Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Simple Clothing

Good morning ladies. In our adventure we come to clothing which can be a hot topic in any circle. If you talk to someone who is Amish or old order Mennonite you would learn their thinking behind what they wear.

The group I visited is really a melting pot of several different traditions. There are Amish, old order Amish, old order Mennonite and German Baptist along with a smattering of different evangelical Christians. Along with them they brought their own traditions and beliefs. They agree to disagree on some issues and they all agree to dress the same way.

In this group all the women wear a button down to the waist dress that has long sleeves and a half collar. The dresses go down almost to the floor. On top of the dress they wear an apron of the same color that covers from under the neck and is fitted at the waist with gathers into a very full skirt. It is only a couple of inches shorter in length from the dress. They wear the apron over the dress all the time. None of the dresses have collars. They avoid any "bright" colors like pink, red and purple.

The men wear what is called broad falls and a button down shirt without the collar. Broad falls are pants without a zipper. They have extra material in the front of the pants and they are folded over with buttons on the side. They usually wear dark blue or grey pants. No one wears a standard collar.

The little girls wear dresses very similar to the women and the little boys wear broad falls like their daddy's. They all wear dark socks during the winter with dark shoes and in the summer they almost all go barefoot. In fact, when I visited the school several children were barefooted.

The material they chose is plain. There are no flowers or checks or polka dots on their dresses. Their reasoning is the same as with just about everything. They chose a life totally devoted to the LORD. They look at "fancy" things as a distraction and an opportunity to become vain about their looks. They look at their clothes as a necessity for modesty and not for a fashion statement .

Lastly, all the women and little girls cover their heads. Each group has a different covering that they wear. They are all the same. In this group their covering is a simple white cloth material that covers the hair and the ears. The women don't cut their hair so it's quite long. They put it in a bun before they put on their covering in the morning.

Our second host family had several school age girls. I noticed that all the girls had their hair up in braids and then twisted into a bun before putting on their coverings. I asked one of the girls if she took her hair down each night and she told me that no but on Saturday mornings they each take down the braids, wash their hair and then let it hang free with no covering till Sunday morning.

Tomorrow I am going to try and explain the philosophy behind their lifestyle.
Till then may God richly bless you.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Hero Gratituesday November 29th

Happy Gratituesday to each of you. It is the day we set aside to be grateful for our blessings. This past week we had one of our sons home from college. It was wonderful to be together again.

Our children grew up knowing about guns and safety with some history thrown in. The boys really wanted their Dad to take them hunting and target shooting during the Thanksgiving break.

Mornings are incredibly hard on my husband. He tries to sleep through some of it. After a lot of medicine to fortify himself he climbed out of bed. Sometimes it is just so painful to watch that I leave the room. This particular morning was one of the toughest I had seen in a while.

He slowly made his way around the side of the bed, hunched over and holding the edge of the bed as he went and it was then that I had an epiphany.

Thankfully, most people will never experience the kind of neuro pathic pain that my husband endures hour after hour, day after day and month after month. That kind of pain changes everything, and I mean everything. It was during this scene that I realized once again that my husband is a hero. Not one of those fly through the air with a cap flapping in the breeze kind of heroes.

Every day he chooses, in spite of unbelievable pain, to get out of bed and endure one more day without the promise of healing. And one more day he tries with all that is within him to make another memory with the boys that will hopefully last beyond his days. To me that is true courage and for that I am grateful for the hero beside me.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Kitchen Part 2

Good morning precious one! I pray your long weekend was one that was filled with joy and rest. I fasted from the internet for three days which was wonderful. This is the last week I will be writing about my adventure into a Plain Community. Next week we will get back into the Beth Moore study on the book of Daniel.

Have you thought about how you would prepare food for your family without electricity? I can tell you that many areas of our lives get simpler without power. The women plan their menus carefully so that there is very little leftovers since it is harder to keep them without a refrigerator.

Our second family host has several cows and pigs and chickens. They are one of the very few with milk cows so they sell some of the milk they don't use to others in the community. Raw fresh milk was a new experience for me. I am picky about the milk I drink. I want it ice cold and fresh. I can tell the difference between generic milk and the more expensive name brand milk so I was a little apprehensive when our host brought in milk from the barn. It doesn't get any fresher than that! Did you know that raw milk is not white? I was bowled over. You can tell I was raised a city girl.

Our host took the pail of milk and poured it into a gallon glass jar. Their cow gives 1 1/2 gallons twice a day. In just a bit the milk started to separate and the cream rose to the top. An hour or so later the cream was taken off the top and set aside for later. She makes butter just about every day. I volunteered for the job. Now I have made homemade butter before and I have to say it is yummy. The color is bright yellow and creamy. When I made it I had an electric mixer. I poured the cream into a jar and shook. Then I shook and I shook and I shook some more. Did I mention that living a simpler life requires physical labor? It wasn't to long before I started seeing a little ball inside the jar. The more I shook the bigger the ball got. Before I knew it I had made a pound of butter. The milk that is left is buttermilk! I added a dash of salt and we had butter for our rolls.

Our host is known for her yummy cheeses. Many of the women in the community make their own cheese. Mozzarella is the easiest to make. We took the gallon of milk that had just been brought in and started on the cheese. Out of the gallon we made a large loaf pan filled with cheese. Once the milk is scalded on the stove and the secret ingredient is added (sure wish I could tell you what it is, but if I told you, I would have to shoot you!) the milk starts to change texture. First it starts to have little string like material in it. You put your hand in the pot and just start stirring with your fingers. Apparently utensils would wreck it. The longer you wiggle your little fingers around the strings the more strings there are. At some point there are the proper amount of stringy things that you stop and let it rest. Now this is the cool part. Once it has rested 15 or 20 minutes it is time to cut it. I could barely make out the cut I had made a few minutes later but it was there. It rested again for another 15 minutes and then the entire mixture is carefully taken out of the pot and rests again. Apparently cheese needs alot of rest!

We then started to slowly knead the cheese. It got firmer as we went. In just a few minutes it was time to put it in the pan. We ended up with very bright yellow cheese. I asked about string cheese which our host had never heard of. She cut off a big piece and gave it to me as we left. It is whole food at it's best. It taste yummy and melts like a dream.

Within the community the young men hunt mostly deer and rabbit for their meat. Most of the families grow huge gardens which of course they can for vegetables all year. Several have cows and pigs that are also used for meat. A couple of the younger couples have produce that they sell at farmer's markets. One of the young couples that we had dinner with had the yummiest salad I have ever tasted. There were so many different kinds of delicate greens that I have never heard of but were so yummy.

What I found the most fascinating is their portion sizes. Remember I said in the beginning that there was not one pleasantly plump lady in the group? Well, they eat small portions plus get a lot of physical exercise. I went to bed each night thankful for the lessons I was learning.

Tomorrow is Gratituesday. On Wednesday and Thursday I will share some thoughts on their style of dress and then Friday I will wrap it all up. I hope this has not only been a blessing to you but something deeper. We have much to learn from those who chose a simple lifestyle. May God challenge our thinking as we look towards the Savior for the answers

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the ultimate Gratituesday! Each of us, no matter what our circumstances has many things to be thankful for. Please join me in taking time out of our day and truly thank the ONE who has given us abundant life.

See you next Monday.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gratituesday November 22nd

Today is Gratituesday and I don't have to think a whit about what to be thankful for this week. Our son Daniel came home from Harding University on Saturday evening. He had been gone for three very long months. This was the first time he has been away for more than a week. The entire house erupted in shouts of joy when the truck pulled into the driveway with our son. Everyone ran outside and shared in hugs and laughter.

When we first moved into our daughters home she had just had baby #5, baby Noah. Noah took a special shine to Daniel from the beginning. We all wondered what would happen when Noah saw Daniel for the first time after being gone so long. No worries, Noah knew exactly who he was and has been seen riding on top of Daniel's shoulders the past 2 days.

This morning after breakfast I came back down stairs to our apartment and I could hear Daniel playing his guitar. It has always brought me peace when I watch Daniel play, whether it is a guitar, a piano or just singing. It gives me great joy.

We get him for a week before he heads back to Arkansas. I am so thankful our "man-cub" is back home with us. What a huge blessing.
What are you thankful for?

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Heart of the Home

My kitchen has always been the hub of our home. I truly love to cook. Some years ago I was trying to figure out just why I spent so much time in the kitchen. I realized that when I spent time cooking for my family. I was not only feeding my families stomach but also nourishing their souls.

Since me moved 14 times in the first 21 years of our marriage I had plenty of opportunities to learn new things in the kitchen. If I went to a potluck through hubbies job or a church potluck and found something particular good I would go and find out who made it and then get the recipe. I have learned to make Greek Backlava, Korean broccoli and egg rolls, Guamanian shishkabobs, a Sweedish pastry called Kringler and much more.

With that in mind I could not wait to see how a group of women could prepare and cook food for a family without electricity. That means no refrigerator, no blenders for smoothies, no Kitchen Aides to mix dough, no coffee machine or toaster and certainly no microwaves.

These ladies are hard workers; without electricity they have to be. Let's take the stove for instance. This picture show a typical stove. The community actually makes the Cadillac version of wood stoves; it is called a Pioneer Princess. It is a mighty fine piece of equipment in my opinion. You simply put wood inside (that you cut of course), burn it and it heats up the top of the stove and the oven. Oven temperatures are a little tricky because you have to figure out just how much of a roaring fire is needed to get the temperature correct. They all hang a thermometer inside the oven so they can see just how hot it is. The stove top has no burners just a smooth top to put pans on.

There is a ledge over the stove that you can rest your food that you want to keep warm. It is their version of the microwave! The first family we stayed with had a water heater that they rigged up right next to the stove. The fire in the stove would heat up the water which was wonderful to have hot water coming out of the faucet. Our second family we stayed with did not have a water heater so there was only ice water coming out of the tap. She kept several very large pots on the stove to use for dishes which of course are done by hand.

Before visiting the community I had not worked out in my head the ramifications of no refrigerator. I was totally surprised at just how dependent I am on them. The community makes their own ice at the ice house. They are 50# blocks that each family can go and purchase when needed. In the summer they go through the block in just a couple of days but in the winter they don't need to get ice most of the time. They take the ice and set it inside a very large camping style cooler. One of the families showed me their cooler and it was bear proof so quite solid. The cooler will hold any leftovers and cheese if they have it along with milk. Things like ketchup and such would never be put in due to space.

So you might wonder what they do about meat. Where would you put fresh meat? I was so surprised, you can it! Yep they can just about everything and before you turn your nose up let me tell you a couple of things about canning. I didn't know about the meat until our second meal. We ate a delicious taco casserole. Our host brought out all the ingredients and set them on the counter and sure enough there was a jar and it was filled with taco meat. They prepare multiple pounds of whatever meat they do have all at once. They season it and then can it.

Most of the women have a summer kitchen on the backside of their house. In that kitchen they have a grate or an old burner up on a counter with a propane tank underneath. When you don't have air conditioning you don't want to use your wood stove very much so a summer kitchen makes a lot of sense. They make spaghetti sauce and then can it. They do bacon, ham, ground venison, homemade soups and even chicken nuggets. I still marvel at their resourcefulness.

One of the ladies showed me her root cellar. For those of you who are unfamiliar with a root cellar it is usually a dug out room either near the basement or off to the side of the house. The one I saw actually was cut out of the rocks on the side of the hill. All four walls were the rocks which made for perfect humidity and temperature to keep canning jar filled with good food safe.

There is so much more I want to tell you about from the kitchen that I think I will stop here for the day. Just for grins, spend the next 24 hours and see what life would be life in your kitchen without electricity. What would you miss the most?

Till next time.
Remember, it truly is with Christ Alone!


Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Washing the Simple Way

Good morning sweet friend. Thanks for coming along on this journey of mine. The picture to my left brings a smile to my face. I will never forget washing clothes in the community.

Every woman in the community does their wash on Mondays, rain or shine. Our first host washes just once a week. I was so excited to experience everything I could in the community so I volunteered to do it for them if they showed me how.

All of the women have a basement and that is where the wash tubs are. Ironically I got to experience the simplest machine in the community on Monday and later in the week the most sophisticated machine! Isn't God good?

After we washed up the dishes bright and early Monday morning we headed down into the basement to start washing. Remember, there is absolutely no electricity. You need a flash light for every step. The floors and walls are concrete so it is cold and damp.

My host did not have a metal bucket but an old wood barrel cut in half and laid on it's side. Picture a large thick wooden handle attached to the right side of the barrel that is attached to another arm laid on it's side at the bottom of the half barrel. When you move the top handle back and forth it moves the bottom arm back and forth to swish the dirty clothes back and forth.

The hot water comes from the wood stove (which I will share with you about on Monday) and we filled up the barrel with hot water and laundry soap. We started with their dresses and put about 7 dresses in the water. They keep a little timer on a shelf next to the washer and set it for 7 minutes. I moved that arm back and forth, back and forth for 7 minutes. When my right arm got tired I switched to my left arm. We visited while I was doing the washing so time went by really fast!

Once the timer went off it was time to squeeze out each piece of clothing by putting it through the wringer which in the picture you can see over to the left. The wringer was a hand crank so it was a little tricky at first to crank while trying to put each piece of clothing through the wringer. Once I cranked my finger right into the wringer. Yep it hurt!

After a piece was put through the wringer I dropped it into another large tub that was filled with hot water and liquid fabric softener. I swished the clothes all around for a couple of minutes with my hands and then put them back through the wringer for a final squeeze and dropped them one at a time into a plastic clothes basket. Once the load had been washed, wrung through the wringer, rinsed by hand and then put back through the wringer, it was time to hang it all out on the clothes line to dry.

We did 7 loads that morning and all the wash was hanging out before 10 am. I got a great aerobic workout along with some weight training all for free! Those clothes hung out all day flapping in the breeze. By late afternoon we brought them all in to be folded and put away.

My host only changes the water once during the 7 loads which seemed a little on the gross side but her barrel was difficult to drain out and restart. The clothes looked and smelled clean so whom am I to say?

Several of the ladies had told me that our second host families had the Cadillac of washing machines so I could not wait till Thursday morning breakfast was over so I could experience the Cadillac version! My host explained that since her husband was one of the farmers he tended to be home most days so for a couple of years he helped his very pregnant wife do laundry. Once day the farmer says to his wife, "I am tired of pushing and pulling the handle over and over again for hours on end so I am going to design you a better washing system." And that he did.

Mr. Farmer acquired some piping and a wheel which helped him make a circular path for his horse to ride over and over again which turned a wheel outside that was piped inside which had another wheel that was attached to an old wringer washer that agitated the clothes all by itself. This is truly "horse power." Now the horse is pretty smart and really doesn't care to walk in a circle for two hours alone. So the oldest son that was home was 5 years old and his mama put him on the horse and had him encourage the horse to go round and round.

That day it was around 24 degrees and lots of wind. That poor little guy got really cold so mama brought him out a hat and gloves so he wouldn't freeze. I did the same thing I had done with the barrel back at our first hosts home. The "washing machine" was not old wood but stainless steel. I did not have to move an arm back and forth since the horse did it for me. What was funny was sometimes the horse would jog a little and the agitator would go really fast and then the horse would practically crawl and the agitator would barely go. The horse simply did not understand what a steady pace meant!

Once the timer went off I started snaking through each piece of clothing on the wringer. The wringer was also attached to the wheel so it moved without me having to crank the arm back and forth. There was also an old tub next to the machine so I rinsed the clothes just like I had done on Monday. I did 11 loads in 2 1/2 hours which impressed me. I have to say that my fingers were frozen after hanging out 11 loads of laundry on a very windy day.

So which way sounds better to you? I thought the horse was cool but frankly if I were to do laundry that way I would choose the way without the horse. It takes two people to do the laundry with the horse and I would rather not have to wait for someone to sit on the horse.

We ate dinner and supper each day at someone else's home so I saw lots of variations and I can safely say that I like the first way but without the wood barrel. The stainless steel version seems cleaner to me. The wood barrel got kind of slimy on the bottom and I figured there were a lot of germs in that barrel. A stainless steel tub can be sanitized before and after.

What did I learn? I love washing clothes the "old fashioned" way. It would have taken me from sun up to sun down to do 11 loads of laundry in my fancy high efficiency washer and dryer. In fact I would not mind selling my fancy set for a shiny next stainless steel tub with an old wringer attached. Anyone want to buy it?

On Monday I will start telling you about the kitchen and food! Yeah...
Till then, it is truly with Christ Alone that I am here,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Sound of Music

I have listened to contemporary Christian music for years. The thought of not listening to music on my I-pod or radio seemed impossible. How would I go an entire week without it? Well let me tell you I can still surprise myself!

When I didn't have music constantly playing I could actually hear sounds I don't normally pay attention to. I could hear the bluebirds outside singing. I could hear the horse whinny and I heard the wind blow through the trees.

Our first host family sings before they eat breakfast each morning. Yep, they all stand around the table and sing a hymn or two. Well, after that morning I caught myself singing hymns I don't seem to have time to sing anymore. One of the days I walked by myself I totally enjoyed singing.

My favorite part though was on Wednesday night when we moved to our second hosts' home. We had supper (which is different then dinner, which is lunch) and then we went to "meeting." It was pitch dark when we got back to their house. We were given their upstairs to sleep so we all headed up stairs to go to bed. I crawled under the covers and started praying. The Mama of this home nurses her baby in an Amish rocking chair and sings the entire family to sleep. I laid there amazed at the peacefulness. I have to say, I have never been sung to sleep before. There is something magical about one sweet voice in the stillness of the night praising God. I felt like I was on holy ground.

After my visit to the community I have learned that noise, no matter what the source, is still noise that can clutter our brains. It's funny, I thought I would be miserable without the radio or my ipod playing my favorite songs, I was wrong. I enjoyed the silence so much that I have yet to turn on the radio when I hop in the car.

I am so thankful for the lesson I learned. Thank you Father.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A One Room School House

I love teaching. I schooled our children for twenty years. I love watching the light bulb come on when a child gets a concept. I could not wait to visit the one room school house in the community. The children go to school from first grade through 8th. There is no kindergarten so they usually wait till the child is six years old.

The first family we stayed with had two boys ages ten and twelve. I was scheduled to go with them to school on Tuesday morning. So on Monday night the oldest boy sat down with me after dinner and explained what school was like and what the rules were. The school room is very quiet so they have different hand signals the students use to communicate with the teacher. I thought I had all the hand signals down and was ready to go bright and early the next morning.

The next morning at 7 a.m. I walked to school with both boys and what an adventure it was. Since my host family lives the furthest away we walked at a fast clip. Now I am an old lady and it was a major feat to keep up with these young whippersnappers. The path was very steep at times, muddy and rocky and oh yes, horse deposits to maneuver which apparently I was not very proficient at!

Half way down the hill we walked through one of the other families property and found ourselves adding to our numbers. Four little girls had just come out of the house and they walked in front of us singing together. We were about 3/4 of the way to the school when three other boys joined our ranks. By this time we are on flat and may I say blessed flat ground when I hear in the distance more children. These little guys had bikes and they whirled past us. Apparently it is a game to see just who can get to the schoolhouse first. Now I have to say by the time we arrived 25 minutes later I had just experienced a great aerobic workout and it was free!

After climbing the steep stairs to introduce myself to the teacher, who was expecting me, we promptly went back down the stairs and out into the field next to the school. All the children gathered and started a game that resembled baseball without the bat and ball. The children love this game they play. The teacher joined in and I have to say I was impressed with just how fast this 30 something gal could run especially in a long dress!

It only lasted about 10 minutes and then it was time to line up for school. I hung back so I was the last one into the schoolroom. When I entered they were all in a line that snaked around the old fashioned desks. In the back of the room there was a sink and above the sink there were stainless steel mugs on a large board with hooks. As the line snaked around the room the children would grab a mug and quickly fill it with water from the sink. All was quiet and done with great precision. While you stood in the line snaking around the room for a second time you drank your water. By the time you got to the sink the second time you hung up your mug where you found it. Since I was in the back of the line I was the last to grab a mug. My first reaction was eewww I am going to be drinking out of a mug that has been used multiple times by children and not been washed. I quickly got over the ick factor and was happy with a very cold mug of water!

I sat in the back on an old wooden bench and observed. The teachers desk was up front on the right side of the room. Her assistant sat behind a desk all the way over on the left side of the room. This school year they are singing through their hymn books starting at the front of the hymnal. They sing two hymns and have a prayer before class starts. I have to tell you they sing with amazing gusto. I am certain the singing could be heard some distance away. Then the teacher called by name one family at a time to stand and introduce themselves to me. Some families had 4 or 5 children in the class and some had only one or two. It obviously was a treat to have a visitor so it was so cute to watch them address me.

There were 34 children in the classroom. The rows of desks went by grade. First grade was on the far left and each row went into a higher grade till you reached the far right and they were 8th graders. Behind the first graders there sat the heat for the room, a huge wood stove. In the back of the room all the way to the right sat a picnic table of sorts and a large blackboard. The teacher would call one grade at a time back to the table and teach a subject while all the other students worked on the same subject in their workbooks. You could hear a pin drop in the room. Since I had been quizzed the night before on the hand signals I knew what each child needed.

When a student finished an assignment in their workbooks they held it up high in their left hands and waited patiently till the teacher acknowledged them and gave the go ahead to walk to her desk and lay the finished workbook on her desk. If you raised your hand without a workbook in it that means you have to go to the bathroom. Now remember the outhouses, the ones for the school are down the steps, out of the room and over across the road and are marked one for boys and one for girls. If you have to go to the bathroom before the time allotted to go then you had to stay in 4 minutes after recess starts. It apparently was a great incentive since only two children raised their hands to go before the time set aside. If you raised your right hand with two fingers showing then that meant you had a question.

After 1 1/2 hours of this the teacher called one boy and one girl by name at a time and they hurried out of the room and went to the outhouse. I finally figured out what she was doing and realized the entire recess period would be wasted if you had to wait in line for the bathroom. This was all done in silence with great precision also. By the time recess came around all the children had gone to the bathroom so they could play once out on the field.

Recess was another game they all played together that for the life of my I could not quite figure out. I have to stay they all play well together. There is no tattling, no complaining and no fighting. They all just had alot of fun together.

They go from 7:30 in the morning to 12:30. They are taught reading, writing, arithematic, science and geography. There are no classes on gay pride etc. just basic teaching. The teacher obviously ran a tight ship but she did it with joy and kindness on her face. What a blessing to see.

If you have any questions feel free to comment.
Tomorrow I am going to share with you what their worship looks like.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Transportation 101

When I came out of the outhouse I whispered to Gabriel, "Son, thanks for telling me about the "accommodations" ahead of time." He is such a man, it NEVER occurred to him to tell me such an important fact! My first thought was to stop drinking for the week, but after 53 years of living on this earth I knew better.

Supper was a delicious chicken casserole, some homemade bread, pickles, potatoes and an apple crisp for dinner. More on food later. I promise.

Remember there is no radio to listen to, no mind altering television shows to watch, so what does a person do without any of that? They sit and visit for a bit and then everyone heads off to bed. Their three children moved out of the second floor so Gabriel and his crew slept in one room and I got a room all by myself. The upstairs was lit by a single kerosene lamp. The moon was out that night so I could see shadows in the bedroom. When I climbed under the covers I couldn't help but think how peaceful the place was.

The next morning was Sunday and when it was time to get out of bed it was pitch dark. I could smell the mornings breakfast and hurried to dress. We all sat down together to eat and the conversation turned to "going to meeting". This family lived on the far side of the community so it would take a while to get there. With 11 of us there was no way the horse Barney could pull us all there. The men said they would all walk and the "women folk" would take the horse and buck board.

Just recently I had gone to an Amish community in Ohio and had ridden around the property in a buggy on solid ground. Never in my wildest dreams did I consider just how rough this ride would be going all the way down into the community. I sat on a bundle of hay holding one of the babies. There were a couple of times I worried I would be dumped on the ground with baby in hand. The buckboard rocked back and forth over and over again. Just when I thought Barney would find some smooth road he would send us over a large tree stump. I am certain our host saw fear on my face because when she looked at me she told me not to worry. She went on to tell me that her first 4 or 5 times down the hill absolutely petrified her. I felt a whole lot better after she told me that. I truly held on for dear life. When we finally pulled over and Barney was tied to a tree, all I could think about was wishing my favorite chiropractor was around!

Most of the families in the community do not have your traditional buggy but rather have a buck board which is much more practical in a farming community. They have to haul lumber to build the buildings so a buggy doesn't make much sense. When I got to help in their one room school house (which I will write about in a couple of days) I saw a few Papa's "drive" their children to school which was impressive. The children would stand behind their papa's and hold onto their shoulders. They looked so secure holding on to their Dad. No fear in their eyes like I had in mine. Hmm, what a lesson for you and me. I just love it when God teaches me new things.

Walking is the only other way to get around the community. They all walk so much of their day that I have to tell you that in 20 families there is not one pleasantly plump lady in the bunch! They have no need of gym memberships. What a life!

Next time I will tell you about their "meetings."
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gratituesday November 15th

Today is my favorite day. It is the day we set aside to praise God for all our blessings. Last week I was privileged to visit the Christians who live in Caneyville Kentucky. It will remain a highlight for the rest of my life because I have believed for many years that I was born in the wrong century! For the past few years I have craved a simpler life. To be honest I am tired of living in Babylon. For those who regularly read my blog you know all about Babylon. The thought of living close to the land, growing what we eat, canning the food we need for the winter all sound great to me.

So last Saturday we left at 6am and arrived around 7:30 in the evening. This place is so far out of the way it's crazy. There isn't even a Jiffy Lube, let alone a McD's! It was pitch dark when we arrived. We drove first to the home of the leader of the group where we were welcomed. One of their sons still living at home offered to take us to our hosts home. We would have never found it otherwise! We jumped in the van and started off.

It was pitch dark by this point and of course no lights to mark the way. We drove through thick woods on a path that was anything but smooth. When we finally reached the top I saw one small light up in the distance. When we got out we grabbed flashlights and headed in. That one light I saw was in the kitchen of our hosts home. Since there is not any electricity they use a propane light to see.

So imagine my surprise when I ask to use the restroom before sitting down to a meal and get taken back outside and around to the back of the house! Now I had asked precious son number 1 if they had bathrooms when we made plans for the trip and he assured me there were. Well, that bathroom is really an outhouse. Later he told me that it never occurred to him to relay such important information to me. Is that a man for you?

So today my dear reader let me just say I am thankful I got to experience many different kind of outhouses during my stay. More on that later.
What are you thankful for today? I would love to know.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Adventure In A Plain Community

This past week I had the privilege of visiting a Plain Community in Caneyville Kentucky. Our son Gabriel and his wife Bethany will be joining the community next year, Lord willing. They asked me to come alone to help with our grandchildren and get a peek into the community. Well let me tell you ladies I had the adventure of a lifetime!

Imagine stepping back 150 years. There are no cars, no electricity, no television or internet or phones. In our society today we can hardly imagine going a day without our cell phones or facebook and everything in between much less live week after week, month after month and year after year. Yet, this community has chosen to do just that.

The community is made up of former Amish, German Baptist, Mennonites etc. All culturally different yet agreeing to come together to just be Christians. They chose to live in community with one another. In the next few days I want to share some of my experiences last week so that you can know how one community is living out their faith. If you have any questions along the way then please feel free to ask.

In Christ Alone,


Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Finger of God

I have never been drunk so I can only imagine throwing a party for one thousand of my closest friends and getting drunk. I can only imagine that King Belshazzar shakes in his boots as he watched a finger from a human hand start writing on the wall. That would be enough to sober him up real quick! Scripture says "his color changed, and his thoughts alarmed him; his limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together." Yep, I can only imagine! I think my knees would have knocked together if I had witnessed a real finger writing on a wall without being drunk!

Enter the Queen. History tells us that she was probably King Nebs wife and King Neb was actually the grandfather of King Belshazzar. She knows all about Daniel. When the wise men could not interpret the writing she knows who to call. SO in comes our favorite resident exile. All during this time Daniel has been faithful to God, doing what he was called to do whether he was remembered by the current leadership or not.

I am reminded of Moses who took off his shoes and fell on his face when he encountered God in the burning bush. To see God face to face will not happen till we are brought home to abide forever in the arms of the LORD. Just his finger brought people to their knees.

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil 2:9-11 (ESV)

In Christ Alone,


Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Party

We find ourselves in chapter 5 of Daniel today. Thirty years has passed since King Neb blessed the Most High. He dies seven years after that proclamation. A new king comes on the scene and his name is King Belshazzar. It looks so much like Daniel's Babylonian name but don't let it trick you.

King Belshazzar loved a good party. He invited a thousand of his most important friends and got drunk. He profaned the holy things of God. He orders brought out all of the gold and silver goblets that had been stolen from the Israelites when they were taken into captivity. He wants to impress the party goers so they drink out of the holy things of God while praising all the little gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone. I am not sure we can comprehend the gall it took to do such a thing.

God will not be mocked without a response and in this case it is immediate. Tomorrow we will discover "the rest of the story"

Till then
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gratituesday November 8th

Thank you Father for showering down your love and mercy in my life. Thank you for giving me an avenue to continue to teach and serve. Thank you Father for all those who faithfully come to this place each day to learn more of your WORD. I am so thankful Father that you don't ever give up on me. You pick me up when I fall down. You dry my tears and delicately stitch my broken heart back together. I am thankful God that you provide avenues of service that I would never have chosen myself. Especially thank you Father for making me your daughter, a daughter of the KING!

What are you grateful for today? I would love to know.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Monday, November 7, 2011

It is Time to Testify

Twelve months pass from the proclamation from Daniel that King Neb will turn into an animal and spend seven years eating, drinking and sleeping like a wild beast. Plenty of time to turn his life around! Twelve months wasted, grace and mercy thrown off the table.

O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, 32 and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” 33 Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws.Daniel 4:31-33

It takes a total of seven years for King Neb to get it. Now I don't know about you but I think I would mirror Jonah who only took three days to get it but who am I to say? At the end of the time sanity returns to King Neb.

At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever. Daniel 4:34

King Neb gets it, praise God. He was not afraid to shout it from the rooftops. LORD is lord of heaven and earth. Do you get it precious one? Don't fail to notice and act upon the knowledge that God is King of Kings and LORD of Lords!

It's time to testify about who God is . Will you join me?

In Christ Alone,


Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The God of Second Chances

Good morning precious one. We are finishing up chapter 4 of Daniel. This chapter is filled to the brim with wise counsel. After King Neb is given the interpretation of the second dream Daniel tells us this;

Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity.” Dan 4:27

In other words, get your act together King Neb. God is giving you a second chance. Turn from your old ways and take on the mantel of great repentance. Perhaps God will reward you.

You and I serve a great God. He is the God of second chances which thrills me beyond comprehension. I blow it, I sin and I don't always live the life God has called me to. Yet, God showers down his mercy on me. Over and over again we witness the grace and mercy shown to us.

Just ask Peter, Moses, Rahab, the apostle Paul, King David and my personal favorite, the woman caught in adultery. What the thief on the cross knew and we experience is a second chance. You want some good news amidst a land filled with bad news? This is it. Praise God for a second chance. Let me encourage you today to thank God for second chances.

Till tomorrow, be blessed

In Christ Alone,


Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dream Number 2

Like us, King Neb has a very short memory. After witnessing our friends being rescued from a fiery furnace he goes back to his old ways. How do I know that? King Neb has another dream and after all the other magicians and wise men could not interpret the dream he calls for Daniel. Listen to what he says;
"At last Daniel came in before me—he who was named Belteshazzar after the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods." Daniel 4:8

Daniel served YAWEH, and him only. King Neb had forgotten all that had occurred. Aren't we so much like the King? We forget what wonders God has shown us. We forget the blessings that come straight from the hand of God.

So we have another dream. This time the dream is about a tree that gives shelter, food and protection for everyone and everything that comes to it. King Neb is the tree. Then a "watcher" comes and chops down the tree. In the blink of an eye the tree goes from being of great importance to being killed, just like that. Lesson, in the blink of an eye all can change. Don't we know it precious one!

A stump was left but he would be wet with the dew of heaven. He would be changed and his food would be with the beasts of the earth. His mind would be like that of the other beasts and it would last for seven years. Daniel tells the king all that would take place and then he says this; seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will. 26 And as it was commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be confirmed for you from the time that you know that Heaven rules. Dan 4:25-26 (ESV)

What else do we need to know but that Heaven rules? Stay tuned for the outcome.

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Humbling of King Neb

It all started so simply. Life was good for our King Neb. He had witnessed God's mighty hand in delivering Daniel's friends from the fiery furnace. He even proclaimed that God is the Most High God. Then life got easy, in fact really easy.

"I , Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and prospering in my palace." Apparently in the original language the meaning is more like, "I King Neb lived in the lap of luxury."

Who doesn't dream of being in the lap of luxury? As I write this I am watching the Bronco's being stomped by the Detroit Lions. One of the commercials was all about sitting on a beach in a lounge chair looking out on the water watching the sun set. Who doesn't dream at least once in a while to be pampered in the lap of luxury? The problem, it doesn't last. Worse, it gives us a false sense of who we are and what we have achieved.

It reminds me of the Israelites getting ready to go into the land of milk and honey. God told them that they would eat from fields that they did not plant, they would live in houses they did not build and it would make them fat and lazy. They were to remember that all blessings come from God. God wanted his people to live like they really knew that truth.

Our King became comfortable, very comfortable. He forgot who gave him all those blessings. Aren't we just like King Neb? We get comfortable, we forget who gave us all we have. That is why it is so important to be grateful. Each Tuesday I challenge each of us to count our blessings. Then we will know who provides our blessings.

Wonder what happens next? Stay tuned.
In Christ Alone,

n that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Gratituesday November 1st

Being thankful. It is the door to which we open to find true JOY. We humans forget so often. I grieve for the times that I forget to be thankful. The world rushes in. The problems I face daily can hide the blessings that are all around me.

So, what if you and I woke up today with only the things we thanked God for yesterday?

I would love to hear what you come up with.

In Christ Alone,