Archive | January 2014

You Couldn’t Pay Me Enough

Remember how great high school was? The fun times, the laughs, the friendships, the special celebrations–STOP the memories. Maybe it wasn’t quite so great.

There are two formal events at school. The Winter Banquet and the Junior Senior Banquet. The first is for all the high school students and will take place in a couple of weeks. Being a teacher of two high school classes (one all girls, the other all guys), I have seen a completely different side of this event and I’ll admit, you couldn’t pay me enough to go back in time.

Last week the asking began. I heard some of my girls talking about who they hoped would ask them and listened as they were excited for each other when someone got asked. Now it’s a week later and the hope of being asked is replaced with a certain type of dread you can see in their eyes. That disappointment of not being asked and still trying to act excited for your friends. Nope, you couldn’t pay me to go back.

Then I started hearing my class of boys talking. Nervous laughs as several tried to avoid the question of who they’d be asking or why they weren’t going. I heard some confident young men admit they were nervous to ask and what if they had to ask her dad too? I realized it’s hard enough for them to ask the girl, but then to have to ask her dad was probably more than they were willing to do for a two-hour, school-sponsored banquet. Rejection? That was big on their list of fears.

It’s emotional. Awkward. Disappointing. Heartbreaking. And that’s just how I feel! I can’t wait until this afternoon when I can leave school and not hear about it for two days! More than anything, I just want to get the night over so we can go back to normal–until May when we have the next banquet.

After these past two weeks and the knot I have in my stomach, I don’t think the good old days were quite so good and no amount of money could get me to go back!

Feeling blessed because I survived those years,


And I struggle to write a paragraph…

Kathy twoMy word this year is FAITHFUL.  I am focusing on just doing what I need to do. Every day. FAITHFULLY.  Today is my blogging day on Pages From Stages.  What better time to remind myself that The Creator of the Universe is the ultimate in  the art of FAITHFUL.

He says in Lamentations 3:22-23  :‘ It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

Written thousands of years ago, most likely by the hand of the prophet Jeremiah, God tells us his everlasting truth.  You are here today because of the MERCY of God.  Period.  Why? Because He is FAITHFUL to provide it each and every morning.

Wow.  And I struggle to just sit down and write a paragraph on Thursday morning.  I struggle to open His word, every day, before I am off and running and enjoying His MERCIES. I struggle to just do the next right thing…



2. RETHINK what it means to be FAITHFUL…

3. …






My side of the mountain

2008-11-24 11.42.45

When our kids were small, there were times when I just had to get away.  They say Susanna Wesley threw her apron over her head to accomplish that task.  But I didn’t wear an apron most days, and nothing else flung over my head would have been appropriate.  And I always felt a bit guilty for wanting to escape.

Then I  discovered that even Jesus withdrew from the crowds and often went off alone to pray. Thus, I designated a place in our home that was my ‘quiet’ spot, which I called my mount of olives,  and when I was there the children learned that unless they were bleeding, I was not to be disturbed until the timer went off.  I started with five minutes, then gradually lengthened the time when there were no catastrophes .  Yet, the hardest thing for me to do was actually concentrate for even that short amount of time (never more than fifteen minutes–I was fearful that someone would come and the kids would announce that I was on my mountain and couldn’t be disturbed.  Explain that one).

Since I am now MUCH older, and our children are all out of the home, I find I still need a special place to ‘be still’. Yes, I’m learning that it is possible, even in a crowd, to withdraw into my own quiet place, but when the weather allows, I love this spot in our timber. Hubby has made little log benches and if the wind is not too fierce, he will start a fire for  me–even in the summer.  There is something about watching fire that is calming (controlled fire, of course).  And I don’t mind if someone climbs my ‘mount’,  for I have found that often they will be content with sitting and watching the fire also.

During colder weather, I have my chair by the window that looks out onto the timber, and if I swivel it, I can also see our wee cove, which is now dry as a bone.  But geese still visit and graze through the grasses and weeds that have grown up during the summer.   I wish you could all join me…in the summer we’d share a glass of ice tea, and during the winter we’d drink coffee or hot chocolate.  And most of all, our spirits would commune on my side of the mountain.

2009-04-21 10.16.37

Do join me, won’t you?


road 2 we like!

High rollers at the cattle auction

The crowd at the United Producers sale barn on Saturday. Notice the dog at the left.

The crowd at United Producers in Maryville, Mo., on Saturday. Notice the dog sitting at the left.

The air in the sale barn was filled with more than the aroma of cattle. A sense of anticipation hung over the crowd and a sort of energy as they took seats early, eager to see just what would happen.

The cattle market is – in the words of one analyst – crazy. Drought and an early freeze have caused the smallest herd of beef cattle in many years. As a result, prices for all kinds of cattle are at record highs. I went to visit my dad on Saturday and tagged along when he went to the cow sale at the sale barn near home.

The auctioneer calls out bids. The sign at top shows they sold for $2,500 each.

The auctioneer calls out bids. The sign at top shows they sold for $2,500 each.

Dad had sold a few calves recently, receiving the highest price he’d ever gotten for a calf. In true farmer fashion, he wanted to put the money back into buying more mother cows to have more calves.

Fifteen minutes before sale time, the curved benches of the sale arena started filling up. Nodody wanted to miss this because it felt like just about anything could happen. I sat among those hard-working men who were dressed in brown duck coveralls and muddy boots and thought of a recent visit with a crop farmer. He said you had to be an optimist in this business, otherwise you’d never put seed in the ground.

There was a lot of optimism at the sale barn and it became clear I was rubbing elbows with some high-stakes gamblers. In a matter of minutes, one man spent $137,000 on 55 head of Red Angus heifers. I overheard one guy on his cell phone, I imagine talking to his wife, say: “They’re high. It’s scary.” But his tone suggested it was nothing he couldn’t handle.

There was also this row of adorable future farmers.

Learning young

Learning young

The last cow of the sale, a nice three-year-old black Angus cross, was bought by an eternal optimist – 94-year-old Hugh Mires of Maryville.

It also inspired me to do something I’ve never tried before. I uploaded this video to You Tube. If you’ve never heard a livestock auction, it’s interesting to hear how the high rollers do business. If you have been to a sale, you’ll enjoy the familiar cadence.


PS SmallI was very careful not to scratch my nose for fear I’d bid and spend a year’s salary. I stood in line for Dad and wrote the check to the cashier, so for a moment I felt like a big spender. You could say that I’m all hat and no cattle, until I can work up the nerve to join the high rollers.

~ Susan

Lizards & Crickets, Oh My!

My boys have learned a very valuable lesson: If you want something very much for Christmas, you only ask for that one thing. Then, mom will have no other ideas and she’ll get you that one thing. It worked for Bryce four years ago when he wanted a puppy. It worked for Caleb last year when he wanted one certain thing for hunting. This year Isaac tried that trick and he got what he wanted–lizards.

Three of them to be exact (There was only three in the cage at the store and I didn’t want to leave one lonely). Two long-tails and one anole. I thought when I looked at them the first time, I was really getting a good (cheap) Christmas present for him. These skinny little brown things were about $5 each! Great–right? Wrong. A terrarium, log, climbing material (plastic plant), and THREE special lights later, I knew I’d been suckered in. Of course the lizards could be cheap because they had you on the rest of the stuff.

We bought the “habitat” the week before Christmas but on December 24th, I had to make a quick trip back to the big city to get the lizards. I had already found the heat pad at home so they could sit on it until Christmas morning and be warm. While the store employee was catching the lizards, another one asked me how many crickets I wanted to start with.

For what?

I was trying hard to look like I knew what I was doing–what if they didn’t allow me to take those lizards home? I looked around to see if red lights were flashing to signal everyone in the store that I had no clue what I was doing (other than the waiting heating pad at home).

They’d need crickets to eat. Every week. Live crickets. We live 45 minutes from the closest pet store. My stomach fluttered and my knees got a bit weak. What was I doing? Would we be able to handle this?

It’s been almost a month and the lizards are still going strong. I’ve now found the pet stores in all the towns within an hour from us and I know to ask for the small brown crickets. Isaac has done a good job taking care of these new pets and all of us have stood and watched them at some point.

So now we have Lizzy, Izzy and Dizzy–and a bunch of brown crickets! That’s enough of trying something new to last me a long time!

Have a great weekend,


The Writing Wiggles

Kathy twoI am going to try something new this year. I am going to try a schedule. Oh, I’ve had schedules all my life. So have you I am sure. But this one for me is new. It is the WRITING SCHEDULE. Are you a writer? Then you know the one I am talking about. The one that is right up there akin to praying. You set the time and then when you get there you are like a five year old in church. Your feet swing as they dangle over the pew edge, You try to listen and six words in you are thinking about lunch, or being bored or your favorite game. You try again. The wiggle starts, You get the look. You sigh. Wiggle again. Pull an envelope out of the rack in front and start to draw. That works for a while but your not getting done what you came there to do.
Yea, that’s the Schedule I am talking about.
So a WRITING SCHEDULE it is and FAITHFUL I am going to be. Pray for me…after you get your picture done….
tell me…
What is your favorite strategy for conquering the Writing Wiggles?

See you next week


Me (to hubby):  Our blog topic this week is on something new we’ve tried..whether it worked or not.

Hubby (to me, with silly grin on his face)  Welll, you could always tell them that you BAKED rolls. That would be pretty new.  And maybe if you did it today,  I could tell them whether it worked or not.

Me (to myself):  I’ll show him.  So, I’m off to bake and will post pics later!!

bigsmartalecactinglikeIneverbakewellwe’lljustseeabout that!!

road 2 we like!

Okay, so I don’t bake as often as I used to, when our kids were all home.  This supply of rolls would have lasted MAYBE one day when our boys were around…Now I sack them up in half-dozen lots and put them in the freezer.  But I DO bake!


I Ate A Dragon…Fruit

Yesterday Susie wrote about rice grown in Missouri. I didn’t know it was grown in the Midwest. Very interesting.

I’m continuing the “Try New Things” week with another discussion about food.

A few years ago, my husband and I decided that once a week we’d pick up something from the grocery store that we’d never tried. We came up with this idea in the winter when tropical fruit is in season. To our surprise, our local store had an intriguing variety for us North Americans that we had never noticed before.

A couple in our church from the Philippines gladly gave us tips on how to select and eat produce from warmer climates. Some of the new fruits we tried included lychee, persimmons, passion fruit, papaya and canary melon.

It was a great exercise and helped us to have more variety in our diet. Our favourite find from that experiment was dragon fruit.

Dragon Fruit Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Dragon Fruit
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The outer layer is deep pink and has a rubbery texture. When you slice it open, you will find white or pink flesh. You can scoop out the edible inside or simply peal back the outer layer and slice the remaining fruit. There are little tiny seeds (sort of like strawberry seeds) in the flesh, so there is no core or pit. It’s all fruit inside. It tastes like a cross between pear and a kiwi. We like to eat it on its own or toss it in a fruit salad.

What is something new you’ve tried from the grocery store lately?

Cherie Gagnon– Cherie

Missouri rice is nice


Varieties of Missouri grown rice

This weekend, I was at the Missouri Governor’s Conference on Agriculture with the Agri-Business Expo Center. Our booth was next to the Missouri Rice Council. Perhaps you didn’t know that Missouri ranks as the fifth largest rice producing state. It is grown in the Bootheel, a long day’s drive from where I live.

At the “Taste of Missouri Agriculture” dinner we got to sample all kinds of Missouri grown foods, including Martin Rice Co. rice fixed in fancy ways. The Martin family operates a rice mill and at their booth, they gave away bags of Jasmine Aromatic rice. Because they didn’t want to haul it all the way back home, they plied us with several bags.


Hot rice and red salmon – two new dishes!

So guess what I fixed for Sunday dinner! Our theme this week is “Trying New Things” so I’m sharing the results. The rice smelled very good while it was cooking. Jasmine rice, I learned this weekend, tends to cook as individual grains, rather than clumping up like long grain rice.

You can tell in the picture how snowy white it is. The only seasoning I used was butter and it was yummy. My rice was a little sticky – I think that means I either used too much or too little water. The farmers gave us some web sites to find recipes, so I am going to look up the recipe for rice and peas they served at the dinner.

Since it was a day for new things – and I hadn’t been to the grocery store in ages – I also cooked some salmon a friend had given me. She has family in Alaska that ships red salmon. I baked this in the oven with a coating of mayo and seasonings. It was very flavorful and you can see the deep color.

I enjoyed trying this new foods and am looking forward to trying them again now that I know more.

ag expo booth

Working at our booth at the conference

And I think rice is nice!

~ Susan

The Oldies

This week is homecoming at school and that means it’s Spirit Week. Just like in the past, several days are designated as themed dress up days. For the kids, this means they can leave the khaki pants and dress shirts at home and wear more casual clothes.

Wednesday was designated as ‘Decades Day’. I imagined poodle skirts and leather jackets. Maybe someone would be really creative and come as a Flapper from the Roaring 20’s.

On Tuesday, my very sweet teacher’s aide said, “I’m excited about tomorrow. Several of us are dressing from the oldies.”

I had visions in my head. Long strands of pearls? Saddle shoes?  “Really? What are you going to wear?” I was anxious to hear.

She giggled, “Just wait till you see us. The eighties!”

That wasn’t funny. Not. At. All.

The eighties?

I did what any good teacher would do and said, “If you dress from the eighties and call it old, I’ll give you an F tomorrow.”

So much for my threat. They all dressed from the eighties. Tall stiff bangs, blue eye shadow, collars up, one-sided ponytails, big hair. They nailed it!

When I stood in front of them for class, I had a flash back of the room filled with my own high school friends. Those were wonderful years.

Then reality hit–and I realized I was the teacher of this group of young women. I was the ‘oldie’ they were all imitating (making fun of).

The eighties? Sigh. It wasn’t that long ago.

Sometimes reality stinks!!