Thursday, August 27, 2020


Reading ... Isaiah in the Bible. I always get a thrill when I begin reading that book. It played a big part in our journey of leaving the Amish. You can read about it here.

In non fiction, I dug out a book on editing fiction. 

Watching ... this week, by the end of the day I'm so sleepy I would rather go to bed than watch anything.

Listening ... to the washing machine doing a random load of laundry, Sharon playing a lovely piece by Beethoven on her piano, and the scratch of Steven's pencil moving across paper as he does his school work.

Wearing ... a rose colored dress sprinkled with oddly placed polka dots.  The random patternless pattern in which they sprinkled the dots on the fabric is annoying to one of our daughters who loves having things neat and orderly.

Baking ... I'm bringing a package of cream cheese to room temperature with plans to use it to bake a cheesecake pie this afternoon.

Cooking ... we'll be having taco night tonight. I'll be making a salad as well.

Cleaning ... and rearranging Steven's bedroom. Kenneth will be picking up his desk and chair and a few other things he still has here so we're doing a complete rearrange and decorating of the room. Steven is excited to have everything in the room be his.

Playing ... we didn't have time to play any time consuming games so far this week, but we did manage to squeeze in a few rounds of Top Trumps, and Spot It games with Steven.

Hiking ... consisted of having to hoof it across the Walmart parking lot, across a road, and over several other lots to where I had parked my vehicle at the mall.

I much prefer hiking in the woods or on proper hiking trails.

Wishing ... we had stopped at a yardsale. On Saturday there was a big yard sale event happening along one road. There seemed to be a sale happening at most houses. I don't need anything, and though I enjoy yard sales and a good bargain, I really didn't want to bring anything home and have to find room for it. 

Traffic was horrible since this annual event brought out lots of people. We kept driving, some sales looking more tempting than others. And then I saw it. A butter churn like the one we used to have when I was growing up. I exclaimed about it, and LV offered to turn around and go back to buy it, but I declined, saying I don't know where I'd store it, and I don't make that much butter any longer.

We kept going, but now I wish I would have bought it.

Crafting ... I have some sewing projects going, and LV was kind enough to bring home some pallet wood when I mentioned I'd like to make a sign with some reclaimed wood,

Yesterday ... was busy, busy, busy. I had an appointment that took a big chunk out of my day. I'm happy how it went though so I'd say it was worth that chunk of time.

Later today ... I need to go buy a pair of shoes for Steven. I had meant to earlier this week, but the stores we checked didn't have any in his size so I need to try again at a different place. After I come back from that I want to deep clean the interior of our vehicle. It's not bad, but we like "clean" interiors, and today seems like a good day to do that.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Not Everything Got Checked

     My week is full. I went ahead and made a to-do list for each day of the week, dividing things up in what I hoped were manageable expectations.

    Yesterday I got all but one item checked off my list for the day. 

    I shared a little about my day on Facebook, and decided to share it here as well.

    My to-do list for the day was extra long, and when an annoying fly decided to join our day, I didn't take the time to pursue it. (It wasn't on the list, ya know.)
    Steven armed himself with a fly swatter and went on a merry chase from room to room. Rarely has a fly been bigger, noisier, or more restless, Although many attempts were made at getting rid of the thing, they were all fruitless.
    Task after task was checked off my list. The windows were washed so that it looked as if they were missing glass. I admired how clean and clear they were, and proceeded to other things.
    A triumphant exclamation arose from the living room, and Steven rallied forth, pleased to have finally put an end to the annoying fly that had managed to evade him for so long. .
    There on my clean window was the biggest, grossest splotch I have seen in a long time. What could I do? Thank him for using his fly swatter skills and then go dig out my window cleaning supplies and wash the window again.

Saturday, August 22, 2020


     Last evening we had several moths get into the house and during the next few minutes of chasing them down and disposing of them, I was reminded of a little misunderstanding my Grandpa had one time.
     They had out of state visitors and had invited us over for supper so we could see them as well.
      During the course of conversation the visiting man asked Grandpa, "How are the Millers doing here?"
     Grandpa hesitated just a minute and said, "I don't  know that they're much different from anywhere else. I go after them with a fly swatter every evening it seems."
      Now it was the visiting man's turn to pause for a confused moment. "I was talking about Eli Millers," he said.
     Every one laughed. Grandpa had thought the man had been asking about millers,  as in moths. 
     The mental image of Grandpa chasing Eli Miller with a fly swatter had us all amused, and even today it makes me smile when I think of it. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2020


 Reading ... In the Bible I'm in Ecclesiastes. In fiction I'm in the middle of waiting on Sharon to finish reading a book so I can have my turn. I didn't want to start another one while I wait. In non-fiction I decided to give the book Fifty Ways to Leave Left Behind. I haven't gotten into it enough to know what I think of it.

Watching ... a nature show about wildlife in India.

Listening ... to some instrumental music and the girls laughing and talking as they're cleaning up the kitchen. 

Thinking ... life is beautiful.

Wearing ... an old dress that has a row of pills where the seat belt has rubbed against it. It's not something I'll wear any longer when out and about, but it's still comfy and will be fine as an everyday dress for a while yet.

Baking ... Rosie Mae made a fabulously decadent chocolate cake. We had needed cocoa powder and I decided to pick some up at a little bakery/bulkfood store. It wasn't as easy as I thought when presented with a variety of different cocoa powders to choose from. I got several, and Rosie Mae had to try one of them for her cake. It turned out beyond any chocolate-y dreams I may have had. 
    Sharon loves baking bread, and not just easy breads, but  breads that have a list of steps and need to be braided all fancy. She gets attached to them as she makes them and usually names them. We enjoyed Alex most recently.

Cooking ... we have been enjoying fresh sweet corn, but tonight was more of a simple dinner of rice and beans.

Cleaning ... Sharon, Steven and I cleaned out our porch basement today. It's looking so much better now and ready for the coal bin to be filled for winter.

Hiking ... only around a mile and a half this weekend, but that included clambering up and down steep banks with only the faintest hint of a path. I had debated not going since my right foot hasn't been the friendliest, but it was worth it.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Little Lessons / Thunderheads

     Thunderheads building in the east make a lovely scene to enjoy from our front porch.

    Not long after this picture was taken the skies opened, dumping rain in torrents. Some of us were out driving, and others were on the top porch singing and twirling ... outside, yet staying dry as rain poured all around.  I can't help but compare it to life in a spiritual sense of how the world can be in absolute turmoil, but if we are living in Jesus we can enjoy peace even in the midst of the storm.

    I love how there are often little lessons to see in simple everyday life if we take the time to see and listen.

Thursday, August 13, 2020


    Before my parents built a woodworking shop and showroom Daddy built furniture in our basement. Our living room and sewing room were used as the showroom. A little bell was attached to the sewing room door, and every time a customer entered it would ring to alert us there was someone there.

    I was fourteen the day when my parents had to go somewhere, leaving me in charge of caring for any customers that might stop in. It had been a fairly quiet day, but toward evening the bell jangled and I hurried into the "showroom" in hopes I would be able to get a nice order written up before my parents got back.

    Three men stood there. Immediately I felt uneasy. I tried to brush the feeling away because customers came in all kinds of different appearances and just because they made me feel uncomfortable didn't mean it should.

    I went through the whole spiel about how they can customize anything they see in the showroom and we can build it to their vision. They didn't say much and kept looking at me. Finally one of them asked if I knew when my parents would be back. I naively told them I didn't. He then asked if I ever considered being a model, that they would be happy to start my career. His friend with a long scraggly gray beard affirmed the offer and added some more comments.

    I no longer felt uncomfortable, I felt fear. I still don't know how I did it, but I flew up the stairs, into my room, slammed the door shut and locked it. I leaned against it, frozen. My heart pumping wildly as I listened to make sure they didn't follow me upstairs and hoped with everything in me that the lock would hold.

    After what seemed like an insufferably long time they left, and shortly thereafter my parents came home. I have no idea why I didn't tell them what happened, but simply went about helping Mom prepare supper.

    Remembering this still gives me shudders, and makes me so thankful that I listened to my flight instinct. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Life with Steven

     I love seeing life through Steven's eyes. To him, everything is still a thing of wonder.

    Today the truck that paints yellow lines passed our house leaving a nice fresh set of lines down the middle of the road. "Can we go touch the paint?" he asked.

    "Sure, let's go," I said.

    He grabbed my hand and we ran out and got yellow paint on the tips of our finger, and then hurried back to the house. He laughed the entire way, thinking it was all a grand adventure.


     I had to go clean one of the trucks LV is rebuilding. It's at the final stages, so I simply had to clean out the cab, and wipe everything down to get it ready to leave the shop.

    Steven accompanied me, sitting in the back seat talking in a streak. We discussed various kinds of caterpillars, the meanings of some new words he saw today, and then a lengthy discussion on Pennsylvania facts and history. He keeps me on my toes with his constant desire to know more.

    Once we arrived he was happy to help clean the truck. Anything to do with semis is a thrill to him, even if it's only cleaning them.


    He loves working in the kitchen. With every one else gone for the day, he asked if he can make lunch for me. I had veto powers, but I didn't need to use them as he delivered a bowl of rice with pepperoni. It was actually quite tasty.


    I'm so very thankful for this young man. I enjoy every day I get to be his mother, and look forward to seeing what he will do in life.

Monday, August 10, 2020


      It was the summer I was 18. It had been oppressively warm and humid, the air heavy, the skies growing ever darker with the promise of an approaching thunderstorm. I was weeding the garden and wanted to get as much of it done as I could before the storm arrived.

    Before I got done and before the storm arrived, things went wrong. My legs collapsed, my head was spinning, and I became very sick. Somehow I managed to halfway crawl and drag myself into the house where I lay on the cool floor, sure I was going to die, but not really caring.

    My parents were alarmed, and sought help. Heat exhaustion, bordering right on heat stroke was the diagnoses. I got cooled off and rehydrated and was able to go my merry way. The only thing being I was much more sensitive to heat after the experience.


    Living in Missouri where summers were much warmer, I was pleased that it seemed enough time had passed that I was able to take the heat much better. But then it happened again. This time I had been mowing the yard, but managed to drag myself into the house before collapsing.

    LV wasn't at home when it happened and without a cell phone there was no way to contact him. Somehow I managed to call my Mom and she was able to send help to our house. It was a scary helpless feeling, and this time seeing the anxious faces of our three little children staring at me as I lay there I knew I did not want to die. 

    I survived, but once again I had to be very careful to not get too warm.


    Fast forward to this morning. As soon as the dew had dried of the grass I headed outside to mow. As the sun kept climbing in the sky the temperature kept rising. Sharon and Steven would bring drinks out every once in a while, and I kept going. But then I could feel it coming. My legs started feeling wooden, my head started spinning, and I was sure I was going to be violently sick.

    I abandoned the mower and stumbled across the yard to the house. Clinging to the handrails I managed to get up the porch stairs and into the house where I did everything I could to cool off as fast as possible. I'm okay, still feeling exhausted, but otherwise okay.

    Heat, I've learned, is not something to play with.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Pineapple Cream Pie

     The latest new recipe we tried for our 52 pie challenge was a hit. If you love pineapple it's certainly worth a try.

Pineapple Cream Pie

4 eggs (save three egg whites)

1 cup sugar

4 Tbsp cornstarch

½ cup cream

½ tsp salt

½ tsp. vanilla

1-1/4 cup crushed pineapple

2-½ cup milk (scalded)

Beat the three egg yolks and one whole egg. Add sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Mix well. Add cream, pineapple, and vanilla. Mix well. Add hot milk. Beat egg whites until stiff, then gently fold into pineapple mixture. Divide into two unbaked pie shells. Bake at 350ยบ for 40-45 minutes. Cool and then chill before serving.

Friday, August 7, 2020

A Day in my Life

      Here's a glimpse into the day I had yesterday.


    I hopped out of bed a little before 4:00 after my alarm clock woke me from a lovely dream I had been having. After taking care of my usual morning routine I filled a pot with cold water and set it on the stove to heat for LV's tea. (He wasn't allowed to drink coffee while his eyes were healing after the accident, and once he got the clearance to have coffee again he decided to stick with tea instead.)

    While the water was heating I had my Bible time. I made the tea and got everything ready for LV by the time he stumbled into the kitchen a little before 5:00. He had his breakfast, we said our good-byes, and he headed off to work.

    Rosie Mae got up as he was backing out of the garage. She did her usual Chloe Ting workout. I don't see how she can do these hour long things. I did a handful of the low impact options, while she continued torturing herself with the full high intensity workout.

    I checked the schoolwork from yesterday and got the assignments ready for the day. The past few years I no longer check the schoolwork with a red pen. I have nothing against red ink, but instead of simply marking things wrong and grading it, I have a stack of cute post-it notes where I jot down the things they got wrong and then they get to do it over. I wish I had done it this way from the beginning. Having a second chance to correct things has been better for them.

    I washed the living room windows and by the time I was done with that Sharon and Steven were ready to begin their school work. It went smoothly enough.

    Rosie Mae had the day off work so she went to meet a friend with plans to go on a short hike and then spend the rest of the day at our house.

    I wanted to make pie. I found a recipe to count towards our 52 pies challenge. It made two, my crust recipe makes enough for three so I decided to double the crust recipe and make some family favorite pie as well and send one home with Kenneth and Paige tonight. I got the pie dough mixed and ready to roll out when I discovered I don't have enough corn syrup for my recipe.

    We'd have to go get some. Sharon of course wanted to drive, so I got in the passenger seat and we were off to a little Amish bulkfood store several mile down the road. They won't deal with me, being that I used to be a member of the Amish church, but there are no such restrictions on our children, so Sharon handled the transaction. 

    Their produce stand was open and I noticed they had peaches and sweetcorn. I wanted to can and freeze peaches this summer so I got Sharon to ask what the price is per bushel. I nearly fainted when she told me. $46.00!! I went ahead and got a peck for eating fresh, but forget about buying a lot for canning and freezing at that price. We also got a dozen and a half of sweetcorn and drove back home. Sharon happily navigating all the curves while Steven sat in the back cheerfully discussing his plans for feeding the cows with the corn husks.

    I set the corn on the porch when we got home and went inside to tackle the pie. Somehow instead of six pie crusts, my double batch of dough made nine. I ended up making three pumpkin pie, two pineapple cream pie, and two pecan pie, substituting the pecans with rice krispies, making it safe for those with nut allergies. The remaining crusts I baked empty to be used at a future date to make banana cream pie or something similar.

    Rosie Mae and her friend arrived and decided to cook a (very)  late lunch for themselves. There was much talking and laughter as they worked together. The kitchen seemed tiny as I was still trying to get the last few pie ready for the oven while they were cooking.

    Once the pie were cooling it was time to take care of the sweetcorn. Much to Steven's disappointment the cows weren't nearby while we husked the corn.

    I went ahead and got the sweetcorn washed and ready to cook, and then peeled enough potatoes to make a big batch of fried potatoes with enough to hopefully have leftovers to make potato burritos for tomorrow morning's breakfast.

    Rosie Mae's friend left and a little later Kenneth and Paige came over for supper. We thoroughly enjoy having them here and the evening passed swiftly. Once they left it was time for bed. I thought I might be able to dash out a quick blog post while everyone brushes their teeth etc, but my fingers couldn't move fast enough so that post gets to sit in drafts until I get around to finishing it some day.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

To Our Children

     One of the things I always made sure to buy when I found out I was expecting you was a beautiful baby book. I had these great intentions of recording all your important milestones, all those fun firsts, all those little details I wanted to remember, always.

     I'm sorry to say I have failed you miserably.
     With you, my dear oldest son, I did the best. I completed most of your first year, but the rest of your book is blank.
     With each of the rest of you, I took great care in filling out everything I could those first few weeks, but after that the pages remain blank.
      The pages of your books aren't blank because I wasn't proud of you, or didn't love you, or wasn't rejoicing and enjoying each of those precious firsts and important milestones.
      I might not remember which tooth you got first, but I do remember your first word. "Papa!" I was the one that birthed you, nursed you, changed 95% of your diapers, and all four of you said Papa as your first word.
      I don't remember the day you enjoyed your first solid food, but I remember how you used to love when I brought out your little baby food grinder and how you used to sit watching me prepare it, waving your arms and kicking those little feet of yours in eager anticipation of the yummy food you were about to get.
     I don't remember the day you were weaned, but I remember how you used to tuck your foot under my chin and held the corner of your blanket as I fed you.
     I might not remember the exact moment of your first smile or laugh, but I do remember how you used to giggle when we played Peek-a-boo with you for what felt like hours on end.
     I might not remember the first book I ever read to you, but all four of you loved the Clap Your Hands book. Both your Papa and I can still recite the entire thing by heart because we read it to you so often.
    The pages of your baby books might be mostly blank, but my mind is filled with precious memories from those days. I was so busy enjoying those moments I didn't have time to pick up a pen and write them down at the risk of missing part of those moments.
    I hope someday you will understand.
    Your mother

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Learning to Drive

    This is the third round of sitting in the passenger seat as one of our teens learn how to drive.
     It's not a job I ever wanted, but somehow it became mine.
     It's interesting how siblings can be so different.
     Teen #1 sat in the driver's seat, happy to learn how to drive. Meticulous, doing everything with his intense style of concentrating. 
      Teen #2 gave herself an ulcer by stressing about driving. She wanted to know how to drive, but going through the process of learning how was not on her list of things she wanted to do. Curves, other vehicles, narrow roads. They were all a huge grief to her.
      Teen #3 is in the process now. She looked forward to the day when she would get to be the one to sit in the driver's seat. She has plenty of confidence. She had another lesson today. The seat moved forward as far as it goes, mirrors adjusted, and peering over the steering wheel she is in her element. "I'm so glad we live in an area where roads have lots of curves," she says as she happily guides the vehicle around another one as if she had been driving for years already.
      I'm glad it will be a few years before there will be a teen #4, but I can't help but wonder how he will be.

Monday, August 3, 2020


Reading ... this morning I needed a few Psalms.

The most recent fiction book I read was Star of Persia : Esther's story. I quite enjoyed it. I'm usually not the biggest fan of retellings of stories about Bible characters, but I thought this was really well done. I enjoyed it enough that I requested more books by this author.

In non-fiction I have a stack of cookbooks that I'm enjoying.

Watching ... the most recent movie we watched was War Room. I had  heard so much about it. I liked it, even though it wasn't quite as I had expected. I would recommend it to anyone looking for something encouraging to watch.

Listening ... to the sound of Sharon thumping and bumping around in her bedroom. She decided she wanted to "spring clean" it this afternoon.

Thinking ... that kindness should never ever go out of style. 

 Wearing ... a comfy green polka dot dress that will need a little help after the next time I do the laundry.

Baking ... later this week I'll be baking several kinds of pie. With everything that happened this year I have gone from 52 weeks of pie, to simply 52 different kinds of pie. I'm halfway to my goal, and I'm fully expecting to meet it by the end of the year. 

Cooking ... tonight I'm making roasted potatoes, tuna patties, and a salad with homemade dressing. I've been craving potato leek soup a lot. I went ahead and made it last week one evening, and would love to have it again tonight. For the sake of the rest of the family I won't make it two weeks in a row.

Cleaning ... I want to tackle the store room again this week. Apparently everyone has been plopping things in there all helter skelter, which means it's time to organize again.

Playing ... this weekend included Phase 10, Rummikub, and Hoagie. It was a lot of fun. Steven absolutely loves Hoagie so I played it with him quite a few times. He's at the age and ability where I no longer try to not be competitive. Makes game time more fun! 

Loving ... the cooler temperature we have today. It made marching around the yard with the lawn mower so much more enjoyable.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Electric Fence

     The click, click sound of an electric fence still sounds ominous to me when ever I hear it.
     I was in first grade when my Dad fenced off a new pasture of sorts for a team of draft horses we had at our house for a while. 
     The horses intimidated me since they were much bigger and less friendly than our buggy horse, but even so I enjoyed tagging along with Daddy whenever he filled their tubs of water, and threw a few slices of hay over the fence for them.
     After getting shocked on the fence one evening while helping throw hay to the horses, I tried to keep a safe distance from it, not wanting to have a repeat of that pain.
     One evening I was playing in the sandbox when I noticed Daddy was taking care of the horses. I dropped my toys, jumped up, and ran to join him. The single stand of electric fence wasn't very visible, and I didn't notice Daddy was on the other side of the fence as I ran as fast as my little legs could carry me. I ran right into the fence, catching it right under my chin. I don't know how, but the fence broke. It gave me a nice red mark on my neck that lasted for a while.
      Daddy scooped me up and carried me to the house where Mom fussed over my injury, and he hurried back outside to patch the fence before the horses decided to wander away.
      Last night we spent some time at one of our good friend's house. We sat outside, near an electric fence with a horse that pranced about in his pasture. It brought back this memory. I could almost feel the pain of the shocking wire, and the impact of the fence on my neck once again just by thinking about it.