Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sambossa (Ethiopian appetizer)

This recipe was found on I very slightly adapted it. These are so delicious! I made the filling while Colin fried them up for us. We enjoyed them alongside a salad.


  • 48 wonton wrappers
  • ½ cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 lb lean ground beef OR lamb 
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • salt, to taste 
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 sprigs fresh coriander, chopped OR ground coriander, to taste
  • 3/4 cup water

  1. Combine all filling ingredients in heavy sauce pan.
  2. Bring to a boil and stir to keep smooth.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and let mixture simmer uncovered.
  4. Correct flavor for spices and salt balance.
  5. As water simmers away, stir often to prevent mixture from sticking, especially during final stages.
  6. Cook until all liquid evaporates.
  7. If ground meat has a lot of fat, drain off at this point.
  8. Let mixture cool slightly before stuffing.
  9. Fill won ton wrappers with 1 to 2 tsp of filling. Moisten and press the edges together in a triangle shape.
  10. Fry the Sambossas, several at a time, until golden brown on both sides. Place the golden brown Sambossas on paper towel to rid of excess oil. Serve hot or cold with or without chutney.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Day In the Life of a Hospice Music Therapist

*Hospice is a philosophy of care in which a team of caregivers (doctors, nurses, CNAs, therapists, chaplains, creative arts therapists) collaborate to give comfort to and provide for needs of people who are terminally ill. It can be for people of any age who have a prognosis of less than 6 months to live.*

*Music therapy is the use of musical intervention to achieve non-musical goals (physical, social, emotional, spiritual).*

A typical Monday through Thursday for me.....

8:30 am: Alarm goes off. Colin gets up to make us coffee. I linger for a little while longer, usually joined by Mercedes, one of our two Himalayan cats.

9:00 am: I am getting ready for work and having some coffee with a quick breakfast.

9:30 am: I hit the road. My first drive is always between 30 minutes to 1 1/2 hours away. It is a great thing that I get mileage reimbursement. I have approximately 25 clients that I see weekly. Most of them are in assisted living homes or nursing homes, but I have a few that live in their own homes.

For those of you that live in Wisconsin, I live in Waupaca and have clients in Oshkosh, Appleton, Green Bay, Manitowoc, Fond du Lac, and Beaver Dam, to name a few! These are the general areas I serve.

10:30 am-4:30 pm: I usually see about 6-8 clients per day. There are a few facilities in which I have several clients at, which is nice. Otherwise, I am on the road in between each person I see.

The clients are referred to me by their nurse case managers. To be eligible for music therapy, one does not need to play an instrument or even sing! This is a common misconception. Clients that are good candidates have social, emotional, spiritual, comfort, cognitive, or grief/bereavement needs that can be fulfilled or helped through either active or passive musical intervention by a board-certified music therapist.

If I am seeing a client for the first time, I start out by doing an assessment of the person. This includes their background information, medical diagnosis, mental status, pain level, mood, music background, and observed response to music therapy interventions, etc.

Once I have assessed the clients' needs, I formulate goals that are specific to the client. Examples of goals include: decrease pain to acceptable level, decrease feelings of anxiety, enhance quality of life, increase social interaction, enhance self-expression, increase relaxation, engage in life review-reminiscence, or leave a legacy for life closure.

Then, the fun part for me is coming up with musical activities that will help the clients reach their goals. Examples include: song-writing, improvisation on instruments, singing to favorite songs, movement to music, lyric analysis of songs, relaxation through listening to me play the harp, reminiscence, respiratory entrainment, or life review.

I almost always bring my guitar and songbooks, and sometimes bring percussion instruments, my harp, a keyboard, cds, bubbles, or anything else seasonal or fun!

Throughout sessions, there is always a lot of socialization (if the client is able). Often, my clients are 'starving' for somebody to listen to them. Somebody to tell stories to or to tell them stories. Somebody to discuss music with!

It can be difficult being a therapist to those that are suffering from disease progression. It is often heart-breaking going through death with my patients. But the joy received and given is worth the aches. I have learned many life lessons from my hospice clients. It is a privilege and honor to work with them. I have one who has a history of song-writing (and tells stories of being a hobo!), and another who played harmonica at the Grand Ole Opry! He has met Loretta Lynn, among other country stars of his day. I have some that are sweet souls and grandmotherly.

After I see the client, I fill out paperwork- an assessment, progress note, or narrative note of my client.

4:30 pm: I drive home. All the miles I drive gives me much needed time for reflection. On my sessions, on processing my emotions, or on how I can better meet the needs of my clients. I always listen to KLove on the radio. It gives me rest and inspiration.

5:30 pm: I arrive home. Time to fill out my time sheet and fax it to my company, along with copies of all my paperwork on my clients from the day. Biweekly I fill out my own invoices and fax them out.

6:00-9:00 pm: Shower and try to unwind. Go on blogger. Read. Cook dinner.

9:00 pm: Colin arrives home from work. We eat dinner together. Discuss our days. Almost daily I ask Colin if he is feeling one or two babies. Girl/s or one of each. Is he excited? Are we ready? We read together. Sometimes watch Survivor, American Idol, The Amazing Race, or Biggest Loser together online. We don't have cable, so our television watching is limited to these shows when they are in-season. But that is fine with us!

11:00 pm-Midnight: Say our prayers and dream like crazy fall asleep.

On Thursday morning, I add in two hour-long groups at another facility I contract out to. The groups are with people that have developmental disabilities (Down syndrome, mental retardation, etc.). We do a lot of sing-a-longs, instrumental improvisation, and social and motor skills work.

If you have any questions for me about music therapy or hospice or anything whatsoever, please ask! There is so much more to tell.

It is interesting to imagine what my day will be like when we have our baby/ies. So completely different, but so completely fulfilling.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Dominic and Eyouel

Colin and I are so crazy in love with our adoption.

I get so giddy in anticipation of the journey.........
         the dossier
                 the home study
                          the decreasing waitlist numbers
                                     the referral
                                               the travel
                                                         the cuddling and nurturing

It is easy to get lost in the what may be and what will be.

It is easy to be content with our plan of help in the orphan crisis.

BUT God....... 
What if there’s a bigger picture? What if I’m missing out?
What if there’s a greater purpose that I could be living right now?
I don’t want to miss what matters, I wanna be reaching out.
Show me the greater purpose, so I can start living right now.
Outside my own little world.
What about the other children? The ones who have families who love them and cherish them, and are doing their best to provide with the little they have. The ones living in poverty all across the world. The ones who can not afford to receive an education. The ones who scavenge for food in dumpsters. The ones who do not have the necessities that we have come to take for granted.
Our hearts are breaking for what breaks His.
We knew we wanted to sponsor a child. After the adoption. In the future. Down the road.
BUT God......
He called us to sponsor in this time and this place where we are at right now.
Meet Dominic:

Dominic is a precious boy who lives in Kenya with his parents and 3 siblings. He was born June 20, 2005. Colin's birthday is June 20.

We were searching through photos of children available to be sponsored through Compassion International. I think we were both thinking, "How are we ever going to pick just one?"
I told Colin that I think 'when you know, you know'. We clicked on a few photos, leading to brief information on each child, one of which happened to be Dominic's. We noticed his sweet biting of his lower lip. I joked to Colin that I've heard of others finding their child by searching by their birthday.

We checked for Colin's birthday. There was Dominic again. And Colin said, "That's him."

We immediately began sponsoring him on January 18, 2012. It has been both a humbling experience and a warming experience. Compassion International soon sent a book with information on Dominic, his program center, his community, and his country. We are able to write to him and he will write back (with help)!

They sent a bookmark with his picture and a new way to pray for him every day of the month!

Sponsorship allows children opportunities to learn, receive nutritious meals, get regular health screenings and medical treatment when necessary, learn about the love of Jesus, receive personal attention, play with other children in a safe environment, and know that they are loved by adults who care about them.

We soon said to each other, "We can do more." We can sponsor one more child.

Meet Eyouel:

Eyouel lives in Ethiopia with his grandmother and 2 siblings. Soccer is his favorite activity. Eyouel was born February 13, 2007. My birthday. We began sponsoring him on February 2, 2012.

There are 2,358 children currently waiting for sponsors through Compassion alone. Some, like Dominic, have been waiting for over 6 months. Many, longer. Children from Africa, Asia, Central America and Caribbean, and South America. Ages 3-22.

If you have an interest in sponsoring a child, please pray. To view photos of all the children in need of sponsors or to search through a specific country or age group, please visit Compassion International. And, if you do choose to sponsor, I want to hear all about it!

If you have any questions for Colin or myself, please ask. We love your questions!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Yesterday, February 13th was my 27th birthday! Almost a Valentine baby. 

It was a wonderful day. I got to sleep in and relax in the morning. Colin suprised me with pink roses. Then, we left for Madison, which is about a 2 hour drive from where we live. Why Madison? Because I told Colin the one thing I wanted to do for my birthday (besides adopt immediately!) was go to an Ethiopian restaurant again. The closest we found was Madison.

We'll get to that in a bit. :)

Colin also wanted to take me to a zoo. I LOVE animals. Let me remind you that we live in Wisconsin. And it's winter. Snow. And cold.

Needless to say, we pretty much had the zoo to ourselves! It was quite awesome. A winter wonderland zoo in private. All for free!

We first went into the primate building. I think we spent at least 30 minutes watching two orangutans. They were just hilarious, showing off, hanging from ropes and even the ceiling grate.

Giraffe. Love their long-necked beauty!


We were then supposed to go eat at an Ethiopian restaurant we found online.

Guess what? It was no longer there!

Colin was told by a stranger to take me to a Brazilian grill called Samba!

We had never had Brazilian food before and were in for quite a treat! I am a foodie and love to try new cuisines. 

To start, there was a beautiful buffet of salads, vegetables, olives, garlic spread, etc. My favorite side was sweet potato salad with chipotle-orange dressing. I need to recreate this. :)

Also, we had a wooden pillar on our table with green on one side and red on the other. When we flipped it to green, a 'gaucho' would come to our table with one of many varieties of grilled meats on a huge skewer and cut off a piece for each of us right onto our plate.

All the meats were so wonderful--our favorite was the flank steak in a churrasco balsamic marinade. We tried lamb for the first time. It was okay! We loved the grilled pineapple dusted with cinnamon and sugar.

It was nice to experience this unexpected cuisine with Colin. We both agreed that it brought us back to our honeymoon in Cancun! There was just something about the ambience and the smells.

Afterwards, we went to Trader Joe's, as this is also the closest one to us! We stocked up on a whole bunch of goodies. We were checking out and talking to the cashier and mentioned to him that it was my birthday. Well, the store manager overheard our conversation and gifted me with some flowers!

I thought that it was just so nice of him to do that.

We drove home through more snow and ate some chocolate cake that Colin made me! 

I felt spoiled. Colin always takes such great care of me.

So, even though the 'one thing I wanted to do' didn't happen, we improvised with lovely results!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

And or Hulatt?


I think it is due time for an adoption update, don't you think?!?

Amharic is the primary language of Ethiopia. It is made up of Fidel, or, characters to represent a consonant and vowel combination. It is a very interesting language, and I am excited to learn by starting with the basics!

Unfortunately, I don't have the symbols for these words to paste for you, but 'And' represents one, while 'hulatt' represents two.

So, in english, the title of my post is 'One or two?' What am I referring to, you ask? 

One or two children!

In our post I wrote in November about our adoption pre-application with All God's Children, I said....

"We stated that we are interested in an Ethiopian infant girl. We filled out that we would consider siblings under 4 years old. We are currently praying if we are meant to just adopt one baby or have the possibility of two open. It is a very tough decision...I will likely post on this topic down the road."

Well, here is my post! And, the verdict....we are still praying. :) We would really appreciate prayers about this topic! Colin and I feel called to adopt an infant girl, but we are heavily pondering a sibling group of two. We know we will be blessed either path God shows us!

After talking to All God's Children, we know that adopting siblings would be cost-effective (although this would surely not be the only reason we would do it). How sweet would it be to bring orphaned siblings into one loving home together? It is beautiful to think about the possibilities of an older brother, or perhaps two sweet sisters, or twins!

On the other side of the topic, Colin has never changed a diaper or fed a bottle. But, I know he will be a fantastic daddy. He is a quick learner and has a heart SO big! I feel like we need to purchase some parenting books for both of us ASAP- ha!

When we fill out the actual application, we can also choose to be on both the infant girl waiting list and siblings list. Then, whatever list we get down to #1 quickest is the one we will receive a referral for.

Praying, praying, praying!

We have had a 'goal' of sorts to send in our application and begin our paperwork and home studies, etc. within the first 6 months of 2012. Prayerfully, we are feeling May! I can't explain it, it is just in my head and in my heart. This is another thing we are praying for much guidance on.

Half of me says, "We need to get on the waiting list!" and the other half says, "Whoa. We are going to finally become parents. Wow."

And whoever welcomes
a little child like this
in my name
welcomes Me.
~Matthew 18:5

Thursday, February 2, 2012


I dream vividly.

Almost nightly I have dreams that are so real and that are memorable in the wake of the mornings. Often several a night. And even more often, recurring dreams. Most popular:

#1: Tornadoes. Huge, sometimes multiple, always coming right towards me.
#2: I am in high school and forget my locker combination. I try and try, but can never remember it.
#3: I am in college and it is finals week. I have final exams and realize I haven't been going to one of my classes all semester!

Hmmm...perhaps my dream-life plays into why I have stress at times?

Last night, I had a dream about being in Africa. Colin and I were there to talk to a family that was considering giving up their child for adoption to us. I remember running and running. Almost feeling a need to escape. And we had to climb a rocky wall. Looking up at the wall that appeared to be hanging over my head, I thought, 'I can't do this. It's over my head. Way too steep. I'm not strong enough. I don't know how I could possibly climb to the top.' But, I kept climbing from point to point, and little by little, I got over my fears and conquered the wall.

Could this be any more metaphorical?

In relation to adoption, there are so many emotions. So many fears. Financial. Of parenting. Of a loooong process. Of providing. Of loss for the birthmother and family. Of travel. Of change.

But the blessings and hopes well outweigh the fears. And, it is not so much about scale, but rather, trust. Trust that God has a perfect plan in place. Trust that God will guide our steps. Trust that God will provide the strength for us.

"May the God of endurance and encouragement
grant you to live in such harmony with one another,
in accord with Christ Jesus,
that together you may with one voice
glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
~Romans 15:5-6
P.S. I also dreamt last night that Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers quarterback) went to my church.