Joy

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Last weekend we had a good taste of winter.  It was the type of weather that had schools getting out early, canceled events, canceled church services and late starts for schools on Monday.

I used to be a fan of that type of weather but that was a long……very long time ago. It was, however, good weather to finally motivate me to put up the Christmas tree and the ornaments. There is something about the wind howling, the snow flying by the window and the fire warmly burning in the woodstove that energizes me to decorate for the holidays.

There is a joy to this season. There is a joy in bringing out the familiar decorations and placing them about the house. So many memories are wrapped up in those decorations. Some are from when our parents were young and they have now ended up on our tree.

Those special ornaments have a way of ending up way near the top of the tree. I figure that way they are safe from the hands of small grandchildren. I am hoping that someday my grandkids will help me decorate the tree. I think that would be a very memorable experience!

I enjoy the decorating; but the joy of this season runs so much deeper than the surface stuff. I love the promise of this season that was given two thousand years ago. I love the fact that, that promise never changes. The Hope that was born at that time has never failed me yet and I trust He never will.

I pray that same joy and hope for all of you. I pray that while you prepare for this season there is a real deep river of joy that runs through your life. There are struggles that will come and go but the promise remains constant.

If this season finds you in the middle of a storm….the wind howling and trouble all around, may you find peace…..may you be blessed and may joy find you.

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”
Hamilton Wright Mabie  

 

 

 

 

Winter Prep and the Book Giveaway

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Our View Two Weeks Ago

Two weeks ago we had snow. It was a great reminder that we needed to start prepping as winter would definitely be coming. One thing you can count on in Iowa is the changing seasons!

The past days have finally been dry and resemble what fall should look like. My husband has been busy hauling wagon loads of soybeans to town to the local Farmer’s Coop Elevator. Now we wait for the corn to be dry enough to be combined.

In between those two harvest times we have been using the days to prepare for the cold of winter. We love to burn wood to help save on our heating budget. We have spent the last couple days splitting wood.

A couple years ago my husband had his hips replaced. We borrowed a friend’s log splitter and learned how wonderful that invention really was. The next year we decided, as we were getting older we needed to work smarter. We found a log splitter on a clearance sale and made the purchase. It was a great decision!

We have a few more days to go on wood splitting before the pile is all done. Fortunately the weather looks promising for that task. I get the easy part of just pushing the lever. This year I am doing my job by sitting on a tall chair and just pushing the lever.

The girls tend to wander over while we split wood. They love the ants and grubs that sometimes have found their way into the pile. It is  satisfying to see the split wood, stack up and watch that splitter turn logs into usable pieces.

My husband used to split all of it with a maul and a sledgehammer. As I said….we have learned to work smarter and this wood no longer has to warm us twice!

On another subject……I have finally done the drawing for the book giveaway!  With the help of my husband who was a neutral bystander.  I numbered 1 – 24 and put the names next to the numbers. I then put the numbers on pieces of paper and my husband drew a number from a bucket. I have no idea how to do the rafflecopter thing so we went old school!

Here is the list of those that were in the giveaway:
1. Terri J                             2. Jackie VG                   3. Jo O
4. Donna VG                       5. Kristi K                       6. Michele R (rabbitpatchdiaries)
7. Juliescreativeyear         8. DeAnn T                     9. Lena DK
10.Lisa@Lismorepaper   11.Jessica                       12.Lorna K
13.Vicki                               14.Sheila T                     15.Ruthsoaper
16.Robbyefaye                   17.Miriam B                  18.BeverlyP (moreinkplease)
19. Lindaschaub                20.A.Michelle                21.Judy L
22. Judy B                            23.Robin                         24.Jocelyn M

The number drawn was (drum roll) #3!   Congratulation Jo O….you will be gifted the book: It’s All Under Control and workbook. I will be in touch with you to see that you get it.

Some of those who entered are fellow bloggers. If you click on their names it should take you to their blogs and you can enjoy some good reading!  You will also meet some amazing women that way!20181014_103846.jpg

 

I have not yet read my copy of this book. I do plan to spend some wonderful time…. in a rocking chair…. in front of the woodstove this winter. I plan to be holding that book in one hand….a cup of hot chocolate in the other and enjoying the warmth from the wood we have split.

May you have a blessed weekend and may this post find you doing something you enjoy.

 

“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.”
–William Blake

“Some books are to be tasted,
others to be swallowed,
and some few to be chewed and digested.”

Francis Bacon, The Essays   

 

It Is……. What It Is.

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I can tell I am starting to feel better. When my husband asked if I wanted the tub of fall decorations today, I told him “yes!”  It took me a long time to put this bit up and it was done while sitting on a chair….but, I feel rather triumphant that I got it accomplished. (I must confess when I was done I went and sat in my recliner with my eyes shut!)

Somehow while in the fog of my West Nile journey the season seems to have changed on me. My husband is picking my pie pumpkins and tells me my two plants were over achievers this year as he has counted up to 40+ pumpkins out there in the garden. I have no idea, as I have not been near my garden for 5 1/2 weeks now.

I also discovered that while in this “fog” of healing; another event passed me by. A couple weeks before my illness I became part of a book launch team for a gal that I know. She has written her third book for women called, “It’s All Under Control”.

Part of being on the team was to help promote the book, read the book and let people know what we thought of the book by word of mouth and social media. I did this for approximately two weeks, then got sick, crawled in bed, went to the hospital and cocooned myself in my home with outings to the doctor and the physical therapist.

So…….now I am getting on top of things and would like to do a book and workbook giveaway…..A few weeks late as the launch is over…but better late than never….right? Before I get to that I want to introduce you to the author and how I know her.

Her name is Jennifer Dukes Lee and she is a farm wife and mom who lives about 1/2 hour from me. I first met her when we were both speakers (as lay women) at a Christian women’s retreat in our area.

The day I met her we gave our “practice talks”. She was polished, professional, had her power point ready and even used the “clicker thing” to run it! I, on the other hand, had no power point ready, would not dream of using the “clicker thing” myself and once I started talking, could feel my mouth dry up and turn to cotton.

As I talked I could feel my upper lip creeping up my teeth and my gums and knew it was not coming down as there was zero spit in my mouth. I tried getting a glass of water to my mouth and watched in horrified fascination as my hand started to shake halfway up. I put it back down since having your lip in an odd sneer, stuck on your teeth and  water sloshed over your shirt is not a good look. Maybe some can pull that look off…..but I cannot. ( I did survive giving my talk at the retreat. I found that with a tic tac in your cheek and God …..you can do anything!)

A few years later found Jennifer and me again at the retreat. She was in charge of the speakers and I was in charge of workers the weekend of the retreat. I went to her home to help plan.

I sat at her kitchen table and confessed that I was incredibly intimidated by her. She looked at me with big eyes, walked to her counter and came back with a pan. There was lots of crumbled brown cakie pieces in it.  I ventured to ask what it was and was told they were box brownies she had tried to make. (They did taste wonderful.) I learned from this woman that we all have our own God-given gifts and the gifts we are given, are good enough.

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Back to the book launch – I did get two chapters read before I became sick and knew this was a book I needed to read. I do have to grin at how many times during those first weeks, when the launch was taking place, I looked at the cover, read, “It’s All Under Control” and wondered about the message God was clearly giving me. (Due to West Nile impacting my vision, I was not reading, doing screen time or much of anything!)

I have, on hand, a spare book and workbook that I would love to gift a woman. I specify, woman, because this is a book written by a woman for women. So, if you are a woman and would like this set please put GIVEAWAY in your comments. If you are a man and know a woman, a wife, a mom, a sister, a daughter, a daughter in law, a neighbor that you would love to give this book to, please feel free to also put GIVEAWAY in your comments.

You do not have to be a regular reader to participate, you do not have to have your own blog to participate. This is open to anyone. I have never done this before so I will give it a couple weeks for comments and then figure out how to do a fair drawing and also how to get the books to you!

May you have a blessed weekend. May you find that letting go is okay and may you find freedom in that letting go. And may you echo the words I have said often these passed weeks, “It is what it is.”

 

“Bravery is letting go
when you want to hang on.”
JDLee

 

 

 

Wonderful Busy Days

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I had really intended to write a blog post this past Monday…and when that day passed I thought sure Tuesday would produce a piece of writing….nope. Then came Wednesday and now it is Thursday and time to actually sit down and get this done!

My only excuse for taking this long is that last week was really busy due to son #2 getting married Saturday night. It is also due to the fact that my husband declared Monday to be a day of “sloth”. (You have no idea how I enjoyed that day of sloth!!)

I confess we “slothed” like the best of them. Other than returning tuxes and a roaster we did absolutely nothing……and it was wonderful.

Last week we kind of hit the ground running. Tuesday was spent retrieving the cupcakes that I had baked a few weeks earlier and stored in a large walk in freezer that a friend offered. (She is a gem!) I also went to the grocery store to get those last minute groceries that I needed to have for the rehearsal supper Friday night.

Wednesday, with help, 400 cupcakes were decorated and stored in 11 tubs. Of course we had to sample the various frostings that were used and also the extra cupcakes that we ended up with. We had 5 varieties: Lemon Gluten Free, Red Velvet, White Almond Raspberry Filled and some unfilled, Triple Chocolate Fudge Brownie, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. No one became ill and they were declared a success.

 

Thursday was spent delivering cupcakes and several rustic crates for decoration, to the event center. We also loaded our pickup with chairs, a gas grill, paper products, condiments and so on to take to a brand new shed on the home place of the bride’s sister. (This was in preparation for the rehearsal supper).  Time was also spent setting up and a bit of decorating was done there.

I found out later that our new daughter–in-law had texted our son, her groom, commenting on our loaded pickup…..yes….we resembled a cross between hoarders and the Beverly Hillbillies minus grandma sitting on a rocking chair on the top. In our defense it was a 40 minute trip one way from our house to our destination, and we wanted to make that trip count……we have become master packers!

The Friday schedule included decorating the church and the event center. Then it was 20180713_141636.jpgtime to get our nails done. It was a lot of fun spending time with the bride, bridesmaids, flowergirls, personal attendants and the moms. I then headed back home to get the baked potatoes in the oven for the rehearsal supper, pack the food and get ready for rehearsal and the supper to follow. I am eternally grateful for siblings who came and helped us as we hosted the supper. They grilled, set out food and kept things running smoothly.

Saturday dawned cooler and clear…..a perfect day for a wedding. Hair appointments were first thing in the morning, then helping with the children (all the nieces and nephews of the bride and groom) who would be ring bearers and flower girls. Photos were taken and before we knew it; it was time for the main event….the wedding and reception that followed.

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It was a sweet time of gathering and celebrating. There was so much packed into that week that we are still processing all the details. It would seem that it would be hard to take it all in, but we found if we took an hour at a time we really had time to enjoy every part of the week.

I will be posting more and reflecting on that oh so sweet time……once I do a bit more “slothing” and get those thoughts in order.

(Oh….I also need to let you know that I did not take many of these photos. They were taken by various people who attended….I was much too busy being mom of the groom!)

“For some reason when you are busy…
you are never long enough where you are…
and never arrive soon enough at where you need to be.”
~Faye~CG~

Changing Landscape

Lakefront Property???

 

There are some days that feel like you are a passenger on a train that seems to be gaining speed. Lately I think I have somehow managed to jump on that train and am just trying to catch my breath!

In a few weeks my middle son will be getting married. I have an entire list of things that need to get done before that day. My husband has a list of things he needs to do. For some reason I am in charge of both lists…I think that just might be the way it works in a marriage.

Trying to get those things done the last week has been difficult due to our very rainy weather. We have had a lot of flooding in our area of the country and have watched our fields covered by water, watched them uncovered only to be covered again with the rain last night and today.

Add in to that; the fact that our land line has been out since Saturday as the phone boxes down the road were covered by water. If I understand it right, anyone in our neighborhood with a land line has the same issue. I will admit it does make it quiet around the house! I am, however, grateful for a cell phone.

The road that takes us to town was covered by the river. No one around here ever remembers that happening before. We also saw three carp swim over the blacktop road….another thing we have never seen before!

We found out the other day that the motor in our well has decided to go on the fritz. I discovered this when our faucet seemed to be running really slow when I wanted a glassful of water.

Since that time we have been camping in our house. My husband has been pumping drinking water from our well with a Dempster hand pump that he and my dad installed this past spring. I am SO grateful they put that thing in!

We have also found our camping solar shower bag to be a very useful item. Living a few days with no running water in the house has been….interesting. I will not go so far as to say exciting……… so will just stick with the word……interesting.

A corner a couple miles from our home

 

I have decided that our problems are fairly minor when I think of the town just down the road that has derailed train cars leaking oil into the river! Yes our little town of Doon has made the national news with that one.

My husband and I have decided it can always be worse. It is amazing to me how single drops of water can band together and become a force of nature. Those single drops are a force that can change the landscape in less than a day.

It is a good lesson for me, that many people…acting with a common purpose can indeed change the world around them. We can be those drops of water that make an impact.

I have also learned that faith is a wonderful thing…keeping busy is a great way to keep your mind off what you cannot control and that it also helps accomplish something..

Bad weather always looks worse through a window.
Tom Lehrer
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/tom_lehrer_120717?src=t_bad_weather

It is only in sorrow bad weather masters us; in joy we face the storm and defy it. Amelia Barr
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/amelia_barr_202842?src=t_bad_weather

I’ll See You When I See You…

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The other day my husband was out planting soybeans in the field around the section. I had to take the pickup out there with more seed beans for him. Before I left I told him what I always say when he is out doing fieldwork and has no idea when he will be back…”I’ll see you when I see you….”

As I drove home I started thinking about that farewell saying. I thought about it in connection with the upcoming holiday of Memorial Day or Decoration Day as my Grandma always called it.

I wondered if any moms, dads, sweethearts, wives, sons, daughters and so on used those same words of farewell when sending a loved one off to the military? When they sent those loved ones off in times of war they had no idea when they would see them next, or if they would see them again this side of heaven.

A couple years back my sister and I had the privilege of going to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. We were able to visit the grave of our cousin’s son, Julian, who gave his life for this country.

Not everyone, serving in the military comes back in a flag draped casket. But many do….and my heart hurts for those families who do have to deal with that loss. I pray they know how very grateful this nation and this farm wife is to those who serve and give all.

I also hope that our military men and women know how deeply grateful we are for all who serve and protect us and our values. Their sacrifices, being away from their loved ones, going through hardships for us, humbles me and puts a lump in my throat when I think about it. They are the core of what makes this nation great.

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When my youngest son was in grade school, (many years ago) they held a day to honor the veterans in our community. The photo that was taken that day remains one of my all time favorite photos…..my son with his Grandpa who served in the medic group in the 50’s. He was stationed in Germany and is still so very proud of his service to his country.

I am grateful to the men and women who serve and allow us to not worry. Their service allows us to get up each day and go about daily tasks without fear. Their service lets me ponder on a simple farewell as I leave my husband in the freshly disked soybean field.

For those families who spend Memorial Day at the cemetery putting flowers on the grave of the one who did not come back….you are not forgotten and neither is your loved one. And for those of us who do not stand at a graveside tomorrow and shed tears while the hole in our hearts still bleeds with sorrow….let us not forget….let us remember to say thank you.

Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13 KJV

 

I’ll see you when I see you…..
Chicken Grandma

Raining Petals

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The other day I drove past my in-laws home. I should have stopped and taken a picture of their flowering crab tree; but I was in a hurry. The tree was absolutely beautiful that day and loaded with rose-colored flowers……overloaded actually. I made the assumption that I could take a photo when I went to town the next day and had more time…..so I kept driving.

When I stopped the next day; I found the next day was too late. The wind had picked up during the night and many of the flower petals had blown off and lay in drifts on the driveway. The slight breeze was still making it rain petals and we stood and watched as the petals twisted and drifted on the wind, then dropped to join the drift on the driveway.

The day of the “petal drift” was spent with my husband’s siblings; sorting and dividing the lifetime of memories in their parent’s house. There was much laughter and lots of stories told. The good times were discussed and the not so good times were discussed.

We reminisced and also caught up on each other’s lives; as siblings came from other places and other states to help out. It was also heart-warming to see that treasured pieces were going to kids and grandchildren who would also treasure them, and the memories they held.

Much of that day was like the drift of the petals of that flowering crab. The time was taken to enjoy the relationship of family before the wind would blow us too far to be gathered up again.

There are things to be learned from that rose colored petal drift…..life does not stay the same. Overnight things can change and life looks totally different…..not always bad…but different.

There was a beauty to be found in that drift of petals. Like life, it was just a different kind of beauty. Life changes and it is good to look for the “different” beauty to be grasped. Usually that new beauty is not of our own choosing, but is still okay.

There is also the lesson, for me, that I should not always assume that life will not change. There are times when the wind will take what you know and blow it into a totally different shape when you least expect it. That new shape is not always bad…it is just sometimes uncomfortable. For me, it makes me rely on God more than I would if life were going smooth.

In visiting my in-laws in their new apartment in assisted living; I am learning that change can be handled with grace. I am learning that each new place has a joy of it’s own and there is always something new to be learned.

We may drift and we may twist like rose-colored petals in the wind. We may not be sure of where we will land once the breeze lets us go….but we can be sure, we have the choice to enjoy where we land…..and that is a good thing.

For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven: 

Ecclesiastes 3:1