Friday, July 30, 2010

Something Special

My daughter Alex and I are party of a Bunko group.  In case you're wondering, Bunko is a dice game, purely a game of luck, no skill involved.  If you can throw dice, you can play Bunko!!  We play with a group of 5 other mothers and daughters and we get together every other month for lots of dice throwing, fun and laughter, and of course, food.  Next month is our turn to host the Bunko night. 

I sent around e-mails a couple of weeks ago to confirm the date.  But, I thought it would make the evening more special if everyone received a fun invitation.  I don't know about you, but in these days of e-mails and texts, I absolutely LOVE getting something in the mail.  It is such a treat to open up the mailbox and find something besides a bill or a credit card application!   Problem is, I am not a "crafty" person.  I don't draw or paint.  I'm not artistic, but I wanted to do send out something special.

A few years ago I bought a book called "The Art and Craft of Entertaining" by Kimberly Kennedy.  The book was chock full of entertaining ideas for everything from simple baby showers to formal dinner parties.  The book shows you how to take what you have and make it special.  It shows you how to set a beautiful table without purchasing crystal and china.  It makes it all sound so do-able!  So, I dug out my book, found some ideas, and this week I made these invitations.

And really, I have to say, it was easy.  I purchased blank cardstock envelopes and notecards.  I used my printer and printed the who/what/when/where information inside the cards.

Then, I got inspired!  I bought a "You're Invited" stamp and a black ink pad.  I figured the "You're Invited" was fairly generic and I could use it for an invitation for anything.  Then I stamped "You're Invited" on the outside of each invitation.

So simple!  Next, I punched a hole in the bottom center of the front of the invitation.

I cut a small piece of fabric ribbon, pushed a cute brad through the center of the fabric, and put the brad through the hole on the front of the invitation.

And Voila!  A really cute invitation with absolutely NO artistic ability required!  I did take a little bit of glue and glue down the ends of the fabric just so it didn't spin around in the envelope.  I mailed the invitations yesterday, so today, five of my friends will go to their mailboxes and find something out of the ordinary.  And I hope they enjoy receiving it as much as I enjoyed making it.

Ladies I have two kids, a husband and a full-time job.  And I live on a farm for pete's sake.  My life is about as average and normal as it gets.  But, sometimes I really wish things in my life were special, not so ordinary.  Well, if you want special, you have to create special in your own life.  These invitations were truly just a few dollars more than if I had gone to Wal-Mart, bought the fill-in-the-blank invitations and sent them out.  And it probably took me all of 20 or 30 minutes to put them together.  Are my invitations perfect, or fancy?  Heavens no!!!  But they are fun and they are different and I truly hope they brighten the day of each of my friends.  My suspicion is that they long for things to be special too.

So, get out of your comfort zone, and do something you've never done before. Create a little bit of special in a crazy world.  Take a few extra minutes and actually set the table before dinner, even though it's just you and your family.  Drink out of the "good" glasses.  Put the food in a pretty bowl instead of leaving it in the pan. Light a candle.  If you're like me, one very simple thing can change ordinary to EXTRAORDINARY!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Do You Know Who You Are?

Sometimes, no matter who we are, no matter how spiritual we think we are, we all can get a little down.  I am normally a happy person.  I try to be very positive and remember all of the blessings God has poured into my life.  But sometimes we let the things of the world overwhelm us, and we let the lies of the enemy defeat us, and we forget WHO WE ARE IN CHRIST!!!  May I remind you of a few things today???

Romans 8:37-39 tell us that "In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Now, read it again.  And take to heart what you are reading.  We are more than conquerors.  NOTHING, can separate us from our God.  NOTHING.  "Nor things present, nor things to come."  That means whatever happens today, whatever is going to happen tomorrow, it is NOTHING when we are walking each day with Him.  You may be reading this thinking "sure, but you don't know what is going on in my life."  Well, you're right, I don't.  But God does, and the bottom line is, it doesn't matter what is going on in your life, the Word of God is everlasting truth.  What the Bible says DOES NOT DEPEND ON YOUR MOOD, OR YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES!!!  But ladies (and gentlemen) the enemy's ability to attack you DOES depend on you!  You have two choices, you can listen to his every lie, and just receive all of that worry, and fear and junk that the devil LOVES to heap on you.  Because when you're worried, and when you're afraid, you're not allowing God to reign in your life which means you will have no peace.  Or, you can resist the enemy.  Call him what he is, the father of lies, and put your trust in the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!!!!!!

The Bible says "be careful (or anxious) for nothing."  There's that word again, nothing.  Philippians 4:6 tells us "be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."  And there's another word for us, "shall."  Not maybe, not might be, but SHALL.  So, if you are worried, and you give your worries to God, you SHALL have peace.  Now, you can't pray, then drag all those worries right back into your heart because if you do, then you don't really trust God.  You have to lay them down and that takes a little getting used to for most of us. 

I am a fixer.  Hey, I'm the oldest child what can I say?  Most of the time I tend to think God needs a little help down here and I'm happy to oblige and appoint myself Holy Spirit junior.  So I go around trying to fix everything in my life (and in other people's lives) that isn't going the way I think it needs to go.  And sometimes there are things we can't fix.  Sickness, relationships that, in our eyes, are way past being restored, unsaved loved ones.  Sound familiar?  We all have things in our life that are God's "work in progress." 

So, where does that leave us?  I say it leaves us with two choices.  We can be who the devil says we are, or we can be who God says we are.  The devil tells us we are defeated, that we are hopeless, that we are forsaken.  Even Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsamane prayed "my God my God why have you forsaken me."  Yes, the devil even tried to convince our Saviour that God had forgotten Him.  But that was a lie, just like all the other lies the enemy tries to convince us of.  Or, we can go back to Romans 8:37 that tells us that "in all these things we are more than conquerors."  We can go back to Philippians 4:6 and know that if we pray, and we truly trust Him to handle it all, and we praise Him, then we can have peace.

So today, resolve in your heart to trust Him with everything.   Trust Him with your salvation, trust Him with your husband, trust Him with your children and your entire family.  Trust Him with your job and your money and every single problem you have today.  Then, trust Him to fill your heart with peace.  Because when you have peace, you truly can stand in the midst of the raging storms of life and say, as David did in Psalms 27:1"The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Vintage Pyrex Refrigerator Bowls

I love old things.  Something about an item that has been around for awhile gets to me.  So many things they make now are not made to last.  Everything is disposable.  Things are made to be used and then cast aside. 

Well, these beauties were NOT made to be disposable.  They were made in a time when everything was made to be used and used and then handed down to someone else.  Aren't they cute???

My sweet sister bought these for me at a garage sale and I absolutely LOVE THEM!!  Thank you sis for thinking of me.  I will think of YOU everytime I use these :)!!!  In doing a little research on these, I learned that they are called Pyrex refrigerator bowls.  These bowls are "BT,"  you know, "before Tupperware." 

Sometimes "new and improved" isn't better.  It's just new.  And as I look at these refrigerator bowls I wonder about the person who bought them originally.   Who was she? I wonder what she put in them? So now I'm on the lookout for more vintage Pyrex!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Miller County Fair

What do you get when you mix in high temperatures, high humidity, lots of dust, pop-up rain storms, and farm animals . . . the Miller County Fair!!!!

Yes, last week was our local fair.  I remember the fair being such a big deal when I was a kid.  Seeing friends you hadn't seen all summer, eating cotton candy, riding rides.  I have such great memories.

Alex looks forward to the fair every year.  This year she showed a steer, "Ticket." 

Alex works hard getting her steer ready for the fair.  She, with some help from her dad, broke Ticket to lead.  She feeds him, washes him, brushes him, all in preparation for the big "show." 

Alex did a great job at the steer show and took third in her "class."  The animals are weighed on the first day of the fair and then the kids show their steers in "classes" according to weight.  There were eight steers of similar weight in Alex's "class."

Great job, Alex!  We are so proud :0!  While the livestock auction was going on, country singer Mark Wills was performing at the Grand Stand.  My brother-in-law is on the local fairboard and made arrangements for Alex to get her picture taken with Mark Wills after the fair. 

Mark Wills did a GREAT job at the concert and he was very gracious in signing autographs and taking pictures.  Alex was the last one, and he was just as friendly and talkative with us as he was with the first person in line.  So thank you Mark!!

In case you're wondering since you don't see any pictures of Cole, he was not at the fair this year.  He was in Tennessee at CIY (Christ In Youth).  He came home very excited and said it was just "awesome!" 

This momma is SO PROUD of her kids!!!!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Makin' Hay While the Sun Shines

In case you weren't sure, "Down On The Farm" isn't just the title of my blog, it is our way of life.  My husband is a dying breed, a real-life, full-time farmer.  We raise beef cattle, and in the winter when the grass doesn't growing we feed those cattle hay.  We bale our own hay using our own equipment.  As long-time followers know, my husband is the farmer, not me.  But, once in awhile everybody in our family gets drafted to help and when that happens, my job is raking.  Raking hay involves pulling the rake through the mowed hay to rake it into rows so the baler can come along, scoop up the hay, and make a nice big round bale.

Here is a picture of the rake.  It is a pretty wide piece of equipment, so I took a picture of each side of the rake. 

And this, this is what it looks like from behind as you pull the rake thru the hay, making a "row" of hay for the baler to pick up.

Can I just say one thing???  It is HOT in Missouri in the summertime and raking hay in July is really no fun at all.  The sun is hot, the humidity is unbearable, it's dusty, there's just no way to make it an easy job.  But, this winter when the temperature is WAAAAYYY below freezing, and the snow is flying, our cows will be well fed.  And we will experience a sense of accomplishment that only a farming family feels, knowing that we are taking care of the animals we raise. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Front Porch Update

A few weeks ago I told you I am sprucing up my front porch.  As I said then, I really haven't done much to our front porch.  This is a swing that I have had for years.

Looks pretty blah, huh?  Well, a few weeks ago I got inspired, and I found these red pillows at Wal-Mart.
I think they are a definite improvement. 

But still, I felt there was something missing.  That the swing needed something more.
I looked online and found a beautiful cushion at 
Then the bargain hunter in me took over and I went to EBAY.
I found the exact same cushion at a lower price plus, I got FREE SHIPPING!

And just LOOK at the difference the cushion makes on my front porch!

I think the difference is amazing!!  And while it is certainly WAY too hot to sit out
on this front porch tonight, I know that when fall comes I will be out there
enjoying a nice cup of hot chocolate, with marshmallows, on my beautiful front porch! 

I wish each one of you could join me.  Wouldn't that be fun?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Niece and a Nephew

This is my nephew, Cade, and my niece, Caragan.  Cade is seven years old, and Caragan is eleven.  Wow!  I remember when they were born.  As a matter of fact, I was THERE when they were born.  You know, "there" as in "I was in the delivery room!"    It was so amazing.  I actually got to cut Caragan's umbilical cord.  Unbelievable.  My brother-in-law was in the room, of course, but he was so sick with a horrible sinus infection, they let me do the honors and believe me it was my honor.  Darn brother-in-law was well when Cade was born so I didn't get to cut that umbilical cord, but I was still there!!

I have been blogging a lot lately about my family, and how much they mean to me.  Well these two young'uns are no exception.  Cade is handsome and Caragan is beautiful.  And you should know that Caragan got her hair cut last week.  She just went in for a little trim, but wound up letting them cut ten inches off of her hair so she could donate it to Locks Of Love.  What a little sweetheart.  I am so proud.

So, thanks for letting me brag on my precious niece and nephew.  I love them so very much!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Graham Family Geneology In Pictures

I am blessed beyond description in so many areas of my life.  And I thank God for all of His blessings.  But mostly, I thank Him for my family.  Speaking of family, tonight is the 27th anniversary of my first date with my husband.  How about that (love ya hunny)!!!  But, I digress.  Back to my family. 

Here is a picture of me with my mom and dad.  This was taken a couple of weeks ago when we attended the Graham family reunion in Las Vegas.  I am the one in the middle.  (I say that because my mom looks so young!!!)

Here is a picture of my dad and his mom, my Grandma Nellie.  She's 96.  How about that beautiful skin?
I sure hope her genes are coursing through my veins 'cause she is the youngest looking 96 year old woman I have ever seen in my life!  Love you Grandma!!

Now here is a picture of my Grandma Nellie's parents, my Great-grandparents, Ed and Myrtle Graham.  I remember both of them.  Grandpa Ed died when I was 12, and Grandma Myrtle died my junior year of high school.  Grandpa Ed was born August 1, 1889.  Very few people can even tell you the names of their great grandparents, yet alone have lots of memories of them.  Told you I was blessed.

Here's where it gets very interesting. Below is a picture of my Great-Grandpa Ed's parents, Alec and Mary Graham, my Great-Great Grandparents.   This picture was taken in 1899, and my Great-Grandpa Ed is the little boy in the middle of the back row.  Looks pretty serious for a 10 year old boy doesn't he?  My Great-Great Grandpa Alec Graham was born in Old Monkland, Lanark, Scotland on December 7, 1856.  He came to America on a ship with his parents from Scotland sometime before 1859, because his little brother was born in Missouri in 1859. 

Now I'm gonna really blow your mind, because this picture is of my Great-Great-Great Grandparents, Alexander and Gean Graham, Alec's parents.  Alexander was born in Scotland on October 22, 1826, and Gean was born May 15, 1826 in Glasgow, Scotland.  Sometime between 1856 and 1859 these two people sat around their kitchen table and decided to leave Scotland and get on a ship and come to America. Now we're not talking Royal Caribbean here, complete with a midnight buffet, spa and GPS, but a wooden ship with a captain, a map and a sexton.  I cannot imagine the courage it must have taken to do this. We know their ship landed somewhere on the coast of Nova Scotia.  How they got to Miller County, Missouri, or why, we don't know.  But they came here and they stayed and raised their family here.

So, from these two people came the Graham Family as I know it.  My Grandma Nellie is one of eleven children, three are still living.  My Great-Grandparents, Ed and Myrtle Graham, had thirty-five grandchildren, my dad's generation.  All of them are still living, and 24 of them attended the family reunion in Las Vegas.  I know all but one of those 35 grandchildren (hard to believe isn't it).  My Aunt Rayma Jean is #1, the oldest grandchild, my Aunt Ruby Dean is #3, and my dad is #6.  There are 65 Great-Grandchildren, which is my generation.  I am #8, and my sister Rhonda is #12, my sister Renda, #20.  The oldest great-grandchild is 53, the youngest, 11.   That I know of, no one has put together a listing of Great-Great grandchildren yet, which would be my children's generation, but my cousin, Mitchell, continually updates our family geneology.  I wish Alexander and Gean could see our family today.  And my Great-Grandpa Ed's branch of the family tree is just a small part.  Alexander and Gean had nine children.  And Alec and Mary had five children.  Gives new meaning to the words of the song "All Because Two People Fell In Love" doesn't it.  Isn't family wonderful??  I sure do love mine!!!!! 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

God Bless America

"God bless America, land that I love, stand beside her and guide her, through the night with a light from above.   From the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam.  God bless America, my home sweet home.  God bless America, my home sweet home."

Our Father in heaven, I come to you in Jesus name, asking that you pour out your Spirit upon this country.  Father I ask that you would forgive America for turning from you.  I ask for a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit to be poured out on Your people.  Lord help us to be a light for You in such a dark world.  Healing for this country will only come when Your people have humbled themselves and prayed and turned from their evil ways.  Tonight Lord, I ask that you would open the eyes of Your people.  I pray that our ears would be deaf to the lies of the enemy, and that our hearts would seek you above all else.  Tonight Lord, I pray for revival in this country.  In Jesus precious name.  Amen.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Guess Where We Went?

Yep, you guessed it, we were in Las Vegas last weekend for a family reunion.  A big "thank you" to everyone who prayed for us while we were gone.  We had an absolutely fabulous time.  Over 100 people attended the family reunion, and the kids and I had a wonderful weekend together.  No, my husband couldn't go as we got baby turkeys that same weekend.  I was sad he couldn't go, but, thankful to have a husband who is a hard worker!  This picture is of the Bellagio Hotel on the strip in Vegas.  No, we didn't stay there, but it is probably the most beautiful hotel in Las Vegas in my opinion.  The light and water show is fabulous, as is the Garden Exhibit in the conservatory.  If you ever get a chance to go to Las Vegas, I would highly recommend it.  Just walking up and down the strip looking at lights is indescribable.  So thank you again for all your prayers.  We did have a wonderful trip but there truly is no place like home!