Archive for March 2016

Kentucky Doesn’t Have Much to Do with Ohio   2 comments

Have you ever noticed that once you cross the bridges in Cincinnati and hit the north side, there are very few Kentucky license plates to be seen?

I’ve often noticed that folks from some states just don’t travel as far afield as others.  When we go west on camping trips, we always study license plates, and also on our way to Florida.  On those trips we see Michigan, Minnesota, Texas, Colorado, all the time.  Ohio sometimes.  Eastern states such as New York, New Jersey, North or South Carolina, sometimes.  Even Canadian plates aren’t all that rare as you drive around the Midwest.

But what we almost never see then are plates from the south.

And, in our area what I’ve noticed is that we (speaking for Kentuckians as a group) don’t travel far either.  In Tennessee there aren’t many Kentucky plates.  In Missouri, there aren’t many.  And in Ohio, the closest of all to our area, there are very few.

Kentucky just doesn’t seem to have much to do with Ohio.

Before I moved here I wouldn’t have believed it, but there really does seem to be a dividing line in some ways that says that Kentucky is still part of the south, and not part of the Midwest.  It’s an interesting blend of both, I think, but as far as travel habits, and institutions and cultural patterns that people identify with–I think Kentuckians for the most part would definitely see the Ohio River as one river that is too wide to cross.

My son attends college in Ohio, and while I met two other Kentucky parents there at orientation, I didn’t have the sense to exchange contact information with them so we could carpool together later.  I’ve never found them again, and, further, while my son has many classmates from Pennsylvania–including his roommate, some from varied countries, and even some from little ol’ New jersey, he has met nobody else from Kentucky.

At all.

It’s interesting.

Posted March 29, 2016 by swanatbagend in citizenship

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The Wounds of God   Leave a comment

Walking through Lent really does make the joy of Easter more real.  I’m glad I’ve taken the time to think about what Christ did, using some Lenten devotionals recommended to me.

Also, last night I went to a Good Friday service at a local Lutheran church.

I needed that.

And this is one of the things I got out of remembering what Jesus did for me.  This is why I know all of this is real.

His suffering is not imaginary suffering, any more than our suffering is imaginary.

That’s the point of the incarnation.

Posted March 26, 2016 by swanatbagend in reality

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On the Nest   Leave a comment

Last Friday was such a happy day for me.  My usual normal is two children at home, still homeschooling, and one at college.  So after eighteen years of what I would call quantity quality time, we’re not all together most of the time.  The oldest has been gone for two and a half years, with exceptions for breaks and summer, so you’d think I’d be used to it by now, and I would have to say, yes, I am used to the new normal.

However, there’s a lot to be said for having all the chicks at home.

And March 11 I got my oldest chick back into the nest.  I felt so very happy that night.

We even got funny pictures and a video of me, literally sitting on my chicks, clucking over them, while they all peeped.

Now I know just a bit of what it’s like to be a chicken.

Posted March 22, 2016 by swanatbagend in motherhood

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I Have a Part-time Job!   Leave a comment

Time is money, and after I manage the household I spend a good deal of my time homeschooling the kids, shopping for their needs, researching any treatments or supplements they may need, and taking care of my own health.

But hey, I want to add this part-time job to my resume!

It’s definitely a trending thing so it should be worth quite a lot in the market.  I can use the word “artisan” for just about every aspect of this work.  That adds a lot of value right there, as hand-made, artisan items are the latest thing.

I wonder what other people are getting paid for the kind of work I’m doing?

It looks like a pretty involved one too–it’s about 20 hours per week.



Seven hours for dinners.

I do three of the lunches at our house but I rely heavily on leftovers, so let’s call that one hour total.

I do four full home-made breakfasts so that’s probably another four hours total.  I’ll throw in one more half hour for straightening up counters and putting food away, and don’t forget, I’m not counting clean up, i.e. scraping, stacking dishes, loading the dishwasher, washing the big stuff, unloading the dishwasher (which thankfully I don’t usually do–that’s what the KP roster staff is for).

Then, let’s see, an hour or two for menu planning and preparing the shopping list. Three hours for my big shopping trip I take every two weeks.  Another hour for the smaller trips when I stop by the store to get bananas, lettuce, milk and cheese.  Oops, I forgot about Aldi’s and the foods I buy online, not to mention the butcher shop in town and the man I buy the eggs from….so maybe another hour per week?

Hmm, really, the three off days when I don’t make a full breakfast, I’m probably doing dinner or lunch prep.  So I’m going to call that one more hour.

I might be making fresh kefir.  Or starting the broth for the soup.  Or salting and toasting nuts.  Yep, these things are definitely artisan for sure!  I don’t do it all myself, like bread, or tortillas, or noodles, and I don’t weave my own place mats–but I do find that homemade beef or chicken broth really is worth the time.  I’ll tell you what’s a real motivator.  When you read the labels of what’s in the store-bought versions?  After I do that I don’t mind taking the time to cook chicken bones in water all day with some vegetables and vinegar to get the minerals into the broth.

So here I’m up to 20 hours a week.  Busy weeks with special events it’s probably more, so I think I can fairly say it’s about twenty-one hours a week.



And that, my friends, definitely qualifies as a part-time job.

It’s a very good thing that I like to cook!


Posted March 19, 2016 by swanatbagend in humor

Generosity   3 comments

I can be generous when I feel like it.  I can give away so much money that alone gets me a decent tax refund.

I love plotting to do something nice for someone in need, and finding a way to provide what they need, all in a way they either won’t find out about or that at least will surprise them.

It’s been fun to give family members Christmas presents far beyond what they would usually have expected.  I still get to see some of those things in use when I visit.

I am glad to offer my time for worthy causes, and I volunteer in ways that fit my schedule, but I wonder.

Unless I am willing to stop what I am doing, and give time and care at the moment it is needed, instead of when I want to, and do this without complaining–am I really generous?

To be truly generous is being so when the giving is not what I want.  I am not sure I can say I’m generous until I give without stopping to think.

What do you think?

Posted March 14, 2016 by swanatbagend in character

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Perfectly Peaceful   Leave a comment

I wonder if there’s a way to physically feel the perfect security we have in Christ.

Can you remember a time when you were perfectly free from cares, on a vacation perhaps, spending an evening with a close friend or two?  Perhaps just horsing around outside with the kids, living in the moment.

Holding a small, warm, solid baby sends me to a pretty peaceful spot.

Perhaps you feel this way on Sunday morning, or when you’re in the woods by yourself and the only sounds are those of the birds, bugs, and animals, and the wind.

Or maybe for you thinking of feeling perfectly peaceful and safe takes you back to childhood.  You’ve been tucked into bed, and there’s some light coming in from the hall.  You still feel at rest after being warmly hugged and tucked up under the covers.  You can hear your mother and father talking in the kitchen, and the murmur of their voices, backed with running water from dishes or the background noise of the radio playing creates a soporific music that sends you off to sleep.

I’d like to always feel that way, instead of worried, buffeted about by the concerns and stress I face every day.

What would it be like if you could literally feel that physical peace–

knowing that we truly do have that kind of security in Christ?


Posted March 12, 2016 by swanatbagend in identity

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Being Present   1 comment

We hear a lot lately about unplugging ourselves from electronic devices and being present.

All very true.  We need more time unplugged and present.

Not sure why it’s so hard to do–do we really think that being connected 24/7 is going to save us/the world/our job/our relationships/our financial stability/etc.?

Apparently so.  It’s very difficult to stay present, instead of drifting off into mulling over the past, getting one more task completed or fretting over the future.

But, something I’ve noticed when road tripping is that traveling in a vehicle means that you are in the vehicle driving it, there in the present moment.  You can’t really do anything else major while driving.  You can’t text.  You can’t read a book or the paper.  You can’t write things down while hurtling along the interstate at seventy-five miles an hour.

I think staying focused in the moment of safely piloting your car actually allows your mind more free range.  At least that’s been my experience.

You may not like being present with your fellow passengers, but you are.  Captive audience, so to speak.  Or if you’re alone, you have the road ahead, and your mind’s your own.

There’s a stretch of interstate across Kansas that I just love for this reason.  It takes free range to new heights–or actually distances.  Passing through the Flint Hills region gives you opportunity to experience the mind rest you can’t get when you are working on four or five different things at home or in the office.  There’s the distant vista in front of you, the road a thin thread miles away, open sky all around you, and just being present within you.


Posted March 3, 2016 by swanatbagend in reflections

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