My Mom’s Amish Country Adventure

 

In April my mom excitedly experienced a week-long Amish Country quilt retreat! Sounds pretty intriguing , doesn’t it? She was invited from relatives to attend this quilt retreat in Ohio and she couldn’t say no since she is a devoted quilt maker.

 

 

The retreat was in Charm, Ohio, a little Amish community. The Amish hosted the participants in a modest yet modern housing complex. Mom and her relative and friends worked on their quilt with help from Amish women. They brought their materials, cloth and sewing machine to work on all week.

The Amish women cooked for the group including providing snacks such as popped corn made on the gas stove. They have this convenience but no electricity nor televisions or modern devices.

 

 

Mom came home with freshly made turnovers, to serve at Easter dinner. It’s not everyday that you can taste something so delicious and made by the Amish. What a treat they were! I just wish I would’ve snapped a photo of them!

 

 

What an experience she had and I’m so happy for her, for she doesn’t travel on her own adventures. I would love to see her go once a year. I feel it’s vital to go on your own treks, to meet new people and see places you’ve never seen before. It’s these times that build your inner self-awareness and confidence.

This is one of the amazing quilts my mom has crafted for us. I love the different shades of blue! It’s comfortable on chilly evenings and mornings and Smokey agrees. Here he is lounging on my bed before I make it for the day.

Have a blessed day and seek adventure whenever you can!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Advertisements

Chandler Pond

Our little town hosts serene mountain views as well as farming fields and pastoral hillsides. It’s the type of town you can relax in and absorb all the scenic wonders. One such wonder is lovely Chandler Pond. It sits at the corner of Millbrook and Gale Chandler Road with a mountains in the distance framing it in. Chandler Pond is a man-made water hole and Tom says it was for transporting logs for a business. We are assuming this was many years ago but we don’t know an accurate date.

 

 

Now and then on a spring or summer evening Tom and I will seek peaceful refuge here. A stillness lives here and it settles us. We don’t talk much at Chandler Pond and we don’t need to. We stand and look in this quiet country setting and just be.  Sometimes Tom hooks a fish and others he doesn’t and I don’t think that matters to him other that he is here amid the beauty. It bursts at you right away, for it is reflective of the surrounding trees and mountain ranges.

 

 

There have been moose here and deer nearby. Ducks flock here. Beavers swim and build lodges of sticks and mud. Parading geese and their young trek on the bank. Unfortunately Tom and I had to walk as if in a maze, dodging the poop piles. Most of you must know that geese are great to look at but very messy where they live. It is what it is…a sign of nature.

 

On a July evening Tom and I visited this gem with intentions of seeking peace after a hectic day. Our wishes were met as we walked along the pond and looked for fish, as the night air cooled

There are two places you can park and get out and walk around the freshly mowed edge.The water flows into a spillway, which runs into a winding stream. That’s where Tom likes to cast his fishing pole and catch fish that are stocked there.

 

 

 

Here is the spillway with the Chandler Pond overflow feeding into it. From there it goes in a culvert and into a stream.

 

IMG_2470
This is where Tom fishes over the railing into the brook below

 

 

 

When we first started dating Tom took me on a boat ride here. It was in a cheap blow up boat with plastic oars, one that I won in a work raffle at the store. Shifting every so slightly caused the plastic to squeak and I couldn’t help wondering how sturdy it was. I remember that day and the stillness as my heart fluttered being with this man. Although I should live in the now, coming back to the pond taps into this past memory.

 

How blessed we are to live in this town and reap the ponds rewards. I suggest that you find your peaceful spot in your town. Visit when you need to fill your cup and cherish the silent moments.

 

Chandler Pond in the fall

 

 

Here’s my handsome husband in his element, the outdoors.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Beautiful YOU

I love this quote because it’s so true! Many women need to accept themselves the way they are, including me!Just be yourself…for acting like someone else isn’t you. It’s fake. Do you want to be real and honest? Then just be you. Your friends and family will love you for who you are and the rest of the world doesn’t matter.

I’m placing this quote on my fridge for when I have self-doubt. Isn’t it just easier to be yourself with love and acceptance? I would imagine life will roll a lot smoother when you do this.

 

 

 

Happy summer, friends! I hope you all are enjoying it~

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Your Happiness

Photo credit, lessonslearnedinlife.com

I’m finally learning this monumental lesson as a 49 year-old woman. Happiness doesn’t lie with your husband or children or on exciting Christmas morning. Happiness isn’t what you do for a living nor how you spend your free time.

True happiness begins within you. Yes, you! I’m working on this, on seeking contentment and peace(which I think are relatives of true happiness for the three go hand in hand) within myself. I am extremely grateful for learning this and I’m on my way to self happiness. It’s a tough and long road but will eventually lead to peace and self-love.

photo credit, Facebook.com/itsthehappypage

Maybe you can find short-lived happiness in a book, a favorite activity or movie. But true contentment and happiness MUST be inside of you first. You must find it, cultivate and let it grow so that all around you, so that everything will fall in place.

I do hope you’ve discovered this truth! I wish you all loads of happiness as you live your life. A question to ask yourself is, “am I happy with myself?” If not, it’s time to change this. I am.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Walking the Cat!

Walking the cat? Are you crazy? I can hear your surprised and amused comments and I first thought that too. Until my soon to be daughter-in-law suggested for me to start walking our cat Smokey. She walks her cat Smokey Joe outside and has been for a while.

 

 

Our two cats have always been inside cats. The reason is that we’ve lost two cats in the past, one to a coydog and one got run over in front of our house. We live on an intersection of two busy roads and don’t want to risk our cats being run over. With that said, with our cat Katie it’s always been easy. She loves being inside and secure and seems very content with her home. The few times our kids have brought her out she freaked out in fear. Our youngest cat Smokey is another story. He was born a barn cat and spent a little time outdoors with his mother before we got him. He’s always had a free spirit and would run out whenever he could.

IMG_0084

The last year or so it’s been worse. One time he got out and ran up our neighbors hill. I was afraid that he wouldn’t return and roam the nearby woods and find trouble. With both my sons’ help, we gathered him up and brought him back home. It was then that I knew we had a problem and we had to give him his outside time as he wishes for.

 

 

Branden and I bought a harness and leash in a pet store and started putting on the harness so he would get used to it. We take him on fifteen minute adventures most everyday except on rainy days. The funny thing is that he doesn’t even whine to go out on cloudy and rainy days. Must be that water thing…that cats just don’t like to get wet.

 

Smokey either wants to roll in the dirt, eat grass or hunt. The hunting aspect is a challenge and worry as I don’t want him to kill. There are little chipmunks around the yard and they know of his presence. One time I saw a poor little scared one tucked in between our fuel tank and the house. I felt so sorry for him that I immediately brought the cat inside. Who knows how long he/she would’ve been able to hide there!

 

So the “catwalk” continues…which really isn’t one as he walks in a low position and never gains ground as he stops here and there. There are many smells and textures of this outside world that Smokey has to learn. As he learns, I hope he can have some polite manners. Sometimes he growls or hisses at Branden and I if we take him in another direction from what he wants. The reason we do this is because of the birds and chipmunks and we don’t want him in the Poison Ivy.

After walking the cat I realize the differences between cats and dogs. I think dogs will follow you where you wish them to go, where cats have a mind of their own and get ticked off if they don’t get their way. Oh well, I signed up for this when we got our cats. I have no regrets as I buckle the harness for Smokey’s daily walk. Who knows what we will find but I do know he’s happier with the outside trek and that makes me happy as well.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Saying NO

Credits, from Facebook page Becoming minimalist

I look back upon my busy years of raising sons and keeping our family afloat during times of baseball games and commitments, appointments, school, my college classes, work and housework and I wonder how I did it all. I guess I was young enough with a never ending energy that helped me get through. Life was good but busy! Being busy isn’t always good for you, because you run through life at full speed and forget to slow down and relax.

My son’s baseball team a few years back, the Lisbon Panthers. He’s number 11 in the huddle.

I remember my schedule during baseball season. I loved going to Dylan’s baseball games, they were exciting and it was so much fun seeing him and his teammates play. But it was busy, going to baseball games three times a week and sometimes four. I didn’t have time to make supper for Tom and I know he didn’t like it. I scrambled to find time to do laundry and regular housework as well because I really was never home.

 

I don’t have regrets, believe me. I loved and still love baseball and that feeling of showing up for my son. I do have one regret though. I wish I would’ve said “No” more often to baking for fundraisers and other commitments I should’ve passed on. I was trying desperately to be the perfect mom where I should’ve just said no for my sanity and peace instead.

Warm up at the Senior game a few years ago.
Dylan at bat

I read somewhere that being busy isn’t Godly. I don’t know if I agree, but I do agree with the fact that it’s too rushed and that when you are busy(especially if you are a mother and wife), there’s no time to be quiet and still. In those silent moments a sense of tranquility grows. It’s a time to stop the thoughts and put down the to-do list and just be. If a mom can learn to settle and slow down, then her children will learn from her and reap all the benefits from it.

 

Now it’s easier to say no to events and commitments that aren’t in my heart. Sometimes we moms and wives need to take time for us, to pass on the eternal “yes”answer. For you young moms out there, give yourself permission to say no when it can’t be done or you don’t feel it in your heart. Everyone will be okay and people will respect your answer and move on. No one cares if you say yes or no and if they do, then it’s their baggage and not yours.

I hope you all are enjoying the month of June and finding time to slow down. That quiet time is great for self reflections and with that you and your family will be so much stronger and peaceful because of it.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Blue Bellflowers

My favorite gardening activity right now is making new beds and creating beautiful spaces around our home. The first summer we were here we planted Hostas in the front that bloom in August. The following year we added two Spirea bushes, gifts from my friend and co-worker Laura. Our niece Michele gifted us a cool shady tropical looking plant and I bought a few Astilbe plants for the shady side of the house. Last year I had so much fun adding a new garden with yellow Coreopsis and deep purple  Echinacea Coneflowers.

My new little garden is on under the window next to the door. This full picture of our renovated house shows how small the space is.

All winter I dreamed of designing a new small space about two feet wide to the left of our door, our only real entrance that we use frequently. First I thought of daisies but they need spaces to flow, like a field for the area behind my vegetable garden. Next I wished for a Hydrangea bush but that would be too big for this space. Finally I decided on a whim to search for random flowers that may speak to me.

 

The other day  I set out for Lowe’s and Home Depot. I wished for something that would look beautiful and fit that area just right. I found these Taikon Blue Bellflowers on the clearance rack at Lowe’s for $3.00, half price. I’m not sure why they were marked off other than a few blossoms gone by. My son’s friend works there and helped me tag it. It was a good feeling to find something and at a perfect thrifty price!

After digging a hole with Tom’s trusty shovel and planting it, I mulched and lined it with rocks we have around the property. I call it my “Love Garden” as it hosts my heart-shaped rocks and upon entering our door you can feel the love in this house. It’s sappy but I know it’s true.

Most of the flower photos I share will be outside ones. I have never been able to keep cut flowers nor plants inside because of our cats. They eat all the leaves and blossoms and dig trenches in the dirt. Not pretty for a beige living room carpet! There is one special place I keep my picked posies, on my little mantle on our chimney. I like to change them every week or two with local pickings. Today I have wild daisies and another wild purple flower as well as picked roses. They truly make my day happy, it’s the little things that I find joy in. Do you find peace and joy in gardening flowers?

I’m wondering if anyone else has made a new flower bed recently? If so, what did you plant and what companion plants do you have?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul