Saturday, August 17, 2019

Life with Steven

    I share little happenings on my Facebook, and decided I'd share a few of the most recent ones here as well.
~~~~~
We hardly ever have juice on hand unless we need it for a recipe. Yesterday a bottle of unsweetened cranberry juice appeared on the refrigerator shelf after a grocery run.
Steven eyed its sparkling beauty in eager anticipation of being allowed to drink the leftover once we used what we needed.
Steven: Can I have a little if I save enough for your recipe?
Me: I don't think you'll like it.
Steven doubtfully: Really? Short pause and then asks hopefully. Can I have a tiny taste?
I agreed and poured a small amount for him to try.
He slurped it down happily and then his eyes got big, he shuddered, and said solemnly: My tastebuds just had a horrible adventure!
~~~~~
Steven looks up from his schoolwork and says: Mom, you know how I make that writing in cursive is fun?
Me: How?
Steven: I pretend the letters are a roller coaster.
Me thinking: Oh! That explains all the squeals that were accompanying his writing this morning.
~~~~~
It started raining on the way home and I didn't turn on my windshield wipers immediately.
From the back seat comes Steven's voice: Um, Mom ... shouldn't you turn on your swishy whooshies?
I have a feeling the Kinsinger family has just found a new name for windshield wipers.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Currently ...

Reading ... I started on the book of Luke in the Bible this morning.

In fiction I'm reading my way through the Anne of Green Gables series for the first time this year, and somewhere over the 20th time since the first time I read them. It's still my all time favorite series, and it's feeling lovely spending time with Anne again.

In nonfiction I have several books going at the moment. The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker is somewhat of a heavy read, but the information it provides is valuable, and so I'm slowly making my way through it. Me, Myself, and Pie by Sherry Gore is a delightful cookbook about pie. Not only do I want to bake almost all of them, I have also been enjoying the little stories she has scattered throughout the book.

On Steven's and my pile of bedtime books we are gradually transitioning from the fun picture books to chapter books. Nathan T. Riggins has been a hit so far, and we have also been enjoying the Life with Lily series. I've been surprised how much I've been enjoying reading something I wrote, to him. It helps that he loves the books.

Listening ... to Rabbi Schneider on Youtube. His messages are a short 20 minutes, and I've been really encouraged by listening to them. I haven't listened to nearly all of them yet, but so far everything I have listened to I have come away inspired, encouraged, and ready to tackle life.

Cooking ... I have chicken in the slow cooker that I have plans to use to make a Mexican themed supper.

Cleaning ... windows. I don't know what it is about our old farmhouse, but during the summer months spiders absolutely love building their webs at the windows. They get swept away daily, but they get rebuilt fast ... and what ever they do they manage to get "dirt" on the windows which means that they have to be washed at least once a week, sometimes more if I can't stand seeing the dirt any longer before Saturday rolls around.

And speaking of cleaning windows I have discovered, thanks to a Facebook friend, the best window cleaner. I'll plop down a link to it here if you want to check it out. Which reminds me, I have to place an order for some later this week.

Later today ... we'll be doing a variety of things. Including but not limited to working on the chairs we're refinishing, baking some kind of dessert ... I'm thinking pie, doing our school work, tending the flowerbed, taking care of the daily dozen, and going on a short walk.

Yesterday ... we attended church where a young man delivered a good message. It made me feel old seeing him in front of the church calmly and confidently delivering a well spoken message. He was only a little boy the first time I met him!

After church LV and Steven went to the lake for a few hours to fish. They didn't catch anything other than the happy memories they made.


Wearing ... my favorite purple dress and a fluffy robe. It's a bit on the chilly side this morning so it was robe to the rescue until it warms up a bit.

Disliking ... our rose garden. I don't dislike roses, in fact I'm really quite fond of seeing them in full bloom. Right now though seeing our rose garden makes me feel sad. On Thursday the crew who is roaming the area and cutting trees close to power lines drove in here. First they trimmed our giant maple tree in front of the house. They actually did a good job of it, so I won't complain too much about that, but what they did next ... they drove their behemoth machine across the yard, smack dab in the middle of our rose garden smashing the bushes to where I can't see them ever recovering. They proceeded to cut down trees and then left, never mentioning the destruction they had caused to our roses.

Playing ... we've been having a daily game time. I won't go into detail today how it came about that we were blessed to acquire a LOT of board games, but we've really been enjoying playing them.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Sometimes ... You Just Have to Laugh

     "I was hoping I could get a look at LV's new hairstyle," my brother said after voicing his disappointment that LV couldn't be at home when they stopped in.
     "Or, you mean his lack of one," his wife interjected, laughing.
     "What new hairstyle?" I asked, thinking it kind of strange that they would be surprised he doesn't have an Amish haircut after all these years.
     "We were informed that LV shaved his head completely bald. He has created quite the stir throughout the Amish community in this area when people learned about this scandal."
   
    I informed them that no, LV did not shave his head, and still wore his hair the same as he did for the past twelve years.
    The thought that shaving a head was scandalous both amused and frustrated me … I choose to focus on the amused part.
~~~~~
    "Do you have a problem with my mother-in-law?" my brother asked.
    "No, I've never had a problem with her," I said.
    "Well, she said she met you at Walmart and talked to you in Amish, and apparently you're too uppity to speak Amish any longer so you just gave her a funny look and walked away."
     "In all the years since we moved here, I have never met an Amish woman in Walmart," I said.
      We both got a good chuckle out of that one as we imagined the poor "English" lady and the confusion she must have felt by that encounter.

~~~~~

    Somehow we seem to still be a topic of interest and gossip among the Amish. We hear about it every once in a while when my brother hears a rumor and has to check in with us to see if there is any truth to it.
    Most of the time we simply have to laugh, shake our heads, and wonder where they even come up with all this stuff.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Things That Keep Me Awake at Night

     My parents gave LV and me some nice sturdy oak dining room furniture when we got married. It's still nice and solid, but the years of use have not been kind to the varnish, and we decided it's time to strip off the old varnish and redo them.
     I spent quite a bit of time researching the how-to's of furniture stripping and armed with the knowledge I found on the internet I went to buy the needed supplies. Steel wool, scrapers, sand paper, and a jug of orange stripping gel.
     I labored over that furniture, but was pleased with the results. It was soon clear that I would need to buy more of the stripping compound in order to finish the project. I quickly found my shopping list and scribbled "stripper gunk" at the top and when LV and I went shopping later that week I got some more.
     A few days later one of our friends called. Her husband was out of state on business and she was having some type of mechanical issue. Would LV come to her rescue?
     I joined LV as he went to see if he could help out. It didn't take him long to discover what the problem was. A certain part had to be ordered. "Do you have a piece of paper I can use to write the part number down?" he asked me.
     My purse is usually loaded with anything you can think of, but in all my rummaging through it all I came up with was my used shopping list with neat little checkmarks next to all the items.
      LV took it, scribbled the parts number down, and to my consternation handed it to our friend so she could order it.
      The words "stripper gunk" seemed to grow bigger and bolder at the top of that paper and I wanted to disappear.
      Last night I woke up with that memory going through my mind, and I shuddered in embarrassment again as I wondered what awful images went through our friend's mind when she read those words.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Wednesday Medley

    Since today is National Cousins Day and Friday is National Aunts and Uncles Day, Terri from Your Friend in Florida has created a set of questions based on that, for us to answer.

1. What can you tell us about your cousins, please, or someone who is close like a cousin?

I had/have a lot of cousins. The oldest is twelve years older than me, and the youngest didn't come along until after I already had three children of my own. Given the age difference I don't even know most of my cousins, and certainly can't name them all. (And this is only first cousins ... forget about even thinking of branching out further than that.)

The cousin I was the closest to, was only a few months younger than I was. For a number of years we lived in the same community and attended the same school until her family moved to a different state. We still remained best of friends and wrote letters regularly between their twice a year visits.

2. Do you still see your cousins and will you contact them on National Cousins Day?

I hardly ever see any of my cousins, or have any contact with them. Our lives turned out so differently which keep the ones I was the closest to from being able to stay in contact. (The repercussions of leaving the Amish run deep.) Other than saying a few words to each other at my brother's funeral last fall, it has been years since we had seen or heard from each other.

I will not be contacting them on National Cousins Day.

3. Do you have a favorite aunt or uncle you can tell us about?

Uncle Eli and Aunt Mattie were very special to me. They never had children. Instead, they doted on their nieces and nephews. They were the happiest people, and simply being around them made me feel happy.

Aunt Vernie had Downs Syndrome. She was a favorite aunt. Her joy of life, her laughter, her compassion, and really everything about her made her a favorite!

I could write a lot about many of my aunts and uncles and what made them special to me. Each of them made an impact on my life and gave me memories I'll always treasure.

4. Did/does your family have reunions and can you tell us about them?

The community I grew up in didn't allow people to attend family reunions. However, one year we all traveled to Michigan to my Mom's oldest sister's house. All her siblings and their children were there as well as my grandparents. We simply called it a family gathering, which made it okay.

5. If you have children, are they enjoying relationships with their cousins, aunts, and uncles?

Sadly, our children don't get to see most of their cousins often enough to establish a relationship with them. They always enjoy getting to see them when they have the opportunity.

6. Tell us something random about your week so far.

We started our new year of school on Monday. It's nice getting back into books and learning. I had been expecting our schedule to feel a little bumpy at first until we get used to it, but it's been surprisingly smooth.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Why?

     "Why?" I asked, "why, would anyone do this?"
     My stomach tied up in knots when I saw the damage that had been done at one of my favorite spots. (Check out the link to read more about it.)
     On Sunday after church we decided that it might be a good day to go spend some time at the swamp. since we've had a small break from all the rain, and the pathways had a chance to become less muddy.
     Since the last time I was there, someone went and cut down all the giant lilac bushes that had bordered the meadow and then dragged them over and heaped them on the section of old wooden fence that was still there.
      There is nothing we could do to save the lilac bushes, but we could save the old fence, so LV took some time and removed everything they had heaped on it.
      I'm still feeling sick to my stomach that someone would do this, and have a hard time understanding why, or what would possess anyone to be that destructive.
     I'm reminded once again that this world is not my home, and growing too attached to what is only temporary isn't good. But even so ... I keep asking "Why?" And I already know I won't want to return to the swamp anytime soon, because it will simply make me feel sad, in what used to be one of my favorite spots.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Picture our Summer

We've been having rain, rain, and more rain. A day can begin beautifully sunny, but at some point during the day it begins to grow dark, and rain and storms move in.


With all the rain keeping him indoors, Steven has been buried in books. He has always loved books, but has turned into a complete bookworm this summer.


One of our friends invited us to join her and her daughter on a day trip to visit a lavender farm. It was absolutely gorgeous there. We enjoyed sampling their lavender flavored lemonade, jams, chocolates, and ice cream. I was surprised by how much I liked it, and came home with a jar of the jam for the rest of the family to enjoy as well,


I would never have thought to do something like this, but they had windows with flowerboxes scattered all around the farm, and encouraged guests to take as many pictures as they liked.


A sign outside of the store on the lavender farm amused me.


 Wild flowers have been blooming in abundance this year. I'm particularly fond of black eyed susans.


The wildlife activity behind our house has also increased. It's no longer unusual to see deer there. Turkeys, raccoons, squirrels, and hundreds of birds keep us entertained.


Sharon, Steven, and I took advantage of a few hours between rain showers to go on a hike, Steven was sure he didn't want to wear shoes, but the gravel on the trail got to be a bit much after a while. He asked to share Sharon's pair of flip flops, and being the sweet, sharing sister she is, she gave them to him. In return he gave one back, and so they both hobbled up the trail with only one flip flop for a few minutes.


Rosie Mae has been making lots of macarons, in hopes of creating some with the perfect "feet". She had plans on sharing these with friends from Canada who were stopping in, but wasn't satisfied with how they turned out, so Sharon asked if she can have them. 

Rosie Mae plopped the entire tray full on her lap and said, "Have at them." Sharon was thrilled, but the rest of the family helped her eat them. These chocolate flavored ones are so, so good!


We attended the wedding of one of LV's nephews. The wedding cake my multi-talented sister-in-law made looked lovely.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

My Morning

     The grass was still wet with dew, and the morning sun had yet to rise above the horizon when I headed outside to take care of some work before it got too warm.  
      The girls were still upstairs doing their morning routine, so I didn't bother interrupting them to tell them what I'm doing.
     I finished up what I had set out to accomplish and was ready to head back inside, but first I had to wash all the grass off my feet.
    I went to fetch a pail to fill with water, only to discover I had accidently locked myself out. I checked our other doors. They were all firmly locked, as were the windows.
     No big deal, I'd simply ring the door bell and someone would let me in.     
     I rang the door bell. Nothing. I tried again, and again, and again. Still nothing. I made my rounds knocking on the doors, the windows, and then back to ringing the doorbell over and over.
         Finally after about an hour Rosie Mae lets me in, all apologetic. She and Sharon had been so busy praying for protection against this "crazed wannabe intruder" that it had taken them quite a while to come downstairs and discover that I was not in the house.
      I was glad to get inside, and the girls were relieved that the intruder turned out to be their somewhat exhausted mother.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Post-its







Winner of "No Empty Seal"

    I had so much fun reading all your delightful memories from when you were younger.
    And now it's time to choose the winner for the book, No Empty Seal.

    Random.org has chosen comment number ...

    Congratulations!

    Loretta said … Shared with a friend on fb.

    I think this is the first time a comment about sharing my giveaway was selected as the winner.

   Please send me an email with your address and I will get your book mailed to you.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Attic Finds

     One of the interesting things about cleaning the attic this time, other than how long it's been taking us, is watching the girls go through their childhood treasures and deciding what to keep, toss, or donate.
    We only work in the attic in the mornings before it gets too hot up there, and since everything is getting touched, and read, and reminisced over it's taking much longer than originally anticipated.
     I'm keeping most of their school writing projects that they read, laughed over, and then were going to toss. I'll treasure them for years, and I'm assuming someday they will be glad I saved them.
     I also snagged a few of their hand stitched doll clothes from where they tossed them in the trash after they were done reminiscing about all the fun they had making them and laughing at the crooked stitches they used to make.


     I have discovered it's much harder parting with their childhood things, than it was parting with my own.
   

Saturday, June 22, 2019

No Empty Seal ~ Giveaway

    Today I'm surveying my pile of Amish books again to select the one that I'll be giving away this week.
     And ... let's go with the little book, No Empty Seal by an author who interestingly enough wishes to remain anonymous. Other than someone Amish, I have no idea who wrote it.
     It used to be one of my favorite books when I was a teenager. It was a well read little thing on our limited assortment of reading material.
     It's about young Miriam Schlabach and follows her as she navigates rumspringa and the summer of instruction classes for joining the church.
   

     If you would like a chance to win this book all you have to do is leave a comment telling me a fun little memory you have from your teenage years.
    As always for more entries, post a link to this giveaway on your Facebook, blog, Pinterest, Instagram or other social media account and then come back and leave another comment to tell me that you did.
    I will choose the winner next Saturday June 29th using random.org.
   

Winner!

    LV and I just got back from an out of state business thing we had to take care of, and after getting a nice glass full of fresh sweet water, (I miss it when we're gone) I quickly consulted random.org for the winner from last week's giveaway of the book, The Miting, by Dee Yoder.

    And the lucky winner is ....



    Comment #3 magnoliasntea said ...
The best book of fiction I've ever read is The Hidden Hand by E.D.E.N. Southworth. I've read it three times, which I rarely do, because it is that good. Thank you for a delightful giveaway.

     Congratulations! Please email your address to me and I will get the book shipped to you.

      And now, for our next giveaway ... I'll have that post up in a few minutes.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Bits and Pieces that Stirred Memories

    A friend posted a little something on Facebook about blinking her eyes, and it immediately sparked a memory of an old German song we  used to sing that contained the line; Denk bei jedem augenblicki obs vielleicht der letzte sein. (Think every time we blink our eyes that it could be the last time.)
     German was considered to be a holy language, and wanting to please God I attempted to think that every time I blinked. It didn't take long at all, before I realized I blink way too often in order to be able to think anything other than that I'm blinking. So I quit and hoped God wouldn't mind too much.
~~~~~
     Free Wi-Fi, the sign at the window proclaimed.
     Neither LV or I can ever see a sign like that with out immediately having a memory come to mind of a certain Amish man who was ordering food at a restaurant that was offering free Wi-Fi. After placing his order he added that he'll also take one of their free "wiffys". It took the girl a minute to figure out what it was that he wanted.
      Poor guy found out that day that you can't eat a "wiffy", or Wi-Fi, which I'm sure was a huge disappointment to him. After all when you're Amish, food is much more important than internet connection.
~~~~~
      Working in the attic is bring back all sorts of memories.
      I've made a discovery though, and that is, I value the memory of all the fun I had with my childhood toys way more than the actual toys. After hanging onto them for so long I finally said good-bye to everything except my rag doll, Sally.
     I can't throw her out. All the love I poured into her ... she was my baby, and I still feel protective of her.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Miting ~ Giveaway

     I've been working my way through our storage room and attic, cleaning, organizing, and downsizing. In the process I have come up with this stack of Amish related books that I've decided is time to find a new home and allow some other people to enjoy them.
     My plan is to do a giveaway every Saturday for one of them.
     Up first is The Miting. I had talked about this one when I first read it, and I still feel the same way about it. You can read that post here.


      To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment about a book that you have enjoyed reading.
      For additional entries link to this giveaway on your blog, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or other social media and then come back and leave another comment to tell me where you posted. (One entry per comment, so if you link to more than one social media account please be sure to leave an individual comment for each one.)
     I will be choosing the winner using the random generator next Saturday June 22nd.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Art

     I was in second grade when we moved to the Amish community in Somerset County. There had still been a few weeks of school left, and John and I were thrust into a roomful of strangers the very next day.
     As overwhelming as it was to be the new "kids" I loved school; books, pencils, and learning were my favorite. This new school used different curriculum than I had been used to. During my spare time I found it especially fun being able to go back to the start of the workbooks and do as much of the parts I had missed as I pleased.
     The schedule taped to the teacher's desk promised an entire period devoted to art every Friday. I could hardly wait for it. I used to love all the things we did in art class those first weeks of first grade before a new teacher took over.
     When Friday arrived I was sorely disappointed. The art class consisted of coloring a picture.  And so it continued through the rest of my school years. Every Friday the teacher would plop a pile of duplicated pictures on her desk and we would have to color them.
      I wanted to learn how to draw, but with no one to teach me I gave up on drawing pictures by the end of third grade. Obviously only talented people could draw pictures, and I wasn't someone gifted with that talent.
     Fast forward to present day. I have loved the art program I got for our children to do in our homeschool. They have really blossomed with it, and I love seeing all their drawings, paintings,and art they create.
    This spring I had a light bulb moment. Why, don't I do the same art program? Why not wake up the still sleeping desire to draw and create that was put to sleep when I was nine?
     I went ahead and started. I'm no where near where my children are, yet. But I'm loving the progress I'm making. And it's so satisfying to know that drawing/art is something you can learn. That it doesn't have to be simply something you were either born with or not.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Currently

Reading ... this may sound boring, but I have been enjoying a stack of books by various authors that recommend other books. I'm busy taking notes and planning out the reading list for our upcoming school year.

Then there is of course the stack of books from the library that Steven and I read together. He's especially enjoying the Mr. Putter and Tabby series this week.

Watching ... all the birds at the bird feeder outside the kitchen window. I especially like the gold finches and the cardinals, but enjoy seeing all the different birds. We have a wide variety that enjoy hanging around. The pair of cardinals we have is one of the sweetest though. The male will go get a seed from the feeder and then take it to his "wife" for her to eat. No words to really describe that except ... Awww! So sweet!

Listening ... to the sound of conversation and laughter as the girls are discussing something that is obviously hilarious.

Cooking ... for lunch we enjoyed homemade pasta in a cream garlic sauce. Delicious! For supper we'll have a salad for all of us. I have steak thawing for LV and Kenneth, and the rest of us will enjoy leftover pasta.

Cleaning ... the storage room. We're almost done. We approached it with more of a heartless mindset this time. Things that the only time we see or touch them is when we clean the storage room are being donated or thrown out. I was hanging on to a lot of sentimental things, but taking pictures of the best of them and then getting rid of the items actually feels good.

No one needs the empty candy boxes from when LV and I were courting. Board books, toys, wedding gifts we haven't used in twenty years. Time to say bye-bye to all of it!

I tried selling some of the better things on ebay, but that is proving to be a joke, so donate it is.

This afternoon I'll be dropping off this hand cranked bread dough mixer. It was a wedding gift. I think I used it once or twice. I prefer making bread dough with a bowl and a wooden spoon. So it's bye - bye space hog.



Social media ... I'm doing a post on Instagram every day. Feel free to follow me there.

Later today ... I'll have to go to the bank to sign some papers to straighten out a headache we found out about yesterday afternoon. I didn't have enough time to make it in before they closed, but they were able to freeze what needed to be frozen until I get there today to sign the necessary paperwork.

It's all annoying, but I'm thankful for the way our bank takes care of problems like this.

Yesterday ... we had our annual homeschool evaluations done. Woohoo!! It's always nice to have those done for the year.

Crafts ... it's the time of year when there are so many options of flowers to dry. Did you know using a microwave to dry them works beautifully? It also preserves the lovely colors in the process.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Frugal ~ Cut it Out

     Some things were easier than others when it came to cutting expenses.
     Deciding to not renew any magazine and newspaper subscriptions was an easy decision. Removing ourselves from anything that had membership fees wasn't hard either, but reassessing where every penny went and trying to cut back on some of those expenses was a little more painful at times.
      Having a dishwasher when we had moved into our new to us home, was great. Washing dishes had never been a favorite chore, and this made it so much easier. In an attempt to save money on our electric bill, I decided to go back to hand washing the dishes. Our electric bill dropped by $30. a month which made that decision much easier to continue. And even now, I'm not willing to pay that much per month to have my dishes washed.
     We also realized it is entirely possible to live without a closet stuffed with clothes. That it is okay to wear the same outfit to church every single Sunday for as long as that outfit remains in good condition. And when it is necessary to buy more clothes, that thrift shops have plenty of options.
     Being brutally honest when it came to deciding if something was a need or a want was a huge help in becoming as frugal as we needed to be.
   

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Verse

     "I'll have to buy a new Bible," Kenneth announced when he came home from church. 
      "What happened with yours?" I asked.
      "There's this young man who has been attending church for the past few weeks, and when he told me he doesn't own a Bible, I gave him mine."
       Part of me felt happy that he would cheerfully part with the Bible he had treasured for years already, while a selfish part of me felt sad that he would give away his good Bible we had given him.
      So this week, I went Bible shopping and bought him a new one. It doesn't have the same memories attached, but the words are the same, and I pray he will continue loving the word of God, and growing in his faith and walk with Christ.
      The Bible he had given away was the one I had mentioned in a post on my now closed, second blog.
     Here's an excerpt from that post:
    When our oldest son had a good grip on reading he could be found with his nose in a history book or the Bible. He didn't care much for fiction books even though we had shelves filled with books I had hoped he would enjoy someday.
     When he was eight we got him his first quality Bible and he was thrilled. For the next several months when ever someone stopped by our house he would wait for an opportunity and proudly show them his Bible, and then read his favorite verse to them. Proverbs 7:27 Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.
     The first time he read that verse to someone I wanted the floor to open up and swallow me. When it didn't I simply pasted a weak smile on my face and managed to steer the conversation to more pleasant paths.
     I wrestled with what I should do. How do I tell my son not to have that as his favorite verse? And why did he choose that one to begin with? I decided not to address the specific verse and instead try to get him to appreciate some more appropriate verses as his favorite. I didn't want to in any way put the thought into his head that part of the Bible is not good.
     Fast forward seven years. He still loves reading his Bible, and last night when my husband and I were heading to bed, we paused for a moment outside our boys bedroom door where I listened to our fifteen year old son read a few chapters of the Bible to his three year old brother., and then explain what he had read. I had to blink back tears of joy as I heard our three year old say, "More, read more!" when his brother announced it was time to sleep.
    Seeing them love God's Word makes this Mama's heart glad. And so happy that I didn't squash his love of the Bible back when the verse he loved the most embarrassed me to no end.
     My prayers are that, that Bible will bless the young man who owns it now.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Currently

Reading ... in the Bible I'm making my way slowly through the book of Ezekiel. It's more of a hard read for me, and I'm having to read chapters from the Psalms and the New Testament as I wade my way through the heaviness of Ezekiel.

I have a stack of library books here that I'm working my way through. I'm almost done with Hands Free Mama (great book) and am looking forward to some light fiction next.


There is also a big stack of children's books that I read to Steven. He's leaning more and more toward independent reading, but as long as he still enjoys having me read to him, I'm going to continue.

Listening ... to the roar of the waterfall. We've been having a lot of rain the past few days and the waterfall increased in volume, both in water and noise. 

Cooking ... we'll be have tuna cakes and coleslaw for supper tonight. It's actually a lot better than it sounds.

Thinking ... how blessed we are with caring friends. On Friday evening Sharon fell and broke her wrist. Seeing everyone rally around her was so touching!

On the phone ... one of my Amish brothers is calling quite regularly. He is working on an invention and since he doesn't have a computer he will call and ask me to do all his online searches for him. The things he has me search for and read to him go right over my head. It's painfully boring! 

Later today ... I will be working on preparing the portfolios that I need to show to our home school evaluator for our children's upcoming end of the school year evaluations. I'm always glad when that is done for another year!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Frugal ~ God's Provisions

    We had come home from our weekly grocery run, and LV left for work. As the children and I put everything away they noticed that we had forgotten to buy milk.
    We always made a gallon of milk last a week, but it was a pretty important item on our grocery list every time.
    "We'll just have to find a way to do without milk for a week," I told them.
    "God could send us milk," Kenneth said, "if we prayed for it."
     And so we knelt in our dining room, and Kenneth led us in a simple prayer. "Dear God, Mom forgot to buy milk so could you send us a gallon? Thank you, and Amen." We all added our Amens and got up to continue our day.
    Only a few minutes later the phone rang. I answered. It was our next door neighbor. "I don't know what I was thinking," she said, "but several days ago I stopped at the grocery store and bought a gallon of milk, I don't even like milk! I hate throwing it away, and thought I'd see if you could use it. You don't have to take it ..."
     "We'd be happy to take the milk," I told her.
      A few minutes later she was at the door apologizing for bothering us, but happy that we accepted the milk.
     She left, and the house was filled with rejoicing at the speedy answer of prayer, and we marveled how God knew we would pray for milk and He had her buy it several days before we prayed for it and waited to give it until we did.
~~~~~
     All the careful budgeting, the scrimping, the saving wasn't helping much at the moment. The weather had been bad, the trees hadn't been the best quality, and the past few logging checks had reflected that. We were now faced with all the monthly payments due and we knew there was absolutely no way we could possibly pay them.
     Again, we prayed, thanking Him for His provision and care for us, and presented our problem to Him and how we didn't have the money to take care of that month's bills.
     We had no idea how He would answer, but trusted that one way or the other we would be okay.
     That evening one of the local farmers came driving in with his cattle trailer. In the back he had twin calves; a boy and a girl. "These are so small, they're not even worth taking to the sale barn," he said. "Every one will know they're twins." (For cows, a girl/boy twin, the girl will most likely never be able to have a calf.) "I thought you might like them for your children, or do with them what you want. Sell them if you like, you might get enough to buy them each some candy." He laughed heartily.
     We accepted them, and the next morning LV and Kenneth took them to the sale barn. We didn't expect much, but at this point every dollar counted.The auctioneer sold them as a pair of twins. The bidding started and kept going and going. After commission was figured off the final price and the check was in our hands we couldn't keep from praising God. It was exactly what we needed to cover our payments.
~~~~~
     It was fall and time to get our winter's supply of coal to heat the house. Once again we simply did not have the funds to buy coal.
     As we were eating supper one evening there was a knock at the door. LV answered it and greeted the old man who was standing there.
     "Sorry to bother you," he said. "I have this big pile of coal in my basement, but I'm getting too old to walk up and down the basement stairs to fire a coal furnace. I have intalled an oil furnace, and am looking for someone who could remove the coal. You can have it in return for cleaning my basement."
     We accepted his offer, and spent several evenings scooping coal into buckets, dumping it on the back of our pick up and unloading it into our coal bin, and then cleaning up his basement.
     We were warm and toasty all winter, and so thankful for the way God met another need.
~~~~~
     I could continue with many more stories of the wonderful ways God provided for us, but this post is getting too long.
     Those years of living in extreme frugality were good for us. They taught us so much, and seeing prayers answered and God's provision were so faith building.
     It's not that our life was sitting back, doing nothing, and expecting God would keep us fed, clothed, and warm. He did, but there were also months where we eked by, without any miraculous things happening. We learned to praise Him in everything. EVERYTHING. I really can't stress that enough. Praise God in everything! Even when it makes no sense, continue praising. In Hebrews 13 we are told to continually offer sacrifices of praise to God. If we only praise Him when we think something good happened, how is that a sacrifice? God is good all the time, and worthy of our praise ... all the time!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Frugal ~ Hosting on a Budget

    Even the simplest fare is made special when served on pretty dishes.
    Those words from my mother ran through my mind as I hung up the phone. Some out of state friends were coming to our area and asked if they could stop in for dinner that night.
     Left over ground beef gravy and the little bit  of rice we still had would not make a meal I wanted to serve guests. Even pretty dishes wouldn't be able to do much to make that seem special.
     Saying a quick prayer for inspiration I surveyed the options I had on hand. Digging into the back of my pantry cupboard I was pleased to find about half a cup of raisins that had somehow managed to escape my notice until now. I put them in soak and prepared to make Mom's "Poor Man's Bars" While nothing fancy, I knew they were delicious and would have to do for our dessert.
     The flour I had left over after I made those bars was only enough for one loaf of bread, and knowing the amount of people I'd have to serve I knew one loaf was not going to be enough. I went ahead and made the bread dough, but then instead of forming it into a loaf I rolled it out in a long narrow rectangle. I chopped up some garlic I had grown in our garden and sprinkled it over the dough and followed it with some dried parsley. I rolled it up and cut it into thin slices and popped them in the oven. They came out as beautiful golden brown bite sized bread pinwheels.
     With that done I went to retrieve the last piece of meat I had been hanging onto for a long time already. By now it was freezer burnt, but I hoped with some love and care and quite a bit of time in the slow cooker the roast would turn into something presentable. I didn't have a lot of option when surveying my shelves filled with canned goods from our garden, but finally decided to try pouring a can of tomato soup over it and hope for the best.
     We were out of potatoes, and didn't have enough rice, so I decided to simply serve two kinds of vegetables instead. Sweet corn and green beans would have to work.
     By the time the guests arrived I had the table set with my prettiest dishes. And was ready to heat the vegetables. "We brought several five gallon pails of potatoes along," the lady said. "We have so many that we won't get them all eaten by spring, could you use them?"
     I was happy to accept them and quickly set about preparing some for dinner.
     Somehow as we gathered around the table to eat it looked like a company dinner. No one would have guessed the pretty bread bites were born out of desperation, and every one talked, laughed, and ate. Taking seconds and thirds of those bread bites and even asking for the recipe. The freezer burnt roast was tender and delicious in its tomato soup sauce, and the pretty dishes, well they did exactly what they were supposed to. They gave the meal that touch that made it all seem extra special.

     During those lean years we never quit inviting people to our home for meals, though I learned to accept the offers to bring something along when someone asked. I would often say a simple salad will be just fine. It was a treat for us to have a salad and everyone always seemed pleased to bring something that simple.
     Somehow saving anything I possibly could from our grocery budget to then be able to buy ingredients to bake something for guests never felt burdensome.
     And through it all the pretty dishes worked like a charm to make even simple meals seem special.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Frugal ~ Grocery

    Having been thrust into an extreme frugal life, our weekly grocery budget was reduced to $20 -$25 a week for everything.
    Knowing that is all that was available made me completely redo the way we ate.
    A single pound of hamburger had to last for a week. I would fry it up in a cast iron skillet and then add water and thicken it to make a gravy. I carefully doled out that gravy onto rice or potatoes to give our meal that little bit of extra it needed to feel more complete. That little bit of meat seemed to work to keep us all feeling that we weren't deprived.
    I kept some sugar on hand to be able to make dessert when we had guests, but otherwise we no longer ate desserts. That was huge, coming from our Amish background where no meal, including breakfast was complete without dessert.
    Some kind of hot cereal for breakfast was much more economical than serving cold cereal.
    I switched from butter, to the much cheaper option of margarine for all the cooking and baking. We still used butter for our bread, but really cut back on the amount of bread we used as well.
     Anything other than the absolute most basic of essentials was cut, which included cheese which I happened to love. I discovered it is quite possible to live without it, though I missed it a lot.
    We had a garden, which meant that we always had an abundance of vegetables, both fresh and canned during the summer, and only canned for the rest of the year. That really helped us even as the fresh produce aisle used to beckon to me and I resolutely ignored it. We ate so many canned green beans during those lean years that by now when ever I taste them it transports me back to those days.
     We saved every bit of leftover food and found ways to either incorporate them into our next meal or simple reheat them. But nothing was allowed to go to waste.
     Paper products ... paper towels and napkins were out. Using reusable rags for cleaning up messes worked great in place of paper towels, and fabric napkins replaced the paper ones. As far as toilet paper, we were happy to find the Always Save brand 4 packs were less than a dollar.
     Vinegar replaced all my various cleaning soaps and cleaners, and the laundry detergent was switched to the cheapest option I could find.
      I always started our weekly grocery shopping with twenty five dollars in my wallet, and kept careful track of the exact amount I was going to have to pay as I added items to my grocery cart. It was always a good feeling when I had a dollar or two left over. I'd squirrel it away to be used when ever we had guests and needed a little something.
      I'll talk more about how I made special meals on a budget, later.

Friday, May 3, 2019

The Frugal Life ~ The Beginning

    Living frugally can look vastly different to different people. This isn't the most comfortable topic for me to write about, but it's part of our story. If someone can glean a little something from it, great! But if not, well, it's simply our story.
    I was raised in a thrifty household. Our mantra: Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. That background came in useful when seven years into our marriage we were forced to make every penny last as long as possible.
    Growing up, as normal for Amish families, neither LV or I received an allowance. Any money we may have earned was given to our parents until either you turned twenty one, or you got married. I won't go into my thoughts about that now, except to wonder how I could possibly have been so thrilled to have a whopping eighty dollars to my name when we got married.
     We got married and took over LV's family farm. Bit by bit we squirreled away money, saving up a healthy nest egg. 
      Things started changing when we moved to Missouri. We wanted to continue farming out there, but that first year was hard. For some mysterious reason our calves would be healthy and happy until they reached around 400 pounds and then they'd get sick and many of them died. It was a blow to our nest egg, but we finally figured out what was causing them to get sick and we were able to make the changes we needed. 
     But a year later the real blow came. We had left the Amish, which meant we lost our Amish health "insurance".  I became deathly ill from a ruptured gall bladder and required a lengthy hospital stay.
    Thankful to have survived and our happy little family still intact, we now faced the impossible task of paying all the doctor and hospital bills. After we were wiped clean … down to thirty-six cents in our bank account, the hospital and doctors were willing to set up a payment plan to get our remaining medical bills paid off over the next twenty years. 
     Having already been living what we thought was a frugal life, we were about to take frugal living to a whole new level.
    To be continued  … in a series of blogposts of ways we made our pennies stretch and what living frugally looked like for us.     

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Spring Flowers

    I love wildflowers, and when I had the opportunity recently to go on a hike with LV one afternoon I grabbed my camera and we were off.
     The amount of wildflowers we saw did not disappoint.
      Here are a few of my favorites from that day.





Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Z ~ Zealous

    Yesterday afternoon the definition of zealous would have quite accurately described Steven.  (eager; earnest; actively enthusiastic)
    He was busy getting something ready to entertain the entire family later that night. He wanted to keep it as a surprise and worked tirelessly to have everything ready.
     He was so excited as we ate supper that he could hardly hold still as he ate. He helped clean up afterwards, but there was nothing he could do to make the sun set faster, and he needed it to be dark before he could continue with his plans.
     Finally it grew dark and he gave each of us a ticket and instructed us to sit on the stairs. He thoughtfully provided us with popcorn and then turned out the lights.
      Standing a few steps above us on the stairs he shone a light on the wall and passed pictures in front of it to create shadows and pictures on the wall. He had a short story to go with each picture. After he was done he turned the lights back on, pleased that all his effort had paid off and he had been able to have entertained us all.    

Monday, April 29, 2019

Y ~ Yoke

    Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.    Matthew 11:29-30
     Those were two verses quoted often in the Amish church I grew up in.
     The yoke was viewed as obeying all the church rules, but those kept changing and being added to regularly.
      If someone complained they were viewed as being in rebellion to the yoke of Christ, if they would only submit and humble themselves the yoke would be easy and the burden of all those rules wouldn't feel heavy they were told.
     Seeing so many struggling under the weight of what is expected of them, and never being able to get it right I wish they could see that, that is not at all what Jesus was teaching. Truly His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.
   

Saturday, April 27, 2019

X ~ X Marks the Spot No More

     Coming up with a topic for "x" can be more than a little challenging given the limited amount of words in the English language beginning with that letter.
     So I've decided to share a little something we saw recently.
      LV had planned a little 20th anniversary/40th birthday getaway for the two of us.
       The first morning of our trip when we opened our hotel door to go get breakfast we were surprised to see a man walking nonchalantly across the parking lot with a big road sign, post and all balanced on his right shoulder. 
      He marched up the steps and wrangled the thing into the room next to ours.
      It was all so bizarre that LV and I just stared at each other and burst out laughing.
       Somewhere out there is a missing  Center Lane Turn Only sign ... or for the sake of this blog post ... x no longer marks the spot.

Friday, April 26, 2019

W ~ Wink Wave and Whistle

     As a school girl, my least favorite part of the school day was recess.
      Having to go outside to play was a form of torture for me the majority of the time.
       Then one year we were introduced to a new game called "Wink, Wave, and Whistle" it combined all sorts of things I disliked about recess games. There was running and hiding and a poor hapless person who was it. 
        I don't remember all the rules to the game, but I do remember winking, waving, and whistling were all a part of freeing and catching the players. 
       To add another level of stress to the game was the fact that my family didn't approve of winking.
       I found a solution to the problem of playing the game. I participated, but chose a hiding place no one ever thought to look in to find me; the back of the coal bin in the basement of the school house. 
       I spent my recess crouched there  in the back of that dirty dark bin and was relieved when the bell rang and I could return to the pleasure of books, lessons, and learning. That was better than Wink, Wave, and Whistle any day.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

V ~ Voice Mail

    In our area the Amish have phones in little phone shanties. Several families will share the use of one shanty.
     The rule is the phone has to be far enough away from the house that you can't hear the phone ring. They also aren't allowed to have answering machines, but since they still want to be able to get in contact with whomever tried calling them they are allowed to have voice mail. They then call in to check their messages, often early in the morning.
     The reason I know they call early in the morning is because our phone number is only one digit different than their voice mail number, and I can't even begin guessing how often our phone rings because one of the Amish people wanted to check their voice mail.
     It's annoying, but I'd still rather have those wrong number calls than all the spam calls. It would be nice though if they could wait to check their voice mail until after the sun is up at least.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

U ~ Untouched

    An untouched photo of a little boy and his cat heading out in the early morning sunshine while everything is still wet with dew to gather a bouquet of flowers for his sister's birthday.


    I know the quality of the photo is bad, but it melts my heart and it will remain a keeper for me.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

T ~ Tis so Sweet

    We had left the Amish and found what we felt was "our" church. From our first visit we knew we were "home". The people were friendly and welcoming, the sermons made scripture come to life, and the singing ... let's just say after years of slow Amish church songs the singing was pure joy!
     Not long after we had started attending this church the Pastor announced that Sunday evening would be a little different. Families were welcome to share a Bible reading or sing a hymn, and we'd simply enjoy an evening of fellowship like that.
    We enjoyed it fully, and several months later when he announced they would be having another Sunday evening like that, LV and I started thinking ... what could we do? We absolutely loved the hymn Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus. It was very meaningful to us and we decided to sing it that evening.
     We practiced a few times that afternoon, and when it was time for Sunday evening services we left our house to go to church, a little more nervous than usual, but firmly decided we would be singing.

   

    Family after family went up to the front of the church and did what ever it was they had chosen to do: sing, read, play the piano. There was a short pause and LV got up ... somehow we made out way to the front of the church. He spoke a few words, sharing why we had chosen this song, and then we proceeded to sing it and returned to our seats when we were done.
     
      It had gone well, but that was the first and last time our family ever volunteered to do a "special" at church.

Monday, April 22, 2019

S ~ Swamp

    Off of a single lane dirt road there's a narrow footpath leading into the trees. It would be easy to miss if you didn't know it was there.
      Following the path you soon leave the trees and acres upon acres of huge wild blueberry bushes growing in shallow swamp water spread out as far as you can see on your left. On your right are ferns, wild roses, and many other plants.
       The path continues through a meadow filled with flowers and soft waving grass. Giant lilac bushes and hemlock trees border the meadow, making it one of the prettiest places. An ancient wood fence still stands guard for part of it, while the sweet songs of happy birds fills the air.
       The path winds on with the swamp getting a little less swampy on my left. We can see a pond through the trees, another footpath leads to it. Moss covered rocks line the bank and into the water. A pair of wood ducks fly away as we approach. We admire the bowl like nests of fish in the shallow water.
      Continuing on the main path we pass the stone foundation of what used to be a big house a hundred or more years ago. The hand dug well still contains water. The only sounds you can hear are the sounds of nature. There's something more in the air though. A rich feeling of history, happiness, contentment, and love. Somehow we unconsciously lower our voices to whispers.
     The path leads through more trees and lilac bushes and finally we arrive at a small lake hidden away back here.
      We spend time enjoying it and then head back home rejuvenated. Time spent at the swamp is always a treat for our family.
      Yesterday LV went back there alone. (It was threatening to rain, and I knew the path was already muddy.) When he came back he shared the sad news that some beavers have moved in and chewed down basically every tree back there. I'm not sure I can stand seeing that kind of destruction of one of my favorite spots, so maybe this will be the first year I don't go spend many a summer afternoon there.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

R ~ Righteous

    We were all enjoying some of Aunt Emma's good cooking as we sat around the table in Grandpa's kitchen. 
     Midway through our meal there was a knock on the door. When Grandpa answered it there was a man standing there asking if he could order some boards to do repairs on his barn. 
     Grandpa invited him inside and offered him a place at the table to join us in our meal.
      The man accepted the offer and continued to talk business as we ate. He was telling  Grandpa the measurements of the boards he needed him to cut in his sawmill.
      Grandpa asked him if he has the measurenents written down somewhere.
      The man answered that no, he doesn't that he simply looked at what he needed and decided to come order them.
      "Did you at least measure?" Grandpa asked.
       "No, I didn't" the man said. "If you live righteous you can look at something like that and know the exact measurements."
     Grandpa didn't argue, but provided the man with a piece of paper to write down everything he needed.
      By this time we were intrigued enough that we wanted to know the outcome of this righteous kind of measuring, and when the man left we asked Grandpa to keep us posted.
      Several weeks later he told us that none of the boards fit and they varied between two and five feet off for each piece.
      The second attempt the man measured what he needed and Grandpa cut the boards for him. There was no mention of being righteous this time around.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Q ~ Questions

    The most popular question we receive after someone learns that we used to be Amish is: "Why did you leave?"
    We usually ask them how much time they have to listen to our answer. The super short answer is that we became born again, and our "new belief" no longer meshed with the Amish faith.
     I have shared our story over a series of posts here on my blog, but today I'll share the highly condensed version we usually share with those asking that question.

    It was our spring communion at church and we were all standing waiting to be served the bread and wine. My stomach was in knots and I felt cold and clammy all over. I felt from the very depths of my being that this is all fake, just a ritual and meant nothing. And these words kept running through my mind. "Your new moon and appointed feasts my soul hateth they are a trouble to me I am weary to bear them."
     As we were driving home from church LV was extra quiet. That night after we were done with our chores we talked about the church service and we were both surprised to hear we had both felt sick and had the same words running through our mind at communion. We decided to see if they can be found in the Bible. We flipped through but really had no idea where to start looking. We read bits and pieces and LV announced we would read every day until we found some answers.
     We remembered a verse we had memorized in school Matthew 7:7 (the ask, seek, knock verse) We decided to claim that as our own and prayed God would show us what He wanted us to see. We read faithfully, sure that somewhere in the Bible we would find those words we had heard. As we were reading we discovered there was a lot more to know and learn than we had ever imagined. We enjoyed the four gospels, but the rest of the New Testament seemed like a bunch of gibberish that made no sense. The Old Testament fascinated us with all the history and we kept reading and finally we came across the verse we had been looking for in Isaiah 1:14. We read it and the verses that followed and puzzled over why we had, had this verse in our minds and what we were supposed to do now that we had found it.
     A month later we were in bed discussing once again, the Bible and what God wanted us to do. As we talked we asked ourselves if we were to die right now if we would go to heaven and what we saw was terrifying. We knew without a doubt we were on our way to hell, that even though we were "good" people we really had nothing whatsoever to give us hope to make it to heaven. We got out of bed and cried out to Jesus to save us, and He did. We could literally feel burdens lifted from us and the peace and joy that flooded through us I really can not describe. We knew without a doubt that Jesus had taken our sins, that we were forgiven, and something drastic had happened to us. An hour later when we got back to bed we were so happy that sleep eluded us. We spent the night praising God and looking forward to telling our parents and friends the happy news that we had finally found Jesus too.
     The next day I called my Mom and was surprised and disappointed when her reaction was totally opposite of what I expected. I had always thought she had a close relationship with God and had expected her to rejoice at my news. Instead she cried and begged and pleaded for us not to listen to the false religion Satan was trying to get us to believe, I had to cry too, I knew what we had was not from Satan and it hurt to think Mom would call it that.
     The news that we had gone bonkers spread through the Amish communities like wildfire. The following weeks were filled with calls from Amish bishops and concerned members to discourage our "strange belief" It didn't work. We knew what we had was the real thing, and the New Testament "gibberish" suddenly became clear and sweet and not gibberish at all. We were warned by the local bishop and ministers that we needed to repent and make a confession or else they would excommunicate us (give us to Satan) It was a no brainer, why would we repent that Jesus saved us? We left and have never been sorry that we did.
     Those first few months seem surreal. God was so good to us. He sent people into our life, often complete strangers to encourage us in our new life. It has been over twelve years now, and when we look back we can see how we have come a long way, and we look forward to what God has for us in the future. He has been good to us, He is good to us, and we rest in the fact that He will continue until the end.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

P ~ Potatoes

     Potatoes used to be one of my favorite things to plant in the garden when I was a child. 
     It was fun cutting the seed potatoes into pieces, taking special care that each piece had at least one eye. It was fun dropping those pieces into the deep furrows Mom and Dad had made in the garden. 
     As far as planting the garden went, planting potatoes was the hardest. I didn't realize that as a child. I was simply loving the fact that the entire family worked together in the evening after supper when ever potato planting time rolled around. Creating those deep furrows took a lot of effort, so Dad always helped out.
     Once the potato plants started growing it was finally an opportunity for us children to make a little money. We would walk along those rows and pick the potato bugs off the plants. A penny per bug seemed like excellent pay to us, especially since we didn't have any other money making opportunities.
     As summer wore on it was time to start digging up baby potatoes for lunch. We'd wash them well, and cook them without peeling them. The rest of the family always thought they were a special treat, but I didn't care for them. The flavor of potato skins was something I did not care for at all. (Still don't)
     When fall arrived and the potato plants died it was once again time for the entire family to work together. Dad would dig them up and we children would fill up pails with the potatoes. Mom would sort them into different piles. The biggest and the best in one pile to be stored for use for special occasions such as when visitors showed up. The small ugly ones were bagged in old feed bags and would be used for recipes that needed the potatoes cooked before they were peeled. The rest were for normal every day potatoes.
    It was always a good feeling to have plenty of potatoes stocked up in the basement to see us through until the next potato season.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

O ~ Over the Hill

     Who decided 40 is over the hill? Somehow I have this feeling it must have been someone who has not yet celebrated their 40th birthday.
     I still remember when my parents turned forty. I also remember thinking they're pretty old. Funny how that changes once it's you.
     Today I officially join the "over the hill" crowd. It has been a perfectly lovely day so far. The girls cooked a special breakfast for me and then they and Steven surprised me with thoughtful gifts they had made.
     Rosie Mae has been learning how to make books. She made this one for me. It has a hard cover that she then covered in fabric.  The pages have been hand sewn and bound. It's a lovely book.



     Her second gift was a tin filled with tea bags. She knows my favorite tea is an herbal one that comes in only loose leaf form. She hand sewed tea bags using coffee filters and filled them with my tea.

     Sharon knows I love elephants so she drew one on the card she made. Her gifts were a a big bag filled with little bags to open one per day to make my birthday last longer. I'm looking forward to discovering the contents of each bag. She always puts a lot of thought and feelings into the gifts she gives.


      Steven gave me an envelope filled with coupons. I love how the "anything" coupon has multiple uses. It perfectly shows his tender heart and desire to help others with what ever they need.


     So far 40 has been lovely ... and no matter what the saying is ... I don't feel "over the hill" at all.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

N ~ Nose Covers

   Two years ago, Rosie Mae had been looking for vintage crochet patterns, and discovered one to make nose covers. We had a good laugh as we looked at it, and then she continued her search for a pattern for something she actually wanted to make.
    Fast forward to Christmas morning. We were ready to open the gifts we had made for each other, and it was Rosie Mae's turn to hand out the gifts she had made. She instructed us to wait and all open them at the same time.
    Each package contained a nose cover, and a poem she had written.
    The rest of the family posed with their gift, which also happened to be the one and only time they were ever worn.


     Rosie Mae had made other gifts as well, that she then handed out after we were done laughing about her prank gift. Somehow I can't remember what those were, but these nose covers will remain a source of amusement for years to come.