Friends That Feel Like Family

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Friends/Family

This past Monday, Lar and I were privileged to meet one of my blogging friends in person!  Anne (MerhlingMuse)  and her husband, John, stopped by on their way home from a wedding in Denver.

Anne and I had been plotting and planning for a bit to make this day happen. The minute they rolled up in their vehicle it felt like family had come to visit. The time we had together sped by all to quickly.

The couple hours we had was really not enough time to get all the answers to questions we wanted to ask. We learned about each others’ families, churches, hobbies and pretty much every thing in between. We also found out that the Smokies would be a great place to visit.

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Old Train ~ Fremont, NE

Lar and I shared some photos of a train that we had taken on our weekend trip to Lincoln, NE to see our son and his family.

We had found out in advance that John was a train buff and just could not resist taking some photos to share.

We took a brief tour outdoors and Anne was able to take photos of the girls and their chicken coop. The girls cooperated by letting me pick one up for a quick photo of them being held.

Questions were asked about where the water had been during the recent flooding and what we grew for crops. There was lots of talking and laughing before we even made it into the house for a bit of lunch.

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Cheesecake Pie with Blueberry Topping

I had made a Cheesecake Pie to share for coffee time. Only we had peach ice tea instead of coffee to go with the pie.  I am going to share the recipe as I promised Anne I would make sure she got it.

This is a great pie to make as you can use different kinds of fruit for the topping. You can use canned pie filling or use fresh fruit sweetened with sugar.

 

Easy Cheesecake Pie

Pie Crust:
1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers, about 24 squares
1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
Press into pie plate and refrigerate till it is set.
(I have been known to skip the refrigerating step if I am pressed for time.)

Filling:
8 ounce cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla
1 cup sour cream
8 ounce tub Cool Whip
Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla till smooth.
Add sour cream and cool whip.
Put on top of graham cracker crust.

Fruit:
1 can pie filling
Can spread over pie or put dollop on each piece
OR
Sweetened fresh fruit

Refrigerate for a bit before serving and enjoy!

Note:  I have never made this pie with real whipped cream instead of cool whip.
If you try it let me know how it works out!

It was so much fun to talk over lunch. Stories were shared. (see Anne’s link above as she tells them really well!) So much laughter as we discovered we shared a very similar sense of humor. I loved Anne’s story of the family saying, “The chicken is used to it.” I will also let her tell that story as it is hers to share. Needless to say it made me laugh while also learning a good lesson!

It didn’t take long….at least it did not seem long …and it was time they went back to their travels. I am so grateful to hear they made it home safely. I am also so grateful that God put this couple in our lives. I think my husband said it best as we waved good-bye. “That was a great visit….it felt like family.”  He was so very right.

 

A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.
— Unknown,
via etd.ohiolink.edu

 

No friendship is an accident.
— O. Henry,
The Heart of the West

 

 

 

 

 

Joy In The Mail

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This past week has been really busy. After a very long winter and an unreal wet spring, the farmers in our area were finally back in the field.

The river has been behaving again and so have the days. They have been breezy, warm (almost hot) and drying. There are still many wet holes in fields but farmers are now farming around them.

Some farmers do venture close to those muddy areas and do end up getting stuck. It has been a very normal thing this year to see Facebook posts with photos of tractors and equipment up their axles in mud.

The other day, my husband came to the house and said he needed my assistance. He and his tractor had ventured to close to an area that looked fine, but was way too wet. We did get it unstuck without to much trouble and it was decided that area would not get planted this year. (There is probably a life lesson in there somewhere.)

I am also still waiting to finish planting my vegetable garden, but I hesitate to mention it because I need the assistance of my farmer husband and he is quite preoccupied this week.  I know it will eventually all get planted….late…but that is better than not at all!

In the middle of all this odd planting season a bit of joy arrived in my mailbox. The picture above is a card from a blogging friend of mine. (moreinkplease). She knew I had been making jean quilts for my grandkids and she also knew the challenges we were facing with farming this year.

I am in awe of her talent at card making  skills (and yes she does sell them and I hope she puts a link to that in the comment section!) Here is the link for her Facebook page…Late Blooming Designs by beverly. I am also loving how she knew exactly the words to write to ease this farm wife’s heart and soul. She is an amazing example of how a few words can say and do so much.

Let’s finish this week following her example. Let’s encourage each other through the hard parts. Let’s see those who are stuck in the mud holes of life and the literal mud holes. Let’s offer words of hope. It doesn’t have to be big….a quilted card can bring a lot of joy! 

“Be humble,
be simple,
and bring joy to others.”
– Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat

 

 

 

 

More Than a Quilt

 

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Last week my husband and I had the fun of watching our granddaughter graduate from pre-school. (My husband doesn’t quite understand the concept of graduation at that age but I have assured him that it definitely is a thing now.)20190523_17422132531125.jpg

I was able to give my granddaughter her quilt that I had made from blue jeans and flannel shirts from her dad, uncles, grandpa, grandma, great grandpas and great grandmas. I am not sure she totally understood the memories in that quilt but she did enjoy using it to sit on outside and play with her brother.

It did make me smile inside and out just watching them sit on that quilt playing. It made all the hours of making it worthwhile.

I love the thought that new memories will be made sitting on top of all those old memories. I love the fact the fabric in that quilt has a history. Maybe someday, if that quilt holds up, my granddaughter will want to know what some of those memories are. If and when she is ready to ask I am going to be more than willing to answer!

When she decides to ask, I would love to tell her about her Great-Grandpa who served in the military and came back home to farm and raise a family. I want her to know her Great Grandma who raised five children and then went on to cook at the local Christian high school for many years.

It would be good for her to know that her other Great-Grandpa wanted to go to the military but could not; due to stepping on a pitchfork as a child. It would be good for her to know that he worked hard and took care of the family he loved.

She should also know about the Great Grandma who sewed pretty much all the clothing her children wore. I would love to point out the pieces of flannel in the quilt that came from baby blankets that were sewn by that same Great Grandma for the grandsons who would become her dad and uncles.

I want her to know  what her Grandpa did for a living and what he did for fun. I am hoping she wants to know what her dad was like as a boy….the things he enjoyed and the things he did not. It would be a wonderful thing for her to know about her two uncles and how they looked up to her dad, their older brother.

There is so much history in that one small quilt. We are much like that quilt….there is so much history in all of our lives if we just stop and think about it. Good history, sad history, and all the stuff in between.

It is good to pass on those stories for the next generations. It is good for them to have a connection to what makes up their past. If it takes a quilt to pass on those stories….it is a wonderful thing.

It will be a wonderful thing to see all the new memories made on that quilt. Memories that someday can be passed on to the next generation of this family.

Each day of our lives
we make deposits
in the memory banks
of our children.
Charles R. Swindoll

 

Women…Special Creations

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I cannot believe how fast the days go by. About the time I think I will sit down and write a post, the day is gone and a new one has started. I am not sure, but that may have something to do with age.

Today I got to sit and rest. (It is Mother’s Day after all.) We had an awesome Mother’s Day message in church this morning and it made me reflect on how blessed I am to know so many great women.received_12067976928340321528788078.jpeg

Among those women; I put my Mom and my Mom in law. These women have given so much of their life for their families. They have paved the way for their children to raise families of their own….families that thrive. I am so grateful to these two women and their sacrifices.

 

screenshot_2019-05-05-20-09-54-1637973479.pngI am also grateful for the other women in my life. My sisters, sisters-in-law, daughters-in-law and my sisters of the heart. These women make life wonderful. They love me, they laugh and cry with me, and they hold me accountable for what I say and do. I cannot imagine life without these women.

On this day that honors Mothers….let’s honor all women. Let’s remember that we are women. We were not made to be men or be like men. We were created to be exactly who we are and we are wonderful creations.

Men may not understand us and that is okay….personally I don’t always understand men and I am married to one and raised three more!

This weekend gals…let’s be comfortable in our own skins. Let’s not try to be someone else or fit their ideals. Let’s be grateful for the gifts we have been given and not worry that we do not have someone else’s gift. Let’s realize that we are enough. We have always been enough and we will always be enough. We were created as Enough!!

I hope you had a blessed day today. I hope you had a chance to celebrate a mom, a wife, a daughter, sister, a woman in your life. I pray you have been enriched knowing those special women who make life good.

Please feel free to leave a message about that special woman in your life. I would love to hear about them.

“When your mother asks,
“Do you want a piece of advice?”
it’s a mere formality.
It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no.
You’re going to get it anyway.”

― Erma Bombeck

Frayed Edges and Quilts

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About a month ago I started a project. I began making a circle style jean quilt. I found boxes of blue jeans in my laundry room and thought that perhaps I should do something with them rather than just let those boxes take up space.

Pinterest was a great place to start looking for patterns for the quilts I wanted to make. (And no….I don’t get any kickbacks from Pinterest!  I just really like Pinterest.)  I had in mind I wanted to make my grandchildren smaller quilts that would be sturdy enough to use for picnics or tea parties. Blue jeans and old flannel shirts seemed to fit in with that idea.

The flannel shirts that I used came from my husband and my dad-in-law. I also had some flannel leftovers from baby blankets made years ago. The blue jeans were worn out ones that came from family members. I really liked the idea that these would be quilts with history.

I spent days cutting circles out of the jeans and squares out of the flannel. (I know for a fact my husband thought I was a bit nuts to go through all the effort…..I know this because he told me so LOL) I thought it was a great way to keep busy while the weather was to miserable to be outside!

The quilt is 15 circles x 15 circles and ended up being about 4 ft 8 inches square….a very nice size for picnics or tea parties!

Right now; it is hanging over a chair….mainly so that I can admire it and marvel that I got one done. I also have stacks of more jean circles and more flannel squares.  Two more grandkids; so two more quilts!  (I am not even asking my husband his opinion of that!)

Making that quilt was fun. It gave me time to reflect on family and life and all the stuff that goes with family and life. I love the variety of the colors…the plaid flannel pieces and flowered ones….the shades of denim that tie all those colors and patterns together.

That quilt and all it’s variety is a wonderful reminder that every family member is different and yet tied together by a strong bond. The colors blend and mesh when put together, in a way I would not have thought possible. Families blend and mesh in much the same way….everyone unique with their own personalities and yet alike in so many ways.

I liked this pattern because the circle edges remain raw.  They will be allowed to fray and soften the look of the quilt. Another reminder that life and families are not always tidy and neat.

Sometimes things unravel and have lots of loose ends that seem to go nowhere. Sometimes the edges of life and family appear downright messy and that is okay as long as they are still strongly tied together. There is a beauty to the fraying….a testament to life lived fully.

I think frayed edges are just fine. They soften the rough spots…..they add interest.  I will take the fraying that comes…in life and in quilts.

Life is a Crazy-Quilt of Suffering and Joy.
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

 

Families are like Quilts…
Lives pieced together-
Stitched with smiles
and tears, colored
with memories
and bound by
Love.
Unknown

 

So Many Changes in a Week

IMG_5525 2What a difference a week can make!  Last week at this time we were watching flood waters rise, snow melt at an alarming rate and pumping water away from the house. This morning we sat on the deck in the sunshine and enjoyed the warmth immensely.

Our river is making it’s way back into the banks where it should be, ice bergs are turning dirty and look lonely in the middle of fields. The ice jam on the river has made it’s way downstream and I have a tulip blooming in a pot.

I am reminded of the fact that downstream all is not well and won’t be for a very long time. Nebraska is suffering greatly. Ranchers have lost herds, ground and are overwhelmed. Entire towns have been submerged with ice floes inside buildings where people used to gather. Wells have been compromised so water restrictions are in place in many locations.

Someone was questioning on Facebook how come there were no stories of looting going on in these locations. I have done some thinking about that question; because it is a good one.

I think one of the biggest reasons is that these are real communities. People know who lives next door. They know the guy they buy their groceries from and more than likely know the family of the checker in the grocery line.

People in rural communities are neighbors. They worship together…maybe not at the same church or in the same denomination but they worship together. These people sit side by side and watch their children play at sporting events…many times against each other at these sporting events.

These people in the heartland have worked hard for their place in life and they respect each other and hold each other accountable. It would be hard to steal from someone you have prayed with, laughed with, cried with and know.

These people have that old-fashioned sense of community with a strong emphasis on unity. They don’t always agree….often don’t agree….. but get along anyway. It is family and family has your back.

These Nebraska towns are what American used to be all over this country. They are the best of us and don’t let you off the hook when you have acted your worst. They say it like it is and you know they tell you things because they care. It is honesty….it is integrity….it is unity.

I am in awe of these Midwesterners and hope I can be counted among them. They are a lot to live up to. My mind wanders to how can we help people who are used to giving instead of taking? I am going to try post some links below of places that can be contacted.

HOW TO HELP

Orphan Grain Train, Inc

In NW IA there will be a trailer parked at Livestock Manufacturing and Equipment at the corner of Hwy 18 & 75, (west of Hull, IA) starting Saturday where you can bring supplies such as: Milk Replace, Fencing needs, bottled water, cleaning supplies and so on.

Fremont, NE has been putting out lists of places to go to volunteer and list of supplies needed by communities and individuals.

The Red Cross and Salvation Army are also great places to find out what is needed by way of supplies and/or volunteers. I have a feeling they will be needing things for a long while.

I am trying to also post a video someone made of the damage in Nebraska this past week. I hope it works!  I am not confident in that but we will see.

The lesson I am learning from this past week is that it is good to have neighbors you know. It is good to be that neighbor. It is a blessing to have someone’s back and they have yours.

I have learned quiet people are often underrated. Their courage isn’t noisy…it isn’t loud. Their integrity is the kind that often needs a second look….but when you really see that person…you see someone you want for your neighbor.

Our prayers are with you Nebraska. Our help is on the way and your courage in this devastation will be the quiet roar that shows a nation what America was and still is.

Courage doesn’t always roar,
sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day whispering
I will try again tomorrow.

Mary Anne Radmacher

Sorting The Bits and Pieces

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I peered into my craft/laundry room today (mainly because I needed to wash some clothing) and decided I needed to start cleaning. This room has been sadly neglected the last while and the craft side was overrun with stuff.

It was hard to know where to start because there was just so much stuff! I decided to try find my counter back….I knew this project was going to take more than one day…..and I was right.

My paper stash was overflowing and that seemed like a great place to start. I had been in the habit of saving every little scrap of card stock because I just might need that small scrap for a card or project.

Today was the day to get a bit vicious with that paper stash. I took my basket and sorted by color and finally got it under control. I decided the small bits and pieces were going to go into a box for future crafts with the grandkids. My grandson seems to enjoy creating things and it might be fun seeing what he will create with that box of stuff.

That box of card stock with it’s bits and pieces and so much color just screams of potential. It is so much like the start of a new day….you just have no idea what the day will turn out to be anymore than I know what wonders will come out of that box.

I love the idea that there is potential…even in those scraps. I love the thought that the “scraps” of our lives can be used to make something beautiful and unique. That box of paper reminds me that we are indeed masterpieces in the making.

May this weekend find you putting together the “scraps” of your life. May those bits and pieces turn into a thing of beauty and blessing. We may not see how those bits can turn into something amazing…but I am assured that they can.

 

In crafting
there are no mistakes….
just unique creations.
Unknown

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD
Jeremiah 29:11a
New International Version