Showing posts from 2013

A Barn, A Manger and Some Shepherds, Maybe It's Not So Strange After All

Amazing isn't it? Amazing that the God of the Universe, The King of Kings sent His son to be born of a virgin, in a stable and had Him put in a manager and then sent the angels to tell the lowly shepherds? Over and over again we see God work with the farmer. Remember His first creation was a garden and then the farmer. Then thousands of years later at the birth of Christ, God still worked with the farmer. We're not told his name but we're told of his barn. We're not told who the shepherds were but we're told of their flocks and fields. We're told of the care they were giving their sheep. What is it about the heart of a farmer that might make them God's choice to work with? Could it be that a farmer more than almost any other worker always has a real sense of his dependence?  A farmer or a shepherd spends a lot of time watching the sky. They know full well where their help, their crops and yes even their salvation comes from. Maybe the angels came to the s…

A Savor the Season List

Is it just me or have you noticed there doesn't seem to be as much Christmas complaining going on?

Maybe we're finally starting to listen to all the advice we've heard for years.

Or maybe it's just that we've swung as far out one way as we could and there was nothing to do but swing back.

Whatever the case,  I'm glad.

Remember when to buy expensive cars, large homes and lots of stuff was thought to be the way to go?

Now it's swinging back the other way, less is more, simplicity reigns. no debt is cool.

I think that has all played a part of Christmas becoming less stressful.

Perhaps we really get it now.

Maybe we know that we don't have to spend a lot of money and people don't mind, in fact they are relieved someone finally stood up and said, wait a minute, lets pull back a bit.

I think we know we don't have to go to every family, school, work and yes dare I say it, even church program that's offered during the holidays.

We can decorate our …

To Santa or Not to Santa?

More than once I've been asked my thoughts on Santa.

Should you or shouldn't you?

Did you or didn't you?

Oh for the days before we had so much time to think.

They days when we could tell fact from fiction, real from pretend.

Days when we expected our children to grow into men and women who would be able to tell the difference too.

About the time our children came along is the time the idea that Santa was wrong came along.

I being a young parent was confused.

Was I teaching my children to lie by pretending Santa with them?  Was I taking away from Christ by talking about Santa?

What was I to do?  I wanted to be a good parent. I wanted to bring my children up to trust me and to love God.

Then one day I got the answer.

Christmas is about Christ, my kids knew that. They knew we had the manger scene, they knew the Christmas carols, the star, the wisemen the shepherds and the angels. They knew Christ was the greatest gift.

We also told them the gifts under the tree were there be…

Do You Know Where Your Food Comes From?

It's easy to go to the grocery, pick up what we need and never give a thought to how it got there.

I remember watching a show once where they asked children where milk came from.

I laughed and laughed when a little boy said, the farmer turns the cows out and they eat all day and milk cartons grow on them then at night when the cows come back into the barn the farmer picks them off.

While I did laugh I know it's important that we all know where our food comes from.

Did you ever wonder how your chicken got in the cooler at the grocery store?

Our oldest daughter, Heidi says she never looks at a piece of produce or meat in a package or fruit at a stand without thinking about the farmer and how much work it took to get that product to the store.

She has done the work so she respects the process.

When we raise our tomatoes we pick them the day of sale. They truly ripen on the vine. That means we have to treat them gentle and pack them correctly. When produce is ready it's ready …

My Parents, My In-Laws and the Example of Long Time Love

The last couple of days have left me thinking about marriage.

Last night my brother and I sat on the little couch to the side of our mothers hospital bed talking to dad while mom slept.

After a bit dad got up and went and stood by moms bed. He just stood there and watched her sleep. My brother and I watched him watch her. I think we were both teary eyed.

Mom woke up and they talked a little about how she felt and what she needed.

I couldn't help but think about the way they were with each other. I knew it hadn't came easy.

I remembered a time when we were young, dad was working away twelve hours a day, farming and helping his father farm as well. Mom was with us all the time.

Things got rough between them for awhile. I think they wondered if they would make it.

Thankfully they stuck it out, thankfully they walked through that rough season. They stayed the course.

They've been together for 52 years now and here was dad standing by her bedside watching her sleep, putting her…

Farmers, It Takes All Kinds To Get The Job Done

I'm meeting with someone from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management tomorrow. They do routine checks just to make sure all farms are running as they should be. It's our turn now.

Of course I'm a little nervous. I always want to be sure I have everything just as it should be.

I know there is a lot of negative talk about farmers today. Talk about how we abuse the land, the waterways and even our animals.

While I can't say that never happens, I can say it hardly ever happens.

As with every type of job there are some who don't do a good job, you find that everywhere. I don't deny that sometimes happens in farming. I don't defend poor farming practices.

What I do want to do is promote the good farming practices that the vast majority of farmers use.

There are all kinds of laws and protections put in place to see that our land and the surrounding land is in no way harmed because of our farm.

We know the exact amount of litter/manure that leaves our …

As For Me and My House We Choose Simplicity

It seems everyone likes to read about a simple life.
It's an idea that comforts us and makes us think that there is something better out there.
We may not know how to have it but we like to think of those who do.

Often we think a simple life involves a little piece of land, maybe some woods and a garden spot.
We may think it means living off the land or having very little in the way of  worldly goods.

We tend to think of the, "Walton's" or "Little House on the Prairie" or even the Amish  when we think of the simple life.

What was it or is it that makes us think they had the simple life?

I'm sure Charles Ingalls and John Walton didn't feel they had a simple life.  They had a hard life. They had to work from sunup until sundown to take care of their families.  At times they had bills they couldn't pay.

The Amish women work  hard, lots of them still cook on wood cook stoves, They can only take a bath once a week.  What we look at and think is simpl…

What's Your Gift and Are You Living So That Others Can Tell

Have you ever been in a group, a study or a class where you were asked to tell what you thought you were good at or what your gift might be?

I have and I'm always so uncomfortable with that question.

I've always felt like to say what I might be able to do would be bragging, boastful or even prideful so I always just hem haw around when it's my turn.

While preparing for a recent Bible study it occurred to me that I don't have to feel like saying what I'm able to do or gifted to do is bragging or taking credit.

It's not because of me that I can do it.

If I say I can bake a good pie, I can only bake a good pie because God made it so.

If I say I can teach it is really saying, God has created me to teach.

To say I can't do what I'm gifted to do or to take the  credit for it myself  is really stealing honor from God.

Our gifts are meant to help our families, ours communities, churches and well, even the world.

Don't be afraid to embrace your gift.


Thank You For a Wonderful Year of Blogging About Home

I can't believe it but I've been blogging for just over a year.

Time really does fly doesn't it.

I love sitting here and going back and reading about our time together over the last year.

It's like I take whatever day I'm reading about out and live it over again.

I love to think about how alike we are, about how your family is like my family, your thoughts are like my thoughts, your home like my home.

That's why we connect, that's why we laugh  together and cry together.

We're all pretty much alike under it all, we have victories and failures.

We have days we don't like our spouses and days we think they hung the moon.

Days we think we've been good parents and days we wonder what in the world we could have been thinking while we were raising them.

Sometimes we adore our in laws and sometimes we want to move away.

Thankfully if we're honest with ourselves, don't think to highly of ourselves and keep the right focus we find our life blog or…

The Persimmon Pudding Recipe That Forced Me To Cry Uncle

I know I'm running the risk of making you all think I'm a persimmon freak by my daily mention of them.

But what can I say, the season is here.

The time is now.

The fruit is ready.

My friend Colleen and I have been talking back and forth about persimmons and of course last night our conversation moved on from the harvesting of persimmons to the making of persimmon pudding.

I have always adored persimmon pudding.

Both sides of my family made it but it is mainly my maternal grandmothers that I remember the most.

When Mark and I married I learned to love persimmon pudding in a whole new way.

You know how it is, you think everything your family does is the best and then one day you try something and there is nothing to do but cry, "Uncle."

His people have one upped your people.

Their way really is best.

So I did what we all do when faced with a hard fact of truth, I accepted it, I embraced the Gray way of making Persimmon Pudding.

My mother-in-law and her sisters are some…

Miss Kay a Modern Day Example of a Much Needed Lesson

Be willing to forgive.

I think one of the biggest lessons we can learn from the Duck Dynasty craze that is sweeping our nation is how important forgiveness is.

If Miss. Kay had not been willing to forgive and make no mistake about it, it was an act of the will forgiveness always is, she and her family  would have missed out on untold blessings.

When I watched the episode when they renewed their vows and saw Miss. Kay walk down the aisle  I wanted to cry.

None of what was going on would have been happening if she would have had an unforgiving heart.

Or if she had played the victim.

Or if she would have said she forgave but really made Phil pay everyday for his past.

If it wasn't real her children would have known it, our kids always know the truth about us.

They saw genuine forgiveness, grace and mercy in their home and it called to them.

Not everyone who offers forgiveness will become a millionaire and have a Duck Dynasty but they will sure have a dynasty.

Lack of forgiveness keep…

Manners, They Don't Have to Be a Thing of The Past

It's common now days to hear people say, "No one has any manners anymore."

Sometimes that seems true doesn't it?

Manners are harder to teach our children than they are to show our children.

I have the perfect example, once when the kids where small I was talking to them about manners, Lucas said, "Mom, I know what good manners are,"  I said "Okay, what are they?"  He said, "You should never wipe your hands on another guys  pants you should wipe them on your own pants?"

 See, not one time did Lucas ever see his mother wipe her hands on anyones pants and so he didn't do it either. 

But really, do we show manners in the home? 

Do we say please and thank you to our children?

Do they stand beside us in the store or sit with us in the car at the drive-thru and hear us tell the people waiting on us those words.

Do they see us stand to give our seat to the elderly?

Do our sons watch as their dad holds the door for a lady our give up his se…

A Country Mouse I'll Always Be

Someone asked a question today on my blog facebook newsfeed about how you feel when visitors to your home go into your bedroom or basically enter into rooms they weren't invited into or maybe you even have the door closed to.

I was going to leave a comment but something happened and I had to leave and then I couldn't find it again and can't remember which page had posted the question.

It hit with me though because it's a conversation I've recently had.

When mom and dad sold the farm and we moved to town or what we felt like was town since there was a house on the side of us one across the road and one behind us, anyway one day when we were moving in a boy walked across our front porch.

My brothers and I were simply stunned.

To think that someone would walk not only through your yard but up on to and across your porch on the way to the next house was to much for us.

It was like "of all the nerve."

We had been brought up you didn't go walking around on …

"Who Are You" Guest Blogger Lawrita Sleepe

I'm so glad Lawrita agreed to be our guest blogger. As I've said before Lawrita is the mother of Olivia's boyfriend Tim. Actually she is the mother of nine children. She and her husband Byron have seven sons and two daughters. She homeschools the seven children still at home and is a Doula. You can check out her page at
I hope you will enjoy hearing a word of encouragement from her.

"Who Are You"

Let me introduce myself. My name is Lawrita. I'm actually the  mother to Tim, Olivia's boyfriend. Like our good friend, Kelly, I am passionate about God, my husband, my kids and my home. I love doing what I "do," but I am learning that my identity is not in what I DO, but who I AM.
You know the drill. We get up and make sure our husbands are fed and out the door. We make sure our children are up and we homeschoolers either educate them (all while fearing we're totally messing them up) or send them out the …

The Anchor of Home

I guess with all that's been going on I'm feeling a little melancholy.

I thought about my grandparents on my dad's side.  Grandpa passed away first and Grandma a few years later.

Mark's Uncle Glen preached both of the funerals.

I can still see Uncle Glen standing there by the casket looking at my dad, uncles and my aunt and telling them how the home place wouldn't be the same anymore.

He went on to say once Dad and Mom are gone things change.

I thought of that today as Heidi and I took a few minutes to sit on the porch at the little house over at Lost River.

Two charter buses bringing the Amish in for the funeral went by along with lines of buggies.

Mark told me he had been talking to Mary's sons about losing their mother, and what she meant to them.

You know how I am about home, it seems to be where my mind always is and so I naturally started to think about what it means to a home or farm when it loses it's father. When I say home I'm referring to the…

My Signs of Fall, Your Signs of Fall, I Want to Know Them All

I've grown up looking for certain signs of the fall.

I see brown woolly worms, leaves of brilliant color, crops turned to brown or gold awaiting the harvest.

I see persimmons on the ground and the branches of Apple trees bending low to the ground with the weight of  their fruit.

I see dust flying above the rows of corn as the combine semi's and wagons roll through the fields.

I look for women driving into fields to deliver meals to waiting men.

I know to listen for the wind rustling the leaves of the drying corn.

I know it's fall when the bonfires and wiener roasts begin.

There's the clue of changing things as I step outside and hear the buzz of chainsaws off in the distance.  Or I see pickups pass the house loaded down with wood and a chainsaw or two along with a gas jug wedged in  on top of the wood just right so it will ride safely and still be there when they get home.

I hear women talking about getting the last of the garden laid by before Old Jack Frost stops by f…

All Aboard for the Lost River Trip. Jump On and Share Your Ideas

I'm so thankful for blogs and facebook.

You see I am so not a house person.

It never occurs to me to take people through my house or to go through other people's house.

I might walk into your house and think it looks nice but I could never go tell anyone else just how it looked.

Now my mother could. She would be able to describe your window treatment pattern perfectly.

She would give the details about what you had on your mantel or cabinet top and explain down to the last bloom the flower print of your dishes setting on your table.

Me, I couldn't tell that but I would tell someone whatever that was you were cooking sure smelled good.

I want my house to look nice. I want you to feel comfortable when you come but I'm not overly into d├ęcor.

So I know I have some things that need to be done. It's just part of upkeep and I know a lot of you love this type of thing.

I'm excited to hear your ideas. I look forward to you helping me do what I can't.

We'll start…

Amish or English It Doesn't Matter It's the Life Lived That Matters

I've been thinking a lot about the Amish.

It seems there are two main ways the average person sees them.

One is they think they are saints. They admire their simple lifestyles and think they would never do wrong.

Then there are those who don't like them at all.  They see them as old fashioned and repressive. They think they are uneducated and take advantage of the blessings of this country without giving back in military service or votes or even that they might be taxed differently or in some cases not at all.

I don't hold to either one of those ways of thinking.

I have seen an Amish steal at an auction, my grandparents auction. I've seen one drunk and heard them curse.

I have also seen them be there to help at a moments notice. I've seen them give all they have. I've watched as they take care of one another and those who aren't theirs.

I've talked to ones that love their way of life and I've heard a few say if they could leave they would.

You see, …

Sometimes You Just Need to Stay Out of It

Sometimes you just need to stay out of it.

Have you ever attempted to intervene in a family squabble only to have everyone end up mad at you?

Maybe you have tried to help a couple that was having a rough time in their marriage. You try to be there for them, you are understanding and then, they get it worked out and wonder what the deal was with you anyway?

Sometimes you just need to stay out of it.

Sometimes the best of intentions go south and things get worse.

Take Heidi and I for example.

When we were on vacation we left the condo and passed the pool on the way to the beach.

We saw a crab in the  pool and knew he couldn't survive there, so of course we thought we would rescue him and return him to the ocean.

He was so lucky we came along when we did.....or so we thought.

We got the big net down off the gate so we could catch him. 

It wasn't easy as it sounds. 

We accidentally knocked one of his big eyeballs off. You know how they stick up, well we knocked it off.

We felt …

Thoughts and Sounds of the Night

I don't know why but I can't sleep tonight.

So instead of sleeping I'm up blogging about the things on my mind and the things on my mind are things I remember about the night.

I remember staying all night with my grandparents on dad's side and sleeping in a feather bed;
or listening to the ticking of the clock while I laid in bed at my mom's folks. I remember how it sounded when their furnace kicked on and off too.

I remember kissing my mom and dad goodnight every night until the day I married.

Before dad sold the farm I remember how cold that big old house was in the winter. We didn't have any heat upstairs except for what just worked it's way up the stairs. I think that's why to this day I'm not as hardwood floor crazy as some are.  I know what it is to get up on a freezing cold floor and scoot around on the throw rug so your feet don't freeze.

When it was really cold mom would close off some of the rooms by hanging a blanket over them and I r…

How 84 and 82 Year Olds Picnic

I talked  to my mother-in-law the other day and she told me they were planning a picnic.

They were going to go to Spring Mill State Park.

If you remember Mark's dad is 84 and his mom is 82.

They still put out three greenhouses of tomatoes every year and work like they were still young.

She told me she had been so busy canning  so she just wanted to get away for a day and rest.

I'm awestruck and amazed as always at what she calls getting away and resting.

Let me take you on a picnic with my mother-in-law. She does it the same every time.

A day or two before the picnic she will get a clean tomato box and put it on the end of the couch.

During the next couple of days as she thinks of things she will add them to the box.

Matches, tablecloths, foil, camera, toothpicks etc. a jar of her candied dills from the cellar.

She will make her Potato Salad,  (the best in the world) on Thursday for a Saturday picnic.

Whatever dessert she will be taking will be made the day before.

Sometimes s…

The Day Our House Burned

When I referenced our house burning down years ago on fb this morning it reminded me I've never blogged about it.,

For those of you who know us and know the story I understand if you skip this one after all, you've heard it before so I'll catch you next time.

Our house burned down on  Sunday morning, Febuary 29, 2004.

They girls and I had spent Saturday painting the kitchen and utility room which we called the back porch.
It had been such a job I remember telling the girls I was never going to do that again.

I thought of that later and wished I hadn't said it because I never did.

Mark was down at the chicken barns and I was sitting on the couch looking at my Sunday school lesson when I looked up and saw smoke coming out of the kitchen.

I got up and went in there and then on to the back porch and there was fire running down the length of the ceiling and the length of the floor.

I went down to the cellar to check the wood furnace but it was fine.

I ran back upstairs an…

My Favorite Pie Crust for My Pie People Family

My family is more of a pie family than a cake family.

Me, I'm more of a cake person than a pie person but you now how we moms are, we give our family what they like so today I'm going to share my pie crust recipe.

I'm sure some of you already have it.

It's just a basic recipe that I got from my sister in law Susan, years ago when she and Mark's brother Keevin lived in Searcy, Arkansas while he was attending Harding.

It was more than the recipe though, I got to watch her make it.

I noticed how it all pulled together in the bowl and there was no flour left over at the bottom.

It was beautiful and she made it look so easy.

My mom, God love her, makes awful pie crust.  She always told us that she used to make it good until she gave her recipe to her friend Patty.

Then she goes on the tell us how there is an old saying that says you should never give a recipe away or you will never be able to make it again.

That's her story anyway and so far she is sticking to it.

The Example and Love of a Parent

Dad and mom have spent a lot of time over the last years helping us kids get our homes or farms in shape

They have cleaned and painted.

Papered and unpapered. ( might not be a word)

They have uprooted, planted watered and sprayed round-up.

They have shown up with furniture, curtains, tables, towels and sheets.

Whatever the auction buy was that week or what they thought we needed.

Sometimes it was bologna and cheese or Oreo's and milk.

They would say things like, "Kelly, you need to wash your front door, you know that's the first thing people see when the come."   Or mom might say, "You know a little bleach down that drain would take care of that smell now your dad doesn't like it when I do that, he says it messes up the septic but I do it anyway."

The other day they were over and dad was pulling weeds and cutting vines  at the little house while Jess was coloring moms hair. We looked out the window to see dad decorating the gator and himself.

Then he pu…

Some of My Favorite Back to School Things

Just a few more days and it's back to school for a lot kids.

I went to town  and the store had a back to school section sat up.

I went through it and enjoyed all the kids looking at the backpacks and the notepads.

I smiled at the mothers checking things off  their lists.

I touched the stacks of notebook paper and ran my fingers over the folders.

For the first time since 1993  I'm not buying back to school supplies.

Oh, Lucas has one more year of college left and Liv is starting her first year but that's different.

I loved being a home school family, I loved the back to school supplies and the excitement of opening the boxes when the UPS man brought the new books.

I also loved it the other day when I didn't have to load down the cart with paper and pencils and rulers and compasses and all the other stuff.

I was reminded once again that I really have and really do enjoy all the stages of mothering.

I loved it when they were in school and I loved it the other day when I p…

A Snake in the Basement and the Men Who Practice to Deceive You About It.

As most of you know the house at the Lost River farm is a large Old Order Amish built house.

It has nice new things that the Mennonites who bought it from the Amish added  but it still has a lot of the old things the Amish had salvaged and used when they built also. I love the way it all goes together but there is one thing I'm not crazy about.

The basement.

It has a partial block basement which is really more like our cellar.

There are open places and you can see the ground right under the house.

Yesterday evening I was getting supper  when the wrap room door flies open and Lucas and Tim come through the door. I could tell they were on a mission, they were going fast, not saying a word and carrying a big stick.

When I saw them go right to the basement door "Snake" was the first thing that came to my mind.

I said, "What are you guys doing? What's wrong?"

They said "nothing" but never looked at me.

Pretty soon I hear a noise then Tim comes back u…