Essentially Esther Banner

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


This has already been a full week and it is only Wednesday. We’ve had wonderful rains…..not too much, not too little as some have had……but just right. The flowers are still sitting in their containers that I intended to plant on Monday. Today I will have to get it done regardless of the weather or other interruptions.

Becky and I plan to leave for Illinois tomorrow so we will be gone the next two days. On Saturday we will finish moving the last of the items from our small booth at the Barn. We will close it out from our large booth and hope to finish our sales by another month. It has become more work than fun and after ten years, it’s time to do something else. Like housework!! No matter what else is going on the housework never ends, does it girls?

Miss Mandy will be going to the Vet for boarding and then grooming on Friday. Little Sassy will have to stay in the house all alone……her days are spent looking out the windows, napping and eating. The three outside cats will come and go from the garage for food, water and sleeping……Napoleon will be fine. He loves eating bugs and grazing around the neighborhood and the cats keep him company.

The coffee is brewed and biscuits are hot so time for me to get busy here and begin my day. Lord willing I’ll see you back here, soon.

Remember: If you don’t have time to do it right…..when will you ever have time to do it over?

Until the next time, I am,
Essentially Esther

Monday, June 25, 2007


Make new friends but keep the old,
For one is silver, the other, gold……….

Those words ring true and many of us have kept friends all through the years. Rocky and I were a classic case of high-school romance that lasted from then until now. Part of my heart is with him in heaven and he left part of his with me. It was a young love that wasn’t to be denied……..I still correspond with some ‘49er’s I went to school with.

I called a dear old friend over the week-end and we gabbed like we used to when we lived across the street from each other. We moved into our home on 65th Street in 1957 and sometime later a new little family moved in across the street from us. In those days the neighborhood was a building development with cow pastures a block down the street from us.

Children raised up with one another became friends who have stuck together over the many separations. In those days neighborhoods took care of each other and each other’s children. Rosalie and I were fortunate enough to be stay-at-home moms and we shared a lot of our hopes and despairs together.

Of my three children Becky was the most challenging. She was a strong minded child who never seemed to respect my wishes. I remember one time in particular when we’d had one of our little pow-wows and she was confined to her room. I saw Rose sitting on her front step and I crossed the street to tell her of my frustrations. We sat there, talking about our hopes and fears for our children…….a habit that helped us through tough times.

Every time we visit on the phone, we still share family triumphs and set-backs. Now we are to the age where our children are beginning to think we need some supervision. I am fortunate to have Becky living next door and we have wonderful times together……however, we differ on some viewpoints and I’m becoming the hard-to-manage person she used to be in my life. My, how times DO change!

Let me just say it is always over doctoring, medications, eating habits etc; She is delightful to be around, very entertaining, knowledgeable and caring. However, I feel she is too consumed with my health. Rosalie and I were laughing how now we can cause our kids as much grief as they used to cause us. They never knew they would one day realize us as the “child” and themselves as the “adult.” We are all twice a child, once a woman (or man) and after raising our children we take on failing parents who just “don’t get” our good intentions.

It’s OK, kids…..after all we go through in a lifetime it’s OK to eat as much ice-cream as we want…………

Essentially Esther

Friday, June 22, 2007


I was sitting at the computer writing a blog when the computer shut down and my writing disappeared. When I tried to find the piece, this popped up. Now I’m a woman who figures if something was wiped away and something else appears, that is where the need is today. In fact, it will help me also……it’s good stuff and better than I could write, anyway. This was published sometime back, copied from something I came across in my reading. No author’s name. I’m going to pass it on again.

I know there are many people out in cyber land who are hurting, grieving and feeling their life has ended because they have lost a loved one. I can tell you for sure, it is going to change, but it is not over. There is still much you and I can do for the cause of living a life to honor our loved one…………(Esther



The time of loss is a time you will not forget. It is a time that is breaking you open and re-shaping you. You will never be the same.

Remember: you can shape this time, even as it shapes you. You are not powerless. You are not entirely at the mercy of whatever has happened to you. It may feel that way to you at the moment. You may wonder if you’ll ever regain control of your life.

The truth is this: you will and you won’t, and that’s good.

You will regain more control over your life with the passing of time and in the living of your days. Your hurt will decrease. Your feelings of emptiness will subside. You’ll be able to look back and see the happiness. You’ll find yourself starting to look forward and to feel more hopeful. You’ll sense you’re more yourself.

And, at the same time, you won’t regain control. For you’re coming to know that ultimately much of life is beyond your control, and beyond anyone’s control. It can be lived, but it cannot be contained. It can be appreciated, but it cannot be narrowly confined. It can be embraced, but it cannot be held too tightly. For life ultimately is a gift. It comes from far beyond you, and that is also it’s destiny.

May the experiences you are living through help you toward those realizations. May you be on the path of living your life for all it’s worth. And never forget: it’s worth a great deal. (copied)
For most of us, we know where we have been and where we are now and where we hope to go in the future……the only problem is that we are not guaranteed any tomorrows. My father-in-law was elderly and always said, “Tomorrow, I will do thus and so, if the Lord wills.” I found that strange as a young woman but now that I am well along the senior path, I understand what he meant. Our tomorrows are not for us to decide but rather belong to God who is constantly shaping us and molding us for His purpose. We need to be grateful for all of our yesterdays and for today but the tomorrows are in His hand to be lived for His good.

He will provide for the journey and we need to learn as we take each step. Life is after all a learning experience and how we live it is where character comes into play. Every phase of our life is a one-time shot. From childhood to adult, marriage and children, grand-children and old age, we are on a trial-run for it all. By the time we have it down pretty good, the next phase is upon us. The truth is, we are all in “stages” from the cradle to the grave.

Just remember, there is something to be learned from every success or setback and it helps if we gratefully acknowledge the good times and grow from the bad. God will always bring us through with a better understanding.

That’s just the way it works…….I didn’t make the rules.

Until the next time, I am,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

RX 101.......... 

Like most seniors I take several medications in pill form. I keep them in a pillbox with seven different dividers. I don’t use them for daily doses as suggested but one divider for each different pill. They empty out and need refilling at separate intervals.

This morning I called my prescription provider with an order and was told two of them could not be filled until July 1st. The third could be filled but it was my last refill before my annual physical check-up. I placed my order and then began filling my container with the last of what I had on hand.

I tried putting in one or two more each time I filled but the lid wouldn’t fit and I had to take the extra’s out. I got to thinking………

I wonder if that’s the way God looks over us? I have seven different compartments and each hold different pills…..different shapes……different medicine that will be good for my body. I can’t put more in than the holder will contain and if I run out, I have to wait until it’s time to refill.

Just suppose I am a container. What I hold has to be given up before I can be refilled again. If I empty out too soon, I can’t have more until the time is right. In some of my medications the dose is small….in others it is more….my needs are different and what I take is helpful…..but if I try to take more than is prescribed my body would have a violent reaction.

I don’t prescribe the dosage, the amount, the time or anything about the medication. I only receive what I need when I need it and there is enough to last until it’s time for another refill.

Thank you God, for watching over me……..

Essentially Esther

Monday, June 18, 2007


Just to let you know I’m back. I’ve had a very busy week but have had good help from Richard, Helen, Marie, Harold, Becky and Jonathan. As in any unforeseen circumstance it always helps to have a good support group and I certainly do.

Thank you for your prayers, love and concern over losing Dale. He was my buddy, my friend, my family history……and the last of the Andersen relation. It continues to dwindle on my side of the family tree but God has seen fit to extend family on Rocky’s side of the family.

Dale was a unique kind of guy. He was oh so handsome, very engaging and one of the best story tellers in the family. We grew up in a family of story tellers. Some of the stuff we told was even true. Rocky used to laugh and say, “As much as you guys talk, I bet some of it really happened.” Then he would laugh along with us. We loved to embellish just to color in the tale a little.

Dale was a very private person. He would love you, never question you and never give out more information than he wanted to. I respected that as everyone did who loved him. Dale lived life the way he wanted, was kind and unassuming and didn’t leave an enemy. It seems my life has been surrounded by good men. I feel very fortunate to have lived with some of the best.

I have faced up to some big losses in the past two months but I can still say without hesitation that God has been there through it all. He is my rock, my salvation and my provider. As long as He is ahead of me, behind me, over me and under me…..beside me, I will be safe and secure. My trust is in Him. I am grateful for the people He has put in my life as mentors, lovers friends and family.

I have been truly blessed……abundantly.

Essentially Esther

Saturday, June 09, 2007


I will be off line for a few days. My cousin, Dale, was found dead in his home and I am his only relative. I am going to Illinois to make arrangements and will keep John posted. I am leaving in the morning and John will post events as they emerge.

I am very sad as we were always close…..he was 10 years younger than me and had a wonderful talent for humor and story telling. He was very private and so I will honor that in his death.

Please pray for me as I go. Once I get to St. Louis I will meet Rocky’s brother, Richard and his wife Helen, who will go with me from there. Rocky’s sister Marie and husband Harold will keep one of the cars there until we return. The Rockenbachs are always great to offer help when needed and without Rocky I sure needed help with this for all the legal stuff.

God bless you until I’m hopefully back home safe and sound.

Until the next time, I am,
Essentially Esther

Friday, June 08, 2007

RED TAPE..... 

This has been an interesting week. Monday Becky and I started back to the gym to get back in shape. Tuesday I decided to see how Social Security was coming along after closing Rocky’s account.

Call number one. The phone was no longer in service because the office moved. Back to the phone book……I get a number with a State agency. I spent 5 minutes punching numbers for the reason of my call. They didn’t want to process me because nothing showed up on the computer. They gave me the new number for the new building.

Call number two. After a considerable wait, I got a voice putting me through the system. I was delighted when at last a real person came on the line. We spent a half hour on the phone while I answered questions of every conceivable personal history. She gave me her name and number…..even her extension number and said I could call the next day or she would get back to me on Thursday. Now I’m getting someplace.

Call number three, day three. The lines were all tied up and I was asked by a voice to call back when the lines weren’t busy. I was getting tired of carrying the phone with me so I wouldn’t miss “the” call. The rest of the day the lines were not open and I almost ruined the redial on my phone.

Day four…..morning call. Peak calling…..call back later. By noon I decided to drive the 20 miles to the office and make my case in person. No one was waiting…I got right in. The nice lady was clicking her computer keys but frowning. There was a problem. I needed my birth certificate and marriage license. I was told on April 30th everything was in order and all I needed was the death certificate.

I was patient until this past Tuesday when I decided I’d better see how it was coming along……I had a very nice session with a lady who told me everything was in order. Today I find out it has been held up all this time because I didn’t have my birth certificate or marriage license.

I kept my sweet attitude and told the nice lady I would go home and get my marriage license but I had a birth certificate card in my purse. One down, two to go. I drove back home, got the license and entered the new office. No one in line again, I didn’t have to wait.

The lady copied the license, handed it back and told me she would hand carry it to the case worker in the other room. I should be hearing “soon” about my claim. This is the 38th day since I first made my request so we’ll see how much longer it takes. Eighty miles later and the afternoon shot…..I’m ready for the weekend.

Remember: It is easier to go downhill than up, but the view is from the top.
Essentially Esther

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Better batten down the hatches if you live in the mid-west and especially the upper region. The weather channel has been warning all day about huge hail, high wind, tornadoes and everything in between. So far it looks like we may be on the southern fringe of the fury but morning will tell. This storm is slated to go well into the night-time hours and early morning.

The wind has been howling here all day. I didn’t venture out since it is useless to try and do yard work in strong wind. Becky and I are to make our third visit to the gym tonight when she gets home from work. We have just been walking on the treadmill this week until my hand and wrist clear up…..then some strength training to hopefully stave off my osteoporosis. With one pill a week and exercise it seems reasonable to deal with.

It is strange being back in the gym again. As I walked on the treadmill I used to watch Rocky work out with team members who came in. They would work hard for a while and then visit and laugh as they rested their muscles a bit…….just like little boys playing in the yard…..only these were big boy toys. I think for sure if I scan around the room I will see Rocky leaning on one of the machines and laughing with someone. Even though my mind knows I won’t see him…..I look anyway.

Becky is on her way down so I will close with this for now. I hope if you are in harms way that you are safe from the bad weather. Be safe and happy and I’ll see you right here tomorrow, good Lord willing.

Remember: The only people you should ever want to get even with are those who have helped you. And I can truly say, that has been a lot of people. I have been greatly blessed with family and friends.

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Does anyone in this world like to wait? How many minutes/hours a day do we wait on things? I grew up hearing my mother say things like, “A watched pot never boils.” Well, I think she’s wrong…..or maybe it’s me that’s boiling. OK, I confess, I’m not good at waiting.

I wait while Mandy stands in the yard at the end of her leash and me holding it like a statue in the park. She doesn’t move except to glance out the corner of her eye to see if I look threatening yet. If I bark out, “hurry up!” she only changes her nose for a twitch or two. On really bad days I have jerked her little head with the leash until her eyeballs roll around like pin-balls. OK….I lied. I’m not cruel to animals but at times I think I could be. They are so exasperatingly independent.

How about business calls who promise to call you back “the next morning.?” It is 2:00pm and I’m still waiting. How about waiting for a doctor or dentist when you’ve had a 3-month appointment? Over the years I’ve tried early, noon and later for my appointments. None of them are ever on time. What do they do back there in those little rooms anyway?

Then there’s waiting in line at the grocery store, prescription counter or post office. I race my cart into a checkout lane where there is only one customer who is almost finished emptying her basket. I can hardly contain my delight as I look at the other long lines and picture myself getting out way ahead of them.

The next thing I know she is arguing with the clerk that she charged too much. The clerk calls for the dept. super to come make a judgment. The super is at the back of the store chatting on a cell-phone……we are drawing lots of stares from the other check out lanes and now it’s too late to go to another counter. Finally the gabby super comes up and sides with the clerk…the product has been remarked and someone failed to feed it correctly into the computer…….more waiting. The customer is incensed and wants the manager…….well, you know the rest.

Waiting in traffic, waiting for your order to be served, waiting for pills to take effect, waiting for the mail before you can leave home, waiting for a serviceman to fix that leaky faucet……..waiting on it to quit raining, for the dryer to quit running or for your car to be serviced….waiting, waiting, waiting.

Soon I will try publishing this and with all the high tech super fast power I’ve signed up for, I’ll have to wait to connect with the net. Waiting is not good….I can see no benefit to it at all except maybe giving me time to think, to dream, to relax, to be thankful, to slow me down, to remember how God has blessed me, to feast my eyes on things about me and to give me time to change gears.

Whoever started this multi-tasking stuff anyway? Slow down and enjoy your day.

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


I’ve been busy in the yard yesterday and today. I bought some new hose, hose wand, weed killer, liquid and powder Seven. Every year I’ve watched beautiful clumps of hollyhocks come up only to be eaten by something. Just before blooming the leaves look like Swiss cheese and the promising buds are brown and dry. Whatever it is that eats them must suck all the moisture out. I have waged war on the pesky things and hope to have blooms this year.

Hollyhocks are one of those old fashioned flowers that used to be around every farm house. I loved them when I was a kid and I still love them. They’re just one of those sweet things that are old fashioned and tough enough to survive with the modern hybrids. The colors are so varied and as beautiful as any orchid except the orchids that Rocky gave to me.

I’ve had quite the time saving birds this Spring. Along with the ones I’ve taken right out of the jaws of my cats, today I went to the garage for some garden supplies and a young blue jay flew through the open door. My three outside kitties were laying on top of the van taking a nap when the jay started flying wildly to get out and squawking his head off. Of course, they came to immediate attention and began sizing the situation up.

There was high drama with me trying to get the bird out, the cats trying to get the bird and the bird flitting and flying crazily up in the rafters. He squawked loudly with each fly-over and for the life of me I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t fly out the large double door. He kept flying on top of the raised door and never noticed the big open space below it. His eyes were only looking up. Now while that is quite complimentary in a “spiritual” kind of way, it wasn’t getting him anywhere.

The cats grew tired of the game and opted to get off the van and wander out to a cooler spot. I thought if left alone, the bird might get his breath and make the final exit. I left to take more boxes to be burned and came back to find the bird still there. I then devised a plan of backing the car out to show him a bigger space of an open door but my hopes weren’t realized. I left with another bunch of boxes to burn and when I came back…..the little bird had left the building, as they say. Finally!! Some days it’s a lot of work to save a little critter.

My mother used to walk among her flowers each morning to see what was budding or blooming and she would relate their progress to me later in the day when I would see her. She enjoyed her plants, both wild or some she had planted. It was common to see a small vase on her table with a bloom or two in it. She fed the birds and even when she had to be in the nursing home, she watched them and enjoyed the flowers on her daily stroll.

Life is funny. We just don’t get the big picture until it’s time. When we slow down and look around, God is everywhere…..and as my mother used to say….always in the garden.

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Monday, June 04, 2007


Saturday was a very sentimental day for me. Becky and I drove to Rolla for the PowerLifting Meet I talked about last Friday and we arrived to a room full of lifters and their families. Rocky’s coach had asked us to bring Rocky’s travel bag because it was just the way he had packed it for that meet. Rocky had hoped to go and since he couldn’t, Rodney (coach) asked us to bring his gear.

Of course the team from our gym knew about Rocky but the guys from around the different States represented, didn’t. We arrived after they were told and were met with their condolences and “Rocky stories” …….it seemed everyone had great respect and pride in him as a lifter because they knew what he had worked through each time to be there. He had a powerful influence on all of them.

We arrived about 20 minutes before the competition began (11:00am) and stayed until it was over around 6:30pm. We were given special seats and sat glued to the proceedings…..Rocky’s sister and husband came shortly after we did but left after three hours since they had to drive back to St. Louis. Rocky’s son and family came later but with small children, they went to a relative’s home while Michael came back and stayed with us until the meet was over.

Each time someone would break a personal best record or win the overall lift, they would come by and tell us “it was for Rocky.” Those guys pulled their hearts out to outdo themselves and to make Rocky proud. He would have been. The Rockenbach family and Rocky’s Memorial Fund supplied the Grand Champion Awards. Shirts made by Rocky’s daughter, Holly, were also a hit with quite a few orders. The black shirts with the striking orange star and RockStar, RockSolid printing gained a lot of attention.

Only the ones who belong and/or attend a PowerLifting Meet know what a close-knit bunch they are. Very nice mannered, they cheer for each other, help each other and look out for each other. They have transferred their respect of Rocky to our family and we were well taken care of.

I know Rocky was there, Saturday, for I saw his determination and humility on every face of the ones competing. We are never really gone when we die. We are in every heart who remembers us and in every achievement fueled by our impact on others.

Rocky lives on…………

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Friday, June 01, 2007


Every seven days another Friday happens to relieve some of the working class. The rest of the populous works on swing shifts or such and enjoy other days to relieve the work schedule. Being retired, holidays, Fridays and all the rest don‘t give me the boost it used to but every Monday morning I wake up and I’m glad to be retired.

To me, being retired means I have daily choices on end. I still have a zest for life….it’s just different now. I can spend time on the computer which is entertainment, a tool for information, shopping and keeping up with my family and friends. What a blessing it has been. I still enjoy housework and cleaning projects which take more time now that I have to humor my body in the process.

It has taken me two days to remove the shelf paper from the bottom of the cupboards and one top shelf. From my loss of agility I should have tackled this 20 years ago….I might have fit better crawling to the back corners. As I clean, I remove all odds and ends, toss or mark for sale at the Barn……it’s true that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

Tomorrow, Becky and I will drive to Rolla for a PowerLifting Meet that Rocky would have been in. The coach and team were happy when we said we would attend in Rocky’s absence. I no longer care to do public speaking so Becky will take that over to explain about the Memorial Fund we have set up for an annual “RockStar” Meet at our home gym. We will cheer the team on and stand in for Rocky. I know if it’s possible he will be looking in.

Have a wonderful weekend, wherever you are, working or not, and take time to smell the roses. Mine are blooming now and will be on the table for a luncheon I have invited an older lady friend to today. I find a bouquet of friends is a good thing. Older ones have wisdom to learn from and younger ones make you still feel like running a race.

The merry month of June is upon us and it’s Friday……go out and do something wonderful!

Until the next time, I am,
Essentially Esther