Monday, December 22, 2008

Home For Christmas

I arrived back home from my trip to Oklahoma City this afternoon. I had a good trip, with basically good weather for traveling. It was very cold and windy yesterday, and the wind made driving a little more difficult.

One of my main reasons for this trip was to attend the court hearing for my son. That never happened, as the attorney and D.A. decided to postpone it until January 8th. So my son is still in jail. I went to see him on Friday. It was a much more encouraging visit than when I saw him a month ago. We had a really good conversation. He said he loved me and for me not to worry about him, that "I'm doing OK in here." He asked me to send him an amplified Bible and a Strong's concordance; he also wants the 2nd and 3rd books in the "Left Behind" series. He said he read the 1st one. When I was leaving he put his hand up to the glass, and I put mine up against his. He said "I love you Mom". It's just hard at times to see your children hurting, even though some of it is a result of their own behavior.

I also had a really nice visit with my 85 y/o Mother-in-Law (from my 1st marriage; my husband passed away in 1999.) She is a really sweet lady; she can't hear well and her vision is very poor. She still lives by herself, and seems to manage fairly well.

I have read many of your Christmas blogs, and have been encouraged and also reminded about what is most important about this season. I want to spend some time in the next few days reflecting on "The Wonder of it All"--Just to think how much our Lord loves us--loves me!


Counting My Blessings

I just read this blog posted by my sister Brenda, titled A Hurting Family. I wanted to pass it on to my blogger friends. This is such a sad story, and so hard to imagine what it must be like for these parents.

I have had my own challenges with my 2 children, and I lost my daughter, Sara, to Carbon Monoxide Poisoning about 2 1/2 years ago. This story made me realize, all over again, how very blessed I am. One of my grandparents favorite songs was Count Your Blessings. I need to remember to thank the Lord every day for all He has given me and done for me.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Blogger's Hiatus

I have very much enjoyed the holiday blogs and words of wisdom from many of you. I am taking a little trip to Oklahoma City to see my son, so I will probably be away from my computer for a while. If you've read my blog about Tim, you are aware that both he and I are going through some challenging times. I would very much appreciate your prayers for us.

Thanks to all of you who have visited me here at the Book Nook. God bless you, each and every one, this Holiday season.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

O' Tannenbaum!

For just a few moments yesterday I was beginning to feel a lot like Scrooge. I usually try to get my Christmas tree put up the day after Thanksgiving, but that didn't happen this year. Let's just say that, now that I'm retired, I can't seem to find time to do anything!

So-o-o, yesterday was the day to get my tree up. You have to understand that this is a very old tree, where you put the branches in one at a time. (Of course you can see by the picture that we also have a very old TV and an old heating system--radiators. Actually, it's just a very old house! But I digress.) It was my husband's tree and this is the third year I've put it up, so that part went fairly well. HOWEVER, stringing the lights was an entirely different story. In the first place, I have about 10 strings of lights, with no 2 being exactly alike. I found one that I thought was long enough for the whole tree, so I proceeded to string them. I ended up with too many lights at the top. So I took it off and went for a shorter string. Alas, it was too short, and I didn't have one that I could connect to it and still have a plug for my star. So I took that one off, went back to the first string, and tried to get more lights at the bottom, so that it would work out better at the top. Since I was by now exhausted, I left them on, but it is certainly unique, in that it has rather uneven lighting--heavier in some places, not enough in others. You can also tell from the picture, that there are too many cords showing in between. BUT, I am finished with lights! They will remain as they are.

Trimming the rest of the tree was sort of an anti-climax to the trauma I had with the lights. However even that leaves a lot to be desired. The problem is, I have certain ornaments that have sentimental value, but some of them aren't real beautiful, and then most of them are one of a kind, and it's hard to get a well balanced tree.

Now that I've had an evening to sit and enjoy my lights, I've decided that I'm very special. I am very certain that no one in the United States, or elsewhere for that matter, has a tree exactly like mine. In fact, maybe it should be displayed at that Christmas Store that Dee visited. (See One foot out of the box blog, as I don't think my link worked for some reason)

I have made a monumental decision after having this experience. I am going to be right there at the after-Christmas sales, and find a nice pre-lit tree on sale, and bring it home to have ready for next Christmas.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Celebrating New Life

While I was in Oklahoma City, I had the privilege of visiting (and holding) a new second cousin, Aiden William. He was 5 weeks old, and just a real sweetheart. Me and the babe

Four Generations!
(great-grandparents, Mother & Aiden, Grandparents)

The mother is my second cousin once removed (I think--I never can remember how that works). Leslie is only 18. She made a mistake, as many young people do, and certainly realizes she was blinded by what she thought was love. It turns out the father is really not a good person, and doesn't want anything to do with Leslie or the baby. I had a long talk with Leslie, as I went to see her one day when she was home alone with the baby. (She is living with her parents for now.) She seems very mature and and totally excited about her son. She would say things like, "He's so cute when he puts his hand up like that" and "I love to give him a bath". I think she will be a wonderful mother.

I had dinner that evening with the whole family, and so was able to take a picture of the 4 generations. It was Leslie's idea for us all to get together while I was there, and she planned the meal. (We had delicious taco salad with all the trimmings and wonderful dessert bars.)

As I was holding Aiden, I decided he probably would need at least one more grandmother, so maybe I'll just adopt him!! There is always something wonderful about holding a newborn baby. I thought again about the miracle of life. This baby's birth was no surprise to the Lord, and I know He has a wonderful plan for his life.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hope in spite of Heartache

I took a trip to Oklahoma City just before Thanksgiving. I lived in OKC for 19 years and I still have a 33 y/o son living there. I knew this trip would be hard for me, as my son is going through troubled waters.

Tim is a very intelligent young man with a college degree. I always thought he would do very well on his own, and for quite some time he did. Then in 2002 he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. At that time he was very unstable and I went through a very tough year with him. He got some help from a mental health group and was doing better.

Tim was doing fairly well the last several months. He is living on his own although I help manage his money. I was so encouraged a few months ago as he seemed to be coming back to the Lord. (For a long time he felt that God could never love him anymore). But a couple months ago he said "I know God hasn't given up on me" and "I'm turning my life around". However, shortly after that, a friend of his in OKC called me and said he was exhibiting strange behavior. Then, I think partially from the influence of another person, he started stealing. He was arrested and put in jail.

Tim was out of jail on his own recognisance (OR) and I thought he had a court date for Nov. 18. I already had planned to go at that time and had my ticket. However, 4 days after he was out he was caught stealing again and is back in jail. It seems that his disease is out of control again.

I was only able to see Tim for 15 minutes while I was in OKC. We of course had to talk through a speaker in a glass window. He of course wanted me to get him out; he also feels he is responsible for his "friend" who is also in jail. I cannot reason logically with him.

It has been my belief that, although there are other contributing factors, Satan has determined to keep Tim from being a servant of the Lord. That is still my belief, and so I pray daily that Satan will be bound in his life and that Tim will be restored mentally and spiritually.

I have read some scriptures recently that I am claiming for Tim:

Psalm 142 (a prayer of David) "I cry to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I ...tell him my trouble." "You are my refuge; ...listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue (Tim) from those who pursue him, for they are too strong for him." "Set (Tim) free from his prison, that he (and I) may praise Your name"

Philipians 1:6 "...being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus".

I hesitated to write about this at first, as I sometimes feel I have somehow been a failure. However I decided it was really pride keeping me from wanting to share this. I believe there are christian women who read this blog who will share my burden in prayer, and so I have chosen to post it here.
Tim in December, 2007 in front of his OKC apartment.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What Were We Thinking?

The best laid plans of mice and men--and family! We had planned for some time to have a work day at the farm, to do some cleaning and take scrap steel to the salvage. Plans were going well; we had a wonderful man in his 80's bringing a bobcat and a truck; we had a big dumpster available. I guess we knew it would possibly be cold in mid-November. We just hadn't realized how cold it is when temperatures are in the low 40's with wind and rain.

We all gathered, put on our cold weather gear, and started to work. We had a rest station set up with coffee, hot cider, soup and sandwiches and a kerosene heater. I felt like it was going well for a few hours. However by noon, we were pretty much "chilled to the bone"! Even though I'm an avid blogger, it was difficult to take pictures in these conditions. My sister, Brenda managed to do better, and also has a good summary of the day, Bone Cold.

We ended the day with a family meeting at McDonald's, and warmed up with some hot chocolate. Nothing like a little comfort food (or drink) to give you a better perspective on the situation.

I don't think we're planning any more work days until Spring!

Monday, November 10, 2008

An Amish Getaway

Bed and Breakfast

Wednesday, November 5th was our 3rd wedding anniversary. I decided we should get away to relax and rest. (My husband is a workaholic and is always working at something if we're at home). So I booked this bed and breakfast in Nappanee, Indiana. It wasn't a long drive, but far enough away that we could have a mini vacation. So, we left on Friday afternoon, arriving here about 5:00 pm.

Amish Buggy Ride

I had also arranged for us to have an Amish dinner at an Amish farmhouse. When we arrived, the husband took us for a buggy ride before dinner. Even though it was a cold evening, it wasn't really uncomfortable, as the buggy was completely enclosed.

I didn't take any pictures at the dinner, out of respect for our host and hostess. They were an older amish couple. The dinner was delicious--chicken, ham, broccoli-cauliflower salad, rolls with homemade peanut butter or jam, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, home-grown corn, and apple pie. I was stuffed!

I was a little surprised, as I thought the amish had very primitive homes, but their home was beautiful. It was decorated beautifully, and they had gas lights on the ceiling that also heated the rooms. I was very impressed.

Home of Jumbo Jelly Beans

On Saturday we decided to do a little sight-seeing (actually I decided and he went along with it). We were headed to Shipshewana, but stopped first in a little town called Wakarusa, which has a dime store that is famous for it's jumbo jelly beans. They have all different flavors, and they really are big jelly beans. They also have other nostalgic candies from the past. We bought some jelly beans and taffy and a few other candies.

Do I need a hat?

By the time we got to Shipshewana it was cold and windy. We stopped first at Yoder's, a big store that has a hardware store with all kinds of interesting things you don't often see other places. I shopped and Lynn sat in a Rocking Chair to read and chill. What a trooper! Then we went downtown where they have all kinds of craft shops and specialty shops. I decided to try on a hat for size, and he thought it warranted a picture!

We ate lunch in Shipshewana and then headed back to the Bed and Breakfast. Both of us were tired so we took a nap. We read a little while and then went to Amish Acres for dinner. It is an Amish Farm that has a barn restaurant, a round theatre, and some shops. We thought about going to the play after dinner (they were doing "It's a Wonderful Life" ), but it was a little pricey so we decided against it. Back at the B & B he read a little while, and I watched some TV.

After breakfast on Sunday morning, we headed home. It was raining, or sort of a mix of rain and snow for a little while. We stopped in Ft Wayne, at Lowe's, as Lynn needed to get some things. Then we went to Texas Road House for a steak dinner to finish off our weekend.

We had a good relaxing time, but it's always good to be back home! Lynn thanked me for planning our little getaway, as he really did have time to relax and read, something he doesn't take time to do very often. In spite of rainy, cold weather we had a good time.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Make New Friends--Keep The Old

At Naomi's home

Naomi with the geese

A fountain in the park
(I love this picture)

Some of the trees

Some of us are privileged to have many "true, blue" friends, the kind that will stick by you and support you, no matter what is going on in your life. I think we are truly fortunate if we have even just a few friends like that.

Naomi is that kind of friend. She lived across the street from my mother-in-law in Oklahoma City. After my first husband passed away, my mother-in-law, Gloria, and I became really good friends. She is a sweet lady with a sense of humor, and we really enjoy each other's company. Naomi and Gloria had also become best friends and would see each other every day. When both of them were still able, they would go to art classes together and just "hang out".

Naomi is physically handicapped; she has gotten worse and is now wheel-chair bound. She is a retired nurse, has written poetry and short stories (and been published). She has such a positive attitude and it is a delight to visit with her.

In June 2008 it became apparent that she could not continue to take care of herself, so she has moved to live with her daughter in Terre Haute, Indiana. I know it has been a difficult adjustment, but her daughter is taking good care of her. She especially misses her friend, Gloria, so very much. Now that I am re-married I live in Woodburn, Indiana so I decided I wanted to go visit Naomi. I spent this past Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning with her, and we had a wonderful visit!

Naomi had not been out of the house since her move in June. I told her I was going to get her out for a while. We were able to get her to my car in her wheel chair and so we were off for our adventure. Wednesday was an absolutely beautiful day, so I took her to a park. She is a nature lover, and was so excited at seeing all the beautiful trees. We also got to feed the geese. What a great day to be outside and enjoying each other and nature.

On Thursday morning I took her to Walmart. As a woman, I know sometimes it's just nice to be able to shop for yourself, instead of having someone always do it for you. Naomi had such a great time; she bought a Christmas present for her daughter, some capri pants for her. She loves pretty dishes, so I bought her a pretty coffee cup and matching bowl for her "grits". She also got some snack items to keep in her room. What a great time she had, and it was really fun for me to be able to do this for her. We finished our morning at Subway, right there in Wal-Mart, and had a little lunch before I took her home.

There is a verse that says, "There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother". Naomi is that kind of friend. I was so glad that we could have a couple of special outings together.

Post Election Thoughts

I was out of town Wednesday and Thursday, and so I just caught up on some of my blog reading last night. I had not posted any thoughts about the election previously, but obviously was very disappointed in the outcome. However, I was very impressed with the post-election reflections of an internet friend, and so I wanted to share them as a link here. I could not say it any better. We truly need to pray for our leaders and trust God for the outcome, even if that could mean persecution for us as believers.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fire Power

Starting small
Tearing the Wagon Apart

It got bigger!

Removing a lug nutt

The final step

We've been in the process of cleaning out my Dad's barn. We had an old wagon and a lot of junk wood we wanted to burn. So we got permission from the fire chief to do a controlled burn. It was actually a good day for it. By noon it was up to 70 degrees; the wind wasn't too strong and it was in the right direction to burn away from any buildings.

We started the fire with the small stuff and kept adding to it. When we got ready to burn the wagon it was a real challenge! It was very heavy, as it had a piece of metal attached to the top. Also we needed to get the tires off, as you can't burn rubber (well, I guess you can, but only on the highway!).

Between the 4 of us, Lou and husband Rog, brother Lowell, and I, we finally got the wagon flipped, and then we were able to separate the top from the chassey. We had to use a chain attached to Rog's van to pull the top onto the fire. (You can't tell from the picture, but once it started burning it was quite a big fire.)

The final challenge was getting the lug nutts off the tires, so we could remove them. With a lot of elbow grease and a little "liquid wrench" we finally got the job done.

We were very thankful that we were able to accomplish the burn safely with no one getting hurt and the fire was, in fact, controlled. Now when we go back, we can collect the steel from the burn pile and along with some other metal and steel we still have there, get a little cash for our efforts. All in all, a job well done.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sugar & Spice and Everything Nice

Jessica, Opening gifts

3 months and going strong

The Telemetry gang represented

What are little girls made of? Sugar and Spice and everything nice--until they are wet, fussy, messy or hungry! But they are Oh, so-o-o cute! Jessica will soon have a little girl to spoil, and so of course--we had to have a shower. Her husband is a doctor, so the shower was given by his partners wife and another doctor--Diana--who held it at her home.

I guess I have a little bit of a competitive spirit, because I won one of the games we played. Then of course, it was time for gifts. I am SO glad I'm past the stage of taking care of babies! However, it is really fun to see all the cute little outfits and new stuff they have for babies these days. I certainly wouldn't mind having a grand-baby to play with once in a while, but I don't think that's going to happen. I may have to find one or two to adopt.

The little guy in the middle picture is 3 months old. His mom is also a nurse on the unit where I worked, so we had a shower for her not so long ago. He's a cutie and was very good and contented at the shower.

I'm very happy for Jessica. My advice to her was to just thoroughly enjoy the baby--they gorw up SO fast! They have one boy and 3 girls already; her son said since it was another girl, he might have to go and live somewhere else! It was a very fun shower--I hadn't been to a baby shower in a long time.

Embracing the Sweat!

This past Saturday my husband, Lynn, and I went to Ohio to do some outdoor work on my Dad's farm. (He passed away in June, and we eventually want to sell it--when the market is better). There is a huge yard around the house and barn that needed mowing. Also, there was lots of brush, scraggly bushes, weeds, etc up around all of the buildings. It looked a little overwhelming to me,but we just started, one building at a time.

I had just retired from my nursing career on Thursday. To celebrate, Lynn bought me 2 pair of work gloves--what a guy! In his defense, I had told him I would need some gloves to go work at the farm, so it wasn't quite like it seemed. It did make for some laughs, however.

The tree by the smaller building in the picture was a walnut tree, and all the walnuts had fallen on the ground. So my first job was to pick up all the walnuts, and then we cleared away all the brush and weeds from around that building. We started a fire in a depressed fire pit in the back yard, and ended up burning brush most of the day.

I started mowing yard, while Lynn was weed-eating, clearing brush etc. I mowed some of the yard by the house, and over half of the barnyard. Let me say, I wasn't quite used to such outdoor activity. Thus the title of this blog--embrace the sweat. That is a phrase I got from my sister Brenda; she has a broken leg and her physical therapist told her it was a good thing to embrace the sweat! Easy for her to say!

I really wish I had thought to take some "before" pictures of the buildings. Suffice it to say that it was quite a mess, and by the time we finished, the yard was mowed, and the barn and 2 other buildings were cleared of weeds and brush.

We started about 10:00 am and finished about 5:30 pm with about a 45 minute break for lunch. We headed to the Barn Restaurant to eat some supper. I bet they wondered at their clientelle--we looked pretty dirty and scruffy. They were gracious and didn't say anything so we had a good meal and then headed for home. What a day! These past 2 days I've had aches and pains from muscles that had forgotten how to work. Guess I'll have to give them regular exercise to keep them in shape--now that I'm "retired".

A Time to Celebrate

The Cousins at Applebee's

Sometimes something that starts out small seems to just grow and expand. Such is the case with the "little" retirement lunch that we were planning for my retirement. Two other cousins, Carol and Barb actually retired this fall from teaching as well; so back in July, Carol said, "we'll have to get together for lunch after you retire". I was actually planning to retire Sept. 30th but ended up working for another month, and officially retired on Oct. 30th.

I told Carol I would be available on Friday, October 31st, if she wanted to get together. We asked Barb, of course, as she was also newly retired. But then we decided we might as well invite siblings if they wanted to come. WELL, as it turned out we had 9 out of a possible 14 Gisel Girls cousins at lunch at Applebee's on Friday. (We actually have 13 girls, but we adopted Carolyn, a cousin-in-law). We apparently have some die-hard party goers in our group who won't miss a party if at all possible. My sister Brenda arranged to be there from Wheaton, Illinois. Then, much to our surprise, my cousin Dee came all the way from Arthur, Illinois just for our lunch celebration!

What a fun time we had! We ate and talked, and talked, and laughed and laughed. Fortunately Applebee's wasn't extremely busy, so I don't think we made a total nuisance of ourselves. We arrived at 12:00 noon, finally left the restaurant about 2 pm, but we stood in the parking lot and talked for about another hour. I received a balloon, and several cards, and I just really felt very special.

I'm already working on trying to find another occasion that would warrant getting together for lunch. Now, at least, if something fun-to-do comes up, I won't have to worry about my work schedule. Life is good!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Retirement is a Reality!

It almost seems surreal--I went to St. Joseph Hospital for my last day of work as a nurse! I don't know what I expected to feel but I have had mixed feelings. I've really gotten to know the nurses I work with and have developed friendships with them. It's going to seem kind of sad not to be seeing them on a regular basis. However, after having worked a total of 44 years in nursing, I am so excited to finally not have a work schedule! It means I won't have to worry about working holidays, or how I'm going to get to work in the snow; it will give me the flexibility to spend time with family and friends and go on little trips without worrying about if I have enough vacation days.

I can't believe that I didn't remember to take my camara to work today! I was going to take some pictures of co-workers; also they had a really nice lunch for me and a gift. Once again, I missed a blogger's photo op. I promised to keep in touch, and who knows, I may really miss it and go back to work on a very limited prn (as needed) basis.

After work today, my wonderful hubby took me out to eat at one of our very favorite restaurants--'The 9-Mile Restaurant". I had fish(Cod) and he had barbeque ribs. They have a really good spinach salad and we also had baked potato. It was yummy.

So, as you can see, I've already started to celebrate. I think this is only the beginning, as we are having a Gisel Cousin retirement lunch tomorrow in Ft. Wayne. There will be 7 of us, including two teachers who also retired this fall.

So many people have asked me what I'm going to do. For starters, I'm getting involved in a teen mentor program through our church; I have organizational and re-decorating projects here at home; and I want to do some scrapbooking and maybe even some creative writing. (However, since I've started blogging, I've decided I'm not a very creative writer. Some of the blogs are written really well and some are so entertaining. ) I guess I'll have to work on developing that skill. I do write some poetry and I'll probably continue to do that.

For now, I'm just excited about the prospect of having flexibility with my schedule and not having to get up at 5:00 am to go to my 7-3:30 job. Some have said that I will get bored, but I can't imagine that happening. One of these days, I'll probably wonder how I ever had time to go to work!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Faith Foundations

I feel so blessed and truly fortunate to be able to worship in the church of my choice and to meet openly with other believers. Sunday in our S.S. class we had a regional missions director who was telling us of the opposition that many of our missionaries face. Then last night in church we had a missionary to Israel (He is of Asian descent--Ed Kim). You wouldn't think it would be difficult to talk about the gospel in that country, but in fact Jews who accept Christ are persecuted and missionaries there also face much difficulty.

In our Wednesday night services our pastor is doing a series on Faith Foundations from Hebrews 11. This past Wed. night it was about Noah. I don't think I had ever really considered how much faith it took for Noah to build the Ark.
  • He trusted God for what was Unprecedented--there had never been rain, much less a flood, and certainly not an Ark--especially considering its dimensions.
  • He took a stand when it was Unpleasant--he overcame discouragement & criticism; also the project took a very long time and he had to finance it.
  • He gave a witness when it was Unpopular--In Genesis it says he was a preacher, and was no doubt preaching and witnessing while he was building.

God will put us into situations where there is no precedent or parallel established. I know I have faced some challenges with my adult son, and I really didn't have any previous experience to draw upon to deal with some of the issues. But God is faithful and all He wants is for us to be faithful and to trust Him with all of the situations that come up in our lives.

I guess you've now had my Monday Morning Message. Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

At the Drive-In

Sometimes when you are mid-life (or a little older) you have to get a little crazy and do something you might have done in your teens. This was the case when our S. S. Class planned an outing recently. We decided to go to the local Drive-In (A & W) for coney dogs and burgers. So we all drove up in our cool cars ( actually one couple did drive a re-built 1950's car).

We sort of took over the little picnic area; we laughed and had fun, and anyone else who saw us probably thought we were a bunch of silly old people! (We actually do have a few younger couples in our group) It was a really perfect evening for October in Indiana. (This picture is a little dark, but I wanted you to see the cute table)

I am usually the official photographer, but one of the guys insisted on getting a pic of my sweetie and I.

After enjoying our Drive-In experience, we went back to the church for a dessert pot-luck. We had so many sweets--home-made donuts, cheese cake, brownies, lemon cake, etc. We enjoyed a great time of fun, food, fellowship and friends. ( As you can see, we did have a really young one with us--the granddaughter of the lady in blue beside her.) As they say, A good time was had by all!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Day At the Auction!

Getting the ambiance!
Where's the flannel shirts?

I thought I was all ready for our big adventure. I hadn't been to an auction for a long time so I was really kind of excited. My husband's only advice was "don't raise your hand or nod your head!" After we arrived, we realized we were unaware of the dress code. It was a mostly male group of bargain seekers and we sort of looked out of place, as we didn't have a farm cap and a flannel shirt. (Since it turned out to be in the mid-80's I was glad I didn't have flannel!)

The sale started at 9:00am and we thought we'd be done by noon. However, they started the sale with a lot of small equipment (and stuff that looked like junk to me). They did have some intersting looking items, and we were thinking maybe we should have gotten a bid number.

The Case 411--Dad's Work Horse

My good-looking siblings with the Case.

At about 11:00 we were told it would be another hour until they started selling the tractors, so we headed to the Home Restaurant for a quick lunch, then hurried back so as not to miss any of the excitement.

There were really a lot of people at this sale. It was billed as an antique tractor sale, and there were probably around 100 tractors for sale. I was amazed. I tried to get a picture of the row of tractors, but it didn't turn out. There were 2 rows with approximately 50 tractors in each row. Our beloved Case was about in the middle.

We were getting a little nervous, as some of the tractors that we thought would sell for a fairly good price went for a song. When they finally got to our tractor, the auctioneer, Bob Frey, said "this is a Case 411, built in 1955; it has new rubber, and the engine was re-built several years ago at 4-County" then he paused and said, "Oh, this tractor belonged to Walter Gisel?! He was one of our good local boys, let's get the bidding going" There were 2 parties that were definiltely interested in the tractor, which was good for us, because they kept bidding each other up higher. We were very pleased with the final outcome, $2300. (Yoder & Frey had told Lowell, before the sale, that it was probably worth $2500-$3000).

We decided Dad would be very pleased; he probably knew that we kids wouldn't take care of the precious Case as it deserved to be cared for; so it's good we could sell it to some one who will love it and take care of it. We know that he often went to Yoder and Frey auctions, so we felt we made a good decision for us and for him.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Great Food!

The Movie Theatre

Those who work together should play together. ( I might have just made that up!) After a very productive day of working together, Lynn and I cleaned up and headed to the big city (when you're from Woodburn, Ft. Wayne is big).

We first went to Smokey Bones for dinner. Lynn had barbequed brisket and I had pulled pork with barbeque sauce. His brisket was really good. He said it was the best meal that he's had in a restaurant in a long time--even better than steak. That started our evening out well, since it's always good to have your man satisfied with his meal. (Mine was very good also).

Our church has been encouraging people to go see the movie Fireproof. It's produced by the same group that made Facing the Giants. This was the first weekend it was out, so we went to the "Rave" to see it. I thought the movie was really good--very well done. It's about a couple who are on the brink of divorce, and a program called Love Dare that helped them save their marriage.

I am so very thankful for a wonderful husband, who loves me and pampers me. But I know that Satan would like nothing better than to destroy marriages and families. The movie made me feel very grateful that I have a good marriage, but also made me realize that no one is immune from difficulties in relationships.

Hopefully there will be many couples who will benefit from this movie. When we know of couples who are having challenges, we surely need to keep them in our prayers.

We stopped for a milkshake at McDonald's on the way home. It was pretty nearly a perfect date and a wonderful evening. It's great to have a "date night" once in a while. I'm sure it helps to maintain those healthy relationships.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunshine, Team Work and Photography

What a beautiful day for a trip to Ohio. Originally, I wasn't going to go, as Lynn was going to take his daughter Janelle to help him. He borrowed a truck that could pull a trailer. I had sort of given him a hard time about the fact that he didn't think I was able to help him load everything he needed to bring back. So, at the last minute, he said the cab was big enough for 3 people and asked if I wanted to go. I guess I felt like I should, since I had made a fuss about it.

The cab was big enough for 3,but just barely. I sat in the middle, and it seemed just a tidge crowded! Even though it was a fairly big truck, it wasn't a super smooth ride. Lynn said it was because the truck has a lot of tight suspension in the back, which makes it good for hauling big loads.

We enjoyed the ride up to the farm, commenting on the crops--as we always do. It was a really beautiful day, with a little breeze, so we really didn't even get too warm. We had quite a bit of lumber to load, plus two riding lawn mowers, that need some work, as they are not currently working.

Lynn's daughter was extremely impressed with the barn. She does some photography, and has a websit called She has a lot of unique photos from their old barn on her website. She had her camara and took quite a few pictures. (She takes things like windows--and views through the window, barn doors, etc. ) They are actually quite interesting; I'll have to ask to see them, as I'll be interested to see how great our barn really is!

We enjoyed a nice lunch at the Home Restaurant and then headed back. Janelle had other plans, so Lynn and I unloaded everything into the new barn at Janelle's place.

It was a good day, and kind of nice to work along side of my hubby. I think maybe he's figured out that I can be helpful when necessary. We finished off the day, by going out for dinner and a movie. (But that's another blog.)

Good bye To An Old Friend

It may be hard to believe, but my husband has been driving, for about 11 years now, a 1988 Buick Park Avenue. Of course he has maintained it well, but it's been very sick for some time now, and finally died.

We had a funeral for it yesterday. Lynn was renting a trailer to go up to Dad's farm and haul some wood and things back to our house; he decided to make to most of the trip,and take his old car to junk yard haven (Garmater's Auto Salvage). So we loaded it on the trailer, and drove it up there on our way to Ohio. They gave him an amazing $200. for it. He rented the trailer for $5o and we would probably spend $40 on gas going to Dad's, so we figured we still had money left for lunch!

I know Lynn really loved his car, so it was kind of sad to see it go. But now of course, he's ready to really upgrade. He's thinking he might get a '93 or '94 buick. When you are a conservative person, it's hard to think in terms of something really new. (Also, he's thinking about getting something that runs good and not have to spend a lot of money--that's probably the real driving force--pardon the pun!)

As a side note, his other vehicle is a 1988 truck! It's still running pretty good. Of course we can use my car as our "family" car now, which is a "very modern" 2001 Toyota Camry.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Peaches and Apples

These are the recipes from my previous blog, just in case anyone wants to try them!

Peach Pie

9 inch unbaked pie crust
1 Tblsp. flour
1 Tblsp sugar
1 pint fresh or frozen peaches

2 heaping Tblsp. flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream

Mix the 1 T flour and 1 T sugar and spread over unbaked pie crust.
Place 1 pint of peaches over that.
Mix the 2 T of flour and 2/3 cup sugar and add the whipping cream; mix well.
Pour mixture over peaches and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until crust is brown.

Crock Pot Apple Butter

4 pounds of apples, peeled and sliced (about 10 cups)
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
2 Tblsp. cider vinegar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Place apples in 3 1/2 qt. slow cooker.
mix remaining ingredients and mix into apples
( I mix the ingredients in the crock pot and then stir in the apples)
Cover, and cook on high for 5-6 hours (I use the full 6 hours)
Stir; cool at least 1 hour or chill overnight in frig, covered
Ladle into jars and seal
store in frig for 3 weeks or in freezer for one year.

Hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Yummy Discovery!

Crock pot Apple Butter
We basically have an orchard in our back yard--peach trees, pear tree, and several apple trees. This of course is a wonderful thing! And this year they have produced prolifically (is that a word?). That means we have lots!

A week ago today, when we were at step-mom Kay's, Sheila and I were browsing through her new magazines. We found several good looking recipes, including a recipe for apple butter done in a slow cooker. Well! I was intrigued, as I could just picture our Rome apple tree full of apples, and I really love apple butter.

I copied the recipe and of course had to try it right away. It's really simple--which meets my criteria--and I thought it really turned out delicious! The most time-consuming part of course is peeling, coring and slicing the apples--4 pounds of sliced apples per recipe. I have made 2 batches so far, and I will probably do more, but I'm ready for a much needed break from the kitchen. It's never been my favorite place to spend time, and I also made 2 batches of peach jam in the last 2 days. I feel I've earned at least one evening, or maybe even a whole day, of reading, blogging, or anything else fun and relaxing.

Also an added bonus: Sheila gave me her recipe for peach cream pie..My! My! My! is it ever mouth-watering delicious. It was also fairly simple, which makes it taste even better. Lynn thought it was out of this world and had Janelle (his daughter) come and taste it. She thought it was almost as good as her apple cream pie (a recipe from her grandmother). It seems I'm developing some culinary skills after all!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Birthday Blessings

Uno and a movie

Cards--from Hubby and step-mom,

--- and from both sisters!

Ok! Ok! I know I was reaching for pictures on this one! It's just that being the avid blogger that I am, I can't believe I forgot to take my camara with me to Ohio on Saturday the 13th. All of my siblings, and their spouses and Katie were going to be there. The plan was to take an inventory of what's in Dad's barn, and make some decisions about his estate.

As it happened, it absolutely poured down rain on Saturday morning! my poor brother-in-law, Bob, had to collect honey from his bee hives at the farm that morning. I felt so bad for him! For more details see Brenda's perspective. We all went to the Home restaurant for lunch for some comfort food (chili, soup, salad, etc). It sort of cleared up in the afternoon, and the guys were able to do some sorting at the barn. The rest of us visited with Kay.

Lou, Brenda and I also went to Fairlawn and visited our Aunt Fannie and Aunt Mable. Aunt Fannie is mid-90's (94?) and Aunt Mable is 100! They both are failing physically and Aunt Mable has struggled with memory as well. However, it was very sad to see that Aunt Fannie was really struggling with memory issues as well that day. I hadn't really seen her that way before.

Saturday evening we went to the up-scale new restaurant in Archbold, Stella Blue, to celebrate my birthday and Kay's. The food was really good and we had an absolutely hilarious waitress (excuse me! Server!) who kept us laughing. We had a really great time. Lynn had brought a cake, and so we had cake (and most of us had ice cream with it) for dessert.

Sunday noon after church Lynn took me out again to eat, as he didn't want me to have to cook on my birthday. Then Sunday evening we were home, and he said what do you want to do. I'm here this evening to spend the time with you. he said, "we can watch a movie, or if you'd rather just read, or whatever you want." Well I thought for a minute; we never have actually just played a game together, so I said "how about playing UNO?" Well, he was kind of surprised, but he agreed. We actually got into it, and had fun and played to the full 500 points. Of course, I had to let him win!! It was still early, so we also decided to watch a movie. We watched Return to Me. It was really a very good wonderful movie, and we really enjoyed it. So I had a great birthday weekend.

Funny, I don't really feel any older, but I guess when you get to my age, you just don't notice the change! The really exciting thing is that I am officially retiring the end of October! I actually only have 16 working days left, as I'm cutting down to part time for this last month. I can't wait to see what retiree's do!! I feel pretty certain that I'll still stay very busy, it just won't be nursing, which I've done for 44 years! Ain't life good?!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Detours, Disappointment and Delightlful times

Lookin' Good!

Looks aren't everything!

Twins--or just Geeks?!

Pastor Dan's Church
The best laid plans often get changed through, seemingly, no fault of our own. Such was the case on my recent trip to Oklahoma City. I make this trip about every 3 months, as my son, Tim, still lives there (I lived there for 19 years).


This trip was specifically to go with Tim to a Dr's appointment for his diabetes. He's had problems with episodes of very low sugar and has passed out on several occassions. The appointment was for Sept. 9, at 10:00am ( or so we thought). When we arrived, a less-than-friendly receptionist informed us that Dr. Drake was not there this week. When she checked the appointment, she said it was for Sept 2nd, and that since Tim was a "no-show" for that appointment, Dr. Drake would not see him at all. I told her that we were given the appointment for the 9th. She said she called Tim and confirmed his appointment for the 2nd. Tim told me he did receive a phone call, but he didn't realize the date was changed. So-o-o-o, it was back to the drawing board. I called the family doctor, explained what happened (she confirmed that she had set the appointment for the 9th) and she is setting up an appointment with another specialist.


(1) I always rent a car when I go to OKC, and thought I had really gotten a good deal this time. However, when I got to the counter, she said it was booked from the 5th to the 9th, instead of from the 5th to the 10th. So I would have to pay an additional day. (I'm sure it was a mistake on their part, as I gave them the correct dates). They gave me a very cute, red Toyota Yaris; as I drove it from the airport, I thought I was in the wrong gear. Everytime, I stopped and started again the motor would rev, like a hot-rodder. This was on Thursday afternoon, and I didn't really have to drive it anywhere that night. (Actually, I went to see Tim, but my friend Judy drove me, as I had accidentally left the lights on in the Toyota, and the battery was dead!) Great start to my trip! After talking to Lynn on the phone, and to Shirley, I decided they needed to replace my car, as I didn't feel like it was safe to drive. (By this time, a friend of Shirley's had come over and jumped my battery). So Friday morning, I called the rental agency. They finally decided they would bring me a different car, but it would be about 2 hours. They said that for some reason the car was going into overdrive, instead of driving normally. (This was at 9:30 am) At 12:00 I still had no car, and I called again. It seems they had forgotten to call a wrecker company to go pick up the car at the airport and bring it to me. They said it would be about 1 1/2 hours. At 2:15 pm I was getting ready to call again, when the car finally arrived! It was a Mazda, and worked wonderfully. I only wasted one day waiting, right? (I determined that I would be talking to a manager when I returned the car and would not be paying for the extra day!)

(2) Shirley and I actually took another detour on Sunday morning. I really wanted to go to Pastor Dan's Church to hear him and see him and his wife Jeanie. So we got up and dressed in our finest outfits--as it turned out they were almost exactly alike! It reminded me of my dad's funeral; Brenda and I were supposed to speak together, and we initially were dressed almost exactly alike. Brenda decided that just wasnt' acceptable and found something else to wear. But I digress!. Anyway, being the free spirits that we are, we decided it didn't bother us to be dressed alike. When we got to the church--we were a little early--we went in to look around. One of the ladies there asked if we were new to the area. I explained that I knew Pastor Dan. She said "Oh, he's on vacation today"! Well! I really didn't want to listen to the Baptist Association President, so we went to the restroom, and then just sauntered out into the sunshine and drove off! It was really too late to go anywhere else, so we took a scenic drive back through the city to Shirley's, in our very chic Sunday-go-to-meetin' clothes!

Delightful times:

I always enjoy going back to OKC. Shirley and her daughter Judy, and another friend, Jaquetta, are so much fun, and we just laugh and laugh. (It's good for our endorphins, you know). I always enjoy seeing Mother Lavin. She came to Shirley's for a birthday supper they had for me. Then on Tuesday, I took Mother and Tim out to her favorite restaurant--Golden Corral. She likes to be able to choose what she wants. She especially thinks it's cool that she gets a free drink--she takes 3 or 4 lemon wedges, squeezes them in her water, and adds sugar. She thinks its great that she gets a free lemonade! I think it's hilarious!
I also went back to the Spine Hospital where I used to work and saw all my co-workers. They are such a great group, and always glad to see me. (They always tell me how great I look, which is an added perk, even if it might not be true!)

There is definitely one thing I can always count on when I travel to OKC--even though things dont' go as I planned, I always have a great time! I am so blessed to have such great friends and family. God is good!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Apples From My Sweetheart

Gala apple tree

Granny Smith apple tree

He just can't help himself--he's pretty much a hopeless romantic. Now, to some people, this may not be classified as romantic. However, at the time we were in a new love relationship, and lots of things seemed romantic.

Lynn has several apple trees in our back yard. But a little over a year before we were married, he asked me what kind of apples I like. I said my favorites are granny smith and gala. So he said, "I'm going to plant two new apple trees just for you--a gala and a granny smith." At the time we were not even officially engaged, and everyone said, he must have marriage in mind if he's already planting trees for you.

The first granny smith he planted died, so he got another one. It is quite small and so far has not produced any apples. However, I was VERY excited this spring, to see that my gala tree had blossoms. I've been patiently watching it, and this week my gala apples are ready to eat. I had one yesterday, and it was delicious! I probably have only about 10-15 apples on the tree, so I plan to savor each one. (Actually, I will share them with Lynn, or with any of you, if you want to stop in at the Becker Place for a treat.)

Who knew that an apple tree could also tell a love story? Thank you, Lord, for providing me with a loving husband, and for blessing my gala apple tree. Isn't God good?