It’s a Blogiversary

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I cannot really believe it!  I have been blogging for a whole year. My kids had been after me for a long time to try this thing called blogging. Last year when my daughter-in-law, Becca, set this up for me I would have found it hard to imagine that one year later I would have written 163 posts. It has been so much fun.

My husband still shakes his head about this whole blogging endeavor. He’ll ask, “Making any money blogging?” (accompanied by a smirk and a laugh.) I tell him “Nope.”  Then he asks, “So is it kind of like having  pen pals?”  Then I smirk and laugh and tell him “Yep!” I also never dreamed I would meet so many absolutely wonderful people.

Tonight I just reread that first post from January 31, 2016.  I still have some of those same question that I asked back then…..Will anyone really want to read what I have written?  Will people really care what I think?  And the amazing answer is Yes!!!! That fact still boggles my mind.

People will ask me what the main focus of my blog is. I am still not sure how to answer that one and typically grin and tell them it is very random. I tell them it is just a blog of life in general; that covers topics from farming, chickens, gardening, crafting, faith, family and pretty much anything else life throws my way.  Hopefully it is a blog filled with love, humor, hope and encouragement and a few life lessons tossed in.

Back to the people I have met along the way on this blogging journey.  There are so many of you that I would love to meet in person. You are beautiful, honest, down-to-earth, funny, joy filled and life loving, gracious people. You share your lives honestly….the joys and the struggles.  You share the things that make you laugh and cry. You use your life experiences to make others laugh, lift them up and find hope. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking time to like, comment and offer friendship and encouragement to this Chicken Grandma.

I am so looking forward to this coming year of blogging.  I am looking forward to meeting more of you and getting to know what makes up your life. I am hoping to love more, encourage more and bring hope.

Let me know what you want to see over at the Chicken Grandma and I will see what I can do! Like I said it is pretty random over here. Life over here is rather like that box of chocolates that Forrest Gump talked about. You never quite know what you are going to get on any given day.

May your day be filled with hope. May you feel grace from those around you and may you be a blessing in return.

      This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

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Christmas Ponderings


There is something quite wonderful about sitting in a darkened living room with the glow of the woodstove burning cheerfully in one corner. Add in the glow of a lit Christmas tree standing in the other corner and the contentment is complete. It is blanketed in a beautiful stillness and calm.

I have the house to myself for a bit as my husband is outdoors enjoying that brief slice of day that is captured between daylight and night. The world is hushed. Traffic has slowed on the blacktop past our place and the chickens have gone to bed.

It is the perfect time to really ponder on this Christmas season. The last few days have been jam packed with preparing for the holiday. Shopping, wrapping presents, messaging kids for last minute details, cleaning, baking and wrapping some more presents; have filled the days.

In the midst of that busyness,  this seemed like the ideal time to slow it down a bit and just feel the joy and the hope that is Christmas. This small space of time also gives me a moment to wonder about that night 2000 plus years ago when a baby came into this world.

I always kind of wonder if Mary could really wrap her head around the fact that she had given birth to the Savior of this world. I wonder if she knew what the next 30 some years were going to bring into her life. Did she know of the joy and the pain that she would feel? Did she know; but choose to focus on the joy that night?

How overwhelming would it have been, to be able to see exactly the path her Son would have to travel? Did she have any inkling that the wooden manger that held her Son would be mirrored by that wooden cross that held Him as an adult?  Did she really realize that her Son would be the light of the world?

I have no answer to these questions and probably never will. I do know that I am deeply grateful for the reason we celebrate this Christmas holiday. I know that we were given an incredible gift that night so long ago.

We were given the gift of hope that gets us through so many difficult places in life. Hope that never quits and never gives up. Hope in the great love He has for us.

We were given joy that night. Joy, that had angels praising and shepherds hurrying to leave their sheep just to see what it was all about. This was joy…..not just happiness that comes and goes….but a deep seated Joy that goes hand in hand with Hope.

Sitting here, in the dark, reflecting as I look at my glowing tree I realize that those little twinkly lights are but a tiny reflection of the real beauty and glory that is the Light of the World. Maybe that is why lit Christmas trees are so special.  They are reflections of something greater and something deeper.

My wish for family and friends this season is that you feel the hope and the wonder….that you discover the real joy of this season. I wish that the Light illuminates all the dark places in your life and blazes brightly.

May you be blessed and may you be a blessing to those around you. May you reflect the Light and know the joy of hope.

The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:5
New International Version







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There is a job I have been putting off for a very long time. I think I keep pushing this job to the back burner because it seems like it will never be finished. I should probably give you a little background on what I am talking about.

Waaaaaay back, when we started redoing the house we are now living in we knew we wanted to find some really neat old woodwork. The kind of woodwork that was wide, substantial and whispered of talented craftsmen of days gone by.  The kind of craftsmen who took pride in their work.

We found old houses, long abandoned and spoke with their owners. We spent days, and more days that added up to what is probably weeks taking out everything from trim, wainscoting, wood flooring, doors,railing spindles to beaded ceilings.  Everything went into the barn till we were ready to work with it.

Over the years, whenever the mood comes over me, or we are hosting a large holiday gathering such as this Thanksgiving; my husband journeys out to the barn and brings me some more trim to work on. I have no idea when this project, called our home, will be finished.  At the rate I am going it will be a long time!

The trim we are using on our main floor is a  mission style and came from a local high school that was demolished. The trim is wide and is made of beautiful oak boards that were stained black walnut and are true to size (definitely old woodwork).

These boards have been laying in the barn for quite a long time. When my husband hauls them out they are filthy!  In the summer our barn is home to a flock of barn swallows who have nests everywhere. I love the barn swallows as they consume a ton of mosquitos; but their bathroom habits in the barn leave a lot to be desired. Needless to say the boards need a lot of cleaning up before I can actually get to staining, sanding and varnishing.

I have spent some time the last two afternoons working on baseboards. It is a lot of work but the end result is always worth it. The wood goes from dusty and dirty to smooth and gleaming. The boards proudly display the beautiful grain of the wood.

It is always a little amazing to me when I put the stain on the wood. You would think since it is all the same type of wood (oak),  the stain would all “take” the same. It doesn’t. Some areas of the wood stain darker than others. The nails holes, scratches that would not sand out, places gouged by students long since graduated……..some would say flaws….become more pronounced because of the stain. Each piece is so unique.

To me those “flaws” add so much character to the trim in my home. They speak of real people who have impacted my trim boards. I think that our lives are a lot like those boards. We are impacted by those around us in ways we don’t always even realize.

Some of those around us, leave us hurting, scarred and scuffed.  We think we will never get over those hurts. Others are like the sandpaper that softens the edges of those same hurts and gouges.  They can’t always remove the gouge or scratch but they can help get rid of the slivery rough edges.

I am so grateful that God places people in our lives that can be grace like sandpaper. It is not always a comfortable thing but the end result is well worth it.  Like beautiful pieces of trim we are sanded smooth, healed with the varnish of God’s love and the people He sends. We are, once again, restored into something of beauty.

The nail holes may still be evident…. there may be scratches left from a life lived fully, and there may even be gouges that speak of events and circumstances in our lives that were painful at the time. I like to think those same “flaws” testify to hope, to love and to grace and that the imperfections make for a restored life that is even more beautiful.

There is a lot to be learned when refinishing old woodwork. While the job can be tedious….I am glad for the life lessons.

“God can turn your biggest flaws into your biggest cause.”
Mandy Hale,
The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass






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My mind is too full today (and too tired) to put down a coherent thought. So today I am just going to leave you with a picture and a song.

The picture was taken a few years ago at a place called Inspiration Hills. I attended a women’s retreat this past weekend; at this same place. (No snow this year, but I love this particular picture of this amazing place.) There was much time spent serving and not so much sleep, but oh, so very many blessings.

Amazing women, messages of hope, restoration, fellowship, faith, time to linger and be still, time to laugh and cry…….a great weekend!

The song I share with you is one we sang a lot this year and has come to be a personal favorite. It is titled, “No Longer Slaves”.

I hope you are as blessed by this song as I was. The words are almost more than I can take in…..No longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God.  What a promise!

Do not be afraid, for I am with you.
Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you.
Yes, I will help you.
Isaiah 41:10
New Heart English Bible


Tranquility and Grace Moments


A Grace Moment ~ October 31,2016

I have been wanting to blog about this picture ever since I took it. To be quite honest I was overjoyed when I took a look at the Daily Post Prompt and saw the word “Chaos”.  I thought what a perfect time to use this photo… is the total opposite of chaos and to me speaks tranquility. I was going to showcase what chaos is not.

Then I took another look at the Daily Post and realized my mistake…..chaos was the prompt for the picture challenge.  The word prompt for today was “Base“.  I really wondered how I would work that word into this post but……look at that……I just did! I am so glad I got that out of the way.

This last week I have been helping out at our high school.  One of the cooks had to be gone  and I have been filling in for her. (she is on vacation and technically, that is kind of like having to be gone!) Going to this job means getting up on time and seeing the sun rise. I do have to admit that at this time of year you really do not have to get up that early to see the sun come up.  The daylight hours are starting to get so short.

On that early morning I went outside to let the girls out(my chickens for those of you visiting this site for the first time) the sun was just starting to paint the eastern sky in narrow ribbons of pink.  There was a low-lying fog hanging in the river bottom and it had rolled into the corn field. The utter stillness of it stopped me in my tracks.

There was not a breath of wind and the haze just hung there waiting for the sun to chase it away. The world was silent other than the sound of moisture dripping off the rooftops. The air was heavy with the fog and muted any sound that dared intrude.

It was hard to tell where the sky ended and the earth started. The horizon blended in blues, pinks and swirls of mist.  It was such a moment of quiet beauty that it made me want to hold my breath for fear of disturbing it.

It was a grace moment….it was a gratitude moment. In that hushed time it felt like God had gifted me with a moment in time to just “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). It was that moment between night and day, between heartbeats, where time seems to stop and the world is able to take a deep breath in, breathe a prayer out and just be.

These are the moments to cherish.  These are the moments to remember; when the world seems in chaos around you.  These are the moments to base your hope on. The hope that life is still good, even if it does not seem to be at this point in time. These are the moments that are God’s gift to humanity……and I am grateful.

May you be gifted with a grace moment this weekend.

Grace is available for each of us every day
-our spiritual daily bread
– but we’ve got to remember to ask for it with a grateful heart
and not worry about whether there will be enough for tomorrow.

 Sarah Ban Breathnach quotes

Potting Plants and Sorting Potatoes

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Potato Sorting Time


Fall is a funny type of season.  It seems to be made up of the concept, “hurry up and wait”.  The rainy gray days are the wait days.  Harvest progress grinds to a halt as the fields become too damp to be in them and the crop gets too tough to run through a combine.

Today turned out to be a beautiful sunny day……a hurry up day. My husband hurried to haul wagon loads of corn to the elevator in town. He hurried to make sure there were empty wagons waiting for the neighbor who combines our corn. The trip to town is 20 miles round trip and driving time alone takes a bit of time. He has a lot of time to ponder life during those miles. Though, by the time the day is done, he tells me he is sick of driving the same 10 mile stretch…….and I believe him!

This afternoon I decided I had better hurry and get some seasonal chores taken care of. The potatoes that had been dug out last week had dried nicely and it was time to sort through them. Some looked like they had been bludgeoned with the pitchfork rather than dug up with that pitchfork (Perhaps we should invest in an actual potato fork?).  Those potatoes had stab holes and were missing pieces.  They got stored in a separate pail to be used quickly before they go bad.

The rest of the potatoes were sorted by size and bagged in burlap sacks. It will be a wonderful thing this winter when the snow is flying and I can just go to the basement to get some potatoes for a meal.

It was also time to dig some of the more tender plants out of the ground and put them into pots. The gerber daisies are not a perennial around here and need to be potted up and put indoors so they can survive, bloom and be enjoyed next summer. I had, had them covered up the last weeks due to nights of frost. I was surprised to see one was still blooming cheerfully under it’s blanket. It was a really nice leftover piece of summer.


There were also calla lilies bulbs and star of hope bulbs that needed to be dug up. After raking the leaves off them I discovered the ground was really damp. This was not going to be a tidy task today.  (It will definitely be time to haul out the fingernail scrubber.)

I took the large geranium pots out of the garage, where they had been stored so they would not freeze. They had gotten pretty gangly while in there and definitely needed a “haircut”. After potting plants, cutting plants and cleaning dirt off of bulbs I loaded all the pots of flowers into the trunk of my car. It was very satisfying to check these items off the seasonal to-do list I have tucked away in the back of my brain.

I am very fortunate that my folks have a plumbing shop in town with huge south facing windows.  My dad has benches that are perfect for potted plants. It is a treat to drive past the shop in the wintertime and see the bright splash of blooming flowers in those windows. I am at a loss as to what I will do with my plants, in the winter, once dad decides to sell that shop!

All these tasks are a part of the changing seasons and the visible sign of passing time. I am finding that the older I get, these tasks take me longer than they used to…..and I am okay with that.

I find I also cherish these things more than I used to. Maybe that is why it is okay that it all takes me longer….It gives me more time to cherish life. When I am digging up bulbs and potting plants it reminds me that though this season of growth is done and the cold winter is coming, God is faithful and Spring will arrive again at the appointed time.

There is a promise in the bulbs that are stored for the winter and the plants that are moved indoors….the promise of life, of renewal, of hope. Perhaps that is why I love flowers so much…they speak of faithfulness and perseverance. They speak without using words, but they speak. They tell me God loves us, not because we have earned it. They tell me He loves us just because He does and that no matter how cold and wintry it gets….Spring will come again.

“God does not love us because we are valuable.
We are valuable because God loves us.”

Fulton Sheen

And why take ye thought for raiment?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow;
they toil not, neither do they spin.
Matthew 6:28




Tale of a Tree


Our farm place is home to a tree that our children have deemed an eyesore for a very long time. I do have to admit the old boxelder is a pretty sad looking specimen as trees go. It stands alone between the barn and the corn crib surrounded by tall grass. It does kind of get in the way of our view of the river.

It is a pretty typical boxelder tree. They are a variety of maple tree that does not seem to be able to decide if it should be a bush or a tree. This particular tree has also struggled for years with deciding if it was alive or dead…..It has lots of dead top branches and some shoots growing near the bottom that leaf out every year.

My husband always told the kids that when all the big dead branches fell off the top he would let the tree go and take it down. He told them that would be happening in God’s time so they could talk all they wanted about cutting it down; but the talking would do them no good.

I do kind of like that old tree. In the years we have been here we have enjoyed watching families of squirrels being raised in it’s hollow core. That boxelder has been home, not only to squirrels but also to wood ducks, starlings (not my favorite!), woodpeckers, flickers and more.

It has been the roosting spot for hawks of all kinds, screech owls, great-horned owls, and eagles as they follow the migration of ducks and geese each spring and fall. We have even had a Canadian goose decide it was a great place to set and take a rest.


It has been great (and cheap) entertainment to grab the lawn chairs, your favorite beverage (tea in my case), and sit in the middle of the lawn just watching the tree. It is amazing the variety of critters that have called it home for one season or many seasons.

Just the other day, the last, large branch fell off when a strong breeze came through. My husband happened to be looking out the patio door as it happened. I think it kind of stunned him. He knew it would happen sometime….he just figured it would be in the middle of a big windstorm.

I asked him if the tree was going to be coming down since the main branches were now gone. I was told that, yes, it would be coming down but he would be needing time to grieve. He smiled as he said that, but I am sure there was some truth to his reply.

There were and are lots of lessons to be learned from that scrappy looking tree. Lessons like being useful when everyone else thinks you are way past your prime. Lessons such as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There is a strange beauty in the things that are rugged and scarred by life. There is a truth in the fact that you may be rugged and scarred but you have withstood storms that may have left others to beaten to go on. There is a contentment in the acceptance of the brokenness and a peace that comes from finding a new purpose for what life looks like now.

I have no idea how old that tree is but I bet if it could talk it would have some great stories to tell. Tales of families living on this place, tales of love, joy, tears and heartache. Stories of children climbing in it’s branches and beautiful golden days standing in the sun. Stories of leaves rustling in the wind as a million stars shone overhead and being serenaded by the frogs in the creek, the crickets hiding in the long grass and the slap of the beaver’s tail on the river.

There would also be the stories of hail storms, sideways rain, blizzards and choking dust on windy summer days. I can only imagine the history that has happened as that boxelder tree silently stood watch.

I can only hope that as I get older, I weather life with as much grace and dignity as that old tree…..standing strong, bending, sometimes seeming to break, but coming back to life with each spring season. I would hope to be a silent witness to God’s faithfulness and the beauty of perseverance.


Stand firm, and you will win life.”
Luke 21:19 (NIV)


Doing Life….Together


My husband and I had the opportunity to go to a wedding this weekend of a cousin. It was a great time spent with family that you don’t always get to talk to. It was so much fun reconnecting with some of his cousins.

Lots of childhood stories were passed around the table at the reception. Stories of games played at family gatherings, tales of “remember when…….”, time spent comparing memories each cousin had of the same event in their past, and stories of uncles and aunts who pulled pranks on newlywed couples (also known as Shivareeing….and nope I am not sure how to spell that!).

The sense of family and being together was like a warm blanket wrapped around our hearts and souls. The feeling of belonging to something that was timeless brought a contentment that is hard to explain. As talk and laughter swirled around that church fellowship hall it was neat to just stop and look around to absorb the joy of relationships.

So many times in life, busyness gets in the way of relationships and so it is good to have an event that celebrates that very thing. It is good to be reminded that these cousins and siblings have been there your entire life and you can pick up the threads of your childhood anytime you get together.

There is something special about the bond of siblings and cousins. They know pretty much everything about you and still love you….they have to because they are family! They know your strengths and your weaknesses and if you have stayed in touch they will always have your back. It is indeed, a good thing when your family also becomes your friends.

Talking to a cousin or sibling will definitely keep you grounded as they never, ever forget all the brilliant (and stupid) things you did as a kid. They will not let you forget that you shot your brother in the back with a BB gun (this would be my brother in law). They will never let you forget that you put a shotgun shell through your mom’s living room ceiling (another brother-in law ….though my husband usually gets the blame for this one). The stories of roller skating in Grandma’s basement, playing in haymows and remembering certain favorite toys at uncle’s and aunt’s homes are such sweet memories.

I always have so much fun just listening to these stories of my husband’s life. We have been married almost 36 years but every time we get together with his family it seems I learn something new about his childhood.

Maybe that is part of the beauty of relationships…..there is always more to be learned about another person, another facet to their life. I have a feeling it may take way more than my lifetime to really know everything about this man God gave me.  I think that is a good thing.



A cousin is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost
Marion C. Garretty

3 Day Quote Challenge Day #2

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I am now in day 2 of the 3 Day Quote Challenge which was given to me by the writer of the very interesting blog In The Autumn Of My Life.  Go and take a visit over her way!

Rules for the challenge are as follows:

  • Post 1 quote each day for 3 days.
  • A theme for each day would be nice (although not necessary)
  • Nominate 3 blogs to pick up the challenge and pass on…
  • Let your nominees know they have been chosen.

The three blogs I nominate today are:

  1. Paperpuff
  2. Heartclosetblog
  3. Nene’s Life


 Again, explaining why I chose a particular quote is not a part of the challenge but I always kind of like background on things!

When I was in high school I thought I was going to go to college and study to be a teacher. Due to the cost of college I decided I would work for a year and earn some of the tuition expense. Somewhere in that year the paycheck started to look better than the education. By the time I looked back and wondered where the time went I was married and had 3 sons.

In looking back, I do not regret missing college. I do think I would have enjoyed being a teacher but I did get to do that every day that I had my boys at home with me. There are so many life lessons to be taught when your kids are young. Those days are so important, not only for kids but for parents also and I am so grateful I got to have those days.

I really do believe I am exactly where God intended me to be at this time in my life.

“For I know the plans
have for you…..”
Jeremiah 29:11


Sightseeing in D.C.

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For some reason I am having extreme difficulty gathering my thoughts and energy after this last road trip. I am not sure if sleep deprivation, age, or the heat is to blame. Perhaps it is a mish mash of all of those things put together.

I have a feeling some of the problem comes from seeing so much in such a short space of time. During our time in our nation’s capitol we logged many miles on foot (12 on Thursday according to the Fitbit) and saw so many things that my brain may be slightly on overload.  I spoke with my sister and she was commenting on the same phenomenon.

The Thursday we were there, we were given the opportunity to go sight seeing.  We started out with a bus ride to Arlington National Cemetery. Once there we were able to find the marker of our relative, Julian. We also saw, from afar, families laying their loved ones to rest.

As we walked past the endless white gravestones and memorials we knew that we were indeed on hallowed ground. The sacrifices made by our soldiers and their families were very evident all around us. The sound of the 21 gun salutes and bagpipes drifted over the acres of headstones. It was beautiful in a quiet, sad, haunting way.

Once our bus left Arlington, we were dropped off near the National Mall to do some sight-seeing on our own. My sister and I headed towards the White House as our first stop.  Fortunately another gal on our bus gave us a map so we could find our way around. (We are slightly directionally challenged and I am sure our husbands were amazed that we did not get lost that week! I will admit that our map was kind of in shreds by the end of our trip.)

It was interesting to see all the different people that come to visit this city and also those who make their living here. We encountered tourist, like ourselves, street dancers, water peddlers, food stand vendors and more. It was so neat to be able to talk with them.

The buildings in D.C. are truly amazing.  It always makes me wonder how they did that with the equipment they had at the time.

Once we made it around the White House area we headed for the memorials along the Tidal Basin. We were able to visit the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, see the statue “The Brotherhood”, Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Martin Luther King  Jr. Memorial,  Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument. We were very fortunate to get in on the tail end of some tour groups so we learned a lot of new things about the history of the memorials.

By the time we made it to see Mr. Jefferson I was pooped, hot and my feet hurt.  I sat in the shade and told my sister to go on up and hang out with him awhile and I would be with her shortly.

We strolled our way back to the Smithsonian as that was the assigned meeting place for the bus. Once there, we decided to go in and cool off in the air-conditioned museum. It felt wonderful!

We were able to see a small tidbit of American History. We looked through the pictures and memorabilia of the protests of the 60s that began paving the way for equal rights and desegregation. It was good to see how far we have come but also to acknowledge how far we still need to go.

It would be interesting to ask the founding fathers what they think of this country that they fought so hard for. I wonder if they would be proud, sad, disturbed, happy or a blend of every emotion out there. I also wonder what we will look like in the years to come.

History is a relentless master.
It has no present,
only the past rushing into the future.
To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.
John F. Kennedy

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despite its wrenching pain,
cannot be unlived,
but if faced with courage,
need not be lived again.
Maya Angelou

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