Making Elgin Noodles

If you know, you know.

Do you know who makes the best pie, gravy, chocolate cake, or home made noodles? The list could go on and on, insert your favorite comfort food. The answer; the one who makes it.

I have busied myself today in my own kitchen. Jeff does most of the cooking now and I can barely find my way around. I am not territorial over the cooking space, I never set out to be the domestic goddess, but somewhere along the way I learned to cook.

We have a time honored traditional food at our holiday table. “The Noodles” It is hard to even admit, it has not been my favorite. Mom would loving make them each year for our holiday meals, they were a big part of dad’s family traditions and loved by all, except me. I felt like the odd man out.

I remember the last time mom made them. We were in her upper house. There was a lot of us home and mom made an extra big batch. The broth was rushed and the noodles over packed. They scorched on the bottom. Important side note: If you burn something and it is stuck to the bottom of the pan, do not scrape and stir. Simply pour it into a fresh pan and season well, maybe they won’t notice. On this day mom was rushed and there was too much happening and all the pots were full of something or another. The noodles were ladled up straight from the pan. I didn’t serve myself and first noticed my dad’s expression. He barely cleared his throat. Mmmm, “Boys you’d better help yourself.” Later he would pat my mom and say that those were some pretty good noodles. My husband had long learned this family traditions and it fast became his favorite part of our meal. He ate without hesitation. I finished my plate and to be in the family hoopla, I served a small helping. They were really bad. I didn’t finish mine and wondered if the others even noticed.

Isn’t that the way it is with love? We look past the lumpy bumpy, half done and over cooked outcomes. We stand in our knowing of what and who and how far they have come. You see my mother didn’t start out a good cook. In fact, I heard it told that when she was first married the dog didn’t t even eat her gravy. I know, she told me herself. She cooked it and dad didn’t eat it so she scraped it out for the dog. The next morning it was still there.

She didn’t give up. She had 7 older sisters-in- law. Each a craftsman at their own household specialty. Just imagine 7 accomplished mother’s- in-law. They had all doted on my dad, the baby, and each sister had their own way. Mom learned the hard way. She just kept trying. I remember one year she made the noodles out of wheat flour. They were not a hit. They looked like rubber bands in broth. It’s not funny now and believe me, it wasn’t funny then. Aunt Lucy taught mom, I remember watching. More then watching I remember feeling mom, she straighten her back, she held her mouth just right. She watched and practiced and became the noodle maker.

After my dad passed mom decided she had cooked enough. She came to our house or visited brother’s. She taught her grand daughters to make noodles and I made pie. She watched with a twinkly in her eye knowing that she has taught us well.

Today I rolled up my sleeves. Mom didn’t teach me, my daughter did. I make noodles with the left over Turkey. I have found that my plate becomes overwhelmed with to much going on. I like my noodles all alone. Savoring the flavored broth and giving thanks. My husband just finished his bowl and with a nod and a twinkle he said, “Those were some pretty good noodles, just like your mom.”

When Holding on is Letting Go

“Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be They name; They kingdom come; They will be done on earth as it is in Heaven…”

I must admit, I expected a miracle on my terms with in my realm of understanding.

We met Kyle Vonfeldt when he was just a few days old right out of the hospital. Our family and the two Vonfeldt families had a planned camping trip to the coast. Kyle was born to adventure and his parents showed him the way. Our Daughter, Sissy Laree, was 6 wks old and Her bestie, Chelsea, was 11 days the eldest. This was the beginnings of a lifetime of splashing and dancing through the ups and downs that came their way.

On Wednesday May 5th, Sis got a phone call from Chels, that Kyle was found unresponsive and in ICU. We knew without a doubt that a miracle was just around the corner. That’s how it is with faith, we are hardwired to believe.

As a minister of the gospel, I stand on the Word of God that proclaims the healing power of Christ Jesus and I have seen many miracles in my life time. I also know full well that the mysteries of life are not understandable. It says in Ecclesiastes that there is a time to every purpose under Heaven; A time to be born and a time to die…That is of little comfort when it comes time to let go.

On May 10th, the day after Mother’s Day, it was declared that Kyle’s brain was unresponsive. His organs were fully intact and operational and there in lies the miracle. You see, Kyle was a registered organ donor. This lifted the burden of choice from the shoulders of his father. His gift of life and love would be transferred to those waiting and wishing and praying for their miracle.

It is said in Proverbs 20:11 “Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure and whether it be right.”

John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that a person will lay down his own life for his friend”

On Thursday May 13th Kyle went into surgery and gave the miracle of life to four people. They were not friends per say, but Kyle never knew a stranger. He was as kind and giving in life as he was in death. I have looked on line to find that the green ribbon is the designated symbol for organ donation awareness. I have a pink dot on my drivers license and I will be rocking the green ribbon in honor of our dear one who gave without question and loved beyond reason.

Kyle was preceded in death by his mother and grandparents. May they be rejoicing with him on the other side with a BBQ and a beautiful spot on the river.

Our love and prayers for his family as they walk the hardest path of loving and letting go.

I Love to Watch You Live

They found their way to our home when our second child was fourteen, the boys next door. They brought with them brown eyed sparkles that told me they were up to something. I liked “something” and welcome them with open heart and a firm hand. Between the brown eyed boys and the crew that emerged from the house on Wood Street, a bond was formed that was palatable. The organic display was one to behold. It was at times hard to watch but you could not look away. They were visible without effort and oftentimes had no awareness of the shadow they cast on others who were looking through key holes wondering how to turn the latch and enter in.

Going away to school, to work, to play, they navigated adulthood. They wrestled, they loved, they lust, they lost. It was tragic; I held my breath. They gathered in a circle and cried each other’s tears, held each other tight, breathed each other’s breath and sweat each other’s fears.

I was honored a year later to have lunch with a few that had gathered to remember and to be. A drive to the coast was in the wind and they all piled in one truck. Fussing and fighting and laughing and music filled the air, they drove off in a flurry. I wanted to call after them, “buckle up, drive safe.”

I caught myself, they had known safe. He was the youngest of the pack. He had gone to school, got his degree, and landed that job he had hoped for. It was his nine to five. Driving home from work that day he would be taken from them. Some how they had made it through the year. I cried and whispered, “I love to watch you live.”

I have had my own wrestling in these years that followed. I have loved and I have lost. I am finding my way and navigating a plan. I started by clearing my mind and now it’s time to make a list. I give way to prayer and ask The Father to help me make it. I heard him gently whisper, “I love to watch you live.”

We Make Cookies

It was a hard day, I was done. Dinner over and the solitude of my bedroom surrounded me with just the right kinda’ cozy. There is a gentle knock and the youngest finds his way to tell me about his day, of trading at school, and his teacher being out sick. With one glance he knows that something is not right. My necklaces are tosseled in a clump on my dressing table. “Your necklaces” he says with a quiet knowing, he begins to gently untangle them. They are a mass of gifted treasures that have become a mess. Much like the compartments of my heart. He gently untangles and lays them neatly side by side, giving each his full attention. Making mention of favorites and asking questions. Each one has a story, I keep most to myself. His favorite is my oldest piece, gifted to me from my own grandmother. There is no need to tell him to be careful, he is using his own initiative to make this right. I am blessed beyond measure.

He settles back in his chair, we have not had much to say. I haven’t told him that my heart is heavy and that I wonder if my mothering is sufficient. He knows nothing of the charges that my eldest son faces or the unpredictable outcome of today’s court case, and yet he looks me straight in the face and says, “Let’s make cookies.

I am smiling now as I watch him. An old soul or one who has been taught well. You see it has been a long standing tradition, we make cookies.

As a child, I would come home a bit fussed up from my day. Mom could tell by the click in my step and the sharpness of my heal. No words between us, she would set out the bowl and the recipe. She had a special plan for days like this, cookies. Not just any cookies, she had a batch that had to be made with your hands. They were rightfully called aggression cookies. We first had to go to the sink and wash and scrub off the day. A big batch with gooey hands and little correction. I knew if I did well, they came out delightful. If I was too mad and sassy, I would put to much of this, and not enough of that, and I would have a mess. She would gently remind me. Pay attention.

I am sitting now by the wood stove in my kitchen. I am drinking tea and my heart is happy. The gentle reminder of my mother’s voice, “Pay attention. Do not let the troubles of today cause too much of this and not enough of that, you are not a mess.”

The Edge of Giving Up

The day he looked me in the eye and his spirit asked me to love him forever, my world was changed. I will not be complacent to the abandonment of children. I will not turn my heart from the hard things in my path, but seek the comfort of knowing I am enough. He deceived me, stole from me things that can not be replaced, told the officer he did not know me. Changed his name and has not looked back. I once called you son.

My heart feels too heavy to carry and grief covers me like a well worn blanket. I am aware that my words and thoughts hold captive my tomorrows. I have nothing to do in his coming and going, but I hold the door open to walking out my belief. There is a way a truth and life but it is not in me. My son must find his own way.

I quickly give my anger over to forgiveness. This is truth and I will declare restoration. I don’t understand when, where or how. Isn’t that the way with faith. If we could make the list, and launch the project then it is within my grasp, and faith is not needed.

I went to the water, I sat and listened to the rushing and the wind. I am little and I know it. This will pass with the hands of time. I question my place and the things that I have known. The answers have not yet come. I am here, on the light side of darkness, at the edge of giving up.

Eye’s To See

She has a story, and I do tell. Her name is Sky Kitty.


A kitty without a name was abandoned at a home on the reservation. She was scrapping for food and found her way to the arms of a 4 year old girl. The girl was only visiting, just passing through. Miss Sky Kitty draped herself about the young girls arms and found a warm embrace that took her too a mountain home. Sky was only a kitten herself but much to the young girls delight, soon this young cat brought kitties of her own, from the barn to the garage. They were welcomed into a cozy box and Sky Kitty came and went through an open window. She was gentle as could be but enjoyed her hunting and the freedom to roam. One day she left the comfort of her box and never returned. The young girl learned of life’s lessons in the mountains and settled in to tend to the babies. Finding homes and settling on one to call her own. Time has passed and things have changed in the mountain home. The young girl is now 9 and she and her family have taken on an adventure in a home just up the hill. It’s a family home but no one has lived there for many years. It will take time, attention and hard work but the home will be restored.

It’s summer time and the young girl is living in the house, no longer abandoned. Her family is “camped out” on site as there is potential and the house is coming alive. Music and laughter and food and new memories are being made. Restoration is hard work and takes courage and an eye to see the potential that lies beyond the raccoon intruded, bat inhabited, storage of stuff and heirloom cluttered upper house.

The raccoons have been live trapped and relocated, the bats are busy doing what bats do and the family tired from hard work and elbow grease, are about the business of homemaking. A sound is heard from under the house as children are playing. One child adventures under the house to see what she could see. Thankfully it was not a raccoon. It was Sky Kitty!

She has a rumpled tail and age has been kind to her. She has been living on her own just up the hill for over five years. This mountain home is up in the wilds where life is not gentle. There is snow and rain and weather. She has lived her life on her own terms and comes to the children with her whole heart in tact. Kindness and affection have not been lost in the years.

I tell you her story not out of love for cats. But ask that you walk this path of understanding of the human kind, as you are likely cheering for this fur baby and wish her eyes could tell her survival story. The things that she has figured out in her time of solitude. Gifts that her understanding could give to the women I have known who walk alone. The ones who carried babies that they can not raise. Who found motherhood before they were ready. Who have scrapped for their food and stood up to the bandits in their path of understanding. Like the bands of raccoons that took what was not theirs and left a mess in their path. Let the strength that sometimes causes solitude and self preservation be looked at with eyes to see. Let us not judge the gift or the giver that might look a bit crumple at the tail. Sky Kitty is a delight.

May we all have eyes to see.🐾

Milk Toast

PC: Cheebo Frazier

If you’ve had it, you know it, Milk Toast. Some might think it’s comfort food. I have never found comfort in a piece of bread floating in milk.

“…because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I shall spit you out of my mouth.” Rev. 3:16

I have known this passage for sometime. I have scratched my head and turned around on it. Did you ever look at it straight on and think, “If I’m not on fire for God, it’s better to be all the way off. If I can’t measure up, I might as well not try at all.”

I have a new view of hot and cold. Hot cooks, purifies and makes change. Cold refreshes, keeps and slows growth. The balance of the two give life. A flower bulb must lay dormant in the cold dark earth before kissed by the sun it begins to grow and bloom.

I see “lukewarm” as a neither in or out mentality. I see it as stagnant water going no where. To be lukewarm is to be complacent.

There is no complacency in God.

So let me say this to you, be about something. You were fashioned for a purpose. Get up, Show up and, Go for it!

Please leave me a comment about what lights you up.

Working Mom

I had my time of being a stay at home parent. It was brief and full of adventures. I have worked from the time I was 12 years old at one thing or another. A domestic goddess I am not.

Seven years ago our life took quiet a turn and my husband became a stay at home dad with five children to juggle. How nice for him that he didn’t tackle this task while attending full time employment. It was gratifying to say the least. We are so different in our approach but hold firm to common beliefs. I took my hands off and allowed him his own way. It has been amazing to watch the bond not only with the fabulous five, but with the community as they adjust to this man. He walks holding the youngest hand to school while he also rescues another from the misunderstanding and chaos of Jr. High. He tends them well and I jump in to give him this one time of year all to himself. Hunting Season. They watch with uncertainty as I most assuredly can not fill his shoes. He has a routine down as as dependable as the sun and the moon. He knows their times, their favorites and all that holds them together. I am the wind in the willows for sure.

I hold a few specialties up my sleeve. Pancakes for dinner, I have my own recipe. One plateful then seconds and then they come back for more. They are almost a crepe made with extra eggs, a dash of nutmeg and a few capfuls of vanilla. Filling the house with the smell of love and assurance.

Papa Bear will be home soon. Momma Bear has just settled in for dinner and a just right cup off coffee. Strong and with just a dash of cream. It will take me into the night, you see my work is not done. I still have a grant to write.