Monday, November 8, 2010

Weekly To Do List

  • pray I've been struggling through some reevaluating of my priorities lately. Struggling would be a good word for it. One thing I've come to realize is that I say I believe prayer works. So I need to do it more. The Bible tells us to: "Pray without ceasing." What does that mean? I think too much of the time I use that as an excuse to pray whenever I think about it, which ends up being a lot less than I should. Whatever happened to setting aside time to pray? So that's a goal this week. Pray throughout my day, but also set aside some time specifically to pray.
  • write I'm one of those crazy people who signed up for NaNoWriMo. What was I thinking?! So now I'm supposed to write over 1,500 words a day every day in November. Did I not just lose my head? I have kids. I have commitments. I have a life. I have a blog, for goodness sakes! But hey, one of my life goals is to write a novel. Wait till you see the garbage 50,000 words in one month can produce. I may have written the novel, but it's going to take years to revise and edit!
  • knit This week I want to finish the scarf I'm making as a doorprize for the Chix OneDay in February. Check out our new website! I'm excited about this scarf.This year's OneDay's theme is Wonderful World. So I'm knitting the scaft from yarns from every continent. (okay, not Artica and Antartica) I figure I'll need some knitting to calm me down after a few hours of writing. Between it and prayer maybe I'll survive.
  • sing last night during church I sat listening to the music, then the sermon, and I realized something. When I lose my desire for music, to sing, something is seriously wrong with my soul. I haven't felt like singing much. And my soul aches. So I'm going to turn on the IPod and sing along. I might even sit down at the piano or pull out the violin. (The cat hates when I play my violin.) Beware. Stay far away from the clunking, screeching sounds!
  • cook, clean, laundry, bills Pugh! Who needs to do those things.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Who Do I Appreciate?

My big brother, that's who. All right...all my brothers are my big brother. I'm the baby. And they will get their turn. But today I'm sending out a "I love you" to my brother, Kevin.

See how thrilled he was to pose with his little sis?!
The poor guy was eight when I came along and took over the house. Until then he had been the cute one with the little round face and big black adorable. Then I crashed the party. But he repaid me by giving me my very first present...a lovely case of the chicken pox. I was only fourteen days old. Thanks A Lot, bro.

He taught me a lot how to avoid a rubber band shooting straight at one's head, how to wash mud out of an eye when suffering a direct hit by a mud ball, the most effective method of capturing Grandma's attention when stuck in a room where the doorknob has conveniently gone missing, and how to lay very still so someone eight years older than you can ride his bike over your stomach area.

But in his defense, he did hand me down his prized Batman costume. I finally gave it back this past year, hard to let go of. I loved that costume! He took me to my first movie. He was my defender when a boy broke my heart. And he invited me over for meals during my college years.

But why write this touching tribute now? It's not even his birthday. It's because Friday he gave me another very special He reached over and held my hand during my Aunt's funeral. How did he know I needed human touch? How did he know that his strong hand covering mine would give me such strength? That's just the kind of big brother he is. And that's why I appreciate my brother today.

What about you? Who do has been there for you lately?

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Crops are Harvested

The harvest season is over....that's always a time to stop and give thanks.

Here's a few reasons why...
1. The long hours are over. (What I'm really saying, "He'll get some sleep and stop being so crabby.")
2. We finally get to see the hubby and father. (Hear me sigh, "Whew! I'm not a single mom anymore!")
3. There were no major problems. (In other words, "I can finally sleep without worrying about the dreaded 'someone's hurt..or worse' call.")
4. He'll be home for lunch. (At last I can make food that involves a fork. How many different ways can one woman make a sack lunch without driving her husband insane with sandwiches, chips and a drink?!?!)
5. It was a good season. (That means there will be enough money to meet our needs this year.)

Sometimes people think farmers only work when they plant and harvest, but really it's just that in those times of the year, they work long, long, long hours. There's a lot to be done in between now and spring, but the worrying about his safety and whether the crops produced is over for another year. The world will have corn and soybeans to meet its needs. And some of them came from our fields and the hard work of my husband and his father.

Next time you buy a bag of tortilla chips, open a bottle of canola oil, smear your finger on newsprint, look at the bottom of your tennis shoes, take some medicine, add some cornstarch to your recipe, drink a soda, put some grapes in a sandwich bag,...etc, remember that a friend's husband and father-in-law may have provided the corn or soybeans needed to make what your using. Oh, and if you like bacon, thank that pig for eating some of our corn too.

My family is just one of many, many farm families that provide food, fuel and fiber that we all use each and every day. And it's a job we love doing...a life syle that we love living.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Having a Little Fun

I was in a festive mood the other day....a crocheted treat bag.

(Free pattern from http://www.lionbrand.comLion Brand®  Vanna's Choice® Pattern #: L0112AD)

Then I made this adorable pumpkin by modifying an apple pattern I found.

What's next? Felted candy corn? Yummy....without all the calories. Ha!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Weekend Away

I drove through the curves and hills of southern Indiana this weekend. If you've never traveled through this area in the fall, you don't know what you are missing. Reds, yellows, golds, oranges mingle with green and brown. It's God's amazing creative hand at work.

Fall is my favorite season. It's the colors, the leaves so casually swaying toward the ground and the crisp cool air. I find myself slowing down, breathing in deeply the scents of nature, walking with more awareness of the world around me, looking within myself at where I am heading my life, reordering my priorities, and talking with more meaning to my Creator. Fall does that - points me toward peace.

So I did this weekend what I've never done before. I went away, all by myself. I booked a hotel room in a far away town. (My father's childhood stomping ground.) And I drove through the hills for a few hours until I arrived in Corydon, IN, Indiana's first state capital. I visited a quaint fiber festival, bought some yummy smelling yarn, picked up some Chinese carryout and spent the evening alone in a quiet, peaceful hotel room.

The next morning I woke up really early for a Saturday, 6:30a.m., to be exact. I opened up my computer and wrote. All too soon it was the 11:00am check out time, so I made one more walk through the Southern Indiana Fiber Festival, and headed my car northwest. I broke up the return trip by spending an hour at my favorite childhood vacation spot, Spring Mill State Park.

I'm so glad I was able to treat myself to this time away. Why have I never done this before?!?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte'


I just made my first homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte! It was a success, so much so that my two daughters loved it. One even said it was the best she'd ever tasted!

The recipe started as the one on the All Recipes website. I changed it up to suit my tastes.

Pumpkin Spice Latte'

3 cups hot skim milk
3 packets Truvia
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
(had to make my own from the recipe at the site)
8 ounces expresso
(one packet for my Flavia machine made 8 ounces)
Silk Vanilla Creamer
a pinch of pumpkin pie spice

Combine the hot milk, Truvia, vanilla, and spice in a blender and blended until frothy.
Pour equal amounts into three mugs. (Original recipe said 2/3 full.)
Pour equal amounts of the expresso into the mugs. (Original recipe called for 2 ounces. in each mug. I made them slightly stronger with the 8 ounce total.)
Add a little Silk to top off the mug.
Sprinkle a pinch of pumpkin pie spice on the top.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Bryony Cap from Interweave Knits Weekend 2010

Today I knit up the Bryony Cap from the magazine, Interweave Knits Weekend 2010. I just love this hat. It is so simple that I knit it in one day! I used the yarn, Jojoland Rhythm, and it knit up beautifully. I'm so pleased, because this cap it a gift for a friend who is going through chemo right now.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

I just finished reading "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith. My question is how did I get through high school, no wait through high school and college with a degree in English and Writing without having read this classic?! What a beautifully written story of a young girl's journey from childhood into adulthood in Brooklyn in the early 1900's. It's a story of poverty, alcoholism, discrimination, family bonds and the strength of women.

I love to read about characters from different cultures, lifestyles, time periods, etc, than my own. Others lives always seem so much more exciting and interesting than mine. Yet the reality is that for someone who comes from a life different than mine, maybe mine is more exciting to them than there own. It gives me hope for the idea of writing a novel based on what I know.

Hum, a small town girl in Indiana..... could it compare with the life of a girl in one of the most famous cities in the world?

Enough about me. Read the book. If you haven't yet, read it. Every library has it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Old Friends' Recipes

Some friends at church had a baby, and I signed up to take them a meal. I nabbed two of my favorite recipes and started cooking. In the middle of mixing up the ingredients, it struck me that I had chosen two recipes given to me years ago by some very special women. Connie, Joan and Anna.

When we were first married, my husband and I lived outside Detroit in the suburbs. He was a youth and music pastor at a church in Washington, Michigan. And if you know anything about churches, you know about potlucks. Yum! Potlucks are the best if you're a new wife and inexperienced cook. All you have to do is taste and ask for the recipe. My first recipe came that way.

Connie wrote it down for me. Actually, she got it from Joan, another amazing woman in the church. Everything Joan said sounded so beautiful and sophisticated when she spoke with her Belize accent. I wanted to grow up to look and sound just like her.

Now Connie, oh, Connie. She was the life of the party, tall, thin, always wearing lipstick and nail polish. I didn't even own either at the time. She knew how to make you laugh and make you feel loved. I sure do miss Connie.

But the main dish came from a fellow mom, Anna. She brought Hamburger Rice Dish to me when my first baby girl arrived. It became Jeff's favorite meal. Anna was a young mother, like me, who became a good friend. We spent many Sunday evenings at a restaurant with other young married couples, laughing and sharing stories.

Unfortunately we moved back to the farm when our baby girl was just three weeks old. I wish our children could have known each other. I know Anna would have been a wealth of Godly advice.

I am thankful for these women, and others (like Carol, my very first babysitter) who came into my life when I was young and homesick, needing friendship and  advice, especially advice on how to cook! And so I want to use this post to thank them, and let them know they meant the world to me and are not forgotten.

Who are the women in your past that influenced you?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Race for the Cure - Breast Cancer Walk

Yesterday my youngest daughter and I walked in the Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure. It was a beautiful day for a walk. But to be honest, I walked it in a fog. This year has seen a lot of death due to cancer for me. I find myself blocking memories, just stuffing down thoughts that try to reach the surface of my mind.

Several months ago, I blogged about two hats for two special women. They both have since lost their battles with cancer. Rachel was honored yesterday at the race. I purposely arrived late to avoid memories and tears at the presentation. I did see her son playing with other boys as I walked. Another moment when I quickly moved on to avoid the prick of pain.

The other hat was for my sister-in-law's sister, Lynette. She died of brain cancer a few months ago. I watched my sister-in-law struggle through sorrow at the funeral. She is the last family member. Her mother, father, brother and sister are all gone. She is a true orphan. Yet she has us, the Batman family. In fact, she has been a part of the family since I was a little girl. So in my mind, she's a full-fledged member, having been one of us almost as long as I have.

And just a month earlier, my other sister-in-law's mother died of brain cancer also. I watch her struggle with her grief every time we are together. Now a good friend at church is in the middle of chemo. It has been a difficult year. Cancer seems to be winning. So that is why the walk was so important for me this year. While I didn't let myself feel too deeply during it, I needed to make a stand, to make a statement to cancer. We will beat you, cancer!

So I walked, and I knit a scarf for the local knit shop to help raise money. I'm not so great at giving hugs and saying the right comforting words, but I'll do what I can. Walk and knit. Knit and walk.

Friday, September 10, 2010

What I've Been Doing With My Free Time

Here's what I've been up to lately. It involves knitting, reading a book, sewing and knitting some more.

First of all, notice my To Do List and how many projects are done and how many are left to do. I'm not sure I'll ever get to mark off all the items!

But more importantly, see green knitting object? It's fingerless mittens made out of aMAIZing yarn. That's a yarn made from 100% corn fiber! It's a super easy, super fast project from the book, "One-skein Wonders," edited by Judith Durant. The mittens are for a farm friend who wanted some to show children who visit her farm. I think they'll be done this weekend.

I'm also in the middle of a great, classic, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," by Betty Smith. I'm really enjoying it. Read it, if you haven't already.

But my most time consuming project is a lace shawl pattern from The Seasons Shawl is a kit, pattern and yarn included. I'm loving it. My wrist is not. I'm nearly done, but ran out of the blue yarn and had to order more. I watch out the window all day long, everyday for that special little box from Knit Picks.

My shawl got too big for the bag I had it in, so I got ambitioius and made a project bag. I just started cutting a sewing and presto, a bag. Isn't it cute?

So there you have it...several weeks of fun in a few quick pictures.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Thought to Ponder

Tonight while driving home I was listening to a past Midday Connection podcast The guest, Jane Rubietta, made a comment that tug at my heart. She said,

"Women who are loved become lovable and loving."

I started thinking...

Who are the women in my life that I love and do they feel loved by me?
Do I show unconditional love or is it love on my terms?
Do I move beyond my selfishness to love them as they need loved?
How am I going to love better tomorrow?

What about you? Who do you love and how are you doing at loving them?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Caught in the Act of Cheering!

Number 33 is daughter number two. She wants to be known for dribbling, shooting, hitting and catching.
 But I have just as many pictures of this special photo session with her sister's cheer leading uniforms....

Hee, hee!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I'm home! It ended up being quite a trip home, between delayed flights, cancelled flights, my oldest getting stopped by security for a thorough search, running to make a flight, spending the night in the Ohare airport, sick teens in that airport, and flying standby the next day. But the week was wonderful, amazing, life-changing, and the list of adjectives could go on and on for a long time.

Haiti looks like someone bombed all its buildings. It looks like a war zone. There are tent cities and shacks upon shacks where people live. We would get in trouble for letting our dogs live in those conditions here. But the orphanage we were at was like an oasis in a desert. I didn't expect such loved and loving children. I didn't expect such well cared for kids. But that's what I found.

We all fell in love with certain orphans, each of us had a different favorite. For me, it was Wicherson. But that's the missionary's fault. She went to get him on Wednesday to bring him to live at the orphanage and asked some of us to go along. I wasn't supposed to go, was dressed to scrape paint off walls, but at the last minute I was jumping in the back of a pickup along with five of the teens. (The girls chant about riding in the back of an open pickup was, "Do it while it's legal!") We drove to the shanty where Wicherson lived with 8 other family members. Then we took him, his grandmother, aunt and cousin to meet with the mayor. While they were in their meeting, Michelle, the missionary, asked me if I would hold Wicherson. He's two and just a bundle of cuddle. I held him for probably two hours while the meeting took place, then held him all the way back to the orphanage. He fell asleep in my arms on the way. Back at the orphanage we found some new clothes, a pair of shoes for him and took him to the nannies. When I saw him next, he was running, laughing and being fed a snack of saltines by the older girl orphans. Michelle said this was a case where we literally saved a life. So as the saying goes, "I left a piece of my heart in Haiti," and a little two-year old boy owns it. When I get the picture of me holding Wicherson, I'll post it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Livin' at the County Fair!

This week I’m spending my days at the local county fair.

Here’s my youngest friend’s 4H pig…

The days are filled with making popcorn to give away, handing out crayons made from soybeans, hunting down daughters who are hiding out in the pig or goat barns, eating snow cones, ribeye sandwiches, and lemon shakeups and watching friend’s children show their animals. Every year my daughter begs me to let her buy a bunny, every year.

The barn I volunteer in is located between  the Republican and Democrats’ buildings. I think that’s a hoot. We keep the peace. But really Farm Bureau works with both parties when trying to promote and educate people about U.S. agriculture.

If you've never visited your county's fair, you should check it out this summer. For anyone who thinks farmers don't care about their animals, the fair will change your mind. It's filled with farmers and their children proudly showing off their beloved pigs, cows, goats, chickens, rabbits, horses, etc.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's Almost Time to Retire

Saturday I took a trip to my mom and dads’ to deliver some flooring, paint, etc. for their bathroom remodel. 

This is how good a daughter I am – I walked in the house, saw Mom dressed up and thought, “Hmm.” Then I realized it was July 10th, their anniversary. So I told Dad I brought him presents for his anniversary. He’s a smart man and didn’t buy it. But he chuckled and smiled at me anyway.

This is their 62nd anniversary. Can you imagine being married to your husband or wife for 62 years?! Me neither. Dad said that at 65 they can retire. Mom laughed and scolded him with, “Marriage is a lifelong commitment!”

I think marriage is hard work whether you’ve been married 19 years like my husband and me, or 62 like my parents!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A New Driver in the House

Excuse my lengthy absence from blogging again. Sometimes living in the country also means living in the dark ages as far as the internet is concerned. We live as far from the tower as possible to still get internet. But some days it’s spotty, some day non-existent, and I’m not sure what causes it. I try, honest I do. But this is the life I live with, so I can’t allow myself to feel too guilty because it’s nothing I can fix.

So here’s the excitement happening at our house….

The oldest is now a legal driver! Uggh! But on her first solo trip, driving herself to her guitar lesson, the car overheated. I told her I caused it to overheat so she wouldn’t want to drive. But now she can’t drive until the car is fixed anyway. So I got my way after all, whether I caused it or not. Ha. She’s taking it in stride.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Haiti Bound

My oldest daughter and I leave for Haiti Saturday. A part of me is very excited, part terrified. Haiti is not considered a safe locatio And therefore that is exactly where I am vacationing"" this summer.
n to travel. In fact, the United States Department of State warns not to travel there.
Actually we're traveling to Jacmel, to an orphanage called Hands and Feet Project. We're not sure exactly what they will need us to do while there; but whatever it is, we will happily attempt it. 

That is if the heat doesn't kill us. From what I hear it's so hot that even the mosquitoes are dying off. That worries me a little more than a little. So I've got my wicking hat, my wicking bandana, my cooling neckwraps, and a ton of sunscreen. I've also spurged on a filtering waterbottle and two bottles of Deet bug spray.

I'll let you know in a week how well I survived.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Pretty Purple Baby Shrug

My latest knitting project was a simple purple baby shrug for my friend, Rachel's, baby shower today. Isn't it sweet? It was a simple, fun knit. I used one of my favorite yarns, Dream In Color, Classy Worsted Weight 100% superfine Australian Merino Superwash in the colorway Wisterious.

I found the pattern on Ravelry which directed me to Check it out.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Look What I Bought!

See! I'm so excited to finally purchase, Made in Brooklyn, by Jared Flood. His blog address is: I bought it at a wonderful little knit shop called River Knits,, in Lafayette, IN, on my way home. I know...Lafayette isn't on my way home. Well, it is if you know they are holding the book for you and you've been wanting it for over a year. Then it's most definitely on your way home!

The Crazy Things You See At Your Parents

I spent Monday through Wednesday with my parents. It was anything but boring. 4 inches overnight with amazing thunder and lightening is not exactly normal. 

Actually this is kind of normal when a big rain comes along, except for the poor teenage girl who thought she was just parking her car in the backyard out of the way. And they had to sandbag around the high school across the street. That's not normal. But water covering my dad's backyard is. Unfortunately, his garden is probably ruined. Although, he did gain a nice piece of fencing down by the grape arbor.
The real reason I was there was to start work on their bathroom. So...I took off wallpaper, ripped up carpet (notice the lovely orange carpet of my childhood that was underneath. We left it down for sentimental value until it has to be removed.), and pulled up some of the tile to use in other places. Now to buy paint and flooring.
But the best part of the trip was sitting with my mom listening to a book on CD and knitting a baby shrug for a friend. Oh...and watching Fox News. Have you heard about the President and the General? It's quite a story.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Twelve Years with my Miracle Child

My youngest baby girl was born on this day twelve years ago. She’s my miracle, wanting to come at 26 weeks, allowing me to laze around on bedrest while my mom, sister and husband did all my work, and then deciding not to come at full-term unless the doctor induced. She’s not stubborn, just relaxed. She comes when she’s ready to come, maybe a little early, maybe a little late.

So my first fearful moments with this precious child were filled with the thought that she may be born too early to live. What a frightening notion…until unexplainable peace that only God can give enveloped me. I knew, in that colorless hospital room, that all would be well. She would live or she would go straight to a loving, Heavenly Father never having to experience the pain this world can give. I can’t tell you how comforting that was to me. While I might not have received the joy of seeing her grow, I would have the joy of knowing she never experienced any of the pain the living see. That was a gift from God. But she did survive to give us another scare.

I knew something was wrong when the doctor’s face blanched as he delivered her. The nurses quickly whisked her away. “Did you see that?" Doc asked my husband. But God gave me another miracle. When the nurses brought her back she was perfectly healthy despite having what the doctor described as a “true knot” in her umbilical cord. The fear was that if the knot was too tight she would have been deprived of food and oxygen in the womb. We were told that’s why many women miscarriage early in their pregnancy. You see, when a baby is very tiny, it can move around too much, knotting itself up. As it grows and moves more, it pulls that knot tight and soon dies. So…how did my little gymnast do somersaults in my uterus for nine months without tightening that knot? I know. God.

And throughout the years God has always been watching over her, protecting, guiding, loving her, and keeping me from having heart attacks. We called her “Dennis the Menace” so many times because she would get herself in the worst predicaments without trying to be bad. Before she could walk, she could climb up the dining room chairs, onto the tabletop and stand up. I began storing the chairs on top of the table to protect her from herself. If a life guard blew a whistle, I asked, "where's she at?" I had to keep such a tight grip on her wrist in public that I'm surprised she didn't have bruises. Picture a dog straining on it's leash. That was what it was like holding onto her. Her life was full of excitement and exploration with no thought of danger at all.

But today she is my caring, compassionate, serving child. Regularly she volunteers to be her older sisters’ “servant,” making them meals, bringing them drinks, running their errands. At the end of the school year, she was honored with the highest award her elementary school gives, an award based on character. And when asked what she wants to be when she grows up, she says, "a mom." She’ll make a wonderful one too, full of love for every miracle child the Lord brings her.

I love you, baby girl.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Uggh! I Did It Again

Oh my gosh! It’s been three weeks since I blogged. How does that happen, that what I think is a one week lapse is really three weeks? This is my nemesis: time. I totally lose track of it. It happens when my schedule changes – spring break, Christmas break, summer break, a new sports season, etc.

I love change, but become totally discombobulated when it occurs. Then boom, three weeks later…I remember to blog.

Sorry friends. I try. Honest, I do.

Do you have this problem? How do you manage to write or blog despite the disruptions of you schedule? I'd love some advice.
Today was a very special day! It takes something special to get me up at 6:30am on a weekend, especially in the middle of my summer break. But I was up and ready, sleepy, but ready for the two and a half hour drive to visit Patti Lacy’s writer’s group. If you don’t recognize her name; she’s a Christian author. (She’s what all of us writer’s want to be - published.) I felt very honored to attend and met some amazing women, amazing writers. Boy, did I learn A LOT. Most importantly, that my most important audience is God. And if no one ever reads this blog or anything else I write, the fact that I followed what I felt I was supposed to do is enough. I write because God gifted me and gave me a passion. He is my audience. We all should do what we know we are meant to do, just because we are meant to do it, not for fame or notoriety. 

When I knew I was going to get to go, I checked out her first novel from the library, "An Irishwoman's Tale." It's a thrill to be able to say I read a book written by a person I actually know. Today I hit the bookstore and picked up her second one, "What the Bayou Saw." s Check out her book and visit her website for yourself,

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Baby is 16!

My oldest turns 16 today! It's so hard to believe that sixteen years ago I was a nervous, new mom, totally unprepared. This morning the girls asked me about my labor. It was quick and easy. I went in to the hospital at 9:30am and had her around noon, with only a half a dose of demoral. She was an impatient little one, eager to get out of there. In fact, one of the nurses told me, "You have the most impatient baby I've ever seen!" I should have heeded the warning.

One of her younger sister's first sayings was, "End of cussin, Nane-a! End of cussin." She heard, too many times, "End of discussion, Jaena," come from my mouth. And this was when Jaena was only three years old!

At five, she told me that there was no such word as "muffler" and that she was smarter than me. At FIVE!

Today though, she has turned into a polite, loving, respectful 16 year old. I'm not sure how or when. Maybe I did something right in the discipline area. I know there was a lot of disciplining done in those younger years. She didn't let me slide on anything.

One of my favorite things is listening to her play the piano or guitar when she thinks I'm not listening. She has a talent, a gift. And it makes me happy to hear her using it.

She's gone through some hard things in these sixteen years. stitches on her birthday, repeating first grade, not making the cheer squad in high school. But these things have all made her a stronger person. And that is a lesson I needed to learn too. Protecting a child from pain makes them weak. Every hard experience strengthens. And she's a strong, independent, responsible sixteen year old.

I only have three more years with her. NOOO! How do I stop time?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mom Memories, Part VIII

My last memory is of books. Mom was always reading a book, and most of the time it was the Bible. Thank you Mom for instilling the love of reading in me, especially those Women’s Missionary Society books that opened the world to me through reading about the lives of Christian missionaries. One of the hardest parts of this illness, Alzheimer's, for my mom is her inability to read. She has been robbed of one of her greatest joys. But Dad reads the Bible to her and they listen to books on CD together. One of the best pieces of advice my mom gave me was that when sleep won’t come, when your worried about something, read the Bible. She says it always calms her spirit. I know my mom’s desire is the same as King David’s when he said, “Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice, because I have hoped in your word.” 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mom Memories, Part VII

We’re sitting in a car and Mom encouraging my Dad on the way home from a church visit. My mom has the gift of encouragement. She knows how to make you feel loved and important. I’m sure my dad would not be the man he is today if he didn’t have my mom there encouraging in every step he took. She was an encouragement to so many pastor’s wives too. I remember listening to her conversations with tired, hurting women. Mom is a quiet woman, but when she speaks it is always to say something loving or helpful. She does not speak mean or critical words about others. My mom lives out Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Proverbs 31:26 says, “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mom Memories, Part VI

I’m kneeling by the couch and Mom is softly starting to cry as she prays to end our morning devotions. The last thing before leaving for school or church on Sunday was devotions. It was as much a part of the morning as breakfast and the brushing of teeth. And it is where I learning to give my day to God and ask for His leading each day. It’s also where I learned to pray, and especially to pray for others. I’ve heard probably every person in this church prayed for at one time of another. My parents believe in prayer and live a life of prayer. We prayed before leaving on trips, when we finished a visit at a person’s home or hospital room, when the car wasn’t running well, when we saw an accident, when someone was sick, and the list goes on. Talking to God was as normal as talking to each other. And my mom’s prayers were and are so very tender and full of thanksgiving to God. James 5:16 says, “…The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” I know God answers prayers because I’ve heard and seen the results of the prayers my mom has prayed through the years.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mom Memories, Part V

Mom is rubbing my face during a migraine, placing an ice pack on my forehead and later, the taste of a grilled cheese sandwich and chocolate milk after I wake up. I had horrible migraines from the age of five on and my mom knew how to take care of me. She taught me how to feel empathy and compassion for the hurting around me. Some of my most vivid memories of my mom were when I was in the most pain. I saw her selfless love for me as she made sure rooms were dark, the house was silent and I had all I needed to get though the pain. It is because of her demonstration of such care, that I am know how to help my own daughter’s through their migraines, broken legs, and wounded hearts. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mom Memories, Part IV

We are standing in a room folding sheets together, holding carefully to each corner. Some of my favorite times with my mom were the days we spent at the campground cleaning Shepherd Hall in preparation for camp. She taught me how to fold a sheet perfectly, even a fitted sheet, how to organize a storage room, how to sweep, dust and clean sinks, toilets and showers. But most importantly, she instilled in me the joy in doing these services for people who would never realize you did it for them. She taught me to have pride in a job well done, especially in a job done for someone else. (Somehow cleaning my own room was never as fun as cleaning a dirty bathroom in a dorm. It’s still that way today.) Proverbs 12:14 says, “From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good, and the work of a man’s hand comes back to him.” There is no greater joy than serving others.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mom Memories, Part III

Dad, Mom and I are standing in the hot kitchen canning green beans. Another important lesson my mom taught me was the value of hard work, to keep at it until it was done, even when it’s a hot, hard and miserable job. It was important for me to recognize the joy in hard work and the benefits that a few hours of work can have throughout an entire year as we sat down to eat each night.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mom Memories, Part II

I hear Mom softly singing of “In My Heart There Rings a Melody” as she dusted. I Chronicles 16:9 says, Sing to him; sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!” Most of the time the only sound in our home was the sound of Mom singing her praises to God while working. (I’m not sure that is the same memory my siblings have. It may have been that Mom was just happy that now there was only one child’s voice to break the silence, instead of a houseful of noisy, fighting kids.) My mom also taught me the value of having the television on only when watching a show, so that the rest of the time can be spent appreciating the silence that allows one to hear God’s voice.  

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mom Memories

Yesterday was Mother's Day and my mom's church recognized her as 2010's First (Church's) Mother of the year. I couldn't get there for the celebration so I wrote something that they read to her. I'm going to share it in my blog over the next few weeks as a way of honoring my mom.

See I was a "surprise baby." Mom was 40 and Dad 41. The story is that on the way to the hospital Dad kept muttering, "I'm 41! and we're on the way to the hospital!" I think he was in a little bit of shock about the whole thing. But they were, and are, the best of parents. They had four other children to perfect parenting on and I was the beneficiary of all that amazing parenting knowledge.

So...these are some of the memories I have of my mom.

I hear Mom softly singing of “In My Heart There Rings a Melody” as she dusted. I Chronicles 16:9 says, Sing to him; sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!” Most of the time the only sound in our home was the sound of Mom singing her praises to God while working. (I’m not sure that is the same memory my siblings have. It may have been that Mom was just happy that now there was only one child’s voice to break the silence, instead of a houseful of noisy, fighting kids.) My mom also taught me the value of having the television on only when watching a show, so that the rest of the time can be spent appreciating the silence that allows one to hear God’s voice.  

Saturday, May 1, 2010

My Exciting Book Find

I was so excited this past Thursday, figuratively jumping up and down in the library. I found a book I'd been wanting to read for about a year now at my local library's weekly book sale. And I only had to pay $2.50 for it!

My hunt for this book takes a winding path. Follow along. The local book club (which sadly no longer existed because of library budget cuts.) read a book by Anne Patchette titled, "Run." I fell in love with Anne's writing and read several more of her books. One of those books was a memoir about her friendship with a fellow writer, Lucy Grealy. Lucy had cancer as a child and had to have several reconstructive surgeries on her face throughout her short life.

Lucy wrote the book, "Autobiography of a Face," the book I'd been searching for and finally found. I'll review the book for you when I'm finished. So...wait for more to come.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Oreo, the Pig-herding Dog Saves the Day

Last night was one of those "crazy life on the farm" nights. Passing the back door window, Oreo's bark caught my attention. And what did I see? A beagle dog herding two piglets. Not your ordinary back porch sight, especially when you don't raise hogs!

Now the neighbor across the street does. He hasn't had any for a couple months. I didn't realize he had gotten more in, but he had. And two had somehow left their building to take a stroll around the farm. That's not really a good idea because we live on a state road, cars zooming by at 55 miles per hour.

Somehow Oreo saved the day. Natural instincts took over, and he was on a mission. I'm not sure how he kept the two together and herded them across the road. But he was intent on bringing his charges home.

And this was definitely a case of nature working better than humans. Because once the girls and I got involved it looked a little like a greased pig-wrestling contest. Actually piglets run very fast and turn sharper than pro-football players! My baby caught the first. (It was all the practice of helping her best friend with 4H pigs.) She scooped the littlest piglet up and ran it to the garage.

Then the fun began! My Eldest had to chase the second about an eighth of a mile through a field and back until  Baby daughter and I were able to help trap it in a corner between a fence and building. She carried this escapee squealing to the garage followed closely on the heels by a barking Oreo dog.

Pappy arrived with a dog pen a few moments later. The piglet were soon contained where they happily went to sleep after such a great workout. Oreo jumped up in the back of the van to make sure all was well and safe. (He's never been willing to get in a car before. But this was important! He had to make sure the job was complete.)

The end of the story is that the neighbor farmer wasn't home, so our two escapees spent the night at our farm happily sleeping cuddled together in a dog crate. I'm sure they're back home now appreciating their temperature-controlled housing complete with specialized diet,... that is far away from the Pig-herding dog, Oreo.

Hooray! Oreo saves the day! (I knew you were good at something besides jumping and barking, Oreo.)

Hats for Haiti Update

Wow! After the craft and bake sale, along with a spaghetti dinner, our group raised $1000 to help pay for our trip to Haiti. My knitted hats, bags and shawl brought in over $150! My favorite hats from above sold except for the striped one. And's too small for my head.

This is the shawl I sold. It brought in $50 all by itself. It's a pattern called the Daybreak Shawl by the incredible designer Stephen West. Check out his website: I made it for myself, but decided at the last minute to give it to the sale. Now I get to make another one in a whole new color scheme. :)

After yesterday, the oldest daughter and I have raised all the money we needed for the trip. And fundraising is over. Yeah!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hats for Haiti

For the last two months I have been furiously knitting one cotton hat after another. My oldest daughter and I are going on a missions trip to Haiti this July, and tomorrow is a craft fundraiser at church. We are going to help at an orphanage in Jacmel, Haiti. I'm really excited to be going on this trip. It's been a long time since I've done a missions trip, since college, in fact. Centuries ago! Going with my daughter is special. As a mom, I want my girls to grow up learning to serve others, to think of others above self and to follow the path God has set for them. So I'm excited to see how God uses and changes us. And I'm glad we get to experience this together. (Now if God would just change Haiti's July climate and cool it to about 70F, that would make it all perfect.)
 So, the hats...I love to knit hats. The striped blue, green and white is my favorite. But the cherry one is super cute too. It's from Susan Anderson's book, Itty Bitty Hats. I think the pink one with the ribbon is the best constructed. The white one is delicate and would look so cute on a little baby girl. I just had to include a picture of it.
 In the past two months I have knit 16 hats and 5 bags, putting all other projects on hold. I can knit a hat in two nights, so they are done pretty fast. I even knit nearly an entire hat at the movie theatre a couple weeks ago. But tonight I'm ready to move on to something else. I'm excited to see how much money we raise tomorrow....and to get back to my Everyway Shawl.