Monday, August 14, 2017

Beautiful Day ~ Amish Legend

     The weather is often topic for conversation, and I've noticed that the more people don't enjoy what ever weather it is, the more vocal they are about the topic. I admit, I have chimed in a time or twenty when I allowed the heat and humidity to make me cranky, but yesterday an old Amish "legend" came to mind. I hadn't thought about it in years, but it made me pause and think.

     Old Ben was a cheerful man. No one in the community ever heard him speak anything other than uplifting things. His usual greeting whenever he met anyone was shöner Tag (beautiful day). When other farmers were stressing because of all the rain they had that kept them from working in their fields or a drought that was withering their crops, he happily went about his life declaring every day to be beautiful.
      Sometimes others would try to point out the obvious to him. His hay was getting rained on and his grain fields were flattening, but he persisting in declaring it was a beautiful day, never once did anyone hear him complain about the weather.
      Time kept passing and Old Ben continued growing older, and the day came when he died. The morning of his funeral day  dawned and angry clouds came scuttling in, covering the sun. Fierce winds began to blow and rain came pouring. Thunder raged, lightning struck, and even hail pounded around the house as people walked past the coffin to say their final good byes.
     The hardiest among them went to the cemetery for the burial. The grave already had a foot of water standing in it, but they went ahead and lowered him into it anyway and buried him in the middle of the storm, the dirt turning to mud as they dropped shovels full on top of his casket.
    With their job complete, they turned to leave and one of the men remarked, "Even Old Ben would not have had anything good to say about the weather today."
     From the grave a voice declared, "Shöner Tag!"

     Did this actually happen? Eh ... I'm not saying it did, but that's what we were told growing up, and it does give food for thought.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Simple Woman's Daybook

Looking out my window ... it's a little overcast and the air feels like rain. A few deer munching alfalfa in the hayfield on the hill above the barn makes me think it will rain before long. Having them come out during the day like this always seems to be a better indicator of bad weather than the barometer we have.

I am thinking ... how disappointing it is when you try a new food and it doesn't taste anything close to what you imagined it would. We tried our first whole coconut yesterday. There was nothing about it that tasted like I thought a coconut should taste.

I am thankful ... for windows that tilt in to wash. As often as it's necessary to wash the outside it would be a pain if I had to drag out a ladder and clamber up and down to get them all washed.

One of my favorite things ... my fluffy housecoat. It's been surprisingly chilly in the morning recently, and we're certainly not turning on the heat in August, so housecoat to the rescue.

I am creating ... memories. Nothing monumental, but hopefully the children will someday look back fondly on the days of Mom being elbow deep in some science experiment, reading books, singing, and cooking together.
I am wearing ... a shirt that says The American Bible Challenge across the front. I received it from a contest I had entered several years ago. It's not the prettiest shirt, actually quite far from it, but it's super comfortable.

I am reading ... a book by Janette Oke. It's okay. I used to be a huge fan of all her books, but this newest one isn't quite measuring up, or maybe my tastes have been changing.
I am watching ... The Great British Baking Show. It's one of my favorite cooking shows, the accents, the location, the things they bake. Really I like pretty much everything about it. The competition is much friendlier than on some other cooking competitions I've seen.
I am listening to ...  Sharon practice a new song before heading to her piano lesson later tonight.
I am hoping ... that we'll be able to get some loose ends tied up soon.

I am learning ... how to work some new features on Microsoft Word.

In my kitchen ... there is granola toasting in the oven. We made a huge batch and have been working all afternoon to get it toasted.
Board room ... as in my Pinterest. I'm so sad how the powers that be decided to change things up again and my carefully organized boards have been tumbled about and are now in order of what I most recently pinned to. It makes me feel itchy just looking at it, so I have determined to pin things board by board until I have it back in the right order, and then not pin anything until they hopefully quit this feature.
Shared Quote ... The best portion of your life will be the small nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you. ~ Author Unknown
A moment from my day ... we had some things to take care of in town today. I've seen this mural more times than I can count, and on a whim I took a picture of it this time.

Closing Notes ... you can join in the daybook fun over at The Simple Woman.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


   Only several steps from our back door there is a field on a steep hillside where every summer someone puts their cows in to graze.
    Somehow even though they attract flies, I enjoy seeing and watching them.
    There's something about seeing a cow grazing peacefully that makes me feel that everything is all right in the world.
    I have come to the conclusion that people every where would be happier if only the could spend their free time on a back porch watching a cow and her calf interact, simply watching them graze, being mesmerized by their swishing tails. Listening to them eat grass. Yes, really. I don't know of much of anything that sounds better or tastier than a cow enjoying grass. (Well ... maybe a horse eating hay, but we don't have any horses.) They make it sound so good!
    There's something so peaceful and simple about this pair. They're not worried about anything other than family and food.
    Can you imagine the stress free life we could have if we detached ourselves from most everything else, especially social media. Instead of being bombarded by angst filled political views, incessant chattering on modesty, and wearying arguments concerning a vast range of subjects on everything from parenting styles, diets, education, medicine, flat earth (yes really) and basically anything else you can think of.
    Here's something I never imagined I would ever say, but I think I want to be more like a cow, and focus only on what's important. I'll still pop into Facebook occasionally, but I won't be spending a lot of time there.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. We've reached edition number 315 here in the Wednesday Hodgepodge. So tell us, what were you doing at 3:15 yesterday? Is that typical? On a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being low and 10 being high) what's your energy level usually like at 3:15 PM?

At 3:15 yesterday I was picking up paint and supplies at Napa for LV's restoration project. Is it typical, no, but it's also not the first time I've done a Napa run for him.

My mid afternoon energy level on an average day is usually around an 8.

2. A frisbee, a tantrum, a towel, a party, a punch, or a curveball...which have you most recently thrown or had thrown at/for you? Elaborate.

A curveball. Some things have gone drastically different from what we had planned, but it's all good. The writer in me wants to shout out "plot twist" and keep on enjoying life instead of getting sad or upset at what could have been.

3. What are three things that would help you right now. Tell us how or why.

1) The arrival of the last books we had ordered for our upcoming school year, so I can get the finishing touches on our schedule. The tracking number says they've been at their destination in "Stow Ohio" for a while already. That's not even the right state. I'll have to call the company I ordered from soon, if they don't arrive in the next day or so.
2) An air conditioning unit or at least a dehumidifier. The humidity and I are not friends.
3) A vacation. It's been years since we've had a real vacation. It would be really nice to be able to get away and relax for a while.

4. Do you think you're strong? Why or why not? What makes you strong?

Physically, not really. I'm not allowed to lift anything that's somewhat heavy.

Mentally/emotionally. Yes, I think so. Why? Because:
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13

5. Do you enjoy reading historical fiction? What's your favorite book set sometime in the past?

Does Anne of Green Gables count as historical fiction? If so, then I'll definitely choose that series as my favorite. If not, I'll go with Janette Oke's Canadian West or the Love Comes Softly series. It's been quite a while since I've read them, but they used to be favorites as well.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

We enjoy spending time outdoors as a family. Especially in a nearby nature reserve. Somehow even with the summer heat Steven really likes wearing his favorite almost too small, long sleeved, ugly yellow shirt when ever possible. It makes me feel too warm just seeing him in it, but he loves it. It does give him added protection from the sun and hungry mosquitoes, so maybe he's the smart one and the rest of us should look for similar shirts to wear to go hiking.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1. Growing up, were you close to your grandparents? Tell us one or two specific things you remember about them.

I was close to my maternal grandparents. They lived walking distance from us most of my childhood and then only about ten feet away the last few years before I got married. I have so many wonderful memories of them, but one I will cherish for always is how after they built their new house only a few feet from ours, I would go over every evening, often taking some kind of treat or a sample of a new recipe I had tried for Grandpa to eat. His health wasn't good, and his appetite almost non existent, but he always ate what ever I brought over. After he was finished eating he would launch into telling stories from his childhood, teenaged years, and their young married life. It was great seeing his transformation every evening from being tired, and shaky. To coming alive reliving the things he was sharing with me. He had a talent for story telling, and I was able to travel right down memory lane with him. I can't quite put to words how thankful I am that I have these precious memories, and how glad I am that I spent the last years of his life doing this.

2. What's an item you were attached to as a child? What happened to it?

I loved my rag doll, Sally. I still have her tucked away in the attic.

3. When you look out your window, do you see the forest or the trees (literally and figuratively)? Explain.

If I look out the window that is directly in front of me I look right into the big maple tree here in front of our house. It kind of blocks me from seeing anything else.

Other windows, I can see the forest, and more trees.

Figuratively, I think I do both. I know there are times when I'm focusing on little details that I have to remind myself of the bigger picture. (Though the big picture is made up of little details, isn't it?)

4. Do you like sour candies? Which of the 'sour' foods listed below would you say is your favorite?

grapefruit, Greek yogurt, tart cherries, lemons, limes, sauerkraut, buttermilk, or kumquats 

Have you ever eaten a kumquat? What's your favorite dish containing one of the sour foods on the list?

I don't care for sour candies. I used to, but something has changed over the years and I prefer my candy to be sweet.

I love lemon and lime desserts. I have a grapefruit for breakfast occasionally, and I really like Greek yogurt. Nothing beats my mother-in-law's tart cherry pie. She makes the best filling. I've tried copying it often, even following her recipe to the "T" and it never comes out tasting like hers does.

Sauerkraut, buttermilk, and kumquats I can live happily without.

5. July 1st marked the mid point of 2017. In fifteen words or less, tell us how it's going so far.

Fifteen words or less???

Our most eventful, filled with change, rollercoaster, stressful, busy, interesting, fun, insane, bureaucratic, year ever.

That about sums it up, but doesn't do justice to the past six months. Most of it has not been documented on my blog, and it's also largely to blame for my somewhat sporadic posting. Bear with me ... things should be slowing down, evening out, getting more normal soon. Hopefully. Maybe.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I'll be continuing my task at hand today. Stripping and refinishing our dining room furniture. My fingerprints are basically worn off my right hand already, but I'm not done. I'm at the point where I'm beginning to think of all sorts of unpleasant things I would rather do than strip another chair.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Bite Sized Pieces of my Life

   I usually get up an hour before anyone else. I wouldn't have to, but I enjoy the morning quiet of getting my day started. The only drawback to this is, I live with a family of non-morning people. They get up and stagger to the breakfast table and eat in complete silence, while I'm sitting there nearly bursting with all sorts of topics for conversation. The few times I do attempt conversation I do good if I get more than a grunt or two as a reply.
   Over time I have become quite good at simply thinking instead of trying to talk until they become awake enough to function as normal human beings. I can't even begin to tell you how many well thought out blog posts I have composed in my head during that time and the plot twists I've come up with for books that will very likely never materialize.
    This morning's pondered blog post was all about grass fed meat and milk ... and my opinions on it all. Will I ever sit down and actually write about it? There's a small chance. Would I actually hit the publish button after writing it. Probably not.


   We're all aware of the mystery of missing socks, I'm sure. Where they disappear to, no one has been able to answer, but lately other things have been disappearing as well, and it's becoming a bit frustrating.
    LV needed an important piece of paper laminated earlier this week. I went to get the laminator from it's storage spot, but it had disappeared. Vanished completely. We pulled apart the storage room looking for it, stormed through the attic, checked under beds, and behind doors and it is no where to be found! It makes zero sense to me, because we've always kept it in the same spot, so what happened with it? Other than joining the land of missing socks, we have no answer.


   The girls and I went to Wal-Mart yesterday. I know it's a popular store to claim to dislike, but I'm glad we have a big one nearby.
    For the first time though I had an uncomfortable experience while there.
    I was paying for the things we got when the customer right behind me got all up in my personal space, and watched hungrily as I counted out the money. He announced loudly to everyone around me that there's a lady paying with cash, and she still has plenty left over. I didn't bother telling him a few ones don't count as plenty.
     He poked me on my shoulder and said, "People no longer pay with cash unless they have something to hide." He made some other remarks as well and kept inching closer. Backing away didn't help, he just followed.
     I usually don't judge people by how they look, but this guy gave me the creeps. There was something seriously off about him.
     I marched us out to the mini van, which I had parked near the front for the first time ever. (Usually I prefer walking.) We hurried to get our cart unloaded and I may have left just a little faster than usual.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday

The weather..... is absolutely gorgeous right now. The sun is shining, making the dew drops glisten in the morning light. The sky is a clear blue with nary a cloud in sight.

Right now I am.... writing a blog post while the girls are starting their chosen daily activities. I'm trying to ignore the floor which has still not received its morning vacuum run, but it will have to wait until after Steven wakes up.

Thinking.... how biting one's tongue occasionally, while not the most comfortable, is really the best thing to do. Or when it comes to Facebook ... just keep scrolling, just keep scrolling. Not everything needs my opinion added.

On my reading pile.... in my search for books and other materials for our country/cultural studies I found a new series that I'm loving. It delves into life in Botswana and I've been thoroughly intrigued.

Yes, they're fiction, but you can tell the author is knowledgeable about, and has a love for Africa and the country of Botswana.

The writing style, and subject matter are so different from anything I've ever read before, but I'm loving it.

On my TV..... nothing at the moment. Yesterday Rosie Mae and I watched a Hallmark movie (Love at First Glance). It was predictable as always, but this time also strangely unsatisfying. At the end we didn't care for either main character, and wished the girl with amnesia would have been able to reclaim her true love.

Favorite blog post last week.... unfortunately I haven't had a lot of time for reading blogs. The few I read last week were ones that had participated in the Wednesday Hodgepodge.

Something fun to share.... we've been going berry picking regularly. The freezer is filling up fast, and we're looking forward to many yummy treats.

On the menu for this week....

Monday ... Barbeque ham sandwiches and a garden salad
Tuesday ... Burgers with a mango Pico de Gallo
Wednesday ... Chicken enchiladas and a salad
Thursday ... Pizza and some kind of salad
Friday ... Breaded and baked pork chops and you guessed it, a salad.

On my to do list.... Go blueberry picking. Transplant some houseplants into bigger pots. Cancel a certain brand of office software subscription that has been nothing but a big headache. Work on more school scheduling and planning.

In the craft basket.... making a fitted sheet for an odd sized mattress.

Looking forward to this week.... getting our dining room furniture stripped of the old lacquer that gets soft and sticky every time the weather gets slightly humid. I'm not really looking forward to doing it, but I am looking forward to having it done.

Looking around the house.... everything is clean ... other than the floor that needs vacuumed.

From the camera.... we all love spending time outdoors. Our cameras are full of nature pictures.

What I'm wearing today.... a fuchsia shirt and a charcoal colored homemade skirt.

One of my simple pleasures.... wildflowers.