Friday, June 30, 2006

Its A Moral Issue For Me

For some reason, this whole concept of " stuff" will not let me rest. This morning very early, long before the sun kissed the cedar trees with golden reddish ochre hues, I finally figured it out for myself.
I think for me, and this is just me reasoning it out for myself. Not a lecture for mankind, although part of me would like to see a change in societies emphasis on material goods. Oh yes, I know about the worlds economy based on people purchasing goods, but what I am thinking about it the excess, the having 10 of the same thing in different colors etc or the bigger cars and houses.
Back to my original train of thought here, to me its a moral issue. That's it plain and simple. For me, and again this is a self lecture, its wrong to spend money on things I do not need. I love all the gifts of beautiful china I have been given from family and friends, but I am not sure I could justify owning it had I purchased it all myself.

With the exception of fabric for the wedding, I decided that I have more than enough quilting fabric to last a couple years so have not purchased any more in a month or so and will not buy more until there is a need. I will not buy from the WANT of fabric. The reason, simple. I found in myself this unreasonable need to HAVE some. Not need it, HAVE it. Not long ago I remembered seeing on TV the joy in the faces of some young girls in Africa as they received fabric for a new one after recovering from a surgery. They had prior to the new fabric, only owned one dress, . Wouldn't it be better, more morally correct to buy fabric for such a need, then to stack it on my shelf for a hobby ? Perhaps not everyone feels so called to live according to such a standard and I don't want to seem like I am judging anyone here, just myself.
One example we see daily is that America is in a crisis with health care. Millions without health insurance. People loose everything they own daily just to pay off huge medical expenses. A friend of mine is diabetic and doesn't go the doctors, no insurance, takes her husbands pills, he is old enough to be on Medicare and so gets it nearly free, he doesn't take it so she can, her need is greater they decided. She lives a middle class life, but is caught in a place where she can't afford medication or a Doctors visit or insurance. So here I sit, I could say, "oh God has blessed me with enough money for my hobbies" and justify buying just about anything that is "stuff" or a WANT, and not think about that new little clinic down the road that is to help the folks with no insurance. Wonder if $50 a month would help them out much ? You bet it would.
I could even buy testing strips for my friend to test her blood sugar. What does God call us to ? Or even if you don't believe in a God, what does care and concern for our fellow man call us to ? We are quick to care for pets in over abundance, treat them like children and dress them up and paint their toenails, all with a price. Its not necessary. It makes us feel better, not the pet. Maybe people matter more, don't you think. Couldn't we spend that money on people in need, real need. Old people eating cat food or dog food is a shame. Children who are hungry is a shame. I don't mean "is a shame" as in the half hearted saying, but as in SHAME on us for allowing it when we have more than we need.
When this money, this excessive spending could pay for a dentist visit for someone who has never had a dental check-up, or an office visit to a Doctor for someone going to first grade. So many needs. Not just the homeless folks, but the every day folks, sitting next to you in church. Elderly people shopping for food or paying their electric bills, not able to do both, they have to choose between food or warmth.
Again this is my lecture for me, you are just hearing me define this "stuff" issue to myself. Its not just clutter and how I hate to move it to dust. I discovered its a moral issue for me. An issue of compassion for others. Its an issue of sharing what I have been blessed with. Not just thanking God that I have money to buy what I like.
Not too sure Jesus or Buddha would have thought along the lines of saying, " we have been so blessed financially that we can buy what we want and just thank God for his blessings". Just can't see that being said by a humble servant. For me, it just is what it is, a moral issue of materialism.
On my other blog I wrote this the other night. I have to hash things out until its worked out fully.
I have to know what is right for me to do. I understand now and can lay to rest this subject as its crystal clear to me, that as a human being, I must live my life to help end suffering. Anything less and I have missed what I am here for.

This is what I wrote the other day on my other blog............
Tonight when thinking about what I wanted to write on this blog, I wondered how to say what I felt. All day long I thought about being content and it has weighed heavy on my mind. With a lack of words, I reached for the book, "Between Tears and Laughter". The book opened up to page 81 and the paragraph below jumped out to me. It said just exactly what I wanted to share from my heart. I do not believe it was a coincidence.

When man is constantly exposed to the things of the material world which affect him and does not control his likes and dislikes, then he is overwhelmed by the material reality and becomes dehumanized or materialistic. When man becomes dehumanized or materialistic, then the principle of Reason in nature is destroyed. From this arise rebellion, disobedience.....
From the book, "Between Tears and Laughter" by Lin Yutang

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Shop till you Drop Wedding Things

Here is a sampling of some of the things we purchased yesterday. Flower girl baskets, lights, candles, a ton of plates and cups etc, toasting glasses, guest book, punch bowl, ribbon, bows, candy and of course more fabric. The flower girls will wear pint size outfits like Melissa will wear as Matron of honor.
I got the flower girls, Asia and Serena, each a stack of tiny bangle braceletts for them to wear and Bindis for them to wear on their for foreheads.
Amazing all the things one has to purchase to get married !
Oh good news, they got the apartment around the corner from us. We are of course thrilled and Casimir starts Monday working with Emery for the Mennonite barn builders. He will be a salesman like Emery.

New Farm Life

Its always so much fun to see new life on the farm.
Today I finally got a peek at the new chicks. Momma hen has been sitting on the eggs faithfully for what seems like an awfully long time. She is not exactly friendly so I didn't dare pick the chick up, but will be checking faithfully to see how many more show up.

The kittens are growing so fast and are so cute. We gave one away, but Melanie and I would love to be able to keep these two. Haven't been able to convince Emery we need a total of 5 cats though.

Needing Simplicity

This morning when I got up, it felt good, satisfyingly good to sit in my rocker and look at the simplicity of my newly polyurethane floors. No extra "stuff" around, just plain and simple.
I thought about a couple things while I sat there mindlessly rocking away and sipping my iced Chai.
Shopping yesterday was mind boggling to me. I don't ever shop all day, never ! And watching so many people carry bags and bags of things to their cars amazed me. What on earth was everyone buying, I was shopping for a wedding of nearly 200 people. So it felt justifiable for me to be filling up the back of the station wagon (91 Taurus, just about 200,000 miles on it)
No matter how hard I try, the idea of how much stuff everyone has, haunts me. I just don't understand the need to have so much. Maybe part of me has this level of idealism that just can't go away. If we would just share what extra we have with those in need or not spend and help others more, or if we would just not have so much so life would be simpler and people would not have to work for "stuff" but for simple things like food and shelter. Certainly people need some entertainment, but not so much that they go into debt for it.
When I was moving things in the living room to do the floors, I surprised myself by having all these things that had to be moved. Cutsie things that delight the eye for the first week you own them then they sorta just grow on you and you hardly notice them.
Today, there is going to be a lot listed on our freecycle list. Cutsie things, with dust on them.
Mentally I keep a running list of people that I admire. People that have impacted the world with their lives.
Gandhi, The Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Thoreau, John Muir, Jesus, George Mueller and I know there are a few more that I am just not remembering at this time. But not a one of them lived with a desire for "things". "The acquirers" of the world never seem to be the folk that change the world for the better in a selfless, without an agenda (to make themselves look better) sort of way.
So no matter how hard I try, I just cannot justify paying for stuff that I don't need but just want to look at or have someone else look at and say, "oh my, isn't that lovely, where did you get that, or oh what a treasure" !
And if you use it, you have to decide HOW MANY do you need of the same thing.
Simple living is still my goal.
On that note, I will try to get some pictures of the wedding things I bought yesterday and wonder if I should eat my words on simplicity : )

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

More Wedding Plans

Its great fun letting you all in on the wedding plans each step of the way. What a fun time for all of us here.
Today we ordered Melanie's wedding jewelry. Its rather elaborate but she will be one to carry it off. She has her nose pierced so will be wearing a red stone in her nose on that day too.
Melanie has loved India since she was a little child and it comes as no surprise that she would have a wedding with Indian dress and customs. It also works well for Casimir's family.
Before I met Emery, I was engaged to a man in India and have in my cedar chest, my Indian wedding dress that was never worn. Just before Jacob was to come to the states, I met Emery and I knew he was the truest love in my life and broke off my engagement to Jacob.
When the girls were small they loved taking out the red sari and trying it on and feeling the wonderful silk.
We even eat Indian food more than any other kind of food and the girls were raised listening to Ravi Shankar.
Our neighbors in California were from India too so its just been a culture we have been around a lot.
The wedding invitation list keeps growing. Both Melanie and Casimir have so many friends and lots of family too.

Its now a sure bet that I will be doing lots of cooking when the date draws near.
If you want to see a good Bollywood movie with an old theme, rent Bride and Prejudice. Its a great movie with the same theme as Pride and Prejudice but its full of Indian dance, music and lots of beautiful clothing. Its a family friendly movie, no kissing even.
I have the floors 2/3 done. Will finish tomorrow.

First picture is of the headpiece
next is of the necklace
then the earrings

Wedding Outfits

Thought I would share some of the wedding clothes so far.
Casimir will wear the brown Kurta, his brother will wear the gold kurta.
The fabric for my salwar kameez and dupatta are in the other picture and then my jewelry for the wedding is in the last picture.
Its funny but I wore a kameez for Melissa's wedding too. I love how comfortable they are and modest too.
We just need to get Emery's Kurta ordered then we are all set with clothes.

Hope to have the flower girls outfits and Melissa's outfit done by next week sometime.
I have to go find some beads to do some bead work on the front of my Kameez around the neckline.

Getting Ready for The Wedding

Weddings are wonderful events. There is something so special about two people so in love that they want to spend the rest of their lives together.
There is also another wonderful aspect to a wedding, it makes you get things done around the house in preparation !
Today I am putting a fresh new coat of polyurethane on our floors. Somewhere around 10 years ago we put in new floors in our house. The old hardwood floors had been covered by carpet which we tore up. I don't like carpet, its not healthy. Allergies have grown to outrageous proportions in this country since the advent of wall to wall carpeting. Anyway, we had to put down plywood flooring to make this old house safe again as the hardwood floors were a mess. Not knowing what we wanted to do for flooring since we couldn't afford hardwood, I decided to just stain the plywood and put polyurethane over the stain so I could wash the floor.
It came out so nice. Looks fantastic, people love it and its certainly durable. Several friends have done the same thing with their floors. But it needed new polyurethane put down. Today was the day, warm but not blistering heat so the windows could all be open.
Fleetwood Mac and Santana are keeping me energized and half the living room is done. Its looking pretty nice.
I have been painting furniture at the same time and have new cans of paint waiting to transform a couple rooms. Wallpaper for the NEW guest room has not yet been chosen. Such fun getting it all done.
With all the company we will be having, it will be nice to have the house looking new.

On a side note to the wedding plans, the invitations are now made up.
Here is what we chose for the wording on the invitation, followed by the names etc. I wish you could all come and join us for this wonderful celebration. Thanks so much to all who have signed their on line guest book. They were so excited to see so many people wishing them well.
By the end of the week I should have the wedding outfits started.

“They are not said to be husband and wife
who merely sit together.
Rather they alone are called husband and wife,
who have one soul in two bodies.”
Little night stand for the new guest room
The Floor

Monday, June 26, 2006

Breakfast Thoughts

While having breakfast this morning, I was trying to read about Mother Teresa, but my mind was swimming with idea on just how I want to decorate Melanie's room after she is married. She laughs at my plans, suggesting that I am in a hurry to get her out of the house. Of course that's not true and she is only teasing me.
Finally, I gave into my dreaming and set aside a book on the "simple path" to something on the far opposite side of the spectrum.
I have pretty well decided on a girlie girl guest room, pink roses, not shabby chic but more of an English formal style.
I have been pouring over decorating books, especially my copy of "The Complete Book of Bedroom Elegance" by Lady Caroline Wrey. What a treasure this book is. Filled with gorgeous pictures and the "how to's" to make that look happen for you.
Its fun to dream and plan. Since I love so many of the rooms in this book, it seems almost a sure thing that the Amish quilt look guest bedroom will also be transformed. Time for me to change that room as well. Lots of reasons to change it.
Perhaps blue and white for that room.
In the fall when things are more quiet around here, we will begin building on our back porch. Another room added on. So far we have added on twice to this house, making our living room twice as big as it was, adding the computer room which will some time soon become part of our bedroom making that room much larger. We added on a dining room and a large bathroom. Its so much fun taking an old house and transforming it. Having dreams and planning new things is good for a person. Keeps you feeling alive and full of hope .

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sad News

Its not a good picture but you can tell the nest is empty. Once the little birdies start to call for food, it seems some creature hears them and makes a meal of them. I wanted to cry today when I saw the nest empty.

Learning Something Every Day

As I was blog hopping tonight I read something quite good at Elizabeth's Rose Cottage She wrote yesterday about "Stuff" and I suspect since she had visited my blog recently she was thinking about what I had written.
She has some really good points about stuff and clutter, well worth reading. Elizabeth brings in some thoughts that put a different spin on the subject. I like her approach. I still have Mennonite mindset sometimes on having too many earthly possessions and I need to broaden my horizons some and find a more normal balance. So I honestly appreciated her words.
I think for me, the problem is we live in a small cottage with NO closets except the ones in our bedrooms so storage is at a premium. If I want to put things away for a while, there isn't any room unless I cart it off to the barn and that's not such a great place to store nice things.
Stuff can begin to feel like clutter when you are cleaning it or for me when I get that desire for the minimalist look. The simple Old Order Amish look.
Maybe in time that desire will fade and I can be more comfortable with things around.
At any rate, I am being sincere and honest in saying that Elizabeth has some good points on the subject.

Pciture tonight is of a painting I did for my parents living room way back in the 1970's. It now hangs in my sisters house and I took a picture of it when I was there.

"My Cup Overflows...with the Comfort of God's Love"

Every once in a while you come across a book that speaks to you in a special way. One of my Goodwill finds last week was the book "My Cup Overflows....with the Comfort of God's Love" by Emilie Barnes. I have long been a fan of hers. Many many years ago when we lived in Southern California I went to see her speak on More Hours in My Day. What a delight she was. Anyway, I thought when I picked up this book it would make a nice gift for someone if they were going through a hard time or something as that's what its about. Dealing with hard times. Today I sat down and read ever single word of the book. What a treat. Refreshing, enlightening, and certainly a book to encourage anyone.
If you get a chance to read this book, please do.
One paragraph, (really two so you know what its about) that just really touched me was this....
"And now more than ever, I understand why it sometimes seems to take so long for God to accomplish his work in us.
He Doesn't have to do things the long way ! God is God and if he wants to zap us with a lightening bolt, he can. He could change our circumstances with the blink of an eye. But I think God is a lot more interested in changing hearts than he is in changing circumstances. And changing a stubborn human heart takes time, even for a sovereign Lord."
There is the perfect answer for all of us who wish God would move a little faster when we ask for something.
She writes candidly about her need to control her environment and be so organized. Just an excellent book. Its going to stay on my bookshelf as a keeper.

It gives me courage to keep praying for Scott, year after year
If you have read this book, please share what you thought about it too.

Grateful for so many things tonight....
Answered prayers
Golden sunlight streaming into the windows
Fluffy kittens
Children I am so proud of
A cooler evening
Books found at Goodwill

Being Satistied with Life

This morning I woke feeling resolved on some things. Its a simple fact that I tend to be idealistic. This sort of gets me in a muddle now and again.
After having a long talk with a very wise man, I came to the conclusion I cannot change the world and single handedly have all the people in the world de-stress and live in a way where "things" don't matter as much as people do.
I can however live that way myself.
Here are the facts, I live in a small town, a small house, drive old cars, have old furniture, love books, have a zillion interests, love people, have some "stuff" around my house. Live life authentically. No hiding, the real me kind of thing. What you see is what is real.
No games. My house is clean, but sometimes there is clutter around. After all we all have projects and interests and work on them.
I have headed in many directions in life. Done lots of things simply because I live life with that childlike enthusiasm that I quote so often.
So, what is this all about.... simple. I am not going to worry about what I own, what I bought, what I buy or what I don't buy any more. Simple fact is, I don't over indulge in acquiring stuff, just get worried some folks might be thinking I am not practicing what I preach.
Saying all that, I squeezed my new books into one of the many book cases, hung up my little wooden thing with the drawers, and said to myself, life is good. Simple pleasures after all. I am hard on myself lots of times. Life is meant to be enjoyed, not over indulged of course, but enjoyed. God gave me this life, not the life of Mother Teresa, whose life I greatly admire by the way. We all do what we can, or at least I hope we all try to, to make life better for others in some way. We are not islands unto ourselves.
Ahh, sermon to myself done. Its in print so I can remind myself now and again that there is no need to be so hard on myself.
My blogs are about my life, my lessons, my mistakes and what I personally have learned. I am no expert.

What a magnificent journey life is, we get to learn more about it each and every day. We learn how to do better at living the life we have or strive harder to get the life we want. It really is exciting. There is so much good to grab onto and experience and grow from.

Time for me to watch Under the Tuscan Sun, one more time.

Todays picture.....

Driving through town where we shop, looking through the car window, with its cracked windshield. All the windshields in this area are cracked. No one fixes them, because it will just happen again. Too many rocks get fired at you from all the trucks tires. You just learn to be satisfied that the crack is not in your line of view, then you have to fix it.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

"Books Like Friends Should Be Few and Well Chosen"

The quote, "Books like friends, should be few and well-chosen." by Samuel Johnson has long been a favorite one of mine. I remember I saw this quote for the first time on a book mark, tenderly embroidered by some long forgotten hand and stuck between the pages of a first edition copy of a Louisa M. Alcott book I had purchased. Through the years, it has proved over and over to be one of life's truths for me.
Today my dear friend Nancy stopped by to restock me with books from her personal library for the summer. She has the most wonderful collection of old, rare books, mostly from the Victorian Era that are character building, enjoyable and memorable. Each book filled with men and women of noble hearts. Characters that are true heroes and heroines.
I handed Nancy the box of books she had lent me previously and I gladly took the new box of books. Now to not get so lost in the books that nothing else gets done !
This dear sweet friend of mine is also an afternoon tea drinker and how we love to sit and talk the hours away over a cup of tea but it happens rarely as she now lives many miles away so our shared moments are rare. Knowing I love classical music and afternoon tea she gifted me with two fantastic CD's. I am listening to them now. Beautiful music, perfect for tea time and for sitting with a good book.
Wishing everyone could have a person like Nancy as a friend ! She is a friend well chosen. And like the women in her books she is a woman of noble character.

Lazy Saturday Afternoon Thoughts

You can hear lawn mowers humming in the distance, and children's voices in play ever so faint, just too far off to be heard without leaning into the direction of the gentle breeze. It sounds like laughter.
The sun is bright, the color of the sunflowers that stand tall along the picket fence. I never bothered to look at the clouds today and that's a bit odd, except that so many other things caught my attention.
The cantaloupes peeking out from under the leaves, the mullein in bloom, tall torches of yellow, full of bees.
Trumpet vines reaching higher and higher in the old cottonwood tree. Fergus begging to play soccer with me and I consent but half heartedly as I would rather just wander around, looking, seeking and being amazed by the smallest marvels in nature. Simple things really. A strange black bug, a leaf that has fallen from the burr oak, tiny blue flowering weeds, and on and on. I check out the mint that grows near the fence to the garden, thinking I should pick some tomorrow while the dew is still on it and make tea. There seems something ancient and magical to me to pick things while the dew is still on them, as if the dew could be tasted and would nourish me in some special way. Silly, yes of course, but fun all the same. Silliness is good for the soul some times. I love lazy summer Saturdays. Nothing pressing, nothing demanding. Just a day to enjoy what is around me. Maybe the dishes in the sink try to demand my attention or the basket of dirty clothes, or the unfinished projects laying in my basket next to my rocking chair, but their demands go ignored today. There is always "later". I heard on TV last night about the benefits of deep breathing and I smile as I think about it. I have done that for over 30 years. Deep deep breath, from the stomach. Count to ten to inhale, hold for 10, exhale to the count of 10. That's what I do. I don't think I count any more though, it seems I just lay in bed and breath and think about my breath and how it is my life force. On TV they said it was one of the best stress busters. They also mentioned something about asthma patients who deep breath end up dumping their inhalers, large percentage of them. Over 80%. Simple things in life like breathing a certain way change our health. I wonder, have we all forgot how to breath in this stressful, maxed out life of running here and there, chasing what ? To keep up with the Joneses ? No, we don't even know the Joneses any more. We don't know our neighbors. We have cyber friends, less demanding. On our terms. Easier. They know us but only what we want them to know.
We rush around for what, chasing something ? I asked that but I am not sure I really know the answer. There seems to be such a need in people, an emptiness and something worse, being busy, rushed, chasing whatever, lets you go on never looking at yourself. Never knowing who and what you are. You can avoid looking in the mirror of your soul when you are too busy to stop. Owning so much, we have to organize it, have money for it, work for the money, we worry about the stuff. Will it be safe ? Do we need more locks ? Can I pay for it ? Who cares if someone is starving in Africa someplace, I need my "stuff".
Average annual income in most 3 rd world countries equal about the price of 50 yards of fabric, going out to eat 50 times, buying a new chair for the living room.
Renting 160 movies. Buying 5 pair of fancy shoes.
Going to Goodwill 50 times and spending $10 each time on "stuff". Ouch....
I think I just stopped a minute and looked in that mirror that reflects who we really are.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Stuff and Stress

Sometimes I think about the place my husband works at and what they sell and how many they sell. Storage buildings, called mini barns. They sell so many it amazes me. The amount they sell tells something about our society. We have outgrown our closets, our homes and need more space for our stuff. We truly are a consumer society. People have so much "stuff" that they need to fill another building with it. Most of it packed in boxes forgotten. So, is it important then ?

In our old house, there are just tiny tiny closets in each bedroom. No other closets. My husband and I share a closet that is 4 ft long. I suspect in the olden days, when this house was built, normal folks, working folks, didn't have truck loads of clothes and maybe one winter coat for each person.
The other bedrooms have small closets too.
I heard on the television tonight, once again that we are one of the most stressed generation ever. That the stress of fighting off warring clans or tigers would not be as much as the day to day stresses of modern life. So having "stuff" doesn't seem to help us much.
I shopped yesterday, had fun doing it, and struggled today with where to put the stuff. Did I need any of it ? Well, the hat box will keep my hats nicer, but then do I really need those hats ? They are worn just a few times a year, when I am feeling in that sort of mood.
I never want to fall into the trap of being an acquirer. For me, its just easier to correct myself when I start to fall into that trap.
Heirlooms with family history that have heartstrings are something different, but just buying stuff because its a good deal is not really a good deal. They are just things that require cleaning and storing. That whole thing of attachment. And evidently we measure a bit of our success with how much we own. It hasn't made us happier people. As you can guess this is all for me and I am not pointing fingers at anyone, except our society since we all feel the need to fit in and have have have .
I do not want to spend my time with cleaning and moving all this stuff. Organizing collections and trying to find room for more.
Simple, simple, simple is what I really want.

simple beauty, pink poppies.

I am grateful tonight for buyers remorse and how it keeps me in line, keeps me real.

Birdie Update

Just went out to have a look at the babies in the nest and mom and dad bird were off some where so I had a better opportunity to take some pictures. The babies were just resting on the side of the nest but with a slight bending of the pine needles to get a better shot, they were instantly wide mouthed waiting for food.
Their feathers show more development each new day and today you can see their eyes are a bit open.
This is the stage of development my first crow I raised was at when he came to us. He was so needy and fragile but made it just fine. I miss "Nevermore". He was one of my all time favorite pets. Noisy to be sure but still lots of fun.

Afternoon Break

After looking at the picture of my welsh cupboard, I decided to make it look more matched, it looked rather mish-mashed. And although I do have many different tea cups, most of my dishes have place settings for 8 and 12 of the same pattern.
My favorite dishes are the ones now displayed. Wedgwood, American Clipper, no longer available and most of my collection was purchased before I was married. I have 12 place settings and many serving pieces and we use it often. Its ironstone so not as fragile as fine bone china.

The baby cardinals are growing so fast it is as if you could see them grow when you are looking at them.
I try hard not to intrude too much so I just put the camera over the nest and hope for a good shot.
Today for tea we had Coconut Dundee cake, a recipe posted on Revee's Country Road blog. I don't have the link for her recipe right now and if I steer away from my blog to get it, I will loose what I am uploading. Will include it later on my cbox.
It is a delightful cake, not too sweet and not heavy.
I added a few drops of Coconut extract to the recipe since coconut is one of my favorite flavors. Thanks Revee for a scrumptious recipe for afternoon tea time.
Its time for me to do some hand sewing and then let the chickens out of the coop. Then will catch up on my letter writing. Yes, I do snail mail and love it, but am dreadfully behind right now.

Bought A Home at Age 21

It was too nice for just heading home after going out to eat last night, so like in our old dating days, we went for a drive. Windows open, wind blowing our hair, radio on. The "oldies" station playing good songs. Sun just starting to get low on the horizon. We held hands and chattered like teenagers about the plans we have in our lives.
We headed off towards Stevens new place since we knew he would be there working on it. Its about 18 miles from our home so a nice little country ride.
Corn fields and Milo ready to harvest along each road. Cows grazing, simple farm roads all the way.
Finally it was time to turn onto his dirt road, jokingly called Ulrich Hill since so many of that family had at one time lived up there. Stevens place is off to the left as you get to the top of the hill. Everything is green or golden now as its a transition time in nature.
Not spring and not fully summer.
There is a fantastic breeze up at his place, well actually its more of a wind that races over the prairie.
He will do well in the summer with windows open. No need for air conditioners.
I am more in love with his barn then the house. Of course he is doing the entire house over now so its really a mess with everything torn out, but this barn is wonderful. A milking parlor extraordinaire ! His chicken house is pretty nice too, but this barn is so nice for goats. I will show you the house when its all done, in about 4 months time, since he wants to get married in November !
Steven has 5 acres of his own now and his head is full of plans. " Mom, I am going to put in flower beds and trees and a picket fence". His words rushed out with so much enthusiasm that it seemed like one big long word. I told him to plant a tree for each child they have and he loved that idea. To be able to watch the trees grow as the child grew.
He thought he would like a long row of those trees.
Some of the folks from the church came by, and I felt like such an outsider. An odd feeling. It made me sad a bit. No longer a part of that life. Those are the times I feel confused. " Am I missing out, am I wrong, am I sinning ?" By the time we are home, Emery has calmed my insecurities in this matter, telling me we are doing what we need to do and we are on the road we need to be on. Still, I feel a loss.
What must it be like for the old order Amish folks that leave and are forever shunned ? No contact. What must it be like for them to drive by their parents farm houses and not be able to stop and talk or see their loved ones. I can stop and talk to anyone, just there is a feeling of shame that I don't think will ever leave me.
Ahhh, such is life. There are hard things for all of us.
On a brighter note, Stevens face was so bright with talk of the future.
As are the faces of Melanie and Casimir. Yesterday we looked at apartments for them. Lovely ones, just down the road. Managed by a wonderful Christian couple. So many blessings all around us. Casi has a new job, working with my husband. All the men in the family in this area will be working for the same Mennonite company. Making good money to provide for the needs of their families.

The back yard of Stevens house, wonderful clothes line !

Looking off his front porch

Heading down Ulrich Hill back to the main road.

Bought A Home at Age 21

The road leading to Stevens new home, its on the top left of the picture
The barn
The chicken house and a mini barn

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sometimes A Girl Just Has To Shop

Sometimes a girl just has to shop, even those who like the simple life and talk about having too much "stuff". Today was that kind of day for me.
I headed off to Goodwill, money in my pocket. I found books I had wanted, a cute little oak box that has a place on the top for a piece of needlepoint. A tiny tea cup still all wrapped up new . It has a sweet Bible verse on one side. The books were good finds. Victorian Cross stitch, a book on Stitching on Linen and more.
I even found myself a darling Elizabeth dress and Jacket set, brand new, tags still on it, for $6. My total was less than $15
What a good day it was.
On to Big Lots where I found a great hat box and a matching little case that will be perfect for all my hankies.
Came home put the things away and then my Darling asked me if I would like a date. You bet, going out to eat is always a treat.

Survial of the Fittest

It was shocking to me this morning to see how much the little cardinals had grown in just one day, but I have to admit it was a bit disturbing to see that only 2 babies are now in the nest. Yesterday there was 4. One had been rather lethargic and there was another that seemed a bit less developed than the two strong ones. Those two are gone.
I am not sure if the mom knocked out the two weaker babies or if the stronger babies knocked them out of the nest, whatever, it was a reminder that in nature, the rule regarding the survival of the fittest is more than just a phrase.
When I came up to the nest this morning, the two remaining babies were sleeping, the slightest touch to the pine needles stirred one immediately and he/she was wide mouthed, ready for food.
I hope these two make it to the stage where they will fly out of the nest. I have seen so many nests on our land be invaded by some sort of creature.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Dishes and More Dishes !

My dear friend "Farm Girl" asked me where I keep all my dishes etc. A very good question indeed. So I thought I would share.The main holder of China is my Welsh Cupboard, it holds a lot of china and has two drawers, one I use for flatware and the other holds my many cloth napkins.
Some of my tea things stay on my tea cart all the time and then I have two shelves for tea cups. Now I have told myself not to collect more tea cups than these two shelves can hold but if something wonderful came on eBay or something, I may just break that rule.
My everyday dishes, three sets, yes, that is excessive I know, but I adore dishes and you need different kinds of dishes for different types of food and atmosphere right ??? well anyway they are stored in the kitchen cabinets, along with my glasses and stemware.
Linens all stay in the one and only linen closet in this old house, which is really the boys old bedroom closet.
When that gets full, I guess there will be no "new" linens added until I have the heart to move something along to make place for something new.
Its fun trying to be creative and put things together to make it look right for the moment.
That's half the fun of setting any table.

Hanging Laundry on a Humid Morning

It seems to multiply in the night, this laundry of mine. Yesterday it rained on and off most of the day, meaning no clothes washing got done. By this morning the sky cleared but the amount of laundry seemed to have doubled in the night. I was not looking forward to hanging up numerous loads on this hot humid day. It is by choice that we do not own a dryer. If I had a clothes dryer I could think of so many reasons to not go outside and use the line. "Its hot". "Its humid". "I am tired". "Less ironing" and on and on the list would grow. But hanging clothes outside on a line is good for a soul. Good exercise, with all the lifting, bending etc. Aerobic for sure. It's good for you emotionally too. Clears your mind and its a good time to pray.
After hanging up 4 lines full of whites and lights, my face was dripping and my hair looked as though it had just been soaked under a hose. But while I was out there, my mood softened. I felt sorta grumpy lugging out the first heavy basket, filled with towels. It was hot, I was thinking maybe this is time for a dryer, and wondered why everyone has so many articles of clothing and questioning why Melanie has to take so many showers and use so many towels at one time. The sound of the cicadas making their summer noise, and birds singing caught my attention. Listening, I looked up to see a hawk soaring against some of the fluffy white clouds. I saw the sun playing hide and seek behind some harmless low level gray clouds that were racing across the ocean blue sky.
My eyes now searching for more wonders of the day. The Italian pine, reaching upward with new branches, resembling spiny fingers, was once just a table top Christmas tree, now it is home to the nest of cardinals. The sunflowers turning their heads upward to the near noon sun. With a dryer, I would have missed all this. I knew that standing there too. The grumpy heart changed and I was grateful now for this time outside.
Even with each piece of clothing I hung, I thought about the person who owned it and said a prayer for them and silly as it may sound I hugged a few shirts, before pinning them up, thinking about the man that wears them. My true love, still my boyfriend after nearly 28 years of being his wife.
With a dryer I would have missed all these feelings and wondrous sights around me.
Think its best for me to stick to my old fashioned ways and not give in to all the modern conveniences.

Hide and seek sunlight

Looking south of the clothes line, the little Italian pine beside the yucca

Clothes flapping in the light breeze

The baby cardinals hungry for their meal, they seem much stronger today, one is sleeping, there are 4 total

A Changing World

For me, the world is becoming less pleasant at times and mostly due to social media and the way our lives are connected to it now, as oppo...