Monday, June 30, 2008

heat wave # 1

I'm mentioning that we are having our first heat wave for two reasons. The first is that so it is documented. I just love checking back on my blog for these trivial facts. . somehow it validates yet further the necessity to have a blog. The second reason is that when we have a heat wave, we don't go off and frolic too far from home. We're farmers and we stay home. . .or close to home and tend our flocks. . . Typically we will not have power outages unless we have a good wind storm or . . . .oddly on a hot day. The flocks aren't so fond of power outages when it is 33 Celsius outside. Right on cue yesterday, at 5 pm the power went out and the generators kicked in .. . .love those things .. .and all was fine. It was nice not to scrape ourselves off a beach somewhere and tear down the highway because of a barn alarm. So . . .. instead we invite folks over to enjoy the hot "fresh" air of the country.
Our friends came riding up on their motorcycle and we popped some goodies on the grill and we were set. The amazing thing about me and Kathy is that we seem to have the oddest inclination to dress similarily at each visit. This hasn't just started in recent years, we've been doing this for decades already. Aside for slightly different colors. . .I am drawn to primary colors. .(okay the picture isn't a good example of this. . I know) and she is drawn to khakis and soft neutrals (okay. ..she also is not a good example of this ).
So. . . yesterday was soft pastel plaid short day. .. .twinsies again.
After dinner we set down the trail to teach them goecaching. See how excited Kathleen is to have found her treasure? We already have big plans to geocache together on a camping trip.



Being the tour guide. . .I pointed out the stinging nettle. Friends do that sort of thing .. . don't they?

On the way back to the farm .. . I got tired of lugging the camera and gave it to my beloved. . .who generally lands up carrying my stuff. . . love that man.
I'm off on an adventure today with another blogging/church friend. . . . . I best get movin'.
Have a wonderful day my friends.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

saturday peek at the peak

I look up to the mountains ~~
does my help come from there?

My help comes from the Lord, who made the heavens and the earth!!

Psalm 121 : 1,2

Yesterday just before dinner I ran out to the back field to peek how the blueberries were coming along. .. .
They are coming along. . .a few more weeks.
The mountain peak in the background is still covered in snow. .
I'm trying out a new comment format where the comments are imbedded in the post once you click on the comment button.
Let me know what you think. . .one click and its gone.
It appears that you need to select how you leave your name differently.
Feedback would be appreciated on this. . I always wonder if something appears different from what I see. . .if you blog you will understand this thinking.
Have a wonderful weekend. . .
LATER IN THE DAY
The new embedded comment is out of there. .
thanks so much for the input. . I surely do appreciate it.

Friday, June 27, 2008

early morning chit chat

Well, I'm off to a fabulous mind wracking start this morning.
My beloved wasn't quite yet out the door to do chores when the phone rang. ..
I thought to myself.. . . well, it is a bit early in the morning for casual chit chat. . . but hey. .
why not?
Why Not?. . . .well, it was the nice chap from the farm financial survey calling to see if I had my survey complete and ready to go over with him. . .
Big gulp. . . oh. . . .was it supposed to be done already?
I quickly went to the nice neat stack of papers on my to do list in the office and  located the offensive looking survey. . . .incomplete.
At the same time my filing cabinet is being hoisted open to our last year end financial statements.
I'm . . . .ready. . .fire off the questions. . . yikes.
In the meantime. . . my beloved has no idea that I am struggling through the survey and is completely unaware that he should not be turning alarms off to the barn. . . .(this kills the phone line momentarily. . )
After being cut off from the nice chap. . .I quickly peruse the financial statement, trying to familarize myself with it. . . oh dear. . .why didn't I have this done ahead of time. . .
The nice chap calls back and  wonders at the odd timing of the disconnecting call. . .
I say. . ."yes how odd. . ."
We begin again where we left off and I continue to struggle through the questions that I don't completely understand. . .the value of the acres, and the amounts of rented land. . phew. . an easy one.
I kid you not. . .my beloved decided to run to the shop in between .. (shouldn't he be in the barn?)
. . .the phone is disconnected once again ..
I think to myself.. .. well at least I have something to blog today.
The nice chap calls back again. . I'm sure quite suspicious, that I'm trying to lose him.  I assure him it is the oddest thing to be disconnected once again .. we continue on.
A half hour later, he thanks me for my time. . .
I hang up and read the front of the survey ..
Ah. . .there it is. . .and I quote ..
"This questionnaire is to assist you in answering a telephone survey.  Complete this form and keep it by your telephone.  An interviewer from Statistics Canada will telephone you between July and August (they actually have this part in bold) for this information. . .
Hmmm, well, that's done. . .it is off the stack of to do list. .
He's happy. . . I'm happy. . .I think I'll pack a picnic.
There is a lake with my name on it. . well maybe a lake with my beloved's and my name on it.
Get the chores done. . .start the car.
Have a wonderful day my friends.
oh. . and I'm trying out the blogger in draft optional posting today .. guess what. . no spell chek on teh compos bar. . . so .. sory abooout anee misteaks ..

Thursday, June 26, 2008

geocaching. . .

When my beloved and were married. . .technically we didn't have a whack of common hobbies. We didn't play tennis together or golf together. Some people might have been concerned about this. When couples get married now. . .they are usually asked, what do you enjoy doing together. Our list was short. . .but it got longer.
Our newest fun thing to do, is cheap like borscht after the GPS is purchased. What is a GPS you ask? It is a Global Positioning System and it is used to find places. The more common uses would be to have one in your car when travelling. Oh .. but the fun you can have with it in between is amazing.
With our GPS in hand we download Geocaching sites and go treasure hunting.
You must check this out. . Go into the Site here and put in your location and just see how many treasure hunts (geocaches are in your neighborhood alone). We will never go on vacation again without some geocaches downloaded into our GPS.

My beloved holds the GPS and I hold the camera and off we go.


You might have to do some bush whacking to find the treasure or you might wander into a farmers field.
The other day we went into a wooded area close to our home and we were lost in the bush for quite some time. .. when we emerged. . .
I said. . ."so. . . I guess all the vehicles we've seen stopped here at this wooded area were not doing drug deals"
He said. . ."no. . . go figure"
I said. . "I'm shocked .. .I thought for sure they were"
He said .. ."I suppose now we'll suspect everyone is geocaching and we'll want to stop and follow them"


When you find the treasure. . .it may be a wonderfully constructed box such as this little house.
This one was full of wonderful treasures.
The point is to record that you have been there in the little book provided and then leave a small treasure. . . and take a small treasure. .
and then plant it at your next geocache find and continue on.

After you have savoured your success, you carefully leave it secure for the next treasure hunters.
Last year on vacation we were at Manning Park Campground .. had hiked for several hours and then came across a family that were geocaching and found their treasure near the waterfall we were enjoying.

That is when we knew we were going to begin this hobby.

It 's wonderful.
Exercise, togetherness, a thrifty date and a challenge all wrapped into one little package.


Do you geocache? What do you think? Sound like fun?

Oh .. . I'm off to pay bills. . . and then enjoy some sunshine later in the day.
Have a wonderful day my friends.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

on your mark. . get set .. .go

The lil' farm hand is done sitting around.

There is no time to be relaxing when there is fun to be had and work to be done.

At 6 1/2 months he's a little light on his work load though. . .

mostly.. . . he's just having fun. . . and so are we.

We just can't get enough our grand babies. . ..

but when we look at our friends with their grandbabies .. . . I think. . . .

we're pretty normal.

video

We're off on date day. . . .have a wonderful day.

Monday, June 23, 2008

country girls

I was delighted to accept an invitation from Judy ..(pop over there to see what we christened) on my left .. and Marg (pop over there to see what I forgot) on my right. .

to visit them in their neck of the woods fields.

I followed Marg's directions to her house. I was treated to some refreshment and a tour of her home and garden and then we left to pick up Judy at her house. . .

where yet more refreshments awaited our arrival.

Then the three of us hopped in my car and went to have a lovely lunch ..what a treat.

We found we are not so different the three of us.
Judy, Marg and I have all begun to blog in the last few years.
We share a common faith and heritage.
We love our husbands and children. . . and wee ones.
We love to cook and enjoy having friends over for dinner.
I found the visit so intriguing. . .since I'm reading the book. . Grown-up Girlfriends.
We are each in a unique season of our life .. . in a sense we are being intentional about our friendship. I think we all recognized that this friendship would have never occurred had it not been for our common interest in blogging.
I believe that God designed us to meet and encourage one another and to fill in part of the gap that all of us have . . . each relationship meets a unique need.
So far, the book is quite fascinating . ..
and the country girls? ..
I'll be inviting them over to the bungalow. . before summer is done.
Have a wonderful day my friends, oh do run over to the MGCC blog to see what is cooking next door.

the annual photo

On Friday night we made the trek to Tim and Flo's farm.
We were treated to a wonderful dinner and a visit to boot.
I recently purchased the book called Grown Up Girlfriends by Erin Smalley and Carrie Oliver.
I'm on chapter two so it is a bit early for me to make a recommendation. .
that may come soon though.
It occurred to me as I looked at the photo above that indeed. .
we have grown up a bit.
Our relationship is a gift to us. . . designed for us. . .for a purpose.
We knew them before their first daughter arrived which was quickly followed by their second a son and quickly followed by another daughter.
Now they have a granddaughter. . .the love of their lives.
She is darling. . isn't she?
I think the photo above was taken mid 80's. . .it's a little hard to tell without the kids there to mark the timeline.
What I do know is that our friendship remains. . ..
We are the same for the most part. . .
We don't see each other every week like we used to. .. .
but when we do. .
oh it is sweet.
So . . .guess what?
Today I'm having lunch with two girls/ladies I have never had lunch with before.
Can you guess who?
We're bringing our cameras. . .these girls aren't shy. ..
woo hoo. . .

Saturday, June 21, 2008

saturday peek 06/15-24 . ..2008

The garden is in pink.
The house is full of peonies and roses . ..
I've a lemon meringue pie in the works. .
check later on the Mennonite Girls can cook blog.
Have a wonderful weekend my friends,
see you Monday.

Friday, June 20, 2008

the old trees

From time to time we all come upon trees that are far past their prime.
Trees that once bore enough fruit for pies for the freezer for a whole year and then some.
Trees that had sandboxes tucked underneath the shady boughs.
I saw several trees like that yesterday.
I was mildy amused seeing a few transparent apples. .
enough for a few pies maybe.
The trunk of the massive willow tree has the remains of a tree fort.
I wondered at asking my family to hold hands around the tree.
I didn't. I wanted to.
I wish I would have.
To have my three brothers and I hold hands around that tree
. . . with me,
would have been incredibly special. . .
for me.
.. .but alas. . .
I'm the little sister ... .
still the sentimental one. . . .
I stood there at the tree and claimed my memory. .
remembering the time I fell out of that tree in grade two and broke my arm.
My brother ran to the house. . .
"Vellie broke her arm"
Mom said. . ."play nice"
(until she saw me running to the house supporting part of the limb that wasn't quite straight anymore)
I said. . ."I'm not going to the doctor"
Mom said. . ."no we'll just call the doctor" (you could do that at one time)
Minutes later in the car. . .
I said. . "I'm not going to the hospital"
Mom said. . "no we'll just stop at the doctor's office"
I said. . .after stopping at the office .. ."I'm not sleeping at the hospital"
(mom rocking me gently in her arms. . . ."no. . . we'll just go there for a little bit"
I said. . .being tucked into a hospital crib. . . (they were out of regular beds .. .I was in grade two remember .. . ). . "I'm not having an operation"
Mom said. . ."tomorrow you will come home"
That night I whimpered into my pillow. . (parents weren't allowed to stay)
the little girl next to me having her tonsils out the next day. . asked me what was wrong. .
I had to go to the bathroom but the nurse had told me not to get out of bed. .
(I was in the crib. . .remember?)
The girl getting her tonsils out confided in the girl across from her who was getting her adenoids out the next day who .. .pushed the buzzer . . for the nurse.
I thank God today for the incredible gift of remembering.
I thank God for giving me wonderful things to remember.
I'm sure that a medical professional. . .
would be skeptical about me calling this memory wonderful. . .
no matter. . .
it's my memory and it's wonderful to me.

Maybe next year at the annual wiener roast at our family home. .
I'll take my grand babies to the tree and ask my little great nieces and nephews to come too. .
and together we'll hold hands around the tree.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

playing house camping

The view out our front window is at it's most beautiful now.
The raspberry fields are in blossom and freshly plowed.
The raspberry recipes won't be far behind.
The different trees planted on the hill in the distance provides a spectacular backdrop for the perfectly straight rows of berries.
God's creation and man's hard work provides me with a pastoral view.
Well, that's it. . .I'm ready to go camping.
Yesterday we participated in some pretend camping .. . and now I long for the real deal.
The weather forecast looked pretty dismal so the trek to the lake didn't happen.
We stayed much closer to home. . and gave it a trial run.
The campfire had me hungry for a wiener roast . ..
the display bed perfectly turned down had me feeling sleepy. ..
the table set up for two .. had me hankering for a indoor picnic.. . .
Who doesn't love camping.. especially like this?
I don't know if anyone else will be convinced to camp in our beautiful country ..
but we are already looking forward to going to the mountains again this summer. . .

Today was pretending. . .
it's good to make believe once in awhile. .

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

the scent of the garden

To wander outside when the thought occurs is freedom. . .
to be enveloped by the scent of my Abraham Darby rose at the fence. .
is sheer delight.
If they bottled this fragrance, I'd wear it.

Moving to my perennial bed, the Japanese Peony and Victorian Salvia are nearly in sync.


The Gertrude Jekyll rose . . .is as always full and vigorous in its many blossoms.


I have vases of pink peonies tucked throughout the house.
Have you ever smelled a peony before?
A few years ago .. I was in Banana Republic. . trying on their scents.
I fell in love with the peony scent and later in the day we walked back to purchase it.
I looked at the bottle once more and smiled at my beloved. .. .
I said. . "it's room fragrance"
He said. . "so?"
I said. . " I can't wear room fragrance"
I didn't buy it that day. . but today my house is filled with the fragrance of peonies.
We're off on a bit of adventure today.
We are helping in setting up a staging for a travel trailer brochure.
How fun is that?
Oh. . .now if the weather would just hold.
For our lunch. . .I've packed up a few jars of borscht. . .
and some of Judy's meat buns. . .


Want to come?
Have a wonderful day my friends.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Merc y

Dreadful news. . .the only one calling Miss Ella. . .Miss Ella. .
was you and me. . .
It struck me one afternoon as I watched yet more power being loaded into the cavity of this old merc. .. oh mercy. .
We regularly pull up to hot rods at stop lights. . . lower our windows to hear the "whine" of the engine before a healthy deep growl ensues.
I then look over at my beloved. . .and wait for his approving look.
Apparently .. .what we thought was a she truck .. isn't.
Forgive me. . . for the change. . . after all the hard work coming up with one and then Kathy being crowned the winner. . well. .she still gets a ride. . woo hoo.
So, since then, we he have has put things in .. . and taken things out. .
There has been plenty of welding, and measuring and placing things in temporarily.
The pictures left to right .. oh do click on the collage to better see the work. . .
1. the rad. . .(radiator. . trying to teach some lingo here) is in place. .
2. the floor has been cut and welded and prepared for the brakes
3. the air conditioner/heater has been tucked and installed in the cubby hole
4. the hoses for the rad and engine have been attached
5. the steering column and steering wheel have been fitted.
6. the floor and firewall have welding spots
7. the gas tank has been fitted, moved, and fitted again behind the rear end.
8. the gauges have been selected and holes filled and then recut for the new gauges.
Besides all of that. . .there is much more ..
I feel quite happy to keep up with learning what happens next.


We are nearly ready to remove it ALL.
That's right .. soon it will be completely dismantled and the frame will be sandblasted and painted.

Then. . .the real truck building will happen.. .
I have been informed that when it is built the next time. . .
the sound of the motor will soon .. . soon be heard. ..
and the paint color will be the discussion once again.


Oh .. .boy ..
Merc y . . . .me.

He's starting to talk about the next build.
It seems such a shame to only build one. . .after learning it all.
This is his first. . but it won't likely be his last ..
with two sons. . .they are bound to come up with another plan.

Have a wonderful day my friends.

Monday, June 16, 2008

It's all about the color

Overheard in the park yesterday. . .
Stuart .. . "are you guys arguing?"
I said . .. "NO. . .does it seem like we are arguing?"
Stuart said. . "I've never heard you argue this much". ..
I said. . "it's always about the color. . your father is color blind"
. . . more discussion. . .. .
He said. . "is that green?". . .
I said. . "no it's turquoise". . .
He said. . "is that blue?". ..
I said. . "aqua". . .

A chip off the old block. . .
I love this photo.
The old Merc was relaxing in the shop while the guys were on their bellies in the park looking underneath at frames and discussing the heights and lows of the truck and cars.
Tomorrow I'll do an update post on the old Merc. .formerly referred to as Miss Ella .
I've decided to change her name. .
"Oh Mercy" seems to be more common in reference to the old Merc.
More about that tomorrow.




The weather was perfect. .
the day was wonderful. . strolling through the park, running into friends we haven't seen in ages. ..
and being with our kids.

There was plenty of that. . .(notice the hands on hips. . it reminded me of little children who are told to put their hands somewhere where they won't get into mischeif).

I hope you had a wonderful day too yesterday.
Today, the sun is out. . and I'm off to work in the flower garden.

My peonies and roses are positively oozing fragrance,
teasing me for sitting indoors. .

Have a wonderful day my friends.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Saturday peek 06/08-14 2008


Fathers Day 2008.


I celebrate the three men in my life who are Dad's.


My beloved has been such a wonderful example to his sons.

He loves his sons and has always worked hard to give them a good life.

He has taught them to love God. . and to have integrity.

He has taught them that after hard work comes time to play

He demonstrates his love often by helping them in their homes and in their yards.



Our sons became Dad's this year . .
Seeing the faces of their little ones light up when they see their Daddy's is incredible.

They are grown men who don't mind looking silly to earn a giggle.
We see how they desire to be the best Daddy's they can be.
What a joy to see . . .
Dad's. . .sons. . and a grampa.


I'm proud to be the woman who chose the first one. .

and proud to be the mom to the other two. ..
and delighted to see the grampa learn his role.


I also remember my Dad and Dad in law. .

and thank God for wonderful memories.


Blessings on my guys. .

have a wonderful day . .
I have Kathleen's Cinnamon Buns rising. . oh such soft dough. . .

tomorrow. . we're heading to a car show .

blue walker truck


Put your lips gently together.
Clench your teeth a little.
Blow just a bit. .

The sound of trucks. . .we know how to do that.

Little boys haven't changed much. .
They still know what a truck should sound like.

Have a wonderful day my friends.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

hunting. . and the patch of blue

He said. . ."come ..quick .. bring your camera. . "
I peered outside to see what all the fuss was about. .
He pointed to the sky .. .
I ran back inside as fast as I could. .
blue sky .. rarely seen these days. .
and we may not see it again. . so yes. .
it is best to document the event.

Later in the day, again .. a knock on the window. .
"He said .. quick come outside"
I peered out and there he stood proud and tall beside . . .

. . a mole. . ( do you all have mole hills in your lawn?)

I said. . . ."woah. . .is it sleeping ?"

He said. . ."no"

The weather here has been so wet. . that even the moles are surfacing. .
He found this little gaffer sneaking across the lawn ..

By the end of the day .. .two more where resting comfortably beside these two ..
no trap. . .just pure hunting prowess. . .

Never a dull day on the farm.

Added to the list of titles. . .
my mole man.

Love that guy!!

Have a wonderful day my friends.
Oh do stop by the Mennonite girls can cook .. .
those girls are pumping out the food and recipes.

I'm off for my walk. If I'm going to eat . .I have to walk.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

year three

Happy Anniversary to Terrence and Bea.
Here's to another year
of having and holding on
to what matters most . . .
each other.
and the lil' farmhand.
(good job on him. . . keep them coming. . smirk)
Have a wonderful day my friends.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mennonite Girls can cook

Have you visited the newly formed blog yet?
Last week I invited women to join me in beginning a church style cookbook with a Mennonite flare. So far the recipes seem to be leaning to the Mennonite heritage but we'll eventually be turning to other favorites as well.
Since then .. .I have had the pleasure of welcoming new bloggers into the blogging community.
So far. . they have worked diligently in their kitchens and on their computers. . .
giving us samples of their family favorites.
Yesterday I slaved in the kitchen .. trying to remember a family recipe that hasn't been made in twenty years. No one had recorded the recipe even though it was one of my beloved's favorites.
I have no idea how to spell or say what they called it but it was pronounced . . .
phonetically .. . .oot-chya-rullda-cheelchtya. . .
Well . . . the deed has been accomplished.
This recipe blog. . will become a wonderful record of recipes.
You are still invited to join as one of the contributors.
I would be more than willing to walk you through the first few posts. . .
Come and check us out at Mennonite Girls can cook .. .and so can you.
You will be amazed at how much work fun has already been done. .
Oh and don't forget to let me know if you have posted your grad/prom dress . .be sure to visit all the gals at the bottom of yesterdays post.
Have a wonderful day my friends.

Monday, June 9, 2008

the 31 year old dress


Doing the math each year to see how long it has been since high school is becoming increasingly more frightful.


I pulled my dress out of my cedar chest and after I did my Saturday house chores. .

I slipped it on .. with my muck boots and went out to the shop.


He said. . . "where you off to?"

I said. . ."to the field to take pictures of me in my grad dress.. . .will you take the pictures?"

He said .. "let me wash my hands"

Off we went to the field. . .I twirled around a bit in the still wet grass.

He said .. ."won't you get it dirty?"

I said. . ."who cares?. . . .just click .. . lots"


He did. . I laughed a little self conciously.

It may seem odd to some that I would enjoy such a silly self. . photography session. . .

but I don't care. . . I'll live this life but once. . .

and the older I get the more I realize that God created me with a personality that is unique to me . .and why should I try to be otherwise if it hurts no one?



I had a mini celebration in the field on Saturday.

I celebrated life and the blessings that I have.

Is my life perfect? Apparently some of you think that it is.

Occasionally I am reminded that it appears that this blog makes my life appear a constant state of delight.


I am incredibly blessed .. I will agree.

I have challenges in my life .. . just the same as everyone else.

I choose not to publicly air my disappointments and hurts.
I could tell you many stories of how I have hurt others and have made a mess of things. .. but then I would be telling a story that would partly belong to others.


Without Jesus in my life. . I would likely be a very different person.

I have no idea what choices I would have made differently had I not made him Lord of my life when I was but a young child.


Though I have often failed and sinned against God and the people I love .. . .
I am forgiven and live a life of joy and hope and peace.
I believe that Jesus came to this earth. . .
lived a life without sin. .
then died on a cross .. for me. .
My sin was forgiven when He died.
He rose .. .and is alive. .
I see the evidence of that every day .. .
in so many things.
The hope I have is because of His grace. . not because I am such a good person.
Oh my friends. .. I wish that every one you could know that peace with God.
If you ever wish you could live a life of joy. . .
and a life where you feel peace that comes from knowing that you are doing what God has called you to do. . . .. and wonder how. .
oh. .
please feel free to email me. . . I'd love to help you.

Trying on the dress again that my mom stitched with such love ...
made my heart full.

To have a mom who instilled in me a love of God and family and a heart to be sensitive . . .
is indeed a very precious gift. .

So .. .I thought of her .. .I tried the dress on mom. . .
thank you for making it .. .so carefully. . .as best as you could.

I may have graduated from high school 31 years ago. . .
but learning will never be complete for me.
( at least not as long as I have my faculties. . .snicker)

I have learned more this year about myself than in the previous year.
I imagine .. that next year I will learn more things that God still intends to teach me.


It is a journey . . .this life. . .unique for each one of us. . .
designed by God above to draw us close to Him.

If that isn't love . . .what is?


If you tried on your prom/grad dress. . .and have pictures to show. .
please let us know for the next few days. .
we'd love a peek.
Have a little fun. . . . take a twirl in the field.

Have a wonderful day my friends. . .
I'm packing away my memory. . once more.
Run over to see other grad dresses. . .
Jill who started the fun with pictures of her dress back then. . .
and Jill's post today. . oh the fun. . I love it. . must see this. .
Vicki has her dress pictures of her dress. . under her gown. ..
Judy has a picture of the dress that her sister designed. . so pretty
Jan has a picture of her gown. . and two dresses . . .such a cutie
Nicki has a picture up of her and her friends in honour of her 20th anniversary
Vee has her prairie gingham dress hanging on her country fence . . .so sweet
Kori and her daughter are both posing in the dress she made with help from her twin
Marg posted her 27 year plan . . a story filled with humor, determination and love