Simple Berry Cobbler

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Ah, summer! Longs days, warmer weather, and fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden. Each year, my family looks forward to eating fresh berries during June and July.

This simple cobbler recipe has been part of my collection for many years. Not only is it delicious, but it’s so easy! Even my youngest children are able to easily make this recipe

You can use any fruit you have, but for Independence Day. we like to use red and black raspberries or strawberries and blueberries for a patriotic look.

3 cups fruit (peaches, apples, berries, etc)

1/2 stick butter

1 cup flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 cup sugar (I use 1/2 cup.)

1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400. Melt butter in the baking pan. Combine milk, flour, sugar, and baking powder. Pour over butter. DO NOT STIR. Next add fruit on top. DO NOT STIR. Bake until crust has risen and is brown, about 30 minutes.

Tears of Sorrow

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Lloyd Guessford, died June 7, 1944 on the shores of Normandy, France

Lloyd Guessford, died June 7, 1944 on the shores of Normandy, France

Lloyd carefully pulled the tattered letter from his wallet. Faded, smudged, and creased, the letter was difficult to read, but that mattered not to the young man for he had already memorized the loving words. He treasured each letter he received from his wife, especially since the arrival of his daughter, Barbara Ann, on January 21–over 16 months ago. His lips curled slightly upward as he reread the message:

Dear Lloyd,

Your daughter is growing so fast. How I wish you could see her! She is learning new words every day. She loves to look at pictures, and she now says “Da!” when I show her your picture. She keeps me busy as she likes to climb and gets into everything.

I had this picture taken especially for you! Barbara is wearing her new dress she got for her first birthday. Fella Studio did an excellent job capturing her blue eyes. They do so remind me of you.

Both of us are fine, but we miss you dearly. I tell little Barbara Ann all about you, and she can’t wait to meet her daddy.

I know this letter is short, but I wanted you to get this picture as soon as possible. I will write more later.

With my deepest love,

Connie

Lloyd smiled as he once again gazed at his only daughter. His wife was right. Barbara had his blue eyes, but she had his wife’s brunette hair. Oh, how Lloyd loved his beautiful brown‑eyed wife, and oh how he missed her!

Would Barbara recognize him from his picture? How would she react when she saw her daddy for the first time? Would she reach out for him, or would she turn shyly away?

Lloyd sighed as he carefully folded the letter and placed the picture back into his wallet. How he hated this war! He wanted to be back with his lovely wife and daughter.He wanted to be back with his lovely wife and daughter—a daughter who was growing up without him, a daughter he hadn’t even met.  Hopefully, the war would soon be over, and then he would enjoy getting to know his daughter.


But Lloyd never got that opportunity. Lloyd Theodore Guessford died on June 7, 1944, during D‑Day operations in Normandy, France. He left behind a young wife and a daughter, not quite 17 months old.


Connie tried to muffle her sobs as she rocked her young daughter who had finally fallen asleep. The young wife and mother struggled to be brave for her daughter’s sake. Yet, Barbara was perceptive beyond her young years. She knew something was wrong and she clung desperately to her mother while awake and resisted going to sleep.

Gently, Connie laid her young daughter in her crib. “Oh, my little Barbara Ann! How sorry I am that you will never meet your daddy. He was such a wonderful man!”

Tears flowed down her face as she tenderly placed a kiss on the sleeping child’s soft brown hair. “Whatever will we do without our dear Lloyd?”

She did not leave her daughter’s room but collapsed back into the rocking chair, as she had nearly every night since the awful tragedy. “Oh, Lloyd, why did you have to die? Why? I need you so much! Barbara needs you!”

Connie let her mind wander back to the last time she had seen her beloved. She vividly remembered those final precious moments before Lloyd boarded the train that took him away forever. She had clung desperately to her husband as though she could prevent his leaving. Somehow, she had feared the war would take him away for more than just a couple years, despite his reassuring promises.

“Connie, I’ll be back before you know it. Be brave for me‑‑and that little baby,” he said winking as he patted her slightly swollen abdomen.

As much as she tried, Connie could not hold back the tears as she watched the train pull away. She was a brave young woman after that, and no one saw her cry. Only her damp pillowcase at night betrayed her emotions.

Time passed, but that lingering fear that somehow the war would separate her from her beloved, never departed. Even before the confirmed report of her husband’s death, Connie knew that something dreadful had happened.

Suddenly, her life was empty, except for little Barbara who gave Connie hope that life would go on. Barbara was her last living link to Lloyd, and somehow, she and Barbara would make it.


 

Author’s note

This fictionalized true story was written in November 2000. I never had the privilege of meeting Lloyd Guessford, although I’ve seen pictures of him and Connie and have read the newspaper account of his death. Yet this man has become an important part of my life since I married his oldest grandson in 1991.

Though dead, Lloyd lives on in his daughter Barbara, his two grandsons, and his three great‑grandsons and four great‑granddaughters. Without this man, whom I never met, I would not have a wonderful set of in‑laws, a terrific husband, two nieces, nor five precious children.

I am thankful for the many Lloyd Guessfords who fought to maintain this country’s freedom and for the many who willingly sacrificed their lives for that cause.

My husband Maynard Keller also wrote about his grandfather in Lest We Forget

You can read about my oldest son in the Army in Happy Birthday in Afghanistan..

 

Lest We Forget

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In memory of those who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy, I share this tribute my husband Maynard Keller wrote about his grandfather who made the ultimate sacrifice during WWII.

 

The United States of America designates the last Monday of May as Memorial Day‑‑a day to remember those who so valiantly fought to preserve the freedoms we have.

 

Thousands lost their lives on the shores of Normandy, France, on the day we call D‑day. My grandfather, Lloyd Theodore Guessford, Pfc., 29th Infantry Division, 115th Regiment, gave his life for his country on June 6, 1944. He left behind a wife and an infant daughter whom he had never met.

 

Many historians view D‑Day as the turning point in World War II. Yet some prominent leaders in Washington who have never served in the military, much less fought in a war, criticize a strong national defense.

 

The families of veterans gave up so much: My mother, Barbara Ann Guessford, never sat on her father’s lap. Her father never tucked her in bed or gave her a good night kiss. She sacrificed more than I will ever know.

 

I know very little about this man I would have called “Pop Pop” or my mother would have called “Daddy.” Where was he educated? Did he have any brothers and sisters? Are any of them alive today? Did he have special talents in music or other areas? Where is he buried?

 

I owe so much to my grandfather‑‑without him, I would not be here. Although he no longer physically lives on earth, part of him lives on in my mother, me, and my five children. I dedicate this article to all the “Lloyd Guessfords” who sacrificed so that we might have freedom in America.

 

O valiant hearts, who to your glory came

Through dust of conflict and through battle flame;

Tranquil you lie, your knightly virtue proved,

Your memory hallowed in the land you loved.

 

Proudly you gathered, rank on rank, to war,

As who had heard God’s message from afar;

All you had hope for, all you had, you gave

To save mankind‑‑yourself you scorned to save

 

John Stanhope Arkwright

Dear Mom and Dad

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My husband and I received this sweet poem from our 10-year old daughter. I will treasure this gift for years to come:

Dear Mom and Dad,

Christmas is the time of year,

That I want to thank my parents dear,

For all the love, gifts, and prayer,

Invested in me each day with care.

I thank you for those family ties,

And modeling Jesus before my eyes.

Thank you for sending me to R.V.C.S.

Where I can learn with peace and happiness.

I love Christmas and I love you.

Thank you for all the things you do.

Merry Christmas!

Sarah Beth

15 Creative Ways to Recycle Christmas Cards

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Every year my mailbox overflows with Christmas cards. I enjoy decorating my windowsill with cards, or hanging them on the stairway railing or around doorways. The festive look reminds me how blessed I am to have so many friends think about me (at least for the time it took to sign and address the card). After Christmas I place the cards in a basket. Throughout the next year, our family pulls out cards and remembers that family in prayer.

Every year I have good intentions of sending handwritten notes with cards, but time has a way of disappearing before I get even a few written. I tell myself that after Christmas, I’ll send a New Year’s letter with all the family news. But once again I am busy with taking down Christmas decorations and preparing for a New Year. Well, perhaps a Valentine’s newsletter would show others how much I love them. Then it’s a spring/ Easter newsletter which quickly turns into a summer letter, and before I know it, school has started and I plan a Thanksgiving note to let my friends know how thankful I am for them.

Well, another year has passed and no family newsletter, but Christmas cards still appear in my box every day. I’ll leave the cards up at least through New Year’s Day, but eventually I’ll change the decor. I can’t bring myself to throw out the cards so I have some creative ways to repurpose them.

  1. Christmas cards really do add to the decorations, so display them somewhere–windowsills, railings, around doorways, etc.
  2. Use them as a great reminder to pray for others.
  3. Cards that have sentimental value can be placed in a scrap book.
  4. Many Christmas cards make great ornaments. Cut out various scenes and decorate with raffia, glitter, buttons, etc. You can make an ornament with a single card or glue two cards back-to-back. Cut into different shapes for variety.
  5. Try making some aluminum pie tin ornaments from those little pie tins. Cut a Christmas card to fit the inside of the tin. Glue the card into the center. Punch a hole on top and tie some ribbon to hang on the tree. (I made these ornaments when I was little and still have one that is about 40 years old!)
  6. Some cards make beautiful pictures when framed. Over the years, I have framed and hung some beautiful winter scenes from cards and displayed them in my house. No one realizes that they are recycled Christmas cards.
  7. Christmas cards make great book markers to keep for yourself or give away. A ribbon tied through a hole in the top adds a further festive look. I teach a 1st grade Sunday school class and each year, I make book markers from old Christmas cards.
  8. You can also create great craft from cards. Years ago my then six-year old son took a picture from a card. He made a popsicle frame for it and glued buttons and other decorations on the popsicle sticks. His craft won a ribbon at our local fair.
  9. Have your children make their own Christmas cards by cutting apart pictures and even the words from inside the card.
  10. Some Christmas cards make wonderful postcards. Write a message on the back and attach a postcard stamp. You save money on the card and postage!
  11. Cut apart the cards to use for gift tags. Use decorative scissors for more flair. Large cookie cutters make great shapes for gift tags.
  12. Make festive Christmas magnets with Christmas cards and stick-on magnets. These make great gifts, too!
  13. Design Christmas place mats. Cover with contact paper. Just wipe with a damp sponge or cloth when dirty.
  14. Create a coaster with a CD and Christmas card. You might want to shellac the coaster to protect it.
  15. Make a Christmas wreath or Christmas collage with your cards.

Be creative when reusing the cards. You may be able to use small pictures, verse, or words from the inside of the card. When you finish cutting apart the card, recycle the rest of the card instead of tossing it in the trash. What do you do with your Christmas cards? Feel free to share in the comments below.