Tag Archives: FaMiLy

the heartbeat in the room

Visit the heartbeat in the room.  

A memorial website dedicated to my mother-in-law, Carol Faye Blaustone.

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A day in the life

I haven’t really used this blog as a means to let people know of the everyday events of my life. Not that that’s a bad thing. It just hasn’t been the direction I wanted to take.But that’s about to change…at least in this post.

 

Here’s a brief, and in no way complete, recap of recent events in my life.My children are growing up

 


And talk about anticipating the empty nest. It’s happening as I speak. I’m planning my daughters wedding, as well as getting ready for Nate’s graduation from High School. The two of them are gone more then they are home. What with school, work, girlfriend, fiance…you name it and it’ll take them away from home. At least my baby boy, Zach, is still around. But wait! He’s turning 16 this summer. He’ll be getting his drivers license. And he too, being the skater dude that he is, seems to be gone more and more these days.

 


And Mom just watches. Sometimes helplessly, but not hopelessly. I believe this is what we raise them for. We pour ourselves into our children, teaching them to the best of our abilities to be respectful human beings, good communicators (at least the Blaustone’s do), competent in their abilities to take care of themselves and to be financially responsible. Then, as always…you pray, pray, pray. You let go, and let God work in and through their lives. But I have to say, my heart still hurts these days.


 

 

Chris in Sedona

Chris took a trip to Arizona to spend some time with his mom. Carol has been fighting the battle against cancer for almost 5 years now. She gave up a lung the first time around. Now she fights with one. Her chemo has been changed to a pill that she will take once a day, every day…probably for the rest of her life. The goal is to shrink the tumors and provide a remission.

Carol Blaustone is a fighter though. She’s a little spit fire who loves to talk. Let me say that again. She loves to talk…which sheds a little more light on my husbands passion for gab. She has been through so much over the last 5 years. The first lung removal, radiation, and then chemo. After this last remission more cancer was found and a second, little surgery happened. When you have one lung you can’t just remove it, or pick at it for that matter. After this, another round of chemo. And now the once a day chemo pill. But like I said, she’s a fighter, and she’s strong. She blows everyone in the family away in that regard. I love her dearly.

To get a job, or not to get a job…

That is the question. I had the fun privilege of working at a Christian book store for over a year. I hadn’t worked in a number of years before getting that job. I ended up quiting back in November and have been jobless ever since.

Now, the thought of going back to work isn’t the most appealing to me, but it is necessary. I mean, hello…wedding. So, needless to say, I NEED direction. There aren’t a whole lot of jobs out there these days. Not to mention that making more than $8 an hour would be special 😉

Anything else?

Lets see. It’s very windy outside. And, I’m going to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull tonight!

I said it would be incomplete.

Blessings to all

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Filed under Children, Chris, Graduation, Job, Wedding

Ding Dong The Bells Are Gonna Chime!

Justin and Natalie are Engaged!

And thus begins the planning of a wedding in 6 months or less. I couldn’t be more blessed. This will definitely make for some good posting.

So pull out the stopper, let’s have a whopper, But get me to the church on time!

“I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And I will glorify Your name forevermore.”

Psalm 86:12

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Is it just me….

or are airports simply ghastly places?

Some of you are saying…”Oh no, I love airports. I love travel. I love crowds. I love waiting in long lines, with cameras watching and TSA personnel who look like they’ve been doing this job for 50 years (no offence). I love to fill up 2 plastic bins with all my belongings…placing pointless items in a plastic bag so they don’t “explode”…removing my shoes, belt, and jacket so I can walk through a metal detector and then put my clothes back on in front of everyone on the other side. I love having to open my carry-on to let the security guy rifle through it just because…I love that.”

And one more thing. Why do the maintenance people get to literally just “flash” their badges and walk on through? Does that make any sense at all? How do we know they’re not evil?

O.K. This random, sarcastic post is all to say that Chris and I did have a nice trip to visit his family in Arizona for his sisters birthday.

Here’s a little airplane/airport humor from my favorite comedian, Brian Regan

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Nora

I had promised to write about my grandma, but it’s obviously taken me a while to do that. How do I put into words the simple beauty of this sweet little lady?

Nataline “Nora” Saraceni was born, Nataline Chicklo on June 15, 1914 in Pennsylvania. Her mother and father, my great grandparents, were Italian immigrants. When “Nora” was 15 years old, her mother died. She was taken out of school and brought home to help care for her father and 6 brothers and sisters. I remember her telling me she was only educated through about the 8th grade. Her simple life of giving and serving others started at such a young age. As far as I’m concerned…it didn’t end until the day she died.

My memories of her…so many…too many to write about. The earliest ones are sweet and simple. She was beautiful. I have a photo of her that was taken when she was about 18 or 19 years old. She’s wearing a summer type short outfit, and let me tell you…she had great legs. Even in her 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, the women had great legs.

Memory:

Whenever I’d give her a hug and a kiss, she smelled of Emeraude cologne and Oil Of Olay. I was priveleged to grow up with my grandparents living close by. My sister and I would frequently spend weekends at Grandmas house.

Memory:

To me, Grandmas house always smelled like pasta and coffee. We would sleep on clean, crisp cotton sheets and wake to Cream of Wheat and butterd Roman Meal toast for breakfast. I loved listening to my grandma talking on their one, black, rotary dial telephone at the end of the hallway. She use to play checkers with us, taught us to play Black Jack, and a game she called “Piggy” that I swear she made up just to keep us busy.

She used to cut my hair with a razor. Boy did that hurt…not to mention looked terrible. I have many childhood pictures of me with “Grandma haircuts”.

Memory:

She loved garage sales, and would have them herself quite frequently. I attribute this to her being a product of the Depression Era. She saved absolutely everything. If she found some value in what she was saving, she would carefully wrap it in tissue paper and place it in a plastic bag. After her death we found many things in plastic bags. A few years ago she blessed me with a wonderful gift. Her wedding dress. It’s a beautiful, off white, 1930’s style dress. It was much too small for anyone to ever wear again. My grandma was a tiny little thing. When she gave it to me, it was wrapped in tissue paper and placed in a plastic bag…and just as lovely as ever.

She worked in her garden, and washed down her front driveway with the hose all the time. She loved to keep up “apperances”, even in their tiny, 1950’s crackerbox house in Santa Ana.

Memory: Food

Oh my…so many of my Grandma memories include food.

Summertime meant weekends at Grandmas house. She’d make us K-Mart ham sandwiches on buttered hamburger buns. We’d take them along with potato chips to Balboa Beach for a picnic in the sun. My Grandpap would fish off the Balboa pier.

I have to say that Nora was an amazing Italian cook. I’m sure her culinary perfections were handed down from generations past. I always knew what to ask Grandma to cook for a birthday dinner. Potato Gnocchi of course. She made the best. It was a family affair with all of us at the table to “dig out” the little dumplings.

She also made the best meatballs I’ve ever had in my entire life. I asked her for her recipe once. Yet when I’ve made them, they taste nothing like hers.

She was also know for her Pizzells. Lacy Italian cookies with a hint of orange zest, sprinkled with powdered sugar. I’ve purchased a Pizzell iron, and I use her recipe, yet once again…nothing compared to hers.

Everything was a cooking lesson with Grandma. She liked to call my sisters and I into the kitchen while she was cooking to see if we wanted to help. I seemed to like this less and less as I entered my teen years. She would call us in to give us a lesson in the “proper” way to dish up Jello. Or, instruction on how to chop up a Zuccini. Being a teenager, her particular attention to the proper things in life frustrated me, and I would turn down her requests to join her in the kitchen. How I would give anything to go back there and spend more of that priceless cooking lesson time with her. I sure could use it now.

My mother and sisters and I were looking through my grandma’s things after her death. We came across a collection of handwritten recipes that she had tucked away. Some of them on scraps of old, yellowed paper…definitely in her own hand writing. A pinch of this…a dash of that. What a treasure for us to find.

The other day I asked my mom to tell me about the various jobs my grandma had worked in her lifetime. A glass factory in Pennsylvania. A coat factory in California. A heart valve manufacturer, as well as a business that delivered food to the military PX.

But the one job she worked that I have a vivid memory of, was when she sold Sarah Coventry jewlery. Now, for those of you who don’t remember this, back in the day, Sarah Coventry jewlery was “da bomb” of costume jewlery. All the soap opera stars wore it. Now my grandma could sell iceboxes to Eskimos and Arugula to hungry wolves.(hello…garage sales) Therefore, she was one of the top Sarah Coventry sellers in the state…maybe even in the nation. I was the proud owner of much of this jewlery as I was growing up. We always got it for birthdays and Christmas. I’m happy to say I now own a few more pieces. I’ll keep them forever.

There is so much more I could write. So many memories. I know why it’s taken me so long to write about my grandma Nora. It’s just hard. I miss her so much. I know I’ll see her again, but I miss her now.

Who knows…maybe I’ll post a treasured recipe.

Nataline “Nora” Saraceni 1914 – 2008

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Filed under FaMiLy, food, grandma, Italian

Christmas Reflection…

We had a tremendously amazing Christmas. It seems like this was the first Christmas in a long time that we all were able to actually stay home, and not go anywhere. There was nothing major planned. No leaving town. No opening presents on Christmas Eve in order to bolt out of town on Christmas Day. No youth winter camp to prep for the day after Christmas. Don’t get me wrong. All those things are fine and dandy. It’s just that I love being home for Christmas. It’s got to be my favorite time of the year. I love everything about it. From the time of my birthday on December 8th until Christmas day. What can I say? I decorate, I bake, I shop, and listen to Bing Crosby Christmas music. Chris and I cooked a delicious Prime Rib dinner for Christmas Eve. We slept in on Christmas morning and took our time opening presents while enjoying baked French Toast. Our good friends, the Eazells, came over for dinner. Then even more good friends came over for dessert. It couldn’t have been more wonderful. Truly the Lord’s blessings abound to us.

Even Chris’ Appendix ordeal didn’t dampen my Christmas spirit. By the way, Chris is doing very well and recovering nicely. When you get a chance you should check out his personal blog. He just started writing about a month ago. Just click the PC’s personal blog link to the right.

That’s all for now folks, and blessings until next time

Mary Blaustone…looking ahead to 2008!

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Appendecto-whatee?

O.K., now that things have settled down a bit I thought it would be a good idea to use this post to fill everyone in on what has transpired in our lives over the last week.

It all started last Saturday afternoon when my husband, Chris, developed a little tummy ache in the middle of his stomach. He started complaining that he just wasn’t feeling well and thought that maybe he ate some bad food. I agreed with him, but have to say I kinda just blew it off as typical stomach pain or flu. By Saturday night the pain had increased. Of course I verbalized a bunch of “motherly” questions and statements.

“Do you want to throw up? Where’s the pain? Are you having any diarreah? Maybe you’re just really constipated.”

He took some Tylenol and went to bed, thinking all would be well after a good night sleep.

When we woke up the next morning, I remember thinking to myself that he would probably be feeling much better. On the contrary. The pain had moved to his lower right side and he was now running a slight fever. Needless to say, it would take standing at deaths door to get Chris to miss a church service. So, off we went to church. Thankfully we had a guest speaker that morning. Chris did lead worship though.

During the service Chris sat next to me. This normally would be a treat for me since usually he’s standing at the pulpit. But this time I ended up worrying about and focusing on my husband the entire time. He was pale, and every few minutes his face would wince and he would shift his weight and grab hold of his right side. I would look at him and say, “Are you OK?”…trying not to draw too much attention. He’d just look forward and nod his head that he was fine. I had no idea what was ahead.

Well, the service ended, so as soon as Chris could get a free moment he went on home. I ended up going out to lunch with our missionary friends who were visiting, and then went home as well. When I got there, Chris was curled up on the couch covered in a blanket. He was running a low fever, still in pain…and can I just say that he looked pretty bad. I asked him if he wanted to go to a doctor. Of course he said no. Our plans for that day after church were to go out and get the Christmas tree and decorate the house. Plus, it was the day after my birthday and the family had wanted to celebrate with dinner that night. It ended up that the boys and I went out and bought the tree. We got it set up in the living room, and that night, started decorating. Just a little added note. We had wanted to take a funny family Christmas picture, so Natalie had bought us all some really tacky Christmas sweaters. Natalie and Nathan put theirs on, and so did Chris. Even though he was feeling so sick, he still tried the best he could to be a part of our family festivities.

The night wore on with no improvement in my husbands condition. I made him promise me that if he still felt bad in the morning he would go to the doctor. Ya see, one thing I haven’t mentioned yet was that Chris and I had plans to have a get-a-way together. We had plane reservations to fly out to Arizona early Tuesday morning to go visit his parents. After a couple days we would drive back home (his mom and dad were giving us their old car). Both of us were so looking forward to this. But I kept thinking to myself that there was no way I would get on a plane with my husband sick like this.

Once again, Chris awoke feeling pretty much the same. His fever was down a bit though. We made a doctors appointment for first thing that morning. He talked to the doctor on the phone, describing his symptoms to him the best that he could. Then the doctor said it.

“What you’re describing to me sounds like Appendicitis.”

So, we went to the appointment. Of course he sent us to the emergency room. After sitting in the waiting room for about an hour and a half, they got Chris in a bed and ran some tests. Whenever they would do the typical “Appendix” test where they push and release on the right side, Chris would wince and say ouch. They were baffled when the blood tests showed his white count only a little elevated. Though the emergency room doc didn’t think it was an Appendicitis, he decided to order a CAT scan just to be sure.

The results of the scan came in around 6:00 P.M.. It was a definite Appendicitis. It needed to come out right away. Well, right away meant 9:00 P.M.

So, after one and a half days of pain and 10 hours in an emergency room…Chris’ Appendix was removed. After the surgery the surgeon informed me that everything went very well. The only problem was that the Appendix was open a bit at the top and some infection was coming out. Not to worry though, he said. Chris was in good health and would probably be fine in about 2 days.

It ended up that Chris needed 4 days in the hospital. He ran a high fever off and on due to that infection. Not to mention that some other normal body functions shut down a bit. That kind of stuff needs to be running properly before you get sent home from the hospital. It was a little scary for me though. The surgeon let us know that his Appendix were, as he put it, “Very sick”. Had we waited another day, they would have burst, and things would have been much worse. I praise God we took the steps we did, when we did.

Can I just tell you something about my husband. For as long as I’ve known this guy, there is nothing that will stop him from ministering to others. And I mean nothing. The entire time he was in the hospital he was ministering. He would go on his little walks around the third floor ward (which just so happened to be the cancer ward), dressed in his scrub pants and open back hospital gown, and poke his head in the patients rooms to say hello. He would ask there names and why they were there. He would lay hands on them and pray, just like a pastoral hospital visit. He even had nurses share their problems with him. He was constantly cracking jokes with the staff. They absolutely loved him. This is simply the man I married. I can’t tell you how thankful I am for him. I love him so much.

Chris is continuing to recover here at home. We are so thankful for everyones love and prayers. It’s very good to be surrounded by the body of Christ during times like these.

Here’s a picture of the Sunday night tree decorating. That’s an oversized stocking on Nates head. Brace yourself. Chris doesn’t look so good. It’s pretty funny though to see him in the crazy Christmas sweatshirt. Good times.

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