Thursday, July 14, 2011

‘Tis a Gift to Be Simple

There’s a local community.of Amish and Mennonite folks nearby. They have a very tasty bakery and also a real nice dry goods store with some great bulk spices and noodles that can’t be beat.DSCN2933

We didn’t stop by the cabinet or furniture shops this time but we did get some fresh produce. I’m not one for fresh tomatoes, but they sure were prettier than any you’ll see in the local grocery store and I’m told they were delicious. I can, however, give a personal testimony on the pecan pie, strawberry rhubarb pie, chocolate chip sandwich cookies, sweet apple bread and pecan sticky buns. (We’ll try the cinnamon swirl breads and mixed berry pie another time. Yes… we just about cleaned the baker out for just under $25…)

What’s most enviable is their simple Christian lifestyle. (Except maybe for the lack of air conditioning…)DSCN2938DSCN2936DSCN2935

This was my second visit to the small town of Lead Mine. We went 10 years ago when my Zachary was just barely four years old. At that time we were on a quest for handmade wooden toys and we talked with him about the similarities and differences in our lifestyles. At that time he asked me if “we would see all the stuff they don’t have”. I thought that was pretty insightful at the time.





On this trip we studied about their lifestyle a bit more in depth before our drive over. As we read, one particular belief stood out among the others. Amish teenagers are encouraged to sample life in the outside world, in a period referred to as rumspringa, (Pennsylvania Deutsch for "running around.") They’re still bound by the beliefs and rules of their parents, but a certain amount of disregard and experimentation is permitted or overlooked.


I asked the kids why they thought the vast majority of Amish young people decided to be baptized and stay with their Amish community.


The answer was simple – life was better without all the distractions of this world pulling them away from Christ and their relationship with Him and their families. Even as (well raised) teens they’re able to discern that.DSCN2950

I must admit, I’m a little jealous. Not that I don’t hang my laundry out to dry on a line or have to hand make any sweets rather than buying them in the freezer section, but that family and the the Christian walk take precedence over all else and they don’t let “life” get in the way.DSCN2931

This is an area that I can stand to improve in. We probably all could.

"And be ye not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:2

Monday, July 11, 2011

Like a Kid in a Candy Store

The other day we took a ride up to Kansas City to pick my babies’ daddy up at the airport. We gave ourselves a buffer of an hour just in case we needed to make an emergency potty or shopping stop.

Good thing. We had an emergency potty stop and the only place I could find was this store.


It was a sacrifice – but we walked every aisle.




and tasted the samples placed strategically around the store…DSCN2882

No… not everything was out as a sample. We would have stayed a lot longer if these had been.DSCN2883


And we did a fair amount of purchasing too… DSCN2880

It just wouldn’t feel right to use the bathrooms (and eat the samples) and then not make a purchase. I’m doing what I can to teach my kids well.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mr. Ed’s

The other day we made a little trek to a place my kids tell me I used to go all the time with my Grampa. Honestly, I don’t remember it at all – but my mother tells them I’ve been here and I have no reason to doubt it, I just don’t remember it. My KIDS remember it, though. They’ve been here with their grandparents. And so it goes. Even if the shakes were bad we’d probably still come here.DSCN1945

DSCN1946It’s a popular joint with a “regular” crowd – you know the kind… they know what you want when you walk in the door. It smells like heaven (if there’s fried food in heaven, which I’m sure there must be,) and sounds like the 50’s inside and out with a speaker playing to those that use the walk-up service window rather than going in where the swamp cooler keeps it comfy.DSCN1911

DSCN1910DSCN1928The shakes are thick, the Suzy Q’s are crisp and soft in all the right places and the soft-serve twist cones are extra big. Just the way we like it.DSCN1943

It’s almost worth the 12 hour drive from home – at least for the high marks on the nostalgia factor scale.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Drought Relief

Dry spell, parched, nothing going on in blogville.Until now. Let the vacation begin!

We (the royal we and my loyal subordinates) left bone dry Texas and the crunchy grass at the beginning of the week and are currently basking on Lake Pomme de Terre in lush and green southwestern Missouri. DSCN1811

When you haven’t seen any measurable rain since the New Year even an overcast sky on a wet morning the first day of your vacation is a beautiful sight.

And when the temps at home have been in the triple digits for weeks the thermometer in the 60’s, even if it is just in the morning, is a relief.DSCN1819

We’ve been making this trip for the last several summers – staying for a month or so at some property that has been in my family for five generations now.

This is THE spot. The only place in my life that has always been here. The first place I ever swam or skied or tried to keep an ice cream scoop in the cone on a moving watercraft. The first place I ever held a fishing pole or a fourth of July sparkler or ate a green apple off the tree.. THIS is Gramma’s house. And when I walk in the door and down that dark hallway that was originally part of the garage it still smells like Gramma’s house, even though her pie making days are part of the past now, there’s no question she’s been here. Although now she just visits in the summer like I do.


I remember picking flowers from this flower bed and playing wedding in this yard, and the late fall when my dad helped put in this fireplace.

I’d swing for hours in the swing my Grampa put up across the street in the black walnut grove, pull locust shells off the trees, collect little acorn men and their little frenchy hats, and chase down lightening bugs for my jar.DSCN1804

I rode my first motor bike here – just a little Honda trail 70 – there were once four of them – one for each of my grandparent’s kids. The rides I remember the most fondly were sitting on the front edge of the seat with my feet on the handlebars and my Gramma taking me down the gravel road, avoiding the potholes, to the “bubble-gum store”. I’m sure they carried more than hard pink bubble gum and candy necklaces, but that’s all that mattered to me.

And now we’re gearing up for another holiday weekend. The quiet of the week is gone and boats are starting to arrive. The water is already getting chopped up with skiers and tubers and kids just seeing who can make the biggest splash and accidentally get mom’s sunglasses and hair soaked.DSCN1907DSCN1901

My cousins have started to arrive now and I’m currently the “old person” here but that will change soon and I'll slip into acting like a kid again myself. Our children are running around barefoot , playing and asking for popsicles and firecrackers at 10 in the morning and the smell of sunscreen is in the air. They’re making their own memories now. If they’re just half as sweet as the memories I have of growing up here they’ll be fantastic.DSCN2190

I’m off to another rough day… I hope you’re making some great memories with your family this weekend.

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