Saturday, May 21, 2011


Yes, it took PATIENCE!!

When we moved to Pennsylvania (25 years ago), Bernie planted a wisteria plant on our deck. It grew and grew and twined around the deck, but NEVER flowered UNTIL THE WEEK WE MOVED!!!!!!

One of the first plants he planted in Warren was another wisteria plant. We have been in this house for over 11 years and it FINALLY bloomed. Wanna see pics????

Patience is a beautiful thing!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Legacy

I first heard his name when his daughter, Vickie, asked us to pray for his salvation. Vickie was in my college bus division.

I first met him while going door-to-door visiting after we moved to Port Huron. He greeted us with a beer in hand and was very nice to us. We also met a VERY pregnant Beth on that day.

On April 1, 1984, he walked into our church. Someone told his wife he was there and she thought it was an April Fool's joke! It was no joke - he walked the aisle and accepted Christ.

Our Melodie was born in October of that year and we needed a babysitter. Bev and Bill became her caregivers. They took such great care of her and loved her as their own.

A few weeks ago I heard Bill had cancer. He had two treatments in Port Huron that seemed to do nothing to his cancer. I chatted with Vickie and found out that he was getting treatments at St. John's hospital in Detroit - just a short trip from our home.

Two Sunday's ago, when Bernie came to sit by me after playing the piano, I whispered to him - "We need to go see Bill Green." Knowing choir practice comes soon on Sunday afternoons, we ran home, gobbled down dinner, and drove to the hospital.

As we walked aroung the curtain in his room, he looked at us - I said, "I am Norma." He looked at both of us and said, "You have aged." That is the first time I have had someone say that to me (even though I HAVE aged!!!!). We laughed. He talked to us for at least 40 minutes and he looked great. We were so glad we went to see him.

That Friday, he went to be with his Lord. Such a sad time, but his memorial yesterday was a great testimony of a LEGACY.

I could not believe how many cars were parked at the church in Port Huron. Every business around the church had full parking lots, and the streets were packed. The church had to set up folding chairs.

Every memorial given was about the man who loved people and loved his God. He loved and served his family and his church. He had enough love for his family, extended family, and strangers. What a legacy one man left behind!

Makes me wonder . . . what will they say about you at your memorial? How many will attend? Do we only love your family? Do we treat strangers in such a way that they feel compelled to go to our memorial? Do others see your love for Christ? What legacy will you leave?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Blessings . . . Blessings . . . Blessings Again!

Children really are blessings. They are blessings at birth and we (as mothers) love them so much. They get a little bigger and a little more trying, but still a blessing. Then the teen years - BLESSINGS!! Actually, my girls were a blessing as teens.

We only have one chance to raise our children. I had great examples as parents. I find it hard to express to my parents how much I love them. I tell them often and write to them . . . they are just so special to me and I am so thankful to still have them in my life.

Yesterday, Anna sent me tulips at work.

Aren't they beautiful? We had a "date" last night, too, and enjoyed talking. I also received a call from Melodie last night. I am so thankful for the time I was able to put into my girls. What a blessing they are today. They have honored their parents and have made them very proud. I feel so blessed to have great relationships with my children.

Monday, March 14, 2011

What Cha Cooking Now?

My friend and fellow blogger, Erika, usually blogs about recipes she makes.  Well, Erika this one is for you!  A few weeks ago, my dad gave Bernie some freshly picked lemons from Arizona.  I searched for a lemon pie recipe and found this one:

1 c. sugar
3 T. cornstarch
Freshly grated lemon peel (LOTS)
1/4 c. (or more) lemon juice
1/4 c. butter
3 egg yolks
1 c. milk
Combine sugar and cornstarch.  Add other ingredients and microwave in 1 minute increments until thick, whisking after each minute.  Cool.  Add 1 c. sour cream (I used light).  Put in pre-baked pie shell.  Enjoy!!

This weekend, we had 2 very ripe bananas.  Since our banana "hater" was not home, I decided to make banana pancakes.  My mom makes pancake batter and adds sliced bananas.  I found this recipe:


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed


  1. Combine flour, white sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together egg, milk, vegetable oil and bananas.
  2. Stir flour mixture into banana mixture; batter will be slightly lumpy.
  3. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Cook until pancakes are golden brown on both sides; serve hot.
I hardly ever add salt to a recipe - and I would leave the sugar out next time.  The bananas make it very sweet. 

Erika (and her mom) will ask where the pics are . . . maybe next time!

Now, THAT is Shappy Living!!!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

REALLY, Mom, POKEY Made Me Do It!

I received many blessings on my recent trip to California - and I am still receiving them!  As I have mentioned before, within an hour of landing in Ontario, Larry and Pokey had me in a Joann's store.  It was here where I saw my first glimpse into Pokey's heart.  As she was checking out, she asked me if I had a "green" Joann's bag.  I did not, so she let me pick out one and bought it for me. 

On our last day together, we did a little shopping and site-seeing.  Our first stop was L & M Fabrics.  Almost as soon as we entered, I saw a fabric I had seen years ago in a boutique in Illinois - and I loved!  I did not buy it (I wasn't sure Bernie would approve  :/ ).  We spent some time in the store before Pokey was ready to check out.   When we returned home, she had purchased some of that fabric for me, a ruler, and some other beautiful fabric.  A giving heart . . .

Today, I put the fabric on two pillowcases for my sister and Mom - Mom just got out of the hospital yesterday and I am going to see her on Monday.  Yes, Mom . . .  Pokey made me do it!!!!
Pokey also encouraged me to make Valentine bookmarkers for ladies at church . . .
(Mine weren't as cute as hers!)

One of the most special blessings has been her phone calls.  If she ever thinks I am having a tough time, my phone will ring and we will talk and talk.  Pokey has a very giving and loving spirit and it is balm to the soul.   Proverbs 27:17 . . .  Iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

P.S.  If that verse is not right . . . it is partially because I have literally typed this post 16 times!!!!!  My computer keeps going out and I have to re-type it!  The only way it is this far is I am saving it often!

P.S.S.  Yes, I hate blogging (as tears are being wiped away).

P.S.S.S.  Hey, Erika and Linda - I have pics this time!!!!!!

Friends who care . . . now that is Shappy Living!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Have a Happy Lunch . . .

I have an hour lunch at work.  Since Bernie and I normally ride together to work, I can't go anywhere special.  I started walking for 30 minutes on my lunch hour when I went full time a few years ago.  Then, I switched the time of my lunch and started walking with Joleen every day . . . unless it is raining, extremely cold, or slippery. 

Last year, we had a snow ball fight with 2 other ladies.  We were on opposite sides of the street - then a police car came by . . . they stopped and we made them smile.  After we got back one day, I decided to stay and make a snow bunny or two.  The next day, I added some babies, and every day for a few days, they "multiplied".  It was so fun to see the people leaving work, look at the bunnies and smile or laugh. 

Although this year, we have had a LOT of snow, it has not been a good packing snow . . . until last week.  After my walk, I stayed and made 11 adult snow bunnies and put them on the bench outside our building.  I was surprised how many people walked on by and did not notice them.  Then, I began hearing stories of people in the elevator talking about them, and others taking pictures of them.  One day, three of them were moved off the bench and put up on the ledge.  It looked as if someone needed to sit on the bench. 

It became "warm" here last week . . .  and the bunnies melted.  But ALAS!  We got another 7-9 inches Sunday and it LOOKED like a good packing snow.  So, yesterday, Joleen brought items to make a snowman.  We put him in the flower/tree box area and we made him laying down (since the snow did not pack well).  He is really cute . . .  the new snow bunnies would not pack well, so he lays alone in the box.  .  Again, we see people smile as they walk by.

Yesterday, after we made our snowman, my director asked me where we made the snowman.  I told her at the front entrance . . . she said, "I wished it was where I could see it from my office."  Then I got to thinking . . . and I enlisted Joleen and Savita's help.  I noticed that the building across from the office was vacant and the parking lot had a LOT of snow that was not plowed.  My plan began . . .

Today, at lunch the 3 Musketeers headed outdoors.  On the way, we grabbed some branches.  I brought Jell-O.  We "stomped" the shape of a snowman (total length about 10 or so yards) in the snow.  You know . . . snow line on the bottom, a large circle, medium circle, head circle, and hat - like a cornfield.  We placed the sticks for arms and spread the Jell-O for the scarf.  We stomped and stomped the face, buttons, etc.  Then we went into the building to look at our handiwork.

In the elevator, we met the maintenance man who had pictures of ALL our creations on his cell phone!  We showed our director and her boss the snowman and it looks GREAT from the 5th floor!  The entire suite loved the snowman and there were smiles and laughs all afternoon.

Anna says we act like a bunch of elementary children . . . well, we all are children at heart!  Besides, I enjoy making people smile . . .

Shappy living is for us and OTHERS.  Live Happy and share it!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Why I Hate Blogging . . .

Why, you ask?  The last two posts I spent more time crying than typing.  And I had to get up a get a Kleenex several times!  That is just me.  This is the same reason I don't share everything on my heart verbally . . . I feel it, but know I will cry if I articulate it!  My dad always told me that is because I am like him . . .  soft hearted.

I want to tell everyone how important things are to me, but the tears start even when I don't think I should be crying!   I think I am okay, then the tears start.  And if you know me, once they start, they are hard to stop!!!  And the red, blotchy face!!!!  I would just rather not go there . . .

But blogging is a bit different.  I can cry and no one can tell . . . my face can get blotchy and no one knows . . . I can blow my nose and no one hears it . . . HEY!  Maybe I LOVE blogging!!!!!!!   

Saturday, February 12, 2011

My Wonderful Mom

My mom turned 82 on Thursday.  I am not only blessed to still have her in my life, I am blessed to have had her for a mom for the last 50 some years.  I called her Thursday evening and she just wanted to talk and talk.  No, there was no spectacular news to discuss, just that her children had called her on her birthday.  She wanted to know how my children were and if there was anything new in my life.  Although she has never liked cats, everytime I talk to her she asks how Buffy is. 

I never get sick when I do not think about her.  Don't we all want our moms when we are ill?  Bernie always has to go get me Campbell's Chicken Noodle soup, 7-Up, and sherbet.  Isn't that what Mom always gave me?

She loves her family so much, but once in a while, she will say something about one of us that just cracks us up.  Like when Anna had just had her hair cut.  The back was short and the style was to gel it and it stuck straight up.  Mom did not say anything at first, but when Melodie and Anna left to get groceries, she said, "I didn't know Anna drank - her hair looks like a drunken rooster!" 

She has always been so wise and intuitive.  She was always one step ahead of us no matter what we were doing at the time.  She was always game to do anything Dad wanted to do.  What memories we have of pushing a van out of a mudhole, driving on mountain tops, etc.! 

Dad and Mom are moving back to Illinois.  Why?  Family!! 

Now, that is Shappy Living!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Year Ago . . .

this week, I flew to Tennessee for the first visit with our "married" daughter, Melodie. Since I have always given Josh Leathers such a rough time, I suppose that it is time I tell what I really think about him.

Since he is four years younger than Melodie, I began praying for him WAY before he was even born. I prayed for his parents to teach him right things and to raise him for God. I prayed for him to do well in school and to be saved at a young age. I prayed that he would be exactly what Melodie needed and that they would both know God's will in their lives.

I remember the first time Melodie (at age 21) called to tell us about Josh. "Mom, he is SOOO mature . . ." I replied, "Melodie, how old did you say he is? Seventeen? And his birthday was less than 5 months ago?"

We made a trip to meet Josh in February of that year - we went to Cracker Barrel - Josh's favorite?!?!?! He was a very proper gentleman, and we could see why Melodie liked him. He was very respectful to her and understanding of her "ways". He was even kind when she drove his truck all the way to church in the wrong gear!

Then, when our Pastor first met him, he told me, "Norma, let him stay at college for four years and he will be a wonderful husband." At that, I trusted Him to do His will in their lives.

The first time Josh came to Detroit, Sunday afternoon found Josh and me sitting outside talking while everyone else in the family took naps. I don't think you should just leave a guest and go take a nap, so we talked and talked. He is a talker (I don't know anyone else like that!)

I love to tease Josh (cumberbund!!), but Josh has been perfect for our Melodie. He protects her and guides her in the right ways. Even though he took her away from us, we know she is okay as long as he is with her. He has also been a counselor to us at times - he does have wisdom beyond his years.

It is uncanny how their lives memic our early married days, and it is refreshing to see! May they have may more years together . . .

Now that's Shappy Living!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Importance of Words

I have always heard to watch what you say, but the first time I REALLY understood the power of words was after my second daughter was born.

Our pastor at the time had 4 boys, and he loved our first daughter, Melodie. I had been his secretary for 5 years and right before Anna was born, he took another church and was leaving Michigan. The last 3 days before he left, I was in the hospital with Anna. He told me that he and his wife would come to see the baby and me before they left Michigan. They came up on Sunday afternoon and as we were looking at the new baby, he said words to me that I have never forgotten. OH, THE POWER OF WORDS!

I was reminded of this story today as I arrived at work. A coworker came to me first thing and told me that she was praying this morning. Then she said something so unexpected that I thought again, OH, THE POWER OF WORDS.

Our words can tear down people or build them up. Regardless of which way you use our words, some words will never be forgotten.

Anna is 24 years old now and I still remember those kind words . . .
I don't believe I will ever forgot the words said to me today . . .

Who have you encouraged today? Did you say something that was not encouraging to another person?

Remember Thumper's famous quote . . . "If you can't say something nice, say nothing at all!"

Now, that's Shappy Living!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happiness in your Spirit / Chaos in your World

How do you keep your spirit in the midst of life's problems? There are many ways, but one that has helped me immensely the last few months is WRTW - Hammond. It is a radio station and TV viewing of the services at First Baptist Church, Hammond. The music and programing has soothed my spirit and encouraged me to continue to do right things in my life. When I am ill (or like tonight, church was cancelled) I can watch the services and hear the music. Good Christian music and preaching put life's problems in perspective!

Now, that's Shappy Living!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Quote of the Day

Talking to Melodie today, she told me she blogs every day . . . do I HAVE to???? Anyway, at the hospital where I work, I send out a "Word of the Week / Thought of the Day" email every day to the workers in my suite. Today's quote was . . .
"Now that it is all over, what did you really do yesterday that's worth mentioning?" Coleman Cox I began thinking . . . what did I do? In today's world, the written note is a thing of the past . . . I was able to send out six such notes. And last night, I made about 40 cards to file for later use. We all need to know what people think of us . . . that we are VERY important to someone. Tonight Bernie made a hospital visit . . . very refreshing to fill a need.

Now that's Shappy Living!

Take time today to do something that is important to someone else. Brother Hyles used to say . . . "Be nice to everyone, because everyone is having a tough time."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Did I tell you about my GRAND PUPPY!?!?!?!

Two weeks ago today . . .

Two weeks ago today, I flew to California to visit the girl who led me to the Lord 36 years ago (I was only 4 years old!!!!!). I had been wanting to go see her for some time and this year it just seemed so right. We hadn't seen each other in 35 years, but we had talked often and I knew we had a lot in common. In fact, within the first hour of landing in Ontario, she had her husband take us to Joann's!!!!

Pokey loves to sew and quilt and she teaches second grade in a Christian school. I knew her husband because she was dating him when I met her (found out he and I graduated together in 1974!). I had never met her daughter (or her new husband). They were all very gracious to me.

The weather could not be beat! It was sunny every day and in the 80-90's! I had a beautiful view of the mountains from my hotel room. VERY different from Detroit weather/scenery!

I wish we had a "word-o-meter" for that long weekend. Barely a moment went by that weren't talking or laughing. Those talks soothed my soul in ways that cannot be explained. Just to know someone who thinks like you and understands without having to explain every detail. It was very difficult to leave, and I miss her more than I could ever imagine.

Some people said I should have stayed longer, but the long weekend was just perfect in every way. I do find myself thinking all the time about what she is doing at this exact moment - it is 4:00 PM there now, so she is thinking about dinner . . . (unless she is sewing!!!).

Now, that's Shappy Living!

Friday, January 28, 2011

My New Blog

My friends Pokey and Erika have had blogs that I have enjoyed reading so much.  I wanted to start a blog, but wasn't sure how. Then today, my daughter, Melodie started a blog and I knew I had to get one started, also.

What should I name my blog?? I tried several names and they were taken, of course.  Since I LOVE Clinique's Happy perfume (and an ONLY allowed to wear it evenings and weekends) and I love my life, I chose "Norma's Happy Living"  (NOT Norma' Shappy Living).  Although Shappy Living MIGHT be a good thing.

Now, that's Shappy Living!