Tuesday, April 30, 2013


My sister Tami decided that she wanted to host an Abram family reunion with all of our cousins. So we posted a note on Facebook to family to see if there was interest and we found there was!
Ordered some pulled BBQ pork and potato salad - sent out invitations - and looked forward to a fun time.

My sister and I can have some differences in opinions about what is necessary but it's all good. Kinda like Mary and Martha in the Bible - - - Martha wanted to fuss over "details" and Mary "did what is best". Jesus's words, not mine. I love to throw a little splash of color with some table decorations - - - simple, light and springy - and Tami helped with ideas - we ended up with an idea from Pinterest of course . . . But Tami wanted to do what was best and that was have some great time spent with dear cousins.

My dad had three older sisters and one older brother. The oldest sister, age 94, was able to be there for the reunion. One sister has passed away. And the youngest of the girls was also there. Dad's brother and his son flew in from Jacksonville, Florida for a week long visit. Then it breaks down to the cousins - Florida cousins: 3, Mankato cousins: 4, Jamestown cousins: 3, Jewell cousins: 3 and my sisters and I made 3 more. Add a second cousin and that made a big group of cousins to grow up with! There were 11 boys born before one girl, me! Then another boy and 3 more girls plus the second cousin who was a girl. 17 in all - and that was just kids! A houseful every month when we met to have a potluck meal and celebrate the birthdays for that month.

So take 5 from the original generation, add spouses, plus 17 cousins and add spouses, add children and granchildren and the group numbered near 50!

We spent the day at the Jewell Community Center which is a central location and the home town for my grandpa Abram and my dad as well. Lunch - pictures - reminiscing - and in a short time people were packing up to leave. The day was a success in that everyone wanted to continue with an annual family reunion. Our uncle from Florida especially requested that we do it again next year and maybe some who couldn't attend this year - could next time.

Whenever I am with family - no matter which side - I always have a lump in my throat and a feeling of sadness for those family members who are no longer here. I have a cousin we lost at age 16, a cousin we lost last year, uncles and aunts, grandpa Ab, and a grandma I never knew. We miss some babies that we didn't get the chance to know.

This is life and this is family. Blessings in a wonderful family full of love and laughter. I'm not sure anyone but maybe my fellow blogger sister will appreciate this post,  but as this blog began as a place for me to write and share my thoughts - a journal if you will - I just needed to write about the reunion - it was a really good day.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Annie get your gun . . .

Time to learn skill #2 for 2013!  As mentioned in previous blogs I have challenged you all to learn five new things this year.  It's great for mental health as well as just for fun!  I easily got my card certification in CPR.  Check #1 - - -

This past weekend when sister Tami and her family were staying with us - we decided it was time to learn skill #2 - - - Both Tami and I had chosen this as a goal for the year - and that was to learn how to identify a gun - know what ammo it needs - know how to load it - know how to shoot it - - and hit a target - - and be safe.

The day started after coffee and breakfast and Clay Dave Mitch (Gun Safety Instructors) gathered in the back room where the Henningsen and Erwin guns were laid out on the bed - including two pistols and a revolver.  Class was "in session".

Guns of choice were:  22 rifle, 12 gauge shot gun and a 20 gauge shot gun, 22 revolver pistol, 45 semi-automatic pistol and a 32 semi-automatic pistol.  Oh and a single shot 12 gauge.

Rifles shoot bullets which are measured in calibers.  Named rifles because there are "riflings" inside the barrel that spins the bullet.  Rifles shoot farther than shot guns.

Shot guns shoot shells, measured by gauge. Shells don't travel as far. 20 gauge shells are always yellow - - - 12 gauge can be other colors. We learned how important it is to make sure you don't put the wrong shell in the wrong gun. Tami and I quickly decided that OUR 20 gauge shot guns should have yellow stickers on them. Doesn't that make sense??

Full metal jacket . . . is not JUST a movie I hear . . . I learned to tell the difference between a full metal jacket bullet and a hollow point bullet. Hollow point bullets are put together in a way that they mushroom out when they hit, and as Mitch declared, "they can FSU". :)

Up to this point, I felt pretty good . . . but then came single action and double action, pump action and semi-automatic - - - double barrel and side by side - over and under - - - well - I was ready to do some shooting by this time . . .

We loaded up and headed to the Jewell Gun Club - and what a great time we had - Sister and I took turns with the guns - The 22 rifle was nice. I could hit things. Beer cans and butter dishes beware! 20 gauge was fun to load and shoot - - - 12 gauge was a little more power than I was ready for . . . and I have the bruise to prove it :) The 22 revolver made me feel like a real cowgirl - smokin' gun and all - - - the fancier pistols actually scared me - - -

The best thing about learning something new is when it turns out to be really fun! I can see myself getting a little bit hooked on some target shooting. Shooting an animal really doesn't interest me - unless they are attacking me or mine . . .

Thank you to my nephew Mitch and my brother-in-law David and especially to hubs, Clay. They were very patient and kind with me. I can now cross this off of my list of 5 things to learn in 2013, but it certainly won't be the last time I head out to shoot this year. I'm also very thankful that our kids were raised to respect and handle guns - I can see now that I missed out on some fun when the family went off to hunt - - - but I also think it was a special "dad time" for them both.

Blessings found in full metal jackets and those other things I can't remember . . . oh yes . . . hollow points . . . :) and mostly . . . time with family.

                                                   A penny for your thoughts Dave!

And oh yes we had to use the first aid kit twice - but I won't embarrass anybody here by telling who!

Friday, April 19, 2013

I'll keep my day job . . .

It's spring time and that means light showers and breezy warm days . . . oh wait . . . I live in Kansas and that ain't necessarily so . . .

This week I have seen a nice day - a gloomy gray day - wind like crazy - sleet and snow flakes - thunder and lightning and rain and hail . . .

We are still having new experiences in our new home in our new town. We woke up to discover that the power was off in our home. I looked around and hubs looked around and he discovered that the neighbors across the stress had power - - - but our side of the street did not.

Talking it over, we decided that we should call the emergency phone number and when we did we got information that they knew there was an outage and were headed out to the truck. Within minutes of heading back to bed - it was quiet - and then came the roar down the street - and as I watched - the Beloit City electrical truck had arrived right outside our bedroom window and the scene below was what I saw.

As I watched them hoist a worker up to the transformer, I was thankful that they are there to do this job. I said a quick prayer over them and thought about how their wives would probably be worrying when their husbands head out in a storm -

Within minutes we had power again -

Thank you men for the job you do . . .

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A good time will be had by all . . .

My sister Tami and bro-in-law Dave will be here this weekend for a visit - as posted a couple weeks ago - their son Mitch will be here also working at the local hospital as part of his nursing program at Fort Hays State University. We are thrilled to get to spend two entire weekends with them - we have so much fun!

Tami and I can find hundreds of ways to spend a day - chatting over coffee or diet coke - shopping - reading - talking about books - walking - sewing - quilting - crafting - and we plan do all of the above!!

Hopefully, if weather permits the guys will get to do some golfing and grilling!

Smores around the fire pit possibly?

                 Picked up a couple new reads for the weekend - might even share with Tami!

                          Great healthy snacks are ready and waiting - I'll definitely share these!!

And ONE FUN surprise to share with Tami also!!!

I'll be back later to share more pics and fun stories!  Everyone have a great weekend!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Jesus is Alive!

After a week off from teaching due to special Easter plans at church, today I was back with my preschoolers to take up the story of Jesus - after Easter.

I like to share about Sunday School because there is always a great lesson for me as well in what I teach.

Easter morning came and went - Jesus was gone from the tomb - He was alive!  Of course, people being like people are  - - they were confused, mistaken, and just plain doubtful about what could have happened to Jesus' body.    They needed to see before they could believe and Jesus spent 40 days here on earth reappearing to his disciples in order that they would believe.  Then he sent the people out to tell the Good News - Jesus is Alive!

Aren't we sometimes the same way today?  How many times do we need to see the miracle, or see God's plan before we will trust.

Our pastor challenged us to "invite 3". We are to write down 3 people who do not believe and pray for them. Then we are to take it one step further and invite one of the people to come over for a meal. Pastor recently wrote in our newsletter how eating a meal with someone always changes the relationship. Always. Always. It takes the relationship beyond just how's the weather and all to moving one step closer to that person and to their lives. We are challenged to invite someone over for a meal in our home and to love them. That's all. No agenda - no ripping out the Bible after supper and discussing the end times or the Gospels - simply just loving people and then trusting God to do the work.

We already have some friends we want to invite - how about you? Could you be used by God in this way? Can you provide the food and the fellowship and then trust that God will bring about his work in that person's life?

Good luck! Blessings will abound . . .

"So class . . . " said Miss Teri, "let's take roll - let's see - We have Joe, and Ryder, Tatum and Mya and Karlie . . . and we have a visitor - - - What is your name?" "Eli" said the new boy. "Well Eli we are glad you are here - do you live in Beloit or do you live not near here?", said Miss Teri. Eli replied, "I live a long ways near here" . . .

Ask a confusing question . . . expect a confusing answer :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A stitch in time . . .

I have a list of five things that I will learn in 2013 and here I am adding a sixth item before I finish the first five! Me - Quilting?? Believe it or not - I decided after viewing all of the fun quilting projects I see on Pinterest, other blogs, and Mary Jane's Farm that I wanted to learn to do a simple project. Tami jumped right to the challenge and precut the material we needed and all!

This past weekend while they visited their son Mitch who was doing nursing clinicals at our local hospital - my sister Tami and her husband Dave stayed with us. While the guys did some golfing, Tami and I drank coffee, gabbed, and learned to quilt! We chose to make doll blankets for my granddaughter Elaine. She has an American Girl Doll named McKenna. Tami chose a pink and black print material and a blue and yellow that featured Winnie the Pooh.

The blankets were 2 x 3' in size and started with piecing together six squares.

To add more fun to the day, our mom came down to sew with us!

A lunch break with the guys, play breaks with the dogs in the spring like weather, and we were back to sewing for the afternoon.

I liked sewing the strips together - and I liked learning to cut with a rotary cutter. Then after ironing the seams in the correct direction . . .there are rules for that you know . . . we were ready to add the batting - tie the quilt - and then sew the binding.

Tami was a great teacher and quickly positioned the blankets - (she made one and I made one) across the sofa for a cute picture with my favorite childhood doll - - -

Day one of learning to quilt was over and it was a great day for me!! Looking forward to trying pot holders in a week when Dave, Tami and Mitch come back for another work weekend.

Blessings found in working with my hands and being thrilled at what I could do with a little help - or a lot of help, some good instruction, and some great encouragement!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

April showers . . .

Checking in with my monthly weight loss tip or lesson learned or bit of encouragement . . .

The scale is back down again!  What is my secret?  Staying busy and being outside more!  Playing with the dogs in the back yard and walking in the outdoors is so refreshing!  

We have had a few days of 60-70-80 degree weather and I am renewed and excited for spring and better yet summer.    Clay has hit his busy season at the fertilizer plant and so I have had a couple weeks of evenings at home alone.  As one of my blog buddies was talking about having a "me party" (she had the house to herself for a day) I thought - well I am having a "me party" week - but hey - there's too much to be done around a house to be partying!!  Okay well I must confess - when hubs is here he does laundry and he buys dog food and he shares with the dog duties . . . so I'm feeling the pressure in those areas :)  That makes all my friends scream when I tell them about hubs/laundry.  

I have been really waiting and yearning for spring and my outdoors routine - and counting on it to aid my weight loss and fitness efforts.    This type of thinking readers is not good!  Winter, being indoors, watching movies and sports, and exercising indoors - these are not reasons for gaining weight or for being less active!!!  I know that I have more "behavioral changes" to make before next winter.  Next time I will be more prepared!!

So that is my lesson learned - - - set backs are going to happen and it's not good to grumble at yourself for very long - BUT - - - don't use that as an excuse!  No excuses!  There is one way to lose weight gradually and become healthier and that is to exercise, strength train, and eat a balanced diet with correct portions.  No magic fairy dust as we have heard about - no magic diet - - no magic pill - - - no celebrity fix - - - - not even anything on Dr. Oz will work unless you decide YOU will work.  

I have some plans for outdoors fun this Spring  - - -

Flower garden

          Dog walks

                    Golf clinic - yes I need lessons

                              City Walking Path - Completed!!  Plan to try it out!

I'll soon be sharing my Summer Bucket List . . . but for now . . . what are YOUR plans for a fun and healthy Spring??

"Those who do not find time for exercise, will have to find time for illness" - Earl of Derby Quote