Joy and Sadness in the Midst of a Bountiful Harvest

San Marzano tomatoes

I have been very busy in both my kitchen and garden lately.

San Marzano Tomatoes and fresh, Sweet Corn

San Marzano Tomatoes and fresh, Sweet Corn

I have been busy preparing my San Marzano tomatoes for freezing so that I can use them in marinara sauce this winter.

On the other hand, we have been eating our fresh, sweet corn as soon as we pick it.  I usually cut it from the cob and lightly steam it.

strawberry jam

I have also been busy making peach, plum and even strawberry jam.  This past weekend, I made some applesauce which I use for making special ‘Applesauce Spice Cake’.

I will share with you how I prepare my corn, tomatoes and jams in future posts.  But right now, I am getting ready to go to the doctor with my father-in-law, my husband, his sister and my mother-in-law.

My father-in-law is suffering from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and he has a form that is moving very quickly.  We can see changes every week.

Both my mother-in-law and father-in-law have allowed us to be very involved with his doctor visits, which is both a privilege but is also very hard at the same time.

As the ‘in-law’ I am trying to do my best to be supportive to not only my father & mother-in-law, but also to my husband and his sister.  But, I am also having to deal with my own sadness.

Many of you will understand this as I have just recently come to realize….as often as we hear of people who are suffering from diseases and even those that are terminally ill, you never comprehend how truly horrible it is and how if affects not only the one who is suffering from the disease itself, but also those around them.

Last week, my son said that he can’t remember what his ‘Papa’s’ voice sounds like.  I am preparing for the time when my son realizes that his grandfather is going to die.

My hope and prayer is that he will live until early November.  Why?  Well you see, my daughter will be having a baby!  She is having a little girl and this is not only my first grandchild, but she will also be my father-in-law’s first great-grandchild and he is so excited.

Bountiful Harvest

I am so thankful that throughout this time of sadness, that there are also things that bring joy to my life, including my garden and most especially a new life 🙂

Vegetable Harvest With Some Little Helpers….

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
16 replies
  1. FlowerLady
    FlowerLady says:

    Dear Noelle ~ I am sorry to hear about your in-laws and can certainly understand the sadness in your life at this time.

    Your garden produce looks wonderful and your canning and freezing efforts will be much appreciated come winter.

    May your coming new little grand-daughter bring much joy to your family.

    Love and hugs to you,


  2. debsgarden
    debsgarden says:

    I am so sorry about your father-in-law. I pray that he will live to see the new baby. It is a bittersweet time for you, I Know. The loss of loved ones is tough and sadly increases as we age. I am sure your father-in-law, husband and other family members appreciate your support very much.

  3. Aimee H.
    Aimee H. says:

    You have much to be thankful for, Noelle, but it doesn't erase the difficult times as they come. I wish we could take some of the burden for you. This post brought tears to my eyes. I hope, as you do, that he makes it to see this wonderful new life come into the world. Hugs to all of you!

  4. Ginny
    Ginny says:

    My prayers are with you and your husband's family. It is so true that the caregivers and family need much love and support when their loved one is sick. Though their pain isn't physical pain, it hurts so much. This was certainly true when my father was dying of cancer in 2009 and is true now as my brother is being treated for brain cancer. It is wonderful that there is the joyful anticipation of new life in your family. I will be praying that your father-in-law is able to rejoice with you all when the baby is born!

  5. Balisha
    Balisha says:

    Hi Noelle…Continued prayers for him and the rest of your family. Life does go on…gardening is such good therapy. Take care, Balisha

  6. Nicole
    Nicole says:

    Dear Noelle

    I am so sorry about your father-in-law's illness, one of my mentor's ( who lives the US) wife has the same disease and I know how truly heartbreaking it has been for him.

    However I am happy for you and your daughter!

  7. David
    David says:

    Hi Noelle,
    About 21 years ago, I lost my mom to cancer and it was at exactly the same time we were having our first month's with our new baby son. Life and death in one year. It's so hard and our prayers are with you.
    Besides our prayers, my wife and I made you a bouquet. I put it on our garden blog for you to enjoy.
    It's a miracle bouquet. Hope you like it.
    God's Blessings to your family.
    David & Melanie/ Tropical Texana

  8. Rose
    Rose says:

    It has been a while since I've visited, Noelle, and I am so sorry to hear of your father-in-law's illness. Such a situation is hard on everyone; it is difficult to watch as a loved one suffers. But he is fortunate to have such a supportive family by his side.

    Congratulations on your new grandchild-to-be! Such a blessing in the midst of difficult times. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  9. Kathleen Scott
    Kathleen Scott says:

    There isn't anything good in a wasting disease. We may use the disease-time for good–knitting ourselves closer together, seeing each moment in a new light, reconciling ourselves to the inevitability of our own death–but the heartache of pain for the injured and loss for the family is a tragedy. I'm sorry you're losing your father-in-law.

  10. Curbstone Valley Farm
    Curbstone Valley Farm says:

    Oh goodness, it really does sound like quite an emotional roller coaster year for you. I'm genuinely sorry about your Father in Law. It is a struggle for those around an ailing loved one. You're right though, unless you've experienced a similar situation, it can be difficult to comprehend just how much life is turned on its head at times like these. I'm happy though that you have something so wonderfully positive as your first grandchild to look forward to this Fall, and do so hope you father in law has an opportunity to meet his new granddaughter. Thinking good thoughts for you.

  11. Msrobin
    Msrobin says:

    We recently lost my Father In Law to heart issues, so I know what you are going through. We all watched him fade that last year, and it was so painful. My dear little grandson was his first great grandchild, and we are so glad he got to meet Benjamin before he passed away. There are a few other great grandchildren in the family now, but only we get to claim four generations of Leja men. My prayers are with you.

  12. Helen
    Helen says:

    This post was written long before the movie Inside Out was out, but it shows, just as you’re post tells, how Joy and Sadness are so closely linked.

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