Friday, May 19, 2017

Joy in the Everyday: Chapter 3

Chapter 1
Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Maggie quickly dressed and stared into the mirror. It was hard to believe she was looking at the same girl that boarded a train four days ago. Betty was right my hair did look nice. Did I dare? I reached into the little elastic compartment on the lid of my suitcase and pulled out a lipstick. My thoughts instantly went to Sarah, my childhood friend, who gave me strength and peace in the mist of a miserable childhood.  Oh, how I missed her! She tucked this into my hand as she hugged me and whispered that I should wear it when I married George. I am not a make up wearing girl and had immediately stuffed it into my suitcase. I opened it and saw that it was a light, soft pink color. I was here for a fresh start, so I took a deep breath and put some on.

 At that moment Betty tapped on the door and walked in. “My, that dress looks nice on you.” Betty stared for a moment and then said, “I like the lipstick. It is subtle and nice. Now if you will turn around I will finish your hair.”

 Betty pulled the hair back off of my face and tied it back with a pink ribbon. This caused the curly waves to become fuller in the back and some of it cascaded over my shoulders. I would need to ask Betty more about those rags she used in my hair.

Betty stood back and smiled. “I do believe you're ready. Pastor Dan would like to come speak with you before the ceremony. Are you ready for him to come in?” I nodded my answer.

When Betty left, I sat on the edge of the bed waiting for the pastor to come in. I looked out the window and saw Pastor Dan and George under the maple tree in prayer. That scene immediately gave me peace. When they were finished Pastor Dan smiled and slapped George on the back.  A moment later there was a knock on the door.

“Come in” I softly replied.

 “Hello, Miss McPherson, it's a pleasure to meet you. I am Doug Daniel. Most people call me Pastor Dan or plain ol’Dan.  If George didn’t point out the church it’s the little white building about two miles from the main road on the right.  Since I made the introduction of George to you I know how your courtship was through letters and the circumstances surrounding it. Now I am not here to judge, I am here to make sure you are ready for marriage.  Marriage is a life long commitment and I want to be sure you understand the commitment that you are making to not only George, but before God.”

Maggie had been looking at her hands folded in her lap while Pastor Dan spoke. She looked up with a weak smile and said, “I am thankful for your willingness to help me and for the introduction to George. I would be pleased if you would call me Maggie.”

Pastor Dan nodded.  “May I ask how old you are?”

“I am twenty as of last week.”

Pastor Dan smiled. “You have no concerns about marrying a man that is seven years older then yourself?”

“No, I find security in the fact that George is mature and settled.  He will be able to provide a safe and secure life for me.”

“I grew up with Sissy and if she vouches for your character then that satisfies me. Tell me about Sissy.”

“Miss Sissy was the cook when I moved in with my grandparents after the passing of my parents.  Sissy is like a mother to me. It is at her side I learned how to cook, garden, sew and love the Lord. I love and miss her dearly.”

“She always had a kind heart.” Pastor Dan said with a far away look.  “Do you want to be married to George this afternoon?”

“Yes, I feel it is God’s will and marrying George is my desire” I squeaked out.

“Good, good, then it is time for a wedding! I wish my Martha could be here for this. She has been gone for three years now. She loved weddings and would have loved to see George say I do. We both think of him as a fine man.  I will send Betty in and we will start when you are ready.” He smiled as he closed the door on the way out.

Betty rushed in. “Sweet girl are you ready to marry our George?” I smiled and shook my head yes. “What are we waiting for; the boys are waiting under the maple tree waiting for us.” Betty took my arm and away we went.

Betty stepped out onto the back porch pulling me along. I tried to grab the screen door before it slammed shut. Too late! It hit the door frame with a thud.  Betty’s back went straight which caused me to smile. The moment I looked up I saw that the men were looking at us. George meet my eyes and it took me a second to get my feet moving toward him.

The slam of the door caused George to look over. He knew Betty had gone to get Maggie but he wasn’t prepared for what he saw. Her smile warmed him like sunshine on a winter day and her hair. He had never seen more beautiful hair. Many women had started to cut their hair shorter these days. He knew that in the eyes of most Maggie would be considered ordinary. In the eyes of George, Maggie was stunning!

 Maggie walked toward George who stood under the maple tree that created a huge canopy of shade. Once under the tree Pastor Dan asked George and Maggie to face each other. I know that we said our vows and I remember saying “I will” as far as the rest of ceremony it seems like a blur. That is until the end.

“Let me read Matthew 19:6. Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. ” Pastor Dan smiled at us both. “I now present Mr. and Mrs. George Kraft. George you may kiss your bride.”

I started to feel panic and then George moved slowly forward and ever so gently his lips brushed mine. I was now a married woman and had experienced my first kiss! There was no time to ponder all of this as Betty threw her arms around us both and blubbered how happy she was. That is all we needed for the tension to be released. George and I looked at each other and had a nervous laugh.

“Let’s celebrate! I do believe there is a cake.” Jake stated as he took Betty by the arm and led her toward the back door.

“Lands sake Jake is your stomach all you can think about!” Betty scolded as she mopped her face with a hankie.

 Jake reached over and planted a kiss on her forehead. “Woman you should know by now that’s the truth!” Then he turned and winked at us. “I do like to get this girl going!”

We all laughed as we headed in to celebrate.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thrifty Thursday

 On Monday I posted about my Mother's Day gift. What I didn't tell you is I was able to get my hosta plants for free!
My mother-in-law had mentioned that she had been thinning out her hosta plants. I said I wish I had known since I needed some. She had more to thin and with a little digging labor we had free plants! This was a huge savings. I priced them when I was at the local hardware store getting flowers and they are selling for $7.98 a gallon. Once I had divided them and planted what we needed I was able to pass the remaining plants along to my mom. 

There is a nursery that has a yearly tomato sale. They sale itty bitty tomato plants for $0.10 each. 
They are now planted and ready to thrive. It might be a later harvest, but that is fine. 

I had a pot that had seen better days.  It started out as a pretty gray. After years of direct sun it was looking faded and quite frankly ugly. I purchased a can of spray paint for under $8. 
A little elbow grease and the pot has new life.The good news is there is plenty of spray paint left for another project.

I have been using free water from the rain barrels to water flowers. 
So there you go. I hope this encourages you to do things to save money. The old adage that every penny counts seems to apply more and more these days. I find it's much harder to stretch my pennies into nickles. *smile*  I find it encouraging to hear about other frugal adventures.

May your day be filled with joy in the journey!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Joy in the Ordinary

Look around, really look around and you will find joy... joy in the everyday... joy in the ordinary things.

 Things are green, blooming and at least for me the weather is perfect. Sunny and about 85* with little humidity. It could stay like this all season and I would be happy. I know that it won't so I will enjoy setting on the porch as much as I can.
Just because sometimes you need a little something sweet. 
Megan has been bringing in a flower now and then. I happily display the flowers and weeds alike on the window sill. :)
 The new addition to swing set has seen plenty of action.
Megan and Chuck have gone to Bible camp. Sometimes I get sweet shots like this and others times....
I get this with a mischievous gleam in her eye asking if Mr. Frog can come home. No way!
It makes me happy to see laundry flapping in the breeze. There is nothing like the sweet smell of sleeping on line dried sheets!
 The garden is planted!  I'm now having dreams of tasting home grown veggies. Yum!

May your day be filled with joy in the journey!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Tackle it Tuesday #9

Planting flowers, trimming bushes. This is the all about sprucing up the outside edition. Once I put flower in the front window boxes I knew that giving the bushes a trim was a must. 
 I then cut grass and planted plenty of flowers. 
 I decided on pink and purple for the back porch planters. 
 The standard petunia went into the window boxes on the side of garage. 
 A couple of impatients for my beloved wagon. Sadly it will most likely be the last year as the bottom of the wagon is about to rust out. 
Perennials for the newly repaired flower bed. It will be nice to maintain and not have to continuously plant in here each year. 
 There was a patch of concrete that was cut out and it left an ugly, muddy area that I decided to fill in with flowers and mulch this year.  I'm sorry that I didn't do it sooner. 
 The last items tackled was the garden. It will need to be tilled once more and then I will plant.

I am starting to feel like the outside is coming together. Caring for things and planting a flower or two does so much to make a home look lovely. What projects have you tackled in the last week? 

May your day be filled with joy in the journey!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day

I put in my request for Mother's Day. What I really wanted was to  work on a landscape project. Chuck was on board with that. Friday Chuck was off and we tackled the clean up of the area I had requested to work on. 

Every thing was cleared out and Chuck repositioned some of the edging. That evening we took my parents out to dinner to celebrate early with my mom. Afterwards I was taken flower shopping. Yes!
  I came home with the van full of summer time love! Being surrounded by blooming flowers in the summer months makes me happy. Chuck and Megan know that this is my love language!

Saturday morning I was able to putter around planting until it was time to take my mother-in-law out for lunch.  Sadly Chuck's step dad couldn't join us as he was working on a now or never real estate deal. After an enjoyable meal we returned home to finish our project.
I am super happy. Even Chuck commented on how this had been a neglected area for far too long. It's simple and once the hosta start to fill out it should look great. 

Sunday morning I was given cards and served breakfast. The morning didn't go quite as planned. The stem came off of my glasses. Chuck could not get it back on. I am to the point where I am wearing glasses full time. We switched gears and got ready and waited for the eyeglass store to open. Unfortunately they can not be repaired. They didn't have my frame in stock so it had to be ordered. Thankfully it shouldn't be long and in the meantime I will struggle along the best I can. 

The weather has been beautiful. I puttered in the yard some this afternoon and spent some lazy time on the back porch reading. 

Besides the minor glasses set back it was the slow, easy Mother's Day weekend I had requested. I hope you had wonderful Mother's Day!

May your day be filled with joy in the journey! 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Joy in the Everyday: Chapter 2

You'll find Chaper One here.
Chapter 2

Much to my relief Betty took over.  She started the dish water as George took his leave. I stacked the dishes on the counter and then picked up the towel Betty had set out and began to dry.

“I hear you and George had quite an adventure last night. We waited up for you until 9:30 and I was plumb worried. Jake sat in his chair dozing off and finally said my fretting wouldn’t change anything. The two of you were in the Lords hands and we needed to get ourselves up to bed.  When I heard rattling in the kitchen I expected to come down and find you. Imagine my surprise when George told me he had dropped you off here and was bedding down on our couch for the night.”

 “Yes, it was certainly an adventure. My train was running an hour behind schedule and then on the way here there was a flat on the truck. It was almost 10:30 by the time George changed the tire and we were on the road again. He didn’t want us to wake you up with my arrival so he stopped here to settle me in and then went to your place. I protested at first since it didn't seem proper. He said that no matter the time you would be up and fussing over me and honestly we all needed to get some rest. I thought it best to submit to his wish.”

They finished the dishes in silence. Betty knew the busy bodies would have a hay day if they found out Maggie had sleep here before marriage. No matter that George stayed at her place, they would certainly twist it all up to no good. This little piece of information would never be spoken of again. Betty knew George nor Maggie would mention it either. Once done Betty went to wipe down the counters and table top while Maggie finished putting the dishes away.

“My Jake and I have been praying for you for a long time. “ Betty declared.

I wasn’t sure how to reply.  “I assume George mentioned our letter when we first exchanged them.”

 “Goodness no” Betty laughed.  “We had never heard a peep about you until Sunday. George usually has his Sunday meal with us. He was a fidgeting mess all through service and when he was late for the meal I pressed him about it. He finally stated how he was late due to asking the pastor to come out and perform his wedding on Wednesday. I was speechless! Imagine me, Betty Peterson, speechless” she said with a hearty laugh.

My expression must have said it all.  Betty took my hand and we moved to sit at the table. “Although we were surprised by George’s announcement we couldn’t be happier. Jake and I have been praying for years for the good Lord to bring the right woman to join our George.  You, my dear, are an answer to our prayers.”

Me? I’ve never been an answer to someone’s prayer. As I wiped away a tear Betty pushed back from the table and declared that was enough. She was up and heading toward the bedroom.

“I must see what you brought to be married in. I imagine it will need a hot iron after your journey.”

Maggie was hesitant to show what she had brought. The brown skirt and white blouse she had traveled in was in need of washing. Today she was wearing a light blue dress with small white flowers. The only other dress was off white with pink flowers. That is the dress Maggie planned to be wed in.

Betty looked around the room and spied a small suitcase. If you could call it that as it was more of an overnight bag.  “Well, you do travel light. Which dress is for today?”

As Maggie pointed to the off white dress she inwardly sighed with relief. She didn’t want to explain why she had brought so little with her.  Oh how she wanted to put the past to rest.  

 “Good choice. I will press this while you take a nice long bath.”

While Betty pressed the dress she couldn’t help but wonder why Maggie didn’t bring more. Winter was around the corner and these cotton dresses and a light blouse would never do. For a moment she wondered if she didn’t intend to stay.  Betty was always a good judge of character and she quickly dismissed the thought as she could feel Maggie wasn’t the type to take commitment lightly.

The bath felt delightful. Maggie could feel herself relax and some of the nervousness subsided.  A really long bath would be wonderful but she knew her hair needed time to dry. Reluctantly she pulled the plug.

As Maggie came out Betty was coming with her dress. “That was good timing.  Thank you for pressing my dress.”

“My pleasure, I will make us a bite to eat. Why don’t you stay in your robe until after we eat. Come to the kitchen when you’re ready.” 

Maggie towel dried and brushed out her hair, she then joined Betty in the kitchen.  Betty turned as she entered and stared for a moment. “I do declare that is some long, thick, beautiful hair you have. Do you ever leave it down?”

 Maggie blushed. “Not in a long time. My uncle, well, he said it was straight, stringy, the color of dirt and didn’t think it was fit to wear down. I have worn it up for many years.”

 “Men, what do they know about a womans hair? I have an idea. Let’s eat and then we will get right to it. I hope you don’t mind eating the soup we had for dinner last night. I made the boys ham sandwiches to go along with it. I thought you might like to eat lighter so I brought only the soup and thought I might butter some of the bread I brought over yesterday.” Betty reached out and patted my back as she turned from setting the bread on the table.

 “Leftover soup is fine. A light meal is perfect.” Maggie said with a faint smile.

After saying grace Betty carried on the conversation while she ate and Maggie picked at her soup. Once they were finished Betty set the dishes in the dish water and turned around with a basket of rags. Surely Betty wasn’t planning for them to clean when she would be getting ready in a few hours!

 “Sit down, Maggie, and I will fix your hair.”

I sat down and Betty ripped the rags into strips and rolled my hair around them until it touched my head. She then tied each of them. She chatted the entire time and then declared the deed done. She scooted me out the back door and took a chair and set it in the sun. “Now sit here so your hair will dry faster. I will be right back with another chair so you can prop your feet up. Now don’t get use to this fancy treatment as you will be married to a farmer just like me. There is plenty of work for a farm wife” she said with a smile.

 I was happy for the time alone as I needed to gather my thoughts and pray.  A dreadful encounter, three exchanged letters and thirty days had turned my life upside down. I knew this is what had to be done.  I could feel that this was God’s will for my life. I closed my eyes and let the warmth of the sun and the love of the Son wash over me.

I must have dozed off for a minute. The next thing I know Betty is telling me it's time get ready. She begins to unroll my hair. I am amazed to see that my straight, brown hair has turned into a mass of waves.

 “Sweet girl, this is turning out better then I imagined! George won’t know what hit him when he sees you. Now I know it's the heart that makes a person beautiful but this pretty hair won’t hurt either” Betty chuckled.

I smiled.  Beautiful is a word that I wouldn’t use to describe myself. Hearing Betty go on and on made me want to believe that I am beautiful and worthy. For the first time in a very long time I had hope.

As I stepped inside I was surprised to see all that Betty had accomplished. There was a pretty table cloth on the kitchen table. It was white with a pink crochet border. Each corner had two pink embroidered roses. There was also a little cake with flowers. Pink flowers that looked almost exactly like the flowers on the dress I would be wearing.  A dish of nuts and candies were also on the table. I was filled with joy that Betty had taken the time to make this day special. I gave her a big hug.

“Now we don’t have time for that. You run along and put on your dress. I will be there in a minute to finish up your hair. Hurry now! I see that our boys are walking over the hill and the pastor is coming up the lane.”   

I can't say thank you enough for your encouraging words on Chapter One.  My hope is to add a new chapter each Friday. Of course, that is depending on the time I have to put into writing. As you all know my family is my top priority. :) Again, thank you for your kind words.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Joy in the Everyday: Chapter 1

Hello there! One day last summer I picked up a notebook and started writing. I have always had a dream of writing a book. Now, I don't think anything will come of it as writing a complete book much less publishing it can be a challenge. It came to mind last week and I have been contemplating sharing it on my little space on the web. So, without further ado this is the beginning....
Chapter 1

Margaret slipped out from beneath the warm covers and thought how wonderful it felt to sleep in a comfortable bed. Those days on the train had really worn on her. Pushing thoughts of the past away she quickly dressed and pulled her hair up. She prayed that she would have the strength to face this day and that what she was about to do was God’s will for her life. One last look in the mirror and she grabbed her apron before working her way to the kitchen.

 Although it was still dark, dawn was coming and there was enough light to take in her surroundings. She noticed a room to the right with a small bed, dresser and desk. Taking in the white curtains with the eyelet lace she thought how pretty.  She turned to move down the small hall and found there was another room on the left. One wall was filled with cabinets and there was a small writing nook and what she hoped was a sewing area. Not a large room, but pleasant with the large window. Oh, how Maggie loved for the sunshine to flood a home!

Directly across from the little room was the water closet. She was still amazed that this little house, in the middle of nowhere, had a water closet! She had thoughts of slipping in there to wash the rest of the dust off. No time for that now so she made her way to the kitchen to prepare breakfast.

Walking though a cozy, comfortable living room she made her way to the kitchen. Well, it certainly wasn’t the kitchen she had at home. Home, now where did that come from? Nothing about the place she lived before really felt like a home. Shaking those thoughts away, Maggie, took in the kitchen.

It was painted a pretty shade of yellow and she was surprised to see the details. A cook top, sink with running water and even an icebox were in sight. Although a small space there were upper and lower cabinets and workable counter space. A nice table sat in the kitchen and there was a china cabinet in the corner. Before she could take in more there was a click of the door and there he stood. He sat a basket containing eggs on the counter and they sized each other up for a moment.

Maggie was still in shock that all of this had happened so quickly. Here she stood in an unfamiliar kitchen, in a new state, with a strange man that would soon be her husband.  After what seemed like an entirety of silence Maggie found her manners. “Good Morning, George. I see that coffee is already made, I apologize that I wasn’t up earlier.”

 George couldn’t help but stare. Margaret wasn’t at all what he had expected. She was much shorter and a little plumper then he had imagined. He wasn’t put off in the least when he picked her up yesterday evening.  A little surprised is all. He found her smile nice and even if they hadn’t spoken much on the ride in it wasn’t an uncomfortable silence.  “Mornin’ Margaret,” It felt strange to call her by her formal name, but she had called him by his given name. Since they were to be married in a few short hours there was no sense in being formal. “No need to apologize. I figured you would be tired from the trip and would need some extra rest. Honestly, I am up a little earlier then normal.” George smiled and then added “It might be nerves.”

Maggie couldn’t help but to feel at ease with this admission. She smiled. “I might be a little nervous myself.” After a nervous chuckle she added.” Margaret is my given name after my paternal grandmother. My uncle insisted I use my formal name, but my parents called me Maggie.”

“Maggie it will be then!” George said with a smile.  Maggie, yes Maggie! That name just seemed to fit. “I don’t know about you, but I could use a little something to settle my stomach this morning. I could make us some toast and maybe scramble an egg?”

After the initial shock of a man offering to cook Maggie managed to say “I think I can manage to make scrambled eggs and toast. I will just look around a little and then I should be fine.”

“Then I won’t be underfoot. I will go have some quiet time with the Lord while you get familiar with your kitchen. Let me know if you need anything”

Wow, my kitchen, quiet time with the Lord. Who was this man? George spoke of the Lord in the three letters they had exchanged. I wasn’t sure what to think of that. Uncle Gregory had taken us to church each Sunday and sat us up front so we could be seen. Sunday service seemed to be the only time Uncle Gregory spent with the Lord. Maggie wondered if even then. Maggie this is your new life stop thinking about your past. You have breakfast to make and then you will be getting married!

George said grace and then dug into his scrambled eggs, toast and sausage patties. He thanked Maggie for the meal and as he was rising they heard someone on the back porch. “That is probably the neighbor, Betty Peterson.”

Before Maggie could respond there was a sharp knock on the door. As it opened a tall, slender lady with silver hair breezed in. “Good Morning, George. I know that the wedding isn’t until three, but I couldn’t wait to meet your bride to be and offer my assistance.” She then turned to Maggie and kept talking without missing a beat. “Oh, good, I see you found the bread and sausage I dropped off yesterday. I know that our George keeps a nice supply of staples but he isn’t very good about planning for the day to day. I have been telling my Jake for years that George needs a good woman to look after him.” Betty paused for a moment. “Oh, goodness, where are my manners! I am Betty. Betty Peterson and I am your closest neighbor. I live just over the hill to the west.”

“I am pleased to meet you Mrs. Peterson. I am Maggie McPherson. ”
“Goodness, we are going to be close so I insist that you call me Betty. Now George, I imagine that you have things to do and I know that Maggie and I have a heap of things to do. Now run along. Your suit is pressed and waiting for you at my place. I left sandwiches for you and Jake for lunch and I won’t see you in here any earlier then two -thirty. Now scoot!”

There was no doubt that Mrs. Peterson, Betty, was a force to be reckoned with and I immediately liked her.

Okay, friends, I know that it is rough. I want you honest opinion. Is this something you enjoyed? Something you would like to be continued? Like I said I want honest feedback.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Joy in the Ordinary

I didn't have plans to be away from my little space on the web for so long. What can I say except life happens!

Today is a rainy day. I peeked out a few minutes ago and there is over an 1 1/2 inch of rain so far. It sounds like it will be here for a bit as the forecast is calling for over 3 inches of rain by Saturday morning. 
Add that to what we received last weekend and we are looking at a soggy mess!
While running errands last Saturday we went by some fields that had been planted. It has me wondering if the farmers will have plant again. Not good! 
The school year is winding down and with that comes a season of busy. An afternoon was spent watching the puppet plays the kids created. They were very interesting! Especially the teams of boys who all had at least one fight scene in their plays. :) Laughter is good for a body and we certainly laughed that afternoon! 
A morning of bowling and then an evening at the school carnival. We manned the duck pond. It was an easy task compared to years past when our post involved tossing balls and stacking cans multiple times. Whew! 
Arranging her board for the science fair. Judging is Friday. This is the last big project of the year. 
Chuck took an old microwave apart and Megan has been having a blast with these magnets that were inside. They are stong little things! 
I thought the years of playing on the swing set was about done. Megan has shown a renewed interest and even asked if she could add a small climbing wall. I know that the time of play is numbered and I will not rush it to end. 
Today Chuck and I are celebrating 16 years of marriage!
I am grateful to call this guy mine!

Between rain showers I have been spending as much time as I can outside. The wet, warm spring has caused the weeds to sprout up. I am having trouble keeping up with them! My hope to have them tackled within the next week. Hopefully Mother Nature will cooperate with me! 

If you don't see me around for the next few weeks know that I am either busy with a school activity or outside working in the flower beds and hopefully the garden soon!

May your day be filled with joy in the journey!