Wednesday, March 26, 2014

In Which I Share Some Thoughts, Feelings, and Happenings From My World...

   In which I share some thoughts, feelings, and happenings from my world... Life seems to go by so fast that I don't have time for much more then living it.
   As some know and others may have guessed, we homeschool. There are many opinions on the matter of homeschooling. Some believe that it is wrong because it excludes children from social interactions. Others believe that if you homeschool, the children can't be a light to the world. (Matthew 5:13-16) Yet others believe that if you homeschool your children, then they are missing out on a structural education. Well, I'm not going to defend or recommend homeschooling. I will say though that homeschooling is more than just a way to educate children. It is a life style and a way of living. For my family, a knowledge solely based on book work is not the base of our homeschool education. I'm not saying that we throw our books onto the top shelf of an old dusty bookshelf and forget them, but there is SO much more to an education than the three R's. It's one thing to read about something. It's another thing to experience it for yourself.
   Anyway, the above being said, Friday morning found my mother and oldest brother rushing out the door to pick up 150 chicks that were ordered. (We raise them, slaughter them, and butcher them ourselves.) Headed in the opposite direction went we three sisters in a hurry. The youngest was having a "Cousin's Day" and we older two were meeting up with our aunt for a "Niece's Day". Usually we have class at her house once a month on a Friday. We bring our sewing or handwork projects and have tea before leaving for work. Well for March's class, we decided to go second hand shopping in Brookings. Brookings is a bigger town than Watertown but it's smaller than Sioux Falls. Brookings is full of old buildings and shops and is a quaint town. It has quite a few antique and second hand shops and most of them are clean and friendly. We enjoyed our time there. We had lunch at HyVee, which is a grocery store with an awesome salad bar. And we each found something that made the trip worth while. My sister found a prom/bridesmaid dress that she is planning to use for her graduation dress. She was just teasing when she pulled it out and showed it to me but then I insisted she try it on and between my aunt and I looking at it, she was convinced that she should get it. The color is beautiful and the fabric is sleek and flowly. I will post before and after pictures of the dress, as it is currently topless. I am rather excited to be revamping and partially redesigning it. My aunt found a few kitchen items, a wreath, and a two tier platter/rack. And I, well, I think I got the best of everyone. I found eleven old books, and I am happy. Old books, and eleven of them for $33. The only down fall of this is that now I have to build a new bookcase because the one I have now was already crowded before I bought these books. Plus I bought four more from and I found four others on another second hand store run a few weeks ago. So a new bookcase is definitely in order but it's well worth it. Hopefully my brothers will be in a generous mood when I enlist them to help me with it.
   Friday night. We barely got home from Brookings and had time to do chores, change to work clothes, and then it was off to work. On the way, we had a service call to make at our boss' house. A shower head was leaking so we put a ball valve on it. Not the way we usually fix the problem but they are moving and just wanted a quick fix. Work went fairly smoothly. The boys only jumped out at me once when I was vacuuming. I happened to find a site with Ranger Bill stories on it so I downloaded them to my computer and then put them on my phone so I have something to listen to for the two to three hours that I vacuum each Friday. (For those of you who have children, especially boys, the Ranger Bill stories are produced by the Moody Bible Institute and are good wholesome stories. They are compatible to The Sugar Creek Gang. Here is a link to many of the episodes. Scroll down the page for the long list. Ranger Bill  )
   So after work, we head into town. We got off work around 10:00pm and got into Watertown around 10:15pm. Since we were hungry, we stopped at McDonalds to get something to eat. I got out of the Bronco and promptly started falling backwards. Well I think I yelped or something and my brother whipped around and caught my arm and with a grin asked me where I was going. I laughed and told him I wasn't sure. Not exactly sure what that was all about. Not sure if I had low blood sugar or what. Anyway, after eating we went to Wal*Mart to do some grocery shopping. That took longer than I thought so we got home pretty close to midnight.
   Saturday. All day. We all got to bed late so we were tired when we got up. I got a text from a friend from the UP, letting me know that she was in the area, and wondering if we could get together. So I invited her and another friend over for lunch and tea. I made focaccia for tea sandwiches. Then I started on a chocolate mousse. I added everything together and put it whipping on high speed. Then I turned my attention back to rolling out the focaccia and getting it ready for the oven. Upon finishing that, I turned my attention back to the mousse... and realized that I let it whip about 30 seconds too long. This was the last straw. I am ashamed to say that I actually felt like calling up the girls and telling them that it wouldn't work for them to come. Instead, I went into the bathroom, turned the fan on, and cried. I tried to explain to my mother later. I was mad at myself for not watching the mousse and now it had flopped. And I was overtired on top of that. (That's what you get when you only sleep for four to six hours a night for too many nights in a row.) Then, it just felt like everything else was against me. I don't usually have people over. I am not a social butterfly. So for me to be having anyone over just for myself is a rare thing. And then, of course, whenever I do something for me, something goes wrong. Or many things go wrong. The house was a mess, the food wasn't ready, the table was heaped with stuff, the floors needed attention, and then... the mousse flopped. I had a cry in the bathroom before deciding that I wasn't getting anything accomplished there so I went to my bedroom and got dressed in company clothes, still crying. Then I got mad. Why can't the rest of the family help out when I want to do something like this? Why can they all expect me to help them (which I don't mind doing) but they can't help me? So back downstairs I went and started cleaning. Or rather, clearing. Anything that was where it wasn't suppose to be got thrown in a big bowl. Then I started on other things. I think people realized at this time that I was mad and started in helping to clean. (To the families credit, they had spent a lot of time Friday night cleaning the house and my little sister did make a chocolate cake for me, but at this point, I had already forgot about that.)
   When I had finally settled down and the house was cleaned up and the meal prepared, I tried to relax. Then I got to thinking how selfish my thoughts had been. I should have just let the house be and not worried about the other children. I felt bad that I had given away to tears and allowed myself to cry over something so small. Well, the lunch and tea went off just fine. We had lots of stories and gales of laughter. I enjoyed my time and no one guessed that dessert was something different than what I had originally planned it to be.
   Saturday night I was going to go visit my uncle and aunt but they had plans so I stayed home. I took a lavender and Epsom salt bath and then crawled into my bed. I was tucked in with the lights out before 9:30pm. I haven't done that in weeks.
   Sunday was a restful but eventful day. My little brother was sick so dad stayed home with him in the morning and mother stayed home with him in the evening. We ate lunch at home and then my oldest younger sister, my brother and I went for a Sunday drive. It was a beautiful day and the sun was shining. It felt like a spring day. I took some pictures but my lighting was a little off so they don't look so great.

   We went to a friend's house and visited more with our friends from the UP. As it was Sunday, we had a fairly quiet day. We sang a few songs and then ate a light supper before heading to evening church. After evening church, our friends from the UP followed us home. They weren't too sure if they should come, as they didn't know my family too well, but I told them that I went to their house all by myself without knowing their family besides "Hello, my name is ---" at Conventions. We had a snack/supper and visited for quite some time. Then they had to leave but mother figured that we should sing a few songs before they left to we sang. We all said good bye but then dad got to talking again about courtship and manners and courtesy and that got them going for another half hour or so. It was kind of embarrassing to listen to him talking to the boys from the UP but they didn't seem to mind it. One of them who is my age told a story about one of his relatives. The relative went to pick up a girl for a date. He pulled up to her house and sat in the car, waiting for her to get in. The girl stood outside the car, waiting for him to open the door for her. Finally she said, "Aren't you going to open the door for a lady?" The man was a little surprised but reached over and pushed open the door. The girl climbed in and sat down. The man waited for her to shut the door and finally she again spoke: "Aren't you going to shut the door for a lady?" Obviously the man was new to all this courtesy. Anyway, he came up with a very original way to shut that car door. He stepped on the gas, cranked the wheel, and let gravity and velocity do the rest. My brothers thought this was great but I remarked: "I wouldn't have even got in the car. If he can't come to the front door, knock, come in and greet my parents and any siblings that are around, escort me to the car, open and shut the door without being told, then I wouldn't have any interest in getting into the car with him." Yes, I believe that men should show respect to ladies.
    Which brings me to a thought that I have been pondering for many months now. Before I listened to stories, sermons, and songs while I vacuumed at work, I had plenty of time for thinking. When I was in the UP, a friend up there told me a story. I don't remember it word for word but here it is:

A lady was out running unprotected in a bigger city. She was kinda off on a back road somewhere when she happened to see a man coming towards her. It was obvious that he didn't have good intentions. Thinking quickly, she stopped and waited for him to approach her. She was taking a risk by stopping but it was just as risky to keep running. Before the man had a chance to say anything, the lady exclaimed in a panic sounding tone: "Sir, can you help me? I was out running and lost my way. There are so many strange people around here and I'm afraid that I might get hurt alone. Could you show me the way back to my house?" The man, shocked beyond words I'm guessing, did as he was asked. The lady told him where she lived, and he escorted her all the way home. This could have been the end of the story. This in itself is a miracle. The man was one of those that we ladies are scared would hurt us, and yet, when appealed to for help, his bad intentions dropped away and were filled with a desire to be of use to her. Anyway, they arrived at the ladies' house and she thanked the man over and over again. Then, she invited him to come into her house and have a snack. The man did and after partaking of the snack and being thanked over and over again by the lady, he left.

My thoughts on this story didn't come for some time after. I heard this story about the second week of September and although I was impressed with the outcome of the ladies' daring approach to personal danger, I didn't think much of it. But then, as I was reading some of the older books and looking into and hearing stories of women who were raped and worse, and looking at what kind of men were doing these things, I really started thinking. My family got mono syllable answers to questions they asked for awhile. All I could tell them was that I was thinking. And my thoughts center around the above story. I thought about all the men who are in jail now, or have been in jail, or have been in trouble with the law. Then I wonder: would there men have done these things that got them into trouble, if they had felt that they were needed? In the story, the man was going to hurt the lady. Maybe he was hurting himself, or maybe someone had hurt him. Or maybe he just felt like no one cared about him and that he was worthless, so he may as well do what his flesh desires. But then, the lady does something that he probably never in his days could have imagined. She asks for help. Not only does she ask for help, she begs for help. She appeals to him, as a female, as a weaker vessel, for him to protect her, for him to guide her, for him to help her. And deep within him, he feels a stirring. I believe God put it into every man to want to help a woman in need. The desire to help someone and the feeling to be useful to someone is something that is so foreign to him that he has forgot who he really is, and what his passion really is. But then, there it is. Someone who is pleading for help. And he does help her. Not only does he help her, he even comes in and has a snack with her. And she is thankful for it. How many men could we save from themselves if we as women would stand back and let the men protect us? How many men would never have to know that worthless feeling if we women would stay at home and let them have the physical and rough jobs, if we women would stand back and let them open the doors, if we women would ask for help and let them protect us? Would we be a better world for it? Somehow, we women collectively have taken on a "We can do anything men can attitude." I believe that this is wrong. God made man to be head over us as the leader, as the ruler, as the protector, as the stronger vessel. We as women were created to be help meets to the men, to serve them, to obey them, and to be a weaker vessel. I think that if we all would look back to the Bible and really think about these kinds of things, we would save ourselves, our children, and our men from many needless problems.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Life Here The Last Few Weeks

   Due to the numerous hints, prompts, and down right orders from some of the people who take pleasure (or pain, I'll let you decide) in reading the things I write, and due to the fact that I actually have both time and ambition to write, I have decided to finally update. Not that many read my odd ramblings, dreams, and thoughts anyway, but sometimes I just need to write. And tonight I think is one of those nights.
   It's been a busy last few weeks. Seems like the boat that was being tossed about on rough, tumultuous, and story waves of a storm is now finally starting to settle down. Or maybe we are just in the eye of the storm. Either way... It's rather nice to have a "calm" time just now.
   My dad has been working a lot in Washington State and is gone for weeks at a time. He has been home for over a week now, and believe me, that hasn't happened since around Thanksgiving. Then one of my sisters went to South Carolina and that felt weird too. Dad got home, then she was suppose to get home but her flight was delayed and canceled many times over. She finally got home via flying into a different airport four hours away and some of our church friends were able to pick her up and bring her back to us. So now we are all at home for the first time in a LONG time, but it won't last long. Sounds like a trip to the land of the second "California gold rush" (aka the Montana/North Dakota oil fields) is in order for later this week and then maybe next week, it will be back to Washington.
   So, our family gets in a lot of traveling. Dad detests flying. Can't stand it, and only flies when absolutely necessary. Me, I enjoy flying and I'd rather not drive. I never had a problem with driving until my first accident in October. Then when car problem #2 came around, (wasn't really an accident in my book, although I DID NOT do it on purpose) I am even more scared of driving or riding. And I have more problems sleeping now. Sigh... I know I need to learn to trust but that trust is hard. I have trouble sleeping at night because of night mares and sometimes I don't fall asleep for hours. Picture #1 shows sort of what happened. I was making a right hand turn and hit a patch of ice. Luckily I was going slow enough that I didn't loose complete control over the vehicle. The vehicle started sliding towards the edge and I didn't want to risk flipping so I turned the steering wheel and straight down we drove. My cousins thought it was funny and were all ready to do it again. I'm just glad no one was hurt. My wonderful uncle came by and helped me out. He drove it straight out. I was holding on for my life and here is my uncle, having a grand time. I am glad some people have fun with that kind of thing! I'm sure life would be boring if everyone was like me!
   One of my sisters has been learning to sew and with the help of Pinterest, which is a newly discovered for me website of inspiration, she found a project to try out. She made small burlap bags and filled them with treats for Valentine's Day. I really like how they turned out, and I told her she should make a bunch more and put them on Etsy. She was all for the idea but has been busy so hasn't made any yet. Pictures #2 and #3 show her bags filled and waiting delivery.

I started my Etsy shop for the season. Don't have much on it, as I was a lot busier than I thought I would be this winter. One of my uncles "ordered" a custom sized wood bag. That was a new challenge to make, but over all I enjoyed it because it was a learning experience. The only bodily injuries I incurred from this project was gashing my thumb when helping one of my brothers to bend metal for adjustable straps and I ran the sewing machine needle through the tip of my finger. Both were unpleasant but not life threatening. Also finally got the boys to help me make a quilt frame so I'm hoping to start hand quilting my "wedding quilt" sometime this month. Picture #4 is a pair of booties on my Etsy site. OnceUponLaMode
    So we Finns like our meat and potatoes and we usually like to be efficient. So my way of this? Pasty in a big pan. Pasty in a 10" x 15" or 9" x 13" pan is how we almost always make it. And of course, writing on the crust is the best part, right? Picture #5 is a pan of pasty that I made to bring over to my uncle and aunt's house. My aunt wasn't feeling good and I know what it's like to not be feeling good and still have to worry about what to feed the family.
    You know, the more I think about it, the more I realize: the smallest acts of kindness are the ones that speak the most. And the more we live to serve and please others, the happier we will be. How many times I think: "What can I do for fun?" and I forget that my mother is cleaning house, or my little sister is struggling with math, or my youngest brother would really enjoy going sledding. How much happier this whole world would be if we stopped looking always at ourselves and started looking at others. The motto: God first, others second, ourselves last, is a great one, but how many of us can really say that is what we live by?
   Picture #6 shows the finished product that came from many hours of baking. It was one of my cousin's birthdays and we were getting together to celebrate his birthday. My aunt, who is the cake maker for almost all occasions great or small, was busy so she asked me if I could make it this time. I enjoy baking and trying new things so I went recipe searching. I decided to go French style and decided that I really enjoy baking the French way using milliliters for liquids and grams for solids. It's fun and it is a lot more precise. Anyway, the cake turned out alright but I wouldn't make it the same again. The chocolate cake was a sponge cake with chocolate mousse between and a chocolate icing on top. I like dense chocolate cake so I didn't enjoy this one as much but it was still good, everyone managed to eat it, and no one died from it, so we're good there! 
    And now for picture #7... By FAR my favorite one! I got a puppy and she is all my own. She's a cute little thing, full of energy and quick to learn. I want to train her, and I'm hoping she will be my companion for a good long time. She isn't suppose to get very big, and she seems to be getting along with Dog just fine. Dog and Mamma Cat picked on her the first day she was here but the puppy taught Mamma Cat a lesson and Dog decided that as long as they both got attention, she was fine. So meet Daffodil. She will probably be refereed to as Daffie though. She was named already when she was brought here so I decided to leave the name. I believe she is a border collie/yellow lab/beagle mix.

   Today's activity was butchering. We were up at 6:30am for breakfast and got to our friends house around 8:00am. We stopped for a half hour or so lunch break and finally finished around 5:00pm. We deboned 16 wild hogs and ground it into sausage. We made many pounds of sausage. Dad seasoned it all to how he and the others liked it and then mixed it all by hand. I had fun, and I got to meet a few people again. I haven't really seen them since I was 6 or 7 so it was nice to be with them. It was kind of funny to hear them talking though: "I remember when you were born and you use to..." There was from 10 to 15 people there. Some of them came just to watch and others helped. So pictures #8 and #9 are of today. It wasn't so cold but I do not like cold ears so I am wearing my scarf tied up around my ears. One of my uncles fell to the habit of calling me Winter. (Please excuse the black circles. I didn't ask the people we were working with if I could post their pictures online.)

    As for the rest of life here, it has been good and bad. I have been having bad headaches for many months now and they keep getting worse. I went to a new chiropractor and although she helped the aches and pains elsewhere, the headaches are still here. She suggested I take different supplements so I have been doing that too and praying that things would get better.
   This song has been running through my head the last few days.

I have a future all sublime,
Beyond the realms of space and time,
Where my Redeemer I shall see,
And sorrow nevermore shall be.

A precious heritage is mine;
’Tis kept above by love divine;
And while I tarry here below,
He gives me what is best, I know.

O, God be praised, He planned for me;
From anxious care I’m spared and free;
He bids me cast on Him my care—
What then remains for me to bear?

Sweet peace within my soul doth dwell;
With joy I sing: “Now all is well,”
He leads me safely by His hand
Until I reach the Glory Land.

O precious Savior, teach Thou me
To live my life more true to Thee
The little while I yet must roam
Before I reach my heav’nly home.

The words speak volumes for me and the tune is so relaxing. I wish I could learn to be more trusting in my Heavenly Father. I read places in the Bible and things from history and I think to myself: "Would I have the faith to stand to the tests they were given?" Lately I've been thinking of how Moses led God's children out of Egypt and to the Promised Land. How much faith it must have required! God provided everything: strength, water, food, shelter, and the people only had to trust and follow. And what amazes me more is how the people, after being given all of this, could murmur and complain about it. Yet are we any different? God gives us so much, and He is ready to take our cares from us, if we would just give our problems to Him, trust Him, and have faith and patience.

Matthew 11:28-30
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
1 Peter 5:6-11
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

   Anyway, here are a few of my thoughts as of late. I'm not sure how much sense I made with all of them, so feel free to ask questions if I really mixed something up.