"I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told." -Mark Twain


Simple Sundays

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

When the storm clouds of life seem to take over our existence God promises us that he will guard us through it all.  Take your storms to the Lord in prayer. 


Buns In The Oven......

I love to cook. I have always loved to cook. I have made cinammon rolls for as long as I can remember.  Yes, they are time consuming, but SO worth the effort.  BUT if you use the cinammon roll recipe from Pioneer Woman's new cookbook, you will become a cinammon roll-making-fool!

The recipe is fast and easy.

It makes a lot of rolls with one recipe....Which is a good thing because they disappear very quickly!

The dough can sit in the icebox for three days....just waiting on you to roll them into deliciousness.

I work full-time teaching high school English. That provides me with lots of homework each night.  I have to commute 40 minutes each way to work. Then two or three days per week, after work, I have to go 40 minutes the opposite direction from my home (and work) to visit and take care of my mom. (She has been bed-ridden since October.)  The point of this is that no matter how busy we are, these are super quick and easy to make. Almost every time I go to visit my parents I take several pans of cinammon rolls and bake them after I get there.
These cinammon rolls are a treat.  They are delicious.  They can be made quickly, no matter HOW busy you are.  I have added extra ingredients as well, such as brown sugar, raisins and nuts.
Check out the Pioneer Woman cookbook.
Your tastebuds will thank me!


About This Blog Thing......

SOOOOOO, I wanted to make my blog look a lot a little better.  This was about the third or fourth day I began blogging.  I am one of those that is scared to click on anything because I am scared I will either 1. delete something important FOREVER!!!! or 2. mess it up so bad that it just is not worth it.  My husband is a computer man.  That is what he does for a living.  He does not understand my phobia about totally messing and/or losing everything up on my computer.  (But on the other hand I do not understand the fact that he does not love to read great books, so we get along great!) ANYway, soon after I began blogging I wanted my blog to look as wonderful as all the blogs I read.  I tried putting the wallpaper on the back.  No luck.  I tried adding the buttons on the side.  Only part of them work.  I tried to figure out how to put my signature on the blog. Nothing. I tried to figure out how to "frame" my photo's. Nope. I tried to make my photos bigger. Nada.  Get the picture?  I am computer illiterate....to say the least.  Then one day I clicked on the button that is on the far right on the toobar when one is typing their blog. The button says "insert jump break".  I had no idea what that meant so I clicked it again.  (I was thinking one click = on, click again = off.) Uhmmm, not so much. I have no idea what else I clicked, but now every single time I go to post pics, only part of them show.  I have tried everything.  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.  I guess I will either have to break down and ask my hubby for help, or find one of the great women that do this (so easily) for a living and hire my blog format to be done. 
IN THE MEANTME---I was going to share something that I actually CAN control and  something that I actually DO have a little knowledge of.  If anyone is looking for a quick and easy way to enhance your photographs and you do not own Photoshop, then I would suggest picnik.com.  You can get a whole battery of photo enhancing for free.  For an additional $20something per YEAR you get even more photo enhancing abilities.  They are quick, easy and oh-so-fun!

Here I took a picture I took in color, changed it to black and white and then just put a color focal point on his face. (This is my nephew Ford. Isn't he handsome?)

Here is my photo as I took it.  Then after I changed it to black and white. 

Here is a photo of my daughters that I cropped to show just them (and the table!).  I then put the primary focus on the girls and blurred all the edges.  I also toned down the color.

Here is a picture of my kids (and one nephew) where just for fun--and experimenting--I added all the hats, balloons, strings, words, etc.  The original picture is just the kids standing on the bridge.  Every season Picnik adds special affects to match the season.  They also have a standard line.

People think I "fixed" the log the kids are on, but this was actually a log my children stood on at the edge of the lake.  That part is really true.  I did enhance--or downplay--the color some and do some blurring of the edges.  I love this picture!

Same picture I just added Santa hats and a quote.

Same picture I just made it into a Christmas card.  Yep, there are LOTS of card ideas to choose from!

Lots of collage ideas and options as well.

All sizes of collages.

You can put "sparkle" in eyes, change eye colors and make teeth whiter.  In this one, I enhanced my niece Caroline's eyes, blurred the edges and used the graphics.

In this one I enhanced the color. I wanted the wheat field to be very golden.  I blurred the edges and I actually cropped a sixth person from the picture, since I only wanted my chlidren in the picture!

In this one I took all the color out except the blues. I blurred it some.  (This was my take on the Beatles "Abbey Road" but uhmmmm, not so good!  This is more like "Robots on Parade"!)  I will try it again sometime!

Here is the same picture and I used the "60's Look" idea. (Same dorky Robot picture tho!)

Now you see him.......

Now you don't.  The magic of cropping!
I really am trying to get this blog thing down.  Stick with me while I figure it out.  In the meantime, check on Picnik.com and look at all the great things you can do!


Simple Sundays

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. (Psalm 46:1-3)

There is nothing to add to this perfect verse.  God is there for us when everything around us is failing.  He never, ever leaves us.  Is there anything more comforting than that? (Photo taken in Ireland by my daughter or my niece.  Sorry, I can't remember which of you took it!)


Christmas Decorations....In July!

Last December (2008), when Christmas was over my daughter and I went out for the after Christmas sales.  I already knew that my niece was getting married on July 4, 2009.  I saw all the decorations and lights and candles on sale, and I thought....."hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm".  I called my brother and sister-in-law and told them I was at Wal-Mart and Hobby Lobby where I was finding Christmas decor from 50-80% off.  I asked them if they wanted me to pick anything up for the wedding.  They told me to get whatever I thought they could use.  I knew the wedding was going to be silver, creams, blues and a little bit of red, so it wasn't too hard to shop!  The first two pictures show my daughter Taylor with one of our two baskets of candles.  Lots and lots and lots of pillar and votive candles for at least 50% off!  Then on to Hobby Lobby where we found lots and lots of giant silver balls.  We bought LOTS of them.  Many different sizes, but all relatively large. Then we found the cute blue hearts.  Then we found lots of ribbon in silvers and creams.  We also threw in a few of the regular glass balls.  I knew we could use them on the reception tables or in hurricanes or somewhere.  ...And don't they look cute in the ferns?
The candles were used in the church and at the reception.  The reception was held in the bride's parents backyard.  We spent several days decorating and getting ready. One picture is the bride putting some of the ornaments under one of the many venues for guests.  Don't they look beautiful hanging from ribbon and fishing wire?  When the (Christmas) twinkling lights were on at night it was just magical.
And the best part is the bride and groom had all kinds of decorations for their first Christmas.  Every time they look at them they can remember the night of their magical wedding!
SOOOOO, when you are looking at Christmas decorations, think outside the (tinsel) box!!!


Simple Sundays

" All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be."
(Psalm 139:16) 

How humbling it is to be reminded that each of our days is known long before we ever put our own plans into fruition.  How WONDERFUL it is to know that each of our days is known, and that God's hand is in each of our days. 

I have spent almost a week celebrating my first fifty years. I have been reminded again how grateful I am to be a 'child' of God. 
Thank you to everyone for making this such a special week.  


Give. Pray.

Does anyone else have trouble watching the newscast of the devastation in Haiti?  To say it is heartbreaking is an understatement.  Pray for that the relief workers will be able to get to where they are needed most.  Pray for the families that have been ripped apart.
My daughter is a Volunteer Coordinator for the American Red Cross. She and her fellow workers have been working around the clock to get aid to Haiti.  They are sending workers, food, medicine, and so many things that are needed. Now they just have to ahve a way to get them into the areas that are suffering.
There are two things we can do to help.  Give. Even a nominal amount will help. Pray. God hears every prayer.
An easy way to give is to text "Haiti" to 90999 to give $10 to the Red Cross. It will be on your next phone bill. There has been an enormous outpouring of generous and loving people that have done this.
Please take the time. Give. Pray.
"If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:17-18


50 Thoughts

I decided a long time ago not to let this (massive) number hang over my head like a pall. After all, I am in fact only a day older than yesterday and almost half-way to my final goal. (See # 37). There are many things I have not done that I wanted to do by now: write a book, or two, or ten; become fit and thin; become accomplished at something…anything; leave happiness in my wake. But on the other hand, I don’t feel mentally old (is that a good thing?). I still feel young, spirited and alert. Physically some days I feel 20 and some days I feel 90, but that is almost always my own fault. With that in mind my 50 Thoughts on the big 50 day. (They are in no particular order or depth of meaning):

1. 50 is the new 30. At least in my rule book.

2. The older I get, the more I try to understand other people’s point(s) of view.

3. I cannot remember when I have not read at least one book per month. I hope that continues for the next 51 years as well.

4. If I never saw snow again I would truly be fine with that. Snow and cold are both four-letter words in my world.

5. I think the word “NORMAL” should be removed from all dictionaries, vocabularies and erased from people’s minds and standards.

6. I love politics but have a strong-dislike for politicians.

7. I think people on chronic welfare should have to pass drug-tests before getting their benefits.

8. I believe in ghosts.

9. I believe in guardian angels. I am “living” proof! Tim thinks I’ve worn out several!!

10. I think we all meddle too much in things that are not any of our business.

11. I still get goose bumps every time I hear the Star Spangled Banner or see a flag waving in the wind.

12. I always sing “home of the BRAVE” when I sing the Anthem. And I think of the BRAVE as I sing it. I really don’t even understand the debate over the issue…..(Sooner fans).

13. The number 13 is one of my three favorite numbers. I’m weird like that.

14. I think pedicures are a necessity. I used to work extra-duty to treat myself to pedicures. Now I treat myself to pedicures BECAUSE I have to work extra (non-paying) duty!

15. All children should be read to before Day 1 and every day thereafter.

16. This bugs me: One has to have 10 hours of Foreign Language to get a Bachelor’s degree at college but only SIX hours of English to get the same degree!

17. When a person works with young people each day they tend to stay “younger”.

18. I don’t require very much sleep. I tend to stay up very, very late. I keep thinking I will outgrow it. Not yet!!

19. If the weather was good, I would swim every single day.

20. At Parent/Teacher conferences I always start the conference with something good about the student involved. (No matter what!!!) I always have and always will. Sometimes it is near impossible too!

21. I took me way too long to accept I was going to be taller than everyone else. What a waste that I hated it for so long!

22. No matter how many times (a day) I hear, “But I don’t like to read”, it still shocks me. It’s probably the same shock they would feel if I said, “I don’t really like TV”!!!!!!!

23. I don’t really like TV much. When I do watch it, it has to be a good suspenseful mystery, college football or the cooking channel.

24. Weird and Personal Alert: I always make sure my bra and panties match and they always coordinate with what I am wearing that day!

25. I wish I had known at 25 what I have learned at 50. Youth truly is wasted on the young.

26. I love animals. I LOVE my animals. They bring a whole other dimension to our lives.

27. My great-great-grandmother got my middle name from a street in New Orleans. Then the name just kept getting passed down to each generation. (Lucky me!!)

28. I could honestly eat some kind of chocolate every single day. If that chocolate came only in the form of brownies that would be fine too.

29. I always wanted six kids. Tim wanted two. We compromised. Ha! (I like to think the various kids that have stayed at our house through the years are my number six.)

30. Cooking is a stress reliever.

31. I remember dates (birthdays, historical events) very, very well. I’ve got a little Raingirl in me I think!

32. I first met Tim when I was four years old. He was staying with Zeke, and Rusty and I had to walk down to Zeke’s house to play with him.

33. I have a grammar and/or literature textbook from my great-grandparents an all four sides. (Ferguson, Flanagan, Stogsdill and O’Connor)

34. I would like to own a book store with lots of comfy chairs and natural light. I would make home-made goodies to take into the book store each day to sell.

35. I once had a student tell Annie that he had planned to commit suicide. Then I had the class read Edgar Allan Poe stories. After that he realized other people suffered some of the same thoughts he had and it made him feel better. Now I always make sure I teach at least two Edgar Allan Poe pieces every year.

36. I miss all my grandparents more and more the older I get.

37. I want to live to be 101.

38. I love the underdog.

39. I think Veterans should be treated by the public –and the government---like Kings (and Queens).

40. Everyone should spend time in a nursing home or a retirement home volunteering and just listening.

41. Never, ever underestimate the power of prayer. God is gracious and good.

42. I really need glasses. And a new knee. (And a facelift.)

43. I wish I had fresh flowers around me all the time.

44. Being the word aficionado that I am, I plan to put the “fun” into “funeral”. Mine will be a time of story-telling, good food and of course Boomer Sooner to send me off.

45. I have more family than the Average Chick. I am LUCKY that way. On both sides my family members are quick to help and use their talents for each other. There are so many of us that we can do just about anything.

46. My parents were practical and wise as well as loving. They not only taught, they have shown us the true meaning of benevolence.

47. God’s hand was clearly in the matchup of Tim and Lori. He is the practical to my emotional, the TV to my books, the steady to my waves, the laid-back to my rants, the nurturer to my soul. I am craaazzzzzy in love with that man.

48. I love my children more than life itself.

49. I always remember my Grammie saying “Kids are goats. Children are people. Call them children not goats.” Once in a while I slip up, but I always hear her voice when I do!!

50. Going to the children’s ballgames---even in freezing snow storms, plays, band concerts (even when they could barely play), vocal concerts, church pageants, teas, science fairs, camps, conferences and sleep-overs have been the best days of my life.


Winter Beauty

In Oklahoma our winter is far worse than we usually have.  Our Christmas week found us all snowed in and unable to travel even short distances.  There is no one that hates snow and cold worse than I do.  When I get this attitude, God has to remind me there is beauty in everything.  The lake where I grew up actually froze.  That has only happened three times since they have been keeping record.  There was snow everywhere and we looked out the window and the sun was shining on the hills across the lake.  Somehow, a red glow was coming off the hills. Paired with the snow and ice it was absolutely beautiful.  I tried to go out on the deck to take some pictures, but the deck was so icy it was hard to stand and get a good picture.  I was determined to get something though to remember the winter beauty.  It was God's own version of decorating for Christmas!


Simple Sunday's

Matthew 7:14
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
What a simple message. How many of us ignore it?  Make 2010 the year to go through that gate and find that road to life!


And So This Is Christmas.......Or Should I Say..."On The Twelth Day of Christmas"......

When I was piling up my Christmas decorations from the kitchen and little nooks and crannies around the house I just began piling it up on the kitchen table.  I would go down the hall and pick up a few Santas, into the laundry room and gather up Santa's suit, into the bathroom and get Santa off the scales, each time coming back to the kitchen table.  As I passed through once the words to the John Lennon's "And So This Is Christmas" ran through my head.  All the different Christmas decorations waiting to be put away in their own crates looked SO much like "and so this is Christmas." 
That was a week ago!  Ha!  Finally I got the decorations all put up. Yesterday!!!!  So now the song, "On the Twelfth Day of Christmas" has to be sung.  I can pretend that we did indeed mean to celebrate the Twelfth Night or the Feast of the Epiphany, but truth be told, I was just lazy.
I love Christmas.  I love putting up the decorations.  I love the red and green of Christmas. (gasp, gasp, gasp...this is so unlike the current trend!!!).  This year I told myself that I would FOR SURE have everything crated up and put away before the new year.  So I began to take it down.  And then I would (heavy sigh) take a break and quit for a while.  Then the new year was here, but we were still celebrating Christmas.  (Really, because of the weather here on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, our usual 'several' Christmases with various parts of the family, got extended over eight more days.  Then I had an excuse as to why I did not meet my 'before the new year' deadline.  So then my deadline became "before I start back to school" (I am a high school English teacher).  By then I was down to my last weekend before school.  I had papers to grade and a second semester to map out.  The pile on the table grew taller as I kept picking things up from here and there, but nothing ever got put away.  Then we had a death in the family and school was starting again and the non-routine routine of my life was beginning again, and still Christmas sat on my kitchen table and throughout my house.  F-I-N-A-L-L-Y, as I left for school yesterday, I left a note for my sleeping college-age-son-home-on-his-break to get the Christmas crates out of storage and we would load them up together when I got home.  He is very good to help me when I ask.  The crates were waiting.  We loaded things up.  Santas have their own (THREE!!!) crates.  Kitchen decor in another (two or three). Dining room decor in two more.
Christmas tree decorations in their own special buckets.  Christmas trees in their bags.  It is a Big Ordeal to get Christmas put away.....and "so this is Christmas"...put away for another year. Only after we have celebrated many times, reminisced on Christmases past, eaten lots of goodies, sat mesmerized by the lights,  reflected on the true meaning of Christmas and made promises of keeping the Christmas spirit alive all year, did we finally get Christmas put away.  It does feel good and clean and fresh to get it all put up, but there is another little part of me that knows there is nothing more beautiful than our home at Christmas. I know it is not just the decorations, but the love and giving spirit that is so easily shared that makes Christmas beautiful...And so, as we completed our own true version of the twelfth night I once again reflected on the magic of Christmas and vowed to keep Christmas "out" for twelve months in my own heart and spirit.


Just a reminder..........

A little something to help us all remember, since a lot of us are stuck in the snow and ice....(And many of us are not used to this type of weather)....

Six months from now, the Fourth of July will be over and we will all be experiencing summer's (beautiful) heat!


My Redbird Radar

Use what talents you possess; the world would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best. --Henry Van Dyke

When I was growing up we made (at least) weekly trips to see my grandparents who lived in a little town about 21 miles from us. Many times the trip would take place on a Sunday after church. Also at my grandparents house would be my many, many cousins and my aunts and uncles. The Sunday afternoons we spent eating and playing at my grandparents with cousins and extended family are like little treasures in my mind. It takes just something little to remind me of those days when life was pretty near perfect. Even when we would go to my grandparent's house on days other than those perfect Sunday's, we always found something special to do. On the non-Sunday's when we would arrive, more often than not at least one, if not both, of my grandparents would be seated at the kitchen table. They might be eating or reading the daily paper, looking through mail or seed and flower catalogs, or discussing the price of cattle and wheat. While most friends that I knew called their grandparents the norm, such as "grandma and grandpa", we called ours Pop and Grammie. Grammie and Pop. I can see them sitting at that kitchen table even now as I type this. The kitchen table was round and was placed in front of a huge window that looked out at the woods behind their house. On the window sill of this big window were various books that showed pictures of birds and gave brief descriptions and traits of the different species. The books were well worn. Pop and Grammie could name every bird that flitted through their back yard. Many of the birds were like pets, as they came to the window on a regular basis. Pop and Grammie would tell us stories about the various birds that came to visit. Of course, there was always food in several bird feeders to keep their feathered friends happy. This was such a normal everyday routine watching Pop and Grammie at that kitchen table, talking about their normal everyday routine, that it could easily be forgotten in the recesses of my mind, but instead it is in the Treasured Memories part of my brain. Part of that is fostered by Pop and Grammie themselves. They will not let me forget. It seemed that Pop and Grammie were especially fond of watching the redbirds; usually pairs of redbirds. They loved watching out for the beautiful and elegant cardinal male with his bright red feathers, and his mate, the equally lovely tan cardinal with just the touches of subtle red. In the vast woods that was my grandparents backyard, the redbird easily stood out with his brilliant red plumes. You knew that as soon as you found the male, the female had to be close by. That was like my Pop and Grammie. They were never far apart from each other. Somehow, in my young mind, I related those pairs of redbirds I would see to my Pop and Grammie. It became that when I saw redbirds I instantly thought of Pop and Grammie. As I got older, instead of separating the two thoughts, that one was a set of birds and one was a set of grandparents, it became even more connected in my brain. To this day, I see redbirds---always a pair---- and I KNOW that it IS my Pop and Grammie coming to check on me or coming for a visit. I know that sounds crazy to most, but the times the redbird couples come to my house are always too significant to be just a coincidence. The redbird I have pictured on my blog page is the male that came to visit on Christmas morning several years ago. All five children were home and it was just the seven of us. It was a wonderful Christmas, filled with love and laughter and lots and lots of tradition passed on through my parents and grandparents. We were even using dishes and tablecloths that had been my Grammie's. It was bitterly cold outside, as it always is in northeast Kansas in late December. It was not fit for man nor beast--nor bird-- outside, but as we are sitting at OUR kitchen table eating Christmas brunch I look outside and there are Pop and Grammie----as a redbird couple. My Grammie and Pop had both died years earlier, so my eyes immediately fill with tears because I KNOW that it was their way of paying a visit to me on Christmas morning and checking on my little family. They came right up to the window and stayed for a long, long time. I ran to get the camera, scared they would leave, but even when I went outside they still did not fly away. It was like they agreed to pose for the picture. I called my dad (who is the son of the grandparents I loved so) and told him that Pop and Grammie had come to visit me on Christmas morning. I told him what had happened and he too thought I had been given a visit by Grammie and Pop. My Dad, the one who prides himself on his logic and sensible thought, totally agreed with me that Pop and Grammie had paid me a Christmas morning visit! How happy they must have been that items from their many Christmases together were still being used the same way by two more generations of family.  They stayed for a while before flying away. I felt both sadness and happiness that morning. I was sad for a moment wishing I could have that 'one more day' with my grandparents, but very happy that I knew they had come to visit and let me know that they still think of me.


Relatively Speaking.....

At first I thought twice about posting this on my blog.  But I have set no parameters about what the blog is about.  I did say on the header there would be family stories...and hence, my first family story!!
As you will see, this is a post about the stubborn family trait.....of stubbornness!  It is how those of us with that trait look at it and how it affects our life.  It is also about my Uncle Jo.  My Uncle Jo truly was larger than life to me, even as an adult.  Sadly, he is not expected to live through the night. So consider this a little family tribute!  


If you have the name ‘Ferguson’ in any part of your given name, chances are you are stubborn. If you formerly had the name ‘Ferguson’ in any part of your given name, chances are you are stubborn. If you are of direct lineage of any part of the Ferguson family tree, chances are you are stubborn.
If you are married to a Ferguson you probably know first-hand how stubborn the Ferguson’s can be. If you are married to anyone formerly named Ferguson, you probably know first-hand how stubborn the Ferguson’s can be. If you are married to anyone of direct lineage to any branch of the Ferguson family tree, you probably know first-hand how stubborn the Ferguson’s can be. Let’s be honest, if you married a Ferguson or a Ferguson branch or twig, you 1. Are inordinately courageous and 2. Probably win very few arguments. (And are nodding your head right now that you know EXACTLY what I am talking about!!!!)
If you are a friend to a Ferguson, a Ferguson branch or a Ferguson twig (all parts of the Ferguson family tree for those of you having trouble catching on to the ‘branch’ and ‘twig’ reference), you have probably had the Ferguson stubbornness factor come in between you and your Ferguson friend. More likely than not, it is because YOU gave in, or ignored the Ferguson stubbornness , is how you have remained friends.
I know these facts to be true because I am a Ferguson and I am extremely stubborn. I know these facts to be true because I know that I have relatives that are as much, if not more, stubborn than I am. I also know that many of the Fergusons (branches and twigs included) have remained married for years. I also know that most of the Fergusons (branches and twigs included) have a plethora of friends. Therefore, logic would tell me that we marry very forgiving and patient spouses and pick friends that will have jewels in their final crowns!
I remember clearly a story from grade school (keep in mind young sponge-like mind): We were learning the word ‘TENACIOUS’ as one of our vocabulary words. (I can’t even get my high school students to figure that word out, and we were learning it in grade school!!!! Sorry, I digress.) OK, back to the story, the teacher pronounced the word, gave us the definition of ‘tenacious’, (in which she used the word ‘stubborn’), and then gave an extended example of the word ‘tenacious’. In this extended example she asked the class if we had ever seen a cat that was clawing at something and then just hung on by its claws for a long length of time. She said cats are very ‘tenacious’ because they can just hang on and hang on and don’t let go of things. I remember looking around the room and some of my fellow students were nodding their head in agreement with the teacher (much like some of you were in the first few paragraphs), and some of the students were even whispering tales of their own tenacious cats. I sat there totally dumbfounded. I could not BELIEVE the teacher had just given this long detailed description of what it meant to be ‘tenacious’ and had used a cat as the descriptor!!! I remember sitting there in that grade school classroom thinking, “Why didn’t she just say, ‘Do any of you all know a FERGUSON? They are the most ‘tenacious’ people I know!!!” I could not believe she had missed that golden opportunity to let me wear that badge of ‘tenaciousness’ proudly!!!!!
And that is how we Ferguson’s are. We wear that badge of stubbornness proudly. We consider being ‘stubborn’ a blessing. If you are in those other groups (spouses and friends) you no doubt consider it a curse. The only thing all groups would probably agree on is that Fergusons are stubborn to a fault.
When I was younger and I began to realize others did not look quite so favorably on the character trait of stubbornness, I would then fall back on the ‘tenacious’ word. Sometimes people weren’t sure what ‘tenacious’ meant and that trait (or fault) would not be immediately known. (…..Until I disagreed about something!) I never used the word ‘obstinate’ as a substitution, because I always thought that sounded even worse than the word stubborn!! As I got older I began to realize I didn’t need to tell people I was stubborn (or tenacious), as they probably already knew, or would quickly find out for themselves.
As I have matured (many are probably shaking their heads at this point) I have tried to treat the stubbornness factor a s a vice. I have tried to approach it as I would any other bad habit. But no matter how I approach it, that dang stubborn trait is stubborn!!!!! It won’t go away. For that matter, it rarely leaves my side! It is something I work on, but it is a trait that is so ingrained from my large family tree, the truth is, there is probably no escaping it. Ever.
My Uncle Jo (being a Ferguson, so naturally) is stubborn. He’ll admit it. Others around him will regale in tales of his stubbornness. Lately, that stubbornness has served him well as well as worked against him. He has been in hospitals for six weeks. He is now in a nursing home. The week before Thanksgiving he fell and broke his hip. While one never wants that to happen, we all knew that Uncle Jo- The- Stubborn- Man, would overcome the setback to his planned-out life. Unfortunately, things haven’t gone according to the planned-out life. First, he had to wait a few days on the surgery to be performed to get blood counts right. Then after the surgery, while his hip was good-as-new-and- fixed, for some mysterious reason, he lost his ability to eat or talk. Well if we’re going to put Stubbornness up there at the top of the Ferguson Description List, the only things that could possibly be ahead of it would be TALKING and EATING! We (the Ferguson tree, branches and twigs) live to eat and always have more than our share of things to say, on any subject! So, this was a huge setback to now have to overcome the inability to speak or eat in addition to having to learn to walk again with a new hip. But because Uncle Jo is stubborn he hung right in there. And he continued to hang right on to his stubbornness (like those danged tenacious cats!) when other procedures were recommended to him. He was stubborn and did not want (or in his mind ‘need’) the other procedures. His stubbornness kept him hanging on, but his stubbornness kept him out of a good part of the fight. Funny how that works. And as Fergusons, we can each and every one relate. We have all done that same thing , in some way, at some point of our lives. We are stubborn enough to hang on, but too stubborn to know when to quit being stubborn.
In my eyes, my Uncle Jo has always been larger than life. He is a large man (or used to be). (Again, the ‘large’ part yet another Ferguson trait, but that is a whole other essay). I remember when I was a very young girl I thought he was huge. He seemed to tower over me. He had legs that went on forever. His voice matched his personality. It was loud and booming. His laugh was even more infectious. He was able to capture and keep everyone’s attention with his voice, (in both conversation and song). Even though he had five children of his own, he never let me think he had more than enough to take care of. He let me tag along, sit on his lap, hoist on his shoulders or join in at all times. His creative spirit kept me continually fascinated. In one of those weird quirks of life, he was closer to the age of my maternal grandmother than he was to the age of my dad! Because of this gap, people sometimes mistook my Uncle Jo as my grandfather instead of my uncle. I used to feel bad when people did that, until it finally dawned on me that grandfathers are the ultimate in ‘special’ and others probably presumed that he was my grandfather instead of my uncle BECAUSE he was so special.
Also because of that age gap between my Uncle Jo and my Dad, I have heard stories my whole life about who had it the worst!!!! Depending upon which side you listen to, my Dad was either a much-younger-spoiled-little-brother or an-overworked-because-everyone-else-was-already-gone-from-the-house-kid-brother! Even as Uncle Jo was forced to write notes instead of talk, he still told us tales giving his version.
When I first went to the hospital to see Uncle Jo he was in ICU. I stopped at the nurse’s desk to make sure it would be fine for me to visit. I asked the nurse which cubicle he was in. She gave me a funny look and said, “You mean David Ferguson?” I smiled and nodded. David Jo Ferguson. So of course, they had him listed as David Ferguson. My smile was because to me, he is and always will be, my very, very special, Uncle Jo.
A couple of weeks ago I went to see him and took all five of my own children with me. This time HE smiled. He grabbed his pen and notepad and scribbled out the words, “Who would have five kids?” I replied back, “Only people that are half-crazy!” He nodded and wrote back to me, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you it is not GREAT to have five kids!!!” I looked him in the eye and said, “I agree. But there are only very few people these days that know that secret!” He wrote back, “You and me!!!!”
We know we're right. Uncle Jo and I are stubborn that way!


Simple Sundays

    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (NKJV)  II Corinthians 5:17.
    A perfect verse for the first Sunday of the new year! All things have become new.  What a blessing!


CAKEBALLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! from the Queen of Cakeballs.

Today we finally had our last Christmas. The weather here over the past week prevented previous plans, and today was the first day that everyone  (my brother and sister and their spouses and children, along with our parents) could be together. It was great.  It was actually fun having it a week later.  The endless 'get it done', 'be here', 'go there' that is so pervasive at Christmas was gone.  We even commented that it might have to become an annual affair to get together on New Year's weekend to celebrate our Christmas!  Well since it was a non-traditional Christmas celebration, we also had non-traditional Christmas food as well.  I made meatballs and cakeballs.  I thought I would post the recipe for the always popular meatballs later, but tonight I wanted to post about the cakeballs.  (If they ever upload!!!!!)....I have posted pictures of cakeballs I  made for various get-togethers in the past.  I made over 700 of them for my nieces wedding in July and there was not a single cakeball left!!!  I make them in all flavors and my decorating is basic at best. (Although if it does ever upload I included a picture of the "bride" and "groom" cakeballs I did for the wedding.)  If you have not made cakeballs, then get on the cakeball bandwagon!  They are simple to make and are the most popular item at every party.  I keep cakeballs in various stages of "made" in my freezers at all times.  That way I can have them ready in no time at all.  The beginning of a new year is a great time to try new things.  Have a ball....make some cakeballs!


Welcome 2010!

Welcome 2010!!!!  I greet you with optimism and great dreams. What a significant year for me!
I look forward to 2010 with open arms.
I heard today that there was already a 'controversy' on how to 'say' the year.  One group says it should be called Two-thousand-and-ten and another group says it should be called 20-10.  Me?  I call it a new year, new ideas and new adventures!


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