Friday, August 20

A story I heard from Ball

Ball is an older man who lives at the resort. He always has a story to tell. Thought this one was worth sharing, I found it quite interesting.

After the tremendously unpopular Vietnam War, the US government moved a large oriental family into Ball's community. The family was given a house and a vehicle, and the man of the house found a job at the plant where Ball worked. Since he couldn't speak English, the man's son also got a job there to translate for him.

Everybody was sure that the oriental family was Vietnamese, but the government kept saying they were from Cambodia or someplace, and that they were never at all involved in Vietnam.

Well, one of the men who worked at the plant had been in Vietnam and one morning when the oriental man walked in, he shouted something in Vietnamese, and immediately the oriental man hid beneath a bench. I am not sure what the man said in Vietnamese, but from that he could tell that this Vietnamese man had fought on the front line.

Ball has been known to stretch the truth a little, but I thought it was an interesting story regardless.

Thursday, April 15

Soap's up

I just finished listing soaps on Etsy. Go check 'em out! You can find a link on the left side of the blog or on the info tab of my Facebook profile. If you're local, give a holler... I've put some of each aside for my local customers.

Here's what I ended up with:

June Garden
Lemon Verbena
Cedar and Spice
All Natural Cooling Mint
Cucumber Melon
Clean and Fresh
Lavender Mist
Woodlands Shaving (vegan)


Thursday, March 11


Life is much like a large city, there is always something going on, you always have somewhere to be, and every time you look up to see something, you fall behind. That's about how I feel right now.

I feel like I'm standing on a ball, trying to juggle school, housework, family time, a social life, and me time. Every time I stop to do one thing, I fall behind on the others and there's a domino effect; everything tumbles out of order. I lose control and start slipping off my ball. Every time I finish one task, two more have taken it's place. Every once in a while I jump off my ball and curl up under the covers hoping everything else will magically disappear and my life will be perfect, but then someone tells me to wake up and pull my weight, and I'm at it again.

Sometimes I get really into it and can even get ahead in some areas, but usually I am just working at keeping up, and the thought of being ahead is only like a distant boat that I'm not on. Sometimes the stress can get ahold of me and I start making excuses, blaming one thing on another, but really the only way to make it better is to zip it and keep moving on.

As I fumble with all the different parts of my life, I watch other people doing flips and making jokes, never noticing when they land on their heads of start slipping from laughing so hard. All I can see is how well they are doing and wish that I could be like them.

Right now is one of those times. I feel like everyone around me has their life perfectly under control while I'm struggling to stay balanced. Like everyone is completely oblivious to the fear I have of falling behind, and the embarrassment and pain of having everyone stare as I fall and land on my face.

But now I've exhausted all my time on this area of life and must move on to something else before I take a tumble. Until next time, remember, we all take a fall now and then.

Wednesday, March 10

Mozilla Thunderbird

A year ago today I got Mozilla Thunderbird as my email program and even though I didn't like it an awful lot better than my old program, I knew that today, March 11th, 2010, I would have to make a blog post about this.

In the past 365 days I have received:

9141 emails from Facebook or Twitter

168 personal emails related to trapping

484 personal emails not related to trapping

1929 junk emails, spam, or sensitive information that needed to go down the memory tube...

2969 of those emails were for friend requests confirmed or received

... for a total of 11,722 emails received.

Not to mention the 216 sent.

I wouldn't say Mozilla Thunderbird is any better than any other email program, especially since I can't change the language. Oh well.

Wednesday, March 3

It's soapmaking time again!

During the month of March, I plan to make soaps in the following scents:

  • Clover & Aloe
  • Lilac
  • Lemon Verbena
  • June Garden
  • Gingivere
  • Cooling Mint
  • Cucumber Melon
  • Clean & Fresh
  • Lavender Mist
  • Woodlands Shaving Soap
I also plan to make a gardener's soap and try a blend of oils that is supposed to work as an insect repellant. I might even make another batch of Cedar and Spice, since that's a favorite.

I will probably offer most or all of the scents for sale in my Etsy shop and locally. Because I'm making so many different types, most batches will be relatively small. Since the cure time is a few weeks, I wanted to get the word out now. If you think you might be interested in buying more than a bar or two of any of the scents listed above, let me know soon so I can adjust the batch size if necessary. If you try it and decide you want more later, I can still go back and make more... just remember it takes a few weeks to cure.

Thanks for helping me support my hobby!

Tuesday, February 16

Homekeeper's Journal ~ 2/16

Here’s What’s Happening...

In My Kitchen: Three of the children are cleaning up after a pancake feast. Three carrot cakes are still waiting to be frosted or frozen (maybe both). Later we'll be making meatloaf, potatoes, and asparagus. Yum!

With The Children: The older two are juggling school and additional work responsibilities. Toby is toying with the option of getting his license, and has discovered texting. Jon is looking at the onset of puberty. Mike is outgrowing his clothes. Grace is improving her reading skills... will be in this stage for a while, but it's always exciting!

What I’m Reading: Giants in the Earth, by O.E. Rolvaag. I plan to follow it with the sequel, Peder Victorious.

What I Have Been Learning: Lots of random tidbits! Uh-huh... and my mind is making new connections, too. I just can't put my finger on any of them to share with you.

What I’ve Been Noticing: I tend to think a lot, but not very well.

On The Back Burner of My Mind: Finances. I have a priority list a mile long, and need to make sure it's in order and that I stay on track as our situation changes.

In The Deepest Darkest Recesses: I'm very uncomfortable with several aspects of my life right now, and praying for direction, courage, and strength to press on.

Friday, February 5

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day has never really concerned me. After all, it's all about giving chocolate and red and pink heart-shaped cards to your sweetheart, and since I have never had a sweetheart, it just never really mattered to me. Well, a couple of weeks ago that changed.

Now, before you start thinking that I've gotten a boyfriend and gone all weird and romantic on you, let me explain myself. I love History. I love History so much, that when my Mom asked me to teach my younger siblings World History, I jumped at the chance. Since then, I've been teaching my siblings, and have been learning just as much as they have.

We recently learned about how the Valentine's Day tradition began, and I was surprised when I read it. To explain all this, I'll take you back to ancient Rome around the year 269 A.D. in February. During this time period, Christians were being persecuted for their faith by the Romans, and there was a Christian priest named Valentine who was about to die for his faith. Valentine died on February 14th, the day we know as Valentine's Day.

So what do chocolate and heart-shaped cards have to do with this? Well, the Romans had a holiday known as Lupercalia that they celebrated on February 15th. On this great feast day, young men and women would pair up and spend time together and even exchange gifts. Some of these couples would even marry one another as a result of this courtship.

So what about Cupid? Did he come from this? And how did a martyr and a Roman holiday get put together? Well, Cupid was supposedly the Roman god of love, and if you got shot with one of his arrows, you would fall in love! In 495 A.D. Pope Gelasius decided to replace Lupercalia (February 15th)with the remembering of Saint Valentine (February 14th).

Although it has held the name of the martyr Valentine, we've made Valentine's Day more like Lupercalia. So this Valentine's Day while you're buying chocolates for your honey, or better yet, eating chocolate from your honey, spend a minute and think about Valentine, the priest who died for his Christian faith.


Thursday, February 4

Of Mice and Men

I was recently assigned the book Of Mice and Men to read. I had seen the movie when I was a little younger, so I knew the story line, but reading it really made clear the troubles of the Depression.

Of Mice and Men is about two men looking for work together. George is a smart but rather cynical man, and Lennie is a tall, hardworking man with limited mental abilities. Knowing that the Depression was a hard time to get work, I was surprised when I realized how dedicated George was to Lennie. Not only was Lennie someone that George had to supervise all the time, but he was also a threat to every job George could find.

I was even more surprised when I found that the two weren't even related! So here's a man who could be fending for himself that chooses to look after someone who is even less fortunate than he is! That got me thinking about how self centered our culture has become. We've gone from looking after one another to thinking of ourselves first. Nowadays if people were put in that kind of position, many would choose to leave Lennie behind and worry about themselves. After all, they'd reason, they had it hard enough already. Why go and take on an unnecessary burden?

What about you? Would you be willing to take care of someone you aren't even related to? Even if they cost you your job? Why or why not? Just something to think about.


Saturday, January 30

Random things that make me happy

  1. snuggling with my kids
  2. cardinals
  3. lilacs
  4. the smell of spring
  5. the smell of fall
  6. the smell of rain
  7. the smell of snow
  8. silence
  9. watching my kids figure something out
  10. getting all the bills paid
  11. the smell of hot sand and pine trees
  12. being home alone
  13. the idea of grandchildren
  14. back rubs
  15. a successful vegetable garden
  16. fresh-picked, sun-warmed plums
  17. setting off on a road trip
  18. a breeze on a hot day
  19. pileated woodpeckers
  20. nap time

Friday, January 22

Sharing my work

Whether we got complaints on my last post or it just didn't quite make the cut, I have been mercifully assigned the opportunity to redo this task. I will show my real work this time, instead of just my quotes.

Before I share it with you, I must tell you a little. See, I don't actually write in my journal in the Roman alphabet like typical humanoid beings in America. I use an ancient writing system, and this paragraph successfully explains why while telling a story and capturing the thought process of young Americans these days, in case you hadn't already heard the bad news. Anyway, this alphabet does not have all the same sounds as our beloved Roman alphabet, so I have corrected any misspellings for your sake.

"Why do I use runes within these pages? People stopped using runes a thousand years ago. And why do I still use them? To restore tradition? No, English speaking people are too far gone for that. To hide what I say? No, most of this nonsense I would not be afraid to show the world. What is there to hide? Do I write in another two alphabets to impress people? Miserable folly: it is hardly an accomplishment, and what of it is impressive impresses nobody. Do I do it because it is easy? It is easy now to say such, but there was a time when that was not so. I think that that is my real reason now. When I started I was a silly preteen whose world revolved around being a spy in the war between the sexes, a stupid... conflict twixt misinformed or superstitious children, which relies heavily on the belief in the presence of cooties (an indescribable but undesirable parasite in twentieth century mythology) in the opposing party and its sympathizers. I think my idea was to make my messages more resistant to interception, but I soon realized the whole war was pointless. If the girls had cooties, they were not going to lose them no matter how much information I intercepted. But as I discovered the facts, I kept using Anglo-Saxon runic for secrets. But now I think runic characters are more efficient, and that is why I still use them. It takes fewer characters to write the same word in these runes, except for a few rare situations."

There you have it. Unfortunately, that was about the most profound thing I have written in my journal so far. Let's just say it was slightly embarrassing to put that on the internet.

Thursday, January 14

Sharing my work, er, quotes

I wonder if you would really be interested in reading most of my work. I'm guessing not. I wouldn't be. So I have decided to share with you the product of the bridge between work and play, and that is some of my favorite quotes from books I've read for pleasure. Because half of them are for humor and the other half are for business, and this is supposed to be about work, we will try and stick with the business ones, but you might laugh at some of them anyway. Just don't tell.

"But then there are the other kind, those... who never do good, because they don't know how to and won't listen to any advice... Naughtiness can grow and grow, like a marshweed, until it turns to badness, then if it continues there is only one word for it: evil!" Bella in "Outcast of Redwall"

"You read me like a book. I do have a secret, but trust me, all will be made known to you in the fullness of time." Methuselah in "Redwall"

"Don't be ashamed to weep; 'tis right to grieve. Tears are only water, and flowers, trees, and fruit cannot grow without water. But there must be sunlight also. A wounded heart will heal in time, and when it does, the memory and love of our lost ones is sealed inside to comfort us." Cregga in "Taggerung"

Here I'll cheat a little bit. See, I enjoyed "As You Like It" so much that even though it was for school, I would read it again for pleasure, so I don't mind putting some of its quotes here.

"In respect that it is solitary, I like it very well; but in respect that it is private, it is a very vile life. Now, in respect it is in the fields, it pleaseth me well; but in respect it is not in the court, it is tedious." Touchstone in "As You Like It"

" 'So so' is good, very good, very excellent good, and yet it is not; it is but so so." Touchstone in "As You Like It"

"Then learn this of me: to have, is to have; for it is a figure in rhetoric that drink, being poured out of a cup into a glass, by filling the one doth empty the other; for all your writers do consent that ipse is he: now, you are not ipse, for I am he." Touchstone in "As You Like It"

"Therefore, you clown, abandon,-- which is in the vulgar leave,-- the society,-- which in the boorish is company,-- of this female,-- which in the common is woman; which together is, abandon the society of this female, or, clown, thou perishest; or, to thy better understanding, diest; or, to wit, I kill thee, make thee away, translate thy life into death, thy liberty into bondage: I will deal in poison with thee, or in bastidano, or in steel; I will bandy with thee in faction; I will o'errun thee with policy; I will kill thee a hundred and fifty ways: therefore tremble, and depart." Touchstone in "As You Like It"

"I did dislike the cut of a certain courtier's beard: he sent me word, if I said his beard was not cut well, he was in the mind that it was: this is called the Retort Courteous. If I sent him word again, 'it was not well cut,' he would send me word he would cut it to please himself. If again, 'it was not well cut,' he disabled my judgement: this is called the Reply Churlish. If again, 'it was not well cut,' he would answer, I spake not true: this is called the Reproof Valient. If again, 'it was not well cut,' he would say, I lied: this is called the Countercheck Quarrelsome: and so to the Lie Circumstantial and the Lie Direct." Touchstone in "As You Like It"

"I will name you the degrees. The first, the Retort Courteous; the second, the Quip Modest; the third, the Reply Churlish; the fourth, the Reproof Valient; the fifth, the Countercheck Quarrelsome; the sixth, the Lie with Circumstance; the seventh, the Lie Direct. All of these you may avoid but the Lie Direct; and you may avoid that too, with an If. I knew when seven justices could not take up a quarrel, but when the parties were met themselves, one of them thought but of an If, as in, 'If you said so, then I said so;' and they shook hands and swore brothers. Your If is the only peace-maker; much virtue in If." Touchstone in "As You Like It"

Now on to the LOTR quotes. LOTR geeks, unite and rejoice. Innocent civilians may leave at any time.

"Tell me what you want done, and I will try it, if I have to walk from here to the East of East and fight the wild Were-worms in the Last Desert." Bilbo in "The Hobbit"

"Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway." J.R.R. Tolkien in "The Hobbit"

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." Bilbo in "The Fellowship of the Ring"

"Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can't be right." Bilbo in "The Fellowship of the Ring"

"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater." Haldir in "The Fellowship of the Ring"

"Yet you speak the truth, that is plain: the Men of the Mark do not lie, and therefore they are not easily deceived." Eomer in "The Two Towers"

"But there, my friends, songs like trees bear fruit only in their own time and their own way: and sometimes they are withered untimely." Treebeard in "The Two Towers"

"For I was talking aloud to myself. A habit of the old: they choose the wisest person present to speak to; the long explanations needed by the young are wearying." Gandalf in "The Two Towers"

"We boast seldom, and then perform, or die in the attempt." Faramir in "The Two Towers"

"But nay: the praise of the praiseworthy is above all rewards. Yet there was naught in this to praise. I had no lure or desire to do other than I have done." Faramir in "The Two Towers"

"...adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say. But that's not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually -- their paths were led that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn't. And if they had, we shouldn't know, because they'd have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on -- and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end." Sam Gamgee in "The Two Towers"

That concludes this blog post. I just finished The Two Towers and plan to read The Return of the King soon, so stay tuned!

Thursday, January 7


Comfort could be defined in several different ways. It could be snuggling up on the couch with someone you love and watching a sappy movie. It could be eating that bowl of oh-so-good potato soup. Or it could be sitting in front of the fire watching the flames and getting that really sleepy feeling. Whatever it is, we often think of it as stopping and taking time to enjoy something.

For me, comfort is found in the country(as well as, I admit, in all the things mentioned above). Having lived in the country almost my entire life, I really love the peaceful atmosphere here. Sure, I have work to do, but I can always slip outside and watch the grass dancing in the wind or take a bike ride down a dirt road, or lie down in the snow and look at the stars. Here I am surrounded by God's magnificent creation, and I can truly enjoy it.

On the flip side of that coin, whenever I'm in a city everyone has something to be doing or somewhere they need to be going, and for a while it's fun to be going everywhere and doing whatever is cool, but after a while I feel trapped in a rat race and I long for the comforts of the country lifestyle.

Surely there are comforts of living in a city, but I would prefer watching the deer walk through the orchard over being able to walk to the grocery store or the movie theater.


Comfort is a great thing. You know, I actually sometimes cry? (Orange alert, write this down, Toby is a normal mortal person.) It's true. And when I am busy crying, I generally don't want to be bothered. When I'm sad, I'm cranky. It comes with having a great attitude the rest of the time (if I may say so). Comfort is when I fall asleep in the middle of it and waking up to find that the house isn't cold.

Every once in a while I have this itch to read a great book. There are some really great books out there, but you have to actually dig to find them sometimes, which can mean hours spent looking before you find it. Comfort is finding the book and reading it with a cup of cocoa and a bowl of raisins.

Sometimes you don't have to dig to find the great books. Sometimes they come to you. That's when the real comfort starts kicking in, when you can curl up with a great book without having had to look for it for hours.

Comfort is walking around town barefoot looking for agates by the train tracks or in the park.

Southern comfort is the same principle, but it comes with strings attached. You don't get southern comfort in MN. You probably actually can't get it even in Illinois. You really have to be further south to appreciate the southern comfort.

Wednesday, January 6

Winter in the south

Lindsay absolutely nails it! And it only took me about 5 seconds to realize I used to watch her husband on TV when we lived in Kentucky.

Homekeeper's Journal ~ 1/6

What’s happening in my home?

In the kitchen We're using up the produce from the $15 food share we bought last weekend. It's all about peppers, potatoes, salad, bananas and citrus.

With our marriage We're getting used to a new schedule. Loren is going to bed just after an early dinner, getting up around the time I go to bed, working an early shift at his new job, then sticking around for a second shift as a driver's helper. I kind of love having quiet evenings and the bed to myself!

With the children We're still on a roll with school. I'm back in planning mode, though. Toby wants to finish early to go start a summer job in mid-May. It's also a good time to revisit my plans for the younger three. Each of them is progressing at a different pace, but I do like to teach them together when I can. I'm trying really hard not to be overwhelmed by Jon's challenges.

Around the homestead… The rabbits and chickens are surviving the cold, and we're still collecting a few eggs each day. I put together a chart in Microsoft OneNote to keep track of yearly notes on each of our apple trees. I currently have 31 trees charted.

In my “Inner Man” (2 Cor. 4:16)…

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.


Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

What's happening in your home this week? Visit Sylvia at the Christian HomeKeeper Network to participate in the Homekeeper's Journal each Wednesday.

Friday, January 1

2009 Book List

These are the books I read or started reading in 2009:

  • Brave New World
  • Amusing Ourselves to Death
  • Rules for Radicals
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Cold Comfort Farm
  • Atlas Shrugged
  • Trying Differently Rather Than Harder
  • Damaged Angels
  • 1984
  • Rich Harvest: A Life in the Garden
  • Diabetes for Dummies
  • The Enduring Hills
  • The Glass Castle
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves
  • A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family
  • The Kitchen Boy
  • Russia: A History to 1917
  • The Gulag Archipelago
  • The Encyclopedia of Country Living
  • Moby Dick
  • The Elephant in the Playroom