Sunday, July 20, 2014

what i wore ~ vol. 59...pseudo preppy

It was a very early morning for me or at least it felt like it. I stayed up a little too late last night hand quilting a baby quilt for charity while indulging in a little Hawaii Five O on DVD. Any time I can spend with Alex McLaughlin, I am a happy girl. 

After  I deep cleaned the master bedroom and went through my closet yesterday, I found this skirt in the back of the closet. I have had it for at least a ear, maybe two. I am a freak about paisley, large prints and bold colors.  Combine any of those and you may see me do a closet happy dance.

Once I chose the skirt, the rest of the outfit just fell together. Hot pink tank, navy shrug sweater, kelly green flats. Done!  I think it's the first time I have worn these three pieces together, but I have owned them all for quite a while. The skirt and tank are from Talbots, the shrug from Lane Bryant, and the shoes from DSW.

Hope you have an awesome Sunday!!

Go take a photo and join us won't you? Head on over to FineLinenandPurple and link up. Then you can head over here to Watch What I'm Wearing, celebrating modesty and fashionI'm also over at Sunday Style @ Plane Pretty , Tucker UpGet Your Pretty On and The Pleated Poppy. It's a party!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

you know that time I let the devil won...not no more...

So it's 24 hours post freak out and I have once again achieved peace and serenity. 


Who am I kidding?? 

First,  I went onto Facebook last night and asked for hep. I love Facebook for that very reason. When I need a little guidance or input I'll get it. 

I emailed a pediatrician friend of mine and she walked me through a recipe to make my own ointment for Miss Courtney, using a combo of over the counter items. It will be called "Miss Courtney's Happy Butt Balm". I look forward to many days of no rashes and happy little butt cheeks for my daughter at 1/16 of the cost. 

Can I get an amen??  Yes! 

I promise to share the recipe once I have it all done in the coming days. This incident got me thinking about how many things I just accept when it comes to Courtney's care. I pay the co-pay and don't think about it. After all there are so many details to take care of that wherever I can catch a break I try to take advantage of it. 

No more of that. 

We will be rethinking some little things in the coming weeks to help streamline costs as well as have a purer, healthier alternative for her where we can. 

I hate it when I let the devil win. I hate that in the heat of the moment I freak out and forget that God has my girls back in all things, including $375 diaper ointment. I still have much work to do my friends to trust without freaking. 

Much work to do. 

Today, I deeeeeepppp cleaned my master bedroom and my sewing area,  I washed, folded and put away three loads of laundry, did some PT floor work with my Courtney, then went through my closet and pared things down to one size instead of the three different sizes I had in there. 

I love losing weight. I am only 1/3 of the way there but it sure feels good to get even a pound or two off this week. 

Then I made vegetarian chili for the fam and the hubby made the best skillet corn bread this side of the Mississippi. My man, he got some skilz!! This was followed by a cup of Butter Brickle ice cream. 

NOW I feel peace and tranquility once more. 

Crap,  I just saw my shoe pile and well, I'll deal with that tomorrow. 

Thank you for your prayers, your words of encouragement, your ideas and your just plane awesomeness. I don't know what I would do without you friends. 


Friday, July 18, 2014


...sometimes I have trouble with tunnel vision...I can only see what needs to be done...or bills need to be paid...or floors need to be washed...or bathrooms scrubbed...or laundry folded...or meals made...feedings get the drift...all I see is negative and it makes me grumpy...not pleasant to be around...short was one of those days...the mail came...more envelopes with windows...the mortgage needs to be do twenty other things...payday come and goes...all within thirty's a constant stress's one I struggle's one I dream of being rid of one day...maybe one day...maybe...I get stuck in this negative head space worrying about how it will all be taken care of and I lose perspective on the beautiful young woman who fights to be here everyday...we had a long night last night...seizures came and went...Mama calmed and soothed...rocked and sang...Miss Courtney fell back asleep around 3 a.m...I crawled back into bed and had a tough time many things running through my much more will God ask of me and my many more years of caregiving are ahead of my hubby and I...will we ever get a full nights will we handle the expenses that will will I get everything done in the house when I am spending so much time holding Miss Court...will I ever have the energy to workout again...or cook dinner...I am so very tired...needless to say I did not get back to sleep quickly...Miss Courtney was wide awake at 8 a.m. as if nothing had happened and this Mama feels like I have run with the bulls and lost...badly...thank goodness for the healing power of caffeine...I have ingested quite a bit today already and I sense there will be more...the worry is still there...I need to lay it down...seriously lay it down and trust that all will be well...I mean it never solves anything this constant worry and pacing back in forth...and yet I still do it...a lot...I need to get the heck out of the tunnel and change my perspective is meant to be lived and not's just that  there is so many details to daily living that if I forget one...bad things happen...really bad things...I need a winning lottery ticket...I guess I should actually BUY a lottery ticket if I expect to win...for example today this happened...three weeks ago Miss Courtney's Vusion Diaper Cream (miconazole nitrate 0.25% USP, zinc oxide 15% USP, white petroleum 81.35% USP) which we have used for over ten years to help prevent rashes and skin breakdown in her diaper area, was a $15 co-pay. Now with our new insurance plan going into effect on July 1, it is $375 per 50 gram tube!!!! That's with insurance!! After my eyes bugged out of my head...I took a deep breath...kindly told the pharmacist no...came home steaming....I cannot handle any more today...Nope...I cannot...what will I use that will help keep my girl safe from skin breakdown and on the negative....tunnel vision...aahhhhhh...we are so blessed...He surprises us ALL the time...God has provided ALWAYS...why can't I just lay it down and walk away believing all will be well...why can't I be happy and content with what has already been provided...I am what we call an "apocaloptimist"...God is good ALL the time...He will provide ALL we need WHEN we need it...He will never abandon...He is always with us...He is still writing our daughter's story...He is still writing my story...miracles abound...every day...I forget that way to easily...we are blessed...very, very blessed...all will be well...Jesus I trust in YOU...all will be HIS time...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

pretty, happy, funny, real ~ vol. 12...homemaking and miracles

I woke up with the grumpies this morning and am trying hard to shake them off.  It happens when I have a lot on my mind and heart, as I try to work through some worries in my life. I decided this morning to concentrate on what I could control and let go of what I cannot. I gotta say that it is so much easier said than done, but I am determined to give it my best. 

SO let's concentrate on the {pretty, happy,funny, real} shall we...


Jerry and I are marriage mentors at our parish. We assigned a couple from one of the priests and then we meet with them once a month for six months answering questions, counseling them and making sure they are fully prepared for entering into the sacrament. The priest that will marry them joins us once or twice along the way, as well as meeting with the couple on on one. We have been a part of this ministry for four years now and it is one of Jerry's and my favorite things to be a part of. 

Since Catholics are known for eating and praying, we usually share a meal with the couple before we talk about that months topic. My friend Marjanna's Mom is downsizing so I was the lucky recipient of this beautiful vintage strawberry table cloth from the 1950's. I love it. It's just the right mix of color for me. I used it this past week when we hosted our couple for dinner. I have a red ceramic plate service for four that I used to make it pop. So happy with the result. 


This is my comfy spot in Courtney's room. I spend many hours in this chair praying and reading while Miss Courtney is sleeping or not, depending on the day/night. You notice the two blankets, both made by her aunts, the pillow by her cousin and the little stuffies are from her big brother and her Grandma G. It's my happy place in the house. I always feel like Our Lady is sitting right next to me in the chair. 

The rosaries that are hanging on the light fixture are used all the time. They are actually "wall hanging" rosaries, but I use them with Miss Courtney because they are big enough for her to "hold" loosely in her hands without causing her pain of discomfort. I found them years ago at a homeschooling conference. One of my best purchases to date. 

I have also been hand quilting this little baby quilt while sitting by Miss Courtney's side, while listening to a story or praise and worship music. It's part of a giveaway next week for NFP Awareness week on Simcha's blog. So much joy in being a part of that event. 


This is the top of one of Courtney's dressers. It has a picture of the Sacred Heart that was next to my Dad's bed for years, one of Our Lady from my friend Therese and a little quote from another friend. The lemon candle is the third one in the last four weeks. Now that we have the in's/out's of our daughters gastro intestinal situation figured out, her "output" has increased which is great but leads to some very fragrant diapers. Thank you Meyer Lemon scent for saving me and my nose. 

LOL! Always keeping it real here at Chez Lenaburg. Meyer Lemon Candle for the win!!


Fourteen years ago our lives were forever changed after we took Miss Courtney to Lourdes, France on a healing pilgrimage with the Knight and Dames of Malta, Federal Assoc. You can read all about it in "My Story" link above

Our Lady moved us deeply and profoundly affected the next steps we took in our faith journey, as a couple and as parents. Courtney received her First Communion there in a dress the Dames provided her. We have been in and out of touch over the years with other pilgrims as well as the Dames and Knights from that trip. 

Tuesday we were once again floored by the generosity and kindness of those individuals who took such good care of us all those years ago. It is no coincidence that on the Heaven Homecoming Day of St Nicholas Borobia this new refrigerator/freezer arrived to help provide extra storage for Miss Courtney's special meals which have to be made with tons of fresh ingredients. It is no coincidence that when praying for this particular provision, we prayed for the intercession of St. Nicholas and St. Rebecca Irene Cotell with the job and in less than four weeks, it was provided through the benevolence of those who care for the sick. 

Tears stream, my heart bursts with gratitude and I am humbly once more raising my hands in praise to the One who is forever faithful. To the Knights and Dames of Malta, Federal Assoc, my spoken thanks seem insignificant but we are so grateful for your gift. St. Nicholas and St Rebecca Irene, please continue to pray for us! Thank you for your gracious intersession. 

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

Monday, July 14, 2014

a full heart to begin again ~ #1000Gifts

In my cup::
This morning it is overflowing with a peaceful spirit and a joy filled heart. I spent the weekend visiting and chatting with so many different friends, both young and old. I was able to get away form the house and leave Jerry to keep everything moving smoothly with Courtney. I really needed that time to get away and recharge. I had forgotten how lovely it is to go into a quilt shop and just look, spending hours being inspired by all that beauty. I love color and pattern so this was such a tremendous treat. 

It was followed by lunch with my oldest friend Marjanna and our mutual friend Yvonne and her almost four year old granddaughter. I had forgotten how entertaining little people are. The questions, the stories, the need to "cheer" and tap each other glasses with every sip of milk. Age 2-6 are my favorite years of littledom. I do miss it. 

When I got home late Saturday night after finishing the day having dinner with my mother, I realized that even though things are extremely challenging right now with o many aspects of my life, my story is still unfolding. God is still writing on my heart and He needs me to be ready to do as He wills it to be done. He asks that I surrender my will and meet Him, just as I am, so he can propel me forward as His plans unfold. 

My goal this week is to hold onto that. His plans always yield such fruit. Mine usually turn into an internal war, leaving me exhausted and weary. Not to say that His plan will not require an extreme soul makeover, but it's better than the alternative of misery and depression. 

My story is gloriously unfolding and I can't wait to read the next chapter...

Sitting in::
...the living room, sipping hot coffee, enjoying the smell of the jam bars baking in the oven. The sun is up and it's already steamy outside. I worked out with a nice brisk 2.5 mile walk, sit ups and push ups. Their is a load of laundry in and Miss Courtney has had her first G-tube feeding and is still asleep. Not bad for a Monday morning. 

Listening to the sounds of::
...silence. Beautiful lovely silence. I know I only have about an hour before Courtney will wake and demand to start her day. Until then, I write, pray and sip my coffee. 

The sun is::
...shining and it is going to be a steamy one today. Supposedly there is cooler weather in the way for later this week. I will believe it when I see it. Until then it's humidity 101. 

Courtney is currently::
...sleeping with a smile on her face. I love that she does that. It makes me think that she is having a great conversation with God or her Guardian Angel. The thought makes me smile. 

The good news is she had her weigh in yesterday and she has gained THREE pounds!! I am so incredibly relieved! She had gotten down to 87 pounds which is just so dangerously low. It seems the every two hour feedings are paying off. So not matter how challenging that can be, we will keep doing it. I need this kid back up in the 100 pound range before I will feel a little more peace about her weight. 

So we have a ways to go, but at least she is able to gain. Thank you Lord!

Something beautiful::
I took a photo of the homemade strawberry rhubarb pie we had for dessert last night. It was thing of culinary beauty isn't it? Pie is my husbands favorite dessert. He loves lemon meringue, blueberry, apple, strawberry rhubarb, etc. You name the pie he is all in. I used like cake more but as I age I am finding my tastes changing. I am beginning to see his attraction. For me it's all about the crust. The light, flaky crust. A love affair for sure.

Something Stylish:
I wore a new to me dress yesterday. My Mom had seen it on sale and thought I would like it. She was right. I did. It's quite comfy and easy to wear on a hot summer day. I will try and take more picks of my outfits this week. I am not in love with the selfie so it's challenging to me some days. 

What's on my mind::
...the questions should be what isn't on my mind? So much swirling around up there about so many different things.I am still learning how to handle the stress and expectations of being a full time caregiver. Even though it's my child and I have been her mother for almost 22 years, this changing role is hard to navigate at times. 

I am advocate and chief nurse. I am housekeeper and chief cook. I am PT, PT and feeding specialist. I am tired and worried that I am not doing ALL I need to do to make this work. 

The financial burden is increasing as insurance changes and inflation continues to rise.I know I am not alone in this by any way shape or form, but it's still worrisome for me. SO each day it's a battle with my heart and mind to let go and let God in to win. Life is full of surprises and Miss Courtney is one of them. An amazing example of Our Lords faithfulness. That is where I wish to keep my mind today and always.    

What I am praying for:
++ Amanda finished her chemo and is finally home. I pray her recovery form brain cancer continues and she will be back to her her old new self soon. 
++ Elizabeth is on a new chemo plan. I pray for comfort, good pain management, and that she has time with her kids to make memories to sustain them.
++ for my husbands job and all government contractors. It's a tough world these days and it looks like it's going to get even more dicey. God is in control.
++ in thanksgiving for Courtney's weight gain and also to pray for her future good health. I know it's possible but I would love the support.
++ for wisdom and guidance as we work with our marriage mentor couple this evening That the Holy Spirit's presence is felt keenly by all of us.
++ for the church triumphant and God's grace and mercy upon it's members. 
++ for several several special intentions given to me by you sweet readers. I know that God's got this. Do Not Be Afraid!
++ that we are able to raise enough money to pay for Miss Courtney's adaptive equipment. Jesus I Trust In YOU! 

Adventuring in the kitchen::
We have company coming for dinner tonight. I am working my way through the deep freeze over the course of the next month, to make sure we fully utilize ALL our resources in order to save where we can. This means sometimes you need to get creative at times for meals. Tonight we are having broccoli salad, sour cream and dill potato salad, BBQ Chicken and Ribs. I had everything on hand and made most of it yesterday so I didn't feel pressured today. It will be yummy for sure. 

Sewing with my Bernina::
I am currently hand quilting a baby quilt for another blogger  to use in a raffle she is hosting. I hope to have that sone by Friday to ship to the winner. I want to finish a dress for Miss Courtney but we shall see how much time I have left this week. 
This week will bring::
...Company for dinner tonight and PT on Wednesday morning. Jerry is in conference this week which means I am pretty much on my own for the next few days. He will be working late nights with early mornings. Just the luck of the draw I guess. I am just so grateful he is working when so many are not. 

:: giving thanks for
#2157 ~ #2195 
** a beautiful weekend spent visiting wonderful friends, both old and new.
** in thanksgiving for my Courtney finally gaining some weight. Three pounds down and twelve more to go.
** my sons patience with his sister and her great desire to make us all deaf with her "happy singing". J-man just laughed and sang back. It was quite the racket. 
** the sustains me...always
** being able to serve my fellow parishioners in some small way. We are so blessed by our church home St. Mary of Sorrows. 
** my mothers safe return from her trip abroad to Russia. 
** my mothers love for her eight children and her commitment to pray for each of us everyday. She amazes me. 
** snuggling on the sofa with my daughter and she hums quietly.
** time spent in quiet, thanking God for my many blessings
** a gentle breeze blowing in the middle of my run
** homemade strawberry rhubarb pie and ice cream
** holding my husbands hand while we sit together watching the sunset
** a peaceful nights rest without any seizures for my daughter
** a smile from Miss Courtney to greet the day
** an open door to my home and company for dinner
** a visit with a dear friend while sipping cold iced tea on a hot summer afternoon
** celebrating someone else's hard earned achievements
** lifting up and encouraging my reader with word and prayer
** homemade jam bars in the oven
** barbecue chicken and ribs, so juicy they require extra napkins
** music playing in the background as I clean, scrub and sing along. 
** letters in the mail filled with smiley faces, crayon colored pages and beautiful greetings. 
** beautiful stationary to write a return letter
** a challenging homily from the Deacon that makes me stop and ponder in prayer "what kind of soil am I? rocky or fruitful?"
** a cool shower after a hard workout
** cotton spandex that breathes
** wearing a pretty summer dress that makes my guy smile at me across the room
** blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, peaches...summer bounty so sweet. 
** a table set to greet company to share a meal
** the beautiful power of NFP and the continuing witness of St. John Paul II through his Theology of the Body
** quilting needle in hand, pulling thread in and out. So soothing
** nights spent watching yet another John Wayne movie with my beloved. 
** singing in the rain - live and in person - not the movie :)
** a home that is well worn and welcoming. No room for perfectionism. 
** new pillow covers made with the hands of a talented sewist. 
** tracing my daughter sweet fingers as they curl around mine. 
** a family that works together to provide for each others needs.
** for my husband and sons employment. May God continue to protect it. 
** a loving God who allows me to come broken, discouraged and hurting and begs me to lay it all down so HE can carry it for me. 

If you are struggling today with heavy burdens, let them go. Come to the foot of the Cross and give them to Our Lord to carry. He is willing and able, for all things are possible through Him!

Happy Monday Y'all, 

What’s in your cup? 
What’s sweetening your life?
Tell me all about it, I’d love to hear and join in the conversation.

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