Thursday, September 30, 2010

Expect the Unexpected from me...

 The air was cool, the lights were romantic. My husband comes home and was surprised to find an outside
candlelight dinner waiting for him. Music wavering from the front porch. The air just crisp enough to notice that fall has began un-packing her suitcase on the farm. Soup and homemade bread was our bounty and my man was surprised.
 Why do I bother making our life special? Why do I not give in to the expected of everyday living?
Because I want them to wonder.....I want my husband to always expect the unexpected with me. Keeping our relationship fun and romantic. I want my kids to love their home and the memories we have built here and the memories I will continue to build as long as I have breath. Marriage is fun and  having lots of kids is fun, but I want my kids to understand that relationships take time and energy and you can't take your relationships for granted. You have to breathe life into them...    

The pay-off is so worth the work when after dinner we all hear the giggles and laughter of the kids playing a game of hide and seek as the dew makes her way to the stage. Can I pinch myself? I would seriously marry this man of mine again in a heart beat. His easy going nature with a touch of command is exactly what I need. Nights like these stitch our hearts together even more. The memories we build around our table is constant. 

 Bread is broken and the thankful prayer that the Lord has brought us back together again at the end of this day. So very thankful for the lives around this table, for the farm we share our lives on, and for the 
unbreakable cups my husband bought me...=) 

    And so we linger long into the darkness........

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Whats on my bulletin board..this week

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers. Psalm 1

The verse on my bulletin board is what I'm desperately trying to teach my children.
Meditate on God's law.
Go for counsel when you're in doubt about something.
Even when you're not in doubt go and seek it out. 
Get them used to asking, "Dad, do you think I should do this?"
Good counsel is always a gift from God, it's not always what
you want to hear but it's a protection from the Lord.
So many times kids are not taught to seek out counsel.
Just do what you think or what you feel.
Our hearts can't be trusted and when you learn
to always run to counsel it will save lots of heart ache. Part of the heart ache
I'm trying to protect my children from is the heart ache of a prideful spirit.
The spirit of I'm right your wrong. When you're married this is not a quality that is
appreciated. So going to someone and saying,
 "this is what I think, but I want your advice" can protect you from
the dangers of prideful thinking.
a haughty know it all is really hard to be around..sigh, I've been guilty.

Get your daughter used to asking her dad if he likes
what she has on.
Teach your son to always go to dad before
he does anything...I will ask Cooper, my eight
year old, did you get counsel before you did that?

Use the word counsel and tell them what it means.
Read stories about people or couples who went for counsel.
It starts early and remind them often.
Remind yourself often.
Don't do anything without first saying,
"I'll ask my husband and get back with you."

Counsel is a beautiful thing.

Monday, September 27, 2010

aprons and mama

Our aprons have been earning their keep this weekend. We have been in
the kitchen alot. So we thought (Taylor and I) we would share with you
how to start your very own Sour Dough Starter.   

We will call her mama.. 

Not very long ago, bread was made using only two ingrediants: flour and water.
No "chockfull of chemicals" rising agents and no bakers yeast.
Just wholesome bread made by loving hands and products that
were familiar to the bodies they fed.
Baking bread with your own sourdough starter is better for you because the starter pulls in wild
yeast spores from the enviroment around you, those which are familiar to your body.

Artisian bread is a wonderful bread.
What is it?
Well, mostly it is exactly what its name suggests: bread that is crafted, rather than mass produced.
You can give special attention to the ingrediants, shape, and texture.

For ease of keeping up with feedings we started ours on a Sunday.

Here is the recipe we are using for our Sourdough Starter:


Thats it.
No yeast, no sugar, nothing else.
Just water and flour and your tender loving care..

To get started you need a large
ceramic bowl, a wooden spoon,
unbleached, organic all-purpose flour,
and purified water and a love for fresh home-made bread.

Add 4 cups of flour (for a large "mother")

and 3 cups of water

slow and easy girls...
stir well, and cover with a wet dishcloth
that's it!

You will be leaving your mother on your counter.
Never put her in your fridge (humidity causes mold),
and (if started on a Sunday) you will feed her
every morning (monday-friday) 2/3 cups flour
and 1/2 cups water, stirring and recovering her with the dishtowel.

This is what she should look like after a day or so:

Lots of air bubbles (lets you know she is doing her job), and
very thick and fat feeling (kinda how I feel some days =).

After her first real feeding, she looks healthy and glowy don't you

On the seventh day (which, by the way, is the day of rest for your mother ) your mama
is ready. She's been working hard all week for you and now you can enjoy some of
that hard work.
She should have lots of air bubbles and be smelling sweetly sour.
So you can take two cups out and cover her back up (don't feed her anything
today, she is resting, and while your at it, cover me back up and I'll sleep an hour longer.)
Then on Sunday, start your feeding schedule again, adding 2/3 cups flour
and 1/2 cups water, back to work mama....up and at em mama..
Anytime after that first week that you want to make bread other than on
Saturday, just take what you need from the mother
 before you feed her for the day. Just make sure you always add back
to her what you take away. I love that concept...

We haven't quite made it to that point with our new starter but when we do we'll post more pictures
and some recipes for the different kinds of bread we're making.

Just remember that this is your mother. She is adapting to your home.
So she will be different from any other starter you've bought or been given.
Sourdough is very forgiving and you can (almost, most of the time =) revive it back to life.
kinda like you, huh? bad day?? tomorrow you'll be better.
Your mama is the same way. She understands..
There are many many ways of starting, feeding, and storing your sourdough starter, this
is just the way we have found we like.

Here is some basic stuff from what we've read,
You'll want to use organic flour or at least as close to that as you can find.
Just plain ol' pillsbury dough seems to do weird things.
Same thing for the filtered water,
the chlorine in your tap water will kill your starter.
You will also need an instant thermometer for when you bake the bread and
a dutch oven is nice to have (but not neccessary at all!).

Why not try making your own starter today (or Sunday)?
 I find her comforting.
I talk to my mama.
"You're looking good mama."

"How ya doing mama?"
 You get the drift. She is good company.

when my house smells of  fresh soudough bread
I'll be so so happy.. and to think this is the way
God meant bread to be.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A night on the Farm...

 The leaves are falling on the farm and this week has gone by way too fast. The sidewalk chalk everywhere and my thoughts and emotions raw this week. Just one of those weeks of thinking too much. The jobs before me overwhelming and my rose colored glassed frosted over with the humidity of the day. The farm is looking bare as the leaves are falling from the trees and the colors already changing. A true sign that summer is gone.   Their toes will soon will be covered with socks and shoes and I will miss their dirty bare feet running through the grass.
 The little girls are being trained to sit at the table and not move their plates and to enjoy the company of their family. My big table is not so big when you put 10 people around it. Training two 1 year olds is alot of work but if they are to be the blessings that God means for them to be then training them is a must. They are learning now the lessons of being accountable and I'm the one to train them. At the end of the day I wonder sometimes if I've done anything besides train.... but I know the outcome will be worth it with the Lord's help.

The biscuits were hot and oh my the kids loved them. Hot butter and gravy for supper. The supper table is still my favorite place to be. Every night the candles are lit and the music flows through the house.  It allows so much time for us to relax and unwind from the day. We share a meal and Scott does a family devotion and then he will ask me, "so how was everyones attitude today?" All their eyes on me and relieved they  are when I say they've all had a great attitude. On the days when they have not had a good attitude he will talk to them and get to the heart of the matter. Then the table comes alive as we sing song after song. A few of our favorites are lets go down to the river to pray, I'll fly away, and He came from heaven to earth.
The kids smiles can be seen through the candle light and I know I'm looking at a family tradition that they will not soon forget. The guys stand until their father tells them they can sit and my chair is pulled out, sometimes it's a race to see who can pull moms chair out for her. Talking about feeling special. Teaching them manners and respect is very important to us and I believe it starts around your table. Being thankful for the food before you no matter what it is. They may not like what we're eating but they are being taught to not complain. They can be excused from the table if they complain so complaining doesn't happen often.

My laundry room just recently had a make-over and in the middle of the biggest wall hangs this chalk board.
I change the words almost daily but I love writing notes and love letters to them. The boys pass this board on the way to their room and we fold many loads of laundry here each day so I try and write things that will help them to remember who it is their supposed to becoming. More like Christ, and less like themselves.
Teaching them and myself that I can't trust my heart and my emotions. I have to trust my Saviour and His words and trust my husband who always gives the best advice (well most of the time..=).

  Her shoes on and her hair pulled back, she shows her daddy what she's learned in ballet this week. We all sit and her brother starts the music and she comes in and dances the dance we've been practicing.
I didn't take her to class, I didn't have to. I spent ten minutes a day with my ballerina girl and I'm teaching her everything I know (which isn't much) but she is having a blast. She doens't know any difference. The class down the road cost 50.00 dollars so I told Scott he could just pay me if he liked :)She doesn't seem to mind that she is the star of the show at her home. The place where she can dance and her brothers fight over who is going to pick her up and twirl her in the end.

 The moon is set as our back drop and the frogs and crickets so loud the music has to be turned up and my family sharing another night on the farm. 

Close your eyes and hear the sounds and live this day to the fullest.

Monday, September 20, 2010

celebrating adoption, birthdays, and love

Living in the community we live in we are very family oriented. Our friends and church family are very very important to us and some weekends we stay busy helping our friends.
On Saturday morning the kids and I stood in front of a grocery store helping to sell baked goods for some dear friends who are adopting from China.

Channie-Mae and the boys brought their own money so they could eat some of the delicious baked goods.
Taylor and our friend Bell baked rolls and cookies and helped drum up business and Taylor's hot
cinnamon rolls definitely helped.

On Saturday night we went to an engagement party celebrating some dear friends up coming marriage.
It always reminds me of the great love Scott and I share. 18 years later and we still have such a great
love for each other. Even though our love is shared with a house full.
 The night was perfect as we celebrated love.

 On Sunday morning our little miracles woke up to celebrate their 1st birthday. Surrounded by friends and lots of love and attention. Our friends made food and fruit platters and my friend Kathy made the cutest cakes
and cupcakes. Kathy has been such a dear friend to me and my family for the past 8 years. You know, the kind of friend who helps you celebrate every occasion. The friend who calls up and says "you wanna go eat some chips and salsa and talk (for hours) in a Mexican restaurant?" The friend who has helped me grow more than anyone else. She was the one who helped me start homeschooling, taught me about hospitality, and gave me direction on not being too busy. She is a giver and when you're sick she will be the first to bring food.
When you're sad she will encourage. A true Titus 2 woman that I'm so thankful to have in my life.


She and her family made the girls birthday party very very special.

♪ ♫ Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday dear Ellie Cate and Josie Claire
Happy Birthday to you. ♫ ♪

So this weekend was very full indeed. We laughed and yes, I cried (alittle) 
You'll notice Mimi is with us and we have enjoyed her company.
Our life is full, blessed, and truly amazing.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The smell of boys

I want to remember who they are now. I want to remember their smell of sweat, sun, and hay. The way little boys smell no matter how many baths you give them.I want to remember the way they love to  fight battles when they've never really fought one before. Swords and sticks and a country hillside and the hours fighting and hiding. She's in the mix ,their sister. She is never far behind them and they don't seem to ever mind. Oh, the pasture is full of their play. The laughter and echos being heard from early morning till dark time. She looks at me and says, "you want to hear my voice?"
'Sure I do" I said and she yells hello out over the hillside and her voice comes back and she looks at me and smiles and says "isn't that neat?"
Why yes it is..Can I bottle it? so when the hillside is quiet I can open my bottle and hear their laughter. sigh..... 
Bed time stories, Little Bear, ice cream, bikes, and swimming have filled our summer with some wonderful memories. I look out across my hill and know that this too shall pass. This season of having them little. They grow so much everyday and fight as I may they don't slow down. The hay bales are harvested for another winter and they play, jump, and grow right through another season of my life. 

The summer of 2010 gone but I'll never forget

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

These are not common blessings

In the course of my life children have never been given easily to me.
I have prayed earnestly and at times begged God for the gift of a child.
I have went before His throne and cried out like Hannah on behalf of every
single one of my children. Promising to raise them to love Him.
Promising to be faithful as a parent.
Just crying out. 
So when the Lord faithfully gave each of my children to me, even though He never had to. 
I felt it was an answer to prayer and thus my faith grew and my thankfulness.
My children are not common blessings.They are gifts straight from the throne room of my Father.
They are not expected blessings, but the fruit of sincere
pleadings. Better to rejoice over them as the fruit
 of our pleadings than as the fruit of our bodies. When you pray
for a child so hard and so long and when your prayer is answered,
believe me there is no way it could ever be commonplace.
I know the sting of the death of a baby.
I've had at least 5 miscarriages.
I've given birth to 6 babies
I know the excitement of adoption when
they place a baby in your arms that you have prayed for and longed for.

Children are not common blessings..
At least not to me and my household.
When you lose one or you can't have one
you pray out to God and when he blesses you
with one or two the blessing is double and you live a grateful life.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Our family a year later

Josie Claire and Ellie Cate turn one on Sunday.
Almost a year and I can't keep track
of how many times I've whispered "Thank you, Lord!
But, for the record, I'll do it one more time.
Thank you, Lord, for all of my children
who bring such great joy and happiness to an
undeserving mama."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I'll play in dirt until I'm 90

Waffles piled high for my eight kids. Crisp hot waffles. Breakfast at our house, always one of my favorite parts of the day. Smiling faces awake after a good nights sleep. A new day. A new beginning of pouring love into the cups that are before me.

A one eyed dog that we call honey. A little girl loving the way the grass feels as she rolls across.
A mama sitting in the middle of my mission. A mission field I have to finance. I can't ask someone else to do this for me. I have to sit out in the middle of this farm and watch kids play in dirt and have kids around me like buzzing flies. I just love this job of mine.I can't help it. I was born for this job...a time such as this.
Dirty feet in the dirt that is their inheritance
Dirty faces and my kisses that are somewhere underneath. Jo has really took off these last couple of weeks. It's amazing the transformation that has taken place. His personality, his love, trust....
New teeth and almost walking. A birthday coming up..We're pulling out all the bells and whistles for these little girls. They'll be 1. Oh Lord Thank you for them. Thank you for letting me play in dirt with Josie and Ellie Cate. I'll play in dirt until I'm 90 if you'll let me.
My boy drawing hearts in the dirt for me. He smiled up with dirt on his face and said, "a heart for you mom".

A monkey named binky laying across my surgery table. I take great care with this little guy. He's been in our
family for many years. Made by Cullen's great grandmother who is 99 years old. He cherishes his monkey and I know I should probably sneak Binkey away in the night and say, "I'm not sure where he went.." in the morning but to tell you the truth, I just can't. I'm tasting the bitter sweetness of grown children now and I know the clock hands don't stop. So I"ll let Binkey live here for as long as Cullen wants him to.

Until next time....


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