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Monday, May 30, 2011

Yard Sale 2011

The best yard sale we've ever had went down in history a few weeks ago.  Let me begin by saying that an event this huge CANNOT BE DONE ALONE.  My dear friend Jessica, (whom I met at one of my yard sales a few years ago) and I worked on this whole shebang together!  I love working with her.....and being with life alongside her.
My flower boxes were ready to greet all the yard sale divas on Friday night!
I'm enjoying my boxes this year more then years past because I got an early star. The local Amish greenhouse had such a lovely flower selection.  I went with COLOR, that's my theme!   
The signs were placed out and about our small town.
The Ladies brought CAR LOADS of stuff.....they worked so hard!!

We did something different this year and had what we called a "vendor preview."  So, from 3-4 pm all the ladies that had a stand were able to peruse the other stands before the gates opened.  I had placed a mason jar, (an "honesty jar" I named it) on each table. So if you purchased something from that stand you would just place the money in that allotted jar.  I think it was a hit.  I enjoyed it so much....peeking at all the goodies!!! 
(You can see the finished picture of the carriage house in the background,
my husband is out of this world).
Our little "vignettes".  We like to separate the items by the room they would belong in. 
It's really pleasing to the eye and makes it easy for purchasing.
Goodies Galore!!!!

A delightful display in the one corner from The Cottonwood House. (You'll see one of my purchases from her later on in this post).  

My talented friend Michelle from Italian Lane
How much do you love her display?  So creative. So fun!
Much to my dismay Jake cut and burned these massive doors. 
They were taking up our yard space for too long and we couldn't figure out what to do with them.
If you need some beautiful, unique note cards,
she's your girl!!
Shar, my cousin and her darling, darling things......
Terri and her TREASURES, (can you understand why I hardly made any money with all this loveliness coming to my HOME)??? She was selling alot of her inventory from Lulu and Tutz, I could have cried.  It just didn't seem right, but I know there are BRIGHTER days ahead that have nothing to do with boxes and price tags! (See that little sign, we placed them on each table, it says: "Pay as you go.  Look for the lady in the apron."). Each vendor wore an apron setting them apart from the customers and making them look quite adorable in the time being! 

Another vignette.
3:59 pm
4:10 pm!!!
    My high school soccer coach, Mr. Rice, was there to sell his fresh Italian ice from a little cart with a red and white umbrella!  So, so sweet!!
  It was so welcoming and delicious right at the entrance! 
Samantha and Kylie, my nieces selling baked goods and candy at their stand. xoxo.
Friday evening was a true success. Saturday morning came bright and early, with a fresh breakfast buffet for each of the vendors.
muffins*coffee*yogurt*granola*espresso beans*fruit
(and take a peek at my new patio door....I'll have to show you my newly arranged kitchen this Summer. I love my kitchen. I live in my kitchen)!
  I bought this little beauty from The Cottonwood House stand,
an old cabinet door turned chalkboard!  She belongs in my kitchen!!
Besides our neighborhood police officer putting us in our place for causing a huge traffic jam, it was a lovely time had by all, (except those that parked illegally and therefore got a ticket~boo-hoo! Hopefully they at least found a good deal before seeing their ticket)!  Next time we need what he called "an event's permit" if it gets this size again!!!  Better take a note of that.....

  He came and placed signs and cones to help keep the traffic flowing. I asked him "could I pay you whatever you wanted per hour to come back in your uniform and direct traffic?"  He said he'd have to talk to his chief about that.  He never came back, except to place the signs.

You won't even believe it, but between all the vendors and both days, over $6,000 was made!!!  Of course, what each woman made, they took home with them.  I was so thankful to hear that each of them did so well.  We really wanted it to be "worth their time and energy" and as far as I know, each woman felt duly compensated for their labor!!  By Saturday afternoon, this place was as quiet as a mouse.  All the unsold items were taken to Goodwill, the tables were returned and the signs were taken down.  Until next year friends......

"In the old days a man who saved money was a miser;
nowadays he's a wonder
~Author Unknown~

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Guest Post with Shawn Smucker

It's great to have my cousin Shawn with us today.  We've grown up together and he was always way cooler then me because: 1.) he was older, 2.) he listened to "Green Day" and 3.) he could get all the way to the end of Super Mario Brothers without dying.  

He's sharing a guest post about he and his wife, Maile.  It seems appropriate to end our "marriage week" , (which is sort of what this week turned into by no planning of my own) with this post from a huband's perspective. Enjoy!  And thanks Shawn for joining us around my kitchen table, (p.s. I prayed you wouldn't go to hell for listening to G.D.)!

Broke, Broken and Ready to Take a Chance

My wife and I stood in the kitchen in the summer of 2009.

“Well, I guess we both know what we have to do now,” she said. 

Considering that I had just told her we were running out of money and that the income from my painting business wasn’t going to pay the bills or get us through the winter, I could only think of a few things that we “both knew we had to do now.”

Try to find me two extra jobs.

Figure out who to borrow more money from.

Throw me out the window.

I waited, holding my breath. But she didn’t put any of those options on the table.

“I guess now is the time to move into your parent’s basement. And you need to try writing full time.”

* * * * *

One of the most tragic things about the life that most of us live is that we have lost our sense of adventure
. We’ve fallen for the lie that comfort and stability are worthy goals around which to create a life. And too often we bring those goals into our marriage relationship, putting pressure on each other to conform to whatever model we grew up seeing as safe.

When Maile looked at me and said what she did, a thrill ran through me. Finally I could give it a shot. I felt like something inside of me was waking up, something that had been euthanized a long time ago.

* * * * *
After spending four months in a crowded basement with my wife and four children, we rented a place in the country. I was making a living writing, we had a garden, and God kept providing: work came in steadily…for the first time in a long time we were paying down our debt…and both of our vehicles were given to us.

In the beginning it wasn’t easy. We had become so used to a certain amount of security. Sometimes, when I only had enough work to cover our bills for one more month, panic rose in my chest and I wanted to scream into my pillow. But when I got close to getting a job, Maile persuaded me otherwise.

“Just keep going,” she said. “We’re not done yet.”

In December, two weeks before Christmas, we had $17 in our account. I went to meet with a potential client, wondering why I was dragging my family through all this. Why couldn’t I just get a normal job like so many of my friends? Who did I think I was – what made me so special, that I thought I could live a dream life doing what I loved doing? The night was dark, and by the time I pulled into his driveway I was ready to give up.

He liked my work. He wanted to move forward. He wrote out a check for $1000 on the spot.

* * * * *

My wife had enough confidence in me to give my dream a shot.

She was no longer concerned with keeping up pretenses among her friends, trying to get them to believe we had more money than we actually had.

She was willing for us to try something different, something that looked different, something that from the outside might be misinterpreted as foolish or irresponsible (even though it wasn’t).

What about you? Is it time to set aside your boring life of comfort and predictability and give your spouse the chance to live their dream?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Day memories.

Hello Friends, I was just remembering some memorial days of the past. Like this one when Paisley was such a tiny baby! xoxo. Oh, my precious baby girl, she's growing up so fast.  Everything is going so fast it seems.  Is it just me or do the days seem to be FLYING BY??  Maybe I'm getting old and noticing it more.  When I was little each day seemed sooooo long, now somehow the sun rises and sets and unless I TAKE AND MAKE TIME TO NOTICE, it's tomorrow already.   

So, that's what I look forward to doing this weekend.
stopping and noticing life around me.

When everyone wakes up from naps, I'm taking them all with me to the new Home Goods store, (it's
g-l-o-r-i-o-u-s.....I was there last week and saw the sweetest, robin's egg blue bird bath. I didn't buy it and I've thought about it every day since....that's my sign that I should buy it right?! hahaha!  Here's to hoping it's still there! 

Grammie is making dinner for us tonight, (WHAT A TREAT)!!  Tomorrow morning I'm posting a guest post by Shawn Smucker. Come back if you think about it, it's a wonderful post!

Tomorrow night is Dinner Club, (with children this time around) at my cousin Dave and Orpha's home.  Sunday afternoon we're going to my sisters home with Curt and Jeane' and their crew to go fishing and sit on the front porch.  I can hardly wait for those conversations, (between keeping watch over our combined 13 children)!

Monday morning is the annual Strasburg Memorial Day Parade.
The kids are excited for the candy throwing that's for sure, (and I am too if they have starbursts)!  And then we hope to go swimming the rest of the day at my brother Chet and Sharon's is going to be in the 90's in case you didn't know! 

Whatever your weekend holds I hope you can create some down time with your family, with those you love & love you!! 

"And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me."
~Lee Greenwood

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Prayers for my husband~his marriage

"Lord, I pray You would protect our marriage from anything that would harm or destroy it. Shield it from our own selfishness and NEGLECT, from the evil plans and desires of others, and from UNHEALTHY or dangerous SITUATIONS. 

May there be no thoughts of divorce or infidelity in our hearts, and none in our future.  SET US FREE from past hurts, MEMORIES AND TIES from previous relationships, and UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS of one another.   Let nothing come INTO OUR HEARTS and HABITS that would threaten the marriage in any way.  

Unite us in a bond of friendship, COMMITMENT, generosity and UNDERSTANDING. ELIMINATE OUR IMMATURITY, hostility, or FEELINGS OF inadequacy.  Help us to MAKE TIME FOR ONE ANOTHER ALONE, to nurture and renew the marriage and remind ourselves of the REASONS WE WERE MARRIED IN THE FIRST PLACE!  

I pray that (place your husband's name here) will be SO COMMITTED TO YOU, LORD, that his commitment to me will not waiver, NO MATTER WHAT STORMS COME.  I pray that OUR LOVE for each other will grow stronger every day, so that we will never LEAVE A LEGACY of divorce to our children."~The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian~

Monday, May 23, 2011

Junk in the trunk

I don't know about you, but I'm getting so SICK of hearing about all these men boys who can't keep their junk in their trunk....if you know what I mean!!  Whatever happened to faithfulness?  Sexual purity AFTER you're married?  Forget the "save yourself for marriage", (which I'm a big fan of), what about the "save yourself when you're married" part!  It's really discouraging when the media attention is focused so much on who did what, with whom, when, where and how!  And it's not just in the media, some far-away person that we'd never know or see.  It's people around us; our friends, in our churches, our families, our neighbors.  It feels like so many marriages are dying around me.  The marriage graveyard is filling up, all that's remembered is the date when love began, then a dash, and then the day it died.  But what about the inbetween times? 
The "dash" days?

Maybe I'm just getting old...and hearing more about the difficulties that people live in. The decision making that one or both spouses make and the heart-breaking, soul-wrecking home life of so manyWhat does purity look like after you're married?  For 3 years? 10 years? 25 years? 50 years?  I don't claim to know that's for sure.  I'm just wondering, typing outloud.

I want to know how to walk and live in purity with my man.  I had posted something on my personal facebook page a few days back, when all the secrets were crashing out of Arnold's closet.  "Mr. Schwarzenegger, it's too bad you couldn't keep your pants zipped" that was my status update.  And I meant it.  It is too bad.  It's a shame.  It's shame-full.  It's shaming. It's shame. 

One of my friends commented that he deserves grace just like any of us that have sinned, that have missed the mark.  That he too was in bondage these ten years, (or however many), hiding the secret(s) and most likely in great anxiety over doing so.  It's not easy keeping secrets. And I agree with that statement, that he deserves grace, (and some good public humiliation).  He is free in a way, now that his secret is out. 

And yet, the pain has really only begun for him and especially for Maria and their innocent children.  And what's it worth?  A few nights of uncommitted pleasure, or whatever you want to call it.  I'm just a little tired of hearing about all these affairs around us.  Affairs of the heart that lead to affairs of the body that lead to affairs of the soul.  And don't misunderstand my words, I'm not casting judgement on those people, (or on you) or those you know and love.  I've got some serious logs in my eyes, I don't have time to look at your splinters. (Matthew 7:1-5)

The fact is, there's a lot of icy cold days that come from hot steamy nights. And it makes me sad. So much destruction and betrayal. Depression and anger. Death. Anyway, I'm sounding like a broken record. Here's the deal: WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THESE SITUATIONS that surround us?  How can we PURSUE purity in our marriages?  We're just babies in this whole marriage thing, only 9 years old, but I want to grow old with this man; my lover, my friend, my baby Daddy.  

 "Keep watch on yourself,
lest you too be tempted." 
Galatians 6:1

And I guess that about sums it up,
What can I be doing to strengthen, grow and protect our union?  I don't have the answers to that tonight.  All I know is there is a call to FIGHT for what we LOVE, for WHO we love.  And I cannot fight in my own strength, that's for sure!  And so I ask my Lord to fill me up again so I can have eyes to see, so I can take heed in my spirit, so I can get/keep my act together so our together can stay together...... come back on Wednesday, I'll be posting a prayer for your husbands marriage!

"All marriages are happy.
It's the living together afterward
that causes all the trouble."
~Raymond Hull~

Friday, May 20, 2011

I wanna be like Ralph Lauren

 Yesterday Oprah got to interview Ralph Lauren because shes Oprah.
I'm kinda dorky about these kind of "exclusive" interviews with people that don't give many appearances.  I had my notebook and my ball point pen ready, (please refer to the first part of the previous sentence, "kinda dorky").  Being an older, successful gentlemen that made a business out of nothing, with no proper "design education" I knew this interview would be good and would have some "gold nuggets" so to speak.  Needless to say I wasn't disappointed. The interview took place at their 17,000 acre ranch/family compound!!  Wowzer!  And his lovely Jeep the color of a robins egg!!  OH, be still my vintage lovin' heart!!
I was struck by so much of what took place over the next hour.  I liked the way he spoke about the "hope and excitement of a child" when looking at the details of design.  Living life through the eyes of a child where all is fresh, new and alive!  "I'm not about fashion, I'm about living."  When asked what he was most proud of, he said his wife and children and "that I've done it honorably and with integrity" (speaking of his business).  And isn't that the basic desire of so many humans, rich or poor?  To say our children have "turned out" and that we've lived life with integrity, (to the best of our ability). No easy task to say the least. 

He and Ricky have been married for 46 years, (CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN AND AGAIN)!!  Oprah asked them what it takes to keep something like this?  "Be a good friend" said Ricky.  We are each others best friend and  "we see the world as a team."  "We had nothing when we started and we worked hard and we had values."   By the way, he hardly has any clothes!  So he says.  He likes to keep the same thing and wear it again and again, making it truly vintage and truly worn, truly "his own."  I don't have much closet space because my wife has it all!!  This sounds like most marriages I know!
 Their kids were at the ranch too and joined their parents at the end of the show. The bond they had AS A FAMILY was so obvious you could just about feel it.  The closeness, ease and comfort they had together.  Yes, we only watched for 30 minutes, but you can't fake that kind of thing, that kind of love.  "My parents were always home" their one child said in response to the question about their family ties.  "We shared a room until college" said the one son.  "WE SHARED LIFE AND LIVED CLOSE!" Can you imagine the mansion they lived in?  And they shared a roomI LOVE that!!  And they don't get their clothing for free either!! "It's a public company, they get a discount, but not for free" Ralph said. I LOVE that too.  Let us remember that this is a picture of them all dolled up, (although very good looking people), they don't look like this everyday and they are MORE then what you're seeing.  We all are.

When asked about some memories they have of their parents, we watched them "just loving life".  "It's never one memory, it's the life we live together. Mom chronicled our life in pictures, notes and words so we know her perspective of us."   They started speaking of Dylan's soon approaching wedding day and the dress that, of course, her Dad will be making.  With tears in his eyes and a quiver in his chin, "this is the most important dress I'll ever make." "I'm not giving her away, we're taking him!" said her Mother. 

And so the interview ended, the camera panning away from an old window pane through which we watched them eating their dinner together, around an old barn board table.  Together.  It doesn't much matter if you have what Americans perceive as the "perfect" family.  It matters that you CARE, truly care about those that are placed in your family.  Those sitting in the chairs around YOUR kitchen table.  And for all of us, all around this world, that looks differently, comes in different shapes and sizes and colors.

 For some, it's just you and your husband, newlyweds living in a second story apartment, with barely enough cabinet space for all your wedding presents!  For others it's just you and the children around the table, no Daddy in the picture.  Or, like ours, it's a table full of "sit down", "eat right", "what was your favorite thing of today?".  Or it may be all quiet, hearing only the tick-tick-ticking of your fifty-two year old clock. Whatever it looks like, IT'S ALL ABOUT THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU, it's the life you create for yourself, the attitude you have toward "your place in this world", (a shout-out to my favorite song from 8th grade and my first ever cassette tape, Mr. Michael W. Smith)....that's what I learned on my rainy afternoon with Mr. Ralph Lauren. You can't take it with you, so you better love it while you have it.

"Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!"
~Albert Einstein~

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

a little bit of rain

it's been raining here.
thankfully we got our garden planted during a dry spell.
it's already starting to grow so much!  had some lettuce from there tonight and picked a few ripe strawberries.
amazing what a little rain and sun can do to a hungry seed.
meanwhile, a few weeks back my husband got an idea....
 and it went a little something like this: 

I've got so many renovation pictures to catch you up on, it's not even funny.
He finishes faster then I can blog them....I'm serious!!  I haven't forgotten that many of you haven't seen the finished carriage house.  Annie has been here with us for several months and WE COULDN'T BE HAPPIER!  We are enjoying the company of one another and yet really keeping our space and distance.  It's been a lovely transition.  Better then I anticipated.  (And we've been getting totally spoiled by her amazing cooking/baking)! 

Stay tuned.  If you've read this blog for any length of time, you will know that random posts come at random times.  For instance, you may or may not be seeing Tyler's 5th birthday party pictures in the next week or so....with his "snowy mountain Thomas cake" (he turns 6 next month)!  And I've got some fabulous shots from our massive yard sale 2 weeks back.  There's spring decor and living room makeovers, cutie daughters and new tricycles, bedroom decor changes, thoughts on our homeschooling year, garden planting and beach with my girlfriends, there's prayers and ponderings and darling Easter pics.  Oh my, there's just so much, but alas, there's so little time, (or so it seems) to do all I want to post all I'd like to post.  My first thoughts are TO LIVE MY LIFE and BE GRATEFUL FOR MY LIFE...and blog about it when I get the time!!

Sometimes I'm just moving at the speed of life.
And I'm okay with that.  

Here's to hoping you are each feeling good....
from the inside~~out.
I've been exceptionally grateful for our HEALTH lately.  It is a GIFT!! 

And our food!  Oh my goodness, we have so much to eat.  All of us!! Very few of you reading having nothing to eat.  We have a fridge and freezer full of food.  No true worry about where your next meal will come from, (perhaps more like, "what the heck to make for dinner?"). :) What a perspective shift to count my blessings and name them one by one.....try it sometime.  THERE IS SUCH POWER IN GRATITUDE! 

"It is only possible to live happily-ever-after
on a day-to-day basis."
~Margaret Bonnano~

Friday, May 13, 2011


This is where I'm at this weekend,
in case anyone wonders! 

"Friendship is a sheltering tree."
 ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge~

Monday, May 9, 2011

be sure your posts will find you out

Back about four and a half years ago I came upon an old friends blog.  By "old friend" I mean that we had lost contact after knowing one another through our involvement at the same church.  He also married a childhood friend of mine which made him a friend-in-law I guess.  I was delighted to see that he had some blog postings in his archive from 2002, (not alot of people were blogging "back then").  Narcissically I clicked on September 2002 to see if, per chance he had posted something about our wedding day!  HAHA!!!  WHO DOES THAT??  And why would I even think a MAN would waste his time writing about OUR wedding day???

To my complete shock and excitement I came upon a posting ALL*ABOUT*OUR*WEDDING!!  I started reading as fast as my little eyes could scan and realized rather quickly that this post was a total mockery of our day!! I wasn't upset, just surprised.  I wondered if I should leave a comment, maybe something like this: "Hi Brian, (he gets annoyed when people spell his name incorrectly), nice blog you have here.......jerk!!"   I don't remember exactly what I did, but I did make known my "presence" on his blog one way or another.  A few months later I returned to the blog post to see he had changed a few things and tried to cover his tracks, for instance: "in July at a wedding in Massachusetts" and other such fallacies! It felt good to know he was a little sorry......or ashamed.

Fast forward years later and Bryan's blog has really taken off and his first ever published piece was done in Collide Magazine last year.  And want to know what it was all about?  The way he made fun of our wedding....and how I found out!  The title of his article was aptly named "Be Careful Little Blog What You Flame." 

His article begins like this:
 This was it. "This was the last straw.

Sitting us outside in the sun I could understand. I mean, how were they supposed to know it was going to be 90 degrees outside in September?

And the musical numbers? Definitely a bit much for my taste, but I could live with those too. Hey, it was their wedding. If they wanted it to feel like Mamma Mia!-meets-The Bachelor, that was their call.

But a season of prayer for the bride and groom? A stinking, 15-minute-long season of prayer when it felt like my sweaty neck already boasted a third-degree sunburn? This was too much. This wedding needed to be flamed, and I needed to be the one to do it...." 
For the rest of the article you can go here.
You'll have to read the entire article to know how it all ended. And if you're a blogger, you'll find some very helpful and insightful tips to seeing your blog become a success....and how not to be mean!   

"If you can't forgive and forget,
pick one."

~Robert Brault~

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Hello Friends, we're all busy around here preparing for our annual yard sale!  But this won't be any old yard junk here!  Well, to some it may be "junk" but to most it's a

Vern from The Cottonwood House will be here with A TENT FULL OF FURNITURE.  My neighbor and friend Michelle from Italian Lane will be here with many lovely handmade note cards, photos, jewelry.  Terri will be bring some of her inventory from the closing of Lulu and Tutz among other deliciously beautiful things.  Dee from Thistle and Vine will be here too! 

And of course, there will be FOURTEEN OTHER VENDORS as well.  Just about anything you could HOPE TO FIND at a yard sale will be here!  Ladies that have beautiful homes and decor, yet are willing to part with some of the things
they LIKE to make room for things they LOVE!! 



*please email me if you need our address.*

Just look for the signs and the traffic jam!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Paisley's Picnic Slideshow

Thank you to my seriously talented friend Angela Stoltzfus for capturing this Spring evening when my baby was almost 2 and surrounded by her favorite things, enjoying her little life.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAISLEY GIRL! We love you more then ever. XOXO.

"Just living is not enough.
 One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower."
" ~Hans Christian Anderson~