Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Very Special Sunday

Last Sunday our family celebrated two wonderful sacraments in the Catholic Church....First Holy Communion (Granddaughter Brynn Marie) and Baptism (Granddaughter Charlotte Louise).  What a beautiful celebration.  I never stopped smiling all day!

Charlotte Louise is Ed's namesake.  Many don't know that Ed's given name is Charles.  He was given the honor of choosing her name on Christmas Day and doubly honored to be asked to be her Godfather.  Last Sunday, Ed was definitely with us in spirit.  He loved to hear Brynn Marie recite the Lord's Prayer.  When we recited the Lord's Prayer, you could feel his presence.  Charlotte's father, Erik, read the following from Ed's blog in December of 2012 when he became Katherine Grace's Godfather.  It was so fitting and so special....  From Ed:

"Today I extend my journey in life as a god parent.  I was asked to be a God parent to (Charlotte Louise) a couple of months ago.  Are any of you God parents?

God parenting doesn't necessarily mean you raise the child if something happens to the parents.  That was more necessary over the ages when people didn't live as long.  God parenting has always meant to someone who will see to the child's upbringing in the Church, or at least the path to God.  For me, that means Eternal Salvation, my prayer for every soul on earth.

"It is a known practice in the Church that every person, child or adult, should have a godparent (sponsor) at the time that they enter into the faith through Holy Baptism and Chrismation. To be a godparent is at the same time a great honor and a tremendous responsibility. God asks each godparent to assist in leading souls along the narrow path which leads to the Kingdom of Heaven. For this reason the role of the godparent is not to be minimized or trivialized. It is in fact a role that is holy and needs to be taken seriously."

I take it so seriously I questioned whether or not this was the right decision of the parents to choose me!  After they went through all the reasons they chose me, I had to humbly accept their offer.  What a calling!  It's hard enough for me to find and follow the path to God but to help do that for a little child?

"Most of all, the greatest duty of the godparent is to pray fervently for their godchild that God will always watch over them and guide them throughout his/her life."  I can do that!  I pray daily if not hourly to discern God's Will and utter the words God would have me say.  I pray for every one I meet as I see their needs and hear their concerns.

It is with great joy we welcome (Charlotte Louise) into this family but more importantly the family of God.  My life has let me see there are two powerful sides to choose from, the side of Good and the side of evil.  All of the Saints and Angels, priests and religious who have went before me chose the side I chose and we pray together for the good of all mankind.

I fervently start a new role in life today and have been practicing for a couple of months now.  I never understood this role and will learn it like I do life, one day at a time.

God Bless all God Parents!


God is Good....

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Adirondack Chairs


These Adirondack chairs are 14 years old.  They were made by
Ed's FFA students at Clermont Northeastern.  Those chairs were Ed's wedding gift to me.  When he gave them to me, he told me that we would grow old together sitting in those chairs.  God had another plan......

Each spring, we had a ritual.  I would get out the garden hose and leaf blower and a bucket of water to wash the chairs.  My job was to get the porch ready for sitting outside on the warm summer evenings.  Ed's job on porch cleaning day was to go and get me a hanging basket to brighten the space.  I always picked the earliest warmest day possible and that night we would have our first night of the year on the porch. 

We loved having our Sunday morning coffee out there.  We loved having dinner there.  That porch has held many family gatherings, with Ed always sitting in the Adirondack chair to the left.  Many farm couples from across the country (including Brian and Mariah) have sat on that porch for lunch or a cool glass of lemonade, the guys talking farming, us gals enjoying their enthusiasm for their life's work.  The night of the Clinton County Field to Table picnic, that porch held a large group of family who came out the host the event with us.

Last summer, my brother and nephew stayed a week to celebrate my brother's cancer being in remission.  All the while he was undergoing treatment, I told him to envision having barbequed ribs and our fresh-picked sweet corn on the porch. It was a very big deal when we finally had that meal.  There were times I didn't think he would ever get to eat a picnic on my porch again.  That meal was a triumph of his spirit.

We could sit in our chairs and look out over the farm and watch whatever was going on.  Could be fireflies in June, Fourth of July Fireworks, the bat colony leaving at dusk or the hummingbirds at the feeder.  The year we bought the farm, son Eric built me a water garden with a waterfalls right outside the porch and many nights we listened to the soft sound of water running over rocks and laughed at the birds bathing in the "stream". 

I'm running about a month behind so porch cleaning day was postponed until yesterday.  I scrubbed and re-arranged.  Daughter Shannon's family brought me a basket of flowers for the table.  Daughter Becky's family brought me a flat of zinnias to brighten the garden nearby. 

Tonight I sat in my chair and watched the birds and immersed myself in the memories of the special times we enjoyed on that porch.  The chair next to me is empty now but my heart is full. 

I had the most special Mother's Day weekend a mom could ask for.  I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day and I hope it included some time on the porch with your family. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Essence of a Person's Life in Stone

After months of online searching and researching and then actual lot-shopping and test-driving, I bought a Honda CRV.  Not the top of the line by any means but enough features to make me feel like I have moved up 8 years since my last new car.  I got 33 mpg driving home from Columbus today and that made me feel good.  It has great safety ratings and it was way roomier than I thought it would be. 

All in all,  I am happy.  The kids are happy.  Mom is driving something dependable.  I don't ever want to worry my kids.    So I have a new CRV.  I love my kids for caring about my safety.

Sable created a bit of a stir last night.  She ran off.  She came back hot and tired but she was gone a good while and that is not like her.  I know she needs more attention than I am giving her so I treated her to a ride in the old Dakota tonight.  She must miss that so much.  She and Ed spent hours riding around scouting. 

We drove to the cemetery to spend some quiet time with Ed's spirit.  I have been working with the monument company to design something special for Ed's (and eventually my) headstone.  Other than helping my mom to pick out my dad's headstone, I have absolutely no experience in this.  Well, I guess most of us don't until we are placed in the situation. 

Last summer we took a trip through Northern NY and into Quebec, visiting the sites where my ancestors are buried.  I studied those headstones.  They told a story.  I had never noticed before but both my maternal and paternal grandparents' headstones had praying hands holding a Rosary.  You could look around both of their cemeteries and see the faith beliefs of the families represented there.  I liked that.

In designing this monument, I learned that a headstone is truly the last physical indication that the person or couple buried there walked this earth.  The stone, in just a few words and design elements, captures the essence of the persons' lives.  It will tell a story for hundreds of years.  I am incorporating an etching of our farm into the design along with a verse from Ecclesiastes.  It was our favorite. 

I want to get it right.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Empty Refrigerator

Today, it has been a month since Ed's passing.  The kids came over today to have a picnic and spend time with me on a difficult day.  We had Sahlen's hot dogs from New York that I found in the freezer and I made a batch of homemade potato salad.  I laughed when Eric called the hot dogs "gold"!  That is the brand they grew up on and having them is a treat. 

Anyway, at the picnic today, Tara remarked, "Mom, there is no food in your refrigerator."  Like everything else in my life, the contents of the refrigerator has changed, too. 

Ed loved my cooking and I love to cook.  I enjoyed trying out new recipes on him and rarely did we have a "kitchen disaster" as I referred to it when the meal just wasn't a hit.  Ed would laugh at those times and we would order pizza from the corner store and he would good naturedly tease me about the failed menu. 

Ed had what he called a "Dutch palette", meaning he liked his food hearty but not spicy or unusual.  I love all kinds of cuisine and over the years he came to love unusual foods such as my homemade French Canadian meat pie, enchiladas, Louisiana gumbo and jambalaya, and his favorite broccoli salad. 

Ed did the grocery shopping.  He had those ladies at the Blanchester Kroger charmed into helping him find the strange ingredients I would put on the list.  They all knew him by name. 

I never knew what he would bring home in addition to what was on my list and sometimes it was a challenge to make a meal out of whatever had struck his fancy or what he found in the sale sections.  I think he loved to see what I could come up with. 

Anyway, the empty refrigerator has been an issue for a while.  I just avoid the grocery store.  It is too hard to go in there and try to find excitement over cooking anything.  I'm eating...just not cooking.  It is no fun to cook for one and even less fun to eat alone.  I have been eating the wonderful chicken noodle soup our neighbor sends over occasionally, doing take out from Streber's Market and scavenging in the freezer for meals I froze last winter when we were busy with chemo trips.  Shannon and the little girls have brought over meals and eaten here with me a few times.  I've been getting by. 

I miss cooking for Ed. It was nice to have a big crowd here for lunch.  It was nice to cook for an appreciative crowd.   Life is different but I am blessed with my family and friends.   Tonight it was finally time to get past that hurdle.   I went grocery shopping.