Monday, March 26, 2012

Finding Treasures

We pulled a trailer home filled with furniture and boxes of "stuff" this past weekend. I have no idea where it's all going, but I have been enjoying the process and the trip down memory lane.
The most fun I had was with a box full of recipes. At first glance it looked like lots of newspaper and magazine clippings - and there was plenty of that but as I dug a little further I began to find the treasures - hand written recipe cards from my aunt, my grandmother and my great aunt Emily. My grandmother was known for her fruitcakes and chocolate chip cookies and pound cake. All were included in the box. My great aunt Emily was quite the dessert maker and the box has dozens of her recipes too. My aunt was an adventuresome cook (with an affinity for lima beans as I recall) and what I most enjoy on hers are the notes "Boots say this is very good," "This didn't work out well" etc and pages of hints and clippings on how to improve just about anything. Feels like a jackpot to me in spite of the eye roll from John Deare each time I squealed - oh here is this one - I remember.....

It's fun to know that cooking and baking is a generational passion and I can't wait to make a pound cake and store it on grandma's glass cake plate with the aluminum cover - back to the 50's I go. I also inherited Aunt Emily's cookie press still in its original box - the kind you have to screw the handle on the top to work the disks. A few antique cookie cutters were found as well and an antique nut chopper.
Time to bake a few old favorites and pass the recipes on to the next generation.
Bon Apetit!

 PS Next I get to tackle the box of linens - tablecloths, doilies and handkerchiefs. Squeals of excitement... As they say one man's trash is another man's treasure.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

And so life moves on....another Spring

 my mulcher helper delivers another truck full

 spring garden is planted. I think I set a record this time
still working on weeding

 peas are up and making headway

 the orchard is in bloom

stay tuned for more

It is finished.....

Another life has been lived and has now left us. I love to look back through pictures and see a person go from childhood to adulthood. Especially older pictures - I love to make up the stories in my mind. I would have done well to live in the 1920's and 30's, I think, perhaps I over romanticize it. In any event, my aunt has passed from this world to her heavenly home so my days of travel to PA to sit with her are over. I wouldn't trade that time. I learned a lot from her in those final weeks. I spoke at her memorial service - just a short piece and here is what I said.

“Take courage, I feel the bottom and it is firm”
In his classical tale of the spiritual journey, John Bunyan details for us the journey through the River of Death and the entrance of the pilgrim into heaven. I couldn’t help but think of this often during my last few visits with Aunt Vi. During earlier visits she had asked me about some previous speaking engagements I had and as we talked about them she expressed an interest in hearing more. One visit I brought along a written copy and read to her both from my words and from the text. We had a delightful conversation about the expectation of heaven and her assurance that one day soon she would join her Savior and those she loved. That day couldn’t come soon enough as far as she was concerned. During times of intense pain she would request to be read to and we would read the Psalms or her favorite, Colossians, and the Word of God would help to soothe and encourage her in her trial. She was a testimony to me of how God’s Words were her true comfort.
During a particularly trying day at the hospital, undergoing tests that seemed futile to all of us, she said to me, “I wish this was over. I am wasting everybody’s time.” I replied to her, “Aunt Vi – have we brought you any comfort by being here?” “Of course” she said, “Then it is time well spent!” I reminded her. Another time she questioned herself and said “I guess I just don’t have enough courage for this.” But she pressed on and she blessed us by her example of perseverance under trial and by giving us the opportunity to be a blessing to her.
As the final days came, we knew our time with her on this earth was almost over. Holding her hand or softly singing to her was the way in which we could bring comfort. At times she became increasingly agitated, and it took me back to our readings from Pilgrim’s Progress. You see as Christian and Hopeful crossed the River together each had a different response. For Christian it seemed he would drown and the water was swift and the passage terrifying. But for Hopeful, who walked next to Christian, his feet were on firm ground and he could see to the other side. So Hopeful calls out to Christian as he continues to help him stay steady, “Take courage, I feel the bottom and it is firm.” And soon the River is behind them and they are whisked away to Heaven and eternity with Jesus. Oh that we would all have the faith to feel the firm foundation that is Jesus Christ. Aunt Vi had that and she showed it to us through her life and in her dying. We have been blessed to have her in our family and she will be missed.

And so life goes on and slowly we find our new normal without the presence of someone in our lives.

Rest In Peace - Viola Virginia Haney Braun - November 19, 1929 - March 10, 2012