Saturday, May 27, 2006

Into every life a little pain must fall...

There are various forms of pain... There is the kind of pain that you bring on yourself, like when you act like someone half your age and then end up regretting it. Then there is the kind of pain that just happens to you and over which you have no control. You know, things just happen. And today it really hurts and tomorrow you hope it will feel better...
Yesterday I played in the staff vs. high school seniors kickball game. Last night I was on the sofa with my badly swollen ankle, iced and elevated and throbbing.
This morning I hobbled to the porch to wave goodbye to a friend and to watch the moving truck pull out of the driveway. Tonight that friend will be hundreds of miles away.
I hope it feels better tomorrow.

Monday, May 22, 2006

As Little Children...

I can't remember what they were praying about on this occasion, but I do remember the pure faith in those prayers my little sisters recited. (Just check out the intensity on their small faces.) I am certain that the prayer list was shorter and less complicated than the ones they pray today, but their faith is still like that of a child...pure, unimpeded, absolute, expectant. In their prayers they still come "as little children" and are unceasingly rewarded with their Father's amazing goodness.
(Me? I'm the one who was peeking...)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Turning it Around

It was a party to celebrate his graduation from college; a veritable accomplishment for this young man. Though, true to his style, Joe turned it around by celebrating his guests. Now a college graduate, and ready to make his mark in the world, he took the time to gratefully recognize help he had gotten along the way. He thanked and paid tribute to them, each one, for contributions they had made that had brought him to this milestone in his life. His “Ma”, the dear lady that had treated him like he was ‘her boy’; “Kim” who was the sister he never had and whose advice had kept him from going the wrong way on many occasions; and his best friend’s mom who had kept the home fires burning brightly during their year in the Iraq war. He acknowledged teachers, friends and neighbors alike. It brought a smile to my face when Joe turned to my husband, Phil, and thanked him for teaching him what hard work really is and for demonstrating to him, like no one else, his love for family and his love for Christ.
You see, Joe has been “turning it around” all his life. A disadvantaged home life didn’t keep him down. He turned it around! Though Joe struggled in school and found learning harder than some, he turned it around, and got his diploma. Joe’s dream was to become a United Stated Marine. When it looked like an injury would prevent him from fulfilling that dream, he fought back and turned it around. A tour of duty in Iraq brought him up close and personal with the horror and hell of war, and again, Joe turned it around. From facing death he turned to face a life-giving God. …and that is what turned Joe around.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The River of My Life

About me....................
The river that is my life continues to pull me to new frontiers. I have never been here before, and I like it here, but I am always excited to see what is ahead. I continue, however, to savor the knowledge that right now I am exactly where I am meant to be and doing exactly what I am supposed to do. When I embarked on the academic year in the fall, it signaled the start of yet another career and the return to one of my passions: education.
That river has taken many turns. I have been blessed with a life full of unbelievable variety and rich in experience. My career path has taken me through many fields with breadth of opportunity: from nursing assistant and emergency medical technician to office manager and data administrator; from operating my own pool supply business to pouring and finishing concrete with my husband. I have enjoyed being a drugstore clerk as well the seller of lumber and nails. While our children were young, I volunteered more than I worked. I volunteered for the 4-H, Pony Club, swim team, church, and fire department. A lifelong interest in education has given me experience as a substitute teacher, an educational assistant, a special needs provider for youngsters with autism, a student at U. W. Whitewater and finally, a teacher.
The river has been nurturing. I have had the pleasure of living in the heart of the Kettle Moraine for more than thirty years. Our home is a short walk from the camping and hiking trails of Wisconsin’s beautiful Kettle Moraine State Forest. My husband, Phil, and I have had the delight of raising our family on a few acres, where we also raised horses, dogs, cats, chickens and even a few goats. We love it here so much that in spite of our travels to such exciting places as Australia and Greece we have not been tempted away from this beautiful place.
The river has been compelling. The delights of our lives are our four daughters who have brought rich experience and growth to their “Pair ‘o Nuts”. We were relentless spectators of soccer, swimming, track and horse shows; proud members of audiences at school programs, plays, and concerts; and tireless fundraisers and PTO members. Sometimes, the river of my life flowed over rocks and waterfalls. Sometimes, it was serene and filled with spectacular scenery. Even though we, as parents, “launched” our children, they continue to challenge and encourage us. Like so many young people of their generation, they have dragged us into their global community where world travel is the norm. They shared with us their exciting travel and experiences in places such as Brazil, Switzerland, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, China, Nova Scotia, Korea and Afghanistan. We were able to experience these first hand on two wonderful adventures to Athens in 2004 and Sydney in 2000 to watch our daughter compete in the Olympics.
The river that is my life is in the rapids now. The rushing and surging are, all at once, both exhilarating and exhausting. I can barely breathe! One minute, I think I can ride the churning water forever. The next minute, I want it to stop. As I look ahead and anticipate the next turn, I can already see the river getting wider and deeper taking an already full and wonderful life to new depths and places.

Rhubarb Custard Bars

I wish I could share my rhubarb with you. I have way more than I can possibly use. But if you happen to have some, here is the most delicious way to eat it I have ever found!

Rhubarb Custard Bars
2 c. flour
¼ c. sugar
1 c. cold butter or margarine
Combine flour, sugar in medium bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press into greased 9 by 13 in. pan. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

2 c. sugar
7 T. flour
1 C. whipping cream
3 eggs beaten
5 cups finely chopped fresh rhubarb
While crust is baking prepare filling by combining sugar and flour in large bowl. Whisk in cream and eggs. Stir in rhubarb. Pour over baked crust. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes or until custard mixture is firm. Remove from oven and cool.

2 pkgs. 3 oz. each cream cheese softened
½ c. sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
1 c. whipping cream, whipped until stiff peaks have formed.
Prepare topping by beating the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream. Carefully spread the topping over the custard mixture. Cover and chill for several hours before serving. Cut into bars. Keep refrigerated!