Choose Fun?

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It has already been two weeks ago since I got home from a cruise. It is hard to believe that those two weeks have gone that fast. I don’t know why I am always amazed at how fast time seems to go….. because it always seems to go fast.

I was talking to my husband about some of the funny things that happened on that vacation with our group of 8 family members…all women. I was relating how when we boarded the ship we entered a lobby that was glittering with shiny brass, glass and well polished wood.

There was already a crowd of people in that space. They were all listening to a guy standing on a stage behind a bar and he was hollering one word and the crowd was hollering one word back.

I thought this guy, who later turned out to be the cruise director named Peter, was hollering “Juice!”  …. to which the crowd responded heartily, “Funk!” I turned to Cousin Barb and asked what they were saying. She responded, “It sounds like Juice …. Funk”.

I have to confess; it took till the following night (after hearing this repeatedly in various locations on the boat) that I (and my cruise mates) figured out the chant was actually “Choose….Fun!”  My sister-in-law then informed me that, those words were the motto of the Carnival Cruise line. (Nope, I am not getting reimbursed for mentioning the cruise line…though if they offered….. I would take a free cruise!)

I was just happy that I was not the only one who could not figure out, immediately, what they were hollering. There is some comfort in sharing the stupid!

This memory was brought back while watching the Olympic winter games on tv. One of the commercials was from Carnival and they were…..you guessed it….chanting, “Choose Fun!” ( I have a feeling my brain will forever translate that as Juice Funk.)

I love watching the winter Olympic games but I do wonder about some of the sports those athletes do. I wonder about someone belly flopping on a tiny sled and plummeting down an ice-coated slide….a slide that twists and turns. I never hear a peep from those athletes participating in the Skeleton. I know for a fact I would be screaming my fool head off on that one.

I also wonder who in the world decided it was a good idea to strap both your feet to a board and shoot down a thing called a half pipe only to shoot back up and launch yourself unbelievably high into the air. Is this courage or something else?  Having raised boys….I think it is safe to say it probably was hatched in the brain of a man child. (Sorry guys, that is just my experience.)

Another event that baffles me is the ski jump. Again…..who thinks of these things? Maybe it is just me…… but rocketing yourself off of a ledge to land on a hard ice/snow packed surface leaves me scratching my head. It ranks right up there with jumping out of a perfectly good airplane or bungee jumping.

Our area of the country does have a small claim to fame when it comes to ski jumping and the Olympics. Back in 1932 the Olympic ski jump trials were held at a place called Canton, SD. If you want to learn more click on the name Canton, SD and check out the link to that bit of history.

I am always glad when the Olympics are on and I absolutely love the winter games. I always kind of wonder if I enjoy them so much because I am in awe of what those dedicated athletes can do. I am amazed at the grace of the figure skaters. I have no idea how those slalom skiers manage to make it through all those little poles/gates and watching the bobsled athletes plummet down that ice coated slide makes me want to squinch my eyes tight shut (and I am not even on that slide).

I think it takes a special kind of person to be one of those athletes. I think you need to be more than fearless. I think you need to have a different idea of fun than I have. I think you maybe need to do more than “Choose Fun” I have a feeling you may also have to “Juice Funk”!

“We all have dreams.
But in order to make dreams come into reality,
it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self discipline, and effort.”
— Jesse Owens,
American track and field athlete and four-time gold medalist
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Finding The Treasure

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This is the season that is spent on harvesting. Soybean fields and soon corn fields will have seen the combine come and harvest all that precious grain. I realized that I was also finishing up my harvesting….on a much smaller scale.

I had one last bucket of apples that needed to be turned into apple pie filling. I also had a bucket of apple peels and cores that had to be made into apple juice. After those first jars of rosy juice stood “pinging” on my counter top I could not resist taking a photo of them.  They were so pretty and they positively glowed!

My grandchildren have discovered that this Chicken Grandma has jars….many jars of apple juice. They love to help me go get a jar from the pantry when they are here for a visit. Most meals, when they are visiting, seem to include at least one jar of juice.

I also spent time finishing up in the garden picking the last of the produce. Fortunately, pumpkins and squash, are hardy enough to take a hard freeze so there was no rush to get them out earlier.

The other day I wheeled my trusty wheelbarrow to the garden and picked what was left of the produce.

IMG_4824 Harvest From the Garden

My husband kind of chuckles about my wheelbarrow.  I will admit, she is not a beauty and has probably seen better days but she has been a loyal, trusty helper these last years. I have found that it is much easier to move things around with her help than trying it without her!

My wheelbarrow really doesn’t owe me a thing.  I got her free at an auction. The auctioneer failed to sell her and I spoke with the owner after the sale about what he would charge for it…..he told me to go ahead and take it home!

The corners in the front have cracks and when I have her loaded with pumpkins and squash….she makes a strange hawonka…hawonka noise as I make my way over the uneven lawn. (I will never be able to sneak up on anyone or anything while pushing that wheelbarrow!)

Earlier I expressed the thought that she is no beauty….I may have been a bit hasty with that comment. She is rusty, she makes strange noises and once in awhile her wheel wobbles around a bit…..but in a strange way, my wheelbarrow is beautiful!

Maybe my wheelbarrow is a lesson for me.  Maybe I need to look closer at things and people in my life. I know there are times I tend to look only at what is on the surface. I need to take a closer look at what lies underneath.

I have a feeling I may be surprised at what I find. Maybe I will find that instead of a bucket of peels and cores, what most of us would consider junk….I will find instead glowing rosy bottles of juice. Maybe I will discover that beneath the rust, wobbly wheels and strange noises is a wonderful beautiful treasure.

May you have a wonderful weekend of discovery. May you, and me, look beneath the surface at what really matters. May we be blessed and may we be a blessing.

 

Everything has beauty,
but not everyone sees it.
Confucius

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/confucius104254.html

 

Solar Eclipse Day

I have a feeling, a strong feeling, that God knew I would have a really tough time not looking directly at the sun on this solar eclipse day.  I wonder if it is gray and overcast so that I would have no reason to look at the sun? Maybe this weather is for my own good!

Instead of standing out looking at what I shouldn’t, I have been invited into the world of a 3, going on 4 year old. I am learning so many new things. Things that I have managed to get by without knowing for 50 some plus years! (Okay…..a lot closer to 60 years…..)

I am learning all the names of the little ponies. I am also discovering what it feels like to be “schooled” by a blue-eyed, tow-headed little sprite. When playing with little ponies, I have found that you cannot just make up your own random conversation.

She has instructed me that Rarity (a sparkly maned pony) would never say “Whats up?” or “Let’s go see what is in the fridge for a snack.” Instead, I must learn to recite exactly what would be said in the show by those little ponies.

This small, sparkly child has invited me to play kitchen with her. We have made “air” pizza in her kitchen oven, tested plastic fruits and vegetables, and strategically placed a snapshot of her and her big brother, on her kitchen shelf. I had to laugh because she placed it so strategically that the salt and pepper shaker covered her brother and it looked like she was the only one in the snapshot!

We also played ice cream shop with ice cream legos. I have no idea what flavors I chose but it looked pretty.

I have tried to have a conversation with her about the act that she will be starting preschool next week. She wants nothing to do with that thought. Last month her grandpa tried to encourage her about preschool by telling her she would make lots of new friends. Her response, “I have a friend….I don’t want any more friends.” She is definitely a quality over quantity girl!

This small child, cares nothing for the fact that an amazing event is taking place outside today. It means nothing to her that it will be years and years before there is another solar eclipse like this one.

Perhaps that is okay. When you are three it is the simple things around you that matter. Maybe I should take some lessons from this little munchkin. For all of us disappointed by cloudy skies impacting our solar viewing….the lesson to learn is – life is short, go find something else to do if things don’t work out!

I have a couple more days to learn some more life lessons from my little sprite.  I have a feeling they will be wonderful, funny and memorable lessons for me.

 

“You get what you get
and you don’t pitch a fit.”
James K ~ age 6

Liebster Award Nomination

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A big thank you to Patricia over at  kindergartenknowledge for nominating me for the Liebster Award. She has the most amazing blog over there and writes on any number of topics. She has become a wonderful friend and I cannot wait to meet her in person some day.

I found out there are some rules to this award so I am going to post them here for those of you who wonder what they are:

*Acknowledge the blog that nominated you and display the award.
*Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you.
*Give 11 random facts about yourself.
*Nominate 11 blogs.
*Notify those blogs of their nomination.
*Give them 11 questions to answer.

Time to answer my questions:

  1.  Why are you a blogger?
    I had always toyed with the idea of trying this because I always enjoyed writing.  My kids decided for me that is was time to blog. My daughter-in-law set it up for me and I have been blogging and enjoying it ever since. Since blogging I have made so many amazing friends from all over the world.
  2. What is your greatest accomplishment as an adult and why?
    I would have to say being a wife and mom has been and still is my best accomplishment. Loving and honoring my husband, raising my sons to be men who would make great husbands and dads has been rewarding in ways I never imagined. We are all still works in progress but we are progressing!
  3. What was your favorite subject in school? Why?
    I loved Creative Writing and Literary Experience. (Sorry I could not choose one!) It was wonderful to write everyday in class and then going to another class where all I had to do was read books and make reports was absolutely the best!! I love words!
  4. Who was your favorite teacher and why?
    I would have to say Mrs. Hester Vande Garde (5th grade elementary school). She taught us geography by showing slides of her travels around the world. It did put a wanderlust in me that continues to this day. She also had us color maps of every state in the USA. These maps were detailed and had pictures on them of what every region produced and what they were known for. I still have my maps in a three- ring binder. She is a teacher who opened up our eyes to the possibilities of places to go.
  5. If you could travel anywhere in the world…where would you go? What made you make this choice?
    I don’t really care where I go as long as I get to go and can go with people I love and/or really like. I love to see new things and new places. I enjoy going to historical places as I like history. I like museums. It doesn’t have to be spendy for me to enjoy being there. I also love to go visit family and friends. Road trips are some of my favorite things to do with my husband. Getting up before the sun, throwing a couple sandwiches together, and heading down the road is a wonderful thing….the joy really is in the journey!
  6.  Do you enjoy sports? Which ones?
    I am not an athlete whatsoever!!! Unless reading a book is a sport, or gardening or crafting LOL. When my sons were in high school they ran with the cross country team. That was a sport I really loved as it was one sport where there were no negative words. Everyone encouraged all the athletes, no matter what school they were from. I always felt anyone who finished one of those races was a winner if they came across that line first or last.
  7. Do you play any musical instruments? Which ones? Did you take lessons?
    My mom made me take piano lessons for a couple of years. This is not to say that I play piano!  I know the notes but am not proficient at all!  I quit when I was in the Second Thompson book and I clearly remember the song was “The Bee and The Clover”  I hated all those staccato notes!  When I hit 40 I purchased a guitar (that may have been my mid-life crisis!) I started teaching myself but did not pursue it. It would be cool to be able to play “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” .  That guitar is still hanging out in the back of our closet….maybe someday……
  8. If given the opportunity would you travel in space. Why or why not?
    Nah….I don’t think so. There are so many places I want to see on this ball of Earth…I don’t think I have enough time to even see all of the ones on my bucket list!
  9. What is your favorite season? What is that season like where you live?
    That is a hard one because I have favorite parts of all the seasons where I live! I would probably have to say Fall. The hot days of summer are past, the harvest is coming in, the air smells like fallen leaves, dirt and bonfires. In the evening hours you can hear the hum of grain dryers, combines in the fields, and dry leaves rustling on the trees. The colors are beautiful in reds, golds, and yellows. Fall is really quite wonderful!
  10. What advice would you give a teenager about achieving success in life? How do you define success?
    I would advise them to find humor in every day. I would tell them life is too short to stress about things you cannot change. I would want them to know that who you think you are; is more important than who someone else thinks you are. I would encourage them to find a job they love and that fact is more important than the paycheck they will draw. (Being in a job you hate is an awful way to live). I would tell them relationships mean more than material things. I would also tell them to keep their eye on God and the rest will fall into place in His timing. Achieving those things are how I define success.
  11. What is your favorite meal?
    This one is also hard!  I happen to love most food (unfortunately, it loves me also and sticks around on my waist, my thighs…..) I like Chinese, I like Mexican, I also love good old American hamburgers on the grill with a side dish of Taco Salad or Deviled Eggs.

Alrighty…..11 random facts about me. (Nuts, thought I had covered that in those questions!!)

  1. Way back in 1977 I spent a month backpacking around Europe with 5 other gals. This did not decrease the wanderlust in my soul! (See question 5).
  2. If I had gone to college after high school, I would have been a teacher. I think I would have liked teaching junior high. You don’t have to teach them to use a scissors and it would be fun to make them think out of the box.
  3. Driving a tractor in the ditch for baling scares the daylights out of me. I am relieved when I am done with those slanty areas that make me nervous!  I am getting better at it…..slowly.
  4. If I need to get something accomplished I cannot make a visit to the local library. Once I get a book, I want to start reading it immediately. Once I start reading it I usually cannot put it down till I am finished!
  5. I loved reading words so much as a kid that I would read the ingredients on the cereal box, catsup bottle, cake mix box etc!
  6. When I was a child I loved the program “the Flying Nun”. I really wanted to be a nun because I loved the outfit and the fact she could fly!  My mom informed me that we were not Catholic…therefore I could not be a nun. I made the mistake of telling my husband this one time and he has never let me forget it!
  7. I enjoy being outside mowing the lawn or in my garden more than I enjoy being in my house doing housework….unfortunately you can tell that. I really need to find a sign like my mom had in her porch, “If you come to see me….come anytime. If you come to see my house….make and appointment.”
  8. I would love to be able to paint beautiful pictures.
  9. I do enjoy crafting of any kind…..card making, crocheting, knitting, scrapbooking, sewing……
  10. I enjoy cooking…this is one good reason to stay in the house! It is also a great thing to do in the wintertime as it warms your kitchen up and makes the house smell wonderful!
  11. My family is my pride and joy. I love having them all around as much as I can! I love the fact they enjoy being together. It does scare the willies out of me when my three sons do their annual mountain climbing thing in Colorado’s 14’ers. My heart’s desire is for them all to know Jesus and live their lives in a way that shows that fact.

I am now to the part I need to nominate 11 blogs. There are so many out there that I so enjoy. I know some of them are award free so I will try leave them alone! (If I did nominate you and you are award free…I apologize!) If I do nominate you and you have already done this award or do not want to do awards I totally get that…so not too worry. This nomination is meant to be fun and not stress you out. Only do it if you really want to. I will not be offended…I promise!

I nominate:

atimetoshare.me

Leadership2Mommyship

Al

samanthamurdochblog

whitneyibeblog

Ame

susieshy45

George

Anne Mehrling

Tales From the Cabbage Patch

And now (drum roll) …….My questions for my nominees…

  1. What is the top item on your bucket list? Why?
  2. What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
  3. What makes you cry?
  4. What makes you laugh….hard?
  5. Who had the biggest impact on you in your life so far? Why?
  6. Most embarrassing moment?
  7. What is a hidden talent that others would be surprised to know you have?
  8. What advice do you wish you had listened to when you were a teenager?
  9. What would make the perfect day for you?
  10. What is your favorite song and why?
  11. Do you have a favorite quote and if so …what is it?

Once again….thank you so much Pat for the nomination! I encourage everyone to head over to her blog and stay for a visit…you will not regret it!

“Don’t do something for recognition.
Do it out of kindness ..because out of giving,
it will make you whole and complete.”

Angie karan

“Never pass on an opportunity to say thank you
or give recognition for a job well done”

Mark W. Boyer

 

 

 

 

 

Rainstorms and Promises

 

The other night we had a small rainstorm come through our area of the country. The weatherman had been promising for days that rain was on the way. My husband and I thought that sounded a lot better than the snow that we received not that long ago.

The clouds started rolling in and looked kind of threatening, like they held some danger in their dark swirls. It was odd that you could look one direction and the sky was full of light and held none of the threat that the clouds to the north seem to hold.

IMG_3247 Storm Clouds

I must admit there was a strange beauty in those clouds. They seemed to cast an entirely different light over the landscape than was normal. Colors seemed deeper, the world seemed hushed and waiting, and you could smell the coming rain on the breeze.

IMG_3252 Dark Skies

It was a time to just stand and marvel at the painting that was creation. It was a time to enjoy that hush before the wind picked up and the drops began to fall.

 

The girls did not seem to worry about the coming rain. They did seem to stick a little closer to “home” . I always wonder if animals have an inner voice that tells them when they need to stick close to home and be ready to run for cover. It is a good lesson to learn from the girls….that until that time comes….you might as well enjoy the day you have been given.

Once the drops began to fall the girls ran for cover and were safely in for the night. I was grateful for that; as that meant I did not have to go out when it was pouring rain and dark! Sliding around on the grass and in mud while holding an umbrella and gripping a flashlight requires some extra coordination that is sometimes lacking……

IMG_3244 Taking Cover in the Tree

Even the wild birds seemed to sense that it was time to find a place to hunker down and stay close to home. This robin stayed fairly close to her nest while waiting for the rain to come. Their lifestyle seems to be one of trust that life will be okay…..through the storms and on the sunny days.

IMG_3260 A Promise

I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

 

Once the rain had rolled through the sun came out in a blaze of glory and we had the most beautiful rainbow! We not only had one complete rainbow ……..

IMG_3261 A Double Promise

A Double Promise

 

…….we were blessed with a double rainbow! What a blessing to be reminded of God’s goodness and His promises to us. It was such a lesson that “He gives us so much more than we could ever imagine.” Ephesian 3:20.

May your coming weekend be filled with blessings, seen and unseen. May you find safe shelter in the times of storm and may you see the promise that is before you.

 

“The sun is always shining….
you just can’t always see it.”
John Scholten
(my dad)

Reflection on Good Friday – Revisited

Pretty Crosses
Over the years I have accumulated some “pretty” crosses. I gathered some of them up today to take a look at them. And yes, once again, I thought they were very pretty and very decorative.

I have a friend who sends them to me every so often. She knows I like them. I think I like them because they remind me of her and they remind me of Grace. As I was looking at them I wondered if I also liked them because they were a picture of a neat and tidy Grace?

They are beautiful and there is no hint of the brutality that took place on that rough wooden cross so many centuries ago. There was nothing beautiful or tidy about that cross. It was ugly, harsh and had blood dripping down it. I don’t think my pretty crosses really show the full measure of the sacrifice made for us that day.

The only beautiful thing about it was the absolutely pure love of the one they nailed to it. His selfless act, His love of us “while we were yet sinners” (Romans 5:8) amazes me, humbles me and calls for some type of response from me.

Last year I had just started blogging not too long before Good Friday. I am going to repost my blog from that day. After rereading it, I wanted to re-share it. I know some of you are going through hard places in your lives at this time and I pray it brings you hope in the promise that is the cross. The promise of the One who hung on that cross and was Hope made flesh.

The Chicken Grandma

Artwork by Joseph Kroese

Even as a kid I wondered why they called this day Good Friday.  In looking at the cross it never seemed like a good thing.  Reflecting on good things makes me realize that many things in life do not, on the surface or while in the midst of them, seem like good things.

I am pretty sure everyone can look at their life and the hard, dark places that come with living and wonder where that good part is hiding.  Sometimes you have to look pretty hard to find even a slight glimmer of the good.  This is true, especially when you are in the middle of a hard place.  There are some hard things that you may not see that shimmer of light for several years and some maybe never while on this earth.  I am guessing that is where faith comes in and the hope of things unseen. (my slightly garbled…

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