Friday, July 15, 2016

HAPPY HAPPY 7TH BIRTHDAY TO OUR SWEET ETHAN!

Seven years ago today
after a long, arduous labor
this sweet boy was born
into our family.

He has been such a blessing to us.
He is smart, sweet, silly
and has a tender heart.

We won't be with him today
to celebrate-
but we will see him next weekend.

Happy Birthday, Ethan.
Nana & Papa love you!
We might even have a present
for you, Big E!
MAYBE it is 
markers you can share with your sister!
In case she runs out!
Have a great day, Ethan!

Monday, July 11, 2016

BEST BANANA BREAD -- EVAH!!!

I wish I could take credit
for this recipe but it comes from
my sweet friend, Barb D.
She used to make it for her hubby,
our friend, Jeff, before he passed away.

It is, hands down,
THE BEST 
BANANA BREAD EVER~~

This time of year we have lots of
OVERRIPE bananas
and this is the perfect recipe 
to use them up.
Barb, I added a couple of things for our family---
Sugar and Vanilla-
You know me!

Here is some of what you will need--

Mixing-It looks like this:
Here you go!


Banana Bread- Barb's Recipe
1 Box KRUSTEAZ banana bread mix (or Duncan Hines/any brand)
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar*
1/2 cup nuts (or to taste)
3 small ripe bananas (DO NOT MASH)-quarter lengthwise and dice into small pieces (slightly larger than peas)
3 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon good vanilla*
In large bowl:  Combine mix, flour, sugar and nuts.  Toss diced bananas into dry mix and stir to coat.
In separate bowl: Whisk together- eggs, water, oil & vanilla. Add to dry mix.
Stir just until moist.  
Sprinkle extra nuts on top if desired.
I use two regular size loaf pans and make 2 loaves.  Barb uses a large loaf pan and makes one big loaf.
Bake @ 350° -about 45 minutes for small loaves-over an hour for large loaf-or until tester comes out clean.
Barb sometimes adds: peeled apple, pear, coconut, drained crushed pineapple.  If you add fruit cut back on water content.
*I added the sugar and vanilla-it was not part of Barb’s original recipe—but you know me!

My son is a banana bread NUT 
(little play on words there).  
He says this is the best he has ever had.

So- there you have it.
ALL the monkeys in my family
seem to like it....
Except for THIS ONE!
He seems to like his
BANANA BOTTLE
better than anything.
I guess it is better than drinking THIS---
which I may resort to if life doesn't 
settle down here soon.
HAVE A GREAT SUMMER DAY!
I will be around to visit you soon!

Monday, July 4, 2016

HAPPY, BLESSED FOURTH OF JULY!!!

It is a day for celebration

for most of us.

We wave our flags 

and grill our burgers


and wolf down our hot dogs.

We stand in line for dripping

ice cream cones

and we stare at the sky

in awe as fireworks

feed us a feast for our eyes.

We are free.

What a blessing to be free.

But that freedom comes at a cost.

A big cost.

I see it every day I work at the VA.

I see the sacrifices made

 by men and women

to ensure our freedom.

So, take just a moment today

and whisper a

THANK YOU

to all those that fought for us

on this, and foreign, land.

Wing a prayer up 

for those families left behind

when their sons and daughters,

husbands and wives,

gave their lives for all of us.


Say a prayer, too,

for all those who served

and whose lives are forever altered.

Prayers, too, for those in

ACTIVE SERVICE.

I am so in debt to all of you!

I will leave you with one of my

very favorite photos


of SweetCheeks.

This was taken on our dock

about 4 years ago when the

fireworks were

bursting in the air over the bay.

THAT is 

WONDER & AWE



I hope I never lose that

WONDER & AWE

and I hope I never lose

my appreciation for this

GREAT COUNTRY.

GOD BLESS THE USA!


At 1pm today our

granddaughter, Lulu,

(Alana in real life)

will start the city festivities by singing

THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER

and

GOD BLESS AMERICA!

We are so proud and so blessed!

Have a wonderful, safe

 4th of July!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

DID YOU MISS ME? i'VE BEEN HERE-THERE-AND EVERYWHERE!

I know!  I know!
It has been a long time since I posted
about anything except
cancer and death.
Contrary to popular belief
those are NOT my two
favorite topics!

Once we got the old boy cleared of
CANCER
I decided to run away from home!

My daughter, Tara, her three girls and I
took off to see my daughter, Mimi,
and her two boys and little
BRIGHT EYES.


We stayed in Indiana a couple of days on our way 
to Florida.  
This was a trip promised to Lulu so she 
could see her Michigan friend that stays
at the same condo complex that we 
always stay at.

Mimi's hubby was out of town
so she decided to follow us south
for a couple of days.

We headed to Gatlinburg.
Now I know all you Suthern' gals are used to
THE HEAT
but let me tell ya---
this northern girl thinks 102 degrees is about
50 degrees hotter than I like.
Now-I did NOT go on this.
While the other kids went
I watched Baby Bright Eyes sleep.
Here is what she looked like when she got up
and discovered Mom,
her brothers, 
 and her cousins were gone.
This is what she looked like when I gave her
ICE CREAM-
 Nana's sure know the tricks, don't they?

Did I mention it was 
HOT?
I felt like dropping a bag of ice cubes
in my bra to cool off but 
thought people might talk if
I started dripping
from somewhere besides
my forehead!

Leaving Gatlinburg, Mimi & her kids 
headed home to Indiana while 
Tara, Lulu, Ria & SweetCheeks & I
continued on to Florida.

Lulu spent a lot of time hanging out
with her friend, Gabby.
I had Lulu convinced that her real name was
GABREIELLA- (pronounced like Cinderella).
She was so embarrassed to think she had
been pronouncing her friend's name wrong
for the past three years.
Finally, Gabby (on the right) 
took pity on her and told
her the truth....darn kid!
That is Lulu giving me the 
'you're so stupid, Nana' 
hairy eyeball.
The other two sisters-
Ria & SweetCheeks
spent a lot of time 
BOOGY BOARDING.
and hugging-
when they weren't arguing about whose turn
it was to sit in the third row seat.


I spent my time reading and watching 
the sun come up....
and the moon rising----
I have lots more to share
 and much to tell you
but right now I have to fix the
old boy something to eat.
This is what he likes best!
Tube feeding sure is EASY---for me!

I've been trying to find these 
Talking Ensures
to keep him company while he
FILLS UP.
So far, no luck.
Let me know if you see any out there!
I will keep you posted as to what
else is going on here...
It's A LOT!

Off to visit a few of you before
I fall asleep sitting up!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Storm Has Passed- Thank You!


Thank You! Thank You !
THANK YOU!!!!

The scary storm that surrounded us that we called
CANCER
has passed.

Here is a message from John to give you an update.

I will be back around blogland in the
not-too-distant future.

Here is his message as it appears on 

Hello all. Diana and I are pleased to tell you that the PET Scan was clear and I appear to be cancer free! We are so thankful to all of you for your constant and fervent prayers and support. You have no idea how touched and blessed we have been through this whole ordeal. We have become closer as a couple and we have gained many new friends. We have learned to trust God completely for our health and well being. We have gained faith and belief in the power of prayer. We have been humbled by the love and concern others have shown for us. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!! In addition, I have been cleared to go back to work on June 28th as a Chaplain at Bellin Health. I will take a new perspective in empathy towards patients, especially cancer patients, as I truly do understand what they go through while on their cancer journey. For this I am also deeply thankful. We would also like to thank the Caring Bridge staff for providing this platform to share our healing experience. We know that all journeys  do not end so well, and feel very blessed that ours has come to this result. At this moment, there are so many others that need all of our prayers. With that thought in mind,this will be our last post as I seem to have made it over the "cancer bridge" as Diana so aptly named it. We hope not to see any of you on,nor need to personally use Caring Bridge for many years. We will now use it to pray for others.Thank You all once again. May God keep and protect us all, may He continue to guard and heal all of our physical bodies from sickness and harm, and may He be with you all.  
With Kindest Regards and Much Love, John and Diana.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

OUR FRIEND, MIKE, FOUND HEAVEN THIS MORNING- ROGER FOUND IT EARLIER

I don't even know where to start
with this post.
To say we are in a state of shock
would be an understatement.

A while back I did a post
about MyHero's friend, Mike.
MyHero and Mikey have been friends
since they were young.
They drank together when they were young
and gave the devil a chase down the alley
on more than one occasion.
However---
In their early adulthood they settled down.
(well-kinda-almost) 
 Mike led a jail ministry and witnessed
about how God had changed his life 
to anyone that would listen
and to some that didn't want to listen, too.

When Mike and his wife were younger they
had a band.
He had a phenomenal voice and sang like
Kenny Rogers and they made beautiful
music together.
These are pictures of Jan & Mike
each taken with their youngest son, Nate.
I am stealing Nate's pictures but
I don't think he will mind.
About 20 years ago Mike had 
almost the same cancer
that MyHero has now.
He beat it but lost a tremendous amount of weight
and has never been able to eat properly 
since then.
He became weaker and weaker and lost
his ability to do much of anything.

MyHero convinced him to get a feeding tube
several weeks ago.
Mike started to put on weight 
and was feeling better and brighter.
He went back to leading his bible study group
and was 'plugged in' to life again.

This morning, unexpectedly, God called
Mike home.
We are all in shock at this point because
he was feeling better than he had felt in years.
Maybe we all needed to see the 
OLD MIKE 
before he became the 
NEW MIKE in Heaven.

He leaves behind a beautiful wife, Jan,
Two sons, Chad & Nate,
a sweet daughter, Terra,
(plus their spouses)
and beautiful grandchildren.
Please pray for them as they navigate the waters
of grief.
Also, pray for John/MyHero as he mourns the 
loss of yet another long-time friend.

We also lost another friend, Roger, 
earlier this week.
I have not had an OK to do a post about him
so I will make this brief.
Please just send prayers and healing thoughts
to his family, too-his wife and two sons
and spouses and grandkids.
God will know who you are talking about.
Just say you are praying for 
Roger-who was bigger than life!

ps.  He was a musician, too...
I bet he and Mikey are up there
setting those angel toes a-tapping.
Not sure Heaven was ready for 
either of them!!!

Monday, May 30, 2016

A MEMORIAL DAY TRIBUTE-

I wrote this for Memorial Day

a few years ago but I think it is

relevant every day.

This means even more to me now that I am

volunteering at the VA Center here. 



Memorial Day is here once more,

We fly the flags above our door,

We plant our flowers that mark the grave,

Of every soldier that was so brave,



They fought for freedom for everyone,

Many lives snuffed out by a sniper's gun.

We proudly march in our little bands,

As daybreak filters across our lands,



But I wonder if we can truly see,

What cost it was to make us free.



Confederate soldiers fought the Yanks,

Some brothers fought brothers in those ranks,

To free the downtrodden that were lost,

To free all men at any cost.



My father was a medic in World War One,

A war not talked about by anyone,

Some men lost limbs and some were gassed,

Some were picked up by comrades, others 

bypassed.



World War II! How tragic indeed,

People standing by watching others bleed.

Souls thrown to the winds with no remorse,

Foreign government standing on their own 

course.



Vietnam was not a war they said,

Then how come so many soldiers ended up 

dead?

No heroes welcome for them in sight,

They slunk home in the dead of night.



Should I go on-with Korea & Desert Storm?

Iran? Afghanistan? Are you getting warm?

Do you feel the pain you see in their face?

Does it make you squirm in your warm, safe 

place?



I've just one more thing I'd like to say,

It's about celebrating Memorial Day,

Look around and everything you see,

Was paid out in blood so that we are free.

Put your hand on your heart,

For the blue, white and red,

Raise your eyes to the flag,

Say a prayer for the dead.


Because of a soldier I can have my say,

So ~God Bless you this Memorial Day~


And To All Our Soldiers-


© Diana Kosmoski 5/31/10

Thursday, May 26, 2016

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND & Update on John

Happy Memorial Day Weekend, People.
We have lots of exciting stuff going on
this weekend.
Yes. We. Do.

Our sweet Lulu is graduating from
EIGHTH GRADE!
She is singing at the graduation mass
in the morning.
She is the only girl in her school that they 
ask to sing solos.
She is as beautiful on the inside as she is
on the outside.
A real blessing to us.

My daughter, Mimi, came up from IN
to share the Memorial Day weekend with us.
Her hubby had to work at a
Harley Davidson rally (poor boy)
but her entourage includes
TWO TREE HUGGERS
and 
ONE SCREAMER
Also called 
DIRTY GIRL~
It should be a fun weekend
with kiddos and a graduation party.

As for MyHero:
If you are wondering what a neck looks like
after radiation and chemo
this is it.
Close your eyes if you are squeamish.
There has been NO SURGERY at this point.
He is ever-so-slowly improving.
He is still very fatigued and often feels
light-headed and dizzy.
He has a hard time sleeping at night-
although he gets a few hours at a stretch.
He usually naps a few hours a day.
He still cannot eat and is using 
the feeding tube for all his meals.
Nothing 'tastes' right and he has trouble
swallowing anything other than liquids.
I am thinking of getting him a special gift
as he recovers.
He has always loved fish.
Wouldn't this be an
ABSOLUTELY PERFECT GIFT?
There are even online demonstrations!
If you have never seen this you have missed 
something special!
It is only THIRTY SECONDS LONG.
Looks good, doesn't it?

In every dark cloud there is a silver lining, right?
I don't have to COOK!
I can have a huge bowl of ice cream salad 
for every meal
and no one says a thing.

AND-Whenever MyHero says he doesn't feel
VERY USEFUL
I remind him that he certainly has a 
God-given purpose in his life.
See what I mean!?!!

HAPPY (and I do mean SMILING HAPPY)
Memorial Day!