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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fun in the Pumpkin Patch!

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, everywhere...
And these are the two cutest punkin's in my patch!
Happy Halloween to all...
Praying your day has been filled to overflowing with
Sweet Treats of Grace and Goodness,
Always,  Jane

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Weary World Travelers are Home!

The adventures of world travel...

Delayed Flights. . . Cancelled Flights. . . Missed Flights. . .

Check-In Lines. . . Custom & Immigration Lines. . . TSA Lines. . .

Stuffed Luggage. . . Lost (and Found) Luggage. . . Wet Luggage. . .

Thank you American Airlines and Hurricane Sandy for an Experience of a Lifetime (and one we wish never to repeat!)

And as bumpy as our trip home was, we know it is nothing compared to the turbulence the East Coast is now experiencing...our hearts and prayers go out to all in the path of this incredibly destructive hurricane.  May you find a Grace bigger than your circumstances to carry you through and the support of so many around the world to lift you up...

But, after weeks of travel, fun, relaxing and exploring, we are home!  Is there anything sweeter?  And nothing can take away the traveling joy of the past weeks... I am still in awe of the wonders we saw, not to mention the spirit-refreshing moments of soaking in the Mediterannean beauty!

Good Friends!
Good Food!
Good for the Soul!
Now, to dig out from under the mountain of laundry and love on our grandbabies for a bit!!  Oh, we've missed you!  (Babies, not Laundry!)  And this jet-lag thing...ready to be back on Farm-Time!!
Sweet Home...So happy to be here...Richer for all the moments we captured in the Mediterannean and have tucked away in our hearts!  And of course captured in digital splendor (I told you there were pictures!  More to come in days ahead!!)
Love to each,  Jane

Friday, October 19, 2012


Good morning from beautiful Italy...

This past week has been nothing short of a fairytale. Visiting a land so steeped in history, culture and beauty is sheer pleasure. We have ooohed and aaaawed all week, delighting in this little bit of paradise.

...the immensity of centuries of humanity in Rome, crumbling walls spilling their stories,

...the time-travel effect of entering the medieval, walled city of Lucca, graceful and timeless,

...the natural beauty of the vineyards of Montecarlo in Tuscany, wine-sweetened bliss,

...the sacred cathedrals whispering God's love through the ages in worn stone and shimmering mosaics,

...the breath-taking wonder of a drive along the Amalfi coast,

...the charming cafe perched precariously on the side of the cliffs of Positano overlooking a serene Mediterranean sea, all drenched in sun and hospitality...

Does it get any better? My heart is on overload.

God's Grace in Postcard Perfection...
p.s. Pictures to follow in days to come.  Seriously... so many pictures!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Legacy-Living Mediterranean Style

That's mom in Venice in the Fall of 2008.  Just 2 short years before she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer...
Traveling with Dad was one of her favorite things.  And they traveled a lot!  England, France, Spain, Italy, Panama, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska...and a hundred other places in-between.  I'm so glad she was able to live her dreams... No regrets.  And she didn't let cancer stop her either. Traveling with Cancer was not easy, but was perhaps the best medicine for her during that last year... 
She loved the adventure, the meeting of new friends, the sampling of a new culture, the chance to behold the world's majestic beauty.  It became another facet of her legacy.  The hunger to see places she'd only read about.  To see that for all our differences, we're really simply just the same.  And I love that about her.
I think she would be thrilled to know that Leroy and I are heading for the Mediterranean tomorrow morning.  Oh, so excited!  It is a trip of a lifetime for us.  And one we thought we'd wait for retirement to experience...
Mom's journey through pancreatic cancer taught us that we are never promised more than the breathe we just took.  Waiting for life to begin isn't living at all.  And so...
Tomorrow we set off on a 2-week adventure of our own.  Can you hear my heart pounding?!!
We're packed, have passports in hand, and our too giddy to sleep!
We leave Dallas tomorrow on a plane bound for Barcelona where we will board our beautiful, floating resort (a.k.a. cruise ship) and sail the beautiful Mediterranean...
We are legacy-living in her foot-steps, and I can't wait to visit the very places she adored.  Will hopefully be able to post pictures and updates along the journey...
So, Lord willing and the creek don't rise, we are on our way!
                                             Bon Voyage Blessings to you,

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pie Bliss

Some weekends are just made for...  PIE!!!

And not just your ordinary, pluck-it-from-the-freezer, pop-it-in-the-oven kind of pie.  But the real-deal!  Well, ok, pie crust is freezer-perfect, but the rest... my mouth is watering all over again just thinking about it!

It all started out with the cool front coming in this weekend.  And by cool front, I mean, we went from 89 on Friday to mid-40's this morning... Yikes, stoke up the wood-stove, get out the mittens.  And then we remembered the tomato plants...

Luscious, Red, Vine-Ripened, Kissed by the Dew Tomatoes.
Is there anything better?
Well, actually....
Juicy, Green, Beautiful Fruit-on-the-Vine Tomatoes.
With no time to Ripen before the frost!
Mother-in-law extraordinaire to the rescue
with her ageless Green Tomato Pie Recipe.
Amazing transformation of these rescued green tomatoes...
Green Tomato Pie
                                            ~ compliments of Millie,
                                                          favorite mom-in-law
1 double pie crust
1-1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup + 3 Tbsp flour
1-1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
4 cups sliced and quartered green tomatoes
1-1/4 tsp grated lemon peel
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
Mix filling together, pour into crust, dab with butter, cover with top crust.
Flute edges of crust together, cut slits in top.
Bake at 425 for 45 minutes.
 Mmmmmm, mouth-watering yummy....
Seriously, how can something green taste so good?!
Seconds, please...
Pie Bliss on the Farm this weekend.
Out-smarting the cold snap in the most delicious of ways!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Do Overs...

There is a question that we get asked often...
Would you change anything if you had the journey to do over?
Such a difficult, tender topic.  I can only speak from our personal experience and hope that the words make sense to the ones needing answers for the horrific decisions they are being asked to make.  Pancreatic Cancer doesn't play fair, nor is there a play book to follow, no right or wrong way to feel...each journey uniquely woven into the lives of all who love them...
The following excerpt from a recent note speaks to just how devastating and difficult those decisions can be...

My mother just turned 70, never sick a day in her life, she went in the hospital for the removal of her gallbladder and did not feel any relief from the nausea she had been having. She came home two days ago after spending three weeks in the hospital. She has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer with mets to her liver. We are heart broken, and as I sit reading your journey I cry . We have not seen an oncologist yet but I know my mother is questioning to whether it will be worth it. My sister and I are nurses, and I have seen worse things than death.  I struggle with what is worse, a painful treatment or the early loss of my mother. If you had the journey to do over, would you have changed anything?

Dear Heart Broken One,

Thank you for your sweet note, and oh, I feel your heartache. There is nothing easy about this diagnosis. Please know that you are not alone. I so remember exactly what you are feeling. Mom's journey with pancreatic cancer was at once the most difficult thing and the most "graced" thing that we have ever gone through. I can honestly say, now looking back, that we were given a gift of time with her. Do I wish we had never heard the word pancreatic cancer - absolutely!!! I could live a thousand lifetimes and not go through the pain and anguish with her again. But because of mom's strength and attitude, we were blessed to delve deeper, love tighter and treasure completely. I would never give that up...

Would we have done anything differently? Such a hard question. You're a nurse, so you understand much more of the medical journey than most. Mom was a nurse too, and she accepted from almost the day of her diagnosis that she was terminal. But... she also was very willing to embrace treatment, and as you can see thru the website, she endured chemo and radiation. And I don't say that lightly. She truly suffered thru much of the treatment. There were days, especially at her sickest, that she was ready to stop all treatment. And we, her family, could only agree. It was beyond difficult to watch the chemo and radiation ravage her body. However, the side effects would invariably lighten, and then mom's optimistic spirit would rise and the laughter would bubble up from somewhere deep and off we'd go... We believe that the treatments gave us that year with mom. Her initial prognosis was only 3-6 months. So, no, she would not have changed a thing about her treatment (this I know, because we talked about it often!)

The one thing I would have changed (my brothers too) is we wish we could have talked her into going down to MD Anderson Hospital in Houston, TX. We all live in the Dallas area. She had great doctors here, but we always thought that maybe a top-notch cancer hospital (a.k.a. MD Anderson) might have given her some options not available here. We will never know, and she chose to have her treatment here at home so she could be surrounded by her family, her grandchildren and her friends. Having that emotional support is really almost as important as the medical, so we have come to accept that that was part of her journey, and it was her journey. I have learned that respecting those wishes are paramount to finding peace in this nightmare of cancer fall-out.

And here is the thing that none of us would change...The time that we spent with mom and dad after her diagnosis. The cancer diagnosis striped out all the superficial and trivial problems of daily living and let us focus on our relationship and building memories. The love was abundant, so were the tears, but none of us have any regrets. Our grief now is tempered by the blessings of that last year. Her smiles, her laughter, her words of endearment - all are tucked away in our hearts. We had time to wrestle with the tough stuff - and no, we didn't do it all at once. The past year was a roller coaster, but the treasure was in having the moments, and knowing they were the "moments". And that was the Grace Gift.

I am not sure if this makes sense at all... you have touched on such a tender topic. One that I know many families wrestle with. And there is no one right answer. We pray.  We wrestle.  We hush.  We listen...  And somewhere along the way find the strength to take the next step...

I am trusting in a Sovereign God to light your path and show you each step for the journey ahead. May you find there is always Grace enough for each day,