Thursday, July 27, 2017

Enjoy the Little Things

This is the message in this post.....
How could I resist this planner? It is so mine!
Enjoy the big things too! Here's what you get when you're shopping for a big crowd. Sharp Shopper clerks wondered where my helpers were this day. It was a day when I needed space to think and do on my own thing even though I really did need help.
Here is part of the crowd...
A couple more.... 
 And another room full. 
The parents in the crowd- one sided. Our spouses are not in the photo. We are all first cousins, sisters/brother and/or double first cousins. I invited Troyer family to come to our place for the weekend to visit my brother Paul and his family, who were up from their Honduras home taking an extended trip through the USA. One highlight of the trip for them was the Troyer reunion that was planned in Farmville, VA and then was cancelled. So a few of the cousins from Maine and VA came. We had a party!
L-R Brenda, Rhonda, Joyce, Paul, Marie, Verina, Darlene, Rosaline

The "little" girls.... sisters, cousins, second cousins, etc.     
My goofy sons and their goofy cousin.
Oh, not so goofy after all.
Here's the way to travel! Three boys and one bike.
 Brother Paul, his wife Helena and daughter Julisa look on.
Most of the children (lower 20's down to 2 yr old) who were together for the weekend. Minus the wee ones.
My brother Paul, his daughter Anne and our sons made the flowerbed look nicer than it ever has.

A random snapshot of my brother and his wife. 
We went to Gap Mills to clean out my parents' house. We had a yard sale for a couple days to get rid of excess stuff.
I made a couple t-shirt dresses for my nieces in TX.

Ever see cheese puff creations? The boys bite off one end, lick it and stick another to it.

My one Lapp niece. We got a very short visit (one evening) with her and her Mama after the trip to TX.
This is what happens when someone gets a hold of my phone.
The joy of fresh garden things. Zucchini, onions, peppers, chicken (not from the garden).
The first corn on the cob- from the farmers' market.
I just love making vegetable mixes for the oven. The colors are so beautiful and with some meat and spices the flavor is amazing.
What little things are bringing you joy?

Or big things?

You CAN choose joy!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Vacation Part Two

From Texas, Monday June 19, we headed to Oklahoma. Thomas' friend, Sanford Yoder, from years ago recently lost his youngest son in an accident. It gave Thomas a longing to go connect again. These two were unmarried, young men when they last saw one another.

As we were introduced to the family we discovered that here again were 5 sons (minus the one killed) and one daughter. Our boys say this stop was the highlight of the trip for them. They had so many similar points of interest with these boys as well as being near the same ages. 

A good game of basketball was what they needed after long hours of traveling and visiting and having "nothing to do". Christopher found a good book to curl up with, Austin found cubing buddies, Stephen played his card tricks on quite knowledgeable guys. There was lots of real good conversation to listen to or be involved in. 

Again we found it hard to leave the next morning but we had a long road ahead to where our next stop was in TN. We got one last visit with brother Paul's family! We drove hard all day after leaving Sanford's place, stopping only once in ten hours for lunch, restroom and fuel. I guess we weren't drinking enough.

Sanford gave us an acapella recording of a men's group that he is a part of. The boys enjoyed listening to that as we traveled. I say "the boys" because we had taken two vehicles and there's had the CD player. We pulled a U-Haul trailer down to TX with things that my sisters wanted from the home place. So we had the truck and car to drive for miles and miles. Five drivers to take turns but I did very little driving myself. Thomas and Stephen did the majority of it.

It was rather late when we arrived at Wendell King's place. They graciously fed us supper and made room for us overnight in their already full house. They have 4 sons and 2 daughters. So with all three families there were 22 people there! 

It was great to connect with them again and visit with Paul, Helena and family once more. Helena and Wendell's wife Ruthie are sisters. We were up too late.... And the next morning they fed us a good breakfast. They then supplied us with meat and cheese and crackers from their store for our homeward journey.

The road home seemed long and longer that day.  When we were in VA late at night we got into really slow traffic. Emergency vehicles kept passing us on the shoulder. Not just regular fire truck, police and ambulance but more complicated things. When we finally passed the accident, here it was a tractor trailer on its side across most of the road. All traffic was passing around on the shoulder. How did that happen, we wonder?

It was close to midnight before we reached HOME sweet HOME. I really enjoyed the trip. It was a bit of vacation and "broadening horizons" for me. 

Here are three of the very few pictures I took on the trip.
This is how you (or we) do meals on a trip. At a rest area. At Walmart....

It's very difficult to photograph the Mississippi River from your vehicle while crossing the bridge!
Bass Pro Shop is out to catch your attention!
East or west, home is best. 

Is it the best place in the world for you?

There are so many who do not have a happy home.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Vacation Part One

On Wednesday June 14 we headed out for a week long trip. The main idea of the trip was to take in my sister Rachel's wedding in Texas.

On Wednesday we traveled as far as Monterey, TN, where my aunt and cousins live. My cousin Jake Troyer has a family of five sons and one daughter. Our boys got to know theirs last year and wanted to visit them. They graciously gave us supper, a bed (more than one!) for the night and breakfast the next morning.

While we were there they hosted a small group Bible study/prayer meeting. This gave us the opportunity to meet some more people. They had informed us beforehand that there is a Melvin Lapp in their community. Well, our son is also Melvin Lapp! When Melvin came, he and Thomas discussed their roots and decided they are not related. But it was of interest that his daughter lives close by in our community. Her husband had just contacted Thomas prior to our journey, asking if we will allow them to get raw milk from us. Then the Sunday after we came home, we met this young couple at our church! Interesting world.

My 95 yr old aunt Katie who is Jake's mother, lives in a trailer in their backyard. She came over to visit with us and brought her Scrabble game along. Usually her daughter plays with her on Wed afternoon but on this particular day her daughter had a chiropractor appointment. She said, "Maybe Marie will play Scrabble with me." Indeed! A game I enjoy. Winning isn't so important to me but I love playing with words.

Jake's wife Chris and I had so much to talk about that we had a hard time concentrating on the game. We have a lot in common as homeschoolers with 5 sons. Her next to youngest son brought a sister with him (twins). So she has one daughter who is an excellent helper to her. Her children are a bit older than mine so she has finished her homeschooling and is reaching out to hurting people, which interest we also share.

Jake and Chris gave their children 8 years of formal academics and then turned to other hands-on interests. The day we were there the 17 year old (one of the twins) was out on the job in charge of a pole barn crew. Their sons are amazing, confident young men. Two (or more) of them have their pilot's license- yes, that's for an airplane. Their only daughter (17) runs a small cafe.

We had a hard time leaving from there but set out for Texas the next forenoon. We got to our destination (Janie Jones' house) at 11:30 pm after an eventful drive through Dallas and Fort Worth. We were supposed to get a route south before getting deep into Dallas. We missed that one and drove to the other side of Ft Worth to get another. It wasn't too bad, but for the tired drivers it was a bit upsetting.

Our hostess was gone and had left air mattresses plus a hide-a-bed for the boys. We couldn't find the tools to inflate the mattresses so they put couch cushions and/or blankets on the floor and went off to dreamland. Everyone was very weary from the long drive.

The countryside as we traveled was beautiful with it's varied terrain. Flat land and hilly, trees and wide open fields, I enjoyed all of it. Anticipating forsaken country, it wasn't quite what I expected. Our last trip to Texas had us always in town or city so we did get to see a bit more of what "real Texas" is like this time. Although, as big as Texas is, I'm sure there's lots more to see!

Seeing family again was great. We siblings were all there except for my brother Paul from Honduras who was traveling elsewhere with his family. We thought our family would need to make the food for the wedding but our cousin, 'Retta Miller did all the work and we just relaxed with each other. We did have our daily food needs to look after but that was very doable.

Daddy and Mama and a couple of our children made the dinner rolls one day. And we had a lot of work to do the day of the wedding. Hauling things to the venue, cleaning, decorating, etc. And then taking it all back down, cleaning again and putting things away. What a tiring Sunday. It surely was not a day of rest.

Texas was quite warm. Jason and Rachel had an outdoor wedding and it was too warm for me. I stayed inside the nearby building where I could watch and hear what was happening without endangering my health. It was next to a lake and there was a good breeze going most of the time. Such a breeze that the bride had to fight with her veil. 

The programs were printed on fans - a thoughtful way to do it for a warm Texas wedding.

Everything was beautiful. Colors of dusty rose and blue. The tables were decorated with books and candles. Probably other things too, but I notice people more than decorations. And I was cleaning bathrooms while others decorated.

To those who have an interest in such things - The wedding meal was Southern picnic style. Grilled chicken breast, potato salad, baked beans, strawberry spinach salad, dinner rolls and watermelon. Fresh fruit and cheese cubes were served as appetizers.

Stephen was a photographer but unfortunately I got no pictures whatsoever. The link will take you to some of his photography but there are no wedding pictures there. If you see his profile picture you might freak out. He is totally in costume. 

Somehow the Lord brings other homeschooling people into our lives. Jason's uncle & aunt homeschooled their children. He was a public school teacher and realized he didn't want his children to experience that world. So they blessed their children with a home education.

My sisters Verina, Joanna and I were the cake cutters. It ended up being me cutting and they serving. Something I've never done before- cut the wedding cake. I was coached by the coordinator's helper and when done she said, "You did it perfectly. Now you can add that to your resume. There's good money in cake cutting!" Oh really? Hmm... that's not a hard job.

Our aunt Martha Summy and two daughters came from PA for the occasion. The only few who came of our many relations. (Excepting the cook.) I know there were others who would have enjoyed being there but it was a long ways away from many. God bless Aunt Martha Schwartz who was greatly distressed over the fact that she couldn't be there.

On Monday morning there was a brunch at Jason's parent's place and then Jason and Rachel opened their presents. It was a good opportunity to get to know each other as families a little better.

I will post more about our trip in another post as this one is getting too lengthy.

Are you a road runner?

Or a homebody?

I'm both, if that's possible.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

All in a day

Before the sun grew too warm, we picked blueberries. Maybe half the patch. I carried a handful in against my body after the pail left the patch.
 On the way to the house I saw the butterfly bush was in bloom.

And the Rose of Sharon.

 The crop for today. 3 quarts maybe?
 A few blackberries.
 Then it was kitchen cleanup time. Melvin cleared the counter. Christopher put dishes away.

 Washing fell to mother.

 Kitchen clean and ready to begin baking.
 Frozen zucchini in a pack on the counter to thaw. A few clean dishes left to put away.
 Pie crust in the making. Ice cream scoops work well for scooping shortening.
 Melvin prepares the apples, while listening to Tom Sawyer (audio book).
 Christopher mixes the zucchini bread.
 Batter in the pans ready for the oven.
Peaches in the crusts. We prepared the peaches last week and froze them. Once in the pie shells they get topped with a sugar/flour/spice mixture.

First pies in the oven.

Christopher takes a break to stitch up a sheath for his wooden sword.
The last pies are in the oven.
 The kitchen is clean once again.
 Black beans are cooking with a pork loin for supper.
 Zucchini bread packaged and ready for the market.
 Melvin stitching a sheath for his sword (wooden).

 The second load of laundry that was washed today is ready to be folded.
 All folded...
 ...and Melvin carries it to the rooms.
 VBS begins this evening. Stephen needs the song on a large tablet so I work on that.
 Handwriting does not cut it, so I resort to the computer.

The last pies are out of the oven. I made a blueberry pie for my men with leftover crusts.
Christopher relaxing with a digital book.

At VBS. The children have gone to their classrooms and the committee is conferring. The SonShine Farm brightens the front of the room. I get to relax this week! They gave the regular teachers of the weekly Kid's Club a break this week. 

Back home I finish labeling the baked goods. Everything is ready to go to market in the morning. Ten peach pies, five apple pies, fourteen loaves of zucchini bread.

Praise the Lord for another day to serve Him by serving people! 

Do you feel like you're serving the Lord when you are doing the mundane tasks of the day?

That's the best way to do it!