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Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

I was blessed with my beautiful baby girl at 5:47 pm on New Year’s Eve 1988. She was, is, and continues to be one of God’s gifts 🎁 to me and the rest of the world.

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ou with my entire soul, Kara. I am honored and blessed to be considered your mother.

❤️

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My middle child was born on February 29, 1984 (yes, Leap Day).  I know I’ve stated that in prior blogposts, but this year it’s particularly of import to me anyway, because he’d actually have a “real” birthday.  He was one of the select few with that special day as his birthday.  I remember it well also.  He was born by emergency C-section, but he was a beautiful full-term baby.  We didn’t know what awaited us though with his health.  As I’ve stated before, he died on May 30, 2001 from complications of Cystic Fibrosis (CF) a year after a successful double lung transplant at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA.  The fact that he had CF was a 1 in 4 chance for each child his father and I conceived.  We didn’t know that we carried that gene at the time, because it couldn’t be tested in advance then and it had never appeared in our family.  However, our beautiful 1 in 4 child was born on a day that happens only every 1 in 4 years.  Anyway, he had Cystic Fibrosis, something children that can’t pronounce it have called “65 Roses” over the years.

*~*~*

 

February 2001

 

 

*~*~*

 

 

65 Roses

The Wolverines

When I was just a small child, mama and daddy came to me.

They sat me down and told me of the flowers my sister received,

65 roses in yellow and red, made her so tired she had to stay in bed.

I just couldn’t believe the flowers my sister received

Made it so hard for her to breathe.

Why does she have 65 roses,

Must be her birthday today?

She must have been good to get 65 roses!

Why can’t she come out to play?

65 roses of yellow and red made her so tired she had to stay in bed.

I looked all around, but I couldn’t find

The 65 roses were on my mind.

When I’d grown up, I see that the only one thinking of roses was me,

And the reason that the 65 roses came

Was because I was too young to understand the name.

65 roses!

Cystic Fibrosis made her so tired she had to stay in bed.

65 roses!

Cystic Fibrosis!

I wish she had roses instead.

65 roses!

Cystic Fibrosis!

I wish that she could come out to play.

Life, one supposes, is no bed of roses.

I wish she had roses instead.

I wish she had roses instead.

65 roses.

Cystic Fibrosis.

 

 

*~*~*

 

 

August 1993

 

 

*~*~*

 

 

This post isn’t about all of that though.  I had to mention it however, because I found the song so amazing.  Also, Cystic Fibrosis (65 roses) was part of his life.

This post, however, is mainly about how he lived his life, albeit a short one.  He experienced more and touched more than most people do by the time they die at 80, 90, or 100 years of age.  He endured more pain than most anyone I know, but he enjoyed life to the absolute fullest.  He used to tell me that he didn’t want people to forget him and that he didn’t want them to think he just existed in life but that he truly lived life.  He absolutely abhorred the term “passed away” when referring to someone that has died.

“Mom!  That’s so demeaning.  It doesn’t even sound like they really lived.  They merely existed in life, and then they passed away and through.  Maybe some people live life that way, but when I’m gone, I want people to remember that I lived and that I then died.  I didn’t just exist.  I LIVED!”

This is why this song by OneRepublic is so appropriate to dedicate to him, not only because they have it dedicated to a fan of theirs that has Cystic Fibrosis, but also because, in his own words …

 

 

I LIVED

OneRepublic

Hope when you take that jump, you don’t fear the fall.

Hope when the water rises, you built a wall.

Hope when the crowd screams out, they’re screaming your name.

Hope if everybody runs, you choose to stay.

Hope that you fall in love, and it hurts so bad.

The only way you can know is give it all you have,

And I hope that you don’t suffer but take the pain.

Hope when the moment comes, you’ll say …

I did it all!

I did it all!

I owned every second that this world could give!

I saw so many places, the things that I did!

With every broken bone, I swear I lived!

Hope that you spend your days, but they all add up,

And when that sun goes down, hope you raise your cup!

Oh, I wish that I could witness all your joy and all your pain,

But until my moment comes, I’ll say:

I did it all!

I did it all!

I owned every second that this world could give!

I saw so many places, the things that I did!

With every broken bone, I swear I lived!

Oh with every broken bone, I swear I lived.

With every broken bone, I swear …

I did it all!

I did it all!

I owned every second that this world could give!

I saw so many places, the things that I did!

With every broken bone, I swear I lived life!

Oh I swear I lived!

 

 

 

*~*~*

 

 

 

February 2001

 

 

*~*~*

 

 

Ask his friends how he lived.  He lived it to the fullest.  Even at a camp held especially for transplant patients, he was all into the camp … and ended up with a broken bone in his ankle … but he lived … and he did it all.  He endured broken bones and a broken heart.  He experienced travelling to visit new places.  He never feared failing.  He owned every single solitary second that his God gave him, be it good or bad.  For that, he will forever be a role model and a hero to me.  If I could just be half as brave and daring as he was, I’ll know that I did life proud.

So on what would be his 8th “real birthday” … or the 32nd year since he was born … I’ll also offer this from one of Celine Dion’s hits … one of the ones that make me remember him so dearly, as he had said once that this made him think of me, how I worked to get the health care he deserved, and how he wanted to dedicate it to me.  That made me cry, because, in my mind, it better describes what he and both of his siblings did (and continue to do) for me.  I am now who I am … because all 3 of my children loved me.

 
  

 

Because You Loved Me

​​​​-as written by Diane Warren

​​​​-as sung by Celine Dion

For all those times you stood by me,

For all the truth that you made me see,

For all the joy you brought to my life,

For all the wrong that you made right,

For every dream you made come true,

For all the love I found in you,

I’ll be forever thankful, baby.

You’re the one who held me up,

Never let me fall.

You’re the one who saw me through it all.

You were my strength when I was weak.

You were my voice when I couldn’t speak.

You were my eyes when I couldn’t see.

You saw the best there was in me,

Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach.

You gave me faith ‘cuz you believed.

I’m everything I am,

Because you loved me.

You gave me wings and made me fly.

You touched my hand. I could touch the sky.

I lost my faith. You gave it back to me.

You said no star was out of reach.

You stood by me and I stood tall.

I had your love.

I had it all.

I’m grateful for each day you gave me.

Maybe I don’t know that much,

But I know this much is true:

I was blessed, because I was loved by you

You were my strength when I was weak

You were my voice when I couldn’t speak

You were my eyes when I couldn’t see

You saw the best there was in me

Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach

You gave me faith ‘cuz you believed

I’m everything I am

Because you loved me

You were always there for me,

The tender wind that carried me,

A light in the dark, shining your love into my life.

You’ve been my inspiration.

Through the lies, you were the truth.

My world is a better place because of you.

You were my strength when I was weak.

You were my voice when I couldn’t speak.

You were my eyes when I couldn’t see.

You saw the best there was in me.

Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach,

You gave me faith ‘cuz you believed.

I’m everything I am,

Because you loved me.

I’m everything I am,

Because you loved me.

*~*~*

 

 

*~*~*

 

Happy birthday, Keegan!  I love you forever and always!

 

 

 

 

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted one of my family recipes, but, since I had a friend recently ask me for a copy of my turkey stuffing recipe, I figured I might as well share it here too.  That way he can just get it this way … and I can pay homage to the generations before me that stuffed and roasted a turkey this way.  I don’t know how far back it went, but I know that my great-grandmother, my grandmother, and my mother all made turkey stuffing the same way.  I imagine that it went further back than that, but that’s as far as I know for sure.

 

My only issue with providing this recipe is trying to create it in writing so that someone else can follow it.  I tried very hard to measure what I do; however, since I do it with my hands by feel and by measuring it “until it looks right” … like my maternal ancestors did … it is as exact as I could make it.  I used to watch my mother do it when I was little, but I never really knew precisely what to do until I was newly married to my first husband.  We had moved to the Chicago area and were unable to go “home” to California for Thanksgiving.  This was way before the internet and texting and email … and back when telephone calls across country cost an arm and a leg, so I wrote her a letter (you know about those, I hope … you know … with paper and a pen) and asked her how to make the stuffing.  She wrote back a wonderful long letter where even she said she had trouble trying to come up with exactly what she did, but I could follow it because I understand her terms and her measurements.  People outside of our family probably won’t.  I kept that letter for years until it disappeared in one of my moves.  I wish I still had it.  It’s full of history.

 

Anyway, I wrote what I do on 3 X 5 index cards a while back and I still use those to remind me of certain things to do.  I can’t just type it as I wrote it, though, because most people won’t know what I mean by a “glug” of this, a “handful” of that, “count to 3 while you pour” or “pour till it seems right”.  I somewhat measured this year when I made my Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing so that I could give it to him as well as put it in my blog.  I was so busy though, pictures never were taken … but … suffice it to say that everyone raved over my 22 ¼ pound turkey and stuffing.  Maybe next time I do it, I’ll remember to take a picture … or … better yet … I’ll get Roy to take pictures … and I’ll attach it to this post.  I generally can’t take pictures, because I cook with my hands so I’m generally too messy to be fooling around with a camera.  Besides … Roy absolutely loves my turkey stuffing … so I’ll put him in charge next time.

 

So … after that long and involved “story” … here to follow is “Big Gramma’s Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing”.  Is it fattening?  Of course it is, but isn’t good old-fashioned tasty food generally fattening?  As long as any food is eaten in moderation, it’s all good … unless there is a health issue that prevents certain things from being eaten.  Just know that this is good old-fashioned American comfort food at its best.  I’ll just end with this … if something doesn’t make sense in my recipe, feel free to ask in the comments.  I’ll answer as best I can.  It really is fairly easy and isn’t as hard as it may first look.  That’s why I like it so much … because it is so easy … and tasty.

 

*~*~*

 

Big Gramma’s Corn Bread and Sausage Stuffing

Ingredients

  • 1 batch of cornbread
  • 1 turkey
  • 1 bunch of celery
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 3 sticks of butter
  • 1 lb of pork sausage
  • 2 heaping tbsp baking powder
  • 2-3 large eggs or 3-4 medium eggs
  • salt
  • pepper
  • sage
  • 1 clean rag/cloth (not of towel/terry cloth material) that you won’t want after the fact as it will be thrown out

Instructions

  1. Make a large pan of cornbread (the dish I use is 10 X 10) a day or two (up to about a week) early and leave out to get dry/stale.
  2. The day before you’ll be roasting the turkey, remove the gizzard, liver, heart, neck, etc from the turkey, rinse the turkey cavities well, and boil the innards.
  3. Put the turkey into a covered roasting pan and put it in the refrigerator until the next day.
  4. Boil the innards for several hours until they are well cooked.
  5. Drain the water and remove the scum. If you want to use the innards, chop up whatever is wanted and then either discard the remainder or give it to the dog and/or cat. (Personally, I only use the meat that’s on the neck and then feed the remainder to our dog.)
  6. Add water to cover the meat (including whatever innards you may like).
  7. Add celery tops (with leaves) from one bunch of celery (save the remainder of the celery bunch for later), a bunch of parsley, 1 tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, and 1 tsp sage to the water and meat items.
  8. Simmer until very tender.
  9. Reserve all of the liquid and celery/parsley/meat mixture.
  10. Chop up the remainder of the celery as well as the two onions.
  11. Sauté the onions and celery in a stick of butter until tender and transparent.
  12. In a large bowl or stock pot, break up cornbread into bite size chunks.
  13. Add 1 lb of uncooked bulk pork sausage to the cornbread.
  14. Add 2 heaping tbsp of baking powder, 1 tbsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, and 1-2 tbsp sage to the cornbread.
  15. Whip 2-3 large eggs or 3-4 medium eggs with a fork until yellow and slightly foamy.
  16. Add the eggs, sautéed onions/celery mixture, and celery tops/parsley/meat mixture to the broken up cornbread.
  17. Mix together lightly so that it’s well blended but still in somewhat of a chunky form. I use my hands so that it doesn’t get too broken up and mealy but is blended well.
  18. Moisten with water from boiling the innards/celery tops/parsley but don’t pour in too much. You want it to stick together but not have it too gummy.
  19. The leftover fluids from boiling the innards/celery tops/parsley should be poured into the roasting pan as basting juices for the turkey during its roasting time.
  20. About 10 minutes before you put the turkey in the oven, preheat it to 450.
  21. Just before stuffing the body and neck cavity, use your hands and rub salt & pepper inside.
  22. Stuff the body and neck cavity lightly. Don’t pack it too tightly or the turkey will split while baking.
  23. Sew or skewer the turkey body and neck cavity closed.
  24. Put the remainder of the stuffing that you mixed up into a casserole dish and bake it for about an hour. Baste some of the turkey drippings into it either as it cooks, after it cooks, or both.
  25. Rub a stick of butter on the skin and legs of the turkey.
  26. Melt a stick of butter and saturate an old clean rag with the butter.
  27. Cover the turkey with the cloth.
  28. Put the turkey pan on the rack in the oven and close the oven door.
  29. Immediately turn the oven down to 350 (or 325 for larger turkeys).
  30. Baste the turkey off and on throughout the baking time right over the cloth as it roasts.
  31. When the turkey is done, remove the roasting pan from the oven.
  32. Remove the cloth very carefully so as not to peel off the skin. It’s easiest to dampen the cloth with basting juices as you slowly and gently pull back on the cloth to release it from the turkey.
  33. You will have a golden brown turkey.
  34. Let the turkey rest for at least 1 hour before carving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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… are stupid.

I don’t do them.

If I’m going to do something like get in better shape or lose weight like I did a few years ago, I’m going to decide what time is best for me instead of being one of the sheeple that go along with the crowd and make resolutions they won’t keep.

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I think for myself and I decide for myself. To me, it’s more important to be me than to bow to societal pressure.

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I am quite confident in who I am.

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On this Christmas Eve, 2014, 13½ years since you died, I miss you as much if not more than ever. I wish you were here to help your brother. I wish you were here to see how wonderfully your baby sister is doing. I wish you could have met your sister’s husband, Alex. You’d have hit it off well with him, I’m quite sure. I wish you were here to have met Roy. You’d have both teased and harassed each other mercilessly. I wish you were here to have enjoyed Placerville like I do. I wish you were here to have gone to college like you wanted to do. I wish you were here to have had your own life work and calling, your own children if you so chose, your own life. I wish you were here to see that I have done ok with myself.

I miss you, Keegan. Whoever said “time heals” was wrong. Perhaps it gets different but it never truly heals. I’ve said before that it’s like losing an arm or a leg. Part of me is missing. I have learned to get by without it, but I’m still without and I still want it as part of who I am and it still gives me pain that it’s not there.

I’m just writing this to tell you as you watch me and visit me spiritually (and I can sense you around), that I still love you with all of my heart. You are forever one of my babies and forever in my heart. I was blessed to have you in my life physically for the 17 years I did. I just wish it were longer.

This year I will be enjoying a “Christmas Buffet” with friends at Smith Flat House. You’d have liked where we are going and with whom we will be. I know you will visit Roy and me in spirit as we both sense you around often already and you will also travel to visit your brother and your sister and her wonderful husband where they are on this Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I wish we could all be together, but life goes on and changes with time. Celebrate in Heaven! We’ll all be with you again in the future.

Each and every person that knows you … whether they knew you in this life physically or just spiritually or both … misses you.

Merry Christmas, Keegan.

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Memorial Day is a day to remember those servicemen and servicewomen that gave their ultimate all by dying for our country. My friend, Shawna, lost her son, PFC Ryan Hill, in 2007 due to this. I honor her, him , and all of those men and women who died for their country.

Charlie Company … this is for you and all those like you.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=share&v=ABr3j1R0H-E

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It’s been a long week … and it’s Valentine’s Day, which in and of itself is a dumb day … and I have to work not only tomorrow (Saturday) but also Sunday. So … since this is Friday and Valentine’s Day … here is my plan … because this is what will happen when I get home tonight … no matter what time I get there.

 

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Carry on, all … and have a great Valentine’s Day, if that’s what you do.

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