Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Three planets visible New Year's Eve

Tonight, there were three planets visible just after sunset. By the time the clouds got out of the way, my camera was complaining that it was too dark. Here's Venus (blurry dot under the moon)
Here's Mercury and Jupiter. Jupiter is the one on the right. Again, it was so dark that the tiny movement I made make the planets look like streaks instead of dots.
Here's the moon and Venus again. Venus is the teeny, weenie dot below and to the left of the moon.

Christmas weekend was full of family and fun. One of my husband's sisters and her family and also husband's mom are the only ones remaining. There were 45 people here on Saturday. I got some writing done last night (started around 10:30 and went to bed after 2am). I'm having to rewrite the ending to a teen magazine article. It's almost there. I'd like to bring in the new year by writing.... and hope that the next year has a lot of writing (and published articles/manuscripts!) Happy New Year to all.

Psalm 8 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Safe

We got to Kansas City and back safely. I delayed our departure by three hours to give the road crews time to clear the roads and they were fine. The worst part was from my driveway and the first two miles. After that, it was clear.

My husband and 3 y.o. went out while I was gone and they scraped the driveway with the tractor and loader bucket. I almost called to see if I should park at the grain bin - but I was pleasantly surprised to see gravel on the driveway instead of sheet ice.

I am blessed.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ice storms

Well, we are scheduled to get up to an inch of freezing rain tonight. I'm supposed to take 16 y.o. to Kansas City tomorrow - where he will continue on with his father to Arkansas. Then, I go back on Sunday to pick him up. I'm also supposed to pick up a local girl who is attending the Job Corps near Kansas City and bring her back to Memphis for the Christmas break.

Husband says he doesn't think I will be going anywhere tomorrow. I hope he's wrong this time.

Several of my family members were without power for 5 days last week with the bad weather in New England. The first year I moved to NE MO, we had no power for 3-4 days. It was miserable. Parts of New England are not supposed to get power back until after Christmas. They definitely need prayer!

Husband and I got our (short) Christmas letter written, printed, addressed, and brought them to the post office -- all BEFORE Christmas! Of course, that's always the goal, but it's not always what happens. Smile.

Praying that you stay warm and that you have food to eat.

Proverbs 30:7-9
"Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the LORD ?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Weather

We have had a range of weather conditions since my last post. Rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow. We even had thunder the other night. Today, the prediction is for 4-6 more inches of snow.

3 y.o. went out with husband and 16 y.o. to feed the bulls and calves this morning. She came back with very rose cheeks and nose! They had hot cocoa when they came in.

Last night, I typed out family recipes for some Christmas gifts. I'm trying to get husband to show 16 y.o. how to make a couple simple recipe boxes. Not sure if that will get done before Christmas - it's COLD out in the shop!

I think we got all our Christmas shopping done this past Saturday. Now, I need to wrap them. I have a Christmas party to go to at the nursing home for my Mom tomorrow - weather permitting! Friday, I will drive 16 y.o. to Kansas City and then I will pick him up on Sunday. I am also the hostess for a Christmas dinner at church on Sunday - so I had to get some helpers for the clean up (I will have to leave right after the food is served - it is buffet style).

I got my writing assignment done at midnight on the deadline day. I need to start on the next assignment so I don't have to ask for an extension again.

We made homemade noodles last night. I made the dough and husband rolled them out and cut them when they were dry. It's his family recipe and he makes them frequently.

Today, between helping with homeschooling, I need to get my Christmas card envelopes addressed and get them in the mail!

"And Mary said: 'My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name'." - Luke 1:46-47, 49

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Beauty beyond description

Yesterday afternoon, I happened to look out the window and saw a beautiful sunset. My picture actually doesn't do it justice. We have had snow on the ground since before Thanksgiving - just and inch or two - but it's COLD here!
Today, I did a bunch of errands in town and then came home and finished updating three accounts in Quicken. Also, worked with 16 y.o. on his homeschooling. He had a test in math that he got an A on and he had a quiz in History that he got a B on. That doesn't show the agony sometimes of him learning something. There are times I feel like hitting my head against the wall - but, 1) it would only give me a headache and 2) it wouldn't help him learn any better!

I have procrastinated far too long on this writing assignment. What happened, the magazine I was going to send it to will no longer be in publication after February, so they aren't taking any submissions. They used to allow up to 2000 word fiction stories. Well, I've found two other possible magazines to "pitch" the story to. However, they only allow 1000-1200 word stories! That means I not only have to finish the story, but cut it in half! Ouch. I better get after it!


Tomorrow afternoon we will be separating the bulls, cows/heifers, and calves. I think tomorrow night we are having a young man over for dinner. He attends Central Christian College. He is from Haiti. He is leaving on Monday to go back to Haiti; then return in mid-January when the new semester starts. Saturday morning, someone will come pick up the calves we are selling at auction. Saturday late morning, we are going to Quincy, IL to finish our Christmas shopping.


Matthew 16:2 'He replied, 'When evening comes, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red'..."

Monday, December 8, 2008

Accomplishments

I accomplished several things today over and above the norm.

I finished my Mom's Christmas cards and they are in the mail. I haven't started ours yet... there was a problem getting the photo cards made. Hopefully, I will be able to pick them up on Saturday. I'm hoping to have my Christmas shopping done that day too. Only a few presents left to get... whooohoooo! Then I can concentrate on the Reason for the Season.

I also updated my mother's and my bank accounts on Quicken. One account left to get updated. Maybe tomorrow. I also got some filing done.

On the writing front, I researched places to send the teen girl fiction story that I almost have finished. I wanted to send it to Brio, but I just found out that the February 2009 issue will be the last one unless someone buys the magazine. It's a good magazine and I hope it gets to continue. It's the same for Breakaway magazine. I found two possible magazines to submit to. My instructor wanted me to find three. Will have to look some more tomorrow.

I have two verses concerning the word "Work"
The first is from 2 Thessalonians 3:10 "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." (I quote this one to 16 y.o. quite often!)

The second is from Colossians 3:23-24 "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Holocaust survivor

(I had this post all done but it had an error when I tried to post it - I think this is what I wrote!)

Tonight, 16 y.o. and I went to hear Erika Mandler talk about her experience during the holocaust. There weren't many seats empty in our small-town theater - and she talked for about two hours. I learned some things I didn't know - for instance, I thought all the concentration camps were in Germany. Erika and her family, however were in a work camp in Czechoslovakia. It gave 16 y.o. some things to think about and among other things, it reminded me to be thankful for all the little things in life, like having water and food.

Both my biological father and my adoptive father were in WWII. One was in the Pacific in the Navy and the other was in North Africa and Italy in the Army. My adoptive father received the Silver Star - which relatively few people received. Both fathers are now gone - but definitely not forgotten. I have a long list of family members who proudly served in the military (myself included). Every branch of the military has been represented. I've probably mentioned this before, but my younger brother is currently on a Navy ship off the coast of Somalia. He is a photojournalist in the Navy reserves.

Last night I was able to work on a fiction magazine article. I made some progress but have some more work to do on it before I submit it to my online writing instructor. I hope to submit this article to Brio magazine.

“Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”- John 10:7, 9-10

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Harvest complete

Well, the harvest is finally complete as of the day after Thanksgiving. We celebrated Thanksgiving at my sister-in-law's house in Illinois. Had a fun time visiting and eating. It was a long drive home though - we didn't get home until almost 1:30am. It snowed, but thankfully, it didn't stick to the roads. I drove most of the way - husband was tired from having little sleep for weeks during the harvest.

Tomorrow, I will help my mom with her Christmas cards. I actually have them addressed, I just need to write down what she wants to say in the cards.

I started on a project tonight. It's a Christmas present, so I can't say what it is or who it's for! Maybe I will post a picture after Christmas. :o)

It seems I have way too much to do these days and not enough time to do them. I need to de-stress! I want to update this blog 2-3 times a week - that hasn't been happening. I want to get several magazine articles that I am working on completed - that hasn't happened. Like I said, I need to de-stress and figure out a better system.

I pray all is well with all who read this. I like when people comment on my blog, because then I know someone is actually reading it!

I love the book of James. Chapter three is about taming the tongue and about wisdom. Here's the last verse of the chapter:

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. James 3:17-18

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Eagles

One day last week, I thought I saw a bald eagle flying high in the sky over our pasture. Two days ago, 16 y.o. said, "Mom is that a bald eagle up there?" It was! The sky was clear and the eagles head and tail feathers gleamed bright white. It got even better though, there were TWO of them. Very beautiful birds. They were flying off as I got a picture, so it's not clear.

Harvest is still going slow with several setbacks, i.e. broken axle one night, broken tie rod last night, some fields still too wet, etc.

Prayers going out to husband's niece who is in Panama in the Peace Corps. They are having bad flooding and mud slides. Niece has been evacuated for a time to another part of Panama.

Thankful for each new day and for each breath I take.

Psalm 150:6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Grandma


Here's a picture of 3 y.o. and Grandma. It was taken in June, when Grandma gave 3 y.o. her birthday present.


A week

Yikes, it's been a week since I have posted a blog. When I started this blog, I wanted to update it at least three times a week. Perhaps that was too ambitious during harvest time.

Yes, we are still in the middle of harvest. The weather has not cooperated. We've been getting enough rain that it's too muddy to be in the fields with the combine. Monday and Tuesday of this week they were able to finally get out there. A field that they were going to do today (Wednesday) is too muddy, so we will have to try a different one.

Life has been pressing down on me in several areas lately. I need to find a quiet place and rejuvenate my soul. I reallllly want to be finishing two magazine articles. I possibly got a good lead for some information on one of them. It's a non-fiction article about something that happened during WWI. Hopefully, I will get an email about it today.

The other article is a fiction story for teen girls. I have most of the story done, but it's not all there yet. It's annoying that I can't seem to finalize it. Will continue to give it thought. It's also the story I am doing for my writer's course and I think I am past-due (again). Thankfully, this is a self-paced course and extensions are allowed.

My mom seems to be doing better after having been in the ER last week for a mini-stroke. She didn't remember my name at one point in the ER. That's weird for lack of a better term.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the areas of good counsel. Here's a verse that was the verse for the day at biblegateway.com

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:1-2

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Choose to live well

Once again, my plans for writing were superseded. I spent most of the afternoon at the emergency room with my mother (who lives in a nursing home attached to the hospital). The doctor thinks that she possibly had a TIA - or mini-stroke for those of us not in the medical field.

At one point, she asked what my name was. As hard as it is not to concentrate on her situation these days (she's 87, blind, and has dementia among other health problems) I chose to remember some happier times.

I remember a picture of the two of us in her wing-back chair - it must have been shortly after they adopted me. I remember her teaching me ceramics. I remember all the stained-glass mirrors, lamp shades, and window sun-catchers that she made. I remember Thanksgiving dinners she cooked. Although she didn't have patience to teach us cooking - she was a TERRIFIC cook. She also tried her hand at oil painting, knitting/crocheting, and if I remember correctly, pottery. Although she didn't like to put her head underwater, she taught me to dive - that was after hours of belly flops from my dad trying to teach me! I also remember her taking photos and movies of my sister and I water skiing, snow skiing, ice skating, and riding our bicycles.

Was she a perfect mom? No. But then, none of us are perfect. She had a difficult childhood and she made the best choices she knew how. We all make choices with each minute we are given in life. What choices are you making? Are you spending your days with regrets and unforgiveness or are you choosing to look at the glass as half full? You will only hurt yourself harboring regrets and being unforgiving. Let them go and live life well.

Linda Ellis wrote a poem in 1996 called The Dash. Hopefully, if I've done it correctly, you can read it here (at the bottom of the post, you'll see the poem). It's WELL worth it. http://lindaellis.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/11/the-dash.html

Matthew 6:27 and Luke 12:25 both say:
"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hay Ride

We had a houseful this past weekend for a family get together/hay ride. We made homemade pizza one day (I have a recipe I made from combining two other recipes plus an addition of my own.) The left over pizza was actually better the next day because I didn't have time to pre-cook the dough before adding the toppings. The night of the hayride, we broiled hamburgers and hot dogs. It was too cold to stand out at the grill! I think everyone had a good time - and it's always nice having family visit.

Three things I'm thankful for (since this is the month for Thanksgiving):
1) My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
2) My family and friends
3) The "gifts" I've been given from God

The NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writer's Month) is already a "bust" for me. I have been out in the fields a good deal of the time. When I am in the house, I'm either helping 16 y.o. with his schooling or cooking a meal for those in the fields. After lunch, the kids and I are going to Pilot Grove, Iowa to get a belt for the combine. It's about a 2 hour round trip. Right now, the kids are helping Daddy put out hay bales for the cows.

I woke up to one of my favorite sounds - rain on the window. Unfortunately, rain is not a good thing when the harvest is not complete. If the rain stops, they could still harvest corn today.

I worked on two different magazine articles last night. I did some research on one - contacted a historical museum in Illinois. The contact person emailed me back and said he would email some information on Sunday. This article I want to send to Highlights for Children magazine.

The other article, I'm still mulling over in my head. I don't have an "inner conflict" for the main character - so I have to figure that out. I'd like to get that article done today. This article would be for Brio magazine.

Reading Proverbs 31 makes me look like a slacker (I probably don't do the best with time-management) but here's one of the final verses in that chapter:

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Transitions

Transitions in writing get you smoothly from one paragraph to the next (hopefully). Transitions in life get you from one stage to the next. 16 y.o. will be 17 in a few months. He has definitely gone through a new stage this year. Trying to be more independent. Not wanting to listen to the adults in his life. Pushing against the status quo.; yet, he still relies on us for support and comfort. I'm trying to give him the tools he will need to be as independent as possible. He's also had a lot of bodily changes - he's 5' 9 3/4". Just in the last month, he's grown another inch and grown out of the jeans I just bought!

Unfortunately, the new medicine from Canada that he started on this year is not working. It seemed to do really well for a while. I'm not sure if he just got used to it or what. Disappointing to say the least. He will never be able to drive until he is seizure-free for one year.

On a totally different subject - we harvested quite a few soybeans yesterday for the guy my husband farms with. We did three fields in two days. The first field was really bad. The next two were better. I spent most of the past few days in the field - either on the combine with husband, in the pickup truck hauling the bean cutting head, or driving a tractor and auger wagon down the road. I'm not very good with the tractor, especially on the very bad dirt road. I felt like I was on a bull-riding machine. Luckily, I got the nice tractor -but it is still challenging to drive while hauling an auger wagon. Husband hopes to harvest more tomorrow. My mother-in-law will be here to babysit the 3 y.o. I have to take 16 y.o. to St. Louis for his quarterly neurology appt. Hoping to do something fun while in St. Louis too. We will have a houseful of husband's relatives this weekend and some friends for a hay ride. Hopefully, I will get some pictures taken.

Not happy with a good many of the election results. On a state level, there was good news and bad. I am trying to keep everything in perspective and remember that the Lord knows what's going on - although, He did give us that "free will" that gets us in trouble many times! I thought of this verse this morning:

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Monday, November 3, 2008

NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writer's Month or NaNoWriMo - what a crazy time! This is a month of attempting to write a 50,000 word novel. Is it expected to be good, perfect, publishable, etc? NO - the purpose is to get it down on paper and then use the next 12 months to perfect it. Most people say they want to write a book, but they never do. Here's your chance!

By the way, I'm WAY behind on my word count! Farm work comes first. :o)

10 Important Issues to Me

Here are 10 issues I felt were important in making my decisions for this election. (Even though this is long, this is my condensed version.) They are not in a particular order.

1) National Security: (FYI - I spent 5 years in Air Force intelligence from 1983-1988 and I come from a long line of military family members - and one of my brothers is currently serving in the navy over in the middle east.) I want someone who believes in keeping the country secure. I don't want someone who will change American ways to conform to other countries' ideals or values. This is the United States of America, not the European Union, UAE, etc. That being said, I believe we need to work with our Allies and also help those who can't help themselves (like we did for WWI, WWII, Iraq, etc.). And for the record, this summer 550 metric tons of yellowcake were sent to Canada from Iraq; in 2004, Polish soldiers found 500 sarin and mustard gas laced missiles in an Iraqi warehouse (yes, they were old, but it shows that Hussein lied (again) about having gotten rid of such weapons); Hussein had human shredders and other torture devices for his own people and don't forget that tens of thousands of Kurds and Iranians were poisoned with gas bombs and napalm. Even though the US and our allies had incorrect intelligence at the beginning of this war, the people of Iraq are thankful to be out from under the tyranny of Hussein. I know our ally, Israel, is watching closely who wins the presidency. By the way, during my five years in the Air Force, there were many times I had to brief the base commander on daily intelligence. What you see/hear in the news is just a small portion of the truth and the whole story.

2) Abortion: Have you seen the picture of 21-week-old Samuel Armas? He was having surgery (in utero) for spina bifida and a photographer took a picture when Samuel's hand flopped out during surgery. He wasn't a bunch of cells or just a fetus - he was a human being. Women say they have a right to choose what to do with their bodies - but they are taking away the rights of the unborn. The democratic candidate voted 4 times in the Illinois State Senate to deny medical care to infants if they are born alive after an abortion (I read the transcripts from the Illinois Senate.) He also believes any abortion at any time is acceptable. I also abhor the fact that my tax dollars fund abortions.
One fact not thought of often by most people - 40+ MILLION children aborted since 1973 aren't paying taxes to pay for social security or any other government programs! Perhaps Social Security wouldn't be in the bind it is today if those children hadn't been murdered.

3) Family: I believe in traditional marriage. There are already ways for unmarried people to have legal contracts with each other for any number of reasons.

4) Stem cell research: Adult stem cells and umbilical cord blood are the only ones that have had proven success. Using embryonic stem cells has not worked and involves having to kill a human life first.

5) Economy & Environment: I want America to be able to utilize our own resources for energy. I have seen pictures of oil rigs in Los Angeles, California. The footprint is very small these days - and they've covered them to look like buildings. We should be able to drill off our own shores for these resources. Wind, solar, clean burning coal, ethanol, fuel efficient cars, etc - ALL are important to our economy and the environment.
I do not believe all the hype about global warming. Where was all the pollution after the ice age when everything melted? It's called cyclical climate change. Have gases and pollution possibly contributed? Most likely - but the main cause is cyclical.
The legislative branch of our government (House of Representatives and the Senate) has been under the majority rule of the Democrats for the last two years. I think we have all seen economic and moral decline during that time. Is it completely their fault - of course not, but they have contributed significantly to the problems. Historically, the decline started at the end of President Clinton's term of office. When stocks were very high, all the financial advisers warned that it wouldn't sustain that level forever; that there would be a "check" at one point or another. It happened and everyone seems surprised about it.

6) Health care: I have a friend in Sweden. 60% of their paychecks goes to taxes. They have socialized medicine. In Canada, England and other countries with "publicly funded" or socialized medicine, you have to wait your turn for procedures. Many Canadians come to America to have surgeries performed so that they don't have to wait, in some cases, years for a surgery. As farmers, my husband and I have no employer funded health care. Is it expensive, yes. Do I want the government deciding where I get my health care, NO.

7) "Share" the wealth - It is only sharing if you give it voluntarily. If the government takes your hard-earned money, it's not sharing - it's socialism. This country has thrived on free-enterprise and entrepreneurialism. Taxes should be fair and equal - one group should not pay a huge amount more than another group. If you only want to tax the rich, there won't be any incentive for new business.

8) Border security: Why should illegal aliens get free health care, college benefits, etc? I think the border patrol should be able to protect our borders - and be given the tools to do so. My Thai sister-in-law had to wait for her passport, visa and green card in order to legally live and work in the U.S. - all "visitors" should go through the same process. If they are found to be here illegally, they should be deported - with no amnesty.

9) Gun control: America has always allowed private citizens to own guns and protect themselves. Do I want machine guns and the like? No, I don't think they are necessary. However, criminals are not going to get their guns legally in the first place so if you take them away from one group, it won't matter to the criminals. There are times a gun is needed on a farm - if a cow is dying and needs to be put down (personally, we call the vet to give the cow a shot) or when a wild animal is trying to kill the livestock, etc.

10) Schools: I believe people should have the freedom to choose which school to send their child to and I don't believe the homosexual agenda needs to be "taught" in school. Children as young as Kindergarten are being indoctrinated into the homosexual agenda without notification to the parents to be able to "opt out" for their children. In our small county school, teachers were told not to discipline "same-sex" couples on the school grounds for public displays of affection, but the heterosexual "couples" could not kiss, hold hands or hug. (Mind you, I don't think ANY of the kids need to be showing PDA at school - but especially not one group over another.)

Those are just 10 of the issues I considered when choosing my candidates. Other issues are: judicial appointments (I don't think judges should change the laws, but ENFORCE the ones on the books - it's not their job to change the laws, but that is what they are doing.), housing issues, "don't ask, don't tell" in the military, jobs, trade with other countries, etc.

1 Timothy 2:1-2 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

Remember, you will be required to give an answer to God for all you've done here on earth during your life.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Combine video

video

Here's my sister and my husband combining soybeans. Toward the end of the video, I had to scoot out of the way before the chaff from the back of the combine blew all over me. The very end of the video is my brother-in-law sitting in the tractor of our friend who we plant and harvest crops with.

Harvesting help

We had help this past Saturday with harvesting. My sister and brother-in-law drove here from Colorado and stayed until 4am Tuesday morning. On Sunday, we had a nice visit with our mother who is in the nursing home 12 or so miles from my house.


I am starting a new Small Group Study at church. The first class is tonight. (I am "leading" it.) It is called Boundaries with Kids. There will be 8 sessions in all. I hope there is a good turnout. 16 y.o. was such a compliant, easy going child to raise (well, at least until he hit 16!). However, 3 y.o. is very strong willed. I need some guidance on the best way shape her spirit gently and firmly - without snuffing her passion. I'll tell you how it went in a couple of months. :o)

"Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest." Exodus 34:21

Monday, October 27, 2008

Iowa, Illinois, Missouri

We had a fun time on Saturday roaming around Iowa (10 miles away), Illinois (40 miles away) and Missouri. First we went to Cantril, IA. They have a Mennonite store called the Dutchman's Store. It is like an old fashioned general store. You can buy Muck boots, quilting material, food and spices in bulk, etc.

Next, we drove to a town called Bentonsport, IA. It is on the Des Moines River. There is an iron bridge from the 1800's that still spans the river. (pedestrians can walk on it, but no heavier traffic). There is also the foundation and arch from the old mill. Here are the pics:


We ate lunch in Iowa and had ice cream across the Mississippi River in Hamilton, Illinois. We saw the lock and dam at Keokuk, IA.
I didn't get any photos of the foliage, perhaps today. Sister and brother-in-law are going to help on the combine today while husband harvests soybeans. They are leaving by 5am tomorrow morning to get back to Colorado at a decent time.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Rainy days

Not much has been happening this week. Well, I guess I have to take that back. I had a birthday and we spent half the day in Quincy. The next day, I went to Kirksville to help my mother in law figure out what prescription drug insurance she was going to get. Got some good information to use when I work on my mother's insurance. Yesterday, Friday, was rainy most of the day so we didn't do much. Last night, we went to a hay ride/wienie roast. Had a good time. Several minutes after we got home, my sister from Colorado and her husband arrived. They will be here until Tuesday morning.

3 y.o. was so hyper after the cake/cookies/candy at the hay ride and then having her auntie arrive. 3 y.o. was bouncing off the walls and talking a mile a minute. Sister said it reminded her of me. I don't remember myself at that age, so I'm denying the whole thing! :o)

Not sure what we will do for this weekend. I want to try to get some pictures of the gorgeous foliage in the area.

One of my sisters-in-law has told me about a possible writing opportunity. It sounds exciting and challenging. I will write more about it when I find out more about it.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Great Day

I had a great day today with husband, 3 y.o. and 16 y.o.

They gave me breakfast in bed and a handmade card.

We went shopping and had lunch at a Chinese restaurant. I was looking for a dress and navy dress shoes. Guess what, dresses and navy shoes are not "in" this year.

I helped 16 y.o. with homeschooling when we got home while husband played games with 3 y.o. (it rained last night and early this morning, so there was no harvesting going on).

After that, husband and I listened to the scripture and worked on the questions for this week's Sunday School. I received two calls to wish me a happy day.

Nothing spectacular - just a wonderful day with my family. I will try to download pictures tomorrow - although, I just remembered that I am attending a meeting tomorrow with my mother-in-law about her supplemental insurance and then helping to pack some boxes for a shipment to hurricane ravaged Haiti.

I haven't gotten any writing done yet this week, to speak of . Guess I am still detoxing (digesting info) from the writer's retreat.

Psalm 100:3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his ; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Novel Retreat

I was tired yesterday after returning from the SCBWI-IA Novel Retreat, so I didn't blog. The retreat was a lot of fun and very informative. Didn't get a very encouraging critique of the first 10 pages of my novel, but I talked to an editor and an agent and they gave some good advice.

I am going to rework (for the nth time) my dragon picture book manuscript and submit it to the agent. Many agencies don't represent picture books, but this one does. We'll go from there. (Didn't I just say a few days ago that I was going to put the picture book on the back burner until after I had the novel finished?) Okay, call me fickle!

I forgot to take my camera to the retreat, so no pictures on this post. The retreat was at the Die Heimat Country Inn in the German Amana Colony. It would be a nice day trip for the family - it only took 2 hours to get there.

Off to work...

Psalm 51:10
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Good day

Today ended up a good day - even though a certain person (me) was a little moody, but I won't go into that!

3 y.o. and I went outside and drew pictures with sidewalk chalk, blew bubbles, played with the barn cats (although, why I call them barn cats when I seldom see them in the barn, I don't know.), and enjoyed the great weather.

16 y.o. got his homeschooling done faster than usual - with good grades. Red-letter day.

Husband couldn't be in the fields today harvesting, so he did business in town after he helped me with some laundry - big kudos to him. Later in the afternoon, I went to an organic dairy and got milk. 3 y.o. insisted that her Daddy needed to take her fishing. I came home and snapped a picture right before they finished. The only catch today was some pond weeds. Several fish got away. We have some really big bass in the pond as well as some crappie (to those of you who are not from the Midwest or the South, it's pronounced croppie - I've mispronounced it before to much laughter.) :o)
After the kids got to bed, I did some research for my young adult novel. Got some great information; had some inspiration for a direction to go in for the ending of the book and thought up a great line or two for the beginning of the book. (I guess they will be "great" lines if they end up in the final draft!) All in all, a very productive, satisfying day.

Chinese Proverb: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
In John 21:24-25, John says, "This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true. Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." This was after Jesus had performed the miracle of filling the fishing nets with fish and then "reinstating" Peter. Verse 14 of the same chapter says: "This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rain, rain

I woke up to a sound I love.... rain on the window. Unfortunately, rain is not conducive to harvesting. Since we planted winter wheat the other day, I guess it will be good for that.

About a month ago, we had 7 inches in a 24 hour period. That's a lot of rain. I won't even talk about this Spring's rain. Whew!

Since it was such a dreary day, I didn't get much accomplished. Homeschooling for 16 y.o., some housework, and some reading.

Supposed to be cool tonight. The leaves are turning on the trees. The sumac is a bright red on the side of the road. Nice time of year.

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”- Psalm 19:14

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Beef, school and writing

Husband and I loaded up three grass-fed beef in a trailer this morning and then the four of us took them to the meat locker to be butchered. I took a picture, but haven't loaded it on the computer yet. Tomorrow I will update this post and add the picture.

Other than that, I just did housework, worked with Mitch on his schoolwork, took a nap with 3 y.o. (I'm going to miss when she doesn't take a nap anymore - it's a lovely tradition that I indulge in several days a week.), then we all watched "The Biggest Loser". Husband and I worked on the Sunday school lesson (he's the teacher) after the kids went to bed. I folded laundry after that and finally sat down to my young adult novel at 10pm. It was 12:30am before I finished for now.
One day, I love what I've written so far and the next day, I question whether anyone will want to read it. I've sent the next 8 pages to my critique group. They've already seen the first 10 pages and made some great revision suggestions.

Only three days to go before I go to the Iowa Novel Retreat. I hope to get some great info on plotting - and I'm getting the first 10 pages of my novel critiqued by a published author. The other two women in our critique group will also be at the retreat, so it will be nice to get together in person for the first time.

John 1:1-5
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Wheaties

I should have eaten Wheaties this morning.

I went to a town 14 miles away THREE times today. Twice to get wheat seed and the last time to return the four bags we didn't use. I lifted about 70 of the bags from the back of the pickup to the drill (seed planter that is hooked to the tractor). Each bag weighed 50 pounds. Mitch lifted the other 10 bags.I got home from the last trip a little after 5pm. Then, I had to haul two bales of hay to the steer we are sending off tomorrow to be butchered. I'll try to take some pictures in the morning of that process. The hay was fresh and it was heavy! I wrote a little bit in between trips and worked with Mitch on his schoolwork.

I feel like it is midnight instead of 6:53pm. :o) On a good note, super unleaded gas cost $2.73. Hope it keeps going down.

Kids are watching a Christian video. I am going to do some research for my novel. It (the novel) seems to be drifting, so I am going to study a young adult novel I read recently to see how she handled each chapter. I love it when my writing and my love of reading merge. All the (published) writers say that you have to read a LOT of books to be a good writer. I like that.

Oh, here's a picture of 3 y.o. taken July 21st. Instead of a spelling bee... she's having a reading bee. I heard my mother loved to read. Wish I remembered her or had pictures with her and I together.

And here's the little "hayseed" back in May when "Auntie A" was taking pictures. There's a funny story about the two of them having a pic-a-nic all day. Those of you who know "Auntie A" ask her about it! :o)

Today's verse: “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, October 10, 2008

Discovery

Many days, there are various animals that fall into one of our four window wells. Several years ago, I heard something that sounded really weird. When husband investigated, it was one of our large lambs. He had fun getting a scared lamb up and over his head! 16 y.o. frequently gets frogs and turtles out. Several barn kittens keep falling in one of the window wells, so husband put a wooden fence post so they can climb out on their own.

Imagine my _______ (fill in the block, surprise, shock, disgust) when the kids came roaring in the house this morning to tell me this was in a window well....

What's a farm wife to do when her husband is not around? She gets a rake, backs the children up behind her and after several attempts, flings the snake onto the lawn! Thankfully, the garter snake must have been cold because it wasn't moving very fast. whew! I actually don't mind snakes. Now, when those huge, disgusting spiders get in the house - ACK!

All I got done so far today is housework, hauling the grain head (the reel thingy that cuts the soybeans - which was on a trailer) out to a different field, and taking food out to the two harvesters. I put a small roast, potatoes, some of last year's stewed tomatoes, corn from this year, etc into the pressure cooker and 25 minutes later, voila! I also whipped up some drop biscuits and chocolate jello. (Thanks, Marcia for the crock pot idea - it gave me the idea for the pressure cooker which I use quite a lot.)

Now, I hope to get some writing done for the next hour. The SCBWI IA Novel Retreat is one week from today.. whooohooooo!

"My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him." Psalm 62:1

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pics of the farm

This morning I thought I would take some pictures of the farm and the house. Of course, I hadn't been out more than a few minutes and I got roped into opening gates, standing by said gate so the cows wouldn't get out, and then closing said gate. Later, I went to help husband just for a "minute" to get the bean head (a part for the combine to harvest soybeans). That ended up with me helping him load fence posts on the tractor tines. Still later, I brought 3 y.o. to the combine so she could ride with Daddy and so I could get my writing assignment done. Well, I ended up having to go help a friend of ours get one of our tractors, opening and closing more gates, etc. etc.
The sky was a beautiful, bright blue; although, the picture of the pond was at a bad angle to the sun so it doesn't show the blue sky.













One of our three bulls with a cow to the right.

On a happy note, I finally finished my writing assignment. I think it was actually due last week - or earlier. This morning, I read a post by Randy Ingermanson. He said to figure out ONE THING that you really want to accomplish in a day. If you get that one thing done, then consider it a great day. Well, I got my one thing done - plus a whole lot more. :o) Happy day!

I also read a good Bible verse this morning. It is Psalm 138:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Visitor

Today, I remembered these pictures were on my digital camera. They were taken on August 28, 2008 when I was helping 16 y.o. with his homeschooling. The computer is next to a large office window that overlooks the north pasture and two ponds. I glanced out the window and saw this crossing the lawn. It was a large snapping turtle Just it's shell alone was about one foot long! The kids enjoyed seeing it - and we stayed well back.
Here it is keeping an eye on us.
The last several days we have seen a Great Blue Heron on the pond bank about 100 feet from the office window. It was fishing for frogs. I love being able to look out the window and see the awesomeness of God.
Psalm 24:1-2 "The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Genesis

This is my first blog and I look forward to this new medium to write and connect with family and friends.

I was able to get half of my writing assignment completed today. My 3-year old spent the morning with Daddy working on the combine while I helped 16 year old with his homeschooling. It's hard sometimes to know if he's not learning because he's 16 and doesn't want to learn or if it's because of the many seizures he has each day. The three anti-seizure meds and several other meds don't help the mix. Some days he seems to be doing well and advancing while other days he can't remember some basic information.

The last visit to the neurologist wasn't very promising. She said that even if the meds do stop his seizures, 16 y.o. probably wouldn't catch up to where he should be. I know that the Lord has worked in 16 y.0.'s life constantly and I pray that He will continue to work miracles and that 16 y.o. will be used by God for His purposes.

I am concerned for my children's future when I see that many people of this country think it's crazy to have strong moral values. Although I know the Lord is in control, He does allow all people to make their own choices - be they good or bad. I pray I make good choices in my life and I'm thankful for forgiveness when I've made poor choices.

Now, I better get to the second half of my assignment because it is due. I also wanted to clean up a chapter I'm submitting to my online critique group of my young adult novel work-in-progress. I think our small group works well together and we strengthen each other's writing. I know I have been blessed by their insight in the short time we've been working together.

Hopefully tomorrow, I can contact some local people for research for my novel.

Ephesians 3:20-21 "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."