Out Of The Sorrow

   I have had so many people ask, how does a Christian’s faith stay so strong in the face of loss?

  Right away, I had to think of our friends, whose precious 20-year-old daughter, died in a car wreck recently.  They KNOW they will see her again, with joy and confidence!  With tears in their eyes, and smiles on their faces, they will tell you so with complete certainty.

  They are pictured below on the right.  We so appreciate them coming to not only the funeral, but the grave service of the memorial service of Papa. It was so hard, and so fresh for them, just a month out.
Ally’s gravestone is right next to our Papa’s…..I find that comforting somehow, even though I know those bodies are empty shells.  They are HOME already!

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   So the service is over, we cleaned out his house this weekend, we have a stack of bills and paperwork to sort through, and life is marching on.

 But it’s just not the same, because there are 3 sons and a daughter, 6 grandkids, and a daughter in law, who miss their Grandpa, Papa and Dad…..

Every. Moment. Of. Every. Day.

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How does life go on?

  Let me let you in on the secret……

It’s Jesus.

Plain and simple.

  It’s hard to fathom for those who don’t know Him personally.  It’s super natural, it’s not of this Earth, our minds can’t handle it.  We can’t wrap our minds around an Eternity in Paradise, in a place with no sorrow and no pain, FOREVER with those we love.
Only ONE way to Heaven, and the ticket is Jesus Christ and what He did on that cross. The Bible says in that it is NOT by works, lest any man should boast.  

  Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, lest any man should boast.”

Wow.  What a gift!

  The Father always uses our darkest times in our lives, to make Himself known in the most powerful, undeniable ways.  Papa’s last days on Earth were no exception.

I am reminded of the Hymn we sang yesterday at his church; the church Dale and his siblings grew up in…..

 It Is Well  

Have you heard the story behind this heart grabbing hymn?

  A man name Horatio, a wealthy lawyer with a thriving practice, beautiful family; wife, 4 daughters and a son…devout Christian, successful businessmen.  At the height of their success, they lost their young son, then the Great Chicago Fire destroyed all of the family real estate investments.

  Shortly after, this weary family decided to vacation in Europe to take some time to recover from these losses.  Due to a business delay, Horatio sent his wife and 4 daughters on without him, promising to join them in just a few days.

  Several days later he received notice that his family’s ship had encountered a collision. All four of his daughters drowned; only his wife had survived.  With a heavy heart, he boarded a boat that would take him to his grieving Anna in England. It was on those very seas, close to the accident site, he penned the words to this famous hymn.  It is well in my soul….

Please take a moment to watch?

  Dale’s oldest brother, Kevin, told us he would be going to Papa’s church on Sunday to say something to them from the stage.

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  We didn’t ask questions, just quickly made arrangements to be there and support him.

Here is what he had to say from the pulpit of that church:

“In the final weeks of my father’s life, I felt the Hand of God through the overwhelming flood of love, and support pouring out from my family, and this wonderful group of believers.

  It made me realize I was trying to struggle through this life on Earth alone.  I have spent the last 20 years withdrawing from God, family and from friends.

  When I pulled my Bible out last week, it had a pretty heavy layer of dust on it.  I wiped it off and immediately turned to the 23rd Psalm. {Papa’s favorite}
The Lord IS my Shepherd…..  
And now I am open to his guidance.

  I am up here today, to give thanks.  I want to thank you for the love, support and delicious meals you provided my Dad, and my family.

  I want to thank Frieda for the warm invitation to return to this family.  And John Yoder for the same, his exact words were, “Don’t be a stranger.”

  I would like to thank Dale and Tonya for being there for Dad every step of the way, in his fight with cancer.  And for giving me my Bible that will not collect dust again.

  Finally, I would like to thank my dad, for leading by example my entire life.  And at the end of his, showing me what was missing from mine.
  
  Now, I want to cherish every moment I have with the loving family I was blessed to be given.  And I want to have a personal relationship with Jesus, starting with returning to this incredible House of God, that still feels like home.”

  What an honor to sit there and watch this transformed man on stage.  To hear the amen and applause from the church body, as he stood up before a crowd of witnesses, and gave a profession of faith.

  That, my friends, is the power of Jesus Christ, working through a church that is dedicated to being the hands and feet of Jesus.  The lost lamb has returned to the flock, praise Jesus!  There is great rejoicing in Heaven!!!!!

 I know Papa is so, so proud of Kevin, and so pleased that in the face of his death, new life in Christ was born.

And in the words of the famous hymn:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Out of the sorrow, is birthed new life, new hope, new surrender.

And all else set aside……

  It is well, it is well with my soul.

Thank you, Father, for never leaving or forsaking us!

~T

 

Weekend Potluck #112

Hi and Welcome to Weekend Potluck, where friends and foodies meet and eat, ALLL Weekend long!

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Do you like our new look?!  So excited!

Sweet Brandie hired a gal to get the job done right, it’s sooo pretty!

We now have an easy button for you to grab in the sidebar too, saying where you linked up. Go see!
Just throw it onto the bottom of your shared recipes and we can feature you anytime at Potluck! :)

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Now, let’s take a quick peek back at last week

The recipe with the most clicks was ~

Smothered Chicken Casserole by South Your Mouth

Recipes that caught our attention ~

Cheesey Garlic Pull Aparts by Life in the Lofthouse

Creamy Zucchini and Carrot Soup by Hot Eats and Cool Reads

Your hostesses ~

Remember that when you link up, it shows on all FIVE blogs. Plus…

We TWEET. We PIN. We LIKE.

Linky Guidelines:

If you wish to be a featured recipe or for us to promote your recipe either on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, you MUST follow these instructions.

  1. Please link up to your exact post and not the main page to your blog.
  2. LINK BACK HERE from your post so that others can find the fun. (Need help linking back? Read this or watch this great instructional videoPlease use a direct link within your post.

When you are kind enough to follow our guidelines, we work hard to get you as much exposure as possible so that your time here is well invested. We want this to be a fun and rewarding experience for everyone!

Spring Break

   Hey friends, my kiddos are on Spring Break, hallelujah!  We are obviously hanging close to home, no Florida trip after all, due to a Papa in Hospice House, preparing to go see Jesus.

  I haven’t cooked in 3 weeks, so I don’t have anything yummy to share these days.  I think I will take this time to rest.  I want to enjoy my family and our time together, as we watch Papa say goodbye to this World, and enter into Eternity.  Just know, that there will be some days in the month to come, that there is no blog prepared, I just haven’t had time to work ahead, or think about it.

  I am sure you will understand and offer me grace, it’s been a tough couple of weeks, but I wanted to at least give you a heads up so I don’t get a bunch of “Where ARE you?” emails!  :) You all are so good to me!

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  Dale is gone all the time to Hospice, which make no mistake, is exactly where he belongs!!!!  But he leaves behind a tired Momma, and 4 emotional children, who miss their Daddy AND their Papa.  I still haven’t had the heart to ask him to bring the couch back into the living room now that the hospital bed is gone.

  Our Father in Heaven knows the number of days He had planned for our Papa from the beginning of time.  We are trying to be patient, but watching someone you love waste away day by day,  is difficult to say the least.  ESPECIALLY when mentally they are so alert that they know every visitor by name, but cannot eat, can barely drink, and cannot speak above a forced whisper.

  I have been working late into the night, on a special slide show for his Memorial Service, I can’t wait to show it to you.  We also have ordered his casket from a local Amish craftsman, which will be custom lined in hunting fabric, and working on the memorial service to come.

  Everyone will be invited to wear their best Camo.  Pretty neat, huh?  That’s our Papa, never one for fussy clothes! :)

  We want his Service to be a celebration of a life well lived, and to be a reflection of him, his friends, his love of hunting, and most of all, his Savior, Jesus Christ.

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  In other news from the Ferguson’s household, we lost our beloved Bambie for 2 long, scary days! 

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  I had 3 sick, fevered kids, no doubt a result of knocked immune systems from the late nights, and the delicious sweets they have been allowed to have.  Between that, a life that doesn’t stop for us to breathe, and some bad news from a close family member, it was just the straw the broke the Camel’s back. 

  Good thing our Heavenly Father knows our thoughts and loves us anyways, because I was NOT happy and I told Him so.  I put it out an S.O.S. on Facebook and began to pray diligently for Bambie’s return.

  We thought she was gone for good, because of a recent Coyote scare!  Thanks to Facebook, and a gracious Father in Heaven who heard broken-hearted sobs from the Ferguson Farm, our friend Ashley, found her at the local shelter.  We were able to get her home safe and sound at 1 the very next day!

  They told us she was found on the Highway headed into town. I know she was coming to see us at Hospice House, she is such a smart girl. We hadn’t been home more than sleeping at night for a solid week, and she simply wanted to find her family. 

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  Praise God for answered prayers, and for healed children the VERY NEXT DAY! 

  I will keep you posted on our Papa, ok?

  This photo was taken a week and a half ago, and it’s hard to imagine this, I know….but he is half this size right now.

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  I sure covet your prayers during these final days.  It’s hard to want someone to go home so badly, while in the same breath, wishing they could stay.  One month ago Wednesday, Papa moved into our home, 2 weeks ago Wednesday, he moved into Hospice…..

It all feels like a lifetime ago.

  Hugs, T

Weekend Potluck #110

Hi and Welcome to Weekend Potluck! Where friends and foodies, meet and eat, ALL Weekend long!
Weekend Potluck Banner

Now, let’s take a quick peek back at last week

The recipe with the most clicks was ~

Fried Cabbage and Bacon by Kelli’s Kitchen

Recipes that caught our attention ~

Cheesy Sausage Potato Casserole by Simply Savvy Recipes

Banana Cream Salad by Everyday Mom’s Meals

And, a personal favorite ~

Grandma B’s Scones: 3 Recipes! by Steph’s Blessings

Your hostesses ~

Remember that when you link up, it shows on all FIVE blogs. Plus…

We TWEET. We PIN. We LIKE.

Linky Guidelines:

If you wish to be a featured recipe or for us to promote your recipe either on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, you MUST follow these instructions.

  1. Please link up to your exact post and not the main page to your blog.
  2. LINK BACK HERE from your post so that others can find the fun. (Need help linking back? Read this or watch this great instructional videoPlease use a direct link within your post.

When you are kind enough to follow our guidelines, we work hard to get you as much exposure as possible so that your time here is well invested. We want this to be a fun and rewarding experience for everyone!

Panko Macaroni & Cheese Casserole

Ever since I was preggers with Paxton, I have loved Mac & Cheese…

but it had to be THE BOXED KIND. 

9 months PG with Paxton

Oh good heavens, I am so ashamed to admit that to you. 

The fake cheese tasted so good! I ate a whole box for lunch.  Eeek!  {with a salad!!!!}

  I have been on the hunt for a homemade gooey, cheesy Mac & Cheese to replace my addiction ever since, and I haven’t found one that we like.

  Well, when I saw this recipe from The Sunflower Supper Club I knew I had to give it a go.  I mean, it had sour cream in it! How could I go wrong?  They don’t have one recipe on their site that we haven’t LOOOOVED.   This Mac and Cheese was no exception!

  Kim calls it Creamy One Pot Macaroni and Cheese, but since I used more than just a pot, I felt like I would be lying to you, so we have dubbed it a new name at our house based on my favorite part, the buttery Panko on top!  

Panko Macaroni & Cheese Casserole

from Kim at Sunflower Supper Club

Panko Mac & Cheese Casserole

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces, weight Pasta Shells
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 4 cups Cheese, We Did Two Sharp Cheddar And 2 Colby Jack
  • 16 ounces, weight Cottage Cheese
  • ½ cups Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 16 ounces, weight Sour Cream
  • 1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 3 Tablespoons Parsley Flakes
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter, Melted

Preheat oven to 350*F
Boil noodles and salt until al dente. Drain and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix cheese and sour cream. Add in still warm pasta and mix well. Salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer to a sprayed 9×13 baking dish.
Mix together bread crumbs, parsley flakes and butter. Sprinkle over shells and cheese.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until brown and bubbly.

Serve hot!

Tastes best first day.

  You all this recipe is SO rich, SO creamy and SO divine, it made my eyes roll up in my head when I took a taste.  Yup, it’s THAT GOOD!

Thanks Kim, for allowing me to share your yummy dish today!  Head on over to Sunflower Supper Club and check out more of their amazing food!

~T