A letter from Laine.

 Dear Sisters,

It has been so long since I have written to you. I had a bad bout of Covid last July, and then I felt "off" for many months in so many ways, but I attributed it to Long Covid. (My daughter in law, who was sick with me at the same time, developed Long Covid and had to see a specialist many months later. So I assumed I was similarly struggling.) On February 14th of this year, however, I wound up in the emergency room with digestive issues. They told me I had colitis and needed to schedule a colonoscopy as soon as possible. After the colonoscopy, I was instead diagnosed with a cancerous tumor (stage 3) that was almost blocking a part of my sigmoid colon. I had resection surgery on April 20th where they took 12 inches of my colon including the tumor and 28 lymph glands. I became very ill after surgery and kept being treated with strong drugs for an infection. I was to go to the emergency room again, but this time my daughter was investigating problems with resections for me. Abbie found out that I possibly had a malabsorption issue, which has the same symptoms as an infection. I was so ill for 12 weeks. I am normally 133 pounds for my 5"7 height, but I went down to 106 pounds at my lowest weight. I was skin and bones. I could only sleep 2-3 hours a night as I was going to the bathroom all night and all day. No matter what I ate, I kept getting worse. My poor husband was suffering so much seeing me daily struggle. 
Abbie ordered calcium citrate for me which was supposed to help with malabsorption problems. I began to take that along with reducing my oxalates.  I learned from a "mistake" that I now was not absorbing oxalates properly, which was also a big part of my malabsorption problem. I discovered this from having a green juice with spinach in it, and my hands swelling almost within an hour of drinking it. I took the calcium citrate for awhile and got my intestines under control and started to sleep at 4 hour stretches, then I ate low oxalate which really improved my intestines. I started to gain weight again. I am up to 117 pounds and so thankful! I am fighting the cancer part now, but I am so very thankful to be on my feet! For twelve weeks I was flat on my back on the couch, the same place I spent for my Covid bout. It was a rough year's time from last July to this July.  I finally got better last month and was able to join in again in my home.
 I am so very thankful to the LORD for helping me through this ongoing health struggle. I love Him so much! There were some very dark times when I felt like I was crying out to Him moment by moment, but the one steady thing I kept feeling was "it is well with my soul". 
I have wanted to write again to help out in a small way. I know prices on food are getting out of control. My husband and I went to Costco last week. I hadn't been there in 3 or more months. I was so shocked at the prices. A bag of corn chips that my husband likes to buy had more than doubled in price. And there were many more items just like that.  I know many of you already know this, but I was out of the grocery stores for over 12 weeks due to being ill. I kept quoting the old prices of foods to my husband. It was a shocking trip for me! There were to be many other shocking supermarket trips.
Today I wanted to share with you what I cooked this week with chicken bones. I had my daughter, Lucy, save the chicken bones in a plastic bag in the freezer. I had two carcasses to work with for one broth. I call it "Throw It In The Crockpot Broth".
Throw It In The Crockpot Chicken Broth
2 chicken carcasses (after you've cleaned the chicken off the bones, frozen or not, throw it in the crockpot)
Any leftover chicken gelatin left in the bottom of the roasting pan, throw it in along with any leftover veg from the bottom too
1/4 of an onion (don't cut, just throw it in)
1 carrot (don't cut, just throw it in)
2 celery sticks (again, don't cut, just throw it in)
1 garlic clove (don't peel or cut, just throw it in)
salt and pepper to taste
oregano and basil, about 1 t. each
A couple dollops of olive oil
Then you put water in to just cover the bones.  I put the crockpot on high for 4 hours. On this particular broth, I strained it and my daughter, Lucy, had it with a bit of rice as she had a cold and wanted just mainly broth. Then I took some of the broth to make a Potato Corn Chowder for my husband. I still have some broth left which I will use to make an enchilada sauce. But I find this broth to be helpful in numerous recipes, and it's so economical. 
I probably should have put this recipe first as you need this to make the one above!
Ina Garten's Roast Chicken
Stuff one roast chicken with a grapefruit, lemon, or apple. Tie the legs. Rub the chicken with olive oil, duck fat, or butter.( I also take the fat from the front of the cavity of the chicken, cut it in two, and put it under the skin of the breasts.) Salt all over. Place the chicken in a pan over peeled and largely cut up rutabagas. Can add carrots as well. Bake in a 425 oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Cover loosely after and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. I love this recipe!
This is another fast and easy recipe that I love with only two ingredients. 
Oatmeal Cookies
1 c rolled oats
1/2 c applesauce
pinch of salt (optional if you want three ingredients)
Mix well and put by T's on a parchment sheet cookie pan. Flatten each as much as possible. Bake at 325 for 22 minutes. When cool, freeze on pan. I love these frozen from the freezer with a dollop of plain yogurt on top and frozen blueberries on top of that. 
Another oat recipe I love is from my daughter, Abbie, whose daughters are gluten free. 
Oat Waffles
1 cup of oat flour (I just process my oats in a coffee grinder until flour)
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
pinch of salt
Mix well in a bowl. Then add and mix well with a whisk:
3 T. oil
4 heaping T's of plain yogurt
2 eggs
3/4 c. water
Cook til brown in a waffle maker. I love them with a little butter and a little unsweetened jam.
I also made this bread this week for my husband. I've made it before gluten free for my daughter, Lucy, as well. It's from a You Tuber named Melissa K. Norris. I also learned how to make a gluten free sourdough starter from her.
Mellissa's Sourdough Chocolate Bread
1 c. sourdough starter or gluten free sourdough starter
1/2 c. plus 2 T. flour or gluten free flour
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
2 ripe bananas
3/4 c. cocoa
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
Put everything into a food processor and process til well blended. Then add a handful of chocolate chips. Bake in a parchment lined loaf pan at 350 for 55 minutes. My husband loves this bread.
I'm so very thankful to be serving my family again. Blessed beyond measure! 
"I love you, LORD, my strength!"


  1. I am so glad to hear that you are on the mend. It is so often the case that we have to sort these things out for ourselves. We always keep calcium citrate for fevers. The ache we have along with a fever is the body pulling calcium citrate out off the bones to fight the fever. When we have a fever we immediately start on the calcium citrate to help the body fight the infection and it is amazing how quickly we recover and without that awful ache.

    I am imagining your shock at grocery prices! Every time we go out to shop we pray and ask God to show us the best deals and what we should purchase and He is faithful. Like you, I think our dear husbands need their comfort foods as long as we are able to purchase them.

    Today a dear friend posted a video of a large gathering singing 'It is Well with My Soul' and as I watched it the tears began to fall. I have EDS which is a genetic disease and some days the pain is just almost more than I can handle but that video with those believers singing to the Lord was just like a band-aid to me as I remembered that it is well with my soul no matter how much of a struggle I am in. We can cling to that every day!

    1. I am so sorry you suffer so much physically! 🥲🥰

  2. I am so glad to see this letter from Laine. I had no idea she was going through such a bad time. I will be praying diligently for her complete recovery. She is a treasure and such a strong woman I have no doubt she can get her health back. So typical of her to be thinking of others and wanting to help. I really appreciate the recipes! I look forward to her other letters. Thank you, Annabel, for sharing!

  3. Dear Annabel thank you for posting Laine's letter and thank you Laine for supplying your wonderful words of wisdom :) .

    I am so glad Laine that you are on the mend and have gained weight and are cooking beautiful meals for your family and yourself again. Such a long and challenging time health wise for you and praying to the LORD does help as he will lift and strengthen you in times of need and illness.

    Oh yes it is indeed a shock on the price rises of groceries and we are seeing it here in Australia where every week I make out a shopping list I am seeing something that has risen in price and not just a small price rise but a lot of big ones as well :o .

    We pray for guidance when we go grocery shopping for eyes to see the good bargains that are available on items we have on our grocery shopping list and others that will fill our fridge and freezers for the lowest cost. We are also paying a variable rate mortgage so those interest rates keep rising every month at the moment so any savings helps us to pay our mortgage down faster.

    Have a great week :).


  4. For anyone tradingy my previous post. It is calcium lactate we use for fevers. I am so sorry for posting incorrect information.

    1. Lana - thank you for correcting your post! I had put the other suggestion on my "wish list" on Amazon but changed it due to your correction. How many do you take when you have a fever? Again, thanks!

  5. How wonderful to read Laine’s letter and hear she is on the mend, my thanks to you both for sharing her news! Hilogene in Az

  6. Thank you both for sharing these words. Praying for good health and easy recovery after such a hard fight, Laine.

  7. So thankful Laine is on the mend and feeling better! I haven’t been motivated to work hard in my home lately and this is just the boost I needed! Thank you Annabel for sharing!

  8. So happy to hear your health is improving. You have had a lot of people praying for you. May you continue to improve and completely healed. Blessings

  9. So happy to hear from Laine once more. I've been re-reading her old letters and soaking in the wisdom and good reminders I find there. I've prayed for Laine and will continue to do so.

  10. Dear Laine, how wonderful to read your writing. Thank you. Those recipes look fantastic, Laine. I will continue to pray for you. Lots of love. Lily

  11. Thank you so much for sharing Laine's letter. I was so sorry to hear of all her health issues. And yet so thankful she is recovering.
    Blessed and encouraged,

  12. No wonder you had asked for prayer for her! I will continue to keep Laine in prayer. This post reminds me that I must pull out the printed copies of her "Letters". I still enjoy reading them once in awhile even though both kids are married and have kids of their own now.

  13. Praise the Lord you are mending. Thank you for the update!!!

  14. Have you heard from Laine? She’s been in my thoughts and prayers…..I followed her like many others. 💕


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