English Muffin Breakfast Sandwich

English muffinFor this English muffin recipe, you choose the type of meat you want. Sausage patties, ham, or bacon – choose your favorite or what you have on hand. 

I’m a fan of bacon, and it’s also a favorite of our daughter Sarah Beth. These photos with bacon in the sandwich are taken by her, and it’s her recipe. Any dish at her table is delightful, for sure.

Fry your bacon, then your egg as directed. If you want to scramble all of them in a skillet, I recommend the recipe for scrambled eggs here. 

There are a few tricks to this English muffin recipe, and I’m happy to share her tips with you. It works better if you butter the muffin before toasting. Use jar rings and grease them well. Put them in the skillet, top down, over medium heat. This keeps the eggs encased in their own “ring”.

Follow the instructions, then put it all together to assemble your sandwiches. You can serve them immediately, put them in the fridge, or freeze them for later use. If you decide to put them in the fridge, use them within five days.

Once the sandwiches are assembled, heat in the oven at 250 for 10 minutes. If you have the sandwiches stored in the refrigerator, bake them at 250 for 25-30 minutes, giving the cheese time to melt. These sandwiches are an easy grab on your way out the door, or an easy breakfast once all the kids are at the table.

Here is the recipe.

English Muffin Breakfast Sandwich

A filling and delightful breakfast sandwich that is bound to satisfy any appetite.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people

Equipment

  • 1 skillet
  • 6 squares tin foil
  • 6 jar rings (not lids)

Ingredients
  

  • 6 eggs, scrambled
  • 6 English Muffins
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 6 slices bacon (or sausage or ham)
  • 1 splash water
  • 6 slices American cheese

Instructions
 

  • Fry bacon, then drain
  • Use jar rings(greased well), put in skillet (top part down) over medium heat
  • Beat eggs lightly with a fork and add a splash of water
  • Pour eggs into rings and let cook until set
  • Alternately you can cook eggs together in a skillet until set, then cut into six even pieces
  • Butter English muffins and toast lightly in oven or toaster oven
  • Place 1 English muffin on foil. Add eggs, bacon, cheese inside.
  • Wrap in foil
  • Store in fridge or freezer
  • From fridge or freezer, heat on warm in oven until heated through. 5-10 min. if made fresh, and 20-25 min if refrigerated

Notes

English muffin

English Muffin sandwiches

Another Chapter About Bryce – and HBOT

HBOT
Bryce and his mama

God is writing Bryce’s story – with HBOT

Bryce has an HBOT machine in his home, and life is settling into a new normal. He’s travelled many miles by car, RV, and air to get help for his diagnosis. His family includes Bryce in their normal (and not so normal) family life and schedules.

One afternoon, my sister asked Elissa, “Are you taking Bryce with you tonight?” Elissa smiled and replied, “You don’t want to see it and you don’t want to know.” 

I heard the conversation, and I smiled. I knew what this meant.

The diagnosis

That is because Bryce has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, and his family does not exclude him from activities. Bryce’s family was going to a birthday party that included roller skating. Guess who would be roller skating in the arms of one of his parents?!1

Bryce is four-and-a-half-years old, and his diagnosis is the result of a drowning that occurred at his home in September, 2019. He was playing with a boat in a decorative garden pond. No one saw what happened, but Bryce was found face down in the water. I wrote about Bryce two years ago, and you can read that blog post here.

This is another chapter in the story of Bryce and his family. We don’t know what happens next, because the last chapter has not been written. We only know what is happening now in this chapter.

Quadriplegia is the most severe form of cerebral palsy because it affects so many areas of the body. Bryce has exceeded expectations of medical personnel and surprised many of his caregivers.

I think there are two reasons for this:

  • God said “yes” to many prayers.
  • the care he receives from his family, caregivers, and those who provide therapy. 
Bryce and Daddy

First months

Initially when he arrived home after five-and-one-half weeks in the hospital, Bryce wanted only his mama or his daddy. The next months were difficult for everyone. So many questions, so few answers, and so much change in their world.

Over time, Bryce learned to know many different caregivers. It was a strenuous time, for Bryce was happiest only when one of his parents was with him. He was fussy and demanding in his own way. He did not sleep through the night and he cried during the day.

Like a lost little boy, he floundered and fussed, trying to find his way out of the maze following his accident. None of us can understand the turmoil this family faced as they grappled with unknowns and adjustments. God knew, and He was there.

Doctors were unsure how much damage was done from the drowning. He was possibly blind; he might not be able to move or respond to stimuli. Bryce has defied his prognosis. Is he completely well? No, but one day he will be, when the last chapter is written.

Strangers and babysitters

For this chapter, there are some things we can ascertain. Bryce knows what is happening in his world. He knows when someone new is in the house, for his face shows quiet perplexity. I think he is trying to figure out if that person is “safe”. 

I don’t live in Bryce’s community, so I only get to visit several times a year. When I visit, Bryce’s face shows puzzlement. He becomes quiet, trying to figure out from where this new voice is coming. His body is still but he cocks his head, listening, trying to figure out who this new presence is. I have watched the look of bewilderment cross his face when I enter the house, even if he is not in the same room. He knows someone “strange” is there. 

Bryce recognizes my voice because I sound like my sisters (one of his caregivers and his grammy). Yet he knows I’m not one of them. When I sing songs with him, he smiles, for he recognizes the rhymes I sing or say with him when I visit. He is content with me for a while, but always he cranes his neck, trying to find someone he truly knows. It’s like he’s pulling petals from a daisy in his mind, “I know her? I know her not. Know her? Know her not.” 

No one like mom

As Bryce adapted to home following his return from the hospital, his siblings took turns caring for him while his mom was busy with household duties. As long as Bryce thought she wasn’t home, he was fine with a sibling providing entertainment. Bryce learned if they called “Mom!”, she was home. Then he craned his neck and whimpered, searching for mom.

The kids started calling for her by spelling, “M-O-M!”  Then Bryce figured out that M-O-M means mom is home. So they started using other words, changing them from day to day so Bryce did not catch on.

“Person in the kitchen!” Blake called one day when he was tired of entertaining Bryce and wanted to go play. “Are you still busy?”

Music and stories

Bryce does not talk, but his sounds let others know what he wants. According to his Aunt Christi, he has “complaining and whining voices.” His mom can usually interpret what his whine or cry means.  Bryce’s body and facial expressions show excitement. Bryce loves music. Sometimes he “sings” along. He enjoys silly songs, children’s songs, and even hymns by his caregivers and family. He likes to be with daddy when Ben listens to the Amos Raber family, and he loves listening to Randy Travis or other voices who sound like Randy. Why? Nobody knows. 

Bryce loves stories as well as songs. One of his favorite activities is Going on a Lion Hunt. When Aunt Christi2 asks him if he wants to go on a Lion Hunt, his face lights up. He wiggles his entire body, arches his back and gets so stiff it’s hard to hold him. Bryce is all smiles as he anticipates every move of the lion hunt – from the stealthy parts to the scary parts. He also enjoys Dora the explorer and other songs with repetitions. 

Therapists 

Bryce has many therapists, teachers, and medical personnel who provide help. He traveled with his family to Texas for specialized treatment under a doctor. He spent several weeks in northern Virginia for other treatments. Until the end of the summer, his mom took him to ABM therapy in D.C.  Now Miss Collette, his therapist, visits Bryce in his home in western Maryland once a month for two days to do ABM therapy with him.   

HBOT
Bryce with his therapists and his mom.

Bryce goes to school one day a week. He’s not part of any class, but has a class all his own. There are five therapists from the public-school system who meet with him over that time, sometimes working two at a time with him. During those two hours, he has OT, PT, speech, vision, and Special Ed.

Feeding

HBOT
3 sisters – Bryce’s great-aunts and his Grammy, opening capsules and mixing medications for his tube feedings.

Bryce is able to take some bites of baby food, but he cannot eat enough to sustain him. That is why he still has a G-tube for feeding. His parents are using a variety of nutritional supplements that go into his G-tube with his food. Preparing all the supplements to add to his feedings requires a lot of time. Each capsule must be opened and the powder dumped into appropriate containers. Some of the medication must be crushed before it is added.

Elissa’s aunts take care of this responsibility and work together one evening every two to three weeks to get the supplements ready for Bryce. I’ve been there a few times and helped open capsules and dump powder into the right containers.    

HBOT Chamber

One of the treatments that provided the most improvement is the Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber (HBOT). Bryce received these treatments in other places which, of course, involved being away from home for mom and Bryce, a round trip travel of eight hours. So, his parents decided to purchase one to use at home. Bringing an HBOT chamber into their home provided easier access, no travel for mom to be away from her other children, and more times for Bryce to spend in the chamber. This HBOT chamber in his home is another part of this chapter of his life.

HBOT
HBOT chamber in Bryce’s home

This is what I can tell you about Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT): “The air we breathe is 21% oxygen. Our body’s tissues need oxygen to function. HBOT involves breathing 100% (pure) oxygen while in a special space called a hyperbaric chamber. The air pressure inside is raised to a level that is higher than normal air pressure. The increased air pressure in the chamber helps the lungs collect more oxygen. Getting more oxygen to the tissues that need it can help the body heal and fight certain infections.3

Bryce does not like to be in the chamber by himself. It is a sixty to ninety minute process, and each time in the chamber is considered “a dive.” When Bryce went away for HBOT, he did 40 dives (approximately eight to ten per week) and then they took a break. Since he is doing his dives at home, the break looks different. He does not do a dive every day but they take a break after he’s done around 40 dives.

Church and fun

Is Bryce improving? Yes. Sometimes the changes are small and seem inconsequential, especially for those who care for him daily. While Bryce’s eyes do not seem to focus, he gazes for longer periods of time at people and things. He now “sings along” when  he is relaxed. Bryce no longer needs someone to be present with him at all times. He is content to hear the sounds of his family from the next room.

Bryce knows his world. He knows his family and those who love him.

Bryce loves church and Sunday school. Before Sunday school, all the children meet and sing some songs together. The last song they sing before they disperse for class is “Into my Class.”4 When this song is sung, Bryce gets so excited it is hard to hold him. He kicks, laughs, and makes his happy sounds. Bryce knows his name and waits expectantly to hear it, even in Sunday school where his mom is now his teacher.  He is an active part of his class and is loved by the eight to ten classmates [ages 3-5].

There are two little girls who fight to get to sit beside him; they help him color and pay attention to him. Sometimes they share their offering money with him if his mom is busy and doesn’t give him money for the offering. One of Bryce’s favorite parts of Sunday School is saying the verse, taught to him by his mom at home. Bryce beams when the class says the verse together. When Bryce hears the ministers in church pray for him, he is all smiles. Yes, Bryce knows his world.

Bryce enjoys listening to Odyssey tapes with Alicen, his 15-year-old sister. He likes to listen to Spotify and other CDs when he’s hanging out with his daddy. He enjoys watching Avary play next to him. For Avary, the way Bryce is is the way she has always known him, for she was not quite four when the accident occurred.

Fun with brothers

The brothers play with Bryce, taking him on “airplane rides”, and pushing him outside in his stroller. Benson swoops him up in his arms and “plays football” with Bryce, lowering him quickly for a “touchdown.” Bryce squeals with delight and begs for more, thrashing his arms as if to say, “Do it again!” One of his favorite things to do is ride the four-wheeler with his daddy.

I confess I have had to turn my face away from the antics because it’s easier to not watch when Bryce comes in for a touchdown. While those of us who are his great-aunts shudder at the antics of his siblings, we recognize that Bryce needs to be treated like a normal child. Why should he be deprived of fun and games with those he loves? What would be the purpose of protecting him from every bump along the road?

This is why Elissa told her aunt, “You don’t want to see and you don’t want to know.” For Ben and Elissa, Bryce’s parents, their goal is to give him the best life he can experience, filled with love, care, and fun.

Let’s not forget the fun! Laughter is a medicine. Laughter is good, not just for his family, but for Bryce. It is part of his healing, and we must not forget this medicine, which will be present in every chapter of his life.

Thanksgiving 

As each chapter is written, we can look back and see the goodness of God. Bryce sleeps through the night more often than not. The HBOT is making a difference. Therapists are helping his recovery. Caregivers who dote on Bryce provide love and care. Laughter is good for the soul and for the healing of Bryce.

The family continues to adapt and adjust to this new way of life. The upheaval of the earlier years is behind them, but sacrifices continue daily. There will never be a stalemate, for they persist in researching and learning. The smallest milestones are celebrated, and this family allows the frustrations to shape their character. 

Elissa recognizes that the support of family, friends, church and community has been pivotal in their journey. Without the support of others, this trek would so much more difficult. Bryce has two different caregivers for a total of twenty-eight hours a week. A cousin is hired to come in one day a week to do laundry and some housework. Since bringing the HBOT machine into the home, life is more settled, and Bryce is calmer. He is happier and more content to be by himself while his siblings or parents are doing other things in the house. Is it because of the HBOT machine or is it because life is more settled? Possibly it is both.  

and praise

Bryce has two older brothers. They enjoy playing together, but their interests are different. Benson loves being outside, playing in the woods. Blake would rather shoot hoops or do other things than play in the woods. Daily, Benson prayed that he would be able to play with Bryce in the woods. A few weeks ago, Benson took Bryce for a walk in the woods. Bryce, strapped into his stroller, was content and happy. Later that evening, his mother reminded Benson of his daily prayer.

“I know,” Benson said. “I’ve already thought about that and I told Bryce about it.” 

Several weeks ago in a family discussion about Bryce, one of the siblings said, “I like Bryce just the way he is.”

At this Thanksgiving season, the Riegsecker family is grateful for the joy they have found in this difficult journey.

Would they wish to go back and redo the events of that day? Certainly.

Would they choose to have their blond-haired, blue-eyed boy healthy and well? Of course.

Do his siblings wish he could run and play with them? For sure.

This is not a path any of them wished for or would have chosen, but it is part of Bryce’s story. Thus, it becomes their story as well.

But God . . . .

God is good, and for His grace and His goodness, we are grateful. God gave them this journey, and in each chapter, they – with Bryce – are traveling it well. 

HBOT

Footnotes and Video links

Unfortunately, the rules at the skating rink prohibited Bryce skating with his parents that evening.

2 Christi Orendorf is Bryce’s aunt extraordinaire (his mother’s sister). She is a caregiver, babysitter, chauffeur, and anything else necessary for the Riegsecker family. Special credit and thanks to Christi for the information she shared with me and for proofing this story to make sure my facts were accurate before I showed it to Elissa. 

3 Another verse to this song is “Come into my class, Lord Jesus”. This song has been a part of the church community since I can remember. I couldn’t find the second verse online, but this YouTube presentation is the same tune as the one Bryce knows and the only words that are different are  “class” instead of “heart”. You can click here to hear this song.

4 Source: https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/hyperbaric-oxygen-therapy-get-facts

Videos

If you want to see some videos of Bryce, click on the links below. I will delete negative remarks about the contents of the videos. 

Videos 1 & 2 recorded by Christi. Videos 3 & 4 recorded by Bryce’s family.

Aunt Christi sings You Are My Sunshine, click here.

Aunt Christi and Bryce “sing” Old McDonald Had a Farm, click here.

Bryce with Benson in the woods, click here. [” . . . Toasty, toasty, toast.  . . . – . . . . . yeah, a video of Bryce.  Ah! {stroller turns sideways} Benson Joel! At least he was buckled; that could have been bad. . . . At least I had – I got that on video!  {laughing} Mom will not be happy when she sees this video {laughter}  . . . “]

Bryce with Benson in the house, riding a “horse”, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blessing My Troubles and Counting My Woes

I’ve been blessing my troubles and counting my woes,blessing

For blessing gives mercy, don’t you suppose?

Since blessing gives favor; it’s so clear to me

That blessing recalls all the troubles I see.

Though the troubles are many, there could be many more

So blessing my troubles helps me to keep score!

I’m counting my woes, for the troubles they bring

Helps me remember the song I can sing.

No matter the darkness, there is always the Light;

And He shows me the way with His power and His might.

Though the woes are abundant, I still can keep score

Because His care is boundless with grace -, so much more!

blessingI can number those blessings that are out of my reach

 And then surely I will gain that green ole’ jealousy.

Yes, I can look at my problems and count all my woes

OR remember the bounties; then thank the Lord for those.

In counting up my troubles, I gain a better view

Of the things that I can claim – for there are myriads, not a few!

 

I keep remembering perspective is the authentic key

To keep my thoughts balanced and just where they should be.

I can claim the glass half-empty, or rejoice that it’s half-full;

And recognize my attitude toward troubles is the best tool.

So I’ll claim the glass has plenty for what I need today

Because tomorrow’s troubles are never here to stay.

 

So keep blessing your troubles and counting your woes

There’s no better way, don’t you suppose?

At this season of Thanksgiving, let your heart be free to sing

With all He gives and promises  – (if He is your King).

He gives and He gives, and He gives yet again

So praise Him and thank Him forever. And ever. Amen.

Pinterest Blessing Troubles

Photo credits: pixabay.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegetable Soup 2 + 2 + 2

vegetable soup2 cups of everything vegetable soup.

There are many ways to make vegetable soup. You can cook it on the stove, simmer it in a crock-pot, or make stew in an oven.  I came across this recipe on Facebook. Kitty Beachy shared photos of her recipe – and then later gave directions after hearing requests from many followers. I share this recipe with her permission.

You can choose the vegetables you want. For this recipe, in addition to beef, I used: cabbage, carrots, corn, green beans, lima beans, onion, peas, and potatoes. In addition, you will want tomato juice and 2 cans of petit tomatoes plus seasonings, of course.  You use two cups of every vegetable in addition to 2-3 pounds of stew beef pieces that is browned. 

If you have some leftover hamburger or chicken, you can “use it up” by adding it to the soup. The measurements don’t need to be exact. If, for example, your family likes lima beans better than cabbage, increase the lima beans and decrease the cabbage (or make the cabbage so fine they can’t find it in the soup!)

You can add vegetables earlier or later if there are some that you think will get done quicker than others. This depends partly on how large your chunks of potatoes or cabbage are, for example.

One day I had some V-8 juice in the fridge that “just had to get used up” so I added the V-8 juice in place of the tomato juice and petite tomatoes. You can tweak this any way you like it – that’s the deliciousness of homemade!

This makes a large pot of vegetable soup, and there will be plenty to go around.  So, you can freeze some, share it with your neighbors, and enjoy it on your table. 

The recipe

Vegetable Soup 2 + 2 + 2

A combination of two cups of every vegetable simmered with tomato juice and browned beef is the basis for this recipe
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 16 people

Equipment

  • 1 large kettle

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 2 cups cabbage, chopped
  • 2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups corn
  • 2 cups green beans (frozen is best)
  • 2 cups lima beans
  • 2 cups onions
  • 2 cups peas
  • 2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 - 3 pounds beef tips
  • 2 cans petite tomatoes

Instructions
 

  • Sauté beef until tender
  • Put tomato juice and tomatoes into kettle, then add beef
  • Add the other vegetables
  • Season with Salt and Pepper, as desired
  • Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer until vegetables are done

Notes

vegetable soup

vegetable soup

Sharing Your Story – “Now I See”

now I seeThe man born blind

It was the blind man who said, “Now I see.”

Everywhere Jesus went, He healed people. Some of them were children; some were adults.  Many could not walk or talk. They were blind or sick with leprosy. Some had demons, and others were ill with fever. Every one of them knew that, once they were one way, and now they were another

The man born blind was healed by the Master. Jesus spat on the ground, made clay with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes.  Jesus told the blind man to go wash in the pool of Siloam. The man went, and his sight was restored.

Once a blind beggar: now he could see!

The Pharisees were not happy with the man or with Jesus. They tried to corner his parents, who refused to tell Who healed their son.

“We know he is our son, and we know he was born blind. We know that now he sees, but how or where or when it happened, we do not know. He is of age; ask him!” they said.

The Pharisees called the man and demanded that he call this Man (Jesus) a sinner. He refused. 

The once-blind man said, “Whether He is a sinner or not, I cannot tell, but this one thing I know: once I was blind, and now I can see.”

No argument

When we speak truth about the change in us, no one can argue. Folks can deny there is a God; they can claim unbelief. There is one thing folks cannot argue with you about. When you have been blind – and now you can see.

I experienced the power of this one day. In a quiet room in the library of a college campus, I met with leaders of a religious group at the request of a fellow student. There were three of them, and one of me. They began with their arguments and persuasions about their belief. I knew that to try to disqualify them would only cause more disagreement and arguing. These men were more educated than I, more learned, perhaps, in theology than was I. We could have talked for hours, and I would not have won them to my side. They knew all the things to say to discredit my belief. That day, it was as though God stopped the mouths of lions and let me speak.

Now I see

“We can sit here and talk all day, and I will never persuade you that my faith is valid based on the words of Scripture,” I said. They looked at each other, smirking. They nodded, egging me on.

“This one thing I can do. I can tell you what Jesus has done for me. Once I was living in darkness because I was blind.  Jesus came. The Light is with me, and now I see.”

I explained what it means to have peace with God and how the Spirit brings comfort and conviction. I shared how forgiveness flows when repentance is shown. “Most importantly,” I said, “I was blind. And now? Now I see.”

They looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders, and packed up their books.  That day, I remembered Daniel and knew God did a miracle right there in that room.

When you simply share what God has done for you, there is no room to question or to argue. No one can argue with your personal experience. No one can question the genuine change they see in you. That is how the arguments cease.

Tell them, “I can’t explain it all, but this I know: once I was one way, and now I am this way. I was once blind, but not I see.”

now I see

Photo credit: freebibleimages.org