Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Holiday Weekend in San Francisco, part I

{view from our room on Union Square}

After my mom and I spent a couple days in San Carlos for business last month we headed over to San Francisco for the weekend where my sister and aunt joined us.  Even though we were just there for a couple days I felt we managed to see the main tourist spots and have a good amount of downtime for shopping, eating and visiting.   One of my favorite parts of the trip was exploring Union Street where we started the morning with brunch, shopped both sides of the street well into the afternoon, and ended with my favorite cupcake experience to date.  Overall, San Fran was a little too crazy for me so if this is my first and last trip that's fine by me...

{Golden Gate Bridge}

{Alcatraz}

{Pacific Puffs on Union Street}

{Cheengoo, an adorable pet shop where I picked up this for miles}

{That Takes the Cake, a small but charming cupcake shop}

Monday, January 30, 2012

Prayers for Baby Eli

{baby eli}

Please join me in praying for this precious baby who has Pertussis (whooping cough) and has been in the hospital since Friday the 20th.  Baby Eli is the grandson of one of my dad's best friends who lives out of town.  He is in the NICU with a feeding tube, oxygen and an IV.  He has mucus in his lungs and has developed pneumonia in one of his lungs and is now on antibiotics.  The immediate prayer request is for the pneumonia to go away and for him not to develop any serious blood infections.  We are also continuously praying for complete healing.  There is no cure for Pertussis so it will take Divine intervention to heal this precious little boy.  You can follow the updates for Baby Eli on my facebook page.  Here is a letter from Eli's mom that she wrote two days ago:

Dear Friends,

Our six week old son, Eli, developed what seemed like a typical winter cough on January 11. The cough began to worsen and a week later the coughing episodes became so severe that Eli's lips were turning blue and he was eating very little. The pediatrician immediately admitted Eli to the hospital for monitoring and testing on January 20. The lab results
...indicate that Eli has Pertussis (whooping cough), which can be life threatening for babies under 6 months. Babies are not vaccinated for this illness until 2 months of age and we believe he contracted the illness from me, his mom, who also has whooping cough. In adults, it is not as serious, but it does result in a very brutal and long lasting cough...often lasting for 8 weeks or more and can be passed on to others until the germ is killed by antibiotics. So, I have been trying to care for myself as well as Eli, which has been difficult, however my cough is now continuing to improve slowly.

My husband stayed with Eli in the hospital, as I was too sick to stay. Eli seemed to be improving, but 4 days later on January 24 he began to decline.
The doctors then decided that Pediatric Intensive Care would provide our baby with more hands on care and a more controlled environment. We are told that there is no cure, no medicine that can fix Pertussis and the only thing the doctors can do is provide support as Eli struggles through this illness.
Eli has been put on oxygen, IV, and a feeding tube in order to introduce calories and nutrients, as he cannot eat. Right now his body is working very hard and they are watching his coughing spells. When he has them, he struggles with keeping his oxygen up and sometimes his heart rate.

This situation is very moment to moment, waiting, watching and praying.
Neither we nor the doctors are sure how Eli will do or how long this could take. Sometimes he looks good and sometimes he doesn't. Sometimes his coughs are bad, sometimes they are not. I've gotten to hold him only once, and since then they are afraid to let me hold him because it can cause difficult coughing episodes. So all I can do is rub his head and talk to him. We visit Eli several times a day, but they encourage us to go home at night in order to get much needed rest.

I also want to take this opportunity to educate you on Pertussis. It is more than a cough. It is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection which produces a violent cough and a lot of mucous secretions, which for adults is very difficult, but for babies is very dangerous. There has been an increase in Pertussis in recent years and adults are being encouraged to be vaccinated. This is something our children are vaccinated for beginning at two months, but for most adults, the last one we received was in our younger years. So the vaccination does wear off, which is something that I was unaware of. The vaccination is called DTaP and includes Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis. If you have not been vaccinated in the past 10 years, I want to encourage you, especially if you are pregnant or have a baby that has not been vaccinated for this yet, to please speak with your doctor as to when would be a safe time for you to be vaccinated. Even if your children are grown, I would encourage you also to receive a booster. I would not want anyone to experience the cough that I have experienced and you can easily pass it on to others before you even know you have it. Even if your doctor does not take it seriously or gives the impression that this is not really a current problem, please consider the vaccine. It would've only taken one shot to prevent my baby from having this horrible illness.

This is truly a difficult time for our family, but our Lord God has been very gracious in sustaining us when we feel like we can't take another step forward. I want to ask that you please pray for us and please pray for Eli.
I've attached pictures of him so you can see who you are praying for. God makes no mistakes, we are not out of His hand. We pray for healing, mercy, and His nearness.

Lamentations 3:22-24
22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 "The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."

Love,
Melissa 


{baby eli with mom at 6 weeks}

{7 weeks}


Monday, January 16, 2012

Strawberry Bread

{strawberry bread}

The first month of the new year is half over and I'm embracing the routine that has found its way back into my life and home.   With the weather a bit chillier and since I needed an excuse to use my Emile Henry Mini Loaf Pans that my mother-in-law gave me for my birthday, I thought it was best to start my week off with a warm breakfast treat.  This easy recipe from my Secrets Savored book makes four mini loafs or two regular sized loafs.  There's just a hint of strawberry in this bread so next time I'd like to make this to go with it. 


Strawberry Bread
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 T. cinnamon
1 T. allspice
1 t. soda
1 t. salt
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups oil

Combine first five ingredients.  Mix the sugar, eggs and oil well and add to dry ingredients.  Puree two small boxes of strawberries plus juice and fold into batter (I used 1 lb. of strawberries).  Pour batter into two greased loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees until done.  About 45-50 minutes until tops spring back when touched. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Snapshots of 2011

{New Year's Eve}

 The two of us spent the weekend in Nashville for some much needed R&R.  It was the first year of our married life we rang in the new year out of town.  I love the lazy days leading up to and following the new year.  They give me lots of time to reflect and recap on the previous year.  2011 was an EVENTFUL year.  If my blog posts didn't have dates, I would never believe (or remember) all the joys and sorrows this one year has produced.  Here's what we'll remember most...

1. Bryant's back.  Two words when put together in one sentence bring back lots of memories, emotions and lifelong lessons.  Bryant's back injury actually occurred at the end of 2010 but this was the year of healing, waiting and living in spite of and because of that injury.  Today Bryant is doing great.  He is flying again and his back is steadily improving.  We are thankful for the good report but also thankful for what we've learned and how we've grown in ways you only do during a season of trials. 

2. I became a manager this year at work.  I have welcomed the change and thoroughly enjoy my new position.  I have a theory that the average person makes a significant change in his/her work every seven years.  It was my eighth year in sales - I figured I was a year overdue!

3. House projects... not so many this year.  A simple mudroom makeover is as far as we got.  The list for 2012 has already begun.  We'll see how far we get.  Lest we forget, 2011 left a tree on our house (which we had removed)!  Let's hope this next year brings blue skies and calm winds. 

4. Miles turned 4 this year, and took 40 trips to the vet.  Not really.  Though it sure felt like it.  Major knee surgery, minor nose surgery, a left ear infection and his first upper respiratory infection were the major events in his little life this year.  In hopes to stay home more this year, I unofficially added "dog groomer" to my resume to prevent any more trips to the vet due to stinky mobile grooming vans.  

5. We had a couple big birthdays this year... Ellie turned 1 and my Grandma celebrated her 95th!  Bryant and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary and I met up with some dear friends this fall for our 10 year college reunion!

6. Bryant and I didn't take a big vacation again this year just the two of us.  But we went on LOTS of trips with friends and family and a couple of short weekend trips which is becoming a real favorite of ours.  The first half of the year we went to Cabo, Destin and Pickwick with friends.  And the second half of the year we took 2 weekend getaways: the first to Greenwood and Jackson and our most recent New Year's weekend in Nashville.  Family trips included Chattanooga, Orlando, Chicago and San Francisco.  Posts on San Fran coming soon!

7. Our trip to Cabo was very special because we went with our friends, Sam and April.  I am thankful for the memories that were captured in my heart on that trip.  A few short months later April learned her cancer had returned and six months later the Lord called her home.  Experiencing the loss of a friend was new to me - April was the first.  But He was there.  His presence and grace was manifested in April's life and in her death in a way I've never seen before.  Bryant's grandmother also went home to be with Jesus this year.  We've seen many friends and family go through heartache and suffering this year. And we have learned that He really is enough.  Only Jesus.  Only Him.

8. The Lord has opened a couple of ministry opportunities up for the two of us.  Bryant has spent time at the Warriors Center once a week ministering to the residents and I have been discipling 10th grade girls at our church.  These opportunities have been a time of growing for us and are always the highlight of our week (and year)!

9. I couldn't complete this list without mentioning The One Year Chronological Bible which has been and is a huge part of our lives.  Reading through the OYCB twice has given me a strong outline of God's story.  This year I am determined to know more of God's story - the details.  I want to start filling in the pieces so that I know it completely and can share it anytime with anyone.  Iva May says, "You don't know what you can't recall."   And I am so very excited because Iva May is writing all new devotional material for her blog!

10. I would sum this year up as a time of waiting.  Everyone goes through times of waiting.  How we respond in this infamous time of waiting is so very important.  Waiting is one of the tools God uses to develop His children for leadership.  I wouldn't trade this time of waiting for anything.  It's in this time that we can experience God in a way that only those who wait on Him can experience Him.  His Word is true, His promises are sure and His faithfulness endures forever.  "Trust in the LORD forever, for in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength." - Isaiah 26:4

Happy New Year, everyone! 

see snapshots of 2010 and 2009.  
 

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