Saturday, December 15, 2012

Heaven is Real

This week had plenty of challenges, physically and emotionally. Mom had surgery and it went well. It was good my brother was along as it was physically challenging for me with lots of walking and lugging stuff. I am heading down to see her and check on her progress today. She needs my help and I am glad to do it. She certainly did enough for me over the years. What a great mom she was if I had flu or was sick! Now it is my turn to do some care-taking and attending to her needs.
The senseless violence in the news is heartbreaking and disturbing. Evil is ever present and we, as Christians, need to be vigilant and pray. We can also realize our enemy is not guns. They are mere tools. Yes, make people register and use good sense with their use but do not make us a nation of unarmed people. Slaves are unarmed....not free people. It does nothing to stop violence and evil really....may deter a small amount of crimes of passion but I really do not think it would make a difference. I think the issue is the heart of a man/woman.  I will encourage us retaining the right to be armed as citizens of a free nation. I also do not believe we should take the law into our own hands. Love is the only force that overrides hate. Let us remember that love is not necessarily a feeling but a verb, an action word. Do love and you may feel love. Forgive and leave vengeance to God. I am very sad for the empty arms of the parents and the chilling reality that they will not see those children/adults who were murdered until heaven if they are people of faith in Jesus Christ. I entreat you to choose to put your faith in Jesus Christ if you have not. There is no security anywhere but in Him.
Be blessed and be thoughtful over this Christmas Season.
If you have not considered Christ before I suggest a read that may encourage you. Heaven is Real by Todd Burpo. I read it to Jack when he was close to dying and he received renewed hope from it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Nashrock and Thanksgiving 2012

 Hey you  really grew since I saw you this summer! I bet you don't remember me. Lucas you are adorable!
 Judah is as full of energy and smiles as ever. I really enjoyed him a lot. He kept me on the move.
 Auntie Cha Cha got in on some serious story reading....actually I read to Judah most nights (4 books) before bed. That was really fun...especially the Maurice Sendak ones.
 Auntie Jessi got in on some diaper changing and other important activities. She is game. Lucas loves her.
 I made Thanksgiving dinner. It was pretty good. The pies were resting and waiting for the 'moment' of inclusion.
 Let's see....Mashed potatoes, two kinds of stuffing, Brussel sprouts with bacon, turkey and gravy, corn casserole and Lingonberry preserves. I am getting hungry for a rerun.
 Here it is! Lucas got his own birthday pie and he really enjoyed it. One year old on Thanksgiving!
 Snazzy new shoes from the Aunties....he looks like they appeal to him as he wanted to play with them.
 Oh the joys of a flashlight...Lucas was enthralled and luckily did not drop it on his toe!
 I caught a bit of mommy and the boys having couch time. they took turns pummeling her and giggling.
 A view from the stairs. Playpens are invaluable to mothers. You must have a way to corral them for awhile. Lucas fortunately likes to read all his hard books so it is not torture for him.
 He was having PB&J on bread. I did not cut off the crusts but he ate down pretty close to them.
 This child has a very engaging smile. He can turn it off and on for the camera but it is not really insincere. He has laughter in his eyes too.
Judah lined up all the dirt toys and I caught a shot of his hard work. Lucas loves the dirt and often carries lots in with him.....
I had a lovely visit. Jamie took some shots with her camera and I await their arrival on fb or where ever she posts them. I want one of the family shots for my wall. We really had fun.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

More putting by.....

You might think I loved vegetables. This one loves me back!
My very favorite pickle is the bread and butter pickle. These are particularly wonderful with a sandwich.
The squash we did not consume were ground and put in bags to make breads in the fall and winter and frozen.
As the tomatoes kept on coming, I instructed Jenna who was watching my home while I was in St. Louis with the wash and bag them for me to create sauce when I returned. I dragged nearly every bag out on Thursday and put them on the stove. They thawed and I cooked them down a bit and put them through the food mill. I then added a basil leaf, a bit of garlic and some salt to each quart. Oh they are really nice on my back shelves after canning them.
I do love vegetables!!!

Canning and Preserving

I grew these little jewels in my garden even though we had a drought. I did enjoy and appreciate my garden this year.
Simmering some sauce on the stove.....
I ran on to some gorgeous peaches in August and decided to make some lovely canned peaches and a pie
I grew up canning with my father more than my mom. He did it simply and with not much fuss and I try to stick to those rules for all the basic things.
The cans look so lovely when finished. I like them lined up on the shelf as well. This peach pie was absolutely delicious. I used sour cream in it and it was so tender!
There were just a few left over for me to use fresh or with cereal.
Late strawberries were to be found at the Farmer's Market. Let's create some jam.
I tried a recipe without pectin. Lovely little jars of future jam. They promised they would jell in two weeks. Hmmm. Maybe syrup?
Jenna brought me some 'pickles' as her husband so aptly called the cucumbers. I decided to make them fit the name.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Refreshed and Ready

I have not posted in a mighty long time. I have been working on my Memoir of my life with Jack and then with Jesus. I now belong to a wonderful group of ladies who have encouraged me along with my daughters Jamie and Jessi to tell my story. I am doing just that. I miss my precious Jack at times. He was unique and probably the only man this woman could have stayed married to. Thank you Jesus for the time. I am not over come with grief. I am moving in the Holy Spirit and going forward to make a difference and to just enjoy God. I grieved as I went through the difficult times. Jack passed into eternity knowing Jesus as his savior on July 17th, 2011. I joined the Memoir group that Sept. I am happy though at times feel very alone. I have found having friends my age and older has been an encouragement. I do appreciate all the younger friends I have bonded with in the eighteen years I have lived in WI since moving back in 1994 I also became a Minister with Impact Ministries International which has made me more confident to go forward with what God shows me to put my hand to. I am feeling like the blog needs to be reestablished as I am refreshed and ready for the outreach again. Blessings. I may post about once a week so subscribe if you like.
This was taken the day of Jack's funeral. It was a day of being surrounded by loved ones and remembering Jack's presence in all our lives. Grandkids near and seen more often...Eliana and Mikey
The revealing of the Headstone with Bubble-fest and all the kids dancing around being free and unrestrained. It was a day to celebrate and remember with smiles.
Then came my birthday picnic. All the kids and their mates and families and many friends came and brought gifts to me as well. It was wonderful for me.

Friday, January 20, 2012

February Photo Challenge.

My lovely daughter in law Ashley is doing a January Photo Challenge and I just may try to catch up but even if I don't I have one thought up for February. I did random words and phrases that seemed could be incentive for a photo shoot. I challenge you to give it a all at once and post like a blog or however seems good and pleasant to you. Blessings and happy shooting! February Photo Challenge 1.) A Tree you love 2.) Perfection 3.) Biggest challenge 4.) Lovely to touch 5.) Too cute 6.) Beware 7.) Energized 8.) Heart sounds 9.) Labyrinth of some kind 10.) If only I could… 11.) Movie still 12.) Baking up a treat 13.) Lacey and luscious 14.) My Valentine 15.) Regrets 16.) Words that I love 17.) Usually unnoticed 18.) Peace 19.) Worship in action 20.) Mirror, mirror on the wall… 21.) Sporting chance 22.) Project 23.) Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral 24.) Closet contents 25.) Favorite 26.) Pink 27.) Feet 28.) French dream

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Remembering Our First Christmas!

I have so many good memories of Christmases with my husband. Our first was in Coalville, Utah in the abandoned house we talked some people into renting to us. They charged us $65 a month and we found ways to make the old place into a home. We were in just before Christmas so the tree was one of our first adornments and one of our first rituals together. Mike was 5 and Christmas was so exciting to him that year. We had the most beautiful tree and Jack later said it was the most beautiful one he ever had ever seen. We never could make one quite that pretty again. We used that spun fiberglass on it and it radiated white halos around every light. I don’t think they sell that stuff anymore. Too dangerous to kids and pets. Though we had just arrived in Utah on November 25th , and we looked for housing for weeks, we somehow found time to shop for Mike’s gifts after finding the house. On Christmas Eve, Jack stayed up late assembling Mike’s toys and it was so exciting for us. I don’t remember what we got one another but it didn’t really matter. It was the first of 38 Christmases together. It was a beginning that led to marriage and commitment and learning to worship God and to tolerate each other’s irritations and quirks while we found connection and lasting loyalty with God’s help. I remember turning off the lights and sitting on the sofa together staring at the halos and singing Christmas carols. We drank our yuletide cheer together and leaned in to each other thinking how lucky we were to have found someone so special. Mike tossed and turned in his sleeping bag wanting Christmas morning to come and end the suspense. He always woke us early over the years so his excitement never waned until he was an adult. I think that year he got the bionic man with the roll up skin on his arm that showed his bionics. I would give Mike art supplies of many types every year, as he was amazingly talented and imaginative. Jack always wanted practical things and appreciated them. Often holding on to them in new condition until he absolutely had to use them. I wanted books, many books and pretty things and I think that year I wanted a freezer. I got that later that next year. Christmas was always a mass of wrapping paper and squealing with Joy. Jack had never had big Christmases over the years and I was one of those “let’s make it into a party”, no matter what … so he let me. He smiled benevolently from the sidelines and got vicarious pleasure from our wishes being fulfilled. I, in years to come, would make a long list and post it on the fridge. I wanted to be surprised and if I had a short list it might not be a proper unveiling. So he would trudge out to get some of the things he could locate on my list. He might have enlisted some of my friends I think to help him and in later years the kids helped and finally a friend and helper did it when he could no longer go shopping alone. I will never think of Christmas without thinking of Jack’s kindness and quiet enjoyment of our traditional fete. We began going to Christmas Eve services when we both started attending Church and it became a wonderful tradition and a time of worship and appreciation for what God had done for us by sending Jesus as a baby to be the Messiah. Our faith grew over time and our love of Church and our church family grew as well. Many years, since 1994 when we moved to Wisconsin, we would have Pastor and his wife and their kids come for a grand evening of celebration near to the 25th. Those times were dear to us as they had become some of our most trusted friends. I think this Christmas without Jack will be special in remembering and sharing with the family our special memories of their dad and my sweet funny husband. I look forward to the coming together of most in Nashville on the 23rd . Not all will be there but 3 of the 4 families and some extras as well. And Mike’s family will be sharing an early Christmas with me at home. I think this Christmas will be special although my heart will miss my mate. I am thankful for what we had and now shall bask in the time that I have with the kids and grand kids. I won’t let him be forgotten in our celebrations. If he could peek in on us I would want him to find us smiling and remembering his laugh and his tears. He would have loved holding the newest baby who arrived just before Thanksgiving. I would want him to see that we carry on in the traditions he and I began in 1973 on our first Christmas together. I read this in my writers group and was a little shaky but when I read it to the family while I was in Nashville I broke down and couldn't finish for a long couple minutes as I was overwhelmed with missing my husband. It gets easier and there is more joy each day but I will always think of Jack with love and miss his special smile and southern drawl. It is inscribed upon my heart.