Monthly Archives: February 2014

My Mother Was Amish ~ Part 1


My Mother Was AmishShe was a young Amish girl. She hated housework, but enjoyed working outside. So she started working at the local vegetable farm. She, along with other local youth, hoed, pulled weeds, and picked vegetables in the warm sunshine.

One day as she was picking green beans, she realized that a young man was picking next to her in the row. He introduced himself, and they began to chat as they worked. The next time they were both working at the farm, they chatted again. Pretty soon they were chatting every day.

Well, one thing led to another, and soon they were a couple. He was over 6 ft tall, dark-haired and handsome. His darkly tanned skin and high forehead hinted at his Cherokee heritage. She was a short 5 foot, with brown hair and pretty, dark eyes. They made quite a dashing couple!


Her family was Amish. Amish do not marry people that are not Amish. And for the record, not all Amish call non-Amish ‘Englishers’. In fact, the only place I’ve heard that term, is in books about the Amish. (Which my mom won’t read, because they are so unrealistic! ) Most Amish and Mennonites call community folks: ‘worldly’.

So. My mother was Amish, and Amish don’t marry worldly people! This was a problem. My mother dodged that issue by just leaving the Amish church. When she turned 21, she just walked out and went with my father to a Baptist preacher to get married. If you could just see the photo of the two of them on the church steps!! Tall, handsome Dad, looking sharp in his gray suit, alongside him was my mother, dressed in a gray Amish dress…because Amish are not allowed to wear white to their weddings, you see. That would be too worldly. They try to be different from the world in as many ways as possible.

Anyways. My dad was not raised Amish, and had no desire to convert. He liked cars and engines and conveniences. So they compromised by going to a Mennonite church. Mennonites may look very similar to someone who is not used to them, and in reality they are quite similar. But there is a few glaring differences:

  1. They are allowed to own and drive cars.
  2. They are allowed to use electricity and modern conveniences.

So it came to be, that a Amish girl married a local redneck, and they started a family in a Mennonite community. With my dad coming from a non-Amish background, and my mother coming from an Amish home, I feel like us kids had a unique worldview given to us. Dad would see things one way, and Mom would see them another, and we just listened and made our own decisions. Not surprisingly, each of us kids have taken a slightly different path in life. Our journeys are different, yet the same. We are all committed to Jesus Christ, and each one of us follows Him the best we know how.

To be continued…

BBQ Beef Pizza

bbq Beef pizza

We love pizza. in fact, We have a Saturday night pizza tradition in our little family. The kids wouldn’t know how to act if we had something other than pizza on Saturday night! I realized how strong this tradition already has become, when I made pizza on a Friday night last week. My son and my husband both were puzzled: “Is it Saturday?” and: “I thought it was Friday!” :)

Sorry for confusing you, my sweet family. And yes, we had pizza two nights in a row! :)

This recipe could not be easier! Please go make it today – your family will love it!

BBQ Beef pizzaBBQ Beef pizza

  1. Brown 1 lb beef hamburger. (or elk, deer, yada, yada.)
  2. Mix with 1/2 bottle of BBQ sauce. We like Sweet Baby Ray’s .
  3. Spread on a prepared pizza crust.
  4. Top with shredded mozzerella cheese.
  5. Bake at 350º for 20-30 minutes, or till crust is golden brown.

Serve and enjoy!

BBQ Beef Pizza

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5.0 from 1 reviews
BBQ Beef Pizza
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 8-10
  • 1 prepared pizza crust
  • 1 lb ground beef (or turkey, venison)
  • ½ bottle bbq sauce (about a cup)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Brown beef, drain.
  2. Add bbq sauce, mix.
  3. Spread meat mixture on prepared crust.
  4. Top with cheese.
  5. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.


2 Pieces of Encouragement for the Christian Mother


If you are, or have ever been a mom, I can almost guarantee that you have seen your share of messes. One child – one tiny human, can make the biggest mess in such a short period of time! I don’t know how they do it, honestly. What is so enticing about a roll of toilet paper or a can of oatmeal?  You are watching them so carefully, then you turn your back for a second or two and you get this….

Lucia, age 2

Lucia, age 2

I am in the process of raising my 5th baby through the ‘dump and squish everything in sight’ stage. I love it! I used to get so tired of all the messes. I really, really got sick of wiping up bananas squished all over the highchair. I was bored to tears to sweep up yet another pile of dumped rice. Or crumbled crackers. or shredded tissues. 

It is just possible I allow my babies to play in too many cupboards – I know. 

Reata, age 1

Reata, age 1

But to just finish mixing up that recipe, or finish washing those dishes, or folding the laundry in peace… (you don’t know why folding laundry wouldn’t be peaceful? You must not have a one year old unfolding and tossing clothes as fast as humanly possible!) 😀 Yes, being able to get that bit of work done quickly and in peace –  that is why I allow dishes to be pulled out, oatmeal to be dumped, and tissues to be shredded. 

I am not here to tell you how to get your act together and get more done. I can’t help you in the clean house department. I can’t show you any tricks to having a baby and also keeping a neat and tidy house. I won’t even tell you to “enjoy them while they’re young, because they grow up too soon”!


What I have to say is this:

1. Don’t sweat the small stuff. 

Enjoy the moments that are cuddly and sweet. Laugh at the messes whenever you can. Ask God for grace on days when you feel overwhelmed. Lean into the work. Don’t give up because it’s a never-ending battle, just dig deep into God’s well of strength, and keep going. Yes, you will do it all over tomorrow. Make peace with that. You don’t have to feel all warm and fuzzy about it – but don’t complain either. Just do the right thing: Love on your family. 

I can’t say I enjoy everything about being a mother. Sometimes when my baby wakes up with a crusty nose that takes a half-hour of warm water soaking… I just want to turn her over to Mom and go find a book. 

When my older kids are fighting about why “he never wants to play with me!!”, I just want to plug my ears and go eat some ice cream.

No really! It’s draining – this training of young hearts and souls. It is not for the faint of heart. It is for warrior women. Women who know their strength is inadequate to the task – and that their true strength is in God alone. Women who put on the whole armor of God to withstand the wiles of the Devil. Fighting against bad moods and depression, so we can have the kind of children and home-life that God wants for us. Women who have learned (and are still learning!) to fall at the feet of Jesus and cry out for His wisdom on a daily, no – hourly! – basis.  

But I can give you this encouragement:

2. It won’t last forever! 

Yes – they do get past that tear-the-house-apart stage. They stop pulling books off the shelf just to see them fall. They start sleeping through the night. And when you get up one morning and your son willingly helps you make breakfast… it will suddenly hit you — it was worth it! It was worth every sleepless night, every diaper blow-out in the middle of a grocery store, and every patient instruction you took time to give. 

And then you look at your current baby (as I do) and realize that while you still can’t enjoy ‘every minute of it‘, you have learned to enjoy most of them! 

Jenni, age 9

Jenni, age 9

Frank, age 6

Frank, age 6


Do you enjoy ‘every minute’ of your journey as a mother? How can you possibly enjoy wiping up puke? 😉

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Nebraska Cowgirls ~ Featuring: Audra

I am excited to bring you my first Cowgirl Feature! :) Yee-Haw for cowgirls, right?! 😉 I can’t really lay claim to that title, since I rarely get horseback, but I sure enjoy my cowgirl friends. I admire them immensely. The ability to cook, keep house, and rope? Yeah. That’s pretty handy, as they say in the ranch world. Here is one such cowgirl. I’m pleased to introduce you to Audra.  
Cowgirl Feature
1. Name
Audra Peterson-Austin
2. Where do you live?
  Arthur, NE.
3. Job Title?
  I am a day worker/ranch hand for several area ranches, & own a few of my own cows. 
4. Tell me a little about your job description.
 I help area ranchers with all ranch duties, from calving out heifers, to branding, to getting cows out to grass, & home again. I also help AI, I drive a tractor at haying time & help rake or mow usually. 
cowgirl feature
5. What are some things you enjoy doing in your time off? 
When I am not helping ranch, I enjoy roping, & riding my horses, entering in ranch horse competitions. I also like to enter the WRRA & WSRRA rodeos all summer. I like to spend as much time in the saddle as I can. 
6. What is something you enjoy about your job? 
 I love all aspects of my job. It is something different everyday. I really enjoy it when I can be horseback everyday & a few of the ranchers I help let me bring my dogs. 
7. Did you grow up on a ranch?   
I grew up on a ranch in Colorado, my Dad couldn’t get out of the house without when I was little. I have wanted to ranch my whole life & hope that I can keep building my cow herd & have a place of my own. 
cowgirl feature

Weekend Wind-down Link Party #5

Welcome back to our Weekend Wind-down link party!

How was your week? Mine was great – other than some blogging stress associated with the loss of our internet signal for the better part of four days! I guess the heavy cloud cover/snowstorm was to blame. We didn’t get a lot of snow – just lots of really cold weather! Like -22º!!! Brrrr. It is a beautiful, frozen world out there…

Weekend Wind-down Party

My Cowboy spent two days this week meeting with a guy from CO who was selling off some bred heifers. They looked good, so he ended up buying a few. It’s really exciting to see our personal cattle herd start to grow! Yes, it’s tiny – in ranching terms, (kinda like my blog, in blogging terms!) but it’s growing! And that is the fun part – the potential. The growth. The dreams for the future. Hey, we need to have something to keep these youngsters busy as they grow up, right? What better way than having a herd of cows to care for? :)


First off, I want to mention a few favorite link-ups from last week. Each of the WWDP hostesses choose one post to feature. Here are the picks from last week:

DSCN0821-300x237 sausage soup valentine-header chocolate dip Lego-Board-Game-Apron-Strings-other-things CleaningEssentials spicy-black-bean-wrap san-francisco-is-americas-snobbiest-city-according-to-the-rest-of-the-countryimagelinkyrules

This Simple Home


De Divah Deals


Snippets of Inspiration


A Ranch Mom


Mendez Manor


A Living Sacrifice


 Mustard Seed Mommy


Moms Who Save


I want to say a special thank-you to everyone who links back to us your posts! It is much appreciated, and makes it easy to pick the featured posts, when someone has a link to us! I know it’s a pain to link back, so I want you to know I truly appreciate the effort! :)

Beef recipe #6 ~ BBQ Roast Beef Sandwich

BBQ roast beef… how much yummier can it get? I love all things bbq. I especially like BBQ sandwiches. So when I had this roast that I needed to use, I decided to make some yummy sandwiches with it. The roast itself is a round roast, about 3 lbs? It is beef from here on the ranch, so it isn’t weighed and marked. I am guessing at the size.


I used the method described over on SkinnyTaste. It is a very easy way to make your own roast beef. The problem being, of course, that to get the nice, ultra-thin deli slices, you really need a meat slicer. Which I don’t have. I just sliced the beef as thin as I could with an electric bread knife. It was thicker than I would have liked, but it still tasted good!

roast beef sandwich

If you don’t want to make your own roast beef, just buy some deli roast beef, already sliced. That would make this recipe even easier!

Just squirt some BBQ sauce in the bottom of a pan. We like Sweet Baby Ray’s the best!

roast beef sandwich

Then you start laying the roast beef slices in the pan. Just swipe them around on both sides, so they get completely coated with sauce.

roast beef sandwich


Cover with foil, and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, or till warmed through. It will depend on the amount of beef you have in your pan. I had about a pound of sliced beef, and it took 25 minutes to warm. Places slices of roast beef on sandwich rolls and serve!

roast beef sandwich

5 Things I Have Learned About Grief.

5 things I've learned about grief

I miss my baby boy. He would be 9 today, ya know. I have a hard time picturing him so grown up! He was still my ‘baby‘ when he left us. Sure, he was 2 years old – but still my baby! A rowdy, fun-loving, curly-haired little two year old. He liked to tackle his older siblings and eat tons of bananas. (seriously, 5 in one evening?!) He would tell me “Goo Shob” when I did any little thing for him, like getting him a drink. Heard it so many times himself, I guess. He loved animals and screamed when I took him off the horse’s back, that time I thought I would just sit him in the saddle for a minute. He was ready to stay awhile! 

This is my Andy. 

andy 001

And 7 long years later, it is his birthday again. In honor of which, I decided to share 5 things I have learned about grief. It isn’t really a fun-loving post, but if you have ever lost a child, perhaps you will understand.




  1. It can come back and bowl you over any time, with no warning. Recently there were several sudden deaths, several miscarriages – people I knew. Or sort of knew. The barrage of sad news just made my own sadness resurface. I cried and cried in the shower. I told my sisters to stop telling me sad stories. I was a mess. I felt a little silly, I mean, seven years, hello? I should be over the weepy stuff, right? But no. There I lay in my bed, tears running down my cheeks, just remembering all his sweet ways. And realizing fresh that he is not coming back to me. I must go to him. And I will! 
  2. It doesn’t help – ever- to hear someone tell you that they understand. Either they understand or they don’t. And no, losing your dog or your grandpa is not the same as losing a child you carried beneath your heart for 9 months. Your own flesh and blood, a tiny human who smelled like you and cried for you and who you cared for 24/7. So if you understand, just act like you do – some of the people who ‘understood‘ the most had never lost a child. That had nothing to do with it. It was their deep heart of compassion that showed through and comforted me.
  3. Some things are always going to hurt. For me, it is curly-haired little boys. And bridges over creeks. And irrigation canals. I can hide my feelings pretty good – can’t we all? But sometimes it is all I can take to not run screaming from a rushing irrigation ditch. I really think I would be OK with never seeing one again. (sorry, farmers – I know they are your lifeblood!)
  4. It is lonely. I have an older-than-me very wise friend who lost two sons in one day. She told me this. I didn’t understand at first. Because at first, you have friends and family and neighbors, all wanting to help. They bring meals and scrub your house and do your laundry and it at least helps you feel not so alone. But after everyone goes home, it’s just you and your thoughts. Memories. Wistful dreams of a do-over on that day. And it is lonely. This is probably why I write about my experience every year. I want to get those feelings out and sort them and maybe feel like others have been there too? It’s incredibly lonely to be grieving someone who most people in your life never even met.
  5. It has it’s own rewards. I have learned so much about compassion, sympathy, and love through this experience. I used to be kind of dry and cold towards others problems, but now I can sympathize deeply with someone who has lost a child. I find myself crying for someone else’s loss. I am touched by sad stories and have a real heart for the unwanted children in the world. I just want to gather every neglected child into my arms and love on them! I still don’t understand the why of it all, but I can trust that God is still in control, and accept that one good thing that came out of this experience, was that I learned compassion. 





If you’re curious about the rest of the story about my son,you can read it here.

Have you ever lost a child or a loved one? What is one thing you have learned about grief?

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Ten Steps to Being a Real Cowgirl

My daughter Jenni loves to write stories about horses and cowgirls. She writes pages and pages! She has notebooks filled to the brim with her stories. Today she is sharing with us  what it takes to be a real cowgirl. She should know – she is one! She helps her dad gather cows (and bulls!) on horseback, feeds the beef heifers, bottle-feeds the orphan calves, and takes care of other miscellaneous pets. She can also tend a baby with the best of them, and makes a delicious loaf of bread. She is twelve. I am proud to call her my daughter.  

10 Steps to being a real cowgirl

Ten Steps to Being a Real Cowgirl

by Jennifer Schrock

1. Instead of fancy dresses, wear a dusty cowgirl shirt, patched jeans, faded boots, and a hat. A cowgirl doesn’t care if her boots are brown and her shirt pink, just as long as there is something in her closet to wear every day, 24/7.

Chinks made for her by her Daddy.

Chinks made for her by her Daddy.

2. Instead of going to town every weekend, grow your own fruits and veggies, raise chickens for eggs, plant wheat crops for flour, and shoot elk for meat. Also, learn to sew your own clothes and learn to make candles and soap.

Apples from our apple tree.

Apples from our apple tree.

3. Be friendly. Instead of studying someone to make sure he or she is approachable, go right up to them and give them a hearty hand shake while saying, “Howdy pardner!”

Giving the horses some lovin'.

Giving the horses some lovin’.

4. Respect your horse. He works hard to please you, so make it fun for him too, don’t let that stray calf go, run after it! There is nothin’ a cowhorse loves more than running after cattle.

Gathering cows with her friend, Megan.

Gathering cows with her friend, Megan.

5. Don’t wear too much make up. Instead, pull on your clothes and get out there, because the best kinda makeup is the dust your horse makes when he runs.

10 Steps to being a real cowgirl
6. Tight buns? High ponytails? Forget it! Just put your hair in a braid or two and pull on your hat.

Getting instructions.

Getting instructions.

7. Spend less time on the internet – getting browned by the summer sun is much better than gossiping on facebook.

Pushing cows through belly-deep wildflowers.

Pushing cows through belly-deep wildflowers.

8. Forget going to a professional to get a tan – working out in the summer sun is all you need to get seriously tanned.

Pushing cows with her brother, Frank.

Pushing cows with her brother, Frank.

9. Get off that treadmill, dump the weights – saddle your horse and go do what needs to be done. Trust me, working cattle is all the exercise you need to stay fit.

10. Caviar? Sushi? Margarita? Puh-lease, go for chili and beef steak – its much more filling!

Pushing cows through the gate.

Pushing cows through the gate.

This article is for all you Wyoming, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, and other wild west state cowgirls, Yee-haw!

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Winning the Argument


Last week I was thinking about arguments and contention. About why I can update my Facebook status with something totally innocent, and within hours it has turned into a flaming rant! I was pondering this recently, and asked my husband why a simple thought or statement gets such a response? I mean, I am not even trying to start an argument! I am simply stating my opinion on some random topic, and suddenly everyone feels the need to start an argument.

Granted, I am easy to provoke, I suppose. Its not so much that I have to be right – more that I feel like my point of view is not being understood! So I repeat myself in a different way so they can understand where I’m coming from. Well, most people have no interest in seeing it from a different point of view, so then I have to say it again, from yet a different angle, because if they just understood what I am trying to say, they would at least concede that there is a different way of looking at it, right?!


I have discovered that most people have zero interest in considering other points of view. And after trying to explain it about 10 different ways, I start to get mad. Then my focus shifts from wanting them to see it from my point of view, to wanting to prove that I am right!!

And that’s where it all goes downhill. I say things that I later regret, I show a spirit of Self that is truly horrid. I finally get myself in check, only to mourn and punish myself for weeks. I say things to myself like: “I’ll never share my opinion again!” or: “I’ll just stop talking!!”

Which is impossible, if you know me at all! I can’t be quiet. I can’t stop talking, any more than I can stop breathing. I get a headache if I can’t get stuff aired out! I will talk to myself if I have to. (oops, did I say that?!) No, really, it’s all too true. And it’s not because I like to hear myself talk – I actually dislike hearing myself talk . It’s because I don’t know what I feel, or how to process stuff, until I spill out the words. That is how my brain works.

As I was contemplating this, I was asking my husband what the answer is? (And how come he never, ever starts conflict with what he says or writes?) He assured me that ‘shutting up’ is not the answer. He said: “If you are a talkative person with lots of opinions, you will face different battles than those of us who are quiet.” He also reminded me that he writes and speaks a lot less than I do – therefore is less likely to share controversial topics. He greatly dislikes conflict – while I don’t shy away from it. (although I don’t really enjoy it.)

After talking to him, and mulling it over, I had a renewed desire to ‘set a watch before my lips’. Yes, perhaps I spark debate without meaning to – that is no excuse to either bow out without a word –  nor to return the ranting. I need to walk in the Spirit of Jesus Christ, speaking only what is true, good, lovely, etc…

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.                                                                                                         Philippians 4:8

I can’t excuse my own behavior under the guise of: “well, I wasn’t trying to start an argument!” No, I have to take responsibility for my own words and attitudes. I have to realize this is my battlefield. This tendency to argue and fight is where I have to die to self. It doesn’t matter if I am misunderstood. It doesn’t matter if I don’t win the argument. I need to speak words of Life, and let it go.

Maybe I am the only one who faces this? Maybe you all have no problem keeping quiet… if this is your strong point, please let me in on the secret, will ya?! 😉

Feeding Cake

It gets a little stuffy in the house during winter months. Between homeschooling, snowstorms, and settling fights – I occasionally need a change of scenery! So when that feeling strikes, I usually just pull on my coat and hop in the pickup with My Cowboy. Works every time. :) I also usually take my camera along, just because I never tire of cows and the high prairie. Plus, my goal is to improve my photography skills. I have a real impatience with editing photos, so I try to get them correct straight out of the camera. I do have to edit a little sometimes, but probably 80% or so of my photos on this blog are not edited at all. That’s not saying they are that great… my passion is writing, not photography! 😉 But I do enjoy it as a hobby.

So we drove out to the back forty – or was that the south 3,000? anyways, all you have to do is blow the truck horn, and those mama cows start running. They know what that means, and they love to eat! Come to think of it, so do I, when I am pregnant! 😀

feeding cows5

One of ours! We have just a few head of our own cattle, sprinkled throughout the herd.

feeding cows9feeding cows10
feeding cows8

I stepped out of the truck and snapped a few pics. On one side, this old girl was complaining about the wait…

"Get a mooo-ve on!" So impatient...

“Get a mooo-ve on!” So impatient…



And on the other side of the truck, they were not waiting, but just helping themselves.

feeding cows4

Eating out of the chute…

And in the middle of it all, this mama was calmly studying me and Ree. Should I tell her that her slobbers are flying? I don’t want to hurt her feelings. feeding cows1When I got bored with mama cows, I started snapping photos of my baby. She loves cows. She loves to ride in Daddy’s truck. Both at once make her happy, despite her pensive expression.ree1They crowd around the cake truck, waiting rather impatiently.feeding cows7

And then the sight of a tiny cabin like the one below, surrounded by miles of nothing but grass, sky and a few cows, make me want to turn pioneer. I don’t really want to live in that cabin – it’s likely falling in and full of holes and snakes. But the setting…the idea…the dreaminess…

I can see it now; little log cabin all tidy inside, with a red geranium on the table, and a straw broom by the door. There would be an old wood table, worn smooth from the years, a crackling fire in the tiny wood stove, and a gun over the door. A handmade quilt would grace the bed in the corner, and the room would smell faintly of kerosene, from the lamp on the table. My  journal would be open, with sharp pencils laying beside it. I would write and write and write. And when I would get tired of writing, I would sit on the doorstep, just drinking in the clean prairie air, listening to the meadowlarks and the rustling of the breeze in the grass.

Anyone care to join me in this darling retreat? Perhaps for a weekend now and again? :)
cabinfeeding cows6So ends my journal of the day feeding cake with My Cowboy.