Sunday, July 24

One Year Anniversary!

Where Did The Year Go?
Wow!  In looking back at my posts, I see that my first post was July 25, 2010.  I can't believe it's been a year already!  If you want to see the first post, click here.  There have been changes: I finally found a job after three years of looking, my husband finally got a job he likes, business trips, a new online store, a new vehicle, people have come and gone; there has been fun: our Gettysburg and Greenfield Village trips; and there have been constants: we still live in the same place, we still volunteer, I have a garden again, and we still love each other very much.  It's funny that in the first post I was saying it was gloomy and raining, and that I had a program to go to, and today, I again had a program to attend and it rained last evening and night, and then some this afternoon.  What are the odds?  Although, the difference is that it is incredibly hot right now, and that is not going to change.

Our program, an 1847 wedding, was a lot of fun, and we had a good turnout despite the heat.  We were all pretty sweaty after 3 hours in the heat, but it was great to be out there with friends having a good time.  And the wedding cake was pretty tasty, too!
The bride (in blue), the groom (far right), flower girl, and minister.  A fine day for a wedding!

Woes Of The Garden
Green bean flower
My garden is a bit sad this year.  Between the torrential spring rains and attack of the 2" hail, it has had a rough year.  And then there was a bit of a drought for about a month, and watering doesn't seem to have the same effect on a garden as a good, soaking rain.  It's struggled and suffered this year, which is too bad.  I think my flower seeds that I planted washed away...all but one kind, which looks like a carnation and is doing fairly well out there.  I have two celery plants that seem to be doing okay--I planted six, and only those two remain.  I have one good bean patch, but the other one is having a hard time, and my onions, thanks in part to the hail, are small again.  I've pulled up all but one onion.  I pulled up my potatoes yesterday, and have enough for maybe one or two meals of mashed potatoes.  Many of the stems were broken by the hail, and it may have contributed to the low yield.  I had more last year.  My tomato and pepper plants, which were planted late due to the extended cool spring weather, are not doing badly, but I haven't had any yield from them yet.  My only hope remains in the green beans, and I was able to pick a handful yesterday.  They seem to be okay right now, so that's encouraging.  I even planted some more beans where the potatoes were, and hopefully they'll grow.  Maybe next year, I'll just do beans and potatoes, since they are what we like most.  Plus, the asparagus should finally be in full swing next year, so we should start getting a little from those.

I just can't believe I've been doing this for a year now.  I wonder what the post a year from now will look like?  And I wonder what will change between now and then?  Change is constant; nothing can remain the same forever, or it will become stagnant, old.  Without change, we would be complacent and stop noticing what's all around us.  God makes everything for a specific purpose in a specific time.  Ecclesiastes 3:11-12 states, "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live."  Amen!

Sunday, July 17

A Day at the Zoo

Note: Please check out my new venture: The Sunflower Tree!  Click the tab above this post, or go to!

The Toledo Zoo
My husband and I had a visitor with us this weekend--his brother.  He comes to town occasionally for job-related training, and usually when he's in the area he stops by.  This time, he stayed a few nights, so we decided to take him to The Toledo Zoo.  It's a nice zoo, and has many great exhibits.  He'd never been there, and we were trying to think of things that we would all be able to do, and this sounded like the best plan, despite the heat.  The zoo turned out to be less busy than I expected, but busy enough for a hot day.  Our first stop was the penguins, because my brother-in-law said he's never seen any before.  On the way, we stopped to see the tigers, but they were trying to stay cool inside of their little cave.  Even the penguins found that time of the day to be too hot to do anything, because there were none swimming around in the water--they were all standing in the spray mist!  I guess we arrived at the time of day when the animals were least active, so we decided to get something for lunch before seeing any more exhibits.  Then we headed to the elephants to see the newest addition, a 380 lb. baby elephant named Lucas (for Lucas County, the county where Toledo is located), and boy was he cute!  We stayed there a while, then went to see the other animals.  We checked back later at the penguins and tigers, and they were both out and about now, so we enjoyed watching them for a while.  After that, we headed over to the Africa exhibit, where giraffes, zebras, and other savannah animals are kept, then finally we headed home.  After a long hot day in the sun, we decided that dinner would be carry-out that night, and we would get ice cream later from a local sweet shop, and spend a relaxing evening watching movies before my husband's brother left the next morning.  All in all, a fun day!  Below are photos from the zoo:
Penguins in the Mist

Lucas the baby elephant
A face like no otter!
Are you lookin' at ME?
Poison Dart Frog-no touchy!
Great red octopus--very cool!
That last visitor was tasty...
Large, medium and small.

Wednesday, July 6

New Stuff

The Fireflies Are Back!
I'd like to take a moment to say, is there anything more relaxing than a warm summer dusk and watching the fireflies talk to each other in your backyard?  I contend not!  It seems to me that fireflies have been more scarce this year, but last night as I was reeling in the hose, they were out in full force.  I sat down in a patio chair and just enjoyed watching them blink to each other for quite a's just fascinating to me that they can do that.  To me, seeing the fireflies is a quintessential summer staple.  I'm not a bug person, but I do like the fireflies and their blinking little behinds!  For some interesting facts on fireflies, check out this link.

What Else Is New?
Well, I'm proud to say that we have had several projects finally completed on our house!  Our roof has been replace and looks great, our living room has been repainted and rearranged and looks great, and our new couch has been delivered and looks great.  The roof took about a day and a half, and we did have an Amish crew do the work.  Overall, they did a great job.  We decided to go with a two-tone gray shingle instead of staying with the reddish-brown shingles that were there when we bought the house, and it's a nice change.  They also re-roofed our shed out back. Over the Independence Day long weekend, my husband and I were able to repaint the living room and hallway with some deeply-discounted Sherwin-Williams paint (we bought $45 a gallon paint for $25 a gallon!) and we went back to the basics--a creamy off-white color, which looks great with the leather couch and large wall map picture from Hobby Lobby (which we purchased on clearance).  Except for the couch, it was a pretty inexpensive change, and we couldn't be happier!

New Boss
We're also going through a transition at work.  The former pastor was reappointed to a new church, and the new pastor started Friday.  I don't work on Fridays, and Monday was a holiday, so I didn't actually work with him until Tuesday...except I barely saw him.  I know what it's like to be the new person at a job--I've been that many times.  I don't think, though, that I've ever had to experience a new boss!  This will be a new experience for me, and a time of transition for everyone.  My husband has patiently reminded me a few times that I don't really work for my new boss...that I work for Him, and that God's in control of the situation.  As a person who seems to increasingly dislike changes and disruptions in my daily routine, it's difficult to handle some of the recent changes with any sort of grace.  I don't have a choice, though, and it will all work out one way or another.  I just need to continue to put my trust in Christ.

New Creative Idea
As you might have noticed, I've been pushing hard for my new website, The Sunflower Tree, to take off.  I would really like to see this become a real business for me, but I can't do it without your help.  So I ask you to take a moment, visit the site and "like" it on Facebook.  Even more helpful would be to share it on your Facebook page!  The more people that know about it, the better the chance that I'll start getting some orders.  I'm constantly creating new ideas, and I post them as quickly as I can while working around my job and housework and so on.  I'd like to say thanks again to those of you who have shared my site--I'm very grateful!

It seems as though there are a lot of changes and new things in our life lately.  There are sayings about trials and changes: "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger", "(fill in the blank) builds character", and so on.  I do believe, as many do, that God uses trials (big and small) to transform us into the creations He meant for us to be.  We need to be flexible and have faith that what He allows is for our good and His perfect will.  Romans 12:2 says, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will".  2 Cor 5:17 says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!", and Isa. 43:18-19 says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."  Perhaps the trials that God allows us to experience are His way of making a stream in the wasteland of our lives.  When we thirst for Him and His mercy, He will not only nourish us, but he will change us and cause us to grow in Him!

Sunday, July 3

My New Online Store!

Okay, so I think I have everything together now!  Drumroll, please... I'm starting an online venture called "The Sunflower Tree Designs and Paper Goods".  You can see the website by clicking here.  My goal is to ultimately be a self-sustaining web store, but I need your help by telling others about it.  Please share the link with anyone you think might be interested!

To the right is one of my notepads.  I draw the designs, edit them in Photoshop, and turn them into cute little notepads.  They range in size from small enough to fit in your purse to the size you see in the photo, 5" x 8".  Most are the size of a quarter sheet of paper, though.  I'll be adding more items regularly.  I do still have my Etsy listings, but will probably not continue it after the listings expire in a few months.  

Thanks to everyone who has been kind enough to follow my blog.  I am very grateful to have such kind and caring family and friends!  And now, I'll go back to writing about what we have been up to, instead of selling things (although I'll be keeping a link to The Sunflower Tree for people who visit the site but don't know me).  Thanks again!

"Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you"--James 4:8

Friday, July 1

Short Update

Hello all!
I'm sorry I've been scarce on here lately.  I've been working on a new idea and will be ready to unveil it soon!  Until then, I will be busy repainting our living room and hallway with my husband, and having a nice, quiet, relaxing weekend.  I hope everyone has a great Independence Day and remembers what we celebrate this weekend--the country that was given to us by God, that so many have been willing to serve and sacrifice for over the last 230+ years, and that will hopefully continue into the future for years to come.  Freedom was never something that was free, and we will always have to work and sacrifice for our freedoms (or what's left of them).  Thanks to all of the troops that have served and are serving, and God bless America, this weekend and always!

Regardless of how long America lasts, God is always going to be there with us.  Ephesians 3:17-19 says, "so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God."  May Christ dwell in your heart, whether you are serving your country abroad or enjoying the freedom you have in the United States!