Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry McCallum Christmas!

(Please excuse the red eye)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mexican Fiesta!

Salsa Rice bake
  • 1# hamburger browned
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 can chili beans
Combine and simmer. Top with grated cheddar cheese. Serve with salsa and sour cream. ( this recipe works GREAT in the crock pot!) I double the recipe.

Chicken tacos

(this is how much I make for us +2)
  • 2 full (4 individual) boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese
  1. Cook whole breasts alone until they are done enough to shred, or chop. (the Pampered Chef meat chopper works great for this)
  2. Add chopped onions and pepper. Cook to desired tenderness
  3. Drain liquid and add 1 cup water
  4. Add taco seasoning. (Our gang doesn't like stuff very spicy, so I only use one package, you may desire 2 packages of seasoning)
  5. Simmer
  6. Add cheese
Serve with black beans, tortillas, sour cream, salsa, tomatoes and lettuce.

Corn Cake
  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 1/3 cup masa (corn flour)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup corn meal
In separate bowl combine:
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2T heavy cream (or milk)
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. baking powder

Bake in a 8"x8" pan @ 375 for 50-60 minutes
(technically you are supposed to set the smaller pan inside a 9x13 pan with water in it, but I just use my stone, or a glass pan and it turns out well) I double or triple this recipe

Friday, October 2, 2009

Picture Catch Up

Above: my bed at ladies retreat. It was a great time! VERY challenging messages on conflict resolution.
Below: LouAnn officially lives here in Iowa. There were quite a few items she donated to help our around here, and we are very grateful!

Setting up the dining room table

J is one of the kiddos I have on school days. He is a cutie! Here he is sporting his "dog collar" for 80s day homecoming week.

C, J's brother, wasn't thrilled to be here the first couple of weeks, and he let me know it, but he has since settled into a nice routine. I found out he LOVES pasta!

Delphia FINALLY lost a tooth!

Jon's new glasses. He looks SO much like the grandpa he almost shared a name with. He missed his birthday by 17 minutes!

Don has been trimming and burning a lot of the scrubby lower limbs off our trees. LouAnn has been working VERY hard at dragging them to the burn pile.

A 1 month old and a 1 year old.... Deja Vu!!

Our room... primed.
Don had the primer tinted per the suggestion of one of our drywallers. It was a brilliant idea! You can see where you've been and missed both with the paint and the primer. I just told him to pick a lighter color next time. This was a little scary!

We did end up going with the gray paint. We both REALLY like it!

The orange and aqua bedding won out.

Today, Delphia's 7th birthday!

The traditional birthday donut.

Fruit pizza treats for her class

Don and I on our 11th anniversary!

I wore my paint pants for a week solid. I have a few more days to be wearing them. I end up washing them at night, because they start to take on a life of their own! I love having somewhere to wipe my hands, and I have also found that painting with out flooring is DA BOMB!! You don't have to worry about dripping!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What if...

This song has been such a challenge/ inspiration to me over the past month.

As I watched the various videos to accompany it on YouTube this one won out. Yes, it is intense, but I represents exactly the war I we are in. All it's ugliness, and seemingly superior strength. BUT the end, the victory is the cry of my heart. I know God can do it! Will I fight? Will you?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Introducing "Baby Gray"

Dear Blogger family and family in general,
I hope one day to get back to the "11 years ago" theme. I have loads of bullet points I would like to share, BUT....
In a nut shell:
This past spring we were made aware of a child who needed a home. Since that time we have been working with DHS and waiting on the Lord to see if this is a need we can provide for. This particular child is out of state and thus the "hoops" to jump thru are extensive.
This week we will have a "relative home study". The social worker will be talking with us and touring our home, then reporting back to DHS in the state "Baby Gray" is from. We are working like crazy to get things done here on the main floor of our home. I have to wash my painting clothes at night b/c I am in them all day long.
Thankfully things are going very well. Don stayed home yesterday and was able to get all the outlets and switches wired up here, as well as hang the hardware in my closet, and finish installing our lights and smoke alarms. For the first time in our married life (11 years) we have an organizable closet!!! (notice I did not say organized)(yes, I cried)
Anywho, I had a picture to post, but wasn't sure if that is okay or not, since he isn't officially in our home yet.
So, now you know where I've been and what I've been up too. All this in addition to our 5 and all the meals, laundry, lost shoes, homework, etc....
The kids are VERY excited to have a baby around again, he's 10 months old.
P.S. Our anniversary weekend was WONDERFUL!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

11 Years

11 Years Ago Today:
  • after traveling together in Life Action Ministries for 9 months and spending practically all day every day together, Don and I had not seen each other for 60 days!
  • Don who is NOT a morning person woke up at 5 or so to get on the road from MI to IA, and thus arrived blissfully earlier than I expected.
  • I was so keyed up to see Don again and be held by him, that rather than run out to the car to greet him, I ran to the basement to be alone after instructing my mom to send him my way once he got inside. Weird to some, but that moment was so precious to me, I was in no mood for an audience.
  • Many family members were traveling
  • We loaded all my belongings into a trailer hauled out by Don's sister and her husband. I was so sure I needed the big trailer they brought out, but in truth I could have fit all my stuff in the smaller trailer they were thinking of bringing in the first place.
  • Our nephew Tyler made the now historic quote, "I don't want to see any more silos!!!" (the first million had been exciting and helped pass the long trip. After that they lost their charm)
  • Don's grandmas were still alive
  • All my siblings were much younger, as were Don's nephews.
  • Life was a lot simpler, and less complicated
  • We were so sure it couldn't get any better, but in all reality the beauty we beheld then was just the "earth bound caterpillar"

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Sneaky Holiday

EVERY YEAR!!! It always sneaks up on me!

HAPPY GRANDPARENTS DAY to my grandparents, and my children's grandparents. You are dearly loved and appreciated!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Decisions, Decisions....

Okay, time for a glimpse into how obsessive I can be.

I picked out our bedroom paint color last winter. (very dark blue) I went online and found these cute Euro shams to coordinate and plan on finding a solid color quilt to go with them. I am pretty sure I can find some neat pillows to complete "the look".

Tick, tock, tick tock....

Flash forward to this month. Our bedroom will be ready for paint Saturday. Sudden panic! I am not really sold on "the look" any longer.

Hours spent online looking at bedding. Find some that I am SURE is perfect. It gets delivered. I put it on the bed for display. Hmmmm, I do kinda like the first look. I really like the new look, actually I REALLY like both looks.


Look #1


  • I have the paint. (I could use it in the boys rooms, so it wouldn't be waisted)
  • Don helped pick the paint color, and he really likes the color
  • The sham goes very well with my multi colored Fiesta ware as well as the red office and green laundry room. (all of which you CAN NOT see from our room
  • It coordinates well with our white cotton 1000 thread count sheets (just a note, be prepared to become addicted if you ever up the thread count of your sheets.)


  • I don't know what color to paint the bathroom
  • I have yet to find the PERFECT comforter and shams to go with it
  • I am panicking about the dark blue. Everyone already says, "wow, you really like dark colors don't you?"
  • It lacks "dimension"
  • It will be hard to get another color of paint to cover the dark blue when I change things up in say 5 years.

Look #2


  • I am (currently) really geeked about the color combo
  • Excited about the (possibly) gray walls. (sophisticated with a POP!)
  • I already have the orange paint for the bathroom from my obsessing over the kitchen color
  • Very dimensional
  • With this color combo I could pull in our current comforter cover if I needed a change.
  • Sale! Free shipping!!
  • The gray would be easily covered over, or coordinated with should I change the whole "look".


  • Don hates the color combo (but said it really doesn't matter to him)
  • Not really sure what color to paint the walls. Orange seems to be overwhelming. I am not finding a suitable shade of light orange. I HATE peach. I have settled on a light gray for our room, and orange for the bathroom.
  • Going to need to order another Euro sham for the back layer of pillows.
  • Then there is the fact that I had to purchase this stuff, but I am going to have to find a quilt for the other anyway.

P.S. I do want feedback on this issue, however, please do not be put out if my final choice, should I be able to make one, isn't your favorite. Trust me, my other self will be grieving right alone with you!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lazy Eye

Last week during our routine eye exams, Jesse's first, I was informed that Jesse has a lazy eye. This news was new, but not really shocking. I had noticed something unusual about his eyes from time to time, but never had/ took the time to figure out what it was.
These are Jesse's new glasses. He is THRILLED, for real. He'd been asking all summer, "When am I going to get glasses." I told him we were only getting our eyes checked and most likely he would not get glasses. (All the kids, except Delphia, have had an identical astigmatism at first checks, but haven't needed glasses until 1st grade)
So any way, Jesse got his wish! In theory the corrective lenses should strengthen the weaker eye. He will get them checked again in 6 months to see how things are progressing.
So now these glasses are added to the cowboy boots on the list of things "distinctly Jesse".
The really funny part was that when we were trying on frames these were the first he tried on. As he checked himself out in the mirror he said," PERFECT!!" From that point on each frame was either PERFECT!!! or NOT PERFECT!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Ten Characteristics of the Crucified Life

1. Few will understand.
2. You must abandon your own will and your own agenda.
3. Your intimate spiritual companions will be few.
4. Intense times of aloneness with God are required.
5. You will be constantly on the witness stand.
6. You must go “outside the camp” (a.k.a. comfort zone)
7. There will be times when your dignity is forfeited.
8. You must forego your rights.
9. You must accept that death is painful.
10.Because he was forsaken, you never will be.

So much struggle, so much pain. Some of it of human origin, some of it the struggle of growth, some of it divine appointment.

So many needy people. So much collateral damage from selfish choices. So many moments I feel there is just nothing I can do, as Satan gloats.

Moment by moment dependence on strength from above, so many things crowding in, and being allowed in, during my time with HIM. So many gentle reminders He is never too busy, never turns His back, or drops my burden.

Continued renewal thru His word, reinforced by reminders such as the outline above and this song

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back to School

August 20th, 2009
8 AM

Alex 4th Grade

Marlene 4th Grade

Jon 3rd Grade

Delphia 1st Grade

Jesse Kindergarten
(FINALLY!!! He's only been waiting since this time last year!!)

Mrs. D

Mrs. W

Mrs. G
(we missed her last year. We didn't have any 1st graders)

No Mrs. A this year... so sad. She is an excellent teacher! (2nd grade)

Mrs. B

Homer, 5th grade, and Mrs. Momma

Homer is busy doing "Home Ec". He is chomping at the bit to open the box of his school books that arrived yesterday.
James and Charlie, the boys 4 and almost 1 I will be watching, will be here soon.
This my friends is our new normal, for now....

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My Life, Working Backward Over The Past 2 Weeks

A Delicious "baby fix " today!
(Baby Lucas)

Are my baby's legs really this long?!!
Family Reunion
The generations blend nicely!

It was a bit cold and windy!

(clothes pin in the milk bottle)


Lake Michigan
I really wanted to walk down to the lake, but I didn't bother getting the kids swim suits on... guess I should have. They ended up swimming in their clothes.

Egg toss

Fajitas AND cheese fries at Chili's
compliments Aunt Lois
Bridal shower

Chilln' at a cousin's pool

Our kids and our former neighbor, Logan
(parks are a great place to meet up with kids!)

My dear Brenda friend
(they bought our house too)
My birthday flowers

This recap doesn't even include the ham dinner with family in MI. The park, the Cascades, the flat tire, the blueberry picking, long walk, surprising a cousin by coming a week earlier than she was expecting us..... I just didn't haul out the camera during all that.
A smaller camera was the only thing on my prayer list for my birthday that I didn't get, but that's whole nother post I have yet to write.
The drywall is is painfully close to being done on the main floor! You're looking at 80% of what is left. Yeah!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009


  • It's been 10 days since I've blogged
  • I am 500 miles from home
  • We will cover probably another 1000 miles before we arrive home late Sunday night
  • We now travel to MI for the family reunion during the summer rather than braving the roads and leaving our wood heated house in December.
  • I was able to go to the Cascades with Don, his mom and the kids last night. I have been wanting to do this for about 8 years. The cascades is a a series of waterfalls with various colored lights that change, and music.
  • I had the bestest birthday EVER this past week. It covered 3 days and involved no kids, time alone with Don, lunch with a friend I rarely get to catch up with, and a sweet dinner provided by my dear grandmother, at my mom's house, (mom also made my favorite, ice cream cake) with the majority of my family. It was soooo nice!
  • Don spoke at our church last Sunday. He brought the message he did before about caring for the orphans and widows. That message is one that is being fleshed out in our lives currently.
  • Facing the daunting task of possibly caring for a special needs child. Not sure if it will be for a time or forever.
  • Headed into a week of lots of people to see, so little time to do it!
  • Heard a train last night and it made both Don and I homesick. Missing our bed!!! and the trains we hear each evening
  • Our last of our main floor drywall should be hung and mudded/ sanded by the time we get home!!!! Yeah!!! Flooring is next!!!
  • Hopefully the road construction will be done too!!
  • God keeps dropping obvious reminders of the fruit of the spirit and my need to depend on His spirit

Friday, July 17, 2009

Take A Deep Breath....

  • VBS all week. 80 minutes of signing every night for me. ( 4 age groups, 20 minutes each) I don't have a strong voice to begin with and it is wearing out quickly. Thankfully tonight we only have 10 minutes of signing to do for the program.
  • Don's party went well. Over 100 people there. I'll post pictures in 20 years when I get a break!
  • Today is the last day of 3 extra boys. Tuesday, my birthday, would have been my last day, but a friend volunteered to watch them because in her words,"You shouldn't have to baby sit on your birthday." I hope everyone has such a rockn' friend!!!
  • Swimming lessons are DONE!!! I did like the format of not having all the classes at one time as far as the instruction the kids got went, BUT as far as driving back and forth and being at the pool 3 hours a day...... that STUNK!!
  • God leading in a situation I am helping with. I can't expound now, but it takes LOADS of time, energy and emotion.
  • To top it all off there seems to be a wave of attack spiritually, emotionally and mentally. Praise the LORD for godly counsel thru His word and His people. Below you will find some of the said encouragement.
2 Corninthians 4
1-2 Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing,
we’re not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times.
We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don’t maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don’t twist God’s Word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God.
3–4 If our Message is obscure to anyone, it’s not because we’re holding back in any way. No, it’s because these other people are looking or going the wrong way and refuse to give it serious attention. All they have eyes for is the fashionable god of darkness. They think he can give them what they want, and that they won’t have to bother believing a Truth they can’t see. They’re stone-blind to the dayspring brightness of the Message that shines with Christ, who gives us the best picture of God we’ll ever get.
5–6 Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.
7–12 If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!
13–15 We’re not keeping this quiet, not on your life. Just like the psalmist who wrote, “I believed it, so I said it,” we say what we believe. And what we believe is that the One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive. Every detail works to your advantage and to God’s glory: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise!
16–18 So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.
]Peterson, E. H. (2002). The Message : The Bible in contemporary language (2 Co 4:1-18). Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress.

A Psalm of David.
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. 5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.
7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
8 When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.
9 Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.
11 Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.
12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.
13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Okay, so Jimmy Eat World isn't exactly what you would normally label as God's comfort, the basic premise of "the fear of man" was went deep with me.
The Middle
By Jimmy Eat World
Hey, don't write yourself off yet
It's only in your head you feel left out or looked down on.
Just try your best,
try everything you can.
And don't you worry what
they tell themselves when you're away.
It just takes some time, little girl
you're in the middle of the ride.
Everything (everything) will be just fine,
everything (everything) will be alright (alright).
Hey, you know they're all the same.
You know you're doing better on your own,
so don't buy in.
Live right now.
Yeah, just be yourself.
It doesn't matter if it's good enough for someone else.
It just takes some time, little girl
you're in the middle of the ride.
Everything (everything) will be just fine,
everything (everything) will be alright (alright).
Hey, don't write yourself off yet.
It's only in your head you feel left out or looked down on.
Just do your best,
do everything you can.
And don't you worry what the bitter hearts are gonna say.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

This Crazy Life In Living Color (I like color)

I have needed a clock for the dining room/ kitchen, but I had yet to find the PERFECT clock to compliment my Fiesta ware. I present, the PERFECT clock I stumbled upon quite by accident.
I am not sure if I mentioned I lost my glasses, but after I bought my black pair I said my next pair would be red. TA DA!! I love them!!
Happy 40th birthday to my Sunshine!

The fire extinguisher was HIS doing, not mine. I am really celebrating his 40th birthday, but I am not putting emphasis on the whole "over the hill" thing. There are plenty others to do that for me, right Sarah? :-)

It needs another coat to even out the color, but I LOVE my red office. One more color choice I don't have to get panicky over. I am now losing sleep over the dark blue I picked for our room.
This room became our guest suit. We got it wrapped up enough for Don's folks to use while they are here.
Don and I slept in it Monday night. It is the first time since we moved in that I have slept in a real room, with a door! (at least in our house)
Added bonus: the fan was super easy to put up. Yeah for not making hubby grouchy! Go Hunter brand fans!!

Our "chocolate" bathroom all gussied up

That's all folks!
I have to get ready for 50-200 people for Don's party tomorrow.
I'm loven' it!