Friday, September 30, 2011

Another Favorite

This happens to be one of the favorite things in my kitchen and I use it often. It works perfectly when ever I want to shred cheese or apples. Potatoes whir through the grater cone often to then be fried. Another cone slices things nicely and when ever we're in the mood for homemade potato chips I reach for it. The fine grater makes short work of carrots or anything else I decide to send through it.

I shudder at the thought of trying to make a coleslaw without it.

I started housekeeping without it, having only a handheld grater that I slaved over and hated every time I used it. It always took a long time, my arm got tired and I tried to avoid preparing food that required my using it.

When our first Christmas together came. LV gave me this King Kutter and I was thrilled and I have been using it regularly ever since. We have had quite a few Christmases by now and he always does a great job of choosing gifts but so far none has been used and loved as much as this one.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Too Little

Starting LV's memories today.
The old farmhouse was nestled among some trees on the side of a steep hill. Just beyond it was an old dairy barn and if you looked around some more you could see a low ugly building with billows of smoke and steam escaping from it. In it Dad, cousin Wilmer, and my oldest brother Mervin were cooking another batch of maple syrup.

I wanted to go out to join them but Mom thought it was too cold and I was too little. "Too little," was a phrase I heard often and really disliked. I couldn't help that I was the baby of the family and as much as I tried to keep up with every one else there were always things they didn't want me to do. And today that happened to be going out to the sugar camp with Dad.

The other children were in school. I looked out the window. It didn't look really cold. There was still some snow on the ground except for the places that had a lot of traffic. The path from the house to the barn was muddy and slippery and all around the sugar camp there was even more mud.

Mom was busy at the sewing machine so I quietly went to get my coat and hat. After pulling on my boots and mittens I headed out the door. I walked right beside the path in the snow and admired the nice tracks my boots were making. When I got to the sugar camp I waded through the mud. It was even deeper than I thought it would be. It made funny slurping noises with every step I took. This was fun! I waded through the mud some more until I got stuck. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't pull my foot out of the mud. I tried kicking and jumping but nothing worked and after a particularly hard attempt I fell face down into the mud.

Somehow Wilmer heard me and came to my rescue. He held me at arms length in front of him and carried me to the house. After setting me inside the door he went back outside and Mom came to clean me up.

Once again I had been too little.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Apple Goodie

After mentioning the Apple Goodie yesterday I received a lot of emails requesting the recipe so I decided to share it today.

Apple Goodie

3 large apples (a tart variety work best)

Peel apples. I like shredding them but finely diced or very thinly sliced would work as well. Spread in bottom of 9x13 pan.

½ cup butter
½ cup hot water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Melt butter. Add sugar and stir. Add water, vanilla, and cinnamon. Stir well and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and pour over apples.

1 cup oatmeal
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
½ tsp baking powder
2/3 cup softened butter.

In a medium bowl mix all ingredients together until you have nice uniform crumbs. Sprinkle over the apples and pat firmly.

Bake in a preheated 350ยบ oven for 45 minutes. You have several options as a way to serve. Absolutely delicious when served hot with vanilla ice-cream. Or if you were serving it to my brothers they would request cold milk and practically drown the apple goodie in it. We prefer to eat it cold most of the time.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Autumn Days

As most of you know, fall is my favorite season. There's something about the crisp clear days that do something to me that no other season does and I enjoy it to the fullest.

A lot of the trees are starting to show a little color but the tree in front of our house is a little ahead of most and is losing a lot of leaves already. It did a great job of providing a delightful shade and keeping the house cooler this summer so it's entitled to getting to rest a little longer than most trees.

The flower bed in front of the house had a variety of flowers throughout this summer but most of those are gone. One plant decided to produce one last splash of color before a killing frost comes along. It's blooms are a lovely lavender and almost six inches in diameter. I have no idea what kind of flower it is but that doesn't keep me from admiring it.

Sunbeam came running into the house excited about the katydid on the front porch. We hear katydids all night every night but to actually get to see one is very rare since they live in tree tops and can't fly. This poor thing must have blown out when it was extra windy yesterday so now it has a long climb ahead of it to get back to it's home in the tree top.

The children were playing on the hill behind the house last evening and happened to discover several apple trees we had not known were there. Most times apples that grow wild and unattended are small, gnarled, and wormy. But these are huge, clean, and juicy. I think we'll be making Apple Goodie for dessert tonight. One of our favorites!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Church Decisions

After three months of having Mahlon stay with us while he recovered from his accident he moved back to his home.

As he had been recovering we once again regularly attended the church 150 miles away and still listened to the other pastors sermons on CD on our way to and from church. Though we liked the church we were attending the best part of the day was listening to the CDs as we traveled.

As our first year anniversary of leaving the Amish approached I was starting to have serious problems with my gall bladder. I had dealt with attacks for years already but this was being so much worse and there were no pain free days. It got so bad that it was torture trying to ride in our vehicle since every little bump made it hurt worse.

LV wanted to take me to the hospital but I was sure that with enough time I would get over it. Days turned into weeks and I kept getting worse instead of better and so we opted to go to the church nearby instead of making that long trip every Sunday.

Finally it got so bad that I couldn't even keep a sip of water down and LV practically dragged me to the ER and by this time I was so sick I didn't care what happened. When we got there the doctors did a few tests and immediately a sense of urgency came up as they tucked me into an ambulance and I was on my way to surgery. My gall bladder had burst and needed immediate attention.

LV stayed with me as much as he could but the children also needed him so evenings he would head home to be with them. My sister-in-law showed once again that she had a heart of gold and spent several nights in the hospital. She made an excellent nurse and I was very grateful to have her there.

After a little more than a week in the hospital I was released and ever so happy to be able to go home. It took quite a while to recover from everything and once again we decided to attend the local church until I could comfortably ride that long distance to the other one.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Difference in Lifestyle

The decision to leave the Amish was one of the hardest decisions we ever made in our life. Knowing that it would shatter relationships and tear our families apart. But knowing that we weren't free continue in our new found faith if we were to remain Amish sealed the decision for us and we left. We have never regretted making that decision.

Other than no longer attending the Amish church and now owning a vehicle our life continued much the same. Though we were no longer bound by the Amish rules our changes were much more gradual than some people who leave the Amish. Since I had made a lot of new clothes to go on vacation only two months earlier we saw no reason why we had to throw all of those away and immediately change what we wear. As they wore out or were outgrown we changed our wardrobe which by now doesn't contain anything Amish.

The quality of lifestyle does not have to change because of technology. Having family as your number one priority does not change simply because you now drive around in a vehicle instead of in a buggy. A simple more carefree life is not based on how you eat, what you wear, or what you use to get your work done. The quality of life depends much more on a heart condition rather than a pocessions condition. Taking time to enjoy the little moments, being content with what you have instead of always reaching for bigger better things, enjoying working and playing with your children and basically doing everything side by side, not thinking that you deserve the best of everything, not holding on to grudges, the list could go on for a long time.

Leaving the Amish did not change who we were or our basic home life, but it did give us the freedom to grow in our faith and being able to follow where God leads.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


As most of you probably realize the journey I was chronicling from a happy little Amish girl to where I am today, still happy but no longer Amish has mostly been told. There were a lot of memories that I missed writing about from my childhood but those will be making their way into the book series I am writing so I don't want to share them on this blog.

After making so many friends in the blogging world I don't want to quit and walk away so I was wondering what you are interested in hearing about.

I will still be sharing bits and pieces about our day to day life every once in a while. And also sharing the occasional recipe. My time spent in the kitchen has been drastically reduced since I'm dealing with some pregnancy related issues so those will be a little slow in coming until after the baby gets here.

I also have bits and pieces of memories I could share from my teenage years and early married life that I am considering posting. Since most of my memories were shared in chronological order it would mess that part up but I would always add a label at the end of each post letting you know in which time frame that certain memory happened.

There is also one more option and one that I think could be fun. Sharing LV's story about his boyhood.

So now I'm wondering what you would like for me to do with my blog from this point.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Several months after leaving the Amish we received a phone call letting us know that my brother Mahlon had a bad accident on the construction job where he had been working. He suffered from a fractured skull and other broken bones and needed a place to stay after being released from the hospital to recuperate for three months.

We were more than happy to let him stay with us and went to bring him home from the hospital. The next weekend we realized that we wouldn't want to be making our 150 mile trip to church with him not feeling the best and decided we would instead attend the nearby church that our neighbor pastored. We had been enjoying the sermons on CD for a while already and looked forward to attending.

Walking into the church LV and I both felt like this was the place where we needed to be. There was something there that had still been missing from the church we had been attending and it seemed as if something was telling us that our search for a church home was over. It was not what we had ever imagined we would do having thought joining a Mennonite church would be our answer and this was certainly not a Mennonite church.

We decided to attend this church until Mahlon was feeling better and able to join us on the long ride to the church we had been attending before he had his accident. We wanted to be sure before we made a final decision on what we would be calling "our" church.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The ABC's of .......

Some of my likes and dislikes.  I thought it might be fun to do a little list of things again. Things you may or may not know about me.
A - airplanes. I have absolutely no desire or plans to ever travel by air.
B - babies. So sweet, innocent, and adorable. What's not to love about a baby?
C- children. They make life a better place in so many different ways. I love listening to them play and sing and the times spent working and playing together are priceless.
D- dandelions. So it might be the accepted thing to not like dandelions but somehow the bright yellow cheerful flowers make me smile especially when I'm presented with a bouquet of them or see a carefully woven dandelion chain.
E- earthworms. Make me shiver with disgust and repulsion. Especially when they litter the driveway after a rain.
F- flowers. Almost any kind of flowers help cheer up a day whether they are in a bouquet displayed on the middle of the table or I see a wildflower blooming in a little unknown and hardly ever seen place.
G- games. Relaxing with the children on a Sunday afternoon playing our favorite board games is always fun.
H- home. The sweetest place on earth.
I- ice-cream. Sorry, I don't like it. It always looks good but a bite or two is always more than enough for me unless it's a McDonald's vanilla ice-cream cone. That is the only ice-cream I can enjoy.
J- jams. Love the kind you spread on bread. Detest the ones that involve traffic.
K- kittens. While I admit that they are cute I still don't want to hold or pet them. I don't know when that changed since I used to love them as a child.
L- lights. The more and brighter the better. I don't enjoy dimly lit houses.
M- mealtimes. Having everyone at the table talking and enjoying the food I prepared is always a great feeling.
N- nuts. Especially cashews roasted like my Mom used to make them.
O- olives. I have no idea why I like them so well.
P- parrots or parakeets. Not a fan. They're pretty but I don't like the noise they make or when they fly around a room I always have the urge to duck and run.
Q- quilts. Pretty ones, soft cuddly ones, thick ones, thin ones. I have a thing for quilts and in my opinion you can never have too many.
R- rainy days. There is something about rainy days that I really like. they are so relaxing. The rain splashing against the window panes and being inside where it's warm and dry. My idea of a lovely day!
S- sunshine. As much as I love rainy days I also enjoy bright sunny days that follow a week of rainy days.
T- tinsel. As far back as I can remember I have always enjoyed seeing tinsel. As a child that was only when we went to town during the Christmas season but now I get to enjoy it much more close-up.
U- umbrellas. Don't like them. I would rather dash through the rain than use one.
V- vacations and vegetables tie for the V. I really, really enjoy both of them. Being on a vacation and eating vegetables prepared in new delicious ways is great!
W- waterfalls. There is something so soothing about listening to the sound of a waterfall. I am blessed to have one that I can listen to and see from our house.
X- x-rays. Don't like them but glad they are available when needed.
Y- yo-yo's. I have a fascination with them but have never been able to figure out how to use one properly.
Z- zoo. I am assuming I would enjoy visiting one but have never been to one in my lifetime.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Violets Need You

I have always admired African Violets and was happy to get several five years ago. I did a little research on proper care for them and they did really well for four years which is amazing considering that houseplants aren't really high on my list of priorities.

But in the past six months they have gone from looking like this.

To this. And I don't know what to do for them. It actually hurts everytime I look at them and see their yellowish rust spotted leaves.

Do you have any advice on what I could do to get them healthy and flourishing once again?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


There used to be a time when I had the kitchen to myself and I really enjoyed cooking and baking unhindered. But since we have children I discovered it is even more fun to work in the kitchen with eager young cooks wanting to help with everything.

Here is Sunbeam trying to mix the batter for Lemon Poppy Seed Bread. While we enjoy pumpkin or banana bread I think I have to say that Lemon Poppy Seed Bread is our favorite. I'll have to share the recipe the next time we make some.


We have quite a selection of good movies that we enjoy watching but the other winter when someone gave us a subscription to Netflix we really enjoyed the many options it provided and through it found even more that we hope to someday add to our home collection.

Last week we came to the conclusion that we really don't need it any longer since our busy schedule hardly allows time to sit down and watch movies so we decided to cancel our subscription. In order to cancel they wanted to know the reason why we are cancelling. Among the options to choose from they wanted to know if we will be only using bootleg DVDs from now on.

For some reason that really amused me. No we will certainly not be making or watching bootleg DVDs and I couldn't help but wonder if anyone would actually check that as a reason to cancel.


The manuscript for the first book in my series has been turned in. Now the waiting until it will be released begins.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Listening and Learning

We only attended the church in Arkansas three times before one of LV's friends suggested that we might want to visit a church north of us. The only draw back was it was 150 mile one way but after hearing more about it we decided to go visit.

We immediately liked the church. It wasn't very big at all but we were very encouraged by the services and everyone welcomed us. It wasn't long before we decided to try selling our home and move but until then we would be making that long trip every Sunday.

The day after we had visited this church LV was at one of the weekly livestock auctions. A man walked up to him and handed him a CD saying that he doesn't really know why but he has a feeling that we might like this.

LV thanked him and put it into his coat pocket. When he came home we looked at it. It was titled simply, "Burdens"  It was a sermon preached by our neighbor, a pastor. The same one that had helped the Amish ministers on the evening they had come to talk to us. We had heard a lot about this pastor already and were curious how he preached.

The next Sunday we popped the CD into the player and listened to it on our way to church. We were speechless. We had never heard preaching like that before and loved every minute of it. After church we spent most of the afternoon with one of the families there before heading for home. We hadn't gone far before we decided we want to hear that message again. We again enjoyed it every bit as much as we had the first time. We listened to that message so often that it's a wonder the CD didn't wear out.

We wished we would have more of his messages to listen to and were delighted to find a whole stack of CD's at the local truckstop. We got one and listened to it and determined to check back often to see if there would be new ones added. As much as we liked the church we were attending there was something about these messages that kept us wanting to hear more and more. Our drives seemed much shorter as we listened to "When Dogs Bark"  "Lessons of Life from the Eagle" "Let God Birth a Manasseh in Your Life" and many more.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fried Cornmeal Mush

Fall has arrived here in our little corner of the world. The cool days and chilly mornings always make me feel like making more hearty breakfasts. One of our favorites is Fried Cornmeal Mush.

Fried Cornmeal Mush

1 cup cornmeal (don't try self-rising)
1 tsp salt
4 cups water

In a large saucepan bring three cups of water to a boil. Meanwhile in a small bowl combine cornmeal, salt, and remaining cup of water. Pour slowly and carefully into the boiling water stirring well constantly.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Rinse a 9"x13" pan with water and pour the cornmeal mush into it. Rinsing pan and leaving the few water droplets inside help keep the mush from sticking to the pan. Smooth mush with the back of a spatula. Refrigerate overnight.

Next morning cut into ¼" slices and fry in skillet where you have already melted several Tablespoons of margarine. Fry until beautiful golden and crispy. If most of margarine has been absorbed add more before flipping and frying other side.

Serve with eggs, or enjoy plain. Every once in a while I also make a tomato gravy to spoon over the top but I like it better without.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

In Which We Leave

Since we now realized that our relationship with Jesus had nothing to do with whether or not we were Amish and that the Amish did not appreciate or approve of the fact that we thought we can know whether or not we are saved we decided to leave the Amish.

LV asked one of his friends to take him to take his driving test. He passed the written one with flying colors and when the instructor asked if he wants to take his driving test right away he thought "Why not?" When he came home he was carrying his drivers liscense and had plans to go looking at a vehicle the next day. By the next evening we were the owners of a vehicle. It had all happened so fast that it was a little hard to grasp that this was all real and not only a dream.

Sunday arrived and we weren't exactly sure what church we would be attending. We had heard through the grapevine that a nearby Mennonite church had a policy of not accepting any ex-Amish (that was later proved to be untrue) and we didn't feel like going through another round of rejection right away and opted to attend a little Mennonite church in Arkansas.

It was a nice little church, but almost too little. Consisting mostly of elderly people, there was only one family there that had children. We couldn't really see much of a future there for our family but decided to attend there until we found somthing else.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mama Bear

It has been a while since we had a baby in our family. And though we are all really looking forward to welcoming another one there is one area that I am not looking forward to.
Sure the sleepless nights may be inconvenient at times but they don't bother me nearly as much as some other things. For example when we go out in public I used to really, really detest when people walk up to our baby and hold it's hand to talk to it. Babies have a tendency to get their hands in their mouth often and now they have who knows what kind of germs on them. Talk all you want but please don't touch my baby's hands. ~ My response was usually a firmly pasted smile and then trying to keep the baby from mouthing it's hand until I had a chance to wipe it.

Another thing that used to be irritating was when people felt they had the liberty to pluck the pacifier out of our baby's mouth accompanied with, "Oh, you don't want that." or "Let me see you smile."  Our babies never liked that and instead of smiling at said stranger for plucking their beloved pacifier that they wanted very much out of their mouth they would usually start crying. ~ My response, same pasted smile while giving my crying baby it's pacifier again.

The third is something that most people don't give much thought but we don't tickle our children. Baby giggles are cute and sweet and there are ways to hear them without resorting to tickling. LV and I both never liked being tickled when we were children, sure we had to laugh but it wasn't a happy do it again kind of laugh. It was one of the things we decided to not subject our children to no matter how little they are. ~ My response, not worrying if I have a pasted on smile or not as I pluck my wriggling child away from who ever is doing the tickling and stating, "We don't tickle our children."

So there are three of my Mama bear type tendencies. Did you have any when you had a baby?

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Threat

We were told to expect the ministry to arrive at our house by seven. We weren't really looking forward to having them there. I spent the afternoon baking pie and cookies as a way to try to keep my mind off of what was ahead.

We had our supper and got everything cleared away. The children weren't exactly sleepy yet but we went through our usual bedtime routine and then told them they could wait to actually go to bed until the ministers arrived.

LV and I sat in the living room not really sure what to do with ourselves while we waited. We read a little and kept waiting and waiting. It grew dark and they still weren't there. Finally it really was bedtime so we tucked the children in and decided to wait only a little longer before heading to bed too.

Before we made it to bed though we heard them coming into the driveway. They came inside and apologized for keeping us waiting for so long. They had problems on the way over and had to stop and get some things repaired. The nearest place they could get help was at the house of a pastor of a nearby church. He had kindly helped them with the needed repairs but it had taken a while.

They sat in the living room and discussed this pastor and his family for a while. Though they didn't approve of the church he pastored they all agreed that he and his family seemed to really have something.

Once they were done discussing that and the latest weather trends and other little no account tidbits they finally got down to the reason they were there. They were really concerned about our recent decisions and belief and wanted to give us a chance to change and make a confession in church. If we couldn't comply with this they would be having special excommunicating services after their next church service to give us over to Satan.

We told them we would not be changing our minds about our new found belief. While we realized this would have a major impact on our relationships with our family and friends we simply could not turn our backs on what we knew to be true. The part of being handed over to Satan did not phase us like it would have several months earlier because we now realized that they have absolutely no control over our soul and no after church ceremony like that could cause us to be torn from the safety of God's protecting hand.

Friday, September 2, 2011

More Windmills

Day after day there has been different activity going on around here. It started when this ugly contraption labored it's way up the road and turned onto a narrow trail leading to a nearby mountain. All sorts of other vehicles joined it including a water truck that filled it's tanks multiple times a day with water from our little creek that was already reduced to little more than a trickle right here next to the house.

We have learned that they are planning on building quite a few of those huge windmills. While we realize it is good to be able to use wind to produce electricity we can't help but feel a little sad at all the land that will be swallowed and scenery changed because of this project.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The News Spreads

News that LV and I had gone {bonkers} swept through the Amish communities and we became swamped with phone calls and letters from concerned bishops and people in different communities trying to discourage us from accepting this strange new belief.

It came to a point that I hated hearing the phone ring and when ever  I picked it up and found someone wanting to preach a sermon on the other end of the line I would tell them to call back once LV was at home.

But in the midst of all those type of calls there were others, also from strangers that had heard about our experience and had felt an urge to call. It was so encouraging to listen to their words of kindness and encouragement as they talked about the greatness and goodness of God and encouraged us to keep our eyes on Him and be ever ready to follow where He leads.

Then the call came that we felt sure would be coming before long. From LV's parents. They had already tried to persuade us to not change our belief but now they had made arrangements with the bishop and the rest of the ministry. They would be coming over to talk to us one evening later that week. We had a feeling that this was not going to be good but there was also a feeling of peace knowing that we knew what we believed and no persuasions or threats they could dish out would change that.