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?

Whew! Enough already of Home Canning & Freezing

strawberries, peaches, blueberries, beets,green peppers

Lynn's Mom's Canner (from about 1940!)

Green beans and Tomato juice

It's hard to believe that I actually have little or no influence on my sweet hubby when it comes to planting garden. he doesn't know how to plant only a few plants, it has to be AT LEAST one full row, and with some things, such as green beans about 5 rows! This year everything produced well, thus my dilemma. As I saw it I had a few options:
  • form my own "farmer's market" but give away produce instead of selling it
  • let much of it go to waste, OR
  • can, can, can and freeze out the wazoo!!

Since I really hate to see good produce go to waste, I gave away what I could, ate what we could and then did canning and freezing. I'm hoping the final tally is in. Some of these are approximates, as I don't remember exact numbers, but--

  • 52 pints of green beans (We gave at least 25 jars to Lynn's daughter, Janelle)
  • 25 pints of tomato juice
  • 15 pint freezer bags of beets
  • 25 pint freezer bags of peaches
  • 30 pint freezer bags of strawberries
  • 15 pint freezer bags of blueberries
  • 8 pint freezer bags of diced green peppers
  • 25 quart containers of applesauce

Needless to say, although we will eat well this winter, I'm wondering if next year we might just make a trip to Aldi's or Sam's once in a while. I hear it from good sources (step-mother Kay and Mother-in-law Gloria) that canned goods are very reasonable and certainly a lot less work! I'm guessing that will never work with my farmer husband. Just think--if I weren't canning and freezing, I could be working on my fitness and exercise program--I AM going to start one soon!

If any of you run short of goodies this winter, just give me a call. At the very least, I can invite you over for a home-grown meal! As Julia would have said, "Bon appetite"!

Monday, August 25, 2008

An Awesome Artist


I have been impressed lately with the wonderful artistry that God provides for us. These pictures didn't really capture the beauty of the sunrise and sunsets that I've observed. The sunset last night literally was spread across the entire horizon; it became a deep orange and red, which I tried to photograph (but it turned out too dark).

I saw this sunrise on my way to work last week, and just had to try to get the picture. We are so blessed to have so many wonderful examples of God's handiwork all around us.

We were talking in our Sunday School class about a week ago, about the clouds and cloud formations. Lately, they have been so beautiful--fluffy and pure white, and when the sun comes up it shines through the clouds giving them an awesome lining. Some of us observed a cloud formation last week, that was amazing. We all said the same thing--we thought maybe the Lord was coming in that cloud!

So take time to smell the roses, watch the sunsets, dream while watching the clouds, and above all, be sure to take time to thank the Awesome Artist who created them all.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Nostalgia-"Back in the day"

Tonight Lynn and I actually had a "date night"! Out in the country between Woodburn and New Haven (2 very small towns) there is a Maumee Valley Show. It is sort of like a fair, with "fair food", like elephant ear, steamed sweet corn, etc. Of course they also have flea market booths, tractor pulls, and some other equally exciting events. However, tonight, they also had an outdoor concert featuring Spike and the Bulldogs, singing 50's and 60's music.

First we had barbeque sandwiches, cheese fries and an elephant ear. We walked around a few of the booths. We usually buy videos and DVD's there, as they are $2-$3 each, so it's pretty inexpensive entertainment for us on our "at home" date nights.

Then we took our lawn chairs and sat down to listen to the concert. It was really fun--kind of nostalgic, bringing back memories of high school and even nursing school when those songs were the hits of the day. I think Lynn kind of wonders about me, as I was tapping my feet, clapping at times--they told us to! and even lip-singing (I didn't want people to think that I thought I was good enough to sing with them!)

It was an absolutely beautiful evening to be outside--a little on the cool side with a very light breeze. I loved being outside! All in all, it was a very fun date night. I did refrain myself from doing the twist or any other dancing, as that probably would have caused Lynn to pass out!

Monday, August 11, 2008

From Zipping to Blobbing

Game Time Saturday Night

Sunday Morning Worship

Tanyale & Bethany
Leading in Music
Jessica holding the music

A tour of Camp

Brenda and Sharice on the Blob

Donna on the Zip Line

This past weekend our family had a get together at Miracle Camp. It was originally going to be a birthday party for Dad. However, dad had his birthday celebration in Heaven, as he went to be with his Lord on June 26th. We decided we all wanted to get together anyway, and celebrate with each other and celebrate his life. And we had a really wonderful time.

What beautiful weather--it was nearly perfect. Many of the group spent time on the boat skiing. Several of them learned to ski this weekend. We also had a great time at the zip line; for the young, it was sort of adventurous and really fun but no big deal. For those of us that are more mature, it was just down right scary. Jumping off of a 35-foot tower and then being whisked along on a wire cable was quite a rush. I wouldn't have missed it for the world!

There was no lack of activities. Everyone really enjoyed various group activities--mini golf, volly ball, swimming, etc. We were even able to watch some of the opening ceremony of the olympics and catch of a few of the events in between other activities.

And THEN--there was the water blobbing!! It involves climbing a tower and jumping off onto this huge long tube. The object is to have someone sitting on the end of the tube, and then when another person jumps onto the tube the one on the end is launched into the water. It was all going well, with everyone having a great time. Brenda and Sharice decided that in order to launch Tyler high into the water, they would both jump together. It was a great plan, but apparently their legs hit each other as they landed. Brenda couldn't walk on her left leg and was carried out of the water on a chair. Sharice also had difficulty walking on her right leg, and limped out with help. Both were sent to Bronson hospital in Kalamazoo. Sharice was able to return to camp, but was having a lot of severe muscle spasms from what they called a deep muscle bruise on her upper leg. Brenda's left femur was split at the top, close to the hip. She needed surgery and was sent by ambulance to Wheaton's Central Dupage Hospital. She had surgery Sunday morning and is doing well. However, she will need a lot of rehab, so this will definitely cramp her style for a little while!

Brenda was so concerned that it would ruin our fun. However, we all continued to have a great time. Many of us had a wonderful time on Saturday evening playing card games, having snacks and visiting.

We had a really sweet Sunday Morning worship service together. Tanyale and Bethany led out music on the keyboard and guitar respectively. We had a time of sharing and prayer and a short Bible study with many participating. One of the strengths of our family is our faith in God and the wonderful christian heritage we have from our parents. I just really felt refreshed and blessed from our time together.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Remembering Sara

I have been thinking about my daughter, Sara, this week. Two years ago tomorrow the Lord took her home to be with Him. When someone close to you is gone, you tend to remember the good memories. I know Sara wasn't perfect, by any means, and she had some very hard times in her brief life. But what I remember are the wonderful qualities she had.

From the time she was small, Sara did not know a stranger. I used to worry about her, because she would make friends with everyone! When she was taken from us she had so many friends. This was very evident at the memorial service we had for her in Oklahoma City. There were so many young people in her age group at that service. We talked to some of her friends, and these are some of the comments they made:

"She was my best friend", "We were like sisters", "she was so nice and kind", "I don't have one bad memory of Sara", "she knew how to make us laugh", "she gave us backrubs", "Sara never held grudges". Her brother said, "She was springy, she was peppy, she had no volume control", she believed in God".

As her mother, I remember her sweet, sensitive spirit. She was always much more concerned about other people and tried to encourage them. Even as young as kindergarten, her teacher said, she doesn't always get her work done, because she's going around helping other kids!

After my first husband, her dad, died, Sara was the one that would remember special days--his birthday, the anniversary of his death, etc. I remember once on my birthday she came over to spend the evening with me; we watched a movie and had popcorn. I remember telling her, "you don't have to hang out with me". Her comment was "now that dad's gone, someone has to take care of you".

After Sara's funeral, when we were cleaning out Sara's apartment, I found a piece of paper back in the corner of a closet. It was a letter that she had started to write to my current husband, Lynn. She said "I hope you are enjoying being married again to my wonderful mom. I am sure she is taking good care of you cause she is great at that, and in return I hope you are giving her a hard time, because someone needs to and that was always my department".

I miss Sara's laughter--she has such a great smile and a great laugh. I miss her calling me and saying "Hey, mama, wha's up?" I know that on June 26th she was reunited with her Grandpa Gisel, and I'm sure they are really having a good time together.

Thank you Lord, for allowing me to have Sara as a part of my life for 28 years. She was a sweetheart and brought much joy into our lives.

We thought of you with love today,
But that is nothing new.

We thought about you yesterday,
And the days before that too.

We think of you in silence,
We often speak your name.

Now all we have are memories,
And your picture in a frame.

Your memory is a keepsake
With which we'll never part.

God has you in His keeping,
We have you in our heart.