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.