beans and Rice
would be a feast in most countries.  

We have to remember that!

We actually don't "deserve" anything.  

All we have is because God has graciously given to us out of His
abundance.  But He didn't give us in overflowing for us to hoard and indulge
on ourselves, but rather to share generously!!

Our joy is to live in Simplicity, prayerfully honoring Him and 
thus enabling us to share more of our resources with others.  

It's that Simple.  


Thursday, November 20, 2014

We Believe


I mentioned the other day how we enjoy spending a lot of time
focusing on worship and praise in our home....
and especially after times like this past week-end.

One of the ways we focus on praise is to 
play what we call "The Thankful Game".

It's the game we invented almost 30 years ago 
where we go around the room naming 
a designated number of things we are each specifically thankful for.

We just begin with one person and he or she
names a certain number of things they are thankful for.

It can be anything.

Actually it can give great insight to where 
our kids are in life!

Oh - and for some added fun,
we pretty much insist that no one can name what
someone else just named.

We go around and around until the 
general attitude has become lighthearted
and sweet.

It usually doesn't take long!!

Sometimes some have gotten so carried away naming 
all kinds of beautiful things that 
I have had to tell the kids it's time to let 
someone else have a turn.
[That would definitely be a good problem!]

An added benefit is that The Thankful Game has turned many 
a grumpy car ride or time hanging around the house
 into a period of giggly joy and true thanksgiving.

Works like a charm!!

It's amazing what happens when we start to 
focus on all the things we have to be thankful for 
rather than what we want or the "agony" of ourselves!

Face it,
it is super easy to be self-absorbed, grumpy and grumbly.

Anyway, we have been playing the Thankful Game
and worshipping extensively after our eventful week-end. 

I absolutely love worshipping with my treasures.

We put our favorite songs on and sing, lifting hands in praise
 and worship together.

A candid shot.
Isaiah had no idea I was taking a picture.


Anyway, my current favorite song is 

We Believe.

Have you heard it??

And although there are a few "We Believe" songs this version
is my all-time favorite.

I love that is a proclamation of what exactly 

We Believe!!

And in today's society [and sadly in many of today's churches]
there are many, many disillusioned folks
 who have no idea what they believe!!!

This song makes me well with tears almost every 
time I worship with it.

I first heard this song in our church and 
yes, our church collectively and unashamedly 
declares what We Believe as we sing
it regularly.




As Thanksgiving approaches,
incorporate praise and thankfulness into your home.

It's a sure attitude changer - even for us mommies and daddies!


"Serve the LORD with gladness: 
come before his presence with singing."
Psalm 100:2

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Over Here in Phoenix....

For many years, while living in Colorado, I would watch my bloggy friend, Martha, who lives in South Carolina, post gorgeous pictures of a myriad of flowers growing in her yard in the dead of winter.

Mesmerized by her spectacular flower pictures, I would stare out my window at the snow piled acres and long for warmth, brilliantly colored flowers in my own yard, freedom from a snow shovel and blistery sunshine!

I would write to her and jokingly ask her to stop taunting me!

Well this morning, a friend from high school was posting pictures on Facebook of Western New York where I grew up.  He said the weather reminded him of the Blizzard of 77 {one of the worst in our nation's history!}

I was in college at the time and had to ride a city bus downtown.  My normal morning ride  of 35 minutes took 2-1/2 hours that day the blizzard started!!  As the blizzard went on and on and on and on, we could walk up to the top of the drifts and touch the lights hanging in the middle of the intersections!!   

You don't ever forget blizzards like that!



I shivered as I looked at my friend Rick's pictures this morning.  I remember it all very, very well!

So for those bracing for snow, buried under it or watching blustery flakes fall....I just want you to know that I would never taunt now that we have the privilege of living in Phoenix.

Not ever.

Although I might want to. 

I mean it would be too cruel.

So let me quickly change the subject and just show you pictures of what my treasures are doing outside my kitchen while I work on this post.



And for the record, when we are asked how we stand the summers in Phoenix, Dw and I grin from ear to ear and quickly respond:

"We'd rather shovel sunshine than snow..."



Isaiah getting some sweet 'air'.....



while playing their one of their favs - 


Foursquare



My warm heart is sooo thankful! 



Monday, November 17, 2014

This Past Week-end

It feels like forever since I've posted!  I've missed you all!  Seriously.

It has been some of the most eventful days in a row for us on so many levels.   And for those who think our lives are pretty near perfect, read on.....you'll be comforted knowing that we have our share of struggles!  Sometimes they come like wildfire.

Here goes:

Friday morning Dw and I were up early.  We had decided to have a yard sale and make some Gem cash with stuff we needed to get rid of in order to simplify.

It was 5ish when our bones squeaked and eeked  climbed out of bed.  We still wanted to sort through some more things before we opened the garage door.



Coffee on, Dw headed to the garage and as I was walking through the maze of already packed boxes my left foot, which often drags from the Multiple Sclerosis when I am tired or stressed, caught the edge of a box and I literally went flying over top of the boxes, landing with brutal force on my right knee and hands.  I thought I had broke my knee as I attempted to drag my injured self toward the garage for Dw to help me get up.   I was ticked!  I do not have time to be nursing an injury.  

We thanked the Lord that my knee did not appear to be broken, bruised yes, but it could have been much worse.  I was grateful I had mixed some Peppermint and Wintergreen Essential Oils together which I have now rolled many times on my achin'-self to ease the discomfort.  It has helped a ton!

Before long customers started arriving and things started selling.  God is so good!!

In the meantime I found that my computer was broken.   Which my computer is a necessity to communicate!  Ugh.

The kids were amazing and helped me pack a ton - after all, we had only found we were moving four days earlier.

Saturday morning friends were going to be heading to help us and I noticed Ruby seeming sleepy and it was only 8 am.  I asked Liberty to take her outside and see if she just needed a bit of fresh air to perk up.  She was outside a couple of minutes and brought her back to me in our bathroom where I was packing.  I turned to Ruby and saw an unusual look on her face and stepped closer.

"Liberty!  It looks like she's starting to have a seizure!"

Which she was.

I lifted her out of her wheelchair and laid her on our bare mattress - because of course the bed had already been stripped for the move!

I was shaking and told the kids to go get Daddy and as he came to the room I yelled to call 9-11 {just like her neurologist told us to do - call immediately!!  Ninety seconds into the seizure we are to administer a powerful drug in her rectum.}   Her seizures are life-threatening and we have been told that if they go past five minutes they are harder to stop!

I texted my precious friend Renee from the Knee Team asking her and her husband Joel to pray and our big kids.  I phoned Dan and Lavonne and asked them to pray!

Shaking like a leaf, I administered the drug as Ruby continued to seize.

Five minutes passed.  The EMTs had to be here soon!  The littles were gathered around Ruby on our bed and we were all praying out loud asking the God of the Universe - who loves Ruby so much to intervene!

Six minutes.

Seven minutes.

Eight minutes.

I cannot type without tears.

Nine minutes.

The EMTs arrived.

They asked what had been done and I showed them the syringe.  They questioned, "You put it all in?"

"Yes!  That's what her neurologist has prescribed!  It is ready-dialed to exactly what he prescribes!"

"Wow!  That's a large amount!"

"Yes, her seizures have lasted 30 minutes.  They are life-threatening."

At about 10 minutes she stopped.  Thank you Jesus!

Soon Ruby and I were packed up and on the way in the ambulance.

Dw and our friends packing the house.  Tests for Ruby.  Docs wondering if it was her shunt?

Very stressful.

Eventually, after all the tests came back okay, her seizure meds increased, we were told that her neurologist wanted us to spend the night.  I begged the doc to appeal and ask if we could please go home.

We were released to leave and Savannah came to get us.

By the time Savannah arrived Ruby was playing with the BP cord and cock-a-doodle-do-ing {she has learned how recently and it's precious beyond words, since a rooster is my all-time favorite creature!}

We arrived at our new home as the last piece of the first load was being emptied.  Grateful for Stan, Shelby, young Graham {Stan & Shelby's son}, Kimmy and Bruce and their son Logan
, Graham and Savannah's help.

So thankful that Ruby was okay!  The Lord had heard our prayers!

Back to the old house for a second load.

Closing the back door of the truck we discovered that the truck wouldn't start.  At all.

The truck rental company informed us that it was our problem.  Bless their hearts.

Eventually, after much prayer, the truck started.

We crashed Saturday night on our mattresses, thankful to have two loads at the house.  One more to go when we rent a truck again later this week.

Sunday was my birthday!  How thankful I was to be in our new home.  We had no clue where anything was, but Elizabeth found the skillet and asked if I would like an egg for breakfast.  We knew where the potatoes were {and I love eggs and potatoes} so they set to work making me a sweet breakfast in bed.

I gave each of the kids a slice of my potato and was enjoying Ruby as they headed back to the kitchen to get some more food when suddenly I heard Dw screaming.

I mean screaming.

My normally calm, even under traumatic circumstances, 
was screaming with a panicked voice!!

He was shouting, "Come up!  Come up!"

I knew someone was choking.  My heart started to race as I threw the covers off and started running to the kitchen {which is one room over from our bedroom}...

On the way I met Liberty and she was beside herself, 
"Mom!  Elijah's choking!  Daddy can't get it out!"

At this, my legs collapsed from the MS and now flopped to the kitchen as Dw
continued to scream commanding it to "Come up!"

Dw was doing the Heimlich Maneuver and had already done it five times with extreme force!

It would not budge - and only by the grace of God, the potato dislodged and went flying across the room.

Friends, it was close!! 

So very, very close!





What had happened was that Elijah had the slice of potato and had taken a bite and at the same time had thrown a ball up in the air.  The potato chunk went down accidentally and lodged with his head looking up.  When it happened Elijah realized he couldn't breathe and bent over.  It wouldn't dislodge.

Elijah then got on all fours on the floor in an attempt to allow gravity to bring it up.   Only thing Dw was on the other side of the island, I was in our bedroom and by God's amazing grace Liberty noticed Elijah and thought, "What's he doing?"  She questioned, "Are you okay?  Are you choking?"  She then told Dw what was happening.

I think I need to leave the coffee shop now and just have a good cry.  It has been two horrific life-threatening events two days in a row.

Was God's merciful grace and protection evident?  

Yes!!  

But whoooa, really!!??

Feeling a bit overwhelmed and vulnerable at this point?

Yup!

So what are we doing??

We're praising Him.

Out loud.

Intentionally.

God's word tells us that He inhabits the praises of His people!!

my birthday celebration last night


Today, Dw went to the old house to pack up some more and found this:


That would be the canopy that Ruby and I sit under to watch the kids swim 
{because you can't see the pool from the back of the house}.
No idea what happened, but it is "one more thing".

In all circumstances we will praise Him.

He is faithful.

He is trustworthy.

He inhabits the praises of His people.