August 12, 2017

Of flowers and plants and other things

I'd planned on doing a post mid-week, but haven't been feeling well. There's a odd bug going around making people feel sick, but they're not full-out sick as if it was the flu. Not sure if it's that... or one of my health issues that has become concerning the past few months. I was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (moderate 3A) several years ago, but since last December my lab work has shown that I have reductions in kidney and liver function... which in turn leads to greater exhaustion and other problems. I've had chronic fatigue most of my life, but what I've been feeling the past several months is different. Not having health insurance and an extremely limited income means all I can do is tough it out for now. I have to drive 45 minutes to a health ministry clinic where I pay $25 for a 15 minute visit with my ARPN and get minimal lab work. Plus, I get four of my medications through their medication assistance program, otherwise I couldn't afford them because it would be nearly $3,000 every three months! (I don't have that much in the first place!) She orders the absolute basic blood work so I don't get charged more than that, but what will show her the specific results so she can keep track of these issues. For now we try to figure things out as we go along. And pray a lot.

Enough of that. On to other things....

A week ago we were having some severe weather... torrential rains, lots of dangerous lightning, tornadoes in the area. I watched the storms from my ninth floor windows as the 60mph wind-driven rain came straight from the west. The east-west streets below looked like literal rivers for a time. The house I grew up in, which is the house where daughter-in-law A and the grandkids live (my Dad was going to leave it to me when he died, but I didn't want it, so told him give it to my boys) always flooded during storms like that... it still does. In all these years, the city has never figured out how to remedy the situation. But! We finally got enough rain to make a little bit of difference for our lawns and gardens. Woohoo!

Daughter-in-law A has pretty much given me free rein on what to grow and where, so I've kind of taken over. Ha! But she's happy, and she buys the plants she wants (or what I think will work) and all that, and I get my garden therapy. Mama and Dad started me (and my brother) gardening when I was 9-years-old... and I haven't stopped since! I've taken classes along the way, worked in a garden center/nursery for several years, and done loads of research with a ton of trial and error. I've always said it's not the green thumb, but the brown thumb that proves you're a gardener.

I used to look at other women's perfectly manicured, polished and laquered fingernails and compare them to my raggedy, permanent dirt-under-the-tips nails and would be embarrassed... until a friend told me I'm more down-to-earth (pun? haha). I grow plants, not nails!

This year, the veggie and herb garden consists of: tomatoes (Roma, Early Girl, Sweet 100 and Grape), jalapeño peppers, sweet bell peppers, zucchini, cucumber, onions (just yellow this year), parsley, chives, basil, dill, and asparagus (which is in it's first year, so no cutting yet). The lettuce and beans didn't do well because our Spring was so wet. There's also lemon balm, spearmint, and sweet mint, but those are small bits of the plants I thought were dead but that came back mid-summer after things dried out some. I don't know that I would be able to list all of the flowers and schrubs that have been planted over the years, plus the annuals that change from year to year. There are descendant daylilies of the the originals my Mama planted when we moved to that house (I was 4 years old) still going strong. Any time I moved, I would dig up a bunch to take with me for my own gardens. So, there may still be some of those daylilies growing in Dodge City, Wichita, and Newton. Not to mention how often I gave some away to friends and neighbors over the years.

Most of the Spring and summer flowers and other plants are starting their yearly die-off, while others are just beginning their show. I love to watch the gardens change with the seasons. It's never the same... and yet it's comfortable familiarity. August and into September are definitely not my favorite months because in Kansas it's always so hot then. We've had an unusual summer, though. Right now we're experiencing low- to mid-80s, which rarely happens at this time. I saw some folks on Instagram posting photos of the foliage in Colorado because it's already showing signs of Autumn color-changes.

I'm ready for Autumn anyway!

Well, until my next post (which I hope is sooner than a week!), I'll leave you with something funny. Yup, actually happened to me during those thunderstorms last week.

From my Instagram: "That moment when, during your wandering from window to window watching the thunderstorm because the electricity went out, you pass by your table and look down at the rubberbands you left there the night before, and the table be all like... "

August 5, 2017

And suddenly there was awe and joy

{ Joining in Barbie's #glimpsesofhisbeauty linkup. }

It's been a tough week, what with one of Jerry's medical issues becoming somewhat worse. We're a bit quite disappointed by a lack of any treatment for it (because of the nature of the problem and because it's Jerry we're talking about), but for now it's on the backburner. I want to move on and share a couple happy things from the past couple or so months that I've been waiting to tell you about.

It's no secret that our family's lives were turned upside-down when my oldest son Jeff died in 2013. It's coming nigh on to four years in November. I cannot even begin to tell you how many days and nights I've spent on my knees in prayer for daughter-in-law A and the grandkids, and my youngest son J (Jeff's brother who saw it happen at work).

I watched daughter-in-law A struggle to even breathe each minute of the day after that, retreating to the bedroom, unable to handle even the smallest of daily tasks. The grandkids clung to their mom, afraid to let her out of their sight, for fear something would happen to her, too. I spent nearly every day at their house for... what was it? Almost the entire first year? I divided my time between caring for them and caring for Jerry (who was going into his fifth month in the hospital due to the failed spinal surgery). And youngest son J... already living with anxieties, now had PTSD added on top and the gut-wrentching grief over the loss of his brother.

Only by the Grace of a God bigger than this tragedy have we all made it to this point.

And then... suddenly there was awe and joy!

* heavenly choir sings ahhhhhhhh! *

Youngest son J had been living with a young lady for nearly four years. He had even given her an engagement ring, and her daughter (now 11 years old) was calling us grandma and grandpa. Unbeknownst to any of the family, their relationship had gone sour around Christmas 2016; he was even taking all the blame. He finally confided in us about her part in the breakup after she moved out and to another state. That's neither here nor there anymore, but it was certainly a shock to all of us.

Then, around the first of May, son J and new gal E met... where they work (he works for a separate company in a tiny supply building on the same property where she works for a much larger business). She knew son Jeff from working with him at a previous employer and saw son J one day, asking if they were brothers. They started visiting during break times... and a bond grew. Quickly.

I repeat... QUICKLY!

Let me tell you how quickly... they were married at the courthouse on July 7th!

Now I have daughter-in-law E – AND! – she has an adorable daughter (from a previous marriage) who will be 2 years old in September... so we can add granddaughter N to this story!

And my son J? He is a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PERSON, all because of this beautiful, loving, simply amazing woman in his life. We haven't seen him this happy and smiling so much in years. YEARS, I tell you!

* heavenly choir sings hallelujah! hallelujah! *

A lot more I could say about them, but we'll save that for later. I want to tell you about the other awe and joy!

Daughter-in-law A has always been a strong young woman, but Jeff's death nearly did her in. Six months before it happened, she gave her life to Jesus and was baptised. Our family took up two whole rows in the church, and we were quite noisy in our praises afterward. But, I'm telling you, if she had not been saved by Christ at that precise moment in time, I'm positive we would have lost her, too. In spite of her being saved, God allowed for many, many mistakes and mishaps over these past few years. It hasn't been easy to stand back and let her learn – and fail sometimes – on her own. Being suddenly thrown into the dual roles of widow and single-parent all at once can test even the strongest of souls. Yet, slowly, things are leveling out for her and the grandkids. There is still plenty of lateral damage we're dealing with, but we continue to lean on the Lord.

Once again, only by the Grace of God is there still life. And one more time... suddenly there was awe and joy!

* heavenly choir obliges by singing ahhhhhhhh! again *

A few months ago, I think it was sometime in March, daughter-in-law A met new fellow J. (Oh my, all these letter J's!) And a love has blossomed between them. They're now even planning to marry!

* heavenly choir belts out hallelujah! hallelujah! again *

This new fellow J is a quiet young man, a Christian who rededicated his life to God recently; he attends two men's groups and a mentoring one-to-one at his church. He's also had two bouts with Hodgkin lymphoma in the past year (is currently in remission) and must get fluids at the hospital 2-3 times each week. He is unable to work full-time but is a carpenter at local construction business.

I've seen HUGE POSITIVE CHANGES in daughter-in-law A and the grandkids! There is a long road to go yet, but it's truly nothing short of amazing what I've seen happening with them over the course of a very few months.

* sigh *

That, my friends, is a sigh of happiness, thankfulness, and yes, even relief. My kids and grandkids finally finding a semblance of peace in their lives and a new focus for love in their families... that is nothing short of a God Thing! This makes my heart sing with joy! My unending prayers are being answered by a God Who never leaves us. Once again, I'm in awe of His Greatness and Love. I never doubted. I just didn't expect such sudden turn-arounds all at the same time!

But then... God is pretty good at doing things like that. 😉

July 30, 2017

Grandma Buller's handmade quilts

The post I had planned is longer than this one, but I needed to buy myself some time as we've run into a snag with one of Jerry's medical issues becoming suddenly worse over the weekend and I must focus my attention on that for a few days. So, in the meantime...

I recently pulled my Grandma Buller's handmade quilts out of the storage containers and took photos of them. If I remember correctly, my dad told me she'd made them in the 1950s, but don't know for sure.

Both of these quilts have some machine-stitching in them, so I know not all parts were by hand. They're on one of our twin beds, but they're actually full-size bed quilts.

This next one is my favorite. I love the style and shape with all the calico designs and colors. The colors are much better in person.

I'll be back as soon as we figure out what's what with Jerry!

July 23, 2017

Laughing and loving through the darkness

None of us ask for the life we are given. Many have lives that rarely see tragedy, pain, heartache. And many have lives that are nothing but.

My family fits mostly in the latter. The deaths of my dad and stepmom within 6 months of each other in 2012. The tragic death of my oldest son in 2013 and my daughter-in-law A suddenly getting thrown into single parenting of our three grandkids. The continual downward spiral of my husband's health. The struggle of my youngest son J with his anxiety and PTSD, seeing his brother killed before his eyes, his health, and a soured relationship. The deaths and suicides of extended family members and those who were like family.

Of course, I've had other stuff happen over my lifetime. Like my mama dying of cancer when I was 14 years old. The divorce from my first husband. My brother being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and not seeing or knowing anything of him since 1987.

But, good golly Molly, these past 5 years have been constantly packed with things happening one right after another. *sigh* I found myself literally crawling through some of those deep valleys.

And yet...

There has always been the blessing from God of laughter and love.

Love and laughter go hand in hand. To love your family through tragedy and loss, grief, pain, sickness, depression, heartache. To find the moments – no matter how fleeting – of humor and happiness and memories. To encourage and pray for each other through it all.

This morning, our pastor challenged us to take this week to point to God for what others see in our lives. I do that already, but as pastor said, "If you have the Truth, then you have to share it." That's definitely a good reminder.

"You are the salt of the earth, but if it has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." [Matthew 5:13-16]

And so it is only by a loving God that I and my family have been laughing and loving through the darkness of even the lowest valleys these past several years.

Next time I'll share a couple extremely joyous things that suddenly developed in the past couple months. I'm still dazed at how God answered prayer out of the blue! It was like...
* B O O M *
And now I'll leave you with a couple humorous moments courtesy of grandson A.

I was going through artwork the grandkids have done over the years for us and found the following, written by grandson A when he was in third grade:

Hmm. So talented. *cough* 🤣 I remember him singing it to us.

And just this past month (he's sixteen now):

Me: *repositioning the whale string art I made for his mom for Christmas last year*
Grandson: I really like how you did that, Gramma.
Me: Thank you, honey.
Grandson: Do you think it's possible to do that for the Kansas City Chiefs arrow?
Me: Mmm, I suppose it could be done.

One week later...

Grandson (to his mom): But Mommmm, you can't do a Chiefs string art! Gramma is going to make me one for Christmas!
Me: *deer caught in headlights look* 😨

Here's to a week full of laughter and love for everyone! 😃 💖

July 4, 2017

Today I struggle

Today would have been son Jeff's 38th birthday. What a neat day to call your own, huh!

It's been somewhat of a struggle for me today... and in the couple of weeks leading up to this day. It used to be the kids and grandkids would spend the whole day with us. The guys would do the grilling, we'd all watch the grandkids playing in the pool or sprinkler, and us girls would be finishing up side dishes in the kitchen.

And of course, we'd all be getting into the sacks of fireworks and lighting up the small things that just made noise during the day, saving the big stuff for later in the evening.

Nothing ever stopped us from having loads of fun on July 4th, even during the one year that the weather was chilly and misty all day. We often invited friends or an elderly neighbor to join us.

One year, the guys were standing around talking and barbequing the meats. Jeff accidentally backed up into the chicken grill, knocking every leg, thigh, and breast to the dusty ground. We just picked up the pieces, washed 'em off and threw 'em back on the grill!

But when Jeff died, this day seemed to turn into a punch in the gut.

I've tried in recent months to talk the kids into doing something for July 4th again. It wouldn't be at our home since I'm in a ninth floor apartment and Jerry is in a nursing home, but the kids both have houses. I've been yearning to do something... anything really... to bring back some semblance of happiness to this day.

Nothing yet.


In the meantime, we parents (my boys' dad and stepmom, and me... Jerry wasn't feeling well so stayed at the nursing home) got together at the cemetery and each launched a balloon in Jeff's memory. (Mine in the photo.)

I have lots more to play catch-up about. I hadn't meant to take this long to get back to my blog, but then I realized it was the close timing of this day that kept stopping me. I'll be back!

June 14, 2017

I know, I know....'s been 2 months since I last posted, and that one wasn't even really a post.

But, yes, I'm alive. Life has been, umm... Difficult. Frustrating. Tiring. Discouraging. And sometimes downright frightening.

However, explanations will have to wait a few days. I need to get to sleep.

Jerry has surgery tomorrow. It will be the third in less than 9 months... and makes it his thirteenth surgery since 2007 for one reason or another.

If you are a praying person, please remember him tomorrow. Surgery is scheduled for 1:00pm (barring any delays).

And I'll be back.

April 11, 2017

I constantly live one of those lives

I'm here. Life has been throwing my family in a tailspin lately.

I heard some words from "Home Fires" that totally fit our situation.....

"Life would be exceedingly boring if it took a linear path.
No bumps.
No twists.
No surprises.
But then, at times like this, what one would give for simple, dependable boredom."

Yes. I would like boredom right now.


As soon as I run across a few minutes of that boredom, I'll post what's been going on.

March 11, 2017

That crazy Kansas weather

And just like that, the wildfires north of our city were contained. It ended nearly as quickly as it began. Such stress for everyone involved, but thankfully, there were only two injuries and those were to firefighters (they're doing fine). Unfortunately, there were cattle losses due to smoke, horses and pets and humans were traumatized, and eleven families lost everything.

But no one died!
Praise the Lord!

I had just pulled in at the medical center on Wednesday and happened to notice the two Blackhawk helicopters (that were doing the water drops on the wildfires) as they went by every few minutes refilling from a local pond. So I caught a few photos and noticed the neat water trail as they flew over...

The residents of the area affected by the wildfires were allowed to go back home late afternoon on Thursday. I can only imagine their shock upon seeing the devastation. One of my Instagram friends lives in that area, but his family is blessed to still have their home.

What a crazy, stressful week for everyone.

Yet all those warm temperatures over several days – mid-70s to 80s – brought out a burst of abundant new growth in the area – flower bulbs, shrubs, trees...

And then there's today.

I'm sure every Kansan is rolling their eyes at "that crazy Kansas weather."

We had snow flurries.


But it wasn't even enough to wet your tongue.

Ah well. To live in Kansas you have to have a sense of weather humor. And patience.

If you don't like the weather of the moment, just wait five minutes...

It'll change!

March 7, 2017

Pray for Kansas

As of today, our state is going on several days of ferocious winds of anywhere from 30-55mph (sometimes higher).

This has not been good... because our state is dealing with dangerous, out-of-control wildfires in several areas, including the city where I live. All we see and hear are sirens from the firefighting equipment trucks as they come through town, and the National Guard helicopters overhead as they do water drops. This is the sky we've been seeing for days because of all the smoke...

Late yesterday afternoon, the wind changed and came from the north, putting our city in danger. Then, last night, the northern half of our city was evacuated... over 10,000 residents went to safe shelters.

The wildfire north of our city is 0% contained. Those residents are still unable to go home. We all know someone affected by this – many families and friends. There are firefighting personnel from 116 agencies here trying to get it under control.

And the wind is still just as crazy as it has been for several days.

There is hope on the horizon – rain is in the forecast, but not until Friday night.

Come onnnnnnn rain!

Please join us in praying for Kansas, particulary the city of Hutchinson and areas north of us. And the firefighters, evacuees, and everyone else affected by this craziness.

Lord, you calmed the stormy sea... please, Jesus, calm the Kansas winds.

March 5, 2017

Silly Sunday {my mom/stepmom}

Soooooo... I've had connectivity issues with the internet the past several weeks. And of course it got worse right after my last blog post, making it impossible to do anything online. The tech for the company I use was just here (on a Sunday!) and found the problem. A minor silly problem. And there will be no charge.


In honor of this silly problem so easily fixed... or maybe the no charge part... I thought I'd leave you with a favorite picture of my mom (stepmom). She knew how to be silly and make people laugh.

We were visiting the thrift store run by their church when she found an orange wig over in the seasonal section, put it on her head, walked over and said, "Just call me carrot top."

We didn't know it at the time I took this photo (August 2011) that her cancer had returned. Mom's been gone five years as of February 20. It still seems like yesterday. I sure do miss that dear, sweet woman.

February 18, 2017

Caturday {Mullen}

Jerry and I have been blessed with three wonderful pets during our marriage. Unfortunately, pets do not live as long as we humans and the death of a pet can be heart-rending whatever the circumstances.

I thought I would focus on one particular pet for #Caturday – our cat, Mullen.

Warning ahead of time... some of these photos were taken with my very first cellphone, back before improved technology for the cameras. Better photos were taken with a newer cellphone, but still not as great as those nowadays.

Mullen was originally my youngest son J's cat. Mullen was given to son J by a former girlfriend who worked at Petco (when they lived for a short while in Kansas City, Kansas). Little kitten Mullen and his brothers and sisters were found wandering without their mama cat near a Kansas City highway and rescued by some good Samaritans who took them to Petco. After medical quarantine, the girlfriend brought this kitten home to son J. She told him, "He's such a loving and quiet kitty..."

And then she opened the door of the pet carrier.

Mullen zoomed out of the carrier and ran all over the apartment, bouncing off walls like a furball on fire! Son J and his girlfriend looked on in stunned silence. When son J recovered enough to speak, he looked at his girlfriend and said, "Okay." Hahahahaha!

Mullen was a tuxedo cat (aka "Felix cat"). Tuxedo cats are not a breed – the term describes a particular color pattern that occurs among cat breeds. Because Mullen was always found napping on son J's skateboard, he named him after his favorite skateboard artist, Rodney Mullen.

When son J and the girlfriend parted ways and his job went sour, he moved back home with us (for a few months until he found a new job), bringing Mullen with him. We already had two dogs (more on them in future posts), so we weren't quite sure how well Mullen was going to be received. One dog basically ignored the cat, and the other dog became a sort-of friend to the cat (after sitting on said cat to stop him from pestering her). In the end, though, it turned out that Mullen quickly became the ruler of our little pet kingdom.

When son J found an apartment rental, pets were not allowed... and the same with the rental house after that... and the next... and... you get the idea.

So began our amazing years with an amazing cat.

Fact: Tuxedo cats are significantly more intelligent than regular cats (including all other breeds and varieties). Research indicates that this difference may be as great as 200%.

When Jerry began living with chronic pain on a more daily basis, and with all his surgeries through the years, Mullen was his loyal buddy, providing him with much-needed comfort and pet therapy. Jerry has told me several times over the years that Mullen seemed to sense when his pain was increasing and would come to him and "ask" to be allowed to sit in his lap... his purring would amp up, which calmed Jerry as he petted him.

Fact: The largest inheritance ever bequeathed to a cat (over $6.3 million) was to a tuxedo cat named Sparky in 1998.

Fact: Over 70% of all the cats pictured in Egyptian royal tombs are tuxedo cats.

Fact: Tuxedo cats are more vocal than Persian cats, but a little less so than Siamese.

Over the years, we were able to teach Mullen several little tricks... for instance, just like a dog, he could "sit perty" and "speak" (we said "talk") for a small treat. Son J had taught him the word "kiss"... Mullen would ever so gently kiss your nose. I could play "peek-a-boo" and "hide-and-seek" with Mullen – he would only play those games with me.

He would gently pat our girl dog on the head to wake her up each morning. As our boy dog and Mullen would pass each other, they would give the other one "the look" (interpretation: "stay away from me").

Whenever we returned home from an outing, Mullen always came running to meet us, meowing loudly all the way. If we'd been to the grocery store, he would check the bags to see if there was anything for him.

There were times I would look down at Mullen sitting next to me to find that he was intently studying my face... I never could quite figure out why he did that, but I would sit and study him, too – I think we learned a lot about each other that way.

At 9:30 each evening, he would "herd" me and Jerry to the bedroom... time to go to sleep!

Toward the end of his life, Mullen became a tubby kitty with some health problems. I would often have to lift him on and off my bed (where he would sleep at night). I would sink my fingers into his soft fur and gently massage his aching body, with him purring the whole time... which also helped me fall asleep.

Fact: William Shakespeare owned a tuxedo cat, as did Beethoven and Sir Isaac Newton.

Mullen was the last of our pets to die of old age, having lived 11 years, and giving us immense happiness and love along the way. I hope that we did enough of the same for him. We still miss him greatly even now.

In Memory of Mullen, 2002–2013

February 13, 2017

A miscellaneous couple of weeks

I hadn't expected to be away from blogging for two weeks, but it seemed my days were constantly busy, sometimes being changed at the last minute. Ugh. I have OCD and reeeeeeeeally hate when I have to reroute my day.

The winter sickness crud is going around in our region somethin' fierce. I haven't gotten it (yet), but daughter-in-law A had it all of last week and is still fighting it this week. Youngest granddaughter K has basically had it on and off for several weeks. The oldest two, granddaughter M and grandson A haven't really gotten it, but stayed home a day or two each just not feeling well last month. Annnnnd my youngest son J has it now for the third time since the first of December.


So I've been alternately taking care of daughter-in-law A and running errands for her, getting grandkids to and from school and other activities, all while making sure Jerry and I still have time together and he gets to doctor appointments... and all the other stuff in-between.

Somewhere in there I helped youngest son J get his two guinea pigs to their first vet appointment. We think they're about a year old... "Spike" (the first photo) is a Peruvian guinea pig and Ace (the second photo) is an American guinea pig.

Ace's photo is a little blurry because he's always on the move. The photos were taken last summer, so they're bigger boys now, but still look the same. Both are definite sweethearts. Guinea pigs, like many other pets, are known for helping folks who have been diagnosed with PTSD, like my son J. When son J and his fiancé C take off for anything out-of-town, I get to care for Spike and Ace. They're such fun little fellows!

I've also been to a couple funerals for family members of two couples in my small group (Bible study group). One, an elderly mother, was somewhat expected. The other, an absolutely upstanding young man who was almost 30 years old, died in a car/train accident. He had helped us move Jerry's belongings the couple times between nursing facilities. Jerry and I can empathize with his parents on the death of an adult child. Such a sad, sad couple of good-byes.

I seem to be suddenly dealing with increased pain in my right hip. I've had some pain now and then in that hip for a few years, but the past couple months it's gotten worse. Praying that it doesn't mean something urgent, like a need for surgery since I don't have insurance and can't afford it. There's always something.

Well, going to close for now. Hope all is well with you and yours. Remember to keep your nose... er, head... up!

January 29, 2017

Kansas Day 2017

So, in all those boxes I've been going through that we had stored in Daughter-in-law A's attic, today I came across a folder appropriate for today – Kansas Day pages made by my Youngest Son J when he was in elementary school... I'm guessing about third grade in the early 1990s.

When I saw the center page in this next photo, I had to chuckle. Have you ever seen such a malnourished buffalo, what with all the prairie grasses we have here? Haha!

Our cottonwood trees really do grow quite huge, as in the next photo. And the wheat?

*clears throat*

Well... umm...

And those folks who cheer for KU (I root for K-State) will get a kick out of this last page. In my son's words and printing, it reads: "The Jayhawk has a red haed. His bill feet are yellow. His wings are blue. He wears orang socks."

If you're wondering about this mythical Jayhawk bird, here's the definition from Legend of the Jayhawk: "Its origin is rooted in the historic struggles of Kansas settlers. The term "Jayhawk" was probably coined about 1848. Accounts of its use appeared from Illinois to Texas. The name combines two birds – the blue jay, a noisy, quarrelsome thing known to rob nests, and the sparrow hawk, a stealthy hunter."

Happy 156th Birthday Kansas!

I'm still happy to be living here. I will always be a Kansas girl! 🌻

January 26, 2017

Throwback Thursday {my first quilt}

Daughter-in-law A has been bringing some of my boxes down from her attic where we'd stored them when Jerry and I moved back here from Newton in 2013. At the time of our move, I hadn't been sure of what I could cram into this tiny apartment. So, for three years and a half years, while other things have had my constant attention, I'd nearly forgotten what was still packed away... like the very first quilt I'd ever made! The heat of summer and cold of winter probably haven't been the best things for it to endure in the attic all this time, but it seems none the worse for it.

When I had finished it and showed it to my Step-grandmother Henson, she had said, "Wow, you sure chose a hard design to use for your first one!" Hmm, I hadn't thought so... all I knew was that it was fun! Haha!

Jerry and I sure have enjoyed that quilt over the years. It – and a couple other quilts I'd made after that one – even kept us comfy-cozy-warm in January 2004 when a Kansas ice storm knocked out power for nine days!

Well, back to checking out other boxes...

January 22, 2017

60th birthday

Today... is my birthday!

Today... I am 60!

I've been alive for 21,915 days. Oh my, that is six decades I have lived.

Six decades of not only what I've lived through in my own life, but all that has happened in the world during that time.

My dad told me it was snowing that Tuesday when I was born. Indeed, it was. And the temperature in the middle of that day was only 16.3°F and the winds were blowing around 34mph. (Today's weather is supposed to be a high of 54°F and sunny with gusty winds of 10-25mph.)

My Grandma Dessenberger told me that my parents were beginning to lose hope that they'd ever have children. My mama was 28 and my dad was 31 when they had me. (And two years later there was my brother.)

I came across several interesting 1957 facts (interesting to me, anyway)...

• Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story opened on Broadway.
Loving You and Jailhouse Rock were released in the U.S. starring Elvis Presley; the former of the two was his first starring role. This was also the year that he bought Graceland, his famous estate in Memphis, Tennessee.
The Bridge on the River Kwai premiered in the United Kingdom. The film would go on to win Best Picture at the 30th Academy Awards in 1958.
• Paul McCartney and John Lennon met for the first time in Liverpool, England; the meeting occurred three years before The Beatles were formed.
One of my still-favorite television shows (as reruns, of course) made its debut on CBS - Leave It To Beaver.
The United States President was Dwight D. Eisenhower and Vice President was Richard M. Nixon.
Good golly, postage stamps were ... a gallon of gas was 24¢... a loaf of bread was 19¢... the average annual income was $4,494.
Some events and other memories in later decades that I recollect from my lifetime so far...
I remember the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas. The teacher from the classroom next to the one I was in came in crying, carrying the transistor radio she'd been listening to; she spoke briefly to our teacher, and then broke the news to our class that "the President has been assassinated." Being so young (ages 5 and 6), most of us didn't understand what that meant at the time.
The year of 1965 is etched into my mind because of all the news surrounding the beginning of the Vietnam War.
I can recall my Grandma Dessenberger discussing with my mama the start of a new national health insurance program called Medicare (began July 1, 1966). And now I'm getting ever closer to signing up for it myself (Jerry has been on it for a while due to all of his disabilities).
Clearly, one event that is a big memory for me and millions of others was the moon landing on July 20, 1969. The Apollo 11 Mission was a national goal that had been set by President John F. Kennedy on May 25, 1961 for the crew to perform a lunar landing and then return to earth.
I can still see the images in my mind from the news on television in May 1970 that was rife with reports about the four students at Kent State University in Ohio slain by National Guardsmen at a demonstration protesting the incursion into Cambodia on May 4.
M.A.S.H. started its run on television in 1972. My dad and I would sit and watch that show together for many years to come. To this day, Jerry and I watch episodes over and over and over.
In 1972-1973, I was a sophomore in high school. The only reason I can remember January 1972 is because I had so many friends in high school who were openly crying at school the day after the ceasefire was signed in Paris ending the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. So many had lost family members and friends.
Everyone thought it was pretty fantastic when VCRs were being developed.
I was mesmerized watching Gone With The Wind and Roots for the first time on television.
I specifically remember the deaths of Elvis Presley (1977), Princess Grace (1982), Jackie Kennedy Onassis (1994), Frank Sinatra (1998), and Charles Schulz (2000).
The first space shuttle Enterprise in a test glide.
All my friends just had to have a Sony Walkman when they came out on the market.
The first president I voted for was Ronald Reagan.
What a devastating feeling it was when John Lennon (The Beatles) was shot.
I wasn't too sure about the first CDs.
The tragic explosion of the space shuttle Challenger and then several years later the re-entry break-up of space shuttle Columbia.
"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" ...from a speech given by President Ronald Reagan in Berlin, Germany.
I was excited when I was introduced to desktop publishing which would eventually lead the way into my self-taught home-based career of web development and graphics design.
The Chernobyl nuclear accident had more than a few people in the world sitting on edge with worry.
My dad bought our first color television set when I was in junior high school.
The bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was our region's first real introduction to terrorism.
Astronaut John Glenn going back into space at age 77 showed us all that you can still do important things later in life.
The 9/11 terrorist attack on the U.S. was like a punch in the stomach. I remember how utterly quiet the world became in those first moments and hours when everyone realized what this might represent for the future.
The broad-daylight art robbery of the Zurich Museum was both fascinating and incredible in the way those fellows pulled it off.
Victims of the devastating earthquakes in Haiti (2010), Chile (2010), and Japan (2011) will be dealing with the effects for decades to come.
I watched – on whatever computer I had at the time – the rescue of 33 trapped Chilean miners after spending 68 days trapped in a mine half a mile underground.
I've enjoyed the televised Royal Family weddings, even though only for admiring the fashions.
The Joplin, Missouri and Oklahoma City area tornadoes were so frightening because we have family in all those places that were hit – thankfully all alive but a couple of my cousins' families lost everything.
The tragic deaths of 20 children and 6 staff members in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut broke every heart in the country. Summed up in my son's words on Facebook that day: "I just want to go home and hug my children and never let them go."
The meteor debris that killed 1,000 and injured 1,500 in Siberia, Russia.
And good grief, these past couple years of everything political.
A lot of things can happen in sixty years. Some good, some bad. But the best memory that has ever happened was when I turned my life over to Christ.

P.S. I want to say Happy Birthday! to one of my blog readers – Mary Ann – who shares this birth date of January 22nd with me!

January 18, 2017

I am a "sewcialist"

Hello, my name is Diana and I'm addicted to sewing!

You can just call me a "sewcialist."

Haha! But really... I do love to sew. My mama taught me how when I was eight years old. She had a 1951 Singer Sewing Machine including cabinet exactly like this one.

I've used several more modern machines over the years, but nothing ran as smooth as my mama's Singer!

My first sewing projects were clothes for the Barbie my parents had gotten me for Christmas a couple years earlier. I spent many a happy day sitting at that machine totally engrossed in whatever project had my attention at the time. My Grandma Dessenberger still had a treadle sewing machine that she even let me try a couple times.

I taught oldest Granddaughter M how to sew a couple years ago. We haven't had a whole lot of time to spend on sewing, mostly because of the busy-ness of life that gets in the way. A couple weekends ago was her turn for a stayover and we spent the time doing several spur-of-the-moment craft and sewing projects. We Modge Podge-d a new cover on her school art notebook, sewed a zipper cosmetic case, a fabric iphone charger station, a pillowcase, and made two tie blankets. The other things weren't done yet when I took this photo of the blankets and pillowcase she made.

We had a ice storm this past weekend which kept many of us in the region stuck inside, so I dug around on Pinterest for some ideas of something to do. I worked on a couple projects simultaneously (I do that a lot, haha). One I'm still working on because it involves Modge Podge and lengthy drying times. The other was a sewing craft...

I'm not sure if it's a catmonster or a monstercat. Ha!

After finishing him up today, I can sure feel it in my aging, aching fingers. 😛 But it was lots of fun. I may have to do another!

January 10, 2017

10 random things about me

I've been stuck offline because my modem/router finally bit the dust. It'll be a few days until I can replace it, but in the meantime, I thought I'd do a quick post via my iphone (which I do not like to do) so ya'll would know I'm still around. The only thing I could think of is a list of 10 random things about me. So, here goes...

1. I do not like chocolate. I don't like chocolate anything (candy, fudge, muffins, cereal, cake, etc.). I don't like the smell, I don't like the texture, I don't like the flavor. Yes, I've always been this way.

2. I am allergic to nearly 99% of the antibiotics that are out there. There are only two that can be used for me that are approved for surgery. If I get sick, I tough it out.

3. I do not know how to swim. I like water. I get in the pool with the grandkids. But I cannot get this body to float to save my life.

4. I don't own a tv. And I do not care.

5. I've an extremely low tolerance to smells. For instance, I start choking and hacking away when I'm near anyone wearing perfume or cologne, or when there are scented candles burning, and goodness gracious don't get me started on the store smells around Christmas. The biggest thing is I can't be around people who smoke. I used to smoke... I quit back in 2006 and that's when my intolerance for all smells began. Go figure.

6. I never wear makeup. Ya'll can keep it, but I hate it. (I take that back... I wore a light coating for our 2006 family portraits, but that's it.)

7. I can speak and read German ... or more precisely, Plattdüütsch/Plattdeutsch (Low German). My Grandma Buller spoke it, and so I learned from her and in German class in high school.

8. I have one sibling, a brother two years younger. He was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic in 1987. Because of how that affects the patient's mind – having delusions (false beliefs) that a person or some individuals are plotting against them – I've not seen or heard from him in all these years.

9. What sets my nerves on edge are those ticking clocks while waiting for the doctor to come into the room. Because I live with daily migraines (life-long), the noise they make is amplified to the extreme in my head.

10. I'm happiest just sitting outdoors, listening to the quiet sounds of nature and savoring what God has made for me to enjoy in that environment.

Maybe I'll use a couple of those as post topics in the future. 'Til later, my friends!