October Beauty

22 10 2011

I just had a hunch that we better head to Pennyroyal State Park and enjoy the beautiful Autumn day of October the 11th.  The sunshine and warmth were abundant.  The park is just 22 miles from our home.  I suggested to Jim that we spend the day there and just read and enjoy lunch at the lodge’s restaurant.  And a lovely day it turned out to be.  Sometimes a mini retreat is in order to refresh the body, mind and soul. 

Hope you enjoy these pictures of our day!  God Bless!

Back To School and Waffles

12 08 2011

I was anxious to hear how Anna’s two boys were adjusting to public school.  They have been part of a Christian private school for all their early education.  John is in the 4th grade  and Alex is in the 2nd grade.

They are adjusting quite well.  Partly, because Anna enrolled them both in a summer day camp which allowed the boys to get  used to meeting new children.

I’m out of a job though.  I’ve picked up the boys all of their years of private schooling.  I have felt a void this week because it is a routine that had been such a part of me.  I’m on the emergency list though–If Anna needs help in any way.

Anna ate lunch with us today and we had old fashioned waffles.  I’ve made homemade waffles for 37 years now.  It was an inexpensive meal to serve at least once a week when our children were growing up.  Made with plenty of eggs and milk–the waffles provided some good protein and carbs for our growing children.

I don’t make waffles very often any more but it was good to make them today.  It was fun to catch up with the boys week.

Ruth put her stepson in school this week, too.  She and William came by on Monday to get an old chest of drawers that we had bought used in 1979.  She just called to tell me that she spent the day refinishing it.  She found the date that it was made–August the 8th, l958.  And , I gave it to her on August the 8th.  Wow!  Ruth and I always get excited about stuff like that.  William likes school.  He is a student in the Trigg Co. school system.  He gets to ride up and down all the country roads on his school bus.  He especially likes the cafeteria and all the good food that is served each day.

So everyone has had some great experiences this week.  And, the waffles were yummy!

God bless each of you!

A Hint of Fall In the Air

8 08 2011

After many weeks of heat waves with heat indexes that make life very uncomfortable–there is a hint of fall in the air.  I can tolerate August’s heat because I know fall is just around the corner.I love the grass beginning to dry up.  Those large brown patches make my heart sing.  I’ve never been one to spend a great deal of time or money on my yard.  So the death of it –is always a joy.  I know this offends those who love their yards. 

I love to see the first dried up leaves in the  yards, too.  This is happening quite a bit since we’ve been absolutely scorched by the sun.  We pay to have our yard cut–so the end of yard season makes me want to dance.  We’ve a bit to go though–but the end is soon here.

I’ve already been scouting the second hand shops for more harvest decorations.  I’ve put away all of my spring and summer decorations.  I do love my potted plants but they are with me all year long.

Labor Day is my favorite 3 day weekend.  Just a few more weeks to go before it arrives.  It is then that I begin some of my fall cleaning.  I also begin to prepare a winter pantry of canned goods to last throughout any winter crisis that might occur. 

I have my air conditioning off today and it looks like it might be off the rest of the week.  I love open windows.  I love the cool nights.  Here’s to the first faint hope of Fall.

God bless each of you!

Nichole’s Slices of Life–Visit To The Cancer Doctor

15 07 2011

I have 3 checkups a year to make sure my cancer is not active again.  Today, was one of those check-up days.  In 4 months, they’ve changed quite a bit at the center.  They usually call us 3 at a time to take our weight and our blood pressure.  Today, I got called without any company.  They have ditched the blood pressure cuffs for a gadget that goes around the wrist and is held on the heart.  The nurse said that their new system is more efficient. 

Next, I went to the lab to have two vials of blood drawn.  The cancer doctor saw me within 20 mintues after my blood was drawn.  Everything seems to be fine.  I have just the right amount of white and red blood cells.

He did caution me to follow-up next April with another colonscopy.  I had one done this past April and it showed that I had a serrated polyp consistent with Sessile serrated adenoma.  I was upset at first because only 2x was taken from the growth for the pathologist.  Later, my surgeon explained that unlike other polops which are easy to remove–mine was on a thin section of the small intestine.  I could have ended up in major emergency surgery if they scraped it all. 

In fact, if it doesn’t go away–cancer or no cancer–it will probably have to be removed by major surgery.  But, that is on next Spring’s agenda.  I will try not to worry about it.  Meanwhile, I will keep my regular quarterly appointments with my cancer doctors. 

We have a wonderful cancer center here in Hopkinsville, Ky.  It has been going strong for 20 years.  I’m so thankful that I don’t have to travel to get good treatment. 

God Bless each of you!

A Birthday, An Anniversary, A Stepson, Fudge and A Fish

14 07 2011

I made 4 lbs. of  fudge yesterday with Steven’s birthday in mind.  He is Ruth’s husband of almost 8 years.  He loves my fudge–which I give to him for his birthday and Christmas.  Steven also had another birthday present.  His son ,William ,flew in for a month from California.  William has never been to Kentucky.  Ruth has only met William once.  Last summer, Steven and Ruth went to California for the funeral of William’s great grandmother. 

It was fun to meet William today.  He is 11 years old and has blonde hair.  He is a slim little fellow and very quiet.  Our dogs immediately took to William.  We’re looking forward to spending more time with our step grandson.

Anna ,our oldest daughter, and her husband, Jeff, have been married 16 years.  They are in the Great Smoky Mountains as I write –for their wedding anniversary celebration.  We’re taking care of their fish.  I don’t know what kind of fish it is.  She told me that I should probably clean out the fish bowl today.  Poor little fish didn’t know what to think when I took an ice  cream scoup to get him out of the dirty water into a glass of clean water–while I cleaned his bowl out.  He, She , whoever, is very happy and content now.

I also made my bread today and gave Ruthie some for their dinner this evening. 

I saved a little fudge to take to our coffee hour after church this coming Sunday.  A friend who dropped by yesterday –also got a chunk to take home. 

To me– these small celebrations make life worthwhile.  God Bless each of you!

July the 4th, l961

11 07 2011

I can’t let July gain too many more days before I write of my 50th anniversary of arriving in Hopkinsville, Ky.  My mother is a native of Hopkinsville.  She married a soldier from Camp Campbell in l943.  My parents moved to Lansing, Michigan so that my father could attend college to study to be an engineer.  Mother taught school in Lansing until her first son was born.  Then she became a homemaker.

I was actually born in Detroit.  Early in l960– my father pushed my mother to update her teacher’s certificate.  We all sensed things between my parents were not good.  By June l960– my father left.  My mother had already made arrangements to take classes at Wayne State University that summer.  She already had a babysitter lined up for us.  I can’t imagine how she managed all of that.  We didn’t have a car.  Mother took the bus to her classes each day. 

She did gain employment for the l960-l961 school year.  My youngest brother wasn’t even old enough for kindergarten.  So mother hired a sitter for him and she was at the house for us as well–when we arrived home from school.  Later, I found out that one particular couple befriended my mother and loaned her the money to accomplish all of these feats.  This couple had been friends with my parents for a very long time. 

I have the actual letters of correspondence between my mother and grandmother about the pros and cons of moving back to Hopkinsville.  In the end, mother decided that she needed to be where her family was living. 

We were renting a house –so it made it a little easier to uproot.  We left by train on the afternoon of July the 3rd, l961. A train ride from Detroit to Hopkinsville was a great adventure to four children.  The stop in Chicago was especially fun.  Mother let us have soda fountain treats and she bought us plenty of comic books. 

Arriving in Hopkinsville, Ky about 8:00 a.m. on July the 4th–we were met at the train station by my mother’s brother and her sister.  Grandmother was waiting for us with open arms.  She had buckwheat pancakes already made up.  We were to live with Grandmother in her part of the house until school started.  Then we would move upstairs.  There was a young married couple who had planned to leave that apartment the end of August.

Grandmother had endured a mastectomy the summer of l960.  Now that I am 59 years old and a grandmother myself–I can’t imagine how she took us into her home.  That was a very generous deed!

Grandmother made sure our lives were full of structure.  She never allowed us to sleep in or be lazy.  We always had to help with chores around her home.  And church was a part of our education, too.  Not only did we attend church on Sunday mornings–we also attended all the youth activities on Sunday and Wednesday nights, too. 

Mother taught school at the old Westside School the first year.  After that first year, she taught at the old Virginia St. school.  That was just a few houses from our home.  Her last year of teaching was at the brand new Holiday Elementary School. 

Mother died of breast cancer in l985.  Grandmother died when I was 25 years old of heart problems. I left home when I was 19 to attend Southeastern Bible College in Birmingham, Al.  I met my husband there.  He was raised in Iowa.  We moved back to Hopkinsville in l985. Hopkinsville has been a great place to raise our four children.

The structure and love my grandmother gave me as I was growing up has stayed with me my entire life.  I’m not much of one for sleeping in.  I always see my dear grandmother’s face.  I feel her with me all the time.  I keep pushing on in life because of the building blocks of love and leadership that she provided for me.

My brothers have often spoken of the same sense of grandmother’s influence. The four of us have done well in life.  One brother is a college professor, another is a lawyer, another works for  the state in Denver, Co.  I have been a teacher/homemaker.  Together all of our children have grown up to have multi-varied talented careers.  My children love to hear about Grandmother B.  They cherish her memory even though they never knew her. 

I, too, have survived a mastecomy.  I am a 4th generation breast cancer survivor. 

Today the old train station is now the center of Art’s here in Hopkinsville.  I drive by the old station several times a week.  Always, the memories of arriving on that train in l961 flood my mind.

Thank you Grandmother B for taking such good care of us.

God bless each of you!

Memory Lane With My Grandsons

9 07 2011

What a morning Jim and I had going through all of our pictures and videos on  our computer.  We haven’t been the best at keeping up with organizing all of our cyber memories.  Thanks to our daughter, Vera, we have all of 2008 and 2009 photos  and videos  neatly organized.  The rest of our memories are not. 

First, we went through all of our pictures of the last year into our present moment in 2011.  As Jim showed them – I made note of the different categories .  This will make it easy now to place our photos in albums. 

Lastly, we reviewed all the albums that Vera had set up for us.  When this video showed up–I knew that I had to share it on today’s blog.  The boys have grown up so much.  No longer do they want me to read stories to them or spend time working with coloring .  Yes, those days are gone forever.  But I’m glad that I have so many wonderful memories of spending time with the boys in their young days. 

This video also makes me miss Vera.  She  spent 16 months with us.( She lives in Pittsburgh, Pa. now)  She was a great help with the boys.  I’m also grateful that she was still living with us when Jim had his second Aortic episode in October of 2008.  This clip was made 5 months before his second trip to Vanderbilt Medical Center.

Now the boys have a precious brother who everyone calls “P”.  P is getting a head start with this social media age.  I doubt that we will have the same experience that I had with his brothers.  P will be 2 in September.

Hope you enjoy the Youtube.  God bless each of you! And, a great big thanks to Jim to making this video a Youtube. 

Nichole’s Slices of Life—Books, Books, Books

8 07 2011

 I have not always loved to read.  I much preferred to watch my nightly sitcoms versus doing my homework or much less–extra reading.  I grew up in the l950’s and 1960’s.  I didn’t like that my mother was a school teacher.  I did my homework as a duty only. 

I also don’t remember being exposed to some of the great childhood and juvenile literature.  I did read certain writings of Mark Twain and of course the books that were required reading in high school.  However, none of them interested me.  When I meet former classmates–they always remind me of how smart I was in high school.  I sure knew how to fool them!

Yes, I’m plenty smart but growing up–I was very unmotivated.  I didn’t learn to love reading until I got married.  We knew that we wanted to start a family early in our marriage.  So I kept busy in our small apartment learning to cook and learning to love reading.  We had no television the first 8 years of our marriage.  By that time in my life–I had acquired a lifelong passion for reading. 

I enjoyed reading to our children.  The public library became a constant in our lives.  I especially loved reading The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis to our children.  No matter, we were always reading as a family. 

Today, I still prefer reading to watching television.  In fact, we don’t subscribe to any cable services.  Our televisions are old and are used only as screens for our movie watching. 

A couple of years ago, I discovered the writings of Irving Stone and James Michener.  Since then–I have been collecting their books.  I just finished reading Irving Stone’s –The Passions Of The Mind.  It is the biography of Sigmund Freud.  Last year I read his book: Love Is Eternal about the life of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln. 

Right now I’m reading Michener’s Texas.  Last summer I read his book:  Hawaii and last fall , I read his book : Alaska.  These are long books that take me weeks to read .  That is why I prefer to own them. 

I’m not one to read just one book at a time.  I keep bookmarks in 5 to 6 books at a time.  I may have a large work of fiction, a biograhy, a health book, a cookbook, and a fluff book going at the same time.

I love fluff books when I’m stressed out.  Nothing cheers me more than reading one of  L.M. Montegomery books, or a book from the Mitford series, or a book by Richard Paul Evans.  And let’s not forget the “Little House” books.  They may be grade school level reading but they nuture me in times of stress.  I never read any of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books as a child.  I didn’t know the writing of L.M. Montegomery books ( Anne of Green Gables) etc until my mid thirties. 

So I’m always reading inbetween household duties.  I never go to a doctor’s appointment without a good book.  I love to read books, touch books, look at books.  I haven’t joined the e-book fad yet.  I doubt that I ever will.  To me nothing can take the place of a good book–right in my hand.

Pictured is a collection of my music books.  Happy reading! God bless each of you!


Nichole’s Slices of Life–Making Bread

7 07 2011

I’ve been fascinated with breadmaking since I was a newlywed.  I spent a great deal of time learning to make different kinds of quick breads the first years of my marriage.  However, I was always afraid of yeast breads.  I tried making a loaf of yeast bread the first summer of  my marriage.  It turned out to be quite rock like.

I didn’t attempt yeast bread again until the summer of 2004.  Poor me,  I still didn’t understand yeast and how it works.  But , I didn’t give up.  I finally learned that the yeast has to bubble up  and become rather frothy before it is effective.  Always before–I had water that was too hot or not enough sugar for the yeast to activate.  Also, I learned that if I can’t smell that sweet smell of yeast activating–I might as well throw it down the drain.

At last, I am a very confident  maker of yeast breads.  I only use luke warm water to activate my yeast.  I place one tablespoon of yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar to about 3/4 cup of luke warm water for one loaf of bread. In making multiple loaves of bread–I used to place all the amounts in one large bowl.  Lately, I’ve preferred to fix a cup of frothy yeast for each loaf of bread.

I got in this new habit when I started making communion bread for our parish.The reason that I do this is because the exactness is so important for bread that is to become the “body of Christ”.   I make the bread just like regular white bread but I save a part to roll out for our special seal of  “the lamb of Christ”.  Then I attach this rolled out dough with the seal having been pressed into it–back on to my loaf of bread.  It is silly just to make one loaf–so I usually make two communion loaves at a time.  Round loaves are also the acceptable shape for the bread.

Lately, I’ve gotten so I make round loaves for our family, too.  I bake them in my cake pans that I bought the first summer I was married. Those pans have a great deal of sentimental treasure to me –as they were used to bake more birthday cakes than I can count.   I love my white bread made with unbleached white flour.  It is wonderful with Tuna salad.  In fact, we had our tuna salad with my white bread for our lunch today.  Oh, sure I make whole wheat bread , too.  But things like chicken or tuna salad taste best to me on homemade white bread.

Here is a picture of today’s fresh batch.  God bless each of you!

Nichole’s Slices of Life–Making A Comeback

6 07 2011

It has been about 18 months since I last blogged.  To be honest–the exceleration of Social networking  has really bothered me.  I don’t like to be around people who use their smart phones all the time.  Even at our family gatherings–it has become impossible to have conversations that are real.  I can be an “all or nothing” person–so I just quit blogging. 

However, at our annual family celebration of July 4th at our son’s home–I had a wonderful talk with my college professor brother.  He started a blog  (http://briancoatney.com/) last October and has found it to be a real outlet for him.  Since he teaches the art of writing for a living –he encouraged me to try free expression and quit being so bothered by perfection.  So that is what I’m going to try to attempt.

Anyone who has read my archives –knows that I love frugal and simple living.  So that is what I will continue to write about.  Jim has been retired for almost 3 years now.  We love being together and our goals for life are much the same.  We continue to be active at The Protection of The Virgin Mary Orthodox Church in Clarksville, Tn.  Our parish will have a 3rd birthday in August. 

We are especially excited because Fr. Peter, who is an army chaplain , will be back at Ft. Campbell, Ky in September.  He has been assigned to be our Priest-in- charge.  Fr. Peter helped moved our community off  base to Grace Lutheran Church in 2008.  Then he had to leave for his 3 year assignment as a chaplain recruiter.  He has flown in to be with us about once a month during 2011–since we didn’t have a priest.  We have also been very blessed to have Fr. Jonas Worsham from Chattanooga, Tn be with us a couple of weeks a month.  His leadership has been exceptional for us.

Jim continues to work at the alter with Fr. Jonas and Fr. Peter.  We are including a picture of Jim. Jim has always wanted a long beard–so I told him to “go for it”. 

Daily life and our Orthodox faith will continue to be the themes of this blog.  I am excited that I’m a 3 1/2  year breast cancer survivor.  Jim recently had a scare with a “cold nodule” on his right thyroid.  Thankfully, it turned out to be benign.

Today was a big wash day so I’m posting a picture.  I try not to use our dryer unless it is absolutely necessary.  That is my simple living for today.

I hoping that I can renew old blogging friendships and make an abundance of new friends.

God bless each of  you!