Raw and Real

It has been one of those evenings.  So much going on.  Right now I just want to crawl in a hole and never come out.  At least not until I don’t feel like this any more.  Here are some of the reasons.  I hope you don’t mind if I let my guard down a little bit and share some of the behind the scenes stuff.

  1. My wonderful mom has had the flu for five days.  Not only is that normally unusual for average person to have the flu for that long, but my mom doesn’t get the flu.  She has been sleeping all day for five days.  My mom doesn’t do that.  To say I’m concerned is an understatement.
  2. There are things going on in our home that I am not at liberty to discuss, but they are hard things.  Very hard things.  Life changing kinds of hard things. Multiple things.  On many levels.
  3. My older dog has something going on in his nose.  He sneezes a lot, it is stuffed up, it is tender to the touch – it’s not a cold.  I’m not sure what is going on.  I am not one who believes in spending thousands of dollars or even hundreds, on surgery or even exploring what might be wrong for an animal, no matter how precious that animal is.  I will do everything within my power.  I will pray and anoint.  I will buy herbs and spend hours administering them.  But I draw a line when it comes to surgery or expensive vet visits.
  4. I am having a really difficult time adjusting to this season with my family.  The young people are all working and driving and therefore gone a lot.  It’s so hard on me after having them around me all day long for their first 18 years.  I miss them.
  5. Today for the first time in 26 years, they closed the river that my husband guides on.  This is his life and his way of making a living.  He thinks it will be closed until January.  We can definitely make it on what he has put aside and my income from my home business, but it is just another thing to add to the list.
  6. We just came back from a 14 day road trip and I’m still recuperating.  It was lovely seeing everyone, but even good stress is stress!
  7. I am researching and studying some very uncomfortable subjects which is weighing on me.

I think that covers everything.  I apologize for venting.


Yesterday morning, the morning after one of the world’s holidays for love, my daughter, Artist, opened up her instagram account to find out that a young man we know ended his own life.  He was 17 years old. This is the second person in the last 6 months that we knew personally.  In both cases I can remember the last time we saw them.

I need to tell you the story of how we know this young man.  It was almost 6 years ago.  My daughter was taking hunters ed (required in our state if you want to hunt) and I was attending with her because I have never had it either.  After one of the classes this boy and his sister came over and asked us why we were wearing dresses – were we Hutterite?  They were very polite, just curious.  This was the beginning…

Since we live out in the country and they live in town and we homeschool and they went to public school, we didn’t see them a lot, but every summer at the farmer’s market they would come by our table and say hello. (especially to my daughter).  They were very kind and very friendly.  Both had a genuine sweetness about them.

One day, a couple of years ago, this boy, now a polite and handsome young man, came over to our table at the market and was talking to both of us and asked ME if he could take my daughter out for pizza with their group – on a date.  Very unusual in these days.  I said as kindly as I could that I very much appreciated him asking me, but that we do not date.  I suggested that instead he could come over to our place and get to know our family.  He declined.

We still continued to see him.  He was ALWAYS friendly and kind.  The last time we saw him last summer, he was with a girlfriend walking around the market.  He stopped and talked to us, telling us about his plans to go to a police academy (or something like that).

I am feeling a heavy burden that we did not reach out MORE to this brother and sister.  I feel the pain of his sister as I read each of her posts on fb.  She is the one who found him.  Their mother is not in the picture.  I don’t know that story.  She is writing her feelings to him in letters on her fb account and we can all read them.  They are heart wrenching.  If my daughter and I are in an emotional state the past two days, I can’t even begin to fathom what his sister is going through.  I want to be there for her, but we haven’t been enough of a part of their lives for her to be comfortable with that.  I am still letting her know I am here.

PCC #1

Personal Comfort Challenge #1

Starting today, I am going to offer a weekly comfort challenge to my readers.

After recently spending 3 months in another country, I thought it would be fun to offer you a small taste of some of the things we experienced during our time there.  In return, I would love it (if you choose to participate) if you would do five things for me:

  1. post your comments below after you have participated
  2. send me a private contact message with your physical address
  3. share this post using the share button at the bottom of this post (then let me know by photo which way you shared and who you shared it with)
  4. like the post at the bottom
  5. vote for the post under the title (click on the stars)

At the end of each week, if we have had a minimum of 10 participants, I will send out a special gift to one random participant.

Here is how it works: Your name will go into the drawing one time for participating, one time for commenting, one time for the private message with your address, one time for liking it, one time for voting and one time for sharing the post.  This is a total of six times, giving you a great opportunity to win!

Personal Comfort Challenge number one is:  Pick one day this week and wash ALL the dirty dishes by hand.  You can use any dish soap or hand soap you like.

Time: from midnight to midnight

Specific instructions:

  • use only cold water
  • do not use a dishwasher
  • do not use any hot water

Participation gift:  TWO OF THESE Bamboo Pot, Pan & Dish Scrapers. A great kitchen tool offering a wide variety of uses.  (I have one and I REALLY like it!)

Bamboo is lightweight, more durable than wood and very effective!  Safely scrapes any cookware surface clean without scratching and it removes stubborn, baked-on messes from stainless steel, non-stick cookware or glass, too. Designed to scrape and clean your ceramic and glass bake ware, but it can also be used to scrape that gunk that builds up in the cracks along sinks, counter tops, and stoves. Also, great for scraping ice build-up on skis and windshields. Keep one in the car for the winter. 




The Sojourner

Over the past several months our family has discovered the FREEDOM of simplicity and letting go of possessions.

We discovered that we don’t NEED an entire herd of goats.  We don’t NEED a vehicle for every driver in the family.  We don’t NEED a cell phone for every member of the family.  We don’t NEED a Netflix account.  We don’t NEED all the devices.  We don’t NEED DVDs or games or boxes of crafts that are for entertainment purposes only.  We don’t NEED four sets of dishes. We don’t NEED kitchen items that are used once a year or less.  We don’t NEED very many clothes and shoes.  We don’t NEED all the boxes of things that are for “some day”.  We don’t need all the boxes of memorabilia.  We don’t NEED to own all the books ourselves. We don’t NEED much furniture. We don’t NEED to buy cups of coffee when we are out.  We don’t NEED to buy NEW clothes. We don’t NEED to drink soda. Children don’t NEED their own bedroom.  We don’t NEED pets.  We don’t NEED a big house.  We don’t NEED many cookbooks. We don’t NEED jewelry.  We don’t NEED fancy makeup.  We don’t NEED to buy prepared foods or eat out.

I’m beginning to think we still have a long ways to go and maybe we don’t even NEED to “own” a home!  Hmmm?

In addition to all the tangible things, we also found that we don’t NEED to pay regularly for fancy hairstyles, color, perms, manicures, pedicures.    We don’t NEED to have insurance.  (WHAT???)  We don’t NEED to have well visits.  We don’t NEED to be involved in sports.  We don’t NEED to be entertained.  We don’t NEED much, really.

Even in just the few changes we have made thus far it feels really wonderful!  It’s so much easier to find an outfit!  It’s so much easier to clean house.  It’s so much easier to pay the bills.  The family is so much closer with less vehicles and sharing bedrooms.  We are less bored with less devices and entertainment.  We are healthier with no soda and making food from scratch.  We are more creative with less distractions and clutter.  We have more freedom without being tied to the past with memorabilia.  We have more time to reach out to neighbors and others in need. We are less crowded without the extra furniture and boxes of stuff.  In fact, we could live in a much smaller house easily!  We still have SO MUCH MORE we could get rid of!

Am I saying to sell everything except the clothes we need in order to be modest and stay warm?  Am I saying it is wrong to have all these things?  Not necessarily.  But I do know what it is doing in OUR hearts.  And I do know what I have seen in the lives of others who have done the same.  It is an AMAZING feeling.  I don’t think it can be explained in words.  It must be experienced.

Try it, you might like it!

Sojourning Together

Over the past month or so, 5 members of our family spent a LOT of time together on the road.  We visited at least 7 different families, helping in each place as much as possible.  We butchered a hundred chickens, chopped and stacked wood, repaired fencing, put up garden vegetables, helped with general housekeeping, transported a large load of food to a family for long term storage, stayed up late talking, played games, sang songs, had a shard of deer bone shoved into our gas tank, slept sometimes, drove a lot, ministered to a homeless person more than once, swam, went camping…

Whew!  Can you imagine all that in less than a month???  To say it was intense is an understatement, but we wouldn’t trade it for anything!