Life is Beautiful

We moved to this lovely mid-west town, affectionately known as The Burg, two and a half years ago. Little did we know that we would fall in love with this town and it’s people.

Sure, it has it’s frustrations like all relationships, but the people here and the countryside puts you right back into perspective.

Shortly before we moved here we met a great couple that were part of us feeling at home. We became fast friends.

Early in our relationship we found that the wife, Shirley, had been battling cancer. We became fast warriors in prayers of complete recovery.

Complete recovery can have perspectives just like a painting. We never seem to see all the outcome or the image at once. Some see victory on earth, some see the battle and the hard work associated with it, and some see the victory being the dance and the songs in the courts of Heaven.

As humans we would like the earthly answer. It’s where we are now. So many have overcome the ravages of cancer and some the overcoming came too early and continues in eternity with no more pain.

That was our Shirley. I had plans with our friendship. We were going to tramp through woods and see wildlife. She was going to feed them as I took pictures. I chuckle as I write this. Not to mention her husband and her children and grand children had plans of a future together.

We just don’t know. As a Christian I believe in healing. I’ve seen healing. I believe we can, scripture says, raise the dead. But sometimes that terrible, yet beautiful, mystery of our God takes us to where we  humans do not want to go. Death.

If we could just step back and see our life here, on this earth, is a part of the picture. Our lives continue into eternity. It hurts to lose. I know this.

As painful as it is I get to still be a part of the earthly tribe. The parts of Shirley that still live one. The heart of her husband that beats with joy, though pained, and a giving heart so big. Her daughter carries her mother’s heart for her own children and husband that shines with faith and love so deep for so many. Her son carries her creativity in levels that go so deep I am sure Shirley is rejoicing over them! And those grand children! An amazing legacy!

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That brings me to the images I want to share. There is a property in Russellville, MO that has been in Shirley’s family for quite a while. It is beautiful! If you go there and sit on the front porch with her son and his wife you feel completely at home.

There is a peace there and a piece there of Shirley’s inheritance that I cannot find words for. There is hope there. There is vision for the future there.

A vision to help those who have struggled to come and farm and learn and use their talents to make their life better. A vision of hope for the hopeless.

As this project develops I will write more about it. But right now I honor Shirley and her inheritance. It is so wonderful to see that it never ends when our pained and broken bodies fail and leave this earth. Life does go on. History teaches us that. Memories are like gold and seeing someone living on in the hearts and talents and actions of those still here is priceless.

In the old barns they found the original tools for farming – made of wood!

Enjoy!

Cate B

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Tell Me A Story

I love stories. I especially love stories told to me by the person who experienced it. I feel I’m invited into a part of them that normally may not come out in a conversation or a moment in their presence.

This happened to me this week. My husband and I went for a drive into the country and decided we would go t0 Lilac Lane Bulk Foods.

I love this store. It is owned and operated by an Amish family. Leonard is the young man you will find in the store most of the time. He is welcoming and friendly and laughs when I tell him something funny.

They have amazing prices on bulk foods from flours to spices and local honey. And when they have fresh baked cinnamon buns, well, let’s just say it’s all I can do not to buy them all and freeze them.

On cloudy days it can be a bit dim inside due to the fact that there are no electric lights. Just windows and I do believe a skylight. A wood burning furnace heats the store in the winter and you can hear the slight sound of a generator powering the small refrigerated section for eggs and cheeses.

This particular day had a sweetness to it. Leonard handed me a flyer to give to a friend of mine who was interested in visiting.

When I read his newsletter I read one of those stories. The warm kind we all have inside of us. A memory, the sweet kind. As I read I pictured vividly bits of his childhood and his home where he is now.

Here is what I read…..

“Have you ever wondered why we chose the name that we did for our store??? Well, when I was a boy, the small farm at Arthur, Illinois where I grew up had lots of old fashioned flowers and shrubs, including pink, lavender and white lilacs They had been there for a long time.

When my family made the move out here to Missouri, 15 years ago, I found it hard to leave the lilacs so I brought 10 cuttings along. Sadly only one survived and it si now doing well at my parent’s place where I planted it.

Five years ago, when visiting the old home place in Illinois, the owner gave me permission to take lilac clippings and so I gladly took 17 of them. This time, much to my surprise, they all survived!!! They are now all in a row bordering the driveway to the store; hence the name “Lilac Lane”….. “

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Isn’t it great to hear of his childhood and fondness for the flowers? And even more special was reading how he was able to bring them back and after perseverance bring them to life. A special memory of his childhood and for his children and eventually for theirs.

Everyone has a story. Those precious memories planted deep inside that pop up when a slight breeze blows or a fragrance of something wonderful drifts by. I know you’re thinking of your stories. I am thinking of mine.

Enjoy!

cate b

 

Another Mothers Day

Here we are celebrating another Mothers Day. I love being a mom and a grandmom. I love my kids with all my heart. But this Mothers Day I want to take another twist. I want to talk about my Daughters-in-Law.

First there is Dawn. She married our oldest son. Dawn is wonderful. Creative and funny and sarcastic. And she is a lot like me. We had a rough start but we hung in there and fell in love. I just love her company, when we have it, and love the boys she brought into our family. We are so blessed to have her. I love her.

Dawn
Dawn

And then we have Tineke. Lovely Tineke who grew up in West Africa and brings with her an international flare from her Dutch heritage and influences of Benin, Africa. She is smart and witty and beautiful inside and out. She has inspired me in a Bohemian sort of way. I love her.

Tineke
Tineke

And last, but not least, is Deborah. Deborah birthed two babies while attending college and has since graduated and now working. She is musically talented and creative in so many ways. She outshines me as a mother. I admire that in her. She can sooth an emotional four year old in ways I never thought of. I love her.

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Deborah

I could not be more proud of my three sons marrying so well above them. Seriously. I am blessed beyond belief. These girls complete me and my family.

Thank you sons.

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Yes, I have brass knuckles. Do not mess with my boys!

Thank you daughters. I love you all.

 

May all my readers who are mothers have the best Mothers Day ever! And don’t forget your moms.

Enjoy!

Cate B

Thankful

This coming Thursday, in the USA, is Thanksgiving Day.  It represents the beginning of the Christmas season and a day to be thankful.

Most seem to celebrate by gathering with loved ones and feasting on a wonderful roasted (or fried or tofu-ed) turkey with stuffing and sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes and gravy and cranberry sauce and pies and rolls and………. whatever food you love.

Others celebrate by shopping for Christmas.  I did the major day after sale thing (aka Black Friday) only once.  I. Will. Never. Do. That. Again.

I’m not a great shopper.  That means that the task is not pleasant to me.  Online shopping is wonderful.

Back to Thanksgiving.  It is a time to be thankful. Well, it’s always time to be thankful. But this is the season that more people give thanks than normal.

Today I am thankful for my relationship with Jesus.  He is my best Friend and always good.

I am thankful for my Family, and that includes the Friends that have become my family also.  I have the best sons and daughters and grandkids a person could possibly ask for.  I am thankful for my husband – even though he broke my favorite mug – he is the best for me.

I am thankful for my health and for my future.  I am expecting mighty things to come to pass.

I am thankful for the one daughter I gave birth to and lost too early in life.  BUT – I truly am thankful to have been her mom and known her.  The memories I have are amazing.

Giving thanks, in general, brings smiles and peace to your heart.  It’s a good practice and I believe opens the windows and doors to a better life no matter what your circumstances.

May your mouths and hearts be full of thankfulness this season and always.  Give it a go!  You may be surprised how your perspective changes over time.

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Enjoy!

Cate B