Apr 29, 2012


Years ago, my grandparents were in a local musical group called the Grandmas & Grandpas, and their motto was "we'd rather wear out than rust out".  That phrase came to my mind this past Friday night, when my brother Don threw a head shaving party in preparation for his upcoming cancer treatments.  About 100 family and friends gathered to show love and support. The event, dubbed "Chemo-HAIR-apy" was held at the Emerge Ministries location where Don is Vice President and a practicing Christian psychologist.  He turned it into a fund-raiser to benefit the Children's Center at Emerge.

 Don has been pushing through this cancer battle ever since his Multiple Myeloma diagnosis came last November.  To say he has been an inspiration is way understating the impact his positive attitude and unwavering faith in God has been on a myriad of people around the world.  (Our local newspaper ran a front page article with his story on February 17, 2012 and it has continued to be picked up by papers as far away as China and Australia. He is still receiving personal notes from strangers from all over the place!)

In about a week, Don is scheduled to be admitted to University Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio to undergo the greatest challenge yet in his journey.  The day before his autologous stem cell transplant, a very strong and toxic chemotherapy drug will be administered in hopes of killing off any remaining cancer cells.  Don has an amazing head of thick hair for a 59 year old man, so the head shaving party as an alternative to losing it in clumps from the drug's side effects was an effort to put a positive spin on a dreaded reality.

Don invited folks to do something silly with their hair.  Our brother Bob was quick to oblige:

Hubby and I wore hair bows:

And my mom did THIS:

We all ate some pizza, salad, and cookies and there were pens and papers on the tables for attendees to write personal notes to Don.  For a small price, folks could throw a whipped cream pie at a volunteer from the Emerge staff.

Most people know that Don detests men's pink shirts, but just for fun he was willing to wear one!

Here I am with Don and John Palmer, President of Emerge Ministries

Some of the family right before the shave

Marcie, Don's wife, looks on as the head shaving begins...

Don is saying something like "I think you are cutting a little shorter than usual"

Now that wasn't so bad, was it?

The evening ended with John Palmer leading us in prayer, asking God to do what the doctors aren't able to...

Don being pushed by one of his grandchildren..

and loving on two of mine.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Philippians 4:13

Apr 7, 2012

Spring has truly sprung...

March has come and gone and it is Easter weekend already! I'll pedal back another day to recount my busy life between the buns, but just wanted to post a few pictures of how I have been de-stressing this past week.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I gravitate to the kitchen when I need a creative outlet and a chance to play.

It was hubby's birthday a couple days ago, and we had a low-key celebration over here...

We decided to go out to eat this year for our Easter dinner, but I still felt the need for a little tradition...so we colored some eggs...

I thought they were just beautiful, but the little artists wanted to decorate them even more with craft paint.  That ended up being a lot of fun!

Yesterday I had some time all to myself, and I made a batch of these apricot thumbprints...

Very easy!  Here's how:  Heat oven to 350 ℉.  Mix 1/2 cup shortening, 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 egg yolks, and 1 tsp. vanilla.  Add 2 cups flour and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Roll dough into balls and dip into slightly beaten egg whites.  Then roll in 1 1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts.

Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  Press thumb gently into center of each ball.  Bake about 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and fill centers with jelly.  Return to oven and bake 2-3 minutes longer.  Carefully remove cookies to cooling rack. Makes 3-4 dozen thumbprint cookies.

I couldn't let Easter go by without making hot cross buns.  You can see the recipe here.

The hardest part of making these is waiting patiently for the dough to rise until it doubles in size.

But when it does, just knead it slightly, then form rolls and place on cookie sheets and allow to rest 30 minutes before baking...

I found myself in the kitchen again this morning by about 4:30! I wanted to get the crosses on the hot cross buns in time for my hubby to take some to his early morning men's group.  For some reason I felt the need to boil more eggs and bake more cupcakes (???) ...

Now I'm busy packaging some of this stuff up to give away becaue I sure can't have it all sitting around here!

I'm also putting the finishing touches on these little wooden Easter boxes that I found at the thrift store earlier in the year for less than 50 cents each!  I bought one for each of the six grandchildren and filled them with a chocolate bunny, chocolate eggs, and some tiny jelly beans.  

I'm grateful for so many things this holiday...for a mild winter and now springtime; for a time of focus and contemplation during the Lenten season, for wonderful memories of past Easters with family, friends, and at church; and most of all, for a Risen Savior who died that I might live.  Peace and love to all as we celebrate the glorious day with millions everywhere! 

"He is not here, for he has risen, just as he said"  Mathew 28:6