Family

Happy Birthday Mom, I Miss You

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On this day, October 19, in the year 1943, my mom came into the world. Dorothea Louise Tanyer was the last of three children for Luther and Elizabeth, and their only daughter. She was born into poverty with both her parents working so they could scrape by. This adorable picture of my mom is one of the very few from when she was a toddler. Little Dorothea had blonde hair and bright blue eyes. She was tiny and feisty.

Mom had to fight most of her life. The first house she lived in growing up had an outhouse. Weekly baths were taken in an old metal tub. The cleanest person took the first bath, and the dirtiest person took the last one in the same water. Grandma made my mom’s clothes and cooked meals from scratch. Grandpa always had a garden. They always had a dog too. I have countless pictures of my mom with many different family dogs over the years. That must have fueled my mom’s love for animals.

My mom never had real toys as a child. She always wanted a baby doll, yet never got one. She told me of one birthday where she actually got a present, but was so disappointed to open the gift only to find a Howdy Doody doll. That was it. That was her one childhood toy and she didn’t even like it. (Look up Howdy Doody if you don’t know who that is.)

Little Dorothea was a very sick child. Back in those days the doctor would come to your house. The doctor came to my grandparent’s house many times over the years. Mom would get pneumonia and various serious illnesses over and over again. She slept in her crib until she was almost 8 or 9. My grandparents couldn’t afford a bed so they had to make do. Thank God my mom was small. For a while she didn’t have a bedroom, just a space in a hallway with a small bed.

My grandfather was an alcoholic and got into trouble at some of the local bars. Mom would be sent as a young girl to go fetch grandpa from the bar and bring him home. Yet my mom loved her dad. Mom loved both her parents and she never said a coarse word about them over the years. My mom really did honor her mother and father. All the stories Mom shared about her mom made me believe that grandma was a saint. I guess she was to some extent for putting up with my grandpa.

Those formative years created a resilient spirit in my mom. She would always bounce back from whatever sickness, or heartache, or trial she experienced. She made a choice to fight. The circumstance was not going to define her, or stop her. The root of Mom’s resilliance was her faith.

After coming to Christ in her late 30’s her life and view radically changed. I know Jesus because my mom introduced me to Him. She was so excited about her new found faith in Christ that she shared it everywhere she went. Worship music was being blared on eight- tracks. (Look up eight-tracks if you don’t know what that is.) And those songs were going into my head and heart. I can vividly remember listening to The Boone Sisters and singing along. (Look up The Boone Sisters if that sounds weird to you.)

Mom’s first Bible study was the book of Acts and she loved it! For the first time in her life the Bible was alive. She met Jesus in that Bible study. Jesus carried my beautiful mom through many hard years. Mom is at peace now. She went home to Jesus on December 31, 2019. No more diseases, or suffering, or pain. Mom had many good years too, and many good things in her life. I am grateful to know of her hard upbringing, and what she overcame. Mom still inspires me today.

Today I honor you, Mom. Happy birthday. I miss you! I love you always, and I’ll see ya soon.

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12

Faith, Family, Parenting, Uncategorized

They Call Me Mom

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As a little girl, I dreamed of being a mom. I wanted at least six children. I came from a family of five kids, so six seemed like a good number. I know. Crazy, right? Several years later, and after several years of marriage, I had two sons. Two beautiful boys. God chose me to be Dylan and Joshua’s mom. There aren’t enough words for me to express my love for my children.

The mug in the picture was a birthday gift from my boys last year. They gave me a bunch of very thoughtful things in that gift, but I love this coffee mug. I love big mugs since I drink a lot of coffee and I love that it says “Mom”. A title I dreamed of having for so many years. God made my dream come true.

I remember when I was finally alone with newborn Dylan. My husband had gone back to work and it was me and this tiny human. What was I going to do with him? How was I going take care of a baby all day, every day? I was overwhelmed.

Being a brand new mom with a brand new baby is like being dropped in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight. 

In the beginning I flailed in that deep water. My baby wouldn’t nurse. My baby wouldn’t sleep. I experienced my first “Mom guilt”. Great, I can’t even feed my baby. I loved my new baby dearly, but my dream didn’t look as I imagined. Lord help.

Slowly things got better. Dylan began to eat and sleep. I found a rythm as a mom. My confidence built. My prayers grew daily. My “mom” instincts kicked in. And in a short amount of time I felt like an actual mom.

Mom’s do crazy things for our kids because of our crazy love for them.

Mom’s sleep on the floor of our baby’s room right next to the crib, when our baby has the croup.

Mom’s stay up all hours of the night with a newborn, feeding and holding them.

Mom’s change diaper, after diaper, after diaper.

Mom’s haul everything but the kitchen sink in those diaper bags.

Mom’s volunteer at the school, at the church, for the team, or at whatever our kid’s are participating in, just to be close to them.

Mom’s make meal, after meal, after meal.

Mom’s wipe down high chairs countless times.

Mom’s empty potty seats, and watch the potty video over, and over again.

Mom’s wipe noses, and rear ends, and anything else in between.

Mom’s drive our kids to practice, play dates, parties, and school.

Mom’s hold our children tight when they are afraid.

Mom’s kiss the boo-boo and apply the band aid.

Mom’s cheer our kids on when they think they can’t do it.

Mom’s cry when our kid’s cry.

Mom’s laugh when our kid’s share a knock-knock joke, or two, or three.

Mom’s call the advice nurse a few dozen times.

Mom’s make the birthday cake, and decorate it with our kid’s favorite character.

Mom’s pray, and pray, and pray for our children.

There is nothing quite like a mother’s love. God made mom’s special.

I have made many mistakes with my boys. I have lost my temper and yelled at them more times than I can count. I have said “I’m sorry” many times. My boys have said “I’m sorry” many times. As a mom, I’ve learned what real unconditional love really means. I understand the love God has for me in a whole new way.

Being a mom has brought me to my knees, asking for God’s help, wisdom, and mercy. I cannot be the mom God called me to be without Him. I can’t do it in my own strength. I wasn’t supposed to.

 

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This photo booth picture was taken about twelve years ago. It was right after a camping trip. A kind of exhausting camping trip. Joshua was three and was a handful. He spent a lot of time in his car seat in “time out”. Not a dreamy camping trip with a naughty toddler, but still fun. It was nice to stop in a local arcade at the Oregon Coast and just have some fun. Laughter is such a great release from stress. I love that you can only see Joshua’s eyes and nose.

Those amazing boys call me “Mom”. It’s an honor and a privilige to spend time with two funny, brilliant humans. And yes, we laugh a lot. You’ve got to laugh as often as possible, especially when you’re a mom.

Thank you Dylan and Joshua for the joy I get in being your mom. I love you this much (picture my arms spread out) and more. My love for you is bigger than the earth, moon, and stars. God’s love for you is the biggest, beyond measure.

Happy Mother’s Day to every mom. You have a unique calling. May God bless you abundantly.

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
    He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
    he gently leads those that have young.

Isaiah 40:11, NIV 

 

Love you all,

Meghan

Faith, Family, Uncategorized

21

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Twenty-one years ago this sweet baby made me a mom. April 19th, 1999 changed my life forever. I had the privilege of giving birth to this amazing human. Dylan Joseph came into our world and made it full. He was the person we’d been waiting to meet, we just didn’t know it.

We had a few years of just being a couple before the exciting news of a pregnancy changed everything. With great anticipation we decorated the nursery, and took those birthing classes, and did all the usual things new parents-to-be do.

Nothing really prepares you for being a mom though. Sure, I asked my mom questions and talked with other new moms. I read a few books. It was all this very wonderful dream come true.

When the day arrived for Dylan’s birth I was nervous and excited. Once I laid eyes on him that was it for me. It was a done deal. This precious one had my heart and he still does. He’ll always be my baby, even if he is 6′ 5″. Doesn’t matter. Both my boys will always have my heart.

So my perfect baby is now a full grown man. How did that happen? Where did the time go?

When I was pregnant with Dylan other moms would say, “Treasure each moment. It goes by so fast”. I didn’t think very much of their words at the time. I was just happy to be a mom and hold my little baby. Twenty-one years later, those women were right. It’s gone. All of it.

No more baby. No more toddler. No more little boy. No more teenager. He’s a man.

Dylan is a wonderful person. I’m not just saying that. He’s the kind of person you want to hang out with. He is fun loving, kind, thoughtful, hardworking, driven, creative, smart, easy going, and just an incredible human being.

And yes he’s handsome, but it’s who he is that makes him so attractive. Dylan’s heart is big for the hurting.

A couple of years ago he was working in Houston at a computer repair shop. He had a short commute that involved seeing some of our city’s homeless people. I found out later that Dylan would hand out his lunch to the homeless on the way to work each day.

I wish my husband and I could take full credit for his character. We have influenced him, and we pray he takes the good stuff from us, and ditches the bad. But it wasn’t all from us. It took three of us to raise him, mom, dad and Jesus.

Dylan loves Jesus and that makes this mama happy!

I had the joy of leading Dylan to the Lord when he was five. He’s never looked back. It’s his relationship with Christ, not mine. He inspires me with his faith.

“To live like Jesus. To serve others and to put others first.” ~Dylan

Those words are not just a nice saying to Dylan. That’s his view of his faith and what it means to be a Christian.

I am grateful to know such a special person. I love spending time with him. I love talking with him and getting his view on anything. He is hilarious and can do the best impersonations. He brings so much joy to our family and we are blessed to call him son.

Happy 21st birthday Dylan! You are a great treasure to us. Our lives are rich having you in them.

“Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord,
children, a reward.” (Psalm 127:3, HCSB)

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

Faith, Family, Food, Uncategorized

Homemade Pop Tarts

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Pop tarts are not something I normally purchase. My husband has a sweet tooth, and usually buys pop tarts for camping or road trips. The boys love them too. I’ve never been a big fan. They are a bit dry and bland to me. So, I stay away from them. But not anymore.

These tempting homemade pop tarts will make you want to bake. The light, buttery, flaky crust melts in your mouth. These are nothing like the store bought ones. If you are already a pop tart fan, these will put a smile on your face. The memories will come flooding back of those childhood days.

You can customize the tarts with any filling you like. I made strawberry and grape at the request of my family. Brown sugar cinnamon is a very popular flavor. Chocolate, hazelnut spread, or just about any fruit filling would be delicious. Make your own filling or use store bought jams and spreads. Experiment with different flavors.

Get the kids involved in this one. Have each child customize their own pop tarts with their choice of fillings. Also, let them color the frosting and add sprinkles. Kids love to personalize what they cook, and it’s a great way to get them in the kitchen. Cooking is creative. Let those kids create. And yes, they will make a mess. It’s O.K. Baking and cooking should be positive experiences. 

If there are no kids in your life, be a kid yourself. Have fun with this one. Don’t forget to share these sweet pastries with someone else. A friend, neighbor, co-worker, cousin, store clerk, or anyone would enjoy a homemade pop tart. Spread the love. 

All my bakers out there, you’ll have fun with these pop tarts. All my non-bakers, don’t be intimidated. You can do this. They aren’t difficult, just a little bit time consuming. You can use your own pie crust recipe. You can use the one I’m giving you. Or, just buy pie crust dough from the grocery store. 

Give these heavenly pop tarts a try. You won’t regret it. 

Happy Eating!

 

Taste and see that the Lord is good;

blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Psalm 34:8

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Homemade Pop Tarts 

 

Ingredients

Pastry Crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted cold butter, cut into cubes

1 egg

2 tablespoons milk

 

Egg Wash:

1 egg

1 tablespoon milk

 

Icing:

1 cup powdered sugar

½  teaspoon vanilla

2 to 3 tablespoons milk

 

Filling:

Fruit jam

 

Make the pastry.

Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. (You can also use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.) Add the cubed butter to the flour mixture. Use a fork or pastry blender to combine the butter and flour together until it’s a coarse crumb (pea-size). In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and milk together until combined. Add the egg/milk mixture to the dough. Mix everything together with a fork until combined. It will be sticky and crumbly. Knead lightly on a floured surface until the dough is smooth, not sticky.

 

Divide the dough in half.

Take one half of the dough and roll it out on a floured surface. Roll the dough into a 12 ½ inch by 9 ½ inch rectangle. Using a ruler, measure a 12 by 9 inch rectangle and cut. Then measure 9 squares, each one measuring 3 inch by 4 inch, and cut those. Transfer each square with a spatula onto a parchment lined baking sheet. 

 

Make the egg wash.

Whisk together egg and milk for the egg wash. Brush egg mixture on each pastry square.

 

Place filling on pastry.

Put about 1 tablespoon of filling on each pastry square. Leave about ½ an inch or slightly less on the edges. 

 

Roll out the other half of the dough.

Repeat the same process as with the first half. Roll out a rectangle that’s approximately 12 ½ inch by 9 ½ inch. With a ruler, measure a 12 inch by 9 inch rectangle and cut with a knife. Measure 9 squares that are 3 inch by 4 inch each, and cut those. Brush with egg wash and place on top of pastry squares that have filling on them. (The egg wash side faces the filling for both pieces of pastry.)

 

Seal the pop tarts.

Once the pop tarts are assembled, gently press the seams together. Making sure all sides are sealed. Poke the tops with a fork several times to vent. Take a fork and crimp all the edges.

 

Refrigerate the prepared pop tarts for 30 minutes, uncovered. 

 

Bake the pop tarts.

Bake in a  350° oven for 25 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

 

Make the icing. 

In a small bowl, whisk powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Drizzle a small amount (approximately 1 tablespoon) of icing on each pop tart. The icing will run over the sides. Let the icing set up on the pop tarts before moving them. Add sprinkles if you’d like, before the icing is set.

 

Notes

 

  • Make sure to use unsalted butter. If you use salted butter, do not add salt to the dough.
  • The dough will be crumbly after the egg/milk is added and mixed. Keep kneading the dough on a floured surface, and in a short time it will become smooth.
  • You can make this pastry dough ahead of time and refrigerate it for a day or two. Let it get to room temperature before rolling the dough.
  • Some of the filling will spill out during baking.
  • Using milk instead of water in the egg wash helps with browning.
  • Use any fillings you prefer. (cherry, apricot, blackberry, etc.)
  • Play around the consistency of the icing. If you want a thinner icing, like a glaze, use more milk and less powdered sugar.

 

 

Go to the link for my article on Mustard Seed Sentinel.

https://www.mustardseedsentinel.com/post/meghan-s-corner-homemade-pop-tarts

Family, grief, Uncategorized

Mom’s Legacy

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My mom asked me to write her eulogy. I couldn’t say no. I really didn’t want to, but felt I needed to honor my mom and her request. That conversation took place about 6 months ago. Chemo had stopped, and it was just a matter of time when she would go home. With everything out of control in Mom’s life, she worked on the one thing she could have some say in, her memorial. I’m not sure how many people plan their own memorial’s, but Mom did. It’s very much her personality though. A planner to the end.

I put the eulogy out of my mind. It was too overwhelming, too painful. How could I write a proper eulogy? The word “eulogy” felt heavy. Was I up for the challenge? I kept it out of my mind until December 31st, 2019. Mom’s last day on this planet. My youngest sister Heather and I went right in to planning mode.

Mom left a manila folder with specific music, people to call, and pictures. As each detail was put into place the eulogy was still hanging over my head. I prayed for several days, asking the Lord to give me the words to share. I sat down at the computer the morning I flew out to Oregon. The words came. I wasn’t thrilled with what I wrote, but I had to trust that is exactly what God wanted me to share.

It was a whirlwind once I landed in Oregon. The next day I had to go through some of her stuff at her place. I was tired, and overwhelmed. I pressed on with the help of Jesus and my dear friend Carol. The eulogy was still hanging over my head. I hate speaking in front of people, and how was I going to deliver this message that I wasn’t that thrilled with. At the same time I knew I had to do this. No one else could convey my feelings but me.

I practiced reading the eulogy several times that morning. I thought I could do it. I clung to this passage.

Psalm 46:1-3

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
 though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

I thought I was ready. As soon as I got up to the microphone I could barely speak. I paused to catch my breath so I wasn’t just blubbering. I’m sure the pause felt like forever to those in the congregation. In the corner of my eye I caught movement in the front row on the left. I thought Oh great, they are going to usher me off the stage. Poor girl. She’s a mess. 

There was an arm around me. I looked down to find my niece Alyssa next to me. She was hugging me, and suddenly I had courage. That sweet 16 year old girl clung to me, and I didn’t let go of her. The words came out of me, miraculously. Mission accomplished. The eulogy was delivered.

You can read my thoughts below, or not. It’s not formal writing. This is just what came out. I trust God that I honored Mom.

God is faithful, no matter what hard thing you are facing today. You can trust Him.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Mom’s Eulogy

January 18th, 2020

 

My mom’s words are forever stuck in my head. And they are good words. I think most mom’s want to leave their kids with advice to get through life. At least the good ones do. My mom was one of the good ones. Here’s just a few of her “mom words” of advice. Words to live by:

 

If there’s a will, there’s a way.

Life isn’t fair.

Don’t burn bridges.

When you borrow something, return it in better condition than when you received it. 

 

These are all very wise, true words. And she was absolutely correct that life is not fair. I’m sure as kids we’d give her the standard “that’s not fair” comment for whatever unfair sibling issue we were dealing with.  

 

Mom’s have the answers to everything when you’re a kid. When we’d need something from her we’d go through the house yelling, “Mom! Mom! Where’s Mom?”

Sometimes she’d answer, “She’s inTahiti!”

Years later I learned that this “mystery” place called Tahiti was pretty spectacular. I can see why she chose such a beautiful place to mentally escape to. 

 

I can only imagine what she juggled with 5 kids. As the recipient of her love and care, it never crossed my mind that mom did a lot. It wasn’t until I became a mother myself, that I really understood just how much she did for us. 

 

Mom did her best to care for us with joy when she could. I can picture her at the kitchen counter mixing up something. Wooden spoon in hand, stirring away, and sort of dancing. She would get this rhythm while she was stirring, and sing. All while cooking. She could’ve grumbled, but she didn’t. 

 

Speaking of wooden spoons, that was her tool of discipline. I don’t recall ever being on the receiving end, but one of my brothers was a few times. I do remember when Heather and I were very young we got the brilliant idea to sneak out of bed after everyone else was asleep. We were pretty proud of ourselves going through the dark house. We stood at the sliding glass door, behind the curtain, just looking outside. We were met with a flannel nightgown and the wooden spoon. The rest is a blurr. We ran back to bed. 

 

Mom took bedtime very serious. Like when the neighbor kids would knock at the door and ask to play with us, and Mom would tell them we were in bed, even though the sun was still out. 

Mom would be laughing right now at herself. We loved to make her laugh, especially when we shared funny stories about her. 

Mom was a big kid. She’d play in the snow with us, or swim in the pool. Or, when we had a VW Bug, she’d make the car hop as she shifted and we thought it was so fun. 

It’s all the little things that I remember and hold on to. 

What will I take with me from my mom, and pass down? What’s Mom’s legacy?

Resilience and faith.

 

Mom bounced back time, and time again through much adversity in her life. She lived with disease and sickness pretty much her whole life, yet she fought. She carried on. She didn’t complain. She grew up poor, and was left alone much of her childhood, yet she never said a bad word about her parents. She loved her parents very much, even my grandpa who was a tough man. 

Resilience was Mom’s middle name. And because of that “don’t give up” attitude she experienced many triumphs in her life as well.

She fought until the end. Doing the best that she should do. Even making sure her grand kids had Christmas cards. She did her very best to love her kids, grand kids, and husband. 

That’s her resilient spirit. I hope I have a tiny bit of that.

Mom had peace about where she was going when she died. Why? Because Mom knew Jesus as her Lord and Savior. 

It all happened back in the early ‘80’s. Mom was invited to a Bible Study. 

She gladly accepted the invitation thinking it was just a social gathering. When Mom arrived at the study she noticed each woman had their own Bibles so she decided she better get a Bible too. The Bible study was on the book of Acts and Mom loved it. For the first time in her life the Bible was alive to her. She was learning and excited. Shortly afterwards she accepted Christ as her Savior. 

I will always be grateful to Mom for meeting Jesus because then she introduced Him to me and the rest of our family. She was forever changed and so were we. I watched her daily read her Bible and get involved in evangelism. She’d blare gospel and worship music in the car. Her new found faith was exciting and she wanted to share the hope she had with others.

There are countless stories and memories that each of us will treasure about Dot. 

 I will always miss my mom but I can’t wait to see her again soon. 

She ran her race. She finished her journey and was lovingly greeted into Jesus’ arms.

 

Mom is free from pain, disease, and suffering. So I rejoice with her. She’s exactly where she’s supposed to be, in heaven. We are made for eternity and Mom knew that. I hope you know that too. 

 

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12