Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Simple Sewn Valentine Garland

Don't you LOVE Valentine's Day?
I think it is one of the most special days of the year to celebrate those you love.
I made this little garland and it looks so festive and cheery hanging in the house.



To make it, all you need is newspaper and your sewing machine loaded with pink or red thread. I left white in the bobbin for a mixed look.

It takes about 10 minutes to make, so it is a quick and easy craft.
Cut out several hearts out of the newspaper.
Mine are around 4 inches tall.
Leaving a long thread to attach the garland, start sewing straight across the top of the first heart.

I counted 10 stitches in between hearts, then laid my next heart down to sew.

Just keep going until you have the desired length.
Hang up or give as a gift to your favorite Valentine.




So simple and fun....you will be making them like crazy!

~Julia

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Best Minestrone Soup Ever

It has been a very trying and busy few weeks for our family, so I made this soup.
Soup makes everything better and this recipe was comfort food at its best.
Delicious with crusty bread and a salad, I think the balsamic vinegar added a rich flavor to the base.
You will LOVE it.
It is one of those recipes you will make over and over through the years:).

The Best Minestrone Soup
{Original recipe from HERE...but of course I tweaked it.}
Serves 4 generously.
I doubled it for our family of 6.
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, or 2 TBS minced garlic
  • 5 cups (40 oz) chicken stock
  • 1 lb diced tomatoes with their juice
  • 2 large carrots (or a handful of baby carrots) sliced about ¼” thick
  • 4-5 large handfuls of spinach leaves (I use the bagged/pre-washed)
  • 1 14.5 oz can white beans (cannellini or great northern) rinsed
  • 1 T basil
  • 1 T oregano
  • 1/2 T sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 c. macaroni or shells { I substituted 4 large diced potatoes}
  • 2T balsamic
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 T coarsely chopped fresh or dried parsley
  • Grated parmesan

    Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent and then add the chicken stock, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes {if you choose},basil, oregano, sugar, and bay leaves.
    Cover partially and simmer for 20 minutes until carrots are tender. Add the pasta {if you choose} and cook uncovered for 8-10 minutes. Add the spinach, beans, balsamic vinegar and simmer until cooked. 
    Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with parsley and fresh parmesan.

    Oh yum!



~Julia

PS: Thank you ever so much for your kind words and condolences.
It meant so much:).

Monday, January 21, 2013

Thank You for Your Prayers

I just wanted to pop in for a brief moment and thank you all so very much for your prayers for my Dad.
He passed away last Monday very peacefully, which was a blessing.
We are so sad and counting on God's grace daily for healing.
Thank you for all of your kind words and prayers....they meant so much!
He had a very brave 4 month battle with Lou Gehrig's disease.

Thank you also for your patience and understanding in my absence at Blissfully Content.
I hope to be back soon.
Blogging for me has been such a treat and I have enjoyed meeting so many neat people:).

Thank you again!

~Julia


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Deanna's Protocol....A Possible Cure for Lou Gehrig's

Thank you all so very much for your kind words, prayers, and thoughts during a difficult time for our family.
I feel really blessed to have friends like you praying for my Dad.
We receive each day with him as a complete and wonderful gift.
I appreciate your kindness so much...

I also wanted to post about a new protocol that is showing very promising results in the cure for Lou Gehrig's Disease.
For those of you who don't know what Lou Gehrig's or ALS {Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis} is, here is a definition from the ALS Association...

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

The disease was named after the famous baseball player, Lou Gehrig, who died from it in 1941. 

The disease can show symptoms from the brain down {called bulbar onset} or can be sporadic and start in the feet or limbs.
Four months ago my Dad started having trouble walking long distances.
 He was diagnosed in September 2012 with sporadic ALS and started using a cane when his foot started dragging.
By October he was using foot braces and a wheel chair some of the time.
By November his legs pretty well quit working.
He maintained some use of his right leg.
By December he was bedridden.
ALS reacts differently for each patient and life expectancy is 2-5 years.
We think my Dad has probably had it for at least 3 years, but because of having Chron's Disease and COPD, some of the symptoms were masked.
ALS is extremely hard to diagnose and there is no simple blood test, rather a battery of nerve tests and other calculations of symptoms.
There is no known cure for Lou Gehrig's Disease...BUT there is some hope!
We started my Dad on the Deanna Protocol...read about it HERE.
Dr. Tedone is a retired physician who has developed an extremely amazing compilation of nerve building supplements that can stop and even reverse some ALS symptoms.
His website is Winning the Fight.

From the site...


Prior to Winning the Fight’s establishment in 2010, Deanna first displayed symptoms of ALS in 2007 at age 30. Upon learning Deanna’s diagnosis, her father Dr. Vincent Tedone, retired physician and Winning the Fight medical liaison, researched NDs hoping to develop a treatment. With Deanna’s help, Dr. Tedone was able to test a variety of supplements on Deanna and measure their effectiveness. After over a year of testing, Dr. Tedone finally developed a treatment protocol that reduced ALS symptoms and restored functionality and strength in certain areas of Deanna’s body. After developing the protocol, Dr. Tedone continued to improve the treatment. This treatment, called the Deanna Protocol, consists of non-invasive, inexpensive, and easily available oral supplements. Since the development of the Deanna Protocol, other ND patients who have used the protocol succeeded in slowing and reversing the progressive damage NDs have caused to their bodies.

My Dad started on the protocol about 4 weeks ago and we have seen a little improvement.
He still insists upon taking the supplements...and I think it has most definitely extended his life!
Had we been able to catch the disease in earlier stages, I think we would have had even more amazing results.

About 5 weeks ago, my Dad started slurring his words {which is part of the disease} and within a week of taking the supplements, that stopped and his speech came back normally.
He also seemed to keep what function he had in his right leg.
Along with the protocol, he has been taking 8 TBS. of pure coconut oil daily, warmed in oatmeal.
Coconut oil has very promising results, too.

If you know someone who is suffering from a neurological disorder like ALS, refer them to WinningtheFight.net.

It could save their life!

I am a BIG advocate and so excited that Deanna's Protocol is in the initial testing phases.
Lou Gehrig's is related to Alzheimer's, MS, Parkinson's disease...so I wouldn't be afraid to check with your doctor and try the protocol with any other neurological disease. 
Dr.Tedone will send you the protocol {and suggest you speak with your doctor} if you email him.

If you feel like you would like to DONATE to help research: click HERE.

Thank you again for your wonderful and supporting comments, prayers, and kind thoughts.
They mean so much.

~Julia

* My Dad passed away peacefully on Jan. 14th, 2013, just four short months from his diagnosis.
He had other complications which made the ALS much more difficult.

I am SO THANKFUL for the Protocol, though. 
We started my Dad on it and he was just starting to have trouble swallowing, slurring his words fairly profoundly, and losing his motor abilities in his arms. 

Within a WEEK of being on the Protocol...ALL of that came back.

He NEVER lost his ability to swallow, or talk, and had the use of his arms until the end.

We owe that to Deanna's Protocol.

I truly believe that had we been able t get an earlier diagnosis, my Dad would be here.

Please, if you have been recently diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's, waste NO TIME in starting on the Protocol!!

You can download it for free on Winning the Fight.

Just register and then click on the top left hand link "Get the Most Recent Protocol."

They also have some great resources!
Another great place to hear about how the Protocol is working is at ALS Advocacy forum.

Here is a GREAT viseo of how Dr. Tedone developed the Protocol and the most resent research proving that it works!



I pray that this disease will have a cure soon.

Many Blessings,

Julia

Saturday, January 5, 2013

God Doesn't Want You to Be the Same

I love fresh beginnings.
A chance to clear out and clean up.
A chance to rearrange the house and my thoughts.

Sometimes the beginning is the end of something else and brings greater things into your life.
Our family has been going through tragedy into this new year...my Dad is in the final stages of Lou Gehrig's disease.

He was diagnosed about 4 months ago and the disease has been unforgiving and rampant.
The roller coaster of emotions, the struggle, and pain that my Dad has endured is heartbreaking.
I thought for a while that my heart would never heal, Darren's wouldn't heal, and most of all our kids would be forever affected.
They are so close to their Papa and spend everyday with him.

I think the world might say that kids shouldn't serve in the face of suffering.
We are really careful about what they are exposed to, and I think that what they see needs to be age appropriate, but what God has allowed and shown me through my children is immeasurable.
Their hearts are totally selfless.
They give and give with nothing expected in return.
We talk to them about how God is using them and how healing that will be in the end.
Because of this struggle they are closer to God, more compassionate, thankful for the time my Dad spent with them, less selfish, more caring, and wiser.
What a gift that is.

It made me realize that God did not promise there would be no suffering.
He did not promise that bad things would never happen.
But He did say that He would be a source of great strength and comfort.
He is providentially the soothing healer of wounds even when all seems lost.
What the world would deem a hopeless situation with end results that could destroy a family, God sees as a way to change and forge a person into something beautiful.

So this New Year, I guess that is what is most pressed upon my heart: gratitude that God doesn't want us to remain the same.
Maybe you are trying to establish new patterns in your life.
Maybe it is a new way of eating, a new way of exercising, a new way of serving God.
More time with your family, a simpler way of living, a new perspective on life.
Maybe you are struggling and reaching out for that last ray of hope.
Know that there are miracles and joy even in the struggle, but most of all, if you turn to the Lord, He will shape you into something wonderful.
He doesn't want you the same...he wants you to grow so you are ready for the great things He has planned.
Out of ashes and rubble He sees the perfectly polished and beautiful you.

I pray that your New Year is off to a great start.

Blessings,

Julia


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