**If you or someone you know is in a domestic violence situation and needs help, you can call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) or The Council on Domestic Abuse (CODA) at: 800-566-CODA (2632)

All calls can remain anonymous.

I’m not even sure how to start this one, so I’ll just make it simple: The domestic violence shelter in our town needs your help. Due to a lack of available funding, The Council On Domestic Abuse (CODA) residential home will close September 14th unless $150K is raised to cover funds. And because of the financial crunch, 8 staff members will be let go from their jobs this Friday, August 23. 

This is a devastating blow to our small town, a place where many already live on or below the poverty line. Without a shelter for domestic violence survivors and their children, those living on or below the poverty line are left especially vulnerable.

But you can help.

CODA has set up online donations to try and raise enough money by September 14th to keep the residential facility open. You can donate funds here.

If you are not able to donate, you can still help by calling and emailing Indiana Congressman Larry Buschon’s office to ask what he plans to do to address CODA funding. 

Congressman Buschon’s office: (812) 232-0523

Email: https://bucshon.house.gov  (Click the “contact” button on the page)



Lulabelle Cooks Without a Net: Poor Man’s Pancakes with 10-Year-Old Cracker Barrel Maple Syrup (Not Sponsored)…..

Today I spent much of the day watching the royal wedding. Not because I missed watching it live on Saturday. Oh no. I woke up at 6am to watch it in real-time. But I was so transfixed with the pageantry, I wanted to watch it all again.

I had originally planned to eat a fancy breakfast with the wedding, but as it turned out getting up at 6am is a little too early and therefore dangerous to attempt turning on the stove when one can’t even form coherent sentences.

So I had to settle for a fancy late brunch the next day.

I made what I’ve christened “Poor Man’s Pancakes” so named because I didn’t have supplies for proper pancakes. These pancakes were made with whole wheat tortillas.

Here is the recipe: (Please note: I used standard 10-inch tortillas)

Take one tortilla and press a cookie cutter of your choice into the flat dough. (A few tips here: you may want to use something smaller than a magnolia bloom as the cutter was so large, I could only fit one bloom in one tortilla, rendering the tortilla useless for another shape. I may have had to eat the scraps. Also, I had to put all my weight into the cookie cutter and I still had to flip the tortilla over and push it through to get the shape I wanted.)

Do this as many times as you want pancakes. After which you’ll feel as though you’ve done a complete upper body workout and therefore have earned the calories you are about to consume. 😉 

Next, butter a skillet and set it to medium heat. Place tortilla on skillet and wait until it starts to bubble in the middle. Flip over and heat 1-3 minutes.

Top with butter and maple syrup……..

Speaking of maple syrup, about 10 years ago Chad took me to Cracker Barrel as I’d never been there before. If you order pancakes, they give you an adorable tiny sized bottle of maple syrup. As I was feeling sentimental, I kept it.

And in honor of our 10 year dating anniversary, I busted it out and had a taste. So what does 10-year-old maple syrup taste like? Well, before I found out, I had to open the bottle. Because it had sat for 10 years, it was sealed shut. Apparently, the syrup had formed a crystalized seal that wasn’t broken until I ran the top under hot water for 90 seconds.

Appearance: It doesn’t look any different from the day I bought it. 

Smell: A very strong maple syrup flavor.

Taste: Watered down maple syrup with a tiny bit of caramel flavor for some reason. At this point, it’s not boozy. I think I’ll put the cap back on and wait another 10 years before tasting it again.

Bon-Appetit’ Y’all!!

Poor Mans Pancakes (2)

The One Where Lulabelle Predicts The Newest Royal Baby’s Name…….

**The following blog is meant to be lighthearted and is not to be taken seriously. I love all things British and even throw in extra letters in words like honour and parlour when I want to feel fancy and sophisticated.

God save the Queen!**

A bright blue package was delivered yesterday by stork to a hospital in London to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, HRH William, and Catherine. The baby, weighing in at 8 lbs, 7 oz is for the moment, unnamed.

Which leads this writer to fantasize about what the future heir to the throne could be christened. I think the names on my list might be a bit different from the royal list.

1. Neville (By the way, there are going to be several Harry Potter themed names on this list because, yeah. 😛 ): Neville is a name that is both sweet and of strong character. Neville is loyal and kind.

2. Roy: Because why not?? It’s a good, solid name that was fine enough for commoner grandpas. I think it needs to make the royal rounds.

3. Lucius-Oh sorry, wrong list. 😛

4. Harry-doubtful this will make the cut as it’s already in the family, but again, it is strong, loyal and another Harry Potter reference.

5. Ludwig: Classy and would pay homage to his great grandfather’s roots.

6. Heathcliff: It’s never been used, has a posh ring to it and is a name that can be worn well. Bonus points if he ends up dressing in 18th-century clothing and living on creepy moors in Yorkshire.

7. Fredrick: This is an actual contender and I’d be very happy if they went with this one. 

8. Zayn: This one has a modern, edgy flair and as William and Kate have worked to modernize the monarchy, this one almost makes sense. But let me say that if they name the potential future king of England after a member of a British boy band, I will eat my shoe. 

9. Robert: Although Prince Bob doesn’t have that certain je ne sais quoi as other royal names, it only has one syllable and is easily spelled. 

10. Eric-This one is a bit more complicated. On the one hand he’ll probably be handsome and sweet, but on the other hand, he could be drawn to the sea in search of a mermaid. 

Throwback Tuesday: The Harsh Reality of Dreaming Your Dreams……

Throwback Tuesday.
I made it up. 😛

Because today I wanted to republish a story that I wrote in 2005 for the Spina Bifida Association of Wisconsin. Although I had written it specifically for that chapter of the Spina Bifida Association, the newsletter that it had been written in had been sent out to all chapters of the association. So in honor of my first national article, I’m rewriting it here for all to enjoy. 

Living with Spina Bifida brings with it a natural level of anxiety and questions about specific milestones experienced by most people; specifically dating, marriage and having children.  Another milestone that brings anxiety includes living independently from your parents. 

Since moving into my own apartment 8 months ago, I have experienced joy in new-found independence. But several weeks ago I was forced to re-evaluate my dreams of getting married and having children after discovering an ominous bruise on my big left toe. After a precautionary visit to my doctor and a series of x-rays, it was determined I had a small fracture between my big and fourth toe. As soon as I heard the verdict of the bruise, I felt a sinking feeling. I had a pretty good idea of what caused the bruise. It was the result of my life-long habit. 

I am a compulsive sleep kicker and had obviously kicked my battery operated wheelchair that was beside my bed. 

As the youngest of 3 children, my kicking habit banished me to many a hotel floor when my family went on vacation and my parents doled out the sleeping arrangements. I knew my habit was a bit of a nuisance during a college choir tour where I slept in the same bed with another female member of the choir. After one night of sleeping in the same bed, my friend told me she had to remove my leg from on top of her during the night because she couldn’t wake me up (I also suffer from deep sleeper-itis but that’s another issue for another column 😉 ). 

Despite prior knowledge of my unconscious kicking habit, sitting in my doctor’s office with a broken toe made me worry and take stock of my dreams for the future. I thought, “If I can physically harm myself in my sleep, imagine how much damage I’d do if someone else was sleeping in the same bed!” So far I’ve come up with several solutions, however unconventional, to keep my future husband safe from my flailing appendages: 

1. Trade in my normal sleepwear for one of those puffy, rubber sumo-wrestling suits.

2. Purchase helmet, elbow/knee pads, athletic cup, and umpires vest as wedding gifts for my new husband. 

3. Rig legs up with a string attached to a bell. Each time my legs kicked I’d wake up (although this would require my husband to wear heavy-duty earplugs). 

4. Keep index cards in my purse explaining the scope of my habit. Give to dates when it appears the man could potentially end up with several broken bones as a result of years of sleeping next to me. Also, make sure the guy has updated tetanus shot. 

Maybe this last one is more on the mark. After all, isn’t part of the dream finding a guy who will stay with me despite my shortcomings, and work with me to find a solution that will keep us both from my mysterious bruises on our feet? 

 PS-Years have passed and I still have this habit, unfortunately. But there was a solution that I didn’t even consider. We ended up getting a king-sized mattress.

Problem solved. 

Also, I changed very little editorially speaking and yep. You are right-I HAVE improved my writing style in the last 10 years. Although the biggest change I would make is to change bell into foghorn because the man I ended up marrying sleeps so deep you could explode a cannon in his face and he wouldn’t wake up. 

Probably. Not that I’ve tried this. 😛 Or thought of doing this ever. 


Throw Back Thursday: It’s All In Your Head……

20 years ago this past summer I walked down the aisle. Not at my wedding, at my sister’s. And the most remarkable thing is that I looked like myself from a month earlier.

Why was that remarkable? Well, I had just had brain surgery 3 weeks prior. And I was one of my sister’s maid’s of honor.

This was the first wedding I went to where I was actually in the wedding party. And I knew I needed to look great. I even practiced walking down the aisle in our front yard.

But there was a problem.

See, a month or two before I had been suddenly hearing a clicking noise when I turned my head. Specifically, the left side of my head where my shunt was placed when I was a newborn. (A shunt is a tube that runs from my head to my stomach to drain excess fluid off my brain.)

Also on that same side, I was curiously able to run my finger up and down my shunt at my neck and I could feel a gap. A literal canyon where my shunt dropped off and then picked back up an inch down from where it stopped.

Even though I was able to feel and hear these changes, when I’d tell my parents that something was wrong, they didn’t believe me. Which made sense because when I was in school, I was a bit hypochondriac-y, and I didn’t have the classic symptoms of shunt malfunction such as headaches, double vision and morning sickness.

No joke, when your shunt isn’t draining properly, and you suddenly get up from a lying down position, it can for some reason make you throw up.

Yeah, fun times.

So I know all about the symptoms of a shunt malfunction because when I was in kindergarten, I had a full replacement after a malfunction. Here is what I looked like on the day I was discharged.

Shunt Revision Kindergarten

Now as you can see, a quarter of my head had to be shaved for this revision. Fast forward 11 years later and as I’m hearing that clicking noise on my shunt side every time I turned my head, knowing that I had to be in a wedding in 3 weeks, I kinda started to panic. I began to imagine myself walking down the aisle with a bald spot covering a quarter of my head.

Of course looking back on this, I could figure out now how to rock that look, but high school Laura was a bit more self-conscious. Most days. Other days I fearlessly rocked weird fashion that I look back on now and cringe. Case in point: I once wore a large jacket with sunflowers on it to school. Now that doesn’t sound so bad, but the jacket was made out of upholstery cloth and had large brass buttons down the front.

I resembled a couch from the thighs up (of course it was oversized. Duh! 😀 ).

But darn it, I did it was confidence.

So I was worried about how my head would look for my sister’s wedding. And that fear was intensified when I was sitting in the doctor’s office looking at the x-ray of my head a few days later.

Yep. I was right. There was a clear gap between both sections of my shunt where the break occurred. I remember laughing because it was so obvious and ridiculous. Here’s the craziest thing; my shunt had been in there SO long that when the break occurred, it was encased in ANOTHER tube of tissue that had formed around it. So it was still draining properly, but eventually, it would stop working altogether. We were told I’d need surgery in the next few days.

In the meantime, we began wondering what to do with the shaved head I was definitely going to be sporting at my sister’s wedding. We began to look into different types of hats and scarves that were fancy enough for a wedding. People started donating hats and I actually got one that would have probably worked well for a wedding.

My surgery went well and I was able to go home a few days later. The best and most unexpected part? I was able to keep ALL but about a quarter-inch of my hair on the bottom (I had a short pixie cut back then).

Three weeks later I walked down the aisle in a long lavender dress, a bouquet of fresh garden flowers rubber banded in my hand and around my arm crutch handle.

So I guess the moral of the story is two-fold: 

  1. When your kid says there is a clicking sound in their head and they say their shunt is broken, believe them so that their head and hair has time to recover before a major fancy pants event.
  2. Even if you have brain surgery right before your sister’s wedding and you look different then you thought you would on the big day, don’t stress. Weddings are about family, togetherness and of course food. 

    *Besides, that dress you’re wearing will be out of style in 20 years anyway. 😉

    *I have to say that is normally the case. However, I lucked out when my other sister chose a timeless tea length strappy dress that my mom imitated when she made it for me in purple. 

An open letter to Pastor Andy Savage

This is Laura’s husband Chad writing this post, because what I’m about to say here won’t get deleted on this blog, unlike what may or may not happen if this were to only be posted on Facebook. I don’t think any introductory comments need to be made, because I think what I’m about to post will speak for itself.

An open letter to my friend Andy Savage:

You and I were in the same group at the same church more than 20 years ago during college. Our paths have crossed several times over the years, albeit mostly on Facebook. I can’t say we were close when we were in college, but when I saw your name in a New York Times story online on Monday evening, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I won’t pretend to understand the level of stress and temptation encountered by most people in full-time, vocational ministry. Neither do most of us see all of the skeletons in another person’s closet. I felt the Lord calling me into ministry in 1990, at the beginning of my freshman year at a Christian college. Over the next few years, through a program at my college I preached in churches around the state of Alabama several Sundays each semester. As I had decided to major in journalism, I also began writing articles about various aspects of Christian life. In 1999, the Lord gave me Jesusfreak.org to serve as a forum for the articles I had been writing. Three years later, He gave me Jesusfreak.com and Jesusfreak.net as well.

But as is far too common among so many people in ministry, pride crept in, and the sin I had struggled with for decades, an addiction to pornography, overtook my life and less than 10 years later sank the ministry that the Lord had given me. What was left of my online ministry became little more than my personal fiefdom, full of my own musings that I tried to pull together to say something about Christ, but the Lord’s blessing on my ministry was gone, a consequence of my sin. I kept those ministry sites online for several more years, waiting for the Lord to show me what He wanted me to do with them, and last night after reading the article about you, the Lord gave me an answer.

I know you’ve been in vocational ministry for some time, Andy, but your ministry is not YOUR ministry, just as my online ministry was not MINE. The ministry that the Lord puts us in is His. I don’t know if you’ve ever officiated any funerals, but it’s pretty obvious that giving CPR to a decaying corpse is futile. You can try all you want to revive that corpse, but without the Lord’s resurrection power, any ministry you’re a part of will fail. The answer that the Lord gave me last night about my ministry sites was that I should turn control and ownership of those sites to someone else, so I have done just that. I don’t know what’s going through your mind and your heart right now, but if you’re thinking that you need to remain where you are in the ministry you’ve been serving in because that’s where the Lord put you years ago and it would be a shame for your ministry to fade away, well, it’s not your ministry to hold on to.

I’m giving up control and ownership of the online ministry I’ve been associated with for almost 19 years, because the Lord told me to. Whatever you’re trying to hold on to without the Lord’s blessing will become a decaying, putrid corpse, and if you don’t let go of it, you may become so acclimated to the stench of decay that you eventually won’t notice it. But others will. My challenge to you, Andy, is to give up your ministry, give up your position, give up your control of things that aren’t yours in the first place, repent and seek the Lord, out of the spotlight, away from public attention, where nobody but God can see and hear you. And don’t move an inch until the Lord tells you to. This isn’t about Andy Savage. It’s about Christ.

Psalms 127:1 says, “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” Unless and until you repent and do what the Lord commands you to do, any of your attempts at “ministry” will be in vain. Seek and listen to the Lord, and obey Him no matter how hard the things are that He will call you to do. If you don’t do those things, then nothing else you do will matter. I’m praying for you.

Blogger’s Note: If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse by a member of the clergy, no matter how long it’s been, you are NOT alone! For help please visit: www.snapnetwork.org

For Nita: On the Occasion of Your Homegoing…..

In the last 48 hours I’ve been reminded how much tears are healthy. They cleanse us. Wash away our grief, until the next memory or song comes on to remind us you are no longer here. 

And how much we miss you. 

During the last two years, I’ve prayed for you and your sweet family often. That somehow God would answer our prayers and would grant you a miracle this side of heaven. I also prayed for you specifically. That God would strengthen you and specifically that God would take away your fears. The fears of death and leaving your family behind. 

And 48 hours ago the weirdest thing happened. I realized I no longer needed to pray for you because at that moment you were standing amongst the brightest light that ever was. 

You were standing in front of your Heavenly Father, the One who made you, cared for you through the years, and held your hand as you took your last breath. 

The One who welcomed you home with the words, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” 

Good night dear, sweet, wonderful Nita! We’ll see you in The Morning. 

Clutching at the Heels of the Disabled: Why You Should Be Wrestling With the Idea of “Handouts” in Healthcare

Just in case you haven’t cried today, here is an excellent article by Running Through Water on caring for adults with disabilities:

Running through Water

white-1184178_1280I read a story this morning in the news about a woman in Texas who stopped on the side of the road to chat with a homeless man.  Her curiosity got the best of her since she passed him in the exact same spot on the side of the road four times a day for three years. You can see it here.  He was very thin, unshaven, filthy.  We’ve all passed “him” on the side of the road, haven’t we?  Remember the Man-With-The-Golden-Voice several years ago who hung out by the highway and  became a media sensation?  I passed him…sometimes twice a day on the way to my child’s school.  There he was–all wild haired and looking strung out…and then there he was on Dr. Phil with a Cliff Huxtable sweater and a haircut.  A former radio announcer who succumbed to addiction.  We were all cheering him on–he had…

View original post 1,569 more words

Lulabelle Eats Asia Part 1: Mixed Crackers (Thailand)…….

So the other day I asked Chad to go out and get the strangest food he could so I could do some reviews for my blog. And by strange I mean stuff that I’m not used to eating–stuff that you don’t typically get in America.

After basically clearing out the entire Asian section of our grocery store, Chad came home with a large bundle of Asian treats for me to review. So for the next few days, with the exception of LAFF’s, we’ll be exploring interesting snack items from all over Asia!

Today’s item is called Mixed Crackers from Thailand:

Smell: Like fried chicken and there are even little round nugget-y things that straight up look like chicken nuggets….but the good kind you can get at a gourmet restaurant, not like the ones at McDonald’s.

Look: Among the nugget-y chicken things are wasabi pea bits, what appears to be rice sticks and these ADORABLE little cilindrical crackers that have TINY seaweed wrapped around it!! Like a tiny sushi roll.

Well done on presentation, Thailand! Now let’s eat it!

All the elements together make for a salty, slightly sweet and spicy with the chicken nugget thingys and the wasabi peas. Each serving is 120 calories and there are 3 servings in the tub. I ate the entire tub in one setting. #NewYearsResolutionDownTheDrain………

Mixed Crackers came in a metal can that had a pop top.  I was very impressed when I opened the tab to see a moisture packet thingy tucked on the top of the snack mix.

That’s definitely not a normal thing for snacks sold in the USA.

To sum up, this was a great snack that was not overly salty but filling. And I wouldn’t be opposed to purchasing it again. 🙂


PS: My sister-in-laws soap shop just added organic dog shampoo!! If you are a fur parent with a dog, check out her link: http://coloradomadesudz.com/store#!/Dog-Shampoo-Sudz/p/77992091/category=22069013

Also, she is considering making laundry soap available on her site. Here’s what I need from my Anxienistas–go to her shop and comment that you’d love to have laundry soap available for purchase from her. 

Thanks guys!! 🙂

FTC disclaimer: All products mentioned were purchased with our hard earned cash. This post was not sponsored.

*It should be noted that in my defense, my New Years Resolution wasn’t necessarily to eat healthier, but to exercise more. 😛 #LoopHoles