Category Archives: Faith and Religion

Finally Complete

About a month ago we started our final major renovation of our old house. I say final with some regret although we have done pretty much all we can do to this old house.  There is a full size attic that could be made into a wonderful room, but that would entail building new stairs and a whole lot of extra mess that I am not prepared to deal with.  So the construction part of this old house is pretty much done. We have a new kitchen, new wood floors, an addition added years ago that included a combination bathroom and laundry. And this year we remodeled that room as it was 36 years ago we added it.  I sometimes wonder why I enjoy remodeling so much because when we are in the middle of it I want to pull my hair out because I don’t do messes too well. Yet, when it’s finished, I’m always happy.

I have shown our new screened in porch. Since we’ve had it built, it’s rained almost every day.   We have had the rainiest June that I can remember. The farmers have not been able to get a lot of their crops in and I feel for them.   We had yet another gully washer the other day.

It is nice to sit on the porch and hear the rain coming down on the metal roof.  I plan to sleep out here sometime this Summer.

The new bathroom/laundry room has turned out even better than I could imagine.

It began with the tearing out of the old shower which was a tub/shower enclosure.  Our contractor, who put the original bathroom in, was looking forward to doing his good work on this room again.

I really love this floor and it fits right in with the décor of this old house.

Because I am a quilter, I loved this tile when I saw it at Lowes and chose it for the floor of the shower.

The shower is a good deal larger than the original which we like.

It’s a small room, but seem roomier since we moved the sink.

I have wanted a pedestal sink ever since we bought this house over forty-two years ago and I never got one, so this was a must this time and I love this sink.

We purchased a new washer and dryer which  I had to do some studying on how to use them. First time I tried the washer I “accidentally” hit the delay start button and had to wait an hour and a half before the first load would wash. But I’ve learned now and that won’t happen again.

We gave away our old washer and dryer and I advertised them on Facebook for free and who should contact me but the baby sister of my best friend in grade school.  She lives an hour and a half away from us and said she could pick them up. She was getting them for her ninety-two year old mother.  I hadn’t seen her since she was a little girl when I use to go to her house to play with her older sister. Sometimes I’d ride my horse over to their house and spend an afternoon playing in their barn.   So she and her brother, who I also played with, came over to get the washer and dryer.  It was so nice seeing them.

 

It was so nice to see them both and of course, none of us have changed one bit!

She is still a cutie.  When she was little, she was just a pest to us older kids!

I was so glad someone I knew got the washer and dryer.

Last, but not least, this is the lighting in our new bathroom. I really like Edison lightbulbs and this gives the room a bright, warm light. And yes, the walls are pink which I didn’t think was the color when I picked it, but it’s a soft pink so David can live with it.   I thought it was going to be a more pinkish beige, but my record at picking out paint colors has not always been so good.

Just a note about the tests I had the other day. I had a complete heart catherization and the doctor said my heart had no blockages and he found nothing wrong. It still leaves us with the mystery of why I get so breathless, so next week I’m having a chest x-ray and a scan to check my lungs.  I’m beginning to feel like a pin cushion and lab rat.   Just a little story when David and I were waiting for me to go into the operating room I told him my guardian angel was sitting in the chair beside me. They put one of those automatic blood pressure cuffs on my arm which I hate because they always hurt my arm. So, this time I asked my guardian angel to slip his thumb between my arm and cuff every time it started to tighten and do you know, it helped and it didn’t hurt this time!  God gives His angels charge over us and it never hurts to ask them for help.  If you prayed for me, I thank you.  I do believe in answered prayers.

David is taking the whole month of July off and we will be here, there and everywhere and have planned some things with grandboys so my blogging will probably take a back seat.  Have a Happy July 4th and God bless America.  Bye.

 

Feeling Good?

How are you feeling today?  Do you have some aches and pains that are bothering you?  Do you have something on your mind that causes you problems?  Do you have a physical impairment getting you down?   Whatever you have or are suffering, you are very probably not alone.  Health is a funny thing. When you have it, you don’t treasure it as you should and when you don’t have it, you despair of ever having it again.   And if you regain your health, you are happy for a time and then start taking it for granted again.

I try to never take good health for granted any longer.  For the past two years I have been battling something and no doctor seems to know exactly what. I’ve had just about every test conceivable for my heart and the doctors tell me my heart is healthy, although I do have some extra beats in one chamber.   I feel tired and breathless a lot of the time and I can drop asleep at the well, drop of a hat!   I can’t remember a day for a long time where I got up with a lot of energy and pep.   I do get a lot of things done most days, but it can be a real drag on occasion.   Maybe it’s these dark, rainy days we have had lately. Ever since the builders started work on our screened in porch, it’s rained almost every day. It’s raining right now. Is there a man named Noah building an ark somewhere? I am soaked from going out and feeding and watering all the chickens.  The chickens don’t seem to mind the rain at all.  The yard is green and the flowers are all in bloom, so they like it, too, but I sure could use a little sunshine right now.

As for the screened in porch, it’s much bigger than I thought it would be.  We could hold a dance on it and have plenty of room. We have talked about David building a swing bed for it so we could sleep outdoors when we want.   I am so looking forward to decorating the porch with a rug, screens and lights.  Everyone tells us we are going to love our porch because the bugs won’t be able to get in and bother us and we can sit there even when it’s raining.   I’m sure we will enjoy it if it ever gets finished with all the rain we are having.  The roofer came and went yesterday and still no roof on it.   I should be out in my shop doing some quilting, but I’m no in the mood.   After sewing all those mug rugs for the women’s dinner at church, I felt a little burned out.  I’m wanting to get into the garden and transplant some flowers and I still have flower seeds to plant and a new bed to make for in front of the porch.

Finally got some pictures of the new porch to show you.

This was just the beginning.  Like I wrote, it’s rained every day since they started so the process has been slow.

Then the floor and the walls were built. See, the floor is wet from the rain!

Then the rafters. This is where it really begins to look like a porch.

The overseer says things are going as planned.  Poor Belle and Molly. They have been penned up for days because the workers have to leave the gate open to get in and out with things so the dogs are penned up while they are here. They will love it when the work is all done. They still have a bathroom to remodel. Thirty-six years ago this same contractor built our bathroom downstairs. Until that time, this old house had one bathroom for five people upstairs. Built in the 1950’s!   I know because when they tore out the old toilet that was the date on it.  We really needed a second bathroom then.  Now he is remodeling the one he built years ago.

Molly and Belle enjoying freedom for a time.

Roof is still not finished, but they may do it tomorrow, I’m told.

The porch is a whole lot bigger than I imagined it would be.

Other things have been happening.  The ladies at my church had a brunch last Saturday.  The theme was “Wonderfully Made by God.”  They used some of my quilts on the tables.

My chicken quilt. One of my favorites of all the ones I’ve made.

Tables were set with the church’s best china.  It was a pitch-in. I made cinnamon rolls.

The little mug rugs I made were placed under the coffee cups and everyone took one home.  I really had fun making these and have a few left. I made forty-two of them altogether. The speaker talked about how we are like unfinished quilts, but God has a plan for us and is making us into what he wants us to be if we let Him.  We may look unfinished to the world, but God has a plan and He’s working it all the time.

One of our grandsons had his Spring instrumental concert this past week.  All the fifth and sixth graders in all the elementary schools in their town gathered at one of the high schools to play a concert.

The gymnasium was full and parents and grandparents packed the seats.

I am so proud of this boy and am so glad he is taking an instrument.   Next year both he and his younger brother will be playing.

It takes concentration to play an instrument.   Makes me want to take up the violin again.

We thoroughly enjoyed being there and went out to eat afterward with them.

Here’s a picture of the little screen door I bought at the antique show a couple of weeks ago.

The real doors look exactly like this and I have a larger metal star just like the one on this door. It will hang on a wall in our new porch.

Hope you are feeling fine and having some sunshine where you are. I don’t remember what the sun looks like!  Ha.  Have a great weekend. David and I are having a Friday night date night. Something we haven’t done in a while. Dinner and a movie. Going to see Poms about older women who form a cheer leading squad. Should be funny.

Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

I know I sound like a recording, but isn’t the time flying?  It’s almost Valentine’s Day already and we were just celebrating the New Year.  When I hear young people say the time is passing quickly, then I don’t know what to say because if it’s passing quickly for them there is something happening to the space time continuum of planet earth.  I often wonder if God is speeding time up for Jesus’ coming as He looks upon us and sees the evil that is in people’s minds and actions. I can hardly bear to read the news or listen to it anymore.

I also believe at times that I live in an alternate universe from many people.  I don’t understand a lot of people a lot of the time.  Maybe they feel that way about me.  I don’t know. Of course, my husband tells me I am weird all the time.  The last time I visited my doctor, he called me weird because of how my body reacted to the medicine he says helps everyone else.  So, maybe I am weird! But I’m a happy weird.

Well, that is about as deep as I’m going to get today. Just something to think upon and wonder about.  I try to live each day with joy and hope and I know how it all ends, so I’m not afraid.

I’ve had so many projects going on and many more I want to do before the warm weather gets here and I will want to be outside in the fresh air playing with my dogs. They have been rather neglected in these cold and rainy days.   They have been spending a lot of time in my shop with me, listening to my radio talk shows, ha, and watching me cut out Bullseye quilts.  I am addicted to Bullseye quilts. I think I am because I love going through all my fabric and finding material that will go together to make a block, knowing I will cut that block into four pieces along with many other blocks and then sew all those parts together to make a pretty amazing looking quilt.  And I am discovering fabric I had forgotten about, so that’s a plus, too. It’s almost like Christmas when I find a forgotten fabric.  I made a pillow with a four of the blocks.

I love this pillow way too much. I had had it on the couch for a couple of weeks  David just noticed it!   My very observant husband.

How can one miss this bright and colorful pillow!   I’m going to make some more. Maybe give some away.  I have a Christmas Bullseye quilt almost all cut out.  Like I said, I’m addicted.

And wonderful things have been coming in the mail. I read Mary Etherington’s blog over on Country Threads Chicken Scratch. Mary and her friend, Connie use to have a quilt shop in northwestern Iowa called Country Threads. They wrote many patterns, some of which I sold in our store, Craig’s Vac and Sew, years ago. They closed the store several years ago, but still write patterns and they have a book out right now that I ordered.

I was so excited when this package arrived.

With the cutest little return label.

And a wonderful book inside.

Here’s Mary and Connie.

They are very good friends and were superstars in the quilting world years ago.  I met Mary, the one in glasses, years ago when we traveled through Garner, Iowa going out west. I wanted to visit their quilt shop. It was wonderful, but the best part was I got to meet Mary as the quilt shop was located on her farm.  You know you see someone who is famous in their field and you wonder if they are as nice as they appear in their pictures. Well, Mary is the nicest person you could ever wish to meet. She welcomed me and showed me around the farm. I’m sure she doesn’t remember me, but she had a hurt arm or shoulder and I grabbed her and hugged her before I realized it and she was so nice about it even though I probably caused her great pain.

I felt like I did when I saw the Beatles.  Mary was that famous in my eyes.  Their patterns sold very well in our store and I have made so many quilts from them. If you want the book, go over to her blog and I think you can still order it.  And they sign the ones you buy from them.

I’m just saying. Superstars!  I plan to make several quilts from this book.

I got more flower seeds.  I honestly don’t know where I am going to plant them all as my garden is pretty full already, but I will stick them in somewhere.

Zinnias are one of my top five favorite flowers to raise. Just toss the seeds in the ground and in a few weeks you have a wonderful display of blooms.

And I got some more fabric.

Just some basics to use in my Bullseye quilts.

And last, but certainly not least I got more yarn.

It came in a bag that had this on the front.

And each skein of yarn had a yarn marker attached.

An extra little bonus.  I will be ordering from this business again.

Her yarns are amazing.  And fun to knit up.

Years ago our city had a major flood. They called it the hundred year flood because in theory it only happens every one hundred years.  But this week, people were getting worried as the rains kept falling for hours and hours.  We drove past a park in town and this is what we saw.

I’ve climbed that tower from which you can see the downtown.

The amphitheater where shows and bands perform. Not going to right now.

The playground.  Many years ago before this park came into existence, there were people who lived down by the river in shanties.  I have seen pictures from years ago of those shanties flooded. Finally, the city moved all the people and put in this park that gets flooded every so often because the river runs right by it.

Friends of mine, who lost everything in the last flood, were getting concerned and I didn’t blame them. It was looking scary for a while, but finally the rains stopped and the sun came out and the water is receding.   Today it is snowing and sleeting.

My church helps support a Crisis Pregnancy Center. Every year we are given baby bottles to fill with money to give to the center.  I am always happy to contribute because they are saving babies’ lives there and with what we see in the news today, we must continue to fight for and protect the unborn.

I am glad my church participates in this. I pray for all the babies.

My chickee-poos are still laying during this crazy weather.  We get just enough eggs for us right now.  I must show you the one a hen laid.  She certainly gave her all.

Almost as big as a duck egg and I should know. I use to raise ducks.

 

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day?  If I don’t plan anything, we won’t do anything. I do have a delicious looking Valentine Jelly Donut cake recipe I am thinking of making for David.

I bought these candy hearts. You know, the ones that have cute words on them for Valentine’s Day, but you can hardly read the words they’re so dim.  And it’s a brand name, too.   What is wrong with them!   You really have to look to see what each heart reads.   Oh, well. That’s the way of things today.  I may be getting old, but things really are more poorly made than they were years ago except for maybe cars because one rarely sees a broken down car on the side of the road any longer.  When I was a girl you’d see them all the time and cars use to rust out faster than they do today. Our car is ten years old and still going strong and we’d like it to last another ten years.   That car has been all over the United States, to Alaska and down the Alaska Highway through Canada. North, South, East and West.  I’d like to keep her a while longer.

I sincerely hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day.  Whether alone or with a loved one, you still are loved by the One who loves us all.  He never disappoints. He will never forsake you.  He is the best Valentine a person could have. Jesus. Love you all and God bless. Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January is For the Birds

Here we are, almost in the middle of January already and it’s been a productive month for me quilt wise. Since Christmas I have pieced six small quilts and finished three of them, working on finishing a fourth and started a quilt that is being taught on a blog.

I am loving this little quilt from Kathleen Tracy’s book.   It’s almost folk art in its simplicity.

It’s not very big, but it packs a wallop color wise and will look cute as a table topper or a wall hanging.  It’s hung here by this….

This chicken toy I found at an antique store years ago.  Before I even had a thought about raising chickens. I guess I have always had chickens on my mind.

I did make a mistake on this quilt and it’s been fixed, but you can see it here if you know the pattern.   It was fun making this quilt and used very little material.

This is a pile of Bulls-eye blocks for the Bulls-eye quilt being taught over on the blog, Country Threads Chicken Scratch.  I am making a lap-sized quilt, but you can make it smaller or larger if you would want.  This is another quilt that is suppose to use up one’s stash, but it hasn’t made a dent in mine.

There are still a few steps to making the blocks so they won’t look anything like this when I am done.

While searching through my stashes and boxes, I found this book I bought eleven years ago. I know that because I  always write the date on the inside cover of a book when I get it.  I had high hopes of making a quilt from the book, but none has happened so far.  There is a lot of history about Louisa May Alcott in the book.

So then I had to hunt down this book….

Little Women, which was in my family’s library when I was a child and I am ashamed to say I have never read it. I have seen practically all the movie versions of it from when Katherine Hepburn played Jo, to June Allyson playing her and then Winona Ryder.  Then PBS is having Little Women on and have sexed it up a little bit more than I like. Why do modern movie producers feel the need to do that in so many movies?   We really don’t need to see the sisters in their skivvies, do we?  Even though Miss Alcott was a women’s rights advocate, I think she would be shocked to see her girls parading around in their underwear.  Anyway, I really must read this book sometime.    I remember it when I was growing up and looking at the pictures in it.

I guess because I had seen the movie I didn’t think I needed to read the book, but if it’s always true for me, the book is much better than the movie.  The only book I have ever read that I thought the movie was as good was Gone With the Wind, even though a whole lot of things were left out of the movie such as Scarlette  had more children than Bonnie Blue.

We finally had snow this weekend. We’ve been having almost Spring like temperatures for a while, but this is our normal usually in January.  David went from cleaning the pool…

to building a fire.

And because of all the snow, the birds must be fed.  They go through a lot of feed. We just bought two more forty pound bags of bird seed and hope it lasts the rest of the month, but I’m not betting on it.

I counted twelve cardinals at the feeder yesterday and today I barely got the feed in the feeder when two cardinals  flew above my head.

Birds wait in the trees like airplanes on a tarmac and drop down when it’s their turn.

I love seeing the cardinals against the new fallen snow. So pretty.  I was worried about the birds this year.  A businessman bought the property right next door to us and cut down all the trees. Almost every last one. The only one left was the one right by my shop and I asked him not to cut it down as it was mostly on our property.  I still worry about it.  He did leave a few bushes for the birds to alight in and I am planning to plant some more trees this Spring.  I was worried that all the birds would go away, but so far, we have more than ever, it seems.  They have all moved over to our property where they know there are people who love trees and bushes and birds and squirrels.

This is my one lone tree. A maple. I hope it will grow big and strong and lovely. You can see the barren field next door where the travesty took place.

There use to be trees all long the property line. They had to come down because of “liability” concerns.  I was very sad about it all, but I will be planting more trees on my property.

Sadly, in our travels, I am seeing more and more of this destruction of trees and meadows across our country due to “progress,” where whole forests are cut down and burned and housing developments and businesses sprout up like weeds and a blight on the countryside.  I know people have to have somewhere to live and work, but the wanton destruction of forests and farmland is very disturbing. It cannot be replaced and in newer developments, they are even told what kind of trees they can plant, so there is no diversity and that’s what I thought government and businesses were all about. You can drive from one city to the next and see the same kinds of houses and business and everything looks generic.   I call some of these developments, Taupevilles, because all the houses are the same color.   I’d love to see just one red house in  them just to stop the boredom.  As you can read, I am very passionate about this. We cannot lose all our forests and farmland to development.

Just a picture of my work area in the house while I watch tv or listen to the radio.

All the yarns laid out to inspire me.  Oh, and laundry that is less inspiring!

A devotional book to feed me spiritually.

And new lipsticks from Color My World. I love these lipsticks. They seem to last forever and they come in the cutest tubes.

Now that I have stepped gingerly off my soapbox, I will leave you with a good cup of coffee.  Starbucks has nothing on my coffee.

Bye.

 

Prayers Answered

Do you pray?  And I mean to a God in Heaven who is sitting on His throne and knows absolutely everything that is going on with your life and knows the outcome even when you don’t.   Do you pray in earnest or half heartedly, never quite believing you are being heard?   Are any of your prayers answered?   Are they answered in the way you thought they would be or should have been answered?

Our God is hard to understand sometimes.   I know He loves everyone and wants no one to perish.  He feels our pain and knows our futures.   He has a plan for our lives, but it’s up to us to figure out what it is.    Most times we work against that plan whether we know it or not.

This last month I’ve had a reason to pray in earnest for several things.  There are some things and some people I pray for daily.   Some of those prayers have been answered and some I am still waiting upon.   I was in the hospital a couple of weeks ago and I was praying continuously.  Late at night in the hospital bed, I would ask God to keep me company and I would sing hymns silently to myself because I felt so lonely and scared. I didn’t know what was happening to my body and really wondered if my life on earth was coming to an end. I was all for it if it was,  because I knew to die was just the beginning of my eternity, but I was still scared.  I knew there were many people who were praying for me and believe me, I felt those prayers.

I really did not know my prayers had been answered in a very remarkable way until I got home.   You see, my blood pressure had been soaring and my heart rate had been falling and the doctors didn’t know what to do about it for a couple of days.  They took me off all my medications and started all over.  Nothing good happened until one day they tried this one medicine and my blood pressure fell dramatically and my heartrate went up.  I was also taken off one medicine that had been making me sick to my stomach for several weeks.  Suddenly, I felt so much better.  Now since I have been home and have seen my cardiologist and gotten a good report, I have felt better than I have felt for months. I didn’t even realize I had been feeling badly before other than being short of breath at times.  Now I have so much energy and feel so much better.  Was I unhappy I spent my vacation in the hospital?  Yes.  Did God answer my prayers for good health?  He surely did.  He just did it in a way I wasn’t planning.  I knew I was in the hospital for a reason and that one day I would know that reason.  It’s possible if I had not gone to that clinic that day and been hospitalized, I may still be feeling very unwell. I might even be dead.    God works in mysterious ways.  Why He made me miss Walt Disney World, He will have to explain to me one day.  By then I won’t care.  I’m just saying God answered my prayers in a way I would never expected and in a way I would not have picked out myself, but He knew what I needed.  Perhaps I needed to be placed in that very hospital to slow myself down and let others figure out what was wrong with me.   I pray for all those ladies and that one young man who took care of me while I was in there.  I will think about another young young man who had trouble taking my blood and then joked he had used the wrong vials and would have to do it all over. When I looked upset about it he said, “just kidding!”   The young woman from Puerto Rico who was so sweet and gentle and patient with all my questions.  The Haitian lady who told me about all the horrible things happening in her native land and how her church sends clothes and shoes to people there who have none.   The lady who always had a smile on her face.   Even the doctor who didn’t act very doctor like to me.  They all touched me in some way and I would never have met them if I hadn’t been placed in that hospital.

God taught me patience while I was in the hospital also.   Now that I look back on it, I’m pretty happy with myself how patient I was because there were times I wanted to throw a tantrum like a baby!    God must have been working on me.

So I am here to tell you, God does answer prayer.  I even find myself thanking Him for putting me in that particular hospital.  Only He knew that is where I would find health once more.  Never give up praying.  Whether it’s for yourself or someone else.  Whether it’s for your circumstances  or something you want.  If you really pray in God’s will, He will answer your prayer.  Maybe not like you think He should, but He will answer it in the way that is best for you.  Sometimes unanswered prayers are the answer.  Not now, He is telling you.

So my prayer for all reading this is that you take your troubles and worries and also your praise to God. He’s listening.  He loves you.  He wants what’s best for you.  God bless you.  Bye.

Sleds and Santa

I am sitting here and it’s Christmas Eve remembering the wonderful Christmases I had when I was growing up. Christmas always centered around the Christ child. There was church and nativities and carols sung and candles glowing.  Packages under the tree.  Trips to the department store to see Santa.  How I wish I could relive those years again. They were the best of times.  I heard that some people don’t even think of Christmas as a Christian holiday anymore.  I don’t know what they think it is or what the word Christmas means to them, but for me, it always is about Jesus.    Years ago I wrote a story about Christmas and I will share it with you now.   It’s as true as I can remember it.  Most of it really happened and some may or may not, but that is for you to decide.

Sleds and Santa Claus

A heavy blanket of snow covered Daddy’s Indiana farm.  Katie looked out the kitchen door and saw drifts of snow on the sidewalk and back porch.  Daddy came in the back door stamping his feet and  carrying an armload of wood to put in the big black iron stove that sat in the kitchen.  As Katie ate her breakfast of hot sweet tea and cinnamon toast, she felt warm and cozy.  Daddy sat at the head of the table and Mommy sat next to him.  They were discussing what needed to be done that day on the farm

Katie’s brother’s came down from the cold bedrooms upstairs.   The window in Katie’s room had had frost on the inside of it that morning and she had not wanted to leave her warm nest in her bed.

“Hey! Let’s go sledding this afternoon,” cried Andy. That sounded like a great idea to all the children, but first all the chores had to be done before play.  On a farm the livestock comes first and all the animals must be fed and watered before anything else.  The eggs must be gathered before they froze in their nests.  That was Katie’s job.  Soon they were all bundled up   to go outdoors to do their chores.

The cold wind whipped Katie’s face as she walked to the chicken house.  Inside it was warm and the chickens began to cluck.  Sometimes Katie would have to reach underneath a setting hen to take her eggs. The hen would not like this, but it had to be done.  Eggs were never left to be hatched in the henhouse.  Mommy used many of them in her baking each week ad the ones she didn’t use were carefully washed and crated and taken to the grocery store to be sold to the grocer for him to sell.   Mommy’s chicken eggs were especially good. They were fresh and the yolks were almost orange.  That was because the chickens were allowed to scratch and peck outdoors and to eat a lot of different things like juicy bugs and worms besides the ground corn Daddy fed them.  The grocer was always glad to get them.

After a good hot midday meal, Katie and her brothers dressed in several layers of clothes and snow boots and went out to Daddy’s workshop where the sleds were kept. They walked down the road to a hill owned by a neighbor, Mr. Bond.  They climbed over the fence and trudged through the deep snow to the top of the hill.  The first few times sledding down was not very good because the paths had to be made through the snow.  After a few rides down the hill, it became slicker and slicker until you were absolutely flying!  At the bottom of the hill was a little grove of tree that you had to steer your sled through.  It was dangerous, but fun at the same time. Sometimes the neighbor boys, the Clevengers, would join in the fun. The boys would throw snowballs at one another as they slid down the hill.

All too soon for Katie it was time to go back home.  She was chilled to the bone but hadn’t noticed while she was sledding.  Back in the warm house Mommy made hot chocolate and Daddy made popcorn balls.  After all the exercise, it all tasted so good!

Sometime in the winter,  Daddy and Mommy would begin whispering to one another and hiding things from the children.  It was Christmas time, one of the best times of the year for a child.  Soon after Thanksgiving, the tree would be put up and decorated and Mommy would put up the red plastic wreaths with the red candles in the windows.   A plastic Santa riding a white reindeer and that lit up was one of Katie’s favorite Christmas decorations.  The nativity that Daddy had built was put in a place of honor where Katie would look at it every day.  It had a blue lightbulb that gave the holy family a heavenly glow.

Soon it was Christmas Eve and the children were all excited about Santa’s coming visit.  The boys wanted Davy Crockett coonskin  hats and Katie wanted a doll.  Her older sister, Joanne, wanted new clothes.   Katie wanted to stay up and see if Santa really was the one who brought the toys each Christmas.  She begged Mommy to allow her to stay up if her sister stayed up with her  “You may stay up, but you will be asleep before Santa gets here,”  Mommy told her.

That night Katie and Joanne each picked a chair to sleep in. With pillows and blankets, they settled in and  prepared to stay up and see old St. Nick bring their presents.  Everyone else went to bed and the house settled down into a deep, dark quiet.  Not a thing was stirring.  Katie was so excited.   She waited and waited until her eyelids became heavier and heavier.  All at once there was a soft glow in the room.  Katie rubbed her eyes because she could not believe what she was seeing. Right in front of her, so close she could have touched him was a short, round little man in a beautiful red woolen suit with the whitest fur trim. He was bent over putting something under the tree.  It was Santa!   Katie was afraid that she might get in trouble for being there, but suddenly, the little man turned and looked right at her with his kind eyes and said, “Go back to sleep, honey.”   The next thing Katie knew she was waking up in her own bed. It was Christmas morning!

The children all had to wait until Mommy and Daddy said it was okay to come down the stairs.  When they did there was a mad dash to get to the Christmas tree and see what Santa had brought them.  Katie doesn’t remember what she got that year, but she does remember it was the year she saw the real Santa Claus.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.  Bye.

It’s Beginning to Look…….

I have been slowly getting the Christmas decorations up.    I was going to go for a more streamlined look, but, as usual, when I started getting out all our decorations the house was soon overflowing with Christmas cheer.

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To put our tree on top of the old red table I bought at the last antique tour we attended,  involved sawing a fake tree limb to make it shorter so the tree would not touch the ceiling. Next year the tree is going back on the floor!  In fact, I’m thinking real tree next year. Something we have not done in decades.   But the tree is decorated and waiting for the presents that will go underneath.

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I love pulling out all the old decorations we have gathered through the years.  We got this Santa on a hot air balloon at Hershey Pennsylvania many years ago. I remember this vacation in particular because half way to Hershey our younger son rose up from the back seat and with a worried look on his face said, ”  I think I left the freezer door open.”   Well, there was discussion about going back and David said no and believe it or not, I didn’t think about it again until we were almost home and I began to wonder if we would have thawed food in the freezer. We had this huge standing freezer where I froze meat we got from my parents when they butchered a cow, frozen corn I would freeze in the Summer months and other frozen foods.  Having young children I was always having to tell them to close the freezer door, so I was worried about what we would find.  The freezer door was closed.  Why our son said that makes me think I had traumatized my children about leaving the freezer door open.  I was so glad when we got rid of that freezer.   The same thing about the iron.  I was always afraid of leaving the iron on when we went anywhere because I did a lot of ironing at that time.   That and the freezer were usually always checked before we went away.  Our younger son said that was one of his best vacations going to Hershey and I’m glad he enjoyed it.

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This Santa on a stork always goes on the tree.  When we were expecting our first child, David’s grandmother gave me this for Christmas and I have always loved it.   It’ almost fifty years old now and I cannot believe I have a child almost that old.

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This snowman is even older. When I was a little girl my grandfather had a few of these snowmen candles on his tree and I was blessed enough to get a couple of them. I always think of my grandpa when I put this on my tree.  He made the best popcorn balls.  We kids always looked forward to those at Christmas.  That and fifty cents was our present from him and that was enough for us.

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A tiny pillow I made.

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And a table runner.  I have made so many Christmas decorations from fabric in the past years that I cannot put them all out.

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Fabric gingerbread men I sewed when we had our fabric store.

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This was actually a tee shirt I found at Target years ago. I sewed up the bottom and the armholes and stuffed it and it makes a very comfortable pillow.

This time of year I love to bake and make sweets to eat. David and I are both sugarholics.

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I made a big batch of donut holes with sugar and cinnamon.  Yum.

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Those with a cup of coffee are wonderful in the morning. I am so glad I am not a diabetic or on a gluten free diet.  I think I would miss donuts more than anything. The author, Jan Karon, wrote in her cookbook about sitting with some famous people and asking them that if they were going to have their last meal of their life, what would they eat?  There were answers of steak or lobster or cake.  If I thought I was going to die and was allowed one last meal I would want two Krispy Crème Boston crème donuts with a really good cup of coffee with plenty of sweetener and cream.  I use to think ice cream was my favorite food, but in the last few years I have found I could take it or leave it unless it’s really, really good butter pecan ice cream.  I only eat it about three or four times a year because I really do not crave it, but I crave donuts. Anyway, these little donut holes are so good and so easy to make.  I only make them three or four times a year and usually at this time of year.

Speaking of sweet things, we went to see these last weekend.

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Golden Retriever puppies!

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How darling can an animal get?  I love puppies.  But it is dangerous for me to be around them because I always want one.

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Our grandsons are enjoying the cuteness, too.

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They are just like puppies. Growing up too fast.   I don’t know how my daughter can not keep one of the puppies, but they already have three Goldens, so these are all for sale.

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Our beautiful daughter. She is dog crazy like I am.  In fact, when she was a girl, she would scour the ads in the newspaper looking for free puppies and would beg to get one.  We got three dogs that way through the years. then she grew up and guess who was left with the dogs?  But I loved them too, so it was all good.  Now I scour the ads looking for Chocolate Labs.

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I’m in love, but I will resist.  I am holding out for another Chocolate Labrador Retriever. Maybe in another year.  This coming year is going to be busy as it’s our fiftieth wedding anniversary year and we have plans.

As we plan for Christmas day remember this…..

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Keep Christ in Christmas because that is really why we celebrate. The birth of our King and Savior.   With Christ out of Christmas, it’s just another day.

Here’s to Christmas and darling puppies.  May they both bring smiles to your face.  Bye.

 

 

 

Joy and Sorrow

People can experience both joy and sorrow in a span of a day.  We saw this on display on our television sets this week.  Neil Cavuto on the FOX network gave a moving report called “One Week Ago Today,” yesterday where he talked about how all the people who went to the concert in Las Vegas were preparing for it one week ago with excitement and happiness.   At the same time a man was plotting how best to get the perfect site from which to shoot his guns at people to kill them.  I think there was more than one shooter, but that’s another story.  One week ago today 59 people were alive and were with their friends and loved ones.  One week ago today, a very evil person was planning something horrific.   He was ordering room service, setting up his weapons, getting ready while thousands of people were just planning on having a fun weekend. One week ago.

That is how quickly joy can turn to sorrow.  I have experienced both emotions in the span of a day.  Complete joy and then shattering sorrow.   I write this because none of us are promised tomorrow.  None of us know when we leave our home whether we will come back. None of us know if the ones we love we see today, might not be with us in a blink of an eye. That is how tenuous our lives are.  Why we waste a second on anger and hatred is something I cannot explain.   We should love one another, give our loved ones a hug when we see them.  Call them on the phone and tell them you love them.  Life is way too short. I feel so sorry for those who lost friends and loved ones last weekend.  On Cavuto’s show he ran all the pictures of the people who were murdered and I stood there at my ironing board, tears running down my cheeks watching those lovely faces scroll by. Some so young.  Some with children.  Somebody’s mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle or other relationship.  None of them deserved what happened to them.  I pray they are all in heaven today.   I don’t know why God allows things like this to happen. I do know He doesn’t cause them.  Evil does.  Evil hearts that have no love for others.   And yet, we must pray for those who despitefully use us.  I can’t explain that one.

So, I am praying that nothing else bad happens for a long, long time. Our country has been hit with a lot of bad things lately.  So have other countries, but I have to deal with mine.    I want this blog to be full of happiness and joy, but I cannot ignore when my fellow citizens are hurting.   I have some fun things to write about, but for now, I pray we can all come together and unite as a nation and rid ourselves of all the hate that is happening all around us.  Blessings to you all and may God keep you in His hands. Bye.

Comfort and Peace

Every day when I  sit down to eat, I thank God for my food, but I also thank Him for the chair upon which I sit, the roof over my head, the husband sitting beside me and all He has provided.

When I lay my head on my pillow at night, I thank God for that pillow, the bed in which I am sleeping, that all is peaceful in my world right now, the husband beside me and all He has provided. That right now my family is doing well and we have our health.

I have been thinking a lot lately about all I have to be thankful for as I watch the news every day.  So many people don’t have the luxuries I have. And yes, I call the comforts of home luxuries.   Today in Texas, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, Washington and California many people don’t have their beds to sleep in tonight or at least, not their own beds. Many have lost everything.  Some have lost loved ones.  Some have lost the pets they love.  I can’t imagine losing a family member or one of my pets in a flood or a fire.   I can’t imagine having to start all over again.   I realize that the United States is not the only country where people are suffering.  I just can’t wrap my brain around all the suffering that is going on around our world today so I am focusing on our problems right now.

So, I pray and ask God to make things better for people.  That His comfort will sustain them as they try to rebuild their lives. That they won’t lose faith in Him, because He is there in the people who are rescuing them, feeding them, providing shelter for them and trying to help the best way they can.  I sent some money to Samaritan’s Purse.  I know it was a drop in the bucket at what they need, but if thousands of us send some money, there would be lots of buckets full to help people in need.

To all those who are suffering right now I say, you are not alone.  We the people are thinking of you and want to help.  My prayers go out to all of you and I pray your lives will get back to normal as quickly as possible.

And on this day when we Americans are remembering one of the worst tragedies to ever happen on our soil on September 11, 2001, I pray for our country and it’s safety and peace.

To all who join me in prayer I say thank you.  Bye.

Indiana

I love my state.  I cannot deny it. I have been in almost all the states except Hawaii and Rhode Island and while all the states have something to offer and many are simply beautiful, I am always glad to get back to Indiana.   It’s been my home all my life and I’ve had a great life in it. No, we don’t have mountains, but we have rolling hills and valleys. No, we don’t have an ocean, but we have rivers and great lakes.  We also have weather that changes on a dime.  Cold today?  Just wait. Tomorrow you will be turning the air conditioner on to freeze.

This weekend David and I drove through southern Indiana. We were going somewhere.

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A Beth Moore Bible conference in Evansville.   I went to Evansville with my youth group when I was a teen-ager to visit Evansville College where I was thinking of going and to see a football game there.   I didn’t remember much about the city.

So with my trusty chauffeur in the driver’s seat, off we went.

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He wasn’t sure about all of this. You see, Beth Moore conferences are mainly for women.  Very few men attend them, but since way back in January I bought two tickets thinking I would give one to a friend and because no one was free that particular weekend, David was going to attend.  I told him it was just like going to church and since we missed our church services this weekend, we would still be worshipping.  He agreed reluctantly.   But it was a weekend away and we had other things planned as well.  Shopping, antiquing, sight seeing.

I went to one other Beth Moore conference with some friends from church and we had a great time.  But I do remember the music being very loud.

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Travis Cottrell does all the music for her conferences.

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You do feel like you are among friends when you are there.

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When all the women got their seats there were five thousand women(and a few lonely men) waiting to worship.

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Then Beth came out.  Her study was about God’s feet.  I know, it sounds strange until you know the context of what she was talking about. How God came to earth and he was an innocent baby with tiny little feet. He grew to be a man and wore sandals that John the Baptist said he was not worthy to unlatch.  The sick, lame and blind were brought to His feet to be healed.  People fell at his feet.   So many passages about Jesus’ feet in the Bible. That God’s sits on his throne in heaven and the earth is His footstool.  That Adam and Eve heard God’s very footsteps in Eden.    I never thought about God like this.  And that one day His feet will stand in Jerusalem once more.   And one day every single person will bow at His feet and proclaim Him Lord.

Now, I love Beth Moore conferences, but I do have one complaint.  A complaint that probably most of the young women attending the conference don’t have. I think the music is way too loud.  It hurt my ears. I don’t listen to much music anyway since I think music went downhill after the sixties!    David held his ears the whole time and he said he still could feel the beat, beat, beat of the drums on his chest.   It probably is our generation, but I like worship services to be a little more quiet and reverential.    I wonder if we can hear God’s still, small voice through all the noise.    Please, don’t take this personally if this is how your church worships.   If it’s a true worshipful service and it’s not just about the music and being entertained, then go for it.  I don’t think I will be getting David to another Beth Moore conference in the near future, however.

I felt like I learned a lot and want to do some more studying on the subject of God’s feet.

We didn’t go to the Saturday morning conference as we wanted the day for traveling and taking our time and not rushing to get home.  So we got up the next morning and searched for a donut shop. Yes, more donuts.  We found a Krispy Kreme and when we walked in the store’s door, the girl behind the counter immediately handed each of us a donut warm from the oven. Oh, my, goodness.  What a way to start the day!   We ordered some donuts and a coffee for me to go and set off to find a place to eat them on the Ohio River.  Did I say it was 102 degrees outside that day?    We decided to sit in the air conditioned car to eat our breakfast and look at the river.

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While at our motel, I read about the town of Newburgh.  It has an interesting story.  During the American Civil War, Confederate soldiers were seen across the Ohio River on the Kentucky side.  The leader of the Confederates knew they could not take the city with the few men he had so they took burned logs and stove pipes and made them look like cannons and made a lot of noise as if it was a great army and wouldn’t you know?  The whole town surrendered.  The Confederates came into town and got all the food and munitions they could find and then left.  Not a shot was heard because there was none.

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The town seems to take some pride in this.  I guess it’s their claim to fame.  Funny.  But that is not all the town is known for.  It’s a place out of history with so many old houses.  When we first drove into town we immediately saw this little store(which turned out having three buildings with neat things to buy.)

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Yes, they were retiring Vera.

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It was chock full of all kinds of goodness. I bought a few things, of course.

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I almost bought him.  I could kick myself for abstaining.

Newburgh is so wonderful.  How could you not love a town that gives one whole side of a street to walking paths?

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Walkers on the left, cars on the right.  The way it should be everywhere!  And there were a lot of people out walking in the horrible heat. Carrying water bottles  Smart.

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River towns take pride in how they were settled.   And their homes reflect their pride.

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This little white house had lime green and pink painted windows.  Cute.

We drove by secret gardens.

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We kept seeing these bushes and found out they were Crepe Mertles.  I don’t know if we are a little too far north to grow these.  We were in the south, don’t you know!

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Up and down streets, always with the great Ohio River within view.

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On back streets most tourists never see.  We love exploring the towns we are in.  There is never enough time to see it all, no matter how small the town.  I think I could live in any of these little towns and be happy as long as I had a garden.

Down a back street and we saw this.

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Large rock formations and we wondered how they were formed and only formed in this place.

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Then we saw these stair going up the side of the rock, so we stopped. “You going up?” I asked David.  I knew with my short legs and the steps being about one foot apart, it would be a chore for me, so I knew I  I wasn’t going.  “Sure, I’ll try it,” David replied.

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So up he began.

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Up.

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Up.

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Almost there.

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“I made it and you didn’t!”  How I wish I was up there with him.

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Wait. Now it’s starting to scare me.  Where is he going?

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No, no that is enough!   When he turned around and came down I asked him what was up there. “Not a darn thing,” he answered.  Oh, well. It looked like there might have been a cave up there.

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Evidently there had been a cave because some man thought it was a great place to live.

On to other little river towns.

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On a back street where we were the only people, there was a little yellow swing so we sat ourselves down and looked at this.

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The Ohio River flowing by.  How I love it.

Behind us was this.

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A mural painted on the side of the walls to keep out the flood waters when the river rises.

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This shows how far the river rose in these particular years.

Well, it wasn’t going to rise today.  They were having a dry spell in southern Indiana while we have had lots of rain where we live and flooding in the northern part of the state.

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The River trail.  It’s a great drive if you want to take it one day.

It was time to hurry on down the road through more little towns and we saw some very old buildings.

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We managed to drive to Rome, but no coliseums to see there. Only this wonderful old building.

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Sat down in the middle of nowhere.

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Right on the corner of Main and Mulberry.

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It was Rome’s courthouse, but there were very few houses around.

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This old building use to house an antique store. There were still antiques inside, but it doesn’t look like it’s been open for years.

Across the street was this building.

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At one time a cotton mill.  Now it’s apartments.  If I had to live in an apartment, this would be a great place to live. I would have loved to have seen inside.

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They have rooms to rent if you are looking for some out of the way place to live.

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It was built one hundred years before I was born and appears to be in great shape.  Don’t think I would hold up that well in another hundred years!

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I always look for barn quilts when we travel, but this is the only one I photographed.

We ate our supper at the Overlook, a restaurant right on the Ohio River with wonderful views from every window. We were high up there with the birds.   Our meal was catfish and was it ever good.

We were almost home but wanted some hand dipped ice cream for dessert.  That is hard to find, but finally I saw a big sign on a building in Salem.  Six Scoops was the name of the ice cream shop.  We put it on Garmin and she led us right to the door.

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And look what was painted on the side walk right outside.

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So cute and the ice cream was so good and a wonderful ending to a perfect weekend.

Here’s to Indiana, it’s old river towns and ice cream. Bye.