Monthly Archives: April 2019

Movin’ On

I will be back in Missouri in two weeks.  That sounds so odd today.  We have been at our home in Arizona since the end of December.  When we first got here I tried to find a IMG_0166rhythm to my life.  The setting was different, and I wasn’t sure what I would be doing with my days.

My days quickly got filled. Mostly Dennis and I would go to the mountain behind our home and hike approximately 4 miles, sometimes more.  Now the hiking is getting tough because the temperatures have gone to an uncomfortable HOT.  We have to go out earlier in the morning which is such a change for me.  I don’t like getting out and about that early in the day. 

Arizona weather is to my liking. Most days are sunny, and it is hot.  I am solar, so having the sun shining just brings warmth to my soul.

Now May is approaching, and our plan is to have our car loaded on and on the road for Missouri on May 9.  We will be back next winter.  I don’t want to leave.  I love it here, and I don’t feel like I have done all I want to do here.

The reality is that we have a house in Missouri.  It has not yet sold.  I know what faces me when I arrive.  First is cleaning all the decks and screened in porch.  Spring has come to the Midwest, and the pollen will be thick on all the surfaces.  I will have to hose and wash down the decks and porch.  

IMG_7990Then comes the flowers. I have been spoiled in Arizona.  When they landscape in Arizona, they put in a dripper system, that drips water on the each plant and tree, and I don’t have to go outside and water anything.  Unfortunately, that is not the case in Missouri.  I need to purchase the summer plants, and clean out the flower pots all over the pool deck and replant flowers.  In the meantime, Dennis will be cutting grass, or maybe baling hay if there has been a lot of growth.  That’s a joke—he won’t be baling hay.  We will re-mulch all the plant areas, and make everything look new and summer-happy!

I know I will find my rhythm once I arrive.  I will fall back into the pattern established living there the last five years.  As I will enjoy being back, I will have part of my heart at this home in Arizona.

There is something special about the Arizona home.  Maybe it is because Dennis and I bought it together.  We decorated it together.  This home is truly the house we both selected and made ours.  It is so comfortable.  It is small enough to be easy to maintain, and large enough to have loved ones visit.  It is peaceful in our little corner of the desert.

IMG_8846I don’t know what this year will bring.  Will our Missouri home go to a new family who want to make new memories there?  Where will we decide to live when we sell the home?  So many things are up in the air.  Maybe that is why I like staying in Arizona.  Everything here is settled.  This is my corner of the world.  Missouri is a big question mark.  Will we be home owners there for a while, short time or long time?  When we will be able to move on?

There is much I do love about Missouri.  You cannot beat the rolling hills of green trees.  The state is beautiful.  One half of my children live in Missouri, and the majority of my grandchildren are there.  This is what makes me happy about returning.  I can attend school plays and concerts and enjoy the presence of the grandkids.  I have many friends in Missouri, and hopefully, I can spend my summer reconnecting with them.  I look forward to the summer pool parties with family and friends.

I am leaving my car in Arizona.  It will make it easy if during the summer or the autumn, we want to drop in our desert home, we can take a quick flight out, and have transportation awaiting us.

feet in 2 statesI now have a foot in two states.  We are committed to Missouri as long as Dennis’ mom is with us.  She turned 100 last November, and she is quite healthy for her age.  I do know that we will try to find really good hiking areas when we get back.  We are so used to really working it on road trip2these long hikes, that we don’t want to lose that momentum that we have made.

As we get ready to button up this house for a bit, I am sure we will have some new adventures waiting for us back at our other place.  So, I have less than two weeks here, and I plan to make the most of it.  We will be hiking a lot, and we will be meeting up with friends before we go, and then I will put my traveling shoes on for the next adventure going back the the Show Me State.

“Good” Friday–How is it “Good”?

Today this blog will be short and sweet.  My son and his fiancé arrived here last night from San Francisco.  This afternoon we pick up a granddaughter and grandson flying in from St. Louis.  It will be a fun weekend.  

Today is Good Friday.  Not everyone celebrates this day, but in the Christian world it is HUGE.  It has an ironic name because a lot of folks think it’s odd we call this Good Friday because this day commemorates the day Jesus was crucified.  They understand Easter because that commemorates the day Jesus rose from the dead, but “Good Friday”?

I am a Christ Follower.  This special day is really special.  Jesus, a third of the Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), came to earth for a short 33 years, and although he was impactful in his youth, it wasn’t until his last three years of life that he ministered.

Commission.med-3x2People didn’t understand him.  His disciples were even confused, but they were dedicated to him.  So, on the day that Jesus was condemned to death, he was actually found innocent by the Roman authorities.  But the people in Jerusalem were not satisfied, so Jesus’ fate was turned over to the people—who is to go free — Barrabus (a murderer) or Jesus (who was found innocent of any charges).  I am not going to go into the all the political turmoil during this time, and everything that brought this to a head for the people of Jerusalem.  The people chose to free Barrabus and crucify Jesus.jesus

None of that really mattered, in the big scheme of things.  Jesus knew he was on earth to take the punishment for all of mankind’s sins, so that all humanity could be in a relationship with God.  It is the only permanent way to reconcile man with God.

So, although this day commemorates the torture and death of Jesus, it is Good Friday because it is what Jesus did willingly for us to be in relationship with God.  It could be no other way.  Although it was a bad day, it was a good day.  Of course, Easter is the culmination of this act by God.  Jesus, although dead, is wrapped in a burial cloth, the ancient burial practices of the Jews in those days.  There was probably about 50 pounds of fabric wrapped around him.  He was put in a cave (tomb) and a large rock was rolled in front of it.  Roman guards were assigned to guard this tomb for fear of the disciples stealing Jesus’ body.  

Of course, the disciples were freaked about this whole crucifixion thing, and they scattered.  They were probably afraid they were next, seeing what happened to their leader.  When they finally saw Jesus after he rose from the dead, it all clicked.  Then their ministry really took off.

There were hundreds of eye witnesses that saw Jesus alive after his death.  This is when the ministry of the Christianity began, and they now understood all the prophesies of the Old Testament fitting everything that happened, that Jesus was truly the Messiah that they had been long awaiting.

Jesus completely changed history.  Our calendars are based on his coming to earth.  Nothing was the same after this death and resurrection.

Granted, many an atrocity has been done in the name of Christianity, but this doesn’t make Jesus less.  It makes those people less, not true followers of Christ, but using his name as an excuse to destroy.

So, today, Good Friday, is truly good, because it started the ball rolling for the final acts to be done by Jesus for our salvation.  He had to die to take on our sins (which the punishment is death) so that we do not die in our sins, but are transformed by his death and resurrection.

I know this is a complicated subject, which can leave a lot of questions.  I suggest you read, “A Case For Christ” by Lee Strobel.  His book answers a lot of the difficult questions one may have about Jesus and who he is.

In the meantime, I hope you have a wonderful weekend with family and friends.  

“He is risen; He is risen, indeed.”

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Views Of My Arizona Mountain

I have to admit that I love living in Arizona.  My husband and I arrived here three days after Christmas, and we are going back to Missouri after the first week of May.  I missed the major snow storms in Missouri this winter—by missed, I mean I wasn’t there to see them—not I wish I had been there to see them.  Our home is at the foot of the San Tan Mountains.

I had a total hip replacement 6 weeks before coming to Arizona.  The first day we went to the San Tan Mountain to hike, I did an almost 3 mile hike on fairly level ground.  Over the months I have worked hard to build my strength in the hip that was replaced, and img_0015-1committed to hiking.  Dennis, my husband is almost addicted to this mountain!  He loves hiking all over it.  He loves the solitude of being on the mountain.

This mountain is a desert mountain.  It is not terribly high, compared to the Rocky Mountains.  It doesn’t have lakes and streams, or tall evergreen trees everywhere.  It is a desert.  It has cactus and strange looking trees and unique flowers.  It doesn’t look like the trees and flowers of Missouri.  There are hikers on the trails, and there are folks on bicycles and horses.  We all make room for each other.

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The rocky and sandy Terrain of the trails on San Tan Mountain

The other day we took a 6.18 mile hike, with an elevation gain during the hike of 581 feet.  The path is sandy and rocky.  I find that when I hike I have to watch the ground.  Otherwise, there is a good tendency that I could trip and fall on the trails.  Because of that, I stop every so often to look at my surroundings.  Everyday they look different.  Either new flowers are blooming, or dying.  Birds don’t sound like Missouri birds, and little lizards run across theRattlesnake 1 path so fast it is hard to see them well or take their photo.  There are even snakes, although we haven’t encountered many.  Of course, seeing one rattlesnake fairly close up is enough!

I stop and take a lot of photos on our hikes.  I have always marveled what an amazing artist is our God.  The colors, the terrain, the hills, even the snakes are all part of this natural wonder.  Over the time we have been here, the colors are ever changing depending on the rainfall and the sunshine.

We got pretty good at the hiking thing the few months we have been here.  When we first started out, we would take a bottle or two of water.  As we got more experienced on the trails, and as the weather began to warm up, we started hiking longer distances.  We brought water packs to wear on our backs to give us sufficient water while we are hiking.

IMG_9997This blog isn’t about anything profound, unless you think God’s creation is profound (which I do).  There are no lessons from my life or my family’s history.  I just wanted to share with you the beauty that we have encountered here in Arizona these few months.

I am sure my Facebook friends are growing weary of my postings with all the photos. What I realized was that my blogging friends were not seeing these photos.  So, I wanted to share them with you.

Arizona is a great place to winter.  It is not anything like Florida.  It has no oceans or waterways to brag about, but it has sunshine galore.  It is both tropical and desert.  The temperature in the winter is so lovely.  

I love that we live very close to Phoenix so I can actually shop at my favorite places.  Where I live in Missouri is quite a distance from any large cities, and shopping is not as much of a pleasure.  Okay, confession—I don’t like shopping.  That is why I can live in my small town in Missouri because I don’t need to be near a lot of shopping.  But, when I do img_9394want or need to shop, I want to be near many choices to make my purchases.  I also love that we live far enough out of the Phoenix area that my family who has lived here for years thinks we live way out in the sticks!  

I love we live at a foot of the San Tan Mountains, and we can see it from our back yard.  I love that we have some really sweet neighbors who keeps an eye on our home when we are back in Missouri.  I love that we get together with my cousins here who I rarely saw when I am in Missouri.  I actually have 12 first cousins in the Phoenix area.

So, as my weeks are winding down, I am thinking fondly of this wonderful winter we have spent in Arizona.  I am more physically active because of the great weather and the location we chose to make our home here.  I will also love going back to Missouri.  Summer and autumn in Missouri are great.  I love warm weather, so that works for me.  

All these photos were taken on my iPhone.  I carry on every hike just so I can take photos along the way.  Enjoy these photos of our hikes in Arizona.  Maybe one day we will meet you on the trails.

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The Mother-In-Law

Mothers-in-Law . . . they are interesting creatures.  When I got married at age 21, I didn’t inherit a mother-in-law.  My husband’s mother passed away three years before then.  In fact, I had never met her.  I heard wonderful things about her, and I assume that she would have made a great mother-in-law.  My mom was a great mother-in-law.  If her daughters loved someone, she did too, because she loved her daughters.  I figured that is how mothers-in-law are supposed to be.  

In 2013, I got married again, and just being a few months short of 65, I got a mother-in-law!  Go figure!  Alberta who is now 100 years old, is my mother-in-law.  I don’t worry about her picadillos because I am older and more mature, and they don’t really bother me.  Being a young bride, can cause a difficult situation for a young lady who doesn’t realize how different their mother-in-law must be from their own mother.

Thus the story of my grandmother, Appolonia Agnes Vrazsity Tomich, known as Pauline Tomich.  She was born in Austria Hungary in January 1900.  When she was ten years old, her family which at that time consisted of her parents, and a younger sister and brother, emigrated to the United States, coming through Ellis Island on March 26,1910.  They settled in a home in Madison, Illinois, just across the river from St. Louis, Missouri.  

Pauline was the oldest in the family.  She had several sisters and brothers who were born after arriving in the United States. There were eight children in total–4 girls and 4 boys. Across the road, on Washington Avenue, lived the Kosta and Darinka Tomich family.  They had three sons, one being 14 years older than his younger brothers.  His name was Zsiva, but Americanized his name to David.  Both families were of Serbian Heritage.  The Tomich family was Orthodox Christians, and the Vrazsity family was Catholic.  

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L-R: Darinka Tomich (MIL), David Tomich, Kosta Tomich

One day Mrs. Tomich came to the Vrazsity home to help milk the cows, since Eva Vrazsity (the mother) had been ill.  She noticed the girls and commented that the oldest one may be good for her son to marry.  Pauline was only 14 years old.  Eva said that would not work since her daughter was so young.  Pauline did not attend school but had a job at the local can factory.  She walked to work daily.  One day as she was walking to work, David caught up with her.  This 19 year old young man also walked part of the same way to work, and they would split off in different directions.  As David walked along with her on their way to work, he asked her if she wanted to marry him.  Pauline said, “Okay.”  That was that.  Now David is trying to set a date to get married, and Pauline is putting him off.  The third time he asks, he says that will be the last time, so she agrees to marry him.  David has $10, and they get a marriage license and are married on May 15, 1914 by the Justice of the Peace.  They take a streetcar to St. Louis, and rent a room for a few days.  The following day,

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Pauline and David 1914

David goes to work, and returns to their rented room with a bucket of beer and a pound of “cold wienies,” as my grandmother used to say.  That was their own private wedding reception!

When they came back to Madison, her mother was relieved to know where she was.  David and Pauline moved in with his parents and two small brothers.  

This story is from my grandmother’s recollection which was recorded when she was 88 years old.  Disclaimer:  there are holes in the story, and details missing that would have helped, but this is what I have.

One thing that Pauline did not elaborate was that she apparently quit working when she got married.  She did say she hardly knew my grandpa, and it wasn’t about falling in love.  It just seemed like the right thing to do.  I think at 14 years old, she was tired of going to work and also helping with her siblings at home.  You know the thing, people get married to get out of the house.  Little do they know, they jump out of the frying pan right into the fire!

Pauline is living at the in-laws with her husband.  The men go off to work, and the Darinka  (the MIL) is going out for the day.  She tells Pauline to pick a bucket of beans Pauline & David Tomichfrom the garden and cook them for dinner.  Pauline went to the garden and picked a whole bucket of beans, cleans them, and then “schnivels” them which she said was to cut the beans in half.  She put them in a big pot with some onions and some fat, and started cooking them.  Here is where the story is a little fuzzy.  She is either cooking outside, or the kitchen of this home is detached from the rest of the house.

Darinka arrives home and Pauline is stirring the beans so they do not scorch.  She asked Pauline, “What are you doing?”  Pauline, who said she had done a lot of work picking and prepping the beans, replied to her, “I’m cooking the beans,” at which the MIL stated, “Who ever heard of frying the beans?”  Pauline replied to her that was how her mother cooked beans.  Darinka, in her anger replied, “I am not your mother.  This is my house.”  Darinka continue to give Pauline a hard time, so Pauline walked into the house, shut the door and sat down and cried.  Remember this 1948-David and Pauline Tomich - Mar. 28girl is only 14 years old.  When David got home, he went into the house and asked her what happened.  When he went back out after hearing the story, Darinka, took a dresser and pushed it against the door so that Pauline was locked inside.  This is where I think Pauline must have walked into a bedroom to cry, and the door was blocked with the dresser.  The rest of the family along with David and his mother sat down to dinner, and Pauline was not invited.  She stayed in the room alone.

Pauline became pregnant with my Aunt Angie about four months into the marriage.  She and David found a house down the road.  The day before Orthodox Christmas, which would have been in January of 1915, Darinka (the MIL) showed up at their home while David was at work.  She proceeded to show Pauline the Serbian custom of baking bread for Orthodox Christmas.  Pauline was not allowed to help but was to observe.  Darinka baked a whole bushel of bread and then left.  My grandmother, in relating the story, said she was wondering what she is supposed to do with all this bread.  She didn’t ask because she was afraid her MIL would beat her up—she stated this was the kind of woman she was.  Is that an exaggeration?  Who knows?

The next morning (Orthodox Christmas), David took the bushel of bread out to the back porch, and said to Pauline, “When I come in, ask me what I have.”  Pauline had no idea what he was talking about and found it to be quite funny.  She started laughing at him.  David got angry, slammed the basket of bread on the floor (which broke up the bread), and left.  Pauline thought that he left her for good.  She was pregnant and worried what she was going to do.  David had gone home to his parents.  His mother was angry and told him that Pauline must become Orthodox and observe their customs.  His father, Kosta, was more level headed.  He told David to go home, and act like nothing happened.  David came home and everything was peaceful.  They spent a happy Christmas together.  Pauline said she just did not understand Orthodox customs, that the Catholics did not celebrate the same way.

When Angie (their 1st born) was a baby, David told Pauline that they were going to move to Detroit.  He went first to find a new job, and then she and the baby followed him.  They rented a 3 room apartment on the first floor of a house where the French landlords

Tomich Family 1931

David & Pauline Tomich (back middle)  with their children from left to right: Angie, Gus, Mary, & Dorothy

lived above.  When she arrived, David was so happy to see her.  He said he had written many letters that she never answered.  She didn’t believe him, until he showed her the stack of returned letters.  My grandmother stated that they shared a post office box with her in-laws, and apparently her MIL would refuse the letter and have it sent back.  Pauline was glad to be away from them and with her husband and baby in Detroi

That did not last long.  One day the in-laws with their two small boys showed up in Detroit.  They rented their home out in Madison, Illinois, and came to live with David, Pauline, and Angie.  Kosta (David’s dad) got a job in Detroit.  One day the landlady told Pauline that she rented the house to her and David, not the extended family, and they would have to move out.  I am sure Pauline liked that news.  Kosta went to work and asked some of his Serbian coworkers if they knew a place they could rent.  One of his coworkers gave him a lead.  The next thing you know, they rented a larger place, and not only did they move in, David, Pauline and the baby also moved in.

At that point Darinka told Pauline that there couldn’t be two women in the kitchen, so Pauline had to go to work.  She got a job at a laundry, and she like working there.  I am sure she enjoyed her time away from the in-laws.  Of course, living with them required that they turn over their pay to them.  

The in-laws did not like Detroit, and they still owned a home in Madison, Illinois.  As my grandmother said, “They harped on Papa (David) to move back to Madison,” which is what he finally agreed to do.  Darinka told her son that when they get back, they will send Pauline back to her mother’s.  Pauline was mad, and went back to her mother’s but left the baby there.  When asked why she didn’t take the baby with her, she stated that she wanted to be free.  Of course, she is only around 16 years old, and life has not been easy for her.

Pauline and David stayed separated for seven months.  During that time David started attending a protestant church.  He and Pauline moved to their own home.  She became pregnant with my mother Darinka (Dorothy), who was born in 1918.  Can you guess who named that one?  Haha!  My grandparents were married for 58 years before my grandfather died in 1972.  I am not sure if my grandmother was ever truly happy.  She seemed rather stern to me.  I think my grandfather, was more like his dad, pretty easy going.  He worked full time as a salesman.  They had five children (one died young).  David also became a lay minister at his church.  Today people will tell me that my grandpa gave them a little Bible or a Christian tract.  He was out spreading the word!

Appolonia Agnes Vrazsity Tomich lived for 90 years.  After my grandfather died in 1972, she moved for a short time in Ohio with her oldest daughter, Angie.  Then she moved to Phoenix, Arizona where her only son lived, and enjoyed the rest of her days there.

The video I watched where she told this story about her mother-in-law was recorded the week of her 88th birthday.  I don’t think she regretted being married to David or the family she had.  I know she worked  hard.  She worked outside the home for years to help supplement her husband’s income.  She had a huge garden.  She loved to cook and bake.  She did the weekly ironing for our family and my Aunt Mary’s family all the way to the 1970’s while her daughters worked in their husband’s businesses.  Remember those days when all the clothes had to be ironed?

Checking the internet about mothers-in-law, I ran across a great blog called, “18 Mother-In-Law Behaviors That Deserve a Punch in the Face.”  It is an interesting list.  Funny, I never ever thought of rearranging the furniture at my son and daughter-in-law’s home.  Or have I thought of folding their laundry without their permission–I don’t even want to fold my own laundry (although I do).  I agree with this article, so if I ever do any of those things, feel free to come punch me in the face, but warn me first so I can duck!

I have heard many different “mother-in-law” stories from family and friends.  I think I took the lesson from my mother.  She never interfered with my family or my sisters’ families.  I think Pauline was the same way–I think she liked who her children married.  Recently, someone asked me if one of my children was planning on more children, and I told them I had no idea, that was not any of my business. They looked rather surprised.   I don’t ask my children things that are private.  If they want to volunteer the information, that is their decision, but it is not my place to ask or suggest to them how to live. I hope when I am gone from this earth, that none of my daughters-in-law can say I interfered with their lives.  I love my daughters-in-law because they love my sons and my sons love them.  That’s all I need.

So much for the “Mother-in Law Jokes.”

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Zsiva (David) & Appolonia (Pauline) Tomich 50th Anniversary 1964