Friday, August 12, 2016

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

Connie's Kitchen
 

{From the Archives of Connie's Letters. January 2010.}

After a chicken dinner, if any chicken or vegetables are left over, just cut up the chicken in bite - sized pieces and put it in a 9 by 13 pan.

 Add some vegetables. . Then cover all of this with gravy or cream of chicken soup . . diluting soup with a bit of water. . keep it thick like gravy.

Bake this in the oven until it bubbles. . Then take this out and drop your homemade biscuits on the top. . 
Crank the oven up to 450 to bake the biscuits.

This makes a hearty meal for a big family with rambunctious boys.

Yesterday I had to shovel as it snowed again. . Also I had to drag my trash to the front of the driveway over chunks of ice, covered in snow. . . Like walking on water?  Frozen water?  It was so slippery. . The cold made me so hungry for biscuits and gravy last evening. . That's what I had for supper . . and potatoes. . It was so good.

One way I used to fix potatoes for our big family was like this:  Just wash the potatoes and leave the skin
on. . .Slice them in half lengthwise and lay them in a baking pan, with oil, cut - side down. . Salt and pepper them and bake them like this in the oven. . We ate these potatoes with ketchup. . I flip these once in the oven so they get done well. . I used to bake these on my cast iron griddle. . I planned to make soup yesterday. . But the biscuits and gravy and potatoes won out.

Love Connie






 * Order Connie's book, "Dear Kitchen Saints," available on Amazon. It is autobiographical - all about homemaking and family life. It also tells the beautiful story of her marriage testimony!* 




Monday, July 18, 2016

Financial Matters

Connie's Kitchen
 



{From the Archives of Connie's Letters. October 2009.}



Ya know when Jim first got healed we were 2 accidents going some place. . Every day I wondered will he rob me of all of our money and take off again?   The Lord told me he was healed but man I wavered back and forth.  I had been left over 30 times with nothing. . and had lived through nightmares. . Now I am to believe we are okay?

Well yeah miracles happen like that.   Still I was afraid.  Well we kept our check book in a desk drawer. The minute Jim left for work in the mornings I would go look in the desk drawer to see if the check book was still there. . .and it was. . . But I got so sick of the devil trying to make me fearful.   I hated it, and yet every morning I checked my desk drawer. . . Again and again each morning. . .checking.  I felt like a slave to fear.

One morning as Jim sat with me drinking coffee before he went to work,  I went to the drawer and got out the check book and handed it to Jim. . . I said "Hey Honey, why don't you take the check book to work with ya, just in case you need something.". . He said, "Why should I?  I don't need to buy anything.".. I said, "Well take it anyway.". . . I was calling the devil out on it.  Later I said, "Well okay then, don't take it.". . I laid the check book out in plain sight on the table.  And to my surprise, just before Jim went to work, he said,"I think I will take it," and he put it in his back pocket.

Well I began to sweat bullets ..and did all day..But Jim came home after work with the check book still in his back pocket.  After that I gave Jim full control over the bills.  . He made mistakes with the money, he hadn't been in charge of the money before so he had to learn how much to spend it on what, And he learned to be wise . . and for 26 years he took care of the bills wisely.   A few years before he died, he paid off a loan on the house.  He always kept current with the bills.  He even left a lil savings for me.  He turned out to be a good man.  . . An honest man.

Yesterday was his Birthday.  He would have been 69 years old, Or I mean 69 years young. . He was always young to me. . . always my boyfriend...He was full of adventure.  I had to run to keep up with him.  My marriage was a hell of a ride.  But I  wouldn't have missed it for the World.

And Papa used to say to anyone who would listen, "if it wasn't for that lil girl over there praying for me, I would have died under a bridge. . she saved my life through her prayers.". . And I thank God I was able to be used of God like that.  God did reward me many times over. . .

Love Connie





 * Order Connie's book, "Dear Kitchen Saints," available on Amazon. It is autobiographical - all about homemaking and family life. It also tells the beautiful story of her marriage testimony!* 




Monday, July 11, 2016

Living From Scratch




 {From the Archives of Connie's Letters. January 2010.}


Part One

Well I wanted to write in the subject line,"Cooking From Scratch."  But really I want to write about living from scratch. 

I went to a prayer meeting yesterday.  I had a lot of fun with Terry and her husband ..They took me out for lunch after the meeting.  I just loved it.  Terry's new husband Joseph is very spiritual and interesting.  This couple is loving and humble and know what true treasures are.  Anyway they want to buy an acreage and live off the land.  At lunch we talked about how to make cheese etc. .

Back in the old days when we decided to homeschool, it was against the Iowa state law.  So we quit getting any help from the state like food stamps etc..  For me it was like getting hit over the head with a sack of potatoes ..  With food stamps, I had 500 a month to spend on groceries.  Jim could only afford to give me 200 a month out of his paycheck for groceries.  But that was okay with me.  I knew he was being honest about it.  He had to pay the house payment and the other bills.  We had to keep a roof over our heads.

We had 6 children to care for.  Well 5 at home at the time.  Jimmy [the oldest] was in the Navy.  But he came home often ..We all missed him a lot.  I had an idea of how to cook from scratch only, but hadn't done it as a way of life for so many people at one time.  It takes a lot of planning.  You can learn to cook from scratch ..You can learn about herbs and gardening, saving your own heirloom seeds each year to plant in the spring.

 Ya know we women should stay home more.

You can quit going to the Beauty Salon to get your hair died, permed, and frizzed.  You can wear a scarf on your head and forget it.  Scarves on your head make you look mysterious, like you are up to something. Or better yet wear a cowboy hat with your apron.  Just stay home and learn womanly ways.  The old time Mothers got up with the chickens and started biscuits or bread of some kind for the day.  She spent time in the kitchen.  I always got up early too, usually to write.  But when I got up I would always be thinking of feeding my army.

So while I wrote, I was frying a pound of hamburger with onions for an afternoon Hamburger, Vegetable Soup.  I made the soup here and there as I passed the kitchen. . . Writing, thinking, cleaning vegetables as I went about my morning.  It was a way of life. . . I kept the morning quiet ya know.  I didn't vacuum. . just did what I had to do as it was my time to write and pray.

But then about 6:00 in the morning I got the kids up for homeschool.  They showered and helped with chores, and I fed them breakfast.  But then I didn't have much time then to fix a lunch.  I was so busy with the kids and school work all morning.  But that meal made in the wee hours of the morning saved me for the day.

Also I would start my bread early too if I needed to.  If we had to go some place in the morning, we had that meal to come home to.  Otherwise we would have been tempted to buy fast food that we couldn't afford.  And I would be exhausted when we got home after getting up so early in the morning.  So to come home to a big pot of vegetable soup was such a comfort.

And after lunch I always rested.  This was when my children did their reading for book reports.  I rested for a few hours.  Then back to the kitchen to do more cooking.

Part 2

 I loved to see Wildman buy a 50 pound bag of potatoes and haul them over his shoulder at the grocery store.  Or 25 pounds of flour over his shoulder.  Oh what a cowboy I married.  He brought home the bacon and his wife fried it. I worked like a dog keeping up with Wildman and his seeds.

His 4 sons were creative like him, and still are.  Our home was dominated by boys growing into men.  The boys sat at the table and watched Jim heap his creamed peas or corn over his mashed potatoes and gravy, and they ate the same way.  Well not Jimmy as he was too educated to do such a thing.  David always says "Are you sure Jimmy is one of us?"  Jimmy was raised as an only child by primarily a hippy Jesus freak ..that would be me.  My life was a fright and I was afraid to have another child.  But then when Jimmy was 7, I got the Holy Ghost and thought I could do anything.  So I preceded to have 5 more children. . What the heck. .

I had to do a lot of creative thinking to keep my family afloat.  I did a lot of praying, on and off.   As my washers and dryers would break down, I used a wringer washer, and my back yard clothes line.  I used an old garden rake to hold up the middle of the clothes line rope as it sagged.  I didn't have a drain to drain the washer so I drained it into buckets.  Then I had the kids take the buckets out to the garden and water the vegetables.

I loved my 2 wringer washers.  I wasn't wasting water.  I did 3 loads of wash at a time.  Well I could use the same water for a 4th load to do rag rugs.  Anyway you can still buy wringer washers.. I know the Lehman's catalog has them.  Wringer washers save on so much water.  And it's easy to use your used up soapy water for the garden.  The soap in the water keeps the bugs out, especially in a cabbage patch.  And in a drought, the water comes in handy.

Anyway I used my wringer washer to wash all of our clothes.  Also I made my own laundry soap. But I used lye and I guess ya cant get it now at the stores.  Maybe from Lehman's catalog or on the internet.

It was a lot of work to live like we did.  But to me it was a mission or calling.  I believed God had given me my children to train for Him.  I knew I wasn't to go out to work.  So I knew God had a plan for me.  I knew He could teach me how to make it on only 50 bucks a week for everything.  I didn't know how . . .But God showed me in the wee hours of the morning when I would get up to pray.  I was confident that He knew what He was doing. . . I knew I didn't. . . but He showed me.

love Connie






 * Order Connie's book, "Dear Kitchen Saints," available on Amazon. It is autobiographical - all about homemaking and family life. It also tells the beautiful story of her marriage testimony!* 



Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Mother's Homemade Light and Tasty Biscuits

Connie's Kitchen
 
{From the Archives of Connie's letters. January 2010.}

Good Morning Happy Housewives,


  Here is the recipe and tips for light and tasty biscuits.. I feel that making biscuits is an art.  And it takes practice to get them to turn out like you want them.  But just practice.  And the ones that don't turn out, just throw them out the door to the birds.  I had to throw a lot of my brick biscuits out.  One day we saw a squirrel running down the street with my biscuit in his mouth.  He liked "Mother's Home Made Biscuits."

Ok the recipe for biscuits is on the can of CLABBER GIRL BAKING POWDER, Probably on any
can of baking powder... But that's an awfully small amount of biscuits just using 2 cups of flour. . Ok for a family, use 4 cups of flour. . . Anyway, turn on your oven to 475 first before you do anything else.  Biscuits have to have a hot oven or they won't turn out okay.

Get out a big bowl and put in 4 cups of flour, and 2 Tbs of Baking Powder..Some salt and a lil sugar, a half tsp of both?

Mix this up and add almost a cup of lard or shortening of some kind. . . Now just work the shortening into the flour mixture with your fingers. . Until the mix looks like cornmeal sorta. . Just work all the shortening in to the flour.

Then add a cup and a half of milk.  Stir this up to make a biscuit dough. Like you are playing with play dough.  Add flour to your work surface so it won't stick. . not much flour.  I barely pat my dough together.. Just mix it up good enough so it doesn't stick to your work table.

Then cut out the biscuits with a floured tin can or cookie cutter or just a drinking glass?  Set the cut outs on a greased cookie sheet,  and pop them in your preheated oven and bake about 12 to 15 minutes, or until brown.

Don't use a rolling pin on these biscuits.  Just pat the dough into a mound.  I cut my biscuit dough to be about an inch high.  Or you could just drop the dough on the cookie sheet like cookies..I just always cut mine out.

Love Connie




 * Order Connie's book, "Dear Kitchen Saints," available on Amazon. It is autobiographical - all about homemaking and family life. It also tells the beautiful story of her marriage testimony!* 


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Visit

 Dear Sisters in Christ,

Wow I have been learning many hard lessons in Christ. .Ya know the Lord is teaching me that if we are sick ...no matter what we have, we can get can get well. .

A few months ago I had 2 therapists come in to teach me exercises in my home...These ladies were like angels. They sensed that I had given up...The one lady said to me .."Connie you can live through this..if you want to.  Or you can die ...it's your decision"...Well I decided to live..

I did pretty well with the exercises..The ladies only came about 4 or 5 times. They told me after that they were no longer needed ....I am getting better...My goal is to live here at home in peace and to write ...I am surrounded by the things I love. ... I want to play my piano each day and stay busy with my home making..I love to write...The writing organizes my thoughts.......But the main thing is that I must serve God..No I dont know why life is so hard ...But His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.

Love  Connie

 * Order Connie's book, "Dear Kitchen Saints," available on Amazon. It is autobiographical - all about homemaking and family life. It also tells the beautiful story of her marriage testimony!* 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Movie Project about An Incredible Marriage Testimony

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/bring-him-home-screenplay--4#/



In the year 2000 an anonymous testimony was published in Above Rubies Magazine. It was read by women all over the world.  It was the story of a young wife whose husband abandoned her many times. He spent some of that time in prison.  For many years she raised their children alone, always praying for her husband to come home, to be restored to his place as head of their family.

She set a place for him at the table, in faith, each evening.  The children were taught that was where their Daddy's place was.  They were taught to love and respect him. . . After 12 years, great faith, and many prayers, her husband came home and was saved.

In the year 2013, Above Rubies republished the testimony. This time, the author's name was given: Connie Hultquist.  There was also an update.

At the end of this post you will see the 2013 testimony taken from Above Rubies, just as Connie had written it.

Connie has also been a mentor to many wives and mothers over the years, teaching them to love their homes, husbands, and children. She is now a widow, but continues to teach and encourage from her Iowa home.

A Christian film company has taken this story and is in the process of making it into a movie, calling it "Bring Him Home."




This is an incredible project which would be a great blessing to many viewers.  For information about the movie, and how you can help, please visit the producer's site:

"Bring Him Home Screenplay" 

You can also follow the movie project in other ways:

Facebook - Bring Him Home

Learn more about Connie and her writings by browsing this blog, or her website: Happy Housewifery


 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here is Connie's testimony, as seen in Above Rubies Magazine, 2013:

Jim and I met in 1966. He was 25 I was 18. He was wild and so was I. When we met he had already been in and out of prison for about seven years, and was going back again for two years. We married in the prison six months later. Soon after I had our son. A few months later I miraculously came to Christ. Because of the prison term I didn’t live with my husband for another two and a half years. After being home a year he began a crime spree.
 
He deserted us over and over again. I had nowhere to turn except to God. No one knew where my mate was. Some of the time my heart would rage like a forest fire out of control on the dry and windy land. I would run and scream like a woman out of her mind searching for her mate in the raging fire. I’d scream curses at God only to faint from exhaustion and weep bitter tears of repentance. I’d get back up, begin running again and fall again and again until finally I’d surrender my will to Christ’s will. And then I’d wait, maybe for another six months, knowing God was in control.

In the beginning I thought about divorce. Well, wasn’t that what a woman does if her husband leaves her repeatedly? And yet Jim kept coming back and repenting. He would mysteriously end up at my back door after being missing for four or five months, looking like a mad man. But beneath the dirt and sun-parched face he was still mine.

I’d bring him in the house, give him dinner, and speak peace and rest to him. I’d run the bath water for him to wash and feel like a man again. Compassion would rise up in my heart. I had the Lord, and my Jim didn’t. I would reverence and praise him.

I would shut the door on the world and be alone with my mate. No matter what he had done to me, we were still one flesh. He was my first and only husband--a terrible, ungodly, unfaithful husband, but he was still my husband. His healing came again and again as I forgave him and opened my love to him. I held nothing back.
There would be times when putting dinner on the table, I’d notice he was awfully late. I’d listen for the car and begin running again and again to the window. The old familiar fear would rage, knowing that he had deserted me again. This scene happened about 30 times in the first twelve years of marriage. He would suddenly disappear without warning. The children would run in from play crying, “Where is daddy, where is my daddy?” I’d tell my little baby, Jimmy, “Daddy is sick, but Jesus is going to heal him.” I taught my little ones to pray, “Thank you, Jesus, for bringing my daddy home.”

His mother died and no one could find him. My prayers went out to God day and night, seemingly to no avail. The years went on and the crimes continued as if I had no God. I felt like a motherless and fatherless child. I was completely exhausted and my mate committed still another crime and went to prison for almost four years.

I loved him. I felt he was demon possessed and yet he was my husband. At times I hated him. Your arms and legs belong to you even when they hurt, you can’t cut them off. I was like this about my husband. He was mine. I hated it when he deserted me, but I was married to him no matter what. Adultery to me was the worst of all sins. At night before I entered my marriage bed alone I’d cry out to God to keep me pure, even in my dreams, and that I would never dream of another man.

Many mornings I’d wake up and think, “Lord, why did you give me another day to live?” Often the world seemed so black to me, but sweet Jesus would come to me and speak life and joy into my tired and depressed soul. One time God supernaturally took all my burdens away. I forgot he had left me. It was so hilarious. I even wrote myself a note to remember to pray for him.

The day-to-day message from the Lord was, “Now Connie, you just get up out of that bed. You straighten your shoulders and you believe God. This problem isn’t bigger than God. Don’t you prepare your day as though Jim won’t be home. You get up and prepare your home for a miracle.” Each evening when my husband was gone I’d fix supper for him and put his plate at the head of the table. No one was allowed to sit in his chair and no one was allowed to bad mouth him. I ran the house as if he were home.

I survived and lived on the Word of God. I whispered His name all day long. He walked with me in the valley of death and guided me to a straight path.

All our phone conversations at the prison were censored. I’d speak faith into the phone and say, “I’ll see you in a few days, honey. The guards thought we were planning an escape because Jim had been given a 10-year sentence!

People laughed at me and said that he would always leave me and be in and out of prison. The prison guards told me that Jim was institutionalized and was hopeless. Hopeless or not, he was my husband. I knew I could never forsake the Lord by not forgiving my own husband. Also, as a young wife I wanted to be a teacher of women when I got older and I knew I couldn’t be divorced. I’d sing, “Keep me Jesus as the apple of thine eye.”

The Lord would tell me to speak to the mountains in my life and not doubt in my heart. I would speak to the mountain, which was Jim. I would woo him and call him home with my prayers. Every muscle in my body cried out to God to save him. I fasted and prayed continuously.

Jim was healed in 1979. After he had been in prison for the last four years and home for about three months, he asked me to have another baby, our fourth. I was so fearful and yet was praying for Jim to be healed. I said No. I was not going to have another baby. I walked away from him and the Lord spoke to me. “Connie, He said, “You have come this far by faith. Don’t give up now.” After much heartache I obeyed the Lord my God.

“Yes,” I told Jim, I’ll have another baby for you.”  I placed my future in his hands. When Jim saw that I still believed in his life as a human being something released within him. The fear left his eyes and He was delivered. He lifted his hands up to His Father and received the anointing of a sound and unfettered mind. He began to slowly give more and more of his life to Christ. He took over the bills and began to work steadily.
The Lord did exceedingly and abundantly more than I could ask or think. He gave me joy unspeakable. He showed me He was there all the time. Satan had come in like a flood but the Lord raised such a standard against him. All Satan did was build me a grand testimony.

God gave me a new batch of fruit. I had David in 1980, Dan in 1982 and Mary in 1985. We now have six children. I was queen in my palace. I raised the children for Christ and to honor their daddy. I taught them to jump when daddy walked into the room. I taught them to get Daddy a cup of coffee or honor him in some way.

The guys at work say to my husband, “You don’t go out and drink and party.” Jim says, “I have a wife to go home to. I spend my time with my family.”

One guy said, “Boy, when work is over you run home.” The guy thought something was wrong with him!
I sit here thinking of Jim and the man he is now. He has been home sitting at the head of our table for 20 years! Who is this Jesus we serve? Surely He is the Son of the living God, a God who saw me crying and feeling so forsaken, a God who knew the very moment Jim would be healed. Jim is my walking miracle to always remind me that nothing is impossible with God. He showed me that if we don’t give up we will see the glory of God.

Proverbs 31:11 says, “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her.” A woman must gain the trust of a man such as this. His healing comes as he feels safe enough to give Christ his heart and his wife his heart. When Jim was healed he went from not seeing me to taking care of me. He turned from Satan and took dominion over his Eve. He came into his responsibilities as a man. I come under my husband and I don’t desire to do anything else. I don’t always agree with him and I tell him I don’t. But in the end his word is final. I want to be as Esther and not as Queen Vashti.

Dear wives and mothers, don’t give up give up on your husband. He sees your heartache. He won’t leave you or forsake you if you trust in Him. I know for I’ve been to the other side.

CONNIE HULTQUIST 


 UPDATE TO BRING HIM HOME--Updated December 2012

In April 2006 my dear husband, Jim, died of a heart attack. As my six children and I gathered around Jim’s hospital bed the Hospital Chaplain told me, "I have never seen a family so full of love." As the nurse told us Jim had passed, I whispered to each of the children to comfort and love each other. As we left the hospital room I left a chapter in my life.

I wish I could say that all went well after that, but grief is hard to understand, and unpredictable. Jim and I were married for almost 40 years, my first and only husband. I still live in our family home, garden, bake bread, cook from scratch, and try to practice what I preach.

Jim would often say, "Connie and the children are what I live for, but I try to put God first. My family is my life." When we would give our testimony to a church group Jim would look up from the pulpit and say, "If it wasn't for that little girl right over there I wouldn't be alive today. She was my guardian angel."

I now have nine grandchildren and they are a wonderful blessing. Had I given up on my husband I would have never felt the joy of having all of  these grandchildren. Praise the Lord.

Jim and I lived from one miracle to the next. To me, Jim and I were just two good forgivers as we all have feet of clay. Our love and life together was the most gut wrenching experience I ever had, but it was a one of a kind marriage. Would I do it all again? Yes, I would. Oh yes, it was worth it all. My marriage was tried in the fires many times but I came out with a testimony of love and truth. My marriage has a message, "If you don't give up you will see the glory of God." 

CONNIE HULTQUIST





 * Order Connie's book, "Dear Kitchen Saints," available on Amazon. It is autobiographical and tells the beautiful story of her marriage testimony!* 






This post was shared with:

Strangers and Pilgrims;   What Joy is Mine;   The Modest Mom;   Darling Down Diaries;   Mom's the WordThe Enchanting Rose;     So Much at Home;    Cornerstone Confessions;   Joyful Homemaking;     Classical Homemaking ;   ;
Thriving Thursdays  ; Grandma Ideas  Giving up on Perfect  ;  Raising Homemakers  A Wise Woman Whole Hearted Home  ;  A Little R and R  ;  Imparting Grace Missional Women ; Life of Faith  ;  Pink Saturday  ;  Counting My Blessings  ; Our Simple Homestead  ;   I Choose Joy  ;   Small Victories  ;


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Old Prairie Land


{From the Archives of Connie's Letters, September, 2006.}

Dear Mothers,

Oh, lately nothing has ministered to me as much as looking out my side screen door. It’s right behind me as I write. That old black screen door is maybe 50 years old at least. It’s wooden and has an old screen in it on the outside and then a strong one on the inside. I imagine in the old days, the children kept breaking it out and a Daddy nailed a stronger screen on the inside. Anyway, between the screens I have placed flowers that I have dried.

Johnny mowed just lately but the grass was getting pretty high out the side yard and I loved it. Oh, it looked so old fashioned with Dixie’s windmill out there and the gourds growing around it. See, Iowa became a state in about 1850 something I think. So the house I live in is one of the first ones built in Iowa. I let my wild herbs grow in my yard as to take the land back to the way it once was. I have old fashioned flowers, too, that come up each year. The flowers I am enjoying right now are the morning glories. In the fall, these glories cover everything. They have blue flowers and purple, white and pink. They grow up the house and all over. Many people hate them as they intertwine everything but I love them. If I could, I would just let the grass grow in certain areas of my yard. I love the tall grass and old kinds of flowers as they sway in the summer breeze.

I am so happy here with my home as Papa had it. Jim loved nature and back to the land things. Papa wasn’t much with words. I never got into a word war with Jim as I knew I would win. I mean without really winning? But, oh, we connected in many ways. Mostly over homemade bread or a fresh apple pie.
Papa ran after me in his heart, always afraid of losing me to something. One time, he wrote about how glad he was, as I had told him that I had abandoned myself to him and our children. Jim wanted all of me and didn’t want to share me. It was a sacrifice to him to give me up as a writer. It was a sacrifice to me, too. All I ever wanted was Jim and the children and our home. I wanted to have children through my 50s. But Jim used to tell folks that one of the reasons he ran away from his family in the old days is because he had put me on such a pedestal and didn’t think he could keep up with me. Often I told him I loved him and only him. But in the early years he would say, “You only love me because God told you to.” Little did he know that I truly loved him with or without God.

When I first met Jim, I just loved him right off the bat. I ate bullets for breakfast and nothing less than Jim would do. I still remember how he held me as we danced our first slow dance together. The other day, as I had gone to the store, I heard a song on the radio. I had to listen to it in the car before I went in the store. The singer was a son asking God to let his Mom dance one more time with his father who had died. Well, Papa and me will dance again with golden slippers on golden streets.

But as I write this morning, I can feel Papa’s spirit as I feel the cool breeze coming through the old screen door behind me. And I hear locusts and the crickets chirp. “Oh, Papa, yes, I will pick the apples this morning. I picked the wild plums yesterday.” Jim always called me away from my daydreaming and writing to the Prairie Land and to the works of righteousness. Papa was a dreamer, too — a visionary. But he didn’t know how to tell me what he had dreamed.

I talked to Danny, our son age 24, last week. He went to NYC to find himself and to get discovered as a musician. Feeling kinda like a failure as a mom, I said to Dan (my fifth child), “Danny, did Dad and I do anything right raising you kids?” He said, “Oh, Mom, you and Dad did everything right. Us kid had a ball growing up. We learned to be creative and to do things on our own.” But I said, “Danny, do ya still love the Lord? And what is the best thing Dad and I taught you personally?” Danny said the best and most important thing we taught him was that he could make it one way or the other. That nothing could take him down. I asked Dan if he liked NYC and he said that he missed home and the garden and the fruit trees. He misses Papa, as we all do. But the City is mostly concrete and he misses the wild flowers and what he grew up with.
I haven’t made a loaf of bread since I lost my Jim. My heart land has not rained and my heart has been dry and covered with sand. But it will bloom again I see it in my visions. I see specks of dreams that I am going on — as Dan says, “Mom, you and Dad taught us to never give up.”

Danny and I laughed about the year the gas bill got so high. And how we turned the heat off altogether and wore our coats in the house. The bill went to 25 bucks after being 500 and some dollars. Our outside dog would cry by the kerosene burner but I wouldn’t turn it on until just before the family was up for breakfast. We laugh about how Mom outlasted the dog. I would tell the dog that if I could make it without fur, then she could make it, too. Even our dog was a survivor. She lived to be 15 years old. The only time she saw a vet was when we took her to have her put down. She was old and had pneumonia.

I guess we just didn’t have much money to take us through and we refused to give up on anything. As I write, I look at my family table still set for 7 or 8 people. Oh, the stories I could tell. Stories of just plain not givin’ up. Papa and me would just say, “Well, we will just make it somehow.” Then Jim would smile and pretend to tip his hat. “We always do.”

But ya know a lot of it had to do with going back to the land. Going back to basics. There is a secret there. The Depression era Mothers did the same thing when they lost everything. They went back to the land and made a home. This old home of mine went through the Depression era and stood tall and strong and I will, too. And in my desert, I will bloom as the desert rose. And as I tip my hat to Papa in heaven, I say, “And, yes, Papa we will make it as we always do.”

Love Connie

 * Order Connie's book, "Dear Kitchen Saints," available on Amazon. It is autobiographical and tells the beautiful story of her marriage testimony!* 

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