Sunday, February 23, 2014

VVDDP - 2014 Edition

Before I begin to tell about our annual gathering I wanted to share how much 
I love preparing and creating for these types of events. 
 If I had endless amounts of money and time I would spend it 
creating opportunities for people to join together.  
The clincher is I'd want it to be for free for them.
 (I know, I'm living in a dream world right!)

Spending the day yesterday in my kitchen was wonderful for me.  
This year I didn't have alot of time to plan and prepare like usual.  
In fact, I "winged it" and took easier routes than in past years.
It turned out lovely and it was less stressful in some aspects.
Sometimes it's ok to use "not homemade" and it still impresses.
But honestly, impressing my friends wasn't really the goal at all. 
It was about coming together. 
(and for some of them this is the only time they see one another each year)
There were conversations about Route 66, current job situations, 
family updates, old car talk, and laughter galore.

This event brought me back to the fact that I need to entertain more.
I need to not allow busy schedules and lots of time to pass before I invite others to our home.
This has my "invitation and date open" mindset on! 
Whom will be the next to come enjoy some time together!

NOW!  For your viewing, our 2014 VVDDP event!

Let's start with the table decor.  There is this great fair trade store in Lindsborg, Ks
 called CONNECTED that sells the neatest stuff!  
I found these hearts there and knew it was a must for this years gathering!

I chose one heart for each couple.
On each heart there is a word, I chose the one that I see in their relationship 
through my eyes.  They got to take their heart home with them as well!

I placed the extras with the centerpiece.

(click on the links to find the recipes from the original source)

Not the most beautiful plating, but get get the picture! :) 

Flat iron Steak (2 ways)
My hubs did a super job grilling. It was tender and delish!



(Cookbook Just Mini Desserts Vol. 2)

Coconut Creams
Sweet & Salty Chocolate Pizzazz

My favorite was the Coconut one. Really good!

At dinner, I usually try to keep the conversation going, although with this group it's not really needed!  I had found a conversation starter on Pinterest and decided to try it.   Before everyone arrived I gave Milton the task of finding pennies with not so close years on them.  Then we placed one at each person's plate.  We went around the table and they had to tell things about that year.
It was fun and interesting to hear about the person's life.  
Sometimes it was difficult to remember that far back for some of us! :)

This led to one of the guests wanting us to tell of one good thing from 2013!
(SEE chain reaction, isn't it awesome!)
So we went around the table and got to go back in time a short way and 
feel those great feelings once more.  Milton said this one and I said the 
Oklahoma weekend trip my hubby planned last year!


Two years ago we began a tradition with our gathering.  We play a game and whomever wins get a prize.  The winner of the current year must organize the game and prize for the following year.

This couple won last year, so they created the game for this year!
This couple is pretty FUN and they did a GREAT job!

It was called 
"I know you by heart"

3 parts to the game
#1 - Blind fold the ladies, line the guys up, and we had to figure out 
by scent which man was our spouse. Then it was the guy's turn!

#2 - Blind fold the individual and figure out which opposite 
sex was your spouse by feeling their hands.
It was extremely difficult NOT to laugh when playing!

#3 - Then we were asked twelve question, six that pertained to the ladies, and six for the men.

Every time a couple got something correct, they got a point.  Couple with the most points won.
This couple won a FABULOUS prize!

It was a box of envelopes with date instructions, a monthly date calendar, and other items for dates.
The LOVE shadow box is for the couple to take something from each date and display it.  
The box will be full by this time next year!  I'm totally jealous they won! Watch out next year!

Good friends, Good food, Good times!
One of our usual couples wasn't able to attend! They were missed!

Thanks to our friends for such a wonderful evening!
Until next year!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Simpler Life

I find myself longing for a simpler life.  When I look back I see it really 
started kicking in when we moved to the farm.  With each passing month, 
small hints would creep into my mind here and there.

Most of my life I've been the type of person that needed to have everything planned out, leave on time 10 minutes earlier than needed, and when that didn't occur, well you can imagine what occurred.  Just ask my older children and dear hubs!  
As the years went by, I have become more lax with things.  

The addition of PV, studying the bible, influences of new friends,
 reading and growing my knowledge, moving to the farm, and marrying my hubs, 
have all been factors in this more relaxed state of mind.

Don't get me wrong, I still over exaggerate on occasion, flip out excessively at times, and blow when we aren't in the car 10 minutes before we need to leave, but it's less.  Way less.
I promise, ask my hubs! :)

When I came across this song last night it really took me back to when I grew up, and made me smile.  It took me to the little episodes of my childhood that weren't bad or damaged.  
It gave me a warm feeling, and I thought, boy is this song true.

The other thing about this song I love so much is that it reminds me of my husband.
He's truly a simpler soul.
He prefers the Rand McNally to the GPS we have.
He prefers to pay cash for things than write a check or use a card.
He definitely knows how to drive a stick.
There's nothing "Automatic" about my man of choice.
And that's pretty awesome in this day & age!
He keeps me grounded.

Living on the farm is a benefit of a simpler life.
It's not easy work for my husband by any means, but it's a simpler life.
I'm not a money driven individual, and either is my spouse.
We have many blessings, but most are from the smiles from our daughters, giggles from our grandaughter, time with our friends, and a decent harvest a couple times a year.
Homemade food in our kitchen brings delight to our souls.
Entertaining others is such a high for me, who needs anything else!

Spring will be here before we know it, and the crops greening up 
will bring our nightly rides to inspect the fields in the "mule".
Simple entertainment for our young daughter.
May these days be the bright moments of her life 
when she is grown and looks back.
I hope she sees a simple time.

My sister and I at our farm.  See my boots! :) 

What is your favorite memory or time from long ago?
When things were less automatic?

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sun Dogs & Strangers - Inspirations?

Sun dog - February 5, 2014 - View from the Farm road.

  I'm one of those people that loves a good "inspirational story"  or movie. 
Yesterday I was fortunate enough to have someone inspire and comfort me. 
I had not met him before yesterday, he was a stranger.

I was in somewhat of a state of panic yesterday afternoon.  This month marks the sixth one in my career as an agent.  That is significant, but that's not what I'm going to blog about.  You just needed to know my state of mind to some degree.

Mr. S, that's what we will call him, had called to come by the office to obtain his quote.  
I actually needed to leave earlier than normal, because my 
sweet hubby had driven me to work since all the snow had arrived! 
 He needed to get home before dark to clean up the church parking lot with the tractor.
Note, I'm sure God was laughing during my attempt to control my afternoon.
Here is why.

Mr. S  and I had never met prior to yesterday, my staff had collected his information, and I did the work.  When I came out of my office to greet him, as I shook his hand, I instantly felt warmth.  Not from nervousness either, but from his warm smile, and solid hand shake.  It was like he was excited "just to see me"!  I know, that probably isn't the real reason he was so happy, but let's go with it! It made me feel really good!

We made our way into my office, and began to chat.  Small talk to get to know one another, and I totally forgot I needed to leave early.  In fact, I could have invited the man to dinner and probably listened to his stories for the entire evening, and never looked at a clock!

Here's the inspiration part, or at least a section of it.  After about 15 minutes into the presentation, he is telling a story, and explains to me he was born deaf.  I did notice hearing aides, but didn't think too much about it, he is an older gentleman.  Then he tells me he is 80% deaf in BOTH ears.  80% is no small amount folks!  He didn't hardly miss a thing I said to be honest, and when he did he calmly asked me to repeat. 
But honestly, it wasn't too many times. 

Inspiration to me comes from the fact that in his life he raised a family, 
worked a job for many years, has four college degrees, and has to read lips, 
and body langauge every day all day!  He does it without complaint from my preception!

 Then he said this.

"I do not have a handicap, I just do things in a different function".  

If that doesn't inspire one, I'm not sure what will!  

The other inspiring part of my short visit with Mr. S was this.  
He openly spoke of his faith in Jesus Christ.  The moments in my office, 
where this particular subject arises,  brings me a great deal of comfort .

(hence the panic was pretty much gone now)
God - 1  Julie-0

 Sometimes people come into your life that end up being treasures.
  This interaction with another human, is one for my memory feeling box
 I am thankful for Mr. S.

God provided me with comfort and inspiration yesterday afternoon 
when I  was beside myself.  Unfortunately, I know myself, 
I will probably once again become weak,
 but in my weakness, HE is strong.

I hope you feel inspired to share a warm smile, a solid hand shake, your faith in Christ, 
or just something to enhance another's day.  
I know I am!

Thanks for stopping by!

  (Hebrews 13:2)
"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it."

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Tidbit Memories That make my Heart Full

Warning..... this post will be all over the place.  I just wanted to document some joys, some thoughts, some happenings, some whatevers! These days moments are passing me by quicker than I can retain, so I'm documenting.  For myself, my children, my family.  I hope it helps you to stop for  moment and just think back, pick out the "gems" of your week, and journal about them.  Mine are from the past couple weeks.

Conversations with a child that make you feel uncomfortable, yet both of you grow when it's over.

Being told you weren't hired to make tons of money, you were hired "because you care about people".  

Friends that make you feel beautiful even though you are shopping for a larger size then you care to.

Funerals. They are difficult and beautiful.  Hearing the stories of one's life brings me some comfort and the music can create in one so many emotions you are all over the board.  We lost a family member and although I only knew her for a couple years, she was one special little girl.  She did a whole lot more for my family than we did for her.  My youngest (and the rest of my family) witnessing her father care for her at our first gathering together, was a lesson you don't pick up everyday. I pray my daughter retains that memory and it creates in her heart the ability to care for others just as "N" did for his daughter.  My oldest daughter went beyond where she thought she could in caring for another to become stronger, and that is a blessing.  

Movies that are somewhat confusing to others, but you get completely, because it resembles so much of your life it's frightening.  It brings you comfort and discord all at the same time.

Cuddles in jammies, watching movies with the family.The loveseat is getting smaller with each month, I will cherish these days, for I know soon she'll be too big to sit between us for movies!

An unexpected embrace and comment ("my daughter Julie") from someone that  I took care of in a professional manner for years. It made the really hard week, get all better.  (Having them love me as much as I love them makes my heart warm.)

The day I realized my husband took on a lot more than he anticipated when he married me ten plus years ago and still sticking it out.

The dark quiet Sunday mornings, with the ones I love sound asleep, and my house is a wreck, and feeling it's completely ok this way.

Having a 21 year old child call you twice yesterday asking about simple cooking questions. I love it, I won't lie.  I guess there was a plus from her not being in the kitchen with me when growing up! :)

Grandaughters that you get to talk on the phone with that say "GRANDMA JUUUUUUUUUULIE" like no other!  Smiling all the while!

Daddy's that take their little girls to open houses at ATV/Motorcycle shops.  They let them eat cheetos, chili, hot dogs, sit on ATVs, and pet shop dogs!  Daddy's that spend an entire Saturday with their little girl to give their wife even more time away from home.

I know I haven't blogged much about farming in the past 5 months, but I hope when spring makes it's appearance I can once again show you the beauty of it.  Until then, I hope you enjoy what I have shared.  I hope I am able to inspire you and perhaps give something to giggle about when you read my blog!

Thanks for stopping by!