Ten Years Already!

Ten years ago this week I published my very first blog post here on Blue Jeans and Cotton Tees.

Ten years was a long time ago.

George W. Bush was president.

The first iPhone was introduced.

And the Boston Red Sox won the World Series.

On the home front, we were on the farm, living in the old house and home schooling all five kids, ranging in age from 15 to 6.

 

 

So much has changed since then.

Today – I home school just one.

We’ve graduated four and added one son-in-law.

We moved to the new house.

Added cows.

And Jan started working in town.

Ten years. Wow.

I started blogging on a massive desk top with a tower that took up half the desk.

Now I click away on my little laptop.

My first photos were taken on a chunky digital camera that could do about ten pictures before the battery died, edited in ancient software and took 10 minutes to upload on our dial-up.

Today I take pictures on my iPhone and edit and upload within minutes.

At the time it was common for bloggers to give their young kids a blog name to protect them in the massive, unpredictable blogosphere.

Matt already had a successful blog and online presence – I used his real name.

Laura was the only one of our children to never have a nickname stick. She chose Dagmar as her blog name from her favorite movie at the time I Remember Mama.

Peter’s blog name was easy – Pedro. But he also earned the nickname “Crash” following an incident involving the 4 wheeler and a multiflora rose bush.

Anna was given her blog name, Angel Girl, by her daddy years ago. Every Sunday morning I would pull her hair back and fasten it with her very favorite “pretty pretty” (a hair piece with a lacy flower and ribbons). It looked like a little halo on her head and daddy called her his little “angel girl”.

Nathan was always the Little Buddy. But at almost 17 and taller than I am, he’s ready to move on.

They all are. So from here on, their blog names are no more! You are welcome kids. You’ve earned it. Thank you for letting me tell your stories here. You’ve given me some awesome blog fodder through the years and I’m sure there’s more to come!

Ten years.

And you, my readers, have been there.

You’ve watched my children grown up.

You’ve rejoiced with me.

You’ve wept with me.

And you’ve laughed with me.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read the ramblings of this Country Gal who loves playing with words and  always dreamed of having something published.

Your comments and words of encouragement have meant so much to me! Thank you!

And now – it’s time to celebrate!

In honor of ten years – I plan to dig a favorite blog post out of the archives occasionally and share it again. Some of my favorites, the most searched, the funniest, the most embarrassing.

I’ll clearly label them “From the Archives” so you can easily tell the old from the new posts.

And don’t worry – there are some posts that need to stay well hidden in the dark recesses and may never see the light of day again!

Ten years is a lot of words.

Thanks for reading them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Super Soup Supper

It started with a random comment at a 4H meeting.

The swing set at the park in our small rural community was in sad state and the baby swing was broken.

“We should take it on as a 4H project!” they said.

Great idea! But we’re a very small club. We would need to raise some money.

The easiest fund-raiser for a club of six kids? A soup supper.

 

Excitement built as we set a date, planned a menu and and printed hand-outs.

The kids made posters and the leaders and the moms (all five of us) started baking, cutting veggies, and making soup.

The food started arriving early on the night of the supper.

And so did the community.

Lots of them.

On a raw March evening with the skies threatening snow, we packed the tables in our community hall.

Moms dished the soups, but our 4H kids were a part of everything else – keeping veggie plates filled, plating desserts, pouring drinks, busing tables, washing dishes.

And they were excited! You could see it in their eyes. This was big. Way bigger than we imagined.

Half way through we started adding to the soups to stretch them.

And still they came.

A cross section of community. Retired couples, young families, grandparents with grandchildren.

All there for the kids. For the park. For the future.

Some even brought desserts to add to our offerings.

The tables were never empty and our donation box was filling up.

When the last guest buttoned up and headed out in the cold and those now exhausted kids had helped clean up, we opened up the donation box and counted the money.

Their excitement was infectious as the pile of bills added up!

And up and up.

The total surpassing our expectations by many, many dollars.

This went way way beyond just a new baby swing and some fresh paint!

This could get memorial trees for our two 4H members killed in a car accident last summer!

This could get a handicapped swing!

The ideas were flying as we turned out the lights and headed home.

Exhausted but exhilarated.

Those six kids learned some very valuable lessons that night.

About having an idea and how to make it happen.

About working hard and serving others.

And about community and what can happen when we work together.

It was a pretty super soup supper!

 

VBS Week

It was VBS week this week.

Many of you are nodding right now. You know exactly what VBS week means.

Busy days, late nights and exhaustion!

But also fun, laughter and blessings.

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I worked with an incredible group of kids!

A crazy bunch of teens who served with their whole hearts and kept me laughing!

13686678_1271086162904327_3183896377120225765_nThey memorized, rehearsed, and brought the characters of the nightly skit to life.

Teaching truth, sharing the gospel, and loving on the kids.

13668948_1270739699605640_8980708736091413003_nGames.

Crafts.

Bible lessons.

Snack time.

I sat back each night and watching God work in and through these servants.

And I was blessed.

 

Independence Day in Small Town America

We joined the crowd of people in the little Missouri town of Allendale today.

Every July 4th since 1964, this little town with a population of 53 (more or less) have been serving up an Independence Day breakfast for upwards of a thousand people.

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That’s a 52 year old tradition.

Neighbors greeting neighbors.

Entire families sitting around picnic tables.

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Three generations of men manning row after row of grills frying sausages and eggs.

Making toast.

Pouring coffee and juice.

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Flipping piles of pancakes on a rotating grill.

Pounds of butter.

Gallons of syrup.

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There were flags flying.

A band stand decorated and filled with patriotic songs.

Kids playing.

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And veterans honored.

Made me proud to be an American.

Made me thankful for all those who sacrificed so much for my freedom.

Made me remember that it’s people like this – all over our nation – that make America great.

Thank you, Allendale, Missouri!

And God bless the USA!

2016 Iowa Caucuses

DSC_0001Listen….

Do you hear that?

That is the sound of normal.

No more robo-calls, town hall meetings, multiple mailings, and endless political commercials.

The 2016 Iowa Caucuses are over.

The political season started in the spring and went into overdrive last weekend.

For months we’ve listened to candidates in cafes, courthouse lobbies, parks, college campuses, and private homes.

We shook their hands, asked hard questions, and weighed their responses.

We read, discussed, contemplated and ultimately decided.

And last night the entire world watched as we gathered in schools, and legion halls, and community centers across the state to make our choices.

We sat with our friends and neighbors, recited the pledge and cast our ballets on little pieces of paper.

Proud to be Americans.

Proud to be Iowans.

And today it’s over.

The craziest caucus season I can remember is one for the history books.

We’re back to seed, fertilizer, and pick-up truck commercials.

The phone is silent except for friends and neighbors.

And my Facebook feed is more weather, recipes and cute babies than political conversation.

And normal feels good.

Have fun New Hampshire! The circus is on it’s way!