A Moment to Reveal My Foundation, Did the Illustrator Paint These Just For Me?


We bought a lot of children’s books.  They are stacked all over the kitchen with most of them on the table.  I thumbed through the first box of books for a first wave of determining quality and potential vintage book store desirability.  This book jumped out at me as I skimmed through for torn pages, crayon or pencil marks.  Hello?  It was as if I was 4 years old without an understanding of any written words.  I vividly remember looking at each illustration as if this was my guidebook for life as a toddler. Did my Mom own an original copy of the 1956 printing?  The sweetness of each page awakened hopes and plans a tiny child had in the mid 1960’s.  The tears streamed down my cheeks as my husband asked me to please let him walk past me in our kitchen.

He wanted to move past all the books stacked on our table.  I wanted  to return to that freedom of being a toddler as the feelings began slipping away.  I realized that he could not squeeze past the chair, boxes and my arms locked in the position of holding this sweet book.  Ah, the air slowly leaked out of my lungs as I sighed and stepped away from that time portal with the pages of this cherished Little Golden Book.  Sixty years ago, what are the chances the illustrator is still alive to hear me describe the flicker of magic that occurred today?  Later today during lunch, I asked a friend who recognized the book if we could schedule a date to visit these books together to enjoy lingering in the moment again.  She has her own collection of books illustrated by Eloise Wilkin.

This journey is going to be more amazing than first expected.  What will tomorrow bring?  The drawings revealed some of the foundations of my faith.  Revisiting this book stirred seeds of faith that had been planted nearly fifty year ago. Oh, to be able to whisper in the ear of my little self to assure her.  Enjoy the painted scenes on these pages.  Enjoy moments more. clickback


Daily Prompt: Craving

via Daily Prompt: Craving

The ingredients are waiting in the pantry.  I think about the date coconut combination of goodness.  The recipe is here somewhere, the pan is clean in the cupboard I think.  The recipe seemed simple enough when I read through it the other day.  Was that on facebook or pinterest?  I am craving the taste of the homemade bars, but the desire to eat them has not caused me to gather all the tools of the trade and get this project done.  How can a craving be so strong and yet not motivating enough to get the mixture together?  At work, I think about how great these are going to taste.  When I search through the fridge and pantry it occurs to me that they would taste so good, if only I had made them already.  Ah, this is so frustrating.  It is time to start over, locate the recipe, copy it down so notes can be taken such as salted deluxe mixed nuts instead of the raw cashews and almonds the recipe calls for. Set aside the time to make these and then enjoy them.  This can be a thing.  Success is an option.  Ah, wait, it is 3 A.M. and it is time for sleep.  Maybe tomorrow.  Oh, wait, work starts at noon, even if I fall asleep in five minutes there will not be time to prep the whole recipe.  Maybe Saturday, we will see.  I am craving those bars again.

Shotgun Sort of Life

Some people describe their focus and vision in a way that can be compared with a rifle and a bullet.  Aimed toward one goal and chiseled to perfection toward one task.  A bullet is a single point that spirals out of the barrel when fired from a rifle.  The barrel has spiral shaped grooves inside to increase the focus of the projectile as it accurately leaves the weapon and flies toward its destination.  These people might know at the age of seven they will have a specific career and live in a certain neighborhood and drive a certain car.  Situations that do not describe me at all.

I consider this is more of a shotgun sort of life.  Inside a shotgun shell, the metal tip has the gun powder and the shot pellets packed in a plastic tube.  The tube is precisely crimped at one end in a fashion similar to a jiffy pop foil container when a shotgun is fired.  The firing pin strikes the metal tip of the shotgun shell and the gun powder ignites.  The metal beads of shot pellets are forced out the end of the barrel in a sprayed field sort of pattern that flies basically toward the target.  Several of the pieces of shot will not strike the target, but if aimed properly and fired close enough to the goal, some of the shot will strike the desired target.  This is similar to how I roll with each day.  I get up in the morning with the intention of accomplishing the goals I wrote down or discussed the previous day.  Amy thought the day only one eye dilated was a funny moment that needed to be documented.  Not everything works out smoothly.


Sometimes, waves of sickening dizziness change the potentially productive day into an oblivious of nothingness.  Sometimes, random distractions draw my attention away from achieving actual things that can be checked off of a pre-approved list of tasks.  Sometimes, a call comes in that sounds better or more important than the approved list of errands and projects.  There is the occasional person at the front door with a pressing need.  There have been many traffic accidents that have happened right next to our property that demand immediate attention.  There have been two occasions when a vehicle struck our neighbor’s houses.  At a moment like that we are certainly not going to announce, “Sorry, this was not on our list of things to do today.”  Things come up, things change, plans need flexibility.

After a session of dizziness has overtaken the functional section of my systems, the living room is difficult to locate under the stacks of blankets, papers, plates, towels, pillows and comfort objects that eased the spinning this time.  The kitchen can barely be navigated through as the dishes, trash, recyclables and stages of dirty laundry occupy more space than mere mortals can comprehend.  Attempting to find car keys, shoes, grocery lists and clean enough hair to venture to the store to restore any sense of routine takes more energy than can be mustered.  The empty refrigerator seemed more demanding of my attention than the level of exhaustion that overwhelms me.  Sometimes, on those days of functional reset I get a few things done, other times I plop on the chair and navigate through a movie title or two.

Sometimes, I actually get up in the morning and chug right along with the written list and get the items checked off.  Those are the rare moments that encourage me to believe that regular days do happen.  Those are the moments when I realize what the box might look like that people refer to when they discuss thinking outside the box.  Most days I forget to look at my calendar and jump into panic mode 4 days later when I realize a due date for a bill flew by again without any action being taken by the bill paying file in my brain.

Then there are the glorious seasons when everyday goes according to plan.  A rut or routine begins to develop and confidence in being a functional adult grows.  Those are the days of acting as if every project is a round of clay pigeons being flung into the air and firing a hefty shotgun toward the projects getting things finished one by one.  I wonder what it is like for people who rack up perfect attendance at school, work, club meetings, church events and household chores.  Fading in and out of having a functional body that cooperates and is willing to be useful is an odd way of getting through life, but it certainly makes the good days worth striving toward.  I am thankful for the days when I can follow through on a promise and be where I said I would be with the stuff in hand for the event to run smoothly.

I may not be able to approach life with a precise rifle like style. I  have grown adept at firing away with a shotgun sort of life and hitting enough of the targets to try again next time.  Each day brings a new adventure whether we know where our car keys or favorite socks are or not. Remember, enjoy the journey.

A moment at the intersection

The other day I applied for two jobs at Emerson Copeland.  I quickly received a rejection letter for the first position.  Then a request to set up an interview arrived in the next email.  Shock and surprise set aside, it got less exciting when the position she wants to interview me for is as a production team member.  Five days a week with mandatory overtime and Saturdays also.  My body likes to re-cooperate after standing and lifting.  I want to earn more money, so I set an interview for Monday.

I visited the Silver Linings Booktique downtown in Sidney and realize I already know the owner of the business, Colleen.  Paula Frew was visiting with another person in the store, so there was only one person I was not familiar with previously.  We all talked about random things, as my eyes darted around to all the beautiful woodwork and items for sale.  The mix of fresh artwork, old furniture pieces, jewelry, candles, books and display arrangements was so fresh and interesting that it was difficult to decide what to focus on next.  Over a year ago, Colleen and I drove to a store on Needmore Road to pick up bread for Agape Distribution Inc.  Today, we started right back up on the conversation we had that other day.  Amy started work this afternoon, so I headed out.

Jim and Sarah returned from a trip to Michigan and Sarah drove with me to drop Amy off at Freshway for work.  We drove straight to Silver Linings.  Colleen, Sarah and I chatted about every topic we could possible consider.  We watched part of the “Shop Around the Corner” movie with Jimmy Stewart that shows a shop just like the Silver Linings from 1940.  This was a new movie for me, so will be watching that one soon. Colleen suggested setting up a booth in her store and the idea seems better than working production for more than 40 hours each week.

The suggestion of setting up shop in Silver Linings seems so familiar, because that was my plan when we moved here thirteen years ago. Then the front door of her shop reminds me of the phrase that ends my emails and journal entries,  “Enjoy the journey” Is this a possibility?  That phrase has been part of my writing library longer than I have been a parent.  This journey has met me at an intersection.  Work within a 110,000 employee company or branch out beyond my comfort zone?

New Booktique in Town

store front

Amy and I stopped by the courthouse square for our local part of the national Night out.  Kids were splashing in water and talking to the firemen and walking up to us and hugging us as they were squealing in soaked to the bone happiness.  We talked with friends and caught up on personal achievements and started asking questions about a new store front.  Silver Linings is a Booktique in the Kah building near the Chase Bank building.  Writer’s magic and Ink Club community jumped into reality for us here in town.  The window arrangements tell a sweet story of rainy day adventures and new friends to be discovered in vintage books.

Colleen’s business is closed for the evening and has awakened my imagination to a new level of letting the ink meet the lines on the paper. Reading books, sorting books and sharing with others who love the written word even more than I could fathom will be possible.  Oh, let the games of writer’s delights begin.  Will we be able to meet authors here for book signings?  Will illustrators stop by to encourage budding talent to pursue their dreams also?  Will characters of these books stretch their legs in the comfortable surroundings within this portal?  Ah, the potential for adventures has been raised to heights beyond the currently visible rooftops.

Tomorrow will be the first time we walk into the actual store.  Reality will bring even more excitement to the playing field that is outlined by these bindings.  The bitter sweet realization that I have time to visit the store tomorrow and knowing I am not earning any book buying money tomorrow crashes my shopping potential into neutral.  Knowing that our grandson will soon arrive and will have an endless ocean of book titles available is beyond last week’s goals.  This is going to be a glorious trip.  We will enjoy the journey.



Today’s word prompt is apologize.  I have spent so much of my life apologizing.  A person from Canada was in the store the other day.  He apologized just because he is from Canada.  He had not done anything worthy of extending an apology.  Canadians cannot help it.  They just start offering the phrases left and right.  Whether it seems like an addiction to the need to apologize or an ingrained habit worn into the fabric of their society, they just keep apologizing.

Accept what we have to offer instead of seeking ways to gravel below the level of the current conversation.  Some conversations slow down and become stagnant due to the constant need to circle back around to offering an apology, acknowledging one and choosing to accept one.  You probably know a person who offers an apology in reference to the fact he already apologizes too much. So few conversations get a chance to be engaging these days, interruptions and “not having enough time” cut great moments of fellowship down to basic courtesies that we act like sound bites from famous conversations are equal to having an actual heart to heart discussion.jelly

Allowing a pause to rest lightly on the surface of the topic could allow a sense of belonging to sneak inside. This sense of belonging could rejuvenate our appetite for dwelling in community with other word mixers.  When did our time become so limited or valuable that it is not worth investing our time into hanging out with our buds?  We have the same amount of time in each day as the pioneers did.  We can choose to spend hours preparing a meal and we can choose to open a package to eat enough to feel full within minutes.  We can make any project so simple or so complex it can whiz by in a lightening fast moment or take generations to complete.  Is it that we have so many choices available that we are unable to focus on a style of getting things accomplished in a timely fashion in order to allow enough time to be available for others?  Thinking that being busy is enough can lead to isolation and missed times of community.

Seeking times to break bread together is so much better than catching up on the latest episode of Stinky Pete. Reach out to someone who has not chatted about current events.  Spend an afternoon puttering around with someone so that there is room during each hour to catch up on the current news. That way, there will not be a need to come up with an apology.  Enjoy the day. Enjoy the journey.



Our interview with Ida Craft

link to Ida’s video

Jim and Amy helped with a local missions project.  Our recently deceased church couple, Lester and Maryann Russell, kept their neighbor on our minds.  Ida Kraft had tarps on her roof.  One person who drove by during the construction project commented that he thought this was an abandoned house.  He did not know anyone lived there.  Ida is 93 and lived in tough conditions.  Abby Lightle and the Anna/Botkins United Methodist youth decided do a local missions project.

Ida’s house was selected, materials were secured, volunteers were scheduled, paperwork was filled out, food was coordinated onsite for each lunch and dinners alternated between churches.  The weather cooperated although the temperatures were very hot.  A bathroom was redone, the roof was replaced, the back outside wall of the garage was repaired.  The exterior of the house and garage were painted.  Plants were trimmed.  The front porch was repaired.  The ramp that was built for Maryann last year was moved across to street to her front yard.

Maryanne’s daughter, Jody Underwood, gave her a wheelchair.  She is excited that she may be able to go in the grocery store now instead of wait in the car when her neighbor Larry takes her to the store.  Ida described being given the tour around the outside of her house in the wheelchair.Years ago Amy and I were at Ida’s house during our annual Christmas caroling event. We sang with Jana Pulfer and others.  Little did we know that we would be back at the house for this big project.

Attempting to described the coordination behind the scenes to improve this house will take dozens of us.  Sunday during church service at both churches a video was shown of the workers and the progress on the property.  People stood up to speak about their connection to the Love One More Methodist project.  We found out that groups of volunteers walked around Anna to pray and walked around Botkins to pray also.  Tears flowed as the speakers shared and the songs were enjoyed.  We stopped by Ida’s house to record her thank you video that we shared at the lunch Randy and Jill Boyd put together after church at their house.  As we spoke with her on Sunday, we found out she grew up in a United Brethren church in Hancock  County.  She and her husband, Fred, were married in a United Methodist Church in Fostoria, Ohio. Everyone at lunch was tickled to hear that news.  We never asked her as she and her house were selected to have work done, she just happened to also have United Methodist affiliations.


Amire, will he notice?

Amire, will he notice?

How do you explain to your husband that you actually admire him?  We have been married for 25 years and have known each other since 1987.  He was always a Cubs fans and a Bears fan while enjoying driving around in a convertible.  That was true when I met him and that still applies.  He claims he is a straight forward guy, yet I have never met a more complicated person.  As I bound from project to project, life objective to life objective on a weekly basis.  He is still who he was.  He did not hesitate when he learned my life needed to include goats, chickens, dogs, cats and a barn.  We have traveled to dog shows, goat shows, sheep shows and sale, barn sales, tractor shows and have plans to go to a chicken show.


He has been a bit more cautious as I explain my need to own Clydesdale horses and Dexter cattle.  Our fencing is a bit puny and the barn is set up for smaller livestock.  So, for now I travel to a local jersey farm to buy fresh grocery items and dream of staring into the eyes of our first bovine.   I admire he can buy an old car and have fun driving in a 1951 Rambler or 1964 Ford Falcon.  He can arrive at a destination when I snuggle at home with yet another tummy ailment.  He served our country for 20 years in the Army national guard and can exist in my writer’s cove of stacked papers, books and post it note decor.  That is a sign that he is a patient guide who can always state how cute I am on my toughest of days.  He is a trooper.olf folks

…. Featured Shelby County Farm …. FreshStart Farm All Jersey Dairy and Creamery

This is the photo featured on their website.   Click here to go directly for shopping onlineFresh Start Farm

Google Maps directions to the farm

This jersey dairy farm has been on my list of places to visit for several months.  Sarah and I meant to visit yesterday.  We did not plan ahead and left home without the address or directions.  We were in Jackson Center yesterday for the Airstream tour and then we came back home.

Amy and I ventured out today after my dentist appointment.  Since my phone is not working, I went off the information I remembered.  Although, my brain placed the location on Route 65 north of Jackson Center, we left the county without seeing the farm.  Confidently *, we turned around and went back to the gas station in Jackson Center.  One of the clerks used her phone while taking care of paying customers and got the navigation information for us.  This is why we love small towns.  Even though she had never heard of the farm, she got us headed on Pasco Montra Rd.  As soon, as she said the name of the road, light bulbs seemed to flash above my head.    That was the correct road and we still had 30 minutes left while their store was open.

As we pulled onto their driveway, we could tell we were at the right place.  The cows were grazing in the front pasture as we arrived.  Two farm dogs greeted us as we pulled up to the store.  The store is a wide aisle with dry goods to the left and a cooler to the right.  We were so tickled with the setting that the samples of chocolate milk and the sample of cookies and creme milk seemed like the best flavors ever.

Today, we bought brown eggs, a quart of vanilla yogurt, a glass bottle of whole milk (cream is rising to the top), garlic cheese curds, strawberry jelly and honey. We paid $2 for the bottle deposit and $26.50 for the farm fresh products.  We have made cheese at home after milking either cows or goats, depending on the story we are referencing.  The price we paid for the dairy productsthat were prepared in the room next to the store was reasonable and we are excited.  Amy had jelly on toast the moment we came home.  I had yogurt with added mangoes followed by the Tuscan roasted garlic cheese curds on Kroger brand round crackers.  We will be shopping at the FreshStart Farm as often as possible.  thumbs up

Is anybody up for a road trip to the store with us? 

* Confidently sounds good in the story, but to be honest I was babbling on about how Sarah would pick on me about not finding the place without the directions.  Amy just patiently sat in the passenger seat while I switched from making plans to interview the farm owners to being panic-stricken while driving without having an accurate destination.  By the time we arrived at the store, I chose to calmly shop and pay without requesting any interview.  Today’s accomplishment involved arriving at the store while it was open and successfully making a purchase. Mission accomplished.