Sunday, April 29, 2007

Participation Day at Wiglife

If you click on this 'word' you will see my beautiful cousin, Katie, who at just 28 years old developed Multiple Sclerosis. She's always been in perfect health and this came as a total shock to everyone. She's trying to reach a goal of raising $5,000 for the National MS Society to help in finding a cure. If you are brave enough (like me) to use a credit or debit card online, your $5 donation (or whatever you can do) is TAX DEDUCTIBLE! They e-mail you the receipt and you print it out and stick it in your file for next year's tax savings! Easy as pie! I promise I won't hit y'all up for every cause, but this one is worth it! It would mean a lot to me and my family, thanks!

Women on Target
Finally, I have an invitation for all the girls that live near me. There is a women's shooting clinic at our local gun club which we just became members of. It's on Saturday, May 19th, from 9:30am-1:30pm and is only $15 for all your ammo, use of their guns and lunch is even included! To sign up, call my friend, Kim, at (330)206-5802

And now....Z!
He crawls over to the piano, stands up and plays!

These are a few of his TV faces I caught while watching Veggie Tales Sing Along yesterday.
Check out the Faux Hawk! We're getting ready to call Aunt Laurie for a haircut!

He really gets into it!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Blue this, Chocolate that

Hello! Check out the new hue of our living room! Ben spent his day off hanging the TV and painting the room. We are so happy with it. If you've never visited our house, every room is a different bright color, so this is much more us than the drab green.

Ben had the idea of making our old changing table into a entertainment center/play area. With the T.V. on the ground (though it looked great in front of the fireplace) and the DVD player, etc. Z had easy access to his favorite electrical toys! I'll take a full picture of the room once we finish moving some stuff. Next we buy the carpet and ceiling fan! What a makeover this room will have had since the divider wall came down! I've decided it's all very symbolic of how much our lives have changed since Z's entered our world.

Speaking of whom!!! Below, you can see him with his favorite book, "Jesus and the Twelve Dudes who Did" It's got plastic faces that are fun to touch. He even says "Deuce" in efforts to say "Dudes," which, we think is hilarious! Yesterday, we were on the porch swing enjoying the weather and he said, "Down," and wiggled his way off my lap! For once, he wasn't just echoing us, and it was a word we didn't realize we had taught him!

He's into everything these days! He flushes toilets (whether you're done or not!), turns knobs, takes the Jet Dry thing out of the dishwasher, climbs stairs, opens doors, and loves buttons!
-proofing our house is an on-going process. We put Ben's 35 lb. weight on the laundry shoot in the floor upstairs, have gates up, put cabinet latches on, and just bought a play pen from Craig's List to have somewhere safe to put him if I can't watch him for a second (I couldn't stoke the fire in the basement when he became mobile!). Despite all the efforts indoors, if I set him in the grass while I water the garden, he doesn't move an inch! The grass feels too funny! We'll see how long that little reprieve lasts!

Below is a picture of the wonderful meal we enjoyed at our friend's Dave and Sharol's house last Saturday night. She made the noodles from scratch in this Chicken-Noodle delight which I learned was wonderful over the mashed potatoes. All this and friendship bread to boot! For dessert we had a Cappuccino Trifle and some much needed fellowship! I'd share the recipe for these noodles if I had it. We gobbled up all the noodles she sent us home with the very next day. Thank you, Sharol and Sloop!

The Chocolate Escapades

I love chocolate. I'm pretty sure it loves me too. I made dark chocolate chip chocolate cookies last week. Ate them too fast to take a picture. Ben definitely approved. I used the recipe on the back of the bag...I think it was Hershey's Dark Chocolate Chips. Divine! That was not enough. Oh no. I decided going over to Dave and Sharol's was the perfect excuse to make some Oreo Truffles. Aunt Val made them over Christmas and I couldn't stop eating them. So, I followed the recipe, rolled the little balls of oreo goodness and fridged them, melted the chocolate and did a little "I'm the cook
and I deserve it" taste-test and Eeeww! We'd accidentally bought unsweetened chocolate which is 100% cocoa! I added sugar and succeeded in making a strange cake-like batter that was undippable and still tasted nasty. Fortunately, there was a recipe in the box for Hot Fudge Sauce which required sugar, so I was able to salvage all of my beloved chocolate (see cool whip container in picture). The above is my chocolate face as I sample the new Hot Fudge Sauce I totally didn't need. After a quick trip to the store I was able to dip the Oreo balls in the right chocolate and was done! And Voila! Aren't they gorgeous? Three ingredients, easy peasy, recipe follows:

Easy Oreo Truffles
Prep: 30 min (plus an hour to fridge)
1 pkg (1lb, 2oz) Oreo chocolate sandwiches, divided (I learned that means you use some now and some later, don't pull the cookies apart)
1 pkg. (8oz) Cream Cheese
2 pkg. (8 oz each) Baker's Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, melted

Crush 9 of the cookies to fine crumbs in food processor, reserve for later use. (Cookies can also be crushed in a resealable plastic bag with a rolling pin.) Crush remaining 36 cookies to fine crumbs; place in medium bowl. Add cream cheese; mix until well blended. Roll cookie mixture into 42 balls (I made 60 smaller ones), about 1" in diameter.
Dip balls in chocolate; place on wax paper covered baking sheet. Sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs.
Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store covered in fridge.
Extra Tip: For easy dipping, place oreo ball in chocolate to coat; roll if necessary, lift using two forks (This allows chocolate to run off) before placing on wax paper.

Finally, I have to share good news! My cousin, Jamie, is now Seaman Apprentice VanNice! She graduated from Navy boot camp on Friday. I took a picture of her graduation photo to share with you, hope you don't mind, Jamie! She's on her way to technical school in San Diego soon. She's training to become a sonar technician. We are so very proud of her! Please keep her in your prayers as she'll be far from friends and family.

Monday, April 16, 2007

true happiness

Dada and Z!

Visit my Zerbik site when you get a chance, two postings in one week on that is a record!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Many words

Dear Zerbik Friend,

I'm going to try and recapture the original purpose of this site with this post, to share where I'm at, right now, with God. So, there's a couple of interesting spiritual matters at hand: Censoring my mouth and this heavy feeling in my chest. Sounds physical, I know, but it's this dialogue between me and God that makes it also very spiritual.

We'll start with censorship which we, Americans are so against. The difference is that I'm censoring myself and trying to filter out the good for nothing stuff. I've always known I talked a lot. Sadly, I don't always put a lot of thought into what I say. In fact, I often think things through out loud. This can have disastrous consequences. I came across Proverbs 10:19, "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise," and knew God would be dealing with me on this.

Just yesterday I came across a blog talking all about gossip. The part that grabbed me was when the author connected this verse with what we say:
"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4:8
I always kind of thought of this verse as help for what to do when I'm not talking! Like when I'm daydreaming or something. It always sounded whimsical and fancy-free, like "Oooh, pretty bird." That's what I'm supposed to think about. Well, I'm not too bad about that actually! Since I speak my thoughts out loud, there's not always a great deal going on inside when I'm quiet, at least nothing yucky.

A while ago, my husband lovingly pointed out that the celebrity news I was so fond of reading at the checkout line and watching on T.V. shows were really another form of gossip. This really floored me! It seems obvious now, but I guess I thought of gossip more as talking about people I knew. I just thought I'd share that.

OK, so yesterday I tried all day to filter what I said through that verse. Is it lovely? Is it pure? Is it right? [I've made this my memory verse effective immediately as I struggled all day to quote it accurately AND to make matters worse, I made one of my teenagers who lived with me memorize this!] So, I must and will memorize this verse. But, I ended up not saying at least a couple of things yesterday because of it. Which was soooo hard!

I've also been trying to censor what I say to my poor husband (who hears my every thought good or bad). Not only does he not need to be brought down with every injustice that happens to me in a day (the old ladies at Kohls took the carts with baby seats and left me with the carts with no baby seat!) But, I tend to be a bit critical and/or maybe a little (extremely) guilt provoking when I talk to him. I AM the ultimate in martyrs, really! So, there's a lot to be censored. Oh, and sometimes I might try to manipulate him ever so slightly by not coming right out and telling him what I want. Just a wee bit. I'm really hoping to be a neck that supports the head someday, not just always trying to turn it.

OK, so as to not overspeak my welcome here, I want to quickly share the other neato thing that's happening in my life! Well, at first it was kind of concerning. I knew it wasn't physical in origin, but I wasn't so sure it was from God or my own issues. I started getting a heavy pressure in my chest after being around certain people. I've brought home demons before (I'm a mental health counselor, remember?) and it was not like that. OK, maybe it's my asthma. Just kidding. I've had THAT my whole life, and this just started a few months ago. Over time, I took note of who gave me the pressure in my chest and realized I was having a physical burden for those people. Weird, huh? Sometimes it lasts one day, sometimes five days. So, I pray for the person that kicked off the chest pressure until it goes away. I just started to write letters of encouragement to those people too. Usually, I know why I'm hurting for the person, but not always. Anyways, normally I wouldn't share this with anyone, but I sure wish others would share these types of things, so I'm throwing myself out there. So, thanks for taking the time to read! If you missed my last Zerbik about two amazing men of God, please check it out!

Blessings on your day,

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Happy Easter!
First egg hunt: Easter Morning at Grandpa W's

Ben and his sibs from left with birth-order in parenthesis:
Biz (3), Ben (1), Debbie (5), Andy (2), and Bekah (4)
What you can't tell from the pic is how very tall all of them are! Andy is tallest at 6'5"
This is Jeremy and Biz B. (Ezra's Aunt and Uncle) and their nieces and nephews. They wanted a picture that looked like they had kids and so gathered up all the little ones. Yup, they look good with a slew of kids!
Kids from left are: Owen, Ally, Jenna and Z

Five generations! Ben and Z, Z's Grandma C,
Z's Great-Grandma H and his Great-Great Grandma S

Friday night Grandpa and Grandma H stopped by on their way through from WV.
I think Z's trying to take off here, forgetting he's not quite walking yet.

Monday, Ben's Aunt Val came with her two, Anna and Jake. Anna and I made bead stuff (and had bead fights which we invented) while Val watched Z and Ben and Jake did manly things.

Well, Tuesday I went back to Mansfield to hang out with Missy, Debbie and my nieces and nephew. So, it's been a family bonanza this past week. Ben's been doing yard work and sanding the holes he patched where the wall used to be in our living room. We'll be painting before you know it! We picked out a ceiling fan, and decided to go with green for the dining area instead of terracotta. So, blue (in the living room) and green now. Still deciding which green exactly.

Well, seven teeth and counting! Z is talking so much every day. It's really amazing! He regularly says "Dada," "Mam," and "Dogs." But he's had some good one timers: Uckie (for Duckie), Banana (just like that!), and "Yes!" Ben just started telling Z to do little things and he does it. For instance, 'Put the ball in the hole,' or 'Hit with the stick like this,' and he does it! He'll have more tricks than our dogs before long! His favorite games are still giving Mommy a zerbert on her belly, "Up-Down" where he stands up, then squats down, and talking into anything hollow like a cup or the vacuum cleaner attachments to hear his voice sound different. We have so much fun!

Thursday, April 5, 2007


Oh, how we enjoyed the lovely weather! Tuesday we packed up lunch, met Daddy at the airport and had a picnic among the tie downs. Then, we put sun lotion on the baby and the dogs and went for a stroll around the taxi way before heading home. We'd been going on about two walks a day until yesterday. Now it's snowing. I'm trying to be as thankful for the Spring snowfalls as I am the sunny days in Winter. Here's some pics I took on one of our walks before Winter came back to play "Peek-A-Boo".

Loved these pink clouds!

Our courthouse, two blocks from our house.
Here's Z in an outfit from his Great Great Grandma Grosvenor who lives in Iowa. We're going back to see her next month, but I'm not sure this outfit will still fit him by then. I love the retro look! Check out the furniture walking!
On Tuesday we were playing on the floor and Z just stood up unassisted and sat back down after a couple seconds. Then he did it again and fell back onto his bottom. My eyes welled up, I couldn't believe he just stood up by himself! What a big boy!!!

Also, our ex-foster-daughter, Kim, is having a BOY! Check out the 3-D ultrasound pics on her website sometime, and leave her a comment while you're there!

Finally, I just have to share a couple recipes that Chrisie gave me a month ago when I was in a pinch for dinner. They go well together, but not necessary together as they are both divine in their own right. I've honestly made each of these at least half a dozen times in the last month. I really really love them!

Baked Potato Soup:
3 lbs chopped potatos (I leave the skins on)
1T. butter
1c. chopped onion (I use leeks)
2T. garlic
14 oz. (2 c.) chicken broth
3 c. milk
3 t. salt (I use garlic, celery and sea salt 1t. each)
1/2 t. thyme
1 bay leaf
pepper to taste
1 can Cream of Cheddar (I use cream of celery)

Combine and cook till tender. Toppings: bacon bits, chives, sour cream. I haven't needed any toppings or crackers yet, this is so good just on it's own! Sometimes I blend it at the end a bit to make it thicker.
Beer Bread:
1 1/2 c. white flour
1 1/2 c. wheat flour
4 1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. salt
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 - 12oz beer (I use Hornsby's Hard Apple Cider - Crisp Apple)

Mix dry ingredients, pour in beer, gently mix. Flour spray pan, top with a little melted butter and kosher salt. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes.

Thank you, Chrisie, for sharing such wonderful goodness!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Two Amazing Men of God

Today, I have two friends I'd like you to meet. First, Brother Joseph Power, born in Lancaster, England in 1925, was educated at St. Mary's College, Southampton and studied at both London and Oxford Universities. He took his final vows as Brother of Christian Instruction after the customary training as a postulant, novice and scholastic. His entire life has been dedicated to teaching both in High Schools and Universities in England and the United States. I met him while attending graduate school at Walsh University in 2001. He came up to me and said, "I very much like the green stripe that you're wearing." It was just a bright green stripe on my sleeve that stood out on my navy shirt. We became friends after that. I learned that this man of God did mission work with poor in Canada, France and Haiti during his Sabbatical years. He speaks Latin and French fluently and knows a good bit of German and Spanish as well.

During his years at Oxford he was actually tutored by J.R.R. Tolkien and knew C.S. Lewis personally as well. It seems there's not many people in that circle he didn't know. When we mentioned Malcolm Muggeridge (see last Zerbik), he knew him too (I mean personally)! He has lots of stories of these famous men, and gives oratories on them around the country. We have a copy of a letter from C.S. Lewis to Brother Joseph written just before Lewis died. Brother Joseph is fighting cancer right now, and could use your prayers. He includes us in his morning prayers and it's such a comfort to know he's praying for us. I asked Brother Joseph if there was anything else he'd mind sharing with us after he'd answered my questions about his life and he wrote this:
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my life as a religious educator which has brought me friendships all over the world. The real beauty of religious life is that it harmonizes activity and contemplation. The latter is often sadly missing in a noisy world!"

This is another very special person in my life. Mark Weaver, age 25, was in a car accident just after he graduated from high school seven years ago. Mark had hemophilia all his life, this exacerbated the bleeding on his brain and therefore he has struggled more than the average brain injury victim with recovery. He is fed through a feeding tube and cannot walk or talk due to the brain damage. The only movement he has good control over is his right thumb and his blinking. Even those are hindered by muscle spasms frequently. But, most of the time, thumbs up is 'yes' and thumbs down is 'no'. From this, though, you can get a glimpse of Mark's wonderful personality. Once, I asked what color I should dye my hair, and in going through all the different colors, he gave me a thumbs up for orange! It took me a while to learn to ask only closed (yes/no) questions (counselors are supposed to ask open ended ones to get people talking), but Mark was patient with me and has a great sense of humor. Just yesterday his mother asked him if he was sleeping and he gave us a thumbs up! She said, "Then you must talk in your sleep! " I met Mark at Sugarcreek Free Methodist Church in our Youth Ministries there. He was one of the rebels at the time. Mark had been drinking the night he ran into a semi. After the accident, he was angry at himself, but never at God. Later he moved into just feeling guilty over the work he caused his parents. They are the most amazing people I have ever met! Dennis (ex-Amish) and Mary Jane (very Italian) have conformed their lives to the care-taking of Mark. It is a 24 hour a day job. Sometimes they have a nurse cover the night shift, but not very often. I still ask Mark what feelings he has every week I visit and his mood is consistently positive and upbeat now.

Mark just got his first communication board which looks like a fancy computer. He clicks a button with his thumb to move a cursor and select different words. He's still learning to make a quick click which moves the cursor, but long clicks which select choices are easy for him. I got to see it yesterday for the first time, and if he clicks on "People" then "Friends" I'm the first button he comes to! I told him if he pushes my button I'm coming over! I'm so excited for him to have a little more freedom in his speech, but it's going to take some work to hone the thumb skills he needs for this. He's been dependent on what others think to ask him for seven years. For instance, I'll ask him what he'd like to get his parents for Christmas and I list as many things as I can for him to choose, and he kindly chooses one of my options, but who knows what he'd really like to get them. Usually, I ask him what he'd like to do, "Read a book, sit and talk," and so on, and he'll say yes to every option I give him. "Are you happy to do anything, Markie?" BIG THUMBS UP! He loves to watch sports, especially gymnastics on television. He inspired me to 'Move if you can.' So, at 28 I took gymnastics and worked on my backward flip. I'm so thankful for the lessons he's taught me, and for pushing me spiritually.

Just wanted to share two amazing men of God that greatly impact our lives here in Ohio. Anytime you'd like to meet either of them, let me know, they will surely have a profound effect on your life too!