Tell Me A Story

I love stories. I especially love stories told to me by the person who experienced it. I feel I’m invited into a part of them that normally may not come out in a conversation or a moment in their presence.

This happened to me this week. My husband and I went for a drive into the country and decided we would go t0 Lilac Lane Bulk Foods.

I love this store. It is owned and operated by an Amish family. Leonard is the young man you will find in the store most of the time. He is welcoming and friendly and laughs when I tell him something funny.

They have amazing prices on bulk foods from flours to spices and local honey. And when they have fresh baked cinnamon buns, well, let’s just say it’s all I can do not to buy them all and freeze them.

On cloudy days it can be a bit dim inside due to the fact that there are no electric lights. Just windows and I do believe a skylight. A wood burning furnace heats the store in the winter and you can hear the slight sound of a generator powering the small refrigerated section for eggs and cheeses.

This particular day had a sweetness to it. Leonard handed me a flyer to give to a friend of mine who was interested in visiting.

When I read his newsletter I read one of those stories. The warm kind we all have inside of us. A memory, the sweet kind. As I read I pictured vividly bits of his childhood and his home where he is now.

Here is what I read…..

“Have you ever wondered why we chose the name that we did for our store??? Well, when I was a boy, the small farm at Arthur, Illinois where I grew up had lots of old fashioned flowers and shrubs, including pink, lavender and white lilacs They had been there for a long time.

When my family made the move out here to Missouri, 15 years ago, I found it hard to leave the lilacs so I brought 10 cuttings along. Sadly only one survived and it si now doing well at my parent’s place where I planted it.

Five years ago, when visiting the old home place in Illinois, the owner gave me permission to take lilac clippings and so I gladly took 17 of them. This time, much to my surprise, they all survived!!! They are now all in a row bordering the driveway to the store; hence the name “Lilac Lane”….. “


Isn’t it great to hear of his childhood and fondness for the flowers? And even more special was reading how he was able to bring them back and after perseverance bring them to life. A special memory of his childhood and for his children and eventually for theirs.

Everyone has a story. Those precious memories planted deep inside that pop up when a slight breeze blows or a fragrance of something wonderful drifts by. I know you’re thinking of your stories. I am thinking of mine.


cate b


Finding Hope

We are fast approaching the end of January, 2014.  Do you know what that means?  Spring is getting closer.  YES!  It has been quite a cold winter for most of the U.S.  Today, where I am, it is a balmy 43* as I type this, and I have no socks on.  Tomorrow’s high should be around 56*!  But Monday, well Monday – you just can’t trust that day.  Our high should be about 16* and a low of 3.  That is winter.

Winters like these tend to keep me indoors way too much for my liking.  In my last post, Winter Hopes, I mentioned winter being a reflective time.  A time to process and regroup, so to speak.  But for me, it is very easy to slip into hopelessness when I have cabin fever and life seems to be on hold.

I was in “The Burg” last week, as I am every week for my four day stay with the grand daughters.  I love that time with them and assisting my kids so they can attend University.  But we were getting punchy, the girls and I.  The two year old loves to go outside.  I was able to take her for a walk one day last week.  Just one!  The other days were so cold that it would have been dangerous to her skin to go out.  So, when my husband came to pick me up on Thursday, he wanted to go to a local town that we were curious about.  We knew it was small…….  Knob Noster, MO.  Here is a pic from downtown Knob Noster:

Downtown Knobnoster
Downtown Knob Noster

I’m not sure this business is even open.  That made me sad.  We did find a Tea Room that was full of collectibles at wonderful prices.  Little girls tea parties can be celebrated there also.  They serve lunch and tea and the woman who owned it is delightful and so friendly.  We will go back.  But we are not sure how tiny towns like this survive.  Whiteman Airforce base is nearby but the “larger” town of Warrensburg has more to offer.

From there we went to a Bakery/Bulk Foods shop that is usually closed when we have been in the area.  It was open and on the way home.  Let me tell you – just when I was feeling hopeless about my future and the weather, etc, this little gem of a place brought forth full sunshine and warmth.  Funny how the little things in life can change your whole outlook.  I love that.

We turned off the main highway and traveled the 2.8 miles to the shop.  Here is some of what we saw:


Then the treasure –

The Mixing Bowl
The Mixing Bowl

We walked into this small shop which is on the property with the family home and farm.  A bubble of hopeful joy met us in a tiny lady-like form of the friendliest Mennonite woman I have ever met.  She did all the baking and bundling of bulk food products.  And the cheeses!  You cannot beat the prices of the cheese she sells.

PIE! Amazing Pie!
What can I say?
What can I say? These taste fabulous!!!YES!


Ahhhh! You can’t beat the price – we take this daily and for the gallon it is unbeatable!


Vanilla Beans!
Vanilla Beans!
I did not buy this from our new friend ;)  But got it for VANILLA!!!
I did not buy this from our new friend 😉 But got it for VANILLA!!!
Vanilla should be ready in April!
Vanilla should be ready in April!

So, my point of this post is to say, I was going down into a hopeless state and just changing my environment and finding something so unexpected in the midst of stark winter surroundings, turned my whole outlook around.  I headed home upbeat and joyful with a couple of bags of goodies to boot!

THEN, my dogs, who missed me while I was away in The Burg, were so happy to see me that little George Bailey jumped up and accidentally ripped the bag containing the jams.  My Gooseberry Jam fell to the floor and broke.  I actually cried.  The dogs ran outside because they fear my crying and I cleaned it up and welcomed them back into the house with many hugs.  Little George was relieved.  No sense crying over spilt jam because I know where to by more. 😀

My friends, I hope you all have a hopeful winter and look with anticipation to spring coming.  Because it is a certainty that spring will come!


cate b









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