Thursday, November 1, 2018

Women Makeovers

Don't know how I made it through the month of October without blogging here, but as these autumn months sneak up on us, they are quick to "leave" (pun intended).

Only other excuse I might have for this negligence is busyness with my bread ministry. I have given away over a hundred loaves these last three months, but the Lord blesses this outreach with just enough donations to purchase the ingredients and keep it going.

My biggest event for the month though has to be the Kansas-Nebraska S.D.A. Women's Retreat in Grand Island, Nebraska. It was made even sweeter with the addition of my daughter attending with me. We drove there together and stayed in a room all to ourselves. We enjoyed great speakers, delicious food, and endless women to visit with and establish bonds of friendship.

But our greatest Friend we came home with was the Lord Jesus Himself. The closer we are to Him, the closer we are to each other. So, I can't think of any way a mother and daughter could bond in a greater way than to experience the wonderful weekend of a Christian women's retreat like we just had this past weekend.

I am quickly seeing that with my caregiving days having lapsed for my husband, I have entered another cycle of loving care...that of my daughter taking care of me. And that's OK.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Human Breadmachine

Since I saw my brother in N.C. this summer, I have taken up an "old" hobby...baking bread. My sister-in-law put the idea in my head, knowing I used to bake it years ago. She was hoping we could bake some when I was visiting there. But the week got away from us, and so I just had to try it when I got home. So far, I've given away loaves to about fifty people, and am loving it!

Even when I was anxious about my brother's family, living on the Outer Banks during Hurricane Florence, baking bread took my mind off the worry. Fortunately, the major damage was about a hundred miles south of them. But it was really "touch and go" there for awhile!

God is good. As it says in Isaiah 33:16...

  • "He shall dwell on high; his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks; bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure."

God will provide. Read the story of the widow's loaf in I Kings 17:8-16, where it says...

  • "And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah." v. 16

For my recipe, see my blog called "Teresa Taste", at the tab at the top of this blog.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Yard Makeover

I can't wait to tell you about my yard "makeover" today! Union College students volunteer for a mass volunteer day once a year, called Project Impact. I was one of their projects this time. A crew of about 6 or 7 young people worked all morning sprucing up my front and back yards, something I am totally unable to do with my pulmonary restrictions.

My heart is filled with gratitude for all their hard work!

Thanks so much for your earnest labors today all over Lincoln, Union College. Your impact was felt by those you helped, but also seen by our heavenly Father. God bless you as you take up your studies and continue to make an impact on the world.

More than a dozen bags of yard waste now sitting on my curb!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Doing What I Can

Yesterday I participated in some round-table sessions with several of the candidates for election in our next state legislature. Although it was a grueling, all-day affair with ten 45-minute-long sessions with each of ten potential policymakers, it was very gratifying that I could in a small way help increase awareness of brain injury and caregiving by my presence in that group of like-minded advocates.

The twenty-member panel, asking questions of the candidates, included advocates for those with heart disease, Alzheimer's, cancer, brain injury, and seniors with disabilities. In addition, most of us on the panel were volunteers and/or caregivers.

Most touching were the sessions with candidates who had experienced firsthand some of the issues close to our hearts. It was not hard to reach them with our appeals for legislation that could make life easier for these vulnerable citizens of our state.

Human legislation will never be enough to alleviate all of the world's sorrows, but God expects us to do what we can, whenever we can. That was my goal for being there.

"I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." 
Philippians 3:14 NKJV

The Sower--sits on top of Nebraska's state capitol building

Monday, August 6, 2018

Brother Time

July was a wonderful month for me, as I got to reconnect with my sister and then my brother, who both live miles away, not only from me, but from each other. One of these days we will have to plan some quality time for the three of us together, like I've enjoyed with each of them separately this summer.

The Outer Banks of North Carolina may be advertised as a quality vacation spot for families, but the only attraction for me was my family who lives there. Isn't family the greatest attraction God has created for us? Of course, it is. And I took full advantage of it during my always-too-brief visit with them.

Of course, we did have our "token" beach time in North Carolina, bringing back childhood memories of splashing in the waves, sinking our toes in the sand, and soaking up the sun. I have lived in the glorious, mountainous Northwest, and now enjoy the green, rolling prairies of the Midwest, but I also love the sandy, white beaches of our country's shorelines.

Maybe it's the sounds and smells of the seashore that make it so special as part of God's creative handiwork. You can't hear the mountains or the prairie, except for occasional bird calls or insect sounds (although one is attracted to the peaceful silence there). But when you find yourself on a beach, your senses are instantly engaged fully. The sight of water as far as the eye can see, the roaring sound of waves crashing, even the salty smell from the ocean water, wash over and engulf you, drawing you close to God.

However wonderful my time in nature was though, I still felt especially close to God by the opportunity to spend time with my brother and his family again. My mind is filled with thankfulness and yearning to be with them more. I can't wait for heaven, where we'll have an eternity to enjoy each other's company. I have faith that, not only will my husband be there, who I miss dearly, but also many of my loved ones. Now, there's a vacation/reunion I don't want to miss!

My brother Everett--missing you again already!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Sister Time

I've been looking forward to July all year. My sister from Florida came for a visit--that was the first highlight I knew was coming. It was sweetened for us both by getting to attend her youngest son's wedding in Omaha. It was a simple affair, but rich with tradition and beauty, with just a few family members and friends in attendance. They got married by a judge on the back deck of the bride's mother's house. Then we all went to a restaurant for dinner. Low key, no fuss, no muss. It was a delight to be there for the event.

The next item on my agenda is another airplane trip to see my brother and sister-in-law in North Carolina's Outer Banks. I haven't seen them for several years, so am really looking forward to our visit. Also hoping for another look at the ocean which I miss, having grown up with the Atlantic Ocean literally across the street from us!

It seems odd to make plans and visits like this without weaving Dean's care into the picture. Thoughts of previous trips, with and without him, keep tumbling into my mind. But I refuse to let them sour my adventures. Life with Dean was such an adventure, and I'm discovering that our experiences together only served as an enrichment to life that I still have the privilege of enjoying.

So long as the good Lord provides the opportunity, I will seize it and will try to let the blessings flow. Because I know Dean would want it that way. I carry him in my heart, right next to the God who joined us in the first place.

Sisters forever!
...til death do us part...thinking about in particular

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Beauty of Laughter for Ashes

It wouldn't seem right not to include all the milestones of my life, following Dean's passing away last February. My first birthday, Easter, church camp meeting, etc. without him.

Perhaps a real biggie should have been our anniversary on June 6th. But up until June 5th, I hadn't even given it a single thought. Just been keeping busy with other things, and it wasn't on my radar. I'm sure I would have thought about it when the actual day came, and hopefully it wouldn't have been tainted with too much sadness.

My two granddaughters remembered though. Yes, only 8 and 10 years old, and they recognized the day's significance. Perhaps their mom, my daughter, initially mentioned it to them.

Both girls were quite secretive with their plans that day before our anniversary. It was my assigned day to "watch" them while mom and dad worked. It wasn't until their mom came to pick them up that afternoon, that I got to see what was behind their whispers all day. They had evidently come up with a scheme to make Grandma happy, instead of sad, on her anniversary.

A skit, featuring Grandpa, gave me some powerful laugh medicine. They dressed up like him (using one of his flannel shirts and sweatpants still in his closet). "He" came sauntering down the hallway with his cane. All I saw was Julia's face, hidden behind a "beard" they had created out of cotton, glued onto a white piece of paper and held onto her face with bread ties.

Funniest of all was what gave her the height she needed to be like Grandpa. She was cleverly sitting on top of her big sister Jenna's shoulders, underneath all Grandpa's clothing. "He" was truly a sight to be seen, even though I couldn't actually see Jenna. Obviously, I couldn't help but laugh at their accurate portrayal of him.

Then, the funniest part of all. This "apparition" standing before me began to talk. "He" said all the things Dean would have said in a little girl-deepened voice! "Let's go for a hamburger. Can I have a Coke and a candy bar? What's for supper? When's supper?" It was just too funny. They had heard those lines almost every time they were around Grandpa.

I was definitely going to remember their skit, just as they were going to remember Grandpa. And both memories will have a tendency to bring laughter and joy to our lives, rather than tears.

Reminding me of this verse:
"To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning..." Isaiah 61:3