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Showing posts from January, 2006

Found More Pink Fabric

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God bless "staches" I found some additional pink fabric on the shelf so I was able to finish off the top. I made this a bit bigger than crib size so it can be used for a twin bed as the little one grows. Now I have to wait till the end of the week for my quilt frame to arrive before I get going on the hand quilting part.

Todays Fun

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This is a baby quilt I pieced today. I ran out of pink fabric for the sashing so will have to make a trip to the store tonight.I plan to quilt hearts in the white blocks.I have 3 baby quilts to do in the near future.

Legacies

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This morning as I was sewing and listening to some thought provoking music. It had me wondering about Legacies. Not the monetary type, but something passed on given from the heart and passed down to the next generation. Even if you have no children, think about nieces and nephews or on a broader scope, the neighborhood, your church etc.
I have read so many books in my life and in the biographies I have read or even the old novels of the 1800's, there was always someone who left a legacy to be proud of.
In many of the books I have read, the mother of the hero or heroine, was a woman that made a difference. And more often than not, the child was so impressed by this kindly mother that it impacted the very way the next generation lived and contributed to society.
My mother made a difference, not only in the way she raised her children, but in how she reached out to others. Always made our home a place people wanted to visit. She made everyone feel comfortable. When she pas…

A Little Weekend Shopping

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Its hard for me to think in terms of fat quarters when buying fabric. For years I bought 5-10 yards of whatever I was looking at, as it took 5 yards to make a "cape dress" for me as the skirts are very full and the top has an extra layer for modesty. A cape dress is the plain style dress Mennonite and Amish women wear and if I was going to make the girls matching dresses well then I bought 10 yards, which we often did. I needed even more if the boys wanted matching shirts if it was a darker solid color fabric. In the last couple years I have managed to think in terms of 3 - 5 yards. Just recently I purchased fabric in 1 yard cuts. The fat quarters still seem so strange to me and if I do find a fat quarter I like, I can't buy just one, but at least 4 of them. In time I may begin to grasp buying small amounts of fabric but as yet, it hasn't happened. This weekend I did by a couple of 1/2 yard pieces of baby fabric but the rest I purchased in 1-3 yards. My she…

A Present for Me

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My dear husband ordered this Grace quilting frame for me today and it may arrive by the end of the week. I will try to be patient. He ordered it from the very nice people at Kathy Quilts which can be found at http://www.kathyquilts.com/customer/home.php

I am so anxious to get it and set it up. I love to quilt, much more than the piecing part.
Just not sure where I want to put the frame . There is room in the living room so may put it there so I can quilt while chatting with my family in the evenings.

Amish & Mennonite Catalogs

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Both Gohn Brothers and GVS have some good old fashioned quilting supplies. Gohn Brothers sells fabric along with many other Old Order Amish items, such as Amish and Plain clothing, hard to find items that are honestly just that. They have been in business for over 100 years. We have been doing business with them for many years and have always been happy with whatever we have ordered.
They will send out fabric samples too.
GVS has wonderful old fashioned toys for children along with many other items used by Mennonites. Cotton diapers, shoes, socks, greeting cards, and they have a large assortment of quilting threads and some quilting patterns.
And other sewing needs.
Both catalogs are a must for simple living needs.
Telephone numbers to order a catalog are...
GVS 1-800-398-2494
email for them is sales@gvsdis.com
Gohn Brothers phone is 1-800-595-0031, since they are old order Amish there is no email address for them, but their snail mail address is
Gohn Bros.
Box 1110
Middlebury, IN …

A Quiet night

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Some thoughts I would like to share on this quiet sunday evening.
Thanks everyone for the kind comments on the picture of myself. I am suspecting some of you expected to see an Amish looking woman and a few years back you would have.
We still live a very simple life as we did when we were part of the plain community but we have changed some aspects of our lives. Like how we dress and to be honest I have always struggled with being submissive like plain women should be.
There is a feisty, inquisitive side to me that just cannot be stifled. And besides if I was a plain woman, I sure wouldn't be blogging !
Enough said....

For All Who Asked, This is ME

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Here I am, sitting at the computer in our one room that is not completed yet in this old house. Its also our only high tech room. For those who think we live completly off the grid, this is the room that proves we don't. It has the computer in it along with all my exercise equiptment. Confession time...I am an exercise junkie. I love to work out. My exercise machines actually get used and have no dust on them. I love to run and much of my time is spent running, letting the wind blow in my face. I would work out 3 hours a day if I could justify it.

A Visit to Whole Foods

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The first week in December I went to the Doctors. I had the flu. Two days before Christmas I went back to the Doctors. The flu had become pneumonia. My 6th time having it.
Well, to make a long story short, I am still coughing. I don't much like western medicine but took all the medicine prescribed since I have almost died twice with pneumonia. Now I am tired of this cough and inhalers and all that junk. So today we headed off to Whole Foods, which to me is like the best store in the world. I love that place.
I have been studying herbs for well over 20 years and am just about done with my master herbalists, so that store is health food heaven to me.
I got myself stocked up on things I know will help chase this hanging on cough away.
One bag and $80 later we were finished shopping. Everything is for my cough except the incense. Anyone who knows me knows I love incense and have them burning all most all the time. Must be some kick back from my hippy days. I figure today they are part of …

Cranberry Coffee Cake

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Here is the recipe for one of the desserts we had last night.
This has been a favorite family recipe for generations.

CRANBERRY COFFEE CAKE

1 stick margarine or butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pint sour cream
1 teaspoon almond flavoring
1 can WHOLE BERRY cranberry sauce
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Cream margarine and add sugar. Add unbeaten eggs and mix. Add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream. Add flavoring. Grease and flour a tube pan or bundt pan. Put layer of batter on bottom, little more than half the batter. Add half the cranberry sauce. Layer remaining batter. Layer remaining cranberry sauce and sprinkle with nuts.
Bake at 350 for 55 minutes. Cool 5 minutes then remove from the pan.
Frosting: Mix well 3/4 cup confectioners sugar, 2 Tablespoons warm water and 1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring. Spread over warm cake, letting it drizzle over the sides.


Amish White Bread Recipe

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This is one of the easiest breads to make and although its white bread, its very tasty. As you can see in the picture, I love it toasted along with a cup of coffee for my breakfast.
You can "fool around" with the flours in this recipe and substitute some of the white flour for whole wheat or some other flours. This is the one white bread recipe I do make for the family once in a while to have a break from whole wheat.



Amish White Bread Recipe
Ingredients:
2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/ 45 degrees C )
2/3 cups white sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 cups white flour

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in the warm water, add yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam

2. Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Work in 5-6 cups of flour. Knead dough on a lightly floured level surface until smooth.
Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn once to coat the entire surface of the dough with oil. Cover with a clean damp cotto…

Baking Bread

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It would not be hard for anyone to assume I am a bit of a purist when it comes to most homemaking skills. After all I spin my own yarn, knit my own socks, make my own soap, sew my own clothes, wouldn't dream of having a sewing machine that embroidered for me and so on and so on. So, it should come as no surprise that I think bread machines are just tiny factories in your own home and you are not really baking bread at all, the machine is. Yes, you can control the ingredients, but you sure are not making your own bread. Its sort of like saying you bake your own cakes but use a mix.
There is no talent to adding a bunch of ingredients into a machine and letting it do all the work. Where is the exercise in that? It's true, making bread is exercise . Kneading bread dough works those arm muscles good. And feeling the dough to decide if you have enough flour or not, and checking the temperature of the milk or water you add the yeast to is talent. It takes time and exper…

Busy Day

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Today is a busy day for me, we are having company tonight which means an added 11 people at our table. So you can imagine its a day of cooking and baking. I did manage to get some quilting done this morning while the bread was raising.
The menu is Zippy Beef casserole, steamed corn, fresh home made bread, fried cabbage and for dessert there is either cranberry coffee cake or pumpkin squares.
The house is all tidy and ready for quests so I took some pictures to show you more of my house. All the pictures on my blog are most often taken right here at home, where I spend most of my time.
The fire has the house cozy and warm today which made for good bread baking.
Lets see, there is a picture of our boys old bedroom, now used a guest room and their old bookshelves hold my fabric. Two of my own dolls, Baby Dear sit on one of the beds. If you think there appears to be clutter around, these are just things used daily.
Another picture is of some items I use in the kitchen, they sit on a…

A Wooly Wonderful Gift

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With todays mail was a huge box from a friend of mine.
It was a gift of wool. Shetland wool, just want I have been wanting to spin for a special project.
I opened the box and the living room filled with the good to me smell of lanolin. I cannot wait to get this wool washed and carded and begin to spin it.
Thanks Marci !

The Best Farm Shoes Ever

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With experience there is an opportunity for wisdom. On the farm it was always hard to find work shoes that were good. Mud boots are fine for wet weather but they sure aren't much protection against animals stepping on your toes. Leather work boots are ok but they get wet and then they tend to change shape, and most of them have an amazing ability to collect mud in the soles. And to be honest, big old work boots don't go well with my skirts. You begin to think I ought to have a corn cob pipe held tight in my jaw, and be an expert moonshiner. Yes, I know that is a stereotype, but we are good at that sort of visualization.
Many years ago we came up with the perfect farm shoe. Works great with heavy wool socks or just bare feet in summer. Keeps the wetness out in rainy weather, and a cow can step on your toe and you are just alright. Now admittedly these shoes are not the style at this time but they do receive lots of comments if you happen to wear them to town. My yo…

The Blues

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Some things just strike you funny, when its not all that funny at all. Yesterday when these two blue dresses were on the line I had a brief thought about their colors. Shades of blues, and as I mused about that for a quick second I thought about the phrase "the blues" and wondered where it came from. I think if it was up to me to coin a phrase for feeling down, it would have been called, "the Grays". Like a dreary sky or something. I laughed thinking about my "blues" hanging on the line.
There are very few times in my life when I feel down. Seems to me there is always hope. I am a complete optimist. Probably stemming from a faith that is very child like. I just always feel things will work out.
The only "blues" I know right now is these two dresses hanging on the line !

Reading in the Evening

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From the time I was a little girl, going to Mr. Murphy's used book store in North Reading Massachusetts with my Grandmother, I have loved old books. Mr. Murphy was a man that marched to his own drum beat. His book store filled with old books. The musty smell of the books combined with a couple of old fat cats made for the atmosphere straight out of some old novel. The man knew every book he had in his store, how I will never know. He didn't have any sort of filing system and the books if in any order, the order was understood by him alone. I am not even sure if he had a cash register. I think he had a simple drawer with dividers for the money.
He liked me, and wanted to cultivate in me a love of books. I would find a story book and ask how much it was, his answer was always about the same. 5 cents. One time I went in there with my family and on the shelf was every book Louisa M Alcott had written, in matched 1st editions. I longingly looked at those. I loved …

Silence

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In many homes there is rarely silence. The Television is on in several rooms, perhaps a radio is playing too. Cars are zooming by outside. Buzzers go off for our many appliances and phones ring and the list of noise makers goes on and on.
When I am the only one home, silence seems to sneak in. When the children started to go off in their adult directions of work and marriage, I found it difficult to cope with the silence. I would hurry to turn on some music. I was uncomfortable with the silence. For so many years I heard the children's voices all day long. We homeschooled for 17 years so there was no time without the children around. I loved that but at that time I would wonder what quiet would be like and dreamed of it at times. Four children can make a lot of noise, even well behaved children.
I find that slowly I am embracing this silent time of my day. It grows more comfortable. The ticking of the clock on the piano is often all I hear besides my steps on the bare …

Uncluttered Simplicity

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Uncluttered Simplicity

The older I get the less I want around the house as clutter. It takes so much time to move a bunch of things to dust and clean. It takes time to keep clean nic nacks and collections.
I have grown to love the look of simplicity. When the children were all home, there was a need to have more around the house for their projects and for homeschooling. And then there were toys of course.
But now, I find myself wondering why I would need so much stuff. In this country now, it is more common then not to see people with storage sheds in their yards. Storage facilities that people rent are everywhere. Houses have garages so full the car could never fit in. Why do we need so much I wonder ? What does this say about us ? My mother always wanted to have a full pantry and she said it was due to the lack of things during the depression, which makes sense to me. But why would a nation of plenty want to hold on to more and more and more ? It seems it makes life hard…

Aprons, Dresses and Quilts

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These shelves hold the fabric for future dresses, aprons, pillow cases and of course quilts. When I walk into the room where these shelves are, I stand looking at the colors and wonder what each piece will become. Some are pieces left over from summer curtains for the living room and some pieces were bought with no purpose in mind at all.When I iron each day, I face all these fabrics and imagine in my mind what the possibilities are.

Yummy Corn Bread

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My family loves corn bread. Simple as that. We have two ways of making it. One of the recipes I use is for a sweet corn bread that gets rave reviews from everyone who eats it. Its light, fluffy and a bit sweet. Its wonderful with honey or maple syrup drizzeled over it for breakfast or a snack. Its good with just about any kind of meal. We often have it when we have baked beans. I often slice a piece in half, butter it and then grill it and serve it with a hearty farmers breakfast. The second type of corn bread I make is the skillet type. Just a simple recipe and not a sweet one. I pour the batter in the iron skillet and stick it in the oven. Its a more hearty old fashioned recipe and good in its own right. We purchase our corn meal from a Christian Community in Elm Mott Texas. Stone ground and fresh as can be. Not one bit of bitterness in their corn meal.Here is the recipe for the sweeter corn bread. Its worth the work, just don't think about the butter or calori…

Fergus' First Rain

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Fergus enjoyed the rain so much we couldn't get him to go in his house or seek any kind of shelter. He just ran around playing in the rain. He would sit facing the direction the storm was coming from and bark at the thunder and then just run and jump around like he was having a grand old time. But no matter what we did, he would head out to play in the wet. Poor thing looked a fright !

A Moment of Your Time

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As I look at these watches, one mine, given to me by my youngest daughter and the other belonged to my great grandmother, I remember a line in a song. Something to do with the "17 jewels that dictate the rules".
That song was in the 1970's and people felt that we were too rushed then, being forced to do certain things since the clock told us it was time to.
Now we fuss about not having DSL because it makes us wait longer for things, maybe a whole MINUTE. I don't have DSL. Not sure I want it. It will make me expect things faster and already the times we live in have made us a generation of words like "fast food", "Speedy", "High Speed", "no waiting", "quickie mart" and so on. We are impatient if we have to wait in line for any reason. Some will even put their items back if the lines are long or if there is something wrong at the register. Where is everyone going in such a hurry ? People pass you if you go the…

Sunday Morning Breakfast

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With the fire roaring, breakfast was on the table in no time. Food cooks fast on a hot stove. There is no turning away from your chore when the fire is blazing. Nothing but cast iron pans will do.
There was oatmeal bubbling away in the small iron pot, so old and well seasoned from many decades of cooking. Potatoes frying in the pan and eggs and sausage gently cooking in yet another fry pan. Chai tea warming in the back. The table set. A plate filled full for my hungry husband. There is wood to be hauled in and he needs his fuel.
The lantern lit and set close to the plates, to chase away the dreariness that come with heavy rain clouds. A perfect morning for curling up on the sofa with a good book...now to decide which book to read. Maybe today I will pull out my old well worn leather bound copy of "The Path to Home" by Edgar Guest. His poems always make me feel good. They are the kind of poems that make you sigh a good kind of sigh. One of agreement and on…

Rain For a Parched Land

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While climbing up into my bed last night, my ears caught a strange sound, rumblings from the sky. I strained my ears to hear more and as I pulled the covers up around my neck against the cold night, I saw it, flashes of light in the dark gray sky. There was lightening ! It seemed forever before the accompanying gentle pitter patter of rain arrived, but it did and it lasted throughout the night.
The morning broke with misty dampness. The chill more intense as rain often makes it. That damp cold that seeps down into the core of your bones. Hard to shake that kind of cold off.
With childlike enthusiasm I dressed in a hurry, as though I was getting to play in the snow. This elusive rain had finally appeared and I wanted to touch it, feel it on my face and hear it more clearly falling on the tin roof as if the drops were dancing a lively Irish jig.
I grabbed my camera of course. Mud boots were on, jacket, scarf, gloves. I was set. Fergus greeted me looking like an giant drenche…

Shopping at The Country Store

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My shopping cart filled up with goodies from The Country Store. Some of the items were home made noodles, soup mixes, spices, home made ketchup, local honey and a new favorite. Lady Finger Pop Corn. Its such tiny little kernels and they pop up so nicely. Its what we ended up with for supper tonight along with some applesauce. The store carries lovely hankies for children with farm animals on them. A friend of mine recently made a quilt top for a grandchild using the little hankies. It came out so cute. They also have pretty ladies hankies, and although I have a drawer full of hankies in my nightstand, the temptation was too great and one more came home with me. I also purchased some diaper pins. Always handy to have around the house for one reason or another and because its been a long time since there were babies at this house, all the diaper pins have disappeared through time. We were a cloth diaper family, even using cloth on our across country road trips. All things …

The Country Store

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Around noon time my husband and I headed off to The Country Store. Its a sweet store owned by friends of ours. They opened it in late October but for some reason we just never have driven the 15 miles over there to see it. Last night we made the commitment to go and do some shopping. If ever you find yourself in Grandview Texas, right off Interstate 35, make sure to find the store and do some shopping. The baked goods are wonderful and there are so many home made jams, jellies and relishes. You will also find some very nice quilts, all hand quilted by one of the younger mothers in the church.

A Few Years in the Making

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I really don't remember how many years ago I started this quilt. It didn't take long to put it together and I was going great guns in quilting it at first, then life happened as it does and this poor quilt got folded up and put in the closet. I am surprised it didn't fade with age ! Today when I was looking for a pattern for a little girls dress I found this old quilt, half done. I took it out and ran my finger over the quilting, remembering how I wanted to have so many stitches per inch. Tiny straight stitches. Its time to finish it up and use it as it should be used. I remember picking the colors for a girls room all done in pastels and flowers, now its a room of Asian decoration and the girl is a young woman. Guess that gives you an idea of how long its been !

the weather is sunny and warm, 69 degrees
no music, just the ticking of the mantle clock
Barrys Irish tea waiting for me to drink, 2 sugars and a spot of milk

Generations

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This is a picture of my great great Grandmother, Harriet Amelia Densmore born in 1846. She is standing outside her home in Noel, Nova Scotia. There is nothing all that remarkable about a photo of a ancestor standing in front of her home but to me what is remarkable is that I got to stay in this house. I got to sleep in a odd size feather bed with my sister in a room that my great grandmother had as her room. Actually it was the same bed. My cousin owns the house now. The house has been in the family since the 1820's. Its been added on to a couple times. It now has a big screened in porch and another room.
It faces the ocean, the Bay of Fundy, where the tide comes in at record speed.
At the top of the stairway is a huge old spinning wheel, a Great Wheel. When I saw it there, I stood there imagining all the hands that made yarn with that wheel. I was looking at something that those before me used to make needed items for their families.
When I was there, walking along the path to the r…

Recipe for Sweet Rolls

Here ya go ladies, the recipe. Now I will climb back into bed as the bug has returned with vengeance. Guess I should have stuck with chicken noodle soup yesterday and left the cinnamon roll alone !



BASIC SWEET ROLLS RECIPE

4 - 4 1/2 cups flour
1 pkg (1 Tablespoon active dry yeast)
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 Teaspoon salt
2 eggs

In large bowl combine 2 cups of the flour with the yeast. Heat milk, sugar, butter and salt just till warm (115-120 degrees F) stir constantly, ( I never do that ) Add to flour mixture, add eggs, beat at low speed with electric mixer for 1/2 minute. I mix with a spoon. Beat for 3 minutes at high speed, again I mix with a spoon, makes a good workout.
Stir in as much remaining flour as you can. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. 6 - 8 minutes total.
Shape into a ball, put in greased bowl, turning once. Cover and let rise in a warm draft free place until it is double in siz…

Amish Cinnamon Roll Baking Day

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Back to normal health wise so it was a busy day on the old homestead. It was time again to make one of the families favorites. Amish cinnamon rolls. You make your favorite sweet bread dough, roll it out brush on melted butter, and sprinkle the dough with a bit of cocoa, cinnamon and brown sugar. I usually add a bit of white sugar too. Roll it up, slice it and put it in the pan to rise. When its done rising, pour cream all over them, and some in the pan. Yup, cream. Bake them according to your sweet bread recipe instructions. Watch your time as rolls bake faster of course. Makes the most delightfully moist cinnamon rolls.
There are never any of these that get stale in our house !
We always make them big too. This size pan which is huge, uses a double recipe of dough.

When You are Sick

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Just like in the olden days, when you are sick on the farm, you still have to do the chores. We have all had some nasty stomach bug complete with all the things you never want to experience. But still, the animals have to be fed and wood needs to be brought in for the stove etc. Yesterday morning the house was cold, and I had a fever. My husband was out working and I needed to warm up the house so sick as can be, I still had to light the woodstove. It took a lot to pull myself out of the warm bed and face the cold house. It sure makes you know what you are made of.
I have watched my children milk goats with fevers and tend to their chores when they were not feeling all that great. Part of farm life. There is no such thing as "calling in sick"
Since we don't have any sort of 'instant" meals on hand, I was mighty glad no one felt like eating, since I didn't feel like cooking. Glad it was a short lived bug. Back to normal in a couple days. Lots of…

Daddys Hands

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This morning I was listening to a tape called Precious Memories and "Daddys Hands" is one of the songs on the tape.
My children have just such a Daddy. He is so loving, so hard working, so gentle and kind. I love this mans hands for the many kind deeds and the hard work they do for his family. We are so blessed to have this man in our lives. In the 27 years we have been married I have never ever heard an unkind work or harsh word come from his lips.

Daddy's Hands
I remember daddy's hands folded silently in prayer
and reaching out to hold me when I had a nightmare
you could read quite a story in the caluses and lines
years of work and worry had left their mark behind
I remember daddy's hands how they held my momma tight
and patted my back for something done right
there are things that i've forgotten that I loved about the man
but I'll always remember the love in daddy's hands
[chorus]
Daddy's hands were soft and kind when I was cryin
Daddy's hands we…