Monday, August 18, 2014

The Legacy of They, She, and Their.....

Today my thoughts go to the legacy that love built.

My grandparents spent 76 years together.  That is a really long time.  SHE was 14 and he 19 when THEY married.  THEY had 5 children, sadly, 3 of which have already passed.  THEY together built a home with their own hands in which THEY spent over 50 years of their lives in.  THEY built a family with so far the 5 children, 9 grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren.  THEY made a life together and stuck by one another when there was little money and little food on the table.  THEY farmed the land and planted garden after garden in order to put that food on the table.  THEY made sacrifices for themselves so many of their family would have.  THEY showed what love is all about.

THEY, yep, I used that word a lot in the last paragraph.  Because, THEY, together made a world for their family. 

Many people do not realize that yes, Grandaddy passed away almost 11 months ago, but grandmother is still here.  The stories, love, laughter, and down right silliness is still there in her.  SHE is still a person with feelings, love, compassion, and memories.  My grandmother fills a void in my life like no other.  SHE is a rock for me and the foundation that I really did not see until the death of my grandfather.  SHE is the reason I do so many things I do.  SHE can give you a sheepish little grin and you know SHE is thinking about something silly or SHE can give you a look that means SHE  is not a very happy person at that moment.  But SHE is still a human that needs to know SHE is loved and wanted.  SHE is the queen of this empire that her and my grandfather built, and SHE to me will be placed on her throne until the Lord takes her home to be with her husband again. 

Grandmama taught me to crochet, cook her biscuits, plant a garden, raise my kids in church, love God, but most of all SHE taught me what true unconditional love is and that no matter what it is or how hard the circumstances are you must keep going and you will get thru.  SHE is a tiny little lady but one heck of a strong fighting woman. SHE truly proved that when SHE lost the love of her life after 76 years together.  When SHE speaks of him SHE speaks with words of such love and longing.  And sometimes you see her wipe a tear from her eye, all the while smiling while SHE is telling a story of something from the past.   Her words get confused some days but you know that her heart is there remembering the good times and all the while SHE is bursting to let others in on the love that was to her and her husband the love of a life time. 

THEY, taught me what it meant to stick it out during hard times with my husband.  THEY taught me what it was like to be able to love another with unconditional love and forgiveness.  THEY taught me what it means to have a family. 

But SHE, well, SHE has taught me that no matter how hard the times or situations get, as long as you hold on to one another and the strength of those you love that you can get thru things together.  I owe so much to my grandmother and I know someday the time will come for her to go meet granddaddy.  But for now, I plan on loving that little 91 year old woman with every ounce of love I can give her.  And I plan on being there with her thru all she goes thru.

So you see, THEY were the beginning, SHE was the middle, and THEIR legacy is the ending.  A legacy that will not stop going until the end of time. My grandparents love and care will simmer down thru me to my children and to my grandchildren and to the children after that.  Because where there is a true foundation as the one my grandparents gave to us, well, it can be pushed to the side, but it can never be forgotten.

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Little Ice Cream History Lesson.....

Oh, the joys of the first few days of summer.  The heat, humidity, air conditioners running all the time, and maybe a trip to the ice cream shop for a cool treat, so not all that bad. 

Ice cream, oh my, that oh so cool treat that we can keep eating and keep eating and not care how many calories we are consuming or how many pounds will be on the scale.  And oh, the soooo many ways we can serve it.  We have banana splits, sundaes, shakes, malts, cone, cup, cakes, or my fave right out of the old carton.  And the flavors,  vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, swirls, banana, peanut butter, caramel, peach, raspberry, blueberry, and the list goes on. 

Here is a little time line of ice cream history:

Ice cream has been around so long that it was a treat back as early as 54 A D.  The emperors would send their slaves up into the snowy mountains and they would mix snow with the nectar of plants and they would consume like it was going out of style.   Not the same flavor as we have today but it to them was the golden ray of sunshine during the hot months.  Well, maybe not a ray of sunshine but you get my drift.

It was said that in 1744 colonists who crossed into the new world brought their recipes over with them and would mix cream with new ingredients they had never encountered.

1843 the first ice cream churning system was patented by Nancy Johnson of Philadelphia.

In 1850, Jacob Fussell, who was a dairyman out of Baltimore opened the first commercial ice cream factory.  He began shipping by train and was later given the title of father of the wholesale ice cream industry.

Fast forward to the 1880's, soda fountains began to sell sundaes because ice cream sodas were not allowed to be sold on Sunday. 

Then September 22, 1903 the patent for the first ice cream cone was made. 

Grocery stores did not start selling this sweet treat until the 1930's. So you can imagine the sales that year.  I cannot imagine a life without ice cream, but there was a time when it was not a common everyday thing to just have in the house. 

So, now that we have a bit of ice cream history, lets all run out to our closest ice cream shop and get us a sweet treat.  Sweet eats my friends :)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Life Is Like A Garden

As I sat out back this morning having a cup of coffee, I gazed out at my little garden in the back yard and just had so many thoughts come to me.  As I tried to sort thru all the things coming to mind it dawned on me that life and what we leave behind is very much like a garden. You work the ground, plant the seed, water the garden, weed it when needed, and then after a length of time it begins to produce what one hopes to be great things. Only to die and wither away, but if you are lucky and you have done the work correctly, what once you planted will come back in full growth again and again. 

I like to think that this a lot like the process of life. 

For my life, I do not mind saying I have a foundation that is my Lord and Savior which is my grounding. 

The seeds that I sew are those in which my husband, children, close family, and friends fall into the category of. 

Then the watering is what I do with and for those in the seed category. For example with my children, I give them the things that they need in order to grow and thrive in life.  

The weeding is simply something that must be done.  When a garden grows it begins to fill with ugly plant life that can destroy the good that is being produced and in time if not tended to properly can totally choke out or destroy the plant.  I weed out those in my life that are choking the life out of what I am here to do weather it be friend, family, or acquaintance.  And yes, I said it, even family members.  Now let me stop here and say, everyone has their own opinions on how families are ran.  People have even said, "they are family they are blood".  Well, blood does not make family. Blood makes you related.  Love, trust, truth, sticking around in tough times, and honor is family and my dear reader I have found more of those things in some of my closest friends than some of my family members.  Family is there when things get bad, they are there when you need them, they are there to shed tears with, they are there when things are good, and they are simply just there.   So no, I do not feel even the slightest big guilty for weeding out of my life family who are toxic to what my life stands for and needs.  God said forgive when others do you wrong, he never said you have to keep going back into the same relationships that got you upset in the first place. So, I forgive, and I move on and am quite happy with my life decisions. 

Now we are at where the blooming of the garden takes place.  In blooming of a garden, new produce or fruit is beginning to grow.  As it grows it gets bigger giving the one who planted it great joy in watching it grow.  (Me, yes, that is me everyday when I see something new sprout up. I may even be seen doing a happy dance in the yard over it.)  Then as the fruits or vegetables are ready to harvest we get great enjoyment and nourishment from these said plants.

Isn't that what our lives are suppose to do?  We are suppose to be good, kind, loving and nurturing to others.  We are the plants so to say in this world.  We are the buds that can produce good or bad.  And if we are good we can leave behind things of ourselves that others will long remember, love, and want to continue on with.  And in many cases we leave parts of us here that can be grown over and over again and again.  I think this is the case in family.  Now the things we leave do not have to be gardens, it can simply be memories of the way things were done, the lessons learned, a recipe, or simply a story told.  It can be the love one person gave to others that spilled out into many different things in life. 

So, as I finish this entry I think of those who have gone on before us.  They were the seeds of yesterday that bloomed into beauty and nourishment for us, that ended up dying in one season only to in another season produce more fruits so that its lifeline never ends.  I want to be the legacy that those before me started.  I want to be a plant that many new plants begin with after I am long gone.  I want to be as God wants me to be a branch of his vine.  

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Happiness Is A Choice.....

Hello everyone :)  What a beautiful day it is outside.  We were able to get out and do a lot of yard work and start the anticipated readying of the ground for a small garden and future home to a flower garden.  The kids are simply loving getting to do all the new things that we were unable to do while renting the apartment.  As I type this I look out the window and see a beautiful blue sky with the clouds floating around randomly and I keep thinking, wow, I am truly happy.  I am happy to see my dog running around playing while the kids worked in the yard.  Happy that in a few weeks we will be planting flowers and veggies.  Happy for great friends and those in my family who have been encouraging the past few months.  Happy that my husband and I have decided that this new home is where we will more than likely live out the rest of our years.  Happy that no matter what, I can look out my window and up towards the heavens and know without a doubt life is and can be a wonderful thing its what we ourselves make of it. 

During this season of Lent, I challenge each of you reading this blog to find the good in every day you have, look for the sunshine in the rain.  Put a smile on even when you have tears welling in your eyes.  Look at the bud in a flower and see the beauty that will be unfolding.  If you have lemons then make up a big batch of lemonade then sit back and enjoy it.  And keep your heads held high looking up towards the heavens and let your strength come from God.  

Being happy is a choice.  I choose to be happy and my wish for you my dear friends is to be happy too.  May God bless each of you.



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Better Safe Than Sorry.....

Hello again my readers.  I want to start this writing by thanking each of you for your time in reading what I write in this blog.  I am so very greatful for all the support I have received.  It helps motivate me to want to write more even when I may not really feel like doing so. 

I would like to start by saying that after my last post we lost my aunt. As hard as it was to see her in the condition she was in, I am so thankful that I took the time to be at her bedside just a few hours before we got the call of her passing.  Making the arrangements was so hard, I remember sitting in the same room with her holding her hand while we made her sons funeral arrangements just a few years ago.  This is not something to take lightly or to want to do.  Making arrangements for a funeral is a sad, stressful, and trying time on those involved.  I wish this on no one. 

All the situations that we have had to go thru as of the past few months has made me really dive in and want to get our future plans on such matters taken care of.  My husband and I already own 4 grave plots, and our tombstone is in place.  We will start to work on paying off our opening and closings and the vault soon.  And those things are not cheap.  We will preplan our funeral that way the girls do not have to go thru this when we do pass. 

We went thru all our stuff this past weekend to get rid of items that we do not need, want, use, etc.  Not that I plan on dying anytime soon, I just want to make sure that when we do that our loved ones do not have a lot to have to deal with at that time.  I want my children to just have it easy compared to what I have had to deal with and go thru these past few months. 

We have wills in place in the case of our deaths before our children turn of age.  There are too many times in life that things can happen and I want, no I need to make sure I have things taken care of for my well being as well as theirs.  For example a few years ago when we were told my husband had a heart attack and then a stroke at the age of 40.  That was not a fun time for any of us. 

Now, call all this crazy, I really do not care. I just know what all I have seen, dealt with in the past.  Better to be safe than sorry.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

My Angel In Heaven

 Well, its been along time since I got on here and wrote anything, so I felt it best that today I would try to start writing again.  It has been a very long and tough few months for our family but we are blessed and are moving forward one day at a time.  I guess I will catch you all up on what has been taking place in my life these past few months. 

September 22, 2013 my children and I went to visit my grandparents only to walk in and find my grandfather in the floor.  He was conscience but feeling very badly.  My aunt came in right behind us and took him to go to the hospital.  After promising him I would stay and take care of my grandmom, we loaded him into my aunts car.  I kissed him good bye and told him I loved him and would see him soon.  He told me he loved me and I closed the door.  That was the last time I ever spoke to him. Within about 2 hours he had passed away. 

My mother called to tell me what had happened, and I had to go in and tell my grandmother her husband of 76 years had died and I needed to know where they were to take the body.   Take the body.   Words I can not stand to even write even now this long after his passing.  

That night was a complete blur, I walked thru every room of this house and sat trying to find him.  His stuff was everywhere but I could not find him.  My heart broke into pieces when he died and I felt a huge part of me had died along with him.  The man who rode me on the lawn mower to get me to sleep, held my hand in church till I fell asleep leaning on him (of course I was very little at the time), taught me to drive, walked me down the aisle at my wedding, was so proud to hold my children, and mostly the man who loved me so unconditionally like no one else had ever done was no longer there.  All I wanted to do was feel him near and I couldn't.

Over the course of the next few days was a complete blur, the funeral came and went, I stayed with my grandmom, and I tried to be strong.  Not long after he died, the neighbors pit bull attacked his dog when my daughter was walking it and it had to be put to sleep. All these horrible things all at once kept happening and I could not understand why.  To this day I still do not know why, but I don't really question things I just keep moving forward the best I can. 

 I stayed with my grandmother off and on until we moved her to an assisted living facility right before Thanksgiving.  I felt like I was leaving another piece of my heart in a place she was not use to, but I knew was the best place for her.  I felt like I had broke a promise to my grandfather, I had promised to take care of grandmom. I battled with this for a long time. But over time I realized that I was keeping that promise, she was in a very nice place where they did everything for her and would be very well taken care of.  I go to see her often.

Along the time all this was going on we found out that my other aunt has cancer and was placed between the hospital and nursing home.  All I can say here is she will not make it much longer.   

The end of January, we moved into the home that my grandparents had shared for the past 10 years or so.  It was very hard for me that first night since I had never been in what was their home without one of the other of them.  

I even went to the kitchen one day looking for a hammer and called out,"Grandaddy where is your hammer", only to then realize what I had just done and the sadness overwhelmed me again.  Somedays I am fine then somedays I am so filled with hurt and sadness that I don't know what to do.  I have never let myself breakdown though.  I don't want to, if I do then I don't know if the tears will stop or the pain will go away.  So, I push it to the side and sidestep it that is how I stay strong thru this. 

I went thru a grief session a few weeks at our church and thru it, I learned so much, but mostly I learned it is alright to be sad and miss him.  I learned that I have not fully grieved him dying and someday I will have to.  But, I know when that time comes, I will be alright. 

Last week, we buried my husbands grandmother.  It was another sudden death that our family had to face. My oldest remembered her and how she was the one who had instilled a lot of our Catholic faith in her.  They prayed together and she will always have those memories.  My youngest did not know her really at all but had some memories of visiting her. 

How amongst all this have we stayed strong, well, its our faith, family, and good friends.  I also like to think that it's because one of the best men who ever walked the face of the earth, other than Jesus himself, is watching over me.  Putting his hand on my shoulder when I feel weak, helping to wipe my tears when I break down and cry, holding my hand when I am scared, but mostly just knowing that my granddaddy will always be in my heart. I can never forget the love that he gave to me in the 41 years that he was in my life.  I use to think I could not make it if he were not here, but thru his death, I have gained the greatest of strengths to do things I never thought I could do or want to do. 

I will see him again, and when I do, he will have helped the Lord prepare a beautiful place for me just like the rest of his family.  He will be there to greet me at Heavens gates and he will be the one that will say, I told you I would see you again soon.  I will then run to him and give him the biggest hug there has ever been. 

Until then, I will miss and think of him every day, but it will get better.  God's promised me it would.