Vacation – Part Two

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Wyoming Landscape

There are days when it feels like you are hours behind before you even get started on the tasks for the day. Today was such a day….Actually the last weeks seems to be running in that same vein.

I finally had time to start mowing the lawn again. It was about 5 days past due, so the grass kind of blew out of the mower in clumps. I do have to admit that pushing a lawn mower is not only a great workout, but it is also a great time for thinking.

As I mowed I did think about playing the chore catch up game and how that ties in with having been on a vacation. Do not get me wrong…I LOVE vacations. For some reason it just seems that the time spent preparing for them is a lot funner than the time spent catching up from taking them. At least when preparing for a vacation there is the anticipation.

I did a bit of pondering on how I prepare and how my husband prepares. My husband usually makes sure to take tools for any mechanical issue that might happen. I am thinking a plier, hammer, and a few other things are probably good. (Pretty sure I am wrong on that one!)

I tend to worry about having enough clothing for every weather event….food for any possibility…and everything that falls in between. If my husband was in charge of packing he would walk out the door with a plastic grocery bag containing a change of underwear and a clean shirt, a toothbrush, toothpaste and a towel.

He would also make sure to pack the Johnny Horton CD so he could belt out the favorite family traveling song, “North to Alaska” while traveling west.

I did pack lighter for our last vacation as I knew we could wash clothes before my husband and I went on the second half of vacation. I call it the second half because our children left on a Sunday to head home and we stayed a few days longer.

We pulled our camper further north (I guess we do head North occasionally) toward Deadwood and Spearfish. We decided we would again do dispersed camping. We found out about this a couple years ago and really liked it.

The national forestry has Motor Vehicle Use Maps that are available and those maps show where you can camp for free.  Of course you are on your own…no water…no electric. You also often camp on a logging road. It did make it interesting watching the trucks go past with all those logs.

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Bridal Veil Falls 

On the second half of our vacation we spent time driving through Spearfish Canyon, It is a beautiful drive any time of the year. Bridal Veil falls is always beautiful and the water in the stream is always cold enough to make your feet go numb if you choose to wade in it to cool off. We had thought of hiking to a place called the Devil’s Bathtub to swim; but after freezing our feet we were reluctant to freeze our entire body.

Time was spent in Deadwood watching the reenactment of the shooting of Wild Bill by Jack McCall. There is a lot of history in those towns that are in the Black Hills.

We also decided we needed to do a day trip to Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. It had been 25 years since we had been there and it did not disappoint. (We also decided that at our age we probably should not wait 25 years again before we go see stuff!) As we hiked around the tower we ended up talking to a couple who were there with their 10 year old grandson.

We found out how small this world really is…..they were the in-laws of a gal who was raised in the same town as us and had attended the same church as us!

Our entire week of vacation…with our kids and with just the two of us was a wonderful time of reconnecting. It was great, to just spend time and be together.

My husband I have come to realize that time and vacations spent with those you love are well worth the investment. At the end of the day; or the end of a life; it does not matter how much money you made. It does not matter what position you held in the company. It does not matter if you never missed a day of work…..what matters is the relationships you leave behind and the legacy that is your family and friends.

“Nobody ever has,
“He was a good worker”

written on his tombstone.”
John S. (aka~my dad)

 

 

 

Raining Petals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ecclesiastes 3:1

 

Cousins

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My husband and I were commenting the other day and wondering why it seems to take a funeral; to get together with cousins that you have not seen in a long time. Another observation we made was how much laughter there could be at funerals.

It doesn’t seem like laughter and funerals go together but I must confess, around here they do seem to end up that way. This past week an aunt on my mom’s side passed away. She “went home” on Christmas day and her family knew she had the best Christmas ever.

We will be gathering to lay her to rest….and we will be gathering to remember the life she lived. I have a feeling there will be a lot of reminiscing with all the cousins that will be there. I also have a feeling that there will be lots of grins and laughter.

I think that at some points it will resemble a celebration of sorts. A celebration of life lived, a celebration of family gathering, a celebration of what makes family…family.

We will realize that family isn’t perfect and that is okay. We will remember the childhood nights spent at cousins’ homes and games played in those home. For those of us who grew up in our small town….we loved to go to the farm homes of our cousins.

There was always something exciting to do there. You could ride the pigs (when your uncles were not looking), you could stand on top of the cab of an old pickup in the grove and launch yourself onto a gunny sack swing and soar high into the air. There were board games to be played, games of Kick The Can and Moonlight Starlight Hope To See The Ghost Tonight.

You just knew it was a successful time when you went home in the back seat of your parents’ car feeling tired, having a cut on your shin from running into the cistern in the dark and feeling slightly sick from to much running in the heat and too much really sweet Kool-aid.

It was a carefree time to be a kid. There didn’t seem to be any big worries that we had. Some of our biggest concerns were, if we would be able to talk our folks into letting us stay overnight so we could have more time together. We also did our best to talk our folks into letting us each take a chicken home. (Even then I wanted chickens! …. and yes…we were successful on that one.)

There are so many wonderful memories of times spent with cousins on both sides of the family. I was fortunate to have a girl cousin my age on both sides. I went to school with them and spent my childhood years surrounded by cousins of all ages.

I can only hope that in the future my grandchildren will have those same close ties and connections with their cousins. I know they will be miles apart, instead of town blocks apart, but my prayer is that family ties stretch across those many miles.

I hope that someday when those future cousins meet to celebrate my “home-going” there is lots of laughter, lots of love and so many good stories to be told of time spent together at Grandpa and Grandma’s house. Time where they played games, got into a little (only a little) mischief, and made memories that will bond them together for a lifetime.

 

 

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

Cousins are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.
Ed Cunningham

Celebrations and Family Ties

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There are times in a person’s life that can get bogged down and overwhelmed with all the busyness and stuff going on…..and then you are gifted with a space of time where you are allowed to be reminded of what is important……relationships.

This past weekend we were gifted with such a weekend. We made the journey to our son and his family’s home to attend grandparent’s day at our grandson’s school, watch his school Christmas program, make cookies, and also see both grandkids’ Sunday School program.

Our Friday started early in the morning so we could drive the four hours to the school and be on time for grandparents day. Once we went to his room we were treated to a tour of the school with our 6 year old grandson as tour guide.

The energy in that school was amazing! Hallways full of children hauling grandparents around to various rooms they had classes in. The music room was a big hit…..I think it might have been the gong hanging on the wall that every kid had to demonstrate for their grandparents.

We journeyed to the art room, science rooms, the library and our grandson also asked if we wanted to see the principal’s office. I asked him if it was a good thing that he knew the way to her office….his response…”Only if you’re bad.” It was not exactly a saintly response and I had to stifle a chuckle on that honest answer!

That evening we were treated to an amazing concert by the K-5th grades. I am pretty sure that when I was a kid we were not that talented…. We got to hear recitations, praises sung, drums made from buckets and garbage cans played in perfect time and kids playing ukuleles.

The fun continued on Saturday as we made Christmas cookies. Three generations, two grandmas, one mom, two grandkids all making cookies makes for lots of fun.

I will admit our cookies may not have had a lot of elegance to them but they did taste good! We knew they tasted good because we had plenty of volunteers for the taste testing job.

While we rolled, cut and baked the guys did some late season yard cleanup. Watching them work outdoors it was hard to believe it was December.

The few days spent with the kids were busy but it was such a good type of busy. We were able to spend time talking with our kids, giving hugs, and fill our laps with grandkids and learn about life from their perspective. It slowed the season down, narrowed our focus to what was important and made us grateful for family and things that hold us together.

I love the fact that small kids are masters of cutting to what is important. They have an artless way of reminding us that life is short and we should cherish the moments we are given. They are honest in their emotions, excited in the wonder of life, and seem not to hold grudges when things don’t go as planned. It makes total sense that the Bible tells us to become like children.

There is a lot to learn from a child and I, for one, am ready for more lessons.

 

43 Life Lessons from Kids.

1. Be grateful for what you can have.
2. Hold hands with those you love.
3. Celebrate the seasons.
4. Make every day the best day ever.
5. Even if it’s not fair you don’t stop trying.
6. Fight for what you believe is right.
7. If you’re bored, find something to do.
8. It’s good to dream.
9. Tell those you love that you love them.
10. Time together matters most.
11. Things don’t have to always be sorted perfectly.
12. Sometimes spontaneous days are the best.
13. Often structured days are needed.
14. Don’t be afraid to speak the truth.
15. Humming and singing can be beautiful.
16. Observe others.
17. Never by afraid to try something new.
18. Sometimes it’s best to just jump.
19. Live fully.
20. Share with others about things you love.
21. You’re never too old to play outside.
22. Forgive and move on.
23. Name calling gets you nowhere.
24. Even if you don’t feel tired, still go to bed.
25. Talk with each other.
26. Imagine all that could be, and not what cannot.
27. Look people in the eye when you talk to them.
28. Laugh.
29. Always say thank you.
30. Little gifts mean a great deal.
31. Wake with a clean slate for the day.
32. Respect your elders.
33. Give things away – don’t hold onto everything.
34. Find out more about people.
35. Make sure to tell others why they matter.
36. Some days you don’t have to make your bed.
37. Run in the rain. Or the snow.
38. Care.
39. Listen to your emotions, but don’t sit in them.
40. Be genuinely interested in others.
41. Don’t give up.
42. Love today.
43. Be free to be you.
Te
d Rubin

 

 

Identity in Photos

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This past week I was challenged on Facebook to do a Black and White Photo Challenge. The hard part of that challenge was to use only photos to show who I was…my identity.  I wasn’t allowed to use any words….any explanations….any photos of people… to tell the story of my life. It really was a challenge!

I thought I didn’t do too badly….except I could not find a way to include my family. The challenge made me realize that as people, we really have many facets to our lives. Our lives are intricate linkings of so many things….people, places, things, ideas, beliefs etc.

I am going to share with you some of the photos that I posted. If you are a regular reader, a couple of the photos might be familiar to you. They might look slightly different because I changed them from color, to black and white.

The photo up top is pretty self-explanatory….blogging and tea are a part of my life that I thoroughly enjoy. I have never made a dime from it and more than likely never will, but I have met so many wonderful people through blogging. There are so many of you that I would love to sit on the porch and share a cup of tea/coffee with.

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The Girls and Their Home

I thought I should definitely include a photo of my chicken coop, complete with a couple of the girls. (This is one of the photos that may be familiar!) If I am the Chicken Grandma I guess it stands to reason; chickens are a part of my life. I have learned many lessons from the chickens I have known and cared for. I have a feeling they have many more lessons to teach me.

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Another facet of my life would be my participation in using essential oils and other products from Young Living. I have found them to be useful to me in so many ways. I love to help others learn about them and love using products that contain natural ingredients rather than a lot of man made chemicals. I have been fortunate to meet many great people this way also.

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Solid Ground For Me

My faith is a big part of my life and this year I am participating in a Bible study of the Fruit of the Spirit through Coffee Break Bible Studies. This is my first year with this group and I am finding it to be a great experience.  Once again….so many good people!

The next two pictures were, for me, ways that show life with my husband. My husband loves the thought of being self-sufficient. He loves large gardens, living off the land and burning wood in our wood stove. I love this picture for that very reason.

I also love the texture and the roundness of those logs. Knowing they will make my house nice and warm this coming winter is a great thing too!

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This man that I married 37 years ago was born a farm boy and remains very much a farm guy. The first 6 months of our married life we lived in a very small town. He could not wait to move out to the farm where he didn’t see anyone when he stepped out the front door.

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The M Farmall is the second tractor we ever owned. Every so often my husband wonders if he should sell it, but then decides it isn’t worth that much money, so he may as well hang on to it. I am always glad he decides to keep it as I am a little sentimental about that old tractor.

When I look at those pictures I realize they portray only a small part of my life. There are so many things I did not get included. Not being able to include photos of family, friends and loved ones leaves a huge hole in the fabric of life.

I realized that objects cannot replace relationships and never will. I also know that one can not really share their entire life in the space that a few photos take…..it takes a lifetime to share a life.  It takes a lifetime to know someone and to be known.

Have a blessed weekend. Take the time to build those relationships…the ones that last and stand the test of time. Those relationships are a wonderful gift and blessing.

 

“Through others we become ourselves.” 
― Lev S. Vygotsky

 

The whole point is to live life and be –
to use all the colors in the crayon box.
RuPaul

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/rupaul818076.html?src=t_live_life

 

 

 

Celebrations and Community

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Last week was a week that was extremely busy with a variety of things to do. My husband and I walked beans, I washed a lot (did I say a lot?) of old pop bottles, we brewed a batch of homemade root beer and I had to make 7 sheet cakes for an anniversary.

The sheet cakes take time and by the end of the day I am tired…but they are kind of fun to make.  There is a lot of satisfaction in seeing them all lined up when they have been baked, frosted and decorated.

These cakes were for a couple in our church who were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. They had decided to celebrate by serving cake to the congregation after the morning service. The last couple years, people in our church are starting to do more of this rather than the traditional open house.

I think it is a really neat idea when someone decides to celebrate their major life events by sharing that special time with the church community. In our area that always includes food of some type. I am not sure if it is a Dutch heritage type of thing or just something we do in the Midwest.

Sharing with the church family creates such an atmosphere of community and fellowship. It is a blessing to watch people in our church basement, eating cake, drinking coffee and juice, and visiting together. The laughter and hugs of people reconnecting is something to see and even better to be a part of.

Watching Psalm 133:1 (How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!) play out before your eyes is truly a wondrous thing. People talking and children running around their parents and grandparents is a beautiful sight.

I think that often we don’t realize how much a smile or hug can impact someone else.  We don’t always see that there are lots of lonely people in the middle of a crowd. It is good to draw others in and encourage them…it is good to make sure everyone feels like they have a part to play in community. Relationships can be messy….but so rewarding.

I have a friend, Jackie, who once told us, “Be the pebble.” I would encourage you to all be the pebble. Toss yourself into the pond of someone’s life. Create some ripples in the lives of those around you. When you do…..watch for the blessing.

 

“I alone cannot change the world,
but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” 

― Mother Teresa

“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.” 
― Dorothy DayThe Long Loneliness:
The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social Activist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Simpler Times

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Due to having too many things going on; this post is a day late. Also due to lack of planning on my part this post is a day late! I decided to take a look at the pictures on my external hard drive and see if I could find some inspiration for a post. I did find some that reminded me of stories my husband tells of simpler times.

When my husband was a kid he did not have an indoor bathroom until he was in grade school. When he first told me this back when we were dating (this is a long way back!) I did not believe him. As a plumber’s daughter I guess I assumed everyone my age had indoor plumbing……not so.

I finally saw a photo of his home. He and two of his brothers were sitting on their front porch. Imagine my surprise when I realized that the exact location where they were perched on the steps was where the bathroom was now located. For a long time I heard, “I told you so.”

His oldest brother now lives on the home place.   A few years back he offered the outhouse to my husband. My husband was thrilled and a few days after the offer was made, we were headed down the road with a trailer, to go retrieve this heirloom.

At this time, that heirloom is standing behind a shed on our yard. We have yet to decide where to give it a permanent location. I would love to put it near my garden. I am thinking that might be a handy place to have an outhouse. People have asked me if I am going to repurpose it as a garden shed.  I don’t think I will. I already have a summer kitchen for that use.

I would really like to give it a new life for it’s original purpose. Yes…..I would like to seetwo-holer-outhouse this two-holer outhouse, functional once again. My husband likes to ask me if I am trying to create my own “pioneer village” in our back yard. I think he sees the summer kitchen and chicken coop and thinks I have a pretty good start.

Maybe he is right. Maybe I am just liking the idea of old buildings put back to use. Maybe I just like the idea of what those little buildings represent…….a simpler time. A time back before indoor plumbing. Or a time when every farm had a summer kitchen for those hot muggy summer days; when a farm wife did not want to heat up her house cooking for the family.

I love the thought of how self-sufficient those early farmers were. Their big gardens, full pantries, milk cows and windmills to pump water kind of fascinate me. I know they worked hard as everything was done manually. No automatic washers, no garden tillers, no riding lawn mowers just to name a few things.

To be honest, I would hate to have to use this outhouse in the wintertime. That part does not fascinate me at all! I also would not relish having to share my space with the spiders and other critters that always seem to inhabit outdoor sheds.

I think for my husband this little white building represents the wonderful innocent years of his childhood. The good memories stand out and what a blessing that is. His stories mirror those my grandparents have told.

From the stories I have heard from my grandparents, they worked hard but they also had  wonderful times. I think they learned how very important family and neighbors were. I think they realized that the important thing in life was relationships and it was easier to do life; if you did it with the people you loved.

May your life be filled with people you can count on and  may you be blessed with memories that bring you joy. And may something as simple as an outhouse bring a smile to your face.

 Anmol Andore

Read more: http://www.searchquotes.com/search/Simpler_Times/#ixzz4X7nxA4RT

Running the Race

Marathon.png

I have a son who runs marathons. I am very sure he did not inherit that skill from me and his father doesn’t claim it either. He must be a throwback to some ancestor who did not look at running as a chore. To be honest, the only time my husband and I run is when we are chasing a critter who has escaped. (Fortunately those days are mostly in the past!)

You should also know that it is pretty hard to run and mutter under your breath (about the escaped critter) at the same time. Truthfully it is hard to breathe when running (at least for me). Breathing becomes more of an action like say……sucking wind.

Anyway…..this son has now signed up for a race in July called the Leadville Silver Rush 50 Run. This is like running 50 miles!  I am not sure if I should be impressed or wonder about his sanity.

When he posted this on Facebook I had a niece who was incredulous and asked: “You’re going to run 50 miles? All at once? You’re nuts!”
Son’s response: “No no…..that’s crazy. It’s more like 50 one-mile runs…..one after the other.”
(He may or may not have gotten his somewhat twisted sense of humor from me…..but I am not totally sure I should admit to that.)

I am not sure what it all takes to train for that type of a road race. I have a feeling the training for both life and a marathon race might be somewhat the same.I do know that running the race of life requires great dedication and perseverance.

We need people to hold us accountable in our training….to make sure that we are indeed training. For me that is people who ask how my spiritual walk is going. It is a blessing when they really want an honest answer and are honest, without judgement, in return.

I also know that to run the life race we need those who will encourage us when the road gets rough and seems all uphill. We need those same people when our feet begin to blister and our lungs are burning like fire and it seems we cannot go one more step.

I believe God puts those people in our paths for just those times. He puts them there to cheer us on, to be a witness to the path that we have been given in this life….to share in our joys, pick us up and dust us off when we fall, and to make sure we stay on the trail and reach the finish line.

I know I will not be running a marathon like my son does. He does, however, inspire me to run the race of life with perseverance. He gives me a great example of the dedication it takes to stick with it. When I cheer him on at a race, it is a great visual of the crowd of witnesses that surround us and cheer us on in this race of life.

It is a blessing this thing called life. The people we encounter and those who inspire us are blessings upon blessings.  The seen and the unseen crowd of witnesses who cheer us on.

Therefore,
since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith,
let us strip off every weight that slows us down,
especially the sin that so easily trips us up.
And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

Hebrew 12:1
New Living Translation

Small Town Holidays

Waiting for the Parade.  Avenue of flags

Today we celebrated the Labor Day holiday in a small town about 24 miles away. It was a pretty typical small town celebration in our area.

There were plenty of food booths; with many of them being fund raisers for various church groups, Kiwanis groups, and The Lion’s Club. Local restaurants shifted their base of operation to the park in the center of town for the day to be where the action was. I really wanted to get a bag of kettle corn (which is delicious!) but the line was so incredibly long that you could have probably grown some popcorn by the time you would get to buy some.

Another section of the park plays host to local vendors who are selling everything from Tupperware to crafts made from repurposed items to booths selling spices and home-baked goods.

Off to the side is the children’s section……lots of carnival games (think the fish pond) and the ever popular inflatable things they can jump around in.

Most small town celebrations in our area include a parade. This one was no exception. The color guard started it out with veterans from the local legion group leading the way. In small towns around here everyone stands, hats off and pays their respects to these veterans and the flag.

The vets are followed by the parade marshal who seems to always be the oldest living person in the town. Sometimes they are long time business people who have just retired but old seems to be the main criteria. As I do not live in a town and have not yet reached that age I think that I will never be a parade marshal, which is okay because it would be kind of awkward with everyone looking at you. A person would have to practice the parade wave…..elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist type of wave……stressful.

A big part of our small town parades involve firetrucks, ambulances and the EMTs and firemen and their families tossing candy at any small child along the route. Once in awhile they take pity on those of us who come without children and we get tossed a tootsie roll. Life is good!

Also featured are various businesses and lots of farm tractors of all ages, makes and sizes.

 

Always a crowd pleaser at the parades are the shriners. Sometimes we get to see motorcycles and sometimes it is the go carts/dune buggy things. My husband thought it looked like a lot of fun! I laughed when I overheard one parade watcher ponder on how many tires they must go through in a parade season.

One of my favorite entries in these parades has to be the bands. This time there was the elementary band and high school band of the local school system. They also had a business that featured a percussion type of band on a trailer. Their instruments consisted of wooden bar stools and trash cans.

After the parade we ventured over to the high school where they were hosting a car/truck show. Every year they seem to get more entries. It is kind of fun to wander through the rows of gleaming cars that are shiny enough to use as a mirror. It is also a journey through memory lane as a lot of those “classic” cars were cars that kids in my day routinely drove to high school. I am never sure if that make me a classic?   Or just old?? I think I prefer classic.

A bonus to the day is running into people you have not seen in a long time. It is a great time to catch up on what they are doing and what is going on in their families. This might be one of the biggest draws to this type of holiday celebration in a small town…….relationships. Sometimes these are people you only see a couple of times a year; but you just pick up the friendship like you had just seen them the day before.

I have a feeling that my husband and I will always be small town type of people. The place where a holiday consists of flags flying in the breeze, firetrucks parading through the street with sirens blaring and candy being tossed to the delight of children (and some of the older crowd who will remain nameless….). The place where a friend of a friend becomes your friend just because you know the same people and share in the same small town experience.

The nice part about living in a small town
is that when you don’t know what you’re doing,
someone else does
.
Immanuel Kant quotes