Thursday, December 30, 2021

Enough Blue

 "Genug fa en Deitcha mann sei hussa flicka."

(Enough to mend an Amish man's pants.)


I think of that quote, and hear my Mom saying it every time I see a small patch of blue in an overcast sky.

The last time I remember hearing her say it was back when I was a teen. We were building a house for my grandparents and were planning to have a frolic. The sky was quite overcast and my Uncle John Henry expressed his concern that it might rain.

Mom pointed out a tiny patch of blue peeking through the clouds and said, "Genug fa en Deitcha mann sei hussa flicka."

I was embarrassed ... silly me. But now I quote it too, much to the chagrin of our children.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Currently

 Reading ... it shouldn't be much of a surprise that I'm once again reading the Psalms. It seems I come back to them between other books of the Bible. I find them to be a balm to my soul, a place of rest, comfort, and praise.

In fiction I started Pat of Silver Bush by L.M. Montgomery. I'm liking it, but it seems I always approach her books with the subconscious idea that they have to be as good as the Anne of Green Gables series. That's not really fair, so this time I'm trying to make more of an effort to simply read this book without those expectations attached.

The best book I've read in a long time is The Remember Balloons. It's a children's book and takes less than five minutes to read, but it's so, so good! It's a beautifully written and illustrated story of a young boy and his grandfather. They each have balloons that hold memories, and gradually Grandpa begins losing his balloons. The grandson is dismayed by this, and begins sharing his own balloons with Grandpa.

It's achingly beautiful, and I admit to getting misty eyed. It's short, and sweet, and I'm so glad I read it. I'd recommend it to everyone. Request it from your library, buy it from Amazon, or listen to it being read on Youtube ... here. I prefer to have the sound off and just read it, but that's only me.

Writing ... Sharon convinced me to join her in doing NaNoWriMo again this year. I have been making progress on a book that I've been thinking about writing for years already. It's fun seeing it come to life, and I look forward to getting to read it once it's done. I have no idea if it will ever be published, but I was wanting to read this story, so I'm writing it. :)

In the meantime, Sharon has been writing circles around me and passed the goal of 50,000 words in November by week two. 

Watching ... the girls and I watched The Most Wonderful Time of the Year recently. It's our favorite Hallmark movie and we watch it every year. So far we have not started getting tired of it.

Listening ... to the ticking of the clock, the sound of laughter and conversation drifting down the stairs from Sharon and one of her friends, the furnace humming away in the basement, and a neighbor's dog barking loudly at a mooing cow.

Baking ... this afternoon I want to try making some lemon blueberry cookies using the same recipe that I use for our favorite holiday cookies (Cranberry Orange) and substitute dried blueberries for the cranberries and lemon for the orange. I'm looking forward to seeing how they turn out. In my head it seems they should be delicious.

Cooking ... tonight I'll be making a soup with leftovers from the fridge. It will include rice, hamburger, and poblano peppers. I'll also be making some fresh herbed dinner rolls to go with it.

Feeling ... shooketh. (Let's go ahead and pretend that's an actual word.) After one of the girls had the misfortune of having to deal with a stalker we invested in self defense - we didn't want to be paranoid, but prepared. My own preparedness was a joke earlier this week when I had a run in with a creepy dude at our local commuter parking where I was waiting to pick up LV. Everything I thought I knew and was prepared for flew out of my mind and I froze. Thankfully I'm fine, but the whole experience has left me shaken. So disturbing!

Disliking ... the ruts that are being created in our yard by someone driving through it to feed their cows. I'm trying to remain sweet about it, but inside I'm feeling less than sweet. I'm thinking it's time to pray extra blessing on them every time they drive through the yard. The ruts will still be ugly, but hopefully they will no longer annoy me as much.

Loving ... the lights we wrapped around the bannisters. They create such a happy twinkly glow.

Playing ... a variety of games, but Skipbo seems to be our current go to. Sleeping Queens, Chess, Battleship, Trouble, and a few others have all made an appearance this past week as well.

Cleaning ... I'm wrapping up the fall housecleaning. I still want to do the four lazy susans in the kitchen before I officially call it done. I did them in the beginning of fall cleaning, but they're lazy susans and need constant attention in our house it seems.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Homemade Christmas Memories

     The fall housecleaning has been taking extra long this year for some reason, but I'm nearing the end. Today as I was going through the things in the storage room I happened upon this.



    It transported me back to Christmas the year I was seventeen. Our family always included homemade gifts in our celebrations. That year Mahlon gave me a songbook. He loved helping me sing and chose four of his and my favorite songs and asked Mom to help him make a songbook to give to me.


    I never used it, but tucked it away ... just because. Seeing it today made me so thankful that we did homemade gifts, and that I was enough of a hoarder to actually keep it.  What a treasure of memories this unlocked. 
    I sat cross-legged on the storage room floor and had myself a good cry, even though the memories were sweet.
    I still can't believe that Mom and Mahlon are both gone.
    I will treasure this little songbook always, and am so glad they made and gifted it to me that Christmas.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Last Night at the Kinsingers

     After a full day it was time to begin our supper preparations.
    Steven filled a bowl with potatoes and started peeling them while I dug out the two packs of chicken breasts from the refrigerator to use to make chicken tenders.
    I located my meat tenderizer hammer and started the tedious task of pounding the chicken to the desired thickness.
    It was a noisy job, which made our usual chatting while cooking pretty much impossible, so I was left with my thoughts as I focused on the task at hand.
    Thump, thump, went the hammer  - I'm so happy Kenneth, Paige and Baby T are coming over tonight.
    Thump, thump - I'm glad Chris shared this recipe for chicken tenders with me. Other than the tenderizing part it's one of the easiest and most delicious ways to have chicken breast.
    Thump, thump, thump - I can't wait to see Baby T again. He's growing up so fast! It's so much fun having a baby in my life. This whole being a Grandma thing is pretty great.
    Thump, thump - I should ask Paige tonight if she would mind if we gave Baby T a noisy toy for Christmas, or should we -                        
    CRASH!!!!
    


    All that thumping had caused the domed cake platter to vibrate its way forward and tumble off the raised corner part of our counter.
    Glass shards coated everything.
    The chicken had to be tossed.
    After a few moments of feeling discombobulated I tackled the cleanup, managing to cut myself in the process, and then came up with an entirely new menu for supper.
    In-spite of the start, we had a lovely evening. We ate. We played games. We talked and laughed. We got to dote on and play with Baby T. 
    


    So thankful for family and the simple joys of life.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Today Joyce is doing a throwback with questions she used from the very first Wednesday Hodgepodge.

 

 1. How did you name your blog and do you now wish you had thought about it maybe another five minutes before hitting publish? Would you change your blog title if it were not a huge pain in the derriere? 

When I started my blog I looked around for inspiration. The girls had the entire living room floor covered in pictures they had cut out of catalogs for their paper dolls and in another room Kenneth had set up a vast farming operation with his toys. The house was far from perfect in that condition, but it was happy - and so - on a whim - A Joyful Chaos was born.

I don't mind the name, and haven't ever considered trying to change it.

2. What bill do you least like to pay? 

I don't enjoy paying any bills, but my least favorite is probably our phone bill. It's part of our internet package, but it feels like a waste every month because the landline calls we receive are 99% telemarketers and spam.

3. What is your favorite word? Okay okay, calm down. How about one of your favorite words? 

You would think this would be easy since Steven usually asks me questions about my favorite things every single day. 

I think my favorite word is Mom or some variation of it. Mom, Mumsy, Mama - all three are used regularly at our house.

Being a mother has been the best "job" and I love being called Mom.

4. Is the glass half full or half empty? Elaborate. 

I'd like to think it's half full. Usually when I take the time to look there is so much to be thankful for, even amid hard times.

5. Were you here for that very first Hodgepodge post? If so, were your answers then similar to what they are today? Tell us what was happening in your life in November of 2010? 

I wasn't here in the beginning of the Hodgepodge. I joined it for the first time a little over a year later and have participated in 236 of them so far.

In November of 2010 we were in Missouri finishing up a logging contract while staying in an empty house with only the bare necessities. 

That experience makes me think I could thrive in a minimalistic lifestyle, but I don't have the courage to actually take that leap and get rid of most of our things.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

You would think with my appreciation of the minimalistic lifestyle the following conversation would not have happened yesterday.

Me: I absolutely love Calico Critters. If I ever have a "just for fun" collection of something, I would like to collect Calico Critter families.

Rosie Mae: They are super adorable. You should someday.

Me: I won't be mad if you give me the start of my collection for Christmas.

Sigh ... I need to refocus. Fewer things is the way to go, I know it, but still - they're so cute!