February 4, 2013
Warning: This is an up-close post about an aging family. If you’re having a bad day or were looking for light reading, click away. We can meet up another time. Or, here goes…
My mom’s Alzheimer’s/dementia/whatever-you-call-this-horrible disease has reached a point where two of my greatest fears have come true: She no longer recognizes me and she can’t live at home anymore.
In the messy aftermath, I realized there was an even greater fear lurking – that my mother wouldn’t love me anymore. But, my sweet mom showed this would never be the case, no matter how much Alzheimer’s separated us. And, she did so on a card game score pad during my recent visit.
She loves, loves, loves playing cards and she also loves winning, which means we always keep score. Since she didn’t know who I was, she just wrote “You” and “Me” at the top of the sheet. When I saw that, my mind hurtled back to something she said during a phone conversation this past summer, when she wasn’t so sick.
When I was hanging up, I told her that I loved her, just as I always do. Then, she answered in a sing-song voice, “I love you and you love me and that’s the way it will always be.”
So, despite what is awaiting mom, me and the rest of our family, I know there will always be love. And, hopefully, lots more card games.
May 11, 2012
So that I can learn to have a heart filled with love and gratitude.
A letter from Lenis on Mother’s Day weekend.
I am greeting you with much love hoping you are in good health. I send you my best wishes. We hope you are having a happy Easter. Christian likes to go to the river and play in the water. I want to tell you that it is very hot and we enjoy the shade of the trees, we have plenty around the house. It is beautiful. Christian likes to play soccer with his cousins. We go to church on Sundays, we pray for you and your family. He is in first grade, and he has a good time at school. He is getting good grades. Thanks to your help he received a backpack; he also has clothes, shoes, and food supplies. We love you very much. We ask God to give you good health and keep you away from harm. We ask him to provide just like you do with Christian. We always pray for you and your family, we love you very much. I am closing now on behalf of my child Christian.
May God Bless You.
February 1, 2012
Here’s a whole-wheat recipe I’m sharing with my TEDxICT friends tonight. You can make it even more “home-made” by buying wheat berries from a local whole food store. Then, use a blender to grind the berries into whole wheat flour. (Be sure to refrigerate any leftover flour.)
Hope you enjoy.
Makes: Eight individual flat breads or pizza crusts, or two large pizza crusts; Prep time: 20 minutes, plus rising
1 1/2 cups warm (115 degrees) water
2 packets (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1/4 cup oil, plus more for bowl
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for kneading
2 cups whole-wheat flour (spooned and leveled)
1. Place water in a large bowl; sprinkle with yeast. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Brush another large bowl with oil.
2. In bowl with yeast, whisk sugar, oil and salt. Stir in flours with a wooden spoon until a sticky dough forms. Transfer to oiled bowl; brush top of dough with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; let stand in a warm spot until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
3. Turn dough out into a well-floured surface. With floured hands, knead until smooth, about 15 seconds; divide into two balls.
To freeze 1-pound balls:
Set balls on a plate (they should not touch); freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Then freeze in a freezer bag up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in refrigerator.
To freeze individual shells:
Divide each ball of dough into 4 pieces. Using your hands, stretch each piece into a 5-inch disk (if dough becomes too elastic to work with, let it rest a few minutes). Freeze shells on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Stack frozen shells between layers of parchment paper. Freeze in a freezer bag up to 3 months. Bake from frozen.
(From “Martha Stewart, Everyday Food.”)
December 20, 2011
This is how I know. I never hung that mirror that is so handy in the utility room. That dining room wall clock is not my style, but I would never think to move it. There are canning jars and baby bottles that were stashed in the cellar before I was born.
I am the third generation to live in this old farm house. I am the third mother that cleaned after her kids and worried about her kids and thanked God for her kids. I am the third wife that loved her husband with all her might.
Sometimes, I wonder about living in a house that was only mine, that I helped design or pick out. But, then, especially at the holidays, it’s so warm to share Darlene and Marie’s home.
December 7, 2011
November 25, 2011
On a cold, gray, windy, post-Thanksgiving day, D., E., Cesar and I headed to the woods.
August 24, 2011
June 20, 2011
Good storytellers write about what they know and what they love. For Roberta and Ramona, what they know is that prairie dogs can be pets, calves can sometimes find their way into the kitchen and a Clydesdale named Ruby was destined for divadom. What they love is turning these stories into children’s books about farm life.
Roberta Seiwert Lampe and her daughter Ramona Lampe together have written two novels, six children’s books, four books of poetry books — with several more in the works. I wrote about Roberta last year (http://lynnwoolf.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/strong-women-and-their-stories/ ) and was lucky to meet Ramona this spring.
Roberta has written throughout her career, but started writing her first novel later in life, as a way to cope with her husband’s cancer and other family tragedies.
“Agnes was a story I wanted to write for years. I thought ‘This story has to be told,’ “ says Roberta. Agnes was her grandmother, who emigrated from Germany, moved to Kansas and married a widower with six children.
Ramona started writing her first story, Ruby the Diva Clydesdale, at Roberta’s urging. “I kept saying she should write this story, but she said, ‘I don’t know anything about Clydesdales. You write it.’ So, I did.” Ramona drew upon the personality of a real-life Clydesdale from a horse farm where she works.
Their author relationship is separate from their mother-daughter relationship. Ramona says they’re not a creative team, but a marketing team. They write separately, but share book signings and speaking engagements. Both are good talkers and good listeners, so they enjoy conversations with strangers as well as friends.
I believe their mother-daughter relationship strengthens both their creativity and marketing efforts. And, it’s heartwarming to see their mutual admiration. For instance, Ramona warmly refers to Roberta as her “rebel mother.” Roberta tears up when she says how proud she was of Ramona at a recent book signing, when Ramona shared her personal struggles after a head injury.
They share a common goal, too: Draw upon their own experiences on their family farm to help educate children about agriculture — and bring a smile or two.
A testimonial from my own farm girl (and artist): “The stories are funny and cute and the drawings are very inspirational. My favorites are Prairie Dog Pet and Calves in the Kitchen.”
You can learn more Roberta, Ramona and their books here: http:\\lampebooks.tateauthor.com.
January 15, 2011
I confess I haven’t officially made my New Year’s resolutions.
I admit that I’m not setting the blogosphere on fire with subscribers to this blog.
Enter this flyer. I’m not sure how it landed on my kitchen table, or why I was drawn to it while enjoying my usual bagel-and-peanut-butter breakfast (with a chocolate chaser). I’m glad I flipped through it, though. I found common-sense, easy-to-remember nutrition info. And, it reminded me that healthy eating should be a no-brainer when it comes to resolutions.
I found this tidbit:
What is a whole grain? Wheat flour itself is not a whole grain so make sure that the product uses the word “whole” in front of wheat. Look at the ingredients for “enriched flour.” If it is the first listed ingredient, there is more white flour than any other flour in the product. Whole grain must be listed first for it to qualify.
“Look for items with at least 2.5 grams of fiber per serving. The adequate intake for fiber is 38 grams per day for men and 25 grams per day for women.
Use the % Daily Values as a guide for vitamins and minerals. 5% or less is low and 20% or more is high.”
Like you, I check food labels. However, I mostly check calorie counts or fat grams. These simple guidelines will help me better decipher labels — and make healthier food choices.
The other lesson? Good content can stand on its own, no matter where it lives. Another resolution for me, then: Strive to write great content. Make sure it gives back and is worthy of the pixels or ink it requires, even if nobody reads it or it’s nestled among coupons.