Friday, October 28, 2011

Daily Journal


Well, I would like to write more just about every day feelings and activities, etc. I enjoy journaling immensely, and have a hard time sitting down to do so. I thought that maybe I would do it more often if I use my personal blog. So, here goes.  

I always feel better when I can say that I 'got something done' today.  I sleep better. So, today was no different.  Today was a BONUS day, in a way.  We teachers worked two evenings, so today was our compensation day.  I really enjoyed my bonus day!  I still have two more days of the weekend.  

So first, I wake up and enjoy 2 or 3 cups of bold, delicious, hot coffee.  I prefer French Roast because it bites.  My brother-in-law John calls my coffee 'crude oil'!  But now, his is just as strong. I guess he took lessons from me! Ha!

Usually Scott makes it up after I have had a few cups. Then, we sit and have another cup together.  It is a pleasant time.  We may talk about our day to come. We may talk about our evening, and if there's anything on the agenda, etc.  Then, it's visiting with Little Dog, Lucy. I take her out. Then she snuggles with Scott on his home made hand-knitted afghan that his mommy Patricia Stone Nelson made him.

Next, it's 'up and at 'em' and getting ready for the day.  Today, being a bonus day, meant that I could stay in my jammies longer!  So, I did! I did some homework.  Yeah, that's right, homework.  I am working toward a Master's in Counseling through Adams State College in Alamosa, Colorado.  It's mostly online, plus a pre-practicum face-to-face, and then, of course, later on, many, many counseling hours under a supervising counselor. So, right now, I'm reading about "Theories and Techniques of Counseling" by Gerald Corey.  It's dense reading. No, I'm not dense! The text is packed with information. I have to really focus, and digest it completely to get the most out of it.  This is my first semester.  So, I am taking 6 hours. I was told that is full time for graduate students! I didn't know that! I am working full time, going to school with 6 graduate hours, and I have a family and home to run. But, actually, it's going along pretty smoothly.  I am doing a pretty good job of balancing all of it, so far. I'm going to do as my own personal counselor advised, "Just take each class one by one, and think of it as a fruit, and just enjoy every bit of the juicy fruit as you go." And, that's just what I am doing. I am trying to live as counselors before have taught me, "Enjoy each moment and live in the present, in the here and now."

So, I did get much done after all. I studied. I organized some plastic tubs. I decorated my house a little bit more for autumn.  I organized the paint cans. I am going to eventually paint my kitchen and hall, along with my bathroom. So, I kind of sorted the cans, kept some, discarded some, etc.   All the while, Lucy was outside basking in the sun, or sniffing every leaf in her path, or running off and making me go get her! The nerve!  I visited with Gracie a little. We planned out our weekend. She has a party tonight and I took her over there.  They are going to go to a Haunted House and then hang out at her friend's home.  Oh, what else did I do?  I ironed all of the napkins that needed it. I had a pile there for weeks and weeks. Got them all finished and crispy smooth! All while I was waiting to take Grace to her party.  I just keep checking off items from the list! I love this!  

You might think that I'm stalling...I need to continue to study and read more about Gestalt Therapy. I need to be ready to take an online test tomorrow before midnight. I need to turn in a two-page report before midnight also.  Well, let me tell you, you can only read so much about theories and techniques before your mind explodes and it's time for ice cream or cookies or both!

So, I'm about ready to tackle the last 20 pages of Perls' Gestalt wisdom.  By the way, Gestalt therapy is my friend.  I believe in "I statements", and living in the now.  That's all I have. The past can torture sometimes. It can make me feel warm and fuzzy and proud to belong to my ancestors.  It can bring back buried memories. But, all I have is this moment.  And, I am going to rejoice and be glad in it!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Dear Mother

Today I sat at my desk.  It was a mess. We just got a new computer, so I was dusting with one of those fancy-dancy microfiber cloths, just to see if they really worked. Well, lo and behold! It really worked. My house looks atrocious, but my desk looks great! Well, relatively speaking it does. I have a little porcelain statue of a lady at a desk. My mom gave it to me. It reminds me that she was an Avon lady. I think she won it for super sales one year.  

Anyway, my mom was an amazing, beautiful, courageous, patriotic, opinionated, kind, humorous, intelligent, happy woman. Anyone who met her, I daresay, liked her. She had a bumper sticker on "Old Whitey" (our '65 Chevy Pick-up that my dad bought with poker winnings). The bumper sticker said, "Help Wildlife ~ Throw a Party!" And, that just about sums up my mother. She was always ready to have a good time; have a good time helping her neighbor, have a good time teaching 3rd graders, have a good time traveling the world each summer by carefully saving dollars she set aside from her teacher's salary. She was intelligent; but more than that, she was wise. When daddy died at such a young age (54), she let us know, "You can't wait until you retire to do the things you want to do." It was really a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because she only lived two years after she retired. That is mind-boggling. I still can't fathom that my lively mother has passed away. She was much too full of life to leave us. But, the fact of the matter is, she has passed away. But, her memory, her lessons, her legacy lives on. 

My parents did not profess to be Christians. However, they were the type to pick up strangers on the road and take them to get their tire fixed. My mom was the type to cook a meal for a family of 10, when the parents were emotionally broken down and one was in the hospital.    
Today in church, a few verses out of the scripture that was read really resounded with me. (Matthew 25: 35, 36, 40) "I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you received me in your homes, naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me, in prison and you visited me."  I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did it for me!"  That was the type of parents I had. They didn't go to church (unless Roberta and I were singing in our "Band of Love Choir".  They honestly thought that churches were full of hypocrites.  I believe they didn't know about the free grace of God.  However, another curious fact is that one of my mom's favorite songs of all time was "The Old Rugged Cross."  I think my mom had Jesus in her heart, not in a building. 

When Mom was in the hospital the day before she died, our dear family friend said to me, "Suzie, your mom was such a wonderful person. She was always doing for others."  This is true.  I am blessed to be the daughter of Johnnie Louis Payne Myers.  Love you Mom.
So, I am offering a wonderful recipe from my dear mother, my favorite of all sweets ~  homemade ice cream.  I hope you enjoy it! 
 Mom's Ice Cream
Beat 2 cups sugar and 4 eggs until creamy.
Add 1 Tablespoon vanilla, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 2 large cans evaporated milk, 1 instant vanilla pudding mix.
Mix all together.  Put in ice cream freezer; fill to 1 inch from the top with milk or cream.  Makes 1 gallon. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Father's Favorite

It was a cloudy day... not one I was particularly enjoying. After all, we just returned from Arizona, where the weather was pleasant and the air was warm and the sun was comforting. But, we were glad to be home, in our own beds, attending worship with our church family, and celebrating another Father's Day. 

I asked my husband Scott (father of Jason, Tim, Philip and Grace!) what he would like for Father's Day Dinner. He (not surprisingly) requested Chicken Divan. Not just any Chicken Divan, but "Aunt Speedy's Chicken Divan". And, I had all of the ingredients for "Miss Polly's Fruit Salad". Polly was our family friend growing up in Maricopa, Arizona.  Polly brought her fruit salad to our house when my daddy had died. Isn't that ironic? I made my favorite fruit salad that was given to my family at the time my father passed away, on Father's Day.  I was a picky eater. I didn't like stuff mixed up together very much. But Polly changed all that.

So, as a token of love, the kids helped by dicing chicken and smashing crackers! I used my new Cuisinart hand emulsion/immersion blender to fluff up and smooth out any chunks in the cream soups. Wow! Did that make a difference!  I used my Pampered Chef (no, I'm not getting paid by these places!) small microwaveable covered vented pan to heat and melt the cheese and soups together.  

Well, maybe because it was a glorious, sunny Father's Day after all. Then again, maybe it was because I used my handy dandy blender to mix the flavors to perfection. Or maybe it was because I actually followed Aunt Speedy's recipe to the tee. On the other hand, it might have been the fresh the broccoli from Scott's garden. What about that it was because dinner was an hour later than planned and we were really hungry?

Whatever the reason, this Father's Day, complete with some fun gifts, great company, fond memories and tasty dishes, was a Father's Day to remember.

Aunt Speedy's Chicken Divan
6 chicken breasts, cooked, deboned, reserving broth
3 10-oz. packages frozen broccoli, cooked, drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 4-oz. can sliced mushrooms
1/2 lb. Velveeta cheese, cut into cubes
1/2 package saltine crachers, crushed
celery salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In buttered 9 x 13 baking dish, place crackers on bottom.  Arrange cooked broccoli on top.  Layer chicken on top of the broccoli.  Set aside.  In saucepan, combine soups, 3/4 c. reserved chicken broth, mushrooms and Velveeta cheese.  Place over low heat stirring until cheese is melted.  Pour mixture over broccoli, sprinkle with paprika and celery salt.  Bake uncovered for approximately 30-45 minutes.

(Side note from family cookbook:  This is another favorite of Jason and Tim, who were eating broccoli at a very young age! Tim impressed Suzie's friend Sara (at Scott and Suzie's wedding), who couldn't believe a kid would eat their vegetables, at age 9!)   

Miss Polly's 5 Cup Fruit Salad

1 cup mandarin oranges
1 cup crushed pineapple (drained)
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup coconut
1 cup sour cream
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (optional)

Mix together. Garnish with mandarin slices and/or pecan halves on top. 

Happy Cooking, Eating and Enjoying Everyone!
Chicken Divan and Lilies From the Garden

Father's Place Setting, Complete with Homemade Card from Grace

Miss Polly's 5-Cup Fruit Salad Pairs Nicely With a Sip of Red Wine

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Make a Joyful Noise!!!

As the Psalmist writes in Psalm 33:2, "Praise the LORD with the harp. Make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre."  Our family loves to do just that.  So, when my husband Scott asked Grace to play with him in worship a few Sundays ago, she jumped on the chance to earn lettering points!  This was Grace's first time playing her flute in our church service.  I hope you enjoy the video. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Today Marks the 36th Anniversary of my Father's Passing

I visited Maricopa. My sister and I stopped by to see "Daddy's Tree".

~~ memorial plaque at  Maricopa Community Church ~~
My father, Charles Robert Myers (January 21, 1921 - March 4, 1975) was a 'great teacher, coach and friend'. So reads the inscription on the plaque that is displayed at our hometown church, Maricopa Community Church, in our desert town in central Arizona.  

Charles came from wonderful stock! His parents Fannie Lillian Daugherty and James Rogers Myers were beautiful, intelligent and educated.  My own son and daughter will be 4th generation college graduates, with hope and prayer, and when it is all said and done.  J. R., his father, was a pharmacist.  I have always thought it would be awesome if we could have some young person carry on that profession. Family out there, do we have anyone in the field, or do we have any takers? 

He never gave up the fight throughout life.  He was a small man. But, that didn't stop him from becoming a World War II Marine; one of the few and proud.  He was a Golden Gloves boxer (to this day, I don't get it... :) ) He was as tough as they come.  He had the fire for perseverance and endurance.  He taught his two daughters (one prissy and one not so prissy) how to persevere and endure. In the summer time, the living wasn't always so easy, with Coach Myers for a dad! He would make us run to the school, do pull-ups on the bar.  I would do my best to silently whine, thinking, "Daddy, we are not your team! Why are you making us do this??? It's summer! We should be watching 'One Life to Live'  or  'Dark Shadows' instead of being involved in this type of physical torture!"

He kept on coaching and teaching, right up until the end, when he could no longer fight against his killer, cancer. 

Charles Robert Myers, circa 1942
Charles, Charlie, Chuck, Speed; he had many nicknames. Those who knew him were blessed to have him for the 54 short years.  He will not soon be forgotten.  Rest in peace, Daddy.  We love you and miss you.

Fruita 8/9 Band Earns 3 Superior Ratings!!!

Grace's Fruita 8/9 band performed and competed in the regional Colorado State Qualifier Competition on Monday, February 28, 2011.  It was a splendid show.  The band earned 3 Superior ratings. I am a proud mama! You wanna know why?  My daughter played a solo and she did such a wonderful job!  Way to go Fruita 8/9 and soloists! I hope you enjoy this video!