Look Deeply Into My Eye

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On the Road Again

Here we go, back to the Amish Iridologist.  As we travel back to Hestand, KY, we meet up with Dr. Reuben Schwartz.  I’m so thankful that the trip is not too long, about 4 hours.  I had packed Hunter’s bag the night before.  We had the staples, of course.  I had a few pullups, wipes, a baggie, some extra clothes, 3 stuffed animals, a banana, some gluten-free snacks, and 2 movies.  I had told the kids to do their chores before bed, to prevent yuckiness in the morning.  It was also required, that they all bathe cause…well, they are kids and they smell.


Once morning rolled around, kids ate quickly and got dressed.  We hoped in the van and once we were on the interstate, we popped in a movie.  Big Daddy drove, I slept, kids watched a movie.  It was a good set up.

Due to the MASSIVE amounts of road construction and the fact that Dr. Reuben is out in the middle of nowhere (quite literally), we were 15 minutes late.  They were waiting on us because it was inching closer to dinner time and they do not miss their dinner.

His son was there to help, so he took the boys to one room and I had Hunter and Grayce with me.  Mr. Reuben did his thing.  He got his little crucible and his utility flashlight and he edged all up in my personal space.  The man smells like Melaleuca and love, I kid you not.  His eyes are bright, his clothes are fantastic, and his white beard with those piercing blue eyes…..oh, and that smile.  He is so engaging and friendly (and honest).  It has been such a joy getting to know him.

The Results are In for the Kids

G:  He said her “rages” were because her left ovary was not very nice LOL.  He saw, in her eye, the issue she has had since before she came to us.  He even found her pneumonia that she had before she came to us.  Apparently, there is scarring from it.  Her thyroid is causing her weight to be out of control and stress.

N:  Stress, thyroid, adrenal gland, digestive system, and drink more water!

D:  Stress, digestive issues, and heart issues.  This is probably a biological factor, as Dr. Reuben’s son asked if we had heart issues.  We had to, quietly, explain our family dynamics.

J:  This boy.  Well, there is stress, digestive stuff, not enough water but he was told to “lay off the sodas.”  We laughed and said that he doesn’t drink anything but water and milk.  They see pre-diabetic stuff going on in him.  I had to have Dr. Reuben look at him because I told him Ethiopians do not have diabetes and he is only 12 and something wasn’t seen correctly.  Reuben saw the same thing, so we are going to be making a follow up with his pediatrician to check his blood work.  Mama is not even playing.

Big Daddy and Me

Big Daddy:  He asked him how his joints were (collective laughter as we all know how bad his knees are).  He asked him how his stress was, he nailed his thyroid, the fact that he does not drink enough water or that he eats too much red meat.  He also laid out the issue with his heart.

Me:  Once Dr. Reuben got all up in my stuff, he slid on back in his chair and said: “good grief, you are under tremendous stress.”  I told him I was fine and what made him think I was stressed.  He laughed and said, “your eye is telling me you are under stress.”  I told him of my past 2 weeks where every night, I have been consumed in pain.  I either start vomiting or have diarrhea.  He said that it was straight up stress.  He said we needed to calm my body down.


I find it eye-opening that all my kids (and us) had stress show up in their eyes.  This past year has been nothing but a stress ball for us.  I don’t think I have considered the effects of Hunter’s condition has had on the children.

How sad, as a mom, I did not recognize that.  We are all going to have to sit down and have a family meeting to address this.  Our family may need to step back from the few things that we do, in order to see to the mental health of our crew.

I know that I have a lot going on in my life, I mean I have 7 children.  There are many irons in many fires.  The anniversary of my Lady’s death is coming up, my house is in disarray because we are painting, my room is a nightmare because all my living room belongings are not upstairs, Hunter is not getting better, school, issues with a family member that is breaking my heart.

I have to step back.

It really is that simple.

Now, how to do that…




Review & Giveaway: Unbroken: Path to Healing and Redemption

Unbroken: Path to Redemption

Unbroken:  Path to Redemption is IN THEATERS OCTOBER 5, 2018.  This movie is based on Laura Hillenbrand’s bestselling book, UNBROKEN: PATH TO REDEMPTION.  It begins where the hit movie Unbroken concludes.  This movie is continuing the unbelievable true story of Olympian and World War II hero Louis Zamperini.


After surviving a plane crash, weeks of floating on a makeshift raft in the Pacific, and then years of torture as a prisoner of war, Louis Zamperini finally returns home to California, seemingly unbroken.

When the war ended, his battle began.

Because he was haunted by nightmares of his torment, Louie sees himself as anything but a hero. Despite battling demons, anger, and alcohol, Louie feels obligated to participate in an Army tour to raise money for War Bonds. But as he focuses more on hotel bars than his public appearances, Louie is ordered to take R&R on the beaches of Miami. There, he meets Cynthia, a young woman who captures his eye — and his heart. After a whirlwind courtship, the couple weds and moves to Los Angeles.  While pursuing every avenue of hope he can find — from trying to reestablish himself as a world-class runner to get-rich-quick investment opportunities — Louie’s wrathful quest for revenge drives him deeper into despair…and the bottle.

Even more, he was hopeless and on the brink of divorce, Cynthia experiences Billy Graham’s 1949 Los Angeles Crusade where she finds faith in God and a renewed commitment to her marriage and her husband. Now, her most fervent prayer is for God to help Louie find the peace and forgiveness he so desperately needs.

This Fall

UNBROKEN: PATH TO REDEMPTION brings to life the rest of Louis Zamperini’s powerful real-life story.  This story is about forgiveness, redemption, and amazing grace.

This movie is from the producer of Unbroken and the writer of A River Runs Through It.


  • Samuel Hunt
  • Merritt Patterson
  • David Sakurai
  • Will Graham (as his grandfather, Billy Graham)



A winner will be drawn on September 18, 2018.  The lucky winner will receive 2 Fandango tickets to this fantastic movie event (all about date night!)

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Review & Giveaway: Tori Kelly CD: Hiding Places

Tori Kelly CD Giveaway

Tori Kelly CD giveaway is a new CD, by Tori Kelly, called Hiding Places.  This CD is up for grabs. This L.A.-based singer/songwriter honors her deepest musical passion and delivers an R&B infused, infectiously melodic take on a classic gospel album. She has teamed up with Kirk Franklin on this one, and the first single features him.

Tori Kelly was the 2016 Grammy Award nominee for Best New Artist.

I love new music, but it is rare that I can listen to it before Big Daddy grabs it from the mailbox.  He is a music lover.  He travels, often, for his job, so listening to uplifting songs makes his traveling more bearable.

This CD fits right into his wheelhouse!





Never Alone

A winner will be drawn on Sept 14, 2018.  This is a QUICK chance to win an awesome CD!


Loaded Chicken & Potato Casserole (Gluten Free)

Gluten Free: Loaded Chicken & Potato Casserole

Loaded Chicken & Potato Casserole (Gluten Free)

Loaded Chicken & Potato Casserole (Gluten Free) is quickly becoming one of my family’s favorite recipe.  So, here’s the thing…firstly, it was as good as it looks in the picture.  Secondly, I am not a food picture taker, so excuse the poor quality of the picture.  Third, I’ll be just writing this as I cook it because the “proper way” is not my style, it irritates me, and this way, I don’t forget anything.

I bought a family pack of boneless skinless chicken breasts.  All of the chicken was placed in my instant pot with my seasoning mix (if you want this recipe to be garlic free, then use 1 c. kosher salt, 1/8 c. pepper, 1/2 c. onion powder) and minced onions.  There was a total of about 6 c. water that was used.  The instant pot was set on manual for 20 minutes.  For the love…save the broth.  Let it cool in a bowl, overnight, and then skim the fat off the top.  You can store this in a DOUBLE BAGGED gallon freezer bag to use for anything under the sun.

While That was Cooking

I fried up a pound of bacon.  I also chopped up and onion and I fried that in the bacon grease.  Once my chicken was done, I kept out 3 large chicken breasts.  The rest, I put in a baggie and froze.  You can use a large bowl and shred it up.  I added more seasoning and then I put in 4 packets of dry ranch mix.  You could get away with using 2 packets if you wish (I just wanted the flavor).

I also cut up some green onions, 6 large potatoes (cubed, peeled or unpeeled), 1/2 c. sour cream, my chopped up bacon, 2 T. of bacon grease, a ladle of the chicken broth and I smooshed it all together with my hands cause the spoon was just not cutting it.

In the meantime, I shredded up some smoked gouda (you could use any cheese).  I put, in a greased 13×9 dish, 1/2 the chicken/potato mixture, then the cheese, then the chicken and topped it with cheese.

Cover and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake for 5 minutes.

It was good.  Happy cooking.


High Steppin’ With Bifocals

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High Steppin’ With Bifocals.

While I was high steppin’ with bifocals on, Big Daddy was behind me giggling like a schoolgirl.  About a year ago, I had my eye exam and low and behold…my vision had changed.  It was not a drastic change but change nonetheless.  Doug (our fabulous eye dr) suggested that I stop struggling and just bite the bullet.


Bifocals are for old people.  I’m not that old.  He enticed me when he gave me a brief moment of what things *could* look like.  I was intrigued.

So, I buckled and got them.

I tried to love them, I really did.  The struggle was real, though.  I had to take them off during dinner because my food looked like they were on the waves of the ocean.  Then there was walking…which proved a whole lot of problems.

Big Daddy thought it was super funny watching me.  I didn’t even know he was taping me.  I can only imagine what the other customers were thinking when they saw me.

High Steppin' With Bifocals


An Anniversary of Champions (Long Lasting Marriage)


The act of marriage is what brings us together….today.

In living marriage, one realizes it is hard.

My parents are celebrating 56 years of marriage.  Their marriage is standing on the Biblical love of Christ and forgiveness….forever and one day.

As an illustration, two people fall in love.  It is important to realize that these two people were raised differently but also have different belief systems, at the time.  With this in mind, I believe it is harder today rather than when my parents were young.

Now, kids have the added bonus of “life at your fingertips.”  There are cell phones, constant access to cable, social media has exploded.  You cannot even poop without posting about it on your multiple social media websites.  My parents fell in love a long long LONG time ago.  They were 16 and 18 yrs old.  See, first came conquest (according to daddy) …  uhm… LOVE (according to mom).  My parents married 56 years ago, today.  56 years.  Wow.  That seems forever ago considering I have only been married 24 years.


Mom and Dads wedding picture
Going to the chapel


Next came chaos in the form of bad haircuts and homemade clothes and a beatin’ or two. Shane, Kim, Tera, and Brandi.

The Family circa 1973
The 70s and it all broke loose.
Martha and Pop....Wow
The 70s led to this….

Shane & Gayla = Heather, Leigha & Nick, Stephanie, and Corey

Kim & Joe = Paige (Kaleigh & Jack), Amber & Sean, Aaron (Aiden)

Tera & David = Alex & Kristin (baby), Kelly, Maritess, Jonathan, Jonas, and Isaac

Brandi & Bart = Victoria & Ben, Alyssa & Jay, Grayce, Noah, Daniel, Jude, and Hunter

To emphasize, their love boils down to 4 kids; 4 in-laws; 20 grandchildren; 5 grandchildren in law; 5 great-grandchildren (Hunter is the only “twofer” in the bunch…he is a grandchild and a great-grandchild.

Forever Family
Family Ties that Bind.


All of that craziness led to TRUE love.

True Love Forever
55th Anniversary

On the negative side, they did not know a thing about what MARRIAGE was going to be like.  It must be remembered that these young kids had (have) excellent family support.  On the positive side, they knew they were in love and then they buckled in on the roller coaster of life.  Above all, I have learned so much from these two human beings.  My work ethic, my steadfastness, my love of Christ and family, faith, and forgiveness.

Books on Marriage

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Lasagna Soup

Lasagna Soup

Lasagna Soup

2 pounds ground beef

1 onion, chopped

2 c. kale, chopped

2 green peppers, chopped

In instant pot, brown these all together with seasoning and drain.

In the same pot, mix beef mixture, basil, oregano, and Italian Seasoning, 2 cans diced tomatoes (I pureed these up because Big Daddy does “not like chunks”), the equivalent of one can of cream of mushroom (can either use canned or make your own GF version). 4 chicken bouillon cubes, 32 ozs. water, and lasagna noodles (I used about 6) that are broken up.

Turn on manual for 15 minutes.

Quick release.

Check noodles and put back on manual, if needed.

Add 1 c. milk, 2 c. cheddar cheese, 1/2 c. sour cream.

Stir well and serve with parmesan.