Monthly Archives: October 2012

A Battleground State

I heard on the radio the other night that I live in a “battleground” state.

Really?

Well that explains the daily stack of political mailings in our mail box. Poor mailman could get a hernia before election day.

And the phone calls! Wow! I must’ve taken a survey a day for the past month. Most are the same one.

I will admit to being tempted to say I’m a Hispanic male who planned to vote for Elvis. Now wouldn’t that mess up the results?!

I do feel kind of bad for the nice lady doing the agriculture survey. I honestly meant to hit the number 3 on my phone to answer the question – not the number 8 on which ended the survey – but I was making supper and 2 kids were talking to me and Jan had just gotten home.

I mean really – it was the first time I had that particular survey and I was dying to know what she would ask next.

Really.

I’m thinking some of these candidates must have us on speed dial because they call almost every night.

We don’t even watch the local news anymore. I can’t stand all the commercials. First commercial break – all Democrats. Second commercial break – all Republican.

Makes you almost miss the used car ads.

Almost.

Some states battled the Revolutionary War.

Some the Civil War.

But Iowa gets to be part of the battle of words and ideas in Election 2012.

It’s an honor and a privilege to have this right to vote – and believe me – I plan to use it on Election Day!

But some election years just last longer than others.

Just a few more days now.

Measure. Cut. Sew. Snip. Press. Repeat.

I’ve spent every spare minute the past week cutting material into little tiny pieces and then sewing it back together.

Maybe I’m crazy.

At least a little addicted.

But there’s something very relaxing about cutting little squares and methodically sewing them together to make geometric designs.

Sewing Quilt

My mind wonders as I measure, cut, sew, snip, press, repeat.

I plan menus, pray, listen to music.

Relax.

Measure, cut, sew, snip, press, repeat.

Piece by piece quilt blocks are forming in my hands.

Green. Blue. Plaid. Solid.

Rhythm. Order. Control.

Quilt Blocks

As my hands work, my mind slowly untangles the snarls of the day, almost unconsciously.

Measure, cut, sew, snip, press, repeat.

Schedules are figured out. Projects planned.  Lists created.

Little by little my pile of finished blocks grows – a tangible and very satisfying measure of my time.

A quilt is forming.

And peace reigns.

 

Blueberry Muffins

Blue Berry Muffins

My friend Kimmer lives in the heart of fruit country in Michigan.

Every time she visits she brings me something wonderful – like the huge boxes of blueberries she brought this summer. 🙂

We actually got to see where these beauties were grown during our whirlwind trip to see her a few weeks ago.

And of course – we enjoyed some amazing blueberry muffins for breakfast!

The recipe is her mom’s – making them extra special – since her mom died several years ago from complications following a routine flu shot.

Her mom was an amazing woman and an excellent cook who was always ready to feed a crew. She must have baked thousands of these muffins for family and friends over the years.

Kimmer continues the tradition, making her home a welcome place full of home cooked meals, love and acceptance.

And blueberry muffins on the breakfast table.

Blueberry Muffins
recipe from Kimmer’s  Mama

1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1- 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups berries

Mix wet together the egg, milk, and oil. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Pour the wet into the dry and mix briefly. Fold in the berries, either fresh or frozen.

Pour into greased or lined cupcake tins. Makes 12 regular muffins or 36 mini muffins.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 min.

Enjoy hot and fresh from the oven, slathered with butter!

Wandering Calves and Life Lessons

I happened to look out the window yesterday morning and saw Belle – the youngest of our calves  – walking across the yard.

It was a cold, drizzly and windy day. Not a good time for a little gal to be away from her mama.

The problem was – she was short enough to walk right under the electric fence. To her – that fence wasn’t a boundary – just a mere suggestion.

Maybe the grass did look greener on the other side.

Maybe she just wanted a little adventure.

Maybe she wasn’t paying attention.

But there she was on the wrong side of the fence walked away from the safety, protection, and life-giving nourishment of her mama.

I quickly found my shoes and went out to round her up.

But she didn’t want to be rounded up, and took off running in the other direction.

She was down the hill and almost to the ravine before she stopped for a breath. When she did, she realized she was lost.

She let a scared little bellow for her mama – but it was lost in the hollowing wind.

She had gone too far.

She was wet, cold, hungry and alone in a big scary world.
Baby Calf
I have to admit – it brought tears to my eyes.

I quietly walked behind her and got her turned around and running in the right direction.

It was several minutes – and a few false turns before she ran back under the electric fence – and several more before she found her mama.

The whole incident was eye-opening for me.

I saw her danger. I wanted to help. But I couldn’t make her go in the pen. I just kept pointing her in the right direction until she finally crossed the fence.

As a mother – I could see so many lessons in Belle’s little romp.

How can I make sure my kids see Biblical boundaries as safeguards and not suggestions?

How can I stay faithful in pointing them in the right direction, even when they don’t always want to listen?

How can I stress them to them the importance of staying near so they can hear their Master’s voice – no matter how loudly the world tries to drown it out?

This morning as I looked out the window, I witnessed a very different scene.

Little Belle was standing right next to her mama when the cows walked in for water. She nursed for a long time , doing little happy dances as she went from one side to the other.

Then, with a bulging tummy full of warm milk,  she jumped and twirled and kicked up her feet as she followed her mama all the way back to the pasture.

And I thought to myself, that’s what I want for my children.

Safety at the Savior’s side.

Joy and contentment in obedience.

Kettle Corn

Kettle CornWhat do you serve a crew of hungry 4H kids who have just walked over a mile along the highway and through the ditches picking up trash for a community service project?

It needs to be cheap, portable, filling, and appeal to all ages.

How about kettle corn – bagged with peanuts, M&M’s and candy corn?!

Served with pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies and a juice box, these snack bags were a hit with my road crew this weekend!

And the left-over bags were so handy in throw in lunch boxes this morning!

Kettle Corn

1 tablespoon oil (we love coconut oil for popping corn)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup unpopped popcorn
salt to taste

Place in the oil and sugar in your popcorn popper. Add the popcorn and pop according to directions.

The sugar will melt with the oil and coat the popcorn as it pops. Toss the popped corn into a bowl and salt to taste. Let sit for a few minutes to cool before breaking it apart.

This stuff is fabulous when hot – and holds up well for 3-5 days depending on the humidity.

Let the kettle corn cool completely before you mix in the candy corn and M&M’s so there is no melting.

When we mixed in all the extras, they fell to the bottom of the bag leaving the popcorn on top – but no one seemed to mind. They just shook the bags until their favorites were on top.

Enjoy!