Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Farm livin' makes this Ozark Farm Chick happier than a gopher in a fresh plowed field! The directions to the Ponderosa may include words like miles, county lines, last or gravel road. We might of used the Big Blue tractor's loader as scaffolding a time or two. I've hosed the kids and myself off many a time before goin' in the house and Lacey or Frilly are the names of farm critters, not the latest Victoria Secret fashions. Early mornin' prayer often covers rain, cattle and crops but it's our life and I love it!!!!

Not to say farm life isn't hard and cash runs low before the next crop or calves are ready to move but if I won the Publishers Clearing House Sweeps tomorrow, you'd find Farm Boy and me still farmin' these Missouri hills and hollers.

Every once in a while somethin' truly special happens, somethin' unexpected....prizes of generous giveaways that thrill me more than a midget with nine inch stilettos. Something to make me shove the furniture back, do my happy dance and shout, "I won!!!"

Back in November I won this spectacular Holiday book by Matthew Mead over at Blue Bird Notes. Koralee is just sweeter than a warm bath filled with decant Belgian chocolate. I referred to this book time and again durin' the holidays. Koralee's charmin' blog is as beautiful as it is soothin'. I just love visitin' this special lady and know you will too.

Then when I thought life couldn't get any better, I won a $30.00 Kroger gift card over at Terra's place Sitting on an Oak. Oh, this girl's a precious treasure. Her blog is filled with informative ways to get the most bang outta your buck. Ya'll will find everything from couponin' tips to money savin' recipes there. Ya sure want to pop over and gab a great pointer or two.

Yep folks, I've been gratefully feelin' the good life. If I felt any happier, I'd drop my harp plumb through the clouds! Originally "La Belle Vie" this 1963 Tony Bennett song hit number eighteen on the U.S. Pop Singles Chart. This chick is richly blessed to live nestled smack in the middle of nowhere, lovin' Matthew Mead's Christmas book and enjoyin' the harvest of wild salmon, chicken breast and tilapia fillets I purchased with the Kroger gift card. I can sing that God has granted me to truly live " The Good Life !!!"

Monday, January 23, 2012

ENEMY'S CAMP (Guest Post)

Uglier than an August outhouse struck by lightin' and meaner than a sizzlin' skillet full of rattlesnakes, the demonic monster can rear it's satanic head when ya least expect it. The joy of a new life and the hope of a perfect family is every gal's dream . At least it was for this precious new mama 'till the wicked beast rocked her world like Teen Town on a Saturday night. This courageous woman geared up for battle armin' herself to fight the diabolical cancer of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.

Folks, I'd like to introduce ya'll to my guest poster. She's fought Satan himself and is here to tell her remarkable story. I'm pleased as punch for ya'll to meet Heather Von St. James, Mesothelioma survivor. Welcome sweetie...............

I've always viewed the world through rose colored glasses. This became an important aspect of my personality when I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 36. Nothing in my life had prepared me for that moment and I had an important decision to make: to choose between despair or to choose life.

I was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma 3 1/2 months after giving birth to my first and only child. It was November 21, 2005. I was unprepared to hear the words "you got cancer" during such a joyous time. Instead of wallowing in self pity and blaming the stars for my fate, I decided to keep my head up and continue viewing the world through rose colored glasses. I couldn't let down my baby. She had the right to be raised by her mother.
One thing that may surprise many people is the positive aspect of cancer. Naturally, it is one of the worst diagnoses you can receive but it really helped to change my life for the better. I wasn't going to allow myself to be a victim so I tried to treat the situation lightly. This would help to remove a lot of the fear of the diagnosis and give me a chance to help others by giving them hope. The world's best mesothelioma doctor was also there to give me the hope I needed to go on.

I actually gave my tumor a nickname: Punxsutawney Phil. My surgery was to occur on Groundhogs Day, 2006. Groundhogs Day became "Lungleavin Day" as this was the day I lost my lung. We still celebrate "Lungleavin Day" on the first weekend of every February. This is not a celebration of the loss of my lung but a celebration of my survival and a celebration of life and of defeating fear. It is a hopeful celebration and I look forward to it every year.

Another great positive of my cancer diagnosis is all the wonderful people I have met after my diagnosis and during my treatment. These people are some of the strongest, most hopeful and passion filled people in my life. They inspire me daily and keep me happy and hopeful. I have met other survivors of mesothelioma, people going through their treatments, people trying to inform the public of the dangers of this disease and many others. These people who I hadn't known before are now my friends.

As incredible as it may seem, my cancer diagnosis and survival has enriched my life by introducing me to these amazing people and giving my life more purpose. I hope to continue inspiring others and giving hope to other mesothelioma patients for years to come.

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I have to confess, This Ozark Farm Chick is cookin' on the front burner today after readin' the the positive attitude of this beautiful strong woman. The odds were not in her favor and I know that Heather had to be scared as a sinner in a Ozark twister but this little lady has earned alotta stars in her crown. She's turned her bowl of lemons 'round and put Satan under her feet by dedicatin' her life to helpin' others with this horrific cancer. Please take time to visit this extraordinary gal at "The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog. "

Thank you Heather for sharin' your miraculous story which has tugged at the heartstrings of others as it has mine. Just like Praise Workout who sang this amazin' worship song from the 1995 Brownsville Revival era, she knows ya don't have to be in Pensacola, Florida to stomp out the old devil. Heather can now truly sing that she's been to the "Enemy's Camp!!!"

God bless and keep you Heather and never let go of those 'rose colored glasses'!!!

Friday, January 13, 2012


Other than bein' stickier than a three year old's cotton candy fingers at a three ring circus, the day began just like any ordinary summer Sunday. This chick get's up to put on her Bare Minerals face while Farm Boy fixes his weekly Big Top Breakfast. Hub's goes to check cattle while I clean the kitchen, make the bed and do my hair before walkin' out the door for church. Hubs teaches the Adult Sunday School Class while I teach a Pre~Teen Class then Kid's Church.

We often laughingly chant, "day of rest, day of rest, day of rest" while dartin' out to the car. Seems like our Sundays are busier than a one armed cab driver eatin' a meatball sub. The weatherman on the radio confirmed our day was gonna be hotter than an honeymoon hotel makin' the humidity stickier than a prickly cockebur. Just another day in the Ozarks. So we thought!
That Sunday evenin' we drove into Tiny Town to attend evenin' services we call 'Share and Prayer'. The meetin' was amazin' but we couldn't see the greenish~yellow tinted sky through the blue stained glass windows. 'Wasn't 'till Pastor George said, "it's lookin' really strange out here," we recognized that all too familiar eerie hew and decided to beat the storm home instead of stayin' in the safe confinement of the churches basement. We hoofed it to our car while the sky colored like a sea sick yellow Lab closed in on us.

We no sooner left the churches parkin' lot 'till the wind started blown like perfume through a High School Prom. Farm Boy turned into a skilled demolition driver as the hail and large debris began poundin' the car. Determined Hubby swerved this way and that down Main Street dodging large tree limbs and lawn furniture landin' in our path.

We turned down Wall Street and if anything, the violence worsened. Suddenly, I morphed into Jamie Gertz who played Dr. Mellisa Reeves in that 1996 Twister movie 'cause I vaguely remember turnin' to Hubs and sayin', "I gotta go Julia, we got cows!!!" This Ozark Farm Chick went through a tornado when I was five and they are my biggest fear. I gotta tell ya, between the hail, the limbs and the stuff in the road all I wanted was my Mama!

I realized the unrelentless storm was followin' us like a starvin' dog chases a meat wagon when we hit the highway headed toward the Ponderosa. We met a car flashin' lights warnin' us of limbs on the highway. Then a pick~up flashed us. Oh this can't be good...a tree!!! My panic didn't lessen as we swerved this way and that avoiding downed trees and giant limbs. The storm hung over our head like a three day hangover on a drunk no matter how fast we traveled.

I was scared baby, and desperate measures were in order. I've been known to remind God Himself that He can calm the storms. Shakin' harder than the Parmesan Cheese shaker at Pizza Hut, I prayed and prayed hard as we came to the end of the blacktop and entered our dirt road. Oh, Lord...please let us have a house!

Oh my goodness glory, what a mess things were. My cottage garden, birdhouses or bistro set will never be the same. Ya'll can only imagine what this did to my OCFD (obsessive compulsive flower disorder). I'd removed some of the large limbs before I snapped the pictures but we had a house. Praise God! One limb came right down the corner of the house with enough force to plant it deeply in the ground. God had answered my prayers...again!!!

Our lives may become tangled more than a ball of knittin' wool attacked by a litter of frisky kittens or twisted like a crown of thorns yet the Maker can pull us apart and put us all back together stronger than ever. He does it with ease and compassion no matter how violent the storms may come. All we have to do is ask, call his name or just simply whisper the name of Jesus. Yep folks, He loves us that much. How awesome is that???

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Born in Spring Gulley, South Carolina, Ernest Evans was raised in the projects of South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with his parents and two brothers. Facin' the twist and snares of life he formed a street~corner harmony group at the ripe old age of eight. Life was not easy for this fella but God took his tangled life and molded him into a great performer of his time. It was his boss, Henry Colt, owner of Fresh Farm Poultry who tagged Evans with the nickname, 'Chubby'.

A great twist of fate is that Dick Clark invited 'Chubby' to do a private recording for American Bandstand. After completin' an excellent impersonation of Fats Domino, Clark's wife asked the young singer's name. Evans replied, "well my friends call me 'Chubby'. Clark's wife then substituted 'Checkers' for Domino. Hence the name...'Chubby Checkers'.

This hit song was released in 1960 from Checkers very unlikely twisted fate. Whether life becomes as twisted as big old elm tree's roots or it's the physical storms that scare the bajabbers outta ya, I'm so thankful we can call on the One who stills the waters when we tangle ourselves into "The Twist!!!"

God bless Ya'll!!!

Friday, January 6, 2012


Washer's spinnin, dishwasher's hummin, dryer's tumblin', all surfaces are dustless and even the Tidy Bowl man would be proud to float his boat 'round in the toilet. Yep folks, it's Deep Clean Friday where everything on the Ponderosa is spit shined, vacuumed and buffed to a shinny glow. I didn't want ya'll to think I'd fallen plumb off the hay-wagon and neglected the cleanin' over here. Ya'll know how cleanin' makes my heart sing and rocks my world but this Ozark gal wasn't deep cleanin' thirty nine years ago. Nope, I was gettin' all gussied up to marry the man of my dreams. Hey looky there...Farm Chick's got gams!!! Anybody remember Betty Grable?

January 6, 1973 was one horrifically ice covered day in the Ozarks. Funny how the day before we were all runnin' around in our shirtsleeves like it was summertime. The weather can sure change on a dime 'round these parts. Nothin' but nothin' was gonna stop these two moon~eyed soul mates from sayin' "I do!" We were swoonin' over each other worse than a boxer too darn dizzy to duck.

Our poor best man, Farm Boys big bro, ended up drivin' all night though the dreaded Ozark ice storm. My lovely flowers were delivered to the wrong weddin' and I received theirs. It was too treacherous for the professional photographer to travel from Springfield to Stockton so after askin' the guests to share we ended up with a few Kodak Brownie pictures to document our wedded bliss. Kinda like us our pictures are showin' a bit of wear and tear. Thirty nine years will do that to ya...ya know?

We toasted the big day with glasses filled with purple passion punch right after the mischievously handsome little ring barer stepped on my train rippin' it plumb off. Thank heavens for big old diaper pins!!! I would walk over hot coals in a heatwave for this fella. He fills my heart and makes my toes curl. For 39 years Hubs has been the tiptoe to my tulips, the icin' on my cake. Whew~fan me now, I'm still swoonin'! This Ozark Farm Chick has uncovered the secret to a long and happy marriage. Are ya ready? Grab a pen, ya might wanna take notes. It's double sinks and separate closets all the way baby!!!

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Our marriage may have literally started out on a road more slippery than a freshly buttered ice-rink but I wouldn't trade the past thirty nine years for all the gold in Midas' treasure chests. Oops...my bad, I left out the most important secret to a successfully jubilant union. More important than a dog to a flea is the third person, God. He's hung in there like a hair in a biscuit through thick and thin blessin' us every step along our life's journey.

I can't control my love for this hunk of a Farm Boy any more than a cross eyed teacher can control her pupils. In fact we're both known to still be a bit moon~eyed. Studies show we have seven completely compatible soul mates out there in the universe. I don't buy it 'cause we sing, "me and you and you and me , no matter how ya tossed the dice it had to be." "The only one for me is you and you for me....So happy together!!!"

This Chick can shove the furniture back and do my famous happy dance while beltin' out the 1967 song 'The Turtles' recorded knockin' 'The Beatles' "Penny Lane" outta of the top slot of the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks. This fabulous tune was rejected over a dozen times before 'The Turtles' jumped on it. Imagine that! Looks like persistence not only pays off in a extraordinary marriage but in great songs too, for now I can bound joyfully and sing, "we are so HAPPY TOGETHER!!!"

Love ya and happy anniversary Farm Boy!!!
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