Thursday, October 30, 2008

Combine 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


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


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


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


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."