My daughter (number 3 as I call her since I seem to call her every other siblings name) has now been a newlywed for 3 months.  They have returned from their dream honeymoon cruising the Hawaiian Islands.  Daryl has accepted a new job with a new company.  Katelyn has returned to her job as a correctional nurse, and they have settled into their roles of husband and wife, tossing aside the old titles of boyfriend and girlfriend.  They have moved in with her father and his wife while they are saving money for a down payment on a home they are buying in February.  All in all, life is rolling along as it should be.  I have begun dating a wonderful man, which now involves “running” every weekend, here and there, with each weekend being a new adventure. Since Katelyn and I work together, every Monday we share with each other how our weekends went, where we had gone, etc.  After our share session this week she pouted and said “Wow, you guys are old and are doing more than we do.  We just sit and watch movies at home or go out to eat once in awhile!”  I told her that we are just in the dating phase that they were in 2 years ago, and quite frankly…HA HA HA….NANA NANA BOO BOO!!!!
Monday morning she came  into work and said that she and “D” had a fight before she came to work.  Of course being the mother bear that I am I was prepared to kick some son-in-law butt.  She then sat down in my office and told me what had happened.  She said that she asked him to go out and start her car in order to warm it up, and he was playing a video game that he couldn’t pause, so he told her he would do it in a minute.  She then became upset because he didn’t jump up and do as she commanded.  She said that she stormed out to the car, while saying a few sailor words, and left for work.  I just looked at her in amazement…and went “WHAT?????…..Kateyln! Shame on you!”  I told her that first off, it was 36 degrees out, so her car didn’t need to be warmed up for 10 minutes, and that her response to him was way out of line.  I went on to tell her that there was no reason that she could not have put on some shoes and start her car if it was that important to her.  She looked at me in stunned silence and informed me that she was a diva and he should have done as she asked.  With that statement came the usual motherly eye roll…except it was the monster of all eye rolls…one that could be mistaken as the start of a seizure…I swear I saw the bottom of my brain from the inside.  Where had this “diva” come from?  Where did she learn such behavior?  I knew that she didn’t learn it from me, as I am as far from a diva as they come.  We all knew that she was a self proclaimed princess….but a diva?

  At this point her co-worker Bonnie joined the conversation and said that her husband starts the car every morning without being asked, so it was fine for Katie to expect it to be done.  They then laughed and joked about being divas as I sat there with this stupid, bewildered look on my face.  Who were these fairy princess women?  Had I truly missed the boat during my former marriage by not declaring myself a diva?  After sitting at my desk contemplating what had just happened, I decided that my next question was “How does one become a diva, or at least a princess?”  So out of my office I go to have this all important question answered.  I then posed the question, and waited for guidance, because now that I was embarking into a new relationship, perhaps I too could be Cinderella instead of Ursela the sea witch?????  My beautiful, educated, funny, and loving daughter answered in all of her blond innocence: “Mom, NO ONE CHOOSES TO BE A PRINCESS….IT CHOOSES YOU!”  I just stood there with a pout on my face as the tiara slowly slipped off of my head and hit the floor with a gently ping….sigh. ♥


 Six Minute Caramels

(shared with me by a new friend Jane)


 1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup white sugar

 1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup light Karo syrup

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk


1.  Combine all ingredients.

2.  Cook 6 minutes on a medium high heat, stirring every minute.

3.  Stir and pour into lightly greased dish

 4.  Let cool

5.  Cut, wrap in wax paper & store in an air tight container


Princess Katelyn’s Wedding

somehow I now have an extra blogging page….going to try to include this on my shellys stories page.

My Blog

Food For The Soul

wedding 9/21/2013It’s now been 2 weeks since the event of the year. An event that was in the planning since she was old enough to notice boys. An event that will live in the memories of those who were present to share the event with each other.  Yes, we are talking about the wedding of Princess Katelyn and her new husband Daryl.  This was the wedding in which I was determined to lose 55 by age 55….(perhaps 20 by 55), the event of the century, the event that often times had just a hint of bridezilla bubbling to the surface, the event that every girl dreams of.  I will go on record as saying, as her mother, that she was absolutely beautiful, and appeared to be walking on air the entire evening.  Everything went as planned, except we forgot to unbustle her dress before she walked down the aisle…but she…

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Hey Kelly…….Shamrock Shakes are Back!



  Yesterday, after a grueling day of shopping, my daughter asked if I would pull off of the interstate so we could stop at McDonalds.  I reminded her that we just had a big lunch a few hours ago, and she said all she wanted was to get a Shamrock Shake.  I don’t remember any of my kids ever requesting a Shamrock Shake…..who is this child? I reminded her that I just bought her a  movie, so she decided that she would pay for the shake out of her allowance.  That left me no excuse, so of course being the perfect mother that I am, I stopped so she could get a shake.  We pulled into the drive-thru and after looking at the prices, she decided she wanted a large shake.  I am quietly shaking my head because there is no way she will finish an entire large shake, but it was her money….so large Shamrock Shake it was.  She paid her $2.99 and they handed us this huge beautiful green shake, complete with whipped cream and a cherry.  She giggled with glee as I handed it to her, and then went to work enjoying the shake.

  As I was driving the rest of the way home, my memory wandered back to the time that my sister Kelly, and a Shamrock Shake had a face off…and the shake won!  My mom, two sisters and I had gone grocery shopping one Saturday in Streator.  The year was 1970, and I would have been 11, Kelly was 7,and Tammy was at the ripe old age of 3.  It was a treat to go out to lunch when I was young.  We never questioned it, we just knew that it was an unexpected treat.  The rule was that we could get a sandwich, and either french fries or a small coke.  Again, we didn’t question why, it just was the way it was…period!  It was early March and McDonalds had just introduced a new shake flavor, now well-known as a Shamrock Shake.  Kelly had decided that she wanted a shake, and she proceeded to beg and plead to get the shake. I can still remember my mom trying to reason with her, telling her that it was mint flavored and she would not like it.  Kelly insisted she knew what mint tasted like, and promised she would drink the whole thing. Of course I opted for french fries and a glass of water….there were no better fries on earth as McDonalds….and even at the age of 11 I knew my food.  We all get settled in and begin eating our lunch.  Kelly ate her burger and the took a big swig of the shake…and then gagged.  One of those honest to goodness gags…the ones that make your mouth open like a fish and you make a horrible noise that seems to come out of your mouth from the tips of your toes.  Your know the look: your  face turns kinda purplish red, and you appear to stop breathing for a few seconds. (excuse me a moment because at this point I am giggling so hard that the tears are running down my face just picturing her sitting at that table)

Anyway…I hurry to finish my burger and fries as fast as I can, while trying to ease away from her as we sit side by side in the booth….and of course I am near the wall.  She begs mom to let her throw away the shake, and mom is determined that she is going to sit there until she drinks at least 3/4 of it.  She tried to tell Kelly she wouldn’t like it, she tried to reason with Kelly….but NOOOOO Kelly knew what she wanted, and mom was not going to waste the $1.89.  I just wanted to die in horror as we sat in McDonalds for over an hour as Kelly continued to sip….gag….sip…gag….plead….sip….purple face……gag….plead….fish lips……gag…..plead…..until there was one-quarter of the shake left.   Kelly may have thought she was stubborn at the young age of 7,  but she was in the ring with the champ!  And to this day I remind her every single year when I see that Shamrock Shakes are back!  And since I am a christian woman, I won’t tell you what her reply to me is now that we are adults ♥

PS…Miss Madison drank 1/2 of her shake….which makes me wonder why kids refuse to listen to their parents line of reasoning…..we didn’t get to be this age by not learning  a thing or two……..duh!




2 cups of vanilla ice cream

3/4 cup milk

3/4 tsp peppermint extract (don’t over do this…strong in flavor)

green food coloring (8-9) drops

Blend all together until the right consistancy.

Since we are no longer in the 70’s…add whipped cream and a cherry.

My Conversation with Jesus


photo credit: thebigquestions.comThis morning while waiting for my daughter to get ready for school, I heard a song by Thomas Rhett entitled “Beer With Jesus,” and it really got me thinking.  I know the day will come when I will meet Him face to face, and wondered just what I would say to Him?  We all have had blessings, tragedies, trials and temptations in our lives, some more than others. I was raised in the faith, as a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church member.  Anyone not familiar with this, lets just say they are a close step down from the Catholic religion, but are Lutherans.  I grew up going to church every Sunday, going to Sunday School every week until I graduated from high school, and became a confirmed member when I was in eight grade.  Our family had a bad experience with our minister when my mom died, and one by one we left the church, finding another to take its place.  It was like leaving a good friend, but that friend had disappointed us to the core, so it was time to sever the ties that I had known for my entire life.  I am now considered an Evangelical Lutheran, which is not as strict as our Missouri Synod counterparts. We also raised our children in the faith.  I just think that having a relationship with God make you more accountable for your actions.  As I said before, my moms advise to me before my first date was to not be caught in a “position” with my date that would cause me shame it Jesus appeared at that moment.  I realize what she meant now, but it was really strange advise when you are 16 years old.

So this morning I allowed my mind to reflect on what I would say if I had a conversation with Jesus.  I imagine He and I sitting around my dining room table, deep in discussion about the things that have happened in my life.  I would first apologize for the sins that I have committed, some involving the top 10.  I am not proud of that fact, as I have committed some whoppers in my life, but not without regret and embarrassment.  I want Him to know that  I knew I was veering off the right path, and always held myself responsible for my slip ups.  I won’t blame anyone else for my mistakes.  It was me, and me alone who messed up. Then I would thank  Him for the wonderful blessings He gave to me during my years on this earth.  I have 4 of the most wonderful children that a mother could ask for.  I suffered 3 miscarriages and had a son die seconds after birth, so these 4 children are truly blessings. Perhaps He would explain that these babies were specially chosen to take the “fast track” to heaven, for heaven also needed sweet tiny faces among the rest of the angels?

I would then ask him why my parents were taken away from me before all of their grandchildren were allowed to know and love them as we did?  Why do some people live into their 80’s, and some are taken away at an earlier age?  I will want to ask him how he decides who is the next person to enter heaven?  I want him to know that at times it didn’t seem fair that often times the “good” people seemed to be taken away too soon.  I am pretty sure that at this point he would look at me, shake his head and remind me that it was not my place to judge who was “bad” and who was “good,” and he would be right.

I would then respectfully inquire why I have been  fortunate enough to fall in love several times in my life, but still find myself alone at this point in my life?  Every little girl grow up thinking that she will find that special person, fall in love, have kids, and live happily ever after.  Why does that happen for some, and not for others?  Why put a person in my life, let me fall deeply in love, and then take them away for one reason or another?  Maybe He will then take my hand and tell me that perhaps the best is yet to come, and the heart breaks I suffered will make me appreciate when “the best” enters my life?

After the questions end, and the conversation comes to a close, He will remind me that He was never far from my side during the times of deep and hopeless grief.  He will remind me that during those dark days He placed the appropriated people in my life to help me over the bumps in the road.  For never in my life have I truly been alone, as I have been surrounded by angels for protection and comfort.  He will remind  me to sit quietly and listen to the voices in my head while in deep reflection…for those voices are His, and He is guiding me will surety and truth.  He may also remind me that there are no promises in my life here on earth, as it is a temporary home, and I need to make the best of it, while recognizing that each experience, good or bad, is shaping my soul and strengthening my faith.  I need to remember kindness and compassion for my fellow-man, even when they disappoint me or are cruel.  And above all I hope He will  assure me that even though my life has been fraught with sins, and times of questioning of the faith, He has forgiven my weaknesses.  He will smile and tell me that it doesn’t matter how many times my faith was challenged, but more importantly it was better that I worked it out, and  found myself on the right track again. Then He will leave me with the most wonderful sense of peace and love. With tears in my eyes, and unconditional love in my heart,  I will then thank Him for sitting at my table,  assuring  Him that I await the day I can sit at His forever ♥



 1 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups all-purpose flour
( I always double the recipe)
Beat butter, add whipping cream and mix in flour.  Cover well and refrigerate about 1 hour.
Roll out 1/8 th inch thick on a lightly floured surface.
Cut out in circular shapes (I use the top from one of my McCormick short squatty spice bottles)
Coat each circle with sugar that has been placed on a plate or waxed paper.
Transfer to parchment lined cookie sheet, and pierce each one 4 times with a fork.
Bake at 350 degrees for 7-9 minutes, will be slightly puffed and feel “set” when touched.
(They are better if not allowed to get brown in color)
Cool and put 2 together with your favorite Crisco frosting.
(very pretty if you divide the frosting and tint each with yellow, green and pink)

There are lovingly referred to as the PIA cookies…yes the Pain in the A** cookies, because they involve more steps than I want to do, but they are worth the effort!

The Day Mom Got Her Wings


This is part 2 of my story of my moms battle with cancer.  I was going to stop after the blog on her diagnosis, but the next 6 weeks were probably the most precious time I spent with my mom.  It’s funny how after months of hoping against hope that she could beat it again, we are faced with the realization that it is not to be.  The reality has hit us square in the face and it was time to step up and care for the person who has been the rock in all of our lives.  When I was married, my husband and I moved 7 times.  Each time my mom would show up with her BBQ and Texas Sheet cake for everyone to have lunch after the moving was over.  It didn’t matter if there were 2 or 20 to feed, she was there.  She had the kindest heart and was one of those people who didn’t know a stranger.  I can’t even begin to write about how many times she was there for me, and for anyone who needed help.  She was a great role model, be it thorough her work ethic, or her cooking skills.  There was nothing she wouldn’t do, nothing was beneath her.

About a week after her surgery, we brought her home.  She was on oxygen, but seemed to have very little pain.  Kelly and I took turns staying the night, sleeping on the couch, with her beside us in the recliner.  I can remember trying to sleep while listening to the quiet clicking sound of the oxygen concentrator.  Often times I would wake up in the middle of the night only to find her sitting in her chair smiling at me.  She would say ” I am so happy you are here Shelly Sue, I know it’s hard on you.”  On the nights that we couldn’t stay, dad would take over night duty.  It she was able, she would lay propped up on the couch, with dad laying on the floor, as near as he could be.  I found myself going through the routine of  work, taking care of my family and then doing all I could do for her.  I watched the weight drop off of her, and the breathing becoming more labored.  And still she remained beautiful, joking with the grandkids and others.  She never questioned “Why me?”, and she never showed anger at her diagnoses. I found myself  just staring at her, trying to file those snapshots in my memory.  We would visit as often as we could, and the visitors seemed to be endless.  They had planned to begin chemotherapy, this time for comfort measures, not for a cure. The weekend before chemo was to start she told my aunt that she didn’t think she was going to make it to that appointment Monday.  I think she had a premonition that she was going to meet her Heavenly Father.

Moms senior picture...beautiful!The doctors no longer give you a time frame that you can follow, so we didn’t know if she had 1 month, 3 months, or a year.  I remember a deep discussion Kelly and I had about what would we do if she began having pain and was uncomfortable.  How could we find the strength to sit at her side watching her gasp for breath…slowing sliding away from us?  It was incomprehensible to me…….and I think God listened to our laments because I am almost positive a pulmonary emboli took her life that Sunday morning.  She died the day before her chemo was to begin.  Dad and I were with her that Sunday morning when she left us and became one of Gods angels.  I just happened to stop by after church to check on them, and Dad met me at the door, stating mom couldn’t get her breath.  She had some breakfast and told dad she wanted to take a bath.  I sat by her side, holding her hand, telling her that as soon as she could get her breath Dad and I would help her out of the tub.  She took my hand, smiled and softly said thank you. She then looked at Dad, and laid her head back and she was gone.    I often times wonder why I was there that day? I never wanted my last memory of my mom to be of her dying in a bathtub.  She was a very private lady, and I knew that would never have been her wish either.  Why didn’t I tell her that I loved her when I knew she was passing?   Why do things turn out the was you least expect them to turn out?

It has been 12 years since she left us, and the pain is not as crippling as it was then.  As I reflect back to the day I realize that God knew that Dad needed someone to be there with him.  Something private and deep passed between the three of us that morning, and Dad and I became close after that Sunday morning.  Mom was always there for me, and maybe it was my time to be there for her.  I will never know if she even realized that I was there at the end, but I will never forget the look that passed between us, conveying love and trust between daughter and mother.  A love that will remain in my heart until we meet again in heaven…where there will no longer be pain, tears, hurt or that horrible “C” word ♥

The Fight: Round 1


photo credit: facebookThe tests are completed, the visits to the various doctors have been made, the diagnoses has been determined, and this week marks the beginning of my ex-husbands fight against cancer.  The final verdict is: Stage 2, T 3, N 0, M 0.  It is amazing how much information it available from those few letters and numbers.  Those words and letters have determined what game plan will be needed to rid the cancer from Bills body.  Basically his cancer is Stage 2, which means that the tumor has gone through the layers of the colon,  T 3 means the same as Stage 2 but it stages the tumor itself, N 0 means that there are no nodes involved at this point, and M 0 means that the cancer has not metastasized to any other organs of his body.  As a health care professional I know that it could have been much worse, but it means that Bill has a fight on his hands.  It was thought that surgery would be the plan, but now it seems that he will endure 6 weeks of chemo and radiation to shrink the tumor before it can be removed.  It will be much easier to remove the tumor if it is smaller because there will hopefully be more good colon wall available for a surgical anastomosis.

My children, realizing that their dad is going to go through some financial hardship from this “fight” have decided to organize a fund-raiser, or a benefit to help with the costs of his treatment.  The chemo alone, which is in tablet form, is $9,000 a month.  So it is overwhelming to even fathom how much he will be in debt 6 months from now, when he is cancer free.  Yes, he has insurance, and it is good insurance, but as with insurance co-pays and deductibles…the amount will still be staggering.  When we were married, he was a deputy sheriff, small town police officer and then Chief of Police for our town, until retirement 6 years ago.  Along the way he has made many friends and enemies….as is normal with anyone working in law enforcement.  Last June he remarried and has a wonderful wife, who has become my friend.  God certainly knew what he was doing, putting Mary in his life  so he would not have to fight this battle alone.  Yesterday the date and time for the benefit was posted on all of our Facebook pages, asking for ideas, help, possible donation, support and prayers.  The immediate response was overwhelming and so warming to my soul.  When my son initially told me about the benefit, I told him to put me down for the catering aspect of  the evening.  That was where I felt my talents could best be utilized.  I, myself, had 17 ladies volunteer to help me with the food within the first 2 hours.  We had 9 people donate various baskets and other goods to be auctioned off.  A friend of mine used to have a band, which I found out could not be resurrected, but he has some ideas and would get back to me.  Plus, I have had offers of help from people who have run fundraisers in the past.

This morning I checked each of my kids Facebook pages and started to write down names of their friends that have offered help, or are networking with people they know to get items for auction.  What started as a simple thought yesterday, has picked up steam, and it has snowballed into something wonderful.  It has restored my faith in mankind and hopefully has humbled Bill to his core.   This is the wonderful thing about small towns, we always put aside any bad feelings and pull together to help anyone in need.  It also proves to me that you should always be kind to those around you, because you never know when you may need their help.  People are more likely to remember an act of kindness, and will usually reciprocate those feelings in return. I am truly humbled by the responses we have received and am sure that the benefit will be a smashing success.  To anyone reading this, remember that donations are always welcome, especially any cool and unusual things we can auction off.  So, my friends, I will keep you posted about the progress of his treatments, and the super benefit that will occur in 2 short months.   And for the record, yes it is odd for the ex-wife to be as involved as I am, but all I can tell people is that “it’s the right thing to do”….and I will have no regrets either way.  My mom raised me well, as I have my children.  Please keep Bill in your prayers, and take the time to do something nice for those you love, or even a stranger in need…for that is  a wonderful feeling indeed♥


Things My Mom Told Me


photo credit:teachmetotalk.comWhile listening to Christmas music last night, I became lost in memories of the holidays of past.  This is how my mind works, I start to think about one thing, and that leads to another, which leads to another… on and so on…until I end up with memories in my brain that have nothing to do with the original thought.  Follow me???? It you can’t, don’t feel bad….and if you can follow me…all I can say is “WOWZA ! AM I IMPRESSED!”   Anyway, I was remembering some wise words of advise given to me throughout my life by my number one fans: my parents.  I will now try to share some of them, and then add some of my thoughts on them now that I am an adult.

 1.  A man will never buy the cow when he can get the milk free over the fence.   While most teenage girls get the “talk” on the birds and the bees, sometime prefaced with a cute little book, I get the speech about cows and free milk.   My mom received a phone call from my high school health teacher telling her to please give me the “talk” because I was asking too many questions in class.  The only reason I know this is because I was listening on the extension phone.  The talk never came… just knew that you shouldn’t have sex until marriage….end of story…can I get an amen!  It took me a long time to figure out the correlation between the cow and the milk…especially since all I knew about sex was from a health ed textbook.

                                                  2.  Don’t be in a position with your boyfriend that would cause you to be embarrassed if the Lord appeared at that moment. I will admit that that one kept me out of many back seats when I was in high school.  Now that I am older I realize that the Lord knows where I am every minute of the day, so I am sure he would not be surprised if he found my in an unsatisfactory situation.  Again…. since I was still pondering the cow/milk advise I was unsure what should be embarrassing  at that point.

                                                 3.  Don’t go outside with your hair wet, You will catch pneumonia!  Since I have been a nurse for 30 plus years I can safely debunk that one.  Although it does make for a mighty cold trip to where ever you are going, and in my case, air-dried hair equals lots of frizz and curls…not good!  Plus everyone knows that you catch pneumonia from the cow trying to get the milk…who did she think she was fooling….. 🙂

                                                  4.  You are who your friends are!  Ok, now I will give that one to her.  It is true that people judge you by company you keep.  Right or wrong, it happens.  I have gotten in trouble in the past by just association with someone who was in trouble.  It’s not fair…but it’s life.  I lost a friend in grade school because she came from the “wrong side of the tracks” (there’s another one)  Of course, it couldn’t have had anything to do with the fact that I got into situations with her that I never would have thought of on my own?

                                                  5.  Why do you step over those clothes on the step…take them up with you!  Our laundry was on the main floor, our bedrooms were upstairs, so mom would put our clean folded laundry on the steps and we were to take them up and put them away.  I saw them there, I did step over them, but in my defense I didn’t need that particular outfit for the next day, so why take it up to my room.  Plus they seldom went upstairs, so they weren’t stepping over them, therefore whats the beef?

                                                 6.  If you sh** in your nest, you will have to sleep in it!  Ok, first off, I had no idea where my nest was, and last time I checked I had full control of my bodily functions.  The last time I got this warning was when I was dating a young man who my dad despised.  He kept telling me that he knew things about this guy and if I continued dating him, my bags would be packed and waiting on the porch.  Even though I was 17 and I thought I loved this young man, I loved my nest more, so poof…he was history.

                                                7.  Pull in your horns!  This one was mainly aimed at my sister Kelly.  She had a terrible temper…..and I was an angel…enough said.

                                                8.  Don’t sit so close to the tv.  It’s bad for your eyesight.  I laugh now as I sit at my computer, with my glasses off, because I can’t read the screen with them on….perhaps they had a point?

                                                9.  Welcome to womanhood for happy days are here again.  These were the only words of advice we received as we became “women”…along with a saddle sized pad and a belt being flung from the cracked bathroom door.   Young women now days don’t know how lucky they have it with the press on pads.

                                              10.  They can never take you education away from you!   My parents both left high school and entered the work force, bypassing college.  It was understood since we were little that we would go to college.  There were no questions, it was expected.  As girls my mom stressed how important it was that we could support ourselves financially without a mans help.  Thank heavens for that one!

My parents were wise, wonderful, strict, loving, sometimes hard-nosed, stubborn parents and to this day I applaud them for making me what I am, good or bad.  I miss them every day, but boy what memories.  Hug yours today, because the day will come that they remain in your life as just a memory ♥