Wednesday, January 17, 2018


Instead of participating in the usual Wednesday Hodgepodge today, I thought I would do something a little different and talk about some of the things that are happening in my life currently.

Reading ... I finished Corinthians this morning and am ready to start Galatians tomorrow. It's one of my favorite books in the New Testament and I'm looking forward to reading it again. Besides the Bible, I'm reading several other books. In the non fiction category there's a book I got from the library on herbs and remedies. I had high hopes for it, but it's been a disappointment. I already know more than it does. In fiction I'm reading The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray. I'm enjoying it so far.  Then there are the books we're doing for school which includes getting to listen and read along as Steven carefully reads each new chapter in his reading books.

Writing ... I have several different things I'm writing. Letters, journal, blog, and a story that I don't know whether or not it will ever see the light of day, but it's one that insists on being written. I'm enjoying it, and can't wait until it's done so that I get to read it.

Listening ... to the children discuss the proper pronunciation of a word. One of them is having a difficult time trying to say it correctly so it includes a lot of laughter.

Thinking ... of everything that I want to get done today. We're deep cleaning the kitchen again. The girls and I were working on it the past two days already, but hope to finish up today. I love when everything sparkles and gleams as if it were brand new.

Wishing ... a number of different things. Right now though I'm wishing I could be planning a nice big garden. The seed catalogs that are arriving in the mail are really awakening the desire to garden again.

Hoping ... that no cavities will be found at the children's dentist appointments later this week.

Wearing ... a soft fuchsia top and a teal swirly patterned skirt. The colors clash horribly, but it's what my hands found in the dark this morning when I got up. I'll head upstairs to change after Steven wakes up.

Loving ... the nice cozy heat our furnace produces. It may be bitterly cold outside, but I'm toasty warm.

Wanting ... a new pastry brush after mine got ruined. Funny story behind that. I may or may not share it some day.

Needing ... to plan the menu for next week and create the grocery shopping list. I enjoy menu planning so it's something I always look forward to doing.

Feeling ... incredibly blessed. My husband, our children, our happy home, and most importantly our loving Saviour.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Of Songs and Properties

     Several weeks after our first trip to Somerset County, Daddy and Mom went back to do some land shopping. They left the three of us children at Uncle Eli's.

     Eli and Sadie never had any children of their own and were happy to have us stay with them. Sadie had a lot of fun things for us to play with. The first day was very enjoyable, by the second day we had already played with everything they had and were beginning to miss Mom and Daddy.

      By the third day we were bored and very homesick. I was sitting on their little rocking chair, rocking my doll and singing cute little children's songs to it, but my heart wasn't in it. And so I started singing a song that I had heard Mom sing occasionally. "Tell me why my Daddy don't come home" I started singing it lustily, but the words were too real as I sang the next line, "I know I'm much to big to cry" my eyes started burning a little and my voice started quavering. I went on. "Why don't he come and play with me again" Tears were rolling down my cheeks and I could hardly go on. "Mommy, why did Daddy say good-bye?" By the time I got done all three of us were crying. And we immediately started singing it again though we were sobbing as we wailed out the words.

     Sadie had been ironing but came to try to see what all the crying was about, and tried to cheer us up. We weren't in the mood to smile and be happy as all three of us wailed out the words again "Mommy, why did Daddy say good-bye?" And then paused to cry loudly again. Finally Sadie told us we aren't allowed to sing that song again since we have to cry and got us occupied with something else.

    After supper that evening Daddy and Mom came to get us and got to go home. It seemed wonderful to be with them again. After we got home they told us that they bought a property in Pennsylvania and we would be moving once springtime came. We were very excited at the prospect of a new adventure and went to bed happy to be safe with Daddy and Mom and eager to see what would happen once spring came.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1. January is National Mentoring Month. Have you ever had a mentor? Been a mentor? How would you rate the experience?

I've never had an official mentor, but there have been people in my life that have helped me in a mentoring type of way.

I've never claimed the title of being a mentor either, though I have shared, encouraged, and helped many people who have come to me for advice and help.

2. What current trend makes no sense to you?

Man buns is the first trend that pops in my mind when it comes to being something that doesn't make any sense to me. I can't tell how often I envisioned the satisfying snip, snip of a pair of scissors when I see a man bun.

3. I saw a cartoon on facebook highlighting a few 'weird' things that make you happy as an adult. The list included-writing with a nice pen, having plans cancelled, freshly cleaned sheets, eating the corner brownie, cleaning the dryer lint screen, and sipping coffee in that brief time before anyone else wakes up. (Credit for the cartoon goes here) Of the 'weird' things listed which one makes you happiest? What is one more 'weird' thing you'd add to the list?

Of the things on the list, a nice pen makes me the happiest.

I've never understood why anyone would prefer the corner brownie. Cleaning the dryer lint screen always makes me more sad than happy, as I try not to think how much the things wore out while drying.

Something not on the list that makes me happy is kneading bread dough. Somehow it's relaxing and satisfying to me.

4. What's the last good thing you ate?

The last good thing I ate was a twice baked loaded potato casserole that the girls prepared for lunch today.

5. Describe life in your 20's in one sentence.

I don't see how I can possibly describe my twenties in only one sentence since there were SO many changes and events and life lived.

Marriage, babies, faith, and more all contributed to a lot of growth during my twenties.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

The reason the girls were the ones making lunch today was because I was at the dentist again. I had broken a tooth last week and today was my second appointment which unfortunately was still not my last.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Life Lessons from Grandma

    Daddy and Mom had saved up enough money to begin building a new house to replace the drafty old trailer we were living in.
    Once there was a roof, outside wall closed in, and windows installed we moved in. The rest would be worked on as they could afford it.
    Aunts Emma and Vernie came over to help us get moved in. They helped Mom staple cardboard to the walls to give the master bedroom and bathroom some privacy, and then Emma brought out a gallon of pink paint and proceeded to paint the floor of my bedroom. I was thrilled. Pink! It didn't matter that the walls of my room consisted of bare 2 x 4s with spaces between each one wide enough to run through. I had a pink floor which made my room the prettiest thing ever.
    That evening Grandpa and Grandma came over to see everything and give the aunts a ride home. Grandma brought a vase filled with lily of the valley flowers from her flower bed.
    She divided the bouquet into two. Half of them returned to the original vase and the other half she put into a small glass and put some blue food coloring into the water. She handed them to me to set on my dresser. "See how nice and white these flowers are?" she asked me.
     I admired the creamy white little bell like flowers.
     "They're like little good little girls who choose their friends," she said. "The first vase with the plain water is like a little girl who chose her friends well, she will stay the same, sweet and nice.
      The other vase with the blue water is like a little girl who does not choose her friends well. At first you may think it really doesn't matter, but with some time the water will turn the flowers blue. They're the same flowers, but they've been changed."
      I tried to soak in what she was saying, but the vision of little girls turning blue if they don't have good friends kept floating through my mind.
     The next day the flowers were a lovely blue. I knew that it wasn't necessarily supposed to be a good thing, but secretly I thought they were prettier.
      It took a little while, but the life lesson she was trying to teach made sense, and it has stayed with me all these years.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

First Glimpse of Somerset

     There were rumblings of trouble throughout our little community. I was too young to really know what was going on, but  it wasn't hard to know that not all was right.

     Daddy and Mom would sit up late at night and talk. We went to Grandpa Masts a lot more often in the evenings after supper. They would send us children and Vernie into a room to play while they visited. If we came out for some reason they always quit talking and waited until we went back to our toys to resume.

     One day Mom got out the suitcase and started packing. We wanted to help so she let us select our favorite Sunday handkerchief's and tuck them into a side pocket. When we asked who we were going to visit, they said they didn't know who, but we are going to go to Somerset County Pennsylvania.

    Early the next morning we started off. Grandpa Masts and Uncle Eli's and John Henry's went along too. Once we finally got there we stopped at a gas station and asked where the Amish live. They gave us directions to a farm. We arrived and they welcomed us in after introducing themselves as the Noah Summy family. They had a little girl named Nancy that was my age and greeted me shyly, offering me her doll to play with. I could hardly believe my eyes, it was a real baby doll just as the ones you saw in catalogs. It had the cutest little hands and feet, a real face with bright blue eyes and the sweetest little mouth. It was so different from my own rag doll Sally that I played with everyday at home.

    We had supper with them and went to bed. the next morning when we got up I was in for another surprise. Out in front of the house was the biggest buggy I had ever seen, with a team of horses hitched to it. The buggy had three sliding doors and four windows on each side and another small window at the back. I really wanted a ride in that buggy, but one of Noahs children rode with us in the van to show us where the church was.

    Once we got to church I was very glad to be with Mom. Everything was so different. The clothes looked different and the girls all wore shiny black satin coverings instead of organdy like I was used to. The strings to tie the coverings fascinated me. They were almost an inch wide and tied in perfect little fluffy bows right under their chins.

      Church started and when the singing was soon over the first preacher got up to preach. I got my handkerchief out to play with as usual, but it wasn't long before I sensed I was being watched. I looked up and sure enough several little girls were watching me with big solemn eyes. Mom must have realized too because she bent down and whispered that I should put it away, that the children here don't play in church. I quickly put my handkerchief back in my pocket and sat there looking around and trying to listen to the preacher.

     It seemed like a long time until finally the second sermon was over and the preacher started having men give *"zeignis" It was comforting to hear Grandpa Mast's voice and finally church was almost over.

     After church they didn't have a church lunch like we were used to, instead everyone went home. Enos Lee's graciously invited us to their house for lunch. Grandpa's and the uncles were invited elsewhere and left with the driver and the van, and we got to ride in the Lee's buggy which to my delight was one of those big three seated ones.
*After the main sermon the preacher will choose several men to give a short review of the sermon he just preached, they will say they agreed with everything and talk about a few points that they especially liked or add some of their own thoughts.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Visiting Grandparents

    Every summer Daddy and Mom planned a trip to Canada to visit Grandpa and Grandma Swarey and all the aunts and uncles.

    Mom would spend several days at her sewing machine making new clothes for all of us. It was fun watching her sew my dresses and try them on to see how deep the hem of the skirt needed to be.

    We would count down the days until it was time to leave. It was very exciting to help pack our big black suitcase with all our new clothes, and watch as Daddy put a shiny black polish on our shoes to make them look new again. We would take a bath and go to bed. The air of excitement made it hard to fall asleep, but the first thing we knew Daddy was waking us up to get ready. Everything was dark and quiet at three in the morning. We would hurry and get dressed and fill several jugs with water to drink on the way and then wait until the driver arrived.

    When the 15 passenger van finally drove into the driveway we all hurried outside as Daddy blew out the lamps and locked the doors. Since Mom had several sisters living in Canada yet, Grandpa and Grandma Mast and aunt Emma and Vernie would travel with us to visit them.

    John and I sat on the very last seat, it was bumpy but we didn't mind. We liked kneeling on the seat and looking out the back window to watch all the other vehicles. I always breathed a sigh of relief when we were safely off the 4 lane roads. They were more than a little intimidating to me because I had heard the preachers say where the wide and broad way leads to and I was terrified if we stayed on the 4 lane long enough we would end up there.

    By late afternoon we would arrive at Grandpa Swarey's and we would all climb out of the van. Grandma Swarey would come bustling out of the house to welcome us and the aunts would soon come and join her. Grandpa Masts would visit for a little bit and then leave to spend time with their daughters.

    It was always noisy at Grandpa Swarey's as everyone seemingly talked at once. Since there were still six of Daddy's younger brothers and sisters still living with Grandpa's. His oldest sister, Susie lived there too but after doing her duty in welcoming us she was much more concerned about all the things that needed to be done than enjoy their visitors.

    Aunt Ella more than made up for her though. She was very cheerful and had a way of talking with us on the same age level as we were. She had suffered from the dreaded disease of polio which left her crippled. In the evening Grandma would invite all of their married children and grandchildren to come for supper. It used to be fun to play with all the cousins.

    Grandpa Swarey was very strict and we never dared to get too rowdy. He never did anything to correct us except bunch his bushy eyebrows together and look sternly at us which always made us quiet down. If we played outdoors we were allowed to make all the noise we wanted to.

    Grandpa Swarey's had a very unique set of toys to play with. There were no animals or dolls to play with because of his convictions that they are graven images. Instead there were empty thread spools to use as animals and plenty of wooden blocks for pens. For dolls Grandma saved empty Dawn dish washing soap bottles and cleaned them and then wrapped them in little blankets. With a healthy imagination we had a lot of fun with those toys!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. It's that time of year again...time for Lake Superior University to present a list of words (or phrases) they'd like to see banished (for over-use, mis-use, or general uselessness) in 2018. You can read more about the decision making process and word meaning here, but this year's top vote getters are-

unpack, dish (as in dish out the latest rumor), pre-owned, onboarding/offboarding, nothingburger, let that sink in, let me ask you this, impactful, Cofefe, drill down, fake news, hot water heater (hot water doesn't need to be heated), and gig economy

Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Is there a word not on the list you'd like to add?

I would happily banish unpack if I could. The other words and phrases I don't hear often enough to get annoyed by them.

Words and phrases I would like to add to the list?  "And stuff" It's a phrase I hear over and over and over again. It gets to be somewhat grating, though this is the first I have mentioned it. Up until today I was trying to ignore it.

2. What's something you need to get rid of in the new year?

I'm going to purge a lot of things from the attic. It's just a little ridiculous to hang onto things that the only time I see them is when we clean the attic.

3. Where do you feel stuck?

I feel stuck in a certain writing project, but hopefully I'll get to figure it out.

Recently though I was literally stuck, thanks to snow and ice, a steep grade, and no four wheel drive.

4. January is National Soup Month. When did you last have a bowl of soup? Was it made from scratch or from a can? Your favorite canned soup? Your favorite soup to make from scratch on a cold winter's day?

The last time I had soup was a week or so ago when I prepared, from scratch, a big pot of chicken~n~dumpling soup. It's a family favorite.

I don't have a favorite canned soup. They all have a weird tinny after taste to me.

5. Tell us one thing you're looking forward to in 2018.

I have mixed feelings about this, but we're looking forward to Kenneth's graduation.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Every year the children will make an assortment of coupons as part of the Christmas gifts they give. The majority of which never get used for some unknown reason, because they all are really quite good.

It was Steven's dream to receive some, and since he's beginning to read his siblings each prepared a stack of coupons for him as well.

He was absolutely thrilled. Ah ... the heady feeling of power in his hands as he has wielded those coupons left and right. Games, books, stories, and more have been his steady diet as he hands off another coupon to be redeemed for his chosen activity.

He's down to 3 or 4 left. Never before have coupons been used so quickly in our family.