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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Taking a Mental Break

For several weeks, I blogged every day.  The kids napped.  I blogged.  It was great, and blogging was/is a huge encouragement to me as a writer and a mom.  Then I started reading a certain popular trilogy, and I stopped everything else I was doing.

Schedule of the afternoon:
1. Kids go to bed.
2. I put on the teapot.
3. I start reading.
4. I make a cup of tea when the teapot whistles.
5. I read and drink tea until I hear happy babbling coming from the baby monitors (Yes, I said monitors.  We spy on both of our kids shamelessly.)

This continued until I finished said trilogy on Thursday night.

Our house would not function if I did this forever.  We would not have clean clothes in drawers or hot food at supper if I kept this up, but it was so good.  It was huge after weeks of illness and grief to just rest mind and body and read something gripping and fictional.  It was like coming home to who I was before I became Momma and Wife.  That woman who could read for hours on end, who could peruse the library and walk out with ten books.  Who could get lost in a story and just lose track of time, completely carried away to the Limberlost, Prince Edward Island, or Cutter Gap.

Sigh.  I'm back now.  Grateful for a brief mental vacation and better for it.  In case you're in need of a similar break, here's where I would send you.




Happy mental rest!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Playing well with others

Over the past week, I've notice that I'm not playing well with others.  My answers are short.  My frustration is easily triggered.  My voice can get loud before I even recognize I'm not speaking normally.  I'd wonder why this is, but I actually already know.  I need to sleep.

Teacher Man and I were sick... and couldn't sleep.  Then our kids were sick... and we couldn't sleep.  Then we traveled for my grandpa's funeral and the kids' didn't sleep well in the hotel... and we couldn't sleep.  So I'm just grouchy.  And I need sleep.  But I'm not the only one.

Caleb has also been especially crabby/disobedient/rude lately so I made the connection.  I wonder how much he really is sleeping.  The answer: not as much as we've thought.  His new big boy bed is next to the window, where he could sit for hours and watch traffic go by on the major road by our house.  And you know what?  That's exactly what he's been doing for the two hours that he's supposed to be napping.  Stinker.

So our home has a few new guidelines.  First of all, this momma is going to bed a LOT earlier.  No more staying up late and catching up on hulu.  No more reading just one more chapter.  I'm giving myself a bedtime, and I'm respecting it so I can have just a bit more grace for others in the morning.  Now, does this mean that it's rigid and if I don't get every minute of sleep I think I need I'll give myself permission to start snapping at people? Nope.  It's simply a guideline for me on our quiet nights at home to discipline myself to rest and give my body a break.

Now about Caleb.  We can't move his bed away from a window because of the closets and windows in his room so...  I put his old crib mattress over the window so he can't even get to the window to look out. Cruel, I know. Since I did this, he's had two great afternoon naps and two amazing days of cheerfulness and obedience (okay, mostly obedience); and if that's cruel, then I don't want to be kind.

If rest is important enough for God to devote one in every seven days to it, then by golly I'm going to give it a try and see if it helps me to find more grace for myself and for those I love the most.

And with that, I'm going to sign off.  Have sweet rest, my friends.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Grandpa

(Some words I was privileged to share at Grandpa's homegoing gathering.)

As strong as Grandpa was, he always had a soft spot for his grandchildren.  His hands were rough and work-worn from years of plowing and repairing, but they were gentle enough to play "This Little Piggie went to market" with a granddaughter's toes.  And as busy as the farm kept him, I remember many afternoons sitting with him in the yard, eating Grandma's cookies, drinking pop, and throwing frisbees for the dog.

I remember Grandpa as a man who was always moving, always fixing, always working on the next thing.  But I remember vividly one Sunday afternoon, sitting in the living room with Grandpa.  I couldn't understand why he wasn't out in the fields.  It was a beautiful day.  I asked him, "Grandpa, why aren't you working?"  And he said, "It's the Lord's Day, and God says that today should be a day of rest."  I guess as a farmer he understood better than most that the earth is the Lord's.  The wind and the rain that could destroy or prosper the fields were not in Grandpa's control no matter how hard he toiled.  They were the Lord's.  And so was he.

I am so grateful for the faith that has been passed down to me by both of my grandparents, which I now have the privilege to share with their great-grandsons.  A heritage of diligence, compassion, integrity, and wisdom.  A heritage of unselfish love and unwavering faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior and Lord of their lives.

Through my own tears of grief, I have immeasurable joy that Grandpa stands today in the presence of His King, and he is whole.  For him to live was Christ, and his death has brought him great gain.  So well done, Grandpa.  I know your faithfulness has brought you great reward as you stand in the presence of your Lord. We'll miss you, but you have given us a lifelong testimony of faith in Christ that we will forever hold in our hearts and will share with our children.  Thank you, Grandpa.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How I handle sick.

I hate being sick, but I'll admit that I have a pretty odd way to deal with it.  Probably counter-productive to the whole healing process.  Teacher Man, who now understands... okay, expects my neurosis, still takes a deep sigh and smiles because every time I'm sick I do a major organizing project.  It's like telling the universe, "HA!  I know I can't control being sick, but I can control the cleanliness of our hall closet.  Take that!"

Yep.  I totally showed the universe.  The universe is now cowering in a corner.  Actually, it's not.

I also love to deep-clean when anyone gets sick. Bathrooms get scoured, carpets vacuumed, kitchen scrubbed, dust removed, laundry done.  Then I make a giant pot of homemade soup.  Like I said before, my approach to illness is a disease in itself. In December, I used my lovely cold to reorganize our garage... during the day... while my kids napped.  Oh my. I think at that point the universe decided to show me who was boss.  Enter our recent flu bug.

If you read my post on Sunday, you know that Ben got sick on Saturday.  He's been doing pretty well, but there's definitely some residual fussiness that I could totally deal with if... .da dada daaaaa!  I hadn't gotten sick on Monday night.  I was waiting for Teacher Man to get home from a meeting, totally glad that he would be around to take care of me.  That's when he called to say that someone else was driving him home from the meeting because he was.... drumroll, please.... sick.

We've never both been sick at the same time, and let me tell you... I hope it never happens again.  It was awful.  Lowest point ever: being so sick I could not even get down to hold my baby because it hurt so much.  The universe chuckled at me and said, "How d'ya like THEM apples?"  And I had to say, "You win, universe.  You win." because I didn't even have the ability to think about organizing.  I just lay on the couch thinking, "I hurt so much.  I wish I could drink water."  Pathetically low.

How did we survive?  Pure grace from the Body of Christ.  One friend took my babies and kept them for the day, sacrificing her own family's health. That's love, people.  Another friend showed up with homemade soup. Amazing. Many prayed (thank you). And I'm happy to report we were able to be parents by the end of Tuesday. Wednesday was a lovely recovery day until.... you guessed it.  Wednesday night, my children decided to show solidarity by getting the stomach flu.  Teacher Man and I have now been up for hours, washing sheets and jammies, getting drinks, cleaning (ahem) messes, and putting in endless movies (a HUGE privilege in our family).

So I'm thinking now, I should have a less competitive approach to sick.  Maybe then the universe wouldn't pick on us so much.  Maybe.

Changing directions (from last week)

"Get in the car, kids!  Now!"

Both boys were hurled into the van, Caleb strapped in with no socks or shoes on.  "Mommy, what are we doing?  I don't want to go naked!"  (He was fully-clothed minus socks and shoes. Oh, the drama.)

"We're going for a drive, boys.  Mommy's had enough."  I grabbed my purse and a few checks that I needed to deposit at the bank.  I didn't even take time to put on "real clothes," and I slipped my crocs on, knowing I wouldn't be getting out of the van anywhere.

It had been a rough morning.  I had let the boys play as they wished which meant a lot of not sharing and a huge mess all over the house.  Looking around, I could see that I would have been better off spending the morning playing too, but a drive would give us a change of scene and a fresh start and so off we drove.

Our epic adventure included stopping at the bank drive-through to make our deposits and, of course, to get stickers.  Then we drove by the construction site at the college (always a big crowd-pleaser around here) and then drove a few blocks north so Starbucks could give me some renewed vision for the rest of the day.

As we headed home, I realized that just leaving the house was all it took to change the course of the whole day.  I felt like I had gotten something done, the boys were certain they had gotten a special adventure, and as I carried them into the house (remember no shoes) I was grateful for the inspiration.

Sometimes a sudden turn is all it takes to change the destination of the day.  And right now, I hope that each day's journey includes a funny moment (not hard with a toddler in the house), an eye-to-eye conversation with each of my men, and a new discovery.  Today we discovered that if you stick two stickers back to back, they are not really fun anymore.  It's the little things, ya know.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Honey, smell the carpet! (a.k.a. finally admitting that homemade cleaners work)

I've always liked the smell of clean.  Soft Scrub, Tide (original scent, of course), Pledge lemon furniture polish...  They remind me of growing up and coming home to a clean house that I didn't have to clean.  Good stuff.  Then when Teacher Man and I were married, the smell of clean was whatever was cheap as we cleaned our tiny married student apartment. And then, I found out I was pregnant, and I was inundated by a long list of chemicals and products that I should not subject my unborn child to. This started me thinking. Should I really be subjecting anyone to these chemicals?

Thus launched my love affair with Green Works products.  Yes, I know Clorox owns the company; but the products and their ingredients are completely safe for my family.  Plus, I loved (and still love) the fact that my home smells like a lemon when I'm done cleaning, but they're expensive.  Really expensive.  Don't get me wrong! There's no way I can use the old cleaners with their strong chemical smells and toxic residues (have you met my floor-licking son Benjamin???), but I just wasn't crazy about the prices.

About the same time that I was re-evaluating my cleaning budget, I read Tsh Oxenreider's book Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living.  In all honesty, it was love at first read.  Tsh started big picture with evaluating goals as a family and then got into the nitty gritty of making the arrangement and cleanliness of the home conducive to those goals.  Though this was only a small component of the book, Tsh did give several recipes for homemade cleaners.  I thought, "Well... she's been right about several things in the book so maybe I should actually give it a shot."

No, I didn't throw away my Green Works; but I did try a couple of the recipes because I'm cheap and so are the ingredients for the cleaners.  And I don't like have a thousand products under my sink. Sometimes, using her recipes for cleaners meant I could use less store-bought product to clean.  Other times, I could get away with just using her very inexpensive cleaning recipes.  But I wasn't totally convinced, and I despise the smell of vinegar; but, as I said before, I'm very cheap.  This leads me to last night.

After spending the whole morning with my friends who are totally on the "Homemade Cleaners Train," we had a little in-home crisis in the evening.  Poor Ben lost his supper all over the carpet, leaving a giant mess and the world's worst smell.  I went to work with my store-bought cleaner but could not get rid of that awful odor.  It was getting late, I was tired, and it was cold and snowy out.  I had no desire to walk the carpet cleaner aisle in search of a solution so I did what every self-respecting woman in the 21st Century does.  I went online.  Lo and behold, Mr. Internet told me I could make a paste of baking soda and white vinegar and scrub it into my carpet with a toothbrush to take away the stain and the smell.  Then when it dried, I could just vacuum it up.  Vinegar's cheap.  And so is baking soda.  So I set to work!  Honestly, I was pretty sure my carpet couldn't smell any worse.

After about 5 minutes, I started yelling at Teacher Man, "Honey!  You've got to come smell this carpet!"  Please keep in mind that Teacher Man had smelled the carpet about an hour prior when it was making the whole house reek so it took some serious trust for him to approach the toxic zone.  He sniffed in the general vicinity and said, "Nice job, hon!  It smells great!"  Was I satisfied?  Of course not.

"No, you have to get down close to appreciate it.  It doesn't smell at all."  Ah... true love.  Teacher Man got down on his hands and knees and smelled the carpet.  Then, he gave me his I-love-how-happy-these-weird-successes-make-you smile and confirmed that indeed the smell was gone and the air was once again fit to breathe.  Sigh.  I love that man.  It's the little things, ya know?

Anyways, today as I disinfected the bathrooms and kitchens (something I always do when anyone in the family is sick), I used a homemade all-purpose cleaner with a few drops of tea tree essential oil.  My house smells good, and I got to be cheap.  As a side note, Miller's Variety Store in Plevna sells essential oils for a ridiculously low price ($3-9 a bottle).  Yet another reason that you should probably head out there and park your van next to the hitching post.

I still love the smell of Green Works, but I can do without the smells of chemical cleaners now.  Too strong. And did I mention that I'm cheap?  So I'm thinking I'll need to play around with essential oils until I can get that lovely citrus smell in my homemade cleaners that I love so much in the store-bought ones. But until then, feel free to come over and smell my carpet.  Ah... the sweet smell of victory.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Escaping

When stress just becomes to much, when I feel my sense of order slipping away, I just want to escape for a bit.  Take a breather.  Put myself in another place... not forever.  Just for a few minutes.  And so I do.  

I open a book and snuggle my round, sweet baby and my little man on my lap; and I read.  We visit Bear Country, where I know all wrongs will be righted in thirty-two pages or less.  We romp through the Hundred Acre Woods with Pooh and Tigger, looking for Christopher Robin and the right words for a poem.  We chase after runaway trains with the Reverend Awdry, and we converse with a petulant alligator and his owner Amanda.  And for just a short while, I remember what it is to be three years old, to not understand the weights of adulthood or evil of the world. And to have faith.

My grandpa is not doing well.  My mother is weary.  My good friends are hurting.  My children are struggling with just being sinners.  Their mother can't give herself grace.  It just seems like too much until I re-enter the perspective of childhood and the faith to be found there. And I remember the Truth so worthy of my trust.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. I Peter 5:7

as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12

And I find my hope in the place where it has been all along.  Not in my self, but in the promises of the Faithful, Eternal One.  If it seems simplistic, that's because it is.  A faith so simple a child can understand it and believe it, so challenging that the ancient ones still grapple with it.  And I find peace and rest have returned to my soul, and I no longer need to flee.


Need a short escape with your kids?  Check out some of these.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Three Years Three Months and Counting

I've been a mother for three years and three months (add ten more months if you count my first pregnancy).  How is it in all that time that the reality that I will watch these boys grow into adulthood has not hit?  Teacher Man just carried Benjamin back to bed.  Our sweet younger son was sucking his thumb and clutching his blankies.  The thought hit me.  Someday he will read. and run. and lead.



I'm told that a day will come when I will not be strapping these souls into ginormous car seats but will instead be handing them the keys to drive.

What a privilege.  What an honor. To shape a human life.  To hold them close each morning and kiss their foreheads each night.  To listen to their hearts and to remind them of the love their Creator has for them.


video

 To encourage them to walk in the Way and to pray for them daily.  This is the privilege of motherhood.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Striving

Meaningless, meaningless.

Yesterday, I put both boys down for naps, which they desperately needed; and then I realized.... I have two hours to get something done.  The second volume of Hunger Games was calling my name, but I restrained myself and started up a new episode of Simple Mom Podcast while I pulled out the dust rags and vacuum to clean our living areas.  (Love Tsh AND Jamie Martin on that podcast.)  I scrubbed and polished.  I dusted and swept. I laundered furniture covers and reorganized toys only to look at the clock and realize that it was time to start dinner.  I cooked... and cooked... and cooked.  You see, it was deep-dish pizza night (a 3-hour process), and I was determined to make Teacher Man's favorite (and extremely time-consuming) meal.

And I finished it all just in the nick of time.  Teacher Man walked in, and the house sparkled.  The pizza was going in the oven.  The kids were rising from their naps.  And I was finally done with all the things I had motivated myself to do.  I expected a big "thank you" or at least a compliment.  Something to enjoy after giving up reading time to go the extra mile on clean up and dinner.

We sat down to dinner, and Teacher Man said, "What's different about this pizza?"

I replied, "Hmmm... maybe I needed to let it cool a bit longer.  Oh well.  Let's just eat."

Then he said it, "Well, it doesn't look as good as last time, but it sure tastes great!"

You see the part highlighted in red?  That's because I was seeing red when he said that.  No matter that he was meaning that to be a compliment.  He had found a product of my great efforts lacking in the Visual Appeal category, and I felt defeated.  Meaningless.  Meaningless.

Why was it meaningless?  It's wonderful to have a clean home.  It's a treat to serve a dinner I know Teacher Man loves.  It's a relief to be caught up on the laundry, but it's meaningless to do these things for the praise of men (even if that man is your husband).  I must do them as an act of worship.  I must do these tasks to the glory of God.

I expected Teacher Man's amazement at my accomplishments to be the highlight of my day... You want to know the best part of the night?  Throwing the kids in their bike seats for an evening ride around our neighborhood on an amazingly warm January night.  This was not planned.  Took no effort.  Was not graded.  But was so worth it.  Because it wasn't about getting it done.  It was about taking the journey together.  It wasn't about reaching a level of perfection.  It was about living in the perfection of a God-created moment.  Seeing His glory and showing it to our children.  Amen.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Undone

I'm a perfectionist... sometimes recovering, sometimes not.  I think Teacher Man would tell you more not than recovering.  This messes with my brain, my sense of what is extreme, and requires an unbelievable quantity of emotional energy. And today, my perfectionism was in full force.  Could this have something to do with not having my time in Word this morning?  Probably.  Okay, definitely.

My baby is in First Steps (therapy for kids under 5) and was going to have an evaluation in our home this morning.  In preparation, I cleaned the kitchen, picked up the first layer of toys, dressed the children (and myself), and put Librovox on so the boys could be listening to The Complete Treasury of Beatrix Potter.  With all this done, I patted myself on the back.  My house looks nice.  My children look presentable.  My desk is cleared.  The laundry is put away.  My room is clean.  Good grief, my children are even listening to classic literature to entertain themselves.  I felt like such a good mom.  And then.... the unthinkable (inevitably) happened.

Since I had gotten all my odd jobs done, I got out my old piano keyboard for the kids to play with.  We played songs, pounded on the keys (just a little), and laughed at the funny sounds the keyboard makes.  Again, awesome mom moment.  Then I moved the keyboard to put it away, leaving behind six stains of gooey black where my keyboard's skid pads have disintegrated (Yes, that did make me feel old.).  In a tizzy, I tried carpet cleaner, making it worse.  And in my haste to make my carpet perfect, I turned my back for only a moment, which is all it took for Ben to get his fingers caught in Caleb's school desk (with some help).  Screaming filled my house.  My once perfectly clean house now has big black stains on the carpet.  My once happy and clean children are now weeping uncontrollably (one because he knew he was in big trouble, they other in pain).

So, of course, you know what happens now.  The therapists choose this moment to show up, smiling and ready to evaluate Ben's development.  And I feel undone.

You see, when my happiness and composure depend on the perfection of my surroundings, I'm feeble.  When my joy can be dampened by monetary loss, I'm at the mercy of the catastrophes that seem to be more and more regular occurrences. When not everyone in the world is at peace with me, I can't let myself relax and move on.  It's like carrying a wounded heart around all the time, waiting for things to fall apart at any moment.

This is not victory, nor was the happiness I experienced this morning (pre-goo) true joy.  Selfish satisfaction, yes.  Joy, no.  Because joy has nothing to do with how much I have to do today or how many checkmarks I've made.  Peace can be found in the hurry, hustle, and even heartbreaks of daily life.  I'm learning (slowly, mind you) that true happiness is found by seeking out the grace of each moment. and giving. thanks.

In all things, give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ concerning you.  1 Thes. 5:18


Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.  For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.  Psalm 95:2-3


Okay, God.  I understand this in head. My heart is so slow to change.  Thank you, Lord, for filling my home this morning with music and laughter and words of grace.  Teach me to define "important" as You would.  Thank you that Ben's hand was not seriously hurt.  Thank you that kisses and blankies heal in a way that I can't understand.  You are Sovereign.  Sovereign.  Reigning over all.  Overseeing all of Creation.  Teach me to number my days that I may apply my heart to wisdom.........


And it happens that quickly.  Giving thanks turns my thoughts from controlling my own universe to the One who really does control the universe.  The One who has much bigger plans for me than keeping my house clean.  The One who looks at my sons at their worst and aches for them to know His Son.  Somehow, in that miraculous moment of thanksgiving, comes perspective. faith.  joy.  And rather than wanting to scream from my housetop, I'm brought low.  Remembering eternity.  And my heart no longer wants to be self-satisfied.  It longs to live by faith, seeing the grace being poured richly on each moment.  Because time is running out, and I want to be present, to see the grace, to love fully, and to do the work that God has for me.  Because he's given me so much.
so. very. much.

And I cannot let a few stains and tears take that away.  I will not let those things rob me of the opportunity I have to love and to live fully in the here and now.  And so I continue counting the gifts. The graces.  And find myself remembering without self-loathing that I am not perfect, but that my Father gives perfect gifts.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.. James 1:17


Every good. and perfect. gift.  Amen.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I LOVE to read

I thought I would love to read children's books to my children all day long, but watching them delight in the written word only makes me want to sit with a "mommy book" and read it cover to cover.  Don't get me wrong. I could read Knuffle Bunny Free four times each day... oh wait.  I do.  And I'm a huge fan of Stan and Jan Berenstein.  In fact, reading their books reminds me of the days when I truly started to love reading.




Despite all the fun of watching my sons' discover books, I still get far more excited about picking up a book and losing myself in its adventure.  Right now, I'm sorely tempted to neglect my children and read, read, read.  A friend lent me The Hunger Games trilogy, and I got through 125 pages in a day.  If you have small children and the amazing ability to fall asleep whenever you sit down, you know what a feat this is.  Yesterday, I managed not to pick it up all day, to celebrate my time with my children, to enjoy having Teacher Man home for one last day, and to get the bathrooms cleaned while I had him home to help with the boys.  Why is there always an emergency as soon as I start scrubbing the bathtub?





Anyways, I can't give any full recommendations until I finish the first volume, but the writing is gripping.  Haven't loved the writing of a book this much since Inkheart.  If you haven't read that one, it's worth the read, especially if you're a book lover.  It's a novel written for those who love to books.  What could be better?




On a more serious side, friends have lent me some non-fiction that I am reading as well (though not quite as quickly [insert sheepish grin here]). Still enjoying The Creative Family by Amanda Soule.  It's filled with ideas for encouraging our children to be creative in their play.  Lots of great craft ideas for your children (and for you!).  I'm really excited to make a colored pencil case I read about in the book.  If your kid gets one for their birthday from my kid, don't pop my bubble.  Act really excited about it.




Also, I've been making my way through The Hole in the Gospel.  Written by the president of World Vision, it's full of challenging, deep thoughts about how we as the church can love the poor.  A must read for believers (you know, besides the Bible, of course).



Well, my baby just woke up so I should get back to mothering.  May you have a blessed day, and may we each have a few moments to brew a cup of tea, curl up under a blanket, and READ.  

Monday, January 2, 2012

Plevna

It doesn't sound like much and has only one stop light, but I love going to Plevna for one very lovely reason.  Miller's Variety Store.  It's like taking a trip back in time and getting some of my grocery shopping done all in one trip.  Granted, this is much further than I would normally drive to shop; but it's so worth it.

Miller's Variety Store is run by an Amish family in Plevna.  They sell bulk dry goods, fresh cheese, homegrown pork, raw milk, and organic cleaning supplies.  In addition to the food, Miller's also sells Amish-made goods on consignment (lace, woodworking, handicrafts), home-baked goods (Fri.-Sat.), Amish clothing, and every Melissa and Doug toy you can think of.

When I'm there, I stock up on chicken soup base (no MSG), flours, sugars, natural sweeteners, dry pasta, snack foods, herbs, spices, and CHEESE.  I love their cheese!  Fresh.  Delicious.  Only $2.79/lb.  Hello?!?!  Spices and herbs can be bought at a fraction of the grocery store cost.  Plus, they try to sell products that are chemical-free or organic. So in addition to doing something relaxing for myself, I'm buying less expensive products that are better for my family.  Win. Win. Win.

Things you should know about Miller's

  1. This is where the Amish shop.  Don't park your minivan in the way of the hitching post.
  2. There is only one cart in the store, and the aisles are narrow.  Plus, there are a lot of breakables.  If you can avoid taking small children, you'll enjoy it more. Find a friend and make a day trip. Just call me.  I'll go with you.
  3. There is NO electricity in the store.  There are gas lamps in the aisles that they light on very dark days. The dairy products are kept in a cooler case that I assume is probably hooked to a generator somewhere.
  4. You can use a credit card.  Whew.  I drove all the way there one day and realized I had no cash.  I almost cried.  Thank goodness for the Visa sign on their front door.
  5. Do your homework.  If you know what you usually pay per pound for something, you'll know you're getting the best deal.  Not everything is inexpensive, but everything is quality.
  6. If you get their cheese once, it will be hard to return to grocery store cheese.  I mean it.  Be careful.
  7. Once there, you can sign up for Miller's newsletter/sale update.  You do this by writing your address in a spiral notebook on the counter.  That makes me happy.  I hope it does the same for you.
  8. The Amish don't like having their picture taken so please fight the urge to capture the quaint store on your camera phone.
And if you think this sounds like fun, you should talk to me about the Amboy Market (run by a Mennonite family).  More on that lovely place another day.

Meanwhile, here is Miller's address: 3718 County Road N 700 East, Plevna, Indiana 46901 

The easiest way to get there is to plug this address into Google Maps and get directions.  Do yourself a favor and don't go on a snowy day or week.  Miller's is off the beaten path, and there could easily by snow blown in the roads you need to take.  Helpful that I share this information with you in January, right?

Happy shopping, friends!