Friday, June 24, 2016

Idyllic Living

This is the week to make meals of the meat we have in the freezer as opposed to buying fresh meat. I need to be creative!
I found a pack of pan fish fillets in the fridge freezer. The last of our catches from last summer.We had fish for supper. On the patio. And iced tea.
It was really yummy. And pretty. And all gourmet-ish and picnic-y. Impressive pictures, too.
 I like nice living! A lot! Nice living is mostly having the right attitude and "shopping" my own home for resources to bring ideas into reality.
    So for those who tell me that I live an idyllic life, know this: under the pretty cloth is a little table made of pallet boards that usually lives as an end table. It is a bit wobbly, but it works. 
   There are plenty of not-so-idyllic things about the patio, too.

In my dreams, there is a small round glass topped table surrounded by three or four matching chairs complete with a pretty umbrella. There are trellises covered in vines or a pergola with climbing roses for shade and the impression of nice outdoor living. Such perfection, though, would negate the fun of working toward it or making do with simpler things and enjoying the process.
    For a smaller, contained, marshmallow-roasting fire, we found a cut off "twenty pounder". It's perfect. Once Elv has a marching row of bears cut out around the top and some black paint, it will be even better. I cut a pattern for him to use with the Cricut. Now where's that jig saw?


On another idyllic evening when I was home alone, because everyone else was at a meeting or VBS, I took the dog on a bike ride. :) Actually he ran alongside my bike, his leash in my hand. Any dashes he tried to make for something more interesting were short lived because me and my bike and our momentum are bigger than his small brained ideas to the contrary. I almost ran over him only once when he failed to anticipate our turning into a side street. I pulled him aside with his leash and all's well that ends well. Now we know that it can be done.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer Post


 Summer flowers make me happy. When I was washing windows outside today, the scent of the roses blooming in the hot sun came to me from across the lawn. It lifted my heart. Not that I am downcast at all.  I could be, I suppose, for we live in a world of ordinary people who need the Lord at all times. If we are not careful to smell the roses, we could soon be in the depths. Maybe that is all we need-- just to smell the flowers. Why else did God make summer flowers? I believe He wants us to get a rose tinted perspective. To take a break from the heaviness of grumbling.To start smelling like Jesus ourselves.
When I came into the living room with my lunch, this big peony bouquet had been quietly filling the room with its sweetness, as well. That's two reminders that God loves me today and He knew I would notice.
    So I thought of you, why not share the love and take a few pictures and show you these awesome flowers!  
    Make some clean and pretty in your home or garden today. And a big bouquet of something sweet to finish the job.
   Thank you Abbey, for thinking of these peonies blooming all alone there again this year and for taking the time to bring them to us to enjoy.
 This afternoon, I shall move the sunshine bush to the garden. It is right where we need to start digging to install our much anticipated egress window. That will be our official beginning. We will dig and break through concrete and say, "Let there be light!" and there will be light in our new basement bedroom. I am excited and grateful.
    And since I love clean places, I will scrub both showers this afternoon and not dread it. Besides, what's happier than being busy making life good for my family.


 Here is a verse about fragrance. Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Summer Ready

 We found a minute to go to the cabin to mow the lawn and wash the windows on Monday and Tuesday.
The field at the end of Joshua Road was white with flowers. And the woods were abloom with bluebells, wild roses and other flowers that I don't know the names of.
It was cool up there and not as wet as it is here in Wisconsin. Oh, the mud hole was full of red water, but we simply walked in so it didn't matter at all. Besides Elv's errand for his boss...the reason we even got to go up, found us a way to finally span that ole mud hole.
   The last six miles of gravel is always exciting for us. And the lupines are blooming right now. When we checked our time right about here; we realized that even though we'd taken 27 and A north through the woods, we'd made great time. Just a little over two hours, this time. Elv managed to look a little sheepish, but I felt triumphant.
 The generator gives us enormous satisfaction in lights and electricity. It is very quiet, too. But I wouldn't go so far as to say that we can't hear it at all. When there are no other motor sounds for miles around, you can hear a generator no matter how "quiet" it may be.
Last time we were there there was a big snow bank in front of the door that we had to climb over and slide ourselves carefully down to get in. 
   Now only green grass, trees and blooming flowers everywhere. What a transformation. 
It's always fun to see how things fared over winter. How much firewood is left, and who left it all thrown on the front porch? 
    Brad, you and I were going to go up there and work that log up into firewood. Are we? 
    It was very short, but peace and rest met us as we walked up. The terrible flies were gone, as well. Only a few dead ones left on the front room upstairs. I want to know where they all went? Back out into the woods? And how can we block off their entrance points so as to not have them back next winter when we warm the place with our stoves for our winter stays?
     And Elv and I each got a short visit in with our neighbors while we there although at different times. Good stuff.
    We'll be back soon, we hope. There are trails to hike. Marshmallows to roast over evening fires. Books to read. Mosquitoes to swat. Flowers to pick. Journals to keep. Late night rendezvous to meet. Fireflies to watch. Friends to visit. 






Thursday, June 9, 2016

Update Part 2

 In May Amy and I traveled down to Nebraska to help Francis paint her "new" house. We spent the first evening at Gabe's because they were headed off to a wedding in Indiana. (I wonder if recording such little details matters here.)
   Meet Gwen, Myles on her right, and Jimmy on her left, and the cat. Said cat is a stray and much beloved by the Burkey children when he decides to stick around.
 This picture is the only one that I am going to blog about Francis's house project.(She should do that herself.) Josh and his dad had ripped out the old top cabinets in the kitchen so the wall that was left was a mess.  Francis got it cleared with Josh to get some paint-able bead board to make the mess pretty for the new shelving of her dreams.The three of us are quite a capable bunch as you can tell. We bought four sheets of 4 by 8 fake beadboard and wrestled them into the trailer and tied them down. Note the can-do expressions on the faces and our cart full of purses. I love that mom taught us to be resourceful and willing to tackle such things. Not to mention that Josh trusted me with his pickup and trailer to navigate Lincoln, to boot.

                   Here's our two of our three grandgirls who are turning a year old these days.


 They're going to be remodeling  decorating their own houses too in twenty years. I hope they enjoy it like we do.



 What is more fun that kite flying on a windy summer evening? The excitement of the invisible merry little breezes tugging at your kite and sweeping it away to the blue of the sky. Kites cutting capers in the blue way up there while you run and hang on tight. It's impossible to not enjoy. Childhood is so fleeting and important. So is kite flying, because so much more happens when dad helps them fly kites, than kite flying.


Myles stood quite still for his kite flying and hoped really hard that it would stay up there and not coming flapping down or worse yet get caught in a tree.
I think he enjoys it, too. I was able to get him and his kite in the same picture. Thanks Myles.


 
Windblown Smiles

Gabe and Jenny cheezing by Grandma's peony bushes.
                                
The latest portrait of Mom's people. I would love to be as pretty as my Mom when I am 70!

A collage of the Skrivseth Sunday afternoon shindig. We had the best time together.
 
One last picture of Grandpa and Angelie. She took to him or his phone pretty easily.  This picture also proves that they were here in Wisconsin just last week.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Update Part 1


  After these pictures were ready to post, I found lots more of reunions and family stuff. So this will be a two part posting.
We made memories. Nice memories of Mom and Dad being here. They faithfully walked the dog every day needing their own daily constitutional.
   We were their last stop in a series of visits and reunions so they came to us ready for rest and walks and just visiting. So we did that. 
 For a couple of days that week our family was posting pictures of our yards and gardens just for fun. Mom especially enjoyed this and urged me to take a few pictures and post them. So thank you everyone who played Show and Tell with us for those few days on family Facebook. 
 Here's Amy. She is working a steady four or five days at Miller's Market again this summer. She has gained a few more good friends though her work. It's fun to have her friends in and out here at the stonehouse.
    The lawns are lush. The gardens are just really only up so far. July will be a better time to take garden pictures.




  


 One of our walks when Josh and Francis and Anne were here. Francis and I thought we were walking to the lake, but we were wrong. It would have been too far for carrying Anne anyway.
   Speaking of Anne. She and I are good friends now-a-days. Of course, she has to go home with Francis and Josh, so I propose they move to Wisconsin.
   The bottom fell out only a for a few hours when they left. Keeping busy helps, too. 



 The blackberry briars are covered in white. The rain was good for something, I guess. Now if only one would have time to wander along the roadways to pick them when they are ripe in a few weeks. The sun will be warm and bright. Bumble bees will be sleepily droning and buzzing among the purple jewels of fat, juicy berries. My bucket will fill easily in an hour. The sand underfoot will be cool while pesky mosquitoes will lurk in the shady places. Blackberry pie and ice cream and iced tea on the patio. I'll just make time!
   Back to reality.
      
Brad came home for his graduation. On Friday evening, we invited our "four friends", and had a cookout meal and volleyball, again, between rains. Everyone said it was a success.  Mom and Dad stayed an extra day for it. Thanks to all of you who came and made it a real party for us.
    Brad is back in Nebraska now working in the shop for the Crosses. He seems to like it and we miss him.
   Anne loves her "Da-da" very much and asks for him even when he is gone for the day. 
    Josh headed up the roofing job on Lance's house. Between rains the men tore the old shingles off on Saturday. The new roof was complete by Tuesday noon. 
  
    

  

 Other things that happened while they were here was to condemn the old couch because I spotted a replacement at the Salvation Army store. The only trailer available was Joshes car trailer, so we hooked that up to his pickup and brought the couch home on that.
    It's quite an epoch in our lives to have a "new" couch. We used to always have two couches, remember that? Today, Amy cleaned the living room and turned the rug to a diagonal position and now it all fits like it should. When I came home from work to a clean house I had time to blog some before prayer meeting.
  Since Josh hauled my broken car home; I can drive it to work and back. Soon though, we will replace the "head" and drive it for a couple more years, we hope. 
    
 Elv took the boys over the park Sunday evening. They posed here nicely for me. I will have a frame of this one!
     While I was swinging Asher came running along the side of the pavilion yelling cheerfully, "I'm gonna run in all those puddles."
    He did pretty well hitting every one of them. Unfortunately, when he hit the last one it was deeper and he slid on his bottom and back right through the middle of an inch or two of slimy rain water. He came up howling and wet. That was the end of my swinging for the moment. I took his hand and he howled all the way to the house. Wow!


Sunday evening we decided to have a fire outside. When the fire was just about right for s'mores it began to rain. End of outdoor party.
Finally today, Wednesday, is the first day in several that it hasn't rained at all.

Part 2 of this odyssey will have taken place first.  I hope you won't find this too confusing.

It seems to me that we did our regular summer reunions and activities and parties all at the end of May. Now! We shall have a long leisurely summer of barefoot days fishing on Windigo and canoeing the lakes and lounging in the hammock and hosting patio parties! Humph!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Roller Coaster

It's working, I think. After seventeen years of living under the tyranny of "imbalanced hormones", and not the kind you're thinking just now; there are changes. Good ones.
(Please go away if you're not actually interested in woman stuff and wisdoms.)
Through my life with a over functioning thyroid I learned that God would hear my frantic prayers, doldrums and vivid joys all in one day. It was a wild ride some days.
   I learned that God made us as we are with our fragile balances. I had to accept the difficulty of my capricious feelings as a way to learn to trust God instead. I found great comfort in a God who never changes. That He expects us to live godly in Christ Jesus even during the lowest days.
     I learned to dread any changes in our lives: the children leaving after a visit, a missed routine, or finding myself at home alone, unexpectedly. I dreaded these things because they felt too poignant. So much so that it was difficult to see the blessing or  to enjoy the pleasure of the memories we had made. And the golden moment of solitude was shadowed with overrated loss of the bustle of others around me. And believe me, our lives have been bustling for 30 plus years. I thought I would enjoy having time and quiet enough for once to write and create and read. Instead I ached unreasonably.
      Then there were the physical issues that were becoming more apparent: a racing heart beat, getting hungry quickly and sincerely many times a day, and then those rashes of unreasonable fears. Now, it's like some one has finally turned the noise off. I'm not buzzing inside any more.  Finally, my hands have stopped trembling. I think I have figured out why I couldn't get clear photos. Funny me.
       I worried that when I got to this point, my life would fall flat. Instead it feels quiet and easier somehow. I think I could read a book for a couple of hours now at a time. Rest.
       Radioactive iodine has cured my issues. That's a good thing. But I wouldn't trade what I have learned for a different story. It was tough and grand and terrible, even euphoric sometimes. But I found God in ways I could not have, in any other way.
   

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

My Life is Good

 I dislike when people wear "busy" like a martyr or a hero. We live as we choose and we do what we really want to do: work, social events, play, eat, sleep, complain, or have a good attitude. We should not even try to deny it. 
Right now, we are running at full speed...so much we WANT to do.  And I have to say, we're trying to do ALL of it. Elv usually says "enough" before I do, but this time I think he's enjoying it as much as I am. 
Brad is graduating this spring with honors. We plan to celebrate soon. Stay tuned. 
Not be trite, but it went so fast. 
   Thanks Brad for the great school days with you. And for studying hard and staying with it till the end. You did well! 
This morning, summer vacation underway and there's nobody home here.  "Empty Nester" has got to be the silliest term for where we are these days. 
   Mostly, we are busy with work: our own daily work, projects on the house that are still in the very early stages, helping Francis and Josh with their new property, and my work at the store is rich and varied just now with all the new stuff arriving daily to be priced and displayed. Besides, the lawn needs mowing and the garden weeding.  



This is me trying to write for Dad's story. Dad, are you praying about this project? My stack of papers is not yet this numerous but it will be soon, a pile of false starts. The deadline marches steadily closer day by day. 

    
The Martin reunion is ten days away and I am still laboring on a picture presentation. We've been collecting pictures such as these. Take a good look, if you know Aletha Martin Kauffman and her three sisters, Mildred, Ella, and Rhoda. This is a sister group, yes.
  Piles of black and white photos to sort through and scan in to change them to something that will project from my computer to a large white space for viewing by the 28th. Another deadline that I'm a little nervous about.
    I just have to say that Grandma Kauffman always wore that style of shoes just like she is wearing here: heels and pointy toes and all. I remember. Maybe this is the reason I like pretty shoes.