Weekend Fun: Spring Has Sprung

Oh, praise Jesus for the sunshine this weekend.  We NEEDED that in our lives! Spring has finally Sprung, RIGHT?!
IMG_8135IMG_8132IMG_8140 Nope.

  Sadly, it was short-lived.  It’s currently forecasted to be 33 degrees with a chance of snow.  Blah.

Longest. Winter. EVERRRRRR.

I can’t wait to get out in the garden and plant, but alas, we shall wait.

  Did you see on facebook, we had another freezer die?!

ACK! Is this an almost 12-year-old marriage thing?  I can’t complain, because they were all given to use for FREE. 

Best part of a new freezer?

  THE BOX, of course!  It makes the perfect house!box house

Kitchen and Officebox house 1

Family room and outside side view

  Paxton is the strong man on the TV Show because he “ate his Beggies and has strong muscles!”  {veggies in Paxton-speak}
box house 3

  The weekend was totally wonderful; I napped on my lawn chair in the sun, we blew bubbles, hit around some golf balls, watched Daddy filet the fish he caught at the lake, and went to the MCC Relief Sale. I write about it every year, so if you have no idea what MCC Relief is, check this blog post out from a few years ago.

  It’s tradition and apparently both Dale and I have been going since we can remember, because while we were walking around the MCC Sale we discovered something AMAZING!

  I was telling the kids about the “good ol’ days” when I was a kid. We’d bring our motorhome and stay overnight, from morning till night, I would run around with my friends and have a grand ol’ time. We loved to play under the stage by the pond, and there were always CUTE boys under there for us to follow around.

Dale turns to me with big eyes and says, “We came all weekend too because my dad worked a booth. And we always hung out under the stage by the pond.”

WHAT!? No stinkin’ way.

  Then I ask him about the year it rained so hard, those same cute boys we saw every year, wore white trash bags as ponchos. He is like “Yup, we went to my dad’s booth and got them to wear so we could stay outside.”

HOW CRAZY IS THAT!? Guess I had good taste in men even as a 6th grader?

MCC Sale photos:

Amish Whoopie Pies  {swoon}
Oh! And they sell homemade cookies and a big glass of milk.  Mmm! Maybe next year.
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Fresh New Years Cookies, think glazed donut with raisins inside.IMG_8153IMG_8146IMG_8149IMG_8150IMG_8154IMG_8152

Walking around the Sale is HARD WORK!IMG_8221

  Did you know we planted some Trees in Papa’s honor? 

  2 Cherry, 2 Apple, 2 Pear and 2 Peach!  When Dale came to me with the idea, I declared it the PERFECT way to honor his father.  He was always the one to bring the fruit to every function anyhow!  :)

trees for papa 2

  Well, that’s it for now.  I have got to run to the store to get a few things for Dale’s Birthday dinner tonight.  He wants Steak and a butter-sauteed hash of Asparagus, baby bella mushrooms and zucchini for supper.  And then of course, LEMON Dessert. 

Actually not this one as tradition states:

Lemon pudding dessert

We are saving that one for Easter.

 He wants THIS one, a new favorite.

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Happy Birthday to my Sweetie pie!!!!  

You fill our home with your deep chested laugh, strong arms that throw kids high in the air in fun play,

You are my voice of reason, my safe place, my best friend and the love of my life…..

Today, we celebrate YOU!  

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  Have a great day, everyone! Happy Monday…

~T

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

 

A Papa Update & Reuben Sandwich Casserole

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We had a really great day on Tuesday!  Papa was alert and happy, he ate his dinner out at the table with us, all without a gag, or a hiccup to be heard.  It seemed he was beating death for … Continue reading

Praying for A Miracle & Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Soup

  Do you remember Papa Don?  Dale’s father?  

You can go meet him here.  We took some family photos after he got sick, but before he started chemo.

  He is a very special part of our life and home, more now that he lives right next door to us, and shares our dinner table most nights.

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Thanksgiving

  It’s been hard to watch him fight cancer this past year. He has lost so much weight, and the thing we miss most is the sparkle in his eye.  

Papa Don

  Praise the Lord, the cancer markers continue to fall from 8,000 down to 2,300, but we have hit a rough patch this last 2 months, and they are going back up again.

We were over to Nana & Great Gma’s for lunch yesterday, when Dale called.  He had gotten a phone call from his dads boss, saying he was not doing so good: dizzy, falling asleep, vomiting.

He has also been dealing with bouts of paralysis and loss of vision.  He can no longer drive truck, and is talking about quitting the office job now too, so he can rest.  The man hasn’t stopped working the whole time he has been on chemo.

After getting the phone call, we immediately planned to take Papa in for a check up, and to cancel his chemo treatment that afternoon.  Not when he was already so sick.

We were all playing outside, when Dale came over with some hard news from the Clinic about our Papa. The kids were playing nearby, but not so close they could hear our conversation, so I wasn’t sure they knew what was happening.  We talked very quietly, hugged each other and then he headed back to the Clinic to check on his dad.

Not long after that, I couldn’t find the kiddos….I thought I heard them “laughing” behind the fence.

When I walked around the corner, there they were, SOBBING, not laughing.  I grabbed a shot with my little camera phone so I could send it to Dale.

bad news

Destiny said they had decided to gather to pray for Papa, because they could tell something was wrong.  They just all burst into tears, because they were sad. Precious babies!

I hate to see them hurting, the utter heartbreak in their faces made me sob alongside them.  They understand so much more of the big picture then they are given credit for.  But thankfully, this opened the door for some wonderful discussion about how God sometimes heals our bodies here on Earth, and sometimes He heals us by taking us to Heaven and giving us a new body.  They know that part, but it’s still hard to understand sometimes.

After the kids went to bed, we had a big talk with Papa.  After much discussion, we have decided that we will not be continuing his Chemo at this time. The doctor is in complete agreement with us, as it is destroying his quality of life.

He sat in our home tonight in tears, I know this is so hard on him.  He couldn’t move from the chair, his entire left side was paralyzed for a good 10 minutes. This happens on and off now, sometimes an hour at a time.  We thought mini strokes, but it happens on either side of his body.  He goes in tomorrow to get some fluids drained so he can be more comfortable.

Guys, we are scared.  We are in uncharted territory for our family, going through something that you hear your PARENTS going through with your Grandparents, not your husband with his father.

The most difficult part of all, is that we truly don’t know the timeline of this journey for Papa.  So every day must count as if it is the last.

We don’t have all the answers, but we do know that we serve a Father who brings healing in various forms. We won’t stop praying for a miracle!

Thank you all for you continued love and support…..it means more than you know!   I will keep you posted.

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  Now, on to the soup I want to share today.  Dale and Papa Don thought this was too sweet, but the kids and I LOVED the sweet and savory element that the BBQ sauce brings to this unique soup!

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Soup

Adapted from a delicious recipe at Picky Palate

{click the title to print}

BBQ Chicken Soup txt

Ingredients

  • 5 whole Chicken Breasts
  • 1 whole Red Onion, Diced
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Pressed
  • 24 ounces, weight Frozen Corn (I Used Fresh That We Had Frozen Over The Summer, And It Was Amazing)
  • 2 cans (14 Oz Each) Diced Tomatoes, Drained
  • 1 cup BBQ Sauce (avoid Too Sweet Of One, Think Savory Spicy)
  • 8 cups Chicken Broth
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • ¾ teaspoons Fresh Cracked Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 bunch Cilantro, Snipped
  • Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded

Preparation Instructions

In a large 6-7 Qt slow cooker, place uncooked chicken breasts, diced onion, pressed garlic, corn, drained tomatoes and BBQ sauce. Add 8 cups of chicken broth and seasonings.

Cook on low for 5 hours before removing chicken breasts and shredding them. Return to the slow cooker and stir everything well. Continue cooking 30 minutes up to 1 additional hour.

Serve with fresh shredded mozzarella cheese and snipped cilantro.

 Only a few more weeks left of “Soup Season”!

~T