Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Yesterday morning I woke up early and, like a small child, couldn't wait to see what surprise the night had delivered to us.  As predicted, we had a massive amount of snow on the ground.  I could hear the wind howling and see the snow blowing around outside our windows.  I turned on the tea kettle and grabbed the TV remote.  Not too surprising, there was no signal on the TV.  The satellite dish was covered with 10 inches of snow and could not receive a signal.  Bingo!  There was my excuse to go outside.  It was not quite light yet when I pulled on my husband's snow boots and his big Carhart jacket.  My pajamas completed the ensemble (you will have to use your imagination on this one, there will be no photos!).  As I stepped outside the quiet hit me.  I mean it was so quiet I could hear myself breath the cold air.  The wind had died down and was making the slightest whisper through the trees.  Tiny ice pellets mixed in with the snow and made a soft tinkling sound as they hit the ground.  I lumbered over to the satellite dish (about 20 yards away from the house) and used my gloves to wipe it off.  As I turned to follow my own footsteps back to the house I heard a tree limb crack in the woods.  I stopped.  I listened.  The sounds around me were so muted I had to pay close attention to hear them.  No traffic.  No animals scurrying about.  No vehicle noise from neighboring farms. I closed my eyes and just felt.  I felt the snow/ice pelting my bare face.  I felt the wind tickle my hair as it blew around me.  I felt the cold air on my cheeks.  I opened my eyes and noticed the fluffy snow piles on the trees and roof top.  I watched the tops of the mostly bare trees sway from side to side.  It was almost like I was the only person in the world.  I turned in a small circle oh so slowly, to take in the moment.  My little corner of the world was at peace.  It was beautiful.  It was quiet. I knew I was being blessed to experience this early morning wonder.  I did not want it to end, even as I longed for the warmth of the house.  It was one of those moments that you remember for the rest of your life.  I like to tuck these times away in my memory bank for when I need solace and calm.  This is the third such moment I have had in the last 10 years (one was in the mountains around Custer State Park, one was on an evening boat ride on Thomas Hill Lake).  As the day progressed, many frustrations and obstacles were placed in my way.  The electricity went out, my computer didn't work our tractor got stuck in the muck etc, but I had been centered.  I only had to close my eyes to remember the white and silent world I had been part of that morning.  It was mine and mine alone.  My moment of beauty on a 50 acre plot of land, in the Midwest, during a February snowstorm.  I am grateful for the rare experience and will hold it in my heart and mind forever.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

(Please Don't) Let It Snow!

This February may go down as one of my least favorites (weather wise) ever!  Last week we had a big storm deliver 11 inches of snow to us and work shut down for two days.  Yesterday we got 10 or more inches of snow and work was closed.  Our driveway is a mess, and our 4 wheel drive tractor
can't even make it through!  We were without electric most of the morning, and my darn keyboard is not working correctly!  Okay, now that my whinning is over, it is beautiful, we got to use our generator and all my family is safe!  This too shall pass, but I know for certain that spring will be very welcome this year.  I hope you are safe and sound wherever you are.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Winter Time Blues

Many of you have seen this sort of scene outside your windows this week.  At least if you live in the middle part of the country.  Our little town received 11 inches of snow yesterday in a virtual "white out".  I took both of these photos from our front porch.  And our puppy, who had lots of places to go to get out of the snow, chose to sit on the porch and look pathetic.  And pathetic is the way many of us have been feeling this week.  I believe most of the people I know are tired of winter and all it brings.
This was not the best week in my neck of the woods.  I found out that our agency did not get (re)funded for a program we have operated for 12 years.  The funding all went to the more urban areas of the state.  We lost a retired co worker and my husband's aunt passed away.  In fact, this week could have been called two funerals and a snow storm, since the storm collided with the scheduled funerals.  I made it to Aunt Joyce's funeral, but not the deceased co-workers.
Funerals are odd things.  There is almost a sense of relief when the one you love has ended her suffering.  On the other hand, the grief and sorrow the family feels is heart wrenching.  Aunt Joyce had 5 children.  They are all good people with good families.  She leaves a husband of 50 years who is lost without her.
Joyce welcomed me into the family with open arms 35 years ago.  She made me feel welcome and took me under her wing when I needed love and support.  You see, my husband's mother passed away just weeks before we were to get married.  She was 45 and had been in good health.  I felt like I had lost a second mother.  Joyce was a comfort and blessing in my early married years and helped ease my sorrow and pain.  Even though we didn't stay as close as we had in earlier years, I admired Joyce and her abilities and the love she gave to her family.   Joyce could cook up a storm and often fed dozens of hungry hunters during deer season.  She could sew and craft almost anything she set her mind to.  She was indeed a wonderful homemaker and a kind and loving person.  She will be missed by all who knew her.
Joyce's daughter, Toma, gave a loving, humorous and heartfelt tribute to her mom at the funeral.  I am not sure where she got the courage to write and read what she did, but it touched me deeply.  The memories Toma shared about her life growing up made me realize that the memories we make with our family are really the best legacy to leave.   I pray that the family can enjoy the sweet memories and overcome the pain of the loss.

Friday, February 8, 2013


It has been gloomy around here on the weekends, so the kids have been getting creative in the house.  They love to build a fort/tent/store/school with blankets and chairs.  I snapped the bottom photo after they pulled the dining room chairs, blankets and pillows into the sun room and set up shop.  I love to see the kids smile.  They are growing up so fast it makes me a bit sad.  We sorted through the art kit tonight, at Maddison's request and she had me get rid of several coloring books because they were "for babies".  For many years Maddie and I would sit at the bar and color or draw.  It was one of our favorite things to do.  I hate to think that those days are gone now.  We have had fun playing card games and had a long game of Uno tonight and a brief game of Old Maid.  It is becoming a tradition to have the kids spend Friday night with us.  I really look forward to this weekly event!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Great Balls of Fun!

This weekend was my family's Christmas/Winter get together.  We rented a large home at the Lake of the Ozarks (yes it was cold!) and 25 of us ate, played games and visited.  The food was delicious (subs, soups, waffles,  cinnamon rolls, chocolate cake, blackberry cobbler and homemade cookies).  My girls and I put together two "tape balls", one for the adults and one for the children.  The idea is to make a ball out of tape and prizes and take turns unrolling the ball to get to the prizes.  One player begins the unravel while one rolls dice.  When the dice roller hits doubles, the ball moves on, but the player gets to keep all the prizes he has untaped.  It was lots of fun to play and make!
In the past we have done "minute to win it", presents and riddles, silly sock game, and personalized t-shirts.  The goal is to have as much fun planning the activity as playing it!
I have to hand it to my family. . .  we are a large, diverse group, but we all make the effort to support and stay in touch with each other.  Quite a legacy to our parents.