Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Food Collection

     Several weeks ago our pastor announced in church that they want to do a food collection to help out a family that could use some extra love and care over the holidays.

     We are on a budget, but happily looked through our pantry for some items to donate, and when we went grocery shopping we chose a few Thanksgiving related items. Knowing you are helping  a family who is struggling be able to have a nice meal made us feel good, spreading love and care anonymously .... is something our family has always enjoyed.

     About an hour ago my daughter announced that someone just drove in. I looked out the window and saw one of the ladies from church getting out of her car. The house was, lets say, interesting. We had just finished our school day and hadn't straightened up yet afterwards. I was wearing an over sized comfortable t-shirt. Knowing I didn't have time to do anything about either one I went to answer the door and welcome her in.

     "We came to drop off the food the church collected for you," she announced.

      I'm not sure if my face showed the disbelief I was feeling. "You didn't have to bring us anything," I assured her.

     "We did it for you," she beamed as if she were bestowing a huge blessing on us, and then stepped aside while three huge boxes over flowing with groceries were carried in followed by someone carrying a big turkey, pumpkin pie, and a sweet potato casserole.

      I was speechless as they wished us a Happy Thanksgiving and turned to leave.

      The children were equally as speechless. "I thought we were helping a very poor family or maybe some homeless people," my oldest daughter whispered.

      "I thought so too," I told her. We have never gone hungry, while we are no where near what you would call wealthy, we also don't consider us to be living in poverty. Right now I'm trying to decide if I should be feeling very thankful that God has blessed us with extra groceries. Or should I be packing everything up and dropping it off at a food bank. Either way, I feel about two inches tall.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


     Ever since the day I first got my learners permit I have loved driving when ever I had the opportunity. There are only a few exceptions like bad weather, cities, and the occasional road that really shouldn't even be called a road.

    Over the years my driving record has been impeccable. I've never been pulled over, I've avoided becoming a snack for the hungry ditches along these winding mountain roads, I've never been in an accident of any kind including hitting an animal.

     That changed on Wednesday night on the way home from Christmas pageant practice. A raccoon ran out in front of me and even though I did my best to avoid hitting it, I was not successful. A thud and a bump, and poor Mr. Raccoon was dead, as was my impeccable record.

     Continuing on I kept hearing this weird noise. Surely a raccoon couldn't damage the van, but the longer I kept driving the less sure I was about that. Arriving home I looked, and sure enough, the front bumper was busted.

     I wasn't very happy about the whole deal and heading into the house the children reminded me of the Pollyanna glad game from the book, Pollyanna.  We tried thinking of something to be glad about hitting the raccoon. The only thing we came up with was we were glad it wasn't a skunk.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window... it's still dark, but the voices of many cows bereft of their calves is filling the air. Our landlord moved all the calves to another pasture last night and it's been musical ever since.

I am thankful... our firewood has been made and our coalbin is full. We're ready for winter!

In the kitchen... I have a whole chicken ready to plop into the slow cooker. We'll be having chicken and dumplings for dinner again tonight. It's one of our favorite things to eat.

I am wearing... A  long, cozy, burgundy housecoat/robe. I'm always cold in the morning when I get up and tend to wear it for at least half the day.

I am creating... I'm trying my hand at making a quilt top in a design I have never tried before. So far it has been a lot of trial and error.

I am going... no where today, but tomorrow night I have to take the children to another Christmas pageant practice.

I am wondering... how long it will be before they get serious about making the costumes for the pageant. I was asked to help, but since no one else is doing anything I can hardly "help" It's making me feel a little antsy.

I am reading... Other than my Bible I don't have a whole lot of time for reading anything other than school related things. We're all enjoying reading through the Life of Fred language arts program.

I am hoping... that our landlord will get our water situation fixed today. He brought a new water tank out last night, but it was defective and didn't work at all so he'll be trying again tonight. In the meantime the water we have is murky and needs care before being fit to drink.

I am looking forward to... Thanksgiving!

I am learning... that homeschooling high school isn't as scary as I thought it might be.

Around the house... The remnants of a blanket fort from last night are still on the floor. The breakfast dishes from Mr. Pepper and I are still on the sink waiting to be washed until the children wake up in about fifteen minutes and have their breakfast.

One of my favorite things... my Inkjoy pens. I enjoy writing, a lot. And ever since I discovered Inkjoy I like it even better.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Besides the daily dozen and our regular school work every day.......Today music lessons. Tomorrow night pageant practice. Thursday grocery shopping. Friday wrapping up our school week and doing some type of fun art project. Saturday laundry and deep cleaning the house.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Weird Like That

     When our children were still itty bitty babies, Mr. Pepper and I decided sleep overs, whether at our house or a friends house, would be out of the question for our children. In addition, playdates and afternoons spent at a friends house, including birthday parties, would only be allowed if one of us would be there as well.

      As the children grow older we find we have to turn down requests for sleep overs quite often. Most of the time the parents may seem a little taken aback, but are supportive. Others seem to have no problem telling me that we're depriving our children of experiences ever child should have.

       I don't usually go into detail why we think this is so important to us, but yesterday after church a certain grandmother came up to me to once again plead for my daughters to come spend the night at their house when her granddaughter is staying with them this weekend. Her husband has asked a few times as well. They are more persistent than any other family has ever been on this matter. I again tried to kindly say that, no, our family does not do sleep overs.

     "I don't know why you have to be weird like that," was her miffed reply.

      Weird like that ......... hmmm....... if this is considered to be weird I'm okay with being called weird. You see, Mr. Pepper's sister was molested as a child by people they had totally trusted, someone they didn't think for one instant would ever do something to hurt their children. We have seen first hand the horrible things that follow something like this, the lifetime of hurt, the trust issues, among so much more, and it is not a risk we are willing to take.

      As parents we want to protect our children to the best of our ability, for us that includes never having sleep overs. It's something that is simply not up for debate. If that makes us weird, so be it. I'll accept that title with no apologies.

Friday, November 7, 2014


     Rinsing off the dinner dishes I simply stacked them in the sink. They would have to wait to be washed until after the children and I got back from Christmas pageant practice, I checked everyone's face to make sure there were no traces of our sloppy joe night on them, amid protests that they had thoroughly scrubbed them on their own. After years of checking for dirty faces as part of my mothering job description it's something I find a little hard not to do.

     We headed out into the misty darkness with me fumbling for my keys in my purse, and muttering under my breath, "Ain't nobody got time for this."  We got into the van and once everyone was seatbelted we were ready to go.

    My oldest daughter sat in the front seat next to me, "Don't you just lo-o--ve when it's misty?" she asked.

    No, I really don't though I suppose it's better than fog, rain, or snow so it really isn't that bad.

    "I just love everything about misty weather," she gushed. "Especially with it being dark and pole lights giving such a nice light through the mist. Even the word misty sounds so sophisticated and elegant." She clasped her hands in her lap with a happy sigh and wriggled in her seat.

    I looked around me as I drove down the road. It really did look nice. The gentlest of mists created an extra nice glow around the lights next to the street.

   Thanks sweet daughter. Maybe I do have time for this. Your love for misty weather is contagious and is beginning to rub off on me.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

I Did It

     Yes, I did it ...... voted that is. For a little while it looked as if we wouldn't be getting to do it this year, but somehow in the last minute we managed to get it done.

     Mr. Pepper headed off to work early just like any other day, but had plans that once he comes home we would both be going to cast our ballot.

     I put chicken into the slow cooker to make chicken and dumplings for an easy dinner, and then we settled down to get our school done. Everything seemed to be flowing smoothly. Some friends stopped by for an afternoon of visiting which we all enjoyed immensely, and then I get a call from Mr. Pepper. "There was a breakdown so I'll be home late tonight. It doesn't look like we'll be making it to the polls after all."

     I knew our two little votes wouldn't make that big of a difference, but still it's something we have done every year ever since we could, and I didn't want this year to be any different.

    I pulled out the things I needed to make several loaves of bread. Mixing bread dough by hand is therapeutic in times like this. All the thumping and kneading ....

   I had just pulled the bread out of the oven and the chicken and dumplings were ready to eat when Mr. Pepper came home with still ten minutes until the polls closed. We hurried off and got there in time, cast our votes and chatted for a few minutes with the three elderly ladies that were sitting there. Voter turnout has been great this year they informed us, they have broken all records for our little precinct with over 80% of registered voters showing up, which was even better than our last presidential election!

    With our votes cast we returned home to enjoy a bowl of chicken and dumplings and warm homemade bread.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


     Ever since becoming a mother I have wished there was a way to control time. Speed it up through tough times like sickness and sorrow, and freeze it for a while during other times. Make those special moments last for longer than just a moment.

     Since manipulating time is not an option, a good thing I'm sure, I instead try to make the time I do have, count. Weighing priorities helps.

     When my youngest son comes to me carrying a coloring book and a box of crayons wanting me to color with him I decided the dusting can wait until tomorrow. Dusting and cleaning will always be here, but  he will grow up before I know it. Placing my dusting cloth on top of the rolltop desk, I joined him lying on the floor and colored three pictures.

     Reading Green Eggs and Ham just one more time instead of a book I acquired several weeks ago and have yet to crack open the covers. Playing Uno with the girls when I have not yet checked my email today. Discussing farming methods and costs with my oldest son even when I find it to be a less than stimulating conversation. It's all part of trying to make this time with our children count. They're growing up much faster than I'm ready for and I don't want to look back and wish I would have spent more time with them.

    We may not be able to provide them with the best of everything, their clothes may come from a thrift shop, their toys may be few, I may not be able to give them much material wise, but I can give them time, attention, and all the love in my heart. In the end I'm thinking and hoping that the latter three meant the most to them anyway.