Friday, April 21, 2017

R ~Rag Rugs

The year after I graduated from school Mom finally tackled the mountain of worn out clothes she had been hoarding in the attic in hopes of turning them into rugs.

It was slow tedious work cutting and tearing everything into two inch strips.

It makes my nose itch just thinking of all the dust and sneezing involved as we tore the fabric. Once we had a sizable heap of strips we sewed the ends of same colored fabrics together and wrapped them up into a big ball.

There was a certain sense of satisfaction seeing the pile of balls grow bigger and bigger. By the time we were done we had an impressive amount. We loaded them up and took them to Aunt Emma's house so she could weave them into rugs on her big weaving loom.

We were really happy with the quality and quantity of rugs all those old clothes made. Mom got to update all the rugs in our house and presented me with a pile of my own to put into my hope chest.

After LV and I got married I was thrilled to be able to use those rugs in my own house. I still have most of them, though one finally started unraveling the last time I washed it. I replaced it with one of the five remaining new ones I have been hanging onto.

It's interesting how many memories a simple rag rug can hold.

Sadly it's something our girls haven't experienced. Somehow I'm not as good as my Mom was in keeping worn out clothes for rug making purposes. Having a mechanic husband those clothes seem to go for grease rags instead. Useful, yes, but not nearly as pretty.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Q ~ Q's from my Idea Books

Quotes I happen to love quotes, and when one catches my attention by either amusing or inspiring me, I will jot it in the quotes section of my idea books.

Quilts I want to teach the girls the joys of sewing and hand quilting a quilt. I have some quilts planned out in my idea book. The color scheme, pattern, amount of fabric I'll need to buy, and other little details I will refer to when we approach the somewhat monumental task of making a quilt.

Quiet Book I have long been fascinated by quiet books. When Steven was still itty bitty I started planning a quiet book to make for him. I enjoyed planning all the fun different pages I could make. There are sketches, well written ideas, and supply lists. I started sewing it, but never got it done. I really need to before he has completely outgrown the age where he would enjoy playing with it.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

P ~P's from my Idea Book

Photo Prompts As part of a photography project the girls will be doing, I have been creating various lists of photo prompts for them. I'm excited to help them work on it this summer.

Playlists I often listen to music when I write. Something interesting I have discovered is that I don't have specific writing music. Instead each book somehow seems to create a playlist of its own. I jot them down in my idea books because I want to go back to them and listen again even after I'm done writing.

Poems I write poetry occasionally and have a section devoted to my rhyming ramblings.

Projects When I approach new projects, I usually create a list of all the things I will need to get it done.

Party Planning Our parties aren't big at all, but they are a lot of fun. I enjoy planning all the details a long time beforehand and then have everything come together nicely without getting stressed or harried.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

O ~ O's from my Idea Book

Oops My idea books hold so many fun things. Inspirational things. And a whole host of things that make me feel happy. But then there is the oops section. It's where I record the things that I don't want to repeat. Mostly Pinterest fails. It can be anything from recipes to crafts, to household tips, and unfortunately for the girls ... a disastrous acne treatment that they had tried one evening.

Opportunities When I have an idea of ways to make some extra money I'll jot it in my idea books. Some I'm working on, while others are still in that fun dream stage.

Monday, April 17, 2017

N ~No No's

While many Amish communities have a list of written rules that govern basically every aspect of their life, the community I grew up in did not.

Instead, it was all delivered orally, twice a year at ordnungs church. It took hours listening to the rules, and my stomach was always knotted with dread at what new things they might be adding and the changes that we'd have to make before being allowed to participate in communion two weeks later.

I was sixteen, and desperately wanting to stay out of trouble with the church. I happened upon a brilliant idea. I would go home from these church services and any other time rules were added or changed and write everything into a notebook in categories so I can keep track of everything.

My parents thought it was a pretty good idea, and somehow happened to mention it to my Mom's brother, who also happened to be the bishop in our church district.

It earned me a visit from the ministry. Our church rules shall remain unwritten they informed me solemnly. I didn't have to make a confession, but I was asked to burn the notebook, and to not write any more rules anywhere.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

M ~ M's from my Idea Book

Menus This has been mentioned several times already, but menus are a pretty important part of my idea books, so I'm mentioning them again. We go grocery shopping once a week, so planning out our menu is very helpful in knowing exactly what I need to get. Not only does it help me make sure I have everything I need for all our meals, it also helps me to not buy things that I might not get used before they spoil.

Memories Each of my idea books has a section where I jot tidbits of conversations and happenings in our family. I love looking back over all these little memories. It's something I'll always cherish.

Memes Somewhat the same as the linkups I mentioned yesterday, but they're a little more topic specific. I may use them someday ... maybe ... who knows.

Me Easily the most private part of my idea books. It's the section where I focus on me and the things that I would like to become better at.

Friday, April 14, 2017

L ~ L's from my Idea Book

Lunch With LV at work I tend to keep lunch on the simple side, but I still like to plan the menus to keep things from getting boring.

Library I keep a running list of books to get from the library. One list for books I would like to read. Another list with the books we'll be needing throughout the school year.

Link ups I have pages of fun blog link ups that I think would be fun to join someday. The only one I do regularly is the Wednesday Hodgepodge, but I may have to change things up and start throwing some different ones in occasionally.

Lesson Plans I really like mapping out my lesson plans. Starting with the main curriculum I use that lesson as a jumping off point and add things in order to dig deeper and learn more. There are so many things that can be added to make learning more interesting.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

K ~ Kids


    Growing up in an Amish family, the word 'kids' was never used to refer to children. It was more than simply personal preference. The reason behind it was based on how they applied the Bible to their life.
    When asked about it one day by a customer, my parents explained that on judgment day, the Bible says God will separate the sheep from the goats. With the goats not being on the right side, they did not want to call their children baby goats aka kids.
     That explanation has kind of stuck. Although I have occasionally used the word 'kids' I find I still much prefer saying 'children' instead.
   There are a lot of differences between Amish communities, and some will have families that do call their children kids.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

J ~ J's from my Idea Book

I don't have a lot of J's in my idea books. There are a number of them that appear in different possible A-Z themed lists, but I won't be talking about them today.

Jokes Steven absolutely loves jokes. There are days when he will go on a spree of telling jokes and making up a lot of his own. They're mind numbingly awful. Especially his knock-knock jokes. After a listening to hours and hours of them I decided I really need to write them down, and then someday bind them in a little book and give it to him when he's older. Maybe as a wedding gift. So now there is a section in my idea book reserved for the jokes invented by a five year old.

Joy I have a joy section in my idea book where I'll jot things down that make me feel joyful. I expand on them later in a proper journal, but until I have the time to write about them properly it helps to have the condensed version jotted down to help me remember.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I ~ Idea Books

As you know, during this A-Z challenge I have been chattering on about the things I have in my idea books. I realized yesterday I haven't shown you the books themselves. So here they are. My five main ones. I still have notebooks and journals, but these binders are the ones I call my idea books.

The big pink one has over 500 pages, and is devoted entirely to homeschooling, while the others are much more of a hodgepodge of things that I keep organized with my handy little tabs.
My love for lists and idea books has been handed down to our children. Rosie Mae and Sharon each have their own, already brimming with lots of juicy, interesting things.

While we were spring cleaning the storage room I came across an older binder. I pitched the contents, since there was no point in hanging onto the pages of farm records any longer after having moved off that farm years ago. I filled it with fresh paper and presented it to Steven along with a new pen. Who would have thought a five year old would love his very own idea book so much?! He's spent lots of time ever since getting it, drawing and writing in it everyday.

Monday, April 10, 2017

H ~ H's from my Idea Book

  There are several lists of possible 'H' related blog posts, but I'm not delving into them today. I find it just a tad bit annoying how none of them are feeling as if it was the perfect time to be used.

Household Tips When I read or hear of some household tips I'll jot them in my idea book. Sadly, most of the time that is all I'll ever do with them. Of the ones I have remembered to try, there are some that have gone on to become regulars in our house. Others have not been successful at all and had to be crossed out and a short description of the failure written next to it to make sure we'll never try them again.

  Hymns I have a list of my favorite hymns with my favorite version or singer of that hymn. I can be forgetful at times, and if I want to find a certain song, it's so much easier when I know who sang it the best.

 Homeschool I could have done the entire A-Z challenge focused solely on homeschooling and all the different things involved. I'm not sure if I have ever conveyed just how much I love homeschooling. Each of my idea books have things in them pertaining to homeschool, and my biggest one is devoted entirely to it.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

G ~ G's from my Idea Book

I have only a few 'G' related things in my idea books.

Goals I have multiple lists of goals sprinkled throughout my idea books. There are daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. And other life goals we hope to meet within the next five to ten years.

Grocery Lists There are always several grocery lists. One is the weekly list while the others are everything that will be needed for special occasions. Holidays, birthdays, and things I need for company meals.

Gifts I keep my ears and eyes open year round and when I discover something that would make the perfect gift for one of the children or LV I'll jot it down for a future birthday or Christmas gift.

Friday, April 7, 2017

F ~ Flowers

   As you can imagine, growing up in an Amish family, we lived simply. Plainly if you will. There weren't many options when it came to decorations, or making things look pretty.
    We were lucky enough to live in a community that allowed us to have flowerbeds. Dad especially loved flowers. Mom liked them too, but with a huge garden to raise all our vegetable she didn't feel as if she had time to care for more growing things.
     The flowerbeds became Dad's project and he'd care for them in the evenings after supper. They flourished under his care, and we all enjoyed the beauty they added to our front yard.
     When I turned ten, my aunt gave me several begonia bulbs. I planted them in our hotbed after Mom had transplanted everything from it into the garden. They grew, and produced an abundance of blooms. When fall arrived I dug the bulbs up and stored them until the next spring.
      I loved those flowers and they did well, until the fall before LV and I got married. Somehow I didn't dig them up in time and they were permanently damaged.
      I had plenty of flowers though after we got married with the numerous huge flowerbeds that took a lot of time to care for. The lovely finishing touch they put on our farm, made all the efforts worthwhile.
     Somehow, since leaving the Amish we have not had any flowerbeds. There are some daffodils that grow every spring and a few other hardy bulb flowers, but that's nothing compared to what we used to have.
    Someday I hope we will once again have flowerbeds like we used to.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

E ~ Enjoy

   One of the things I enjoy the most in life is spending time with my children and seeing how much they love each other.
    I love seeing how even with a twelve year age difference between Kenneth and Steven that they really enjoy spending time together.

The girls vetoed the picture I had wanted to share of them enjoying a fun afternoon recently, so I'll respect their wishes and simply finish this post by sharing one of my favorite quotes that begins with the letter 'E'.
Each of my days are miracles. I won't waste my day. I won't throw away miracles. ~ Kelly Vickstrom

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

D ~ D's from my Idea Book

The things I jot into my idea books that begin with the letter 'D' couldn't exactly all be called ideas, but since they're part of my books, I'm sharing them today.

Devotions Life often gives me excellent pictures and examples of our relationship with God/Jesus. In moments like that I will quickly jot down what ever it was that caused me to think deeper and how it ties in with our spiritual life. Later I'll go back and add Bible verses and references that match up with it. I find it very inspiring to read back over the things I've written.

Dinner Since I use three ring binders for my idea books it makes it easy to add and remove pages as needed. I always have a week's worth of dinners planned. At the end of the week I'll remove that page and create a new one for the next week's dinners. If it was an extra good week I'll tuck it into the front pocket to be used again in a month or so.

Dreams I have two sections for this. One I have as a list of dreams I have for the future, while the other is of dreams I've had at night that stick with me and I jot them down to think about later.

Doodles I have a few pages that I doodle on when I talk on the phone. I'm not sure what it is about talking on the phone that always brings out the mindless doodling part of me.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

C ~ C's from my Idea Book

Let's peep into my idea book again today.

Crafts I have a section devoted to crafts projects we want to work on. Next to each project I have the week noted that I'm hoping to do it, as well as a list of all the supplies needed. Life is too short to get nearly everything done that I hope to do someday, so only the best of the best get listed in my book.

Christmas  The pages filled with Christmas ideas contain gift ideas of things we can make, as well as those to buy. All the snacks we want to make and enjoy over the season get jotted down and a list of ingredients I'll need before we get started. A detailed menu for our Christmas breakfast. Christmas related crafts, projects, and science experiments to add to our homeschool. Names and addresses for the people we want to send Christmas cards to. Food we want to share with the neighbors and the mailman. And a list of our favorite Christmas music.

Cleaning Not as fun, but rather important. I have a section with our cleaning schedule and tried and true cleaning tips I've found on Pinterest that actually work.

Country Studies I have an entire idea book devoted to Country Studies. In it I list the books we need to get at the library, recipes to try, crafts, art, and other fun projects to do for each country. Websites to find interesting facts about the country and videos to watch traditional dances. A list of important or famous people from that country to research later. Native plants and animals. The National anthem and traditions. We really enjoy this notebook.

Monday, April 3, 2017

B ~ B's from my Idea Book

   Earlier this year I had mentioned my idea books, and one of my readers suggested I should do this year's A-Z theme based on the ideas and things I write in those books. I thought it was an interesting option and decided that I'll be sharing bits and pieces from it though out the challenge.

Bucket List - I keep a running list of things I want to do someday, crossing items off as I complete them and adding more when ever I come across something that interests me.

Several items that were crossed off are:

Make homemade vanilla.
Have a book published (surpassed my original goal, and have a series of four books.)
Make every recipe in a cookbook
Do a Pinterest project every week for a year.

Several that I'm still hoping to do someday:

Visit the Library of Congress
Learn how to waterfall braid
Plant a tree
Plan schedule for all 180 days of school before the new school year begins.
Make a blog post every day for a year.

Book Ideas

When a new idea flits through my mind I'll quickly jot it down. Some of these go on to become outlines for books, while others are sitting there waiting for more inspiration.


The amount of ideas I have for potential blog posts could keep me posting daily for several years. I may have to make better use of it.


I plan food,  activities, and gifts for all the birthdays in our family well in advance.


I keep a running list of food and recipes I want to try for breakfast to keep them from getting boring. Without it I find it easy to make the regular eggs, toast, and cereal every morning.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A ~ Amusing

   Last evening, after a busy day of being out and about, we got home and discovered a very important piece of mail had not made it to the mailbox in the morning.
  We had no choice but run it to the post office. Since we were in town anyway I decided to make a quick stop to pick up a few grocery items.
   It didn't take me long to find what I needed and I headed to the check out. There was only one man there, and he had only one simple little item he needed to pay.
   I waited semi patiently as he painstakingly counted out a dollar and six cents, but then instead of leaving he started talking to the cashier about Amish people. "I can speak Pennsylvania Dutch," he declared importantly. "Vee gates?" (How is it going?) and "Vee bisht du?" (How are you?) he announced proudly.
    I smiled inwardly. Two phrases that Amish will most often teach those who are interested in learning a few words of their language.
   "That's cool being able to speak more than one language, I don't know too much about the Amish, their ways, or their language," the cashier said and then motioned for me to unload my cart.
     The man finally realized someone else had been waiting to pay. He moved out of the way and then asked jokingly, "Can you speak Pennsylvania Dutch?"
     "Jah, ich kann,"(Yes, I can.) I said and tried not to laugh as he got all flustered, didn't understand what I said, and quickly left.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder'  What's something you've seen recently that you thought was beautiful?

I find there is beauty all around us, if we simply take the time to see it.

Yesterday Steven brought me a tiny bouquet of Coltsfoot flowers. There's something about those springtime bouquets presented by your little son that makes them one of the most beautiful things.

2. Our culture and beauty...your thoughts?

Personally, I think today's culture has a skewed view of beauty.

3. Age before beauty, beauty queen, beauty mark, beauty sleep...which beauty-ful phrase resonates with you today? Why?

None of them really resonate with me, though I could go for a good beauty sleep. I did a number of late, late nights last week, and I don't feel caught up with my sleep yet. One good night of sleep no longer catches me up like it used to when I was a teenager.

4. I read here a list of the top ten beasts animals that scare us the most-

alligators, coyotes, black bears, birds (but pigeons in particular), sharks, bats, bed bugs, rats, rattlesnakes, and the black widow spider. 

Which 'beast' on the list scares you the most? What is the liklihood of you having an actual encounter with that particular beast? Did a movie contribute to your fear of this creature? Have you ever had a real life encounter with any of the animals listed?

Birds don't scare me at all.

We have coyotes and black bears in our area, and see them occasionally. I wouldn't want to meet either one face to face, but I'm not terrified of them.

I am afraid of rattlesnakes. Unfortunately they are in our area as well, with a few of them seen much too close for comfort last summer.

Bats will have me shrieking and seeking cover. I utterly and completely despise them. I had more than one get into my bedroom when I was growing up. They've traumatized me for life.

5. Where were you when you last heard a bell ring? Was it alarming or musical?

A few days ago. It was neither alarming or musical. We have an old Amish school bell, and Steven likes ringing it occasionally.

6. What's your favorite carb? How's that for random?

Pasta, pasta, pasta with a side of plenty of bread. I haven't had either for a month and I miss them both dearly.

7. Let's wrap up another month of Hodgepodging and life with an acrostic. Recap your month using the word MARCH.

Memories made
Art classes taught
Real life issues addressed
Crafts enjoyed
Homeschooling days

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Our kitchen sees a lot of dessert made.

Yesterday this was created and served after supper. It looked delicious. It was declared delicious, but I can't vouch for it because somehow I restrained myself from having even the tiniest of tastes.

I'm trying to decide if it's worth living life dessert free?

Monday, March 27, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday

I'm busy planning my posts for the April A-Z Challenge which is swiftly approaching. The first one is scheduled for Saturday.

Instead of coming up with something new to post today, that could potentially work as an A-Z post, Rosie Mae suggested I do a link up she discovered. It looked like fun, so here I am doing my very first Happy Homemaker Monday.

The weather..... A rain has washed the fog away and the sun is peeping through the clouds making the raindrops that are clinging to the tree branches and twigs glisten in its bright light.

Right now I am.... writing this blog post while listening to the sounds of children talking and laughing.

On my reading pile.... The only book I read everyday is my Bible. I am reading a Jen Turano book as I wait on Sharon when she's at her piano practice. Then there's the stack of homeschool catalogs I have been poring over as I plan our next school year.

 On my TV..... A music channel. I enjoy listening to music throughout the day and have found having the Beautiful Instrumentals playing softly is excellent when writing.

Favorite blog post last week (mine or other).... Sadly I didn't get to visit blogs last week, or write a lot on mine. Hopefully that will be different this week.

On the menu for this week....

Monday ... Jalapeno Shrimp Enchiladas, Salad, and Banana Cream Pie
Tuesday ... Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Salad, and Pie
Wednesday ... Pioneer Woman's Comfort Meatballs, Scalloped Potatoes, Layer Salad, Dinner Rolls
Thursday ... Pizza ... cooked at home. :)
Friday ... Crockpot Cube Steak, Applesauce, Bread and Cupcakes
Saturday ... Fried ham and onion sandwiches and pudding.

On my to do list.... spring clean the storage room, get some states ready to be appliqued on the States Quilt project the girls are working on, plan next year's school schedule - all 180 days.

In the craft basket.... this isn't exactly a craft, but my basket is filled with small gifts and items waiting to be wrapped. LV's mother will be celebrating her 70th birthday and each of her children are supposed to contribute to the 70 gifts she'll be receiving. I still need to buy several, and so far I haven't wrapped any so that will be a chore, even for someone who usually enjoys wrapping gifts.

Looking forward to this week.... nothing that exciting. Hoping to enjoy another week of ordinary days.

Looking around the house.... There's a puzzle on the floor that Steven did this morning. A few items are on the sewing machine waiting to be mended, and the couch cover needs to be fixed ... again.

From the camera....

Our first attempts at making a deep dish pizza,

What I'm wearing today .... a dark gray skirt and a pink top. Don't know why I have so much pink in my wardrobe, I don't even like it that well.
One of my simple pleasures .... is organizing. I know that may sound strange, but somehow I really enjoy organizing things. Not events .... things around the house. I'm looking forward to getting to do more of it later today.

Bible verse, Devotional....

I was reading the account of Samson this morning. There's a lot of food for thought packed into it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1. Setting aside the real March Madness (NCAA Basketball) describe something happening at your house this month that might earn the title 'March Madness'?

I was hit with a deadline and madness ensued as I tried my best to get it done. The end is in sight now, and I feel as if I might finally be able to breathe again.

2. What's a favorite made up word from your childhood or a favorite from your children's childhood? Does your family still use the word today? If there's a story behind the origin please share.

From my childhood it would be 'hi bibbons'. One of my little brothers had a hard time pronouncing words clearly when he was a toddler. He used to call rice krispies, 'hi bibbons' and we all latched onto it, because it was fun to say. I will occasionally still call them that, because it's still fun to say.

For our children, twangled, it is the word Sharon invented to describe her feelings when she could finally walk again.

We've continued using it, because not only is it fun to say, but it does a really good job of describing certain feelings.

3. Will you be doing any spring cleaning now that the season is upon us? I read here a list of 15 quick (under one hour) spring cleaning tasks. They were-

clean out a drawer, vacuum furniture, whiten tile grout, dust the nooks and crannies you don't get to year round, degrease kitchen cabinets, wipe down walls, go behind furniture, wipe down ceiling fans, vacuum the mattress, clean the range hood, wash baseboards, shine the stainless steel, clean out vents, tackle the windows, and wipe down gadgets

Of the fifteen 'quick' tasks listed which two most need doing at your house? Will you do them?

We've been working on doing our spring cleaning the windows and ceiling fans are next on the list.

4. A favorite movie set in Paris or New York?

I can't think of a movie that I have seen that is set in either of those cities, unless I Love Lucy counts, in which case it would work for both cities.

5. What's put a spring in your step this month?

I don't know that there has been any one particular thing that has put a spring into my step. Mostly I think it is choosing joy, that puts a spring in my step.

Life is good, but life is also life. Choosing joy no matter what is happening helps tremendously in the spring factor of one's steps.

6. Did you ever want to be a teacher? Why or why not?

As a child growing up I used to dream of being a teacher, because I loved books and learning and helping others learn.

Being able to homeschool our children has been so much fun. I love being able to be the one teaching them, and even learning things alongside them as we go on our many digging quest to find out more about the things that our textbooks only share briefly.
7.  What's your favorite floral scent? Do you have this somewhere in your home or maybe in a perfume? How do you feel about florals in food? How about wines with floral notes-yay or nay?

I've always assumed that if I could smell ... apple and cherry blossoms would be among my favorite scents. I don't have any perfumes with that scent as a matter of fact, I don't wear perfumes.

I don't think florals should be in food. We tried a recipe once upon a time for making violet syrup. It had to be dumped. More recently Rosie Mae tried making rose water cupcakes. They were awful as well. We've decided to stick with food for eating and leave the flowers for the bees and beauty.

I don't drink wine, but I can't imagine adding a floral note to it would make it any better.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I'm very happy for Kenneth. When he was fifteen he bought himself an old tractor to restore. He is finally done with it. I would say he did a pretty good job.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

All in a Day

    Being a Mom to teenagers is great. The opportunities to embarrass and amuse them are endless, and often unplanned.
    Yesterday I had another opportunity to do just that.
    It all started when LV asked me if I minded dropping a deposit off at the bank on my way to our homeschool co-op since his truck is too big to squeeze through comfortably.
    I was happy to do it for him, we'd just have to leave the house a little earlier.
    As I drove up to the window someone else drove up behind me. I didn't think anything about it as I handed my envelope to the teller and waited for the receipt. It took her much longer than usual and the girls were beginning to think she had forgotten about us. We could see her talking to the other women that were in this little building with her. As we waited an Amish man drove up to the hitching post and went walking towards the bank.
    The lady finally got my receipt ready and handed it out the window and I pulled forward with hopes of being on my way. I stopped to make sure nothing was coming before I turned out on the road. It was clear and I tried to go. My van had other ideas. There was an icy bump thing we had to cross first before actually getting on the road. All my van wanted to do is sit and spin, which was not at all on my agenda for the day. The car behind me had already pulled up to the window, so I didn't want to back into it.
    After several more fruitless attempts I noticed the Amish man come over and stand there watching me with a bemused expression on his face. It was at this point the girls wanted to disappear.
    I rolled the window down and asked, "How much room do I have to back up?' Out of the corner of my eye I noted how they were scooting down lower in their seats.
    He looked, "Almost three feet."
    "Would you tell me when to stop?" I asked.
    He was happy to oblige and I was able to back up that minuscule distance. He then walked to the front to see if it's safe to drive out onto the road. After he motioned to me that it's safe, I floored it and went bouncing out onto the road, yelling thank you to the man.
    Rosie Mae dissolved in a fit of embarrassed laughter. "This will at least make a fun diary entry," she proclaimed.
    "Happy to have been of help," I told her.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Two Views of Shunning

I was sixteen that summer, when I got my first real taste of what shunning looks like.

A young boy in our church had passed away and the funeral was being held three days later. It was my first time being part of the cleaning crew that always descended upon the house where the deceased's family lived and got it scrubbed and polished from top to bottom in a single day.

The following day was spent with food preparations for the meal that would be served the next day after funeral services were over. I don't remember exactly what all it included because I was kept busy making pie the entire day after the head cook and planner discovered I was pretty good at it.

By evening everything was ready for the next day, including huge tables set up in their woodworking shop. All the youth girls were assigned a table to serve and care for. Since I was the youngest I was assigned to the least important table. The one where shunned people would eat. It was away from the tables in the shop. Not even in the same building. They decided this particular table belonged in the house. Not just anywhere in the house either, but in the dank dimly lit basement.

I felt horrible that anyone would be treated so badly, and vowed to give them the best service possible. I ran from the shop, down the hill across the yard, in through the house, and down into the basement carrying bowls of food for them, making sure they had the best food and the prettiest pie.

It all bothered me a lot and I vowed I would never do anything to experience being shunned like that.

Fast forward a number of years. LV and I had left the Amish and were now shunned. For the most part we stayed away from the Amish especially when it came to mealtimes or business dealings because it's just easier that way.

Then one day we got an invitation to an event. We felt we should probably attend. How bad could it be we wondered, because two of LV's siblings who had also left the Amish and their families would be there too. We could all kind of stick together, right? Wrong.

We arrived and all the women, including the sister-in-laws who were no longer Amish were helping make lunch. I asked if there was something I could do and one of them told me to go ahead and slice the tomatoes. I got started, but hadn't even finished the first one when I was interrupted by the lady of the house.

"You can't touch our food," she said and threw the contaminated tomato away. She told me to sit on a chair in the corner of the room away from everyone else who was working. So there I sat ... I decided rather than feel hurt I'm going to enjoy not having to work.

Then lunch was ready to serve. They didn't have room for everyone to sit around a table so lunch would be cafeteria style. Once again, even though LV's siblings who had left the Amish were permitted to go through the line themselves and fill their own plates, LV and I had to sit to the side on some chairs and have the lady of the house bring us our food. We were both more than a little disgruntled about that.

Shunning is annoying. The Amish say it will bring people back to them, but I've never seen it work that way. It certainly doesn't make me feel like spending time around them, or ever being Amish again.

There's a wedding invitation on the desk waiting to be answered.
 Do I feel like going and being stuffed into corners and little out of the way tables?
No, I don't.
Should I?
I don't think it's necessary to willingly put myself through that again.
It would be uncomfortable for everyone. Me as the shunned person ... and those who have to do the shunning.
Instead of going I think I'll stay at home and write a blog post.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Random Thoughts

We're finally getting a nice amount of snow and I'm absolutely thrilled.
On Friday we had some, not a whole lot, but enough that the robins were sitting around trying to stay warm.
What do robins eat at times like this? I almost felt sympathy hunger pangs for them.

I've recently realized, okay I've always known this, but recently I've become very much aware of how annoying it is when someone is constantly interrupting a conversation only to proceed and tell the same story they have told twenty times before.

It is something I do not want my children to grow up and do.


One of my little brothers is getting married soon. I'm so excited and happy for him as he embarks on this new phase of life.

I hope their marriage will be as sweet as I know married life to be.


Today is looking to be another full day. I have some pretty lofty goals set. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1. What is one area of your life where you're a perfectionist? Is that a good thing?

I'm not sure if I could be called a perfectionist, but I do like everything to be done right. My Dad could probably have been called a perfectionist and he taught us to always, always do our best, and never be satisfied with simply good enough.

 2. What's something you find perfectly ridiculous?

How long do we have? Not all day? Well, okay then, I'll stick to simply one. I find it perfectly ridiculous how much arguing and shoving one's opinions down others' throats is happening on Facebook recently. It's wearisome and perfectly ridiculous.

3. What's a skill you've developed by way of that old fashioned saying, 'practice makes perfect?

Cooking. I really enjoy working in the kitchen creating delicious meals. I can see how far I've come since the day my Mom first got me to help her prepare a meal. There are still some more complicated foodie things I would like to learn, but I feel confident I can master them as well.

4. What's your idea of a perfect breakfast?

My idea of a perfect breakfast happens only once a year. Our Christmas breakfast.

5. What's a trip, holiday, vacation, or day outing you've taken that you'd rate a perfect 10? Tell us why.

Our trip to New Mexico a number of years ago came as close to perfection as any vacation I've ever had. The weather was lovely, the sights were amazing, and the food was delicious. I think there is a reason New Mexico's nickname or slogan is "The Land of Enchantment" You could practically feel it.

6. What quote or saying perfectly sums up your life right now? If you can't do perfect, how about one that comes close?

I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string. ~ Anne Shirley.

7. How would you spend $300 today?

Probably on things we'll be needing for our next school year. We're not done with this year's school and I have already begun making plans for next year.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

On a lovely afternoon recently the girls, Steven, and I decided to go on a hike. I grabbed my camera in hopes that I might stumble across some great photo opportunities. Which I did. The bad thing was my batteries died before I was able to take a single picture, so I have nothing to show for our outing. We still enjoyed all the sights. Ancient barns that have been abandoned for a long time already, wildlife, gurgling creeks, impressive rock formations, and an old pair of shoes placed neatly next to a perfect resting spot. The owner never came back to get them and they were left to decay on their own. Those raised some interesting questions, and seeing how there are a certain number of writers in our family, they sparked an interesting story.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Time Traveling Chili Soup

    We usually have common breakfast foods every morning, but I guess after years of eggs, toast, and cereal Kenneth was in the mood for something else for a change this morning.
     After tossing around a few ideas he landed on a brilliant one. "Hey, why don't you make your Mom's chili soup?"
     "I really don't think you'd like it," I told him. They had only ever heard of it from the few times I have mentioned it over the years, and the story I had it featured in, in the Lily books.
     "I'd like to give it a try though," he said.
     "I don't want to waste food," I said, "but if you'll eat it, whether or not you like it, I'll make some for you."
      He assured me he doesn't have a problem with that, which is how I found myself preparing a batch of my Mom's chili soup early this morning.
     I shuddered as I surveyed the ingredients, but went ahead and started by browning a quarter cup of ground hamburger. That's right. Not a quarter pound, but a quarter cup. Next I added three cups of tomato juice and three tablespoons of brown sugar. Usually Mom would add an equal amount of water as juice, but on special occasions she used beef broth. I wanted it to taste as good as possible, so two cups of broth and only one cup of water was added next. As it was heating I rinsed a can of kidney beans and added them. Once everything was hot I took a spoon to taste it.
     Instantly my taste buds triggered my memory and I was a skinny nine year old girl sitting at the table alone, crying, with a bowl of this awful watery soup in front of me. Knowing if I don't choke it down before bedtime it will be even worse having to eat it cold for breakfast.
      "Ew ... tastes like childhood," I said as I set the spoon down.
       The children thought that was hilarious, and came to see how it tasted. Sharon didn't need more than one bite to feel sorry for me ever having had to eat this soup. Kenneth loaded it up with crackers and declared it's not too bad. I don't know that he will ever ask for it again, but at least he enjoyed a change from the usual breakfast options.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. 'Slow and steady wins the race'...tell us about a time this was true in your own life.

Gardening and canning, watching all those shelves in the basement filling up slowly, yet steadily with a year's supply of food. This quote was true for me every summer for years.

Right now I suppose it's the spring housecleaning. I'm approaching it with more of a slow and steady mindset instead of a whirlwind exhausting two weeks.
2. 'As slow as molasses'...Do you like molasses? How about maple syrup? Caramel? Butterscotch? What's your favorite of the slow moving treats mentioned here, and what's your favorite food made with that sweet treat? 

I really like sorghum molasses on fresh from the oven dinner rolls. Growing up we used to love stirring blackstrap molasses in milk to drink, but I kind of got away from that.

I don't like maple syrup, at all, not even a tiny bit. For two years, when I was in 4th and 5th grade, maple syrup was the only form of sweetener my family used. To this day I can not stand anything maple.

I don't care for caramel or butterscotch either.
3. Your favorite slow song? 

The mention of a slow song immediately takes me back to Amish church singing. My favorite of those songs were the ones they sing at weddings.
4. Your favorite thing to make in a slow cooker or crock pot? 

I love using the slow cooker to cook chicken for our favorite Chicken n Dumplings.
5. 'You may delay, but time will not.' ~Benjamin Franklin Are you more a hurrier or a delayer when it comes to unpleasant tasks that need doing? What are you currently either delaying or hurrying to get through this week or month?

I'm a mix of both. Most of the time I would rather get an unpleasant task out of the way so I can enjoy the rest of my day without having to dread taking care of it.

On the other hand, I signed on to teach a class every Friday and somehow I usually find myself preparing for it Friday morning.

6. Tell us three things you encounter regularly or even just occasionally that you find to be annoyingly slow.

Driving behind a horse and buggy waiting for a safe spot to pass is always annoyingly slow.

Checkout lines at Wal Mart also have the reputation to be slow. I try not to get annoyed, but two weeks ago we got stuck at a register that broke and they could not accept payment. After they fought with their machine for a LONG time they finally gave up and we had to load everything back up and take it to a different checkout. That was annoying.

Hand sewing. I used to absolutely detest hand sewing as a young girl. It has not become too much more enjoyable since then. It's annoying and slow.

7. March is National Craft Month. Are you crafty? Tell us about something crafty you'll try in the next thirty one days. Or something crafty you'd like to try or wish you had the skill to make happen. 

There's a National Craft Month?! How fun!

Right now Kenneth has supplies stacked in the living room that he wants me to help him make an upholstered seat for his rebuilding project. We'll have to see how it goes, I guess. I've never tried upholstering anything before.

The girls and I will continue working on their appliqued quilts. Hopefully by the end of the month we will have them ready to quilt.
8. Insert your own random thought here.

There is something frightening and yet so funny about coming downstairs in the dark and stepping on what you think is a mouse and then discovering it was only a balloon that has lost most of its air.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Sunday Quiet Box

    Having five younger brothers, Sunday afternoons at our house used to be anything but quiet. After a week of working long hard days my parents both would have loved a nap, but even though we tried to be quiet the noise levels would gradually increase until Dad or Mom would stumble out of the bedroom asking us to be quiet.
    One Sunday afternoon before they went to take a nap they set a box on the table and told us we can enjoy the contents.
    It was a lot of fun digging through all the treasures inside. There were books, art supplies, puzzles, and some special toy animals and tractors. We weren't nearly done enjoying the things when they woke from a long peaceful nap and announced it was time to put everything back into the box.
      The Sunday quiet box became a fun tradition. Books were replaced once they had been read, and occasionally other new things were added which kept that box something to look forward to at nap time every Sunday for years.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Have you ever been fishing? Did you catch a fish? If so did you keep it or throw it back? If you haven't been fishing is that something you'd like to try?

I have been fishing. My earliest memories of fishing I was but a toddler. My parents would pack up a picnic basket and go to a local dam where we would meet up with my Aunt Mattie, and her husband. I had my own little fishing pole, and I loved reeling in the line. I don't recall ever catching anything with it, but I really enjoyed those evenings.

When we moved the next year we started going fishing at Grandpa's big pond. We'd all get into his rowboat where we'd eat our packed meal while we fished. That only lasted a few years until we moved again and then I didn't get to fish until after we got married. Life has become busier and it's been years since I have been fishing. I think I'd still enjoy it though.

Fish out of water, big fish in a small pond, living in a fishbowl, packed in like sardines, this is a fine kettle of fish, plenty of fish in the sea, fish or cut bait...which fishy phrase most recently applies to some area of your life?

Fish out of water. Being surrounded by people that I have basically nothing in common with tends to make me feel like a fish out of water.

2. What's something you're always fishing for in your purse, wallet, desk, or kitchen junk drawer?

A pen. I don't have a kitchen junk/catch all drawer, but I dig for pens every day. In my purse, at the desk, in my stand I keep next to my writing spot. I have plenty of pens, but somehow I still have to fish for them.

3. Your favorite fish tale or movie?

Finding Nemo .... it's all that came to mind though I would be fine never watching it again. I haven't seen many fish related movies, though as a second thought, does Andy Griffith count?

4. Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight or night? Explain why you chose your answer.

Sunrise ... I suppose. I love getting up in the morning with an entire day ahead of me filled with hopeful possibilities.

5. What's the oldest piece of clothing you own and still wear?

Stockings. They're all that remain of my Amish days. They were the ones I wore on my wedding day almost eighteen years ago and then on Sunday's after that. I still wear them to go to church. Not that anyone ever gets to see them though. They're beginning to show their age and will probably need to be replaced before too long.

6. We've got one more month of (officially) winter here in the Northern hemisphere. Are you feeling the need for a getaway? What's been the best and worst part of your winter so far?

I would love a getaway. Not to get away from winter though. The best part of winter so far has been the snow we had. The worst part is all the warm days, mud, and general yuck.

7.  The Wednesday Hodgepodge lands on National Margarita Day...will you be celebrating? Frozen or on the rocks? Are you a Jimmy Buffet fan? If so, what's your favorite JB tune?

I will not be celebrating. Alcoholic beverages aren't for me. Not a Jimmy Buffet fan either and as such I don't have a favorite tune from him.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

We were asked to share our family picture for a project LV's brother is doing. We realized it has been years since there has been a picture that included our entire family. On Saturday a friend was here and she was kind enough to take a few for us.

Here we are.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What do/did you call your grandparents? If it's something unusual tell us the story behind the name. If you're a grandparent what do your grands call you? Who chose your moniker?

Both sets of grandparents were called Dawdi and Mommie. There's really no story behind that, other than it's what Amish children call their grandparents.

2. Ever taken a road trip along the California Coast? If so what was the highlight of your trek? If not, any desire to do so? If you were to take a trip along the California Coast what's one attraction you'd have on your must-see list?

We have never taken a trip along the California Coast, but would love to someday. Seeing the Redwoods would be a must and I'd also want to visit Mendocino and Big Sur.

3. What are three things you don't know how to do?

There are a lot of things I don't know how to do. Three obvious ones are flying an airplane, performing surgery, and training killer whales.

Three things I would like to learn to do are ... speaking French and Spanish fluently, play several different musical instruments, and draw/paint photo realistic pictures.

4. Tom Peters is quoted as saying, 'Celebrate what you want to see more of.' If that's true what will you celebrate and more importantly, how will you celebrate?


This world seems to need a whole lot more of that.

5. Thursday (February 16) is National Almond Day. Do you like almonds? Which would you prefer-an Almond Joy or a macaron? What's something you make that calls for almonds?

I don't particularly enjoy almonds, so I won't be observing National Almond Day this year. I don't think we make anything that calls for almonds, though Rosie Mae does find ways to incorporate them into desserts and salads occasionally.

6. What does Saturday morning look like at your house?

Saturday mornings are still a lot like they used to be when we were Amish. It's the day to thoroughly clean the house in order to have it sparkling and shiny for Sunday. Mornings are spent cleaning and scrubbing. Not exactly in a frenzy, but in determination to get it all done before noon so the rest of the day can be spent with books, fun hobbies, and simply relaxing.

7. Share with us a favorite book you've read this winter.

The Waiting by Cathy LaGrow. It's a true story of a young mother having to give up her child for adoption and after many, many years of searching finally being reunited.

It's really good, and I would certainly recommend to anyone and everyone.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Yesterday, being Valentine's Day, the girls had planned a day filled with fun Valentine's related things. Yummy foods, games, gifts and more.

Since Flynn Ryder is their favorite Disney character, they decided to make a pin the nose on Flynn Ryder game. I thought it turned out nicely, and Steven especially thought it was a hoot trying to get the nose where it belongs.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Peculiar Precautions

     Somehow this winter hasn't been the friendliest to us, and we've already managed to all get sick more than once. After quite a few years of not even getting so much as the common cold, this seems particularly harsh.
     Not wanting to get sick again, I have been going back over all the files of many things we used to do to ward of germs during cold and flu season. There were a number of herbal remedies, some horrible enough to make that I would rather have a cold than think of subjecting myself to them again.
     And then there are the more peculiar ones.
     I had a great uncle who declared the best way to remain healthy is to stand on your head for a few minutes every day. He was a scrawny little man, and very pleased with himself to be able to keep up this daily routine. On one of his birthdays he called and left a message to take to Grandma saying. "I turned 86 today and still stood on my head."
    We delivered the message to Grandma and couldn't contain our laughter when her response was, "Humph! Maybe if he quit standing on his head everyday he would remember he turned 84 today, not 86!"
    Whether or not standing on your head has any health benefits, I don't know, and I won't be trying it in order to find out.
    Another precaution that was more on the peculiar side was something one of my dear aunts did every winter.
     She had her usual vitamins, garlic, and herbal remedies to try to keep sickness at bay. She also took it a step further. She wore a pair of cleaning gloves to fetch the mail every day. She would then proceed to spread the mail out on a cookie sheet and bake it for a while to kill any germs that might have attached themselves by being handled by other people.
     I won't be doing that either.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What's the last thing you did that someone else thought was super?

It's nice having a five year old. He thinks pretty much everything I do is super.
2. The last thing you ate that tasted superb? 

Home made chicken noodle soup. I know that sounds simple and not very impressive, but there is a reason that became the go to soup when someone is a bit under the weather.
3. Supersensitive, superstitious, superwoman, superambitious, supercilious, supervisor, superficial...pick a super word from the list and tell us how it relates to your life in some way recently or currently. 

Superambitious. I have too much on my plate right now, and no one to blame but myself. I signed up to teach a class every Friday. It's not that hard at all, but it does require prep work and planning. I'm trying to meet certain word goals every day. My daily to-do lists look interesting, but really, even with the whirlwind I find myself caught up in, I am enjoying life a lot.
4. Do you love easily? If you're comfortable doing so, explain why you think that is. 

I think I do. I'm more the type where I view strangers as friends I haven't met yet.
5. Valentine's Day lands on a Tuesday this year. Will you mark the day in some way? If you're celebrating with a dinner out somewhere will it be on Tuesday or will you celebrate over the weekend? 

The girls have planned a Valentine's Day celebration. I don't know exactly what all that entails, but I am looking forward to finding out.
6. What's something you are loving right now? 

My favorite pen and my idea book. It's a binder filled with pages of story plots, menus, lists, hopes, dreams, plans, and more. I keep it nearby at all times except when I leave the house. I carry a small notebook in my purse to use when inspiration strikes and then transfer the things into my idea book later.
7 Write a three word (or less) phrase you'd like to see on a Valentine candy heart.  

♥ Forever
8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I've been keeping my eyes open for the annual sign up list for the April A-Z Challenge. It was announced earlier this week that the challenge will happen, but there won't be a sign up list. I was a little disappointed about that, but I'm still planning to participate. It's time I start thinking, planning, and prepping for it. If you have any suggestions for what you would enjoy reading, let me know.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Can you believe it's the end of January? What was the best day of January 2017 for you, and why?

I shouldn't be surprised by how fast time slips by, but somehow the end of the month always sneaks up on me before I'm ready.

January was a good month of mostly ordinary happy days. I became an aunt to a sweet baby boy. He is grandchild #15 for my parents, and grandson #10.

2. What sounds make up the background noise in your life?

At this time of year, there is always the background noise of the furnace in the basement.

I am looking forward to when we can exchange that noise to the prettier sound of birds singing in the trees here around the house, the waterfall, spring peepers, and all the lovely sounds of nature I enjoy so much.

3. I read on the Power of Positivity website a list of ten things to drop from your life right now. They are-
anger outbursts, people who put you down, regret, negative self talk, being a people pleaser, the notion you need to be perfect, the past (but keep the lessons learned!), gossip and judgment, comparing yourself to others, and the word hate (focus on what you love instead)
Which thing on the list do you most need to drop? Are you trying or will you try?

I'm a recovering people pleaser ... still working on it, but I'm getting better. Otherwise most of the things on the list don't apply, except for the occasional negative self talk, and yes, that is something I want to work on.

4. What is sacred to you?

My faith.

I don't like "Christian" comics and memes where they make jokes about things in the Bible, or heaven and the end of life. I don't find them funny, at all.

5. January is National Oatmeal month. Are you a fan, and if so how do you like it?

No, I am not a fan. Of all the foods I can think of, there is none worse than oatmeal. Makes my stomach churn just thinking about having to eat it.

Maybe I should clarify. Oatmeal as in breakfast cereal ... all hot and goopy. Can't eat it. I've tried because I know it's healthy, but my stomach doesn't want any part of it. The older I get the stronger my aversion to oatmeal becomes.

Oatmeal baked in cookies and other desserts is a different story and I can enjoy it then.

6. What feelings does twilight stir up in you?

I'm not outside very often when twilight arrives, so most days I don't notice it.
7. Something you're looking forward to next month?

More ordinary days. They're my favorite. I'm also looking forward to Valentine's Day. The girls are busy making plans for it. Their enthusiasm is contagious.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

My poor computer keyboard is showing its age. Its letters are getting worn off from being used so much. Some are completely missing, while others still have a wee bit left. I guess it's a good thing we're past the stage of search and poke when writing.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Picture my Week

I don't have a big variety of pictures to show for this week. But here we go.

We had a lot of rain and when the creek started flooding I wanted to step out on the porch to take a picture of it, only to discover the porch was covered in this weird goopy, gloppy, almost gelatin like substance. It sounded disgusting to walk on so I retreated and simply took a picture of it instead of the creek.

I had shared it on my Facebook page where it sparked an interesting discussion. If you haven't already ... you're welcome to send me a friend request here.

Our rain finally turned to snow. Sharon and Steven enjoyed building their first official snowman of the season.
Afterwards a fun snowball fight was enjoyed.
I've shared pictures of the waterfall every so often ever since we moved here. Today I'll share a short video so you can enjoy it in motion for a change.
Rosie Mae made her delicious Lemon Blueberry cupcakes. They were like a delightful burst of spring or summer in the middle of winter.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. "The cure for anything is salt water-tears, sweat, or the sea." (Isak Dinesan) Would you agree? Of the three, which has 'cured' you most recently?

Maybe not for anything and everything, but I do agree they seem to help often. Mostly recently, for me, out of those three options I'd have to say it was tears. A good cry can be cathartic. Not that I need one very often, thankfully.

2. What's something you can't eat without salt? Do you normally salt your food a lot, a little, or not at all?

I don't like overly salted food, but I do like to use enough to wake up the flavors of the food properly.

I don't put it on salads, fruits, cheese etc. I rarely ever add any to pasta when I cook it.

When we first got married LV seemed to be attached to the salt shaker and put extra salt on everything. And I mean everything. I don't know what happened, but over the years he's been using less and less salt and by now days can pass with the salt shaker remaining untouched.

3. Sands of time, bury your head in the sand, built on sand, or draw a line in the sand...which sandy phrase could best be applied to something in your life right now? 

Sands of time .... they seems to be slipping by so fast.

4. A favorite book, movie, or song with an island setting or theme?

Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorite series. It's set on Prince Edward Island, so that counts, right?  I haven't read them yet this year, but I intend to.

5. Yesterday-did you run your day or did it run you? How so?

I had an appointment to meet and for a little while it felt as if it was running me. It was a good day though filled with playing in the snow, sewing, learning, writing, and then an appointment to meet towards evening.

6. You're on an island holiday. Will I most likely find you parked in a beach chair, shopping in town, on the back of a jet ski, or snorkeling off the back of a catamaran?

You would probably find me on a beach chair. Shopping doesn't sound horrible either, but I have no desire to go snorkeling ever, and I don't like water or speed well enough to want a ride on a jet ski.

7. What do you think we humans most take for granted?

I think it's very easy to take life and time for granted. It's so easy to assume there will be a tomorrow and that you'll get to see someone again. I really don't want to take it for granted, but I know I do. I treasure moments, cherish memories, and delight in the little things. But I think I unconsciously expect to have many more of them.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

That tablet that is just too pretty to write in .... the dishes too special to use ... the fabric I keep hanging onto because nothing has been worthy enough to make me cut into it ... well that's all about to change. Life is too short to hoard the things you can't keep. I'm going to enjoy them now while I can.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Good Samaritan

      Sometimes it's good to remember that you can't paint all Amish with the same paintbrush.
      The following is a true account that happened several months ago. I know the young Amish man well, I also know some of the others.
     It was early Sunday morning in an sleepy little Amish community. Bishop John was roused from his Bible reading by a knock on his door. He rose to answer the door and found a man standing there. A home - less English man, in dirty tattered clothes, and according to the smell in need of some nice soap and water.  "Can I have a little something to eat?" the man asked, "and if I could sleep in your barn I would be most grateful."
      "No, you can't! Be off with you!" the bishop shooed him off his doorstep and went back to reading his Bible.
        The homeless man, tired and hungry proceeded down the road and tried at another Amish home, only to be met with a similar welcome. Other homes proved to be equally welcoming some of them threatening to call the police or set their dog after him.
        Finally he came to another home. The home of a young Amish family with three little children. The man was excommunicated from church and being shunned due to some things he had done (not sins according to the Bible) When he answered the door and the homeless man asked once again for a little something to eat and permission to sleep in his barn the young Amish man invited him inside. While his wife was getting the children ready for church he cooked up a nice breakfast for him and served him at their table. When he was done eating the Amish man gave him clean clothes and offered their shower to him and then showed him to their own bedroom and told him he's welcome to sleep there while they go to church.
       The homeless man gratefully accepted everything.
       The family left for church. After services were over the meal was served. Everyone got to sit around the long bench tables to join in a meal. The young Amish man was given a little table off to the side where he was required to eat by himself, because after all he was sinful and not fit to eat with everyone else. While everyone was eating they were talking about this homeless fellow who had knocked at their door. Everyone recounted the way they chased him off, much laughter followed.
      The young Amish man said nothing, but he and his family left soon. They went home to find the homeless man still sound asleep in their bed. They proceeded to cook up a feast. Once it was ready they woke him, and together they sat at the table and ate. When they were done they wrapped up some of the leftovers and gave it to him. Next the Amish man went out to the barn and got his ride ready. He drove him to town, to the bus station, bought a ticket for him, and sent him on his way to rejoin his family hundreds of miles away.
       Later the wife told her parents what they had done .... that news spread in whispers around the community. Suddenly there was no more laughter about the way they had treated this homeless man.
      Who really was the better Christian? The Bible reading bishop ... or the excommunicated young man?
       It was all very thought provoking to me. How would I have responded? How would you?

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Picture my Week

Rosie Mae discovered a recipe for homemade ice cream cones. Sharon and she made several batches this week. They're so good that I really don't think we want store bought cones again.
I don't know why our cats have claimed the lid of Steven's sandbox as their preferred napping spot. They spent a lot of time there this week.

At first glance this looks like black nothing-ness. Upon looking closer you'll see Steven curled up on the stairs, sleeping. He is so excited and eager to be doing school every day that on several mornings he got up way too early. So early that the one morning he conked out again before reaching the bottom of the stairs.

The girls' homemade cones filled with a delightful homemade ice cream has been a big hit. Steven had a playdate yesterday. After it was over he indulged in an ice cream snack, but all the energy he used to play had him leaning tiredly against the table while he ate.

Rosie Mae found a site dedicated to single serving size desserts. She has been enjoying trying a lot of different ones. A s'mores dessert has been a big hit.

Kenneth was cleaning out his closet and going through a bunch of the things he used to play with as a little boy. He found his insect maker a friend had given him one year for Christmas. Before packing it away in the attic he helped Steven make a few creepy crawlies and taught him how to hide them around the house to scare Mom. Turning on the kitchen light in the morning and seeing these on the floor ... well .... mission accomplished boys.

The girls have been busy with their sewing and crafting. The small sofa in the living room bears witness to a lot of it.

Rosie Mae became the happy new owner of a treasure trove of sewing supplies after a friend offered she can have everything they have in an old house. They were going to burn it otherwise. She spent part of yesterday rescuing things, and still has more to do.