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Toby

My Toby crossed the rainbow bridge Thursday and I am sure into the loving arms of my father-in-law.

After I lost Butch (my huge Black Lab) who I had for 10 years to cancer, the kids thought Mom needed another dog.  Every time I would go outside and he wasn’t there under my hand, I would cry.  So one Sunday in November 2001, Tara and Greg wanted to meet in Columbia. They wanted me to come over and arranged for Jimmy to have something else to do.  I should have known they were up to something but not thinking anything about it, I drove over and met them.  They told me we were going to the Human Society just to look at dogs, not getting anything I promise, they said.

So we walked up and down the cages, puppies barking and jumping on the cages, older dogs shying away and then barking.  BUT one stood out, this yellow lab-Akita mix that just looked at me with those huge brown “I will love you forever” eyes. I stopped at his cage for some reason and he walked up and licked my hand.  I knelt down and he put his nose right up to mine and I knew I was going to have him as my buddy.

We talked to the employees there and because we didn’t live in Boone County, they didn’t want to let me adopt him.  We went home and I thought well, that was great, just got my heart broke again.  Not saying anything to anyone about how much I loved him.

I guess Greg could tell because he told Tara that they were going to adopt him and give him to me since they lived in Boone County at the time and had a fenced yard.  So one day, here they come with him.  When they let him out of the car, he walked right up and sat at my feet and gave me that “Elvis” smile only he could do.

That Thursday we had Jimmy’s family up for Thanksgiving and we put him in the garage because they like to shoot skeet after lunch and we didn’t know how he would react.  Well he chewed the insulation off the door in one spot.  See, he didn’t like being penned in, oh well, lesson learned.  We never penned him up, he was able to run free all of his days.

He never let anyone touch his ears except his momma, the vet learned because he would growl at her when she examined him.  He hated to ride in a car or truck and the only time he went was going to the vet.  I would have to physically carry him in their office.  He loved his home and didn’t want to go anywhere else.  When we would bring kittens home for the shed, he would love them to death, literally!  He would play with them and lick them and next thing you know they were dead.  He never understood that he couldn’t be their parent.

When I came out the door, he was usually there to be with me and slept on the patio even in the coldest weather unless we would make him go to the shed to sleep.

Every night about 9:30 he would look to the south and start barking, I am convinced there were deer there and he was barking at them.  Jimmy said it could be any thing.

He was gentle with our grandkids and Ryker could do anything to him even though he was getting old and a little grouchy with others.  If Ryker got too rough, he would go hide out somewhere.  Ryker called him my spikey dog because he wouldn’t let me brush his hair and it got really matted.

He didn’t like it when you got the gun out or fireworks, he was terrified of fire and I often wondered what he lived through before we got him.  He would not get in the water, crazy for a lab right?  Except on the very hottest of days.  Ironic that he died on the hottest day of the year so far. He loved the cooler fall days and would run around jumping and barking even this past fall when it was hard for him to walk.

He always wanted to put his head on my leg when I was sitting outside and would try to sit on my lap if I was on the ground.  He wanted to be the one nearest me and not have the other dogs as close.  I always had to pet him first when we came home or he would bark at me.  He was a huge comfort to me and I hope we provided him with a good life.

Toby, I miss you every second of every day and I hope you have met up with Grandpa Jim and are walking the fields of Heaven with him, chasing birds and maybe being a little gentler with the cats/kittens in heaven.

 

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So the wedding happened on Saturday evening, everything was perfect and of course, Shawna looked beautiful!  We cried tears of joy and laughed a lot as well.  Lots of people were there, not sure of the exact number, I was a little busy doing other things.  Like finding everything the boys lost or just couldn’t find.  I will have to say Caleb was organized and had his stuff under control.

We literally live 2 minutes from our church and I can’t tell you how many trips we made back and forth but we finally found everything we needed and got it together and pictures went off like they needed to.

One thing, I don’t know who forgot to tell Mother Nature it was the end of September and is not 90 degrees.  Looking back at other years this day, we were talking about wearing sweat shirts and being cold, that was not the case this year for sure!

When Shawna walked down the aisle, I snuck a peak at Caleb’s face and the look on his face is one I hope stays there forever when he looks at her.  I have never seen anyone look at her with so much love in their eyes except her father and me.

They wrote their own vows and read them to each other, with tears in their eyes and voices.  She walked down the aisle to “One Thousand Years” and their unity sand ceremony had “Die a Happy Man”, then after they were pronounced man and wife, they walked out to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”.  Such a variety of music but that is them, they like all music.

So the veil, if you all follow on facebook, I talked about the story behind the veil, so here it is for you all to have a laugh.  Many of you that know me, know I hate to shop at all.  Shawna kind of knew what she wanted in a veil and we talked about it, she showed me pictures on line and one day conned me into going into David’s Bridal.  Nothing against them but there were way too many women in one place for me to feel comfortable, all these girls trying on dresses and such, squealing and giggling, talking, being obnoxious in general.  So we find the veils and of course the one she wants to look at, we can’t reach (short girl problems, I know).  We finally get someone to help us get it down and try to find a place to try it on and lay it out.  She really had her heart set on this veil, UNTIL she saw the price tag.  It was $250.00, and if any of you know Shawna, that wasn’t going to happen, let’s just say, she is very frugal with her money.  So we go home without the veil but she is on a mission to find one reasonably priced (according to her).  We find a couple and they are around $50-75 dollars, too expensive for her still, after all it is just tulle and lace right?  So she finally finds this one for $26.00 14435259_10201816863179942_2500384300123250468_o-1

Granted, this is the same veil from David’s Bridal that she looked at so she is super excited and has tried this thing on I can’t tell you how many times.  Now if you look at her reception dress that a friend made her, the lace matches exactly the lace on the veil, we didn’t realize it until the dress was cut out.  That was strictly luck (or divine intervention) because we didn’t have the veil with us when we bought the lace for the dress.

The dress was a vision in her head and a picture she found with some modifications.  She went to our very dear friend Debbie and explained it to her.  Debbie said this is the first dress she made without a pattern and she did a beautiful job and was just perfect, exactly as Shawna had imagined it to be.  Her wedding dress was from her Grandma Moore who wore the dress on her 50th anniversary.  Look at the smile on her face, it was there all night!

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Everyone said the food was great (thanks, we started working on it about a month ago and did it all ourselves), everyone loved the pumpkin and apple butter that Tara’s company Fruit of the Spirit (check out her facebook page!) made and we had so many people take it home with them to enjoy.  Remember she has 2 events coming up in October, Hatton Craft Day on October 1st and an event in Centralia MO on October 15th.

We all had a wonderful time, my parents won the anniversary dance by being married the longest, 56 years!  Congrats Mom and Dad.  You all are amazing examples.

Bet you all would like to see a picture of the groom as well, right?  Well, not to disappoint, here he is as well.

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Jimmy and I are happy to have two sons now that love our daughters very much.  To Caleb and Shawna and Greg and Tara may you enjoy many years of happily ever after!

If you have pictures of the wedding, please post them and tag them #CSGetHitched.

Thanks.

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Today marks day 29 until the wedding of Shawna and Caleb.  So many things left to do, but the girls are taking a break this weekend and traveling to the Lake of the Ozarks!  I am sure I will be posting more about the private conversations we have had through messenger but that will have to wait until the weekend is over.

Shawna has no idea what we have planned and I think she is a little anxious.  You see, she is much like her father (way more than they will ever  admit), she doesn’t really like surprises and is a little worried about what her “girls” have planned for her.  It probably doesn’t help that every time I received a message last night I giggled and she had no idea.

We are leaving the boys at home to work on the house so we expect to see lots of progress without us there to interrupt them.  Prayers that they find something to eat this weekend.  They are not very good at remembering to eat without us there to feed them.

In other news about the wedding, the flowers are done and look amazing!!  Thanks Crystal Beamer.  Several of the dresses are done, Adrianna’s, Tara’s and Amanda’s (I think), Shawna’s reception dress, the flower girls dresses and they are gorgeous.  We love them Debbie Ludwig, as always, your work is beyond our actual vision.  Can’t wait to see it all come together. Most of the decorations are compete, thanks to Marlene Freels and Pat Stemme.  Brittany Bastian and Melinda Bastian, thanks for the use of some of the decorations.  More thanks to come later I am sure, but these things are in my living room right now and need to be put away so they are on my mind.  Thanks to my mom and dad and Jimmy’s mom, Margaret and Mangus Moore and Liz Dunn for allowing us to store things at your house since ours is overflowing!

Pray that our men survive without us this weekend.  Adrianna is being left behind to hold down the womanly responsibilities, pray for her that she survives and doesn’t pull the princess card on them! because she won’t hesitate and they will bow to her wishes.  Pray that the guys get lots completed on the house and have a good time doing it.

More after the weekend is over and we can reveal what all we had planned for her.

 

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So many times I started to post something and things kept getting in the way.  I am going to try to commit myself to at least one blog post a week.  Call me out if I don’t please!!

So many thing have been happening around here I don’t even know where to begin.

OK, so work has been crazy busy and I have taken on a few more things.  I started teaching a food dehydration class about 2 times a year and it has expanded and I have been to Centralia schools a couple of times to teach them about that.  They have always been a fun group of kids and love what I bring for them to test.  Dried watermelon is their favorite (and by far the hardest to dry!).  Thanks to everyone that has attended and taught me something new.  I have also taught a few classes on various things at the Fulton Library.  Sherri McBride contacts me several times a year and we plan something (usually food wise).  Last year’s “One Read” was a book called “Station Eleven” where most of the population is destroyed and how people survive (Have to read the book to learn more).  So we had a discussion about foods grown in the wild.  We had a great discussion about this and I hope many learned that Nature provides us with many blessings.

This started the search for elderberries, you see my oldest started her own jam/jelly business and wants mostly stuff grown locally.  Strawberries, rhubarb, peaches, blackberries, blueberries and lovely elderberries.  They are tiny but grow wild in so many places here in Mid Missouri.  We started picking them and they are TINY!!  But they are a great source of immune building nutrients.  We are closely watching them this summer so we know when we can start picking them again.

Last month, I did another presentation at the library and we talked about food to boost your brain power and I will be taking this program to the kids later this month.  We talked about how smoothies are easy and quick to make and make a great start to the day.  We used bananas, strawberries, blueberries and cherries.  Everyone had their favorite and no one was the clear winner so that shows how versatile smoothies are.  We used local honey as a sweetener and  I told them they could add spinach, kale or any “green” to make it more healthy.  They were excited to go home and try it.  Can’t wait to teach the kids how to make their own breakfast.

I am still quilting and late last fall, Jimmy bought me a quilting machine.  No not a long arm quilter but it does a wonderful job and I love it.  Just need more time to work on it and learn about it.  Joined a quilter’s guild recently and we have a wonderful time.  It is really just a group of local ladies that are interested in quilting and we get together once a month, usually make a block with a theme and we draw for the winner.  One of the best times we have is that monthly meeting.  If you are interested in joining, let me know and I will have them add you to the Facebook group.

So Tara started her Jam/Jelly business called Fruit of the Spirit (check her out on Facebook), and it has been a journey.  She is always checking my freezer for my summer harvest to see what she can get and has ventured into my garden to “steal” some of my jalapenos.  She has involved the whole family.  I can’t tell you how many bushels of apples they picked and Greg peeled, how many gallons of blackberries the kids picked (and ate!) or how much fun they had planting the 40 rhubarb plants and 50 strawberry plants I picked up for them at an auction.  Sometimes we make runs for supplies if everyone is busy and she has cleaned me out on pint and half pint jars from my stash.  Luckily my mother gave me a bunch of quart jars and I found some at a garage sale (and a friend has been watching auctions for me).

Greg decided to be baptized and chose July 3rd as the date.  We were a little concerned because the weather forecast was for heavy rain for the weekend and he was going to be baptized at their lake.  We got 5 inches of rain but because we had such a dry spring/summer it wasn’t too bad.  The rain stopped and we all stood by the lake while Scott baptized him and it was a wonderful ceremony.  Ryker was really afraid for his daddy, thinking something like a shark was going to bite him.

Shawna decided she had enough of living in Columbia so she and her fiancee (yes you read that right) are building a house on our property just south of where Jimmy’s grandparent’s house used to sit.  They are doing most of the work themselves and have been wiring it this week.  They are getting married in September  and the time is flying by.  We have most everything done except the food which will have to be done that week.  Her first shower is in a couple of weeks and it will really seem real then.

Thanks for staying with me through all this rambling, next time I won’t wait so long.  Blessings to everyone reading this.

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It has been a long time since I was on here and I have missed you all.

Let’s see what has happened.  DH had hip replacement in March and is doing awesome with it, now he has a knee that is bothering him.  At this rate by the time he is ready for retirement, he will be bionic!

Spring came and a huge garden, the kids and grandkids put the garden in with us this year.  Once again our tomatoes were superstars.  We quit taking 5 gallon buckets to the garden and used the wheelbarrow to take them to the produce table about every other day.  Peppers have done well, okra (which we never grew before) did awesome!  not so much for the cantaloupe, something kept eating it and I strongly suspect grashhoppers!, butter nut squash, Oh My Gosh.  I bet we have between 70 and 90 and they are still blooming!

Work is so busy and we have not slowed down since January but it is all good and something different every day.

Mr. B wrestled this winter (still don’t understand it), he played t-ball and did very well, hit several triples and doubles and made several outs.  Ms. A danced and was so cute, she has learned she loves to sing and knows all the words and motions to “Frozen”.  Mr. R is still a Papa’s boy and shadows him everywhere.  When Papa was in the hospital after surgery (that very night) R insisted that he get in bed with Papa and of course he was allowed to and laid right there next to Papa and was content!

Mowing the yard and church has been a challenge this year because we have had rain when we need it and between that, the garden and work for both of us, it has taken some pretty creative scheduling to keep everything looking good.

Most of my quilting has been put on the back burner because we have been so busy but with the weather cooling off, the garden and yard will slow down so I can get back to that.

It is time to start back to Kids For Jesus in about 10 days and I am excited to see all the littles again.  I have missed them this summer and I didn’t get to help with Vacation Bible School because of my work schedule so that makes me doubly excited to get back to work with these kids.  A heart bursting moment I guarantee you all, when you hear your grandchildren recite the Lord’s Prayer during Church service.  I guarantee it will make you cry with joy to know they are being trained up in God’s ways and Grace!  Plus they have awesome teachers at Church and a great babysitter.  Our church held VBS this year with a new preacher and according to the kids it was great.  They ended up with a camp out in the parking lot and breakfast the next morning.  Thanks so much Pastor Rebecca!  You are amazing.  She has a son that is 6 weeks younger than Mr. B and they have become great friends.

Now it is soccer season with the grandchildren, instructional of course, they are too young for anything else.  Makes me glad because another sport that Nanny and Papa know nothing about, luckily Caleb (Shawna’s boyfriend) does and plays with them!

I promise I won’t let it be so long next time and I promise I will be telling you all about Craft Day that is coming up in 3 weeks.  Oh gosh, now that really made me nervous, better get busy getting ready to have a pie baking marathon with the girls and slip some cornbread in there as well!!

Hope your spring/summer has been good.

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Momma

To my mother! Today you are another year older. I wonder when you were a little girl growing up in town and visits to the big city was an adventure for you if you thought your life would take you on the journey you have been on.
Did you know you would raise 4 kids that are totally different but in some ways just alike? Did you know you would marry into a huge family and spend your life on a farm, learning all about that way of life that was so totally different from your childhood? Did you know those same in-laws would be more like brothers and sisters than you ever imagined possible?
I remember you telling us stories of growing up. Of course, you all may not have had much money, but you always had family around and cousins to play with and get in trouble with right? And you all still visit (sometimes only on facebook, but still visit!) to this day. Paper dolls and dollies seemed to be your toys of choice. I remember you talking about visiting Aunt Gin and Uncle Tom, what an amazing role model she was/is for you. The funniest story was of you and one of the cousins hiding in Grandpa’s dump truck and he found out just before his truck was loaded. I bet you gave him a few gray hairs that day and it has been a good story to pass along to your kids.
I know it is crazy to think about all the things you have seen change in your lifetime. Farming in the 60s is very different from now, we used to haul hay in a 3/4 ton pickup and you let us ride on the top of the load (taught us to be excellent at stacking!), going to Illinois to get peaches and yes they are still my favorite fruit, I think because my subconscious mind remembers all the fun times we had. You and Dad always worked together as a team and were an excellent example of what a marriage should be. When things got hard, you all never quit. There were lots of hard times during those years on the farm.
When Grandpa was so sick and in the hospital, you would go to see him everyday and he grew to expect those visits, you were his little girl to the very end. And then years later when Granny was diagnosed with cancer, you stepped up to the plate and took her home, put your job on hold to take care of her. She appreciated that so much and you were such a blessing to her.
Thanks for reminding me a couple of years ago that I love gardening and sharing my bounty with others. You love to spoil the grandkids and great grandkids and are the happiest when everyone is around. July 4th, Thanksgiving and Christmas are the highlights of your year because everyone tries to get home to see you all. Plus you always make a ton of food for everyone.
I know it sometimes slips other’s minds because your birthday is around Christmas but I wanted to be the first to wish you a very special day and I hope it is everything you hope for.
We love you.

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If you have not received a Christmas letter from me by January 1st, I hope you can read this on here. Life has been a little crazy so yes I am very late getting my letter out. Promise to try to do better next year.
December 2013~~~Merry Christmas from Jimmy and Mylene. We hope your year has been as blessed as ours has. Jimmy is keeping busy with his job at Kingdom Telephone as well as all the other things he does, lawn care, gardening, helping out the neighbors when they call him, whatever he is doing it seems he is busy all the time. He recovered very nicely from shoulder surgery and the surgeon was amazed how well he has healed up. Mylene is busy with her job as well, teaching food classes throughout the county and has taught a couple of other “food related” classes as well, food dehydration and storage, emergency preparedness food storage and edible holiday gifts. She has really enjoyed this opportunity to help her friends become more prepared for the food markets to come. She also helped with a disaster preparedness exercise in July to help our citizens know what to do when and if there is an emergency.
We had a garden this year, only 32 tomato plants, 40 bell pepper plants, onions, lima beans, squash, jalapeños, Anaheim peppers and cantaloupe, everything grew very well and we were able to store food for the winter as well as share with others, providing some tomatoes and bell peppers for the Post Office Bar and Grill in Fulton. One of the neighbors provided us with sweet corn and Mylene’s brother gave her green beans and pears! Saying we are blessed in our community is an understatement. Everyone is always willing to help out.
We had so much snow last winter and it looks like we are going to have more this winter. Prayers that everyone stays safe when it is bad out. Then the summer was not as hot as last but it was still rather warm and dry again this summer.
Ryker James Stemme made his entrance on January 16th, 2013 at 1:07 am, which is Mylene’s Aunt’s birthday as well, one day after Mylene’s parents 53rd anniversary. He is such a sweet baby, walking at 10.5 months because he couldn’t let his sister and brother get away from him. They love him so much and it is fun to watch them interact with him. He is Papa’s boy and wants to be everywhere Papa is and will throw a fit if he can’t go.
Brock started kindergarten this year and has Mrs. Warbritton and loves school. I asked him last weekend if he still likes school and he said “What do you think, of course I do!”. He amazes me every time I see him how much he has learned, spelling, math, reading (although he says he can’t read really good yet but he is working on it). And he has lost two teeth, with two more loose. He is over 4 feet tall and weighs 70 lbs. He has just started wrestling practice with a meet soon. Good luck buddy, you are going to have to teach Nanny and Papa about wrestling because we know nothing about it.
Adrianna is the leader of the younger kids at Agnes’ house. She is going to school with Ms. Agnes according to her and loves working on it. She is in dance in Centralia and has a good time, learning to twirl a baton as well. Can’t wait to see how she does. She always wants to help in the kitchen, baking goodies as she says. She is so much like her mommy and Aunt Sha-Sha, sometimes it is like stepping back in time.
Blessings to you and yours during this holiday season and I hope each of you get to hear the wondrous story of Jesus’ birth sometime during Christmas. It is amazing and so special each time we hear it and want each of you to be blessed as well.

I have lots of pictures on Facebook to see how everyone is doing. We recently took a picture of the whole family at my parents house outside in the snow but the weather was nice.

Merry Christmas and happy new year from the Dunns.

Love,
Jimmy and Mylene

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