Choose Life. . .

Bill McKenna has said: "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well- preserved piece,
but to skid across the line broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, leaking oil, shouting GERONIMO!"

Moses said: "...therefore, choose life..." (Deuteronomy 30:19).

I choose life - with all its choices, challenges and changes!

How about you?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

We're Still Here, Mother...

That's what my oldest sister, Margery, would write home in letters from nurses' training when there wasn't much other news. That's what I have to say today while we are still waiting for some movement on the sale of our house.

But in the meantime, life keeps happening with its challenging opportunities and neat little surprises along the way. A fellow writer, Sarah Sundin, has a great blog relating to the World War II era (during which I was a little girl, so I remember many of the things she writes about in her historical novels of the time. The blog is UNDER HIS WINGS (Explore History and Faith with Author Sarah Sundin). Her website: is full of WWII nostalgia and B-17 bomber facts, as well as her publishing accomplishments. Go visit her!

In one post, Sarah, who lives in northern California, mentioned that her plum trees were heavy with fruit, and that it was time for making jam. What a memory-jogger. My brother, Clarence, and his family used to live in northern California. They had plum trees too, and making jam when the fruit was ready was high on their priority list.

On a recent solo visit to his former home, he was offered some ripe plums from the new owner. They weren't to be resisted - their persimmony color promising jam of the same jeweltone red. The only snag was that my brother was scheduled to fly to southern California that afternoon to visit my family. He arrived, carefully guarding a big bag of fruit in his carry-on satchel, saying we were going to make jam. New experience for me. I had never made jam. There were several calls to his wife, at home in Virginia for advice. While the cauldron was bubbling I scraped the contents of a number of glass jars - peanut butter, pickles, jelly - anything I could find, into plastic containers and prepped the empty jars to receive the luscious jam.

The venture was a success, proven by the sparkling row of mismatched jars marching across the counter at the end of the day, glowing with promise. But the story didn't end there. The next day Clarence was to fly home to Virginia, and he was determined to take his treasure along. So it was another scramble to find a bag small enough to carry on, but sturdy enough to protect the jars. We swathed them in tissue and bubble wrap and a few prayers that they wouldn't break. I think Clarence held them possessively on his lap the entire flight home. It's a wonder that didn't draw the attention of security. (And yes, he left a jar for me! My first taste of northern California plum jam.)

I mentioned a neat little surprise. When I commented on Sarah's post about her plums, I won a jar of her freshly processed jam. It arrived in the mail the other day. Thank you, Sarah. Guess what I had for breakfast the next morning on a toasted bagel! Ah, heaven. Northern Californians like to think of their end of the state as Paradise; although some of us are territorial about our own southern end of the state. But northern California plum jam ranks right up there.


Two of Sarah's Wings of Glory series, A Distant Melody and A Memory Between Us, published by Revell, are now available. These stories put the reader into life on the "home front" as it really was, then take us into the skies over England and Germany with the B-17 bomber crews.

I recommend them.


I do have another plum jam story - next time. In the meantime, we're still here, Mother...


  1. What a charming story! And I'm so glad the jam brought those wonderful memories. I've spent half my life in southern CA, and half in northern CA, so I see the pluses and minuses of both sides :)One thing I haven't figured it is NorCal's strong animosity to all things SoCal. Don't even MENTION the Dodgers up here. What's odd is the animosity isn't returned. SoCal is aware of NorCal but doesn't think about it much. And the Giants? Ho hum.

  2. Sarah, I appreciate your gentle tolerance about the North/South debate. My former NorCal relatives call SoCal one continuous theme park (and the connotation isn't favorable).
    I loved your settings in both parts of the state in A DISTANT MELODY. Could see the Riverside and
    March Air Force Base settings. Haven't visited your area, but it sounds idyllic.

  3. I love those kind of stories, Lois. And you write so well. My grandmother use to make plum jam, mulberry jam, and tomato jam. Mmmmm-delicious. Wish I had some now.

  4. What about the Damson plum jam story? Do you know it? Mom talks about it all the time. :-)

  5. Yes, Ro, the Damson plum story comes next. :-) See last sentence of post. Didn't want to load this post up too much - don't want to scare you readers off!

  6. Connie, I used to climb mulberry trees (and get so far up I was scared to come down). Don't remember ever having jam from them. And I never learned a taste for tomato jam - probably would like it now. We had little tiny yellow pear-shaped tomatoes, too, that people made jam from.