The Country of Marriage

I give you what is unbounded, passing from dark to dark,
containing darkness: a night of rain, an early morning.
I give you the life I have let live for the love of you:
a clump of orange-blooming weeds beside the road,
the young orchard waiting in the snow, our own life
that we have planted in the ground, as I have planted mine in you. I give you my love...

Wendell Berry

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Our Neighbors... the Amish

You may or may not know this about where we live, but we are surrounded by Amish. Our neighbors are Amish, the people across the street are Amish, and the people around the corner where I buy our milk are Amish. There is an Amish schoolhouse within view of our bedroom and kitchen windows, and everyday around 2 or 3 many Amish children with their lunch boxes traipse through our yard on their way home from school. Occasionally they climb a tree in our front lawn. Now, you might also know, that I did not grow up surrounded by Amish, unlike my husband, whose grandfather WAS Amish. So, Amish ways and customs are new to me. I love being surrounded by the Amish. They make me feel thankful for everything that I have, and they make me desire to live a more simple life. Their presence helps me to wonder at the smaller things in life, the things I usually take for granted.

Well, as I am getting more used to living in close proximity with these people, who make me feel like I have stepped back into time, I observe some of their ways, and I am constantly learning about them. Let me just say, I am intensely curious about these private people. Well, increasingly since the harvest is in, I keep observing large (and I mean LARGE) groups of Amish gathered together at one farm or another. When I was on my way to the grocery store the other day, I almost stopped along side of the road, I was so amazed at how many Amish people were gathered. What amazed me more, was that I thought I saw some young Amish FLIRTING! I asked my mother-in-law about it, and she asked me if it was a Tuesday or a Thursday, and I told her it was a Tuesday. I learned, that the Amish have their weddings after the harvest on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In fact, yesterday, there was an Amish wedding across the road, which would account for why no one was home yesterday for me to buy milk from.

Amish weddings are a new topic for me. I never really wondered about them, but now, as a newlywed myself, I am facinated by them. So, I looked up some facts about them.

1. Amish weddings typically take place after harvest, when they have more free time. (The men aren't in the fields every day anymore)

2. A wedding typically takes place on Tuesday or Thursday.

3. A couple won't announce their engagement until a few weeks before their wedding. The courtship is pretty secretive.

4.  The bride does not typically wear a white dress, but it is an occasion for a new dress, and their attendants dress in the same color.

5. The men in the wedding wear shirts of the same color. Servers for the wedding wear colors the bride picks out for them.

6. The wedding meal typically has to serve 200-600 people, so the women of the community all gather the day before to prepare. (and I thought my wedding was big!)

7. Apparently celery is a big deal. It is one of the main foods of the wedding meal (the stuff the fowl with celery, creamed celery, and its used as appetizers) The Amish community can sometimes guess there is a wedding if the family is planting a lot of celery.

8. There is a morning church service, followed by the ceremony. After which is the feasting.

9. There is a tradition called "going to the table", which is overseen by two appointed married couples. All of the unmarried females between 16 and thirty are invited to go upstairs and sit in some of the bedrooms, while the men are all outside in the barns. The married couple has to convince the men to go upstairs and invite one of the girls to "go to the table". They are allowed to hold hands as they come down the stairs and sit at a long table.

10. The couple normally spends the night at the Bride's parents home in order to help clean up. Many couples will stay with one of their parents until they have a place to move into.

11. Sometimes the bride will match unmarried men and women to sit together for the evening meal. (Sounds like a fun job!)

Well, these are all the traditions and pictures that I have gathered from the internet. I will ask Jesse's family if they know of anymore, and to make sure these ones are accurate!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

On the hunt

One of the big things in our life right now, is my hunt for a job. It has been... frustrating... discouraging. I am really thankful for how Jesse has challenged me to trust God's will, and also how he has challenged me to continue looking. In some ways, I was ready to give up after the first interview.

I have my Master's degree in Counseling. I would like to get a job in my field, but that doesn't seem to be the way things are working out. I think I have realized though, what I really want in a job, I really want to work a job that I believe in. I am afraid that I will get a job that I feel like I go to just to put hours in, I am afraid of feeling meaningless.

So what are the factors in getting a job:
- money (lets face it, the most basic reason that people get jobs, a need for money)
- something to do, get out of the house
- skill (does the job utilize your skills, do you have the skills required for the job)
- enjoyment (how many people say that they would like to find a job they enjoy? although, it seems like many end up not enjoying that enjoyable job)
- meaning (like I mentioned, you want to feel like your effort is worth something, meaning depends on the individual, what do they value)
- effort (how much is this job going to drain you)
- environment (are you going to feel comfortable with the environment, get along well with your co-workers, do you get breaks, etc)

These factors I believe also factor into the employers choice of employee:
- money (will they be satisfied with how much it pays?)
-skill (do they have the skill set needed to do the job well? will they excel in this job?)
-enjoyment (will they enjoy their job? or will they constantly be on the look out for greener grass?)
- meaning (will they believe in what the company is doing enough to continue at the company, and to go further in the company? Will they care about the best interest of the company?)
- effort (will they put in the amount of effort needed? or will the company have to put more effort into them to get the work done? will they meet the company half way?)
- environment (will they work well with the employees already in place? will it be a good work environment for them? if they work best with others, will they be around others? if they work best alone, is it a solo job?)

These are my thoughts today, from my experiences.

Pumpkin this, pumpkin that...

In the spirit of fall... I made 5 loaves of pumpkin bread, and then last night, me and Jesse decided to have waffles for dinner... and of course we ate the waffles in our pjs while watching Jeopardy and an episode of Pushing Daisies. Do you want to know what kind of waffles we had? We had PUMPKIN waffles! With apple cider syrup. I am writing to tell you, it was pretty much amazing. In fact, we plan to make them again on Saturday, that is how in love we are with these waffles!

Would you like the recipe?
I found it on, but I will repeat it here for you, with some of the changes that we made.

Pumpkin Waffles:
1 cup pumpkin puree
4 eggs
2 cups milk
1/4 cup veg. oil
1/4 cup butter
(mix the above together)

In a separate bowl, mix:
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup brown sugar

Mix the wet mixture and dry mix together. Use your preheated waffle iron, and put the batter in the waffle iron... etc. Yummy! (Just so you know, the pumpkin taste is very subtle)

Apple Cider Syrup:
1 cup apple cider
1/2 tbsp orange juice or 1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbsp corn starch
t tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp. butter

Mix the cider, orange or lemon juice, sigar, cornstarch, and cinnamon together in a small sauce pan. Cook the mixture over medium heat until it starts to boil. Boil until the syrup begins to thicken. Remove from heat, and stir in the butter until melted. serve warm.

Friday, October 29, 2010

taste of fall

My favorite time to bake is when the leaves are turning colors... it is just slightly chilly outside, and you want something warm and homey to put inside of yourself. Baking pumpkin and apple things of course is only natural. So, today, after going to the market with Dar and buying some apples, I decided to make some bread with them. I decided to make the bread kind of like a cinnamon roll, but with the focus on apples. I highly recommend it, it was so tasty! I kind of made up the recipe, so... some of it wasn't really measured. Its worth the try though!

1 package Active Dry Yeast
1 cup of warm milk (110 degrees)
5 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
2 room temperature eggs

Alot of cinnamon
chunky applesauce
sliced and peeled apples (two apples)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter

1. Mix the milk and the yeast together and let the yeast dissolve in the milk for about 10 minutes. (It should get nice and frothy).

2. Mix the yeast and milk with the rest of the ingredients for the dough (flour, sugar, salt, eggs, butter). You may not need all five cups, so just mix in the flour until you have a nice dough that is not sticky.

3. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover it with a towel, and let it sit someplace warm and cozy for awhile until it gets twice its size. (if it doesn't rise that much don't worry, it will probably still work out ok)

4. While the dough is rising, peel and slice the apples and mix about a half cup of chunky applesauce, melted butter, the brown sugar, and alot of cinnamon (by a lot I mean probably 3 tbsp. or more) I also added a little bit of honey and nutmeg to mine.

5. Take the dough and divide it in two. Roll it out (a rolling pin is a wonderful thing) so that it is the width of your bread pan, and however long you can get it. Spread the cinnamon mixture over the dough and then place the sliced apples over the cinnamon mixture. I then sprinkled cinnamon over that... you want cinnamon to all of the edges. Roll the dough and apples together, and then place in a bread pan.

6. Bake at 300 degrees for about 45 minutes, take it out when it is light brown, or doesn't look doughy any more.

Slice a piece off and enjoy a taste of fall... its great when its warm!

the punch bowl.

So, lately I have been pondering the punch bowl, which sits in our closet with the boxes and bins that are not used. That is where the punch bowl sits... and there are a few other items in there, my fondue pots keep the punch bowl company, as does the laundry detergent- which at this point is the only item in that closet that we have used.

A punch bowl is a pretty random item, when you start to think about it. I have been tempted to find it a new home many times, and today, that is what I have been pondering. Why do I keep this punch bowl that I have only used once? Do I know anyone that would want a punch bowl? Which led me to thinking... anyone I give this punch bowl to, would most likely use it about the same amount as me. A punch bowl, it seems unnecessary. The punch bowl is the type of item that if you get rid of, you know you will never find one again if you need to use one. A punch bowl is an elusive type of household object, not commonly called for in the everyday life. So how did I come to have a punch bowl in the first place?

A few years ago, I went "thrifting" with some of my friends. This happened to take place a few days before the Christmas party that me and my roommates were throwing in our little PBU apartment. So, as I wandered the aisles of the thrift store in search of some treasures (that's the thrill of thrift stores, its like a treasure hunt every time) I was drawn, as usual, to the household objects. As I perused the shelves of plates, glasses, bowls, vases, and the odd mugs, I found it. The punch bowl was sitting on the bottom shelf of the aisle, with eight matching cups and a ladle. It was cheap, in the forgotten corduroy bear way. It was cheap, and we were having a party in a few days, and at the party, we were having homemade punch (no alcohol in case you were wondering.) So, of course I bought it and brought it home, excited to show my roommates my prize. The punch bowl completed our party, what is a Christmas party, after all, without a punch bowl that draws the guests to think of the Christmas parties they attended when they were children with their parents? The punch bowl took center stage that night, its moment of glory. There was one casualty that night, in the massive dish washing task that ensued, one of the cups was broken.

So I am now the owner of one punch bowl, seven cups, and a ladle. I have used them once. I know  that I will not get rid of the punch bowl, not only am I afraid that if I do, there will come a day that I want a punch bowl and cannot find that elusive object, it is also an intriguing object. So I will keep it, and wonder what kind of life it had before me, maybe the owner obtained it, and only used it once before deciding that it took up too much space to keep something that you might use again.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I'm pretty bad at this blogging thing right now... I think that part of it is that I can never remember how to get to this page... and also that I keep waiting until I have some pictures that I can post of life here, but I haven't taken any of the apartment yet, so that will just have to wait.

So, me and Jesse are married now, its pretty fantastic. We have a lot of fun together, I feel very blessed to have married someone so perfect for me, God certainly must have orchestrated it. Jesse is working landscaping, and I- well- I am looking for a job (which means I have been cooking ALOT). I don't know what God has planned for me, but I am trusting Him with my future, He has brought me this far, I have no reason to doubt. So, what have I been doing with all my time? Well, two days ago I locked myself out of my apartment while doing laundry. I went downstairs to check the laundry, closed the door behind me, and did not see the inside of my apartment again for probably two hours. Since I was doing laundry, I was wearing Jesse's flip flops, and did not have my phone with me. Rather than wait seven hours for Jesse to get home, I decided to just walk to Jesse's parents' house (our landlords) and ask them to let me in. This walk is about an hour and half, which wouldn't be a big deal (I love walking) except that I was wearing flip-flops that were too big for me, and therefore gave me blisters fairly quickly. So, I decided to take them off. Which meant that for most of the time, I was walking barefoot on the road. This also proved to be a bad idea, because it then gave me blisters on the bottom of me feet (Ouch!) So eventually, my feet hurt so bad, that by the time I got to Jesse's parents' house, I was crying because of how bad my feet hurt. Then Joe gave me a ride back and let me into the apartment. My feet hurt so bad though, that I did nothing the rest of the day, I kneeled on a chair to do dishes because it hurt so bad to stand!

      So that is one little moment from my time here, another small moment happened this morning. We woke up a little later than normal, so we got up and I went in the kitchen to start rapidly making Jesse's lunch, but when I entered the kitchen, there was this huge moth that started flying around in a somewhat drunken-divebombing manner. Well... of course, it hit me. In case you didn't know... I am afraid of moths... weird I know. So, Jesse walks in the kitchen, and I am standing outside the kitchen, afraid to go in. So after some pursuading by Jesse, I still wouldn't go in. So, he tried to catch the little beast, except that it wasflying so crazy, one moment its on the floor, the next the ceiling, the next the wall... I'm telling you, this thing was nuts! So, Jesse had to go get the lunch stuff for me and bring it outside the kitchen... and that is where I made his lunch, at the table just at the outskirts of the kitchen.

This is from SimpleLifePortraits, they did such an amazing job! You can see some more at their website, if you go to their blog page. (

we actually had a Saturday free, so we made breakfast, went for a walk, bought bookshelves, categorized our books, and then went and watched the Phillies game at Joe and Barb's (Jesse's parents).

 mmm.... yummy :) waffles, sausage, coffee and orange juice... what more could you ask for?

this is a picture I took on our walk... I kinda love it.

and these are the roses, that my husband brought home to me for our one month anniversary of being married :) He is my favorite.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Working on Home-Sweet-Home

Its only... 10 days until the wedding? I am in Pennsylvania now, this week I have been working on getting our apartment ready. Painting..,. moving things in. Pictures to come soon :) I suppose that this is a distraction from being productive. I decided to start a blog, so that our friends and family in NY and Philly can see what is going on here, what me and Jesse are up to.

Its been an adventure, getting the apartment ready. We have been painting, hot chocolate brown for the family room/kitchen and an elephant grey for our bedroom. We ran into a few... interesting moments trying to move the couches into the apartment. Steve came over to help me move them, we got the first couch into the apartment... it was tricky, there are a lot of corners! The couch is currently stuck in the guest bedroom, we can't get it out. The second couch was heavier, we got it up the stairs, at which point we realized it would not even fit in the door. Steve wanted to take the couch back down, I was afraid that the couch was too heavy, and that we wouldn't be able to handle it. So we waited , on top of the stairs, the couch half on the landing at the top of the stairs, the other half in the air. I called Barb (Jesse's mom) and she came and helped us get the couch safely outside again. I am so grateful to everyone who has helped us move things in, paint, organize, and get things together for the apartment. It has all been such a blessing!