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!


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!


Cate B

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful

Hello All.  I’ve been busy with the grand-girls so I haven’t been posting very much.

It has been cold this last week here, in The Burg.  Highs in he twenties and lows are well, lower.  But later this week we should be back to normal.  High will get up into the forties.  Yay!

We were expecting our first snow yesterday but only got flurries.  Today a bit fell, so I took the opportunity to go to my lily pond.

I’m entering winter a little slowly with heels planted in the ground.  I had such a wonderful summer this year that I felt it shouldn’t be over.  But all good things……. well, I don’t really believe that all good things must come to an end.  But winter is upon us and it is needed.

Enjoy your seasons, wherever you live.  There is a purpose to them.


cate b

The “Wild” (mid) West

My husband and I moved to the mid west just 3 years ago this past February.  Sigh.  It’s not really the “wild” west. It’s more the gateway to the “wild” west.  Actually, we are farther west than St. Louis, the true gateway to the west, but not quite out in the wild.  Somewhere almost to Oz.

It’s nice here.  The climate is very similar to where I grew up in NJ except the sniff of salty sea air is lacking.  The air, though, always smells great.  Even the hot dry air from the west that blows in – maybe left over Oklahoma air that goes sweeping down the plain.

Since coming here I have learned to ride a horse (of course), I’ve developed a fear of freeways, I can find myself in and out of two different states in a matter of minutes, I’m tempted to speak in a Southern accent AND I LOVE smokers – not the human kind, the cooking kind!

Thanks to a good friend I was “introduced” to The Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond).  She may very well be my favorite thing about the mid-west (next to my grand daughter).  Not only do I love the way she cooks, but I love her simplicity and happiness with her family and cooking, her humor, her ranch, and did I mention her cooking?

I’ve learned a lot from The Pioneer Woman.  I appreciate her love of food and her unashamed honesty about that love.  Food is good.  She has also taught me to relax and go ahead and fix that food with joy.  I think I’ve become a better cook since I’ve moved here.

However, and I apologize now, this love for that red BBQ sauce…….  Sorry, I’m not feeling it.  I like it on chicken – lightly.  I like that flavor in baked beans, very much.  But when you move from Italian/American central where meatballs and most everything else is smothered in a red sauce, Italian flavored, and find yourself facing a crock pot full of meatballs smothered in what you thought was the same red sauce you knew and loved, and then you toss a meatball in your mouth and POW – it’s covered in BBQ sauce!  Well, shock is a light way to describe how I felt.  I do admit it tasted good – a few of them – but I’m not buying it totally.  Not yet.  It took me just short of 3 years to call this home.  We’ll see how long it takes to slurp down the BBQ.  You folks ever try the sauce from the Carolinas?  Vinegar with a big kick?  I tried yours – now you should try that. 🙂

%d bloggers like this: