I am going to ramble.

Mainly because I have a lot of things to say and don't feel like doing 10 seperate post.

So I am going to ramble!

First off, Belle is cutely odd. The other day she was scratching at our DVD cupboard. I opened it for her. She hopped on in and took a seat. There is nothing more to say on that.

On a more important note, Levi and I are leaving for Bronx, NYC tomorrow morning for mission work. We'll be there and home some within the next 5 weeks. We'll be home for Christmas and in a much more real sence than just our dreams...

But please pray for us.

I am a little nervous. Not only will we neither one have jobs, yet still have the bills at home and living expenses there, but we also need to be saving up for something that will be here around May. Do you have any ideas?


I will tell you...

In a minute because I also want to say I miss summer. This was the first laundry day in a long time that I couldn't hang my cleans on the line...

I am happy to say I survived without crying.

Ok, Levi and I are going to be parents. YYYEEEEEE-HHHAAAAWWWW! We are rather excited! Pray for us with that as well. Our maturity has been questioned by a certain person, and a few others too!

For some reason!

I have been feeling pretty well, VERY tired, but not too sick. Thanking God for that!

Thanks for hearing me out! Have a blessed week!


Praying for Jerry Bowman's family

Please pray for Janelle (wife) and Jerry's children, Alex and Amanda, Abbey, Ellie, Ian, Marci, and his two grandsons. Jerry was on the job site yesterday and fell off a joist. He is now with Jesus and we are rejoicing for him, yet the tears are flowing. I don't even know for sure what to pray, I can only mention their names over and over, all night and day. Please lift them up, I urge you. He was a wonderful man of God, a leading husband, father, and minister. My family and theirs are close friends.

Ellie (far left in pink sweater) is an angel. God blessed her with down syndrome and she is encouraging the family; telling them to not be sad because "Daddy is in heaven with his mom." Pray that she continues to bless, it IS all she knows, to bless.

Feel free to listen to some of Jerry's sermons here and share encouraging words for the family here

Thank you for praying.


The Event!

... is only a couple days away... I can't believe it! I have one last day at "home" {A day filled with errands} before set up day!
To find directions, more information, and gather some excitement, visit McMaster and Storm and Sew a Fine Seam. They're worth visiting regardless!
Sorry I have no pictures for the post, I know it's the next thing to a sin, but things have been crazy around here; pricing until midnight, blowing up air compressors while "Spray Painting" a coffee table for the Event... you know, the common things that go on before events like this!
Have a good couple of days and I'll see you here soon!


As Promised...

Here is more information on the Brick Farmhouse Event!

I hope you ALL can make it. I will be well worth your time.

Here is a tentative list of the vendors:
*McMaster & Storm- Kara Garber
*Consider the Lilies (flowers, wreaths, moss balls, etc.) Wendy Lavy
*Josephine Candle Co. {pure natural simplicity} - Amber Schmerge
*Latina {Fresh Mexican Cuisine} Garreth & Athena Beachler
*Sew a Fine Seam Jill Flory
*M. Blooms - Marcy Crabtree
*Market Snacks - Gina Rapp
*Speciality Sauces & Dips - Judy Flory
*Vintage & Antique Finds - Bill & Mary Kate Peters
*Fresh Baked Treats & Sweets - Wanda Eikenberry
*Graced {Vintage Home Touches} {That's us!}

For some fun photos about the event visit Sew a Fine Seam and McMaster and Storm.

Ok, 'nuf said... I have to go paint, plan, and brainstorm!



Dreams do come true.
I've always liked little things, trinkets; I was a collector growing up! Everytime my mom made a dress I had to dig in the trash can to find even the littlest peices of fabric. She threw stuff away often, which was wonderful because I liked digging in the trash can and finding things. I would come out from around the kitchen with arms full of junk and jaw dropped saying, "Mom! Mooommm, Oh, there you are. Why did you throw THIS away? And this? And Oh, this, Mom, I can't wait I'm going to make... out of it and you just wait!"
For my 10th birthday I got a box full of papers, scissors, pens, stickers, and more and I've never been more delighted!

Anyways, allow me to introduce what I call "Graced"
This is my outlet, it's all new and exciting. It will one day soon {Lord willing and all} turn into an Etsy site. But for now, I'm working toward the Brick Farmhouse Event presented by the adorable McMaster and Storm.

Levi and I have been searching, thinking, creating. He is such an amazing help at this because he has the talent in the shop and wonderful ideas too! Thanks, pumpkin'!

Kara {of McMaster and Storm} has been absolutely great through all this too. When I called about setting up shop she immediately took me right in. She's even patient and quick to reply all my emails about every little detail. {Sorry and thanks, dearest Kara}

The ONLY thing I'm not fond of about this line of work is the messes, and yet it still gives me a rush!

Thanks for stopping by! I'll have more information for the Brick Farmhouse event up very soon, I promise.

Here's a few links that I wanted to post but having some issues. {What's up with blogger's hyperlink problem?}
The flyer and blog post for Brick Farmhouse Event:
McMaster and Storm blog. Share some love:


The Chickens' Last Cluck

Poor chickens...

At least I convinced Levi to let William live at least a few more days (he could stand a little more meat on his bones and love from his caretaker.

(William is the ONLY chicken I can tell apart from the other 53 chickens we have. He has some black spots. I always take a few moment out of my day to tell him how I've been, pet him just a bit, etc. But I'm not a very good friend because I don't really listen to what he has to cluck. And I could clean out his pin a little more often. That is one thing I don't like about William and like-creatures.

Anyhow, back to the butcher shop (garage with tarp down since we live in town and not sure if we are even allowed to have, let alone butcher, chickens here!)

We hung the chickens on a wire by their feet over a trash can for the redness to drip into, so we didn't have to clean up THAT from our garage. Then we slit their throats. (Mainly just Levi did this part. Well, OK. Levi was the only one who did this part, even though Mom and I took our turns at holding the chickens up for him. That's something, right?) And yes, I am refusing to say the bl**d word just so I can stay in my upright position, I'm quirky like that!

Then I'd ask the good Lord to allow me to keep standing and stay conscious even though there was redness oozing. Ya know what?! He did... he showed me mercy and it really wasn't that bad; it's amazing what He'll do for you if ya just ask. Seems as if I'd learn.

Here, the nameless chicken is oozing over the trashcan, after flopping and breaking his wings.

The next thing you must do is act tough. And have your mother in law tell you to stop taking so many pictures. "This is work, Lauren!" OK... put the camera down!

OOp... oh! She's outside, grab a few more, just cause it's so memorable and mersite-in'

Get husband to pose.

OK now really you do have to finish the process. Next you scald the chicken by dipping it in and out of 180 degree water a few times. This loosens the feather so its easier on ya!

Then you take all the big feathers off and toss to your mother in law and nephew.

There will still be some pin feathers on the chicken (like little tubes that hold in the big feathers.

Take the pin feathers out. Ask for patience, take more out. Repeat.

Then you cut up the chicken. But I didn't take any pictures cause I mighta been told not too! "Too much work to do"

Anyways, maybe next time! (We still have 16 left to say goodbye to)

Stay tuned, or don't if you aren't interested in the inner working of chickens!


But I'll try to be nice!


Precious Words Mini Book

So I wanted to share this project with you all so you can make it too!

Sweet and talented Amy has this project on her blog Delightful Distractions.

You can make a miniature version (which is what I made) or a larger version.

I'm to gift it to a friend of mine with a little girl, since my little girl doesn't say too much!

Amy has so many other little downloads for you to try too. She has darling designs and some very cute children!

*I'm not sure why blogger isn't letting me hyperlink, and I'm not smart enough to do it without the convenient little button! But here is a link to Delightful Distractions:


Visiters from abroad

Last winter, while in Florida for a job, Levi and I had the privilege of meeting some folks from VA and PA. They were all up in Ohio a couple weeks ago for a conference, so we had them over for dinner.

It was the first day without rain in about 2 weeks I would say. The sun shone all day and dried up the ground enough to be able to have table and chairs outside. It was lovely!

(From left to right)

Betty Garber- VA; Kenny and Lenora Oyler-PA; Gale and Shirley Turner-OH; Mark and Ann DeMaury-VA

There's nothing like the scent of fresh lavender!

Chicken and Veggie kabobs over the grill

I served the Kabobs, Panzenella, Pea Salad, Italian Salad, Stuffed Watermelon, Homemade bread, and Ann brought homemade apple butter.

For dessert we had a Chocolate torte and Rugelach.

Mmm... Outdoors makes it all the better, in my opinion!


Meet Miss Shayleigh Ann

I must say this is the most exciting thing that happened while I hadn't blogged for a month.

Please welcome the cute Shayleigh Ann Shoup into our grand and glorious world!

Believe me, I had full intentions of getting these up as soon as I got home from the hospital. She would have only been 30-so hours old. Nevertheless, she is now two weeks old and seems to be getting cuter!

Congrats, Nate and Brittany! God bless you as you raise your little girl in God's love!

(And wonderful job at picking out her going-home dress, again!)

Summer Dinner

What can beat it?

Eating a dinner made mostly from the garden, sitting outside in nice (not-rainy) weather, put up a few tomato cages (we didn't have enough for all 39 tomato plants.) and off to bed early!

Strawberry Spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette.

Turkey burgers from Bowman & Landes.
(They fulfil all your turkey fantasies)

And Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies.

They take a little time to make just because they're individuals and have a few steps
but my-O-my they are SO worth it, I'm a-tellin' ya!
I'll share the recipe! MmmmHmmm You're Welcome!

3/4 c finely diced fresh strawberries
3/4 c finely dice rhubarb
6Tbsp sugar, divided
3 tsp orange zest, divided (I used more just cause.)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, cold
1/4 c shortening, chilled
3 Tbsp ice-cold water
3 Tbsp orange juice
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp whipping cream

Combine strawberries, rhubarb, cornstarch, 2T sugar and 1 1/2t orange zest in a small bowl.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, salt, and remaining 1/4 c sugar in a large bowl. Cut in butter and shortening with pastry blender until mixture resembles small peas. Stir in remaining orange zest. Drizzle with water and orange juice. Stir with fork until combined. (Mixture will be crumbly and dry.)
Knead mixture lightly and divide in half. Cover half with plastic wrap and roll the other half to 1/8 in thickness on a floured surface. Cut with a 2 1/4 in round cutter. (You should get about 24 circles out of each half.)
Place half of dough rounds 2 inches apart on parchment lined cookie sheet. Top with 1 rounded teaspoon strawberry mixture. Dampen edges with water and top with remaining dough rounds, Pressing edges to seal and crimp with fork. Cut a slit in the top for steam to escape. Repeat with remaining dough and strawberry mixture.
Stir together yolk and cream; brush pies with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar. Freeze pies 10 minutes.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 10 minutes.

Now, if you try these let me know what you think of 'em! I love the orange in them, it adds a little different flavor than regular strawberry-rhubarb pies.

I'll be back shortly to fill you in on some exciting things that I just have not had time to blog about yet!


Another Tea

My California cousin (front, right) came out last week

and I hosted a tea for her!

We had Shrimp Salad, cheese dip with crackers and baguettes, fruit and dip, deviled eggs, red velvet cake roll, German Chocolate cake, and Chocolate Fondue with strawberries, tea cookies, and pretzels.

This is little Bella. She's so cute!

We dressed up to the hiltz with gloves, hats, purses, and jewelry!

Sorry I don't have too many photos of the food or setting... I was more focusing on having fun. And that we did!



Spring time!!!
Chick time...
We just got 29 layers and 25 for meat!
In fact, we're getting 4 layers this afternoon that are about ready... I can't wait!

I'm so thankful that God has provided the time, and shown me priorities in life. It's not all about getting ahead, it's about being who He has called you to be. As a housewife, I want to be a housewife. I want to be able to work in our garden, put veggies away, learn about nature, take care of chicks (once they loose the cuteness, I'm not so sure!) I love having time to have a supper ready when Levi gets home from work, pack his lunch, have the house clean, help my friends, whatever it is He has laid out for me for the day.

I am truly blessed and I thank Jesus for providing a life of freedom and slower pace as the world is buzzing around me.

Last year was quite different and I learned alot as well. Adjusting to marriage, holding a job, tending the garden, all these things and others kept my life hopping. I was tired, I was worn, and I was any other average American trying to stay ontop of it ALL.

Then I prayed, and He answered.

Thank you, Jesus!


Tea Party

Last weekend I had a Tea Party for 3 little girls! It was such fun...

As Abbey said, I think I had as much or more fun that them!! :)

I got our dressing room all decorated up with dress up stuff that i borrowed from my aunt.

None of them knew each other so they were a little shy at first, but they were giggling non stop just a couple hours later.

(Isn't Belle such a poser?!)

Jenni came to do Mary Kay makeovers. The girls we in high heaven!

Just a tip: if you ever have a fancy meal for young girls, think really simple, like BLTs, potato salad, deviled eggs, cheese, and fruit with dip. Then... take it even simpler to PB&J and oreos! I thought I was going simple with the first menu, but they didn't eat much of it! That's OK, Levi and I have been enjoying the potato salad leftovers! This plate, with everything on it, is of course mine!

We had a photo shoot that night.

Then we got in PJs for some movies and popcorn.

The following day, I went and got photos developed and the little girls scrapbooked the pictures from the night before. They were all very talented at it; I was quite impressed!