Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lord, is this my path??

Well, life has been busy, VERY BUSY, here on the prairie. I have not had a moment to even sit down to compile any thoughts or events to write on my blog.

First and foremost in my life is this strong pull on my heart to go back to school. I have never even considered going to Bible College but this has been something I can't get off my mind for the past 4 weeks. It began during District Assembly in August as a small flickering ember and has continued to grow to a bright glowing presence in my mind & heart. It all began on our second day at District Assembly. After lunch I had taken a walk alone with my thoughts and God. If you have ever been to Lake Geneva Christian Center in Alexandria, you know how beautiful the grounds are and how easy it is to spend time walking and sitting near the garden with the Lord. (The picture above is a birdseye view of LGCC) Well, I decided to head back to the Worship Center a little early before our afternoon session. When I walked in the door I noticed a table up against the wall with some sort of information on it. I didn't even bother to spend anytime looking at those displays at all. (I feel badly now, because I really did neglect the information on those tables. I am sure someone worked very hard on each of those displays and I didn't even give them the respect they deserved.) Anyway, while walking past this table, I just KNEW that I needed some of the brochures. It was actually a feeling similar to a craving. I LONGED for some of these brochures. Why?? I didn't even know what they were! I did not need all of them, I did not grab them all, I craved this one and that one. Like there was some sort of purpose in the collection of these pamphlets. I took the brochures without even reading them, walked down to the pew an put them in my red Missions Convention bag. I didn't need to READ them, I just needed to HAVE them. I never touched these pamphlets again until late that night. After evening session I returned to my room. I spent quite a bit of time rewriting my notes from the incredible evening we had with Dr. Stan Toler. His words had touched my heart, mind and soul so deeply that I just had to rewrite them. After my shower, I sat down and read a few chapters of Joshua . After a while I remembered those brochures that I had placed in my bag. I spread them out on the bed and read them. I discovered that these were brochures from Nazarene Bible College. I was confused as to why I needed these brochures. I have never considered going to Bible College. I never wanted to go to Bible College. As I read these brochures I did realize that I was actually interested in the Women's Ministry pamphlet. I thought, "Maybe I am supposed to further my education in order to do the work that God wants me to...I have no idea at this time. There are too many obstacles in my way." After District Assembly, while driving the van back home to South Dakota I mentioned this to the folks in the van and one of the girls said "oh Joy, are you going to go to Bible College?!?" My only response was a nervous chuckle along with "Apparently God seems to think so!" Ever since then I cannot get this pull...this urge...this longing out of my heart. I am 39 years old, I certainly don't want to give up what little free-time I have to do homework. I have absolutely no idea how we will ever be able to afford tuition & books. Yet, I really do love the Lord. I have grown tremendously as a Christian. I do have a heart for God's work. I just don't know if this is what God wants me to do...but why would he put this on my heart & not let me get it out of my mind if he did not have this planned for my path? I mean, he TRULY will not let me get this out of my mind!! My husband and I have known for 2 years that God has brought us to South Dakota for a reason, we just didn't know why until recently. We have grown in our Faith by leaps and bounds since we joined Harvest Community Church of the Nazarene. We eagerly look forward to our time of Worship on Sundays and our Bible Study on Tuesdays. We actually look for ways that we can share the love of God in our day to day lives. Is this my path? My flesh says no, but my heart (the heart so full of love for the Lord - the heart that turns my face to Heaven & my hands to the sky to reach for His presence) says yes, this is what He has been preparing you for. This is why He brought you to South Dakota - to do His work, to be a stronger Christian, to be a part in the growth of His church in South Dakota, to be the hands and feet of God.

Well, I continue to sit back and watch the flesh battle with the heart. But yesterday I took a step. I called my high school and my college and requested my transcripts. I guess I will just have to see what God has in store for me.

**Update** After long consideration, prayer, fasting and seeking counsel with my Pastor, I now know that God truly IS calling me to Ministry. I start school in November! Thank you, Lord, for your awesome blessings on my life!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I know, it's been so long since I've updated my blog. Life just gets so busy that I never have time to sit down to write. I often find myself in the middle of a situation or I realize that I'm thinking about something that would be perfect for my blog. But before I get a chance to sit down at the computer the situation or thought has passed and is forgotten. I have to admit that the entry below was written about 2 weeks ago but have not had the opportunity, until now, to post it. I will try to stay current here on my blog. I have many new and exciting things happening in my life right now that I would love to share them with you all.

Tuesday night my husband and I joined a new Bible Study / Fellowship gathering. It was a wonderful time full of learning, spiritual growth, deepening bonds of friendship and being supportive of others in our Church Body. Even though some of the folks who usually attend could not be there it was still an incredible time. Since our Wednesday night configuration is currently "Under Construction" I find that sometimes I need the extra encouragement and fellowship to get me through until Sunday. This is definitely going to carry me on that spiritual high until I can be with the rest of the Church Body to praise, worship and be spiritually fed. Currently we are doing a study on the book of James. Tuesday night's study focused on sin. How do we get ourselves into situations where we could potentially sin? How do we justify our sin not only to others but also to ourselves? How do we hide our sin and how isolated do we become when we try to keep our sins from being exposed? What are the benefits to living a life of "Transparency" with other Christians? I feel so inspired and energized that I can hardly until we all meet again. What a blessing this is to me!!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

You do not HAVE a soul.
You ARE a soul.
You HAVE a body.

Just a few scattered thought that I have assembled for today. I know, there is no common thread but I just felt I better get these things typed up before they escape me. LOL

I believe in the power of prayer and healing. I have seen it work. I KNOW with all that I have and all that I am that the Lord continues to do miracles here on Earth. My Father-in-Law was diagnosed with liver cancer 5 years ago. His entire family has prayed for him. His friends and our friends have prayed for him. He has been put on many prayer lists over the years. I even went as far as having a prayer for him put on a small piece of paper and placed in the Wailing Wall. This month we received a call from my Mother-in-Law telling us that he had been to the doctor and they were shocked and amazed. The tumor has shrunk considerably on it's own. The fact that he has lived 5 years with liver cancer is a miracle in itself, but to have the tumors shrink with no type of treatment at all is evidence that the Lord has heard our prayers and is healing him as only the Great Physician can do.

Wednesday was my husband's 39th birthday. How on earth can we be 39??? We don't feel 39. We don't act 39. Without taking the time to calculate it out, that is just hard to believe. It's even harder to believe that next month we will celebrate our 15th Wedding Anniversary. It feels like we've only been married about 5 years. I suppose part of the reasoning for that is because we never had children. Our relationship never changed from the boyfriend/girlfriend (or newlyweds) to a relationship that included children, their friends and activities. We still go everywhere together. We still do everything together. We even go to the grocery store together. To this day, Rick will still reach out and take my hand to keep me safe when we walk thru the parking lot. He still holds the door for me. He will still ask if I need something to drink if he goes to the kitchen to get something for himself. I take special care not to take this for granted. I hear other women complain about how things have changed in their relationships over the year. I am not one of them. I am truly blessed that God found Rick for me and made our marriage happen. In the 17 years we have been together, Rick and I have only had 2 real arguments. This, of course, was before we were married and before we truly learned to communicate with each other. We both know that most arguments are caused by assumptions and/or lack of communication. We talk about everything. Even if it is just something trivial that happened during the day, we tell each other about it. If you always tell each other about what has happened in your day, or how you feel about things as you walk along in this journey together; there will never be any doubt or guessing that happens between the two of you. Neither of us are mind readers. We don't just instinctively know what the other one is feeling or thinking. We have to communicate those things to each other. I am so thankful that I have a husband that can communicate with me about everything. That makes our marriage virtually stress free and happy.

Remodel Update: The bathroom is finished. FINALLY... The Kitchen is on the agenda this weekend. Rick repaired the plaster wall and ceiling last week. So, this afternoon I will be packing up everything that I can and put it in the dining room. We will then tape everything off and cover the cupboards and appliances. Tonight we will get everything primed. Sunday and Monday will be a crazy paint-fest to try to get it all done. Then next week sometime the new kitchen light and the last finishing touches should be done. It's always so much easier in writting...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Less Talkie Talkie More Hammer Hammer!

As I've matured I have become a more patient person. I used to be a VERY impatient person and several times in my young and stupid days I asked God for patience. Apparently I must have thought that if you asked God for something like patience that he would just send it down in a small and shimmering white box with a bow made of pure gold, carried in the beak of a snow white dove. WHY DID I THINK THAT??? I now know that when you ask God to give you patience he sets you on a path that contains events that will TEACH you patience. It has taken many years, but I think I'm starting to get the hang of it. My house construction woes are starting to really try my patience though...

Here is the update on the Money Pit. I now have what resembles an outhouse in my home. The walls are down to the 2X4's, the ceiling tiles are gone, the floor is down to the old wood planks and there is a hole in the floor where the toilet should be. Yes, it looks very much like an outhouse.
In my, APPARENTLY, unrealistic mind I thought my bathroom would be back together by now, the walls in the kitchen would be intact and I would be painting my very own color choice in my beautifully clean kitchen with the windows wide open and the curtains stirring in the warm Spring breezes . Let's see... While my husband and the FIG stand outside and shoot the breeze I have an outhouse just off the kitchen, my toilet and bathroom sink are sitting in the kitchen along with construction debris and a shop vac, next to my microwave cart there is a box heaping full of insulation and ceiling tiles, The kitchen walls are still nasty old busted up plaster, there is dirt and mud tracked all over my house, it's cold and windy outside. Hmmm....I guess every girl has to have a dream, right?

Come on guys, let's get in there and get this done! Less Talkie Talkie More Hammer Hammer! Put that new floor down, you have it all cut to fit and even have the necessary holes in it! Get the new wall panels up NOW! It's only a 6X5 room, for crying out loud... Put those ceiling tiles back up, come on, come on! The linoleum should be installed, NOT in a roll in the garage! Get those PVC pipes hooked together and up through the floor! Now put the new ring down and get that toilet installed. Move the sink back in and hook her up! Now hang my medicine cabinet and the light back up, QUICKLY! Get the new wall panels up in the kitchen, put some plaster on the ceiling around the chimney, pack up your tools and get your Suburban OFF MY GRASS!!!

**Sigh** It seems so easy in theory, doesn't it...

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Plan...The House's Plan...2 Different Things

So here's what my plan was for this evening:

*Get chicken baked and supper ready for my hubby to eat as soon as he walked in the door.
*Our Fix-it Guy was due to arrive after 6:00 so that gave Rick about 15 minutes or so to chow down something before the guy arrived.
*Rick and the Fix-it Guy, I will just call him FIG, were set to pull out the toilet in my downstairs bathroom and put down a 3/4 inch piece of plywood, put the toilet back in and be done for the night.
*Since this was to commence at 6:00, I put supper in the oven at 5:00.
*Who should pull into the driveway at 5:15? None other than the FIG... He puttered around outside in the garage for about 30 minutes so I didn't bother with him.
*Of course this has changed my supper plans. Now Rick is going to have to wait until they are done tonight to eat. GREAT!

Wait. It gets even better. Every time something is being repaired in this house it develops into a huge repair much larger than originally anticipated. Nothing is ever a quick "tear that out and replace it with a new one." This situation is no different. They pulled out the toilet so they could measure the hole for the new plywood and discovered that the cast iron sewer pipe is cracked. This means the pipe will have to be replaced before the new floor goes in. Of course, since most of the floor is tore up this obviously means that "we're just going to pull out the rest of the bathroom floor so we can get to the pipe easier and then we can move the vent pipe into the wall like it should be." Seriously??? For crying out loud. Actually you would never hear me crying over the sound of the reciprocating saw I'm listening to right now. Guess what. The FIG doesn't really like to work with plumbing. This is a joke, right?? OK, so my husband is great with plumbing which means that he's going to be doing the plumbing and FIG will be...assisting? Of course FIG gets paid for this and my husband is just too kind-hearted to get pissy with the landlord and demand some sort of payment for his services.

Well, at 9:00 tonight they decided to call it quits for the night. My bathroom is a demolition site with nothing in it. My sink and toilet are sitting in my kitchen...Lovely... Previously the FIG said he would be here Monday and Wednesday to do this work but now he told my husband that he won't be back until Friday. It just keeps getting better and better...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Spring Means Change

God is good. Today is a partly sunny but cool day on the prairie. It's pretty breezy but it's Spring and I will take whatever Springtime weather wants to dish out. This weekend has been a time of Spring cleaning, preparing for change and anticipation of the new things in life. That's what Spring is all about, right?

What have I been cleaning? Everything. My cupboards are all clean, my windows have been washed and the curtains are all clean. I love the smell of the fresh Spring air coming through clean screens and curtains. My floors are clean and as shiny as can be expected. The hardwood floors in this house need to be redone badly, but my house is a rental and I am just happy to have them as clean as I can get them. My husband spent the morning in the basement sucking up cobwebs and some strange egg sacks of unidentifiable origin. I am praying they were the location of all the centipedes that were planning on invading my home this year. I hate those nasty things... do they grow in fuzzy egg sacks? Oh, I pray that was them! I am thankful that I had all my cleaning done before today because I received one last gift from my pharmacy job before I left. The stomach flu. Yep, I wash and sanitize my hands all day and I wash them again as soon as I get home from work. STILL, I brought the stomach flu home to share with my husband. I'm sure he appreciates my generosity...NOT!

What is changing? The nasty situation that is my downstairs bathroom and my horribly disfigured kitchen. The roof of our house is officially leak-free and my bathroom and kitchen will be under construction starting on Monday. On Friday, Rick and I met the fix-it guy at Menard's to pick out the wall colors and such. I can hardly wait to have my rooms put back together. My bathroom and kitchen belongings are still piled up on my dining room table which has been quite an inconvenience. We had to set up our card table in the living room so we had a place to eat during this time.

What am I anticipating? My new job and the exciting things I will learn there. I have been working as a pharmacy technician for the past month now and have suffered physically more and more each day. I have a knee that is less than perfect. I know I have mentioned it previously so I will pass on the details at this time. Each day my knee has become increasingly painful and more swollen. Right up to the last day it swelled up like a cantaloupe and hurt so badly that I was limping. During my recovery, I worked long and hard to get rid of my limp. I found it irritating, degrading and a sign of my weakness. I hate it when I limp, it makes me grit my teeth and feel frustrated with myself. If I am limping that means my pain is so bad that even I cannot bear it enough to keep that limp under control. Any-who....I start my new job on Wednesday. I am so excited about this job. I have prayed and prayed each day for God to show me what to do about the pain my pharmacy job was giving me. Please, Lord, show me what to do? Tell me what to do? The answer came via a phone call one morning. I had, long ago, applied for an Accounts Payable position at an unknown company. The advertisement did not say what company it was for and, quite frankly, I really didn't care. I was interested in the Accounts Payable position, not the NAME of a company. I interviewed for the job and loved the people I spoke with, loved the company and it's family oriented atmosphere, I loved the opportunities that are available for me in that office, I loved that they have profit-sharing on top of all the other benefits that they offer. I LOVE THAT THIS IS A DESK JOB! LOL I will keep you all up to date on my new employment and how much I love it!

One more thing to mention. Do you see this picture of these flowers? This is a picture of a few of the apple blossoms on my trees. We have more blossoms than leaves. Can you believe that?? We will have so many apples we are going to have apples everywhere. I have decided that I am going to make Apple Butter and maybe some Applesauce. Rick, of course will core, peel and slice quite a few to freeze for apple crisp. Maybe I will try my hand at some of those great canned apple rings...mmmmmmmmmmmm.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Missing in Action...

I know, it's been ages since I have posted anything new. I have not forgotten about my blog, I have just been busy. I promise that I will TRY to be inspired and do some writting this weekend. HUGS

Friday, April 2, 2010

Weight Watchers Oatmeal Applesauce Muffins

Very low-fat muffins and very filling. Delicious!

Number of Servings: 12
Weight Watcher points: 2

1 cup old fashion rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup non-fat milk
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 egg whites
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. apple pie spice

1. Soak the oats in milk for about one hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
3. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray.
4. Combine the oat mixture with the applesauce and egg whites, and mix until combined.
5. In a separate bowl measure and whisk the dry ingredients together.
6. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined. Do not over mix the batter or the muffins will be tough.
7. Spoon muffin mixture into muffin pan.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until done.
9. Remove from pan, cool and enjoy.

These can be frozen and reheated in the microwave for a quick breakfast.

Number of Servings: 12

Nutritional Info
Calories: 97
Total Fat: 0.9 g
Cholesterol: 18.1 mg
Sodium: 199.5 mg
Total Carbs: 20.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.7 g
Protein: 2.9 g

Weight Watchers Points: 1.70

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dangling The Carrot

This week I officially kicked off my new healthy lifestyle. I've always struggled with my weight but I am not going to struggle anymore. I am going to beat obesity. An old leg injury is causing me to become very unhealthy. I have shrugged my shoulders and given up because of it and I am not going to do that anymore. About 5 years ago I took a spill and injured my leg terribly. Since then I have had great difficulty doing activities that involve being on my feet. When I fell, I hyper-extended my knee, bending it the wrong way at nearly a 90 degree angle. I tore my ACL, my PCL, fractured my Tibia vertically and sustained 4 fractures in my kneecap. In a matter of seconds I went from able-bodied to wheelchair-bound. It was devastating. Once I was healed, I literally had to learn to walk again. During my fall I also injured my ankle causing me to have to wear an orthotic insert for my shoe for a few years. Ever since then I have had issues walking more than a block. I get pain in my ankle which spreads to the bottom my foot. I then realize that my toes are numb. It is difficult for me to even accept this. All of this will be taken care of soon, as I am going to make an appointment to see a podiatrist. I need to get my exercise goals on track.

I also need to get my eating habits back on track. How am I going to do this? Well, it is a combination of a few things. I have 2 high school friends who have recently inspired me. Celeste inspired me to start thinking about my own goals through her honesty and willingness to share her goals, struggles and achievements that she has made with Weight Watchers. She shares the most wonderful healthy recipes, and I LOVE recipes. Also, on Sundays, she prepares servings of food in containers and baggies so she is prepared for the week. This careful planning keeps you from just grabbing any unhealthy snack in reach when you are hungry. This has inspired me. I AM going to do this. By her willingness to share her excitement and her accomplishments, Kendra has inspired me to return to the SparkPeople website to give it another go. I joined the site over a year ago but never really did anything with it. Now I am using it to get meal suggestions, to track my meals, to track my exercise and to connect with others who can offer encouragement and advice.

Today I had a realization about myself. I am driven by rewards. There, I said it. LOL I've always known that I am not driven by money, status or public perception. But today, while reading the blogs on SparkPeople, I realized that I am driven by reward. THAT, my dear, is how I am motivating myself on this new path...with a carrot. Not an actual carrot, but a reward for each milestone, like the carrot dangled in front of the horse's nose. I am compiling a list of things that I want, which I will receive when I hit certain milestones in my weight loss journey. As a motivator for me, this is brilliant. I have things that I want which may be trivial things, but I am going to earn them. I also have things that I have longed for that I am going to earn. I haven't quite set my list in stone but here is a preliminary list.

Pounds Lost

10 = New keyboard for computer

20 = Good Neighbors series DVD's

30 = what do I put here???

40 = Engraved Anniversary ring

50 = Hotel stay

60 = Digital video camera

70 = New sewing machine

80 = New computer

Monday, March 22, 2010

FW:, FWD:, FORWARDS...good grief...

Do you read all those Forwards sent to your email? I am sorry. I may love you dearly. You may be the coolest friend I have or my most cherished loved one; but if you send me 10 emails at once that all start with"FWD:" chances are I won't be reading any of them. I truly love encouraging prose and cute pictures that tell me how much you love me. But I just can't bring myself to wade through all of those emails and line after line of other email addresses and pesky line breaks >>>> to find the ONE that will change my life. If you send me something once in a while, it's very likely that I WILL read it because I know that you have taken the time to decide if it really fits me. But if you send me every forward that hits your Inbox, chances are it may go unread. My dearest Uncle, Daddy Bill, sends me the most wonderful and thoughtful things. THOSE I read. I also read forwards sent to me that are not technically "forwards" at all. What I mean is they have been copied and pasted into a new email. If I open an email and see 20 lines of other email addresses that's it. I'm done. It's gone.
Aren't I terrible?? LOL

Saturday, March 13, 2010

We Now Introduce "Snow Goose Season 2010"

I am not necessarily the same woman I once was. Once upon a time I was a very "indoor type of girl". Now I am a fisherman's/hunter's wife. I can fish with the best of them. I cast my line farther than my husband. I have a very accurate cast - thanks to hours spent with my Poppy in his side yard with a fishing pole, a lead weight and a bucket. I bait my own hook, take off my own fish and even clean fish. I butcher deer with such perfection you would think that it had been done at a professional meat locker - thank you, Mommy for teaching me that. I hunt small game and turkeys. I don't care to hunt with people other than my family and my husband though. He hunts with his Minnesota friends during the Spring Snow Goose hunt. During this time I would rather take on other hunting party duties. Maybe someday that will change but for now I am happy that my current duties offer me more opportunities to photograph birds than to hunt them.

With our recent warm weather and heavy rains, the snow drifts and frosty white fields have disappeared to reveal ponds, heavily flooded fields and ditches. To humans this is a mess. To Snow Geese this is Heavenly. The Northward movement of the "snowline" is a signal to Snow Geese that they can migrate to Canada to start breeding. The goal of the Snow Goose hunting season is to reduce the population thus minimizing damage to crops. "Snows", as they are commonly called, do not travel in small flocks like Canadian Geese. They travel in huge flocks with other geese called "Blue Geese" ranging from 500 to as many as 100,000 birds. Yes, this is hard to imagine, but it is incredible to see. It is estimated that there are 4.5 million Snows that migrate back and forth each year. During their travels, Snows in mass, will pull up rye grasses by the roots and clear out wheat fields with ease.

Since the day I saw my first Snow Goose migration I have been in awe of this wonder of nature. It is amazing to see these huge flocks assemble into a mesmerizing spiral of birds in multiple layers of the sky. The sound of thousands of Snow Geese is unnerving at first; it somewhat resembles the sound of the movie The Birds. But as you watch and listen the sound is simply amazing. The landing formations of Canadian Geese - or "Honkers", as they are known - and Snows greatly differ. Honkers stay in their straight formation, set their wings and land. Snows are much more dramatic and beautiful. In unison, the flock swells and swirls like a white tornado, swooping and rising, always together as though tightly choreographed. When they take off it is equally exciting. I LOVE to photograph a "fly out" it is incredible to see 100,000 birds get up, all at once, like a cloud of black and white confetti rising from the field.

During Snow Goose season I am chauffeur, navigator, scout and photographer - oh, and cook. I always send the guys out with a warm breakfast - breakfast burritos are a big hit with hunters - and have warm soup or stew ready in the evening during the big weekend hunt. Today was the start of my Spring Snow Goose duties. The first flocks of Snows have begun to migrate through South Eastern South Dakota. Each and every time I find it amazing. My husband and I set out this afternoon to "scout" for geese. We spent a few hours searching for, following and observing the incoming flocks. During this scouting time we determine the common "flyway" that the birds are following and make note of any large concentrations in particular fields, ponds or other locations. This information will be of great use next weekend when my husband's friends from Minnesota come to hunt. Due to the extensive flooding we have in our area it looks as though the guys will not be able to set up in some of the locations they usually use. But we have noticed new fields and areas that the geese are feeding. This will definitely benefit the "Great Hunters" next weekend.

This is a mounted Blue Goose my husband shot last year.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Yes, I Am A List-Maker...And In Love with My 2720SL

Now that Spring has sprung I find myself spending more and more time making lists of things I need to get done, have to finish or would like to do once it is warm. Yes, I am a list maker. I believe it must be hereditary because my Mom is a list maker as well. I started making lists when I was in school. Back then it was lists of assignments, social events and household chores I needed to attend to. These lists were color-coded; a different color ink for a different type of list. Now that I am grown I have lists everywhere.

I have a sheet of paper in front of me, at the computer, at all times now. On the current piece of paper I have 3 different lists. I have listed bills to be paid - each one has been checked off as I paid it. I have a list of errands I need to run on Saturday. I also have a list of books I need to buy or find at the Library- OK, I don't NEED to get these books but I really WANT to. LOL

In my kitchen, I keep a running grocery list. This list is organized just as my Mom's list would be. In fact, if you walked into her kitchen right now, you would find her grocery list to be very similar to mine with food items on the left and other items on the right. My siblings and I laugh about the fact that my Mother's list has always started the same way: Milk, Eggs, Oleo... yes, it has always been Oleo, not margarine or butter. However, since we have been teasing her about this she has changed it to Milk, Eggs, Butter. LOL

On the end table next to my chair, in the Living Room, I have a list. This is my Spring/Summer list. These are things that I want to either accomplish or enjoy once warmer weather comes. This would include things like working on my flower beds, pruning the apple trees in my back yard, planting a small garden, take the boat out for some fishing and go camping.

Topping that list is CAMPING, of course. I am so excited to get our camper out this year. We have finally paid off the loan so she is all ours. I want to have that "home away from home" out on the road as much as possible this year. Of course, this will be at the mercy of our work schedules but we are definitely going to get to camp this Summer. I absolutely love our camper. It is a Trailmanor 2720SL. What is a Trailmanor? A Trailmanor is a fold-down pull-behind trailer similar to a Hi-Lo. A Trailmanor is the lightest and one of the easiest towing travel trailers. It has hard walls like a conventional trailer - no canvas - but it folds down like a tent camper for easy towing. Because of it's low profile, it only takes about one extra gallon of gas to tow a Trailmanor 100 miles. When my husband and I started out we were dedicated tenters. We spent many weekends, and 1 full week, each year camping in our tent at various Minnesota State Parks. Then we came to a realization: every time we go camping it rains at least one day. I believe this to be my personal curse since this has happened to me ever since I was a kid who camped with her parents. We grew weary of trying to dry out our supplies and bedding after each rainfall. We then graduated to a Napier Sportz tent that attaches to the bed of your pickup truck. This was unique, got us up off the ground, but was very limited in space. Because the Sportz tent only had room to put an air mattress in it, we still had to set up our old tent to use as a supply tent - which still had some damp spots when it rained. **Sigh** We then purchased a very old pull behind camper. This camper was waaaay back in the weeds on a farm and this baby needed WORK. But we pulled up our sleeves and dug in. My husband and I put new linoleum in, repaneled the ceiling, replaced the windows, made new curtains and sealed the roof. We LOVED this camper. We still needed to replace all the water lines and get the bathroom to work but it was so nice to have a place to go when it rained. We were loving the camper life, then we saw it...the Trailmanor. We were on our way home from New Ulm one day and saw this camper on a used car lot. It looked like a Hi-Lo but was priced MUCH lower. My husband had wanted a Hi-Lo for ages but they are very pricey and we just weren't financially ready for a commitment like that. After taking the tour, making sure the price listed was correct and finding out how easy it was to set up and take down I desperately wanted this camper. I NEVER make impulse purchases. NEVER EVER. But I was ready to drive to the bank right then and there. We told the fella we would contact him in a day or so. We immediately went home and hit the internet searching for information on this strange brand of camper. We had never seen a Trailmanor anywhere before. Since they are built in the South, that is primarily where you will see them. I have to say that I have only seen 5 other Trailmanors up here. I found out during my investigation that the price listed was incredibly lower than what this camper was worth. It was a steal. The next day we were proud owners of our Trailmanor and have been loving it ever since.
For the past few years we have not been able to get out in the camper very often. I had a terrible leg injury that prevented me from enjoying the camping life for a few years. Then our work schedules were pretty crazy for a while Also, a year ago we moved to another state and had too much going on. But this Summer will be different. This Summer we will discover new State Parks in a new state. We will walk and bike on new trails that we have yet to see. We will visit historical sites that we have never been to. I can't wait to set up the camper, put out that tacky green indoor/outdoor carpeting under my awning, hang my dragonfly twinkle lights, set out the lawn chairs and start the campfire. I long for those fun filled days and quiet evenings by the lake staring at the fire. I so look forward to those nights of stargazing and long uninterrupted conversations and laughter. I even look forward to those rainy days where my hubby and I can sit in the camper and play cards and board games. Summer 2010 here I come.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I have recently come across a great website with some Church-based comics. I just had to share this one with you. You can access these comics at

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My Mother, My Best Friend

Since my post about my Cousin becoming a mother, I have been thinking quite a bit about my own mother. My mom has taught me many lessons throughout my life. Obviously when I was a young child she taught me the basics of life. However, as I got older many of the lessons that I learned from her were not "taught" per se, but more of observations on my part...observations oh how I should live my life in order to be a good person. She is an incredible example.

My mother has always been the most loving and unselfish woman I know. She has raised 3 kids and always thinks of herself last. She has always had to be thrifty. She made us clothes. She could make us a good supper out of virtually nothing in the cupboard - hence, our love for "toast and goo". She was always willing to sacrifice any little bit that she had to for her children or to help someone else. She is the type of person that would give away something that she loved just to put a smile on someone's face. She very seldom sat down to rest because we always needed something - or at least we thought we did... I remember, as a child, how she would put an extra blanket on my bed in the winter, even if it was HER blanket. I remember so many times, when we were children, she would make sure we had warm coats or new school clothes even though she needed a new coat herself. She has instilled this in me, I now see, as I too find myself putting things back, in the store, so that I can buy things for others.
To this day she knows the exact way I like my scrambled eggs - she makes the best "milk eggs". She would either buy or make us a new pair of slippers every year even though we may not have outgrown our old slippers. Actually, she made us all slippers again for Christmas - and I mean ALL of us, her children and their spouses, her husband's children and their spouses and all the grandchildren. As you can see, she unselfishly gives of herself to each of us even now that we are grown. Even now, my mom lives her daily life showing love to those around her. She unselfishly gives of her time, her resources, her luxuries and sometimes even her sleep. Without any second-thoughts at all, she gives, not wanting anything in return except to be loved back. She doesn't always get that love in return but it does not stop her from giving.
My mother delights in making us and those around her feel special. This, for me, goes way back to my school days. On the first day of school, each year, my mother used to make us "smiley-face toast" and it meant a great deal to us. I recently did this for my husband on his first day at his new job, it really is a delight to do this. I am seeing more and more as I grow older that the actions that fill my heart with joy are actually things that my mother has done before me. Somehow, this woman actually taught me to be a kind, loving, selfless person simply by being my example.

My mother, along with my two grandmothers, taught me manners. I was taught manners that don't seem to exist as much as they used to. Not that kid, and some adults, don't' have manners now...they just aren't the same or maybe they just aren't as important as they used to be. Now that I really think about it, I wasn't taught only manners...I guess it was more about etiquette. I learned many of my manners from our family dinners and outings in public. We had to say please and thank you, have napkin in our laps, chew with our mouths closed, wait for everyone else to be at the table before you start eating and do not talk with food in our mouths. Yes, these are table manners. I also remember being told things such as; a lady does not slouch, a lady does not put her elbows on the table, don't' swing your feet in church - that one really irked my Grandma Waters - , don't put your lipstick on at the table, address your elders with respect and in an appropriate manner - Mr. Smith, Pastor Scott, Grandma Watkins, Uncle Bill; yes, I'm 38 years old and I still wouldn't dare call my Uncle Bill just Bill, that's not respectful, personal grooming is done in private - I recently witnessed a 17 year old in a restaurant cutting her fingernails at the table...good grief - and ultimately "Always be polite, as manners are how we show other that we have respect for them." I would not say that my mother or grandmothers would rival Hyacinth Bucket ~that's "boo-kay"~ in her efforts to "keep up with appearances" - that's a British comedy reference for those of you who follow. I would just say that my mother has good manners and wanted us to be raised to be respectful, respectable and polite.

My mother has always been the best friend I could ever ask for. Even as a teenager, I never really had a rebellious phase. I generally did what I was told, even today. Mother knows best, but that doesn't make me a pushover. Instead, it makes me someone who respects the advice of both my mother and my best friend who are one in the same. A mother's love is unconditional which isn't always the case with best friends. I can choose my friends, but I can't choose my mother. Ours is an everlasting bond. If I didn't often say I love her...well, I don't really know what would happen because I always tell her that I love her. She's my mother, my best friend.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Welcome Isaac Matthew / Not Everyone Can Be A "Poppy"

Sunday, February 28, 2010 my Cousin Katie had her first child. He is a beautiful baby boy named Isaac. After church, my husband, Rick, and I drove over to Sioux Falls to meet Isaac and to visit with my cousin, her boyfriend and my favorite Uncle who I have called "Daddy Bill" since my brother started calling him that when he was about 3 years old.

Isaac Matthew came into the world at 12:45 am weighing 8 lbs. 6 oz. and measuring 20 3/4" long. He is absolutely beautiful. He did not cry once while we were there. According to his mommy he did not really cry when he was born nor did he when given his Hep B Vacc. Katie has been blessed with a good baby.

It was so good to see my Daddy Bill. I don't think I have seen him since the Memorial Service for my beloved Aunt Chris, 5 years ago this April. He is my absolute favorite Uncle. Daddy, Daddy Bill, Poppy - those are the names he goes by now-a-days. He's very good at all the duties required of all of those titles. Not everyone can be a "Poppy" in my opinion. My cousin Jamie - often called "Jamie John" by the family, just as I am known as "Joy Jean" by the family - and I started calling our Grandpa Waters "Poppy" at a very young age. He has been known as Poppy by all of his wonderful grandchildren ever since. Our Poppy was a wonderful man. Poppy was loving, patient, kind and dependable. He is my hero and I hold him in the highest esteem possible. I once thought nobody could ever be another "Poppy." But now that I see Daddy Bill with his children and grand children I stand corrected. Only certain people will ever be able to fill the shoes of an actual "Poppy" and my Daddy Bill is more than qualified.

I have been really struggling with some sadness since we went to meet Isaac. I feel that I'm not exactly entitled to these feelings. These feelings should be Katie's, as Aunt Chris was her mother and I'm just one of the cousins... I wish Aunt Chris had been there. Oh, I know she was THERE and probably had been since Katie checked into the hospital on Friday night. Kate is sure her mother was with her the whole time. But I wanted her to be there in body. I wanted to see her hold Isaac. I wanted to watch her hold Katie's hand. I wanted to hug her. I wanted her to put her coat on and leave with us, riding down in the elevator, walking across the parking lot with my Daddy Bill.

I miss you Aunt Chris and I love you dearly. By the way, Isaac looks a great deal like you in his face. He is definitely your grandson.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

This is a conversation that my 4 year-old nephew just had with his mother, it is so cute:

"Mommy, why are your eyes blue?"

"Because God gave me blue eyes."

"Mommy, why are MY eyes blue?"

"Because God gave you blue eyes."


"Mommy, Did God give you to me?"

"No, God gave YOU to ME."



From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise... Psalm 8:2

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I'm Thankful I Don't Own This Money Pit

The weekend after Christmas in 2008 my husband and I moved into our rental home in South Dakota. Why did we decide to rent? Well, we have learned from past experiences that you really should know a neighborhood before you choose to purchase a home there. We were so unfamiliar with the neighborhoods in Mitchell that we really felt it was best to rent a home and take our time deciding where we would like to buy. In the long run, this rental house has taught us quite a few lessons. I guess we should be thankful for that... Thankfully we did not choose to buy THIS house. That's where I will start with my thankfulness. Here is why we celebrate the fact that this is a rental house and not our own...

The first night were were in our home we noticed that the floor in the living room seemed awfully "bouncy" in one area. Rick went down into the basement to investigate and immediately called the landlord. One of the main floor joists was completely split. This was repaired about a week later. Repair is such a strong word.... the "contractor" screwed a board onto the joist covering the crack. He didn't run the board the whole length of the room, which would have been the right way to do it. But you have to understand, building and repair work is not done the same way in South Dakota as it is in Minnesota. In Minnesota things are done right. Things are repaired correctly or often completely replaced. The work we have seen in our year in South Dakota has somewhat resembled "band aid" fixes and shortcuts.

Two days after we moved in I tried to use the oven to make a quick Totino's Party Pizza. Just a quick lunch while we were unpacking and settling in, right? Nope. The oven would come up to temp then shut off. It would not turn back on unless I turned the temp up higher. It took an hour of switching back and forth from oven to broiler to cook a 15 minute pizza. The landlord had the appliance people come over the next day to look at it and they said they needed to order a part. 3 days later the landlord called and said he had to replace the whole stove. Another day later I had a newer stove. In the meantime I had to resort to doing all of our cooking on stove top or in the microwave. Well...that didn't work very well either. Every time I tried to turn the microwave on the circuit would trip. I figured there was too much "juice" coming out of that circuit so I rearranged my kitchen and moved the microwave to the other side of the kitchen. Reset the clock, set the time, hit start...tripped the breaker. I moved the microwave out into the dinning room, reset the clock, set the timer, hit start...tripped the breaker. My husband went down to turn all those breakers back on - I was in tears by now - and noticed that they were all HOT. Great... broken joists, bad electricity...can we just load the truck back up and move back home??? Well the electrician came 2 days later to investigate. Whoever installed the breakers - and the landlord said he had it all inspected before we moved in, Right.. - did not tighten the screws that held the wires in. The loose wires were arching and actually melted 2 of the circuit breakers. The breakers were replaced and ALL screws were tightened. We breathed a sigh of relief. Finally all the bugs were worked out and we could get on with our new life in South Dakota.

In the spring of 2009 we woke up early on a Saturday morning to the smell of sewer. Oh yes, a lovely porta-potty smell to greet you as you awaken...NOT. Rick went into the basement to find that sewer water - well, it wasn't all water... - was backing up the shower drain in the basement. Some idiot had built a shower over the only floor drain in the entire basement. Well, the plumber came right away and cleaned out the pipes to find lots and lots of tree roots in there since the house had been vacant for quite some time before we moved in. I gritted my teeth, got to mop and scrub sewage from the basement floor with no floor

All during the Spring and Summer of 2009 we battled a leaking roof. We knew there had been a leak in the past because when we moved in they had just replaced the sheetrock in the dinning room - horrible work and horrible painting, I must add. Typical SD construction work. We were under the impression that the leak had been fixed and this is why they were fixing the interior of the house. still leaked...actually it still leaks to this day. Every time it rained hard we called the landlord to report that the ceiling was leaking. He then would call this guy named Karl. Oh yes, Karl... Karl has been here at least 30 times to work on the roof. He arrives with a ladder and his trusty tube of silicone caulk. Yep, that's all he fixes with, silicone caulk. The leaks have gone from bad to horrible with the help of Karl and his super duper silicone work. The landlord kept telling me "If this doesn't fix it then I am calling another contractor." Yeah, if I had a dime for every time he said that... With the work that Karl has done the leak is no longer just in the dining room. It has now moved to the kitchen and bathroom. On a good day it will come pouring in thru the ceiling of the bathroom.

On January 9th of 2010, my husband and I discovered that there was black mold in our kitchen and bathroom from the roof that has been leaking since before we moved into our house. It's no wonder why I've had pneumonia 2 times in the past year. The landlord and his fix-it guy came in and tore it up and sprayed it down with bleach on January 18th. I still don't think they got all the mold out... The landlord said "Don't worry, Joy, we will clean up the mess." Well, it was never cleaned up until I did it myself. HOWEVER, this new development has finally pushed the landlord to seek our a REAL contractor. His name is Dave. Dave came in and looked everywhere and came up with some interested conclusions. "Everywhere Karl has shoved silicone caulk has been below the actual problem. The issues are higher up than that. Everywhere he has put this silicone caulk has just damed up a place for the water to drain away. That's why it's pouring into your bathroom and kitchen now. You also have an issue because of condensation due to little or no insulation in the attic." He brought the landlord over and showed him all the problems. The landlord called me last week and said that Dave would have a crew over in the next week to 2 weeks to fix the roof. The inside of the house cannot be fixed until the roof is fixed. My life cannot get back on track until my house is back together again. My kitchen and bathroom things are in boxes on my dining room table. My bathroom sink - by the way this is only the 1/2 bath off the kitchen, not our main bathroom - is sitting in my kitchen. I have included some pictures to show my belongings that had to be shoved into boxes and sent out to live in the dining room. I also have a picture of the chimney in the kitchen where they removed the paneling and just left it like that since January 18th. My bathroom is just a toilet, no shelves, no sink...oh yeah, I have a picture here of the sink in my kitchen...

I'm thankful I don't own this place...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hello, I am Joy

I am pretty new to the whole world of blogging. I read them often, especially blogs written by friends and family. I gave blogging a shot a few years ago but quickly lost interest and moved on. I wonder what I should write I have anything interesting to blog about? Probably not, but I'm going to write anyway. What will this blog be about? Well, I guess it will be about everything in my life. This will probably evolve into something more specific, but at this time it is just a compilation of stray thoughts, recent events and my observations of the things around me. While this blog is a home for these stray thoughts, I hope it will be a blessing to those who stop by.

Let's start off with an introduction:

I am a Christian woman who moved from Minnesota to South Dakota in January of 2009. By Christian I mean someone who is born again by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I thank God for His patience and grace as He leads me along day by day.

I have been happily married to my prince in camouflage for almost 15 years. We have 3 rat terriers. Winchester, also know as Winnie or Cubby, is 10. Dakota, also known as Cody or Baby Girl, is 4. Sophie, who does not have a nickname yet, is 9 weeks old.

I enjoy growing as a Christian, travel, reading, some crafts, sewing, camping, cooking, movies and music. I love to study. I find myself interested in so many things in this world and feel the need to really dig in and learn as much as I can about things.

What do I dig into? I love to research so many things. Since we recently moved to South Dakota, I have spent a great deal of time learning about this state. Where do you go? What can you do? Why are the counties named the way they are? Why are Native Americans treated so poorly here? You would think that South Dakota would be so accepting and proud of the Native American culture that they are blessed with... Also, when we moved to South Dakota I became familiar with some of the Hutterite Colonies in the area. I really wanted to know more. I read all about them. I have spent time speaking to the women on the colonies. I have learned some of the recipes they cook regularly. I have learned about some of the day to day events as well as some of their special events. I enjoy learning about other cultures and the way others live their lives. As I learn about more I will share them with you.