About me...

Pop the lid on my Mason Jar and meet my family. Jim {Jimma} and I have four kids, Creston (Ashley), Jami (Matt), Brandon and Chance. Our grandkids, Cade, Kirby, Eisley, Beck and Reed bring us more joy than any Mason Jar could ever hold. I am counting my blessings over and over and thanking God for His amazing love and grace.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sesame Christmas Cookies

I probably got this recipe 20 years ago and it's been a favorite cookie recipe of mine ever since. This is one of those recipes that doesn't require a lot of ingredients, is fast and easy to make, looks pretty and is "melt in your mouth" yummy!

Sesame Christmas Cookies

1 cup margarine
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups all purpose flour
sesame seeds
strawberry or raspberry preserves (I prefer raspberry)

Cream together the first five ingredients. Shape into small balls and roll in sesame seeds. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Make thumb print in center of balls and fill with strawberry preserves. Bake 400 for 10-12 minutes. My oven bakes slow and takes about 17 minutes.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

My Dad's Art

Probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 years ago, my dad became an artist, in his own eyes. I don’t know how it all came about, but he began painting scenes that he saw in old calendars and country magazines. He loved painting and was so proud of his artwork. He even stepped it up a notch and started making frames to showcase his artwork.

Dad was a serious artist and set up a little studio out in his work shop. It didn’t matter that his studio also housed his hammers, nails, screw drivers and other tools. A desk near a window for perfect lighting, a heater for the winter and a fan for the summer was all he needed for a perfect studio.

Dad was always so proud of his artwork. His talent didn’t quiet measure up to his love of painting, but we never let him know that. There was definitely more talent in his frame making than in his painting. I remember one year we bought him a couple of books on learning to paint and he was actually a little insulted! He was far too advanced to learn anything from those books! That’s when we learned to buy canvases, paints and brushes for him and to stay away from anything instructional.

Once Alzheimer’s set in, Dad painted less and less. One day after he passed away, Creston and I were looking in his workshop at his art supplies and found some blank canvases stored in a cabinet with his tools. I could envision him putting them away, thinking he was putting them where they belonged. Creston gave me a light-hearted moment when told me about seeing one of Dad’s paintings lined up with the others in the game room and thinking “Wow, Grandpa has really improved.” He picked it up for a closer look and realized that in his confusion, Dad had framed a picture out of a magazine.

About a month ago, mom was out with her caretaker doing some errands. Missy decided to stop at a yard sale and Mom opted to sit in the car. At the last minute Mom changed her mind and got out to glance over the items for sale. She walked up to a table and found a 5x7 framed piece of art, that my dad had painted in 2004. Apparently the guy having the sale found it in a shed he was cleaning out and added it to his yard sale. He gave it to Mom and she brought it home. When I asked Mom to show it to me, we both looked at it and started crying. Unselfishly she offered me the painting and it has become one of my most prized possessions.

Yesterday when I was sorting through my Christmas decorations, I came across another one of Dad’s little masterpieces. It’s an unframed 4x5 inch canvas that he painted of a house with snow on the roof. My dad always had beautiful handwriting and he wrote, “Merry Christmas” on the front of the painting and on the back of the canvas he wrote, “To Molly From Dad. Christmas 95. Love U.” I remember how proud he was of the Christmas card he painted for me that year.

Oh how I wish I had shown more interest and been more complimentary when Dad showed me his latest work. No matter how many canvases he painted, each piece was special to him and a work of art. After a while his work seemed so commonplace that I barely gave it a second look. The two little pieces of art that I’ve recently came across have made me aware that no matter how insignificant something might seem to me, I need to be more sensitive to the other person and before more considerate of their feelings. A little more time, a little more kindness and a little more praise would have meant so much to my dad and would have only taken a few minutes of my time. Thank you God for your creative ways in sending me a couple of precious reminders to help me become a better person.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Oh, the peace that passes all understanding!

The past couple of days have really been hard for me. Simply put, I have felt like God’s peace is eluding me. And to make matters worse, I haven’t understood why I feel this way and see myself as a disappointment to God. Beyond any shadow of doubt, I know God hasn’t moved away from me, so what is the problem? Maybe it's all that is going on in my life.

It’s been four weeks since Dad passed. Mom has had to deal with some drama she should never, and I mean never have faced, along with grieving over the loss of her husband of 64 years. Her memory problems have gotten worse since he passed. I’m sure the combination of the stress she’s under and losing him have played a huge roll in this. Night before last, our grandbaby, Beck had a set back with the cough that put him in the hospital last month. Jim is having some more health issues. The medical bills are piling up higher and higher, and he keeps having more doctors’ appointments and tests. Chance is in a hot zone in Afghanistan, heading out for another mission with a guy that he has no confidence in.

So, how can I find the calm in the middle of my storms and feel the peace that only God can give, when it seems so elusive? I can’t on my own, but God can make it happen. And, He did! He sent me just the right person to speak the words I needed, pray over me, comfort me and encourage me. He sent my friend Vicki. And the way it all came about, is just another one of those “God things.”

Vicki has been meaning to stop by my house and drop off some containers and today just “happened” to be the day she came by. She didn’t think I was home, so she left them on a bench outside. As she was driving off, I glanced out the kitchen window and saw her at the same time she saw me. I waved and she backed up her car up and pulled into my driveway. Knowing she and her husband faithfully pray for Chance, I ran out to let her know he’s headed out on a mission. Before the conversation was over, I had shared all the other stuff going on in my life and my quest for peace.

Vicki has been through some trying times and experienced what I’m going through. She struggled at times to find peace while going through her trials but when she looked back, she saw how God was there through it all, taking care of every detail and that’s when the peace came. Just what I needed to hear! Vicki even had words of wisdom to help me with my feelings of being a disappointment to God. She prayed over me, hugged me and told me she would be sharing my prayer requests and praying over them at Bible study tonight.

It was such a beautiful afternoon after Vicki left, that I grabbed my devotion book, Bible and journal and set on my porch, feeling more at peace than I have in days. After some quiet time, I decided to take a long bike ride and ponder everything. While riding I reflected back on some of the difficult times in my life. There were times when I wondered if God had forgotten me and felt panicky about my situation, peace evading me. But, no matter what was going on, God always came through for me. Sometimes I didn’t see it until after the crisis had passed, but I could always look back and see how He took care of me, sometimes in miraculous ways. He never failed me, not even once! Thinking about that, strengthened my faith and gave me a renewed sense of hope this afternoon. God will always find a way to bring me peace. I just have to keep trusting and holding on to my faith.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


At 8:05 last Wednesday, my dad went home to be with our Heavenly Father. Leading up to his death, I kept thinking what a relief and blessing it would be when he passed, leaving me in no way prepared for the sadness and sense of loss I would feel when it happened. Not only am I coming to terms with my grief, it’s been hard watching my mom as she mourns the loss of her husband of 64 years.

Dad turned 85 years old on August 31. Other than the Alzheimer’s that he was diagnosed with this year, he’s had excellent health. The few hospital trips he’s had were to the ER, compliments of his table saw and ladders. Even in his Alzheimer’s state of confusion, he seemed happy most of the time and continued to laugh and joke with us. For the most part, he recognized us as someone he was supposed to know and sometimes even knew our names.

It is such a blessing that God took Dad home before his mind got so bad he had to be put in a nursing home. He was able to be at home when he passed away, under the wonderful care of Hospice with Mom, my brother and I holding him, as he took his final breath. The knowledge that we will see him again and spend all of eternity praising God with him, brings us comfort and peace.

The afternoon after Dad’s service, we found this note that he wrote Mom on their 18th wedding anniversary. It’s way too precious not to share!

Anniversary Day
Dearest Mother, Boys, and Daughter,
I want you all to know that 18 years ago I didn’t know that God was going to bless me with such a wonderful family. I just would not change a thing if I could. I think each and every one of you are the best and it just makes me feel like trying harder each day to be a better man, better dad to you, and praising God more and more for such a blessing. I just pray that we will all grow stronger and that our family will always be strong.
With all my love,

Saturday, September 11, 2010

here a shrimp, there a shrimp...

According to the old-timers around here, this is the best year the shrimp have run in twenty years. It must be true because there is a bountiful supply of shrimp this year. I think it would be safe to say that I’ve seen more shrimp, cleaned more shrimp, ate more shrimp and froze more shrimp in the past six weeks, than I have in my entire life!

This is the first year I’ve gone shrimping and I’m doing things that I never thought I’d do. One night I was watching Jim shrimp and jokingly said, “show me how to cast that net!” He looked at me and asked, “Are you serious?” I don’t think he thought I would do it, and I probably wouldn’t have, but not being one to back down, I had to go for it. He showed me how to hold the net, grabbing part of it and putting one of the weights in my mouth. Ughhh! Putting something in my mouth that had just come out of the river, just seemed plain gross. Somehow I got past the gross part, gave it a whirl, and not only was my first cast halfway decent, I caught shrimp! That first cast "hooked" me on shrimping and I've enjoyed every minute since that I've gone. Casting the net, looking in the water as I pull it in, and hearing the sound the shrimp make in the net (music to my ears!) is some of the most fun I’ve had in a long time.

We have shrimp, shrimp and more shrimp and they’re still coming! We’ve given them to friends and neighbors, carted them to Mom’s to put in her freezer, and have even bartered shrimp for freezer space with a couple of friends. We are cooking shrimp every other day, trying different recipes, searching for new ones, and Jim has even invented a few new concoctions.

Most of all, we’ve had good times and made some fun memories. Not only did I learn to cast a shrimp net, but Kirby did as well, and Cade perfected his casting. Both of them can cast a net almost as good as any grown-up I’ve seen. I never thought we would find something that the grandkids enjoy doing as much as we do, but they both love to shrimp and we’ve had loads of fun watching them.

Cade's first casting lesson - August 2060

Cade casting - August 2010

Kirby learning to cast - August 2010

The girl can cast a net!!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Oh my goodness, what goodness!!!

I just tried this recipe tonight and they have to be the lightest, fluffiest, most melt-in-your-mouth biscuits ever, bar none! And, they’re super easy to make, which makes them my kind of recipe!

Whipped Cream Biscuits

2 cups cake flour
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Beat the cream just until it holds soft peaks. Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture and add the whipped cream. Stir briskly with a wooden spoon, just until the dough pulls together in a uniform, shaggy mass.

Turn the dough onto a floured work surface. Knead 4 or 5 times, then pat into thickness 3/4 inch. Using a small biscuit or circle, cut into rounds and place on ungreased baking sheet, leaving a little space between them. Reroll and cut any scraps. Bake until light golden, about 15 to 16 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and serve.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

You would had to have been there...

And there’s no way I can put it into words, where it is half as funny as it was when it happened, but here goes my best shot...

Thursday, several neighbors and I had a meeting scheduled with the Chief of Police to discuss a problem house located a few blocks from our house. There are “dealings” going on all hours of the night at this house and Christina, the lady who lives across the street from the house, is fed up! Not only that, she has had some confrontations with the two brothers who live in the house. Christina had set the meeting up in hopes of finding a solution to help put an end to the problem.

Six of us showed up for the meeting and were escorted to the chief’s conference room. While sitting in the room, I happened to glance at the mantle behind the chief and notice a picture of a young police officer. Since it bore a slight resemblance to the police chief, I figured it was a picture of him when he was much younger and a lot “lighter” if you know what I mean.

We were in a deep discussion with the chief when out of nowhere, interrupting the conversation, Christina blurts out, “Who’s the cute guy in the picture?” All conversation ceased, a look of pride came over the chief’s face and he said, “That’s me.” Christina’s mouth flew open and before she could stop herself she said, “Oh S**T! I didn’t mean to offend you.” Oh my goodness, if the “Oh S**I” wasn’t bad enough, the “I didn’t mean to offend you” was icing on the cake! And, the look on her face was absolutely priceless! The chief quickly recovered, acted as though he never heard her comment, and moved right on with the conversation.

Jim and I are still laughing about Christina’s gaffe and hopefully you got a chuckle reading this. If not, I guess you would just had to have been there!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

In awe...

Once again, I stand amazed at God’s protection over Chance and the troops!

We have a code that Chance uses to let us know when he’s going on a mission. He knows that I’ll put phone calls and emails into place, getting people to pray for him and the troops that are with him.

Through communication with Chance, we knew Monday that he was preparing to head out on a mission. I contacted people and put prayers in motion for him and the troops. I began praying Psalm 91 and some other verses over Chance, praying for God’s protection over him and the troops. He’s always in my thoughts and prayers, but even more so when I know he’s on a mission.

The next morning, when I turned on my computer, I read where five troops had been killed in a roadside bomb. You can imagine where my thoughts started to take me. Right then, I made up my mind that I wouldn’t go “there,” that I would hold on to the promises of God that I had been praying. I kept repeating Psalm 112:7, “He will have no fear of bad news, his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” And Isaiah 49:23, “Those who hope in the Lord will not be disappointed.”

Yesterday morning the phone rang and when I answered, I heard Chance’s voice. I couldn’t hold back the tears, and started crying. He wanted to know if I was OK and I replied, “I am now!” He said, “The prayers worked, they really, really worked!” Well, not only did the prayers “work,” they worked in miraculous ways!

Chance explained that a mine sweeper is sent ahead to detect IED’s. The Taliban has figured out how to rig the IED’s so they skip the mine sweeper and hit one of the vehicles behind it. Chance was riding in the vehicle behind the mine sweeper on the mission. The mine sweeper hit an IED and exploded, along with part of the truck Chance was in. Amazingly, all the guys escaped without any injury, and they were able to drive the truck back to their base!

It is nothing short of a miracle that the mine sweeper set off the IED, and not the vehicle Chance was traveling in. I had prayed on Tuesday that God would show up in a miraculous way, and boy did He ever! Jim suggested that next time, I ask for God to not show up quiet as strong! This is the second time that Chance has literally seen prayers answered while on a mission. What a faith strengthener for him, for us and for all the people praying for him!!!

My heart hurts for the families of the five troops that were killed on Tuesday and my prayers go out to them. Their situation makes me even more aware of how blessed I am. My heart is overflowing with gratitude to the creator of the universe!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sweet Cade

Our ten year old grandson, Cade, has to be the sweetest, most considerate, well-mannered little boys there is, bar none! He is such a pleasure to be around and makes quiet the impression on the people he meets, including my friend Jerry. She really got to know him this summer when we spent a lot of time fishing and shrimping on her dock.

One day while Cade was staying with us, we invited Jerry to come over for a home cooked meal he helped prepare. Yep, the boy even knows how to cook! Chef Cade fixed some delicious steamed shrimp and fresh green beans, that he hand picked from the produce department, for Miss Jerry’s lunch date. I must say we were all impressed!

I think Cade really won Miss Jerry’s heart with the thank you note he recently wrote to her. It’s just too precious not to share, so I made a copy before I mailed it and thought I'd share it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Deployment #2

It’s official. As of the end of July, Chance is back in Afghanistan for his second deployment and time once again, seems to be moving at a snail’s pace. Yes, it is true, time is too slow for those who wait!

Jim and I went to Kentucky to spend a couple of days with Chance before he left, and to see him off. I wondered if it would be as hard and emotional as it was last time, and it wasn’t quiet as bad. Almost, but not as bad. I was determined not to cry at the airport and almost made it, but at the last minute I felt the tears welling up in my eyes. Both times, Chance made it a little easier, leaving with a smile.

The ride home wasn’t near as bad either. Jim and I were in better spirits this time around and even talked. (If you read my post on 7-09-09, you’ll see where we couldn’t even talk on the way home last time.) I think knowing what to expect and how often we were able to communicate with Chance, has helped us as we face “round 2.” I used to joke about how we look like two crazed idiots when he called, sitting side by side with the phone on speaker phone, so we could both hear what he was saying. We’ve already started the “crazed idiot” thing when he calls. Guess it’s going to be a precedent for us when he’s over there.

As we survived before with a lot of faith and prayers, we will survive this deployment the same way, only this time we’ll have a little more faith, being made stronger through our past experience.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Once again, I am in awe of God’s amazing ways! To start this story, you need to know that for several weeks now, Jim and I have been planning a trip to Kentucky tomorrow to spend a couple of days with Chance before he deploys.

A week ago Tuesday night, Jim started feeling really bad. After having kidney stones in the past, he knew this had to be the culprit making him feel so bad. The pain and vomiting were relentless and went on for several days. The following Friday he went to the doctor and tests were ordered on Monday. After viewing the test results on Monday, the doctor sent us to a urologist the next day. The urologist ordered a sonogram on Wednesday and told us to come back Thursday for an appointment.

Thursday morning I left work and picked Jim up to take him to the doctor. On the way, he asked me to stop and pick him up a candy bar, just in case his blood sugar went too low. Not being home that morning, I had no idea he hadn’t eaten all day. Had I known, I would have encouraged him to stop and grab something at a drive through, knowing how crazy his blood sugar gets because of his diabetes.

When we saw the doctor, he said that Jim had a small kidney stone, and suggested he try a medication that would make him urinate a lot to see if he could pass the stone. If the stone didn’t pass after four or five days, then they would surgically remove it. We reminded the doctor that we were going out of town Sunday and asked what the likelihood was that Jim would be able to go.

Considering that Jim had recently had a kidney infection and the trip we had planned, the doctor gave us another choice - to have the stone surgically removed. Jim said nine days of fighting the stone was enough, he wanted the surgery done, ASAP! The doctor said they could do the surgery that afternoon depending on the last time Jim had something to eat. Since Jim hadn’t eaten all day, the surgery was scheduled for that afternoon. The doctor said he’d be able to come home that evening.

The urologist came out of surgery and told me that he was able to retrieve the stone, but was more concerned about what was behind the stone than anything else. He said that when he removed the stone, infection poured out from behind it and the amount of the infection was lethal! He admitted Jim to the hospital and started him on IV antibiotics. Around noon yesterday, Jim was released and got to come home.

It is nothing short of amazing, how everything played out. Not only did Jim not eat anything at home that morning, his sugar stayed up, so he didn’t need the candy bar I bought for him. Had he eaten any food, the surgery would have been postponed until Friday. Who knows the difference 24 hours might have made! Had we not planned the trip to Kentucky, we would have chosen to wait out the stone by trying the medicine the doctor suggested, rather than go through the expense of a hospital visit. That would have put Jim four to five more days with all that infection. Taking into account that he is still not fully recovered from his quadruple bypass, either of these scenarios could have been detrimental to his life. As I said to the urologist after the surgery, we are really blessed. “Yes, you are!” was his reply. We are ever thankful for God's many blessings in our lives.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Recent happenings that made my heart smile!

*** It didn’t take long for Pat to claim me as a member of her family. We used to talk about being sisters in Christ, but she thought of me as her earthly sister as well. Several times one of the medical staff would come in her room to evaluate her and ask if I was her family member. I always said, “No” while Pat was shaking her head “Yes” the whole time. I couldn’t help but smile when she did this, knowing the hospital didn’t consider “love like a sister” as being a family member. In the short time I knew her, I don’t think I could have loved her more, had she been my sister. So you can imagine how honored I felt when I was listed in Pat’s obituary and funeral program, as her “adopted sister.” No doubt she would have loved it just as much as I did!

*** Because he was ADHD with learning disabilities, our son Brandon, struggled through his school years. After high school he attended a couple of college courses, dropped out and moved to Texas. I was more than a little concerned about his future, but he got a job at a hospital in Dallas and has done very well. He called me recently to tell me that he had gotten the “Service Excellence Award” for the third time! He is the first person in his division to ever get the award three times in one year! He was also chosen as “Employee of the Month” for February. As he said, “Who would have thought that the kid with ADHD, who struggled in school would be doing so well!” As you can imagine, I am beyond proud of him!

*** Eight years ago, Jim and I were very supportive of a young couple we knew whose two year old daughter Lyla, was battling leukemia. Our hearts went out to them and we did what little we could, to help them through that difficult time, and after when she passed away.

A couple of days ago, Lyla’s dad called. He said he had some good news for us. He and his wife are expecting baby #5 and it’s their first boy! Because of all our love and support, they are naming him “Mason” after our last name! Yep, I cried and then I smiled when Ryan told me his “good news!”

*** And for the grand finale - Our oldest grandson turned 10 years old today. On his wish list he wrote, “Jim and Molly come for a visit.” Melt my heart little one!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Journey Began With A Smile

Oh, the power of a smile! I will always be in awe of the way I met Pat. I looked across the hall in the hospital and saw her looking at me - a complete stranger - and smiling at me! What??? Someone looking across the hall, smiling at me as if I were her best friend? Little did I know that smile would be the start of a journey where we would develop a deep relationship, where I would learn more about her, and about God. I stopped by her room and told her I loved her smile. The doctor was with her, so I couldn’t visit, but left with her on my mind. I was so intrigued when I walked home, I knew I had to know more about her and went back that afternoon to meet her.

From the moment I saw Pat I knew there was something different and special about her. After meeting her, I realized what made her so special. Her faith and love for God were awe inspiring, to the point she smiled in the midst of her storms. Considering the magnitude of her storms, this was truly amazing! Something had attacked her body and she was in a sense, paralyzed. Other than being able to squeeze my hand, there was little more that she could do with her body. To make matters worse, she had a trachea, was on a ventilator and her only communication came by reading her lips.

In the middle of all Pat was going through, she was quick to offer me hope and encouragement when I was going through a couple of hard times. One day I shared a concern with her. Without hesitation she said, “You have to promise me you won’t worry about this. God has something better in store for you. Promise me you’ll trust God with this.” Knowing my battles with worry, I couldn’t give her that promise. Pat wouldn’t take “no” for an answer and insisted that I make the promise. It was hard for me to do, but I made the commitment to her. That simple act changed the way I looked at the situation, and helped me keep worry at bay.

I can’t begin to understand the ways of God, and the way He answers our prayers. Pat trusted Him for a healing. Friends anointed her with oil and prayed over her. Many prayers went up on her behalf. I prayed for her, prayed with her and read Bible verses to her. Almost daily I saw a decline in her health. As I watched her slowly fade away, I thought more and more about God. I sensed He put Pat in my life to teach me more about trusting Him. Instead of trusting Him to do what I wanted, I needed to be trusting in Him to do His perfect will for her life!

Yesterday Pat received complete healing, and Heaven got a little sweeter, as she went home to be with our Heavenly Father. No more pain and suffering for her! She’s rejoicing and praising God with all the angels. In one of our many conversations, I told Pat when she got to Heaven she would be running and singing all over the place. The angels would be chasing after her, telling her to slow down, she has all of eternity to praise God. After being confined to a hospital bed for months, and only able to communicate by someone reading her lips, I can only imagine the rejoicing she’s doing!

I told a friend I wish I could have had one more hour with Pat. She asked if there were a lot of things I wished I had said to her. And there isn’t! I can’t think of one thing I would say, that I hadn’t already said! I would just love to tell her again how much I love her, how much of a difference she made in my life, and see her smile one more time. I’m so thankful that God chose to put this beautiful person in my life. The brief time I knew her, has forever changed my life.

To read more about Pat, check out the tags on my blog, "Pat."

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

Since I had to take Cade home yesterday, I thought I’d go out and spend some time with Dad for an early “Father’s Day.” It becomes increasingly harder for me every time I go for a visit and yesterday was really bad. I didn’t stay long and felt guilty about it, when I left.

Dad always seems glad to see me, but I'm not sure he knows who I am. The way he acts, I think he knows that I’m someone close to him, someone he should know. As I watch him, I sit and wonder what he’s thinking. Gone are the days of sitting and having a conversation with him. He mumbles a lot, making it hard to hear him. What he does say, makes no sense. To add to the confusion, Mom asks him to repeat what he says. He can’t remember what he says, so he gets a blank look and shrugs his shoulders, or says something different than what he originally said. I don’t know why Mom is so insistent on having him repeat stuff. The only thing I can figure out is she’s hoping he’ll say something that makes sense, and she doesn’t want to miss that moment.

It’s so hard for me to watch some of the things Dad does, as it reflects just how bad his mind really is. He is so confused in so many ways. One time he broke up his cookies, put them in his coke and started eating them like you would cookies and milk. I ask him what he was doing, and he looked at me like I was the one with brain issues. He said he had been doing that "all his life." Another time he poured his coke into a gallon of ice cream. Yesterday he picked up a piece of chocolate candy and ate it like he would a cracker, with his red beans and rice. Then he put a piece of candy with the wrapper on it, in his mouth. When I told him he couldn’t do that and to spit it out, he looked at me as a child would, that had just been scorned.

A friend recently said that both of parents were here one day and gone the next. She said that after hearing what others have gone through with their parents, she is thankful that God blessed her, and her parents, with a quick death. I’ve thought a lot about what she said. Up until Dad started getting so bad, I had felt blessed to have him and Mom with us. Now it’s hard seeing him the way he is, and watching her as she tries to cope with the changes taking place with him. I’m not sure which way is easier and I’m thankful God is the one who determines all of this. For me, it’ll be a relief when my dad passes and I know he’s out of this state of confusion and home with Jesus. As for today, I’m going to focus on the memories, and I have lots of those to be thankful for!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Corn and Blueberry Salad

I love a summer salad and when I read the ingredients in this recipe, I knew it would become a favorite of mine. Not only does it tastes yummy, it makes a pretty, colorful salad. I changed the original recipe up a little, so here is my version:

Corn and Blueberry Salad

6 ears fresh sweet corn
2 cups blueberries
2 small cucumbers, quarter and slice
½ cup red onion chopped
½ cup fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
4 Tbsp lime juice
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt

Cook corn and cut off cob. Let cool. In serving bowl combine corn, blueberries, cucumber, red onion, cilantro and jalapeno pepper.

In screw-top jar, combine lime juice, oil, honey, cumin and salt. Shake well to combine. Add to salad and toss. Cover and refrigerate overnight. If you want to serve it right away, let it sit at room temperature for half an hour, to an hour to let the flavors meld.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Miss Marlboro

After seeing my neighbor, Clara, walk to the end of the block and back on several different occasions, I asked her one day what she was looking for. “Cigarettes” was her answer! I was more than a little puzzled by her answer and she further explained. For over five years, someone has been tossing a pack of cigarettes in the street. The” tossing of the pack” happens between 4:00 and 4:30 p.m., only on weekdays, anywhere from three to five times a week. To add to the mystery, there is almost always 14 cigarettes in the pack that gets tossed.

The guy living with Clara, has seen the mystery person who throws out the cigarettes and described the vehicle and driver to us. The past few weeks, Jim and I have sat on the porch many a day watching for the cigarette lady. Somehow she has always managed to elude us until the other day. Jim happened to notice a Lincoln, driven by an older lady, come slowly by our house. The driver’s window was halfway down and the car slowed before it got to the intersection. He knew it had to be the cigarette lady, and just as he anticipated a pack of cigarettes was tossed out of the window. Having a better description of her car, I went on a mission to find the car, while out walking. We figured that she must work near where we live and sure enough, I found her car parked at a business two blocks from our house. Through observation, we’ve figured out that she works from 8:00-4:00, Monday through Friday.

Being super curious, we are relishing in the fact that we’ve solved part of the mystery, although the most mysterious part remains unsolved. Why would someone her age, throw away an almost full pack of cigarettes, several times a week? I could understand if this were a teenager, but an older lady? Why not leave them at work, or hide them in her car instead of throwing them away? If she has to be so secretive that she throws cigarettes away, when does she smoke those six cigarettes?

When handing Clara a pack I picked up recently, she said to me, “That lady sure has saved me a lot of money!” No doubt about it! Jim did some quick math, and figures Miss Marlboro has thrown away over $4,000 worth of smokes in the last five years. She is literally throwing money away, giving the phrase, “up in smoke” a whole new meaning!

Jim and I sit and fantasize about stopping Miss Marlboro one day and asking for an interview. Yep, we’re just that curious! We’ve even thought about putting some Nicorette coupons on her windshield, or a note telling her she is supporting our neighbor’s bad habit. At the expense of our fun, the cigarette lady would probably take a new route home each day, and that would be the end of Clara’s free cigarettes. Our theory is that if Clara is going to smoke, she might as well get the freebies being thrown away. Which leaves me to wonder, if this considered “street pickup” instead of dumper diving???

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Memories on Mother's Day

When I think about growing up, my thoughts always reflect on Mom’s sewing and cooking. Mom’s sewing skills were amazing and creative. A lot of her sewing was done without patterns or by putting patterns together. She knew what to do to make the pattern fit or how to alter the item as she was sewing, so it would fit. My sewing involved a pattern and the pattern had better be the right size, because I was clueless how to alter it to make it work. Many things were given away or trashed in frustration, which is probably the reason I didn’t sew more than what I did.

Mom made clothes with matching bonnets and panties for my dolls, and really sweet night gowns with matching slippers for me. One of my favorite things she made was an Indian costume for a play in elementary school. I’ll always remember looking at the other costumes and thinking mine was the best of all! Even as a teen, I loved the clothes she made for me and wore them with pride. From the clothes she made for me and my dolls, to my wedding dress, Mom was creative with her sewing and could make anything look store bought.

And Mom’s cooking... oh my goodness that lady could cook! I have so many wonderful childhood memories of meals that she so lovingly prepared. I can remember her reading books to me when I was little, while a pot of soup, stew, dried beans or rutabagas were cooking on the stove. Every day when Dad came home from work, our family would sit down and have supper together. In Mississippi, we didn’t have “lunch” and “dinner”, we had “dinner” and “supper.” And every meal came with a large pitcher of sweet ice tea.

Every Sunday morning Mom would get up, fix breakfast and dinner (lunch), and get four kids ready for church. We were always on time, and came home to a wonderful home cooked meal. My Sunday mornings with four kids were chaotic to say the least, and we always ran late to church. If I managed to prepare a meal before church, you can bet it wasn’t anything like the ones my mom prepared. Growing up, a typical home cooked meal on Sunday would be fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and the works to go along with it. As a mom, my idea of a perfect Sunday dinner was to pick up Kentucky Fried Chicken with all the side dishes, and bring it home.

Every so often, we got a big surprise for breakfast. On those mornings Mom would say she SHOULD be giving us a healthy breakfast, but was giving us a treat instead. The treat was a yellow cake she baked covered with a “melt in your mouth” fudge frosting. That had to have been the best cake and frosting ever, as well as one of our favorite breakfasts.

And then there were Mom’s doughnuts. They were the best ever. She would make a big batch of them, glaze them with a powdered sugar glaze and we would devour them in no time. Another favorite was Mom’s fried apricot pies. She would take dried apricots, cook them down and add butter and sugar to them. Then she would get canned biscuits, roll them out, put the filling on one side, fold them over and fry them. We would eat them as soon as they were cool enough to touch.
It’s disappointing to have the best teacher in the world when it comes to cooking, and not even come close to being able to cook as well as she does. As much as I tried, my cooking can’t begin to compare to Mom’s. Not that her meals were fancy, they were just good, old home cooked meals. She never needed a recipe and could throw stuff together and make a mouth-watering dish. As for me, I use recipes and follow them to the letter. Where Mom took what she had on hand and created a wonderful meal, I went to the grocery store with my list, picking up the ingredients the recipe called for.

I am proud to say that I did learn to cook a few things from Mom. She taught me how to make “Chicken and Dumplings” from scratch, and the secret to making them - ice water. I can almost make “Chicken and Dressing” as good as she does, and I know that the secret to her spaghetti sauce is to add a little sugar. So many people liked Mom’s potato salad that we sat down one day and measured out the ingredients as she made it. Even with her recipe, mine doesn’t quiet measure up to hers. Truthfully I don’t think I’ve ever cooked anything Mom cooked, that tastes as good as hers.

I seriously think Mom’s sewing and cooking talents bypassed me and skipped a generation. My daughter is creative, has sewed some really cool stuff without a pattern, and can throw a wonderful meal together in no time, without a recipe. All this leads me to believe that one day Eisley will be writing about what an awesome, creative, mom she has. And hopefully the talents didn’t skip her generation!

Early Morning Conversation

Since Jim’s surgery, I have to help him get dressed. While sitting on the porch this morning, I told him a little white lie.

“Last night I blogged about putting your underwear on backwards.”

“You didn’t put them on backwards, you tried to put them on backwards. Maybe you should call it a “log” instead of a “blog” since you lied.”

Jim said that even though he still is in a lot of pain, he feels better today than he did yesterday. I said, “Now you know how I felt when I had my hysterectomy!” I reminded him that the surgeon told him when he had colon surgery for cancer, that colon surgery and a hysterectomy were two of the most painful surgeries. I’m guessing that surgeon isn’t familiar with open heart surgery??? He said since we've both had surgery on our "tops and our bottoms" (mastectomy, hysterectomy, heart, and colon), now we're even.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Some funny moments...

There have been some humourous moments the past couple of weeks and I wish I had written more of them down. Here’s a few that I wrote notes about.

The night before Jim’s surgery I said, “ I promise I’m never going to do another crappy thing to you again.”

“Can I have that in writing?” he asked.
“Uh, I don’t think so.”

“Jim, just think this time tomorrow you’ll either wake up and be with me, or be with Jesus.”

“Yep, I’ll either win the lottery or be with you, Molly.”

“So, you don’t think being with me is like winning the lottery? You better not answer that one, Jim!”

I put a heart tattoo on the back of Jim’s shoulder after his heart cath, while he was still drowsy from the anesthesia. I thought he’d see it and assume it had been on there when he had the heart cath. I couldn’t wait for him to notice it. Well, it didn’t happen as I had planned. He ended up being admitted to the ER and never saw it. The night he was admitted to ER, one of the nurses saw it and said to another nurse, “Oh look at his heart tattoo.”

“What tattoo?” he asked. He called me right away and said, “MOLLY, WHAT DID YOU PUT ON MY BACK???”

When Chance and I went to see Jim on Monday, we met the nurse taking him for his walk. They turned around to head back to his room and Chance and I were behind them. I asked the nurse, “So, you don't make sure their butt isn't showing, before you take the patients walking?" She jerked her head around to make sure Jim’s rear was covered and then realized I was joking and started laughing. I wish I could I have seen the look on Jim’s face. I’m sure it was priceless.

I carried Jim’s clothes home that he wore to the ER to wash them. He called me Tuesday morning to tell me he was being released and to bring him some clothes to wear home. When I got to the hospital, I hid his clothes in the bottom of a bag. He said, "Honey, did you bring me clothes to wear home?"

"Oops, I forgot."

I looked at the nurse and asked her if he could wear the hospital gown home. She said it wouldn’t be a problem. Jim looked at me and said, “Molly, that doctor cut the humor out of me, so don't try this one."

It hurts Jim to laugh, and it seems like I’ve said some funny stuff lately, making us both laugh. He told me the second day he was home, that I had to quit being funny and making him laugh. He said that his lungs could collapse if he laughed, too much or too hard. I’m so gullible and thought he was being telling the truth. The next day when the nurse came, I asked how laughing could make his lungs collapse. She looked confused and said that couldn’t happen. Oh, he was so BUSTED!!!

And, my favorite comment made during this ordeal was one Chance said, that speaks volumes about his personality. When we were leaving the hospital Monday, he saw an old man walking to his car and said, “I’m not going to be a slow, old person, even if it means getting a fast scooter!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Answered Prayers

I am so tired, I seriously feel deflated. The past few days have found me spending a lot of time sitting on the porch, going to bed earlier and even taking a nap, something I rarely do. Between Jim’s hospital stay, and him being in a lot of pain since he’s been home, I've had several sleepless nights that have finally caught up with me.

About three weeks ago Jim’s stress test revealed the blood was moving sluggishly through his heart. He went for a heart cath on the 26th and the cardiologist said he needed a triple bypass. The surgery was scheduled for May 3rd. The next afternoon he started having severe pain and I had to take him to the ER. He was admitted to the hospital and surgery was bumped up to April 30th.

Jim ended up having a quadruple bypass and did really well. The doctor said this surgery usually requires a 3-5 day hospital stay, but since Jim is diabetic, we could expect a 7-10 day stay. He was released four days after surgery and came home Tuesday!

We had a lot of people praying for Jim and for me, before and during the surgery, and still have people praying for his recovery. Not only have I seen prayers answered in how well things have gone, I have felt prayers answered, in the peace I have felt during this time.

Creston and Chance were able to come and be with me during the surgery. It was quite the trip riding with them. Chance saw a duffle bag in the truck and asked Creston if it was his. Then he asked him, “What are you planning to do, rob a bank or something?” He teased Creston about it looking like a bank robber’s bag from the 70's and said he sure hoped he wasn’t taking it with him in the hospital.

The boys had me and Jim laughing before surgery. Turns out that Creston had a humorous book packed in that duffle bag and he pulled it out and started reading it to us. When Jim mentioned that he had been shaved from head to toe, Chance asked him if he was going to keep up the “man-scaping” after surgery. While Jim was in surgery, Chance found some hilarious videos on “You Tube” which had the three of us laughing out loud.

I was dreading telling Jim bye when they took him to surgery, and the waiting during the surgery. I knew I would cry when they took him back, making it worse for both of us and would probably cry during the wait. Having Creston and Chance with me, made it so much better than I could ever have imagined. Between the comments, jokes and videos, they kept me well entertained and I never shed the first tear!!!

After surgery I called several people to give them updates. One of the people I called is my friend Vicki. I told her the surgery had gone well and I had done amazingly well, thanks to comic relief from the boys. Vicki Said to me, “You’re not going to believe this, but two times this morning I specifically prayed for comic relief from the boys!” How awesome is that!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Precious Pat

Pat was transferred to another hospital and had surgery Tuesday afternoon. I went to the hospital Wednesday morning to check on her. When I walked in her room, the first words out of her mouth were, “God is good, all the time!”

Amazing, inspiring, faith filled . . . are there really the right words to describe Pat? She’s on a ventilator with a trac, and has paralysis due to neuropathy. Less than 24 hours out of major abdominal surgery, her body is racked with pain. She has a tube in her nose, drains and a wound vac. Yet her first words to me are filled with praise for God!

The nurses talk about Pat. The doctors are in awe of her. My friends, who have gone to visit, have fell in love with her. It seems she touches the lives of everyone she meets. I’m sure some people wonder what gives Pat the ability to smile in the midst of her storms. I know the answer. One can’t be around Pat very long without realizing, how much she loves God. She truly is a beautiful testimony for Him! I think we can all learn lessons from precious Pat.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Lady with the Beautiful Smile

My heart sings with joy! I have a new friend and she has already been a blessing in my life. She is one of the most precious ladies I have ever met. I don’t think anyone could meet Pat and not walk away a different person, she’s just that amazing!

Yesterday I went to visit Tammy in the hospital. As I left her room, I happened to glance across the hall. There was a lady looking at me and smiling! I’m sure you wonder, “What’s so unusual about that?” I have been going to that hospital since August and have never walked by a room and seen a patient smile. NEVER! Pat is the first. That in of itself, says a lot about Pat. I stopped by her room on my way out and told her that I loved her smile. She smiled even more. As I walked home, I wondered about the lady with the beautiful smile.

I couldn’t get Pat off my mind and nothing would do, but for me to go back and meet her. Since Tammy was having a bad day, I thought I’d go back and check on her, and stop in and talk to the “lady with the beautiful smile.” Tammy was sleeping soundly, so I went in Pat’s room, introduced myself and asked if I could visit her. She smiled so brightly and said I could visit, come anytime, and as often as I wanted.

Like Tammy, Pat is on a trach, making it a challenge to communicate with her. After months of visiting Tammy, I’m much better at reading lips, so we were able to carry on a conversation with just a few missing words. A few minutes into the conversation I mentioned her smile. She said “It’s God.” I wasn’t surprised. It didn’t take me long to recognize that Pat is overflowing with faith, love and smiles. One of the nurses said they call her “Miss Smiley” because she’s always smiling. I stayed until the nurse took her for some tests. Pat made me promise that I would come back for a visit.

Later that afternoon I took some Bible verses and the alphabet printed out (to help with communication) to Pat. Her family was visiting so I got to meet them. I spent a few minutes talking with her family and left the Bible verses and alphabet with them.

Today I stopped in to see Pat on my way to visit Tammy. Pat was awake and smiling She asked me right off if I would read the Bible verses to her. I asked if she wanted me to put her name in the verses as I read them and she liked this idea. To give an example, I read Isaiah 26:3 like this, “Thou will keep Pat in perfect peace because Pat trusteth in thee.” In between verses, we talked about God, how amazing He is, and how much He loves us. A couple of times she looked at me and said, “You’re going to make me cry.” When I told Pat that I’m amazed at how well we communicate, she said to me, “It’s because we have a connection.” I thought she was going to make me cry with that one!

I told Pat that I am going to my parent’s house for Easter. When I told her that Dad has Alzheimer’s and Mom has Dementia, she looked at me and said, “Pray about that.” I shared with her that I have been, but sometimes I get weary and give up with my prayer requests. She looked at me and said, “Never give up!” Wow! Here I am hoping to brighten her life with a visit, and she’s encouraging and blessing me.

Sometimes the visits with Tammy are so emotionally draining for me. As God always does, He sends us just what we need, just when we need it the most. I’m thankful He sent Pat to me for encouragement and uplifting. I think of her as my sunshine on cloudy days.

"Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our life is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see." Corrie Ten Boom

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

“Out of This World” Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

This recipe makes the best Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies ever, bar none!

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
1 cup Crisco
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups (quick cooking) oatmeal
12 oz. chocolate chips
1 cup pecans

Sift together flour, soda, and salt in bowl. Set aside. Blend Crisco, sugars, water and vanilla in another bowl. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add this to the flour mixture. Blend well. Stir in chips, oatmeal and pecans. Spoon on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 325-350 degrees for 10-12 minutes

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Irish Soda Bread

On St. Patrick’s Day my friend, Mary made Irish Soda Bread and brought it to the clinic where we volunteer. Needless to say, I made several trips to the kitchen that day to grab a piece of Irish Soda Bread. It was that addicting. My first mistake was tasting it, my second mistake was brining a piece home for Jim to try. He liked it as much as I did and we both craved more!

That afternoon Jim and I were reading the sale ads for the local Publix and much to our delight, they had Irish Soda Bread on sale. They had two different kinds, one with and one without, caraway seeds. Mary’s had caraway seeds, so we wanted that kind. Since it was late in the afternoon, I figured Publix would be sold out of Irish Soda Bread. I looked up their phone number, called the store and spoke with a real sweet gal in the bakery department. She found one loaf that had caraway seeds. I asked her to put it on hold and told her Jim would be there shortly to pick it up. I made a quick grocery list and sent Jim out the door to pick up our treat.

In this particular Publix, our cell phones will not work in their store. You have to go outside to make a call. It becomes really frustrating if you need to call home and ask a question when you’re at the store. Fifteen minutes after leaving the house, an annoyed Jim was standing in front of Publix, on his cell phone, with me. “Didn’t you call and put a loaf of bread on hold? There is a little oriental lady working in the bakery that doesn’t speak or understand English very well. She seems confused about the caraway seeds and isn’t sure which loaves have them. And, she can’t find the loaf that you put on hold.” Hmmm, I wondered, “Is it that she has a problem with the English language, or that she has a problem with a frustrated redneck???”

I insisted he go back and tell her I had just called the store, and there WAS a loaf of bread on hold. In the meantime I called the bakery department and a young man answered. I explained the situation and he found the loaf of bread behind the counter. I told him to be on the lookout for a big guy with a beard, wearing a cowboy hat, who was very grumpy.

Jim went back to the bakery. The little oriental lady had started passing out samples of Irish Soda Bread and offerend him one. He told her a sample wouldn't help figure out which loaves had caraway seeds. As he grabbed a loaf off the counter, she looked at him and said, “You don’t like, you bring back.” He informed her that he didn’t want a loaf he might have to bring back, he wanted a loaf to eat.

Twenty minutes passed and I called Jim’s cell phone. He was on his way to the house with a loaf of Irish Soda Bread. He didn’t see “caraway seeds” on the label, so it was probably not the kind of bread he went in search of, in the first place. Now I was getting annoyed and told him I was calling the store and complain.

I called the store and the same little gal I had spoken with the first time, answered. I told her that Jim had been to the store and the little oriental lady could not find our loaf of bread, nor could she figure out which loaves had caraway seeds in them. “What oriental lady?” she asked. Uh oh, I didn’t like where this was going at all. “We don’t have an oriental lady working in our bakery. Did you mean to call the Publix on Hwy 17, or the one on 220?” I told her I wanted the store on Hwy 17 and thought that’s the one I called.

“Oh, people get us confused all the time. Our store is the one at 220 and 17, but the address is listed as Hwy 17. The other one is on Hwy 17, but the address is listed as Hibernia Road. You called the wrong store.”

One mystery solved and one mistake I won’t be repeating. When Jim came home, I told him about my big blunder and we both laughed. All the aggravation, back and forth phone calls and we had the wrong store the entire time! Jim said he sure was glad that he didn’t get irate with the little oriental lady and show his butt. Wonders of all wonders on that one! He was actually proud of himself for not speaking his mind to the innocent little lady. He thought for a minute and then said, “I bet I win the lottery tonight, since I was so nice.” Sorry Jim, I don’t think it works that way. If it did, I’m sure we would stand a good chance of hitting the big one!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dad's Follow Up Appointment

Dad’s doctor told Mom in August that he suspected Dad has Alzheimer’s and recommended she take him to see a neurologist. The doctor gave her some medicine for the Alzheimer’s. Because Mom’s memory is so bad, it’s unclear whether she gave Dad the medicine. It was after Dad fell at the post office in December, that Mom made the appointment with the neurologist, Dr. Quick.

There has been a noticeable change in Dad since he fell, and we had hopes that the fall could be blamed for his confusion and hallucinations. I met Mom and Dad on Monday for the follow up appointment with Dr. Quick and to get the results of the second EEG. Dr. Quick said he was hoping against hope that the EEG would show some improvement, but there is none. All indicators are Alzheimer’s and he thinks the fall has made the situation worse.

Dr. Quick explained what we need to do to protect Dad and what we can expect to take place. As he talked I heard Mom sniffing and I couldn’t bring myself to look at her. I knew she was crying. If I had turned to look at her, I would have broke down in tears, and I didn’t think it would be good for Dad to see us crying. As I write, I have a heart of regret and tears in my eyes, for not turning to her and putting my arms around her.

Every time Mom brings the situation up about Dad, I remind her that we have to be thankful for what we’ve had. In trying to be strong and encourage her, I feel I have closed the door on her being able to share her thoughts, feelings and fears with me. I have not acknowledged her pain and heartache and that’s something I need to do, for both of us. Telling her to be thankful when her world is falling apart, is easy for me to say, but hard for her to appreciate. Mom needs someone to cry out to, and I haven’t been there for her. I can only imagine how hard this is for her, and I’ve got to become a better listener and be more understanding. It’s hard to know the best way to be there for her, but I know how she would react if it were me, and that’s the way I need to be for her.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Possible Diet Disaster

My biggest hurdle with my diet will be tomorrow at the Scottish Highland Games. They sell “Empire Biscuits” a Scottish cookie that is simply out of this world delicious. Two shortbread cookies, sandwiched together with raspberry jam, topped with a delicious icing and a maraschino cherry is simply delightful! Just thinking about them makes my mouth water.

Every year I buy not one, but two boxes of the cookies. I eat an entire box while walking around the games. Then I come home, grab a glass and the gallon of milk. I eat some cookie, drink some milk, eat some more cookie, drink some more milk, until the last little crumb is gone. I dare say I probably consume in excess of 2,000 calories eating Empire Biscuits and drinking milk on Scottish Highland Game Day, every year.

I was talking with Jim about the cookies the other day, and he said I should splurge and treat myself tomorrow. Not sure he’s aware what I consider a “splurge.” A typical splurge with the Empire Biscuits will probably put at least two pounds on me, and will take me a week or longer to get it off. Is it worth it??? The verdict is still out on that one!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Couple of Updates and A Cute Comment

~Diet News~
As of last Friday, Sherry and I have both lost four pounds. I LOVE the Weight Watcher’s Core Program! It’s such a wonderful feeling to lose weight without feeling deprived and hungry. If only it came off as fast as it went on, I’d be one happy camper. As of today I have 11 pounds to go and I’m back at my goal weight!

Things are getting worse with Dad. He's starting to get confused as to who we are and where he is. Whatever is going on, we can’t help but laugh at some of the things he does, but on the other hand, some are quiet serious.

On Saturday I went to visit Mom and Dad. When I arrived Mom opened the drawer where she keeps band-aids, Tylenol, etc. and found an unwrapped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in the drawer. There was no guess work as to who put it there.

I called Mom on my way to her house to make sure had milk for the cornbread I planned to bake. When I opened her refrigerator to grab the milk, I saw something brown floating in the bottom of the milk jug. I asked Mom what was wrong with the milk. We looked at the jug from the bottom and realized the brown stuff was Raisin Bran! No guess work as to who is responsible for that one, either. How Dad was able to get Raisin Bran in a gallon jug of milk, without making a huge mess that Mom would have discovered, is a mystery! Did he pour it from the box into the gallon jug or did he fix himself a bowl and pour what he didn’t want, back in the milk? We’re all stumped on this one.

You can only imagine the panic Mom felt when Dad got out of his chair and started to shuffle across the room with a knife blade sticking out of the front pocket of his jeans. She started yelling, “Stop Johnny, there’s a knife in your pocket!” He can’t hear worth a darn, and just kept shuffling along. I jumped up to see what was going on, and was horrified to see one of their sharp kitchen knives, about ten inches long, sticking out of his pocket, with the point up. I grabbed the knife and Mom asked him where he got it. He looked at me and said, “She gave it to me this morning!” I found it humourous that he blamed me for the knife, especially since I just arrived a few minutes earlier.

Creston and I were talking last night about Dad and how clearly he thinks at times, yet is so confused at other times. Even through the confusion, he seems happier than he’s ever been. Then it hit me, he’s faking this whole memory thing and playing mind games with Mom! It’s payback for all the times she stifled his fun! He can do whatever he wants and get away with it, because everything is blamed on his mind. Hmmm... this is why he’s so happy! I can see him hiding the Reese's in the band-aid drawer, devising a way to put cereal in the gallon jug of milk and sticking a knife in his pocket to scare the heebie-jeebies out of mom. How clever! If only this were the case, we could all have a big laugh. Something tells me this is going to be a long journey into the unknown with Dad. As I keep telling Mom, we have to focus on what we’ve had, not what we’ve lost.

~Comment by Cade~
Cade and Kirby love church and don’t like to miss a service. A couple of weeks ago Jim happened to be at Creston’s house when Cade said the blessing. After thanking God for the food, Cade asked God to forgive them for not going to church that morning. Priceless!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Back to Square One

Oooo.... I am so mad at me! I really messed up. I blew it! Looking at the scales I should say that I blew it over and over. And now I have to pay the price or be completely miserable. After losing 45 pounds in 2008 and swearing that I would never, ever diet again, I’m DIETING. I’m back on Weight Watchers struggling to lose weight that I had such a hard time losing in the first place. ARRRGH!

All my adult life I have struggled with my weight. I’ve gained it and lost it several times, and every time I’ve sworn that I would not put it back on. If only it were that simple! My experience with weight loss has taught me that keeping it off is a lot harder than getting it off. It doesn’t help that I’m a boredom eater and a true sugarholic, with zero willpower when it comes to something sweet. One bite of a piece of candy, cake or a cookie sends me into a binge that lasts until the very last bite/morsel is gone. The only solution to stopping the binge is to flush the offending food down the toilet. And let me say, I’ve had to resort to this tactic on numerous occasions. Apparently not often enough!

What to do, what to do??? I called my friend, Sherry. Sherry was the inspiration for me to join Weight Watchers in 2008. We shared recipes, tips and encouraged each other on our weight loss journey then, and I knew she would be the perfect person to help me get back on track. Sherry has gained some of her weight back and was ready to tackle it again. Even thought we’re back to square one, we’re determined as ever to get this extra weight off and keep it off. At least this time we don’t have as much to lose, so it won’t take us as long as it did in 2008.

Sherry and I have a plan and we’re sticking to it. Since neither of us like the new Weight Watcher’s program, we’re going to follow the old Core program. It worked for us in the past, has a lot of foods we like and offers some flexibility. We’re researching other diets to get the best tips from each one and see what food and recipes they recommend, that are on the Core plan or use the Core foods. Every Thursday we will weigh ourselves and email each other the results. Just making the commitment to follow the Weight Watchers plan with Sherry, has already helped get me back on track.

To encourage us in our endeavor, Sherry and I came up with a reward system that we believe will make a huge difference in our battle against the bulge. We are setting goals based on our combined weight loss and planning rewards when we achieve those goals. Once we reach goal, we’re going to continue using rewards to motivate us to keep the weight under control. Knowing that if I blow my diet I’m keeping Sherry from the reward and vise versa, will be the carrot that keeps us on the right track. We’re also motivated with our closets full of skinny clothes that neither of us can fit into.

I can’t think of anybody I’d rather have on this weight loss journey with me, than Sherry. I have confidence in her and know we’re going to conquer the weight issue once again, be back in our skinny clothes and spend some fun time together along the way!

Sherry found a recipe for “Black Bean Hummus” that is so delicious I thought I’d post it. It’s zero points on the Core plan.

Black Bean Hummus
1 can black beans - drain
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar (I substituted white balsamic vinegar)
½ tsp. cumin
salt and pepper to taste.

Blend in a food processor until smooth. Sherry likes this with cucumber slices. I like mine with the “Arnold Select Multi-Grain Sandwich Thins” (only one point).

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

You're never too old to learn something...

Jim and I love school holidays as they mean more time with Cade and Kirby. Since they were out of school Monday, they came up Sunday afternoon, spent the night and all day with us. They brought their Wal-Mart gift cards that were burning a hole in their pockets and Jim and I promised them a shopping trip. They started posing the big “When?” question shortly after they woke up Monday morning. I had some things to take care of first and told them it would be after lunch.

After lunch I was taking an important phone call when Cade walked into the room. He held up the following note he had written:

That sweet little note was all it took for me to put everything on the back burner. I hung up the phone, told him and Kirby to get ready and tell Jim we were ready to hit the road.

Jim and Cade made it to the car a few minutes ahead of me and Kirby. No big surprise there! While waiting on us, Jim and Cade got into a discussion as to why it takes women/girls longer to get ready than it does guys. Cade told Jim he knew the answer. “ Women are cold blooded and that’s why they are so slow. Other than that, they just don’t care.” Pretty smart thinking for a nine year old.

After a fun shopping trip we went back to the house and started dinner. Creston and Ashley came up and asked if I wanted to go appliance shopping with them. Creston wasn’t feeling well and he thought I might be of some help negotiating prices. Ashley suggested we walk in separately, and shop as if we didn’t know each other, then compare deals. Since we were short on time, we went for Plan B. Get the best deal on a washer and dryer and then ask if they would get a better deal if they bought a dishwasher.

I felt pretty confident of my shopping strategies until the sales clerk gave Creston her final price. I looked at Marsha and asked if she give them a better deal if they bought a dishwasher. “No, that was as low as they could go.” I took her at her word, but my wise son knew better. He and Ashley picked out a dishwasher. Creston ask for the bottom line price of the three appliances. After reviewing those, he got tough with his negotiating and asked for a lower price. Marsha talked with her boss and came back with a lower price. He still had some tricks up his sleeve and told her he was leaving to go check prices other places. We walked out of the store. At this point I realized that I didn’t get such a good deal on the two appliances I purchased a couple of months ago. I took the first offer, thinking it was the best offer. WRONG!

Creston had the perfect plan, pulled out the big guns and called Jami. She went to work researching prices on the internet. While he ran in to grab some food, he asked me to call her back and see what she had came up with. Jami answered the phone with “Price Line Hot Line!” She found the same washer and dryer for less, but couldn’t find the dishwasher for a lower price. Armed with that information we went back to the store.

When Creston walked in Marsha said, “We were hoping you would come back, we can offer you lower prices. “ Geez!, Couldn’t she have done that before he walked out??? After she gave him the bottom line prices, Creston gave her the prices Jami had found and got $147 more off the washer and dryer. Now that’s smart shopping. And to think Creston thought he needed my help. HA!

While we were shopping Jim, Cade and Kirby watched “Babe: Pig in the City.” In the movie there is a little crippled dog that has a brace on his back two legs with wheels on it, so he can move around. The dog was chasing a bad guy and grabbed a rag hanging out of the door of the truck so he could go faster. All was going well, until the truck turned a corner. The little dog was thrown into the street, landed on his side and appeared to be dead.

All of a sudden Kirby belted out in a hysterical cry and begin squalling. It startled Jim and he thought something had happened to her. (Just like a guy to be clueless as to why a girl is crying while watching a movie.) He asked what was wrong and before she could answer, an annoyed Cade said, “Aw, Jim the dog died.” Jim started to explain the dog wasn’t dead when Babe pushed the dog back up on his wheels and the dog took off. Simultaneously Kirby’s crying stopped. Cade looked at Jim and said, “She does that all the time.”

Jim and I received a little bit of education Monday from the younger generations. I learned that appliance shopping is just about as intense as car shopping. You need to be informed, have a partner in front of a computer, and be prepared to fight for the best deal. (Next time I’m taking Creston and having Jami manning the phones,) Jim learned why women are the last out the door. It's safe to say that he still hasn’t figured out the emotional reactions women/girls have when it comes to movies and he probably never will!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Neighbor

Other than having more than the usual amount of stuff surrounding her house and in her carport, it’s been nice having Clara living across the street. You name it and you can bet Clara has it and what’s more, she’s willing to give you anything she has. I can’t decide if she would be considered a hoarder or is she just a thrifty person? I read that hoarders acquire possession that are of limited value and they are reluctant to part with them. Clara’s generosity is possibly what keeps her out of the “hoarder” category.

The first time I went in Clara’s house I was looking all over the place, wanting to take it all in, yet trying not to be obvious. I had NEVER seen so much stuff in so many places and piled so high, as it is in Clara’s house. Indescribable! All I could think about was pictures. This was all too darn interesting not to document with pictures. I wondered how a person could go about asking someone to let them take pictures of the inside of their house??? If only I knew the answer to that one.

Nothing is ever wasted at Clara’s house. She takes every juice bottle, milk bottle or any other plastic drink container that she’s used, and fills it half full with water. She leaves the bottles on her table for a few days, pours the water on her plants and puts the container in her recycle bin. Every piece of rotten fruit, vegetable or egg shell is thrown around her plants for fertilizer. Once she told me that she puts the hair out of her hairbrush on her roses. I know, that's just too much information!

Summer before last, I needed some extra jars for the Monarch caterpillars I was collecting. Clara had all I needed and then some left over. This summer when I needed jars I knew right where to go. Clara doesn’t throw a glass jar away because “you never know when somebody might need one.” True, I’ve needed them two years in a row and she’s had plenty. No doubt her inventory of jars will be replenished by next summer and if I need some, I’ll be knocking on her door and know I won’t be disappointed.

When I mentioned to Clara that I was going to buy some clay pots she showed me the stash she had rescued out of someone’s garbage. She said to take all I wanted. If I need a postage stamp, Clara has them in every denomination they come in and will give me one or sell me how many I need. If I mention someone is having a birthday, she is quick to ask if I need a card to send. She has boxes of them for every occasion and little Valentines as well. She even has a vast assortment of stickers that she likes to fancy up her envelopes with, and has offered those to me as well

Come yard sale time, Clara has the neatest little fold-up table that she loans me. It’s a perfect size and very light weight, making it easy for me to tote to my house. The trick is getting it out of her shed. It takes both of us to move enough stuff so we can get the table out. I don’t dare try to put it back by myself. I prop it by the shed and in time it disappears. I know it’s back in its proper place because that’s how she keeps order with the chaos. As much stuff/junk as she has, she knows where everything is and it is always put back where it belongs.

Not just for all she has that she will give or loan to me so freely, but for all she so willingly takes off my hands, makes it wonderful having Clara for a neighbor. I used to set stuff by the curb in case someone wanted it. The item would magically disappear within the hour and reappear under Clara’s carport or in her yard. After this happened a few times,I thought I’d make it convenient for her and started taking my unwanted items over to her house. Clara has never turned anything down, and says that if she can’t use it she’ll find someone who can. Even so, she doesn’t strike me as a matchmaker for her treasures so I’m not sure how often she actually goes looking for someone who can use what I give her. I think once an object reaches its destination in her house, it stays there.

An old couch no one wanted and I needed out of my house was toted to Clara’s. When we replaced our mattress set, Clara took the old one. Old shelves, a dining table, assorted mismatched dishes, Christmas mugs, a large plastic tub, old toys and other odds and ends have all ended up in her possession. It doesn’t matter if something is broken, Clara will take it. I recently sat an old broken wicker chair out by the curb for the garbage man to haul off. Within the hour Clara was looking at the chair. Broken beyond repair and not safe to sit in, she still wanted it and there it sits by her carport.

If you could define someone's personality by their garbage can, mine would say that I’m an “if you don’t need it, toss it” kind of person. (Watch out Jim! HA HA!) Clara’s would say, ”use it or keep it until you can find a use for it.” On rare occasions when we have company or forget to put our garbage out, we end up with a can that’s overflowing. That’s when it really comes in handy having Clara for a neighbor. There’s always plenty of room in Clara’s can and she graciously allows me to share the space with her. Just one more perk to living across the street from a hoarder/thrifty person.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


At the suggestion of his doctor, Mom took my dad to see a “brain” doctor (as she calls him) a couple of weeks ago. I met them at the neurologist’s office for Dad’s first appointment. After going over Dad’s symptoms, Dr. Quick is of the opinion that Dad does not have Alzheimer’s. He thinks the problem stems from some medications Dad was taking and the recent fall in December. We’ve noticed a drastic change in Dad since his accident. Dr. Quick recommended Mom take Dad off a couple of prescriptions and scheduled him to have an EEC.

Yesterday I met Mom and Dad at Dr. Quick’s office to get the results of the EEC. The EEC showed some irregular brain waves in the area of the concussion. Dr. Quick wants a follow up EEC repeated in six weeks and feels he’ll know more at the point. Dr. Quick explained because of Dad’s age, it’s likely that his brain will not fully recover from the concussion. Quiet possibly he’ll be talking nonsense the rest of his life.

When we left Dr. Quick’s office I offered to sit in the truck with Dad while Mom went to have some lab work done at her doctor’s office. I don’t know when the last time was that Dad and I talked and he was held captive. Today was a rare occasion and I left in tears for what I’m losing and with a heart of gratitude for what I have.

What I learned sitting in the truck with Dad: He asked me if I want a Rat Terrier. He seems to have one that I can have. His parents always had Rat Terriers and they are better at catching a rat than a cat is. Dad has too many dogs and the grocery bill is too high to feed them. If it wasn’t for the chickens, he doesn’t know what they would do. His big black and white dog is missing. The missing dog is in the nursing home and mom needs to hurry so they can go check on his dog. He has lots of kittens and needs to get home and check on them. He’s been miserable day and night checking on all the puppies. There are no pigs because it’s too cold to take care of them. His mom and dad moved to Florida but the pay wasn’t enough so his dad went back to work for the railroad.

Dad was commenting on vehicles as they rode by when a truck went by with a sign on it that said, “CB1 since 1925.” Dad read it out loud and said to me, “CB1 what? A tail hole?” (Oh, if my mom had heard that, the trouble he would have gotten into! I don’t think the concussion could have rescued him out of that one!) Then he told me he was born in 1925. (True) He talked about the trees in the distance and said there was a cedar tree way off. Not content to sit idle and do nothing, Dad was starting to get frustrated waiting on Mom. He looked at me and said, “My gosh, they’re going to be serving supper before long!” We both thought that was hysterical and burst out in laughter. About that time a man came out to get in his car and Dad opened his truck door. “Where are you going?” I asked. He answered, “I’m going to see about going with him. It looks like a pretty good ‘go’ and Grandpa’s going to hitch a ride.” I told him to close the door, he wasn’t going anywhere.

Mom walked up just before Dad took off with the stranger parked beside us. When I got out, she thanked me for coming and for sitting with him. “Is there anything I can do for you?” She asked. “Just take him to the nursing home to check on his dog.” I told her. She hugged me and we both started crying. “We might as well laugh” she said and I walked away in tears.

I sat in my car a few minutes before driving off, thinking about the situation. The Bible verse “Rejoice always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16) came to mind. There is so much to be thankful for, with Dad’s situation. Even though he talks a lot of gibberish, there is some connection to his life in everything he says. Like a child, he is content to carry on conversations about people, places and things, only the people, places and things are a little jumbled in his mind. He’s happy, still has a sense of humor, knows his surroundings and who we are. That in of itself, is a blessing to be thankful for.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Oh So Typical

As much as I am an organizer and a list maker, my system seems to fail me when I’m going out of town. Whether it's going on an overnight trip or an afternoon at my parents’ house, more than likely I’m going to forget something. Several times we’ve made it a few blocks from the house only to turn around and come back to retrieve a forgotten item. Today I found a journal entry I wrote after such an incident this past August. Since it's so typical of me and the way Jim reacts to me, I thought I'd post it on my blog.

August 19, 2009
The car is packed, the house alarm is set, the door is locked and Jim and I get in the car to leave for our trip. As Jim is backing the car out of the driveway he asks, “Did you remember the directions?” Hmmm, let me think. I check the notebook where I had put them and nope, they weren't there. Jim pulls back up to the house. I unlock the door, run inside, turn off the alarm, find the directions, reset the alarm, lock the door, run back to the car and off we go.

Less than two miles from the house I reach for the car charger to the phone only to realize it’s not where I keep it. We pull off the side of the road , search the car and there’s no charger to be found. Back to the house we go and the whole “unlock door, alarm scenario” is repeated.

Knowing where the spare charger is kept, I send Jim to unlock the door, turn off the alarm and grab it, while I keep searching the car for the missing one, simply because I can’t stand to misplace something. After the door is locked and the alarm is set for the third time today, I thought I would lighten the mood that was going south fast. Pretending to find the charger, I said, “Guess what I just found!” As he backed the car out of the driveway, he looked at me in total frustration and said, “I don’t care if you forgot your lung machine, we’re not going back again.”

It never fails when I do something I think is funny and Jim doesn’t see the humor in it, the situation becomes even funnier to me. The more I laugh the more aggravated he becomes. Today I realized this might be a good habit to break. I’m just hoping he doesn’t find the missing phone charger when we unpack the car.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy ending 2009, Happy beginning 2010!

Even though we felt the financial crunch as did many others, reflecting back I would have to say 2009 was one of the best years of my life. It was a year filled with blessings, the kind you just can’t put a price tag on. Among other things, we stayed healthy, rejoiced over the birth of a new grandson, had a lot of special family time, and stretched our faith. For me, 2009 was a year of positive changes, self-discovery and spiritual growth. Some of this was brought about by faith, some by tragedy and some by a chance encounter with a total stranger.

In May I traveled to Dallas and had the delightful experience of being at the hospital for the birth of Jami and Matt’s son, Benjamin Beck. When Chance deployed the end of June, Jami and Matt met us in Kentucky with their two little ones in tow, and we had a wonderful time together. In November Jami and the kids came for a two week stay and Matt and Brandon followed a few days later for a week long visit. Having three out of four kids and all four grandkids home for Thanksgiving, made for a very thankful day. Chance made it home just in time for Christmas making the day a lot more merry and bright.

Jim and I enjoyed two seasons of watching Cade and Kirby play baseball. Jim and Cade bonded through endless hours of fishing this summer. There were some priceless moments sitting under the bridge watching the two of them making memories. Kirby, never being one to spend the night away from home, stayed several nights with me, giving us some fun bonding time as well. I’ve learned baking sugar cookies seems to be the temptation that will get her to leave home for a night.

We knew at the beginning of 2009 that Chance would be deploying to Afghanistan sometime in the summer. I knew this was going to be a difficult time for me and it was “sink or swim.” I could either let go and trust God, or spend the time being a nervous wreck. I chose “trust.” It wasn’t always easy and there were some setbacks, but I did much better than I ever thought I would. Learning to trust God, and the faithful prayers of many friends brought me peace beyond understanding.

Matt’s father passed away unexpectedly in August. Even though I had known John for sixteen years, I knew more about him after I attended the celebration of his life. Not only did he live life to the fullest, he gave of his life to others. I realized that day I wanted more purpose and meaning in my life and set out to make some positive changes and find a way to give of myself. Little did I know how God would bring it all about.

In September a friend introduced me to Tammy. Tammy had been in a horrific car accident and neither her seat belt held, nor her air bag deployed, leaving her a quadriplegic on a ventilator. She had been transferred to a hospital less than two blocks from my house. After visiting Tammy a few times, I became aware the visits with her were changing my life. She was inspiring me with her faith, her ability to find joy in the midst of her circumstances and her heart of gratitude for any little kindness shown to her. Now I find myself looking at my problems from a different perspective and I’m learning to be more appreciative of all things in life. I never walk out of the hospital that I’m not aware of how blessed I am, just by being able to walk out the door.

One Friday night in September Jim and I took Cade fishing at the city pier near our house. People are so friendly on the pier that it was no surprise when a couple spoke to us as they walked to the end of the pier. On their way back, they stopped again. One thing led to another and we ended up sharing a little about our lives. The wife happened to mention that she volunteers at an OB clinic in Green Cove Springs for women who can’t afford health care. The clinic is open one day a week and is staffed by volunteers. Was I dreaming or what? I love newborn babies and pregnant women. Here was an opportunity for me to be around both, with hours that work around my schedule and at a location less than two miles from my house! I was so excited about the prospect of volunteering I showed up the next Thursday at the clinic and have been back every week since.

I love, love. love every minute I spend at the clinic, as do the other volunteers. We often talk about why we enjoy it so much and think it’s because it’s not a job where we have to work, it’s a job where we volunteer to work. Not only that, we have the sweetest patients ever! They walk in with grateful hearts and when they leave, we feel like we’re the ones that were blessed. I think it can all be summed up by a statement “Dr. D” said the other day. “This is my therapy!”

Looking back I know that chance encounter on the pier wasn’t really a “chance” encounter after all. God orchestrated all the little details so we would be sitting on the pier just at the right time that night, and Mary and Matt would stop and talk with us. Arranged by Him to fulfill a purpose, I gained a new friend that night and found a meaningful way to give back in life.

2009 has been a year where I feel like I found myself, I’m happy with who I am, what I’m doing, and where I’m going. I look forward to seeing what God has in store for me in the coming year. Here’s wishing you a 2010 that takes you places you never imagined and gives you experiences that transform your life, bringing you immeasurable blessings.