This blog is simply the story about my little life
with my sweet family that the Lord has blessed me with
and the day in, day out things that we do.
It basically is my online diary/photo album of our life.
I'm glad you're here!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

My beautiful mother passed away....

My beautiful mother passed away December 3, 2016. She was 79 years old. My father was holding her hand and three of her four children were by her side.
 This is last photo I took of her smiling. This was just 9 days before she passed away. I love how she is looking at me and smiling, she was so happy that we were there with her.
 My husband and I along with our son, Hayden, and my sister Kelli and her husband Ralph along with their son, Joseph joined our parents for Thanksgiving dinner. I am so very thankful that we had one last family celebration with her. She had been battling bronchitis for a few weeks, but she was on the mend and seemed fine. She joked with us, was walking around and she ate dinner. Occasionally we heard her cough, but it wasn't alarming at all.
 The following Monday we got a call from their facility, Eldercare, and were told that she had taken a turn for the worse and they felt she was going to pass away, most likely by the end of the week. I was in shock! How can this be? I just saw her last Thursday and she was fine. How can this be? I left my job and went to her and she was laying there talking with my Daddy and talking with me. How can they say she's dying? She wasn't even in the hospital. We asked that they admit her in the hospital and try IV antibiotics and fluids.
 We were so happy that Eldercare worked with us and got Mommy admitted that night. I had to go to work in the morning because I had to teach a class, but I called the hospital first and was thrilled to hear that she was stable and she was actually at the same hospital where I worked! My son, Cameron, met me there at 10:30 and we visited with Mamma. We had a good visit. and he got her to laugh. She had eaten a little, but not much. They did do an x-ray and found out her bronchitis turned into pneumonia, but I felt good that she was on the IV antibiotics.

After work, I stopped by to say good-bye for the evening and she was doing fine. I called my Daddy and let them talk on the phone and their conversation was just precious. Little did we know, but that would be the last time they would have a conversation. I'm so thankful that God inspired me to call Daddy and let them talk. They told each other they loved each other.
The next morning, I was feeling good thinking she was on her way to recovery with the IV medicine. I grabbed a coffee thinking I'd have a little coffee break with her, but my world was soon to be turned upside down. I went into her room and she was sleeping, but when I tried to wake her, she would not wake up. I heard her breathing, but she was not waking up at all. I immediately found the nurse and asked to speak to the doctor on call. I called my sisters and said to come right away as I thought she was dying. Both sisters came to the hospital and Eldercare brought my father down to see her.
After many hours of no improvement and discussion with the doctor, we decided as a family to send Mamma back home to die peacefully at Eldercare with Daddy by her side. We noted that it was very difficult for Daddy to be away from their care facility as he does need help getting to the restroom and in and out of bed for his naps.

When I called Eldercare and asked if we could have her transported back home, their response was, "Of course! We were hoping you guys would decide to bring her back here." They are so sweet and kind and they knew that it would be a better atmosphere for both of our parents if she passed away quietly, peacefully at home. They provide hospice service, so she would be in good hands.

When I was waiting for the transport company to come, I had one of the darkest moments of my life. I was all alone in the room with my dying mother and had a very difficult phone call with someone I love dearly but our relationship has been severed. The conversation did not go well. It truly was a dark, depressing lonely time for me. I cried out to the Lord who gave me strength and comforted me. I finally got hold of my husband and he comforted me and gave me strength too.

I feel like I turned off my emotions at this point and kind of went on auto pilot. I had to be strong for Mom and Dad.
I stayed with Mamma until the medical transport team came to get her and then I followed them back to Eldercare. I met my husband and my son, Grayson and his wife Rachelle there. At first it was very upsetting because Daddy was so happy thinking she came home because she woke up. I had to tell him the sad news that she did not wake up and that she was dying. It was heartbreaking. I'm so thankful my husband and the kids were there with us.

We were so pleased when the staff asked Daddy if he would like them to move his bed next to hers so he can be by her side in the night. They rearranged the room and tucked them both in bed. I took this very special intimate picture of them together and Daddy was holding Mamma's hand. We held hands and prayed over them and then we went home.
The next three days were the same. I would go visit and be there all day with Mamma and Daddy.
It was a very special time that I will never forget. She never did wake up. They told us she can hear us, so we made sure that all of her grandkids who were out of state called and were able to tell her good-bye.
I love this picture. This is hanging on the wall above Daddy's bed. This is his beautiful bride when she was only about 25 years old and she had four babies already! She's so cute in her bathing suit as she is hanging the laundry to dry. Those were some of the sweetest days of their life together.
Many people stopped by to visit to say an encouraging word and pray.  Here's my son, Hayden, reading the Bible for Daddy.
We found this beautiful picture of Mamma in Daddy's Bible. He always adored her.
He loves her so very much. This was so very difficult for him.
Thursday night Kathi and her family came to visit and then she came to my house and spent the night. The next morning we had much needed sister time and had devotions together. We said that God gave us this little moment of calm during this big storm. Kathi was under added stress because her daughter was to be married on December 10th, which at this point was 9 days away. They were having a huge reception dinner/party in their barn and she had many details to take care of.
But God helped us to be there for our parents and for each other, but also helped each of us take care of the things in our lives. I brought several old photo albums for Daddy to look through.
Such happy days. Mommy with us for kids, Kelli just turned 5, Kathi 3, Sharon almost 2 and Wade 9 months. She was a busy little Mamma!
I love this picture of them. This was a very sweet period in their life, they were retired empty-nesters with several grandchildren and enjoying the more leisure life.
My husband was so thoughtful and realized that Daddy would probably really like to hug Mamma and he suggested we should help him to make it happen. My Daddy is bound to his wheelchair and cannot stand alone to hug Mom or kiss her face. We asked the CNAs if they could safely help him stand to carefully hug and kiss her and they did! This meant so much to my Dad.
While it was so very sad, there were times of laughter as we shared our good memories and when we cleaned out Mommy's drawers we found all of this contraband! She always had a sweet tooth and it's evident by her secret stash! She always loved Pringles potato chips too!
On Saturday December 3rd at 2:00 am, Eldercare called our house and said that Mamma's breathing had slowed and that we should come. I raced down there and got there at 3:00am and met my brother Wade and soon my sister Kathi arrived. We woke up Daddy and we all thought it would happen within the hour, but it didn't. We did, however, have a very special time together as we listened to the old love songs that our parents always played in the house when we were growing up. We shared memories, both good and bad, and had a very cozy time with our father.
This photo depicts exactly how I felt. I was completely drained. I took this Saturday morning about 11:30. I was all alone with my parents and had so many emotions. I had been up since 2:00 am, I was exhausted. This was my life for 6 days now. I wanted to be there for my mother. I absolutely did not want her to die alone and I really wanted to be there the moment she took her last breath and the angels escorted her to heaven. I was also so worried about my Daddy and did not want him to be alone. I felt like I could not go on much longer, but I prayed for strength and God gave it to me.
Daddy lovingly rubbed lotion on his beloved and talked to her so sweetly. We were noticing how beautiful she looked and what gorgeous skin she has. She hardly has any wrinkles.
Daddy read the Bible to Mommy every day. He read it to her one last time on Saturday morning about 3 hours before she died.
Mommy died at 3:08pm on Saturday December 3, 2016. Daddy was holding her hand, I was touching her face and caressing Daddy, Kathi was holding her other hand and Wade was at by her side. Kelli was in route and missed the actual passing, but she came soon after. We prayed together and cried. All the sudden we heard music and realized the residents were all singing "Unchained Melody" and then "Amazing Grace". What a a beautiful gift from God.
After we had our time with Mamma and they came to take her away, the facility planned a sing along with the other residents. They sat Daddy in the living room and we sat with him singing old hymns such as "Blessed Assurance" and "In the Sweet Bye and Bye". Daddy was clapping and singing. This was such a wonderful memory I will always cherish.
My beautiful mother, Shirley  
August 20, 1937 - December 3, 2016. 

Good-bye for now dear Mother, until we met again in heaven. I love you.

"So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body." I Corinthians 15:42-44.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

I did it.

I voted this morning. I feel relieved to have this done, but I actually am not proud of who I voted for.  For the first time in my voting career, I have had this feeling. I do feel that this person is the better of the two. It's so sad what our country has come to. Ultimately, I KNOW that GOD is IN CONTROL no matter what the outcome. THY will be done! Whoever gets voted in, I will pray for them. I believe we American's must stand together. In God we trust.

In God I trust.

"God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne." Psalm 47:8

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Can't sleep...

 It's 2:17 am and I'm in my kitchen taking photos for my blog.


Insomnia is a new thing for me. It started about 3 years ago and I HATE it!
 It can start at any time of the night, but usually starts about midnight or 1:00 am with me stirring and rolling over. Then the brain starts up and the mind starts racing. Thoughts pop into my mind. I start thinking and then my thinking leads to worry and worry leads to fear. It's usually about my children. I immediately start praying. I continue to lay there wide awake. I try to make myself think happy thoughts and I start thanking God for all of my blessings, but alas, I lay there wide awake. I tell myself to stop thinking, relax, go back to sleep, but sleep wont come. I fight this battle for about an hour and then I finally get out of bed.
 I head to the kitchen and get a glass of milk.
Sometimes I read my Bible, sometimes I get on the computer and look at my photos, Facebook or Pinterest, sometimes I read a book and sometimes I get on my knees and pray. On this particular night I started reading a new book called, "Having a Mary heart in a Martha World"
 Sometimes I take a 1/4 dose of Tylenol PM (the bottle says to take two pills and I take half of one). I don't like to take it in the middle of the night in fear of being too sleepy and groggy in the morning, but this particular night I felt like I needed to take it.

Having insomnia is very unpleasant and it leads to fear of having it again the next night. My pattern is that I have one sleepless night, so then the next night I take 1/4 dose of the sleep med and I will take it for several days in a row until I think I will sleep again. During the stress I have been under the past three years, I believe I took the sleep med every night for a good solid year. I am happy that I have cut back to just randomly taking it.
I have researched insomnia and it does go hand in hand with menopause, and the timing for it would be accurate in my case (starting 3 years ago). However, I do know the root of a lot of my sleepless nights is worry for my sons, my daughter-in-laws and my grandson.  I know worrying is wrong. Worrying means I am not trusting God. My kids are God's children and I know He has a plan for them, but these worries sneak up on me in the middle of the night and wake me up.
I actually have placed comforting scriptures of God's promises by my bed to help me.
 "For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, fear not! I will help thee." Isaiah 41:13

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." II Timothy 1:7

"Cast all your cares upon Him; for He careth for you." I Peter 5:7
 I also believe that sometimes God wakes me up just so that I will pray for my loved ones. Sometimes the urge is so strong that I feel like it can be spiritual battle and I want to be obedient and pray for the person/situation that God has placed on my heart.
 Tonight I prayed and read some of my book. This is a good book. I want to love Jesus like Mary did and be at His feet listening to His teachings with a humble and sincere heart.
 Well, I finished my milk and I'm getting drowsy.
It's only 2:41, so if I can get to sleep now, I will still get 3 more hours of sleep before the alarm goes off. I'm going back to bed. Goodnight!

"When thy liest down, though shalt not be afraid; ye shall lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet." Proverbs 3:24

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Get'n saucy with my husband...

Our apples are ready for harvesting!
My husband and I have been having so much fun canning together, we decided to make applesauce together too!
He has made applesauce every fall for many years, but he always seemed to do it when I wasn't home, so it was just his thing, but this year I really wanted to make it with him.
It was so fun just going out the backdoor to pick the apples!
And pick we did! Look how many gorgeous apples we got!
We brought them inside and got busy!
We held a little contest. He wanted to peel them with our wind-up apple peeler.
I saw a neat video how a person peeled several apples in one minute using a drill. Well, I can tell you right now that it looks easier on the video than in real life! It probably does work if you have the correct type of peeler, ours didn't work very well at all, so needless to say, the drill went back out to Eric's workshop.
We went back to the apple peeler and it worked great.
It's pretty simple to do and you can probably peel two apples in a minute. Not bad!
We saved all the scraps for a treat for our cows!
We had a pretty good assembly line going. He peeled, I cored/quartered, then we switched jobs.
Once we got a bowl full of quarters, I started removing any pieces of core that were left.
The next step was to cut into small pieces.
We use the recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.
You put the apples in a pan with about a cup of water and cook them down very slowly so they don't burn.
You add 1/2 cup of brown sugar and......
.......two teaspoons of cinnamon.
Keep watching and stirring until they start breaking down. Use a masher to work them further to get the consistency you like. We like it chunky!
Once its to the consistency you like, you let it cool a bit.
Then you spoon it into freezer containers.
We made several 1-1/2 pints and a couple of quarts. We have learned from past experience that the applesauce does expand in the freezer, so we left a little room at the top of the containers.
 We let them sit on the counter for several hours before putting the lids on and freezing. I love the feeling after preparing foods when the kitchen is clean and my hard work is sitting on the counter. It was such a fun day with my husband too!
Now they are in the freezer waiting for us! This sure feels good!
We had apples left over, so I decided to try and make apple liqueur. We made plum and raspberry liqueur this year and had left over gin, so I thought I would give it a try. I filled the jars with apples, poured 1-1/3 cup of gin over them and added 1-1/3 cup of brown sugar and 2 tsp of cinnamon.
I will put them in the pantry and keep them there for a few months, turning them once a week. I sure hope this turns out, it sounds delicious!
Oh, and one more thing that I did with the apples, I made this pretty centerpiece! My friend, Shannon, gave me the neat tiered stand for my birthday and I filled it with apples and hydrangeas.

"Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me under the shadow of Your wings." Psalm 17:8

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