Celebrations and Family Ties

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There are times in a person’s life that can get bogged down and overwhelmed with all the busyness and stuff going on…..and then you are gifted with a space of time where you are allowed to be reminded of what is important……relationships.

This past weekend we were gifted with such a weekend. We made the journey to our son and his family’s home to attend grandparent’s day at our grandson’s school, watch his school Christmas program, make cookies, and also see both grandkids’ Sunday School program.

Our Friday started early in the morning so we could drive the four hours to the school and be on time for grandparents day. Once we went to his room we were treated to a tour of the school with our 6 year old grandson as tour guide.

The energy in that school was amazing! Hallways full of children hauling grandparents around to various rooms they had classes in. The music room was a big hit…..I think it might have been the gong hanging on the wall that every kid had to demonstrate for their grandparents.

We journeyed to the art room, science rooms, the library and our grandson also asked if we wanted to see the principal’s office. I asked him if it was a good thing that he knew the way to her office….his response…”Only if you’re bad.” It was not exactly a saintly response and I had to stifle a chuckle on that honest answer!

That evening we were treated to an amazing concert by the K-5th grades. I am pretty sure that when I was a kid we were not that talented…. We got to hear recitations, praises sung, drums made from buckets and garbage cans played in perfect time and kids playing ukuleles.

The fun continued on Saturday as we made Christmas cookies. Three generations, two grandmas, one mom, two grandkids all making cookies makes for lots of fun.

I will admit our cookies may not have had a lot of elegance to them but they did taste good! We knew they tasted good because we had plenty of volunteers for the taste testing job.

While we rolled, cut and baked the guys did some late season yard cleanup. Watching them work outdoors it was hard to believe it was December.

The few days spent with the kids were busy but it was such a good type of busy. We were able to spend time talking with our kids, giving hugs, and fill our laps with grandkids and learn about life from their perspective. It slowed the season down, narrowed our focus to what was important and made us grateful for family and things that hold us together.

I love the fact that small kids are masters of cutting to what is important. They have an artless way of reminding us that life is short and we should cherish the moments we are given. They are honest in their emotions, excited in the wonder of life, and seem not to hold grudges when things don’t go as planned. It makes total sense that the Bible tells us to become like children.

There is a lot to learn from a child and I, for one, am ready for more lessons.

 

43 Life Lessons from Kids.

1. Be grateful for what you can have.
2. Hold hands with those you love.
3. Celebrate the seasons.
4. Make every day the best day ever.
5. Even if it’s not fair you don’t stop trying.
6. Fight for what you believe is right.
7. If you’re bored, find something to do.
8. It’s good to dream.
9. Tell those you love that you love them.
10. Time together matters most.
11. Things don’t have to always be sorted perfectly.
12. Sometimes spontaneous days are the best.
13. Often structured days are needed.
14. Don’t be afraid to speak the truth.
15. Humming and singing can be beautiful.
16. Observe others.
17. Never by afraid to try something new.
18. Sometimes it’s best to just jump.
19. Live fully.
20. Share with others about things you love.
21. You’re never too old to play outside.
22. Forgive and move on.
23. Name calling gets you nowhere.
24. Even if you don’t feel tired, still go to bed.
25. Talk with each other.
26. Imagine all that could be, and not what cannot.
27. Look people in the eye when you talk to them.
28. Laugh.
29. Always say thank you.
30. Little gifts mean a great deal.
31. Wake with a clean slate for the day.
32. Respect your elders.
33. Give things away – don’t hold onto everything.
34. Find out more about people.
35. Make sure to tell others why they matter.
36. Some days you don’t have to make your bed.
37. Run in the rain. Or the snow.
38. Care.
39. Listen to your emotions, but don’t sit in them.
40. Be genuinely interested in others.
41. Don’t give up.
42. Love today.
43. Be free to be you.
Te
d Rubin

 

 

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Transformation

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It is amazing how much the landscape can change in just a day or two. We went from 50 degree weather and sunny, to howling winds and that white stuff blowing around. It was a sudden transformation that I should have expected ….after all we do live in Iowa!

For some reason it seems we are always surprised when that first snowfall comes. In a way it is a good thing; as it can be a little hard to get in the Christmas decorating spirit when the trees are bare, the air is warm and the ground is brown. At least it seems hard for me.

The thing I find so hard to get used to, the older I get, is the cold. My dad used to tell us that we are in the season of the lazy wind…..it is too lazy to go around you and it just goes right through you instead! The wind seems to have more of a bite to it; the more I age.  I am not sure how that actually works. I just know that it seems to be a very sad fact.

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There is kind of a beauty to this season of change. The other night when I went to lock the girls in for the night, the snow was coming down softly. The wind had stilled, the flakes fell softly and melted as they hit my skin.  I could hear the echoing calls of a flock of geese as they settled down on the river for the night. Standing there, with only the moon for light, it was a delight for the senses.

Sometimes change can be good. The cold season of winter makes me appreciate the warming days of Spring. So many things in life are the same way. It takes the uncomfortable times and cold seasons to make me really appreciate those times when things are easier and seem to go smoothly.

Winter is a great time for reflection. It is a time to slow down and enjoy the warmth of a wood stove and a cup of hot chocolate. It is a great time to dream of the warmth to come and enjoy the company of family. It is a gift of time to reflect on blessings given.

Take time daily to reflect on how much you have.
It may not be all that you want
but remember someone somewhere
is dreaming to have what you have.” 

― Germany Kent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Painting In The Sky

I Know

It has been a crazy week and some moments were anything but serene. Walking outside tonight I saw a wonderful painting….only it wasn’t on canvas. It was the sky painted  brilliant shades of pinks and purples.

I took it as a message from my Creator that my life would straighten out….that for all those grieving, that for all those hurting, that for all those too busy to stop and look around…..life would not always  be this way.

It is a season where we hear Christmas carols, see bright sparkling lights all around and feel that we should all be happy and full of good cheer. For some, this season will hold grief, regrets and sadness.  Looking around I see people that are really hurting….and so I share my gift of a painting that only the Creator could make.

May it settle your soul, ease your heart, as it did mine, and just give you the space to take a deep breath and know that life will not always be this way. May you be blessed this weekend and may you feel blessed.

 

“Listen to God with a broken heart.
He is not only the doctor who mends it,
but also the father who wipes away the tears.” 

― Criss Jami

Thanksgiving Contenment

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Today was a day that seemed like I was attached to my oven by an invisible rope. It seems that this time of year it is always that way. There are multiple things to be prepared and baked for the holiday tomorrow.

I will have to say that the house smelled wonderful. The scent of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pumpkin wafted through the house today.  For some reason I didn’t seem to be hungry much of the day. I have a feeling it is because I was taste testing things as I went!

While baking pies, bars, and cupcakes I was gifted time to think and reflect on the many things for which I have to be thankful. The things like family who remain close even though we don’t live near each other. Things like friends that we do life with… health, a safe harvest, etc. all came to mind…..they are all wonderful things and I am grateful for all of them.

I am also grateful for that feeling of contentment that takes hold of me when I am putzing about my kitchen, stirring, mixing and baking things. I have no idea why…it isn’t anything in particular….but time in my kitchen just makes happy. Maybe it is because I have time, while mixing, to reflect? Maybe I am like my chickens and am happy with a place to nest?

I tried to pinpoint the reasons for this feeling but really could not. Maybe it is the feeling of being useful and being enough. With all the struggles going on in this world I was grateful for the contentment of my kitchen.  My kitchen may look like a small tornado went through it…..but my heart is content.

For those who are facing this holiday as the first without a loved one….my heart grieves with you. For those who struggle with health, finances and family issues…please know that you are not alone…others have been where you are and understand. It will not stay this way forever. (Psalm 30:5)

For those facing hard things during what should be a wonderful time….there are no easy or pat answers. May you find peace in this season. May you find one thing to be grateful for each day. May you see those waiting to bless you and may you have a place where you can be content….even if it is as simple as standing by your oven; with smells of cinnamon and cloves drifting through your home.

A blessed day of Thanksgiving and gratitude to you all….no matter what country you are from!

 

Dear Lord; we beg but one boon more:
Peace in the hearts of all men living,
peace in the whole world this Thanksgiving.
Joseph Auslander

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/joseph_auslander_205953?src=t_thanksgiving

Abundance

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Today, I happened to take the road that leads past the co-op elevator in our small town. What I saw made me stop and take a second and even a third look.  It also prompted me to whip out the cell phone and take a couple photos.

When we were kids in school we were told that we lived in the “breadbasket of the country.” I am starting to think that the bread might be corn bread.

Sprouting from the ground was a mammoth pile of field corn that ran the length of the entire block. There was an alley that ran right alongside this huge pile of corn, so of course I needed to drive past that pile to get the full scale of that golden mound of kernels.

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As I was slowly driving past it, I was amazed that it made the concrete silos behind it, look smaller than usual. I could only see the top half of those silos and that really made me take a hard look.

Those silos are really, really tall!  I know they are tall because when they were building them, as a kid, I tried climbing the ladder that ran up the side of one and never got anywhere near the top before I chickened out and went back down.

I came home and told my husband that I had taken a picture of that big pile of corn. He kind of laughed and informed me that there was another pile of corn on another location in town. I had to believe him as he is the one who has been hauling wagon loads of corn to town this harvest season.

As a farm wife I know there was talk of a record harvest. I also know that we had a dry summer so I was a little dubious if that record harvest would work out……I am now pretty sure they were right!

It is always amazing to me the abundance of a harvest. After prepping the fields in early spring, praying, then planting those fields, praying, weeding, praying, spraying, and praying some more it is finally harvest time.

I am not sure why I am always amazed….. God has never failed us yet. Even in dry years or overly wet years…there is always a crop. It might not always be huge…but it is always enough for our daily bread.

In this season of Thanksgiving I am so grateful for His faithfulness. I am grateful for His promise of daily bread. We have maybe not always have what we wanted; but we have always had what we needed, when we needed it. And that is enough.

Blessings to you in the coming days of preparing for Thanksgiving Day. May you find things to be grateful for and see the blessings around you. I know this is a little early for Thanksgiving…but I kind of think it is never to early to be grateful.

 

Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received.
Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling.
Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.
Henry Van Dyke

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/henryvandy402970.html?src=t_gratitude


 

 

 

 

 

 

Farm Gloves and Life

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The other day I had to ask my husband to break out a new pair of those yellow farm gloves for me….the fluffy feeling yellow ones.  The pair I had been wearing were just getting too worn to be of any good. (And they didn’t feel fluffy anymore!) The finger ends were all starting to get holes in them and that doesn’t make for much finger protection from who knows what.

He went down to the basement and dug out the last pair in my size. (sort of my size…if my fingers were each 1/2 inch, or more, longer) When I started to inspect them, I discovered a rodent had decided to chew on the wristband! I have a feeling he (the rodent….not my husband) won’t be chewing any more as my husband has been successfully trapping the little critters.

For years, when our boys were home, we would have to put our names on things so we knew who had which gloves etc.  For some reason I have not gotten away from that practice.

When the new gloves came out I whipped out the black sharpie and promptly put my name on those gloves…MOM.  I kind of laughed at that one also!  I don’t get called Mom unless the kids are around. It is habit I guess…that putting my name on them and then using the name Mom.

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I am good with that as I have earned that name.  I also discovered early on that if you turn those gloves the other way they read WOW…..I am good with that too! (And now I am wondering how many of you have turned your computer upside down to check that out?)  Some days you just need a wow moment. If you can’t have that moment, at least your gloves can say it.

These yellow farm gloves can seem rather pedestrian at first glance. They aren’t glamorous, trendy, cute, stylish, or even remotely fashionable.  They are just….gloves and extremely practical gloves at that. You can purchase them at a farm store by the dozen…..and we sometimes do! I should probably look into adding some bling to mine….then I could be practical and have a little sparkle.

In the scheme of things; I think I would rather be a farm glove, than something trendy. Farm gloves have staying power….they are reliable.  If these gloves were a person…they would not be easily offended…they would just dig right in and do what they were supposed to do without fear of what someone else thought about them.  I guess the word unassuming comes to mind with my farm gloves.

Maybe that is why I like these gloves. I don’t have to worry about them getting dirty or worn. They are made to be useful and that is a good thing in my mind. Hopefully I am a little like those gloves….not afraid of a little dirt and useful. (A hint of sparkle would be okay too!) It is also okay to be a little worn out….it shows that you have lived life and not held anything back.

I love the fact that a simple pair of yellow farm gloves can remind me of so many truths. The reminder, that at the end of the day……what you did has much more to say about who you are; than what you look like.

 

It is not the style of clothes one wears,
neither the kind of automobile one drives,
nor the amount of money one has in the bank, that counts.
These mean nothing.
It is simply service that measures success.
George Washington Carver

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/g/georgewash752550.html?src=t_clothes

 

 

 

Winter Preparations

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I cannot believe how fast these days are going. It is a mystery to me how we already are at Friday when it seems that just yesterday it was Monday! Does anyone else seem to have this issue or is it just me?

I kind of wonder if the time goes by so fast because there seems like there is so much to get done before it is really wintertime. There are so many things that need to be finished up….things like harvesting corn…..splitting the wood and making sure everything that isn’t used during the winter is put in it’s proper place.

The last days have been spent splitting wood, while we wait for corn to be harvested. It is good there is time to get this done before the weather really turns nasty.  Already, there is a bite to the wind as we are outside working on the wood pile.

I am really grateful that last year we purchased a log splitter.  We had never had one before and after my husband borrowed a friends, he decided we really should have one. We were very fortunate to find a splitter that was being sold as clearance late last fall.

For an entire year that splitter stayed in it’s crate and finally this past week we assembled it and put it to use. It is amazing how quickly you can go through wood with the right tools. In the past, my husband would put in hours doing all that work with a wedge and sledge hammer. (I have no idea if those are the proper terms and I am okay not knowing!)

It was interesting to see that sometimes perfectly good looking logs were not that great looking on the inside!  Several, when split in half, were a little rotten and had loads of big black ants in them.  The girls thought it was an amazingly great thing when that would happen.

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The girls might have enjoyed the ant-infested logs but I much preferred the good solid ones!  They looked like they would burn and give out a lot more heat than the mushy ones.

I have a feeling that we, as humans, can be a lot like those logs. We look great on the outside but inside we don’t look quite as good. Fortunately, if we are willing…..that not so good stuff can be redeemed and used for something good. While ants are not so good for logs….they are great for chicken food. “Stuff” in our lives that is not so good; can be turned around and used to help others through the same “stuff”.

There is a great feeling of satisfaction seeing the growing pile of wood, that we will use to help heat our home this winter.

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There is a sense of fulfillment seeing tasks finished up and being able to check them off the seasonal “to do” list. I know that when we put that wood in the stove this winter, while the snow is flying and the wind is howling, we will be grateful for the time and effort spent these last few days.

It is good knowing we are going to be prepared for the coming cold days. It is good knowing we can just go to the wood pile and it will be ready for us to just toss in the stove. It will be wonderful to feel the heat and just enjoy the season that is winter.

May all your seasonal preparations go smoothly and may you be blessed by all the “stuff” that makes up your life. Have a wonderful weekend!

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.””
–Edith Sitwell