Two Halves of a Perfect Whole

September 30, 2009


Two Halves of a Perfect Whole

Receiving love is only half of what love is.  Giving love is the other half. 

Mother demonstrates her love by raising and caring for her Daughter.

But when Mother gets older and ill, Daughter demonstrates her love by caring for her Mother.

Love given and received, as God intended.

I wrote this when I heard that Sleepless, a young friend of mine through DD and this blog, is going through hard times with her mother, who is now hospitalized.  I know that her mother has been having serious health problems for quite a while, and that Sleepless has been doing alot of driving taking her out of town for treatments.

Her mother is blessed to have a daughter like her.  But, I’m sure Sleepless would say she is only demonstrating the love that her mother first taught to her as she grew up.

The love between them, given and received, are two halves of a perfect whole.

May God bless both of them with comfort and peace during this hard time.  And His assurance that He loves and cares for them both.

My prayers are with you and your mother, Sleepless.

Apple Crisp . . . A Sure Sign of Fall

September 30, 2009


Fall and Apples!  Forever linked in my mind.  So, here is my favorite light apple crisp recipe again in case you, like us, are ready for a traditional Fall dessert.

My Favorite Simple, Light  Apple Crisp

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees 

Fill an 8″x8″ pan 3/4 full with peeled, sliced apples (will take most of a bag of apples).

Sprinkle with *1/3 C. Granulated Splenda (make sure it’s the “granulated” in a big yellow bag)

Combine in medium bowl to make crumble top:  1 C. flour — *1 C. Granulated Splenda — 1 t. baking powder — 3/4 t. salt — 1 egg.  Sprinkle these crumbles on top of apples.

 *Note that Splenda is used in two different places.  And that the same measurements of regular sugar can be used instead.

Melt 3/4 STICK butter, and pour evenly over top.

Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Serve warm with Edy’s sugar-free vanilla ice cream. 



Drop Dead Diva

September 29, 2009


 dropdeaddiva   Brooke Elliott stars as Jane.

I don’t watch many TV series any more, mainly because they tend to promote low morals (and IQ’s) and tend to have lazy scripts that just depend on raunchy words or situations for their very predictable storylines.

So, I have to tell you about a new series I am watching called Drop Dead Diva.  It is on the Lifetime channel at 9 p.m. on Sunday night.  And it is different.

The very original premise of this show is that Deb, a young, blonde, somewhat shallow model dies at the same time as Jane, a 30-something, plus-size attorney.  When Deb gets to Heaven’s gate and talks to Fred the admitting angel, she reaches over and hits the return button on his computer in hopes it will send her back to Earth.  It does in fact do that, but into the body of the attorney, Jane. 

So, the story line is a sweet one about her dealing with her new, bigger body and her new higher intellect, and, as Jane, ending up working in the same law firm as Deb’s attorney boyfriend.  Sometimes seeing her look at him and long for what might have been is sad, but just when I wondered if that story line was going to keep the show from “moving on”, a love interest has started developing between her and another attorney!  (This  is one more role that I think is cast perfectly.  He’s just been introduced, but I find their attraction for each other very natural and believeable.)  Hurray for Jane!

I think this is just a very well written, perfectly cast and well acted series.  And I recommend it because it sometimes makes me smile, and many times makes me think, and then sometimes is poignant and brings tears to my eyes.  The characters are ones I actually care about, especially Jane. 

Brooke Elliott and the writers do a wonderful job of making Jane a smart, attractive, interesting person, and also a clever, caring and successful attorney.

I remember my fiction writing professor told us that the true test of an excellent book is if it makes you want to turn the page to see what happens next. 

Well, if you apply that rule to TV series’, this is an excellent show.  Because at the end of each episode, I am not only glad I watched but I look forward to seeing what happens in Jane’s life next. 

A well-spent hour.

The Hired Help …

September 28, 2009


oops.  I mean the retired help!

Remember this cabinet?


I wrote about its evolution from TV cabinet, to scrapbooking cabinet, to sewing cabinet  here.

But, I never mentioned one very important part of the story about that cabinet.

100_5265x   How it got to this guest bedroom . . .

100_5264x  at the end of this not-terribly-wide hallway . . .

100_5263x    up this not-terribly-wide stairway . . .

100_5262x   while first maneuvering around the tight turn at the landing (yes, I did removed the candles to give them the maximum wiggle room).

100_5271x  At least they didn’t have to carry it through the house from Hubby’s workshop.  They took it outside and brought it in the front door, right at the bottom of the steps.

So, who were the “they” who did this monumental task for me?  That would be the “retired help” (not to be confused with “hired help” because that would indicate some form of payment for their services!).  “They” were Hubby’s two brothers … also in their sixties.

This is the sort of job that people our age would usually ask their grown sons or sons-in-law to help with, but unfortunately we don’t have any of those who live anywhere close, so Hubby asked his two brothers if they would come over and help him carry it upstairs.  And, let me just tell you their dad, Art, raised three boys who seldom say “I can’t do that”.  They are “get it done” kind of guys, even as they have aged and have a few more aches and pains.

So, the three brothers wrestled the cabinet up the steps and down the hall to its current “home” in the guest bedroom.  And, I am eternally grateful to them.  I love it.

By the way, as they started up the stairs, brother Denny said, “This makes me wish Art had had more sons!”

To which brother Keith replied as he lifted his end of the really heavy cabinet, “Well, it makes me wish Art had had younger sons!”

Thanks, guys … for doing the heavy lifting for me, and also for making me laugh!

Hard to work into casual conversation

September 26, 2009


When was the last time you said, “Well, that’s chatoyant!”  I’m guessing, not recently, if ever.

Hubby asked me this morning, out of the blue, how to spell chatoyancy.

I, being my always articulate self, said, “Huh?”

He said the word had just crossed his mind (he’s got to stop working so many crossword puzzles!) and he couldn’t picture how to spell it.

I told him I didn’t remember ever hearing that word.  But he reminded me that years ago when he had given me an opal ring, I wore it to work and Art, a very well-spoken co-worker, told me the stone had beautiful chatoyancy.  I remember now that I came home and told Hubby the word that Art had used to describe my opal.  It made the stone sound soooo, special.

But I had long since forgotten the word, until Hubby brought it up this morning.  So, we started trying to look it up in the dictionary — shitoyency, shytoyency, chytoyency, chitoyency, chetoyency, chytoiency, you get the idea.  I’ve always said that using a dictionary has one major flaw — you have to have some idea of how to spell the word, in order to find it!  And, I have to say, I am never impressed with Spell Check.  I tried putting some variations into a text document and then used the Spell Check, and with each try it either suggested a really far out alternative word, or just said it had no suggestions.

But perseverance does pay off, and we finally found it.

chatoyant\sha-‘toi-ent\ n: [variation of the French word, chatoyer to shine like a cat’s eye]: having a changeable luster or color with an undulating narrow band of white light (a chatoyant  gem)

So, if you have a friend with an opal, look for a chance to use this word to impress her with your vocabulary! 

And, if you happen to find a way to use it in another context, be sure to let me know.  I’ll try to impress “Mr. Obscure Word” Hubby with it.

Happy Saturday!

For the Love of Photography

September 25, 2009


Yes, I think I can say I love photography, and no one is more surprised than me.  All of the years I was growing up and Mama was taking pictures at every gathering (she was a recorder of people and events most of the time as opposed to looking for pretty pictures), I have to admit it was sometimes a little inconvenient that, whatever was going on, there would routinely be times when everyone had to stop what they were doing and gather together so that Mama could record the moment with a photograph.

But now, when I look back through all the albums of her photographs, I am so thankful that she loved photography.  It is so much fun to look at pictures of events that I have lived and even ones that were before I was alive.  But they’re all there, recorded by Mama’s faithful camera.  And, I love sharing some of those old pictures with you too.

Of course, writing a blog and wanting to share with you what I see (or what Mama saw), was what finally kick started my interest in photography, so in that vein, here are a couple shots of sky, one of my favorite subjects, I’ve snapped recently with my old faithful Kodak.




Thank you, Mama, for planting the seeds of interest in photography in me all during my growing-up years.  All these years later I am enjoying it so much and I look forward to thanking you in person when we meet again.

A dependable back-up is priceless!

September 24, 2009


Just ask Jim Sorgi! Do you recognize his name?  Probably not, unless you’re a Colts fan.  He is the long-time back-up quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts.  And he is a very good quarterback when he gets a chance to play.  Unfortunately, he is the back-up to Peyton Manning who hardly ever needs a back-up.

But, Jim Sorgi is always ready and very good when he’s called upon … just like my Kodak Easy Share camera.

You may remember that I dropped my new, favorite Panasonic Lumix a couple months ago, and it has been sent to the factory for repairs.  When Hubby gave it to me for Christmas, it immediately became my favorite camera because it was small enough that I could carry it in my purse.  So it became my “starter” and Kodak was put on the shelf as my back-up.

So, with my Lumix on “injured reserve”, my back-up Kodak  is off the bench (shelf) and filling  in admirably, just like Jim Sorgi does for the Colts.

Yesterday morning before sunrise, I turned on the backyard lights so that I could take some trash out, and noticed how one light was shining on these bushes and rockers.  So, I came in and got my ol’ trusty Kodak and took some pictures. 




When I get my little Lumix “purse camera” back, Mr. Kodak will go back to the shelf in a closet.  But he will do so with the satisfaction of knowing that he filled in admirably when he was called upon!

A dependable back-up is priceless.

Are you lookin’ at ME?

September 23, 2009


Have I mentioned I was raised a “city girl”?  I think the fact that, by the time I came along, my family didn’t have a garden and bought all of our food at the grocery store was a direct result of  Mama’s childhood memories of usually only being able to afford food they raised themselves.  Consequently, she reveled in finally being able to afford already-canned vegetables, and already cut up meat like roasts, chops, pieces of chicken and ground meat that were purchased at the grocery.

So, the beginning of my education in the reality of the food chain came when I began dating Hubby-to-be, the farm boy.

After we had dated for a while, we started going to church together.  We would attend my Baptist church with my parents on one Sunday and his Lutheran church with his parents the next Sunday (we were equal-opportunity worshippers!). 

When we attended church with my family we would go back to our house for dinner, which was usually Mama’s wonderful pot roast that had been slowly cooking while we were at church.  I will forever remember the experience of walking into the house after church with the smell of that wonderful roast greeting us at the door.

And on the Sunday’s we attended his church, we would then go to his parent’s farm for his mother’s much-raved-about chicken dinner.  When he first told me what we would have, that sounded wonderful.  I loved chicken. 

But, when I began going there, I had a problem.  As we would drive into the barnyard, we would drive through a flock of chickens, and then we would go in the house and eat … chicken!!  Yikes!  Wayyyy too short a loop in the food chain for this city girl!!  I found myself avoiding looking directly at the chickens in the barnyard because I was afraid of making eye contact with next Sunday’s dinner!

I, of course, couldn’t refuse to eat the wonderful (to everyone else) meal his mother had made, but I certainly didn’t eat as “heartily” as I was capable of doing.  And, the chicken wasn’t the only food I had a problem with — the peas were crunchy!  Okay, maybe that is a slight exaggeration, but they were much firmer than any pea I had ever eaten, and bright green!  I was used to canned, Army-green, mushy peas.  I didn’t remember ever having fresh peas before, and they not only looked different but they tasted totally different too!  Now, it’s hard to imagine that I would have preferred canned instead of fresh peas, but, especially when you are young, it’s all about what you are accustomed to eating.

When I look back, I wonder if his parents and siblings looked forward to me coming to dinner because it was so entertaining to watch me experience “farm food”.  I’ve never had a poker face, so I’m sure every emotion I experienced showed clearly on my face.

Over the years, I did come to appreciate and enjoy my mother-in-law’s farm cooking, including her chicken which she fried and then baked slowly in the oven — fantastic!  Very different than my mother’s cooking, but every bit as good, in its own way. 

And, it did make it alot easier when Hubby’s parents quit raising chickens so that I at least didn’t have to avoid the accusing gaze of the condemned as we drove through the barn yard.

Just the beginning of many lessons learned when a couple start learning about the traditions and life styles of each other’s family.

Celebrating the Fives!

September 22, 2009


Two years ago today, on September 22, 2007, our daughter DD had finally coerced me into writing a blog, because she was sure I would just love it.  Oh, all right, I would give it a try.  I decided on a name, she created the blog and then told me how to put a post on it. 

I had already written two posts, but I wasn’t sure how to put one on, even after her instructions.  So she told me to e-mail one to her and she would get me started.  I sent them both and told her to just put whichever one she liked the best on for the first post.  She put them both on … the first day  (Let Them Eat Potatoes, here, and A Great Saying — Unless You Are on The Receiving End!, here)! 

I called her and said, “Hey, at this rate, I’ll run out of things to say by the end of the week!  You should have only put one of those on today, so that I would have something to post tomorrow!”  She laughed.  She obviously knows me better than I know myself.

So, today, in honor of this two-year anniversary, I looked up some stats and was struck by the predominance of fives!

~Today is my 507th post (200 in the first year, 300 in the second year — Heaven help us all, I’m getting wordier!)

~There have been 55,999 visits.

~There have been 5,008 comments.

And, as important as all those numbers are to me, I would say that that last number is the most important.  More than anything else, the comments have been the fuel that has kept this bus on the road and headed in sort of the right direction! 

Thank you to all of you who read and comment here.  You are truly appreciated.

Mama Remembered: “Mama, Mama, Russell’s dead!”

September 20, 2009

 Martha 1940Jean and Jimmy 1940    Our family’s contribution to the “brain trust” who came up with the parachute idea, Martha Lou, Jean Marie and Jimmy. 

Russell who jumped out of the tree  This is Russell, who must have gotten the short straw when they were deciding who would “test” their “invention”!

The excerpt from Mama’s book, I Remember:

One summer afternoon when we lived on Richmond, the kids came running into the kitchen where I was, yelling, “Russell’s dead! Russell’s dead!”

Russell was one of the four little boys who lived next door to us.

It nearly scared me to death.  I ran out in the back yard and got to Russell about the same time his mother did.  He was sitting under a tree with a cord around his neck and attached to the four corners of a gunny sack.  He was a little stunned, but okay.

The kids had made a parachute out of a gunny sack and tied it around his neck.  Then he had climbed up in the tree and jumped out.  If that parachute had hung up on a limb, it would have hung Russell.  As it was, he hit the ground in a sitting position so hard that he passed out and fell backward.  That’s when the kids thought he was dead.  When he came to he was a little shaky.  His mother took him in the house and had him lie down awhile.  

I took my three kids, Jean Marie, Martha Lou and Jimmy, into the house and gave them a lecture on the dangers of homemade parachutes. 

Betty Rose was reading a book and wasn’t out there with them.

I think the kids learned a lesson that day.

I talked to Martha about this story a few days ago and she said she remembers being told soon after that that Russell had a boil on top of his head which was caused by his fall.  Hmmm.  I don’t quite get what the connection would be between falling hard on your butt, and getting a boil on top of your head.  I wonder if the boil might have actually been on his butt but Mama just didn’t want to discuss a butt boil and all the questions it might bring up with inquisitive little kids.

Mama’s kids may have learned a lesson that day, but my guess is that the one who learned the most was Russell!!

Update:  Well, Mama wrote this story years after it actually happened, and when I talked to my sister Betty yesterday she made a couple of little corrections to Mama’s memory — she was there too (not innocently reading a book in the house, as Mama remembered), and her memory is that the “parachute” wasn’t a gunny sack … it was a kitchen towel!  Even more scarey!

Betty 1940      So, Betty, thanks for setting the record straight, and for ‘fessing up to being part of the “brain trust”!