The Happiness Tag

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I have been chosen by the wonderful funny Mrs Cobbs to participate in the Happiness Tag. I have found out this means I need to share 5 things which make me happy. I am not quite sure how I am supposed to hold this down to only 5 things…..

While I am thinking of which 5 things I want to share with you; I invite you to go over to thecobwebemporium and have a great time meeting  my friend, Mrs. Cobbs. I guarantee you are in for a treat!

The last few days have been spent pondering what five things I would place on the list of things that make me happy.  Top on the list would have to be people. For me family is huge. I love nothing more than to have all my family in the same place at the same time. This can be any location……just so the bunch is together. There are also friends who are as close as family. These are the people who know me, know my flaws and still want to hang out with me anyway! You just gotta love those kind of people like they are family.

Another thing that makes me happy is sitting on our porch on a cool fall morning, drinking my cup of tea while my husband enjoys his morning cup of coffee. This morning as we sat there we could see our breath every time we took a swallow from our mugs. We also had the fun of watching a pair of deer playing in a large grassy area.  They reminded me of pups chasing each other in circles.

I am finding that gardening and preserving food also makes me happy. I am not sure if this is more of a contented feeling but it does translate into happiness when I see the shelves filling with produce. Seeing all those full jars makes all the hoeing weeds, swatting bugs and sore muscles worth while. There is just something so fulfilling about growing and preserving your own food and feeding your family with that same food.

Another satisfyingly happy thing is when Bible study season once again comes around. I get to hang out with women I don’t normally hang out with. We usually do a Beth Moore series each season. It is so rewarding to see someone else’s point of view and how they answered certain questions. I have learned so much from the different Beth Moore series and from the women who study with me.

I love when my husband decides we need to take a road trip. One of the funnest (is that actually a word?) road trips we have ever taken was only a day long. We went someplace in Minnesota to pick up a pair of tractor fenders that he had purchased on craigslist. We left early in the morning, packed our lemon sandwich crème cookies (these are a staple for traveling), and headed north. It was an incredibly hot day and the air conditioner did not work in our car. We made stops on the way home at little antique shops, Wal-Marts (to cool off), and anyplace else that looked interesting. We still laugh about how crazy hot it was but also how crazy fun it was.

So there we are: people, morning tea on the porch, gardening and preserving, Bible study and road trips are some items on my list. I could have included books (nothing like a good Ted Dekker or James Patterson book), crafting (of all kinds-stamping, knitting, crocheting etc.), a good movie, having a tea party with the grandkids, junking with my sister, going to the Lakes, aaaaahhhhhhh the list is really never ending!

I think what I am seeing as I write down my thoughts on what makes me happy is that relationships are what make me the happiest. They are such a blessing.

I now have to ask 5 other bloggers to let us know 5 things that make them happy. I do want them to know that if they are too busy or just would rather not take part that is no problem. There is no pressure because, Hey, I want it to make them happy to participate! I would love to nominate most of the blogs I read because they all make me happy but I am limited to 5.

The following are those I am nominating:

A Quiet and Peaceable Life – The pictures PeggyJoan puts on her blog make me very happy.

The Journey of a Million Miles – MariJo writes so honestly of her relationship with God and those around her.

The Vanilla Tulip – I love how Ashley gives young moms so many great words of advice. I am no longer a young mom (but I am a grandma) and I love how her family and her faith are what keep her centered.

Ruthie’s Crafting Corner – Ruthie has such a variety of things that she includes in her blog you are sure to find something to interest you!

Helberg Farm Stories – The Helberg sisters have a blog that talks about relationships and farming. For me this is a double win!

Just a reminder:  there is no pressure on those nominated to take part but should you choose to; this is what you are asked to do:  Tell your readers 5 things which make you happy.  This can be anything because everyone has a different list of things and that makes this really fun.  You are then asked to keep it going by picking 5 blogs to pass the Happiness Tag to.  You may go ahead and use the Happiness Tag graphic posted at the top as it was made by Mrs. Cobbs and she gave us the go-ahead to use it if we choose. She is good like that!!

Oh…..and one last thing…….have fun!!!!

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
Abraham Lincoln

 

 

 

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Birthdays and Other Thoughts

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Yesterday I celebrated the 30th anniversary of my 29th birthday……which is just a fancy way of saying I celebrated getting older…though not quite as old as dirt.

You know you are getting older when the days before your birthday are not spent in anticipation of blowing out candles, cakes and parties. I knew I would be spending that day keeping my mom company at the hospital while my dad had a hip replaced.

My sister (one of them) and I went together to spend the time with mom. Once dad was out of the recovery room and in his own room we also got to spend time with him. We pretty much watched him sleep….but that was good because when you sleep you heal (at least that is my theory).

The day actually was really a celebration, just a different kind of celebration……I got to spend a lot of it with my mom, dad and a sister.  My dad came through surgery with flying colors and even got to come home today! Later in the day my sister and I spent some time at Hobby Lobby. That is always a great treat as a person can get ideas for crafting that you would never think of on your own. (I am sure that thought makes my husband sigh deeply, almost painfully)

Once I got back home; my husband and I got ready and headed out to have supper at our local Pizza Ranch. My son had called and wanted to take us out.  We had a great time with him and his girlfriend. I cannot speak for anyone else but I also ate way too much. I have decided it is probably a good thing I do not work in the food industry.

I have been ignoring the fact that my clothes seem to be shrinking (it has to be the clothes!). It is easy to ignore because our bathroom scale has not been working for a long time due to dead batteries. Today I purchased some batteries because I finally acknowledged the fact that just because a person doesn’t know what they weigh; it does not mean they aren’t gaining weight. This is just a really sad fact of life.

It is good to know that we are not defined by our age, weight, or anything else. I am so grateful I am defined only by the love of the God who created me. I am comforted by the fact that when God looks at me, He does not just see the outside of me…..(that fact can also be pretty scary!)

I am also grateful that throughout my life He has gifted me with family who loves me and friends who stand by me. I am indeed wealthy in the things that matter and I am blessed by the people He has put in my life. It makes the passing of years; a journey to be enjoyed.

What are you grateful for and what speaks blessing to you?

“A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)

 

Tale of a Tree

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Our farm place is home to a tree that our children have deemed an eyesore for a very long time. I do have to admit the old boxelder is a pretty sad looking specimen as trees go. It stands alone between the barn and the corn crib surrounded by tall grass. It does kind of get in the way of our view of the river.

It is a pretty typical boxelder tree. They are a variety of maple tree that does not seem to be able to decide if it should be a bush or a tree. This particular tree has also struggled for years with deciding if it was alive or dead…..It has lots of dead top branches and some shoots growing near the bottom that leaf out every year.

My husband always told the kids that when all the big dead branches fell off the top he would let the tree go and take it down. He told them that would be happening in God’s time so they could talk all they wanted about cutting it down; but the talking would do them no good.

I do kind of like that old tree. In the years we have been here we have enjoyed watching families of squirrels being raised in it’s hollow core. That boxelder has been home, not only to squirrels but also to wood ducks, starlings (not my favorite!), woodpeckers, flickers and more.

It has been the roosting spot for hawks of all kinds, screech owls, great-horned owls, and eagles as they follow the migration of ducks and geese each spring and fall. We have even had a Canadian goose decide it was a great place to set and take a rest.

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It has been great (and cheap) entertainment to grab the lawn chairs, your favorite beverage (tea in my case), and sit in the middle of the lawn just watching the tree. It is amazing the variety of critters that have called it home for one season or many seasons.

Just the other day, the last, large branch fell off when a strong breeze came through. My husband happened to be looking out the patio door as it happened. I think it kind of stunned him. He knew it would happen sometime….he just figured it would be in the middle of a big windstorm.

I asked him if the tree was going to be coming down since the main branches were now gone. I was told that, yes, it would be coming down but he would be needing time to grieve. He smiled as he said that, but I am sure there was some truth to his reply.

There were and are lots of lessons to be learned from that scrappy looking tree. Lessons like being useful when everyone else thinks you are way past your prime. Lessons such as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There is a strange beauty in the things that are rugged and scarred by life. There is a truth in the fact that you may be rugged and scarred but you have withstood storms that may have left others to beaten to go on. There is a contentment in the acceptance of the brokenness and a peace that comes from finding a new purpose for what life looks like now.

I have no idea how old that tree is but I bet if it could talk it would have some great stories to tell. Tales of families living on this place, tales of love, joy, tears and heartache. Stories of children climbing in it’s branches and beautiful golden days standing in the sun. Stories of leaves rustling in the wind as a million stars shone overhead and being serenaded by the frogs in the creek, the crickets hiding in the long grass and the slap of the beaver’s tail on the river.

There would also be the stories of hail storms, sideways rain, blizzards and choking dust on windy summer days. I can only imagine the history that has happened as that boxelder tree silently stood watch.

I can only hope that as I get older, I weather life with as much grace and dignity as that old tree…..standing strong, bending, sometimes seeming to break, but coming back to life with each spring season. I would hope to be a silent witness to God’s faithfulness and the beauty of perseverance.

 

Stand firm, and you will win life.”
Luke 21:19 (NIV)

 

The Black Cat Blue Sea Award

Thank you so much to Patricia Davis from the kindergartenknowledge blog for nominating me for the Black Cat Blue Sea Award!  She must have known that I needed some easy way to ease myself back into writing a blog post!  I have had a week long forced vacation from my blog writing, due to computer difficulties.

I have had so much fun getting to know Patricia through her blog and her wonderful comments.  Make sure to click the link above so you, too, can enjoy a great reading experience!

Back to the award…..this is an award given and received by fellow bloggers and is meant to be fun. If any nominees are not interested in The Black Cat Blue Sea Award, participation is not required.

The rules are as follows:

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The  questions I was asked to answer:

1. What personal rewards do you receive from blogging?
I would have to say the biggest personal reward I receive from blogging are the friendships I am making with people from all over the world.  Blogging is an invitation to explore not only my own joy of writing and love of words but the words and ideas of others. There are so many wonderful, funny, sincere people out there that it restores my faith in the goodness of people on a regular basis. So many people have huge issues in life but they deal with them with grace, dignity and humor. These same people are quick to encourage everyone around them. I am grateful to the blogging community. I am also finding out that a great number of people from my church read my blog.  That has also been a fun way to connect.

2. What place in the world would you like to visit? Why?
This is a really hard question for me.  I love to travel and see things.  If I had unlimited resources and a husband who shared the love of being gone I would probably never be home. My bucket list includes places like the Grand Canyon because it is such an amazing creation that God has gifted us. The list also includes Mexico because I think a week by the ocean and on the beach would be so relaxing. I also love any place historic because I have always loved history. I have been to Europe waaaaay back in 1977 and would love to go back and see how things have changed since then. Actually anywhere my family is, is also a great place to be! It would also be fun to stop in and actually see my fellow bloggers in person, sit down for a cup of tea and have a visit.

3. What are your four most favorite books?
Another hard question!  I love to read…..I still read labels on the catsup bottle!  Anyway, I digress…..four favorite books: Blink by Ted Dekker (I love the possibilities it presents), The Help by Kathryn Stockett (I have never seen the movie but I love the characters in this book), Grace For the Moment by Max Lucado (one of my favorite devotionals), the Bible (I would be so lost without this book!), and I am adding a fifth book – the Reference Guide for Essential Oils  (It is so full of good information.)

My seven nominees are:

1.PaperPuff
2.BeeOrganizedWithPamela
3.OnceUponAHotFlash
4.UnmeasuredJourneys
5.CobwebEmporium
6.RabbitPatchDiary
7.Alheri

These seven bloggers have made me think, they have made me laugh out loud, they have inspired me but most of all they have made me wish I could meet them in person

The three questions I have for these bloggers are:

1. How do you find your inspiration for a blog post?

2. What do you enjoy most about where you call home? Why?

3. What is your favorite thing to do and with who (or is it whom)?

“Every time you post something online, you have a choice.
You can either make it something that adds to the happiness levels in the world—or you can make it something that takes away.”
Zoe Sugg

 

 

 

 

Stupid Computers

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I am learning, the hard way, that electronics (especially computers) can be troublesome pieces of equipment. I am also coming to realize I might be slightly addicted to my laptop and I am lost when it is on the fritz.  My husband laughed when he read the word – slightly.  I am not sure why…..okay, maybe I know why.

For the last couple days our laptop has the annoying habit of just shutting down while in the middle of important tasks. This is so irritating when I am in the middle of typing something amazingly profound for a blog post.

I am not often profound so when I am having a really deep thought I need to just keep going with it. Profoundness (or is it profundity?) should never be interrupted….especially for something like electronic issues.  Maybe if I knew anything about computers it would not be such an issue?

For this reason I am a day late on my blog posting.  It does make me wonder if God knew how busy this week would turn out to be and how many weird, non-normal things my husband and I would run into. Everything from  relatives in the hospital to rainstorms that sent us over 4 inches of rain in one afternoon have guaranteed that our week was kind of out of sync.

I have decided to cut myself some slack on making my deadline and receive the extra day as a gift. I have a feeling that many of us could use a day of no computers and time to focus on family, friends, rain and just taking the time for a big sigh.

The computer issue also insures that this will be a short blog post due to the fact I have no idea how long it will stay working.  I think the problem is in the part where the power cord plugs into the computer. The battery has long since died and we have just been keeping it plugged in.

Once I get the thing up and running I sit very very still so as not to jostle the cord. I may have to take it to a computer doctor to have it properly diagnosed and see if a  5 year old laptop is worth fixing or if it should be on the “do not resuscitate” list.

If I do not reply to a comment or leave a comment on your post; you will now know the reason why.  I do not mean to ignore you…..in fact when the computer is being pesty I really miss keeping in touch! So many of you I will probably never meet in person, but I have come to think of you as friends.

May you have a blessed weekend!

To err is human –
and to blame it on a computer is even more so.
Robert Orben

Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_computers.html

 

 

 

The County Fair

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The Chicken Grandma Goes to the Fair.

 

There is a county in our area that has the most amazing county fair. The famous Clay County Fair (or as we used to call it the Spencer Fair – is located in the town of Spencer) is one of the  biggest county fairs I know of.

My husband and I decided we would attend yesterday as it was not raining. It was cold but we decided wearing a coat was better than using an umbrella to stay dry. It was also better than some years when it is so hot you just sit and bake in the sun. At least when it is cold and windy you can add more clothes…..when it is hot there is only so much you can take off before you either scare people or get arrested.

Every day at this county fair they have a special gate admission for various groups.  The day we went was a discount for senior citizens. Fortunately (or unfortunately?) we do not yet qualify for this discount.  The only concern we had was would there be enough benches for us to rest on when we wanted to sit down? Senior day tends to see the benches with lots of white haired (or no haired) people utilizing them.

We found seating was not such a problem this year as a lot of the seniors rented scooters or rode around on golf carts. After walking around the entire day those scooters and carts looked really, really good!

We spent the day wandering the grounds looking at farm machinery, antiques, tractors, and classic cars. Those are my husbands favorite categories. I love to go in the buildings that have the displays of hand-made quilts, cards, scrapbook pages, canned goods, etc.

It was also fun to taste the samples of the products the vendors were trying to sell. There was a booth that had the most amazing fried bacon Wisconsin cheese. I wanted to buy some till I saw the price. I am a little to tight to pay that much for a small square of cheese.

I love to watch the salesmen trying to sell the gadgets and gizmos.  I do have to restrain myself from purchasing these gadgets and gizmos because how many of them do I really need? At least that is what I keep telling myself; as the man is slicing and dicing vegetables and telling me every reason that I should possess that gadget…..and he has some really good reasons.

A day at the fair is not complete without purchasing a 1/2 pound pork tenderloin sandwich basket for our meal. My husband and I usually share a basket because that is a lot of food and we need to save room for important food like nutty bars and/or Tom Thumb donuts.

The Poultry Building is also a big draw for me…….I guess I would not be the Chicken Grandma if I did not like chickens?  My husband just laughed and wondered if I really needed to see them when I could look at chickens any time I want to. I just told him these were different chickens and went on to have a little conversation with someone else’s girls. They were all very attentive when I spoke with them.

One of our favorite buildings is the second oldest one on the fairgrounds…..the Agriculture building. They are going to be taking it down as it is no longer up to code. This made us sad as we like the old buildings and this one always had the farm produce, home-made wines,  4-H exhibits and the mammoth pumpkins.

 

Maybe it made us sad because we really don’t like to see change. There is a comfort in the familiar. There is a comfort in things remaining constant. It is not always possible to keep things as they were; but knowing that fact does not make change any easier to do.

I have a feeling that the older I get, the less I will like change. I totally agree with the old adage, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”  Unfortunately the Agriculture building is “broke”. I will get over it (even though I am not sure I want to) eventually.

There is nothing permanent except change.
Heraclitus

Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/heraclitus165537.html?src=t_change

A Popcorn Evening

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Lately my husband and I have had a craving for caramel corn. I decided it was time to make a batch so we could just get that craving over with.  I whipped out the old air popper from the back of the cupboard, hauled out the bowls and paper bags and got out the recipe.

Later as we sat eating our bowlful of caramel corn we started to reflect on the expectations I used to have when I made popcorn when our boys were small.

I always had the vision of three boys, freshly bathed, sitting in their jammies eating popcorn. In my vision these boys (Thinking back I am not sure whose boys I was seeing in my dreams) were quietly holding their colorful Tupperware bowls full of white buttery popcorn. They were eating their treat slowly,  kernel by kernel and avidly watching the family friendly movie I had checked out from the local library.

Also in this vision my living room was dusted, vacuumed, and had everything in it’s place. The vision resembled a Norman Rockwell painting.

For some reason the reality of popcorn/movie night with our family never ended up looking quite like that Rockwell painting. It started out with great expectations…..three boys were freshly bathed, had colorful Tupperware bowls with popcorn and a movie was playing.

After that it went downhill.  Three boys were soon scrambling around on the floor, arguing about who was sitting in who’s space or who had taken someone’s bowl. With all the scrambling around going on the popcorn did not stay in those wonderful bowls and ended up under the couch, behind the end tables and everywhere but in the bowls.

By the time the movie had ended and they had been put to bed our living room looked like there had been an explosion in a popcorn factory. I was crabby and my husband would gently (and sometimes with a smirk) remind me that we had “real” little boys and this is how they acted……he would know as he had three brothers and a sister.

Our popcorn/movie nights are much quieter now with just the two of us. No scrambling children and no popcorn flying to land behind the furniture. Those previous nights now are just memories that bring a smile to our faces…..it is always easier to smile when popcorn explosions are memories!

If you are the parents of small children and want to give the popcorn Rockwell vision a try or you just have a craving for something sweet, here is a great recipe for caramel corn.

Microwave Caramel Corn
8 quarts popped popcorn
2 sticks butter
2 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup white corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Divide the popcorn into two large bowls.
Boil butter, brown sugar, syrup, and salt in heavy saucepan for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add: vanilla and stir in.
Remove from heat and stir in soda
Divide and pour over popped popcorn.
Stir and pour each bowl of popcorn into a large brown paper grocery bag.
Microwave each bag for 1 1/2 minutes, remove and shake,
microwave 1 1/2 minutes more, shake and pour into bowl.
Can also be baked in oven on flat pans at 250º for 1 hour – stirring every 10 minutes.
NOTE: I use real butter as I think is does not get as greasy.
I also like to use an air popper for the popcorn.

 

My family is my strength and my weakness.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/aishwaryar180644.html?src=t_family