Wonderful Busy Days



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.


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.”

Thistles and Rain


It has been a little wet around here lately. The old saying, “When it rains…it pours” is pretty true in this part of the country lately. After waiting…for what seemed like a long time and wishing for rain…it now seems easy to come by.

I wandered around the other morning with my camera in hand as I couldn’t get in my garden (due to rain) and I couldn’t mow (also due to rain). It seemed a logical choice to go and see if I could capture some of the beauty left by the rain.


It was fun to try get a photo of the raindrops  dripping from the flowers and leaves.

To be very honest it was also a great opportunity for a blog post as the idea well seems a bit drier than the weather for this Chicken Grandma!

Later that afternoon my husband called for me to join him behind the machine shed. There is a patch of thistles growing back there that really should be taken care of as they do tend to spread.

We discovered, however, that those thistles might be weeds, but the butterflies and bees sure seemed to be enjoying them.

Seeing those thistles in a different light made me reflect on the fact that there are definitely two sides to most things in life. Something might seem to be a weed in your field or a weed in your life….when you look closer and really have a chance to study on it…you may just find that “weed” serves a purpose you had never thought of.

It was good to realize that truth. Life has been busy and somewhat stressful lately. There have seemed to be a lot of “weeds” springing up and flourishing, where I would rather not have them.

Maybe I need to be patient….maybe I need to open my eyes, my ears and my heart to really see, hear and know what those “weeds” actually are doing in my life. Maybe I just need to let God have those “weeds” and let Him take care of them in His own time.

That is a hard lesson for me….I love to fix things and I really want to fix things now instead of later. I guess it is a good time to sit back, watch the rain, and enjoy the lessons the thistles are teaching.


“Some of the most beautiful things worth having in your life
come wrapped in a crown of thorns.”

Shannon L. Alder



Ups and Downs


Today when I went out to do my chicken chores I received a gift. As I stood by my chicken coop I was serenaded by two different birds.

The first was a Baltimore Oriole. Usually they are hard to spot once the trees have leaves on them. For some reason this bird perched on the top branch where he was easily seen. I was privileged to enjoy his beautiful orange and black feathers while I listened to his song.

When he would pause, there was a Barn Swallow sitting on the electric wires that run to the electric pole on our yard. It appeared that the Swallow was looking directly at me as he sang and gave that certain Barn Swallow clicking sound. Those birds singing, in plain view, were such an unexpected gift.

Last week has been  one of “those weeks”. It was incredibly busy (which is why there was no post!). I have always thought that when one did not have a regular job to go to every day; there would be plenty of time to accomplish everything that needed to get done. Not so!

This past week was spent preparing for two bridal showers; to be held on the same day. (My middle son is getting married this summer!) Tossed in to the shower mix, was time spent making and decorating a cake for a college graduation, a cake for a baptism and cupcakes for a different bridal shower hosted by my aunt for her grandchildren. My husband also tossed in a road trip to check out some farm equipment.

There were plenty of ups and downs during the week. That seems to be the way of life….it can get slightly skewed. Some good mixed with some not so good. I was reminded that I am not in control and that there is peace to be found in trusting that God has a plan.

When those birds showed up this afternoon, it was like a love song straight from the heart of God. I am not sure why I am always surprised that God shows up right when I really need it. I also don’t know why I am surprised at the way He shows up. He has never failed me yet (even though I question constantly).

If you have had a day, a week, a month or perhaps even a year of wondering what God is doing in your life or in the lives of those you love….fear not….He DOES have a plan and it is in His time…..I am counting on that promise!

May you see a glimmer of His goodness in the midst of trials. May you feel His love and protection in the beauty of a sunrise or in the song of a Baltimore Oriole. He is there….sometimes we just have to be still and listen.  May you have a blessed week.

“Don’t focus on what is not here….
focus on the blessings God has put in front of you
and enjoy the day.”

Sandy G.


Busyness and Bonfires

IMG_3542 Mallows.JPG

I have to confess.  I started today’s post at least three different times. Each time I ran stuck and my brain headed down a different track. I started out with the fact I was privileged to go to an amazing concert the other night, detoured into weeding my garden, headed down the path of the hot muggy weather and ended up at the end of the day by the firepit.  Okay….maybe I had four topics!

For some reason, focusing was not my strong suit today when it came to writing and I still feel a bit scattered.  I think I will stick with the fire pit topic and work my way backwards on those other topics over the next couple posts.

This week started out in a busy fashion that is typical of the late spring season that is Iowa and farming.  We started out the week with grass hay down in the ditches and in the waterway. Once we heard the forecast for possible rain we decided we needed to give out attention to getting it baled up before it got rained on. By Tuesday night we were so glad we had baled as we actually had 1.2 inches of rain.

For us, lately that is a pretty good amount as rain has been kind of hard to come by around here.  It is amazing what a nice rain can do to refresh the earth and your spirits!  The rain also gave me a break from weeding in the garden and let me catch up on other jobs I had been putting off.

When I look back at today I have to really think to figure out what I spent my day doing. There were so many little odd things like cleaning out a couple drawers and getting ruthless with the stuff that was in the back of those drawers. It was a day spent doing things that no one else will notice…..but I will!

By the time it was evening the wind had died down and I talked my husband into building a fire in the fire pit. I have had a stash of tree branches mounded up in the back yard since last fall. They have been waiting a long time to be burned…and tonite was the night.

I love that the bonfire served a two-fold purpose – time to sit and relax and also a great way to finally get rid of those branches.

There is something so very relaxing about just sitting in the darkening evening and watching the flames dance skyward. It was especially sweet after the busy start to the week. It was a good way to taper off the busyness of the day.

Sitting there, listening to the frogs singing and watching the fireflies dance through the night was one of those Aaaahhhhhh moments. We watched the chickens head in for the nights. We listened to the snort of a deer as it bedded down in the grass behind the grove. We got to enjoy the first stars as they came out for the night.

Life is indeed good when you take the time to slow down and enjoy the small things.

Some of the best conversations I’ve had
are sitting around a camp fire.
Robyn Davidson

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/robyndavid704971.html?src=t_fire

No Excuses….Just Late


My dad would say this post is “a day late and a dollar short.”  I am not sure about the dollar short, but yes; it sure is a day late!

Blame it on the busyness (only I can’t, because yesterday was a snow day and they are slow). Blame it on the weather (Once again I can’t cause it was a snow day and we couldn’t really do anything outdoors anyway.) Blame it on…….naaaaaaaa, let’s not blame it on anything.

No excuses…..just no post yesterday. And to be honest I really haven’t anything amazing for today either! Once again……oh well….sometimes life is just like that……ho hum. Though sometimes in the ho hum you can find a small gem of truth….if you look hard enough. Yesterday I just did not feel like looking.

Today, I half-way felt like looking and kind of talked myself out of it.  Have you ever done that?    I have, however, been listening to one of my favorite CDs and thought this would be a great time to share one of my favorite songs on the Matt Maher album – Saints and Sinners.

The song is called Firelight and I thought I would not only share the music video but also the lyrics so that you can sing along. I hope this song blesses you as much as it blesses me. It speaks to those arid, desert places that can sometime be a season of life you go through. It speaks to the longing in our hearts to make a difference in this world…..a difference that is eternal.

May you be blessed in the desert, if that is where this weekend finds you. May you be blessed in the lush oasis if that is where you are. And may you be blessed if you find yourself somewhere in between those two….somewhere in the everyday, ho-hum of life.


Dear Jesus where are you tonight
I bear a sadness deep inside
I’m aching for a faith in things I strain to feel
I need to know that you are real

Oh Savior open up my eyes
I wanna see You like a child
There is a haze on the horizons of my heart
Dear Jesus show me where you are

Be my firelight, be my firelight
Burning fierce and bright, be my firelight

How do I move on and be free
From all these things that I have seen
All of my memories are turning into scars
Oh my God put back what’s been torn apart

Be my firelight, be my firelight
Burning fierce and bright, be my firelight

If anyone remembers my name
If I’m ever known for anything
Let it be I ran into the night
Running with a firelight, firelight

Cause I don’t wanna stroll the streets of gold
While there’s still a soul to love
Let me run into the night
Running with a firelight, firelight
Burning with a firelight, firelight

Matt Maher


Let my tongue sing of Your word,
For all Your commandments are righteousness.

Psalm 119:172




In the last while I have been reading various blogs written by busy moms.  Their posts have made me laugh with the memories they brought back.  They have also made me remember how very tired and discouraged a woman could be as a mom and particularly a stay at home mom.

I just want to give a word of encouragement to those who are feeling like they will never again get to use the bathroom without an audience. Someday will come and you will be able to once again lock the door, get in the tub and sit in there till the water gets cold.

Yes…..You will be able to use the toilet without an audience and a 2 foot tall person handing you your toilet paper. You will also be able put your makeup on, fix your hair and even get your teeth brushed before you go out.

I will never forget the Sunday morning when my husband and I were sitting in the “baby benches” (benches reserved for those with small children) in our church. I looked down and could have cried. I had put my sweater on backwards that morning and in the rush to get everyone ready, out the door and alive to church …. I had not noticed till it was too late.  (You may wonder about the alive part – we had three small sons and a 10 mile drive – enough said.)

Once I realized I had not gotten my sweater on correctly; I grabbed a child, took him to the restroom, prayed people would think the kid needed to go, and put my sweater on the right way. In looking back, I am very sure that I am the only person who even remembers that I did that. Now if only I could forget.

Raising children can make even the most capable of people feel totally inadequate. For those of you in those busy years please know that the time will go faster than you know. Know that children are very good at forgetting and forgiving and remembering the good things.

They probably won’t remember how many meals of mac and cheese they had. They will remember that they loved mac and cheese. They will remember the craziest things. Our boys recall (a little too fondly) that their dad would do “kitty-butts” on the farmyard when it had snowed and become icy. They also remember their mom getting dizzy from all the spinning around.

Our sons also recall quite clearly “the Meatball Incident”.  (For some reason they and their dad’s version are different than mine.) The incident occurred one Sunday as we were going to my sister for a potluck dinner. I had made a crockpot full of meatballs and I also had along a decorated cake for my Grandma’s birthday.

We had plugged the meatballs in by my folks house in town while we were at church. After church we stopped to pick them up and I put them in the trunk next to the cake. As we left my folk’s driveway our three sons started encouraging their dad to “peel out” and lay some rubber. I reminded them of the cake in the trunk.

We drove about half way down the block when the whiff of meatballs started wafting through the car. My husband stopped and we all piled out to take a look. It was not pretty. The meatballs had flopped over onto the cake. Hot tomatoey meatball sauce on top of a white decorated cake tends to melt decorator frosting.

I think I would have been fine, had they been apologetic. They started to snicker, it turned to snorts and then full blown laughter.  Someone commented it now looked like potatoes and gravy…….it was a quiet ride to my sister.

We salvaged the cake, no one went hungry, a good time was had by all and no one died due to a slight taste of meatball sauce with their cake. Looking back, I should have laughed with them……I do now.

I am going to share the meatball recipe with you. Just a hint – They are better when they stay in the crockpot till you are ready to eat them…..but if they do land on a cake, it is not the end of the world.


Crockpot Meatballs
2 pounds ground beef
2 cups oatmeal
chopped onion (to taste)
dash salt
dash pepper
Roll into balls and place in Crockpot
Cover with Sauce

1 can tomato soup
1/2 cup brown sugar
Pour over meatballs
Cook on high for 4 hours.
NOTE: I tend to make 2 ounce meatballs and get approximately 20 – 21 per recipe.

With this recipe I cook them all and then freeze what we do not eat for a quick reheated meal later. This works great as it doesn’t really take any extra time to cook all of them at the same time.  You can also make mass quantities of these and freeze them to be cooked later.

 I love this recipe because it gives me time to spend with my family. I can make it ahead, toss them in the crockpot and forget them till they are done. I have not tried it but I think they would also be good with a cream soup over them instead of the tomato type sauce.

Extend grace to yourself this weekend. Give yourself the gift of spending time with your family  and enjoying those times. If it doesn’t turn out to be a Norman Rockwell moment; it will still be okay and still turn out to be a great memory.

“A family is a place where principles are hammered
and honed on the anvil of everyday living.”

~ Chuck Swindoll

“A man ought to live so that everybody knows he is a Christian…
and most of all, his family ought to know.”

~ D. L. Moody

Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verses-about-family-20-uplifting-scripture-quotes/#ixzz4ViFLeUpx


DIY Christmas Gift

Peppermint Lotion Bar.JPG

In this very busy season I decided I would just make myself a little busier. I decided to try make lotion bars. I had attempted this project quite a few months back and ended with an epic Pinterest fail. Those lotion bars only stayed hard when they were in the fridge. Once out they just turned into blobs.

I decided I should try to attempt them again and found a different recipe and then tweaked the amounts just a bit so they would hopefully be harder without the refrigeration.

The recipe I ended up with:

Peppermint Lotion Bars
3 ounces Coconut Oil (purchased local grocery store)
3 ounces Shea Butter (
purchased here)
3 ounces Beeswax shredded (
purchased here)
20 drops Peppermint Oil (
purchased here)
glitter (optional)
Put the coconut oil, shea butter and beeswax in a stainless or glass bowl.
Set bowl in pan of water and heat on stove till melted.
When melted, remove from heat and add essential oils.  I chose peppermint.
Pour into silicone molds
Makes approximately 4-6 bars depending on size of molds.
The mold I chose was this one.
I sprinkled a little glitter in the bottom for sparkle.
When lotion bars are solid remove from mold and package.

I had my son and his wife order me some molds from Amazon. (They have prime and that is so handy!) I decided on a snowflake one as it is winter and this had a Christmassy holiday feel. I also chose to put a little glitter in them. I just like the sparkle it gives.

This time the bars turned out. I was so glad. I am hoping to use them as stocking stuffers for the women in my family. (If they are reading this they will just have to act surprised when they get theirs!)  The next project will be how to package them.

If you are looking for a quick easy stocking stuffer for the gals in your group, these are perfect to whip up…..and they contain no chemicals! If you give it a try, let me know how they turn out for you.

At this point my lotion bars look a whole lot better than my kitchen does. My counters are full of stuff used for making the bars and my table is full of other stuff as I am helping with an oils workshop next week.  At some point I will catch up.

I was trying to remember what we had actually been doing this week. I was trying to figure out why I feel like I am so far behind. The fact that the week has faded into a blur shows me that there has probably been too much going on!

Some things could probably have been pushed back till later but others just needed to be done. Projects like removing cupboards from a house that will be torn down. (These will go into my laundry/craft room.) Things like getting organized for the oils workshop. Things like taking time to go to a visitation for my cousin who passed away.( I may have to tell you more about Marcia on another post. She deserves an entire post all to herself.)

This post is slightly disjointed (okay a lot disjointed!) but that has been the last few weeks around this house. At some point life will once again settle down. At some point I will feel caught up and at some point I can be organized……it just won’t be this week!  I guess I can live with that.

“I wanted to figure out why I was so busy,
but I couldn’t find the time to do it.”

Todd Stocker





Busyness & Blessings

Artwork by my son.JPG

I sat on my couch this evening with the laptop in hand.  I looked at my husband and calmly told him, “I got nothin”. I was referring to an idea for a blog post. I am not sure if anyone else has had this issue?

I think some of the problem is the very busy time of year. That and all the odd stuff tossed in like the washing machine issue, the hotter than all get out weather and maybe the season we are in; all have something to do with it. It feels like everywhere I turn I have produce waiting to be tended to, laundry waiting for the new washer to arrive and stuff to be picked up and sorted.  This is not a bad problem….it is just busy and leaves no time to think.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes life feels just like the picture I am sharing with you. Sometimes it feels like I am missing key parts of the puzzle and sometimes it just feels like my chess pieces are sliding off the board and hanging by a thread. It seems there are so many details I just cannot think about them all; much less deal with them all.

These are the days that I just need to remind myself to take a deep breath, focus on one thing at a time, finish that one thing and then move on to the next pressing thing. One foot in front of the other, one task finished to completion and when the day is done be grateful for what was accomplished instead of beating myself up over what did not get done.

I sometimes think we find that last part hard to do.  At least I do. It is very easy to point out to ourselves what was left undone or not done quite right. It is probably time we cut ourselves some slack and rejoice in what we did get done.

Sometimes the fact that “we got nothin'” is okay. Sometimes when we seem too busy it is crucial to take the time to sit back, take that deep breath and just look around and appreciate the quiet.

“How many times have you noticed
that it’s the little quiet moments in the midst of life
that seem to give the rest
extra-special meaning?”

Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers

As I walked out to lock my “girls” in the coop tonight I took the time to stop, listen, and look around. The sliver of the moon was shining brightly, the crickets and cicadas were singing their noisy summertime songs, the fireflies were twinkling over the field like a million little Christmas lights, the air, though still heavy with humidity, was beginning to cool, and you could smell the corn in the field.

That short moment of peace seemed to restore the calm to my soul and still my racing thoughts. It felt like God had prepared that short space of time just for me and was telling me to just enjoy that snapshot in time. I took Him at His word and did just that. It was wonderful.

I think tomorrow when the day winds up once again; I will be reminding myself of those noisy bugs and those twinkling fireflies. I will try to remember to:

“Be still
and know ……..
Psalm 46:10a

May your week be blessed and may you find a quiet place to savor the day.

I need to give credit to my oldest son. He drew this picture as an Iowa State Fair entry last year.  I have no idea how he is able to draw this kind of stuff. It baffles me as I am happy when I can draw a tree that actually looks like a tree and not a stick.