Saturday, April 30, 2011

Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic", delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910 - download PDF
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Theodore Roosevelt


Friday, April 29, 2011

The Old Chicken Fryer.....

   Heavy cast iron used and maintained over the years. In those days you had respect for things; you took care of what you had - they were not disposable- not easily replaced. Often handed down to the next generations filled with memories of the home it came from.
   My great-grandmother kept her large cast iron chicken fryer on top of the dryer in the laundry room. I recall visiting her, walking outside along the side of her little house and passing that very laundry room. Seeing the frying pan there always made me wander why it was stored there; lack of space seemed to be the answer.
   She had a funny way about her fried chicken; kept it in a bowl in a kitchen cabinet- not the fridge. To this day I have no idea why- it was just her way. So many fond memories fill my heart; she and I were close and always shared moments together when I was up on the farm. Trips to town were special with her and she loved to shop; first stop- perfume counter, and yes, we must test every one. Mercy! she would exclaim, biting her tongue with a smile.
   Far from home she traveled several times to visit us here in the deep south. I recall her staying with me when it was needed and teaching me house keeping skills when my mom was away; we grew close in those days. Nearly blind, she still worked quite hard for her age- snapping beans, shelling peas, or pitting cherries we could talk for hours while our hands kept busy about out task.
   The old frying pan was passed to my mother many years ago and some time back came to be with me. A part of my great-grandmother comes with it; she was always precious to me. I never fry a chicken without seeing her sitting on a step stool nearby; ready to lend a hand or a bit of advice. Today we share a pan of chicken; farm raised, butchered by our own hands, and fried up just right- in loving memory of way of ...her old chicken fryer.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


   There...I said it...I'm frustrated! An emotion that has been growing for several days and has finally taken over. Oh, I have tried to tuck it away..make it over..cover it up..but, it just kept turning up....frustration.
    Events in my life beyond my control, being the parent of three teens, a disrupted routine...drought... the insane price of get the idea. Stuff invades the calm simplicity of daily life stirring our emotions and our ability to flex and flow. Well, today..not flexing..fussing.
   So, excuse me while I catch my breath... cup of coffee on the bench in the shade before stepping into the thick of it. My plan..follow the wisdom shared with me many years ago by someone very dear to me  do the next thing. I'll set about my crazy day one thing at a time.
   But...for now, I sit.....frustrated.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Already in Bloom

   Walking from water trough to water trough my gaze fell upon an interesting sight; gardenias in full bloom. Soft white petals float in a sea of waxy green leaves as their distinct fragrance is carried on the breeze. With an intense drought situation, the blossoms are few but no less striking. Knowing they wont last long, we will be sure to pass by frequently to savor the beauty and fragrance of gardenias already in bloom.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New Babies on the Farm

   After morning chores, our family settled around the table for breakfast. A distraught farm girl shared concern over this mornings milking mishaps. Seems our girls were in some strange state of irritability; causing Doc (our donkey) to exclaim concern with loud braying. Quite upset over spilled milk pails, our farm girl struggled to start her day.
   Going out to check things over, farm daddy made an interesting discovery: Willow was cleaning a fresh, new baby girl!

   Little Delilah was born first, but is the tiny one in the bunch. Her little cry is barely a whimper as she wobbles on unsteady hooves. The farm girls helped get her good and clean as the rest of us took Willow to the birthing stall for a safer, less crowded delivery.

   Not long after two little boys were born one right after the other; much darker in color than Delilah and bigger too. Solomon is the middle boy and biggest of them all with brown and black markings. Little Gideon is strong and determined, but only slightly bigger than his sister.

   Willow assisted in cleaning her little ones, but has never mothered her kids before. She 'talks' to them through the fence, but has no interest in raising them. Our day was spent teaching them to take a bottle and watching their silly attempts to walk, run and leap. By evening all were exhausted and ready for a good sleep.   
   Today we start again with regular feedings and "visits over the fence" as Genesis and Willow "talk" to the little ones. Doc is already quite protective; calling us to the barn when they cry even a little. He sniffs through the fence at them and makes funny nickering sounds.
   Time once again to warm those bottles and head to the stalls.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Homespun quilt
   Warm woven fabric; earthy colors bring calm and contentment every time I see them. This quilt is made with patches of hunter green and cranberry homespun backed with a soft fleece. Quilting is hand finished in the ditch giving softness to this small covering.
   A gift for my mother-in-law several holidays back, this little quilt still makes its home draped over her favorite rocking chair. The earthy colors complement the lively prints of her kitchen as well as the calming flow of her living room. This quilt is simple and plain; made during my years as a classroom teacher- still finishing my degree in education.
   When I see it my heart goes back to that holiday, one of the last ones with my father-in-law. He must have known since he lavished such gifts upon her that one day astounding us all with such surprise. I recall the house I use to live in where this quilt was constructed; small starter home where most of my children were born and where many tears were shed.
   Simple homespun bringing warmth to body and soul; keeping hearts tender with the memories it holds.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

It Is Sunday....


"Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you."
Luke 10:20

  As Christian workers, worldliness is not our snare, sin is not our snare, but spiritual wantoning is; taking the pattern and print of the religious age we live in, making eyes at spiritual success. Never court anything other than the approval of God, go "without the camp, bearing His reproach." Jesus told the disciples not to rejoice in successful service, and yet this seems to be the one thing in which most of us do rejoice. We have the commercial view- so many souls saved and sanctified, thank God, not ti is all right. Our work begins where God's grace has laid the foundation; we are not to save souls, but to disciple them. Salvation and sanctification are the work of God's sovereign grace; our work as His disciples is to disciple lives until they are wholly yielded to God. One life wholly devoted to God is of more value to God than one hundred lives simply awakened by His Spirit. As workers for God we must reproduce our own kind spiritually, and that will be God's witness to us as workers. God brings us to  a standard of life by His grace, and we are responsible for reproducing that standard in others.
   Unless the worker lives a life hidden with Christ in God, he is apt to become an irritating dictator instead of an indwelling disciple. Many of us are dictators, we dictate to people and to meetings. Jesus never dictates to us in that way. Whenever Our Lord talked about discipleship, He always prefaced ti with an "IF," never with an emphatic assertion- "You must." Discipleship carries an option with it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Blessings on This Good Friday

The Suffering Messiah by simplynik
   Over the years our Resurrection week (or Passion week or Holy week) activities have varied and changed according to the ages and understandings of our children. Early years brought crafts and simple lessons into our study of Christ's passion while later years involved readings and research into our studies. In the past few years we have studied the Jewish passover Seder elements and their symbolism- as well as viewing the movie The Passion
   Ten things we have done to celebrate Resurrection:
1. Baked Resurrection Cookies (as found here
2. Interactively studied the Bible's account of the last week of Christ starting with Palm Sunday until Resurrection morning (i.e. making palm leaves, discovering unleaven bread, and making a cross in our yard)
3. Used Resurrection Eggs to share with other children ( found here
4. Baked Resurrection rolls (as found here
5. Watched The Passion together as a family one section at a time while studying the passion in the Bible.
6. Memorized Scriptures relating to the cross of Christ, written them on note cards, and placed them at the foot of the cross (a table size one) representing our love for Him.
7. Constructed a full size cross and placed it near our gate.
8. Served in various church based activities geared toward reaching the lost (or those who attend only on holidays).
9. Attended Resurrection services at our church.
10. Gathered with family and friends to celebrate the wonder of the Cross.

   With the schedules our teens keep these days, we started our Palm Sunday with a prayer to be used in our community as a witness to others. God has opened many doors; some quite unusual. For example, I served on a jury this week sharing my faith with others who served alongside me. We were able to share testimony with another believer in the presence of a Muslim friend (who took it well, and is still friendly with us).
   As you enter into Resurrection weekend, please consider prayerfully what God has planned for you; what message He may be trying to give. Our family prayerfully sends you blessings on this Good Friday.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Simply Pretty Motifs for Spring

Lace Doily Floral Motif

   Simplyjen has worked up a few pretty floral motifs for just perfect for spring. Pastel variegated cotton crochet thread skillfully worked into delicate floral designs, these little doilies are just precious.

Lace Doily Floral Motif

   Sweetly displayed on a treasured piece of furniture or strung on soft ribbon and draped across a window frame, these little lacy beauties are versatile and decorative. Now listed on our Etsy shop- simplyjen also takes custom requests; any available color (even most available patterns). Drop by our shop for more pretty pictures or more information about our handmade items and custom orders.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Another New Item In the Shop

Ann and Andy's Raggety Redwork Week

   Raggedy Ann was my beloved friend and confidant when I was a little girl. Her button eyes and soft worn clothes were just right for snuggling in the dark or toting along in imaginative play. My Raggedy Ann remains part of my life; tucked sweetly in my cedar chest.
   My heart strings were tugged when I found the  pattern for Ann's days of the week in embroidery; I just had to do them! Each panel shows her little rag doll hands busy at work with the same activities found in my very own daily life.

Ann and Andy's Raggety Redwork Week

   Each panel traveled with me through different parts of my life. Some went to 4-H meetings and college sitting areas. Others made long car trips to other towns to attend appointments and activities- a few sat in waiting rooms with family members needing an extra hand.
   We invite you to stop by the shop and visit all the lovely handmade items for sale - each holding precious memories of the time they were made. As always, comments and questions are welcome when shared in kindness. When my jury service is up, we are considering a spring sale in our little Etsy shop to celebrate the season...what do you think?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New Item in the Shop

Spring Floral Ribbon Embroidery Blocks

   Spring flowers in a soft brown basket on natural cream muslin fabric; just right for spring. Today our Etsy shop lists our latest addition: Silk Ribbon Embroidery.

Spring Floral Ribbon Embroidery Blocks

   Each motif is made with fine silk ribbon and cotton embroidery floss on creamy muslin fabric. Six different arrangements make up the set.

Spring Floral Ribbon Embroidery Blocks

   The designs include asters, forget-me-nots, and pretty roses just as pretty as any garden scene. Stop by our shop (click on the tab at the top left corner of our blog) to view the rest of these delightful floral blocks as well as our existing quilt and filet listings.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Such a Sad Morning

Genesis seeks some love.
   Morning dawned with sadness; Genesis' two babies did not come into this world alive. No obvious reasons could be found as we gathered them. Her mournful cry fills the barnyard as she searches for them. Simplyjen is taking it hard- she rolls over the many reasons this could be. We remind her blessings and loss go hand in hand; farm life is filled with it. For everything there is a season Ecclesiastes reminds us- today is our season for such a sad morning.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

It Is Sunday....

Now I See
Original artwork by Simplynik
"Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, He girt his fisher's coat unto him...and did cast himself into the sea." John 21:7
   Have you ever had a crisis in which you deliberately and emphatically and recklessly abandoned everything? It is a crisis of will. You may come up to it many times externally, but it amounts to nothing. The real deep crisis of abandonment is reached internally, not externally. The giving up of external things may be an indication of being in total bondage.
   Have you deliberately committed your will to Jesus Christ? It is a transaction of will, not of emotion; the emotion is simply the gilt-edge of the transaction. Do not ask God what the transaction is to be, but make it in regard to the thing you do see, either in the shallow or the profound place.
   If you have heard Jesus Christ's voice on the billows, let your convictions go to the winds, let your consistency go to the winds, but maintain your relationship to Him.

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Greenbeans in the Garden...

   Rising this morning, pressure in my sinus has put me in slow motion. The morning cup of coffee became two; I lingered in the rocking chair a bit longer than usual. Gathering my flailing ambition, my feet make their way to the garden beds to check the progress of all the growing things.
   Almost overnight it seems the green things take growth and just pop up out of no where. The little green bean shoots are stretching toward the sky, growing stronger and taller every day. It is a struggle to keep the garden growing right now- drought has come early this year. There have been no spring showers here to wake the spring flowers from their winter slumber. Yet, there are green beans in the garden.
   Little signs all about; plants growing in spite of the conditions. Its hope- a promise of provision- things will be okay. Sometimes we just need to see things like this; I do. Chaos and drought are part of every life; both in the physical sense and in the emotional and spiritual sense. When these times come for me, there they are; green beans in the garden.
   The haze that has taken over our area (ash from wildfires devastating vast areas of Texas) shorten my time here- the garden where I spend so much time. Inside my family asks me how the garden is doing; my response- well, there are green beans in the garden.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Beautiful New Neighbors

   Morning warms into a muggy afternoon; rake in hand I make my way across the drive. A strong hammering sound echos over the homestead. Standing in the warm sunlight I scan the tall pines in search of the culprit. In answer to the hammering a long loud call rings over the field like laughter over a game of cards. I spot him; the pileated woodpecker.
   So large and majestic, the pileated woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in North America. Mighty foragers feasting on nuts, berries, and bugs, we most often spot them high in the pines in the woods around our home. Evidence of their presence often comes in large chunks of bark stripped from the trees and lying right at the base. Several such sights are common here on my property.
   A true gift we found for this woodpecker is building a nest high in the dead pine still standing in our loafing field. You might remember this particular tree as the one that snapped off killing our horse during a windstorm. What a joy it will be to daily watch them work and build to raise a little family here in this place of sad memories.
   Time has escaped me; the stalls still need my attention. As the kids come to join me in the work I direct them momentarily to the pine sharing the discovery. Awe struck and amazed we stand staring at their business until the trickle of sweat on our neck reminds us we have much to do. Working and cleaning, our load is lightened by the friendly sounds of our beautiful new neighbors.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Unpleasant Encounter....

   Sunshine filters through the fresh new foliage overhead; my coffee and I stroll toward the greenhouse garden area. In the distance a woodpecker is already busy with his day's work and roosters are calling then hens to come along in the search for good grubs. A cool breeze brushes my face- my eyes close, turning my face into the beautiful touch too bad it won't last.
   The gate squeaks as it swings open I remember when my dad hung this; I smile. Passing the greenhouse my thoughts trickle back to the seedlings nurtured there only a few weeks ago- now thriving in the warm soil digging deep with their roots in search of water and nourishment. Walking the paths of young plants I bend here and there to pull a weed or check under a leaf.
   One section of the walk has grown up a bit over the weekend need to run the mower over this patch; I make note of that as I walk through. Stopping in my tracks fire races though my leg why did I wear Capri pants in the garden? There stands the culprit; a flourishing stalk of stinging nettle nestled among the blue flowering wild weeds.
   A hardy and quite nasty plant, stinging nettles' leaves and stalks are covered with fine "hairs" called trichomes. When brushed against our skin these trichomes act like little needles releasing histamine causing a burning whelp; quite painful.
   While unpleasant to brush up against, nettles do have value in this world. Known to be an excellent source of vitamins, iron, and protein- they are often sauteed like other garden greens or steeped in as an herbal tea. Dairy goats benefit from nibbling them for it seems they aid in milk production and overall health.
   Whatever your convictions about this tenacious little plant, their sneaky presence in the garden offers up a very unpleasant encounter.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

You Never Know....

   Morning creeps across the farm as I tie the string of my apron; standing in the kitchen where the coffee's aroma begs me to stay. My feet carry me into the morning sunlight- so mild and gentle at this hour. Knowing the heat will come soon I gather my tools preparing for the task ahead; this will be a long day with much hard work to be done.
   We each have our place in the butchering line; mine spot is at the end. No one part of the work bothers me having grown up around farming my whole life; my family is the same- each taught the skills needed to handle each part of the process and often trading places when the day gets long. I stand at the end where nimbleness with the knife is best. While attentiveness is needed here, my mind often wanders- giving relief to the heat or the exhaustion that comes as the day wears on.
   Part of the birds will be butchered for "parts only" to aide with storage space and time. Larger birds are easier to handle this way. Busy with the task before me, my memory sees my grandmother standing before me such wastefulness. She lived through the depression and always was quite stern about repurposing every little thing. My heart laughs as I remember washing aluminum foil and the film that comes between cheese slices. Such memories of her linger in my mind.
   Continuing along the way the kids strike up a conversation about fried chicken (gives renewed purpose to tired workers). A smile crosses my face as I recall my greatgrandmother's deep love for her fried chicken. She kept it in the kitchen cabinet (not the fridge, mind you) and pulled it out when you came to visit- because we were too skinny. Those were days of chatter around the table and the scent of her powder- her stifled giggle when she'd bite her tongue mercy!
   Our work goes on with smaller birds coming across the table now; these will be stored whole. My mind envisions women of old gathered in their prairie homesteads; aprons cover their work dresses and flour sack towels are tied over their hair. The work of putting up food brings families together- sometimes neighbors as well- sharing their memories and laughter to make the work lighter.
   We wander through the past year- recalling dumplings and home-made noodles, roasted chicken with herbs and root vegetables- even chicken soup, for when we are sick or just real cold. Packing and working- they look forward to summer days with bar-b-cue chicken and chicken salad. Memories will be made and carried over to the next year and beyond.
   The task ends for today; choring time comes with the call of hungry livestock. Washing up I laugh as visions of washing dishes in my grandmother's big kitchen play in my mind. Always mindful of drought, she was firm about limiting your water usage- not even rinsing the soap off it will dry just fine. Awe, it makes me miss her.
   It just goes to show, you never know what mark you will leave or the impressions that will last a lifetime.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Somewhat Unlikely Place

   The county fair offered so many wonderful exhibits and activities, one of which our farm girl seemed to take to quite well. Year after year the wonderful dulcimer group brings their talents to the fairgrounds to share will everyone. Recognizing simplynik from previous meetings, this lovely couple sat her down for a lesson.
   It seems our girl found another unique gift in her pocket full of talents; playing a dulcimer by ear. Today she pulled her own mountain dulcimer from its storage place to tune and play here at home. Several hours were spent today recalling the things she learned there at the fair; one song in particular seems her favorite (Just as I Am).
   With contact information exchanged giving hopes of future encounters, lifelong friends were made in a somewhat unlikely place.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Poultry Showin' At the Fair

We kicked up our heals...

wrangled some pretty big turkeys...

flipped a few broilers..

..spent a lot of time practicing our patience...

and socializing with other poultry exhibitors.

Humidity, heat and the earthy aroma of livestock made our poultry show day long and hot. We had one of our three turkeys die of heat stroke in line- that was frustrating! The broiler pens held their place in the top twenty-eight (surviving until the last sift). None of our pens made it to auction, but we did place better in show than we placed last year. None of the turkeys placed either, and being our first turkey pen year, I think we learned a whole lot about this  project.
A hearty congratulations to all the exhibitors in this weekend's show; great job everyone.
Now we start planning for next year!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

It Is Sunday....


"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."
Romans 6:6

   Co-Crucifixion. Have I made this decision about sin- that it may be killed right out in me? It takes a long time to come to a moral decision about sin, but it is the great moment in my life when I do decide that just as Jesus Christ died for the sin of the world, so sin must die out in me, not be curbed or suppressed or counteracted, but crucified. No one can bring anyone else to this decision. We may be earnestly convinced, and religiously convinced, but what we need to do is to come to the decision which Paul forces here.
   Haul yourself up, take a time alone with God, make the moral decision and say- "Lord, identify me with Thy death until I know that sin is dead in me." Make the moral decision that sin in you must be put to death.
   It was not a divine anticipation on the part of Paul, but a very radical and definite experience. Am I prepared to let the Spirit of God search me until I know what the disposition of sin is- that it should be identified with the death of Jesus? I cannot reckon myself "dead indeed unto sin" unless I have been through this radical issue of will before God.
   Have I entered into the glorious privilege of being crucified with Christ until all that is left is the life of Christ in my flesh and blood? "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me."

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Off to the County Fair

   Rising to another hot and humid day here in southeast Texas, we are packing our goods for the county fair. The cooler is packed with good things, our extra clothes are hanging in the truck. Turkeys are being rounded up and led into the big horse trailer while broilers are tucked in pens set to ride in the back of the truck.
   The farm kids are ready for their day in the ring, displaying the product of months of hard work (and frustration). We will enjoy viewing the exceptional work of other hard-working "ag-kids" and watch some rodeo events in the big arena.
   So, loaded up, we're heading out...its time for this family to be off to the county fair!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Another Lesson In Life

   Weeding in the garden; the day is warm and muggy- sun is high over my head as my hands sort between the young vegetable plants and the weeds threatening to choke them out. It has been a long day already- a stress-filled morning of teaching, preparing, sorting out mind wanders over the "things" pulling at my time. The ring of my phone jars my thoughts; the name on the caller ID causes my heart to flutter a bit before I answer.
   A teen driver can be a scary thing; even scarier is her call only moments after she has left the house. Broken down not far from home- her call for help.She was fortunate to be near the gas station; she and I pushed the truck to safety before assessing the possibilities. Teachable moments abound in times like these.
   Discussing the 'symptoms' led me to explain my thought was the battery; reasons were shared and other symptoms given to rule out other possibilities (she's a smart gal, and - wow- she does listen). Help arrived to guide us as we gathered the tools needed for the repair---big thanks to my grandfather, who graciously showed us girls how it's done!
   Disheartened, she called her boss to inform her the situation realizing she wouldn't make it in today. There will be days like this. I remind her, it happens to us, her boss, her friends and professors have days like these...and ...we are blessed. Quizzical expressions from her face led me to explain.

We are blessed in this because:
-it didn't happen in a dangerous place (the freeway, an overpass, rough area)
-the stall out didn't cause an accident; no one was hurt
-she recognized the trouble and sought help before it became a bigger problem
-we had help available and readily willing (not everyone does)
-the problem was simple, inexpensive, and easy to repair

   After the truck was repaired, time had passed for her to reasonably make it to work; saddened by that, she made her way home reminding herself of these many blessings we discussed (maybe finding a few more of her own). We settled down on the couch under the big ceiling fan with a cold class of tea- pondering the things that make up life; the growing up things one must start to face; the responsibilities that develop with maturing.
   In the end we are grateful for the 'stuff'; the lessons that make up life- ever preparing us for the road ahead. Here we are reminded of things that make us stronger (or stranger), things that make us think (reflect, maybe), things that make us appreciate another lesson in life.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Again They Bloom

   Deep burgundy red petals gracefully adorn the lively green leaves of the rambling rose bush near our big blue barn. Planted on the awning side nearest the long driveway it greets those who venture up the gravel path. Their beauty welcomes each of us as we make our way to the stalls throughout the each day; and bids us farewell when we leave when chores are done.
   The red rambling rose stands as a marker where the original pasture fence stood when I lived here with my parents; one of the original posts still stands there. Our hens were housed under that awning- the gate was positioned there at the rose bushes. Shared by our neighbor (she still lives up the way from me) as cuttings from her garden, my parents planted them to liven up the drive way.
   Many cuttings have been taken and shared over the years; even as I live here they are regularly pruned and propagated to pass along. They have survived hungry goats, raging floods, tornadoes, and regular droughts. At this rate, they will endure- year after year- to remind us as again they bloom.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Making of a Milkstand

As we draw near the delivery date for our milk does time has come to prepare the milking area. Scrubbing and cleaning together, simplyjen and I let our minds wander back to the making of the milk stand.
Simplyjen partnered up with her Papa (my dad) to set the task of building the stand. A sunny fall day, saw horses set in front of the big blue barn, both in overalls they started the job.
The two carpenters worked for hours measuring and cutting, fitting and piecing wood and nails. Hour after hour, the stand took shape- amazing to watch from my kitchen door. 
The day drew to a close with two satisfied workers admiring the result of their labor. Memories were made over wood and work; a special time for both of them before my parents moved away.
Today we remember that special day as we look forward to putting back in use. Each time we sit near the doe, memories flood in; memories of the making of a milk stand.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Educating.....On the Go

   In our homeschool, classes are a priority not often missed; yet, things happen. Sometimes events in our life cause us to be on the go when we should be in the books- what do we do? We do it on the go.
   On our road to educating, doctors' offices and trips to physical therapy were part of life. To prevent the curse of falling behind or getting out of habit, books and supplies travel along and are worked while we travel and while we waited. Sitting close to each other in the waiting areas, we always keep our discussions respectful and take up no more space than if we were only sitting. Busy hands and busy minds keep us from becoming bored or impatient or behaving badly.
   There have been times in our education journey when caregiving became part of our lives. During those years the books were toted along and classes were held in the kitchen of that home while we were readily available for meeting the needs of the person we were caring for. It wasn't always easy, but we managed quite well.
   Our books have traveled to the college halls, project meetings, the feed co-op run, and even the state park. The key, to me, is priority. Once you are aware of your priority adapting comes naturally. How do you handle educating on the go?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Simply Forgotten..and Simply Found

In the old dresser drawer folded and stored away a long lost friend was found today. Simple yet special the little quilt is- sadly forgotten for this past few years.

Boots and Bluejeans- her own special choice; they were once bandannas that now have a voice. Gently she stitched them and purposed them anew; a little pretty little lap quilt I share here with you.


So pretty is she next to the new spring tea rose; while posing it there she bent down her nose. Soft fabric kisses her cheek as the fragrance of roses bless her so sweet.

Several years ago she made this small thing; today it found sunshine instead of spring rain. Over the chair where she sat just to tat, now sits the old quilt she made just like that.

simplychele and simplyjen
"Ode to the Old Quilt"

Sunday, April 3, 2011

It Is Sunday.....

One of our Irises blooming this week.
If Thou Hadst Known!
"If thou hadst this thy day,
the things which belong unto thy peace!
but now they are hid from thine eyes."
Luke 19:42
   Jesus had entered into Jerusalem in triumph, the city was stirred to its foundations; but a strange god was there, the pride of Pharasaism; it was religious and upright, but a "whited sepulchre."
   What is it that binds me in this "my day"? Have I a strange god- not a disgusting monster, but a disposition that rules me? More than once God has brought me face to face with the strange god and i thought I should have to yield, but I did not do it. I got through the crisis by the skin of my teeth and I find myself in the possession of the strange god still; I am blind to the things which belong to my peace. It is an appalling thing that we can be in the place where the Spirit of God should be getting at us unhindered, and yet increase our condemnation in God's sight.
   "If thou hadst known"- God goes direct to the heart, with the tears of Jesus behind. These words imply culpable responsibility; God holds us responsible for what we do not see. "Now  they are hid from thine eyes"- because the disposition has never been yielded. the unfathomable sadness of the "might have been"! God never opens doors that have been closed. He opens other doors, but He reminds us that there are doors which we have shut, doors which need never have been shut, imaginations which need never have been sullied. Never be afraid when God brings back the past. Let memory have its way. It is a minister of God with its rebuke and chastisement and sorrow. God will turn the "might have been" into a wonderful culture for the future.

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The View From Here....

   Simply sweet, lemony pretty- fine thread that just glows with spring. Sitting in the passengers seat as we took our monthly trip to the feed co-op gave simplyjen the perfect opportunity to work on her tatting. Here she shows me a sample of her lemon cream needle tatting piece. Her shuttle tatting piece is a soft turquoise blue; delicate and tiny (not pictured because- well, I was driving).
   Arriving home she sat in the open pasture near the old swing set; tatting as her mama goats nipped spring grass, nourishing the little ones they carry inside. Swift and sure her fingers became as the beautiful lace pieces become longer and stronger.
   Evening drew us indoors; wind chimes sounded as crickets sang through the open windows- still she tatted along; loops and sweeps...her tension even and sound. As devotions closed and hugs "goodnight" were shared, her hands rested from their work. The tatting lay still on the chair where she sits- I look and I ponder the view from here.....

Friday, April 1, 2011

High Fives for the Farm Boy!

   After only four months of mixed martial arts training, our youngest teen felt compelled to compete at a youth Jiu-Jitsu tournament. Last weekend we traveled south for our farm boy's first competition. It was a tough line up, yet, he managed to place third in his division. Join us in giving a big high-five to our farm boy; way to go!