Journal

REFLECTIONS ON MOTHER’S DAY

Posted by on May 10, 2018 in Blog, Journal | 8 comments

A holiday fraught with so many different emotions for people, many which I addressed in a Mother’s Day blog post four years ago. 

https://janetgrunst.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=705&action=edit

This year as I reflect on Mother’s Day, I give thanks for my mother-in-law and my mother. When I think of these ladies,  the word spunk plays through my mind. 

I grieve because one Mom will leave this life within days of this Mother’s Day, the other Mom left this life within days of Mother’s Day thirty-eight years ago.

My husband and I wait for news of the imminent death of his ninety-nine-year-old mom. She is quickly fading. She didn’t live a remarkable life as the world views success. But this lady faced life with grace and grit. Like so many others, her husband served his country in Europe during WWII, leaving her at home with a baby son. Fortunately, she had a large and close family in their small mid-western town. When the war ended, her husband returned and they had a second son. But when their boys were thirteen and seven her husband died from cancer. A woman of strong faith, she soldiered on, got a job, and raised two godly sons. Life wasn’t always easy, but she had spunk and lived many years serving her family and her church.

My mother was not able to continue her education beyond the eighth grade because her father was a naval officer and the family was stationed in Asia. She didn’t let the lack of formal education keep her from continuing to educate herself. She was an avid reader who loved to learn. Raised in the 1930’s, she was not allowed to get a job because her parents thought it unseemly. She married in her mid-twenties to a naval officer and served as a wife, mother, and in the many different roles that were part of being a senior officer’s wife. Again, not a remarkable life by the world’s standards, but a wonderful role model in so many ways. She was a wonderful cook, played the organ, keep the books, sewed, and made hats to perfection. She faced the many moves with grace, grit, and a positive attitude. I am forever grateful for her spunk facing all of life’s challenges, even cancer that took her life thirty-eight years ago.

So there is a feeling of loss this Mother’s Day, but I am also inspired by these two remarkable women.

I hope this Mother’s Day, you can reflect on women who inspire you and give thanks.

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Ken Grunst ~ Williamsburg Guitar Maker

Posted by on Oct 25, 2017 in Blog, Family, Journal, Media Sharing | Comments Off on Ken Grunst ~ Williamsburg Guitar Maker

I’m so pleased and proud to announce that there is an opportunity for men and women in the Williamsburg, VA area to come and meet Ken Grunst, a local luthier, and my husband. 

Koa Guitar

 

On November 4, at 8:00 am the Williamsburg Presbyterian Church Men’s Fellowship will host a time of fellowship, a hymn sing, and a home-cooked breakfast.

 

After breakfast, Ken will detail the process he has used in building twenty-two acoustical guitars and one banjo. He will have several instruments on display.

 

Anyone interested should contact the church at 757-229-4235 or secretary@mywpc.org to make a reservation by November 1, so enough food can be prepared. A requested donation of $5.00 is for the breakfast.

The church is located at 215 Richmond Road.

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Two Talented Neighbors — Guest post by Linda Landreth Phelps

Posted by on Sep 10, 2016 in Blog, Family, Journal, Uncategorized | 10 comments

the-cover-of-colony-life

              Cover photo by Kelly Mihalcoe

From an article in the September issue of Colony Life Magazine

         

How do two retired introverts spend their days without stepping on each other’s toes? Married for 13 years, Ken and Janet Grunst’s happy solution is having space to devote to their avocations. “Ken’s Cave” says the sign on the door to Ken’s lower level workshop where he creates musical instruments.

“What interested me was the challenge and reward of unlocking the beauty of the wood,” Ken remembers. “When I put the finish on a chess board I’d made, the grain came alive!” Ken plays guitar, so decided to learn to build one. “I’ve done 23 so far, plus a 5-string banjo,” he says, “and given away about a dozen of them to family members.”

ken-working-in-shopEach is a work of art featuring exotic woods, intricate abalone inlay, and his personal img_3657signature carved sound ports representing the flame of the Holy Spirit. “King David was a luthier, a maker of stringed instruments, and played harps that he’d built. I’m captivated by the idea that, like him, I can take a pile of wood and pieces and suddenly it makes music!”img_3663

 A picture on the wakens-guitarll near Ken’s Cave shows a young Ken Grunst performing with his college folk group back in Michigan. His friend and bandmate, Al Jardine, went on to fame as a member of The Beach Boys, but life as a professional musician never appealed to Ken. “There are the awful nerves before a performance, then the high of the actual playing and singing, but it’s such a downer when eventually the place empties out.”

Ken became a teacher and he and his first wife welcomed a daughter. “Teaching in Maryland with a salary of $5,000 a year, Dee and I would have actually had more money on welfare, so I got into home- building,” he recalls with a laugh. Ken was widowed in 2002, and then he met Janet at a Community Bible Study (CBS) conference. Janet, who was the executive assistant to the director of CBS, had been on her own for a decade and had two grown sons.

desk-2-2Janet’s tidy desk and book-lined corner of their family room is where she writes historical fiction. Her first book A Heart Set Free debuts in early December, and she is excited that persistence has finally paid off. “I refer to the book as ‘my Millennial in the basement’, because after 31 years, it’s just now getting wings,” the author jokes. She wrote her manuscript while her little boys were occupied, a snatched hour or two at a time. She tried to sell it herself. “It was almost picked up by publishers twice,” she recalls. “Then my life changed and I was busy working and raising my boys, so the book stayed dormant.”  After Janet and Ken were married, he read the story, the romantic tale of an 18th-century indentured servant, loved it, and encouraged her to try again. This time around Janet found a supportive agent and the manuscript was accepted by Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas. 

Janet with her agent, Linda Glaz

                      Janet with her agent, Linda Glaz                                    at American Christian Fiction Conference in August

Janet has a second story ready and plans for a third. “Writing makes me feel alive!” she declares. ”Marketing, however, will probably be a challenge,” the self-proclaimed introvert laughs.

Ken and Janet have found the secret of successful remarriage is staying actively engaged in things that bring joy, carving out space for themselves while cherishing time together. Their three children have given them ten grandchildren, including quadruplets born this year, and they jointly serve as small group team leaders for Williamsburg Community Chapel. Their goal is to balance fun social times with peaceful hours of creating beauty, both in wood and on the page.

 

 

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A TASTE OF IRELAND

Posted by on Mar 17, 2016 in Blog, Journal, Uncategorized | Comments Off on A TASTE OF IRELAND

Every year, our family enjoys a traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal. Corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and onions as well as Irish soda bread will be on the menu.  

Traditional soda bread is a simple bread made of flour, soda, salt, and buttermilk. The lactic acid in buttermilk reacts with the baking soda to form bubbles of carbon dioxide. This causes the dough to rise, much like yeast does in other bread.

For a more complex soda bread, other ingredients can be added such as butter, egg, raisins, or nuts.

 HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY

Irish Soda Bread

Simple Irish Soda Bread

 

Ingredients:

4 cups (16 oz) of all purpose flour.
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon salt
14 oz of buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 F. degrees.  

Place a square of parchment paper in a cake pan. (It will hang over the sides)

In a large bowl sieve and combine all the dry ingredients.

Add the buttermilk to form a sticky dough.  Place on floured surface and lightly knead (too much allows the gas to escape)

Shape into a round flat shape in a round cake pan and cut a cross in the top of the dough.

Cover the pan with another pan and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

The bottom of the bread will have a hollow sound when tapped so show it is done.

Cover the bread with a towel and lightly sprinkle water on the cloth to keep the bread moist.

 

More Complex Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients

4 cups all-purpose flour,
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 ¾ cups cold buttermilk, shaken
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.

With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg, together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.

Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature

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Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

Posted by on Mar 9, 2015 in Blog, Journal, Media Sharing, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

I’ve been nominated for the Sisterhood of World Bloggers Award! So warning: this is a somewhat whimsical post.sisterhoodoftheworldbloggersaward-graphic

This is providential because I was feeling remiss about not blogging recently, and befitting because I was nominated by Kathleen Rouser – kathleenrouser.com  who likes to write about whimsies among other things. Thanks Kathleen.

The Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
    2. Put the Award logo on your blog.
    3. Answer the ten questions sent to you.
    4. Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
    5. Nominate five blogs.

The Ten Questions I was given:

1) Why do you blog?

 I enjoy writing Blogposts about other people who may not be well known. Promoting other writers is fun. I also find devotionals inspiring and encouraging so I like to share them with others. I like to feature people and organizations that inspire me. As an aspiring author, I need an online platform.

2) Which famous person from history would you interview on your blog if you could?

Jesus Christ, is probably the most obvious answer.  Other than Biblical figures: George Washington.

3) Where do you most of your blog ideas come from?

Historical events and people from various eras (particularly those who’ve served in the military).

Spiritual insights and devotionals

4) What is your favorite blog post that you’ve written?

I don’t have a favorite. But “Time Well Spent In God’s Waiting Room” is where I live.

5) What are some future topics you hope to cover on your blog?

More interviews with authors ~ Historical events or places ~ Articles that encourage others. A blogpost featuring my husband who builds beautiful guitars and banjoes.

6) What has been your favorite place to visit in the United States?

That’s tough because I’ve been to many places I’d like to re-visit. I would love to return to HawaiiShameless Promotion: Virginia has a wealth of fascinating places to visit, particularly if you’ve got any interest in history.  I live in the Historic Triangle of Virginia (Williamsburg~Jamestown~Yorktown)

7) Where and what kind of dream vacation would you like to take?

The British Isles and Ireland – I’ve been there before and would love to return.

8) What fictional character do you identify with the most, out of your best-loved books?

Jane Eyre. Jane has had to overcome significant rejection and other difficulties in her life. She’s plain, quiet, introverted, yet committed to her values and is not afraid to share her opinions. 

9) Are you a seat of the pants blogger or do you plan out your posts, with purpose, long in advance?

While I am an organized and fairly structured person, I tend to be a seat of the pants fiction or non-fiction writer.

10) Have you found that blogging has helped you grow in other areas of writing?

Absolutely. When I first began writing for publication, I wrote newspaper or magazine articles. Now, I primarily write fiction, so I find blogging makes me exercise that entirely different style of writing. 

I nominate:

Elaine Cooper                http://elainemariecooper.com

Laura Frantz                  http://laurafrantz.net/

Carrie Pagels                 http://cfpagels.blogspot.com/

Cynthia Howerter          http://cynthiahowerter.com/

Karen Wingate               http://karenwingate.com/

Joan Hochstetler            http://www.jmhochstetler.com/

Here are my 10 questions:

  1. Name three blogs of different types (i.e. devotional, individual, commentary or political) that you like to read.
  2. What are your favorite types of blogs to write?
  3. What are your hobbies other than writing and reading?
  4. If you could hang out with one fictional character for the day, who would it be?
  5. What is your favorite fiction book?
  6. Other than the Bible, whit is your favorite non-fiction book?
  7. If you could travel (at someone else’s expense), where would you go?
  8. If you could choose to live in another era and place, in what era and place would you live?
  9. What talent, other than writing, would you like to develop?
  10. What are your favorite things to blog about?

 

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MOTHER’S DAY ~ A MIXED BLESSING?

Posted by on May 6, 2014 in Blog, Commentary, Journal, Uncategorized | Comments Off on MOTHER’S DAY ~ A MIXED BLESSING?

It’s safe to say we all had mothers, but Mother’s Day can bring on a multitude of differing emotions, some painful some pleasant. The same is true for Father’s Day and often for the same reasons, but since it’s May, and for the purpose of this commentary we will focus on Mother’s Day.

When our nation celebrates Mother’s Day, one is bombarded for weeks ahead by merchant’s pleas to purchase cards, gifts, and flowers for those special Mothers in our lives. On a walk through any card shop in early spring we will see Mother’s Day cards honoring mothers, step-mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, mother’s–in-law, daughters, nieces, and friends. What is lost in all the commercial promotions is that Mother’s Day can also elicit emotions that no one wants to celebrate. Not everyone has had a positive experience with their own mother growing up, or as an adult. Some people find Mother’s Day a time of great sadness because it is a painful reminder of the loss of a beloved parent. What about the woman who has longed to be a mother, but for whatever reason, she’s never experienced that joy? That Sunday can pierce her heart annually. And for some of us who were mothers, or were about to be a mother, but lost that precious child, it can be an agonizing or a bittersweet day.

Mom & Me

Mom & Me

I was very blessed to have a terrific mother with whom I had a wonderful relationship. She died of an excruciatingly painful disease when I was thirty, and I will always feel her loss, and regret that my children never knew her. Providentially, when my father remarried, he gave me a stepmother whom I loved and enjoyed for many years. I’ve also been fortunate to have mother’s-in-law whom I loved, respected, and felt fortunate to have in my life. There are also a few women in my life who have been mentors for me. In their own way, they have been like mothers. I am grateful to have had all of these ladies in my life and I learned much from each of them. Now, I have daughter’s-in law and a stepdaughter, each a mother, doing a terrific job raising their children.  

 

Mom & Sons 2001

Mom & Sons USNA Graduation 2001

 

So this Mother’s Day I give thanks to all the “Mothers” in my life and to my two sons who gave me the privilege of being a mother. I will also pray for a special blessing, and healing for those women who may find this holiday less than joyous. 

 

What are your thoughts on Mother’s Day?

 

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