Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Some people laugh when I tell them that I still believe in Santa Claus and all the magic of Christmas.  While I'm not one that starts planning Christmas in October as some people do, I do enjoy it during the month of December and do whatever I can to make it a pleasant time for those around me.

My two youngest grandchildren, A and O, asked the big Santa question to their mother this year, and she didn't lie, she just asked them, "what do you think?"   To make this story shorter, they both decided that Santa isn't real, but they would just continue to pretend like he is.

It's hard on this grandma  not having  any children who really believe in Santa anymore, especially since she will go to her grave convinced that when she was just a child, still sleeping in a crib, she remembers vividly Santa coming up to her crib and lifting her eye lids to see if she was really asleep.   I also witnessed the miracle of Christmas at work more than once when there seemed to be  no way that my three boys would be able to have a very good Christmas.  Somehow, every single year, God made a way.  Yes, I will always believe in magic and miracles of Christmas.   It appears that this year though, grandma is the only one left to believe!

Wishing you and yours a very blessed Christmas,
Grandma B

Monday, December 14, 2009


Is it just me?  Am I just too satified?  Am I just too easy to please these days?  With Christmas fast approaching a conversation came up today among co-workers about  whether certain gift cards are appreciated or not.  In particular one of the teachers has decided to get another teacher lottery tickets because she doesn't know what else to get for her Secret Santa gift.  A gas card was suggested to a local station but she said "gas cards are just so blahhh."   When another teacher was asked her opinion she agreed.

Now I am one who appreciates gift cards, and yes, I have received cards to gas stations.  I have purchased my Pepsi, coffee, gas, and if I wanted to, I could even buy a lottery ticket.  And I appreciated it!  I liked it! 

Please help me to understand this.  Wouldn't 10 lottery tickets be a bigger waste of money than $10.00 gift card?  Am I so out of the loop that it is appropriate to dictate what someone gifts us with?  If someone gave you a gas gift card would you think "blahhhh" or would you think, "wow, $10.00 that doesn't come out of my pocket?"

I hope I never reach a point where any gift that someone takes time and money to give to me leaves me with the "blahhhh feeling".  May God forgive us for our lack of gratitude to Him and to others.

Sorry folks.  I just had to vent a little. 
Merry Christmas from me to you!
Grandma B

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Well Is Out, But I'm not Complaining

A few days ago I went to do our evening dishes but no water was coming out of the faucets.  Oh, no, what will we do now?  Sidney went to the basement to see if he could find the problems but he said he didn't know what was wrong for sure.  A few minutes later he went back down and touched just the right thing and "presto" we had water.  We were both very grateful!

Today around noon the same thing happened!  I had to wait for Sidney to get home so he could do the magic touch, but this time it didn't work!  Now I enjoy the convenience of water as much as the next person, but I know things could be worse.  I have bottled water for drinking, I can get buckets of water for flushing toilets, and the rest of the dishes, well.....they can wait.   I will shower at the YMCA.

A couple of years ago I read a newpaper article about a wagon train called the "Donnor Party".  These people litterly starved to death.  They had no food, no water, nothing!  They were stuck until a rescue team could get to them.  After reading that article I promised myself I would never again complain about minor problems that might come my way.  A temporary time without water....that is a minor problem.

Of course I will be happy to turn my faucet on and have hot and cold running water, but for tonight I will enjoy the warmth of my home, the food in my belly, electricity, the recliner chair that I'm relaxing in, and the company of my wonderful husband.  Thank you Lord for taking good care of me.

Blessings to you!
Grandma B

Monday, November 30, 2009

Branson Vacation

Sidney and I just returned from a weekend vacation in Branson, MO.  It had been quite a while since we had been there and we knew there had been a lot of changes to the area, so we went prepared.

We stayed at a timeshare resort (took the tour to save money), saw the Dixie Stampede, and did some shopping while we were there.  We had a very nice time and a well needed time of relaxation, however, I left there wondering what the decendants of this Ozark area would think if they could see things now?  When we visited Branson about 40 years ago, there wasn't much there except for Silver Dollar City and a few stores on the Main Street.  I loved going through those stores because they sold "hand made" crafts.  I would just be amazed at the craftmanship and would always come home motivated to try my hand at something new.
This weekend I saw the same-ole "stuff" that I could find anywhere.  There were few "hand-crafted" items in the stores that I visited and most had a tag on the back that read, "Made in China". 

I thought of the decendants of the Ozarks and the hard work they endured.  Just trying to make a small garden in those  rock laden hills must have taken all the strength one could muster up.  Carrying water up and down those Ozark hills must have been a lot of work too.  I just can't imagine what it would have been like to live in the poverty sticken Ozarks years ago.   And now....I heard this week that an acre of land in the Branson Ozarks sells for about 1/4 million dollars.  

But Branson, MO is a testimony of one thing;  someone had a dream and a vision of what they could do with a tall hills and low valleys and they held onto that dream until it was accomplished.  I enjoyed my vacation but as usual, I'm glad to be home.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009


As I have told you before, I get the biggest pleasures from the smallest things.  Last Saturday proved to be one of those times.  I decided to go to a yard sale just down the road from me and I was so glad I did.  There on a lonely shelf sat 13 blue canning jars with their original lids.  The price was right and I found myself with all 13.  

I'm not sure why but I have always loved glass whether it be clear or colored, but with these blue jars I felt like I had found a treasure.  I shared a few with my kids, then washed them up and began to fill them with the simple things I had on my pantry shelves, like rice, barley, beans and more.  Then I proudly displayed them on top of my refrigerator.  Who would have thought that 13 blue canning jars could make someone so happy!

Grandma B


You too can purchase grains and beans in bulk and store them in glass jars with lids.  Bugs and critters will stay out while you keep freshness in!

Saturday, November 14, 2009


While being married to my best friend, Sidney, for over 42 years now, has brought some interesting learning experiences with it.  While I have always loved to try new recipes, go out to eat, and generally like to eat, Sidney has been the easy to please type, not caring much about what he has to eat.

Sometimes I will ask him, "what do you want for supper?", and his reply is usually the same; "I don't care, fix what you want."   If I give him a choice between pork chops or hamburgers the reply is still the same, "I don't care, fix what you would like."

I admit this would probably be most wives dream to have a husband so easy to please, but at times I just want his input.  I want someone to help me make food decisions.

When I have talked to Sidney about my dilemma here is what he says;  "It doesn't matter whether I have a steak or a bologna sandwich, it all ends up in the same place."  Wow, such insight!   I hate to admit it to him, but I guess he's right.  Once it's in our stomach, our brain says we are full, it doesn't matter whether it's a steak or bologna, and yes, it all ends up in the same place!

So as this grandma still searches the pages of new recipes looking for a new way to fix the chicken or beef, Sidney is sitting in his recliner, reading his favorite western, not caring what he has for lunch or supper, because "it all ends up in the same place".

Blessings to you!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Life Comes Full Circle

While it is true that each generation gains more and more knowledge, it amazes me to see how the old becomes the new, and vice versa. While I listen to the media hype of living green, I realize that living green and recycling were just a normal way of life for my grandparents generation. They didn't waste anything and threw very little away. Examples of this would be how my grandma would wash off a piece of aluminum foil, fold it and put it in a drawer to be used again. A bread bag was never thrown away but was always saved to use as a leak proof container. Bread bags were even a staple when my boys were babies because that's what we placed their wet diapers in when we were out. They were then placed in the diaper pail when we returned home (and yes, we then threw the bag away!).

Grandma washed and dried the dishes by hand using the same dishclothes over and over. I don't remember paper towels at her house just the flour sack dish towels. She had a wringer washer and hung her clothes outside on clotheslines. Grandma used Fels Naptha soap to boost her laundry detergent's power, and I learned the other day that we can make our own laundry detergent with "Fels Naptha" soap. I guess grandma knew a thing or two.

Grandma saved all jars and used them during jelly canning season. She sealed them with paraffin wax, and covered them with foil if a matching lid wasn't available. Nothing wasted! Not food, not clothing, nothing! And have you noticed that this is becoming the right thing to do again? It used to be if you were frugal you were labeled "cheap" or "poor", but no's the "in thing". I'm glad it is back! It seems life has gone full circle in just 3 generations.

By the way, upon my grandmother's death I learned that she had over $100,000.00 in her bank account. Grandma wasn't poor or cheap, she was just smart!

Living the simple life,

With soup season approaching save even small amounts of leftover vegetables, bits of pasta or beans in a mason jar and place in the freezer until it's full. Take it out and make your favorite vegetable soup.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Our Little Acre

Sidney and I have lived in the same house since 1969. We moved in two weeks before our first son was born. At first glance the house was kind of ugly. In fact when we looked at it the first time I wouldn't even go inside, instead we just turned around in the driveway and left. Our real-estate agent urged us to try again, "just look at it before you say no", so we did. Needless to say, I'm glad we did.

Our 3 bedroom home is a modest home by most standards and sits on just a little over 1 acre of ground. We have neighbors but most are like us they just enjoy country living. I cannot count the animals that have been raised on this little acre of ground. We had a dog when we moved in, and have always had one or more at all times. We have had kittens, geese, chickens, a pig for butchering once, a pet skunk named Charlie, 3 horses and more. What can I say? We love animals!

Not only do we love our animals but we also love to grow our own food. One year Sidney planted the garden and when the bounty of veggies came in he gave an assortment to an elderly lady from our church, Sister Patterson. I delivered the vegetables to her and she was so grateful. Before I left she said, "I am going to pray that the Lord blesses you 100 fold."

I thanked her and didn't think too much about it until we couldn't keep up with picking the vegetables that summer. Sidney would actually take a wheelbarrow out to the rows and fill it to overflowing! I canned green beans, tomatoes, froze corn and squash and found it difficult to keep up. We gave vegetables to everyone we knew and yet more vegetables just grew in their place.

Our little acre probably doesn't seem like much to the average person, but to us it is special. God has blessed us to overflowing with family, animals and garden, but the summer Sister Patterson prayed is one year we will never ever forget! She prayed in faith, and God answered her prayers.

Simply living each day to it's fullest,


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Autumn's In The Air

The past few weeks have been so beautiful here in Missouri that I just don't want to see summer end. As much as I would like it to stay around, October has arrived and the autumn changes have begun. Each season brings with it it's own kind of beauty....and with each season I find myself saying, this is my favorite season of all, only to love the next one more! Today I noticed a change of color in the leaves, and the crisp wind caused them to come twirling around only to cover my freshly swept deck!

As the seasons change so does my "to do list". There are so many things to get finished before winter sets in. Today I had to plant new spring flowering bulbs, and separate some of my iris bulbs. If you know me at all, you know that I do LOVE my flowers!

Because of some work we had done this summer we are going to have to plant new grass in our backyard, so Sidney lightly tilled the ground and hopefully we will get the seeds in by next weekend.

There is still painting I need to do on the outside too! We had hoped to get our shed painted this summer but it's still on the "list".

Oh well! I've been through a few of these season changes over my lifetime and lived long enough to know that if it doesn't get done, it just doesn't get done! Life goes on! I have also lived long enough to know what is really important and what is not! Simple living.....enjoying each day with family and friends! That is what is really important!

Simple living......

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Together With the Family

Are there any better times than when your family is gathered together for a meal and a day of fun? I love it when everyone stops from their busy lives and schedules a time to come home. As much as I love these times together, they used to feel so much like work instead of play. As I'm getting older I am learning to simplify as much as possible and that includes family days.

Always before I would spend one full day shopping and cooking. There was the potato salad, the deviled eggs, deserts, and more. You get the idea! By the time the family day got here I was needing a nap and didn't feel much like playing. But now-----------things have changed!

This year I actually purchased the potato salad, didn't make the eggs, and purchased a refrigerated boxed desert. My oldest son took charge of cooking the meat at his house, and brought it all cooked and ready. I threw on the baked beans (simple version), opened the potato chips and voillaaaaa we were enjoying being together!

After the meal there was washers and bocce while H filled us in on the latest trends in high school. All too soon it was time for everyone to leave for their own homes, leaving Paw and I with the depressed feeling that Labor Day always gives. The last summer holiday, the beginning of autumn.

The next day the depression was over and plans for the days ahead began. After all, there will be nights of football, Thanksgiving, Christmas, March Madness, Easter, Memorial Day and many more days for family gatherings. Keeping things simple isn't so bad! Maybe I'll see what I can do for Thanksgiving!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Walk Together

Hidden away in the small town where I grew up is a secret place known as the "lakes". I had never been to the lakes, but Sidney had spent hour upon hour there fishing and running through the woods when he was a young boy.

This secret place called the "lakes" is for sale, and Sidney wanted to share with me one of his favorite childhood hangouts, so we decided to take a walk.

As I got out of the car I thought it might be a good idea to spray my legs to repel ticks and chiggers. I've learned the hard way that those little critters just love to attach themselves to the tender parts of my body and make me suffer for days on end. Not today though, I was way ahead of them!

The walk began fine, but I didn't know that I was going to have to climb a locked gate. This information had been withheld from me. Since my knees don't bend too well anymore, I thought my walk would be stopped before it started, but one step at a time and I was over! Sidney was on the other side in case I couldn't make it.

Once over the gate, the walk was easy. There weren't really any weeds to speak of, just a nice path along the first lake. The first lake wasn't too big, and had a lot of algea on top of it. I wasn't too impressed. We kept walking, stopping to

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Today I enjoyed all of my grandchildren while they visited with us for a while. The oldest ones arrived first with their mom. They came to pick grapes from a neighbor who graciously offered them to us. Mom and dad were going to attempt to make their first batch of grape jelly.

Off we went to our neighbors house with buckets and clippers in hand ready for the bunches of grapes we were promised. As we made our way to the grape-vines we weren't finding the grapes in abundance, but just a few here and a few there. With all of us clipping them off the vine we found we had still salvaged about two gallons of grapes. I reminded these teenagers that they should be counting their blessings we were picking grapes and not blackberries.

When we returned back home it was time to clean out the corn patch. Paw only planted 4 rows of corn this year, but it produced many ears of juicy, sweet corn. The kids went out and picked corn and filled two buckets. After I checked to make sure there was still plenty of corn for my youngest two grandchildren, A and O, I was happy to help them load their van with the bounty.

A couple of hours later A and O arrived with their mom and dad. First it was off to collect the eggs. It used to be O who wanted to bring the eggs in, but today it was A. Then they wanted to pick some corn. There wasn't a lot of corn left but they were happy with the ears they found. But today their favorite thing to do was pick the the cherry tomatoes. Paw was happy to have the help picking those little fellows, since they consume a lot of time for the little you get, kind of like picking blackberries without the thorns!

When we came inside I had some water boiling, A and O shucked the corn and we placed it in the pot of boiling water. A loves corn, (he told me so), and O won't taste anything that is a vegetable, so she ate some grapes.

Then I remembered something I had picked up for the two of them at the dollar slime. Should I or shouldn't I, that was the question, but with the promise they would keep it at the table, we decided they should experience it. They did seem to enjoy the yucky stuff as it oozed through their fingers and onto the table. Yes it was messy, but they were having so much fun, and I think we made some memories today.

I hope that years from now my oldest grand kids will remember harvesting grapes and enjoying the grape jelly their mom and dad made for them. I hope that O and A will remember picking tomatoes, corn and playing in slime at Grandma and Grandpa's house. They grow up so fast. It won't be long until all my grand kids will be so busy with their own lives that they will hardly have time for grandma and grandpa anymore, but I hope that they look back on these times and remember, "when we went to Grandma and Grandpas house, we sure made some memories"!

Blessings to you,


Sunday, July 12, 2009


As a child it was normal to get a live colored chick at Easter time. One time I even got a duck! Of course these little creatures would end up at one of Grandparents houses in the country after just a few days or weeks.

This year as I was strolling through Bucheits, our local farm store, I could hear their rooster crowing, and had to go see if they had their little colored chicks yet. I was just going to watch them for a while because they are so cute! And I did! But as Easter got closer and closer, I couldn't fight the temptation any longer, and at 5:00 pm on Easter Eve, I came home with 3 little chicks. One for Olivia, one for Andrew, and an extra, just in case something happened to one in the night. I had purchased chicks for the other grandchildren on other years, but Andrew and Oli hadn't got to experience getting hold and love on a baby chick.

They loved their little chicks and we told them we would take care of them for them and they could visit them anytime.

This is all fine and good, but the story doesn't end there..... Grandpa said, "If we're going to care for 3 chicks, we might as well have more." So we went back and bought another dozen. Paw decided he needed to build a chicken pen, so this led to fencing, lumber, and yes....more expense!

We also had been looking for a couple of hens who were already laying. A friend called and said her mom would part with a couple of her laying hens but we had to take the rooster. Then we found two more laying hens at another farm. Wow! We're in the egg business!

Neither of the first hens ever laid an egg. In fact, one of the hens must have been old, because on morning Sidney went out to the shed and she had keeled over! We assume it was old age!

But the rooster....He is broken! He walks around with his beautiful feathers just glistening in the sunlight. He is a happy rooster with all of those hens and he tries to prove it by crowing. But his crow is broken! If you can imagine what a hoarse rooster might sound like you would be close. He tries and tries. He kind of sounds like someone who starts a song with a powerful note, but soon falls off key! My rooster makes me laugh! If I am in the house and he begins to crow, I will find myself giggling to myself. I will say, "My poor rooster. He's broken."

Have you ever heard of a blessing in disguise? I think that is what you would call my rooster. We were a little concerned that the neighbors might not appreciate his morning wake-up call, but we don't have to worry about that since the problem was solved before he arrived. His crow is broken!

As for the eggs: We get two to three per day. That's not a bad return on the several hundred dollars we spent is it? But that's okay, since Sidney and I enjoy sharing them with others. It's just another example of our simple living. I like watching my little chickens, but even more, I enjoy the crowing of my broken rooster.

I hope you are enjoying a peaceful and simple life too.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dad's Garden

This spring Sidney decided that he wanted to plant a garden. He looked at all the seed catalogs, made trips to the local farm store, and finally chose the seeds that would make the best plants and produce anyone could grow!
Finally a warm sunny day arrived and he donned his blue denim bibbed coveralls and his worn straw hat and went to work. I watched as he trudged behind the tiller. He found his dad's old stick with the string attached and began to lay out the rows. I don't know why I didn't get my camera and take his picture because for just a moment I thought that it might be his dad out in that garden.

Some of my fondest memories of Sidney's dad were the ones when he was making his garden. He donned his denim blue bibbed coveralls, his worn straw hat, and went to work in the warm fertile soil. It seemed like he was happiest when he was working in his garden. Sidney's dad passed away a little over a year ago. Of course we miss him, but as time goes by, I see him in his son. I'm sure that Sid Sr. is working in God's garden and is as happy as can be. I'm sure that he smiles as he looks down from heaven and watches his son happy working the land.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Facebook Fun

About a month ago my daughter-in-law introduced me to Facebook, an online place where friends can connect. Since that time I have visited the site at least once a day. At first it was just one or two friends that I connected with, and then a few more, and then things just began to mushroom and I have connected with soooo many people that I have known and been friends with in my past.

Years ago, when I was just 17, I spent an entire summer at a place known as "Winona Lake Bible Conference" in Indiana. I made many friends with one common thread, "we were all there to serve the Lord". There were missionaries children, kids who wanted to become missionaries, and kids who just wanted to work at a place where the gospel was preached everyday. There was one special friend that I had lost track of and had mentioned so many times over the years that I would like to find her. While on facebook one night I typed in her name, Naomi, and to my surprise, there she appeared! I could hardly wait to talk to her again! It had been 42 years since I had seen her. We had both married, had children, continued to serve the Lord and found out that our lives had many similarities.

Naomi called me and asked if we could meet her and her husband in St. Louis this week as they would be traveling through for a convention. We set up a time, a place, and then I began to get a little nervous. I realized people change a lot in 42 years. What if we didn't have anything in common and it became an akward evening? When Naomi walked through the door we had an immediate reconnection; almost as though we had been friends all these years. Most of all I think we both realized why we became friends in the first place; Our heart for God.

Naomi and her husband live in an inner-city area in Chicago. This is their choice and they work with ex-offenders when they come out of prison. She is a nurse, he is an engineer....they could be living anyplace they want, but this is where God has placed them and they are obeying. I look forward to talking to them more and learning more of their ministry. I think it is exciting that a friendship founded with God can last a lifetime.

Facebook has let me reconnect with friends from all over the United States. I am amazed that I have so many friends. Sometimes we feel that we have no friends and that our lives don't matter much, but facebook has shown me and others that we have many friends and all of our lives are important. It feels good to know that our friends are willing to open themselves up to let us in to their daily lives. Thank you facebook. But most of all, thank you God. When a man has friends, he is rich!


I read that if you start saving your banana peels about now then place them in the rows that you are going to plant your tomatoes in that the tomatoes will be larger and sweeter. I've never tried it, but maybe this year I will. Also, don't forget about composting your food scraps and using in your garden or flowers.

Friday, January 2, 2009


This is a little off my usual subjects, however, I feel that I should write this to possibly help someone else should they be going through something similar.
Sidney and I just returned from an 8 hour trip to try to see our middle son, his wife, and their two beautiful children. We hadn't seen them for over two years and that is the way they have wanted it. They had moved and not left any forwarding address. As parents we have tried and tried to locate them only to come up with dead ends....until October, when an unknown person was able to give us an address. I wrote to answer. Sometimes mail gets lost doesn't it? So....Sidney wrote them asking them for a short answer. So, we decided to make the trip.

I had no expectations of what to expect from J or K. Would they be just a little happy that we had made the effort to contact them, or would we be met and told to leave. Unfortunately, the latter was what we faced. Our son met us at our car with anger. He told us in no uncertain terms to go home, have a funeral for them, that they were dead. No amount of talking would change his mind. His wife, along with their two children, stood there saying nothing. K didn't even say hello or goodbye. She stood a distance away with the children and listened as J laid it all out. Anyone could have seen that he was in total control of his family's every move.

The saddest thing of all is how he told us of how happy they are, but their faces and most of all, their eyes spoke of sadness. We were allowed to give the children some small gifts, and were able to give them a kiss upon their heads, and then left.

I came home to research reasons why people would isolate themselves in the way they have, and found that it is a way people who have had alot of stressors in their lives insulate themselves from more hurt. Many people who do this are very educated and have always been searching for answers, but mostly find themselves comfortable if they don't have to be around people. Sometimes they don't feel adequate and feel they don't amount to much.

Both of these people, both J & K are very smart and can do anything they want to do. They believe that God has told them to live like this, even feeling that they are Martyrs. But there is no one torturing them for Christ, they are doing this to themselves. They both have families that would give their lives for them, but they choose to have no contact with anyone from their past lives. No childhood friends, no cousins, no friends from their old youth groups, no brothers, sisters, neices, one. Everyone that knows about this says that they would welcome them with open arms if only the blinders would come off and they could see how much they are loved.

Our prayers will continue. I have buried my son (in a sense) but his memory will always be with me. I will go on with my life and obey God in the way He has instructed me. And until that day that he calls me home, I will remain faithful. If God chooses to bring our son and his wife back into a relationship with us I will be forever grateful. If He doesn't then I will have to trust that He knows what is best for all of us and will continue to Praise Him.

If anyone out there reads this and is going through something similar, I would love to hear from you. Maybe we can encourage each other.