Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Joy in the Ordinary

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

I never tire of the simple sight of fresh laundry blowing in the breeze.
 I am working on updating my homekeeping schedule. I'm trying to add a little more deep cleaning each day.
 Tuesday is kitchen day and I washed the items that are kept on the counters and windows. My hope to cut down on the amount of deep cleaning in the Spring and Fall.
 I find that keeping home is ever changing and some things work better then others. As the seasons of life change so must the homekeeping rhythm.

Just because they made me happy. :)
 My evening view as I enjoy some time to relax and read.
One of the things I enjoy this time of year is the ability to iron outdoors. If you have never tried it I encourage you to do so. Super relaxing!
 Some fresh spinach from the garden.
 Some of it was used to make a smoothie. It was a recipe using spinach, coconut milk, almond butter, honey and blueberries. It was from a well known doctor television show and was suppose to be a detox for acid reflux. I haven't said much, if anything, but I have a major reflux issue.
Anyway, a direct quote from Megan about the smoothie.... "If I have to drink this my tongue will fall off!"  Bwahaha!! I happen to agree and needless to say it won't be made again.

May your day be filled with joy in the journey!


Monday, May 29, 2017

Weekend Update

The following picture is courtesy of my brother-in-law.
He calls today the worst holiday ever. I can see why. He lost some really good friends. Thankful for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. 

********************************************************

We had a busy weekend. 
The big project was helping my parents put a new liner in their pool. 
It is filling up nicely and I know a little girl who can't wait to swim. 

Monday we were able to spend a good portion at home. Do you see how my garden is doing?
If you are wondering what garden, so am I. Chuck usually puts a fence up around it and hasn't been able to do it with all of rain we have been receiving. Sadly some critters have been eating my plants! I am down to four tomato plants, one pepper, two zucchini and green beans that are just breaking ground. I guess I will need to replant. Ugh!

I spent some time pulling out the garden pretties. I enjoy adding the little bit of personality. 
The bathroom closet was emptied and I moved some shelves. 
I was able to get some additional items stored and now have a neat, tidy space. 

This week brings a new month which means I will be doing my monthly grocery shopping.
I hope to do some cleaning and to decorate with a little red, white and blue. We'll see how much gets done with a shorter week and I am still trying to get into my summer groove. 

May your day be filled with joy in the journey!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Joy in the Everyday: Chapter 4

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4

As we entered the house Betty was pulling a pitcher of tea out of the ice box. “I thought we might need this on a warm, August afternoon. Thankfully we were blessed with a slight cool down this week.”

“Harvest is starting soon so I know it won’t last for long.” Jake said as he took a long drink of the tea.  “Little lady you are going to be thrown into the fire soon. I imagine the ladies will be waging their tongues about how brave and crazy you are to get married right before harvest.”  Jake paused for another drink. “I assume you grew up on a farm and know all about harvest?”

Maggie cringed. What have I gotten myself into she thought? “I did not grow up on a farm. When my mother married my father she became a farmer’s wife. My paternal grandparents owned landed and my parents and I lived there until my parents passed away. I was eight when they went home to the Lord. I then lived with my mother’s parents and uncle. I did spend summers at the farm until Granny and Pop passed on.”  All eyes were on her as she spoke, especially George. “I hope that I catch on fast enough that I won’t be an embarrassment to George.”

“Sweet girl, all of the new brides have to learn a thing or two, even those of us that grew up on a farm. I will take you right under my wing and teach you everything you need to know. Yes ma’am Betty will take care of you.”

“Ought oh, there is nothing more my Betty likes then a project. Now let’s cut that cake!” Jake said with a wide grin. 

As I cut the cake George handed out the plates. I cut a small slice for myself and could barely touch it. I noticed George didn’t eat much of his either. Thankfully Betty and Jake were here to carry on the conversation with Pastor Dan. Betty has what my Granny referred to as the gift of gab. Thinking of Granny made me smile.

“It is almost 4:30 so I should be getting back down the lane. I have a few sermons to get ahead on. I like to work ahead so I can help out with harvest. I might be a preacher, but I love the land as much as you farmers.  I also know you all have chores to take care of “ Pastor Dan stood and stretched.

Maggie said “If you wait a minute I will wrap up a slice of cake for you take home.” Betty smiled and nodded her head as Maggie began to slice the cake for Pastor Dan.

“That will be mighty nice. Since the missus passed on I don’t have as many treats as I use to. Now the ladies of the church take good care of me, but some of the ladies make a sweet treat better then others.  Now Betty, that is for your ears only!” Dan said as he winked at Maggie.

“I brought over a roast for Maggie to slice for sandwiches this evening. A bride shouldn’t have to stand over a stove on her wedding day. If the George and Maggie don’t mind there is plenty to share with you.”

“I believe that is an excellent idea Betty!” Maggie said as she placed a large chunk of cake on a plate.

Maggie and Betty were busy cutting hearty slices of roast beef and making sandwiches. Maggie insisted that they go ahead and cut enough for Betty and Jake to take home for a meal also.

Pastor Dan left with a basket of two roast beef sandwiches, a jar of potato salad, pickled beets and of course the cake. He must have been happy as they heard him whistle as he walked down the lane.

“Alright Betty, this old man needs to get home. Chores await us and now that I've seen the dinner menu I am ready to get them done.”  Jake let out his jolly laugh as he walked out to the back porch with George.

 Betty and I got busy setting the kitchen to right. She packed her things into a basket while I cut some cake for her to take home also. She started to do the cake dished. “No Betty, leave those. I will take care of them with the supper dishes. You have done more then enough for me today. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. “

 “Sweet girl, I am happy to see our George married off. To a sweet girl to boot! I have been watching you today and I like what I see. I am serious about helping you with what you need to learn.  Next week it will be quiet around here as women are busy putting up the kitchen garden and the men are gearing up for harvest. If things go as planned the following week harvest will begin at my house. I would like you to come over with George and help me out. That way you can see what it takes to feed the harvest crew and what the boys do.”

Maggie swallowed hard. “How many men come?”

“Now don’t you worry it is usually six including our two boys.  Usually a couple of the wives come to help. Not all of them though. I will be there to see you through this. You will be fine.” Betty said as she walked out the door.

 I stood at the window looking out as George, Betty and Jake looked to be in deep conversation.

“George that is one fine girl you married today. Did you notice how she was quick to offer cake to the pastor and jumped right in the pack up a meal? That speaks volumes about the heart of a person. I can’t wait to get know that sweet girl better.” Betty linked her arm through Jake’s and they started off for home.

 George had noticed all of that and more. He was also looking forward to getting to know his wife.

 As George was waving good-bye I realized that the table cloth was still here. I stepped out the door and yelled. “Wait! Betty you forgot your table cloth.”

 As I walked out Betty yelled back that it was her gift to me. “Your mother-in-law, George’s mom, made that and gave it to me the last birthday she spent with me. I have been saving it for George and you.”

“Oh Betty!”  I said as I rushed over to give her a hug.

“It was nothing now we must scoot. Jake likes to keep his evening schedule.”

As Jake led Betty away he called over his shoulder to George, “I bet you will be happy to not sleep on a lumpy couch tonight.” He turned and I could hear his jolly laugh.

“I’ll be inside.” George stated.

“I am going to get a little air and then I will be in.”  I hadn’t given much thought to the sleeping arrangement. Oh boy!

When I started to step inside George was standing at the table fingering the crochet border on the table cloth. I stepped to the table and also touch it. “It is beautiful. I am honored to have something that your mother made. I will cherish it.”

George weakly smiled. “I hope that I will cherish you as much. I need to change and tend to the evening chores. Will you have the sandwiches ready when I come in?”

The thought of being cherished by George made me feel funny on the inside. “Yes George, I will have supper ready. “

As George walked out the door to the barn he stated “The evening chores take about half an hour. Then I like to take a quick bath. “

I was putting the plate of sandwiches on the table when George returned from his bath. “I love farming, but not necessarily smelling like a cow all night.”

I laughed out loud at this comment which make George smile.

 As we finished up our meal I noticed that George didn’t touch the pickled beets. I didn’t either as they are not my favorite. Maybe George was still full from the afternoon cake. As I ran the dish water George brought the dishes over and set them on the counter. “Would you like for me to dry?”

“That isn’t necessary.”

 “I don’t mind.” George picked up the towel and dried as I washed the dishes. When the dishes were complete he retired to the living room while I finished up in the kitchen.

I put the dried dishes away, wiped down the table and counters before I pulled out the broom. As I was doing this, George pretended to read the paper. I could tell he wasn’t reading as I caught him sneaking a peek at me when he thought I wasn’t looking. It made me smile and feel all nervous on the inside.

“George, do you like evening coffee?”

“Only when the weather is cool, I don’t think I will have any tonight.”

Maggie searched for a few things for breakfast and then also retired to the living room.

The chair was comfortable and Maggie was happy for the ottoman. It felt good to put her feet up. She would need to find something to do in the evenings as they sat. Tonight she was tired and glad for the rest.

“Maggie, do you mind if I read from aloud from my Bible.”

“I would like that.”

 George began reading from Psalm 100. As he finished “Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.  For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting. And His truth endures to all generations.” George sat in silence for a moment. “I feel like I have plenty to be thankful for today. “

Maggie smiled, feeling the same way.

 After a long, comfortable silence, George cleared his throat. “My parents” George said “use to pray together each evening. They had a great marriage. I believe it was because their faith was strong. Would you mind if we made it our habit to also pray together each evening?”

“I would be delighted! “ George came over to sit on the ottoman. He took Maggie’s hands and together they prayed. George prayed for their life together, for them to build a strong marriage and friendship, for the Lord to be center of their lives. . He prayed for the farm, neighbors and for the community that was now Maggie’s. She couldn’t be happier that this was the man the Lord has chosen to be her husband.

George went back to his paper and Maggie sat deep in thought. She must have dozed off as George woke her. “Maggie. I think you should go to bed.”

“I am tired. I think that is a great idea. Good night, George.”

Maggie washed up and changed. Once she was in bed she was wide awake and uncertain. She laid there for what seemed like forever before she heard George enter. He undressed and then climbed into bed. Maggie held her breath. George was lying on his back and Maggie had her back to him. She knew he could probably feel her tremble.

  “Maggie?”

“Yes.”

“I know that we don’t know each other well and uh, uh, I want you to know that I think we need time to get to know each other. “

Maggie could feel herself relax.

“I would never make you do anything that you aren’t comfortable doing. I meant what I said in my prayer about wanting a strong marriage and friendship. I, uh, just wanted you to know. Good night, Maggie.”

“Good night, George. I hope you sleep well.”




Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Joy in the Ordinary

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

Summer is officialy here!
Megan ended seven years at her little Christian school.  We participated in our final balloon launch and said good bye to good friends and great teacher. 
We will begin the fall as a homeschool family to a 6th grader. It was certainly bittersweet but we are excited for a new adventure!

I sent in a final batch of cupcakes to celebrate summer birthdays. 
My crew made it back from camp in one piece. 

A welcome home sign was waiting for Megan. Of course two of her favorite stuffed animals needed to hold the sign. 
Remember in this post when I spoke about getting a picture asking if Mr. Frog could come home. One certainly did! While the van was being unpacked Mr. Frog (a different one from the original picture) was there. Chuck thinks he might have been in his shoe from the creek walk.  Yikes!
I can happily report he was let go at the back of our property and hasn't been spotted since. Whew!

May your day be filled with joy in the journey!


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!