summertime, summer fun, memories

What We Love About Summer

We’re taking the week off. Here’s a post from summer 2019.

What Memorial Day is All About

And now, for the Fun Stuff Back By Popular Demand

Though we may live in different parts of the United States we wanted to share with you what we love and enjoy about summer from the prairies of Minnesota to the seas of Georgia!  We hope everyone is looking forward to warmer weather!

What do you like best about summer?

Mandy: As a child growing up on a family dairy farm, summers weren’t really that great. If we weren’t in school, we were working on the farm. Some of the things we did were, Picking up rocks, baling hay, managing two large gardens. I did enjoy sitting on the porch snapping peas with Grandma though. (In retrospect, summers were awesome.) My friends all thought I had the life and now I wish I could have raised my kids on the farm. What I did enjoy were cattle shows and church camp. Wonderful memories were built at these places. If you are interested, check out my Memoirs blog posts,

Now the seasons pretty much run together and summers in Savannah are pretty hot. I try to stay home and cool. I’ll tell you what my kids love to do though … The Beach. Here’s a post after we rented a beach house for a week. For me, I much prefer the fall. 🙂

Michele:  What I like best about summer is the ability to be outside and enjoy the sights and sounds of birds, green prairie, crickets, frogs, the Blue Heron in the creek, kittens playing in the barn, gardening. Go walking, biking, having campfires, late-night patio star gazing… ahhhhhh!

What is your favorite childhood memory about summer?

Michele: My favorite childhood memories of summer are the Friesland Band Concert and Pie Social.  Every Tuesday night.  Pie, ice cream and the grocery store was open.  Plus Trotz’s had their sno-cones and popcorn that they sold out of their garage! YUMMY

Mandy:  Ah yes! After my family moved to Wisconsin, we attended The Friesland Band Concert every Tuesday night also Those really were the days. I don’t remember sno-cones but someone sold cotton candy. Our 4-H club sold pie and ice cream on one of those Tuesdays.  And, don’t tell anyone, it was where I got my first kiss. 🙂 Also, July fourth was a really big deal with fireworks behind the church.

The early years in Ohio, were just plain good, running and playing on the farm, even if we did have to do chores. I always loved attending family camp. The girls got to go and stay all week. We “helped” Mom run the bookstore at camp. Dad and the boys, went back and forth to milk the cows and come to camp for as many services as they were able. Those were the days for me, especially since that is where I gave my heart and life to Christ.

My favorite summer was made ironically because of a tragedy. In February of 1970, we had a barn fire. The cattle were saved but the barn was a total loss. That summer the Amish came and built the barns back. You’ll find my story on my memoirs blog, Raised in a Barn, My  Most Unforgettable Summer.

 

What family traditions do you have during the summer?

Mandy: Memorial Day was always the day we headed to my father’s original home of George’s Run, Ohio to the annual Hukill Family reunion. (my great great grandmother & her siblings started this way back.) Though one of us kids usually got sick riding up and down the hilly roads, once we arrived we had a wonderful time with cousins, aunts and uncles, and my great grandmother on Aunt Julia’s farm. My great Aunt Mildred, made the most delicious “dumplings” though they aren’t anything like what we call dumplings down here in the south. I sure wish I knew how to make them. And there was always ice cream cones. Yummy! Here’s a post on my memoirs blog on How to Spend Memorial Day

I love all the festivals every little small town seems to have. I think you could probably find one every summer weekend if you tried. Let’s see, in Georgia, there’s

In Wisconsin, I enjoyed the Korn Kanival in Randolph, WI and the Watermelon Festival in Pardeeville, WI. (Yes, you read that right – Pardeeville – Founded by some guy named Pardee). I already mentioned the family reunion on Memorial Day above which still happens today but they meet at the church nearby.

All the greats have gone on to heaven, but it’s good to see the cousins again. And that Korn Karnival happens on Labor Day Weekend.

festivals, fairs, summer fun
Alice in Dairyland at the Korn Karnival

They would steam the corn in the shucks at one of the canning factories and bring it by the truckload to the park. Then dump it out on a tarp on the ground. Peel back the shucks and dip it in melted butter. Oh, my goodness, it’s to die for.

Michele:  Both, Brad and my families are not big on traditions/getting together, so we pretty much just float and see what the day brings us.  We work on different projects and then cookout.

What are some favorite food and drinks in the summer?

Mandy: I always enjoy grilling out in the summer. (We do it all year in Georgia) Shaved Ice and lemonade can really hit the spot. As a kid, I would take a rootbeer float any time it was offered. And on that note – homemade ice cream – my favorite! As you have figured out by now, I am a big fan of ice cream. I got that gene from my dad! 🙂

Michele: I love to make sun tea, do lots of grilling of foods, smoking chicken wings, eating on the patio.  Ice cream is a favorite, but I enjoy ice cream all year around.

What’s your favorite Memorial Day or Labor Day?

Mandy: They are both good days just to hang out with family. I love when the kids come over and we grill steaks, make homemade ice cream and play board games. There is nothing better than hearing the laughter of my children around the table. Sublime.

And don’t forget the Fourth of July. We still have the same format except we add in the fireworks.

.. and our oldest son’s birthday!

Michele: I like Labor Day best… celebrating the end of summer, tomatoes coming out of the garden, our good friends usually spend the weekend, and it means FALL is on its way!

Finally, any special events or trips in your summer 2019?

Mandy: No plans really. We’ll be here in Savannah, Georgia. We live just outside of Savannah, in Pooler, near the airport and right at the intersection of I16 and I95 so if you are headed to Florida, please stop in or give us a call and we will meet you at any of the hundreds of restaurants or the Tanger Mall.

2020 Update, we moved closer into the city in the Georgetown area of town. Still not far off of I-95

Or just come to Savannah. We’ll take you on a tour of the historic district. Savannah has quite a history. I learn something new every time we take the tour. After that, we can spend a day at Tybee Island and enjoy a quiet day at the beach.

Sorry, the beaches are closed this COVID summer. 🙁

I don’t have an extra bedroom; however, AirBNB’s are available nearby… even one right in our community. A whole condo, all to yourself. And a community pool. My roommate from my single days is coming this week! When are you coming?

Michele: No special plans for summer trips.  We will be finishing up our barn project, installing new doors, stain, and varnish… and don’t forget the trim work… it never ends when you own a house.

Well, folks, that’s about it for now.

We would love to know what you love about summer and what plans you have. Please leave a comment below.
Here’s a thought: leave us questions to answer in our fall edition of About Us.
Mandy & Michele
image created by jfredrickdesign

handle the holidays

How Chronic Pain Warriors Handle the Holidays

Should I invite your to me holiday party?

Should I Invite You to My Holiday Party?

Sometimes family and friends are not certain how to help the chronically ill handle the holidays. Debra Lyons offered to write a letter to you. Read on…

divider
curlicue by Coffee at Pixabay

Dear family and friends,

It is hard to believe that October is here and with that comes the anxiety of handling the upcoming holidays.  I realize that we all experience some form of anxiety and pressure when the holidays come along. But the anxiety, I am referring to is not caused by last-minute shopping or not being able to find the perfect gift.  It’s a result of being chronically ill and not knowing what to expect from one minute to the next.  This makes all the planning that goes along with the holidays quite stressful and emotional for me.

Being Chronically Ill adds stress to handling the holidays. #thisisfibro #chronicpain #holidayblues Click To Tweet

I Love the Holidays

Don’t take that the wrong way. I want nothing more than to…

  • spend the holidays with you,
  • visit with family I may not have seen for a while,
  • take pictures that will save memories that most likely my foggy brain won’t retain itself,
  • stay long enough to enjoy dessert and
  • bask in all the glory that the holidays used to mean to me. 

Handling the Holidays Is A Fight

Handling the #holidays with #chronicpain

But I fight my body every day and I fight even harder on holidays because I don’t want to disappoint you and, I truly don’t want to miss spending the day with you.  I love spending time with you and when I am around you and others, I try to be the me that you remember.  I try to put on a happy face, smile, laugh and enjoy my time with you.  You have no idea how much effort is put into pulling that off.  

Every day I am in pain, it’s just the degree of pain that changes.  Some days I can’t even dress while other days I can be self-sufficient.  It takes me hours to get ready because I must take breaks in between every act I perform. 

  • Shower,
  • Rest,
  • Blow-dry hair,
  • Rest,
  • Style hair
  • Rest again
  • you get the idea.  

And then, of course, there are those days, no matter how much I think I am up to the challenge, I simply cannot will the strength to make it out of the house.  I’m not complaining.  I love to be with you, and I do appreciate the invitations so please don’t stop inviting me.  I may have to say no on occasion but please give me the opportunity to say yes to that one moment I can get together with you.  I truly don’t want to miss it!  See Shona’s letter about Getting Ready for Church.

Please give me the opportunity to say YES! #holidayblues #chronicpain #thisisfibro Click To Tweet

And please, don’t tell me NOT to bring anything to your house. 

I don’t want to feel like there’s something special or so frail about me that I can’t pick up a bottle of wine or make cupcakes.  It may take me a few days to get to it, but I CAN do it!  And if I must buy the cupcakes, well, it won’t be the end of the world.  There are many things that I am no longer capable of doing but still so much that I can do, using the coping tools I have learned, and I ask that you let me decide what I can and can’t do.  Just ask me. I have had to learn to be brutally honest with not only others but myself.  “No” has been the hardest thing to learn, but I would like to be the one to decide what is too much for me. 

Grieving my Losses

I’m reflecting on last Thanksgiving.  I made it!  And it was so good to see everyone.  I felt so bad that everyone went through so much trouble to make me comfortable, but I ended up having to leave early.  At home, I have so many tools to ease my pain and make me comfortable. And for me, when I am feeling ill or in pain, there truly is no place like home.  It has no reflection on you or your home.  It’s often difficult to handle the holidays.

Precious Memories

I don’t know about you, but even if I only get to spend an hour with you, the memories that were made in that hour are very precious to me.  I spend a lot of time alone, so I make an extra effort to get to these get-togethers.  We have been doing them for so many years and some of our loved ones have gone onto a better place and we remember and celebrate them during the holidays while we are all together.  There’s mom’s biscuits or your mother’s stuffing recipe. 

These are moments that are so precious to me.  I don’t want to miss them, and you can bet that if I do, it’s because I lost the battle, temporarily, with this body of mine.  I think about when the kids were little, and I would run out after work to do some secret “Santa” shopping before I got home.  I could be going for hours hopping from store to store and still get home and make dinner.  Now I do most of my shopping online and meals are often, take-out.  See Mandy’s Pain Comes for the Holidays

Making the Holidays Less Stressful

I hope that having some of the information I’ve shared with you will help us all handle the holidays.  I appreciate you for taking the time to read my letter and for trying to understand what is often difficult for me to understand myself.  What I do understand is that even though our visit may be short, and the efforts I had to take to get to you can be quite painful, if I can make it, I’ll be there. 

While my body has changed drastically, the core of who I am and how I love has not.  #holidaystress #chronicallyill Click To Tweet

Thanks for the Love

I care about all of you and I thank you so much for your compassion and understanding as we handle the holidays together.  While those looking in at my life from the outside may see a broken woman, I see me as I’ve always been, just with a broken body.  And I am thankful and truly blessed to have the love and support that you all have shown to me. 

Happy Holidays!

With Love,

Deb

ATTENTION FIBRO WARRIORS: Would you be interested in writing a “Letter to Friends”? Click here for details; then contact Mandy.

joyful worhip

Worship with Kids Steps Toward a Joyful Sunday

Let’s Get Ready for Easter

With Easter coming up, I thought I might share a few tips on how I made it through Sundays with children. Regardless of how often you make it to church, Sunday worship with kids can be a challenge. Sometimes it can make you wonder why you bother going to church at all. Check out why regular worship is important here.

The day is completely different from any other day of the week and likely the night before was different as well. I remember Sundays when we arrived at church a bit frazzled just from getting ready for church.

Keep Reading even if you have no children, some of these steps all of us can take to improve our worship time.

Start Preparing Early in the Week

  • Check with the church office to see if anything is going to be different this week.
  • Will there be Children’s Church or Nursery Attendants available for your child?
  • Do the children remain in the service for a portion of the service?
  • What are the service times? Some churches change the time on special days.

Saturday Preparations for Worship with Kids

  • Plan a simple breakfast that is easy to serve and clean up. For us, muffins and milk or orange juice usually did the trick.
  • If you have babies or toddlers, clean out and re-stock the diaper bag.
  • Decide what everyone is wearing. Our daughter, by 4 years of age, was pretty obstinate about what she would wear. But we found that if we planned this with her the night before, there wasn’t a fight on Sunday morning.
  • Is everything clean and pressed; down to the shoes. Avoid having to find socks and shoes (or shoelaces) and hairbows at the last minute. When everything is laid out and ready to put on, it takes much less time and aggravation to get everyone dressed and in the car.
  • Lay out everything you need to take with you (Bibles, lesson books, etc) Have them ready to grab as you walk out the door.
  • Get your bath and hair washed. For as many as possible, do this Saturday evening. Especially with large families and/or few bathrooms.
  • Keep Saturday evening sacred. In the Jewish faith, the Sabbath begins at sundown, the day before. I see a lot of good in this because it keeps us from staying out late and being too tired for worship in the morning. So we tried to stick to the rule that everyone gets home by dark. It’s not always possible, but this definitely helps the whole mindset of preparing for worship the next morning.

Sunday Morning Schedule

  • Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early. This keeps you on time even if something goes awry. Children do much better if they are not being rushed. This also give you a few minutes to visit with friends or just get your mind focused on worship.
  • Arise early and enjoy a cup of coffee before you start getting the kids going. Typically, worship starts later than the start of school or work days. Why not rise at the same time to make the morning more enjoyable?
  • Turn on some upbeat worship music. In one home we lived in, we had an intercom. I piped the music through the house. This was everyone’s wake up call or at least notification that I would be coming around to get them out of bed.
  • Breakfast for the children. If you cook something, such as bacon, this could be another way to get them rolling out of bed. I know it works for teenagers. 🙂
  • Get dressed. I never figured out which was better.. dress the kids first or myself. I’ve had that fail either way. LOL! Maybe get dressed and put on an apron! 🙂
  • Assign others to help with the littles. You’ve laid out the clothes so this shouldn’t be difficult.
  • Give a 10-minute “Time to get in the car” call. Start looking over everyone to be sure they are fully dressed, teeth brushed, hair combed, etc.
  • Again, leave 15-20 minutes earlier than needed.
Worship with kids
image credt free on Pixabay.com Modified by Mandy

Church Arrival & Worship with Children

  • Use the restroom. Non-negotiable rule. This keeps them from having to get up during the service to use the restroom. This is a no-no in our family. If you must take them out because they are disruptive, do so and get them calmed down. Then return to the service. If you don’t they will learn that you will take them out if they get disruptive. Children CAN learn to be quiet and respectful in church.
  • If you are a regular, watch for newcomers and greet them.
  • Find a seat. I suggest in the front half of the sanctuary. There are fewer distractions. Sit as a family. Another non-negotiable.
  • Prepare your heart for worship. Pray silently. Read some scriptures. The bulletin may have the pastors’ text. Go ahead and read it over to begin thinking about it. If the bulletin has the scheduled songs, meditate on the words of these songs.
  • Instruct your children during worship. They should learn to sing/sit/stand/pray along with the congregation. No toys or coloring during this part of the service.
  • Smaller children can have non-distractive toys or a book/coloring book. Save that container of Cheerios for the last few moments of the service when they are getting restless and the pastor is making his final point or call for decision.
  • Encourage your school-age children to take notes. You could even set up rewards for doing so. As a children’s minister, I created a small booklet for the children to take notes on days we stayed in the service. Such as this one. I gave them a small prize after church if they showed me their work.

After Worship Activities

  • Don’t rush out. Greet those around you, especially newcomers. Go straight to the ones you don’t know. They will leave quickly, especially if no one speaks to them. Your friends will be around and you know how to contact them anyway. If you need to speak with them, give them a quick, “Don’t leave before I talk with you.” greeting and then head to the visitors. If you are a visitor. Wait around a bit. Give people a chance to find you. Or just go ahead and speak to someone near you.
  • Clean up around you. Pick up bulletins, papers and anything you brought with you. Most churches have volunteers that do the cleaning. No one gets paid to do this, so help out and clean up your own mess.

Hope Your Sunday Worship is Joyful

Mandy Farmer