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.

Monday, April 15, 2019

M ~ Money Saving Tips

    I can't even count how often I have read articles on-line on how to save money. Their click bait type titles used to work on me and I'd go see what kind of secret they know that will help me save $500. a month or more.
    The articles never failed to let me down, and it has been some time since I have last attempted to read one of them. Maybe by now they have come up with some new practical advice to help those trying to spend less, but I haven't been checking to see.
     I'm sure these articles may have helped some people, but the reason they didn't help me was because not a single thing on those lists applied to me.
     1. Quit buying a cup of coffee on your way to work. ~ Never bought ready to drink coffee.
     2. Start packing your lunch  to take to work instead of buying something. ~ Already packed LV's lunch every day.
     3. Don't go out to eat. ~ The thought of eating out was merely a dream, and not a very important one.
     4. Cut your cable. ~ We didn't have TV.
     And so it continued, by the end of the article I was always disappointed to not have learned a single thing on how I could possibly cut more corners, and save more money.
     I had grown up in a frugal home, which probably helped make it a little easier for me when after we had been married for a number of years, some circumstances beyond our control  made it necessary to learn how to make every penny stretch as far as possible.
     Once the A-Z Challenge is over I'm planning to do a series of posts on what we learned during our time of living extremely frugally. If it helps someone, great! If not, well, it was simply part of our life story.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

L ~ Life of Fred

    We were about five years into our home school journey when I first heard about the Life of Fred math books. I was immediately intrigued when the person telling me about them shared how her children went from hating math to now begging to be allowed to do more math after she started using these books.
     Math had never been my favorite subject, but if these books had that kind of power, I wanted to check them out. The price when I first looked at them scared me off, but it was important enough to me that our children learn to enjoy math that I started a little savings jar and a year later I was able to buy the first few books of the series.
     I read those first few books in one sitting. They were so different from any other math books I had ever seen, and I thoroughly enjoyed them, but I wasn't convinced that using only these books would give them enough math for a year of school. I decided to use them as a summer math program.
    Our children have enjoyed the books, and learned a lot from them. Did they absolutely love math because of the books? No. They liked the books, and math makes more sense and has become easier, but it's still math.
     I have liked those books well enough that I continued with my little Life of Fred fund and year by year I'd add another book or two. I still need a few books to complete the university level set, but then I'm done.
     Life of Fred has been a great addition to our home school. I probably could have, but I never relied on them as our sole math program like some families do. I would though, recommend them to anyone who is looking for an interesting approach to math.

Friday, April 12, 2019

K ~ Kool-Aid

     The school lunches Mom made for us, we ate and enjoyed, but they were also very safe from any trade negotiations. No one looked at our fried egg on whole wheat bread sandwiches and thought, "What do I have in my lunch box that I could trade for that?"
      They didn't seem interested in our carrot sticks, bowls of peaches, or the occasional oatmeal raisin cookies either.
       Since the only beverage we ever had was water, Mom didn't even bother sending a thermos along. We could get plenty of water at school.
       We got used to seeing the other students exchange delicious looking food. There were times I really wished we would be on that level of lunch time goodness, but I didn't have much hope of that ever happening.
       The thing that intrigued me the most was the one family, each child always had a pint jar filled with Kool-Aid. I wanted those so badly. I could only imagine how delicious it must taste as they drank all those brilliantly colored drinks.
      And then one summer Sunday afternoon it happened. A family stopped in for a visit. We children had a lot of fun playing and then as per usual Amish tradition it was time for popcorn. We ran inside to get our plate full when what to my amazement should appear, but two pitchers full of sparkling red Kool-Aid.
    I drank my cup full slowly, savoring every drop. It was every bit as wonderful as I had always imagined it would be.
    Kool-Aid never became a regular thing though in our family. In fact it was years before Mom bought more.
     Those first years after we were married, we went through a lot of Kool-Aid. Having a farmer husband who needed something to drink other than water when working in the summer heat made it a necessity. I mixed gallons of it everyday during haymaking season when my brothers would come over to help and they all partook of this treat.
     Strangely enough, I don't even like Kool-Aid now. Give me plain cold water from our well any day, and I'll be as happy as I was as a little girl drinking that precious cup of Kool-Aid.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

J ~ Jam

   Jams and jellies were always a treat as a child.
   I always enjoyed when it was time to make jam. Mom would send me to the basement to get the box of used paraffin disks that we had saved from all the jam jars we had used since the last time we had made jam.

   We would put them in an old ugly battered pan and set it on the stove to melt while Mom cooked up the jam. After she had carefully filled our odds and ends jars with the hot jam she would spoon some of the melted paraffin on top to seal it and keep it fresh until we were ready to use it.

    The jam cupboard in the basement always looked so cheerful by the end of canning season. Filled with gleaming jars of strawberry, peach, and plum jam, as well as an assortment of jellies. The plum jam was all of our favorite. Getting the biggest chunk of plum was always our goal when ever it was served.

   It has been years since I've had plum jam, but just thinking about it makes me want to have some. Maybe I'll have to make a batch or two this year.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

I ~ Interests

      "What are your interests or hobbies?" the voice on the other end of the question asked. We had already made our way through numerous other uncomfortable small talk/breaking the ice type of chitter chatter.
     My mind scrambled to find an acceptable answer. I don't have an actual hobby, but the things that interest me are a wide and varied assortment.

     So here goes …

     • Studying the Bible … more than just a quick read.
     • Trying new recipes. That actually covers a wide selection of things right there. Everything from common easy things, to weirdly exotic and difficult.
     • Learning more about plants and what they can be used for.
     • Learning odd and interesting facts about anything.
     • Taking relaxing walks through the woods and some other favorite spots, as well as exploring new spots with the family.
     • Sewing … again ever learning how to make new things.
     • Reading, either books that interest me or bedtime stories with Steven.
     • Writing, here a little, there a little. On a wide variety of subjects and ideas.
     • Beadwork
     • Animals … the care of those we have, and interesting facts about any other animal.
     • People watching … fascinating creatures, humans.
     • Music … listening to a wide variety of it, including enjoying the sound of Sharon play the piano. Singing.
     • Journaling, planners, office supplies, and list making.
     • Household tips and hints … I'm starting to jot some of my families tried and true ones down. If I have enough they could make a book someday … or at the very least, some blog posts.
     • Travel
     • Homeschool … this particular interest would provide days worth of fodder.
     • Photography

     The list could continue for a long time. So even though I don't have a hobby, basically everything in my life interests me, as well as a lot of things I would still like to learn to do and know.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

H ~ How Deep the Father's Love for Us

  How Deep the Father's Love for Us has become a sort of tradition to listen to at our house.

  How do traditions get started?

  For our family, it's often quite unintentional. We do something, enjoy it, and do it again, and again until it has become a tradition.

   It's what happened with our birthday celebrations, Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, as well as some other things.

   That is also how it became tradition to listen to How Deep the Father's Love for Us every Sunday morning while I make breakfast.

    I listen to it occasionally at other times, but now it always makes me feel as if I should be making breakfast when I hear it even though the words are so meaningful.

Monday, April 8, 2019

G ~ Goals

    I'm somewhat of a goal oriented person. I enjoy setting goals and mapping out the process it will take to meet them.

   I have a number of goals I'm working on right now, and a handful that are sitting on a back burner waiting on me to give them attention and get started on them.

    The most recent goal I have made is to make the perfect fried pie.

    For a few years while we live in Missouri there used to be this little restaurant on the square of our little town. I don't remember what they served as main course, but on the dessert menu they had fried pies in a variety of flavors. I've had plenty of fried pies in my lifetime, but these were the absolute best I've ever had. The crust was pure perfection and the fillings were as well. We used to take any out of state guests there to eat simply so they can experience those fried pies. They never failed to be a big hit.

    Sadly the restaurant went out of business, and even though we no longer live there I find it sad that the world is deprived of those fried pies.

    It has become a goal of mine to recreate them. I have armed myself with multiple fried pie recipes, and will be trying a new one every week in hopes I can find one we love.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

F ~Flashbacks

   The word "triggered" is used a lot in todays world. It's not on my list of favorite words, but it's alive and well in my life. I searched for a synonym for it, and came up with flashback, which is what I'll go with today.

   I don't talk about this often, but most of my regular readers are aware that my brother Mahlon died of what initially looked like an apparent heroin overdose a little over six months ago.

    It has been hard, but I'm doing okay for the most part. That is … until someone starts talking about addicts and their opinions of the epidemic or in some instances, making jokes about the use of illegal substances. When ever that happens I am all kinds of not okay.

   It happened again yesterday. I was sitting there at homeschool group having a pleasant conversation with one of the other Moms while our children were in one of their classes. Someone else stopped by the church where our group meets and walked over to join us and turned the conversation to completely different topics that included how a young woman who is struggling with addiction has been written off by her family, which is as it should be, the person talking said in an assured manner.

   Every fiber of my being wanted to get up, and run away. It was hard to breathe, my hands became cold and clammy,  and a knot formed in my stomach. It was a physical struggle to remain sitting and try to tune out the conversation. A silent prayer whispered under my breath for strength, and then in my mind I was a young girl in my bare feet running through the flower filled meadow of my childhood with Mahlon, far away from this awful conversation.

   I'm hoping I won't always have these reactions, but for now "flashbacks" are something I deal with.

Friday, April 5, 2019

E ~ Eggs

    Gathering the eggs everyday was one of my chores when I was a young girl.

    It used to be one of my favorite times of the day as I would get one of our old empty peanut butter pails and head out to the barn. The chickens would cluck softly as I entered their pen to search for their eggs.

   On this particular day I had gathered the eggs, the pail was almost three quarters full and I was meandering my way back across the pasture to the house slowly. For some reason I was contemplating a story I had read recently of a young girl who had a pail of eggs and she tried to swing it around in a wide circle without losing any of the eggs, and had not been successful.

    I had already tried it with a pail of water, and it had all remained inside the pail. Only a few evenings ago when I had been talking about the science behind it all to Dad as we were doing the evening chores he had done it successfully with a pail of milk.

   I was sure that girl in the book must have done something wrong, so without further thought I swung that pail up and around as fast as I could, but then things went horribly wrong. Instead of staying in the pail as the water and milk had, the eggs went flying and broke where ever they landed.

   I stared in dismay at the mess I had created, and then headed on to the house. We had plenty of eggs, if I didn't mention what happened Mom would never know. There was no such luck though. She had seen the entire thing happen, and when I stepped into the kitchen she simply said "I guess you probably don't want to try that again."

    She was right. I have never tried that again.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

D ~ Doll, Daisy, and Dottie

    Doll, Daisy, and Dottie were three of the thirty cows I was introduced to only a few days after we were married and I had moved to LV's family farm.

     Those first weeks all the information I was receiving was nearly overwhelming. Trying to remember the names of all the cows, learning how to assemble the milking equipment, and all my other new duties that came along with being a dairy farmer's wife.

    It didn't take me long to remember Doll's name. She was a greedy, bossy young cow. She could be lying there contentedly chewing her cud, but if she heard the cow next to her drink from a water bowl she would get to her feet with amazing speed and push her away. She was the second cow in the row of fifteen which meant she had two water bowls to choose from. Even so her greed would have her trying to guard both bowls to keep them for herself.

     Daisy was a sweet cow, smaller than the others in our herd. It didn't take me long to really like her. Her disposition was one of sweetness. She loved being brushed and working with her was always a joy.

     Dottie was an unassuming cow. She would have won no beauty contests, being the plainest cow I ever saw. Her character made it easy to not really pay any attention to her. She always did what she was supposed to do, and went where she was supposed to go. Her milk production was average. She minded her own business and was easily one of the most forgettable cows we had.

   We had other cows who gave us more than a few memorable stories, but their names didn't begin with "D" so I'll save their stories for some other day.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

C ~ Cream Colored

   By the time I was ready to make the quilts for my hope chest, I had already made hundreds of other quilts that were then sold in my parents' store. I knew the patterns and colors I wanted for my own quilts and I enjoyed sewing them.
    I would be getting three quilts for normal everyday use, several comforters, and then one nice one to be used for guests. For the guest quilt I knew I wanted to make it in the Broken Star pattern and the exact colors I had admired for years in one of Mom's quilt books. There was only one problem. In the quilt book they had used white fabric for the fill in parts of the quilt, and the Amish in Somerset County were not allowed to have any white in their quilts.

    No other color worked though, and finally I settled on using a cream colored fabric. I saved the receipt carefully for proof that the fabric was not white in case any one was going to stir up some trouble about it.

    I loved the quilt once it was done, and was pleased how the cream colored fabric worked well in place of the white in the original design.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

B ~ Bridesmaid

   A good way to feel old is having nephews and nieces old enough to get married, and your daughter old enough to be one of the bridesmaids.

   This past weekend we enjoyed the gorgeous spring weather in Georgia where we attended the beautiful wedding of one LV's nephews.

    Rosie Mae was one of the bridesmaids. I had been excited for her that she gets to have this experience, but was unprepared for the emotions I would feel seeing my "little" girl standing up there as part of the wedding party.

Monday, April 1, 2019

A ~ April Fools Day

    As a family we somehow never got into doing anything for April Fools Day.

    I can't say that I mind being able to comfortably live through the day prank free.

    I've only ever officially participated in trying to prank someone on April 1st one year. It was the year before we got married. We were in the middle of building a house right next to ours for my grandparents.
    One of my aunts and her family had come to spend a little over a week at our house to help with all the work that building a new house involves.

     They were still there when April 1st rolled around. The boy cousins were working on the scaffolding, putting siding on the house. We girls didn't have a whole lot to do between making meals and snacks for them.

     Cousin Emma came up with the brilliant idea that for snacks we would serve them lemonade and oreos. Only, since it was April 1st we would add salt and pepper to the lemonade and remove the filling from the oreos and replace it with salad dressing.

     We filled a plate with the tampered oreos and a jug with the lemonade and headed outside. We made our way into the new house and handed the "treats" out the window to the boys.

    We waited in anticipation for their reaction to the awful snacks we were serving them, but they simply chomped them down and thanked us.

     "Didn't you taste anything different?" one of us asked.

     "Everything was good," they assured us.

      We told them what we had done, and they simply shrugged their shoulders, saying they thought it was okay.

      We were disappointed that all our effort to prank them was wasted.

      And that my friends is the short story of the first and last time I ever participated in doing a prank on April 1st.