Friday, July 31, 2009

"The voice of God"

by Katherine R. Barnard

You've never heard the voice of God?
Look at the stars above;
Their luminous orbs of many rays
Speak of infinite love.
The universe to you doth speak;
You need not know her laws;
The grass, the flowers, all growing things,
In them there are no flaws.
The seasons, as they come and go,
The wind, the sun, the rain;
The voice is there and everywhere,
It speaks, and speaks again.
So lift your eyes to the starry sky,
And feel the voice of God.
O fainting heart, O weary soul,
All His great works applaud.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A not so beautiful thing...

Why do people continually stray from God's perfect plan for their lives? Why can we not love each other and care for each other the way God intended? I know--it is because we are all sinners... I just wish we weren't and that we could stop sinning, but no matter how hard we try, we know we can never be completely perfect on this earth. There was and is only One who ever was without fault. I'm so grateful that the Lord is so merciful towards us when we ask His forgiveness!

I've been thinking these kinds of thoughts this afternoon, after hearing the terrible news that my dad and brother learned while at the local equipment dealer/parts store (Titan Machinery)... I guess our neighbor's hired man's wife left him about a week ago--I'm not sure why. This morning, our neighbor tried calling his hired man on the phone but got no answer. He then went to the hired man's place, only to find the man dead... He had committed suicide sometime this morning!

I've tried to imagine what his wife must be feeling tonight, (as far as I know, they weren't divorced, just separated.) Is she blaming herself for what happened? How is she going to explain to her little children what happened today to their daddy? It's all just too sad to think about for long... Please join me in praying for the remainder of this family~

My family & I got various odd jobs accomplished in this day. The guys fixed the baler with the parts that came in at Titan and then helped our landlady, Fern get a new couch moved in and they brought her old one home and burned it. The old couch was stained and the springs poked you in the back when you sat on it, so we decided that the burn pile was the best place for it...

I picked about half of the broccoli from our garden this afternoon and Mom and I were busy with it the rest of the day. Here's a picture of the broccoli, soaking in salt water so as to be rid of any little green worms that might be hiding amongst the branches of our "Miniature trees".
We also got our 57 Holstein yearlings out in a new part of the pasture by the farm here, so they're happy tonight. Now hopefully we can keep them all in the fence!

I think the best part of the day was when we went for a family walk this morning--through the garden; over to get the mail; and then over to the raspberry patch to pick and enjoy several plump berries.

Life is so good. I treasure it so much and just don't understand why someone would decide to end their life?

Beautiful things~

by Ellen P. Alerton

Beautiful faces are those that wear--
It matter little if dark or fair--
Whole-souled honesty written there.

Beautiful eyes are those that show,
Like crystal panes where heart-fires glow,
Beautiful thoughts that burn below.

Beautiful lips are those whose words
Leap from the heart like songs of birds,
Yet whose utterance prudence girds.

Beautiful hands are those that do
Work that is earnest and brave and true,
Moment by moment the long day through.

Beautiful feet are those that go
On kindly ministries to and fro--
Down lowliest way, if God wills it so.

Beautiful shoulders are those that bear
Ceaseless burdens of homely care
With patient grace and daily prayer.

Beautiful lives are those that bless--
Silent rivers of happiness
Whose hidden fountains but few may guess.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A good day for--"Fixing" a deck?

We woke up this morning to the wonderful sound of raindrops falling on the roof. I believe everyone sighed a sigh of relief upon waking, as rain meant that there would be no haying going on today...

But, what do you do with a rain day?
Well, in between rain showers, the guys worked on taking the dilapidated railing off of our deck and hauling it over to our burn area to burn later on in the day. We ladies took several pictures of their progress as they worked.
Here's a picture of the railing that was rotting and not worth trying to repair... I'm afraid the cats will miss their teeter-totter board, but that's just too bad!

...and here's another picture of our sorry looking deck further down... (the last big windstorm we had made this mess.)
Dad got out his handy saw and took the railing off. :)
Then the guys cut out some boards in the floor that were rotting and put some new boards in, so now it's safe to walk on the deck once more. Hooray! Now we'll have to find some time to stain and varnish the deck floor some day before winter... It is so nice to be able to look out the kitchen window now and not see that mess out there anymore!!! Thanks so much for all your work, guys!
When we weren't taking pictures, Mother and I were cleaning out things that we wanted to burn along with the deck railing. As long as we were looking for garbage, we decided to organize things too, so tonight, our cookbook rack and other such things look much neater than they did this morning.
Supper time came around and we decided to roast some all-beef hot-dogs and marshmallows on our "Campfire." Mother was juice fasting, so she decided to go over to two of our neighbors (to give them the rest of my grandma's clothes to go through and use if they like) while the rest of us enjoyed our supper immensely!
Just as we headed out to the barn, it started to rain again. A gorgeous rainbow appeared in the sky and Andrew ran to the house for my camera and got some really pretty pictures. Unfortunately, the rainbow was too large to get the whole thing on one picture! This is my favorite of the pictures Andrew took as, if you look closely, you can see some of our milk cows grazing way at the bottom of the photo... Isn't God THE best artist you've ever seen?

Well, that was our busy day. I just love days like this when we have time to work on out-of-the-ordinary type projects!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A sink full of beans...

Jacob & I harvested our first green beans today from the garden. We picked a whole sink full of beans, in fact, which ended up being enough for one canner full of jars of beans. There will soon be many more beans to can from the looks of things in the garden! Praise the Lord for His bounty!

My parents and Andrew spent almost the whole day in the hay fields. Mom and Andrew just got home now and my dad is staying over there to bale later on when the hay is moist enough. He may not even come home tonight he said...

Quite a few days back, our friend Sarah gave my mom a Kombucha mushroom to make Kombucha tea with. It was ready to be used today, so I made up 2 new batches of tea; separated the "Mother" mushroom from the "Baby" mushroom; and got 2 jars of Kombucha brewing. We now have about 3 quarts of tea to drink, so hopefully we'll grow to like it. :) If all goes well, we will have mushrooms to give to others soon too!

This evening, as Jacob & I were milking the goats, a beekeeper from Steele stopped in to see if he could put bee hives by our sunflowers. I asked him to call my dad, so I'm not sure what's going to happen there. We always enjoy having bees on our land, as then we get some honey in return and, as we do pretty much all of our baking and cooking with honey, we need a lot in a years time.

Well, it sounds like the rest of my family (the ones who are here, I mean) are almost ready for prayer, so I'll quickly post a cute poem I found and then sign off. You've probably already heard this one, but I thought I'd post it anyway as it seemed so fitting for this season.

by Robert Louis Stevenson

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candlelight.
In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people's feet
Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?

I must admit, it's been a while since I've gone to bed by day, but I do have memories of doing so as a child! :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Whacker Schmacker?

Jacob is sitting here beside me and thought that this was a good title for this post... See, I was running our weed whacker (the whacker schmacker :) this afternoon until it ran out of gas. He mixed up some more fuel for me and filled it up so I could finish going around the flower tubs; in front of the flower bed; and around the apple trees. Everything looks so nice when it's trimmed up, although after using the "Whacker" for a while, your hands seems to vibrate for a few minutes afterwards!

Mother, Jacob & I weeded our long, side flower bed this morning which took a while. We have some peas planted in the back of the flower bed too, (so that we can pick some on the way out to the mailbox each day,) so we had to be extra careful with those plants.

I made a batch of fresh bread this afternoon and then made a pizza crust out of some of the dough. Mom and I cut up a bunch of vegetables and we had a very yummy veggie pizza! Dad and Andrew just got home from the hayfield, so I need to go put the rest of the pizza on the table for them...

A fun song...

It took my brothers and I a little while to memorize the chorus on this song, but we finally have it down well now. :)

Aren't God's creations amazing?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Heat wave~

It reached about 90 degrees here today--one of the warmest days we've had all Summer here in ND. The weather this year is so strange, but we're not complaining about the cooler days at all. It really makes haying much more pleasant!
Mother picked this Zinnia from the garden yesterday and I thought it was so pretty that I took a picture of it, and, of course, as long as I have a picture of it, I might as well share it with you here. :)

Our day was spent in doing odd jobs around the place. My dad and Jacob got our Merry-Go-Round set up again (now that the lawn's established around it.)... I hoed our little garden across the road... Mother got a package and some letters ready to go out in the mail and took care of other things that needed doing... The guys worked on Andrew's new pickup quite a bit--fixing the seat; removing the decals and trying to find what was wrong with the window. Oh, Andrew has posted pictures on his blog now of his pickup, so I guess it's safe for me to post some on mine now as well. :) Here it is:
Andrew worked many, many long hours cleaning grain this Spring and we're all so happy for him to have a pickup of his own now! God worked it out so well---that this pickup was very close by and was a reasonable price and everything...
I took this picture from the back seat--as we were getting our first ride in Andrew's "New" wheels.
This is a picture of the inside of the pickup--plus some of my family members. The seats are in really good shape and, even though the previous owners both smoked, it doesn't smell at all in there. :)

Tonight, shortly after we had headed out to do the evening chores, we had a surprise visitor... My dad's cousin, Jerome (from Jamestown) was on his way to pick up something in Napoleon and thought he'd drop in to say hi. He visited for over an hour, so that was nice.
I just thought I'd give you a quick update on Lewis, my calf. He has things pretty well figured out now and, as soon as he sees me coming with his bottle, he starts licking his nose! He is SO cute, but then, I think all babies are!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A lovely evening for a birthday party...

It's late, but I wanted to post these pictures of the birthday party we attended this evening. It was Joanne B's actual 65th birth-day and we joined her in celebrating it. The boys blew up these balloons for her with the rest of the helium that we had in the little tank Mom had bought for Andrew's graduation.

Here my parents are visiting while waiting to go through the food line... (My mom's up on the deck and my dad is sitting in the wooden chair.)

Joanne's mother, Fern (we've rented her farmland for several years now, so that's how we've gotten to know her well) read a nice poem about prayer....

Fern had requested that the boys bring their instruments along and play for everyone, so that's what they're doing here... Or at least, that's what Andrew's doing--I think Jacob was trying to get his guitar tuned...
Then they wanted pictures of the birthday girl (on the right) with the cake baker/decorator. We held the cake up for so many pictures though that, by the time we set it down again, it had slipped dangerously close to the edge of the cake board!
Joanne really liked the cake, so I was glad about that! :)
Fern said that this tree came from Washington state. It looked so exotic in a North Dakota backyard--with it's huge leaves and all!
We stayed at the party a little longer than we'd planned and consequently were just finishing our barnyard chores as the sun slipped behind the hills in the West. We had a nice time visiting though and, overall, had a peaceful day. Earlier in the afternoon, we sang hymns for a while as a family and then watched Dr. S. M. Davis's message, "Understanding Loyalty in a Disloyal World." I just love when we have restful days like this!

One of my very favorite songs~

Friday, July 24, 2009

Darling baby...

I was pleasantly surprised this morning at what I discovered when I followed my milk cow, Louisa to a large weedy area in our pasture... I found---a baby! He is nice and spunky and drank very well for me tonight. Now I'm trying to think of a good name for him. Do you have any suggestions? I think I might call him Lewis, as when I was trying to think of names that rhymed with Louisa, all I could come up with was Esau or Banaeshia (which is a real name, by the way!)--neither of which I'm very fond, so I might just go with a fellow "L" name. Jacob took this picture for me after chores tonight... Isn't "L?" adorable?

While Jacob was out with my camera, he decided to take a picture of Millie too. When I saw this picture, I realized that our puppy can look really mean and wild! If you know Millie though, you know she is anything but mean, although the wild part might be applied to her--as in, wildly full of energy!!!
This is the cake I decorated this afternoon... It was not nearly as time consuming as yesterday's project, which was good, as we had the house to clean and Mom and Jacob went to town for part of the afternoon for supplies, so there was not a dull moment in this day!

Well, I think every one's ready for supper now, so I'd best post this and go put the lasagna on the table. ~

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A couple pictures~

This was a nice day and not quite as run around-ish as yesterday was! :)

I soooo much want to show pictures of Andrew's new, used pickup that he brought home tonight, but I think he should have the privledge of posting about it first, so, sorry, you'll have to be patient. Perhaps he'll have time to blog on Saturday...?

Mother took this picture of the bales Dad and I moved in yesterday. They look pretty disastrous currently, as my dad hasn't had time to stack them yet. They do make a really nice place for our barn cats to crawl around in and find mice this way though!

I spent most of my afternoon in decorating this cake for our friend's 30th wedding anniversary that's tomorrow. Mrs. K. requested a covered wagon going into a valley, with mountains surrounding it and a few Sego Lilies and some gulls. The oxen look kind of fake, but I was happy with how the rest of the cake turned out. Here is the end result:

I have a birthday cake to do tomorrow for another friend, (I need to go take it out of the pan right now....Be back in a minute....)

I'm back... We had family prayer in between there too, as we wanted to pray together before my dad headed out to bale alfalfa. He'll be out for a few hours he thinks. That sure makes me appreciate my nice, soft bed all the more! Speaking of which, I think I'll post this and crawl in...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It's nice when long days come to an end!

Dear readers,

It seemed like our family was going in every which direction today and it is so nice to all be under the same roof once again! God has blessed us with safety through all our adventures and we are so grateful!

Let me tell you a bit about our day...

My dad and Andrew left right away in the morning for the hayfield, as they had equipment to fix before they could start baling... That left Mother, Jacob & I for chores, which really isn't a problem now days, except for when the neighbor calls your mother right before she comes out to the barn and says that your cows are out in his hay field!!! Yup, they were. I helped with chores until just the goats were left to milk, and then I headed up to the pasture in Andrew's fencing vehicle, the Ram. Mom and Jacob had to get going to Bismarck, as they had appointments to keep, so it was just me against the cows. After chasing the apprx. 30 cows back and forth a couple times, (and after taking the fence down and putting it back up when they ran right by it and didn't go over it,) they finally found the gate I had opened for them and went in. I had to fix the fence in a couple places and then headed for home. I was just in time to meet Mother and Jacob heading for town. I gave them the cell phone and they quickly left me in a cloud of dust.

Once home again, I started in on the project of baking a large (14"x22") carrot cake for an anniversary of some friends of ours. I had just gotten everything mixed together well and was pouring the batter into the pan when the phone rang...

"Hello Cora, this is Dad. Ah, what are you up to?"

(Me speaking...) "Well, I was just getting ready to put my cake in the oven, why?"

(My dad again...) "I was on my way home on Andrew's motorcycle, when it died."

(Me...) "Oh oh, and you'd like me to come pick you up?"

(Papa...) "That would be nice!"

So, I popped my cake in the oven; set the timer for an hour and a half; went out and put gas in the Ram and climbed back into Andrew's somewhat-trusty vehicle for a 7 mile journey to the West. Actually, it was only about a 6 mile journey, as my dad had started walking already and was about a mile East of the bike when I got to him.

On the way home, we took a short detour up to the pasture to check on the cows. We were pleasantly surprised to see that they were behaving themselves! When we got home, my cake still had an hour to go, so Dad asked if I'd help him get bales in. He looked at the time on his cell phone (so he'd know when I'd have to come in and check on my cake) and we headed out.

My dad drove the tractor and loaded the big square bales onto the back of the white truck that I was driving around to wherever the bales were. We got one load in before I had to go check on my cake. It needed a few more minutes, so I did some dishes in the meantime and Dad put some gas in the truck. Then I took the cake out and we went back out to the field, although I had to return after the next load to take the cake out of the pan!

We worked in the field for about 3 hours and got all 111 bales off (I could haul 10 at a time). Now Dad just has to stack them all up neatly...

By the time we got in, it was 6:30, so I made some supper quick and Mom and Jacob pulled in just in time to join us in our hurried meal. Then Jacob & I worked on chores while our parents went to get Andrew's motorcycle home--which they managed to do with no new problems. :)

Andrew got home just before dark---hungry; tired; and happy! Yes, happy.... He is now the proud owner of a very nice pickup, but I won't say anymore, as I'm sure he'll want to tell you about it sometime in the near future. :)

As I was thinking tonight about our busy day, I remembered a song that used to be my brother's and my favorite song to sing around the place. We heard it on a computer game we had bought for Jacob when he was 4 years old or so and liked it so much that it didn't take long to memorize it! Here are the words to "The farm song":

"Well, we're up with the sun and out in the fields,
Raising up the crops for their highest yields,
Plowing and a plantin' and a balin' up a storm_____
It's a great big job when you're workin' on a farm!

Got a tractor out here and it's working all day,
A pullin' and a pushin' and a towin' things away,
Then it's in from the fields and back to the barn_______
It's a great big job when you're workin' on a farm!

'Cause you gotta be big, and you gotta' be quick,
And you gotta watch out that the plow doesn't stick,
And you gotta be tough, and you gotta be strong________
'Cause this is one big job that lasts a whole year long!

In the Spring we plow, in the Summer we grow,
In the Autumn we harvest it--row by row,
In the Winter we've got to keep the animals warm______
It's a great big job when you're workin' on a farm!

(chorus again...)

I wish you could hear the melody of this song too, as it's very cute and has some neat harmony, but alas, this song is not on U-Tube. :(

Well, I need to get some sleep.

Until the next break in farm life,



I received this in an e-mail this morning and thought I'd share it with you to brighten your day...

In the examination paper, the professor wanted us to sign a form stating that we had not received any outside assistance. Unsure of whether he should sign the form, a student stated that he had prayed for the assistance of God. The professor carefully studied the answer script and then said, "You can sign it with a clear conscience. God did not assist you."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

True or false: Goats will eat anything?

Well, being a goat owner myself, I think I should be able to answer this question with some authority on the subject. So, here's my answer: NO---BUT THEY'LL EAT ALMOST ANYTHING! Some of the things they consume cost them dearly later on though--as several of our goats found out this morning. When Mom and Jacob went in the barn this morning to milk, they found 1 goat dead and 2 nearly there too (1 of those 2 died later this afternoon). All we can figure out is that the goats got into some barn-lime last night and that that's not good stuff for goats to eat obviously... Mother is doctoring her favorite goat now and there are 2 others we're keeping an eye on, as they seem a little slow. As there's always something to be glad about in every situation, I thought I'd share that, if a goat had to die, we were all glad that the one died that died first, as she was an absolute pain--never staying in the fence and she delighted in teaching the other goats bad habits.

Anyway, other than that, we had a good day. My dad and Andrew worked on hay (they're still in the field as I write this); Mother had a client come this afternoon from over by Linton; Jacob & I fixed some fence up in the pasture; I got another cake order; and our honey-man stopped in to talk about where he could put another setting of bees.

Oh, by the way, I discovered today that I have a green thumb. ---I noticed it after picking hundreds of suckers off of the tomato plants!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The events of the day and the story I promised...

It was not overly hot today, so it made for some lovely hours in the garden for Mother and I!

My dad and brother, Andrew worked on stacking hay most of the afternoon, and somewhere in all of the hustle and bustle, we children mowed the lawn again. It is so wonderful to have green grass in July--a time when the lawn is usually drying up and turning a sickly brown color.

I am so grateful for Andrew, as he took my camera apart and fixed it for me today!!! Hooray! My mom took this picture of him showing me what the inside of my pink camera looks like:

...and here you can see that it's once again able to take pictures!
Those were the highlights of our day.

Now I'd like to share one of my very favorite stories--one that provides a good role model for women everywhere. It's simply called:

----author unknown

My friend Leslie had married a beautiful and accomplished girl, who had been brought up in the midst of fashionable life. She had, it is true, no fortune; but that of my friend was ample, and he delighted in the anticipation of indulging her in every elegant pursuit and administering to her delicate tastes and fancies..... "Her life," said he, "shall be like a fairy tale."

The very difference in their characters produced a harmonious combination---he was of a romantic and somewhat serious cast; she was all life and gladness. I have often noticed the mute rapture with which he would gaze upon her in company, of which her sprightly powers made her his delight; and how, in the midst of applause, her eye would still turn to him as if there alone she sought favor and acceptance.

When leaning on his arm, her slender form contrasted finely with his tall, manly person. The fond, confiding air with which she looked up to him seemed to call forth a flush of triumphant pride and cherishing tenderness as if he doted on his lovely burden for its very helplessness. Never did a couple set forward on the flowery path of early and well-suited marriage with a fairer prospect of felicity.

It was the misfortune of my friend, however, to have embarked his property in large speculations; and he had not been married many months, when, by a succession of sudden disasters, it was swept from him, and he found himself reduced to almost penury. For a time he kept his situation to himself and went about with a haggard countenance and a breaking heart. His life was but a protracted agony; and what rendered it more insupportable was the necessity of keeping up a smile in the presence of his wife; for he could not bring himself to overwhelm her with the news.

She saw, however, with the quick eyes of affection, that all was not well with him. She marked his altered looks and stifled sighs and was not to be deceived by his sickly and vapid attempts at cheerfulness. She tasked all her sprightly powers and tender blandishments to win him back to happiness; but she only drove the arrow deeper into his soul. The more he saw cause to love her, the more torturing was the thought that he was soon to make her wretched.

A little while, thought he, and the smile will vanish from that cheek---the song will die away from those lips---the luster of those eyes will be quenched with sorrow; and the happy heart which now beats lightly in that bosom will be weighed down like mine, with the cares and miseries of the world. At length he came to me, one day, and related his whole situation, in a tone of the deepest despair.

When I had heard him through I inquired, "Does your wife know all this?"

At the question he burst into an agony of tears. "For God's sake!" cried he, "if you have any pity on me, don't mention my wife; it is the thought of her that drives me almost to madness."

"And why not?" said I, "She must know it sooner or later; you can not keep it long from her, or the intelligence may break upon her in a more startling manner than if imparted by yourself; for the accents of those we love soften the harshest tidings. Besides, you are depriving yourself of the comforts of her sympathy; and not merely that, but also endangering the only bond that can keep hearts together--unreserved community of thought and feeling. She will soon perceive that something is secretly preying upon your mind; and true love will not brook reserve; it feels undervalued and outraged when even the sorrows of those it loves are concealed from it."

"Oh, but my friend! To think what a blow I am to give to all her future prospects--how I am to strike her very soul to the earth, by telling her that her husband is a beggar! That she is to forgo all the elegances of life--all the pleasures of society--to shrink with me into indigence and obscurity! To tell her that I have dragged her down from the sphere in which she might have continued to move in constant brightness, the light of every eye, the admiration of every heart! How can she bear poverty? She has been brought up in all the refinements of opulence. How can she bear neglect? She has been the idol of society. Oh! It will break her heart--it will break her heart!"

After additional patience, I finally persuaded Leslie to go home and unburden his sad heart to his wife. The next morning I was eager to know the results. In inquiring, I found that Leslie had made the disclosure.

"And how did she bear it?"

"Like an angel! It seemed rather to be a relief to her mind, for she threw her arms 'round my neck, and asked if this was all that had lately made me unhappy. But, poor girl!" added he, "She can not realize the change we must undergo. She has no idea of poverty but in the abstract; she has only read of it in poetry, where it is allied to love. She feels yet no privation; she suffers no loss of accustomed conveniences nor elegances. When we come practically to experience its sordid cares, its paltry wants, its petty humiliations, then will be the real trial."

Some days afterward he called upon me in the evening. He had disposed of his dwelling house, and taken a small cottage in the country, a few miles from town. He had been busied all day in sending out furniture. The new establishment required few articles, and those of the simplest kind.

He was going out to the cottage where his wife had been all day superintending its arrangement. My feelings had become strongly interested in the progress of the family story, and as it was evening, I offered to accompany him. He was wearied with the fatigues of the day, and as he walked out, fell into a fit of gloomy musing.

"Poor Mary!" at length broke, with a heavy sigh from his lips.

"And what of her?" asked I; "Has anything happened to her?"

"What!" said he, darting an impatient glance; "Is it nothing to be reduced to this paltry situation, to be caged in a miserable cottage, to be obliged to toil almost in the menial concerns of her wretched habitation?"

"Has she, then, repined at the change?"

"Repined! She has been nothing but sweetness and good humor. Indeed, she seems in better spirits than I have ever known her; she has been to me all love and tenderness and comfort!"

"Admirable girl!" exclaimed I. "You call yourself poor, my friend, you never were so rich! You never knew the boundless treasures of excellence you possess in that woman."

"Oh, but, my friend, if this, our first meeting at the cottage were over, I think I could then be comfortable. But this is her first day of real experience; she has been introduced into a humble dwelling; she has been employed all day in arranging the miserable equipment; she has for the first time, known fatigues of domestic employment; she has, for the first time, looked around her on a home destitute of everything elegant, almost everything convenient; and now may be sitting down exhausted and spiritless, brooding over a prospect of future poverty."

There was a degree of probability in this picture that I could not gainsay; so we walked on in silence. After turning from the main road up a narrow lane, so thickly shaded with forest trees as to give it a complete air of seclusion, we came in sight of the cottage. It was humble enough in its appearance for the most pastoral poet; and yet it had a pleasing rural look. A wild vine had overrun one end with a profusion of foliage; a few trees threw their branches gracefully over it; and I observed several pots of flowers tastefully disposed about the door, and on the grass-plot in front.

A small wicket gate opened upon a footpath that wound through some shrubbery to the door. Just as we approached, we heard the sound of music. Leslie grabbed my arm. We paused and listened. It was Mary's voice, singing in a style of the most touching simplicity, a little air of which her husband was peculiarly fond. I felt Leslie's hand tremble on my arm. He stepped forward, to hear more distinctly. His step made a noise on the gravel walk.

A bright, beautiful face glanced out of the window and vanished, a light footstep was heard, and Mary came tripping forth to meet us. She was in a pretty rural dress of white; a few wildflowers were twisted in her fine hair; a fresh bloom was on her cheek, her whole countenance beamed with smiles. I had never seen her look so lovely.

"My dear Leslie," cried she, "I am so glad you are come! I have been watching and watching for you; and running down the lane, and looking for you. I've set out a table under a beautiful tree behind the cottage; and I've been gathering some of the most delicious strawberries, for I know you are fond of them, and we have such excellent cream, and everything is so sweet and still here! Oh!" said she, putting her arm within his and looking up brightly in his face--"Oh, we shall be so happy."

Poor Leslie was overcome. He caught her to his bosom, he folded his arms around her, he kissed her again and again, he could not speak, but the tears gushed into his eyes; and he has often assured me that, though the world has since gone prosperously with him, and his life has, indeed, been a happy one, yet never has he experienced a moment of more exquisite felicity.

In making application to this story, remember, you may be required to adapt to something less romantic than a cottage in the woods. It may be a cold house in a crowded city, or a barren home in a dry desert. But, adapting to these dreary situations cheerfully will deepen his (your husband's--or your families, for that matter) appreciation and love for you.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Wasn't it yesterday when we...were...small?

It seems so hard to believe that my "Little" friend Kjersti is now a married woman! Kjersti and I have been friends since we were both 3 years old, and although the distance between our families has kept us from being together a lot in these later years, we have kept in touch through e-mailing and letters. About 4 summers ago, Kjersti spent a couple months helping our neighbor family with their children--being their "Nanny". She would come over almost every evening to visit during those months, so that was a special time in our memories. :)

Anyway, I dug out a couple pictures from when we were small and thought I'd post them here-- along with the wedding pictures. Enjoy!

Here is a picture of Andrew, myself and Kjersti...

This picture I believe was taken at my 4th birthday sleep-over party. Kjersti's on the left, then me, and then is our friend, Lindsey, who lived upstairs from my family. We three were best of friends for several years!

As I was thinking today about Jason & Kjersti's wedding, and about growing up, I thought of this song from "Fiddler on the Roof" and just had to share it... Time goes by so quickly!

And now for the pictures from yesterday! A certain somebody (of whom I'm still ignorant who it was) came in my room and took this one of me--taking one last peek in my mirror to make sure I was presentable. "A smile might be nice!" :)

We made it to Fargo in better time than we'd thought, so Mom and I were invited into the girl's room where the curling irons were hot and the dresses were still hanging neatly on hangers on a rack. Here Kjersti is getting her makeup done...
This is a picture of the front of the Catholic church... The paintings were amazing!!!
Here's the cute couple... Actually, these two are uncle and niece!
Kjersti's father--walking her up the isle...
Happiest moment---"I now present to you, Mr. & Mrs. Eilers!"
After congratulating the new couple, Mother & I took each other's pictures by the beatitude flower-bed in front of the church...

Then we went inside and watched the picture taking.... The trumpeter is Kjersti's dad, Steve, and the lady standing by Jason is Kjersti's older sister, Andrea (who sang "Panis Angelicus" beautifully during the ceremony.)
The wedding party...
The bridesmaids were curious if the flowers smelled good or not. :)
The pretty bride (she still has really red hair!)
This last picture is of my mom and Mrs. Edwards--a lady we had met at Kjersti's high-school graduation 4 years ago.
I have a story about marriage (from one of my favorite books, Fascinating Womandhood) that I'd like to share, but, as it's a long story, and as I only have half of it typed in so far, it will have to wait until tomorrow to get posted.....
Until then, remember to cherish each moment of every day with your loved ones!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A lovely day for a wedding...

The temperature was just right; the setting was lovely; and the couple looked so cute together..... Mother and I had a nice time, but as I'm very tired, I'll wait for tomorrow to post pictures. (Yes, I got pictures because Andrew let me use his camcorder--Thanks brother mine.)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Would you have liked my job today?

It was noon.
Andrew had already headed over to the hay field with a tractor and round baler earlier on in the morning, so it was just the four of us sitting around the dining room table. There was a job that needed doing this afternoon and the discussion was about who should do it... My dad had cultivating to do over by Hazelton; my mom had a friend coming at 2:00; Jacob is a little young yet; so I volunteered... The job was to drive our 1486 tractor--pulling the big square baler, over to the field where Andrew was (about 17 miles SW of here.) Driving tractor has never been my favorite job and I had never driven this tractor before, so my dad gave me some instructions before he left. As soon as we had Andrew's lunch packed up, I headed for hay-land in my new wheels...

Here I was trying to look brave. :)

The tractor, baler and I made it all in one piece, (or, 3 pieces, rather) and without difficulties, so it went well.

After Andrew came and ate his lunch, I sat in the tractor and read for a long time until Mother and Jacob came to pick me up. When we got home, we cleaned the house in record time and made a lot of tomorrow we ladies aren't going to be here! My friend of 19 years is getting married tomorrow in Fargo (Tamera, it's Kjersti who's getting married!) and the guys are doing the chores so Mom & I can go. I'm so excited!!! I'll try to get some pictures, but my camera's been acting up lately, so we'll see.

Tomorrow is a special day for another reason... It will be one year since we got our dog, Millie! She was SO cute when she was small, although I must admit I like her temperament and manners better now than back then. :) Here's Millie and I a year ago:
And this is what she looks like nowadays... Ah, she's the one on the right. :)

Well, I need to get to bed and try to sleep. :) Weddings are always so exciting...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Another garden-tour-in-pictures...

As my last garden-tour was right after we had a big windstorm come through and everything looked lop-sided, I thought I'd show the pictures I took today of everything all nice and straight again! Well, almost everything... Pole beans don't exactly like to grow straight up!

These Runner Beans are finally getting to the point that they can wrap around the old plow that we use as a lawn ornament.

I'm not sure where these flowers came from, as we didn't plant any like this this year, but I think they're really pretty!
Onion seed anyone?
This is our largest tomato--so far...
Broccoli too...
...And here is one of our sunflowers--with a pole bean competing with it for the tallest-plant-in-the-garden award...
Beans and beets...
These are supposed to be Patty Pan squash, but the Patty Pan squash seeds I planted last year produced this same kind of plant--which in turn produced a very large, yellow squash that resembled Spaghetti squash.... Hmmmmm....
My Zinnias didn't grow very tall this year, but they're about ready to burst open in bloom...
Some of our peppers...
The straight and tall corn....
...and last, but not least, a Moss Rose.

That's all for now~