The Waiting Time

 

To be honest….there isn’t much in my life that has changed too much with all the confusion in this world. As farmers we kind of roll with the seasons anyway; and this has always been a time of waiting.

We wait for the winter storms to be done. We wait for the earth to dry up enough to till the fields that have been resting since they were harvested last fall. We wait for the warmth of those Spring days…when the sun shines and warms the earth enough for the asparagus shoots to peek through the earth. We wait.

In a way it is a blessing for us that we are used to this waiting season. It makes the staying home a bit easier to do.( It does not make it any easier to think of the hugs I am missing from my kids and grandkids!)

My heart goes out to those whose waiting is very unusual….to those who are laid off or furloughed at this time. To those waiting for a loved one to get over the virus….to those who wonder if they have caught it. The anxiety of wondering how long this will last can be incredibly hard. The not knowing can be the worst.

This past week my sister did a video with Pastor John (the pastor of her church). He has been doing this with various members of his congregation to keep everyone in touch and to make sure they are all doing well.

After I watched this video I was extremely proud of my sister. She is a private person and this was a step of faith that she took, because she realized it might help others during this time. She gave me her permission to share the link for this video.

I hope it inspires you during this waiting time. I hope it eases your mind and calms your soul. I pray it makes you realize you are not alone in any of this. There are others waiting and wondering. There are others with fear.

I pray her testimony blesses you as much as it blessed me….and yes I may be biased (okay I AM biased). May this find you seeing the blessings in the small things like flowers, birds and a good jigsaw puzzle.

May this post find you looking for the good in this time of waiting and finding the treasure hidden in it…the treasure of time to be still. May you know the comfort that this season will pass and may you come to treasure this time of waiting.

The sun is always shining,
you just can’t always see it.
John S.
(my dad)

 

 

 

Birthdays and Bonding

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This coming weekend my mom will be celebrating her 84th birthday. For the last 4 years, we have been celebrating that day with a little “girl” time. Today was that day, and we went to a nearby town to have either our fingernails or our toenails done.

The group pictured above consists of my mom, my aunt, two sisters, one sister-in-law, and myself. When we started out doing this four years ago we never realized it would become a tradition…but it has…and it is a wonderful tradition.

We all live within 20 miles of each other, but for some reason do not seem to get together nearly as often as we should. It is good that there are special days to celebrate so that events like these happen.

At this particular outing we caught up with news about a nephew who is hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, learned that a couple pregnant nieces are doing good, a bridal shower was planned and the state of the world (especially our little niche of it) was discussed.

We also added food and nail polish to the mix of fun. My aunt hosted us for lunch, we had our nails done (with design for me of course!), and finished our day off with a snack at the ice cream capitol of the world…Well’s Blue Bunny in LeMars. (where the photo was taken by a very nice bystander).

There is something about gathering with the women in your family that is so very special. There is always lots of reminiscing, lots of catching up on each other’s families, lots of laughter, some eye-rolling over various stories, and generally a great time.

I am finding out that gathering with my family is essential. They hold me accountable, they love me unconditionally, they are always there for me and they make the word mentor come to mind.

I know that if I have anything going on in my life, joyful or otherwise, these are the women I can count on to watch my back. They will laugh with me, (and at me!), they will cry with me and they will pray with and for me. They are a true gift and a blessing.

My prayer is that they all know how very much they mean to me. My prayer also is that each of you has someone like this in your life. Someone who can bless you and who you can bless in return.

Take some time this weekend to connect with those family members that you haven’t spoken with in a while. Reminisce about the things that bond you together. Share your hopes for the future. It will be time well-spent and you will never regret having spent that time together. I am still grinning thinking about our bonding time!

The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches,
but to reveal to him his own.
Benjamin Disraeli

Family is a lot of things;
it’s an anchor in stormy waters and
a blessing throughout the journey.
Sometimes rocky,
but always beautiful,
the relationships shared between family members are
the perfectly imperfect depiction of unconditional love.
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

 

 

 

 

Friendships and Tea Sets

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For some reason tonight I am struggling to organize my thoughts.  I keep rearranging them and sorting them out in my mind while I try to get them typed into this post. Perhaps it is because the day was full.  It was full of laughter, joy, sharing and love. The day has left so may thoughts swirling through my brain that it is difficult to know where to start and where to end.

It was a great day spent with two close friends. I have known who these two women are; for probably 16 years.  It is only the last few years that I have really come to know these two women. We met at a Christian retreat and have met at that same retreat for many years.

When you have shared life stories, shared tears and shared laughter you realize what a gift friendship and relationship can be. These women have seen the best of me and I am pretty sure they have seen the worst of me…..and yet they call me friend!  It is almost as if God has gifted me with two extra sisters….you know…..where they have to love you no matter what????

We spent the day in a couple small towns in our area today. As friends, we share a love for small little shops that are full of repurposed things made from windows, doors, ice-skates etc. We love to find the odd and the unusual in everything from home decorating items to clothing. I am thinking we  might also love to BE the odd and unusual! (Trying on “blingy” headbands and taking selfies is always a good time!) I have no doubt there are some stories being told about “three crazy women that came into the store today……”

We have learned over time that when we plan a day out we struggle to make up our minds as to what we want to do or where we want to go. (That might be a woman thing……but who really knows?)   After the first time we made plans to have a “friend day” we have also learned that we need to make very “loose” plans and be ready to rearrange as necessary.

That first time we got together, we never did get out of the small town that was the prearranged meeting place. (It probably did not help that we met at a little coffee/tea shop and spent a couple hours just catching up!) Our husbands were stunned and their eyes kind of glazed over when we came home and told them we never made it to the city with the big stores, malls etc. and that we had spent the entire day poking through the little shops and second hand store that this small town offered. I know my husband spent the night just kind of looking at me and shaking his head.  Every so often he would mumble something and give me an odd look.

These two women are the kind of friends who are great to go shopping with.  They will give you an honest answer when you ask the dreaded question, “What do you think of these jeans on me?” We then ponder on the fact that men never ask that question. Do they not care what jeans look like on them? Those are also the type of question we discuss when we are together….we have come up with lots of answers to these types of questions; but I am thinking they might not be the right ones.

These two are also the kind of friends you can be intensely serious with and intensely silly with…..sometimes in the same conversation.  They are the kind of friends where you laugh till you cannot breathe and sometimes you laugh so hard you snort.

They are the kind that help you find a well-loved, well-used, well-worn tea set for an almost 3 year old granddaughter….because they know your granddaughter loves tea parties. I love the thought that when I am invited to a tea party with my granddaughter these two friends will come to mind because of that tea set.

The older I get the more I value relationships with those around me.  Not just the surface kind…but the kind where people are “real”. The masks are off and you know that what you see is really what you get. It is a rare gift.  It is a blessing. It is something to be valued.

May you be blessed with friends who are a blessing to you as much as you are a blessing to them.

I thank my God every time I remember you.
Philippians 1:3
NIV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomatoes…..One of the Best Things About Summer

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I journeyed out to my garden today in search of the perfect tomato for a slice of toast. I did find one hanging, beautiful and rose colored, on the vines of one of the Brandywine plants.

There is really nothing better than a tomato, fresh off the vine, still warm from the sun, sliced, salted and put on a piece of hot buttered toast.  Unless it is a slice put on a burger hot off the grill. Or chunks of them in a wonderful lettuce salad…….

As you can tell I really, really like tomatoes. My husband does not share this passion. I cannot believe how misguided he is on this topic. If he does eat them he puts sugar on them! I keep telling him that sugar is for baking and putting on cereal. He is not convinced of that fact or the wonder of tomatoes.

After I had found my perfect tomato I could tell I needed to come back to get the weeds under control……again.  I also noted that everything in the garden looked like it needed a thorough watering. We have not been getting those timely rains the last while.

My tomato plants looked pretty droopy and sad. There are some days I know exactly how those plants felt…..wilted, dry and needing a little TLC.

I picked, weeded and watered those amazing plants today. It was hot, humid work and by the time I was done my husband told me I smelled like a tomato plant. I did not think that was such a bad thing but I am not totally sure that it was a compliment coming from him.

I have a five-gallon bucket half filled with these beautiful red and rose colored beauties. I usually plant Brandywine, Romas, and try one other variety each gardening year. This year my third variety was called Independence Day. It sounds amazingly patriotic but they are kind of a disappointment. They are not small enough to be a cherry tomato but not big enough to slice for sandwiches. On the upside……they are prolific.

I am debating if I have enough for a batch of pizza sauce, salsa or if I should just turn these into tomato juice. There are so many small ones that I am leaning towards the juice just to save my sanity. I like to use the Romas for the pizza sauce and salsa.  Fortunately I have till tomorrow to decide.

When I get down to making pizza sauce and salsa I will be sharing those recipes with you.  They are both family favorites and I usually can enough for us and the kids.

My girls also enjoy this season as they get all the cut off pieces of tomato.

The Girls Enjoying the Tomato Scraps

I still am not sure if I should be spelling the word tomato with or without an “e”.   The word looks fine to me either way. My sister, who as a child was dubbed “spell-check”, would probably not agree with me on that line of thought. I am quite sure the chickens would agree with me on this point.

So…..how do you prefer to eat your tomatoes?  Do you love them?  hate them? or just not really care?

 

It’s difficult to think
anything but pleasant thoughts
while eating a homegrown tomato.
Lewis Grizzard

Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/tomato.html