The Joy of Art

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Last weekend I took a short trip with a friend to Crystal Bridges Art Museum in Northwest Arkansas. It was a fantastic trip.

The exhibit was Georgia O’Keefe and her pieces truly were amazing. Lots of flowers.

Mixed among them were contemporary artists who found inspiration from Ms. O’Keefe’s work. They were different and varied, but they didn’t hold our attention or our fascination as this did….

Tucked at the end of the exhibit was a three sided nook, fairly large in size, covered with 360 small oil painted scenes of pieces of Americana. This was breathtaking and fascinating. It is called Light Atlas by Cynthia Daignault. It is absolutely astounding; the detail and perfection of each piece.

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I know you can see what I mean. Amazing isn’t it? I love it when art moves my soul. Even something as simplistic as isolated thumbnails of American life.

 

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After we rolled our tongues back into our mouths and started breathing normally again , we toured the Frank Lloyd Wright house the museum had acquired. This really is a work of art. We all know the name of America’s most famous architect. The man was a genius and many “modern” features we see in houses today were pioneered by FLW. He put floating shelves into this house. Radiant heat warmed all the floors. The living space opened up to the patio through large glass doors. (This was all in the 5o’s.) He was a minimalist to the highest order. I didn’t take any pictures of the inside. Lots of people in the way to get a true feel.

 

After a beautiful walk through the woods. Another encounter with deer, a rather common occurence with us, we finished the day at the Hive in Bentonville. I, apparently, was dressed appropriately for the restaurant’s themed icons. Fairly good color match.

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Thank you for spending a little part of your day in my little piece of heaven. I hope you experience yours today.

 

Jeannene

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome Back, Jeannene!

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Hello again, sweet blog!

It has been a whopping three years since I last posted on this little piece of heaven. In that span of time so much has transpired. Where to begin?

My sweet grandson turns 5 this year!! Can you believe it? The time goes by far to quickly. In this time, Riley has started to school. He is becoming such an interesting little boy. He is still fascinated with all the superheros. He loves books. When he isn’t being read to, he likes to “read” himself. Mind you, though, if he hooks you into reading him a story, you aren’t off the hook for just one read through. He’ll do his darnedest to sucker you into another reading.

He keeps his mom and dad busy as they pursue their careers. Riley is still the center of their worlds.

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In this massive span of time, Ben started his studies at University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. It has been a struggle for him as he embarks on the last semester of his undergraduate career. The last three years he has supported himself by working almost full time at Walmart. All this while being enrolled in a very demanding engineering program. He has managed to keep his head above water. Last summer he took a 7 month internship at a local paper mill and loved every exhausting minute of the experience. I am so proud of how much this young man has matured. He worked with some amazing gentlemen who imparted a great deal of wisdom, both intellectual as well as spiritual. He was given the opportunity to earn enough money to put him through his last year of school without having to work. He found his GPA rise with the extra time he could apply to his studies. I am so proud of you, kiddo.

He graduated this May and is adulting as we speak. Life is so much easier when you aren’t hampered by all those senior projects.

Kelly has spent the last year as an executive officer of her sorority, an exhausting and thankless duty that has taught her immeasurable details of managing people. She still works at the hospital as she puts herself through her junior year of college. Last summer she spent 5 weeks in Florence, Italy taking a foreign studies class through UCA. It was the experience of a lifetime. Truly. She learned how to navigate the Italien train system and learned how the rest of the world lives. Invaluable. She spent another week and a half Germany. Another experience she loved, as she meet relatives and discovered how Germans live and work.

Aaron is doing great. He has found a beautiful young lady to share special life moments with, who has brought a stability and normalcy to his sometime chaotic life. Thank you, Lea.

To conclude this post, I must report that my life, as well those of my children, was changed forever a couple years ago. My husband past away. It was unexpected. I sold the farm last summer and found a beautiful home in town. The decision was so hard to make and the move was brutal to expedite. I could not have done it without Benjamin. He was my sounding board and the muscle behind it all. I truly could not have accomplished any of it without him. Thank you sweet boy for taking care me through it all. I cried every day as I stuffed the accumilation of the past 13 years into boxes. Lots of boxes. On the other side  of it all, it was the best decision I made in years. I found strength inside of me I had forgotten existed.

My house is the perfect place place for me. It provides the ideal refuge from the world in the most optimal amount of space (twice the space of the house on the farm).

Yehovah is good.

 

 

 

The Best Day Ever!

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Spoiler alert! If you haven’t see the new Star Wars don’t read this because it has nothing but spoilers in it. And elated enthusiasm sprinkled with gushings of affection and ravings of a proud mama.

After far too many months since my last visit, I finally got a chance to see my kids in Memphis. Kelly and I usually make this a day trip since they are so close (but spending the night would be spectacular too). I was having serious Riley withdrawals. Jeremy’s work put him out of town a couple times, forcing us to postpone our visit. This weekend was THE trip and it was fantastic, stupendous, out of this world.

The day was astonishingly beautiful to start with. We watched the sun appear out over the horizon as it peeked through the swampland of eastern Arkansas.

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Driving past the flooded fields of this part of the state at this time of day is so breathtaking, stunning.

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After passing several trucks parked at the edge of the river and several odd bodies of water, all with a thin layer of ice coating them, mind you, we figured out what we were looking at.

Ducks!

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Lots and lots of ducks! It’s duck hunting season. It’s amazing how many were in the sky and in the water on the ground. Flooded fields fed scores of them. We take this route several times a year, but never at this season. How awesome to see this force of nature at work. Hundreds of birds migrating.

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Some of the scenery was just plain breathtaking. I’ve always wanted to take a shot like this. Perfect!

A beautiful start to a perfect day with these awesome people!

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We didn’t have any specific plans for the day. Just going to hang and visit and eat and play. Open some presents.

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and make Gramma beg to get him to face the camera.

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This weekend is the opening of the most anticipated, long awaited, stupendous movie of the decade…

STAR WARS!!

Jeremy had the great fortune to go see it the day before. That meant he couldn’t say a single word about it except that it was spectacular. The man came up with the brilliant idea we go see Star Wars! What about our baby, Riley? Jeremy would take care of our little sweetie. The rest of us were pumped! Me, I have wanted to see this movie with my son since I found out about its creation. Jeremy is the biggest Star Wars nerd ever. I created him. I saw all the movies when they hit the theaters all those years ago, Return of the Jedi six times. I bought him all the Star Wars toys I could afford and Nani bought the rest of the toys. This kid loves everything Star Wars.

We ate some lunch before the show and then off we went.

This movie delivered everything I expected and more! I loved it. They maintained the same feel and integrity of the original movies. The same type of thrilling fight scenes and space battles excited us. I don’t care if anyone thinks it might be redundant. Cleaver scenes and quips tiee into the older movies, making us react in response. Those of us who KNOW those movies love that stuff. I loved seeing the new crew peer out from under the grate inside the Mellinnium Falcon just as they did in the first movie. And when Rey pulled out a piece of electronics and said she fixed the (I can’t remember what it’s called) it was always broken in the second movie. She bypassed it! I wanted to clap for joy.

This movie has endearing robots and dark, scary bad guys and mysterious, mystical powers. Of course they kill off our favorite character. But! My all time favorite character shows up at the end – Luke. He looked awesome as an old man.

This movie delivers all the trappings of a fantastic epic saga. Thank you JJ Abrams for a movie I can’t wait to see again.

That’s my little piece of heaven and it’s a huge piece for me!

Love,

Jeannene

Thanksgiving 2015

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I have to get in here more often. Since I took this day job, my evenings are the only time I have for downtime and I fall into watching my favorite shows when I should  do something more productive. My hubby thinks I need to start posting cooking spots again. I love to cook, and do it every day (pretty much). I really need a new computer to process the pictures, though. It takes forever to edit on this thing. I have graduated to more sophistication! I never thought I’d see the day. I’m growing up!

This year Ben made it home. He is at the University in north part of the state and makes it home about once a month or so. I’m so glad he isn’t as homesick as he was. It was awesome having him home.

This year Kelly suggested we take some fall pictures. I haven’t taken pics of Ben in at least two years, so we were definitely due. The weather was overcast, but warm with a gentle breeze. I pulled out the big camera and here a few shots from that shoot.

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And my girl….

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By the grace of God I finally got a shot of these two with “normal” faces.

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Because they usually look at each other like this (I’ll wreak a girl’s fury for posting this, but it is so REAL!)

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Moments like that cannot be scripted. Just keep your finger on the trigger. Love it!

And then, the most important person in our family. The Boss, the Prince, the dude around whom we all run circles…..

COOPER!
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Thank you for letting me share the best pieces of my heaven.

 

Love,

Jeannene

Schmidt Family Reunion 2015

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This month Kelly and I celebrated our phenomenal family at our family reunion in Reading, Michigan. It’s the first reunion Kelly has ever attended and the first one in twenty years for her mother (a horrible example of family togetherness on my part). We had the BEST time of our lives!

I caught up with my cousins who enriched my life as a kid and Kelly found out there are a ton of people she is attached to at a deeper level than any other person on this earth besides her immediate family. And imagine this… they care for her just as much. She has longed to know her extended family and they are every bit as hilarious and crazy and fun and caring as she hoped.

We roomed with these wonderful, wacky people…
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These are the Frank Schmidt’s. My dad was one of eight kids and these are a good sampling of his prodigy.
I hope to God we didn’t shame him. (Highly unlikely). Dad helped institute a new family tradition with his two brothers, Tom and Gerry. It is now continued by Jamie Schmidt and Billy Caverly…. The Martini Club.

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I was too soused to get a really good photo document of this momentous event, but believe me when I tell you we honored our heroes valiantly with some damn good gin and recounting of the best memories. Love you Dad.

We were honored by the presence of the three remaining matriarchs of our family. The vibrant and vivacious Mary Schmidt, Emmy Caverly and Pat Smith.

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These ladies are incredible.

The camp we were at offered loads of fun activities. One of them was a giant rope swing. Easy peasy for Kelly.

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And here she is on the high ropes. This looks easy, but she is 40 feet off the ground. It is freaking scary!

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And hard as heck.

We enjoyed the company of some incredible people. I hope to post more detailed pictures. Heck, I took about 800 shots through out the weekend.

After the reunion we spent a few days in East Tawas. We couldn’t stay without capturing a few special pictures of my girl on the lake.

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We hung out with my mom and my sister (no good pics of Liz… sorry) and my nephew Sean. He and Kelly had a blast.

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Can’t believe how incredible the time we had and how much we enjoyed every moment, every person, every experience.

Happy Summer you all!!

Love
Jeannene

In Celebration of American Pharoah

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Last Saturday the horse racing world experienced the thrill of finally crowning it first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. For the past thirty-seven years horses have attempted to make this accomplishment and fallen short. To watch that beautiful animal run the mile and a half with such style and skill makes my heart so full. How proud his owners are, his trainer, Bob Baffert and his jockey Victor Espinoza. What a ride.

In light of this piece of history I have to post a quick video of our own horse. Watching him run is as much a thrill as watching a race on the tube. There is nothing as exhilarating as watching that powerful animal move around the track.

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He has a beautiful way about him. This Colonel Frank, named for my dad, born the year dad died. Like Frank Schmidt, this horse will give it his all.

That is our little colt. Not so little any more. We hope this summer is full of scenes like this.

Welcome to a little piece of my heaven!!

Love,
Jeannene

Baby Kids

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Our little farm has two new additions. I knew they were coming, but I didn’t know they were so close. Mama had them like a pro. This is her fourth set of kids, so she has had a good deal of practice.
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They are so new steam is still rising off their little bodies. They were all long spindly legs and loud baby bleats.

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And toooo cute! The dark headed one is a male and the light-headed one is female. I haven’t named them yet. If you have a suggestion I’m open. No preconceived impressions. They are really scrumptious and soft and cuddly. Because I have cuddled them and they like being held. They are born with a thick, warm layer of hair.

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Here’s the little guy. He was up and eating in a heart beat and he looks like he’ll be growing faster than little missy. ‘Cuz he beats her to the mama every time.

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She started out with weak little legs. I worried she wouldn’t be able to eat.  That didn’t stop me from jumping in there and holding her so she could eat. Amazing, how quickly she regained her strength. She wobbled all over the place for a day, but it didn’t keep her from eating. I love the determination of new life!

Babies are always a joy. Thanks for sharing in this little piece of heaven.

Love,

Jeannene

P.S. I’m looking for names. Leave your suggestions in a comment!

 

 

 

Weekly Remedy – Chicken Soup

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Winter is upon us. Cold, wet, cold and really cold. It’s the flu season. Stuffy noses and coughs, congested chests… feeling miserable. The best defense against the illnesses of the season is simple.

Chicken soup.

There is something about chicken soup that shortens the life span of the common cold and/or a bout of the flu.

My favorite recipe is the one Pioneer Woman gives us.

Ingredients
1 whole Chicken
1 whole Bay Leaf
64 ounces, fluid Unsalted (or Low Sodium) Chicken Broth (you May Use Half Broth And Half Water If Desired.)
1 whole Large Onion, Chopped
3 whole Ribs Of Celery, Sliced
3 whole Carrots, Peeled And Chopped
3 whole Parsnips, Peeled And Chopped
1/2 teaspoon Salt
Ground Black Pepper
Preparation Instructions
Place all ingredients but the pepper into a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until chicken is done, vegetables are tender, and soup flavor is divine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Serve in a bowl, then sprinkle black pepper over the top.
*Note: Adjust broth levels and/or vegetable amounts as needed.

Thank you Ree for your gift of food.

If you eat this before, during and in the middle of your cold or flu, your illness will get better faster. Truly. Really.

Give it a try.

Nena

The New Year is Indeed Looking Bright!

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The New Year always holds such promises of hope and excitement. Fresh beginnings and the fulfillment of dreams is always my wish for my kids. I set my own goals for the year, but they are fluid and easily attainable, provided I actually apply myself. But my hopes for my kids are more important. I want for them what we all want… happiness and all their dreams come true. I pray for them every day.

This week I heard from two of the three not living at home. WHoo hooo!! Aaron has been struggling for the past year and a half with a severe health issue and a financial setback. The health issue was addressed and he is recovering beautifully. He started a fantastic new job this week. It will help him put his life back together. I am so grateful my Heavenly Father hears prayers. This young man has so much to give the world and he got a little side tracked, as most of us do. Now the world will stand in awe to have him back in it full force! Bless you son.

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Ben also called this week to tell us he’s thinking he’d like to transfer to Russellville campus (Arkansas Tech) next semester and finish his degree there. He’s at Fayetteville U of A right now and making a great go of it, but he is not in his comfort zone. The move itself was traumatic, this being the first time Ben had ever been away from home. The Tech campus is closer to home and both he and his roommate are considering the move so they can keep rooming together. Great teamwork if you ask me.

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Kelly completed a series of tests this week that give her a full scholarship to a local community college. She is beyond happy and releaved. Her plan to fund tuition is not a cramped as originally conceived. Her college dream really can be a reality. I’m so proud of her.

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I’m so proud of all of them. Life is hard and the challenges insurmountable at times, but we try to equip them to face them head on and not back down. My babies are beautiful people and strong souls.

I love you all. (That’s my mom with them. She is the glue.)

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Thank you for sharing my little piece of heaven because it wouldn’t be heaven without them.

Love,
Jeannene

Festival Of Lights – and Happy Things

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We just wrapped up the the Channukah season.

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Ben passed his first semester at the big school. He was overjoyed. He came home for the four days Walmart hadn’t scheduled him to work. We worked him hard, watched movies and let him talk our ears off. And we fed him the Thanksgiving dinner he missed and sent him back with half the turkey meat. Eat on young buck!!

I loved having him around.

At the same time my daughter did a favor for a friend. She took in their little puppy for the short time they went out of town. The friend couldn’t believe her mom and dad were on board with it. A puppy? A not house broken, up in the middle of the night, cute as a button and more baby dog.

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Who could say no to that little face? Meet Chicken.

No that isn’t a typo. The little girl who owns him calls him Chicken. No idea why, but he really knows his name after a week at my house. He comes when you call him. Comes running with kisses and sharp toothed little puppy nips. Small and full of life and wiggles all soft and cuddly. And when he comes he jingles, because around his neck hangs a little bell. That’s because he can disappear like a roach and we need to be able to find him. “tinkle, tinkle, tinkle”

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Gahhh, I’m such a sap. We loved having him.

We didn’t dare let him off that leash outdoors. Chicken thought the grass was a play field in which he could run, and run, and run, and run. That little dog could run fast for something with such short stubby little legs, too. Cooper raced after him the last time he got away and side-swiped him for me, tumbling him end over end. The little thing rolled and lost his bearings enough he laid on his back, puppy paws in the air, long enough for me to scoop him up.

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Chicken is also now a traveling pup. He loved looking out the window as the miles flew by. If he wasn’t somebody else’s little guy, we’d have kept him for good.

Cooper might have had something to say about that, though. He spent the afternoons keeping out of Chicken’s reach. That meant sitting on the edge of the bed where stubby little puppy feet couldn’t gain enough purchase to climb up.

Then when Chicken went home, the house silent of his little bell, Cooper laid around looking rather depressed. After all those evasive maneuvers to keep out of Chicken reach, I thought Cooper would be glad to have the house and us to himself. Evidently even bothersome puppies can endear themselves to older canines…

… and old men. My husband misses ole Chicken.

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This lovely distraction is just what my tired brain needs. A rest from the book that doesn’t seem to want to be finished and shot of pure puppy joy. It’s what we all need.

Happy Holidays to all. I hope all your wishes come true. I know mine have in my little piece of heaven.

Love,
Jeannene