Saturday, August 21, 2010

SHOP-shewana 2010

About this time last year, our Shipshewana motorcycle trip turned into a SHOP-shewana trip when we ordered an Amish made kitchen table and chairs (see this post). So it only seems right and fitting that this year we should make a return trip for the matching kitchen bar stools! I smell adventure! It took 3 motorcycles and one 4-wheel vehicle to pick up 3 stools. Gas Hogs, Wild Hogs, whatever we are - we're good at it. Here's to the open road!Rain spit, sometimes poured, but that's what rain gear, backward ball caps, and goggles are for! Rick and Karen are so stinkin' stylish! Isn't it a-stinkin-dorable that their rain gear matches their bike colors? I would notice that kind of thing.
Next, we have Kevin going down the open road. I believe that Kevin believes that I can read sign language while driving a car and taking a picture, but let me assure you that I do not do it very well. I dearly love the guy for trying to communicate though! I love ya too baby!

Ron & Connie doing a little "food" shopping! Get a load of those store shelves! They contain the most mouth watering goods lined on those shelves inside this little Amish store. Kevin & Rick are eye-ing the pie case! The lemon pie had about a jillion mounds of meringue piled high - and there is just the slightest exaggeration in that statement. No calories in there! :) I'm already feeling guilty for just thinking (not doing), just thinking about buying one of these pie beauties to enter in next Sunday's church pie bake-off contest! I did not. I only thought it. This is what the men do when the women do what women do best ... shop! Oh, and you are probably wondering how - why - and when did Kevin come up with that neon bright colored construction vest?! Well, ... join the club ... we are wondering too! He said it was so we could find him when we went from shop to shop! Men have a funny way of shopping with us women-folk, it's so amusing!
Shop-shewana couple of the year 2010! This year's Shop-shewana gang -- Kevin/Kay, Ron/Connie, Rick/Karen. More aptly named The Wild Outlook Hogs (named after The Wild Hogs movie, combined with the name of our church, Outlook). I'm sure the new movie will be out soon. We're just wild about Jesus and each other! Time to stop and consult the map -- who said anything about directions anyway?
Wild Outlook Hog member Ron.Wild Outlook Hog Members Rick & Karen.

Wild Outlook Hog Member Kevin. Card-playing was part of the SHOP-shewana experience ... and we learned to play Hand And Foot, which should likely be renamed Think And Think Some More but our brains did good work and the women were victorious!
Ron was the spokesmen for the men's feelings about being beat by the women. We women were not bothered by it. It's a wonderful thing to smell adventure! I'll post pics of our new kitchen bar stools soon. I mean, after all they were the reason for the season. Lord have mercy -- I came home so happy after this little SHOP-shewana trip! Taste every ounce of friendship. Taste every ounce of life. Because it is most definitely a gift! Thank you Lord for a community of friends where we can be serious and silly and maybe all on the same day!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Baby R is here!

Here's a report that I received from Grandpa Larry:

We are pleased and excited to welcome Baby R into our family, immediate and extended. She arrived beautiful and healthy 7-27-10 at 8:15pm. 7lbs. 2 oz and 19 inches. Laura, Baby and Dan are fine. Rosalie will meet her sister in the morning. We know she will be excited, but she says she wants to go swimming first. She does not realize how her life is going to change. She has been practicing on how to take care of her sister.

We wish we could tell you this beautiful baby's name but only the parents know, and we can't really say that for sure. Many of you have had input on her name and the stories will be told for years to come. After seeing her we know it is not the name that is going to make this baby special. She will make any name special. She has lots of hair and according to Dan good lungs.

Love to all,
Larry & Joyce

And let me just add ... I'm downright happy to be an aunt again! The crowds at the mall better part like the Red Sea so we can get to some more pink! Rhegan & I will be on a mission, via the nail salon.
Love, Aunty Kay

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Upside Down Fun & Some Recipes

I found this picture of upside-down Rosalie and thought it was so cute, I had to blog it! Rosalie is about to get a new baby sister very soon. We are soliciting "R" names ... any suggestions?

Sister Joyce just left Norway, and is on her way to Ireland at the moment. Amazing how those cruise boats get from Point A to Point B! Larry is good about emailing me from the ship, but Joyce - not so much! Vacation is vacation, baby! Write that one down in the motto book!

I asked Kevin to pick up a few things at the WalMart for me today, and he was happy to do it. Then he realized what he got himself into when he got inside WalMart! He said he spent 138,000 minutes looking for stuff, and besides, it was hot outside. I'm an appreciated woman for my many trips to Wally World for us!

Okay, so Mrs. Lark asked me for the recipes referenced in my previous post. Ohhhh my gracious heavenly gallbladderless days ... these Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies were w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l, and did I mention they were wonderful? I have a disclaimer, however. The recipe calls for caramel topping, but I just happened to have this scrumpdillyicious Amish made creamy peanut butter (click link to order it - it has marshmallow creme as one of the listed ingredients) so I used that instead of caramel. My brother-in-law ordered a case of it for us! Proceed at your own risk:

Chocolate Peanut Butter (or Caramel) Brownies
(There are many layers of love in these brownies)

3 large eggs
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 C butter or margarine
1 C chopped walnuts
1 1/2 C chocolate chips
3/4 C baking cocoa
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C sugar
4 oz caramel (ice cream topping) or 4 oz creamy peanut butter
3/4 C flour

1. Beat butter, white and brown sugar in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add 2 eggs and vanilla, mix well.

2. Gradually beat in flour, cocoa and salt. Reserve 3/4 C of batter. Spread remaining batter into greased 8" square baking pan. Sprinkle nuts and 3/4 C chocolate chips over batter. Drizzle caramel (or peanut butter) over top.

3. Beat remaining egg into reserved batter. Stir in remaining 3/4 C chocolate chips. Spread evenly over caramel (or peanut butter) topping.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until center is set. Cool completely before cutting.

Salsa Cheese Ball

12 oz cream cheese (Yes, that's what I said -- 1 and 1/2 blocks of cream cheese)
4 oz sour cream
2 C. shredded cheddar cheese (or Mexican blend)
3 chopped green onions
3 tablespoons salsa

Mix ingredients together and serve as dip for crackers or vegies. Or spread on flour tortillas, roll up, slice into 1" pieces, stick toothpick in each. Makes a pretty appetizer!

Gotta go -- I made myself hungry!

Friday, July 2, 2010

I've been busy doing everything. I don't know how it got to be July! Doesn't this quote really hit home with just about anyone? I did me. Today will be an anything post.

I've had a bunch of doses of inspiration lately in the following categories: family togetherness in Amish Country (and yes, I ordered the matching bar stools to the Amish made kitchen table and chairs we got last summer); summer-time Harley riding with hubby & friends; a few new recipes including chocolate peanut butter brownies and salsa cheese ball. Isn't it impossible to pick a favorite inspiration? And I didn't even mention the crafty cards I've made lately! Or Rhegan's twirl (and fall) down the Barbie Doll Runway!

I'm enjoying a new stove and refrigerator. Isn't it wonderful that the kitchen floor "accidentally" got scratched up when installing the new frig ... so we'll have to get a new one? Been looking at floor samples. Oh ... and we just happened upon an updated bathroom sink/counter. I LOVE when one thing leads to another ... in this instance! AND ... a silly crazy wonderful piece of info along these lines is this: we got a true-to-life, bonafide, in-the-flesh handyman! Be still my heart! God sent him. First, He sent him to my neighbor's house, then to my other neighbor's house, and then to mine. (Note: he did not install the new frig! LOL) I love our house, the neighborhood, the location. It just needed a handyman! I see new light fixtures in our future too.

I miss my mom. The days have been ticking by since she went to Heaven. Healing is ushered in over time, nothing you can do to speed it along. Kinda good that God designed it that way, so we don't feel rushed or nothing! Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out. Part of my doing "everything" lately includes filling my heart with memories. In a full heart there is room for everything, and in an empty heart there is room for nothing.

I don't want to talk about life without a gallbladder. I don't need it back or anything. It would probably be totally complicated to do so.

One more week and then we'll be heading to Florida. I just know it's gonna be hot (duh!). The Keatster is having knee surgery, and we're gonna make sure that doctor knows the waiting room is a house of prayer! And then I'm going to take Keaton home and give him drugs.

It's time for a 3-day weekend! Happy Birthday America! What are you most looking forward to this weekend? A hot dog? fun fun fun :)

Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Road Tripping & 30 Years!

1. Road trip this weekend to Circleville, Ohio for our niece's college graduation. Lots of rain in the forecast, but I've learned that the best thing to do when it rains is let it rain. Jane will be along with us ... God love her Alzheimer's soul! Will be fun to celebrate with Lynnea on her graduation, and see the big (?) town of Circleville.

2. Road trip next weekend to Greenville, SC for our nephew's wedding. I've got a new hair cut going on, and a basic black dress with pearls all set for the bash! Lark & Tracy are the bomb - a perfect match. I want to thank them in advance for getting married and giving us a reason to get away. Kevin & I are going to drive our little selves into the sunset and laugh our way to and from!

30 Years!

1. Last weekend was our 30th wedding anniversary. Oh my heck, where has the time gone! 30 years sounds like a long time, but it doesn't feel like it unless I actually take the time to figure out how old I am in relation to how old the kids are!

2. I don't know how we got this old, but I do know that I'm keeping Kevin. On Sunday after church service, we set off to eat lunch out with the church gang as usual, but when I arrived Kevin had about 30 of our closest friends & family there to surprise and celebrate with us!

3. How did he pull that off?

4. Better yet, let's think back 30 years ago and wonder how did he lose his checkbook on the day of our wedding?!

5. I don't care what you say, I'm still keeping him!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Five Things

I have not done a list in a long time, so today's the day!

Five Things I did today:
*Shopped at Steinmart with my sister, Joyce. Bought a summer purse. Color is "bartender beige"! Who thunk that one up?! It's kinda pink and kinda peach. It's definitely cute.
*Laundry - lots of it. Kevin says thank you!
*Visited with Dan/Laura/Rosalie at Rosegate, and enjoyed Rosalie's beautiful 3 year old head full of bouncy blond curls.
*Rode the Harley with the Hubby
*Texted with the Keatster, who is in a wedding this weekend in the Jersey area. Wondering if he will learn to talk like a Jersey boy?

Five Things I am Excited About:
*Neice's college graduation - roadtrip trip to Ohio.
*Nephew's wedding - roadtrip to Greenville, SC.
*Our 30th wedding anniversary!!
*Working out our summer bible study plans
*Spring!!! Minus the allergies.

Five Things I Read today:
*Book entitled "So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?"
*Menards online windows & blind treatments
*Turning Points devotional magazine
*Q-doba Menu
*Super nice handmade card I received from Lori

Five Things That Made Me Happy in the last Five Days:
*Visiting with dear friends, Debbie and Debbie (yes, I meant to say two Debbies, it is not a typo! LOL)
*New revelations about the love of God - His mercies are new EVERY morning!
*8 hours sleep, 2 nights in a row
*An email I received from pastors at church

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

This is How I Feel About It ...

Today was that kind of day ... the kind where you tie a knot and just hang on. I laughed, I cried, I hurt, and I loved. It started with a great morning bible study and blog post for this week's lesson. It gave me a real boost. He knows its hard to be us.

Now. I don't allow myself to get down very often about my oldest kid's choices. I try to focus on the hope I have for him instead. I love him. I love him unconditionally. But I'd be lying if I didn't say that there are days that it doesn't hurt like the dickens (is that a real a word? What's a dickens!). Today happened to be one of those days. I try to keep it real here on the blog and sometimes that means admitting that everyday is not a party.

It doesn't really matter what the trigger was, that's not the point. Just sometimes, stuff brings me to my knees. I love my son, I just don't love his attitude sometimes. But it's not even that - not really. Because quite frankly, I live and breath for my faith, husband, children, grandchildren, family, and friends. What this is really about to me is having a close relationship even if he lives 1000 miles away. But our differences in religion, politics, lifestyle, and even food just make it kinda hard for us to relate and there are days when it just plain hurts. Today was one of those days. I love him anyway. I remind myself, and God reminded me this morning, that He knows its hard to be us. Enough said.

If you can't forgive and forget, pick one.

Can anybody say Spring Break?! The last two days and nights Kevin has been busy being a grandpa. He and Clayton whooped up the town in Chicago - they hit the Museum of Science & Industry, Shed's Aquarium, took a spin thru the downtown sights and on Lakeshore Drive, and then stopped at a dairy farm on the road trip back home. I got some Havarti Onion and Asiago cheese as a souvenir, yay! But don't let me breath on you, cuz you might get knocked down.

So when's Rhegan's turn? I'm so glad you asked ... cuz grandma (my sweet self!) is picking her up this Saturday. We've got a waaay better agenda than the boys ... we're gettin' manicures and going shopping and eating pizza! See what I mean?

Keep busy and stay positive! That's been my mantra for the last 2 months. But there are days when I just miss my momma. Just miss her, I tell ya. I want to know what she is doing now, what it was like to die and enter the presence of our Lord, and what she would say to me now if she could. Isn't that crazy! Like it would change things or something. It was such a blessing to participate in celebrating her life. It was an uplifting and inspiring funeral. I came away wanting to lead a better and more exemplary life. I've come to better understand that it's not what you leave to your children, it's what you leave in your children that matters most.

And now it's back to normal life here at home. I've got my to-do lists (tax prep, meeting planning, bill-paying, notes to write and creations to create) and I'm teaching the women's bible study next week so there's a lesson to work on. Happiness! Today, I'm feeling quite inspired to be a better me. I'm finding joy in the love of the Lord and my family. I am blessed. And ... He knows its hard to be us.

When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Long Winter

Rise above the storm, and you will find the sunshine.

No. 2 is okay

Regarding The Colts: Okay ... so the Saints came marching over the Colts. Superbowl Sunday wasn't so "holy" around here ... but then again ... I believe it was! I mean, it was the Saints forevermore! Who couldn't love Drew Brees and his buds?! Now mind you, I still love our Peyton! Thank you to both teams for a great season! My friend reminded me about the importance of a No. 2 pencil. You are asked to use it when you take a test. It's okay to be No. 2. Enough said. So this was our Colts Party in da Hood! Nice neighbors Brent & Eleanore hosted a "holy" feast (after a minor mishap with a pizza in the oven, a valient effort to burn the house down, but we chose to laugh at the smoke-thick rooms and just open all the doors and windows instead)!

Praise loudly, blame softly.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Celebrating Momma - Florence K. Stiller

This was how my mom lived her earthly life --- she kept moving --- she was never, not doing something for someone --- she carried with her the Grace of God --- with fierce determination to reach her eternal destination. Which she did --- on January 28, 2010 --- peacefully, in her sleep, God called her name. And she said "I'm gone!" She was 87 years young. A sweet, beautiful, spunky loving mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. And I will miss her like crazy, until we meet again in the heavenlies.

Since dad's heavenly journey almost 7 years ago, Kevin & I have tried to care for mom with as much grace & love as she so beautifully exemplified to us, doing whatever we could to reduce any stress. It was Pure Joy to watch her enjoy life! From moving her out of her home, into independent living at Rosegate, to crashing widow-hood card parties, and attending veteran dinners on her behalf to honor her naval service. To lunching together, shopping, and crafting the day away, giggling like two girlfriends.

Dealing with death's details isn't easy, but celebrating mom's earthly christian life was a piece of cake! She and dad gave me EVERY opportunity to witness a servant's life well-lived, and I will be forever grateful to be their child. If I can offer but a small piece of that to my kids and grandkids, I will be humbled.

Ladies, enjoy your beautiful daughters. Be good daughters to your moms, as I was to mine, and your daughters are to you. But most importantly, remember that we are all Daughters of the King!

God pours life into death and death into life without a drop being spilled.