Friday, August 31, 2007

And The Winner Is....

Mei-Ling dug her little hand, (it was a bit wet from just coming from her mouth) into the basket of names and pulled up Lisa in N.M.
Mei-Ling seemed delighted with the whole game, except she wasn't too happy to let go of the name when I needed to read it. So here is a happy picture of her with the name of the winner.
Lisa if you will email me with your mailing address I will get the cards off to you Tuesday.
Thanks everyone for participating and I suspect I may do a drawing for Christmas cards in a week or so. This was so much fun !

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Card Give Away at 5ish Friday

Just a reminder.... Friday around 5 p.m. (might not be exact as the baby may have other plans for me at that moment) will be the drawing for the note card give-away. Last chance to get you name in the pot for the drawing ! Just leave me a comment here or leave a comment in the CBox section of my blog

Grammie's Fun Day

Mei-Ling doesn't like to miss anything that is going on around her so she fights to stay awake. I took about 60 pictures of her when it was nap time, documenting her fight to stay awake. She was not about to give in but at last, sleep won out. Her tiny feet and hands fascinate me with their delicate movements and their perfect shape.
I had such a fun day, got nothing done around the house but....this wee one is all giggles and smiles, which are such treasured moments and nothing was more important that these seconds in time, so dear and so treasured. She is one medications that upset her stomach, but she doesn't fuss much as all. A brave little one she is. Melanie called a couple times to see how we were making out so I put Mei-Lings ear up to the phone so she could hear her Mommy's voice...Mei-Ling was looking all around the room for her mommy when she heard her voice on the phone. Its now 10:30 at night... baby sleeps in cozy sleepers, her tummy full, her diaper dry. Blanket covers her and a special teddy bear at her side, I can only hope she sleeps through the night !
Tomorrow morning I take her to the Urologist for a pre-surgery test...its been a long time since I have taken on such an adventure with a wee one. I have made lists and checked and rechecked the diaper bag.

A Feeling So Full of Peace

This week-end, Grampie and Grammie get to baby-sit ! Melanie and Casi are taking a well deserved weekend trip. It was just their first wedding anniversary the 26th.
Mei-Ling is here with me now, piano music filling the house as she sleeps, gentle music, the kind that makes you feel mellow, contemplative, the keys seem to know the way the soul feels.
The sweet face of the tiny one, her fingers bent as if to gently hold on to life itself. Her breathing gentle and easy. Not a care in the world showing on her round little face. I marvel at the idea that another generation is before me, pieces of her mother, her father, her grandparents and aunts and uncles all within her, yet she is uniquely and marvelously all her own person. I am flooded with a peacefulness as I watch her sleep. She is a miracle, as are all babies, as is our sweet Elizabeth.
I know that in these babies life time, I will read stories to them, hold them, rock them, bake cookies with them, tell them about places I have been and speak words to them in Yiddish, in Hebrew, in French, in German and learn from them words in Thai, Spanish and Pennsylvania Dutch. We will sing silly songs together and learn about plants and animals. From them, I will learn to touch the world of a child all over again. I will spin and spin till I fall down with them, I will swing high on the swing, and play hide and seek. I will skip and jump again. Life will unfold with all the magic of childhood right before my eyes.
This little baby sleeping by me, is at the stage where she is laughing now, giggles roll from her lips with bubbles and drool, her tiny hands reach for me, hold my fingers and pat my arm. The joy of this new generation is profound. I have a feeling deep in my soul, a feeling so full of peace and I believe I know now the entire meaning of life, it is to embrace all the love around you. It is to see and feel the holiness of life.

Mei-Ling sleeping

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Would You Pray

My Auntie, who I love so much is having a surgical procedure tomorrow morning at 6:45. Would you just say a little prayer for her that it will go well. She is just one of the nicest ladies in the world, busy, active and she means the world to me.
Thanks everyone !

My Aunt Jeanne with my great grandfather
And here she is just looking so chic

Living Humbly and Simply

This afternoon I was reading the definition of two words, simply and humbly and was struck by how the two words can be interchanged in certain sentences regarding life style.
We have all heard the phrases, "a humble cottage", "the humble parish priest" and "humble beginnings". You get the same idea, the same picture in your mind if you say, " a simple cottage", "the simple parish priest" and "simple beginnings". Living simply, might just be the same as trying to live humbly in many ways. You can even use the word plainly, in place of simply and humbly. But the word humble is a tough one. Humility is so against the grain of modern life, where possessions account for so much of what we think is our value. Living simply and plainly just make you such an odd ball. You have to explain yourself so much, share the why of your lifestyle. I can do the simple and plain thing, I can say we live humbly, its our choice, but to say I am humble, that's another story all together. Different creature.

I work at being humble, it's not a natural mindset for me. My ego rises like a roaring lion more often then I would like to even admit to. I struggle with it all the time. Its not something you can hide from the people that know you best either. Sure its good to feel good about yourself but that's not what I am talking about. One search through the Bible for verses about being humble lets you know the attitude is not a natural one, its work. Its surrendering. Its different then choosing to live in humble circumstances.
This verse alone tells me that being humble goes along with other attitudes, Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Bearing with one another in love....does that mean being tolerant of those not at the same place in their christian walk ? Does it mean, not jumping the gun and judging others who are yet babes in Christ, or worn out, discouraged ? Does it mean being gentle to those who have fallen down and feel too broken to get up on their own ? You bet it does ! Does it mean, thinking more of others than yourself ? You know the answer there too. Romans 12:10 says, Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Hebrews 10:24 says "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds". That sort of leaves out any idea that we need to knock someone down a peg or two and smiling at how much better we look by doing so.
We can live simply, plainly and even live in humble circumstances by choice but to be humble is a deep work of the heart. To be aware each and every moment of those around us, of our words, our deeds, our hearts desires. By having a humble heart, I suspect everything else falls into place.
I have a lot of work to do in learning to live each and every moment of my life with humility. Let it be the work of my heart !

Information on Ordering MorningRamble Cards

Thank you all, for the great response to my new endeavor. I have been overwhelmed with pre-orders for the MorningRamble Cards . My web page is not available yet, so I will try and set up something with Esty today or tomorrow until the web page is available.
I will be having several sets available with specific themes, you can order with or without a quote by me on them. At this point I plan on keeping all the photography, shots from home or at least shots taken on my morning walk near home.
The themes will be...
Simple Living, our homestead
Tea Time
Spinning and Knitting
The cards are on good quality card stock, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches and will sell for $2.50 cents each or 12 in a set for $24 plus shipping. At present it is my plan for you to be able to choose which how many of each design you want within each category, so you can mix and match or have all of one design.
It is our plan to have the cards available for sale in the early part of September. Feel free to email me at with any questions or about pre-ordering cards .
Here is a sampling of some of the designs that will be available, photos taken in natural filtered light and in artificial light

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

India's Cotton Growers

Tonight Emery and I watched PBS's Wide Angle. The show was about the "The Dying Fields" of India's cotton farms in Vidarbha, India's Cotton belt. In 2006, 1,044 suicides were reported in Vidarbha alone - that's one suicide every eight hours. To find out why this is happening, read this article I had no idea this was happening. We live in a world of instant communication, a world made small by technology, yet this has been a relatively unknown issue to most of us. The solution to this situation can be had for a small price compared to what we spend on luxuries in this country.
Most of this story can be viewed here Knowing about such issues should birth within our hearts a level of compassion that brings about change.
Frontline did a great job of reporting this story, the sad story of the "Seeds of Suicide"
American companies ship Genetically Modified seeds for these small farmers to grow, yet they have no irrigation and at the end of the season, no seeds to plant for the next year. They end up taking loans they cannot repay for more seed. In shame they commit suicide rather than see their land taken from them.
Makes my life seem so abundant by comparison.

Sweet Cornbread Recipe

Sweet Cornbread
1/2 cup butter melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups baking mix like bisquick
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup cornmeal
mix together and bake in a 9x9 greased pan
in a 350 degree F oven for 35 minutes
(180 C , Gasmark 4)
I used white corn meal so the cornbread is not as yellow as usual, the photo makes it look like it is though : )

Just An Ordinary Day

The day started before the sun rose above the juniper trees along the eastern fence line. The wash I had put in before turning out the lights last night was waiting to be hung up in the cool morning air. I remember thinking while hanging the clothes about how nice it will be when the entire day is cool and when socks and long johns will be welcome against the chill in the air.
The kittens chased my the hem of my skirt and got underfoot the entire time I was working. The lines full, it was time to feed the hens and see what damage the possum had done. We have a live trap, but haven't set it yet. Last night as Emery was looking up the chicken house, a large owl flew out of the tree by the woodshed. I wondered if he was hoping for a stray chicken for his evening meal. I was glad Emery was out there with a flashlight in his hand. There are so many creatures of the night that look for opportunity to feed on our chickens.
The sun creeping up the sky reminded me that the day was unfolding and I had lots to do. I gathered my skirt up around my ankles and headed up the back steps and into the house. Even with all our children grown and with homes of their own, I have plenty to do each day.
I plan a simple lunch to pack and take to Emery....glad he works only a couple miles from home. Two peanut butter sandwiches, spread with this years plum jam made from our own trees bounty. Wrapped in wax paper, fresh milk, cold glass bottle full, a banana for each of us and a tiny package of animal crackers, they look more like school lunches for two little children than lunches for grandparents. Emery greets me with a huge grin, he is always so happy to see me. We bow our heads at his desk and Emery asks the blessing. We talk and eat. An old friend comes in the office, Emery gets called away and this friend of mine sits down and eats her packed lunch that she had hoped to share with her son but he was gone from the office. We talk about our children and grandchildren, she has 14 grandchildren now. More to come in the future I am sure. More friends stop by the office to see husbands or fathers. It feels comfortable. In time I have to leave this time of visiting to run some errands for my new note card business. I feel so blessed its taking off so well. God is good. I get a call from my son in law, can I pick up a friend while I am in town. How blessed I felt to be able to help out and so glad that my life is one of being able to be home where my life is not rushed. I stopped off at Melanie's to give her a little painted bucket that says Home Sweet Home on it and of course see our sweet Mei-Ling. Her surgery is planned for Sept 5, so please pray for her and ask those you know to pray also. Melissa and I chat on the phone, she wanted some of moms advice.
By early afternoon I have spoken to all my children.
At home I start planning our evening meal. We eat simple foods most of the time. I try some new recipes but we always migrate back to the old regular farm foods. Old style cooking. Tonight it will be corn bread, baked beans, baked sweet potatoes and perhaps Emery will want a fried egg with his meal. The corn bread made of stone ground corn meal, packed in cloth bags, it will be a sweet corn bread baked in a iron skillet. Served with sweet butter. It is simple fare for simple living folk. We do best keeping things simple.
The house is filling up with the wonderful smell of sweet potatoes baking. It just feels like an ordinary day, filled with extraordinary joy.
my kitchen table just moments ago, corn bread in the making.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Give Away from MorningRamble

MorningRamble is stretching it's wings a bit and I have begun selling note cards and greeting cards with my photography and some of my writings. So far they have been well received and I have had nothing but praise for them. By October I plan on having a line of Christmas cards available for sale, all with a homestead, simple living theme.
I thought that it might be fun to give away a package of six blank note cards to one of my readers. All you need to do is leave a comment for me and I will have a drawing on Friday to pick a winner.

The Simple Life

Simple living is not about doing without, its more about doing with...doing with what you need and not chasing after all the things you want. It's about doing things with the rhythm of nature, working with the cycles of the garden, of the animals and their time to give wool or milk. It's about taking time to think, to see, to enjoy the things that have nothing to do with the cost of something. It's about making things and learning to enjoy family time more than running around chasing after things. It's all about finding out what will really matter in the end.
roving in the sunlight

Admitting It Wasn't The Best Way

It was the last thing on my mind last night and the first thing on my mind this morning.... I wasn't happy with how I explained my thoughts in the post before this. I thought about hopping out of bed, turning on the computer and just going in and editing the post so that it said more of what I was trying to say. But by the time I had gone to bed, about 200 readers had read the post, editing it would be lost to the folks that read it already. So, I rolled over and went to sleep. But long before the sun rose in the eastern sky, my mind was turning, thinking of how to phrase what I wanted to say.... talking it out in my head. Defining in my own mind my thoughts.
Lots of folks shy away from admitting they have made mistakes in life...its embarrassing, it shows others you are not perfect, ( as if they didn't know !) and it feels a bit uncomfortable pride wise. Probably most folks have already heard about Mother Teresa's letter where she wrote about her doubts in God, she wondered if he existed and for a time she just went on with her work, going through the motions without really believing. Oh my, hearing that made me feel so good, not good that Mother Teresa had a difficult time in her life regarding her faith, but it made me feel good that I was not alone in having a time of serious doubt about God. I saw that I was not alone, not a strange and weird creature to doubt, but that even the most pious have had the same experience. I started to look at her outcome, move beyond where she was, where I have been struggling and look at the end results. So with that in mind I am going to share a bit about what I so tentatively touched on in my last post.
This is no big family secret or hidden fact, so no licking your lips now thinking you are going to hear some juicy gossip type thing. On the way to the airport Debbie and I had a long conversation about some of the similarities of our parents and how they were not all emotional with us. They were tough in some ways. I always knew I was loved and had hugs and kisses but they didn't give in to us. We certainly were not allowed to brood, or fuss. We learned to deal with stuff on our own. Not always the best policy to be sure but it was strength building. We knew the rules, we knew what was expected of us and the rest was up to us. My parents were not hard people, but good solid folks, the kind to be admired. I don't want anyone reading this to think they were not good parents, they were wonderful parents, full of fun and laughter but not the type to coddle you. Debbie and I talked about how this type of parenting is not really the "in thing" now. Parenting is all about, "poor Roger, his teacher scolded him today for fighting, so I am going to go have that teacher fired." or even for the playground set, little childhood squabbles are taken over by the parents, leaving the child with little skill in managing conflict.
I could use a1,000 examples sad to say of this type of thing. Parents give in to each and every whim of the child, filling the house with toys, gadgets and junk food to eat that takes over for filling the emotional needs, what ever the child wants they get. Now to my own confession of guilt in this area. We raised our own children on the farm. Hard work, no babying, lots of love, lots of fun but a bit on the tough side so they would be self reliant. They still had to do chores with a cold or stomach ache, they had to muck out the barns and head out into the cold winter morning to milk and then do chores around the house after school work was done. We gave many hugs, talked about the things that bothered them etc, read stories, took them fun places etc, a good mixture it seems as they are wonderful, well balanced adults, except in the case of one child. We spoiled Melanie...oh there were good reasons for that, at least we thought so. She knows all this, its not an expose that she will read and have her jaw drop open. Its no secret. When a child comes so close to death, when a child is chronically ill, you treat them differently. A couple reasons for understand that life is fragile, you feel bad that they have to endure so much and be different from the other children, so you give in, trying to make their life easier in areas that you can since there is this one big major area of pain you have no control over. Its not easy seeing a 7 year old have 3 shots a day and stick themselves for a blood sample 5 times each day. You hurt for them too and you want to treat them to something to make up for the pain. You want to shield them from anything else hard or painful. They end up not learning as many coping skills. All the parents I know of chronically ill children can say all the things I just said. And in no book on living with a sick child that I have read, do they talk about the results of doing this.

I see Melanie now with her own sick child struggling to cope on her own with all that is happening. We didn't prepare her for this kind of life situation. We still want to pick up the pieces for her but realize we can't. We failed Melanie by not letting her learn from life's lessons and I worry about all the millions of children now in the world, nothing wrong with them, just simply being spoiled, they have trouble coping, so they retreat. Stay in their parents basement until they are 35, no job, no money, no desire to change and dawn breaks on the parents, "we have created a monster". Fortunately, we didn't create a monster, just a young woman that seems fragile at times. We have seen how she can rally and step up to the plate, she is learning that more and more, and we are so proud of her, but we could have made it easier for her, we could have prepared her for the hard things in life better if we had not given in to her so many times. The best advice I can give a parent with a sick child is to treat them the same as your other children. We didn't do Melanie any favor by taking away the hard things in life. I read about the woman preparing to move to Montana with her children to meet with her husband and thought "oh my, what a strong woman". Our young country was settled by people who had not been coddled. I think about my great great great grandmother, came over from Ireland, married a seaman in Nova Scotia, had three children, her husband was lost at sea when the youngest was a baby and had to make it on her own. No family to run to, no government funds to live off of, nothing but her own skill and ingenuity to make a life in a difficult situation. Her daughter my great great grandmother, a fine woman. Raised up a strong and healthy family of her own with a good man beside her. I have slept in the very house they lived in and raised their family. People as strong as the timbers that formed that house, still lived in today by family. My sweet Melanie is having to learn so many hard life lessons now, that life is not fair not only for her but for her sweet tiny baby. She is having to deal with her own health and that of her babies. She is finding out just how hard it is to parent and to worry and to have no time to yourself. Melanie is resilient, she has an inner strength that is now rising up to the top. We just never let it come to the surface when she was a child. We took everything on for her that we could. Emery and I are so proud of this daughter and of course all our children but since this is about Melanie, I am mentioning our pride in her. She is becoming that strong woman, not by our teaching or training, not by small lessons that the other children had in life, but by life's hard knocks. It's not easy for her. She hasn't had the training to prepare for these things which makes it all the more amazing to see how she is learning as she goes how to be the mother of a very sick baby. Keep these young parents in your prayers. Yesterday was their first anniversary, a tough year it has been for them. What a blessing though that they have this sweet one to celebrate with them.

the morning in pictures
the sun shining on the table
eggs in the basket

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Simple Sunday

Just a quiet day for us today. Emery planned a nice long drive around our area, taking in the sights and sounds of the countryside. Narrow winding roads, fields full of freshly cut hay, cows and horses grazing in the pastures, and the hum of summer all around us. It was refreshing to my soul to see the things that I love, country life, farm life, the simple things.
I am longing for fall time, longing for fires in the wood stove and the smell of woodsmoke as I do my chores. For the cool morning air kissing my face as I head outside to greet the morning.
Last year I wanted to spend at least a weekend without all the modern conveniences. A personal challenge. We have lived pretty simply for years but there has always been modern life right close at hand. I want to see if we are strong enough mentally and physically to step completely out of modern times. Emery spent much of his childhood without electricity and running water, so its really not a challenge to him, he knows well what that kind of life is like. This fall, probably in October, I want to try once again to spend the week or at least a weekend, stepping back in time to learn about myself, my life and to appreciate the generations before me who had the strength to endure life without the modern conveniences. Last year when I wanted to do this, something came up making it next to impossible for me to go through with it.
I was thinking this weekend how much society has changed the way we deal with things. When I was growing up, if I cut myself, my mother, rather matter of factly, summed up the nature of the wound and if it was not life threatening, she told us to clean it off and put on a band-aid and go play. It made us tough. We were told early on that life is not fair, its good, but its not always fair, and that you just pull yourself up by the boot straps and get on with life. I used to resent this, thinking how much I wish my parents had been a bit more "tender hearted" or touchy feelie emotion wise, but I have seen first hand that being all mushy and bearing all your children's griefs for them, doesn't fit them well for real life. I am hoping you the reader, can read between the lines and see I am not trying to be mean hearted but looking for that balance of reality parenting, nothing like the new "helicopter" parenting that is making the news so much these days. When I think about my own families stories of life in the 1700 and 1800's
I am glad they were strong people, that had the umph to endure hardships, its the very stuff that made this nation what it is. I wonder if life became difficult today for some reason, if people could endure life without all the gadgets and such.
I read recently the list that James Fergus wrote down for his wife when she was to come out to start a new life with him in Montana. Seeing the list, made me certain I would need to have all the strength in me to embark on such a trip and new life.
Talk about being own kitchen is sadly lacking in many items they had and overstocked in lots of things that even I wonder why I purchased them ! I am beginning to remember how easy it was in the past for our family when we ate more simply and didn't bother with fancy meal times. For years we ate simple meals, carefully prepared but without all the fuss of fancy recipes.
From a letter James Fergus wrote to his wife Pamelia Dillin Fergus listing the things she should bring to Montana. Reprinted with Fergus' spelling preserved.
3 good covered waggons
9 yoke of good cattle
1 cow
1 tent
600 lbs. flour
300 meat
50 beans
100 rice
2 crackers
300 bacon
200 ham
50 dry beef
50 cheese
50 butter
400 sugar
20 gallons syrup
50 lbs black tea
100 lbs coffee
400 lbs dried apples
100 lbs dried peaches
20 salt
40 dessicated veg.
One suit of good clothes for myself [James Fergus]
including hat and boots
1 everyday coat
2 pr. everyday pants
2 good prs. shoes from L.F. same as I brought with me
1 pr. good boots
1 pr. good undershirts
1 pr. good woolen undershirts
2 pr good drawers
2 pr woolen mittens
12 pr good everyday shoes for [Pamelia and her three daughters]
1 pr good boots for each
2 pr boots for Andrew [the Fergus' son]
Shoes for Lillie [the Fergus' youngest daughter]
Stockings for [Pamelia and her three daughters]
Stockings for Andrew
Stockings for Lillie
Woolen shirts for family
Woolen drawers for family
dresses or dress stuffs clothing or cloth stuff for Andrew
1 good strong sewing machine with an assortment of needles
saleratus pepper spices vinegar to use on the road cod fish
Your feather beds (packed)
2 Indian Rubber Spreads to lay on the ground nights and to pack your bedding in day
Good blankets, quilts, bed ticks, pillows, etc, etc.
Camp stove Camp kettles
Tin reflector
Frying pans
Large cook stove for use here
Gold pans
Bread pan
Milk pans
Table Dishes Matches
1/2 dozen good brooms
1 wash tub
1 wash board
2 flatirons
concentrated lye to make soap
1 pr gold scales
candles 1 box
5 gallons kerosene oil
2 lamps with durable chimneys and some extra chimneys
side saddle
5 boxes pistol cartridges for my pistol
1 pr spectacles for myself
some padwilks from house
looking glass
garden seeds
flower seeds
2 half boxes
window glass
2 kegs assorted nails
a few papers
assorted screws
1 lb. shoe tacks
assorted thread
assorted yarn
assorted Buck skin
Pins assorted
2 reams good white letter paper
1 ream fools cap letter paper
1/2 dozen memorandum books
$5 worth stamped envelopes
2 large bottles ink
2 gold pens for girls
box steelpens and holders
school books and slates
form book (plus forms)
reading books
one or two good maps
2 doz lead pencils extra for use on road
ox shoes and nails
tongue bolts
yoke and chains
waggon grease
spirits of turpentine
whiskey for poisoned cattle and to make vinegar here
My tool chest and tools.
The chest may be used as a mess chest on the road
1 shovel to use on the road
1 pick to use on the road
1 hoe
1/2 dozen hand saw files
1 flat file
1 buck saw (not wood)
shot powder
candle molds
candle wicks
sausage cutter

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Crock Pot Indian Pudding Recipe

Here is the recipe for Crock Pot Indian Pudding that I make
Crock Pot Indian Pudding
3 cups milk
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ginger
Lightly grease the crock.
Preheat on high for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile bring milk, cornmeal and salt to a boil.
Boil stirring constantly for 5 minutes.
Cover and simmer an additional 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients.
Gradually beat in the hot cornmeal mixture and whisk until smooth.
Pour into crock and cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 6-8 hours
We serve it warm with vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream.
Its a real family favorite. My Grandmother and Mother loved Indian Pudding,
so I had it often as a child.
Occasionally you can find it in a store in New England, ready made and in a can

Quiet Moments

Debbie should be on the plane now heading home to Massachusetts and Melissa is home in Vermont already. The house here is very quiet.
When I got home from the airport, I headed straight outside to do chores. Emery has been faithfully doing them while company was here, freeing up my every moment to be with Melissa and Debbie. There is some sort of comfort in the regular routine of things. As though there is a fullness of balance when we do the familiar, the ordinary things in our life. Walking out to the chicken house, I saw a rose in bloom. I was in shock at how the morning glories have invaded our garden, work ahead of me for sure, lots of it. The sweet looking purple flowers have taken over every single inch of fence line. Strangling everything in sight.
The chickens were happy to see me, not for any other reason than the fact their feeder was empty. I fed them, watered them and let them run out the door to hunt for bugs. I wandered around with the feeling that it had been far too long since last time the green thick grass was under my feet. We did a lot of running around in the past couple weeks, and this country girl is not used to that. I am a home body....preferring to stay close to this home we love so dearly.
The figs are growing big, tomatoes too. Pecans green and hanging tightly on to the tree. Lots of them....pies this fall for sure and all sorts of good tasting pecan things.
Tomorrow I will sew the morning away...stay barefooted all day long... take a nap if I want or not if I don't want to. I will make bread and Indian pudding will simmer in the crock pot all day long. I will watch the clouds above as I hang the clothes on the line. I will sit in my rocker and look out the window...gaze off into no where in particular. I might even hum a favorite hymn or two as I rock. I might even do nothing for a couple hours.
I will miss my friend and my daughter and be ever so thankful for their visit !

Saying Good-bye

Its 5 a.m. Melissa and Emery have left for the airport. Tears feel like raindrops, freely falling with sad hearts. Its so hard to say good-bye. I know how Melissa feels, I have said good-bye to my mother in just the same way. That mixed feeling of hating to leave, yet anxious to get home to my husband. That pain of leaving "home" the place where your childhood unfolded. Where you played in the yard, hid in a storm, teased your siblings, learned about life, ate so many meals around the table laughing, discussing, and making your first opposing point of view.
The place where you know all the squeaks in the floor. Where the smells are so filled with memories, bread baking, cookies being baked, the smell of the laundry being folded, fresh off the line. This home, will always be a place where you can be yourself, where freedom to be just as you are is real. The love contained in the walls is accepting and warming. I know just how Melissa feels as tears stream down her cheeks. But I also know another feeling, the feeling my mother must have felt, that tug on the heartstrings that makes you feel broken in two for a moment in time. My girl, now grown is going to her own home. I look at her and feel such pride in who she is... I look at her and still see the little girl that climbed up into my lap for a story or just a cuddle. I look at that sweet young woman and feel so full of love, so full of a joy that goes far beyond the word itself. I want to be strong for her and not cry all the tears that fill me. I give her some photos just printed off in the darkness of the early morning, remembrances of this visit home. I want to give her things to take home. "Here is some trail mix", "Do you need some water? " I give her a DVD we both enjoy. I hug her so many times, wanting to squeeze a bit more of her into my heart. Emery is quiet, this quiet man is not ashamed to cry a tear of sadness at such a time and his eyes fill with moistness. His love for his family always visible in his words and deeds and how he hates it when he has to say good-bye to one of his children for a time. I think now about how my mother felt so many times as we hugged at the airport. I stop thinking about that and sink down into my own sadness...I miss my girl already, and its just been a half hour since she walked out the door with her dad.
I know we are blessed to have such love in our family. We love each other but we actually LIKE each other too. Melissa said something to me yesterday that filled me with such warmth, she said to me...."mom, you are such a kind person." I have had many compliments passed my way in life, but this was more. It was praise. It was what I have always wanted my children to see in me, kindness. It is the very thing I have wanted them to learn about life, that kindness is what we should always give away to others. Although she said that to me, I have far to go in being kind 24/7 in my eyes. But it feels like as a mother, my job has been successful. I have taught the lessons I set out to. Now as a Grandmother the lessons continue, the lessons to teach and the lessons for me to learn.
I miss my Melissa....tomorrow we will chat often on the phone and on the computer and I will pray a bit harder for what we all want.... for her and James to be back in Texas.
Its so hard to say good-bye.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Family Night

Steven treated us all to supper at Olive Garden tonight. What fun we had all together. We just needed to have Melissa's husband James with us and then it would have been complete. The food was wonderful, but best of all was the joy in being all together.
Emery will be taking Melissa in to the airport long before the sun rises tomorrow and later in the day I will be taking Debbie to the airport. Tomorrow night will seem awfully quiet around here. But what a blessing it has been to all be together. I feel like I have so many blessings in my life, but a close loving family is by far the greatest blessing of them all.

I was taking the picture !

Babies Babies and More Babies

Today was the baby shower for Priscilla. What a delightful event, filled with friends, and beautiful gifts for our sweet Miss Elizabeth. I was too busy holding babies to take many pictures... after all holding grand-babies is the most important aspect of any gathering.
The house was filled with balloons, cake decorated with pink, pink flowers, pink gift bags and there was even pink punch on the table to drink.
Here are a few pictures from the day. I feel so incredibly blessed to have such love all around me all the time.
As you can see in the pictures there were several babies in attendance today. All so sweet and precious.
Elizabeth and her two cousins, Emily and Mei-Ling
Priscilla and Elizabeth
The wee Miss Elizabeth
My new favorite picture of my sweet daughter in law
Lots of pretty new baby things

Show and Tell Friday

I love that Kelli over at hosts a show and tell Friday each week and its fun to sit and think about things to share. Today, being a bit rushed for computer time with all my wonderful company here, I decided to share something special to me, my collection of wheat pottery from Homestead Heritage in Elm Mott. If you do a search on my blog of Homestead Heritage you will come up with some pictures of this Christian community south of us.
I love the rich colors of this design and what I love even more is that each piece I own has been a gift from my husband for a birthday or Christmas. I got my first piece in the late 1990's with Emery adding to my little collection through the years. Emery grew up on a wheat farm in Kansas so having the wheat design is special to our family and all my life I have loves salt glazed pottery.
This past birthday, Emery gave me the creamer, sugar bowl and a cereal bowl. They are such nice additions to my collection.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sensible Shoe Family

Some ladies spend a lot of money on fancy shoes, designer variety. Not me, I have been a sensible shoe wearer for all of my life. Good room for the toes, heels that are healthy and not harmful. Somehow that seems to translate into a shoe that my mother referred to as "nuns shoes". The kind of shoe a nun might have worn in the 1950's. My first Earth shoes were a delight to me, but not exactly chic. I wore them with pride all through the 1970's. In the 1980's I graduated to Birkenstock's and wore them until we started going to the Mennonite church. The shoes of that decade were black lace up SAS shoes. Now that those days are over I am back to Kalso Earth Shoes, not the ones found in Wal-Mart, but the negative heel variety. Some of the Earth Shoes are quite cute but I opted for what I had known 3 decades ago. Funny thing is, Melissa has some of the Earth Shoes in the same style as I have, but recently she purchased these cute Earth shoes with patches on them. Makes mine look every bit the "nun shoe". They do look pretty snazzy with tie dye socks or my wild hand knit socks that come out of the sock drawer when the weather turns chilly.
My feet have appreciated the years of healthy shoe wearing. They are healthy and strong.
My new Earth Shoes arrived yesterday in the mail.... Melanie had to give them a try and see if she wants some too. Just one big healthy shoe wearing family !
I call these shoes, Healthy Chic !

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Thinking . . .

A late evening visit to Starbucks has left me a bit caffeined up and sleepless. Everyone else in the house is tucked in for a good nights sleep. The house is dark except for this little work space at my desk, lit up by the monitor. The sound of the oscillating fan in the next room, brushing the air my way at times, the sound like the ebb and flow of the ocean if you use a little imagination.
Mei-Lings surgery being cancelled has left me feeling spent, as if there was no place for the worry I felt earlier to go. It feels like the worry just slid off the side of a cliff. No worry now, but some sort of fallout remains. Its a strange feeling. I am the kind that always feels like when plans are changed for you, that it is the great wheel of fate turning for you. Surgery being cancelled is like a major turn of fate. A sure sign to me that it was meant to NOT happen tomorrow for whatever reason. I even feel that sort of feeling when the phone rings as I am walking out the door, detaining if the call delayed me so I wouldn't get in a wreck or something. I trust in the timing of things. The "meant to be" rule works for me when its so... dramatic. Its comforting. Like something bigger than life is working for you. Takes away so much of the need to worry and fuss about things. The older I get, the less I worry about things. I have some sort of deep feeling that things just happen to work out and honestly they do in my life. My rule of life comes from something the Dalai Lama said about worry.
"If you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to worry.” So change what you can change and don't worry about the things you have no control over. How simple is that !
When I have pushed against "fate", things never seem to turn out right or as good as if I had left things alone.
Life lessons...they are good teachers.

my sweet daughter Melissa sipping coffee tonight with Emery, Debbie and me

No Surgery Tomorrow

Surgery for Mei-Ling has been cancelled for tomorrow. Her bladder infection is still pretty bad and they want to do another EKG and echo cardiogram on her.
We are all hoping this Deflux will do the job for her problem, but they still need to fix other problems she has with surgery. Poor tiny one has so much to deal with !
Not sure when they will try to get the Deflux done, but they said soon.

Mei-Ling, DeFlux for Vesicoureteral Reflux

Our sweet grand-daughter will be heading off to the hospital very early in the morning for her surgery. She is listed as EXTREME HIGH RISK, which sounds so scary. The risk is due to her heart condition. We know she will be in the safe care of the Great Physician. I thought you might want to know a bit about the procedure so here is some information. Most children go home the same day but they are keeping her overnight as an added precaution due to her many medical issues.
Deflux® implant procedure
What is a Deflux implant
Deflux is a sterile, biodegradable gel used to
treat vesicoureteral reflux (VUR). The
Deflux implant is injected into the bladder
wall where the ureter enters the bladder,
forming a bulge at the opening. The bulge
reduces the size of the opening, to prevent
urine from flowing backwards into the
ureter. The opening is still flexible so urine
can flow into the bladder, as it should.
Deflux is gradually replaced by the body’s
own tissue, so the bulge remains.
General anesthesia is given. Then the
surgeon inserts a cystoscope, a thin viewing
device, into the bladder through the urethra
(where the urine comes out), and injects the
Deflux. The procedure usually takes less
than 30 minutes.


3 Beautiful Things for this day are....

Seeing the way my children all grown interact with one another, their laughter and conversation.

The smile on Emery's face when he walked through the door early this afternoon to surprise me.

A silence in the house this morning that was tangible, with a feeling of holiness to it that was perfect for a lengthy prayer time.

Needing Prayers

Tomorrow is the day Mei-Ling has her surgery. Its difficult to hold her today and not think about what is to take place tomorrow. I keep thinking its not fair for such a tiny one to endure the pain of an operation. Yes, of course I know its needed and how amazing the things the Doctors can do...I am ever so grateful, but I also know its going to hurt her, cause her some pain and that is difficult to deal with. I know that God is able to do fantastic miracles. He can part the sea, create a world, and so much more. He could you know, heal Mei-Ling. Its in His power to do so. Frankly I question Him on why He doesn't do that. I'd be lying to myself and to everyone else if I didn't admit to those feelings and just say I am fine with His decision to NOT do that.
Its just one of those things I just have to put in the "I don't understand" file. It doesn't make me mad or bitter or any of those things and I know all the correct responses about Gods will, God is using medical science, etc. God has done amazing things in Mei-Lings little life, and people have learned to lean on Him for strength and seek a closer walk with Him because of her. But still I wish she did not have to hurt so much at such an early part of her life.
Please keep her in your prayers tomorrow and even today. Pray also for the Doctors and the staff at Childrens hospital, that their hands be guided by a higher power.

The Directions are all there...

Have you ever been trying to put something together or operate some new gadget according to the directions you have but keep saying, "well, that's just too simple, I must be missing something". Its almost as if simple directions are too difficult to accept. We expect things to be complicated. Life is like that. Its really quite simple to live a simple life but we expect and almost want it to be complicated, to be some huge undertaking in order for us to make it attractive. Religion is like that. Nothing could be more simple than to live a life with the simple goal of loving God, and loving your fellow man. Of course to do that we need to not be so tied tightly to possessions and self interest. Things get in the way, so doesn't prosperity. You wouldn't think prosperity would be such a trap but it sure can be. The more we have, the more we want and the more we move away from giving of our time and of ourselves. I don't advocate seeking a life of poverty, but I do know it takes a constant awareness to not be caught up in the way of prosperity that takes us away from personal involvement in acts of compassion. It is a fact in this country that the poorer folks give more of a percentage of their income to charity and also give more of their own time for volunteer work. In big fancy churches the sermons are more complicated too. No one wants to step on peoples toes, and the poor minister has to provide entertainment for the masses in order to keep the audience interested. A plain old sermon about living only for God with a simple acapella hymn is boring to the world these days of big screen TV's, and the face paced media world. Simple is equated to boring, except the directions for life are all there in simple words. We keep looking for ways to make the simple more complicated in order to match what we consider our powerful reasoning ability and our thirst for new technology.
The simple truth of the spiritual way is in of itself so simple and from that comes a simple lifestyle. If you want to live a simple life and you are a Christian, live by the very simple words of the book of Matthew. Chapter 6 has just about everything you need to know about how to make life simple for yourselves. Everything you need to motivate you to live simply is in that book. The directions are all there. Simple living is not about the externals, its about the heart, the motives, the desires. We all know stories about some older person, someones grandmother perhaps, that lived a quiet simple life in the city. No fields to plow, no cows to milk, but what a simple godly life they lived ! No complicated daily plan on how to simplify life, just living. A life of prayer, kindness, stability, consistency, dependability, cooking, seeing the needs of others, working steadily with love as the motivator. Perhaps hanging clothes on the line, patching worn clothing, making quilts to be treasured for generations out of worn out garments, not shopping for fancy fabric. Making pie crust from scratch that wins blue ribbons, worn hands that tenderly stroke the brow of a loved one. Kind words, kind deeds, small simple house. The directions for a simple life are all there...simple words found in a very old book

Monday, August 20, 2007

Summer Treat

One of our favorite treats on a hot summer night is Banana "ice cream" made with the Champion Juicer. Simple to make, ingredient....frozen banana's and that's it !
We like to top it off with some coconut and date sweetened carob chips. Soooo good. Simple, healthy and fun to make.
We have owned our Champion Juicer since the very early 1980's and it has never let us down. It's a total work horse.

Seeing Clearly

There are times in life when we have a clouded vision of life simply because of an emotional attachment to something that is not even our reality. It may have been our reality at one time, or a childhood truth, but it no longer is a truth for us. Yet, we have grown so comfortable holding on to it that we seem to cherish this attachment. Looking honestly at our lives, and the freedom we have in a deep and abiding relationship with God, we can move past the things that are no longer our "truths". I will give you an example from my own life. When I was a child, my spelling was horrible. It was creative at best. The teachers used to take my spelling papers outside at recess to share with one another and laugh at. I saw them doing that and it was just proof to me that I was a horrible speller and I did nothing to change that, it was after all in my 3rd grade mind, a hopeless situation. Somewhere around age 30, I realized I actually could spell most any word I wanted. Yet if someone asked me about spelling, I would say, "oh don't ask me, I am a horrid speller". I lived my life through the eyes of a 3rd grade child in this situation. It might be something as simple as imagining someone is always referring to you when they speak on a certain subject that you feel insecure about, when in reality, they are not talking about you at all. These "personal truths" have very little to do with reality and yet they hold us captive, hold us back from moving forward. It can even be about how we once were in life, our actions, deeds, beliefs etc and now we constantly feel unworthy of Gods profound and unconditional love for us. We doubt we are worth anything to Him because we are convinced "our truth" is the correct perception. Living in the moment, not holding on to some past experience as the guidepost for our path, is the only way to find freedom to hear clearly what God is whispering to us in that small still voice.
Live your life in the freedom of seeing clearly where you are now, who you are now, and never measure yourself according to your childhood truths, or old worn out truths that no longer are reality.

Much To Catch Up....

In mid January, we saw the passing of my father and after nearly two years of caring for him, it was so hard to see him leave u...