Faded Valentines and Undying Love

My husband knows I would much prefer a new plant for my garden over cut flowers–but the fragrant bouquet he gave me on Valentine’s Day was certainly a lovely way to remind me of his love for me and fill the wintery gap between now and the time when I can play in the dirt outside.

A breath of Spring and the hope of barefoot gardening days ahead.

As my Valentine’s Day flowers begin to droop and fade, I am reminded that Valentine’s Day can be difficult for some. In my personal circle of friends and family, several were bereaved of a loving spouse in the past year or two. Others are going through a valley experience in life and wondering whether their Valentine will be there to love on next year. None of us knows whether we have the next breath. Romantic love is wonderful, but temporary. Finding ways to express Christ-like love is the best. I love Paul Tripp’s article filled with 23 ideas for sharing love with others in 2023.


There are people in my life I am having great difficulty loving as I should. This list reminded me of ways I can show Christ-like love to these prickly-hard-to-love people. I plan to print it and put it in my prayer journal as a guide, not only to prayer, but for putting love into action.

My hope and prayer is that this post will encourage someone who reads this to greater love in your circle of people who need His love.

Many: Five-Minute Friday

God is faithful in His patience and love toward us. My readers might enjoy this post by someone special who shows much godly patience and faithfulness in his love for me. Meet my husband, Wayne.

Know Your Flocks & Herds

How Many Times Do I have to Tell You?

How many times do I have to tell you? Hebrews 1:1-2 How many channels do you need?

If you are a parent (or if you were someone’s child), then you are probably aware of something many parents say. They ask, “How many times do I have to tell you?” This is followed by, “to do your homework, to clean up your room, to stop teasing your brother or sister, to stop fighting, or (you can put something here too)!

Imagine the Patience of God

Clearly, as a parent or as the recipient of such a question, you are probably thinking “many, many times.” That is only a small fragment or fraction of the total times God has spoken to us. He speaks to us through his creation, through the words recorded in the scriptures and he has spoken to us by…

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Baking at the Hive: Banana Split Dessert

I am blessed to be a part-time baker at BeeHive Assisted Living and Memory Care in Oregon, Wisconsin. It’s my joy to see my desserts put a smile on the faces of our residents. I thought it would be fun to share a few recipes with my readers. Enjoy!

Recipes which begin with a graham cracker or cookie crust are some of my personal favorites to create. Banana Split Torte is actually a no-bake recipe, so perfect for summers–but I make it once a month all year-round because it’s a BeeHive favorite. Since I bake for residents who are in memory care, I like to choose vintage recipes they might remember from their younger days. This one fits the bill. Most of the ladies remember taking this classic to potlucks and family gatherings.

There are three days each week where refrigerator space is available (the days just before grocery shopping day), so those are the days I choose to prepare dessert recipes which require refrigeration. It can be prepared one day in advance. Making it too far ahead will mean the bananas will begin to brown–still tasty, but not as appealing to the eye.

The pineapple can be sweetened or unsweetened, according to your preference, but make sure it is well-drained. Don’t just dump it in a colander and call it done. Press the juices out. I also like to count out the number of cherries I need for garnish and drain the juice off of them too by setting them on a paper towel so that the juices can bleed off. It makes for a prettier presentation later.

I’ve included the recipe I use as a guide. I make two 9×13 pans and cut each dessert into 16-18 servings. You can most certainly divide this recipe in half for a single 9×13 dessert.

Recipes are a guide. Use your common sense, personal experience and tastes to tweak the recipe, as you’ll see in this photo of my recipe page (above).

The Graham Cracker Crust

Kudos to you if you can make a decent graham cracker crust out of 1/3 cup margarine and 3 cups of graham crackers crumbs like this recipe states. I personally want a dessert crust that’s not going to fall apart when cut. If that’s your goal too, use 2 sticks of melted butter, 3 cups of graham cracker crumbs and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar. Toss the mixture well. Split the buttery crumbs evenly between the two pans. To get a firmly pressed and smooth crust, I use a wide spatula to press the crumbs into place, then pop them into the fridge to firm up a bit while I prepare the filling. [Note: you can substitute crushed Nilla Wafers for the graham crackers–just omit the 1/2 cup of sugar.]

Cream Cheese Filling

Here’s my tweak on the filling. I cream 3 packages (8 oz each) of softened cream cheese with 1 stick of softened butter. Then I add at least 2 teaspoons of vanilla…probably more like 1 tablespoon (because I’m really into vanilla). Next, I dump about 3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar) into the bowl with the creamed butter and cheese. Turn the mixer on very low to stir in the powdered sugar then turn that mixer up to medium-high and let it do its thing for about 5 minutes, scraping that bowl a few times to make sure all of the ingredients reach the super-fluffy and wonderful stage. Yep, it’s kinda like a thick layer of frosting. Yes, you can leave the butter out, but be forewarned. If you do something as crazy as that to save calories, you’ll sacrifice a lot of amazingness and will probably need to add the milk I crossed off the recipe to get it to a good spreading consistency.

For maximum fluff, beat at medium-high speed at least 5 minutes

Once you have a bowlful of silky cream cheese fluff, remove those crusts from the fridge. I then use a cookie or ice-cream scoop to evenly distribute globs of that cream cheese fluff around in the pans, then smooth it around with a small silicone or offset spatula.

A different dessert, but this is the technique I use for distributing the filling.

Banana Split Topping Layer

Now’s the time to slice those bananas into little coins and sprinkle a tablespoon or two of lemon juice over them. Toss the bananas around a bit in the lemon juice (this helps prevent browning). Using 3 bananas per pan (4 if the bananas are small), I lay the banana coins all over the top of that yummy cream cheese filling. [As you can see in my scribbles on the recipe, I sometimes make a “patriotic” version of this dessert, substituting fresh blueberries and strawberries for the bananas. Equally delicious.] Once you’ve got those bananas distributed evenly, cover the top with crushed pineapple.

Don’t cheat the people who like the edge pieces–get that fruity goodness to the edge of the pan!

The last layer

The last layer is your whipped topping. At work, I use Cool Whip or something of that nature. This dessert is extra-delicious if you top it with sweetened whipped heavy cream. If you go the homemade route, be sure to stabilize the whip cream if the dessert will not be served the same day.

The last thing I do is drag the tip of a knife through the whipped topping to create a grid for the cherries. Not everyone has mastered the skill of cutting 9×13 desserts into equal pieces, so I like to give the kitchen staff a little visual guide. The grid also helps me in placement of the well-drained maraschino cherries. Cover this dessert and tuck that amazingness back into your fridge again to chill for a few hours if you’re serving same day, or overnight for something to look forward to tomorrow.

The grid varies depending upon how many servings I need

At serving time, follow the grid marks and cut your pretty dessert into servings. I guarantee, there will be no leftovers. That is, unless you’re making it for yourself. If that’s the case, you might want to save a piece or two for tomorrow.

Five Helpful Purchases for the Alzheimer’s Caregiver

I find it helpful when people take the time to share what they like about various products that I’m thinking about purchasing. I hope this reblog will be helpful for a fellow caregiver seeking to make purchases which will help them on their caregiving journey.

Barefoot Lily Lady

I’m on the other side of caregiving now and am looking back on that experience and wanting to share a few of the most helpful purchases my husband and I made to assist us as we provided care for my mother.

  1. Mattress Protection and plenty of bedding – nearly every person who struggles with memory loss will come to the point where incontinence is a fact of life. One of the best purchases I made was this mattress cover. We had a hospital bed, so purchased a Twin XL. This particular cover actually was waterproof and saved our mattress from certain ruin over and over again. It completely covered the mattress — trust me, this is important. I only needed to wipe it down with a disinfectant spray, but it also washed up nicely in the washing machine on warm. I would give it a tumble drying on air-dry…

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Kept by God

No matter where the winding path of life may lead, I am kept by God.

I’m new this year to the growing club of Americans age 65+ who qualify for Social Security and Medicare. With the help of my husband and a good Medicare Supplement insurance agent, I’m resting easy in knowing my Medicare Supplement plan has been chosen, my account on my government’s Social Security website is set up (and I sort of understand it), and my first Social Security check has deposited into my bank account (boy, am I glad I don’t have to live off of it!).

My wise hubby (financially and otherwise) has been so very helpful during the entire decision-making process. I’m very thankful for Wayne’s guidance in navigating what would have otherwise been a very confusing pathway. I learned something from him yesterday when he informed me that next year my Social Security check will be slightly larger because my Medicare premium will be slightly lower. Sounded like good news to me, but he told me that’s not the whole story. It seems that there have been second thoughts by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) related to providing coverage for Alzheimer’s related pharmaceuticals. I found an article on Forbes which explains this news a bit and am including a link to that article here. You might also find my husband’s blog to be chock-full of wisdom, financial and otherwise.

Mom had Alzheimer’s and my brother has Vascular Dementia

This news is a bit concerning for someone like me who is genetically at a higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s in my lifetime due to close family history. Thankfully, I know that I am always in God’s care. No matter what physical trials I may face in my future, He is the One who helps me and keeps me. Psalm 121 reminds me that I have nothing to fear.

Psalm 121 – My Help Comes from the Lord

A Song of Ascents.

 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore.

What Splashes Out of My Cup?

A conversation with a caregiver yesterday brought this previous blog post to mind. I’m reposting it here just in case someone else can learn by my example and my own life-lessons. God bless all of you dementia caregivers out there.

Barefoot Lily Lady

Lest anyone who regularly visits ‘Barefoot Lily Lady’ think that I’m living in an Alzheimer’s caregiving utopia where we are always sweet to one another and I always execute Pinterest-worthy caregiving ideas at every opportunity, let me share a slice of reality.

If you had a little window into our world, yesterday wasn’t pretty. And today I wasn’t exactly setting the best example either.

The fact is, I make mistakes in caring for her daily.

Let me confess that I am sometimes not very kind and respectful in my dealings with her – especially in the wee hours of the morning or after a night (or several nights) with little to no sleep.

Right now, as I am composing this post, I am viewing her via the camera in her room and she is ripping her blanket off the bed. I don’t think I have fingers and toes left to…

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Our Mailbox Garden

Our curbside mailbox is surrounded by a cute little flowerbed. It somehow survives the piles of snow heaped upon it by the snowplows every winter, shrugging off the melting snow’s road salt and sand.

It started as a little circle cutout around the mailbox, but this sliver of a garden expands a wee bit every five or six years to accommodate the flowers that always seem to find their way into my shopping cart at garden centers.

Tulips and daffodils usher in the first hint of spring, followed by petite ‘Blue Denim’ irises playing with grape hyacinth muscari at the garden’s edges.

A clematis scrambles up the back and over the top of the mailbox. Some years, by summer’s end, its purplicious beauty threatens to swallow the mailbox whole.

There are so many gorgeous flowers tucked into that tiny mailbox bed which cause those passing by to pause and enjoy. This time of year, however, Peony ‘Gold Standard’ is the hands-down show-stopper of the front yard. My hubby captured a few photos in morning’s light.

Mid-summer’s splendored thing will be the daylily. Well, daylilies plural. They’re a favorite flower of mine that always seem to make themselves at home in all but the shadiest flowerbeds.

Stay tuned…

“Jesus, Help Me!”

Barefoot Lily Lady

Even as my sweet mother’s memory slowly fades, one thing remains strongly present. Her faith in Jesus. Many times during the day (and night), I will hear her pray, “Jesus, help me.” She prays it as she walks from her bed to the bathroom, or as she tries to get her knees to cooperate with her as she travels from the kitchen back to her bed.

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This Too Will Pass

I had lunch with a dear friend today. My heart is richly blessed for having spent time with Maureen. It was fun catching up on what was going on in each of our lives since we last saw one another. We’ve both had ups and downs, both thoroughly enjoy spending time with our kids and grandkids (but wish we could have more time with them). Last time Maureen and I caught up with one another, the sting of death was still fresh in my heart, having lost my mother to Alzheimer’s during that year. Now, it was my friend’s turn to say goodbye to her mother under similar circumstances in this past year. We talked a little bit about being in a new season of life — a season which may hold challenges, health and otherwise, but new opportunities for growth in Christ too. Our time on earth will pass before we know it; but, for the present, God is not finished with us yet.

Only one life, so soon will pass. Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Barefoot Lily Lady

I am fondly remembering when my children were small. So much energy and love went into making sure they were dressed, well fed, clean and safe. I mothered my children back in the days before baby monitors and wifi cameras helped monitor the safety of a sleeping child. I remember hesitating to even walk outside into the backyard to hang my laundry on the clothesline to dry, always wanting to be within listening distance of my sleeping babies.

Mealtimes with my little ones could be fun but, if I turned my back for an instant in our teeny-tiny kitchen, one of my children could spread his meal all over himself and the floor beneath before I could count to three. The other child made highchair sitting into a baby Olympic event going from being seated in her highchair to standing on the tray in record time.

Little stinkers.

I remember…

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Fine for Friday

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