Sunday, August 24, 2008

It's another good day!

A very Happy Birthday to my first born. Forty-three years ago today the world first saw your face and I was so proud. I knew from the start that you were special and you have proven me right! I also knew that I would never be alone again.

I love you .

To your first born, I would like to give a BIG congratulation for winning 2nd place in another Jr Championship golf tournament. Joe was the second youngest golfer playing the course! He also had to win without any help from his caddy.

Great job Joe and nice trophy!!!

How do you make a special day even more special? You have a grandson born on it too!

A BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO OUR GRANDSON AIDAN! Aidan was born this day in 2001. I can't believe how fast you are growing. I wish you were here to draw pictures for me and tell me stories of great adventures.

I love you.

I will be thinking about both of you guys today, with pleasure and a thankful heart for the day you came into my life. -Mom/Mimi

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Musings from the Mountains

You can always tell when I am spending time in the mountains. I get really emotionally affected by nature and then try to become philosophical. This week’s stay at Northcroft was no different.

My emotional philosophical conclusion is- “ It must be all about food!” Don’t leave yet; let me tell you what has been on my mind.

I’m here and I’m extraordinarily happy and I have had the time to examine why. At first I thought, “Well, it’s because people here seem to like me and I love the people here. I have friends to visit, help and enjoy. They stop what they are doing to share their life with mine”. This experience is unlike my life in Atlanta, where I don’t fit into anyone’s schedule…Then I thought, “Nope, it couldn’t be just that. Being in the Mountains feels right even when I’m alone”.

After further consideration, I decided that maybe I just enjoyed life more when I’m here. I have felt excited to be alive, to be outside in the cool of the morning, to pick blackberries, blue berries, grapes, and green beans, to help Mrs. Oliver make applesauce and can green beans, then clean the kitchen while she is baking a couple of cakes as the caners steam. Then, in the afternoon, to have a fresh tomato sandwich while watching TV and culling grapes from one bucket to another. And before starting to make grape jelly, it thrilled my soul to walk in the clear, rocky creek and stop to watch the little minnows swim around my legs as I fed them. Oh, and the apples, I must put up the apples that I couldn’t resist buying at the apple store. They were Detroit Apples. The season is short for Detroits and they make the best applesauce. Oh, doing that makes me happy!

Wait! That’s it! It’s all about food, and our busy world is slowly taking away our joy. That’s what Kate understands too, and now I know why.

I figure it’s like this; it used to be that food was the center of our work, our social life, our family time, our celebrations! Think about it, every occasion is made better when good food is served. We certainly don’t grow it, harvest it, preserve it, all those things that I did this week that gave me such satisfaction.

In most families today each adult member of the household is working outside the home, and everyone is too tired to worry about the preparation of a meal at the end of a long day. They either grab something cold or pre-prepared and easy, then retreat to their separate corners of the house to ready themselves for the next day’s work, or they find a cheap restaurant that will be quick and easy so they can quickly get back to other things.

I stood in the sunshine, in the quiet of a country day and picked grapes and green beans, filling my bucket with beautiful gifts from the ground. I helped a neighbor get caught up with her canning, and while we were doing that we got caught up with each other. When I sat down to rest, I had large shinning bowls in my lap preparing my harvest. By the end of three days, I had 10 gleaming jars of purple jelly and fresh applesauce cooling on my counter top, not to mention a homemade peach crisp, with a cup of blueberries from our bush, thrown on top, and several packages of frozen peaches in the freezer. I have fresh green beans to take home for Terr’s dinner and I had the satisfaction of helping a neighbor can 28 quarts of green beans and 14 quarts of applesauce. I’ve washed dozens of canning jars and cleaned sticky jelly off of everything, including myself (and I still have 2 more quarts of grape juice to turn into jelly)!

I’m a good kind of tired and satisfied. I just stopped and took a cup of coffee out on the porch. With a bit of a chill in the night air, I sat in the swing and listened to the babble of the creek that was almost covered up by the loud cries of the katydids. I thought, “I guess it’s not all about food, maybe it’s more about slowing down enough to appreciate what God has provided just for the taking."...and... just maybe, even I, Merry Gwen from Tennessee, can have dreams of being like Barbara Kingsolver.

It's been another great trip in my mountains, where life is somehow very familiar and I can breathe in the sense of being.

I dedicate this blog to Evelyn Oliver, who has always welcomed me into her kitchen, garden, her fruit trees, her berry bushes, grape vines, her cellar, as well as her life and family. She has taught me so much about each one of these things and I have loved her work ethic, her love for family and her giving spirit.
Today she does these things from a wheel chair and with the help of those who drop in to visit and to give back some of what she has done for them over the years, by helping her with the things she can no longer do. When they leave you can bet they don’t go empty handed! They are always offered a pound cake or some of whatever vegetable she is harvesting and heartfelt appreciation.

Something else she does from her wheel chair. She lovingly takes care of her critically ill husband. She and Gene have been married and sidekicks in the garden and kitchen for over 50 years. She misses him as he gets quieter and quieter, sleeping on the sofa most of the time because of heavy pain medication and weakness. She tenderly gets him up and into his wheel chair to patiently feed him cream of wheat at the kitchen table. She always has an ear listening for a ringing of the bell he rings when he needs her. She doesn’t complain about her own health, and only worries about Gene’s. “I just do the best I can,” she tells me. “We’re doing alright, for now.” And she is! She keeps on living life the best she can, and that's better than most.

Thank you, Evelyn, thank you for loving my buddy, Gene, and for taking such good care of him. Thank you teaching me about food, farming, and life. God bless you and Gene for all the lives you have touched.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Goodbye Old Friend

Beautiful and touching words from my son today. I can't keep the tears from falling. May God give the Regas family peace that passes all understanding. - Mom

Dear Family: Sadness hangs over the Regas household today. After 11 years of joy, “Jasmine’s Navajo Jewell” (Nava) was laid to rest. Her poor body just couldn’t take it any longer. Nava did enjoy Chinese food with the kids last night and this morning, she and I ate fried egg and meatloaf sandwiches for breakfast. Her appetite was much stronger than her hips and body! When we walked in the vet’s office this morning, the girls behind the counter were crying as much as I was. Before we could walk back to a room, we ran into a very nice lady with a boxer puppy in the waiting area. She commented on how beautiful Nava looked in my arms; I guess she did not notice that I was crying or that Nava was not on a leash. I knelt down and let the boxer puppy lick and play with Nava. Nava stayed safely in my arms but I could actually see her smile as she and the puppy “boxed” one another. Normally, Nava shakes and gets upset at the vet’s office, even though the girls there are so kind and love on her. Not this time. I think she knew. Nava already is missed.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Favorite Pics from Fweakijam 2008 from Merry Croft on Vimeo.

Fweakijam 2008 was big! It was so big that I just couldn't tell the story in just a few pictures. I deleted picture after picture and still my slide show went on forever. There were the trip pictures, the beach pictures, the billiard pictures, the pool pictures, the tennis pictures, the boot camp pictures, the game pictures, the dinner pictures, the kayak pictures, the art pictures, the Ya-Ya pictures, the family pictures, and the miscellaneous pictures...about 1,000 pictures to select from! I hope the ones I have chosen tell the story of our family vacation and I hope you enjoy watching as much as I did.

Note from Kate: (Thanks again everybody for a great week! Thanks to Dad for funding and organizing a great trip, Mary for booty camp, Keegan for killer stop-motion animation, Mom for hosting painting and movie time, Kim for exquisite pork and cheesecake, Beach Master Mike for fathfully erecting the tent every morning, Isabelle for giggling perpetually, Ford for the Soulja Boy dance, Molly for beach walks and good talks, Emily for great cuddles, Morgan for severe squeaking, Kristin for caffeinating and driving a million miles, Joe for red snapper and a good heart, Shannon for coming all the way back, Aiden for continuous commentary, Tom for photo-documenting all the great stuff we did, Jeremy for teaching all nine kids how to play pool, Andrew for pound cake and victorious chickenfights, and William for my superpowers of flying, being invisible, and also juggling. Love you all, Kate)

P.S. I worked for hours trying to add beach music and failed (darn itunes!). I got close and just ran out of time. Next time I'll do better!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pics from Fweakijam 2008 are on the way!

(photo taken by Kate)
Grayton Beach was wonderful this year, but like William, I'm tired, and collectively we have over 1,000 delightful vacation pictures to cull! It is hard to let go of a single moment but I will try not to overwhelm you with too many family pictures.

For now I just want to give all the glory to God for answering my my prayers of safe travels, protection during water play, for family unity, unconditional love and for good memories. I am forever blessed by the events of last week and am so grateful that everyone is home safely, tanned and not burned.
I loved Summer Vacation 2008! -Mimi
(photo taken by Grandad)

Friday, August 01, 2008

August 1st

For my Sister, Judy...

~Happy Birthday~