Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Driving in the Snow

One of the particular privileges of living in the country is driving to and from work.  I love me some rural roads in the summer...windows down and sunroof wide open.  But in the winter it's a different story.  

In general I have a love-hate relationship with my drive to work.  I love it in the morning, except when I have to be somewhere particularly early.  I dislike it in the evening, except on those really stressful days when I need my mind and surroundings to be silent for awhile.  As it is for those who live in the city, commuting for me has been complicated by our recent snow and winter weather.  

Don't get me wrong...I love the snow.  If it's got to be cold, then bring on the snow.  But it does present some significant challenges when trying to travel.  

Back in late December we had a considerable snow, and I left work early on a Thursday in order to get home before it got really bad.  I had the same thing happen just this past Thursday.  After arriving home last week I began to compare the two experiences.  

While visibility was particularly problematic during the December drive, I followed a snow plow nearly the entire way home.  It was an interesting experience - I was actually fifth in a line of cars behind the snow plow.  And I think we were all pretty happy to be there.  While there were moments of blowing snow which entirely concealed the car just yards in front of me, I could almost always see the elevated flashing lights of the plow.  And I had a sense of calm despite the whirlwind around me.  The plow knew the way and was clearing the path for us.  

And it made me think of Jesus.  How through craziness and confusion, the blizzards of life, He asks us to follow Him.  To trust His leadership through those situations which are troubling...terrifying... uncertain...or even mundane.  He has promised to be with us always - as our Savior, but also as our Friend and our Peace.  

The snow plow reminded me of something important - I don't always have to know the path.  I just have to know the One who does.  And follow Him very closely.  
Funny, He even called himself The Way.    

I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me. ~Jesus, Quoted in John 14:6. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Another one bites the dust...

That title may seem callous.  It may not convey the depth of our dismay.  
But it's true...

We've lost another chicken.  

But we honestly don't know how.  

Last Thursday night Ryan counted the chickens before closing up the coop for the night.  



Not to be alarmed, Ryan recounted.  Eight again.  A spastic Red was missing.  

He looked around outside briefly before he had to leave.  No sign of the auburn fool....er, foul.  

Well...fast-forward to Saturday.  I noticed an abnormal number of auburn feathers on the east side of our house.  The setting was sinister.  Surely this was the scene of the crime.  But besides the feathers, no other evidence has been found.  (This was like CSI: Sutter).  

We have our suspicions...and surprisingly they don't include our dog.  
My guess is a hawk because we believe it happened during the day and I don't think a coyote or fox would have ventured so close to the house where the fearsome Casey was posted nearby.  

Anyone else have ideas about a possible cunning daytime predator?  


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Da...Da...DaWHAT?? Dahinda!!

Ryan planned a short trip to celebrate our anniversary...but it was a surprise!  All I knew was that we would be driving and that our destination would be 3-4 hours away.  One might think that really narrows the field, but a four hour radius around Sutter really does provide numerous possibilities.

Branson, Galena, Southern Illinois, Kansas City, St. Louis...these had all crossed my mind.  But after heading north and meandering through rural roads, these slowly got crossed off my mental list of possibilities.   

Eventually, we hung a left at a sign for "Dahinda". 

Again...more rural roads...then we came to Dahinda...Da WHAT?!? Dahinda.  

We drove through THE Dahinda (which left something to be desired) and right up to a quaint farmstead tucked back into the base of a few small hills.  

*Still perplexed*
We're at someone else's house.  Hmm...???

Ryan pulled up to the sweet red barn (below)..."We're here!"

Long and short of it...The Barn was built by the owners as a bunk house.  It is a "peg barn", meaning its frame was built without the use of nails - only wooden pegs.  It was later converted into a Bed & Breakfast.  

Here's a glimpse into the "horse stall kitchen" complete with an ice box and working vintage gas stove.  

 The upstairs loft had sleeping for at least 9.  

After getting our bearings in "The Barn", we enjoyed some time in neighboring towns - we went line dancing (Ryan is the boot-scootin' master) and to a hockey game.  Ryan and I decided that 97% of hockey players have some sort of anger issue.  

All in all, the entire trip was refreshing.  It gave us an opportunity to reflect on the past year - all the Lord has done in our lives - we have so much for which we are grateful.  Our time at the Barn also provided time to pray and think about the coming year.  

Da Barn in Dahinda will always have a special place in da hearts of da Woods.  

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Year Two

Ryan and I have come upon and passed a milestone in our relationship - our first anniversary.  1.21.13 marked the beginning of Year Two for us.  We watched our wedding video, reliving our nuptials, and basked in the glow of our love.  It was lovely.  

Remembering the 1st Anniversary tradition, my sister asked me if we ate our cake top.  I told her, "You can't have your cake and eat it, too."  
Perplexed, she didn't say much.  
Then I clarified - We had already eaten the cake.  
Yes, that's right.  These two last-borns decided to go ahead and enjoy the cake last year when it was fresh rather than wait for its flavor to be enhanced by freezer burn and time.  

So, about a week later, a church event gave us a good excuse to make some cookies Ryan and I would both enjoy.  

Enter the easiest peanut butter cookies...ever.

All you need is 1 yellow cake mix, 1/2 cup butter, 1 cup peanut butter, and 2 eggs.  
Mix all together.  I rolled them into balls, flattened them slightly, put them on a cookie sheet, refrigerated them until they were firm, and baked them at 350 for 12 minutes.

We happened to have a bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Cup hearts. :)  

So, why not try putting them together???  

So if you're looking for a good substitution for your first anniversary when you've already eaten your cake...or just in the market for an easy cookie...you can give it a try. :)