Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Fried Cheese

Recently we had an overabundance of milk and no cheese. So I made some! 

We made cheese at home when I was a girl. My father made a "cheese box" where a thermostat and a light bulb kept the cheese at a certain temperature for a designated amount of time. He also made a cheese press.

After I left home, I didn't know how to make cheese without these things. Some years later I learned from a friend who grew up in Costa Rica how to make a simple cheese, skipping the "cheese box" stage. And she showed me how to fry it. (I figured out how to press it with simple kitchen and rec room articles.)

We all really enjoy fried cheese. It is so simple. Just cut a slice of homemade cheese, lay it in a lightly greased skillet over medium heat and fry until it is browned on one side. Flip it over and do the same on the other side. (I don't know of a store bought equivalent. Sorry.)

This got a little extra brown. But it is still delicious.

Words to enjoy-

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Sunshine, Green, Comforters

Sunshine. Oh, the beauty of sunshine, warm, bright and invigorating. You know, by now, how I love sunshine. 

We have also had beautiful rain in the last week. Both of our rain gauges are broken so I can't tell you how much it rained except that it was a lot. Streams came down the hills, the creeks swelled and the rivers rose. 
Daffodils and lilies
All of creation responded with joy and the meadows are turning a verdant green. I never cease to be excited by the return of green. 
Toad's bellies
Or the sprouting of seeds. It makes me feel like I could dance to the moon and back. Or burst.

Thomas removed these "Christmas roses" (below) from a landscape job he did. They were not faring well in that location so he brought them here. Hellebore is their sophisticated name. They missed Christmas but they are the only blooming thing I've seen outdoors this winter.
I've completed two more comfort tops in the last week for relief work. This blue one (below) took me many days to complete. All the pale blue blocks (every other one) are a fuzzy type of fabric that slipped and slid and crawled all over the place as I sewed. It was a miserable thing to work with.
The one below with bigger blocks was a sight easier. I picked up a bag of blocks (that someone else had already sewn in rows) and sewed the eleven rows together. The outcome is always rewarding.
February ends tomorrow. It feels like we haven't had much winter. Even the couple weeks of extreme cold seem like a dim thing of the past. Spring is showing her (spring can't be a "he", can it?) welcome face.

Can you believe I heard spring peepers early last week? I almost couldn't believe it. But there they were, very loud and very real.

What are you doing today? I would love to peek into your house or wherever you are and see what life is dishing up to you. I pray you find God's grace sufficient for your needs.

More words to enjoy-

Thursday, February 22, 2018


Exciting things happening these days! There are many seeds in the dirt and I am eager to see the faces they will portray as they die and then come to life in a new way. 

On Tuesday Melvin, Christopher and I went to our friends' place in Delray. This family shares our milk cow and gets half of the milk. She had offered to give me seeds for the garden and even start some seeds for me.
They have a building they call "the conservatory" which is made of panels that allow light to come in. Like a large/tall greenhouse. They raise bananas, oranges, lemons and olives in there. There are lots of aloe vera plants and cacti, a small fish pond (5'x10'?) and a pet tortoise in the building. 

I planted the seeds in trays in this building and then when we transplant the seedlings into cell packs we will probably put them in one of their hoop houses. They have two hoop houses which serve multiple purposes. They will raise meat chickens and then plant in the rich environment they leave behind. 
This is an ongoing cycle where the chickens benefit from what is left of the plants and then the plants benefit from the chickens. The Mrs is determined to help me find a way to get a hoop house up. It is a good way to keep fresh food for the family through the winter. 

While we were choosing seeds from her vast supply (I told her it was like looking through the seed catalog, only it was all in my hand!) and getting them into dirt, the boys took to fishing. Melvin landed a large 3 lb (+/-) bass which we enjoyed for supper last evening. It was a really exciting moment for him, bringing that beauty out of the water.
My wonderful friend also told me how I could grow ginger and gave me a rhizome to start. Now patience needs to do its work in me for a couple of weeks while I wait to see the results. (The pics show a few of the seeds she gave me to plant in the garden.)

We had a couple of days where the temperature was around 80 degrees. I couldn't resist the temptation to put a few pea seeds in the ground yesterday as well as some Mesclun mix (salad greens). The weather has turned rainy now which is awesome. These seeds were planted within the privacy fenced garden so they should have some protection from cold.

The egg-laying chickens worked up that part of the garden this winter and the soil is rich and fine. We are also trying the Back to Eden gardening method so it isn't a whole lot of work to just scratch a row in the dirt and put the seeds in. 

The men are working a couple of construction jobs. With two trucks and four drivers, they can be at different places as necessary. 

Today Thomas started out at a job where he's finishing some drywall and then met up with the three boys at another job. Austin remains frustrated with a weak wrist.

Tomorrow Stephen is scheduled to help another contractor and Matthew will be at home and school, Lord willing. I find it interesting that things are turning around and instead of me, it's Thomas who needs to employ most of the boys.

Reading books continues to take up my time, which tends to imperil the housework but increases my knowledge. I'll give you a few more words. If you like words, you're welcome.


Have a wonder-filled day!

P.S. Billy Graham died this week at the ripe old age of 99.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Snow, Errands and Peanut Butter

This week has ended, with all its idiosyncrasies. (That word took me down in a spelling bee once. Had never heard of it before.) The weather has been up and down, quite literally. Temperatures up in the 70s and down in the 20s. Clouds up in the sky and clouds coming down, in the form of rain, sleet or snow. 

Today it is snow. The forecast is for 2-6 inches. This evening it is maybe an inch and a half deep. It's been warm enough to keep it from sticking and also it is a very wet snow. You might know how that kind is. It snows more than you can really measure.
Stephen returned from his trip to Honduras and reported a relaxing vacation. He worked and lived alongside his cousins while there. They went to a waterfall one day and did some climbing. He says he has lots of photos so we look forward to seeing them. 

He had booked their (his and Sylvia's) tickets to and from San Pedro Sula. That's where they flew into for the Bible school but I think he could have gotten return tickets from Teguc if he would have thought that far. The trip back to San Pedro Sula was made by bus with two cousins to help along. 

They spent Monday night in Siguatepeque at a Mennonite children's home. An interesting connection was made at the airport when David Bercot came up and introduced himself to them. He was on their flight from San Pedro Sula to Atlanta. He was also bound for Dulles but they didn't see him after Atlanta and worried that he missed his flight. They were the last ones on the plane, coming after everyone else had boarded.

Today was a full day. I worked on selling some things around here (online, through Facebook & OfferUp). Then Christopher and I ran some errands that have been on my mind. The more I stay home, the more things pile up on me.

We stopped at the ATM first to get some cash, then went to Food Lion. While puzzling over the long lines there, it dawned on me that there is snow in the forecast. It will be warm in a day or two so there's really no need to worry but maybe some folks can't live two days without going to the grocery store?

Next we picked up apples at the farmer's market, picked up a bulk order from my sister, got some pork that was on sale at County Pride (which I grind to make sausage), grabbed a stack of books from the library, and unloaded a stash of unneeded items at the thrift store. Wow. Now my brain feels cleaner. 

My parents had a nice surprise today when someone offered to bring them a Meals on Wheels dinner. A full meal of grilled chicken, mac n cheese, baked beans, coleslaw and cake.

Recently a friend gave me a nice big food processor. She had gotten it for a wedding present but hasn't used it to speak of in almost ten years. So she wisely passed it on to me. Since I've had it I got to thinking that we could surely be more frugal by getting a case of peanuts and making our own peanut butter. 

We usually buy the Smuckers brand that has no junk in it (only peanuts and salt) and I am always limiting the boys' intake as it is so costly. They eat so much of it at one sitting! First thing I know, the peanut butter is no more.

My first attempt at peanut butter turned out well. We got a 30 lb case of blanched and salted peanuts. I'm dreaming of different ways to make the butter; roast the peanuts, add honey, molasses or maple syrup. Do tell me of a flavor you like.
Melvin used some peanut butter and whole peanuts in a batch of no-bake bars he made. Christopher added whole peanuts to the granola he made. I have a squeaky feeling this 30 lb case of peanuts might not last very long either.

Thomas and all the boys besides Christopher went to sand the walls in a house that they finished drywall in this week. They got done in a couple of hours. 

The three older boys went to play volleyball with some friends this evening but some of their friends couldn't get there because of the snow and the others were in an accident that prevented their coming. So two of the boys came home and the other stayed with his friend for the evening.

Melvin and Christopher received their periodic shearing from my hand this evening. They balk about it (and so do I) but I said we need to just get it done! Christopher was looking especially shaggy. Now that's off my mind (and their heads) until the next time.

I've actually read a few books this week! I finished Trees Tall as Mountains, read Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, and Little Lord Fauntleroy and began Great Expectations. I will try to report on them later.

I'll leave you with some new (to me) words and see if they're new to you too.


Please let me know in the comments (or reply to me in a new email) if you find/know the meanings.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018


Today is opposite from yesterday, beginning with sunshine and becoming cloudy. Not as warm. Actually rather cold. It's all relative though, you know. If yesterday was 14 degrees, today would be warm at 38.

Our trip to PA ended at 2 AM today. When the 6 AM alarm went, well, let's just say I ignored it. My, oh my! Droopy eyelids are a thing today. My husband has a better constitution and also sleeps while traveling so he's faring better than I. 

Thomas and Matthew went to work on a drywall job this forenoon. This afternoon Thomas is doing inventory with the door guy. Austin and Matthew are staining some doors for another job. Melvin likes to work outdoors every chance he has so today he tackled an unwanted rose bush. Don't worry, it really is not beautiful and is only a nuisance.

After reading aloud to the boys, listening to them read and reading to myself, I took a nap and awoke around 2 PM with no clue how long I slept. I found these guys scrounging around the kitchen, wondering what to eat. I'm a horrible cook these last couple days. 

We got in on a spa night for the teen girls in inner city Lancaster last evening. The guys were playing games and doing their own thing in another part of the building. It was so awesome to witness the love poured out on these girls. And so peaceful compared to the Kid's Club we're used to.

They didn't have a normal evening because their regular teacher was away on a trip. Normally they will split the group in two and have a lesson half the time, then switch it up and do a hands-on activity. Alternating, so one group does the lesson while the other "plays". It would have been nice to see that happening as well.

Oh, and by the way, we could only observe the spa and help a wee bit. Like, we didn't get the foot soaks, massages and facials. Just itched all over to be on the receiving end. He-he. (I would have loved to help out with treating them, too.)

We made an interesting connection with the group leader, James Beachy. He disclosed the fact that he sang in a group with my cousin Merry (yes, that is spelled correctly) a number of years ago. I had never met her singing companions so that was nice to know.

A never-before experience was an 11 PM meal at Denny's. I am not a night owl but neither can I sleep well while traveling. Especially in a van that rides like a ship at sea in a storm. I did a lot of reading (Bible, Kindle). A shout-out to lighted books! 

Obviously the storm at sea wasn't really bad because I do get motion sick and didn't suffer too much in that department. It was worse on the way up with another driver. 

We got a welcome text message around noon from Stephen, saying they are at the San Pedro Sula airport. He will come into Dulles around 9 PM, Lord willing. It's been a toss-up who will go get the travelers- Stephen and my sister's daughter Sylvia- from the airport. It's a 1 1/2 -2 hour drive.

We moms didn't really want to go alone in the dark. We didn't want to send the young boys out there in the dark when they've never driven there period. One father is not at home and the other needs to work tomorrow so we didn't want to make him do another late night stunt.

My sister and I concluded that a couple of young boys would go and I would go along to hopefully guide them in the right way. Well, with that decided, Thomas said he'll go with them. So it looks like Sylvia will land in a boys' party.

The trip home from the airport is a good time to hear travel stories so I feel like I'll be missing out. But I won't complain. I am really tired from yesterday's adventure.

A couple words that may be new to you...

What do they mean?

Want a good laugh? Click here.

Why do boys do silly things? One put a hat on the cow and another called her to make her get up, filming all the while. Google Photo Assistant made an animation of it. You may see it here, if you wish.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Sunshine, Injury and Studying

I'm facing a blank page today with a mind that suddenly feels blank. Because I wrote a really good article I was going to post today and the stupid Google ate it! Just consumed it. The big ol' meany.

Well, now what? 

I'm processing a lot of things right now and nothing seems quite ready for words. 

So I'll just ramble about what's been going on here in the hollow where we find our home. And outside the hollow where life calls us; some of us daily, and some less often.

The sun is shining in our world! It really is. This morning I thought daylight seemed very long in coming. Then I realized there was a heavy cloud cover. It would be awhile until we saw sunshine.

This forenoon while we were reading together (the boys & I) there was a sudden downpour of sleet which quickly changed to rain. It rained awhile and then the power was suddenly cut off. We finished reading in the darkened room; then just as we finished and were speculating what to do without electricity, it came back.

But, truth to tell, I don't even know when the sun decided to come out from behind those clouds. Yeah, I know, it was the clouds that hurried on and there the sun was, shining like he was all the time and we just couldn't see him.

And the air is warmer! That "springtime feel" once again. Maybe if I can get past the mud, I'll go start some seedlings at my friend's house this week. Yesterday we needed 4 x 4's to get out of here.

While I helped one boy decide what to study today, the other was writing another story. Then while I helped the next one decide what to study, the first one studied. 

Melvin wrote a grammar rule and illustrated it, worked on memorizing and read from a book about animals. Our Magnificent Wildlife.


Christopher read a whole book. I guess. He says he did. It seems impossible to me. But I think he's a speed reader. He read Madeleine Takes Command (204 pages)


Now he's started another, The Golden Goblet. We picked out four books for him to read this week. I asked, "Can you read that many?" He said, "Let's see how far I get."


My personal goal for this year is to read 30 books. I have never set a goal or kept track of how many I've read so I have no idea how realistic this is. I'd love to hear how many you read in a year on a normal basis. 

The problems I experience with reading are these- 1) If I get into a captivating book, I have an extremely hard time doing the normal life things like, eating, working and sleeping. 2) If I try to read a deep book or one that is not so captivating, it is extremely hard to get into it while doing the normal life things like eating, working and sleeping.

Can you relate to my dilemma?

Austin is recuperating from a fall that sprained his wrist and banged his head. He wrapped his wrist and puts ice on it periodically. He bandaged the head. He is a silent sufferer so I don't always find out how much he's hurting. 

He reports that there is marked improvement from yesterday. He was able to squeeze the shampoo bottle this morning and button his pants.

He is cubing a lot today with the one good hand. I wonder when or if he'll ever outgrow this obsession? I begged him to go relieve the calf who is staked out in the yard. Every time I looked out, there seemed to be a big branch accompanying his head, along the ground.

Austin confirmed that he was indeed greatly entangled with that branch. He was having difficulty with life while tangled up like that. He seems like a rather stupid creature.

Austin also did a bit of house cleanup and some basketball hoop shooting. I think he feels really hampered with only one functional hand. I know I would. 

Thomas and I are heading, with a group, to PA this afternoon, Lord willing. We want to visit a teen Kid's Club evening in session. We are looking for options for the teens we know. Hopefully I'll have something to report on that later.

Thomas and Matthew went to the job this forenoon. The plumbers are there to do their work. This is another job where Thomas needs to fix another contractor's mistakes and finish work another started. It's appalling how many contractors will start and then skip off with the money, leaving the owner in a state of frustration.

All the hampers are full again today. I had emptied all four of them Friday. (I can't remember if ours was empty but pretty near, if not.) I'm sure you can relate if you have five children. 

By the way, one pair of 34 length jeans fills the hamper about a quarter full. And 4 or 5 of them fill the washer. Four guys in the family wear that length. (Yes, the family picture on this site is sadly outdated.)

I think lunch wants me. Talk to you later....

Today I am thankful for...
...four wheel drive.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Homemaker's Tag

1. Have you ever had anyone say anything negative to you about staying at home/ working from home?

The only negative thing I can think of, is kind of reverse. My husband will see some area that got cleaned and say, "Wow! Someone was working today!" That, without fail, makes me feel like I haven't been working other days when I've done things that can't be seen.

My culture is all about staying at home and being a wife and mother. So no one questions my choice of homemaking. It would be the other way. I'd get the cross-eyed look if I didn't stay home.
2. What is your favorite/least favorite part of staying home(or working from home)?

My favorite thing is being there for my family. My least favorite is lack of adult association.
3. What is your favorite/least favorite chore?

Favorite- cooking. Least favorite- cleaning.
4. What time do you wake up/ go to bed?

Wake up 6ish AM. Go to bed 9-12 PM.
5. Do you put anything on in the background while you clean/work/cook (tv, radio, podcast, etc.)

Yes! I love to listen to music, Bible reading, sermons, audio books or educational videos and podcasts. Always feeding the intellect. It helps to pass the time while doing menial tasks.
6. Do you get dressed most days or stay in PJs?

Always get dressed! (Unless I'm sick.) In this way I'm prepared for anyone to show up, call on me or whatever. It also prepares me mentally for doing housework.
7. How often do you do your hair and makeup?

I "do" my hair every morning because I wear it under a veil. Therefore I comb it neatly and put it in a bun to be covered. I've never worn makeup and don't have any desire to. People think I am much younger than I am and I believe it has to do with natural skin. (As well as inner peace.)
8. What is your "trouble zone" or area in your home that needs the most help?

Without question it's the area around my desk. Next would be my pantry and a few other corners.
9. How often do you find yourself getting distracted?

Always and forever. I'm the most highly distractible person I know. (Unless it's my youngest son.) I'll head to the freezer to get something and when I'm halfway there I start thinking about the hereafter. "What am I here after?!"
10. Do you enjoy staying home or do you miss going to a job everyday?

I enjoy staying home! I'm a big homebody.
11. What is your "never ending" chore?

Cooking, laundry, dishes and cleaning. There are many at this point in my life.
12. What is your favorite way to relax or have "me" time?

13. How often does your husband/significant other chip in?

Chip into what? He is the breadwinner and has one hundred one things on his mind with looking after his family's needs, the farm, job stuff, his and my parents, and church duties. But he occasionally helps with the dishes and often takes a broom to the floor especially where the wood dirt is.
14. (If you have kids) When do you find time to do chores?

Chores find time to get me. Children help with chores.
15. How do you balance being a homemaker and creating Youtube content?

Okay, so not YouTube, but Blogging... Homemaking comes first which is why you didn't get these answers yesterday as I promised. We had a full day preparing for a Bible Study at our house with refreshments afterward.
16. What is your favorite room in your home and why?

It would be my bedroom if I had one. A place to get away and have quiet rest. A place to share with my favorite person on earth (my husband).
17. What is your least favorite room in your home and why?

There are two. The breezeway because it is so hard to clean and the finished garage because it is so brown and doesn't have many windows. Contradictorly, the breezeway is also a favorite room because it has so much light and the breeze comes through in the summer.
18. Do you feel your home reflects your personal style? Why/why not?

Yes and no. I like the one-story layout. Right now there are too many other people's things in it and they do not reflect my style.
19. What does your home smell like?

Depends where you are and at what time. You might smell a candle, my cooking, my mom's cooking, my dirty fridge, barn boots, wood smoke or the dog and cats.
20. What is your strong point and weak spot when it comes to homemaking?

My strong point is cooking and my weak spot is that I am a huge procrastinator.

End of questions

I would love if you would answer these questions in some manner (blog post, email, YouTube video, etc) and let me know who you are.

Today I am thankful for...
...a home.
...rain (I guess. It is making lots of mud.).
...a sewing machine.

Thursday, February 8, 2018


There has been a "Homemakers Tag" going on over on YouTube. I've listened to a variety of vloggers answering twenty questions about homemaking. 

Some are thrilled to be homemakers and intentionally make that their vocation, before they ever marry. They tell their boyfriends to pack their bags if they can't support that vocation. 

Others come into homemaking by a different route. They realize they will be missing out on their children's lives if they are away working. And/or they start a home business.

Some study homemaking intensely to figure out the best way to do this. Some are simply overwhelmed by it and do as little as they can to keep house.

One young mother kept saying, "Homemaking. Oh, that's such a funny word. It seems so antiquated."

Another young wife who was not yet a mother kept apologizing for her "opinions" about homemaking. She didn't want to offend anyone because she believes strongly that her place is at home. 

An older mother who was nearly an empty nester spoke passionately, expressing the fact that she has no regrets for being there for her family all these years. 

I am blessed to have grown up with homemaking skills ingrained in me. At ten years of age I could run a household. Of course not the financial end of it, and of course not like a pro. But I knew how to cook, clean, do laundry, care for babies, milk the cow, mow the lawn, help with gardening, canning, and etc. 

My friend and I were discussing the phenomena among young people today, where they are bored. I was never bored in my life that I can remember. She wasn't either. We both had so little play time that it was precious.

The primary goal for children today is to "educate" them. in other words, do everything so they can get book learning in an institution. (And no, mom, you're not nearly smart enough to educate your child. It must be done by professionals.)

But the results are appalling. Young people grow up with a book education that does not equal "home" education. They have no clue how to run a household or care for children. Mom always did that. (Or didn't. This has been happening for generations.)

Many, many women in our world today do not know how to cook or how to survive on one income. There is a cry for help in these areas. So there are Home Ec classes in school.

A sixteen year old girl showed us a quilt top she made at school and one mother expressed herself that she is so pleased that they have classes like that at school. It seems we have totally forgotten that this is a mother's responsibility at home.

Most of society looks down on a woman who fulfills her role at home. Not to mention that most young ladies don't want to stay home. They really need to "have a life"!

Boys are also neglected by focusing on intellectual education above entrepreneurship and learning how to provide for a family. They have "shop classes" at school instead of learning trades from their fathers or being apprentices. I read recently how a business was fined big money for allowing 16 yr old young men to run power equipment.

The business owner will pay his fine to the government. If these young men grow up with this type of "protection" mentality, instead of learning a trade, they will become the men who get that money back from the government either in welfare money or prison costs. Sad, sad world!

Don't misunderstand me. Children need book learning. But more than that, YES, More than that! they need to be trained in how to work in the real world. To run households. To earn income. To be entrepreneurs. 

IQ (Intelligence quotient) does not equal CQ (Creative quotient). Book learning in institutions (schools if you will) stifles creativity. By the time a child graduates traditional school, he is floundering in the real world, with no creative juices left.

Someone has been telling him most of his life, what to think next, how to fill in the blanks, what is important to know for the test. And his mind is dull to all that there really is to know and experience. It's like he has a rude awakening and needs to start all over.

Oh, how did I get so sidetracked from my topic? Or did I? I don't know. 

I'll try to answer the homemaker's questions tomorrow.

Today I am thankful for...
...a broom. 
...toilet paper. (It isn't fun getting caught in the bathroom with an empty roll!)
...the backspace key.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


I love the way family conversations flow. While eating breakfast, we watched the cat meticulously wash himself right in the middle of the living room, limbs flowing this way and that, tongue first between his toes and then swiping his heels. Matthew says, "I do believe cats are made of liquid." Quoting Calvin (speaking of Hobbes).

Melvin gave the specs of a cheetah. A cheetah weighs only 120 lbs for all his size. He's built light, for speed. Then they discussed how a cheetah raced some fast car. And how it was possible to get a cheetah to race a car. (By having it chase a fake rabbit led away by a motor.)

I asked everyone's opinion of the overnight oats. (Which in reality was barley.) Everyone liked it. Until I asked Thomas. "Meh." Oh dear! He's the one I wish to please most. But this simple breakfast doesn't please him.

Melvin said he recently heard the advice that when a man gets married he should always take a second helping of the food. I confirmed that this is indeed the way I measured my success with a dish when we were first married. If Thomas sat back after one helping and looked bored I knew I shouldn't make that again.

"I am going to have to wait till I get to heaven to eat rice and cabbage," I remarked. They wanted to know what I'm talking about? It was a food the Laotian refugees ate when they lived with my family, and as a child I really liked it. 

I've tried a few times to serve it to my family but never with success. I described it- cooked cabbage, seasoned with bacon, soy sauce and brown sugar, served over rice.

Matthew said, "I would like it!" The others wondered how he can say that. He said there's no food he doesn't like since he's grown up. This opened a whole new can of worms. Do some people never grow up? 

This is one thing I am continually grateful for is uncomplaining eaters who will eat... soup! (Most of the men in our church complain about soup.) Well, if there's any meal that is frugal it is soup. 

One mother made a remark to me at a fellowship meal that my children are probably partial to my cooking at a meal like that. (This is how most of the church children are. "Where is the food Mom made?") I said, "No, I cook simply enough that they are only glad to eat other things at church functions."

Now don't get me wrong. I enjoy making "good food". But we don't have exotic dishes or only certain foods because they are picky eaters. It just doesn't work that way at our house. We try a variety of cuisines and new recipes. So there is nothing to fear at a church dinner.

Today is a snow day. (Except it's an ice day.) We were discussing yesterday how homeschoolers never get snow days. Christopher didn't even know what a "snow day" is. 

The boys usually go to school for music class on Wednesday so Melvin said, "We DO get a snow day today, even if we're homeschoolers!" (Because the ice keeps them from going to school for music class.)

It is actually a snow day for the schools, too. The ice continues to build up on all the surfaces, making white beauty out of the brown landscape. Melvin took some pictures for me. He was out taking care of the animals and came in saying, "There are some nice pictures out there!"

He said he was standing there photographing this standing clump of grass when it suddenly decided it had had enough and gave up the fight. Down it went. Maybe it was embarrassed at being photographed?

Today I am thankful for...
...the beauty in nature.
...books to read.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018


What is that propels you from your bed in the morning? The weight of what to feed my family for the day can keep me in mine. I know the opposite should be true.

I should be out early like the robins looking for the food. But somehow my brain doesn't function like that. It tells me things like, You didn't get meat from the freezer last night. It will take too long to make pancakes, and you'll make the men late for work. There are no leftovers and what, oh what, will I pack in their lunches?

Isn't it pleasant to awake to such thoughts? Lately I've been contemplating how awesome it would be to not be needed. I would be able to sleep as long as I wanted and maybe one day wake up refreshed.

Then I realize there are people who wish someone would need them. It's too distant a thought for me to comprehend at this stage of my life. 

When the boys were all little, an older friend told me, "Marie, it doesn't get any better." I looked at her in disbelief. You mean this is for life? I understand her statement now.

It does get better in the sense that babies aren't sucking the life out of you, literally, physically. Sleepless nights, belly full of unborn child, crying babies, dirty diapers, etc. 

But life gets full in another way. Helping children learn life lessons. Orchestrating all their interests. Inspiring them to want the most out of life. Making sure they learn that life is hard work.

Then there's the never ending laundry. Food, always food. Cleaning and cleaning. How can grownups make such a mess? I thought children were the mess makers.

Not so long ago, another friend said, of having married children, "Marie, life doesn't get any easier!" Oh no! So what is in store for me? Just never ending weariness?

Interestingly the former friend is now an "empty nester" and she told me that she has now come through a time of wondering what she's here for. So that tells me there is rest ahead. 

Rest... and maybe with it comes confusion? What is my purpose now that my children no longer need me? I've really had a struggle this week with a similar thing but I'll save all that for another day.

Somehow I just feel like writing about real life right now. Getting it out of my system. If it helps someone else to read about real life, you're welcome. Otherwise, just move on with yours. It's okay. This is my space.

Today we had the monthly sisters' sewing day at church. (Seems I've written about that a good bit recently.) We normally have a short time of devotional during the day and we're currently studying the book, Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

The lie we looked at today was about emotions, "The answer to depression must first be sought in medication and/or psychotherapy." (Remember, that is a lie!)

Many (most) times depression is the fruit of unresolved heart issues. Stemming from ingratitude, unresolved conflict, irresponsibility, guilt, bitterness, unforgiveness, unbelief, claiming of rights, anger and self-centeredness. That's quite a list.

So if my slate has been cleaned of all the above, then I can claim that my depression is a medical situation. (Granted I may get to a point when I need medication because I have allowed these issues in my life for so long that it does affect me physically.)

I was just impressed again by how Jesus is literally the answer for all our needs. He works through His Spirit, His Word and those around us, to help us see ourselves as we are. 

My tendency is to talk to others about the pain. Blame my problem on this or that. Eat. Sleep. Watch videos. Read mail. Read a book. Anything but going to the Lord.

Prayer. More prayer. Honest, gut wrenching prayer. Forgiveness that goes way deep inside and clears the slate of all pain. That takes prayer. Prayer that brings tears. Tears of repentance. Prayer shows me my sin.

Prayer isn't telling God what I want. It is listening to His evaluation of me and agreeing with it. Allowing His truth to take root in my heart and bring forth fruit for Him. Fruit like PEACE. And JOY. And LOVE. 

When my prayer is deep and heart cleansing, showing me my sin, my only response can be gratitude. How can Jesus love me so much that He is willing to love me in spite of my sin? 

This gratitude brings with it a compassion for others and a realization of the utter depravity that settles on all of us as humankind. I can never be better than you and God's love brings us all on the same level.
Lie on left, truth is right 😊
More about the day...

Thomas and Matthew are installing doors in Virginia today. Austin is alone on the job they started yesterday, finishing drywall. 

Melvin and Christopher were with me today. Well, they were at the same place, as in, the property, but they were not sewing. They played with their homeschooled friends while school was in session and they all joined their traditionally schooled friends during recess. Christopher also read a book.

Now they're taking care of all the chores around the place. Food and water for the creatures. Wood in the wood box. Milk the cow. Strain the milk.

It's a cold, gray day. This winter is a teaser kind. One week I'm thinking quite seriously about gardening and the next I'm standing next to the fire, shivering. 

The south has gotten more snow than we have this winter. We get enough to make the ground white and that's about it. Sunday it snowed beautifully and then rained on top of it.

Currently the world looks mostly brown. Brown tree trunks. Brown grass. Not a whole lot of beauty. 

But we have had a good amount of color in the morning and evening skies! That is exhilarating. 
A picture doesn't do justice to a sunrise!
Today I am thankful for...
...the local general store (where I could pick up feed for the hungry chickens).
...the beauty of relationships.