Blog Archives

2017 Focus Word for the Year: Courage

I made another video. Here it is. Wellness Wednesday post on Thursday. It has taken three days so I may just go back to blogging only after this. Now that write that, I’m thinking that sounds like I may need to muster up the courage to “keep on swimming, keep on swimming…..” Sigh….one take was too long and had too many, “and, ums”, another was great until I realized some child had licked his finger and smeared my lens to be…”funny.” (insert grumpy emoji here) and there were other issues. THEN, it took our internet about 12 hours to upload, no joke. Yea….not feeling warm and fuzzy about this YouTube thing right now…

Well, here is, yet another, attempt at YouTube. If nothing else, it has me wanting to blog again. 🙂

 

 

 

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Music Monday – That Old Wheel

Yes, I’m still here. I continue to do that “thing” where I tell myself I’m going to reward a finished to-do list with sit-down-with-my-blog time. Yea…right…12 kids, 3 grandbabies, catering business, homeschool, laundry.  In light of the fact that I still have taxes to prep, I’ve decided that if I’m ever going to post again, I better sit down and do it then get on the list. Everything important eventually gets done and the things that don’t get done are the things that never get finished anyways. That being said, I’ve had A LOT on my mind! I could have 50 posts since the last one if writing was my job. I’ll get there…I won’t give up!

On my mind, recently, have been a few peeps who either are deliberately trying to hurt me or are carelessly and/or selfishly wounding my family and I. An ongoing struggle has been a family member that I sincerely wish would be involved with my children and myself but has spent years making excuses then blaming me that we don’t spend time together.  There’s more to it but suffice it to say, it hurts, it’s frustrating and I’m about fed up.

Others on my mind are some folks who I once thought friends but, because they believed the gossip of others without ever contacting me to confirm that what they were hearing is true, decided I was unworthy and “don’t pay me no mind anymore.”

Finally, I am a business owner. I own a catering and custom cake design business with my family. We have worked hard to create a legitimate food service industry business. There’s a whole other blog post on what that entails but for this one, being attacked by another for no other reason than we’re competition is aggravating. The quality of my product has been questioned and even lied about and it’s been implied that I and others in the business have been trying to sabotage this person who has a reputation for playing dirty.  The other thing about me is I try to be a nice person! I don’t “get” people who aren’t nice to others. And when they come after my family or me just because they’re mean, I kinda want to get mean back.

So these situations have been popping around in my head like popcorn and my thoughts have not been passing the Philippians 4:8 test, I can tell you that. Last week, as I was running errands and running amuck, I popped in a cd I haven’t listened to in a while, Jason Hoard’s The Road Ahead.

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That Old Wheel came on and I had to listen to it over and over again (there’s kind of pun there – if you listen to the song, you’ll get it.) This album was released in 2011 and That Old Wheel was originally performed by Johnny Cash and Hank Williams Jr., so it’s  certainly not new but this song in particular was just a friendly reminder to hang in there; what comes around goes around. The lyrics don’t mention it but it reminded me, also, to “do unto others as I would have them do unto me” and “do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Tsk, tsk….anyone who knows us knows that we’re some of God’s favorites so I feel somewhat sorry for those who want to muck with us.

I’m going to keep hanging in there and keep my chin up. For every person who wants to see me down, there are a bunch more who keep me up and I want to do the same for them. I’m going to try to remember to focus on those friends and family instead how low those “other” people can make me feel.  I hope you will hang in there with me.

Click on the album pic for the I-tunes link. You won’t be disappointed!

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

How To Not Blog

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If you’ve been following this blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably forgotten that you were doing so as I haven’t posted in eons. I have come close to giving up many times and just deactivate the account. BUT, there is something very motivational about investing dough in having my own domain. Also…I REALLY love to write.  However, being an inactive blogger, I can now offer my expertise on how to overcome the need to write and, maybe, even lose interest in writing:

  1. Never read any other blogs. There are so many gifted bloggers out there, you may receive encouragement or inspiration to write from them so, whatever you do, don’t read other blogs.
  2. Don’t read books. Duh. For the same reason listed above. Readers are leaders and leaders tend to WRITE STUFF DOWN! Spare yourself. The solution for the temptation to read is to keep a to-do list so huge that you’re constantly exhausted and fall asleep every time you start to read…anything. I’ve made a habit of this and it really works!
  3. Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT read the Bible. Being that it changes you, convicts you and confounds you, it will compel you to write stuff that may benefit others…or just really annoy others which will also a boost your enjoyment of blogging.
  4. Avoid contact with your children and do your best to not enjoy their company. Especially if they have changed your life for the better, are beautiful people, are geniuses, are adorable, and/or are hilarious.
  5. Do not become a foodie. The thing about foodies is that they not only enjoy food but they enjoy the effect food has on everyone else. That is why they have this compulsion to take 23 photos with commentary of the one recipe they have to share with the world because they know that the world will not be the same until at least 28% of the world’s population have tried, what they know is, the best recipe for Macaroni and Cheese.
  6. Write off writing. This is a problem if you homeschool or teach writing in any capacity because there is something contagious about writing assignments. Just reading a kid’s book report can cause an irritating itch to write something. Writing a thank you card or even a tweet has been known to trigger an irrational urge to write more. Sometimes, 140 characters are not enough. Writing anything is like practice and practice makes…well, you know. And whatever you do, DON’T read about writing! You’ll just be shooting yourself in the foot.
  7. Don’t make memories with family or friends. They are precious and you’ll want to preserve them by keeping photos and journaling.  Celebrating any type of birthday or holiday would fall under this category. 
  8. Turn off the radio and get rid of your I-pod. I call music “the rhythm of the soul.” It touches places within us in a way nothing else can. Of course, that would be counter-productive for one trying to shake the addiction to writing as listening to music will bring to light things from within that will move you and move others should you feel constrained to write about the things that move you. Music has access to our love, anger, sadness, joy, dance, courage, fear, betrayals, loyalties and worship that absolutely nothing else has. You know what else happens if you listen to music? You develop favoritism for types of music and the artists that God has endowed with this aggravating gift then you attend a concert or two which creates and appetite for more and a devotion and desire to show your support and an unexplainable need to take way too many photos at said concerts then you find out other fans (as well as the artists) love concert and gathering pics so you feel obligated to get them posted so others can enjoy them and, well, you can see how this can be a problem.
  9. Don’t own a business. Being a business owner just offers way too much material for writing. You meet so many interesting and amazing people, you have a plethora of problems, and have way too many adventures. You don’t need this in your life if you’re trying to stop writing.
  10. Don’t be clever. Creative people come up with all kinds of DIY projects, home improvements ideas, organization tips, etc. It’s really hard to not share ideas that someone else could use. You take a pic of some brainchild you come up with, the next thing you know, you’re posting it on Facebook and someone asks how you made it which encourages a how-to blog post and the next thing you know, it’s all over Pinterest which makes you feel all warm and fuzzy and you are encouraged to post again. Subdue the urge to be artsy fartsy. There are plenty of other people out there with…shudder..ideas.
  11. Lose the camera. Just don’t get into photography. I’ve already addressed this in other areas but you’ve seen the blogs and websites. People who take pictures can’t just leave them there on the memory card. What’s not shared is lost, remember? So just stop taking pictures. Nuff said.
  12. I mentioned being tired before but I cannot emphasize enough the importance of being overcommitted and exhausted. It helps if you don’t have a regular routine that includes time to write. If you simply hope that when you sit down at the end of the day, you can jot down a few words to post before your eyes clamp shut, then you have a great formula for successful avoidance of blogging.
  13. Procrastinate. This is THE sure-fire method for making sure writing doesn’t happen. It’s self-explanatory. Acquire this skill if you lack it.

I have some of the items on this list down-pat. I have too much to do; my to-do list is never done. I get up early and stay up late. I’m always tired. Oh, and I DO have the spiritual gift of procrastination.  I know there are things I need to change so I can stop writing; I need to sell the business but that event alone, should it occur, would still provide writing fodder. We should have never started it in the first place. It’s made life way too interesting. I either need to put the kids up for adoption or hunker down for the years to come but, darn it, I have grandkids. Maybe I should just become a hermit. But then boredom might be a issue. Bored people look for something to do and the mind might wander to then thought may occur that I could write about where my mind wandered.  Then there’s the food…darn it, I love food. I love cooking food and eating food.

I’m in such a quandary! This writing thing is a pesky problem.  Any suggestions are appreciated. This time-consuming addiction has got to stop.

My name is Michelle and I haven’t blogged since…. October 16, 2013.

This one doesn’t count, right?

Music Monday – Friend Fest 2013

WOOHOO!!! Friend Fest at Amish Acres in Nappanee, IN is awesomesauce! I know there are LOTS of music festivals out there but the folks at WFRN did their homework and have created the most family-friendly Christian music event I have been to or read about.  That this was just their second year is even more impressive. “What makes it so family-friendly?” you are wondering (I just know you are). Money, for one thing. Families want to take their families to worship with these A-MA-ZING bands but not everyone can afford all that a music festival entails, especially big families. You are usually nickeled and dimed for any and all amenities.

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First, the biggie for us was food, if you want to call that an amenity. Friend Fest allows food to be brought in! I’ve not been to a festival that allowed you to bring food in.  A friend just informed this weekend that another popular festival recently banned even eating in the parking lot. Say wha? No tailgating? Good grief…  Food was available for purchase at Friend Fest, there was a water tent at the back of the field (only a buck a bottle!), snow cones and ice cream on a hot day were perfect (they even had vendors walking through the crowd selling ice cream out of a cooler). There was no lack of sweet, cold stuff. BUT we brought 9 kids with us.  Purchasing food for 11 people is not cheap…even when buying cheap food. It adds up, dontcha know?  We were able to keep our crew hydrated and nourished all day without paying out the wazoo. That we didn’t purchase food from Amish Acres didn’t seem to hurt their business; the food lines stayed busy and we saw plenty of folks munching on their yums.  Meanwhile, our clan kept busy snacking on Capri Suns, strawberries, Cloud Cakes and a variety of other items we rarely indulge in then we dined on Pulled BBQ Pork, BBQ Beans and Sweet n Sour Broccoli Slaw. It’s nice having catering equipment to keep our vittles hot. 🙂 Did we make folks around us jealous? Maybe just a little. 🙂 That being said, we saved a fortune!

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Secondly, there was no additional charge for the Kids Zone. There was even a Children’s Stage that featured juggling, an illusionist, illusions, music, puppetry and clowning around. Of course, the Bounc House area is a kid’s favorite part of the festival. I was a little disturbed, though, by the Gator Hide-and-Slide. The kids climb up into the gator’s mouth,

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bounce around inside

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then come out the back end.

When I went to take pics of my lovely children exiting the inflatable reptile, I didn’t find a slide as expected, I found a slit. I said, “Oh, unt uh…” Craig said, “Yep. That’s where they come out.” No no no…that’s messed up. I told my Lenae that the designer of said gator must not have liked kids. She quickly replied, “Or really likes them and knows how kids think. What kid wouldn’t love to say they were pooped out of an alligator?” She has a point.

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Thirdly, free parking. Nuff said.

Fourthly, the Coffee House Stage. If you had attended Friend Fest and  wanted to hear some other musicians and Break-Out Sessions with some of the Main Stage artists while using the, again, FREE Wi-Fi and drinking your gourmet coffee, this was the place for you.

#5 The Venue: Amish Acres is a fantastic location for an event like this! It’s clean, it’s lovely, it’s big! It’s also just 5 minutes away from Play-Mor Campground which means a lot to those of us who prefer “roughing it” in an air-conditioned camper.  Primitive camping is available at Fountain Acres but that’s not roughing it to me. That’s dying a slow death of humidity and allergies. The only thing I would change is placing a canopy section in the rear for those who don’t want to melt especially those with children, “older” folks and those wearing walking casts whose legs get over heated…not that I know anyone like that.

Observe the hot children covered in 3 bottles of sunblock.

Observe the hot children covered in 3 bottles of sunblock.

Sixthly, yes there’s more…The staff and volunteers were incredible friendly from the time you pull in to park. Some of the crazy antics of those directing parking had us smiling from ear to ear. Everyone was eager to assist, hospitable and, you could tell, happy to be there serving.

SEVEN: stewardship.  I was tickled to read the following in the program: “It takes 3-4 years for a festival of this magnitude to sustain itself. Currently, ticket sales, sponsors and partners cover just 80% of the festival’s total expenses. We are almost there, yet it is still not quite enough.” 80% and it’s just the second year! They accomplished this without charging for parking, the Kids Zone, and every other little thing and without forcing folks to purchase their food. Kudos! As soon as I’m able, I hope to become a Friend Fest Partner. We need to sell more cheesecake.

Eight: Enough space for Ultimate Frisbee. The kids did mention that Frisbee to Building 429 made them feel like they were in a movie or a music video, LOL! They rawked, incidentally.

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Nine: Friends. We drove 4 hours from home and ran into several friends. Many hugs were shared and, of course, Frisbee.  It really was a Friend Fest! (Cheesy, I know).

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And last, but not least, the music.  We went Friday to see some of our favorites: Carrollton, Rhett Walker Band, For King and Country, Big Daddy Weave, Building 429 and Matthew West. If we had gone Saturday, we would have enjoyed OBB, Hyland, Moriah Peters, Finding Favour, Chris August, Kari Jobe, Jamie Grace, the Peter Furler Band and TobyMac. We opted for some R&R with the kiddos at the campground. That aside, the weekend held a high-caliber line-up that did not disappoint. I CANNOT wait to hear next year’s line-up!!!

(What? No pics from the bands?! That’s another post….;) )

www.WFRNFriendFest.com

Have you been to a music festival that was as family/pocketbook-friendly as this one? Let us all know!

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

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On The Road Again…

One thing that is consistent in this blog is its randomness. We now jump from spiritual truths that convict me to our trip to Spring Creek, Pennsylvania. We left Friday to meet up with friends in Springfield, Ohio then caravaned (is that a word?) to Miracle Mountain Ranch for our 3rd Family Camp. I just wanted to share a few pics before I crash ‘n’ burn.

First, we have the seating chart. This is necessary as personalities and small-fry needs all have to be taken into consideration for a 7-9 hour road trip. We have a regular seating arrangement for every day (which changes as the kids grow…and new kids are added….) but a long trip becomes even longer if we don’t think this through!

OH, how I wish we could have decked out the Great White Beast to look like our guys’ dream van. (I later noticed our seating chart had items added to the empty seats like “Ammo.”)

Isaiah, the 5 y.o., asked every day, “How many more days til we leave?” So, Nat put this little countdown on our wipe-off board. X marks the spot and the arrow showed him how close we were getting. He took me to the board each day to inform me of “how many more days.” We learned a long time ago, anticipation is part of the adventure! Play it up!

It’s the day! And…we’re off!

This is our catering trailer. Guess what it used to be used for. Three guesses, first two don’t count. The plan is to paint it some day with our logo, etc. Natalie said we should just change our name to “Harley Davidson Catering” because the trailer is so cool.

And….we’re off! It’s tradition – I take a “we’re on a road trip” pic and see if I can fit everyone in. NOT easy.

Do-over – some people like to ham it up.

Lunchtime! Does anybody else remember how nasty and rundown rest areas used to be? We’re talking outhouse smells. Most are so nice, now! Anyhoo, our three families took over this picnic area.

And does anyone else just chuck sanitation standards out the door when having a picnic? Clean the table first? Why? No need – it’s a picnic. Wash hands? What? And ruin the experience? I think there’s a chance I have a slight case of germaphobia. I  once thought I had O.C.D. but I actually have C.D.O because O.C.D. isn’t in alphabetical order.

Playtime!!

SO,  this only brings us to lunchtime on Friday. I will stop here and leave you wondering, “What did they eat for dinner? Did they get to the ranch before sundown? Did they, in a 15-passenger van hauling a trailer, pass a Black 2012 Ferrari ? No pics were taken so I’ll just answer that – yes…yes, we did. As did our friends, also driving a 15-passenger. (We’re pretty sure the driver of said Ferrari was shamed and decided to speed up and pass us. Ferraris should never be driven in the right lane. Just sayin’.)

I’ll try to get back with more of Fecher Family Adventures after this “short” break for sleeping, eating, laundry, phone calling, menu-planning, lesson-planning, finishing unpacking, etc.

What’s not shared is lost,
Michelle

Pre-Cruise Seattle Adventures Day 2

Day 1 provided adventure enough but Friday brought more as well as the first wave of friends to hook up with. The pre-cruise anticipation was heightened by having Gomers arrive to meet up with.

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This has A LOT of pics, I know. I’ll try to do the others in smaller bites. There was just too much fun going on!

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Serving Italian to South Africa

Our friend, Elaine, and her little ones came over for dinner yesterday. Her DH was out of town so we’ll have him over another day. Elaine is from South Africa and she’s here for the year due to her husband’s job bringing them over here for a long stint. He’s been here before but for only short spells, like 6 weeks at a time. We are SO thankful he was brought over for a year so we could get to know him and his family but it seems ironic that they come from exotic South Africa to Hagerstown, IN. They have been here since the fall and their little ones, who didn’t speak a bit of English, are so funny! (They know some, now, though). The little girls play with ours and they have a grand time despite the language barrier. They have learned enough to get by and I find it absolutely hilarious to hear the younger one speak Afrikaans with a Hoosier accent! As if that would make her language understandable to us! Too cute! I have no idea what she’s saying but there’s no doubt she’s replaced the beautiful South African accent with our drab Midwestern modulation in hopes of being understood or, at least, mistaken for a local resident. Not gonna happen, sweetie!
We enjoyed fascinating conversation and learned much about her home. A political leader there was recently brutally murdered and the country is in an emotional state right now. Elaine has been told by family that they couldn’t have picked a better time to come to America. We think we have it bad here but it’s still the best country to live in (at least for now!) We’re kind of hoping that Elaine and her family end up moving here…we’re greedy, we know.
So, we served:
  • Spring Mix Greens with Avocado (Lenae with Jillian chopping up the Avocado)
  • Bruschetta (Momma made the marinade, Ben chopped the tomatoes, Jillian sliced and sautéed baguettes & assembled – love the team work)
  • Italian Bread with Garlic Butter (as in, NOT frozen garlic bread but Italian bread sliced and buttered – much better) (Lenae)
  • Lasagna Deliciousa (Momma & Benjamin with 4 y.o. reminding me just now that she stirred the egg and, yep, she said it, ricotta)
  • Tiramisu made with homemade CHOCOLATE ladyfingers. I cannot tell you how yummy this was but I will try…THIS WAS AMAZING! (Natalie)
That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God.
Ecclesiastes 3:13
What’s not shared is lost,
Michelle