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Well, howdy there Sugar Pie Darlin’s! How thankful I am that you’ve come here to Sugar Pie Farmhouse for a little o’ visit! From the ZilliOnS of blogs that y’all can choose to read, it blesses me  so much that you’ve taken your precious time to stop by here for some farm-style happy-home-pie!

My heart is just bursting with delight that spring is here! It’s that time of year we get to fling open the windows and let the fresh air breeze it’s sweetness through the rooms of our home. It’s also the time when our nesting instinct usually kicks in to start our spring cleaning,  getting organized, and planning our gardens. It’s when we begin gathering canning supplies in preparation for when the “Good Ol’ Summertime” yeilds it’s fruitful bounty and we get to fill sparkling jars to the brim with homemade plum, strawberry and peach jams! Yummy!

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But, what ‘s a gal to do when she feels overwhelmed by life’s disappointments, worries, failures, hurts and discouragements. What’s a gal to do when there’s so much on her plate that she doesn’t even know where and how to begin? Why can’t we “cowgirl-up” or “farm-girl-up” and get motivated? Sometimes it’s our hormones causing our emotions to feel downhearted ( be sure you’re eating healthy, drinking lots of water, exercising, and ask your Dr. about B12 suppliments and  natural Progesterone Cream).  Sometimes it’s because we say ”yes” to more activities than we can handle along with all of our other responsibilities. Sometimes it’s because we’ve been dwelling on our problems more than our blessings. Sometimes it’s because our soul is thirsty. We feel completely drained. A thirsty soul drains our enthusiasim, dulls our creativity, and steals our peace and joy.

“Sometimes it’s like you’re a big pie settin’ on the table, and everybody runs up and gets their piece of you. When it’s over, the plate’s empty.” ~ Loretta Lynn

We often feel pulled in so many directions. It’s easy to get distracted by the difficulties we face in everyday life,  let alone the heartbreaking events happening around the world.  Life seems so complicated at times. We can get off-track in our thinking and often end the day looking at all the hard things not the good things.

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If that sounds like what you are going through, then, cheer up buttercup! I’ve got good news for ya!

We have a rescuer! The lover of our soul! He’s got the kind of water that will quench our thirsty soul! His name is Jesus.

“Now on the final and most important day of the Feast, Jesus stood, and He cried in a loud voice, If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink! He who believes in Me [who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me] as the Scripture has said, From his innermost being shall flow [continuously] springs and rivers of living water.” John 7:37,38  Amplified Bible

Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]” John 14:27 Amplified Bible

A thirsty soul is a result of forgetting to put God first in our life. To spend time with Him, talking to Him, reading His Word, offering our thanks and praise to Him. We forget to “cleave to, trust in and rely on” Him. Oopsy-Daisy! I’ve been guilty of that in my life from time to time, and boy-O-boy does it lead to a dried up, fruitless, no-fun,  no-peace, dead end.

We forget how absolutely blessed we are, and forget to thank the Lord! If we look at our lives compared to the tragedies that people are facing around the world, it puts things in proper perspective.

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photo credit: Ashley E.

We need to get back to simple down-home basics!

It’s NOT about making things perfect. It’s about creating a life at home that’s comfortable, loving and joyful.

Here are ten steps to a happier heart and home!

1. God first: We need to put the Lord first in our life! We need to make Him the first person we go to  when we need help ( or we’ll end up having a “Help me Jesus!” kind of day!) We should begin and end our prayer requests with Thanksgiving and Praise to the Lord. By God’s amazing love and grace He meets our needs. We have food on our table, shelter for protection, a warm bed to sleep in every night, ears to hear, eyes to see and God’s promises to look forward to. Psalm 23 is a great reminder that God takes care of us, and He is always with us and has goodness waiting for us.

Psalm 23 (Amplified Bible)

“THE LORD is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack.  He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.  He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him--not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.  Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.   You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over.  Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.”

Oh what a beautiful promise!

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Remember the old southern phrase “Well, I do declare!”? Well, to declare means to acknowlege, affirm, announce, confess, and proclaim something. Every morning, as I open my eyes “I do declare” these scriptures: “This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!” (Psalm 118:24) and then “I do declare, ‘Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever!’ “ (Psalm 23:6)  We need to renew our mind everyday with God’s Word and acknowlege that His Word is true by proclaiming it! I do declare!

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2. If it is to be, it’s up to me! (with God’s help that is!) When my kids were little I would always tell them, no matter what, you must ”do the right thing”. As makers of our home, we too must do the right thing, even if we don’t feel like it. Our family depends on it. If we don’t make our home cozy, who will? We have that built-in nurturing gift that our loved ones need. We have that “woman’s touch” that can create a wonderful feeling of HOME! We honor God when we honor our home and family by taking good care of them. Get your apron on girlfriend! It sends a sweet old fashioned and comforting message of our tender, loving care.

“Home is the nicest word there is.” ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

“Well, I do declare! Today I will honor the Lord by taking care of my most treasured possessions…my family!”

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3. Create a Welcome Home feeling: Make your house a place your family wants to come home to!  There is no doubt in my mind that our emotions are affected by our surroundings. Especially as women, being born with the nesting instinct, when our home is in a mess, it irritates us. It’s hard to be irritated and welcoming at the same time! We don’t want our family to feel like they have to walk  on egg shells around us! Start in the kitchen, it’s the heart of the home. The Flylady, Marla Cilley, author of Sink Reflections,  says in her book on housekeeping, to begin the task of cleaning your home at the kitchen sink. It’s a simple concept but it will get the ball rolling.  ”If the sink is full of dirty dishes, empty the sink and scrub it clean and shiny”. Just that little task alone will bring a feeling of accomplishment that you’ll want to proceed by washing the dishes and clearing the clutter off the counters. Isn’t it a great feeling when the kitchen is shiny clean? Amen sistah!

To  get a spark of motivation under your  heels, create what I call a “Happy Home Atmosphere”  by tying on a cute apron,  light a yummy candle, pour yourself a glass of your favorite icy drink in a crystal goblet and put on some perky music (1940′s era is perfect!). Get busy! You can do it darlin’! Just wait until you feel the joy of a kitchen that gleams like a new penny!

“Well, I do declare, today I’m gonna make my kitchen sink so shiny I’ll need my sunglasses just to look at it!”

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4. Be a Mama Bear! Guard your time with your family… don’t say “Yes” to an activity if it’s going to cause you to neglect them or taking care of your home. Whatever that activity is,  if the end result is chaos at home, it’s not worth it. If you can fit it in and still keep things running smoothly, go for it!

As Mama Bear, guard the hearts of your children by limiting T.V., video games, computer, and cell phone use.  Be sure to plan for family fun times!

” Well, I do declare, I am going to take charge of my home! Nothing’s going to get in my way! Not discouragement, not fear, not laziness, or lack of motivation. I’m going to step up and be the happy-memory-making mama bear my family needs me to be!”

dsc02323 5. Find joy in the simple things: Domestic bliss does exist! As long as we have the right attitude! When you are doing laundry for instance, instead of grumbling at the mountain of dirty clothes, use that time to pray for your family members. When throwing your hubby’s shirts into the wash, thank the Lord that he is alive and well ( if he’s not well, pray for his needs). Pray that God would give him wisdom and strength in his job. Pray for your little ones as you pair up their sweet little socks, that God would raise them up to be mighty men and women of God someday. Thank the Lord if your washing machine is working! Feel the goodness in the task at hand, that you are making life better for your family. Take joy in the simple and lovely smell of clean cotton!

“To live with joy is to see God’s goodness!” ~unknown

“Well, I do declare, I will look for joy in the simplest of my domestic tasks. Being thankful for the blessings of modern conveniences…like running water, a washing machine,  refrigerator, ice-maker, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, electricity, and indoor plumbing!” (Imagine trying a week or two without these things, and how much joy you would feel when you got them back!)

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6. Dress the part of a happy Farm-mama at heart! Start with a smile! Put on an apron! Have the confidence that the seeds you are sowing into the well being of your family is pricless and life-lasting!  Practice being the happy mama that you want your kids to remember when they are old ;) Our attitude affects everyone around us ( we all know, “If mama ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy!”)

Think of creative things that you can do to bring that down-home-happy-goodness into your home to benefit your family.

“Well, I do declare, I will add beauty to my home by putting on a smile, and speaking words of kindness that will bless my family”.

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7. Nurture: Savor those tender moments with your children (and grandchildren) and your hubby! Bless them in little ways…cook a favorite meal…make them an after supper treat…give backrubs…play games…hide little love notes. Be generous with your hugs ’n’  kisses and words of encouragement and praise! Live in the moment and enjoy your homelife for too quickly our little ones grow up and fly away to make their own nest, leaving ours empty! (Boo hoo! Whaaaaaa! I don’t like that part!! Until the grandbabies start coming that is!)

“Well, I do declare,  I will intentionally think of little ways to show tender, loving care to my hubby and kids. I was born to be a nurturer. I am a nurturer, that’s what I do.”

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8.Value Family mealtime: The family meal is more important than we realize. “ Studies show that the more often families eat together, the less likely kids are to smoke, drink, do drugs, get depressed, develop eating disorders and consider suicide, and the more likely they are to do well in school, choose abstinence, eat their vegetables, learn big words and know which fork to use.” ~ Time Magazine

The family meal also builds a sense of belonging and a strong family bond. It’s a great way to connect with our loved ones. Communication preserves families. My dear friend Cat from The Vintage Housewife says that her family plays the High/Low game at the dinner table. Everyone goes around and shares the High point of their day and their Low point. This is great way to see into the hearts of your family. It also produces an opportunity to pray about the ”Low” things that happened and praise God for the ”High” things.

Sometimes our family has crazy schedules and you may not be able to eat supper together every night but try your very best to do it as often as you can.

One crucial thing I have to say…please make your meal time a pleasant experience. It’s not the time to scold your child about his dirty room or the low grade on the report card. Tension at the table only causes difficult digestion, stress and sad memories.  Instead keep the conversation lighthearted and happy!

“Well, I do declare, I will value suppertime with my family and make our time around the table enjoyable, insightful, and memory making.”

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9. Prepare: Keep your home stocked with the basic necessities

for any unexpected emergencies. This includes food, water, medical

supplies, paper goods, personal products, self-powered flashlights and

radio, matches etc. If you do this it will make you feel like such a good

mama!

“Well, I do declare, I will get my home prepared and stocked with needful supplies in order to protect and provide, for my family, come what may.”

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10. Fresh Air: When the weather permits, take some time to go outside and get some fresh air! God for a walk. Meditate on God’s goodness. Listen to the birdies sing their sunshine tunes. Look up at the sky and at the beauty all around you! It will do wonders to refresh your spirit. Breathe deep and exhale three times…it will make you fell so much better darlin’!

Plant something! For several years, I’ve grown tomatoes, parsley, basil, and peppers out on my deck, just outside my kitchen door. It’s so fun to go out and gather fresh picked goodness or our salads at suppertime! I’m also growing some apple, plum and peach trees along with a Boysenberry and Blueberry patch. Everytime I go outside to  see these fruit-bearing lovelies, I’m thinkin’ boy are you gonna make a good pie! Uh, huh!

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Well, I do declare! If that ain’t ol’ Aunt Ruthie in her piggy tales and straw hat!

Yeppers that’s me! Don’t tell my daughters I put my hair in braids. When I mentioned that I wanted to try it for fun, they were like… “Um. No. Mom. Don’t even think of it.” Well, I did think of it! Hey, let me just tell ya! First of all, it goes with my Farmgirl at heart look. Secondly, I live out on a VERY WINDY ridge, and if I didn’t tie back my hair in some way it would be whippin’ around in front of my eyes, lookin’ all crazy like and stickin’ to my lipstick! That, my dears, ain’t a pretty look. So even though I’m past the age for braids…according to two certain young ladies…I bid them never mind! I say YEE HAW instead! (I’m a wild one ain’t I?!! LOL!)

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Anyhoo! I’m I’m standing here under my dear plum tree finding joy in the sweet white blossoms…dreaming of homemade plum jam! Yummers!

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I just have to show y’all my Chicken Wellies! I shared about them on FACEBOOK a couple weeks ago. They make joybells ring in my heart!  (I have the source and link down below). Since I live pretty much on the edge of the wilderness (in the country) we do have an occasional Copperhead snake. So these are my protection! Watch out snake…these chicken boots are made for walkin’!

I also found my vintage farm-wife apron at a local antique store here in the Ozarks, for only $3.00 ‘s!  Sa-weet! Can I just tell y’all how much fun it is for me to dress the farm-girl part?  It puts such a happy spring in my step!  I’m lovin’ it!

Ever since I was a little girl, I always dreamed of living on a farm, now mind you, I still don’t live on a true working farm…but a girl can dream can’t she? Now, I hope I don’t step on any toes calling myself a “farmgirl” when I don’t actually live on a real farm. Aww shucks, I  only mean I’m a farmgirl at heart…a wanna-be. Just like I’m a Southern Belle wanna-be! Fortunately, my dear Sugar Pie Sistah, Miss Betty (Amy’s mama)  from down south in Georgia, well, she made me an honorary Southern Belle…God Bless her darlin’ heart. Why, that blessed me like goodness knows what!  Well, like I said, a girl can dream can’t she? ”If you don’t got a dream, how ya ever gonna have a dream come true?” ~ Oscar Hammerstein

As for me, I’ve got farmgirl dreams! Some day I’ll have chickens to go with my boots!

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My own Boysenberry patchthat’s another dream, that did come true! I’m definitely  not an expert at growing things but I do know that when a long berry vine finds the ground it will take root. You can cut the vine with the attached roots and replant it. Check out the root ball on this Boysenberry vine! I had several shoots that took root so I’m gonna share some with a neighbor friend.

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Boysenberries are a cross between Blackberries, Raspberries and Loganberries. Let me just tell you their delightful story! They were the delicious result of the experimental efforts of Mr. Rudolf Boysen. Mr. Boysen’s berry farm did not prove successful and so he abandoned it.  A  farmer, whose name was Mr. Knott, heard about these aMaZinG berries. It was almost too late by the time he found Mr. Boysen’s weed-choked farm. Fortunately there were a few frail vines that survived. They were transplanted and put in the care of  Mr. Knott  on his farm in Buena Park, California.

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Mr. Knott and his wife Cordelia (isn’t she adorable?) “ began selling the berries at his farm stand in 1932 and soon noticed that people kept returning to buy the large, tasty berries. When asked what they were called, Knott said, “Boysenberries,” after their originator. Mr. and Mrs. Knott’s small restaurant and pie business eventually grew into Knott’s Berry Farm. As the berry’s popularity grew, Mrs. Cordelia Knott began making preserves, which ultimately made Knott’s Berry Farm famous.” ~Wikipedia (Leave it to a farmer’s wife to make the best jam ev-ah!)

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Knott’s Berry Farm grew into an amusement park… sort of like Disneyland, only a little smaller. It holds so many wonderful memories for me! It was the place my hubby and I went to on a million dates. And the place we took our kids to when they were growing up.

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We would always end the day with a hearty meal at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant. Talk about home-grown farm-wife cookin’! Hot, fresh,  homemade biscuits with Boysenberry jam, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, sweet and tender-cooked rhubarb and Boysenberry pie for dessert! Oh HoNey! Take a look!

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Yes-sir-ree-bob! The memories are as delicious as the meal was. That’s why I am so thrilled to have my own happy-memory Boysenberry patch. The amazing thing to me is that every Boysenberry plant is traced back to Knott’s Berry Farm. So I have a piece of Knott’s Berry farm on my own land, way out here in the Ozarks! How fun is that?!

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Can’t wait to cook up a batch of my own Boysenberry Jam this summer!

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Here are my Chicken Wellies! And here’s the scoop! They’re on sale for $24.99 (reg. $49.99). The company Gardner’s Supply decided to call them “Factory Seconds” because some of the printed chickens and roosters  got stretched a little (down by the foot), making them a little elongated. Who in the name of corn-on-the-cob cares about that?!! I got ‘em and they are wonderful!

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They also have Tomato Wellies available at the same low price! Sa-Weet!

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I also wanted to share a few good books if you’re needin’ a little more inspiration to help spur you on that Happy Home Trail! Yee Haw!

Life Manangement Busy Women: By Elizabeth George

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Home Economics: By Jennifer McKnight Trontz

This little book is very vintage-y! AdOrAblE!

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Home Comforts: By Cheryl Mendelson

Big fat book with Tons of great housekeeping info!

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Well, I do declare darlin’s, I sure hope these helpful hints were helpful to you! I really believe that  if you do them  you’ll be on your way to a happier heart and home!

As always I sooooo appreciate your comments. I love them! Keep ‘em comin’! I really do need your feedback! If you do stop to say hello, I would love to know what State or Country you live in!

God bless your darlin’ hearts!!

Aunt Ruthie

P.S. Please come and visit Sugar Pie Farmhouse on Facebook! I share little homemaking tips, inspiring videos that I find and a little chit-chat!

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