Swiss Chicken

LORD my God, cialis 40mg I called to you for help, and you healed me. Psalm 30:2

My sweet husband reached out to his men’s ministry guys to pray for me today during my appointment with the urologist. Let me tell you what — those men can pray! Friday I was told I’d need surgery to correct a prolapsed bladder. Today, I’m told it’s not necessary — at least at this time. I’m so happy! God is so good.

Thank you to Anthony and all the MOO men that prayed today. Love you guys!
1 can cream of chicken soupphoto(34)
4 slices Swiss cheese
4 boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup white wine
bread crumbs
1/3 cup butter, surgeon

Prepare 2 quart casserole dish with vegetable spray. Mix wine and soup in small bowl. Lay chicken breasts in casserole dish and top each with a slice of cheese. Spread soup mixture on top chicken. Sprinkle bread crumbs and melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees uncovered for one hour.

I served with quinoa and a simple green salad. Easy and a big hit with the family.

Prayers answered

LORD my God, cialis 40mg I called to you for help, and you healed me. Psalm 30:2

My sweet husband reached out to his men’s ministry guys to pray for me today during my appointment with the urologist. Let me tell you what — those men can pray! Friday I was told I’d need surgery to correct a prolapsed bladder. Today, I’m told it’s not necessary — at least at this time. I’m so happy! God is so good.

Thank you to Anthony and all the MOO men that prayed today. Love you guys!

it sucks to be me

I’ve had a rough couple of weeks. First diverticulitis diagnosis. Then seriously miserable results from antibiotic overload. Then I ended up in the ER Friday morning cause I can’t pee. Yeah, injection fun times. Turns out that my bladder has prolapsed, page and I’m gonna need surgery. Soon. Cause I can’t pee. So I have kinda been feeling sorry for myself.

To cheer me up, Anthony took me to see “Avenue Q” at The Rep on Friday night. The show is Sesame Street meets South Park. I mean, if you can’t handle full frontal puppet nudity, this show isn’t for you. And the opening song is “It Sucks To Be Me”:


So guess my life could be worse… I could be Gary Coleman. 🙂  But seriously, I can really not complain. I have a wonderful life. I have a strong faith in Jesus Christ, and I know He loves me and has a plan for my life. I have an awesome husband. (He has been SUPER supportive during this sucky healthy phase.) And we have three fun, smart daughters who are happy and healthy.

It doesn’t suck to be me.

No good deed… composting gone awry

You know the saying “No good deed goes unpunished.”? Well, impotent that just proved itself true at my house. So here’s how it transpired….

Several months ago, health a group of ladies from my church started reading Jen Hatmaker’s “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess” — each month tackling one excess in our lives. Food, erectile Clothes, Media, etc. photo(29)This month is Waste — adopt 7 new green habits. One habit that I decided to start this month is composting. So last week in preparation for “Waste Month,” my husband and I built a simple composting site in our backyard behind the shed. I was so surprised how simple it was — just some chicken wire, three stakes and some zip ties. Then I started adding egg shells, banana peels, dryer lint, et. al. I wondered why I hadn’t done this sooner. It was quite easy.

Then a day or two later, I noticed that my sweet little Italian Greyhound, Sophia, was staying out longer than normal when she went out to potty. OH NO — the compost pile!!! I know Sophia, and she is a sneaky little bi$&h. Sure enough she had already dug under the chicken wire and pulled out of the scraps for her own consumption. So then I conned the kids into thinking it was fun to carry bricks, and along with Anthony’s guidance, they added a ring of bricks around the compost pile to deter Sophia’s ravaging appetite.

photo(31)Now fast forward two days to today… about 45 minutes ago actually. The two older girls have gone back to their mom’s, M is watching a movie, I’m watching a YouTube video, and Anthony is doing something on his computer (we are a tech family), and Sophia is on the couch. All of a sudden we all hear “the squirts” and Sophia is sh$*ting on my couch!!! I almost drop my MacBook, run over to grab her and put her in the back yard. I’m shouting instructions like a drill sergeant to M and Anthony to get paper towels (breaking one of my “Waste Month” rules), a trash can, wet wipes, air freshener, and Resolve. Sophia is old and has had problems with diarrhea before and I know how it can stain. I like this couch. I don’t want it ruined by dog sh$t.

So back to the saying about no good deed…. Composting = New Sofa.

Life is an adventure

Helen Keller

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

? Helen Keller, pathopsychology The Open Door

This has always been one of my favorite quotes. The other night I was sharing with my husband about how I don’t want to get trapped in the normalcy of everyday life — get up, go to work/school, come home, dinner, laundry, etc. And yet, in just a month of marriage, I see that happening. I told him that I think God wants more of us, and then we dreamed about what that might be. I hope those dreams come true soon.

Yucky Gut Disease

For those with a weak stomach, capsule this post isn’t for you. I’m a nurse, ed so gross body talk kinda turns me on. I know — I’m weird. Okay, here it goes. Weak stomachs and children should turn off now.

Last week I was traveling for work — drove down to DeQueen, Arkansas, for three days meeting with physician and community partners on the cardiac disparities project that I’m doing. DeQueen has a cute little downtown square, and the people are really down-home good ole folks. But one thing it is lacking is healthy restaurant options. Besides fast food and several Mexican food places, there is only one option, Stillwell’s. I ate at Stillwell’s four times in three days. So needless to say, my diet wasn’t too healthy those three days. Then my stomach started hurting on Friday morning. Bad. Really bad.

photo(25)Friday was also the big event — the 2013 DeQueen Senior Citizen’s Appreciation Day. The 32nd annual DeQueen Senior Citizen’s Appreciation Day. It’s a big deal there. The old folks came out in droves. About 500 of them. They had a band, a dude smoking chicken to serve everyone, and lots of health screening opportunities for the seniors. The company that I work for, Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care, had a booth set up promoting the Million Hearts initiative. Anyway, I felt crappy the entire day. It felt like someone was punching me in the stomach over and over doubling me over in sharp stabs. But it wasn’t constant, so I managed to make the best of it and have a pretty fun day. Then I drove back home. By the time I got home at 4 p.m., I was shot. Went straight to bed and texted my sweet husband to pick up M from school for me.

So now the nurse in me really kicks into gear trying to diagnose me. I wasn’t constipated — pooped plenty. (WARNED YOU!) I was peeing good too. My stomach was bloated, hard and tender to the touch. Maybe it was something I ate. Blame DeQueen. Blame travel. I’m home now — surely this will pass.

Saturday was so-so. Sunday was better. Monday was great. VICTORY! Yeah, wrong. Woke up this morning back to the stomach punches. So I went to the doctor. I was diagnosed with diverticulitis. But how can this be? I eat fiber. Lots of fiber. I even eat my kale and other weird green vegetables that I get in my CSA basket each week. photo(24)I drink my Arbonne shakes and add the Fiber Boost. I add probiotics to my drinks. As a former obese person, I really try to watch what I eat most of the time. When I do eat junk, I try to keep the portion small. I don’t exercise much, but otherwise, I shouldn’t have this problem.

So here I am at home today — in my jammies, on two antibiotics and a medicine for nausea — hoping and praying to feel normal again. I’m on a bland diet and drinking lots and lots of water and Arbonne Fizz Stick (I’m addicted). The doctor is going to call me tomorrow, and we’ll discuss next steps. I have a history of gut issues, so hopefully I won’t have to blog about a colonoscopy soon.

more wedding photos

family of five our blended family

img_8518 the mothers

img_8603M listens intently to the ceremony

img_8543Russell and Chris provided the perfect musical backdrop

img_8847 Mr. and Mrs. Anthony K Valley

img_9032 Our Black-White-Hispanic family!

Long vs Short Hair follow-up

COMPROMISE — medium hair. 923323_10151646575921963_1388658366_n Since Anthony likes my curls, help I decided to just cut about 3 inches off and add more layers. It’s off my neck which was my main goal. I mean, order that thick hair hanging around my neck was like wearing a wool scarf in July. I love my new cut. Natalie Carr at Salon on the Hill is awesome.

God-Sized Dreams

This morning at Fellowship North, one of our pastors Taido Chino shared about the big dream that God placed in his heart more than 10 years ago — pursuing a PhD in Theology. He announced that after overcoming a series of obstacles and getting several confirmations from various people, he and his family will be moving to Scotland in a few months to attend one of the top theology schools on the planet. He challenged us all with: How Big A Dream Can You Dream?

I’ve had the privilege to visit Italy three times. The first time in 1989 when I spent a semester of my junior year of college at the University of Amsterdam. I took the train down to Florence, Italy, to spend a few days with a friend of my father’s during my spring break.

The second time was a magical week in 1999 for my cousin Amy’s beautiful wedding in Civita di Bagnoregio in the Umbria region. During that week, I also traveled to Rome, Pisa and Florence. That week still stands as one of the best of my life. Bagnoregio

Then the last trip I made to Italy was in April 2012 (see previous blog post) with my sweet daughter M. During those ten days, we spent time in Venice, Levanto, the Cinque Terre, Lucca, Ghivizzano, and others. Again, another amazing vacation.

Something extraordinary happens to me in Italy. First the days seem to last for 48 hours — seriously time moves at half-time. I am so at ease there. I enjoy fumbling my way through the language and getting lost along the narrow roadways. My goal in each little town I visit is to find out where the locals go for pizza. Forget the tourist trap restaurants — give me the 5 Euro pizza that tastes like heaven. The people of Italy are friendly and treasure family. They enjoy an after-dinner stroll through town — seriously everyone gets out for a walk at night. It’s divine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo needless to say, my God-sized dream is to one day live in Italy. I had a plan in place to retire from the Public Health Service about the same time M graduates high school, sell everything and move over there. But then that plan blew up when I decided to separate from the service and move back to Arkansas to be with my mom following her heart surgery. But I know God has a better plan. I married Anthony, and we have a lovely life together. But that desire for Italy is still there. I shared it with Anthony this morning at church, and (poor guy) I’ve been talking about it all day today.

I’m going to drop it for now — mostly cause I know that God won’t forget and that he has an awesome plan for Anthony and me together. Who knows — it may just include living among Italians, eating pizza, and taking evening strolls for a gelato.

Short vs Long Hair

2nd grade picI’ve always had a love-hate relationship with my hair. It’s thick and naturally curly — or on days like today, esophagitis naturally big and fuzzy. So starting in high school, anaemia I’ve mostly worn it in various forms of short. My favorite is a pixie — sorta like a white girl Halle Berry (minus the hot bod). But about a year and a half ago, decease I decided to let it grow out long one more time before I get “old.” But days like today (hot and humid — the norm in Arkansas) make me long for that short crop. My sweet new husband is amenable. He thinks I’m cute no matter what. (I really lucked out with this guy!) So I’m seriously considering going back.

Here is my hair, May 2011: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Here it is now: img_2115


What do you think?