You Can Go Anywhere From Here……

The Road South

My thoughts seemed a little scattered today so I decided I should take a short walk, up the road, to the blacktop that runs past our farm. Once you reach the black top it rather feels like being  atop of the world…..at least for Iowa. You can see for miles in all directions except one.

As I stood there this morning, in the warm sunshine, I kind of felt like Tom Hanks at the end of the movie “Castaway”. You know ….. the scene at the end where he stands in the middle of the road and wonders which one to take.

I stood in the middle of the blacktop road…..I even stood on the yellow line. For those of you who worry about traffic flattening me out…..not to worry….this is a rural blacktop and you can see a vehicle come quite a ways off.  You can also hear them coming a ways off as this is fairly quiet country…..so it was quite safe.

 

As I stood there, soaking up the sun like a cat, that is sitting in an open barn door, I realized what a beautiful view I had in every direction.  I thought about all the places you could get to from this one starting point and decided you could pretty much go anywhere from here.

Even if you don’t physically go those places it is fun to dream about going to those places. No passport is needed to dream about going somewhere……a fortune is not necessary to just close your eyes and picture far off places…..all you need is a little imagination and a desire to roll with that thought.

For me those roads signify the places I have on my bucket list to go and see. They signify the people I love, who live at the end of those roads. Those roads speak of dreams.

Then, I turn to face the road that brings me back home…..

The Road Home

I realize that though my road home has a few muddy spots, is filled with small rocks…..it is still my path to the place I call home……and it brings a huge smile to my face. It is my safe haven, it is the home where my husband is, it is the place my kids come home to visit, it is the place my “girls” peck about the yard, it is the place where I can sit on my porch on a sunny Spring type day and I can dream of taking all those roads someday.

It is good to realize that home is a great place to be. It is good to be content with where you have been placed. It is also a good thing to be able to dream and dream about wandering to all the places you would someday like to see.

When I was a kid in grade school my report cards used to have comments that told my folks that I did to much daydreaming. I think I still do a lot of daydreaming and I don’t think it is a problem at all. In fact……I think it might be a gift.

May you have the time to travel new roads this weekend. May you have the time to daydream about those places that are on your bucket list. And may you find contentment in the place you that you call home.

 

Every great dream begins with a dreamer.
Always remember, you have within you
the strength, the patience, and the passion
to reach for the stars to change the world.
Harriet Tubman

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/harriettub310306.html?src=t_dreams

“Not all those who wander are lost.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien

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Rainy Days…..

Thank You Card.JPG

The last couple days we have been enjoying some really nice weather that gave us a taste for summer…..at least it gave me a taste for those warm summer days.  This morning our territory was once again sent back to a rainy, gray day. I have to admit it really wasn’t so bad once my husband got the woodstove going…….in fact it was downright cozy sitting in my living room today.

It seemed like the perfect type of day to do a little more card making. I think I was rather inspired by the day I spent card making with my sister last week. This time around I only made one type.

After sorting through my stash of stuff I discovered a bag of cards and envelopes I had purchased at a second hand store. One grouping of ten looked promising to be re-purposed into Thank You cards.  The only thing I needed to cover was a small square on the front that originally had featured a pair of wine glasses .

I made some small blue squares for that space and stamped the Thank You stamp from the set, Lotus Blossom.  I then used Stampin Up sets; Gorgeous Grunge, Four Feathers, and the Feather Framelits Die Set to cut the feathers out. I used a brad to attach them to the card stock……and I was good to go.

I was pretty pleased how they turned out……especially using repurposed note cards.  Now I need to spend some time writing in them. I have people I need to thank for the graciousness I have been shown in the last couple weeks. My husband and I are amazed at the visits, food, and well wishes sent our way since my surgery.

All those actions have filled my heart.  It seemed fitting to make these cards on a rainy day that is sustaining the earth with moisture.  Just as the rain waters the ground….. so many of you have watered my soul with your caring and love.

Life truly is about relationship and I have witnessed true relationship so often these last weeks while I have been recuperating and it is beautiful.  I am so grateful for all of you.   You truly set the standard for caring. It has challenged me to pass that caring on to the next person in need of it. You have paved the way and have been an inspiration……I am blessed and I thank you.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you…”
John 15:12

Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verse-about-helping-others-21-top-scriptures/#ixzz4cll6o200

Promises of Spring

Flax

The last couple weeks in our area have been dreary, gray, chilly and wet. Today we finally broke out of that pattern and ended up with temps in the 50’s, sun and beautiful weather. It was the perfect day to wander around outside and just suck up some of the wonderful, warm sunshine.

A part of the afternoon was spent, head bent down, searching to see if any little purple violets have decided to make an appearance. I didn’t find any of those, but I did head back for the camera because when I strolled past my flower garden (which at times can also be known as a weed garden) I noticed the little green shoots of my flax plant trying to break through.

I began to dig through some of last years growth and the old leaves and discovered that the sedum, iris, and a few other things were also beginning to pop through the dark wet soil. It did my heart good to see these small promises of spring. It also did my heart good to just be outside and absorb the smells of spring, the sound of birds and the feel of warm sunshine.

I love this time of year…..it is so full of promise. After a long winter (which has it’s own beauty) it is like a revival to see the green shoots of plants and grasses make their way from their winter’s sleep. I am filled with hope when I see those green shoots coming up through the debris of last years plants……hope that life continues even when things looks dreary and dead. Hope of the promise of new life that chooses it’s own time to reveal itself.

My husband pointed out a pair of cardinals that were dancing through the bare trees. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera on hand at that point! The brilliant red was such a contrast to the brown of the bare branches. It reinforced the idea that life has so much beauty so close to what appears to be dead, brittle and ugly.

In looking closer at the branches of a tree in the backyard I discovered that the leaf buds are starting to swell with new life…..another promise in the process of being fulfilled.

Promise of Life

Life, like the swelling buds on the tree is full of hope if you just take the time to search. Sometimes the search is harder than others to find that small grain of hope and life. Sometimes, it seems to take more than one lifetime to see and feel that hope that brings a sweet breath of freshness into your soul.

Hope and Life, like the seasons, are on their own timetable…..they will not be hurried or wished into being. They will arrive at their appointed time and the older I get the more I am finding out……that timetable is perfect. I am also finding out that life without hope is stark and meaningless.  Maybe that is why all the little promises of Spring speak to my heart and soul.  It is a tangible reminder that life wins, hope springs eternal and God is good.

 

For behold, the winter is past;
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
Song of Solomon 2:11-12 ESV

 

Card Making and Sister Time

Card Making

I had a great day spending time with my little sister making cards today. In the weeks before surgery we picked this date as a good day to get my mind off recuperating and onto something fun.

She came before noon with dinner in hand…..chicken, broasted potatoes, and cactus bread from our local Pizza Ranch. That was a great way to start and was delicious!  Once eating was out of the way we got down to figuring out what cards we wanted to make.

She got her “stuff” out of her vehicle and then we scavenged through my craft cupboards. We also looked through Pinterest to find ones we thought we could make with what we had. The picture above shows the ones we decided on and ones we put our twist on.

We decided early on that perfection was not the goal.  This was a good decision as our cards ended up not always so perfect. The stamps and ink we used were mainly ones from Stampin Up. Our cardstock and paper came from anywhere we could get them. (Michaels, Ben Franklin and/or Hobby Lobby).

We spent a lot of time today making cards; but what was so much fun was the time spent visiting about anything and everything. We rehashed past surgeries, family history, good jokes we had heard, recipes we have tried and so many other topics. It was a good day spent laughing and connecting.

The time spent turned an ordinary day into something more. It turned it into a time of family and the memories that family carries. We have already made plans to do this again….only next time we are inviting the other sisters and friends. I have one sister who tells us that, “crafts make her sweat.” She will also be invited and we will try to make it as sweat free as possible!

The thing to remember is not what the cards end up looking like ……but how much fun it was gathering to make them. So much of life is like that….it is not what you accomplish but how and who, you accomplish it with.

What do you like to do with your sisters? What makes for a great time spent with your family?

May your weekend be filled with family, friends and fun. May you make memories that will last a lifetime and be the kind you can’t wait to revisit when you gather.

“The only ones who truly know your story are the ones who helped you write it.”
Unknown

 

Pasta Casserole

 

Pasta Casserole

I used one of my freezer meals today. Prior to surgery I had put some of these together so my husband would only have to pop them in the oven or microwave the first couple weeks after my surgery.

The one I hauled out for today was the Pasta Casserole one. I have a feeling I found the base recipe somewhere on Pinterest but I have long forgotten where so if this is your recipe and I have not given you credit I apologize. I have tweaked it to my own taste and liking and this is the recipe I ended up with.

Pasta Casserole

Brown and drain:
2 pounds hamburger
1 large onion, chopped
3 Tablespoons Italian Dressing

Add:
2 – 26 ounce Spaghetti or Pizza Sauce
16 ounce elbow or rotini noodles (cooked and drained)
5 cups mozzarella (20 ounces)
Reserve 2 cups of cheese for the top of casseroles.
8 ounces sliced pepperonis for top.

Put in 2 – 9×13 foil pans or equivalent smaller size foil pans.
Put mixture in pans.
Top with reserved cheese.
Top with sliced pepperonis.
Cover and freeze for later use.
or
Bake at 350º for 30 minutes.
If frozen, make sure to thaw completely and Bake at 350º for 35 – 40 minutes.

These work wonderful, when you are in a busy time of life or when you want to bring a meal to someone who is needing one. I tend to make them in 4 square foil pans as it is a filling meal and my husband is not crazy about tomato type products. When I serve this I usually sprinkle some parmesan cheese over the top also.

 I love the fact that with some minimal effort I can have 4 meals in my freezer just waiting to be baked or given away.  I really like that when I have some of these in my freezer there are days I don’t even have to think about what to make…..that is a huge plus at this present time.

I am wondering what are some of your favorite shortcuts when it comes to mealtime? What works  best for you to spend less time prepping for meals everyday and more time enjoying those extra moments with your family instead?

 

The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Psalm 145:15-16 ESV

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
Hippocrates

Provision

Splitting Wood.JPG

Time does seem to have a way of flying right on by. I used to laugh when my folks and grandparents would comment on the swift passing of time. In my “youthful wisdom” I always kind of thought they were, perhaps, just moving slower so time seemed faster. That concept may or may not be true……at this phase in my life I might not want to think to deeply on that one.

In looking through photos I had taken this past year I happened upon the one of my husband and youngest son splitting firewood for the winter. They were splitting the entire year’s worth in anticipation of my husband having a hip replaced during the winter. At that time is seemed like a huge pile of wood to conquer and stack in our garage. It also seemed like there was no way that we would go through all that wood. It also seems like they just split this wood just yesterday.

This past week I ventured into the garage, as I was tired of just sitting inside recuperating. I was surprised to find there is really not much wood left stacked in there. When my husband told me, earlier in the year, that we would use it all during the winter season I really did not believe him. I am guessing wood, like time, tends to fly when one doesn’t keep track!

I have been having more time to reflect the last while. (Sometimes my reflections get a little short-circuited, due to that wonderful post-surgery brain fog.) There are so many seasons in life that we pass through. Some seem like they will never end. If you had asked me the middle of last week how long it would take for me to start feeling physically better I would have answered, “forever.”  I am feeling so much more hopeful this week.

I have been amazed at the prayers, well-wishes, cards, food and abundance of support from friends, family and even people I have never met in person. You are all making this recovery time fly by and if I could put one label on this rather odd time in my life it would be “Blessed”.

It feels odd to realize that in this “weak” time, blessed is how I feel.  Extremely tired…..but blessed. It make me wonder if sometime, God decides it is good to have a slow down time to really appreciate Him and His people. A time when time does not seem to fly by. I have been gifted lots of time for conversations with Him. (To be honest……most of those conversations ran along the lines of asking for health results I wanted.)

I am so grateful that God’s timing is perfect for whatever season I am in. I am grateful He knows what I need; exactly when I need it……and He is never late. I am so grateful that God’s provision and love, unlike our pile of firewood, never runs out.

 

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19 

Beautiful Things

wintry spring sky.JPG

Sometimes when you are feeling not so great it is good to open your eyes to the things of beauty that are around you. That is what I did today. My husband put the patio chairs with cushions on the deck. Today he set them in the sun just for me.

It felt so good to just sit there in the sun, listening to the wind blowing through the bare trees, and feeling that same breeze slide over my skin. It was cold and I had to wear my coat and cover my legs with a blanket but it was so good to just immerse myself in the beauty around me.

I did comment that I thought I looked like an invalid…..then we both laughed because I guess while I recuperate I am somewhat of an invalid! After a rocky couple of days the description fit. I felt rather like those dead looking branches in the photo. On the upside…..those branches are just biding their time to bud out in lush green leaves. I am taking heart from that fact!

Short post today and just going to share a few of the beautiful things I saw today. Unfortunately it is hard, for me, to accurately capture the beauty of the outdoors.

 

I had to include a picture of the girls. My husband and I really laughed today. We were sitting in our living room watching the news when suddenly a chicken head appeared  peering into our window. It didn’t take long for her to take off running. We wondered if she was spreading the news that Chicken Grandma was still alive……. so not to worry!

I am going to leave you with one last picture of a plant that I have had for years. It only blooms once a year and so is a wonderful treat. The blooms are lush and truly another beautiful thing.

Indoor beauty

May your weekend be blessed. May you open your eyes to the beauty around you. When things look dark and bleak may that beauty be an unexpected blessing to you.  And for my friends who celebrate St. Patty’s Day I leave you with this:

 

May The Road
Rise Up To Meet You

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

(traditional gaelic blessing)

Read more: http://www.lords-prayer-words.com/famous_prayers/may_the_road_rise_up_to_meet_you.html#ixzz4bd9dcguo.