Whale of a Week!

You should see my house right now.

VBS prep and the County Fair just collided on our schedule and my house looks like Hobby Lobby on Black Friday.

I have pool noodles in the dining room, glue bottles on the kitchen table and a shark costume on the living room floor.

There’s piles everywhere.

My mind is just as cluttered as my house.

This year’s VBS prep includes costumes for a turtle, a shark, and an octopus.

I’ve never made a shark costume before and the instructions on Pinterest were vague. “Put the shark fins were you think they should go.”

Seriously? I’ve never even considered where shark fins should go!

You don’t want to know how many times I’ve ripped out Sharky (as we now affectionately call him!)

And then there’s the octopus.

I kind of went a little wild with the tentacles and the entire costume has a life of it’s own.

 

 

Every once in a while I take off the VBS hat and put on the 4H leader hat and help with projects, design the club’s backdrop and help write project reports.

And occasionally I’ve even put on my mom hat and cooked.

But more often than not, when one of the kids will ask about food and I’ll tell them to cook something.

We’ve eaten a lot of hot dogs.

My poor husband should get a medal.

Our conversations have been a bit one-sided this week and have gone like this –

“How’s the best way to attach elastic straps to a turtle shell made of cardboard and flannel?”

“Can you print the 4H sign?”

“Would you make some coral reef from this spray foam? And paint it?”

“What should we use to pad sharkie’s head?”

“Can you find the 4H backdrop?

“Can you pick up elastic on your way home?”

“Where do shark fins go?”

“Can you tell me again that I’m wonderful and that I can do this?”

And he does.

And I do.

And little by little we’re gaining on it.

The next 10 days are gonna be crazy!

But one way or another – we’ll make it!

 

PS:  Where do shark fins go?!

 

Flying By…

Is it just me or did June fly by?!

Wasn’t Memorial Day just yesterday? And now we’re planning July 4th activities!

I can’t believe we’ve already celebrated Anna’s birthday with presents and family and cheesecake!

 “Cheesecake Gobble gobble Cheesecake, Gobble Gobble cheesecake. Cheesecake!”

And Father’s Day.

Which began with a boomerang on the roof, progressed to a kite in the farm pond and ended with bottle rockets and Roman candles.

I’ve spent hours digging out the garden and was surprised to see plants! Real vegetables growing despite the unconventional planting and absolute neglect!

It’s a miracle!

Nate’s band had their first big concert! They did a great job and drew a really nice crowd!

Look at him playing the electric guitar!

And just imagine the great story it will be if they ever get famous and can say their first big concert was on the stage behind Frosty Trete Ice Cream in Bedford, Iowa!

My parents came for the concert and stayed for a visit. We played games, went shopping and had a great auction adventure!

Two of my sisters came for a day! We filled it with talk and laughter and games and shopping.

And eating out. Of course.

I shivered in sweatshirts, sweated in tank tops and huddled in the basement waiting for the storm to pass.

I’ve hung loads of wet laundry in the sunshine and taken them in smelling of fresh air and blue sky.

And was awestruck by the site of billions of fireflies – like twinkle lights bedazzling the sky as far as the eye can see – shining so bright it was hard to see where the stars ended and the fireflies began.

I’ve heard the bobwhite quail, read books, and visited multiple greenhouses.

I’ve laughed at antics of adolescent chickens.

And repeatedly stepped over the baby kitties who have decided to live on the back step.

So much life was lived in the last month!

I guess that’s where June went – in big events, special moments, quiet joys, and the wonder that is found in every day life – if we look for it.

 

My Visit to the Farm

My two year old great nephew came to visit this week with his parents and baby brother. Here’s a look at his visit from his eyes…

My Visit to the Farm

By Dawson

I liked to go to Aunt Melinda’s farm.

I got to pet the baby kitties and touch a chicken.

I got to feed them, too! They really like muskmelon seeds and watermelon rinds!

Did you know that chickens run around in circles?

And they laid an egg in the coop.

Uncle Jan has many, many cows. And they really do say moo!

They are big. But I am brave when daddy carries me.

Uncle Jan has real tractors that I could sit on and pretend to plant corn and peas and spaghetti!

I like to sit on the mower, too.

And the 4 wheeler.

We took a walk to the big pond and saw lots of cows.

Bullfrogs made a funny sound and some jumped in the water and made big splashes!

I threw lots of rocks in the water. They made big splashes, too!

 

I liked to swing on the swing and chase the soccer ball all over the yard and slide down the slide.

i really liked playing with Aunt Melinda’s toys!

Especially the barn and the tractor and the Fisher Price toys.

We played and played until we heard another Amish buggy drive by on the road.

Then I would remember all the fun things outside and we put my shoes on and went back out to do it all over again!

My little brother had lots of fun, too!

We had so much fun at Uncle Jan and Aunt Melinda’s that I cried and cried when we had to go home.

I can’t wait to come back!

Sowing Bountifully

The garden is finally in.

It isn’t pretty but after a very wet spring, I’m just thankful it’s in the ground.

We should have let the soil dry for 2 or 3 more days – but we didn’t have 2 or 3 more days.

I had 12 hours to get it all planted before it rained again. And again. And again.

Parts of the garden were okay – barely. I planted my row crops there.

Other parts were marginal, in those I covered the seeds with a bag of top soil that we had purchased.

And in the parts that were pretty wet I dug a hole, filled it with the top soil, planted my seedlings and covered with more top soil. And prayed.

It wasn’t ideal.

I’m pretty sure my gardening friends are shaking their heads in disbelief.

But when it’s mid-May and you have no seeds in the ground and another week of intermittent rains in the forecast – you make it work.

At least I gave the seeds a fighting chance. Seeds left in the package will never bear fruit. Ever.

It made me think of the parable of the soils in the gospels.

“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seeds fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred time more than was sown.”  Luke 8:5-8 

Can’t you just see that farmer, a large seed bag strapped over his broad shoulders, reaching in for handful after handful of seeds and with wide, sweeping gestures spreading them liberally across his field.

I’m sure he knew that some would never bear fruit. That they would be trampled on or eaten by birds or overcome by thorns. But still he planted.

Why?

Because he knew that some would.

Sow bountifully today dear friends. Sow seeds of kindness and love and forgiveness and grace and peace and redemption.

Sow even if the conditions aren’t ideal.

Sow even if the storms threaten.

Not all will bear fruit.

But some will.

And that makes it worth all the effort.

 

 

Memory Lane

We had another little walk down memory lane last weekend as I met my siblings at mom and dad’s for our second annual sibling weekend.

Rain and cold kept us from many of the outside projects that we had planned – but we braved the north wind for one last visit to grandpa’s barn – which is scheduled to come down this weekend.

It’s listing even more than last year – if that’s even possible.

We rescued barn doors and gates and wrestled off century old siding to be passed out among children and grandchildren and great grand children to be used in projects and flower gardens.

All the while sharing memories of our times at Grandpa’s farm. Laughing about the time grandpa paid us to paint the barn – and we painted the snouts of his curious pigs as they came sniffing around the side. Grandpa was not impressed. Or happy. And we were asked to not do it again!

The cold, rainy weather also gave us time to dig through some heritage boxes in the afternoon, meeting ancestors, hearing family legends and uncovering treasures.

Like my Grandma’s diary – giving a rare glimpse of her daily life as a farmer’s wife and mother. Seeing her through new eyes and appreciating her all the more.

And my great, great Grandma Foltge Jurgena’s passport. She emigrated from Ostfriesland, Germany in the 1800’s with her husband and children.

We held in our hands a piece of history. Our history. And I wondered why they came? Was it hard to leave? How did they say good-bye to family? Pay for the trip? Start over in a new country with a new language?

But I’m so glad they did. Or I wouldn’t be here. Thank you Albert and Foltge.

We spent the evening as we did many times growing up – gathered around in the living room eating popcorn and watching family slides.

Remembering family trips and birthdays.

Laughing hysterically at our younger selves in all our awkward cuteness.

Reliving the joy and craziness of everyday life with five siblings, vivid imaginations, and an old farmstead for a playground.

 

Precious snapshots of days long gone.

Glimpses of who were and how we lived.

And of those who went before us – parents, grandparents and great great grandparents – who made it possible.

We are truly blessed.