Sunday, September 30, 2012

Crock Pot Sundays

This is what we are eating for a simple meal this weekend:  Easiest Crock Pot Chili

It's so easy I just made up the recipe on the spot, but it could always be doctored up more!   If I had more veggies on hand they would have gone into the pot too.  But alas, we are running short on those today.

 I am ALL about the crock pot in the fall and winter.   I really hope my obsession passes on to you so I can creep on your recipes.  It's so dang quick, healthy, and you have a hot dinner waiting for you.  Why would you NOT use one??  I'm obsessed.

Easiest Crock Pot Chili

Ingredients:
1 14.5 oz can kidney beans, drained
1 14.5 oz can black beans, drained
1 14.5 oz can pinto beans, drained
1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can corn
1 cup of sorta sliced/cut into small pieces leftover Italian sausage in our fridge

1-2 bell peppers diced
2 cloves garlic
1 small onion, diced
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil

Easiest Directions Ever...Literally: 
Uhh...throw it all in the pot.  Stir.  Turn crock pot to low for 6 hours.  Eat later.  Enjoy.

A peek into the pot!  Colorful, filling, and flavorful.  Oh yeah...and EASY!!!

We top ours with shredded cheese, some sour cream, and scoop it out with blue corn tortilla chips!

Addition Ideas:
Throw in some cooked ground beef,  crumble vegetarian "meat", sliced mushrooms, diced potatoes, diced carrots, some jalapenos for a kick, garbanzo beans, diced celery, a sprinkle of paprika, ground turkey, serve with corn bread, top with crackers, whip up quesadillas to go with, serve alongside guacamole and chips, and the list goes on and on!!

Pick a few new additions and sides next time you make this for a practically new meal!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Positively Skeptical

Let me just say this straight out of the gates-I'm NOT about being a negative, miserable, complainer who sees the glass as half empty.  Whew!  Just didn't want to scare you off.

But I am pretty skeptical of this new phenomenon that everyone keeps prescribing Ryan and I.  It goes like this:

Step 1:  Be positive!
Step 2:  Think positive thoughts!
Step 3:  Stay positive no matter what happens!
Step 4:  Repeat steps 1-3

If I'm honest with all you good people, I have to say I think this is a whole load of bologna.

Why?

Because every child in Africa would have solved world hunger by now.  The cancer patients of the world would have disintegrated the disease wracking their bodies.  The barren mothers would all have 19 Kids and Counting.  Anyone about to lose their job, would have miraculously saved it.  All hardship, all suffering, all sickness--would be a thing of the past and everyone would just be a positive, sunshiney hotcake of butterflies.

Hey homeless, starving man in India...just be positive!

But that isn't the case is it?

As Ryan has suffered physically the last 7 months, more often than not, people confidently just tell him to "stay positive".  Really?  What will that even do?  Heal him?  Stop the Crohn's progression?  Enhance his doctor's abilities?  Keep him from getting sick again?

Husband the REAL truth is...all you need is Jesus!  Nothing else.

I just don't buy it.  And I think this positive thinking philosophy is totally opposite of what Jesus was all about.

When hard circumstances or a difficult life situation come our way what did Jesus wisely instruct?  Check it...

[Hint: it wasn't relying on your own positive willpower and thoughts]

Jesus' motto:  Come to Him
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
John 6:37 

Jesus' motto: Trust in the Lord, not in your own abilities
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 
Proverbs 3:5-6

Jesus' motto:  Cling to the truth of the Bible
...Hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
Titus 1:9

Jesus' motto:  Boast in what is difficult
Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them.
James 1:9

Jesus' motto:  Don't waste this season.  God is using it make you more like Himself
I have refined you, but not as silver is refined.
    Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.
Isaiah 48:10

Jesus' motto:  Be joyful (didn't use the word 'happy'), unceasingly prayerful, and thankful in EVERYTHING!
Always be joyful.  Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Jesus motto:  You want truth, life, hope?  It's in Jesus.  Not in yourself or your thoughts
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
John 14:6

Am I convincing anyone else that this positive thinking thing might just be sham for self-reliance and an excuse to avoid what God calls us to?  Because the way Jesus instructs us is more difficult, opposite of what seems natural, and puts in a state of totally relying on Him.  Jesus is still about joy, thankfulness, and a right perspective.  I just never hear him say anything like, "Forget the Bible and what I think...just be positive y'all!"

I know I wouldn't want to rely on myself for much of anything--I'm a big hot mess and not much in the ways of healing, help, or comfort .  I think I'll choose to rely on God.

The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of  soul and spirit, of joints and marrow and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

Friday, September 28, 2012

Weekly Happenings

Yesterday we were at Remicade Round #3 for Ryan.  His nurse told him that this is the MAGIC dose where people begin to feel 100% again.  How nice that will be!

We celebrated my dad's birthday last night at White Fence Farm, though his actual birthday is Sept 30.  That restaurant is a fun place to be with yummy fried chicken, farm animals out back, and beautiful grounds to explore.  A great place to celebrate!  He got a very festive Mines t-shirt from us and we all ate some delicious cake together afterwards.
 Happy Birthday Dad!!!!!!

Other happenings:  This weekend I have a bridal shower for my college freshmen roommate, Alyse-she will be a beautiful bride and has planned an wedding in just 4 short months!  Then on Sunday we are celebrating our dear friend's daughter's 1st birthday!  Happy Birthday Corrie!!

Ryan getting pumped with drugs.  He multi tasks with his phone, his iPad, and still is getting well!


I sat on the sidelines to cheer him on

Another picture of Ryan John Decker from the week

Our friend Matt just bought a house a shell and has A LOT of work to do to renovate it.  It literally doesn't even have walls or a ceiling, ha!  He loves it though and it will look amazing when he's done.  Ryan has been over twice when he's feeling really good to help with some light work.  Ryan is so ready for the time when he can really do demolition and word hard with Matt!  That time is coming husband.

The inside of the house Matt bought

Our date night from last Friday.  Pizza on the backporch followed by an evening walk and move night in.  Perfect!

Oh did you forget we got a microwave?  Here is a slightly blurry picture of it mounted.  I love it.


Fall is here in case you forgot!!!  I LOVE this season and have fully embraced the sweaters, pumpkin spice lattes, baking apple cakes, and curling up with quilts.  Ahhhh, perfect!

Have a great rest of your week and weekend!  We'll post more later with pictures, updates, and other shenanigans.    

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Matthew 6:33

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Remicade Round #3

Today we head to Remicade Round #3!  I'm sharing all about entire Remicade experience over at Reaching For Fringe today.  I hope you'll check it out!  

That post covers everything from what it does to your body, to how to get help paying for it.  Get a little glimpse into our reality with this experience.  We're grateful for this drug-it's obviously making Ryan stronger by the day...and all at the low cost of only $4000 a session. Ha!  

This verse seems quite appropriate today, don't you think?

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 12:9

Love him AND those dance moves

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Believers Who Are Poor...

Brace yourselves.  This verse will take you for a ride...

Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them.  And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field.

James 1:9-10

Does this verse rattle anyone else up?!? I can't stop thinking about that first line in particular.

Jesus-followers who are poor, low in spirit have something to rejoice about.  What the junk?!  And the Greek word for "poor" even translates to mean stricken with grief or depressed....

Side not: does anyone who believes in the prosperity gospel even read the Bible?!  Whoever thought becoming a Christian meant they would get showered with shiny Cadillacs and hundred dollar bills was seriously smoking something

SO many verses point us to what God says is worth boasting about.  And in this case, it shakes me to my core to think that I do the opposite of James 1:9-10.  I despair over lack of wealth, suffering, hardship-definitely not a boaster of that stuff.  How do I even get to being able to boast about that???  Enlighten me please if you know.

I don't know a whole heck of a lot, but I know these verses have my full attention and yet again completey tear down the misconstrued version of Jesus that I have created for myself.

I want to see Jesus for who He really was-not who I want him to be.  Amen.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Socks Buns & Saturday Dates

Ryan Decker is excellent at finding good deals--the master!!  On Groupon today he had a $5 off coupon and used it on a $10 deal.  So we went spent $5 for a phenomenal local restaurant and ate their usually pricey buffet for way less!  Woo hoo go husband!  

It was a perfect Saturday date to talk, connect, and linger over lunch.  I drank 4 cups of chai and Ryan ate 3 plates of food.  I had food also but not that much :) Then we went for a walk around Golden-the leaves are changing and the weather is perfect.  I was in heaven.

We always vote for relaxing weekend dates!  We encourage you to find time today or tomorrow for one with your luvah (spicy!), even if it's just at home.  It's worth the time, man!

Here are some pictures from our afternoon:

Hi handsome husband!  Look at him sitting up and eating a buffet.  Awesome.

The Sherpa House in Golden, CO  We HIGHLY recommend it!


Hello!  Drinking some pre-lunch chai and loving time with my man

These windows took us back to Asia!  We miss us some China, though this restaurant is Nepalese

Ryan's lunch.  These pictures don't do the food justice.  Yummy!

Also my new obsession: sock buns!!  They literally are as easy as this video makes them seem and I think they look very classy.  I only had to watch the video twice and had a pretty good sock bun turn out if I do say so myself :) Maybe try it out if you need a polished new look this week


My look!  Not too bad for a first try right??


Friday, September 21, 2012

Appt Update

The appointment went well!  Very smooth and nothing crazy to report.

Dr. B said he was very proud of Ryan for putting on weight, getting more active, and overall returning to his office healthy and looking better.  The stoma swelling is a normal occurrence that can happen when a patient has better blood flow returning to the intestines and they are no longer in a state of nutrient deficiency.  it's nothing to worry about.  Ryan has been given the go ahead to begin jogging, physical therapy, and very light weight lifting.  He is SO pumped about all three!

The cetons (which prevent reoccurring fistulas and force them to heal properly) are going to stay in until late January 2013 sometime.  If Ryan is doing really well, maybe they can be removed in November but there is no reason to stop a good thing.  Sometimes the cetons act up and cause him some discomfort but we'll take that over more surgeries and infections any day!

His  official weight was 161 lbs which is a little lower than a home scale had been reporting.  Still excellent progress though.  Our goal is to have Ryan steadily back in the office for 3 half days a week for some time and gradually build up from there.  It is more of a task for me to keep him away from work and at home resting/napping/healing still!  He is anxious!

I am married to the bravest man I know!  So persevering, so brave, and so wonderful!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

9 Fast Decker Facts

Fact #1:  Ryan went into work today for 4 hours and 5 hours yesterday!!
  
That face made it into the office like a champ!  But he is tired from it and a ways from being back full time

#2:  We have a doctor's appointment with Dr. B, our colorectal surgeon this Friday (9/21).  It's our hope he will remove the cetons, explain the swelling in Ryan's stoma, and tell us Ry is healthy!

#3.  Ryan is at 166 lbs.  People, that is 22 whole pounds up from his rib-sticking out, starving, so sick lowest weight about 7 weeks ago.  Thank you Lord for pulling him out of those woods!

Does he look 20 lbs heavier?

#4.  We are having our friends, Ali (who's pregnant!!) & Daniel over for dinner tomorrow to celebrate the BIG news of whether their little one is a boy or girl.  They find out tomorrow and the celebration menu includes: this amazing dish and french silk pie for dessert.

#5.  Our new friends, Kyle & Tiffany (Kyle has super severe Ulcerative Colitis) aren't covered health wise for insurance but got an amazing letter today from the hospital that they will owe NOT ONE PENNY for their stay.  He was in the hospital for 29 days.  Our stay was nearly $115K for only 9 days.  I can't believe the gift the Lord gave them.

#6.  We had macaroni and cheese for dinner.  It's a whole new world over here at the Deckers.

That's how I feel about boxed mac & cheese for dinner apparently.  Yummy but crazy.

#7.  We're doing well this week.  Feeling loved on by people, doing well in marriage, and finding some rest.  We still keep an eye on Ry's stoma but he did make it into work and that is just a magnificent feat!  I think he'll be back full time by November-ish.  It's nice to see him moving around a bit more and his slowly gained back independence, gives me a break.  

#8.  I am addicted to the show Master Chef.  I watched a WAY too much of it because I was sick earlier this week with weird stomach cramps (no, for the 857th time this week...I'm not pregnant).  Quality show however it must not be rubbing off with my confusing dinner choices...see #6


#9.  We dig fall.  It is so amazing.

Talk to you after the appointment!



Monday, September 17, 2012

Reaching For Fringe: A Guest Post!!

Friends if you do ANYTHING of signifigance today, let it be that you hurry over to Reaching For Fringe to read our first ever guest post!  I am just over the moon about it!

I suppose other items of "signifigance" in your life might include water, rations, love, blah blah blah.

But after those minor details THEN get ready to have your life blessed!  Tanya from Truth In Weakness pours out heart to those of us who just have nothing left to give.  Can you relate?

  And when that happens our radical God remains perfectly unfazed and scoops us right up.  Sweet Tanya writes today...


Enjoy--I know you will love it!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rilyn/Ryder Love

Dear Rilyn and Ryder Decker,

We are obsessed with you two.  Your aunt and uncle ADORE you both in case you missed that!  Sometimes we just talk about what amazing blessing you both are.  Oh and you two Deckers are SO dang cute but you probably already knew that.

You two rock and we love you,
Uncle Ryan & Aunt Carly

   We LUH-VE these sweet babies!!  Anytime we spend time with them, I go camera crazy so enjoy this picture tribute to the two sweetest little people in our life...

Tent time with Uncle Ryan

Snuggles with Uncle Ryan.  I wonder if Rilyn loves her Uncle?

Sweet, tired face--look at those bright blue eyes
 
Making phone calls!

Oh dear Lord look at that handsome face!  I just swoon over this little man.

There are no words for how much we love him. Ryder you are SO adorable!

Ryder took a snuggly nap on me.  My life is complete.

Uncle Ryan playing necklace "dress up" with Rilyn.  What a stud!

Doesn't he look thoughtful in this picture?  Fist under chin.  Swoon.

Hope your enjoying your Sunday evening!  And also, the Lord heard your prayers for Ryan.  He had a MUCH better day and even sang as he got ready this morning.  That hasn't happened in awhile :)  He is up to 166 lbs if you can even believe that and the skin burn is healing.  THANK YOU for praying.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Weekend Goodies

Just a post of Decker pictures to get your Saturday afternoon going right!  Hope you are all enjoying your September weekend :)  This is my favorite kind of weather-sunny, cool, crisp.

Also, if I could ask...please pray for Ryan. He has a rough night and morning.  His medical supplies for his ileostomy malfunctioned and some stool leaked around his stoma, burning his skin :(  It's painful and red like a sunburn.  He is tired and frustrated with the stoma swelling, this skin burn, and loss of sleep because if it all.

My man is a stud-he could use your love and prayers for a better weekend.  We are grateful for you!

Left: Ryan folding laundry and obviously THRILLED about it
Right:  I had a girl's night with a dear friend Friday night for amazing queso and Mexican food at our favorite restaurant downtown

Ryan getting his Kyle fix.  They are best buds and encourage each other when IBS sucks.

From a walk we took a few days ago.  Loving the sky colors.  Ryan says it looks like the open savannah in Africa...ha ha oh silly husband!

P.S. Check back in Monday for some cool things happening over at Reaching For Fringe

P.S.S You guys are so good to us-always praying and encouraging us

P.S.S.S.  Nothing else to report...just liked writing that many "s".  How do you make "s" plural?  s's...si...see...weird.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Whiny Christians vs Abounding Purpose

Several months ago I wrote a little post titled "Why Us?"  In which I proved without a doubt to the whole wide world that I still have a long way to go in maturing in my faith and heart.  I'm a work in progress.  Aren't we all?  

I would now humbly title that post, "I'm a Whiny Christian and Thought My Life Should Be Easy" *ahem*

Well back then I asked why us in prideful belief of being undeserving of such treatment and I demanded purpose from God.  At that point it was SO unclear to me why exactly why my husband was suffering, and the whole season just seemed senseless.

But let me share with you SO MUCH purpose that I have seen in just the recent weeks:

-Relationships: We have connected with a wonderful, Jesus-loving couple in Washington who are in the EXACT same situation as us.  The 4 of us have journeyed this road together, praying, encouraging, and sometimes barely scraping by...but we're not alone.  Purpose abounding!


-Mentoring: Ryan has been burdened for a long time to begin mentoring younger guys and it would seem that the Lord is opening up doors for him to do so with kids/teens who deal with IBS. How cool is that?!  Purpose abounding!

-Community: By way of Reaching For Fringe, I've been contacted by dozens of people sharing stories of health battles and life struggles.  That blog is sweet community and support.  Purpose abounding!


-Caregiver Support: The opportunity has risen up for me to learn from other women and wives, as to how to be an excellent Caregiver and also encourage others who are in a place I was a few months ago.  Purpose abounding!

-Spiritually: We have seen the Lord soften and work in people's hearts to know him more deeply. Purpose abounding!

-Control: It's been a joy to witness God providing and reminding us He is in charge of finances, health, relationship, and our future.  Purpose abounding!

-Personal Walks: If it was ever unclear that following Jesus actually makes life harder, we are now perfectly clear on the matter.  We will follow Him no matter what, through anything.  He is our only hope.  Purpose abounding!


-Marriage: We have been the biggest jokes when it comes to being "perfectly married" and admit we suck!  I love my man more than I did 2 years ago and  I am confident that NOTHING can break up this marriage.  Commitment and deep love is what we're about!  Purpose abounding!

-Support: We have learned that God is calling us to serve those who are sick in different capacities.  We were supported SO well with meals, finances, love, help, and more that we can only overflow that abundance into others. Purpose abounding!

Grace: We did not do anything to earn God's love and grace.  And when we're broken, tired, sinful, and so messy that anyone else would shudder away from us, the Lord just welcomes us back with open arms and reminds us that we don't earn anything.  We never had anything to give anyway.  Purpose abounding!

Stay tuned for even more purpose!  From personal experience I boldly tell you, that there is PURPOSE.  That even most unbearable circumstances in your life were designed for you-to teach you more about God's heart and character and refine you in ways you never knew you needed.  Hang in there.  Purpose abounds!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Possible Prolapses, Normalcy, Confessions

If there is one thing I have learned, it's that you can never predict what kinds of freaky deaky things a stoma (the bit of intestine out of his belly that connects to the pouch) will do next.  Ryan has an ileostomy, however when you have some intestinal matter (doesn't that sound so smart?) hanging on by just a bit of scar tissue, trouble is always on the very near horizon if you ask me.

What a cute osto-stud.  He pulled his hood up because he was sad ;)

So here is the issue:  Ryan has been very active and feeling much better.  But between running errands and doing some light house chores, his stoma swelled to twice it's normal size and lengthened a bit in the last 48 hours.  His Dr. ordered him to bed rest and he wears a hernia belt around the clock to prevent more issues.  So everything here truly is ok here, but we are keeping an eye on it and that is part of the risk of such a surgery!

Next up to tell you: we are getting kind of normal again!  Meaning, I baked a Jewish Apple Cake (whatever that means), we take Harpo on short walks, and we are gaining back some rhythm to our day.  Love that and thank you Jesus!

Final confession: We bought a dang microwave, man.  Although I roll my eyes at this purchase and seem indignant about it...secretly I am excited.  We hosted Thanksgiving last year and our brother-in-law literally brought his microwave over to help with reheating and melting HA!  But now we are set up with one.

The microwave will be mounted over the stove to free up counter space

Enjoy some pics of our "normal" little life:

Harpo played in the rain yesterday-it was dark and rainy here ALL day which we loved

The beginnings to a Jewish Apple cake.  What makes it Jewish?!

Cinnamon and sugar with apples

Pre-baked.  I forgot to take a post-baked one but it was gorgeous and golden. YUM!

Our storm clouds

A pumpkin from my friend's mom.  Do you love that green-ish white??  Gorgeous.

Happy Thursday all!!  We are resting today and giving Ryan the space/time to rest.  Please pray for his swollen stoma if you think about it-that it would go do down and be nice and healthy.  Thank you!


Monday, September 10, 2012

$114,632

Our 9 day hospital bill came in today.  Any guesses on its INSANE amount?!?!  Brace yourselves... 

$114, 632.00

Dear Lord in heaven please keep my heart beating because I nearly died!  That bill is only the hospital stay.  Like just the rent, none of the extra bells and whistles.

Our statement.  It shall be framed for its sheer insanity.

We have had bills for surgical anesthesia, medicines, drugs, IV drug therapy, CT scans, MRI's, and more flowing in for the last 5 weeks.  Those totaled nearly $40,000 apart from the hospital stay bill and total a stack of paper about a mile high.

But do you know what we owed in all those thousands of dollars?  ZERO. Zilch.  Nada.  Not one single penny.  Thank you Lord.  It is only because of His great mercies that we are not foreclosing on our house or filing bankruptcy at this very moment.  His provision is more than enough.

May I step upon my soapbox for a moment?  Is there just something terribly jacked with our health care when you are staring at near $200,000 worth of medical bills from just a 9 day stay?!?!  Granted, Ryan was really sick and had several surgeries and lots of medical intervention but come on!  How is any normal joe supposed to recover from a financial blow like that if they didn't have stellar health insurance?!  It's hard for me to swallow this pill and I have new compassion for families facing medical bills and hardship.

But we are praising the Lord tonight for great blessing and such an enormous, wonderful surprise!

Also, since I am into pictures lately, here is a peek into our day:

Ryan playing Dominion per his usual pass time these days. This time minus the bathtub, darn!

My heart monitor!  So far all is well and no symptoms yet to report.  It's hooked to my ribs/chest in 3 places and I keep it on until later this week

Should I consider modeling heart monitors?  What a gig!

Two of our best friends, Ali and Daniel, came for brinner (breakfast for dinner).  We feasted on Cinnamon Baked French Toast. Make it as soon as humanly possible!

We literally inhaled it.  SO good, and this was before we all had thirds.

The Carters (expecting Baby Carter in January!)

The Deckers (expecting a Baby Decker no sooner than 2018)

Ryan & Daniel getting their game on while Ali and I craftedLook at my man STANDING!

They are very intense games.  Check out the goods.

Hope you're enjoying the week friends.  And if you can, hop on over to Reaching For Fringe to check out our blogging contributions to National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week (say that 5 times fast).  It's a worthy week and a cause so dear to our hearts.  See ya there!


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