Winter Temper Tantrum

Yesterday, winter decided to throw a full blown temper tantrum. The wind howled, the snow blew sideways and life in this area kind of shut down while we all hunkered down.

I kind of laughed when I saw friends who posted on Facebook yesterday. It seemed that there was a lot of baking going on. I know I did the same, but my purpose was two fold. I liked the fact that we ended up with chocolate cake, pumpkin pie and banana bread, but I really liked the fact that having the oven going also warmed up the kitchen.

The chickens did not get outside at all yesterday and to feed them I needed to scoop through a snowdrift that was up to my shoulders. This morning when I went out I had to re-shovel that same path. I also wanted them to get out because the sun was actually shining and I knew the wind was going to die down a bit.

I went back to the house to tell my husband that I really needed his help to shovel through a snowdrift that had filled in the trail the girls used to go outside. He first thought I was stretching it when I told him it was just too tall for me to deal with alone.

He did come outside with me, armed with a scoop, and as he rounded the corner of the garage, he just started to laugh. He decided I had not stretched the truth at all. We spent time shoveling a drift; that was as tall as me and did some laughing as we did. I do have to say that shared shoveling is a lot funner and goes a lot faster than doing that job alone!

In the photo I shared, I will tell you that somewhere under that drift was a trail before this last blizzard. I am happy to report, that with help…there is a path once again.

My husband decided it probably looks a bit like the Grand Canyon to the chickens. They were pretty leery about walking through but eventually decided it was worth it.

Life can be like that….when something unfamiliar comes along we are leery and sometimes need to be encouraged by those we trust.

I am praying you are encouraged by those around you. I pray that you are blessed by the people who weather life’s storms with you and that you are a blessing to them as well.

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”
– Ryunosuke Satoro

Iowa Blessings

Today was the day we finally got ourselves dug out from the last round of snowstorms. It would have been yesterday but the tractor did not wish to cooperate at all.

After a summer of very little rain, it seems we can once again get some form of precipitation. The schools in the area are hoping to get back to classes tomorrow after having a longer than expected Christmas break. I suspect the kids and teachers are ready to be back…maybe not quite as ready as the parents?

Snow is a lot of work, but there is a unique beauty about the pristine whiteness of a new snowfall. It is kind of fun to see the yard before anyone has disturbed that beautiful blanket of white. The muffled quiet and the muted stillness of a world that has had to slow down to the pace of nature is a wonder to be enjoyed.

Life slows down after a snowfall. Things don’t seem as urgent…projects that have been put aside, once again get taken out to be worked on. It is the best time to work on craft projects that have gotten shoved aside for the holidays.

It is a forced slowdown when you live on a gravel road. You really can’t get anywhere until the county has come down your road to give you access to the main roads and sometimes that is kind of a blessing. Appointments get rescheduled and suddenly your day is open to catch up on all the things you always wanted to have time to do.

I do have to admit….I don’t get to those things as fast as I maybe should…I, perhaps, spend to much time enjoying the beauty of the snow before it gets disturbed by the road crew and the tractor that clears the yard. And I am okay with that….sometimes it is good to just be still and take it all in. It is good to enjoy the gift of the day that God has given.

My prayer is that you too get a “slow” day. A day that you are able to sit and enjoy…a day to watch the birds, to see the sun glitter off the new fallen snow and a day to just “be still and know” Psalm 46:10.

To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake
it is necessary to stand out in the cold

Pretty as a Postcard

We woke up, this morning, to a world encased in white. The trees hung heavy with the snow that had fallen during the night and a beautiful layer of glistening white coated everything in sight.

I went to let the chickens out of their coop, but soon realized I would have to shovel some trails this morning so they would not have to walk through snow that was too deep for them.

They cheered me on in the shoveling process….at least I choose to take their chatter as cheering and not complaining that I was taking to long!

It took a bit of doing to shovel, as the snow was a heavy snow. I told my husband that it was great snow for making snowmen and it was too bad the grandkids were not around. Maybe we should have just gone ahead and made one ourselves.

I am not totally sure how much snow we received, but it was very welcome this year. After the dry spring, summer and fall that we had, any moisture is great to see.

After letting the girls out, I spent some time just standing out in the cold, marveling at the beauty that came from that layer of snow. The sky was still gray and hazy….a wintry gray that is pretty in it’s own way.

I love the fact that each season has it’s own beauty…it’s own stamp on our world. There is a child like wonder that comes with a snowfall. The brown grass of fall and the leafless trees are decked in an entire new wardrobe. Buildings take on a magical look….like something out of a snow globe.

The first snowfall is a gentle reminder that slowing down to just stand and marvel is a wonderful thing to do. It is a reminder that the simple things in life are truly a gift. It reminds me to look around and remember what is truly important in this life….faith, family, friends….relationships.

May you be blessed with a “snowfall” that lets you slow down in the busyness of this season!

“When I no longer thrill
to the first snowfall of the season,
I’ll know I am growing old.”
Lady Bird Johnson

That Time of Year

We have had good weather for getting into the fields and the sound of tractors come from all directions. This is a really good time of year….new expectations, new hopes for the coming season, renewal and sunshine, mixed with a bit of rain, make for a lot of hope for the future.

I probably love this time of year, because it is a time of new beginnings. That seems kind of an odd thing to say when the same stuff gets done year after year. Fields get prepared, seed gets purchased and equipment is whipped into shape for the planting season. Things we do every spring. And yet, it is new beginnings; as it is new seed, a new year of planting and the smell of fresh earth that never grows old.

My farmer husband is pretty old school compared to most in our area. He uses old tractors, an old planter (by today’s standards) and if his rows are straight it is totally his driving skills and not due to GPS technology. Personally, I think he kind of enjoys the thought that it is him and the field and not the field and a computer screen.

In our area we were blessed with some rain. We did not get as much as some miles away, but any amount is totally appreciated and raises expectations for a good year. That might just be the thing that keeps a farmer going…..the hopes and expectations that life will work out, no matter what it looks like right now.

I have learned a lot from farmers….I have learned that you do not give up, I have learned that, while you have no control over so many things in farming, you still prepare and put that seed in the ground and then you stand back and watch what will be.

So much of life is like that…you have no control over so many situations….but you still prepare…you still hope…there is still the expectations and the wonder of standing back and seeing what God will do with whatever is happening right now. The good, the bad, the uncertainty, the things that do not work out and the things that do….all remind me that God has it in hand..and I do not. There is a huge comfort in that thought for me.

May this week find you planning, hoping, expecting and knowing with great assurance that the plan is being worked out (even if we cannot see it) and life is good and living is not just surviving. Plant those seeds and see what God will do.

“Don’t judge each day
by the harvest you reap,
but by the seeds that you plant.”
— Robert Louis Stevenson

Blessings In All Things

In the last 6 weeks I have come to gain a great new respect for those who type with one finger. In January I had a joint replaced in my left little finger….yes they can do that! I also had the carpel tunnel issue in my left hand fixed.

I came home from same day surgery with a wrapped hand and a finger that resembled a snowman with all the white gauze that was wrapped around it. I also was cautioned not to sign any legally binding documents for the next 24 hours….I am still not sure where they thought I would be going or what I would be doing once I got home.

I ended up with a removable splint on my finger for 6 weeks. The first few weeks the splint had to be left on, except to shower. I discovered it is indeed very hard to dress with one hand. (sweats are the pants of choice in that case!) It is actually hard to do a lot of things with one hand.

At one point I really wanted to do something normal, like bake something. I thought I would do something easy like make box brownies. It all went great putting the ingredients in the bowl….then I got out the hand mixer and realized I needed a second hand to hold the bowl while I mixed! My husband was more than happy to do that job, he also was delegated to put the batter in the pan and put the pan in the oven.

By the time two weeks rolled around I was totally ready for the stitches to come out. I went to a niece who is a PA to have her do that. This was done under the watchful eye of my 4 year old great-niece. She asked if it hurt and I told her, honestly, that yes….it smarted but it would feel so much better once it was done. I must have passed the test of a 4 year old, as I got a sticker for “doing good” when I left to go home.

I started out this post saying one fingered typers had gained my respect. My husband is one of those typers and I used to kind of laugh about it. I am not laughing anymore….typing without using all your fingers takes a great amount of skill. I could not believe how many errors I made typing that way.

I am grateful I can, once again, use all of my fingers. I am grateful for surgeons with the skill and knowledge to fix things. I am grateful for sweat pants (yes even for that!), I am so blessed with a husband who will hold the bowl and scoop out the batter when I needed the help. And I am blessed with family and friends who prayed me through the healing.

The older I get, the more I come to realize that life’s true blessings are not in things…..but in the people who are in your life and the love in those relationships.

May this week find you blessed with friends and family; and may you come to see the joy and blessing in all things.

“Happiness isn’t about getting what you want all the time.
It’s about loving what you have and being grateful for it.”

Holiday Expectations

I am a day late but I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas from my home to yours! I was hoping this year would be a normal Christmas but, expectations do not always come to pass.

All the kids and grandkids were supposed to make it to our house for Christmas day. The day before Christmas our son called and we found out our daughter in law was not feeling well and had pneumonia.

We did make it to my parent’s home for Christmas Eve and it was a house full of laughter and love. Four generations all under one roof; make for a very special evening. Food, games, gifts and fun were all rolled into 5 hours and is a memory to be treasured. Watching my dad, who just turned 89 and my mom, watch their herd of great-grandchildren was a blessing.

Before we left their home to head back to ours I received a call from son #2….we found out the second daughter in law had stomach flu. We told my sister to make sure and come for dinner on Christmas day as we had a 17# turkey that was way more than we needed for 4 adults and two children.

My husband informed our 10 year old grandson that he would need to eat 2 1/2# of turkey. The grandson did not miss a beat and replied, “I can eat 2 1/2# of pumpkin pie!” (And I think he really could!)

Christmas day came, my sister joined us, we gathered around the table, joined hands and gave thanks for family with us and family that could not be with us. The day was a blessing. We laughed, we talked, we ate, we did a zoom call with those not able to be there, and presents were opened. (some of them were opened.)

There will come a day in either January or February that the rest of those gifts will be opened when we attempt to all gather again. My husband has decreed the tree will not come down till that event occurs….good thing it is an artificial tree!

The photo above is the aftermath of a Christmas well spent….a Christmas where the true meaning was celebrated and gifts were a by-product. It is good to be reminded to be grateful for what we do have. We had a day with our oldest son and his family and my sister….and that was a true gift.

May this day find you feeling blessed by the love of family and friends. May your holidays be wonderful even if they do not turn out like you had planned. May you know the blessing of Christ’s birth and the grace of God.

Merry Christmas!

 “Love without motives.
Give without expectations.
Forgive without conditions.”


Yes….I realize Father’s Day is over and that I missed it by one day. But I kind of feel like we should maybe celebrate dads more than just one day…at least the good ones.

I decided I would give a quick shout out to the dads in my life. My dad was a great example of what a dad and husband should be like. Once he became a grandpa he excelled at that job also. His grandkids love him dearly. He taught me what men should act like and how men should treat others…with respect and integrity. It never mattered to my dad (and still doesn’t) what someone possesed or what someone looked like….you treated them all with respect.

Because of my dad; I knew what to look for in husband material. My farmer husband was and is a great dad. He attended his son’s events…from cross country races, to band and music concerts, to programs at school and church and everything in between. He taught our sons how to hunt, how to treat others fairly and how to generally grow up to be men of character.

This man I call husband, might not be perfect (okay….he isn’t, but neither am I so it works out well) but he is perfect for me and perfect for our family. He also has jumped into the role of Grandpa and has excelled at it.

We have three sons who have become dads. Our middle son just celebrated his first Father’s Day this year. It has been a blessing watching these three men with their children. They are dads who are “hands on”….They change diapers, take their kids to parks, take them to taekwando lessons, attend programs, take time off work to tend sick kids and so many other “dad” tasks.

They are men who climb 14ers in Colorado, run marathons, fix motorcycles, love fishing and boating and build legos but still have time for those who are important in their lives.

It has been a joy to watch those three boys in the photo turn into men of integrity and men who love their families. I can only hope they realize what they mean to me. I can only hope all those dads in my life know what they mean to me. My life has been richer for knowing these dads. I am thinking I should probably tell them to make sure they know this fact!

My hope is that you have all been blessed knowing at least one good “dad” in your life. If you haven’t…rest assured there are good dads out there…..and if you have sons….you get the chance to raise them to be good dads.

“I believe that what we become
depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments,
when they aren’t trying to teach us.
We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”
― Umberto Eco

Outfox the Fox

Mom Fox

My girls are not happy with me. I don’t blame them for feeling that way as I am never happy when I am cooped up either.

A little back history as to why they are stuck in the chicken coop/run these last days…..

A while back we noticed a fox hanging around our place. My husband was pretty excited as the last years fox have been very scarce in our area. Coyotes had moved in and the fox population had moved out.

This particular fox seemed to have taken a fancy to the old schoolhouse that is on our acreage. We would see her darting under the building at random times of the day. Last week my husband came to the house to let me know he had seen her with fox pups.

To be honest I was not sure how I felt about a den of foxes right on our yard. My thoughts were that my chicken flock was going to be rapidly disappearing. For a bit, Mom Fox seemed to ignore the girls. In fact the girls would fearlessly run as a group toward the fox! (There has got to be a lesson in stupidity in there somewhere!) Mom Fox would look startled and head under the schoolhouse.

This past week the dynamic changed….Mom Fox found out that a chicken is a very tasty meal. My husband thought I would want the fox family cleared out;…..but I am torn. I want my girls safe….but I also really enjoy watching this fox family. (That is when I can catch a glimpse of them).

At this point in time the girls are stuck in their chicken coop/run area while we try figure out how to keep them safe, let them roam a bit and still have the fun of watching the family of foxes grow up.

My hope is that when we get busy mowing lawn and doing the busy outdoor work of summer, that the Mom Fox will decide it is no longer safe and move her family elsewhere…like far enough away that she won’t come back hunting a chicken dinner.

I am not sure how this will all turn out…..but I have always been an optomist and really don’t feel like changing that veiwpoint any time soon. I have a feeling there are lessons to be learned, while we wait for the fox family to move on. Lessons in patience, lessons in enjoying what is put before us even though it comes at a price.

I am not sure if we will be outfoxing the fox or just out-lasting the fox…..either way…it should prove interesting.

“With foxes we must play the fox.” 
– Thomas Fuller

Ordinary to Extraordinary


The plant with the beautiful orange flowers was given to me as a starter piece many years ago by my mom-in-law. She got her first piece from her mom and I am not sure how far back this plant really goes. I have given pieces to my children so they can also enjoy them.

I found out it is a Clivia and it blooms once a year around Easter (at least that is how mine seems to bloom). 

This plant always reminds me of our lives….most of the time we just do ordinary, everyday things–plain green leaf kind of things. 

Every so often, we are called to be extraordinary–to bloom with a beauty, a radiance, a daring to be more than what we think we are. A call to be obedient to our Father and step away from the plain green leaf existence of our normal, daily lives.

Listen for that nudge, hear the call and take that first step of obedience and see what extraordinary thing He will do…..even if it only happens once a year.


 Faith is taking the first step
even when you can’t see the whole staircase.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

Gardens and Promises

Planted Potatoes

Some things in life never seem to change. The passing of the seasons is one of them. My husband and I like to try get our potato crop in on the Easter weekend. I am not sure of the reason why, but it seems this is the traditional time to do so.

Fortunately, this year the weather cooperated with that goal. After some extremely cold weeks this winter, late winter snows….some more cold weather…some drizzly weather (I will not say rainy because for us it wasn’t enough to really qualify as rain), another bit of snow….we finally came to the Easter weekend.

This was a glorious Easter weekend as weather goes. The days kept getting warmer and the wind finally started to slow down. By saturday, my husband decreed the ground was ready for the tiller and we could put some seed potatoes into the ground.

There is something about tilling the ground early in the spring. The smell of dirt, the excitement of the chickens over that newly tilled ground (that is another whole story) and the promise of a good crop of potatoes from those small cut up seed potatoes.

It is an act of faith putting those small pieces into the ground. It is faith in the fact that the rains will come when they should, the sun will shine as it should and with lots of care the crop will be successful.

There is something symbolic about planting potatoes on Easter weekend. When you stop and think about it, it is almost spiritual. The fact of putting those seed potatoes in the ground brings to mind how Christ was buried and rose again.

Maybe that is why I like getting my garden started on Easter weekend. I like to claim the promise of life to come….both in my garden and in life. I love the assurance that God is in control and all will be right with the world.

May this weekend find you claiming the promise. May you find joy in the everyday things that are put before you. May you have time to dig in the dirt, plant a few seeds, and know that the rest is out of your control, and may you find great comfort in the fact that it is not all up to you.

Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection,
not in books alone,
but in every leaf in springtime.
– Martin Luther