But Ma, She’s Our Kin…..

Chad and I don’t have cable TV. So it wasn’t until someone posted on Facebook about an episode of Who Do You Think You Are that I researched online where I could watch it.


Because the episode happened to deal with one branch of my family tree. As Katey Sagal, the Hollywood actress, sought information about her mother’s side of the family. Her mother had died when Katey was young.

It turns out that Katey Sagal is my 8th cousin.

How freak-a-deakin cool is that??

The story told on the episode is as beautiful as it is tragic. A true story of loving your enemies under excruciating circumstances. But I’m not going into details of the episode. You can watch it for free at this link: https://www.discoverygo.com/who-do-you-think-you-are/katey-sagal/? (it should be noted that this episode is still locked and can only be viewed if you have an account. It should unlock next week. I didn’t watch the episode through here but may have watched a pirated version on Youtube. As I’ve sinned enough for today, I won’t link the Youtube video, but if you can’t wait till next week Google may be able to help. 😉 ).

So today I gained a new relative. And you want to know something crazy ironic? Sagal is best known for the character she played in Married…With Children; Peg Bundy. This show was popular when I was a kid. But back then I had no idea she was my cousin.

And we were not allowed to watch the show due to some of the content.

**Cue gasps of disbelief**

So it begs the question: If my parents had known back then that we had a famous TV actress relative, would we have been able to watch the show?? I imagine the conversation would go like this,

Mom: “No. You can’t watch that show. It’s not appropriate for you.”

Me: “But ma, Miss Katey is our kin!” (I have no idea why I just gave myself a southern drawl, just go with it)

Mom: “You may watch it when you are older” (this is a parenting tactic that is deployed when you want to redirect your child’s attention in hopes that “when you are older” you forget that they gave you permission to do whatever it was that they said you were too young to do).

So welcome to the family, Katey! I hope you like large meals cooked with love, beautiful four-part harmony and a hearty resolve to get through anything life throws at us.


A Tribute to My Little Town….#HesstonStrong

When I was a senior in high school, I went through the process of applying to college. As the youngest of 3 who all went to the same college, along with my parents and other relatives, the idea was definitely there to attend the same place. It would be in my hometown, so I’d be able to visit home easily when I wanted to. Every year the seniors of the high school I attended, would visit this same local college to gauge whether or not it was a right fit for any one.

As visiting day arrived and I walked about the beautiful campus I had a thought: this was the wrong fit.

Then one day a cheerful recruiter from a 2-year Mennonite college in Kansas showed up at our school. I had a chance to meet with him and ask questions about the school; Hesston College.

One of my deepest concerns was safety. Not knowing I had an anxiety disorder yet, but  aware of my overwhelming need to feel safe, this was an important aspect of any school I’d choose.

Being as Hesston College was located among wheat fields in a very small farming community, very low crime rate, small classes and a Christ-centered environment, I deemed it the perfect fit. I applied and was accepted soon after my campus visit.

I spent two of the best years of my life at Hesston College. I met amazing friends, wonderful professors and grew spiritually and academically. Hesston College was the first place where I caught the writing bug. It was the first place where I pulled an all-nighter (wait, I forgot I did that once in high school). It was the first place I lived, away from my parents, where I still felt safe and protected. Even walking alone at night on the main street of town I felt safe.

I recommend Hesston College to anyone looking for an awesome introduction to the wonderful world of college.

This past Thursday, a gunman with a grudge opened fire 3 blocks away from my beloved alma-mater; at a factory specializing in the manufacturing of lawn mowers. The gunman killed 3 and injured 15 others before being shot and killed by law enforcement.

In the blink of an eye, my little town didn’t feel so safe anymore.

But after the tragedy, an extraordinary thing happened. Instead of taking to the streets to protest for tougher gun-control as is seen in other cities after similar events, the fine folks in Hesston gathered in places of worship to reflect and remember the lives lost; including the shooter. Let me re-state that:

The person who perpetrated such a violent act on a friendly town has not been characterized as a violent thug. He’s been looked on with sympathy and his family has been prayed for and embraced. A broken soul who in some twisted logic believed that the only way to get what he wanted was with a gun. Hesston is also mourning his loss with the sadness that comes with knowing that there was a person amongst them that needed help and yet he seemed out of reach.

Maybe my little college town, not used to national/international news exposure, can breathe new life in the discussions that always follows these tragic events. To live out Christ’s call to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.

To be a light in a dark, broken world.

PS: If you’d like to make a tax deductible donation and purchase a T-shirt to help the victims families, click here

Nostalgic Christmas Comfort Food: Mennonite Haystacks…..

My husband and I just returned from a wonderful few days with my side of the family. We returned before my parents hosted my dad’s side of the family, but my mom was discussing the menu at one point and announced her plan to do Haystacks. Immediately my mouth filled with saliva and I asked if she could possibly do them on Sunday as Chad and I would still be at their house. She said yes.

Ah, haystacks. One of my favorite meals growing up. In my area of the country, this Mennonite* staple food would be made for large groups of people and holiday gatherings. Eating it this past weekend brought a sense of nostalgia to our family gathering. I was also eager to introduce Chad to them since I’ve talked about them for years, but we hadn’t had a chance to actually eat them.

So, what are haystacks, you ask?? Simply put, it’s a bunch of vegetables and protein, stacked into a pile on the plate; or a haystack. 🙂 With a bed of rice below.

The table is topped with bowls of diced tomatoes, spaghetti sauce (with or without meat-your choice), walnuts, cheese sauce, lettuce, crushed saltines, green olives and crushed tortilla chips. Honestly the list of ingredients is up to you. I think it’d be fun to add shredded cheese and kidney beans, like a taco salad. Note that you don’t have to use all the ingredients on the table. The more ingredients, the more options you have. 🙂

So now you know about haystacks. Let me know if you make them and what you used.

Happy Eating!!

*My cousin’s blog explains better than I could about what Mennonites are. And she’s a great blogger. 😉


Here we have my delicious haystack creation! Bon appetite, ya’ll! 🙂