Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Friendships



This post is to honor all my girlfriends, past and present.

If ever we have been friends in school, as relations, over the internet, through letters written long-distance, or even now, I love you with a true love as a friend. You were and are very special to me, even if I haven't seen you in decades or if I only see you a few times a year, OR if I've never seen you except in photos.

The following is a piece I clipped from Reader's Digest a good decade ago, at the very least. It helped me then to realize that even though some friendships seem to die, that it's not always because of failure on my part (although some have been) or a bad thing. I'd like to copy it here for everyone to read. I think it is insightful and applies to most of us. That's why I've kept it all these years.

Friends of the Road
-Paula Spencer in Aspire
"Why do friendships come and go? How does a once-bosom buddy wind up erased from your address book? Is a friendship that fades away necessarily a bad thing?

My first inkling that some friendships are meant to be fleeting came in the spring of my senior year in college. My friendships there had been especially intense. We'd bonded instantly and tightly, with meandering all-hours conversations about everything from the meaning of life to 'What will we wear tonight?' Once I came across a line that seemed to express perfectly my 21-year-old angst. It was from the novel Centennial: 'God, he wished he could ride forever with these men. ...But it could not be. Trails end, and companies of men fall apart.'

Of course! Some friendships are meant to be transitory. Like cowboys who had ridden herd together for miles, sharing dusty perils and round-the-campfire coffee, my college friends and I had come to the natural end of our path together. It was time to move on.

Absurdly obvious, the idea was nevertheless enormously comforting. It had once seemed like failure to me, to build a friendship only to have it squelched by sudden distance, either physical or emotional. You move across the country and struggle to replicate daily long walks with phone calls or letters. Or one of you has a baby, and the minutiae of changing diapers transform the bicycle-built-for-two that was your friendship into a lop-sided three-legged stool.

And that' o-kay. Because in addition to our friends of the heart - the traditional, everlasting ideal - life is rich with friends of the road who, like Jame Michener's cowpokes, herd with you for a particular stretch and no farther. These brief friendships are equally intense, equally necessary, equally worth treasuring as any other, and for the duration of that ride you can't survive without them."

Wasn't that worth saving to reread years later?!! Sometimes, when I hit another transitional stage, usually emotional but sometimes physical, I am reminded that the good Lord is in charge of it all. I bring situations to Him in prayer and He knows my pain, guilt, longing, and comforts me.

HE is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. And one day, I do hope that all my friends, past and present and future brothers and sisters, will know that joy of living together where we will all be as one.

Until then, let us be about our Father's business or at least our own business, but never too busy to show love to one another.

Many blessing to you, my friends who read today's post.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fall is my Favorite

Fall, or Autumn, is my favorite season of them all.
Click on the photos to enlage them. Hit your browser's "back" button to return.
(The view from the road on the other side of the ridge. Green River Knob in the distant middle.)

If we have received the blessing of rain during the Summer season, then our deciduous trees will change their leaves from green to brillant shades of yellow, orange, and red in October. Yes, we had plenty of rain this year.

(The view from our ridgetop home.)


I'd bet that from an airplane, the lines of trees would resemble strings of amber jewels.



(In our front yard.)


(Our driveway to the house. Taken from the front porch.)

The following video was taken with me driving so it a little shaky. (If that might make you dizzy, don't watch it!) It displays the Fall colors as I drove from my neighbor's house out to the road that we live on. The mailboxes on the right is where everyone gets their mail and a great spot for catching up on how everyone is doing during the Summer. As I drive down the hill, you can see the pretty farm scenery of our rural area. (Don't laugh that I spun gravel when I took off... I forgot to keep my foot on the brake until I was up to speed to take off. LOL! I was too interested in video-taping.)


Funny how the camera made everything appear to be going faster than I was driving. I'm really a granny-slow-poke behind the wheel. And I'm sad the video/photos really don't do the vibrant colors justice. Just multiply every color by 2 in your mind!


I hope you are all having a wonderful Fall-time! (Or Spring-time in the Southern Hemi!)

Friday, July 03, 2009

Middleburg Dairy Freeze

Some nights you are just too hot or too tired to cook.

And you feel like having an old-fashioned banana split.

Last night was just such a night for us.

Thank goodness the Middleburg Dairy Freeze is a short drive away!

At the intersection of Hwy 198 and 3270 (best known as Indian Creek Road), this hopping little stop will take you back to the day - and satisfies the nostalgic heart like only a hot, juicy hamburger and a cold, creamy cone piled high to the sky can do.

Shelly Adair (seen here taking Hubby's order) bought the establishment 8 years ago. At age 64, she has kept it up and running for the past 3 years. It is obvious that the place is near and dear to her heart. Everything is clean and neat. Not a piece of trash in sight. Potted flowers on the patio.

Culinary fare is the burger or hot dog among other hometown delights. Hubby orders the "super dog", which means it would take super-man to pick you up after eating it - smothered in chili, cheese, and onions. I go for the simple corndog. Shelly asks me if I want mustard or ketchup. Most places don't ask - but Shelly does. "Ketchup, please." It's served with a small cup of ketchup, just right for dunking. Little touches.

Daughter drops her burger on the way to the patio nearby. Upon realizing it, Shelly immediately calls back another one, reciting exactly the way it was special ordered the first time. But the burger had only lost it's bottom bun. I insist that she cancel the order and she replaces the bun at no extra charge. But the new burger wasn't going to be charged to me either. It was an accident. Yep, it's that kind of place.

Two concrete patio sets under a pavillion are the spot to enjoy your hot food (or ice cream). A creek bubbles in the adjacent field. One can enjoy watching the occasional car or tractor pass by. Teens hurrying to a date. Locals wave heartily out an open truck window. A tractor loaded with hay turns onto Indian Creek.

Shelly gives FREE ice cream to any of the local churches having Vacation Bible School - cones or cups. "We prefer cups, because we can make and keep those frozen plus the church can just pick them up if they want. But I love when they bring the kids here; those little faces all light up when they get their cone." I wonder if she knows her own eyes sparkle too. She lists the churches by name. 150 cones to one, 125 to another, another one coming up this week. "You tell the churches to contact me if they want ice cream for their VBS." local exchange - 9728

The elephant on the lawn MUST be mentioned! "I don't know how many kids have rode him," Shelly laughs. "I brought him with me all the way from out-of-state." Until recently, this fellow was not cemented to a slab and on occasion he would be tipped over by prankster teens. I know this because we've been there not long after the last tipping. But character is built when one has to pick up the same fellow whom I am sure was much harder to set up then push down!

Elephant-tipping in Casey County. Who knew?

However, this is not a Mayberry report about the little dairy freeze. Ms. Adair is thinking of selling for health reasons. "I've just not had the heart to call a realtor yet."

Who will continue this community business? Will they have the vision that Shelly has had - a dream of little faces peering over the counter? Will those same youngsters be met with sparkling eyes and a cold, creamy cone?

Oh, I do hope so with all my countyfied heart.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Operation Beautiful

Having recently found the blog of Operation Beautiful, I have a place to click that guarantees that I will be smiling in minutes.

On this site, readers are encouraged to leave post-its in public places. These little love notes are to promote healthy self-image and counter the media perception of perfection.

I liked it so much that I posted one for myself, on the bathroom mirror:

Please ignore the outfit - I was up at 4:30 a.m. with plans to garden all morning. But you know what? I really am all of those things but I need reminding quite a lot.

In the fight against negative thoughts, I ventured into other spots:
What's that little note in the kitchen? Could it help me fight the thoughts I have about my cooking?

Well, YEAH! So what if this morning's muffins tasted just a bit too "flour-y"? I baked them from scratch with lots of love and thought for my family's health. Will this help me to enjoy cooking more as I fight the thought that I'm a bad cook? I think it's already working.

And what's this? A mirror in the laundry room where I too often see myself in housewife array - and judge my homely appearance?


Now I'm reminded not to let those thoughts prevail over the loving things I do.

Daughter loved the site and idea too. So she actually put up the first sign on her bathroom mirror:
But I admit, it sure would be nice to hear these things from someone besides myself. It would've been nice if someone else could put little love notes around the house for me.

Well, do unto others....
So I posted this one on the mirror beside Daughter's other note. She loved it and moved it to her room mirror "so I can see it in the morning when I get up."

So who else do I love around here? Little love notes for someone else...
On the bathroom mirror,

and above his dresser...


Who's day can YOU brighten?
Maybe your own?
Maybe a family member's?
Maybe some young girl who looks up into the local stuff-mart bathroom mirror?
Maybe a fellow blogger in their comment section?
I dare you.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Good gifts

I've been dieting since February - basically taking spurts of starving myself, recording my food intake, and doing a lot of inner evaluation (and brow-beating) of my weight issues. (About 4 months worth.)


Now, 15-20 pounds lighter but having hit a "plateau", I am beginning to wise-up. In my diet notebook, I've drawn analogies between hunger and a forest fire, food and guns, and written down lots of Bible verses and motivational quotes.


But nothing compares to this newest realization (and so simple that I feel quite slow.)


I can eat all day long. Yep. I've been doing it this week and the pounds have been melting off. I haven't been hungry once. I haven't even exercised other than daily housework or normal garden activities. I have craved junk food and naps on occasion, but I know it's only because my flesh is revolting against the weight loss and that my upcoming weight maintenance will be much, much easier. It has been obvious that these occasional comfort-food cravings are not REAL hunger when I KNOW I just ate enough food that I would be miserable if I had a piece of cake too!


What am I eating, you ask? One thing is milk and eggs from free-range, country animals. Raw milk has stopped my old milk cravings (that needed cookies to go with it, right?!) I suppose that's because the raw milk still has all the vitamins, minerals, and natural enzymes intact. During the times that we've switched back to store-bought milk, it just doesn't satisfy! See the connection? Once glass of raw milk, one vitamin-packed egg, and I don't crave more and therefore don't eat more than I need.


Also, lots of filtered water. And snacking on all the fruits I want. Veggies all I want! Yogurt, raw cheese, salsa from the gardens of friends, nuts & seeds when I want something crunchy. Nearly every breakfast is a toasted slice of whole-wheat, sourdough bread drizzled with local honey. No more skipping meals!

The key is to not let yourself get hungry! Stay full on healthy stuff - the stuff God gave us and not the stuff that factories have taken and processed for shelf-life (like ramen noodles, white flour, corn syrup-laden products, NASTIES!) This way the ravenous fire of hunger meets a barren place where it cannot burn and demand fuel that will flash fire!Purple tomatoes in pots with our garden spot in the background.

More than ever, I understand that no diet product, no exercise dvd, nothing is as good as wholesome food. I can't even describe how these 4 months have changed my tastebuds. Food of empty calories just don't satisfy me. Milk chocolate tastes like wax now - only dark chocolate will do. Pasta and bread must be whole wheat or else it tastes like paper. Rice too.

I am still in-process and wish that I could help you if you are in the same weight prison. However, I can only offer you the encouragement that if you change your thinking and your eating habits (eating to live not living to eat) then your body will change too. And although I still have approximately 40 more pounds to lose to be at a healthy weight, I am no longer going to rush it with starvation (don't deny God's good gifts!) or diet gimmicks, or exercise bulimia (that steals my energy from my more joyful activities!)


I'm gonna eat, eat, eat, and drink REAL milk and lots of water and enjoy where I am at. And give all glory and praise to the Lord that He has heard my prayers for wisdom and good health. To deny His good gifts, well, that's just plain rude!


(Note: free clip-art from Penniwig's. Thanks, Dearie! See her link in my sidebar.)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

June in Bloom

My hubby just let me know that he misses my posting to this blog. How odd! I really didn't think he (who hears every tiny detail of all my days) would have such an attachment, but he likes to "check in on" me from work sometimes. LOL! I love you so much, sweetheart! You're the best!
On The Cheek
Last night we went on a date, rare but fun time alone. We ate at a nice restaurant, had ice cream sundaes at Baskin-Robbins, then watched The Great American Balloon Race. This is the kick-off to the annual Great American Brass Band Festival. It was so magical. I apologize that I have no photos to share. When I pulled out the camera the batteries were completely dead. So we just concentrated on being in the moment. As the hot-air balloons landed in fields and yards near Junction City, we did the unusual act (for us) of driving around to watch - kinda like ambulance-chasing without the morbid factor. It was so fun.

I've been crocheting again. Here are a few photos of recent projects:
You can tell my niece LOVES her crocheted gift...LOL!So I had to make her little sister one too.
I've made dolls for the youngest ones, to match their own features.

I'm currently working on another pillow cover for the niece above.

We went camping last weekend at Levi Jackson State Park. The camping part wasn't the best (having come from a nature-rich & quiet farm to a park in the middle of the city, what did I expect?) However, I highly suggest you visit the park on a day trip. The working grain mill, the Mountian Life museum, and the picnic spots are excellent spots for history and relaxation.

I plan to do a post on this visit so I'll just give you a nice taste for now...We've also been busy with a newly formed Kentucky Junior Historical Society in our county. Field trips monthly have been exciting and educational. I could really get into state and localized history as a career!
Daughter and her best-friend in the Osage Orange tree at Fort Harrod.
Also recent, my interest in family genealogy and gathering information from cemeteries.
A grave of an early ancestor to settle in Garrard County, Ky? Very possibly.
And last (but not least) we have a new addition here on the ridgetop. During the last week of May, a stray cat found her way (of COURSE it's a female) to our porch. We swore off any more pets. No more! But this one was obviously trained to tug at the heart-strings to ensure survival:


See? Even Olive likes her. So, after a trip to the vet to ensure her health, she has been give the name.....

(drumroll, please......)

May.

May the Stray.

She will remain an outdoor kitty. We were able to draw the line there as a cat's life expectancy is 12-18 years and she is less than a year old. And I'm so tired of cat hair in the house from Motor and Maggie already, no matter how cute they can be...Maggie asleep with a ball of yarn.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

April Showers

Or should I say MAY showers! My yard is looking like a jungle from not having a dry day to mow it. But the blessing is that the frequent rain means the water table is rising and perhaps we will not be in drought conditions this year.

I apologize to those who check my blog every now and then and find I am not posting as often as I used to. God has been working on me. Blogging is one of my lowest priorities right now! This is why I really like the "follow" option that Blogger has, because when I DO post, followers immediately know.

Sunlight on the kitchen table.

Let's see, what to report?

Ah, a big deal for me is that I am eating less and losing some weight. I have lost 15 pounds over the past three months. It's hard for others to tell yet. Only my sister-in-law has noticed because she hadn't seen me in a long time. Today was supposed to be my first day to add exercise to my daily schedule, but schedules and my life rarely match up. Then I read this in my scheduled reading this morning:

"For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." 1 Timothy 4:8

Ummmm.... do you remember that song from "The Color Purple"... "God is Trying to Tell You Something"?

What did I end up doing instead of my exercise that was scheduled between 6:30 and 7:30? Catching up on what I was scheduled to do between 5:30-6:30. (I am laughing and shaking my head.) Instead, it was lain on my heart to write a message to my son about another Bible verse I read this morning.

All I can say is that when He wants you to do something for Him, one has little excuse of "but it doesn't fit into my schedule!" The only schedule these two keep is to fuss if they aren't fed by 6:30 a.m.!

Speaking of my son, he is still living in the next county over with his girlfriend's family and working a fast-food job. He is still hoping to be accepted by Western Kentucky University for this Fall, but if you would lift him up in prayer... I have seen that he is nervous about the uncertainty of his future and (after this morning's letter to him that felt like God's hand on his future) he needs prayers for protection, direction, and his walk. It just simply feels and looks like God is getting ready to move in his life in a mighty way, to provide him with a chance, an opportunity, and he is at a crossroads that might greatly affect his Christian life and his chance to be blessed. But, he is doing well and visiting more often.

But we did recently have "the talk" - the one where we actually put into words what each of us already knew: this is now his parent's home, and what was once his room is now a guest room where he is welcomed as a guest at any time.

It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. And he accepted it too. But I still haven't touched his room. Uh.... I mean, the guest room/school room/library.

Daughter is growing tall, a good 5 inches or more taller than me now and she's only 12! She now has someone whom she calls a best friend, another home-educated girl. And finally, she loves to read when she hated it before. All these things feel like true blessings.
Daughter walking along the big popular tree Hubby cut down this Spring, due to it's age and it's shading the garden spot.

I, on the other hand, have recently been feeling the need to withdraw into my home, my farm, my work, my mission, my blessings, to the things that God calls me to put my hand to at home. Of course, what I mean is that my priorities are calling. This has left me a little sad - because I had hoped to be developing relationships with new friends. Unfortunately, the timing seems bad for them also, having other things to do and interests that have called them to different paths than the one I'm on. I don't resent it. I am glad for their blessings as I am for mine. I have been experiencing a time of growth in this relationship with Christ and becoming bolder in that walk.

I have been reading a lot of gardening technique books and making plans, both short-term and long-term, for a large yard that is completely garden and walkways. And I am studying about greenhouses and chickens. And wildflowers and native plants and trees.
I'm slowing working on the flower beds in front of the porch.

And it is my goal to pinch every penny to apply extra principal to our mortgage. Instead of being 70 when our house is paid of, we COULD be 55 and save over $56,000 in interest. That's a big difference! How nice would it be to know I saved us $56K and freed up 15 years in which to use our blessings to help our own children and grandkids instead of scraping by for ourselves?!!!
Line-drying the clothes saves us $40+ a month. Just don't hang your hummingbird feeder on the porch with the clothesline!

So, I am now being very frugal by planning weekly menus, home-cooking everything, learning how to provide our own cheaper yet healthier foods, and looking at our long-term goals even more than ever. This can leave one feeling a bit odd in today's society, a bit isolated, a bit lonely at first. But this transition is what I have been experiencing - and as I settle into it I've found that loneliness is being replaced by a sense of purpose and joy in learning and satisfaction in living a much more simple, mindful life.

I do hope to post again soon; about my new grain mill that Hubby bought for our anniversary from Marci at Amazing Graze Store, about experimenting with sourdough, about our searching for a solution to a leak in our berm home - a creative solution. If you get to wondering about me, please just say a prayer for us and trust that He is working in our lives and we are spending the time seeking that growth. And you can always send me a little note via the comments or my email... (smiles to my friends)!

With much love to all of you,
Teresa

P.S. My sister-in-law's family is still waiting on a check from the insurance company and living in their garage. Also, please pray for Chris who is Molly's dad. He has been in very bad health since three days after the tornado and is still in the hospital.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Tornado

This post is about Hubby's sister and their family. Theses are photos of their home.
(click on the photos to enlarge and see the detail.) Notice the roof section gone and the deck railing on the second story twisted out above.

The floors were covered with glass and water.

The roof missing including the beams that supported it. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

Here you can see how the logs were lifted up then set back down, peeling the chinking away. This is standing in the middle of the house (in Molly's bathroom doorway.



A solid granite countertop in the kitchen on the first story was lifted up and then set back down, cracking it all the way through.





When you click on this link, you'll be at the menu for one of our local newstations. Choose the April 6, 2009 at 6 p.m. link in the left column.


A pop-up window will appear. Scroll down in the left sidebar and choose "Tornado Clean-up Continues."


In the right side-bar, choose to see that video.


This is Hubby's sister and our niece being interviewed. I'm waiting to show this to our daughter as there is a nice shot of her walking down the stairs, carrying a load of blankets. She made sure that the t.v. wouldn't catch her face and had no idea they caught her!


This family lived in an r.v. while they built a garage first. Then they lived in the garage while they built their "dream home" made from logs that local Mennonites had sawed. This is a sturdy home and anything less would have spelled disaster for them.


We spent the day packing all their belonging into boxes and carrying everything out to the garage where they will have to live again until they can rebuild. Many of the logs, despite being as heavy and solid as they are, were sucked upward and set back down askew. Two stories worth!


A solid granite countertop was lifted and cracked in two in places. Rain ran in through the missing roof section all night and soaked everything.


Down the road, two barns were completely destroyed, one falling on a new tractor. Tin roofing is wrapped in trees like I've not seen since the tornado out-break of 1974.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Evening walks

Spring has come early to Kentucky and promises to last longer than a few weeks. We love to take evening walks in our woods. Here is what we saw this weekend.

Long ago, a family lived in the holler below us. Daffodils announce you are getting close to the old homestead site. The only buildings left are a log smokehouse (which we've tried to maintain) and the ruins of a barn further down the hill.

walking down into the holler


looking back up the trail - our house sits up up on top of the ridge
Daffodils are pretty adornments even on wood elves.
Hubby looks around under the smokehouse. We wonder if this was their temporary home while they built beside it?

Found under the smokehouse this time, a pottery shard and a fork with a rose motif.

Hmmmm...another find in the leaves down from the homestead site. Do you know what it is? It seems to have an electrical wire on it.

A smiling tree, evidence of a barbed wire fence that once ran through the woods.
One more cold snap and the Redbud trees will be blooming.
Up out of the holler and down the back ridge, you pass through a small evergreen grove into the hardwoods.
Have you any idea what this brown thing is in the cedar tree? Me either. Probably a moth or bug encasement.
Sounds of wildlife on either side of the trail means stop and listen. (We are always hopeful to see a white-tail deer.) On the right, a very noisy squirrel. On the left, a group of six turkey came out the the holler soon after we passed by.
Daughter decorated my hair. And we rested on some firewood in a clearing before climbing back up to the house.
After the walk, we had iced tea on the front porch and watched the sunset. We love how beautiful everything is here! (After Hubby so kindly removed the stinking possum carcass from the front yard...)