Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Have you ever noticed how names that you didn't particularly care for can become pretty once you associate them with a sweet natured person and otherwise pretty names can lose their charm when attached to a chronically grumpy person?

I was introduced to the name Matilda when I was in forth or fifth grade and asked to memorize a poem about a little girl named Matilda. I can't remember all of it any longer but the first two lines have always stuck. Matilda told such dreadful lies,       It made one gasp and stretch ones eyes,  Because of her habit of telling lies something very horrible happened to her. The name Matilda became less than desirable to me then.

Several years later we had a van load of visitors drop by to see us. Among the guests was an older single girl. Her name happened to be Matilda. She was a sour person and always had something negative to add to the conversation that was flowing around her. The name was secured a little more firmly on the list of ones I didn't really care for.

Several weeks after we got married I was looking through one of my new cookbooks trying to find a recipe to bake a cake. Most of them were unfamiliar but when I came to one called Matilda cake I had to give it a try. I only ever made it once and it lived up to the name. It was a tough bland cake. Eating it was like chewing on a vanilla flavored shoe sole.

Lumping all of those experiences together when ever I heard the name Matilda it always made me think of unpleasant things.

Enter a very sweet elderly lady with snow white hair. Her hands and face lined with deep wrinkles but her eyes still held a happy sparkle, her smile lit up the room, and she had the sweetest voice. Her name I learned happened to be Matilda. With time I can now envision her when I hear that name and it makes me smile. And I think I have learned that it isn't the name, it is the person that bears it that makes it sweet or not.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Morning After

After spending most of the night awake and rejoicing at our new found joy of personally knowing our Saviour morning came and we went about our regular schedule.

I hurried through the usual morning work, eager to call my Mom to tell her our happy news. She answered the phone after several rings and we had a few moments of chit chat before I launched into the reason I was calling. "Jesus had found us last night and we have finally been born again," I told her happily.

Her reaction was totally opposite of what I expected. Instead of rejoicing with us that we were finally truly at peace with God she started crying and pleading with me to not listen to this strange new belief that Satan was trying to deceive us with. I of-course had to cry too as I listened to her because I knew what we had experienced, what we now had was the real thing. I couldn't renounce this new found faith in my Jesus no matter how much I loved my Mom and didn't want to hurt her.

When LV came into the house I told him about the call and we discussed what we should do now that we had found Jesus. We realized that we would not be able to talk about or share it with our friends that were Amish since it was not at all normal or accepted to talk about spiritual things. For now we would try to keep our happy news to ourselves and see where God would lead us next. We felt sure that our journey was only beginning and that He had been faithful in leading us to find Him and were sure that He wouldn't stop leading now that we had found Him.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Ramble

I'm back! My Mom's visit was everything I dreamed it would be. It was absolutely great to be able to visit, laugh, and work together like we used to do and the children greatly enjoyed getting to know her as well.

Other than the stories I used to tell them they barely knew her so they really enjoyed her visit.


We live far enough inland that the effects of hurricane Irene were minimal. Our power was off almost all day Saturday. Thankfully it is back on by now and I can't help but think of all the people that are affected by the storm much more than we were and hope that their lives can continue like normal before long as well.


At four this morning we were awakened by an awful noise. After sitting up and listening and peering out the window we couldn't see or hear anything else so tried to get our remaining thirty minutes of sleep before the alarm clock goes off.

As the first streaks of dawn were tinting the sky we noticed that the entire fence to the cow pasture along the road, beside the creek was wiped away. Somewhere someone has a pretty dinged up car! The fence has been replaced already and as far as I know none of the cows wandered out on the road because of this.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Happiest Night

LV and I had tucked the children into bed and were once again reading the Bible. It got late and we laid it aside to try and get some sleep ourselves. But instead of falling asleep we talked. We discussed what we had been reading, discussed our life up until this point, we had never done anything we considered to be wicked or particularly sinful but somehow that night we could draw no comfort from that.

The longer we talked the more serious things looked.Almost as if layers of curtains were being pulled back and we could really see ourselves. It wasn't pretty and we knew without a shadow of a doubt that we were not good enough on our own to get to heaven. To fully realize that was the most terrifying feeling ever. We had to do something.

We got out of bed and cried out to Jesus to save us. That we were done trying to be good on our own and really really needed him. The peace that washed over us then I really can't describe. I had never felt so light and carefree in my life. It was as if giant burdens had been lifted and we knew without a shadow of a doubt this was real. Jesus had really saved us.

The rest of the night sleep was not on our minds. The joy we felt was much too deep and profound to be sleepy and we talked, praised, and tried to refrain from singing since we didn't want to wake the children. I couldn't wait until the next morning to call my Mom to tell her about our good news. The feeling of being forgiven that we had anticipated at baptism had finally swept over us and I knew she would be thrilled for us.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Renewed Feelings

We had really enjoyed our time in Mew Mexico. There was something about this state that really fascinated us. The vastness of it with miles and miles of unspoiled untouched lands. The ancient cliff dwellings and ruins. It almost seemed as if you could feel the presence of something or someone much bigger than ourselves.

We went home but that feeling lingered and we once again buried ourselves in Bible reading. We knew there must be some explanation to everything we were feeling and a sense of earnest desperation of needing to know was once again pressing on us.

We read and read some more and talked about everything. There was so very much that we didn't and couldn't really understand but knew if it was in the Bible it must be important so we kept on reading.

Monday, August 22, 2011

My Morning

So far my morning has been pleasantly busy.  I'm not someone who enjoys spending a lot of time in waiting rooms or seeing a doctor but there is something about hearing that everything is going great that makes me happy and the visit worthwhile.

And when I came home the phone rang. It was my Mom calling which made me excited but when she told me her news I had to do a happy dance! She is coming to visit for several days this week! It will be the first time I see her in over three years. I can hardly wait.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Every day we saw something else of interest. There is so much to see in New Mexico if you take time to explore the state. My favorite places were the Aztec ruins, Bandelier where we got to explore cliff dwellings, and White sands. With many other points of interest tucked inbetween.
But it was at the top of a mountain in Sierra Blanca where one of my favorite photos from that trip was taken.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Little Bit Of This & That

Blogger is acting up again this morning and I'm unable to upload the pictures I wanted to so instead I'll be doing another post of random things in my life that make me smile.
I have a weakness for tongue twisters. I love finding them and getting others to say them. My latest I happened to discover quite by accident as I was looking through a recipe book and found a recipe for Braised Beef Brisket. I discovered that, that is one of the most difficult recipe titles ever to try and pronounce correctly.  Go ahead and try saying it three times really fast.
I look forward to a certain time every morning while I am preparing breakfast and Rosebud stumbles into the kitchen still rubbing the sleep from her eyes. She gets the plates from the cupboard and starts setting the table and then pauses and says brightly. "Mama, I have a feeling that today is going to be a really good day."  At bedtime she will pause and say happily, "I was right about today. It was really good!"   I would love to be able to keep my little girl like this always but since I know that children don't stay little very long at all I hope she can carry that positive hopeful attitude all the way through life.
I love hearing the katydids sing their noisy songs every night. Here in our area once you hear them it is a sure sign that fall is just around the corner. My favorite season!
I love Sundays. It's the only day I don't have to worry about packing lunch and we can spend all day together as a family. It never lasts long enough. An added perk is that LV always takes care of preparing our food in the evening while I don't have to worry about anything. I must admit it is rather fun being spoiled.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The First Day

I love the feeling of eager anticipation that comes as you are busy with all the preparations of getting ready to leave on vacation. The trip we had planned to take to New Mexico with our friends we had been looking forward to for months already. And now with all the clothes sewed and packed into suitcases and everything else taken care of we were ready to leave.

Once we got to Oklahoma it finally felt real, that we were actually on our way. We visited as we drove and since it had been a year since the last time we had seen our friends we had a lot of catching up to do.

Once we reached Amarillo we decided to stop and find a motel for the night. Somehow we managed to get into the residential part of the city and were entertained with all the different signs people had in their front yards. Somehow we wound up on a dead end street and had to turn around. The sign right next to the driveway had these comforting words. "They'll bury them in the rain"  We scanned the sky and were happy to see that it didn't look like there was any rain on the way and quickly hurried away again.

We soon found a place to eat and then a motel and looked forward to a good night of sleep and then being able to be on our way the next morning.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


My parents had stayed for almost a week and now that they had left for home I had a lot of work to do. Our dear friends from back east had offered to take us on vacation all that we needed to do was choose which state we wanted to explore and we would be on our way.

Digging through my fabric cupboard I selected fabric to make new clothes for our family.  I wanted matching clothes for us to wear everyday that we were on vacation and since we were planning to be gone for almost ten days that meant I had a lot of sewing to do.

I had a lot of fun though sewing everything. Most of the clothes would be used for everyday after we got back but a few of the better fabrics would be saved for Sunday use and all of Sailor's clothes I intended for him to wear when he started school that fall. It seemed almost impossible that he was actually old enough to be starting school and I spent extra time with his clothes making sure everything about them was as neat as possible and every button hole was hand stitched perfectly. I was really looking forward to our vacation and was glad that we could have one more family outing before we had to focus on school.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Giveaway Winner

It's so nice to know I'm not the only one that finds stray objects in my washing machine. Now if only there were a way to make that those type of strays stay out and stray socks find their way in we'd be all set.

After consulting my friend, the Random Generator here is the lucky winner receiving the book Simon & Susie Stories is........
Folky Dots said.......
A. Dead. Mouse.

please enter me :)

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

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Giveaway Time

Lately the nights and mornings have been very chilly which makes that the house is the perfect temperature to feel like curling up on a comfortable chair with a cozy blanket and a good book. And while I can't give you the chair or the blanket I do have a good book here that is waiting to find a home with someone who would enjoy reading it.

Simon & Susie Stories by David Wagler is a book that covers three and a half years of a typical Amish teen during their "rumspringa"   It is another one of the books that I used to really like while I was growing up.

If you would like to have a chance to win it leave a comment telling me what the strangest thing was you ever found in your washing machine. I have had a fair share of unintended things appearing in the washer. Anything from spare change, pens, to the dreaded paper towel but by far the strangest and most unsettling for me was the day I discovered a little toad bravely bobbing on the top of the clothes. Needless to say the toad was removed and the clothes were washed again.

For a second entry leave a link on your blog for this giveaway and come back and leave another comment telling me you did.

I will be drawing a winner on Monday afternoon, August 15th using random generator.
Disclaimer: The only compensation I get from doing this giveaway is the warm fuzzy feeling I get from knowing someone else will get to enjoy this book.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Candy Dish

Yesterday we needed something from the attic so the children and I trooped up there and started digging through boxes. I did a terrible job of marking boxes so we had to dig through almost every single one before I found what I was looking for. In the process of digging through the boxes I found this sweet little apple shaped candy dish.

There is quite a story behind this little dish, or at least about the day when I received it as a little girl. I wrote about it in the first book of the series I am working on. 

Rosebud is the first person to read all my stories for the book and was absolutely thrilled to see this little dish since she had really enjoyed the story. She suggested I share a picture with you so that you can look forward to hearing about it someday too.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Settling In

The weeks that followed the purchase of our new home were very busy as every day we would load a few pieces of furniture on our cattle trailer and all the boxes we had packed. I rode in the back with the children while LV drove the tractor. Once everything was unloaded, unpacked, and in place we would hurry back to pack some more things to take the next next day.

It was a rainy day when we moved the last of our things into our new house. LV took our tractor and cattle trailer with a load of baby calves while I drove our horse and buggy. Even the rain couldn't dampen our excitement and hopefulness as we settled into our new home. Everything about it seemed to be whispering of good things to come.
Several weeks later my parents and my two youngest brothers came to visit us. It was fun showing Mom through our new house and then spending time talking and working together.

We were glad that we had a year in which to get everything Amishified and hoped by that time we would already know where we would be moving to and not have to make this home ugly by tearing out the electric lights and putting in ugly copper pipes for gas lights and space heaters.

For right now though we were planning on enjoying everything just the way it was. Our summer looked full and busy with many plans and we looked forward to many good days ahead.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Reality Check

Apparently I don't act my age. I think I'll take that as a compliment though after Sunbeam handed this little note to me yesterday.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Some of my earliest memories include buggies and the rides I had in them. I was only several years old when Daddy let me sit beside him on our open buggy to go somewhere. Part of the reason I remember this particular ride is because it was the first time I got to sit beside him instead of on his lap and I was feeling quite important.

The other reason is because I was wearing a brand new pair of boots that he had bought for me. They looked a lot like the ones he was wearing only much, much smaller. They were perfect! I kept admiring them and swinging my feet to see them better when all of a sudden one of them popped off my foot and landed on the road. Daddy had to stop and pick it up and then tucked both boots under the seat until we got home so it wouldn't happen again.


I have had rides in all sorts of buggies, the Lancaster cracker box style with their straight sides and not very much room on the seats. A variety of open buggies, the usual top buggies that aren't Lancaster style. I've been to places where they used only lanterns instead of lights, and they couldn't have storm fronts. I have seen yellow buggies, brown buggies, gray and black  but not until yesterday when we were ready to start for home after spending a little time in the Lancaster area have I ever seen or heard of a green buggy before.

There are a lot of Old Order also known as horse and buggy Mennonites in that area so I'm guessing this buggy may not have belonged to someone Amish. I had to take a picture though so you can see it too.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Easy Roast Beef Sandwiches

The less time I spend working over a hot stove during the summer the happier I am! After trying these sandwiches I knew we would be having them on our summer menu for a long time. Very simple and very tasty. To me that is the perfect combination.

Easy Roast Beef Sandwiches

12 oz. thinly sliced deli roast beef
½ cup water
¼ cup ketchup
1 Tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp prepared mustard
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp salt
¼ tsp  red pepper flakes (hot)

Combine last seven ingredients in a saucepan. Separate roast beef slices and add them one at a time while stirring to make sure each piece is coated with sauce. Bring to a boil and cook for 4-6 minutes. Serve on your favorite hamburger buns.

Yields 4 if each sandwich has a nice amount of meat.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Hurried Plans ~ Part Four

That next week we contacted several different real estate offices in the area to see what they had available. There were several different properties for sale that we decided to go take a look at. None of them really appealed to us until the realtor who was showing us around decided to show us one last home that we might be interested in though he didn't seem overly enthused about it.

The minute we drove into the driveway I loved the place. A newer house and very well kept yard and pastures, a few acres of woods, and the view from the the back porch was beautiful. After seeing the inside of the house I loved it even more. I was sure we could be very happy there until we knew what community to move to.

The owners were desperate to sell and accepted our offer. They wanted to have closing as soon as possible so a week later it was officially ours and we started moving our things in.

For the first time I felt I could learn to love the area. With a newer house and hardly any trees or underbrush nearby the amount of insects, snakes, and lizards that had held me in terror for almost two years were greatly reduced. It also seemed very relaxing to be living a little off the side of the main group of Amish where no one could see what time our lights went on in the morning or off in the evening and have it questioned or discussed on Sundays.

Everything about this place felt right. Right down to the golden key the owner handed to us on closing day. We settled in happily, eager to see what God had in store for us. It felt as if we would soon be finding out. But until then we would enjoy our life, our family, and the beautiful misty sunrises that transformed the hills most mornings.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hurried Plans ~ Part Three

That Sunday afternoon the bishop and his wife took us visiting different families in the community they thought we should meet. The children were getting tired and I was ready to tuck them in bed and rest for a while myself instead of going to visit yet more strangers.

It was a relief once it was finally bedtime and we all settled in. We both looked forward to be heading home the next morning. This community, we decided, though nothing really wrong with it was not the place for us. It simply felt all wrong.

The next morning as we loaded our suitcases back into the van I hoped we would have a safe trip back home. This driver was a little scary as he was constantly looking at LV while he talked and he talked nearly non-stop. But even worse was the way he drove down the ramps that lead to the four lane highways. Instead of being ready to yield if it was necessary he always floored it and we went rocketing out into the traffic where he would immediately step on his brakes and the whole van lurched until he found the proper speed. The simple fact that we weren't in an accident because of his driving was reason enough to be in a rejoicing mood when we got home still all safely in one piece.

The neighbor who had bought our farm had given us permission to stay living in the house until we found a place to move to, but we weren't enjoying the pressure we felt of finding a new church and not knowing where to look next. So we decided to look for a small acreage in the area instead and move there until we knew where we were supposed to go.
To be continued

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hurried Plans ~ Continued

Our driver came that Saturday morning to take us to that little New Order Amish community in Illinois. While we were loading our suitcases and fastening the childrens car seats he stood there watching us and talking in a streak.  By the time we got a few miles down the road we had already heard all the biggest points of his life history.

This was the first time we had ever had him to go any where and we were fast becoming weary of his non-stop chatter as he was now filling us in on all the other points of his life. I felt a little guilty for almost being happy when the van had a flat tire and he had to change it. A few moments of silence where I could actually have my own thoughts seemed nice.

The tire was fixed before long and we were on our way again. We arrived at the bishop's house and he and his wife came out to welcome us. They were a very friendly older couple and after we all had supper we visited for a little while and went to bed. The next morning we were wakened by a loud voice on the other side of our bedroom wall. After listening for a little we heard that it was the bishop and he was praying, using his own words instead of the usual written prayers the Amish use.

We tried not to listen too much but his voice was loud and clear and we didn't have much of a choice. This seemed different. After thinking there should be no limits on prayer it still felt a little funny to actually hear someone speak his thoughts so loudly and earnestly to God.

After breakfast we joined them to go to church. Since this was a New Order church they had a church house which seemed really nice once again. After church they had all the members stay in to work with some sort of problem. It was nice to have a glimpse of how their church worked in instances like that, but I wasn't feeling as if this was the right place. I couldn't quite put my finger on why I felt like I did since there was nothing about this place that was showing any positive no's but I still shrank from the thought of moving to this community.
To be continued

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hurried Plans

We were almost ready to sit down and eat when there was a knock on the door. LV went to see who it was and I tried to listen as I spooned food on the childrens plates and fed Sunbeam. I couldn't understand more than a few words and a little later when LV came back to join us I wanted to know who it had been.

"It was our neighbor," LV said. "He was wondering if we would consider selling our farm to him since our land joined his and he was hoping to expand his operation. He made an offer that would be really hard to turn down but I told him we would talk it over and think about it first."

That evening after the children were tucked in bed we did talk it over. We both thought his generous offer was too good not to accept and since we didn't want to remain in this community any way we decided to accept.

We were now faced with having to search seriously for another community. We had heard of a little community in southern Illinois and though we didn't know any of the people there personally we managed to find out who the bishop was and after talking to him we made plans to go visit his church to see if we want to move there.

The option for local drivers who were willing to make overnight trips were very few but we finally found someone who had only recently decided he would like to be a taxi driver for the Amish and we hired him to take us.
To be continued