Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tissues at Stand-by

The video shows a loving tribute to this 96 year old man's wife, Lorraine, of 75 years. Sweet Lorraine passed away this past spring. Below the video is the story as told in the "about" section of the video on youtube.

Enjoy and have the tissues handy.

"The story of how it all begins:
A 96-year-old Illinois man wrote a song about his wife of 75 years and when he sent the heart-wrenching ode into a singer-songwriter contest, they decided to produce it for him. When Fred Stobaugh talks about his wife Lorraine now, it's hard for him to hold back tears after the life they led together he says was 'like a dream.' After she died, he was sitting alone in the Peoria home they once shared and for the first time in his life he decided to write a song. It just fit her,' Stobaugh said.

After penning 'Oh Sweet Lorraine,' he saw an ad in the local paper for a singer-songwriter contest. Though he was neither of those things, he decided to send in the ballad. 'I'll just send a letter,' he remembered thinking, though the contest rules asked for a video of the songwriter entrants actually performing their song. 'Send it all in. Never thinking I'd get an answer or nothing.'

But when the contest runner received just one giant manila envelope in a sea of emailed entries, they took notice. They never expected anything quite like what Fred sent them. 'In fact,' said Jacob Colgan of Green Shoe Studio, who ran the contest, 'on the actual envelope itself, it says "I don't sing, I would scare people, haha!"' Nonetheless, the emotion behind the lyrics was enough convince the studio they wanted the song.

When Stobaugh talks about his late wife, he gets a faraway look in his eyes. 'She was the prettiest girl ya ever saw,' he said. 'She gave me 75 years of her.' Jacob decided his company would have 'Sweet Lorraine professionally recorded. When Colgan contacted Stobaugh to tell him the good news, the bereaved husband welled up with tears. 'Why would you want to do that,' he wondered. But to Colgan and his crew at Green Shoe, the answer was obvious. Your song touched us,' Colgan told Stobaugh.

They set to work, collaborating with Stobaugh to craft a that would do Lorraine justice. When the song was finished, though, Colgan had reservations about letting Stobaugh have a listen. 'Because it meant so much to him it meant so much to me,' Colgan said. 'I was actually nervous.' He need not have been. Stobaugh could barely hold back his emotion as the songs final refrain, 'the memories will always linger on,' finished playing. 'It's wonderful,' he said. 'Just wonderful.' Stobaugh's touching dedication to his wife of over seven decades is available on iTunes."

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Turned Upside-Down

My first thought as I looked at the picture message on my cell phone last night, after getting over the need to squeeze his pudgy cheeks (he is 8# 6 oz), Babies sure have a way of turning lives upside-down!

Even before the moment of the positive pregnancy tests, our thoughts are usually consumed with thoughts of babies. Names, boy or girl, twins or more, formula or breast, should we find out the sex or wait, cloth or disposable diapers, nursery decor, do we need a larger vehicle, which baby items are proven safe. The list could go on  and on. 

Then, the moment arrives when the test actually is positive. If you are like I was it was a mixture of emotions. So happy yet a moment or two of holy cow this is really happening. More planning, more questions, more wonder at your growing belly. Concern when you start to realize not every baby is born healthy. When is the last time I felt the baby move?

Enter birthing classes. Enter realizing this baby really does need to come out and not sure you're ready for that! 

Immediate family members are also effected and happy a little baby to love and hold enters their thoughts. Well-meaning talks of what to expect or what no one told them begin to take over. 

Due date comes and go and you wonder if this child is ever going to come out. Are those Braxton Hicks or the real-get-me-to-the-hospital contractions. 

Babies can turn a world upside-down even before they enter the world.

And, once they enter this world. Watch out. That little one will capture your heart in ways you didn't think possible. That smile. The stolen moments watching the little one sleep. Cuddling. 

Then I thought of Jesus. The people waited for a Messiah to come and save them. They had hopes and dreams of an adult. Yet, God's wondrous plan was a baby to save the world. Remember how Mary and Joseph's life, and life of their parents was turned upside-down? From infancy to adulthood, Jesus turned the lives of many upside-down. Once He entered this world things were never the same again.

The thing with babies, everyone loves to love on babies. Hold them, rock them, give them grace for crying. We grow up with our babies. We, adults, think we are all grown up and know many things. 

When, in reality, we grow in faith when our baby screams all night and we don't know how to comfort them anymore after trying what seems like every possible problem. We cry out and lean on God in those moments of sheer exhaustion. 

God sure knows what He is doing, huh?! I am ever so thankful.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

No-Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

I would love to take credit for coming up with this ingenious concoction, but I can't. These are like the good ol' No-Bake Cookies made with cocoa, but not. 

I found a lovely picture of cookies drizzled with chocolate along with the recipe on facebook. I immediately went to pinterest to find the original recipe. No.such.luck. Then I searched the internet. Could not find a recipe like it anywhere. So...thanks to whomever came up with this awesome deliciousness! 

When I saw this recipe I thought, guess we are starting domestic science with the son today.
(Domestic Science is just a manlier name for home ec. His wife will love me.)

Pardon the well-used sheet cake pan.
And the allergy oil on the counter top...and the newspaper...
They turned out great! Better than the regular No-Bake Cookies. And, of course, I needed to teach him how a recipe is just a guide (unless it is bread or something like that), right?! We made a modification with the chocolate topping.

So, without further adieu, here is the recipe:

No-Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies.

2 c sugar (delicious already, huh?!)
dash of salt
1 stick butter (1/2 c)
1/2 c milk
1 c peanut butter
1 t vanilla
3 c oatmeal (quick)
Waxed or parchment paper

In a large saucepan, bring to boil the sugar, salt, butter and milk; stir constantly. Boil mixture over medium heat for 1 full minute. Remove from head immediately.

Add peanut butter and vanilla; still well. Add oatmeal and stir until thoroughly incorporated. On a sheet of waxed or parchment paper, drop mixture by the teaspoonfuls (or used a medium-sized cookie scoop).

Drizzle with a mixture of cocoa, powdered sugar and water* if desired. Cool until set and firm.

*Our modification was the drizzle. We just melted a good quantity of milk chocolate chips. This was also my opportunity to teach him to eyeball the quantity! ;) The melted chocolate will firm up after a few hours but not get really hard. For this reason, store in a single layer in an air-tight container.


Are you a follow the recipe to a "T" person or a 'recipe is a guide' type of person?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Room For One More

Have you heard about National Back to Church Sunday? It is Sunday, September 15. That Sunday or any other Sunday would be a great time to visit a church if you don't already have a church home. And, while looking, don't judge all churches by one bad experience. Give another church a try until you find somewhere you feel at home.

We are all sinners. We are all hypocrites. We are all struggling. We don't have it right. We aren't perfect. We are still learning what it means to live like Christ. And, we're still learning what it means to fully lean and rely on God. We still like to take matters into our own hands and make a mess of things. We still try to over-think and over-explain the Gospel message. We need one another. We need this community we call church. We need to fall down and reach out to God even when this thing pride gets in our way. And we need to recharge through worship after a long week in the world.

All of that to say, you'll fit in just fine. There is always room for one more in the pew. And, if someone tells you there isn't...just wiggle your rear into that space anyway.

This video caught my eye and I found myself checking out their website (link above). There are quite a few comical videos so click the link above and enjoy.

Okay, you twisted my arm. Here is another awkward invitation. Just don't do it this way...seriously.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

That & This

[I already had a blog post titled This & That so I thought I'd mix it up....yup, that's me...a big mixer-upper]

What have you been up to? Seriously, I'd love to know. 

Me? How kind of you to ask. Well, life is life and I'm sure you can relate. Can we just talk about this summer for a moment? Or should we say all together now, "What summer?"  Or maybe it's just me.

Found picture here.
Check out her site; it looks great!
Son went with his youth group to a church youth conference. In Arizona. In the middle of summer. During the massive heat. One question: who, on this planning committee, thought it was a good idea to have a conference in Arizona. In the summer. Seriously. Well, all survived so I guess that was part of the committee's end goal. Win-win for them.

We attended a wedding of a relative. Then an announcement we will have another little born early next year (not me but another relative....not the relative who just got married...phew, glad I cleared that up!)

And one day turns into another and poof ! summer is almost over. Back to school sales and items line stores and crush the dreams of endless fun and swimming for girls and boys. Way to go Back to School. I hope you're happy knowing you're stepping on fun and youth.

Which reminds this teaching at home momma. I still have a few books to order. And a notification and book list to turn in...before school starts. And, I may or may not be panicking. English. What in the world do you do for a boy who hates English? Just to clarify, he loves to speak English...just not learn about or put pen to paper. Sigh. So I avoid the cloud hanging over my head that is now yelling, "English! Decide something already!"

In other news: we just purchased the movie Not Today. If you don't know, it is a movie about human trafficking. It is still sitting in mint condition in its pristine wrapping. I'm a little scared to watch it. Honestly, I cried during a portion of the trailer. Okay, maybe a little bit more than cry. I may or may not have sobbed. I felt it was an important purchase. One, it is set in India and a daughter was there recently ministering to the children born from those in sex trafficking. And, two, it's a way to make your 'voice' heard in this world saying you're supporting this cause and know, money talks and all. 

May I just say I'm a little giddy. A new book is being released by one of my favorite authors, Jody Hedlund. Eeeek. Book nerd, I am. And, you may want to tell ALL of your book-loving friends to stay tuned to the silly, old blog as there will be a book giveaway during the first part of September. Yup, mark your calendar folks, it is going to be a good one!

What have you been up to this summer? Leave a comment telling us one (or more) fun thing you've done this summer. Or leave a comment and say, "I hear ya!" if your summer has gone poof !

Friday, August 2, 2013

Clearly I'm Wrong

I looked at the caller ID before answering the phone. A cell phone call from a number I didn't recognize. Thinking it might be someone I know but not know their cell number, I took the chance and answered.

Me: Hello.

Caller: Peggy?

Me: I'm sorry, you have the wrong number.

Caller now turned Grumpy Gills: (Angry sigh) Why do you have a Townnearby number if you live on Nameofstreet?! Your number is wrong!

Me getting a bit or maybe a lot defensive: Because I live on Townnearby side of the road. The other side is Othertown side of the road. (where we live, our road is the boundary road for the two towns and depending on which side of the road you live is what determines the mail service and emergency response dept)

Grumpy Gills: Well, I've been trying to get a hold of Peggy and I can't find her number. Do you know Peggy and the other [it was the same first and last name of my husband...there are three in our area]?

Me in a bit of a snotty voice: Um, no. And even if I did I wouldn't tell you, Grumpy Gills!

Grumpy Gills: Sorry to bother

As I relayed this conversation to one of our children I couldn't help feeling like it was my fault I lived where I live and have a different phone exchange than what the person thought I should have. I didn't make up the rules. I've had this phone number for twenty-five years. How dare this caller make me feel guilty!

I admit my snotty reaction was wrong. I was taken off-guard; made to feel like I had done something wrong. The more thought about it, the angrier I became.

Then the old light bulb lit up. It's not me. The caller was clearly frustrated in not being able to find the person she was calling. Yet, I had to chuckle thinking perhaps the person she was calling had gotten rid of their land line and didn't have a phone number in the phone book. And this person was calling on their cell phone. (Irony isn't it?!)

I have no idea of what was going on with this caller. No idea if this caller treats others like that. It was the callers tone and accusations. Perhaps the person was having a terrible day and this was just icing on the cake.

But, I can CHOOSE to not take it so personal...which I have a terrible habit of doing. I can choose to try to understand the person may not be happy or have so many things going on in he/she's life.

Isn't it funny how God can turn something so simple as a phone call into an object lesson? Yeah, God is funny that way...and I wouldn't want it any other way.