Porch Conversations

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It has been a bit since I posted. For some reason life just got in the way of writing anything. Somewhere between gardening, canning, sitting with a family member in the hospital, birthday parties, baking cakes for birthday parties, family reunions, picking beans, canning again, splitting wood and pressing apples for cider…..a post just never got written.

The other morning my husband and I had a chance to sit a bit and reflect on the busyness of the past weeks. We were starting our day, sitting on the porch, having our first of the morning cups of coffee and tea.

It was beautiful…a bit chilly for this time of year. It was quiet with only the migrating blackbirds to disturb the peace. It was the kind of morning where porch conversations take place….those conversations where everything gets discussed.

The past weeks were rehashed and relived. Some we laughed about and thought we should do again. Some we decided we really didn’t want to repeat. Porch conversation meander (at least ours seem to). They seem to take their sweet time and sometimes end up in places you had no idea they would go.

We pondered on contentment. We wondered why it seems some people never are content; and how those people always seem to want more. For the life of us, we cannot understand that thought.  I am kind of grateful we don’t understand that concept.

It was decided that, perhaps, we viewed life more as a cross country race than a sprint. When our sons were in cross country we noticed that winning was important…but even more important was beating your own time….running your own race…but running it better than the race before.

We kind of liked that thought. The thought of living life; to live it better than the day before was kind of good. It seems to be a way to live without competing against everyone else and without comparing yourself to others.

Living life by just trying to do your own stuff better, really frees a person up from wanting what everyone else has or wanting more than everyone else has. Maybe time on a porch just makes for being content. Maybe it is the slower pace that sitting on a porch seems to bring.

There is just something about sitting on a porch, starting your day with a good cup of tea/coffee and connecting with someone you love; that lends itself to a very content state of mind. Whatever it is….I am all for it.

May you have time to sit with a loved one this weekend. May your conversations meander and bring a smile to your face…..and if you can do this on a porch….may it bring a sense of contentment and a feeling that all is right with your world.

 

 “Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want
but the realization of how much you already have.”
Anonymous

 

 

 

 

 

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

Thanksgiving Contenment

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Today was a day that seemed like I was attached to my oven by an invisible rope. It seems that this time of year it is always that way. There are multiple things to be prepared and baked for the holiday tomorrow.

I will have to say that the house smelled wonderful. The scent of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pumpkin wafted through the house today.  For some reason I didn’t seem to be hungry much of the day. I have a feeling it is because I was taste testing things as I went!

While baking pies, bars, and cupcakes I was gifted time to think and reflect on the many things for which I have to be thankful. The things like family who remain close even though we don’t live near each other. Things like friends that we do life with… health, a safe harvest, etc. all came to mind…..they are all wonderful things and I am grateful for all of them.

I am also grateful for that feeling of contentment that takes hold of me when I am putzing about my kitchen, stirring, mixing and baking things. I have no idea why…it isn’t anything in particular….but time in my kitchen just makes happy. Maybe it is because I have time, while mixing, to reflect? Maybe I am like my chickens and am happy with a place to nest?

I tried to pinpoint the reasons for this feeling but really could not. Maybe it is the feeling of being useful and being enough. With all the struggles going on in this world I was grateful for the contentment of my kitchen.  My kitchen may look like a small tornado went through it…..but my heart is content.

For those who are facing this holiday as the first without a loved one….my heart grieves with you. For those who struggle with health, finances and family issues…please know that you are not alone…others have been where you are and understand. It will not stay this way forever. (Psalm 30:5)

For those facing hard things during what should be a wonderful time….there are no easy or pat answers. May you find peace in this season. May you find one thing to be grateful for each day. May you see those waiting to bless you and may you have a place where you can be content….even if it is as simple as standing by your oven; with smells of cinnamon and cloves drifting through your home.

A blessed day of Thanksgiving and gratitude to you all….no matter what country you are from!

 

Dear Lord; we beg but one boon more:
Peace in the hearts of all men living,
peace in the whole world this Thanksgiving.
Joseph Auslander

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/joseph_auslander_205953?src=t_thanksgiving

Abundance

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Today, I happened to take the road that leads past the co-op elevator in our small town. What I saw made me stop and take a second and even a third look.  It also prompted me to whip out the cell phone and take a couple photos.

When we were kids in school we were told that we lived in the “breadbasket of the country.” I am starting to think that the bread might be corn bread.

Sprouting from the ground was a mammoth pile of field corn that ran the length of the entire block. There was an alley that ran right alongside this huge pile of corn, so of course I needed to drive past that pile to get the full scale of that golden mound of kernels.

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As I was slowly driving past it, I was amazed that it made the concrete silos behind it, look smaller than usual. I could only see the top half of those silos and that really made me take a hard look.

Those silos are really, really tall!  I know they are tall because when they were building them, as a kid, I tried climbing the ladder that ran up the side of one and never got anywhere near the top before I chickened out and went back down.

I came home and told my husband that I had taken a picture of that big pile of corn. He kind of laughed and informed me that there was another pile of corn on another location in town. I had to believe him as he is the one who has been hauling wagon loads of corn to town this harvest season.

As a farm wife I know there was talk of a record harvest. I also know that we had a dry summer so I was a little dubious if that record harvest would work out……I am now pretty sure they were right!

It is always amazing to me the abundance of a harvest. After prepping the fields in early spring, praying, then planting those fields, praying, weeding, praying, spraying, and praying some more it is finally harvest time.

I am not sure why I am always amazed….. God has never failed us yet. Even in dry years or overly wet years…there is always a crop. It might not always be huge…but it is always enough for our daily bread.

In this season of Thanksgiving I am so grateful for His faithfulness. I am grateful for His promise of daily bread. We have maybe not always have what we wanted; but we have always had what we needed, when we needed it. And that is enough.

Blessings to you in the coming days of preparing for Thanksgiving Day. May you find things to be grateful for and see the blessings around you. I know this is a little early for Thanksgiving…but I kind of think it is never to early to be grateful.

 

Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received.
Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling.
Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.
Henry Van Dyke

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/henryvandy402970.html?src=t_gratitude


 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Crafting Day

 

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This past week was another busy one.  Some things made for busyness because of the time of year. Things like daisies needing to be dug out, due to night temperatures dipping below freezing to hauling the pie pumpkins into the house from their place on the porch.

Other things, were fun things that were added in. One of those things was a crafting day with friends. This time around we decided to try decorating bottles for the Christmas holiday.

To prepare for this we collected quart mason canning jars, wine bottles, garage sale decorations, ribbon, spray paint, sparkly letters and of course glitter. It is amazing to me how many empty wine bottles people have! I am not sure if that is bad or good….having so many empty wine bottles.

We decided to hold this crafting effort at one of the friend’s lake house.  The plan had been to spend the night but the weather forecast for the following day was “iffy” at best. The four-letter Snow word was tossed about as well as the Ice word. We decided to believe the weatherman and cut it short to one day.

The day dawned grey, cold and windy……really windy. The view from the lake house patio door was white caps on the lake.

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Coots Riding the Waves

Before we ever got to crafting we had to make a pit stop at the Hobby Lobby in a town nearby. We weren’t even sure what we were really looking for but spent lots of time in the Christmas decoration parts of the store.

It was fun seeing what we all chose to put in our cart at Hobby Lobby. It was also fun to see how we used all those purchases.

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An Arbor Mist bottle started this project. We used Rustoleum gold paint for the base and then dusted it lightly with a metallic glittery spray paint. (not sure what kind as one of the friends brought that). The tree farm picture on the front was from a tablet of Christmas paper by Paper Studio. (purchased at Hobby Lobby and no…..I do not get anything out of letting you know which products were used or where purchased. I just thought it would be nice for you to know).

We used Mod Podge to glue it to the bottle and rubber bands to keep it stuck there till it dried. We then garnished with second hand shop finds of raffia and berries. I think I will be tweaking mine a little more as I prefer some greenery to use with it.

We spray painted quite a few bottles and it will be interesting to see how we each actually finish them.

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It was so much fun to spend the day with friends. It is such a blessing to have friends that know exactly who you are and like to spend time with you anyway. It is something to be truly grateful for. I am also full of gratitude for the fact that we actually were able to figure out how to use the timer on my phone to get a photo of us! That is truly amazing!

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I hope you have someone to call “friend” …..someone who cares how you feel…..someone who laughs with you, cries with you, prays with you, gives you a hug when you need it and who also isn’t afraid to tell you what you need to hear. Those are the best kind of friends and I am blessed.

True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils.
Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island…
to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune;
to keep him is a blessing.
Unknown

 

 

Gratitude Moments

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Today was not one of those days that I felt overworked. I probably should have worked harder today; but I did not. Today I chose to sit in front of the television set and watch history, once again, take place in my country.

Just like four years ago I could not seem to tear myself away from the set as I watched the traditions and pageantry that make up our presidential inaugurations. I have always loved history and being able to watch it is truly a gift. (It was also fun to watch as I had been to D.C. just this past July with my sister.)

I am not going to veer into a political discussion on this post. I am going to say that today was just a day for being grateful. I am grateful for the country that is the United States.  I am grateful for those who protect and serve us. Having three nephews in the military probably makes me extra thankful to those men and women. Having had a grandpa and and an uncle who were the town cops (as we called them) still makes me grateful to those who serve in that way.

I am grateful that I live where I do…..in the country….on a farm….near lots of small towns. The people in this area are the salt of the earth, maybe not all of them, but the ones that I know; truly are. They are plain-spoken, giving when it is needed, and holding you accountable when called for.

I was going to start this post writing about how grateful I was for the chicken wellies I received from my sister last April. For some reason it did not start out that way.  (Did you ever have a post that kind of took on a life of it’s own?… this one did!) Anyway….back to the boots. Way back in April I wrote a post about those chicken covered boots.  https://thechickengrandma.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/chicken-wellies/

When the weather gets warmer on a winter day, on the farm it translates into a sea of water and mud on the yard. So yes, I was ever so grateful for those wonderful yellow, chicken covered boots. Those boots are the best things for keeping my feet from exposure to the elements…namely the above-mentioned water and mud.

I was also grateful for the memories those boots bring. When I received those boots this past spring, I Chicken Welliesfigured when I wore them it would bring thoughts of my sister…. and they do! They bring thoughts of her generosity and her smile when she gave them to me. They also bring back memories of the great time we had in Washington D.C. Anytime I put those boots on;  they make me smile. Even sliding through the mud to feed my chickens today; those boots brightened the day.

I hope you were gifted with a gratitude moment in your day today. I hope you had at least one thing that brought a smile to your face and lightened your spirit. I pray there is something as simple as boots to keep your feet dry, that turn your day around and make you feel blessed.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
Melody Beattie

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/gratitude.html

 

 

 

 

Tranquility and Grace Moments

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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…..it 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

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/base/