Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Potato Soup, Herb Garden and Update on our Brother.....

 Louis Dean had an appointment with his cardiologist this morning.
He had to go alone but this time he brought back the printed summary of his visit and the two appointments they scheduled for him.....and electocardiogram plus the followup to that.

Then he went off to buy new packages of seeds for the garden since we can't find the other two batches we bought! This time I am keeping them where I can find them!!

I read his summary of the doctor visit and called to reschedule the two appointments since he had made them for when we will be at the ranch next month.

While Louis Dean was gone, I had my morning and early afternoon all to myself today.
We had a good many potatoes that I needed to use so I put on a crockpot of Creamy Potato Soup.

The recipe is from MA at ON THE BRIGHT SIDE!
and it is a good one!!! She has such a bright upbeat blog and I love the way she counts down the days to the next season or holiday. Her recipes are always good!!

So I drug out my largest crockpot and put all the things together to start cooking.
Instead of bacon, I used the scrap bacon Louis Dean loves to buy for seasoning.

I have no idea where the crockpot lid went! 
It was on there when I pulled the pot out of the pantry - or at least I think it was.
Now I can't find it anywhere!
No problem......I used a similar lid to an old pot I have that I like to use to cook my roasts.

Towards the end of the cooking, I added a package of frozen mixed vegetables.

Before serving, I added some shredded cheese on top.
It was delicious!!!

I spent the late afternoon and early evening working in the herb garden.

It still doesn't look pretty but it will.....I hope!
I gathered up all the things that didn't totally die in the Arctic weather we had.
Some were in pots I had covered and some were in the bed around the back pond.

I sowed short rows of kale, cilantra, and parsley and marked them with two very old kitchen spoons and a potato masher. I think it will look prettie when I add the red cedar mulch but thought perhaps I should wait for the seeds to sprout. I am not a real true gardener but I decided to try harder this year!

Now for an updat e on Lonnie!

He is continuing to improve and we are so encouraged! They added another blood pressure medicine and it has been successful! He’s talking and eating! The neurologist has not been back in touch with Michele because Lonnie has already had the stroke so it’s a move on from there for now. He talks and when he can’t think of the word he wants to use, he says,”I’ll have to get back to you on that.”
He is still not a good patient but that’s no surprise! He continues to tug at the various things attached to him and told lady nurse he had today, “You can’t control me!” She said, “Nope! Just trying to help you!” Praise God for nurses!
He will be going to PT but he’s still so unsteady they are holding off for a day or two to let him get some strength back. All in all - an excellent report! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the love and prayers you have poured out over our brother!

We are grateful for the nurses who have been so kind to our Lonnie!

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Tuesday Treasures.....

 I wanted to make something sweet this morning to share with some friends and, of course, keep some for Louis Dean. I rediscovered this little paper cookbook and remembered how good these cookies are!

Lots of good memories as I looked at the dates on the page.
I especially love the ones my children have put there.

I saved more than enough for Louis Dean and I bagged the rest to share with friends.
I only ate one......I have remarkable self control about some things ......and so little about others!

As I drove around dropping off slices of chicken pot pie and bags of cookies, I hit up the thrift stores on my way. Three in all and, while it's not a huge haul, I did find some treasures.
That's a nice big pillow beside the white and gold Santa.
The sheet with a France theme will be used as a cloth on my bedside table.
I love Susan Wiggs and Swan is by the author of Under the Tuscan the other book is 'A Spirited Tale of Grace, Grit, and Whiskey' set in the hills of North Carolina. The books cost me $0.54 for all three!

I came home to find Louis Dean cleaning the kitchen pond!
It was so dirty and smelly!
He has to clean it about three times a year.....the next one will be late spring when the pecan beards all fall.

It's still a mess out there but the pond is clean, full of water and the pump still works!
While Louis Dean was doing all this, I divided huge clumps of monkey grass and finished planting them along the perimeter of the herb garden. We still can't find the seeds we bought so I may end up getting plants from the nursery.

Our kitty cats keep us entertained!
I sprayed the cat house with Catnip - a sure fire way to get their attention!

An update on Lonnie:
He was moved from the ICU to a regular room today.
His son visited him, and since only one visitor is allowed per day, Michele did not see him but she will go to the hospital tomorrow. She is frustrated because she has YET to speak to a doctor. They go in and out and Lonnie has been SEEN by doctors but no one has called her with updates or reports except the nurses. Praise God for the nurses! Nearly all of Lonnie's nurses have been male and so is the one tonight. I think that's good for Lonnie.
He's had women 'bossing' him around all his life! Best to have a guy do it for awhile!
Lonnie is still on oxygen but not all the time. However, his blood pressure is way too high even with medication. His son told Michele that his dad was eating so that is good news. Lonnie prayed while Brandon was with him and, while the words were rather mumbled and he couldn't be sure what he was saying, when Lonnie ended the prayer....
"we ask this in the name of Jesus, amen." came out crystal clear!
We are in a day to day mode and today Lonnie made some progress and we thank God for that and we thank you all for the prayers.

While we are praying, our sweet Susie from She Junks

is asking prayer for her Ted, whom she lovingly calls her 'Teddy Bear.' He has been on a journey with his health for the past couple of years. Now he must undergo strong chemo .....again. And he is in a weaker condition.

Please join us in prayer for them.....

We are all really such needy people and I am so grateful we have a loving Heavenly Father who comforts our hearts. And I am thankful for our little blogging community where our hearts meet together and we encourage one another.

I will close tonight's journal entry with this scripture......

Monday, March 1, 2021

Prayer Chapel, Digging in the Dirt and Chicken Pot Pies......and an Update on Lonnie....

This was my morning prayer chapel..... 

It was chilly but I had the back bedroom door open so I could look out and see a scrap of sky.
It's been a week now since Lonnie has been in trouble - as in another round of a serious medical condition. COPD, heart condition, and other things. Michele said it started last Sunday....and went downhill from there. He had 8 weeks of 'normal' health since his December hospitalization.

I meet with the Lord in prayer every morning, and since Lonnie has been ill, it has been even more meaningful to me. I keep a prayer journal and today I filled the last page with my requests and notes.
I write out some of my prayers and pray silently on some. I add the scriptures that speak to me, writing them out. The prayer journal keeps me centered and helps me remember those I have promised to pray for. I have a bookcase full of diaries and journals and I have some blank ones there, as well.
Today, I chose a new one that I will begin using in the morning. I will transfer all the names and requests to it. I love recording the prayers and I love even better when I write the answers to the prayers....and there have been many.

I have been busy cleaning like it was my JOB!
However, I have not accomplished as much as I usually do since I seem to 'stupor' more than I normal. Yesterday I cleaned the air filter AC intake thing in the hall. It was awful! SO stopped up and, since it is a reusable one, I hosed it down and was appalled at the amount of muddy water coming out!
Still, it gave me a great deal of satisfaction in the cleaning of it!

Today we worked outside for several hours.

Louis Dean had punched up the gazebo canopy from inside to dislodge the snow from that artic week event. It ripped the cover and today he attempted to repair it.
Guess what he used???

Duct tape and Gorilla Glue!!
I can't get away from it!!
I found it on my stepstool in the kitchen.....and the steps on my new deck....and on the deck itself!
It's everywhere!!

Today I worked in my new herb garden.
Louis Dean took out all the plants and I am starting over.
 I am so NOT a master gardener but I got out there and dug in the dirt and even planted part of the border in Monkey grass.
I wanted to pot up some seeds and get them started.....we bought LOTS of seed packets of herbs, flowers and vegetables. And Louis Dean gathered up the potting soil and containers.
But he could not find the seeds!
I remember taking them to him in the music room and I distinctly remember thinking, "Will I ever see these again?" Maybe not. From now on, I am going to keep MY seeds where I can find them!

Nothing is looking pretty yet - but we have made a start!
Digging in the dirt is a muddy thing to do - but I felt good about doing it!

We had a glass of wine in the gazebo to celebrate and then HE went in to take a nice hot soaking bath while I went to the kitchen and made a chicken pot pie! Actually, TWO of them!!

I found the recipe last week in my forgotten cupboard......and I used it as a guideline.
I made twice as much and added this and that......

Lots of good things in there!

While it baked, Louis Dean and I watched Tombstone.
It was his first time to see it!!
I love that movie and it is a family favorite.
Amber and Benjamin used to watch it over and over.
They would put it on and eat pizza - Tombstone pizza - of course!!

Good memories!

Michele gave us an update this afternoon about Lonnie.
They took him off the ventilator this morning and he is breathing on his own.
Blood pressure still high even with medication.
He didn't do well in answering in his name, birthday, wife's name and such.
He came close on a few of them!
No physical thereapy as of yet since he is too unsteady and his blood pressure is still difficult to manage.
He's getting a little ozygen but remains confused.
Not sure what this is - could be from the stroke?
He seems to have long term memory more than short term.

I've been a bit of a zombie lately.
When I took Louis Dean's picture up on the ladder in the gazebo, he said, "What??? Slow blog fodder day???" He is such a good sport about my blogging!

I continue to be humbled and blessed by the number of people - and I think of you as 'my people' - who are praying for Lonnie and our family.
I hope you know how much I appreciate you!
Thank you.......

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Keeping Lonnie in Our Prayers......

 Thank you for keeping Lonnie in your prayers.....

we love our brother and this has been another hard day.

Michele gave us two updates today........

Lonnie - July 2019

this morning's was not so good.
Lonnie had a bad night with several set backs.
Elevated heart rate and ammonia levels so he received medications for both of those.
The MRI showed a sub acute stroke but they can't say exactly when that happened.
His eyes are open now but he's still not focused.

Lonnie - February 2019 
Going to see his grandkids

We were all just heart sick over the news but kept a prayer vigil going for him from our separate homes.

January 29th, 2019
Lonnie's 64th birthday

Deanie sent us photos and that helped us. Just seeing him makes me smile.

He loves his family and nephews, nieces, siblings, cousins. 
Lonnie is a truly loving man and as gentle as they come.

Everyone loves Lonnie!

Then later in the afternoon, we received another update that was more encouraging.
Michele sat with him for a couple of hours and Lonnie knew she was there.
The medications worked and his blood pressure and heart rate improved.
She and the pulmonary doctor kept missing each other so she will get a call from him later.
And the neurologist will see Lonnie tomorrow.
All of this was good news but the best was yet to come.
Michele sent us this beautiful message.....

I kissed his forehead and said, "I love you, Lonnie."
He opened his eyes and nodded his head with a hard YES!
The nurse, Matt, said, "Now that's the response I was looking for!"

So we continue in prayer as we wait on the Lord.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Update on Lonnie and Thank You for the Prayers!

I am a believer in the power of prayer and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for every prayer prayed for our beloved brother, Lonnie. 

Photo from our last Sibling Trip in 2018

Things did not look good for Lonnie on Friday.
Michele and I talked and cried and even laughed together on the phone as we prepared ourselves for what could possibly lie ahead....

Lonnie is only 66 years old and has had severe health issues for years.
He is a Christ follower and has been since he was a child.
Life has not been easy for Lonnie but the last 15 years have been the happiest of them all.
God saved the best for last for both me and my brother.

Michele, Deanie and I all met over at Nita's house this morning.
Nita drove us all to the hospital knowing that only one person would be able to go up and see Lonnie.
Michele was so gracious to allow me to be the 'person' to visit this day.
Lonnie is allowed only one visitor per day and then just for a few minutes.
While we were parked at the entrance, and I was about to get out of the car, Michele received a call from the staff giving her an update. This happened yesterday, as well. Michele's friend had driven her to the hospital and, while still in the car on the parking lot, she received an update from the doctor.
God poured out his grace when she arrived!

The update was encouraging.
Lonnie is still in ICU and he is still on a ventilator.
However, he is breathing on his own....meaning he decides when to take a breath as opposed to the ventilator doing all the work for him.
The nurse said he is more stable today than yesterday.
He is being weaned off the sedation slowly so as to gently wake him up as opposed to him being abruptly woken as in a fire alarm.

I went up to see him and he looked good.
He was not awake but he was resting and breathing well.....not struggling at all.
His color was good and he was not swollen, as he had been before.
I held his hand and prayed over him. I stood first on one side of his bed and then the other so I could hold both of his hands. I prayed with my hand on his head.....and asked the Holy Spirit to give him peace and comfort. I watched his face and he was not agitated at all but I did see eye movements and he would lift an eyebrow from time to time.
These were the most precious minutes of my day.
I was holding my brother's hand and talking to him and praying for him.....
and I thank Michele for the gift she gave me....I had not seen Lonnie since Christmas Day nor have I even spoken to him to hear his voice.

I left the hospital with a lighter heart and was so happy to be able to give a good report of his condition.
It's one thing to hear words from a doctor or nurse but it's another to see with your own eyes.

We went back to Nita's where she had prepared a delicious meal and, all of a sudden, we were all starved!

Salad, a pot of good seasoned beans, and Mexican cornbread mini muffins!
It doesn't get any better than this!!

Next to holding Lonnie's hands - my second biggest blessing was seeing my beautiful sister!
Deanie has had more than her fair share of health issues over the last 8 years and I was thrilled to see her looking so GOOD!!!

Leah joined us for lunch.....Leah being Nita's daughter.

You can see my Visitor bracelet here in the photo.
I am clipping it to my diary.

We ate lunch and lingered long at the table telling stories and recounting memories.
Michele said she needs to remember that Lonnie has NO clothes at the hospital.
I asked how so??
Well, it was shortly after midnight on Wednesday morning when it was obvious to her that Lonnie needed to go to the hospital. He refused to get dressed and refused to get in the car. So she did the only thing she could. Called 911!
The paramedics came and asked Lonnie to get dressed. They even tried to help him. Lonnie said NO!
The paramedics said, "No problem!"
Lonnie was wearing only a pair of boxer shorts.
The two guys got a blanket and wrapped him up like a burrito and said, "We've got you!"
And one of them picked Lonnie up at the shoulders and the other one at the feet and they hauled him out of the house and into the ambulance.
I must say, Lonnie did not take this well and, Christian though he is, he was giving them what for with his words!!
We laughed together and said we woul dhave so much 'material' to share with Lonnie when he gets better! He won't remember any of this!

It was a good day to be together.
Lonnie is not out of the woods and we do not yet know what the prognosis is.
But we do know that today was better than yesterday.
And we do know that we all love and support one another and we are so grateful for Michele.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Friday News....

 I thought about not posting a journal entry tonight.....
our hearts are heavy with concern for our brother, Lonnie.
Last night it looked like he would pull out of this medical emergency.

Then this morning the news was not nearly as encouraging.

Lonnie was transferred to the ICU and is now on a ventilator.
Our hearts are broken as we continue to hold Lonnie in our prayers and our hearts.
I'm going over to Fort Worth in the morning.
We sisters - including our beloved Michele - need to be together.
We need to hold hands, hug one another and cry together as we pray for Lonnie.
I ask all my friends to continue to hold him in your prayers and especially pray for Michele.....
Lonnie calls her his 'Beautiful Bride.'

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Recipe Memories, Herb Garden Prep, Scenes from Puerto Rico and Update on my Brother........

Wednesday Louis Dean got outside in the sunshine and cleaned off his new deck, scrubbed down two rugs from the kitchen and then started back in on the soon to be new herb garden. 

This is what he does when I tell him he can go outside and play!

He credits his manly biceps to digging in the dirt - something he dearly loves to do!

While he was working outside ......
I was working inside! In the sewing room which is where I have a bookcase filled with cookbooks.

When I was cleaning out all the cupboards in the kitchen preparing for our new countertops, I emptied one that was full of old recipes. It was in a hard to get to place so I have not seen these in years.
Bea's Peanuts! 
I was 26 years old and Summer was 11 when we made these for the first time!
Such good memories. We stitched up the burlap bags and gifted these at Christmas....using Mod Podge on the burlap. Mod Podge was invented by Janet Wetstone in 1967 so this was still relatively new back then. By the way, Mod Podge is short for Modern Decoupage

The recipes used to come in our gas bills as I recall.
Such treasures to rediscover on a February day in 2021!

These are the original recipes I copied off. 
The sugarplums from 1970 - before I started dating and signing them.
The original recipe is from 1966 and I know this because I copied it from the package of  Pure Cane Confectioners sugar and made it the Christmas after my son, Jesse, was born in November of that year.
I caught up by writing '1970, 1971 and 1972' on the recipe page. I used spiral notebooks back then to write my recipes in.
The 5 pound fudge recipe was a bit later and Jesse, Jr made it famous among his church group friends and our family!
Funny story about that fudge!
He made it up for Christmas one year and I put it in a tin and stored it in the pantry.
Summer would get up in the night and go in there and sneek a piece.
The thing is - I forgot it was there.
One day I opened up the tin, discovered the fudge - all covered in MOLD - and wondered why Summer looked sick all of a sudden!
We STILL laugh about that!
From that year on - I kept it in the fridge!

I remember baking these for Christmas way back when and have tried to find the recipe online several times. They are delicious and people loved them even when they thought they didn't like mincemeat!
I am going to make some of these for my stepson. Dean LOVES mincemeat!

And I did NOT remember that I have been making fruitcake cookies BEFORE 1985 when my Aunt Irene gifted me a Hood County, Texas cookbook with a fruitcake cookie recipe in it which is the one I use now. For Christmas 2021 I intend to make my cookies from this recipe!

Do you know why these vintage keepsake recipes mean so much to me?
My home burned in 1983 and I lost nearly everything.
My kitchen literally burned up.
I remember taking a stick and stirring the ashes as I made my inventory for the insurance company.
Where WERE these recipes that they survived??
They had to be in this house which I still live in today.
I can't remember where they were but they survived and it is impossible for me to throw them away now.
They will not mean anything to anyone else......but I do love holding pieces of my history in my hands and seeing them with my eyes.
My handwriting has changed. My life has changed. I have changed.
We never stand still. We never remain the same. We are a work in progress and when I see these pieces of my past, I am so grateful for the way God has led me through this life.

Recipes and cooking will always be a part of my life.
At this stage - I am cooking for two - and I try to be a good steward and NOT waste food.
So last night we had a second run of the Shrimp Scampi - with the addition of Alfredo sauce and diced chicken. Louis Dean - while out on Sunday on his shopping spree - bought a huge bag of frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts. These are so handy in making meals for two! I found a recipe for chicken pot pie in my collection so that will be on the menu this weekend.

While we meant to be down at the ranch by now - rain has arrived - both here and there.
So we are stuck at home until around March 15th when Sherry and I get the opportunity to see veteran bee keepers (they have 50 hives)  splitting them! We will observe, learn and assist!

Today (Thursday) has been a good one.

The Birthday Quilt for great granddaughter, Kaitlyn, is finally finished!
Rain was in the forecast today so I went out early and spread the quilt on the deck so I could pin it to tack in place on the sewing machine in lieu of using needle and yarn.
One more quilt in line to do - a birthday quilt for our Chandy Girl.

Since I'm talking about recipes......

I mailed this book made by the Karate Federation to Chandy.
It was published in 2009.....and I was reading through it before I sent it to her (I have a scond copy for myself) and forgot all about contributing my Sugarplum recipe in it!

This is a photo of Dean and his mother, Ellen, on the first page.
So recipes and cookbooks can be emotional and memorable treasures as well as practical ways to feed our loved ones.

I went out this afternoon and took Christmas down from the gazebo!
It's really late but we haven't been out there due to all sorts of reasons but today was the day!
Tabitha wanted to see what I was doing so she kept vigil at the sewing room door.

Our dear friend, Jimmy, whom I have known since he was a child, is in Puerto Rico visiting Summer and Sabrina. I am having an amazing time visiting as well through his photos and videos.

Puerto Rico is a paradise and it's always fun to share it with someone.

Jimmy knows how to have fun and he loves LIFE more than most people I know.

What a perfect picture!

Someday I wll be there and seeing all this with my own eyes!
Until then - I am having such a good time enjoying his trip!
Summer left Texas on November 9th and will be returning on March 5th.
I have missed her so much but we have kept in touch by phone, photos. messages, Facetime and Marco Polo. I am happy she has had such quality time there and been able to share it with a childhood friend.

And now I have a good update on our beloved brother, Lonnie.

He is in the hospital tonight, as I write.
His wife, Michele, wisely called 911 sometime after midnight this morning and he was admitted and will remain there for a few days. Michele has been gracious in keeping all of us sisters in the loop and the prognosis is that Lonnie will be able to pull out of this. But going forward, he will have to step up in his self care if he wants to regain his health.
Thank you for each and every prayer.....

And in other news, I talked to Lillian today and she was excited about getting a card from my blog friend, DeeDee in Gainsville! I intend to go to Fort Worth on Tuesday next week to see my brother and I told Lillian I will stop by the nursing home and take her some goodies and a pizza - or maybe take out form Jason's Deli - and we can have a visit together in person! She said there are no active Covid cases there at this time. I will check with the office first, of course, but at the very least I can deliver her some lunch and groceries.