A Day at a Time

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Birthday Box

I woke up yesterday to the fact that I had reached a milestone day…..I hit the big six zero on the birthday scale. I rolled over and asked my husband how in the world that had happened.  His dry response….”One day at a time”.

He hit that exactly right. Every day just brings us that much closer to the next milestone birthday. I don’t really have a problem hitting those milestones…I just have a problem realizing that I have hit them. I have often told my children that my plan is to get old but just not grow up…..they assure me I am doing fine on that goal.

My sister-in-law sent me a box of goodies from Missouri. Her card made me laugh as it featured two older ladies. I love the fact those ladies are laughing there heads off and enjoying life. The box contained chocolate, teas and candles with the letters spelling Older & Wiser. I am sure I am older I am just not sure on the wiser part!

My sister-in-law and I, have long called each other Milly and Tilly. Years ago we each knew women in their 90’s who were such an inspiration to us. The woman she knew was named Milly and the woman I knew was Tilly. We decided that when we “grew up” we wanted to be just like them.

Those women were fearless in their old age. They learned how to use computers, took the stairs instead of elevators and lived life. They just never gave up enjoying day to day life and kept moving as long as they could.

I am not sure if I spent my birthday in “Tilly fashion” or not. I don’t know that I really got a whole lot done. It was spent in a wonderful way. The day started with going to Coffee Break Bible study in a town nearby. This is my first experience with Coffee Break and I can tell I am going to love it.

After Bible study I ran errands in town and then headed on to the next town to meet a friend. Our plan had been to dig out some perennials that she wanted thinned out. We never made it out of the Fruited Plain where we met for lunch…… we were too focused on visiting and catching up. (I would highly recommend the Fruited Plain and their flatbread….mmmmmm).

I should back up and mention that she met me at the door with a birthday cupcake! It was beautiful. I tried to get a photo of it through its cellophane container.

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Birthday Cupcake

It was beautiful until it fell sideways and smashed the flowers!  Fortunately smashed flowers did not affect the wonderful taste!

It was not exactly a day of pampering but it was pretty close to it. Any day spent with friends in Bible study and/or lunch is pampering in my book. I did not feel the least bit guilty that canning did not get done, grass did not get mowed and the house did not get cleaned. I knew all those things would not disappear and would be waiting for me today.

I came to the conclusion that it was the perfect way to spend a birthday. Bible study was a great way to start it off, lunch with a friend, sharing chocolates out of my birthday box with my husband and a bowl of ice cream with peaches to cap it off.

Life can be a little like my cupcake. We start out fresh and looking pretty good. After a time we get a little smushed up from events and don’t look quite like we started out. The good news is……no matter how smashed our frosting is…..we are still a cupcake and we are still good!

If the weekend finds you feeling a little mashed by life…..may you realize you are still okay……..even if your frosting has taken a different form. Blessings to you all this coming weekend!

And so encourage one another and help one another,
just as you are now doing.
(1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Star Of Hope

 

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Autumn steals in softly
on gentle winds that blow.
The smell of earth around us
with golden fields that glow.

The cries of birds are silent
their songs no longer heard.
They’ve all flown to distant lands
by warmer weather lured.

The trees in all their splendor
have traded leaves of green.
For hues of yellow,orange and rust
and in the breeze they preen.

The flowers are slowly fading
giving up the fight
Except the blazing Star of Hope
Dancing in the night.
Faye K.

I only know this flower by the name my aunt has told me…the Star of Hope. I am quite sure it is of the allium family but I have not been able to google what kind it actually is. It is a bulb that I plant in the spring and dig back out in the fall. It seems to take forever to break through the soil.

About the time you give up on it showing up….there it is!  It grows rapidly to about 4 – 5 feet tall. It is a pretty forgiving bulb. I have forgotten it in my basement for half a summer and then stuck it in the ground. It never fails to grow and bloom…no matter when or where it is planted.

When I went to get a photo of this flower I had to hold the stem because it seemed to want to keep moving in the breeze. (I had to use my phone because I shelled out my other camera lens on vacation). I love the layers of this flower….the waxy white petals, the stamens surrounding the center and the multiple stems that hold all those beautiful blooms.

I would hope to be like that bulb….forgiving and blooming no matter where and when I have been placed. It would be good to be faithful and show up no matter what. I would hope to bring as much joy to those around me; as seeing that tall graceful stem brings to me.

May you bloom no matter where you are.  May hope find you in the place you have been planted. May you bring joy and blessing to others…and may you dance in the night.

God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone,
but also on trees,
and in the flowers and clouds and stars.

Martin Luther

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/martinluth140721.html?src=t_flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Change of Seasons

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The calendar tells me it is the first day of fall……the temperature tells me we are stuck in the middle of summer!  We had temperatures in the 90’s today with humidity that literally sucked the energy right out of your body. I am in full agreement with whoever came up with the phrase, “It’s not the heat….it’s the humidity.”

It is easy to tell that we are in the middle of September when you look at the trees. When my husband and I were sitting on the porch yesterday we felt like we were being rained on….by locust leaves. The little yellow leaves just kept floating down onto the porch, the ground and it didn’t take long and we would have a leaf landing on us.

If you listen closely you can hear the rustle of dry leaves from the trees in the gully and from the corn and soybeans in the field. It is a sound distinctive to fall.

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About the only green thing around here would be the weeds and the lawn. It is hard to imagine that just a few weeks ago our lawn was brown and crispy. I was sure it was dead and that we were done mowing for the season….and then it started to rain.

I must confess I do like to see the green again. I am not quite ready to give up summer for what I know will be the cold of winter. We did end up mowing again this week.

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I told my husband that when you can rake windrows in your lawn after mowing, it was high time to mow it! I spent some time gathering up the dry grass to feed to the chickens later this year…when the lawn is actually dead. They love to feast on the fine blades of grass and it will be a wonderful treat when snow is on the ground.

It seems this time of year is spent preparing for the coming winter. Waterways get baled, grass gets stored for chicken feed, garden produce is put up and preserved for future meals, and soon we will hear the sound of combines in the fields and corn dryers running.

It seems like a frantic pace during this season. Perhaps it is because we know time is getting short to get all those tasks done.  It sometimes feels like there are not enough hours in a day…but I am glad when night comes because I am tired!

It has been so busy lately that we didn’t really notice exactly when the birds all disappeared. One morning we were sitting outdoors and noticed how quiet it was. No longer were the swallows swooping about snatching bugs from midair. The robin nests were empty and there wasn’t a wren to be heard.

The birds, or lack of them, are a pretty good indicator of the seasons.  The loud choir of birds in the morning has changed to the quiet rustling of drying leaves. The lushness of summer is quickly giving way to the golds and browns of fall.

Our lives tend to mirror the changing seasons. Some days feel like we are in the midst of the busyness of fall. Other times we feel like we are in the lazy days of summer. And then there are those times in our lives that we feel the sting of those cold days of winter. There is a beauty to each season and it is good to keep our eyes and hearts open to that beauty.

May you take time to enjoy the beauty of this fall season. May you be blessed whatever season of life you are in. And may you be comforted with the thought that if you are in a difficult season….it will change.

The question, “Which is the happiest season of life?”
was asked of an aged man.

And he replied: “When spring comes, and in the soft air the buds are breaking
on the trees, and they are covered with blossoms,
I think, ‘How beautiful is spring’;

and when summer comes and covers the trees with its heavy foliage,
and singing birds 
are among the branches,
I think, ‘How beautiful is summer.’
When autumn loads them

with golden fruit, and their leaves bear the gorgeous tint of frost,
I think, ‘How 
beautiful is autumn.’
And when it is severe winter, and there is neither foliage nor

fruit, then I look up through the leafless branches as I never could
until now, and see the stars shine in God’s home.

unattributed

 

The seasons are what a symphony ought to be:
four perfect movements in harmony with each other.

Artur Rubenstein

Crafting Day

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Fall Crafting

A while back two of my friends and I decided that we really needed to have a craft day.  Today was that day. All three of us have a penchant for trying crafts of various types. We had planned to make a fall craft and we did!

I had empty bottles from my Young Living Ninxgia Red that I had been saving because I thought their shape was so cool. This seemed like the perfect time to make use of them.

Paint was purchased at Menards.  Rustoleum paint plus primer was used and worked pretty good to cover the jars and their labels. We decided we would paint them without the caps on as we wanted to be able to put flowers, grasses and things like cattails in them for fall decoration.

The paint colors I used on my bottles were Rustoleum Claret Wine, Fire Orange, Strawflower and Oregano with a satin finish.

One of the gals owns a Cricut and she cut the vinyl letters for us to put on. A earlier visit to Hobby Lobby and Michaels yielded some extra stuff to bling our bottles up.

The plan was to spray the paint on the bottles outdoors; so we wouldn’t have to worry about fumes and overspray in a building. Unfortunately, the day did not dawn bright, sunny, clear or glorious! It was, instead, hazy, slightly foggy, damp, chilly and not conducive to spray painting outdoors.

Plan A was scrapped and Plan B was implemented. My husband backed the car out of the garage, put cardboard on the floor, and set up three stations for spray painting. His word of advice as he left the garage……”shake the crap out of the cans before you spray with them. When you think you shook enough…..shake some more.” So we did.

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Spraying commenced and before long we were inhaling the fumes from three constantly spraying paint cans. We did have the garage door open (complete with hog panel to keep out stray chickens) but the fumes did seem to hang out in the garage with us.

We were tentative sprayers at first. However, it did not take long and we were in the thick of spraying.  It also did not take long; and we noticed one gal’s feet had a nifty orange tinge to them. It kind of looked like a bad spray tan.

Once we were done with our spraying we had to wait for our bottles to dry. We decided we would head out to a nearby town for some dinner (or to the city people…..lunch). We found the little local drive-in was still open and we also found that Slade’s Drive In still serves amazing food!

We also decided we needed to check out the second hand store in town…..Lost But Found. It is a second hand store that is a non-profit and benefits a local charity. You just never know what you might find there.   That is what makes it so much fun.

Once we returned home we decided we would finish our decorating at our own homes when the paint was really dried nicely. Cars were packed up and it was decided we really needed to have tea and sample the muffins that the other friend had brought along. It was a great decision!

We also decided we needed to try our hand at a selfie with our painted bottles. I am not totally sure how successful we were on that score! But we gave it our best shot! And it is what it is!

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Selfie

Despite the gloomy start to the day it turned out to be a wonderful time! It was definately an “Ooh, Shiny” kind of day. I would argue that any day spent with friends turns out to be that kind of day.

It was great to craft with them, but it was also so great to spend time with friends that know who you are and love you anyway. We may not be sisters by blood….but we are definitely sisters of the heart.

I hope you all have someone who is family of the heart. I hope you all have someone who knows you well and loves you anyway. Life is so much better with friends like that.

“I have learned
that to be with those I like
is enough.”
Walt Whitman

Beauty in the Barren Places

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Sunrise Over The Badlands

Sometimes beauty shows up in the most unexpected places. Barren, desert like landscapes are strangely beautiful when you really start to look closely at them. When the sun rises over them; they are cast in an amazing glow that makes the land take on an entirely different life.

The world takes on a feel of expectation….a waiting to see what the day will bring….a hush that borders on the feel of standing in a holy place.

As I walked through the crunchy half dead grass of the Badlands of South Dakota; I began to notice that this barren looking land was filled with life……blooms and plants that are fragrant and colorful.

Trees cling tenaciously to life in this land and golden yellow flowers bloom with abandon along the Sage Creek roadway. Perhaps it is the contrast of the lifeless looking grass that elevates the blooms of flowers to something so much more than mere patches of color.

The days can be amazingly hot, with a wind that never seems to quit. As we camped on the rim of the badlands, our pop up camper was buffeted by winds that seemed to want to tip us over the edge. The second night my husband actually chained our camper to our pickup for a little extra safety measure!

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Even with the downside of sudden storms and hot dry winds, this land has much to teach us. It teaches us, at least it teaches me, that beauty can be found in the barren spaces. I have learned that if you look closely you will find an abundance of beauty.

That beauty may not be flashy or showy, but it is abundant. The sage gives off a wonderful aroma if you happen to step on it and the sunrises and sunsets are some of the most beautiful I have seen.

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I am hoping that if you are stuck, waiting in a barren place, that there is one small patch of beauty  to be found. A place for you to rest your heart and feed your soul. May you take delight in a sunrise or sunset….and may it cast a wonderful glow over the barren spaces.

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Sunset Over The Badlands

 

 

“The desert,
when the sun comes up…
I couldn’t tell where heaven stopped and the Earth began.” 

― Tom Hanks

 

I cared for you in the wilderness, In the land of drought.
Hosea 13:5

Not Finished Yet

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We were gone last week. We decided to venture out to the Black Hills in South Dakota. (Which is why I have not been reading any blogs or commenting!  I will be attempting to catch up soon.)

One of the places that we continue to visit, when we get out that way, is Mt. Rushmore. It never changes but it is just something that seems to beckon us to stop and wander around. This time we were able to visit with the last known remaining carver of the mountain, Nick Clifford. He is 96 years old this year and still sharp as a tack.

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After speaking with him and reading the plaques along the trails, that wind around the base of the heads; we rediscovered the fact that the sculpture was actually never finished. They quit carving on it when the US entered World War II. Originally the presidents were supposed to have their coats as part of the sculpture.

It was a beautiful day to be outdoors enjoying the view. The flags were fluttering in the breeze, the crowds were thinner due to school starting, and we were able to stroll the trails in the sun and take our time reading plaques that helped to educate us.

It did really strike me that this project was never finished. My first thought was they should have finished it or should be finishing it now. My second thought was that this memorial is a pretty accurate representation of our country and of us as people….we are not yet finished.

We are constantly changing….sometimes for the better….sometimes not. We have gone through wars, riots, racial challenges, scandals, parades, cheering on our veterans, raising children, everyday life, etc.  Some good…..some not.

On this day, the 11th of September, it is good to remember that we are not yet finished.  This is a day that, as a country, and as a world we won’t forget. For my generation….it is our Pearl Harbor.

We have learned things since that day. There are still things that we, as a country, need to change. There are challenges still to be faced. We are growing and will continue to grow for years to come. Some things will change and others will not.

People will still be people with strong feelings and opinions about things. There will be wars, because we, as a world are made up of imperfect people. We will struggle with events and we will celebrate other events.

We will continue growing, with those four stone faces looking on. I sometimes wonder what they would make of this country and it’s people. I wonder if it would be what they had in mind when they were in charge.

I anticipate that my husband and I will make a trek to those heads a few more times before we are done….at least I hope to in the years to come. I also anticipate that we will grow as we are chiseled, hewn and shaped into what we were meant to be.

 

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May we be gracious while we are being shaped and carved into what we are meant to be. May we persevere and in the end stand firm as a mountain. May we realize that we are not yet finished……..

“When things do not go your way,
remember that every challenge
— every adversity
— contains within it the seeds of opportunity and growth.” 

― Roy T. Bennett

 

Organized Chaos

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We have entered the canning and preserving season full blast this past week. My counter is organized chaos pretty much every day. On any given day the garden is yielding tomatoes, green beans, bell peppers, banana peppers, jalapenos, sugar snap peas and the melons have finally started to ripen.

I am not sure if anyone else has the problem that I have….I cannot bear to see any of that produce go to waste. I pick it and set about preserving it in some form.  Like I said, my kitchen counter looks like it has no rhyme or reason during this season. (Is anyone hearing the word “disaster” in their heads?) Fortunately, I know where I have put what I need to finish a batch of something.

These last days have been spent making and canning Pizza Sauce, Society Pickles (I have no idea why they were given that name!), and Hot Pepper Jelly.  Some recipes I have used so many times through the years that I have the ingredients memorized.

It is very satisfying to see the filled, canned jars setting on the counter, waiting for that “ping” that tells me the lids are sealing. (In a future post I will  have to get the recipes to you.)

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Looking at my counter makes me think, how that counter reflects my life. Many times it looks like chaos. Maybe because when it comes to my life I cannot see the entire plan. I only get to see the part that looks like my messy counter.

I know that God sees that chaos and knows exactly how all that “stuff” fits into my life….and how it will all work out.It makes me grateful that I am not in charge of what happens in my life. I am very sure I would not choose the correct plan but look for an easier, less chaotic way instead.

When I look back at some of those messier times of my life, I realize that in the midst of the mess, it felt like chaos. In looking back I can now see that thread of grace and a glimmer of the plan He has for me.

If you are in the midst of the “mess of life” I am praying calm and peace for you. Rest assured……it will not stay that way forever. Take a deep breath, hold it, and let it slowly out. (Yes for those who have gone to childbirth classes, I realize that sounds really familiar.) You will be amazed what a prayer and a deep breath can do.

May your week be filled with faith and hope…that no matter what…you will make it through. May you soon here that “ping” that tells you things are working out.

 “And me? I’m a mess.
I’m nothing and have nothing:
make something of me.
You can do it; you’ve got what it takes
– but God, don’t put it off.”
Psalm 40:17 the Message