A Simpler Life: The Amish Could Teach Us Some Things

Sometimes I think it would be better to live like the Amish.

It just seems like a simpler way of life.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I realize they work hard.

Extremely hard!

It’s VERY EVIDENT by the immaculate farms they keep.

There are times I tell my husband I’m going to get rid of all our technology and become Amish.

I just think that kind of simple living could be a blessing we are missing.


Now, if you knew more about me you would find I really have enjoyed learning all about website development, graphic design, videography, film editing, you name it.

And, my brain is swimming most days; it’s all been a huge learning curve for me.

(I knew nothing of jargon like: SEO, widgets, affiliate marketing, meta tags, web hosting…)

The last few years have been like learning a foreign language. 

But teaching myself kind of made me feel proud… learning all this in my 50s. 😉

I’ve always been a lover of learning and believe in being a student of multiple subjects.

A lifelong learner I will always be. 👩🏼‍🎓

I just feel God blessed us with a thinking mind and great opportunities, so we shouldn’t squander it, and should always be looking to broaden our knowledge by learning something new.

Now, I know I could easily get wrapped up in trying to learn one more thing about my phone, website design, you name it…

I also feel it could be harmful, if not careful.


Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel we should totally absolve technology or refuse to buy the latest gadget,

I just feel there’s a fine,

VERY FINE, balance as with everything in life.

For instance, my husband and I have noticed, especially while eating out, that a lot of families are just not communicating anymore.

They’re all on their phones throughout their entire mealtime even when it’s obvious it’s a special occasion like Mother’s Day or a birthday.

It’s like face-to-face conversation is nil.

I don’t know, maybe they feel awkward or easily bored and need entertained by a device.

But isn’t there always something to be learned from another person?

At least I feel that way.

Often, we’ve  discussed how sad it is that families no longer sit and talk with each other, at length. What happened to long talks by the fireside or singing Christmas carols around the piano?

Many times, we would visit with our in-laws, go out to an early dinner (they liked eating early😉) and then we’d head back to their house where we’d sit for five or six hours just talking.

Even as the hour approached 11, 12 PM, knowing we still had an hour’s drive home, we still really never regretted it, one bit.

Talking.

Just talking.

And, almost always, we would end up praying for different family members that weren’t even there at the time.

Not long ago, my daughter (who now lives out-of-state) traveled back here to our home. After we had all traveled together to visit with other family, she shared she had never heard a particular story that had just been shared.

During the drive home she acted surprised, and her exact words were,

“I didn’t know that!”

And later I thought, you know, she would have TOTALLY missed out on that information had she been on her phone or maybe that person would’ve never shared their story had they felt everyone seemed more interested in their phones.

Possibly, our family history would’ve been missed for all generations to come.

I feel like I became more aware of the influence of technology on our relationships about two years ago. Family had traveled in for the holidays, and as I looked around the room I noticed just about everyone was on their phones.

Both old and young alike. 😒

And I began thinking, you know, there are elderly people in the room and they just may not be here next year. I mean, one never knows, right? Or, maybe that person is  younger, but they’ve had some major struggles, and their health isn’t that good.

I also thought, what does that say about us if we travel to come visit family, yet can’t even sit long enough to talk face-to-face with each other. When that might be the only few hours we’re all together?

We either have to leave to go and find something “fun” to do, turn on the TV, or pick up our phones.

No one can even sit still any longer!

By taking the time to be present, I just think there are many wonderful lessons to be learned, values to be passed down, wisdom to glean, and like I said, family history will be lost if we don’t pass it along to the younger generations.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I really enjoy people and like hearing their life stories.

Heck, a person might just learn patience. And that life is not all about them.

Imagine that! (said in a sarcastic tone)


I had to quit work eight years ago, because my health was so unpredictable and failing fast.

“Life” couldn’t be planned any longer, and I had spent many a weekend, sometimes months at a time, feeling like a prisoner in my home.

Just the simple things like grocery shopping, or going to a social event, even visiting family wasn’t possible. (Sometimes, that still is difficult for me.)

And I used to think I was really good at nurturing relationships and putting into practice all these things I mentioned above. I always loved talking to and listening to people.

But now I see I could have done even better.

I view things from a TOTALLY different perspective now.

I realize time is too short, life can change in an instant and every moment is precious.

To be present is WAY more important.

Things/activities really can wait.

One should never be too busy.

You really can always say, “NO”….

you don’t have to do everything, ya know?

AND, you can choose to limit things in your life.

If people don’t understand, that’s their problem.

That’s why I referred to the Amish as possibly having the right idea.

Life “can” always be busy, and be assured IT will always try to stress you and just maybe, technology has added to that problem by robbing us of our interpersonal relationships.

In January, my thoughts were validated when I watched an interview with Simon Sinek.

Maybe you’ve seen it.

If you haven’t, you really need to go watch it. He describes how social media has affected us, young people, especially.

But, he also addresses how the mind responds to social media and feeds addictive tendencies in the brain.

The entire video is REALLY interesting!

This video went viral, and was all over the internet including fB, (which is kind of ironic) but I think it became so popular because it really made people stop and think because it resonated TRUTH.

I was like, YES! Someone is clearly describing exactly what I’ve said/felt/observed!

I found his comments both fascinating and quite alarming.

Here’s the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hER0Qp6QJNU&t=483s


Now, I’m sure there are some Amish kids who would prefer an iPhone over hearing what their chores will be for the upcoming week.

But maybe, just maybe, we would be wise to step back and evaluate just how much time we spend on our phones or other social media for that matter.

Think about how much quality time we truly are giving other people.

By listening to others, there are so many lessons to be learned, values to be passed down, and wisdom to glean.

And by observing someone’s body language and voice inflection, you will better understand where a person is coming from rather than trying to decipher their text.

It makes for a lot less misinterpretation. IT’s A PROVEN FACT!

Most importantly, by being face-to-face it might even make us human beings a little more patient–providing more understanding and compassion for where another person has walked.

A Reflection on Motherhood

I hope everyone had a happy Mother’s Day!

And I hope you got to soak up all the time you wanted with all your children. 💓 🐣🐥 

I found myself reflecting on motherhood today. _____________________________________________

Both of my kids are presently living out-of-state, as of last week, so I wasn’t with either one of them for Mother’s Day. 😞 But, it’s happened before…so, I go with the flow whether I like it or not.

Sometimes, you just have no other choice. 


My daughter moved away to GA, four years ago, to attend college and then got married to a southern boy. 

And just last week, my son and his newly, graduated wife moved to Ohio where they both are starting new jobs this week. 


Times are a changin’. 

They changed before and now they’re changing again.

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You know, we moms have unspoken goals to raise strong, yet caring, secure people who one day will be able to move away and find their own purpose in life. 

Carrying our kids, physically, so close to our hearts is one thing, and then having put everything we have into our kids (everything) just makes it a little surreal when you finally have to let them go

It’s a good thing and yet a heart-wrenching thing. 

A piece of you is now walking away. 

You’re excited for them, but also feel sad. 

And to complicate things, for many of us, we’re sending kids off during tough menopausal times too!

I’ve often said to friends, in similar phases of life, “What’s up with God timing the leaving of our children when he KNOWS our hormones will all be whacked out? 

Is it some cruel joke?!

POOR TIMING!😝 I’d say!

And don’t even get me started with the parents who are talking about their kids leaving home, but they’re just moving down the street or moving within the state. 

Sorry, but I just don’t see it quite the same way.  

If you’ve always lived close to your children, count yourself a very blessed person!

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Then, to think of all the mothers that went before us…having sacrificed so much.  They did all of this “mothering” without the help of modern conveniences. Sometimes, I can’t even fathom it.

One particular person I think about often, is my grandmother’s sister who was burned severely as a young lady. I remember her eyes buldged and wouldn’t close correctly, watering all the time. Her lips were swollen and turned outward, her face and neck taut with scars, her hands bound up like claws.  Yet, she raised a slew of children in the Arkansas heat and handmade the most beautiful quilts you have ever seen. 

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There’s also the mothers who’ve had to send their kids off to war wondering when they’d see them again. It has to be heart wrenching. 

My mom was one who had to do this.

And my grandmother as well. 

Sadly, she didn’t see her son return.

_____________________________________________

So, hug your kids a little tighter. 

Choose your battles wisely deciding to let some things go. 

Send your kids off with your favorite “mom phrase” of encouragement. 😊

And, reflect on all you did right, or at least as best as you could, 🤗

considering what you were dealt with at the moment. 

Now, let GO and by all means, keep praying!🙏💜

_____________________________________________

Now for some more reflection….


Me as a young mom in my “scrunchy days”…can you tell it’s the 90s? 🤣

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And then there’s my own mom who married at 17 and had a 10.4 lb baby girl at 18. 



All The nurses were coming in to see “the little girl who had that HUGE baby.”
Poor Mom.

The things we’ve put them through!






Preparing to Live in China (1986)

Teaching English listening and speaking skills in China circa 1986

I was 23 and selling everything I had.

About this time, 31 years ago, I was preparing to live and teach in China. I really didn’t know exactly where, yet, just somewhere in the Mainland.

But, I almost didn’t go.

I got scared.

Midway into the interviewing process, I found out I would be teaching adults.

Most likely it would be professors at a university. Say whaaaaa?!!!

Yeah, I started re-thinking this E N T I R E thing.

A lot of unique things happened up to this point, and I really felt I was to go to China, but then I heard this little tidbit. 🙂

Not only was I going to a third world country, didn’t know a bit of Chinese, nor any Asians, at all, but now felt this was really stretching it for me.

I had just graduated with an elementary education degree and knew nothing of teaching adults. Much less professors…YIKES!

But, I believed God had called me to do this.

That’s part of the fascinating, unfolding story I will probably share later.

So, I had to trust that He knew what he was doing.

I had always believed the saying, “Where He calls, He will equip.”

And now was my time to step out into the deep and

“DO IT AFRAID”.

Let faith be bigger than your fear vignette.

TO BE CONTINUED…
PS Oh, and I might add, my boyfriend at the time had just proposed to me…
but I would be gone for a YEAR!

Read about our long distance courtship here:

 https://thentherestwo.com/2016/10/23/29-years-ago-i-married/

Do it afraid poster

Tornado Season

We’ve had some stormy weather here lately with a mix of cold and warm air. And you know what that means, tornado season is upon us. 🌪😮 

As scary as that is, I have always loved a good storm. The power of the wind coming through the trees, the sounds from the rustling leaves, and the colors in the sky make for a beautiful atmosphere. 💗

Pretty sunset in Midwest.

Storm clouds.
Storms in Indiana
Storm in Indiana
A stormy day and Indiana.

Easter Decorations

I LOVE Easter and all the spring colors.

I bought a lot of Easter decor this year; probably more than I’ve ever purchased before.

My mother painted this little chick many decades ago, and I decided to use all the wild violets in the yard as a backdrop. I’ve never seen this many. It looks like faint, purple blankets laying all over the yard.spring chickI’ve been playing with flatlays on Instagram.

bunny flatlay

I just thought these bunny plates were so cute and vibrant!

bunny plates

bunny flatlaypinkbasket decorrabbit and blossom decorwooden eggs

Did anyone else decorate?

Are you having a big Easter dinner with family?

What yummy things do you cook/bake?

Born Today, 23 Years Ago…My New, Lil’ Tax Deduction

Today is the day my daughter was born, 23 years ago.

So please bear with me as I brag on her. 😉

This blogging is kind of like a life’s journal, right?

Anyway, I was scheduled to be induced as I was past my due date and had grown very, very LARGE.

And, as usual, (I had done this before. 😉 ).    I couldn’t sleep at all!!

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That morning was stormy and a tornado warning had just been issued. We joked about naming her Stormy. We had names swirling around in our head, but hadn’t chosen one, just yet. (Ha, I realized I used “swirling” around; that really was  coincidence.)

She was born at 5:35 on April 15th, and we named her Morgan.

Yep, she was our new, little, tax deduction. 😉

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Well, not so little.
She weighed 9lbs!!!! :/

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She was a joy from the minute she arrived; an easy baby.
AND SOOOO cute, I must say. 🙂

16-7Morg

Everyone always wanted to hold her. I got comments everywhere I took her.

As she grew, her eyes became so expressive. She had/has large, pretty eyes with super long eyelashes, just like her Daddy.

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She’s always been more quiet.  She’d just sit back and observe everything. So, at first, she seemed a little shy and rarely talked. (I used to be that way all through grade school…hard to believe now. ) But, she was also quiet due in part to her ACTIVE, TALKATIVE, big brother.

One day, she was caught talking to her little “boyfriend” (in first grade) and the teacher scolded her and said, “Morgan I always catch you talking to Quinn; do you ever stop talking?” And the teacher told me Morgan then put her little hands on her hips and emphatically exclaimed, “Well, I can’t get a word in edgewise at home because of my brother!”

Morgan never really gave us any trouble.

She used to be a cheerleader, violin player, volleyball and basketball player.

morgan cheer.jpg

She enjoyed helping in church by leading worship during the adult and teen services. She loves to sing and can sing harmony.

She’s always been quite the fashionista, since she was young. She would rather get jewelry and pretty shoes for her birthday presents, than toys. Every time we went shopping, I’d turn around to find her on the floor trying on shoes, even adult ladies’ shoes. HA

morgie kindergarten

Her kindergarten teacher told me Morgan would often notice what she was wearing and would even compliment her.

Later on, Morgan graduated early from high school (she couldn’t wait to get out of there) and sadly moved far away from us to Georgia. She had met a cute boy while visiting her cousins, through the years, and I think that was a big draw to leave Indiana.

morgan and logan1

Plus, she said she always hated the overcast weather here in Indiana. I also think it was fun driving around on golf carts in that golf cart community down there.

Morgan's Graduation 10

She attended college and graduated with a 4.0 then went on to be a dental assistant.
She married that wonderful guy, bought a house and now has become quite the carpenter and decorator after watching all these shows on HGTV where they flip homes. (We’ve even decided to start our own blog together detailing some of her, and my work. I’ll let you know when it’s up and running. 😉 )

One, neat memory we share was when I entered her in a SUBWAY restaurant contest hoping to win a 529K college scholarship for her. She was 11. She ended up winning, and was one of ten national winners. They featured kids hoping to promote healthy eating.

subway

Maybe some of you younger bloggers saw those commercials.

Does the phrase “Play Hard Eat Fresh” ring a bell? She was featured as the ice skater. She had been a figure skater competing since she was five, so her sport was spotlighted in the commercials.

She first won a trip to Dallas where she shot in front of a green screen and met some phenomenal kid athletes from around the country. Then, later we were asked if we would like to travel to Hawaii to shoot commercials with Bethany Hamilton. She was presently working with SUBWAY and they offered to fly us to her home in Kaua’i.

Anyhow, it was all a fabulous blessing for our whole family to vacation on the gorgeous island of Kaua’i.

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Well, we vacationed while Morgan worked AND ate a lot of SUBWAY sandwiches. 🙂

 

I’ll end by saying my Morgan is a caring, compassionate person who can read people well and is good at tuning into peoples’ feelings. (I hope I had a part in training her that way.)

But, it makes my heart soar to see her reaching out to all types of people, from all walks of life, and going out of her way to think about them and finding ways to meet their needs. That makes me more proud of her than anything else.

Throughout her life, when people would compliment her beauty, I would always be quick to point out to her (and them) that a “pretty heart” was so much more important. I just didn’t want all the compliments to make her vain, and I do now believe my daughter, although so beautiful on the outside, is just as beautiful on the inside.

And that makes my heart happy and proud. 🙂

wedding dress1

Daddy and I celebrate the person you’ve become today!
We love you Morgie.