Saturday, December 29, 2012

A well placed thought

 Walking the long driveway the gravel gives way under my feet. The mailbox overflowing with cards from friends far and wide.The bitter cold reminding me that this year is almost over. Come and gone. The cold has us indoors a lot and I'm reading words more than ever. Not feeling like myself lately. All the change that takes place in ones life in a year has taken it's toll on me. With having 13 children over the summer and running on next to nothing but keeping on because someone needed to. Having a bustling farm with new animals to train and then the winter. 
 I'm doing a lot of thinking..which my husband says is never good.   

Thinking about my life and how odd it seems to be moving out of the "baby stage" and into the "middle stage" of my life.
Not having to buy diapers or get up in the middle of the night. Having the freedom to go places and see new things with all my children is all different. I have always had a baby for the past 20 years and so now when I find myself in a new place I go from wanting to cry to wanting to dance? 
Strange place I know, but I get to do all the things I never could.
I get to sleep in a little, and I have everyone helping so things don't seem so overwhelming. My older young adults are doing things outside of the home
and I see what's happening. I go from crying out to God to stop everything
to being excited at what the next stage holds.
But right now a calm is settling over the farm after years of survival mode and I'm trying to decide if I like the way that sounds.

I haven't figured that out yet. 
You'll be the first to know when I do.

Years running on an adrenal rush now I'm watching them and enjoying them like never before. I get to know them in a way that has seemed impossible until now.
Seeing them move into the middle stage with me. Seeing and feeling how they need me so much more the older they get. I always thought it odd when people would say that.
 "oh they'll need you more when they're 18-21
I couldn't imagine that but now I know it's true.
 Hours of counseling and reassuring. 
There is no feed, diaper and put to bed.

 These are real issues for them and so you make room in your bed and they lay in the darkness talking and I'm listening.

 I have taught them in they way they should go like proverbs instructed me
and now I have to step back and let God take them the rest of the way.

Helping them make career choices
Praying like never before for
 Godly spouses.

You always pray that prayer "Lord, please be preparing
their spouses" but when you have to be patient and wait with
them you learn that their faith is required.
They have to believe that God has the perfect person for them but its His timing not ours. And well, this can seem to take forever for them.

I believe that 18-21 has been and will be the testing ground for what I have taught them. I have come up short in some areas believe me, so I take notes on what I'll be doing different with the new batch coming up:)

Yeah, it all takes more time and a lot more patience and it takes a lot of change
from me. From being the one in charge to letting go and letting them take a leap of Faith and know that God has this.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Don't delay..

"Yet it is by a little procrastination that men ruin their souls. They do not intend to delay for years-a few months, they say, will bring the more convenient season-tomorrow they will attend to serious things; but the present hour is so occupied and so unsuitable that they beg to be excused. Like sands from an hourglass, time passes; life is wasted by driblets, and seasons of grace lost by a little slumber.
Oh, to be wise, to catch the fleeting hour, to use the passing moments!"  Charles Spurgeon

We took a walk and we hung Christmas ornaments on the outside trees in our woods. She was standing on tippy-toes and the trees seemed to bend their branches to accept her decorations. It was beautiful seeing the naturalness of sunlight and pine trees being adorned by their tiny hands. The birds singing their songs as if saying thank you. Taking some effort to take little legs to the edge of the woods but I want to have memories all over this farm and in order to do that I have to take advantage of every single moment. Last night the kitchen was filled with a huge pot of chicken pot pie soup with biscuits so hot that you couldn't get enough. The candle light flickering and the bellies full. The conversation turned to our memory verse, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see the Lord". The singing of away in a manger and little girls getting out of their seats to sit in our laps.
 These are the moments that the hands of time will never be able to take away.
We do this every night over soup or pizza, it doesn't matter, we feast and
 we celebrate the time we have.

Try this and be amazed at how much they eat

Chicken Pot Pie Soup



1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 cleaned and trimmed leek, sliced
1/3 cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 cup lowfat half and half
1.5 pounds yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Heat a large pot over medium heat and add olive oil and butter. Stir in onions, carrots, celery, leeks, salt and pepper, tossing to coat, then let cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then stir in flour. Stir well to distribute the flour throughout the vegetables and coat them, then cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring to create somewhat of a roux and thickening agent. Most of the flour will stick to the vegetables, but you do want it to turn a slightly golden color and smell a bit nutty. (ha... that sounds interesting.)
At this point, use a biscuit cutter (or even a knife) and cut 12 "biscuits" out of your thawed puff pastry sheet. Place them on a baking sheet (brushing with some beaten egg if desired) and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.
Add in potatoes, chicken stock and half and half to the soup, stirring and allowing the mixture to come to a bubble. Reduce heat to medium low, add in chicken, peas and corn and cover, simmering for 10-15 minutes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed. Serve with puff pastry on top!

We walked the path to Williams grave to put his ornaments on the trees that surround the place I go to talk to him and God. Burning eyes as I remember he's missing another Christmas with us, but then reminding myself that really I'm missing the real Christmas he celebrates everyday with the Lord. My little man in heaven and I'm here getting through each day without him but never forgetting my babies that have gone before me and that are waiting.

Always celebrating

The girls know their brother William as we talk of him often and as we walk the path their whispers of his name makes me smile. It's so calm there and their whispers and the swaying of the trees always helps me to breathe a little deeper. 

Always helps me to remember the living.  

I tried to plan this around their good morning moods, but apparently I was a little late. They wouldn't smile and then Josie just completely gave up..Hands on hips, arms crossed. So that's why you find yourself looking at the backs of my precious daughters. 

 I give lots of grace because so often I feel like crossing my arms and in spirit I do, so I stoop low and make them smile and remind them of things they have to be happy about, like ice-cream and movies a mama that loves them to the moon and back and that usually gets them perked back up. I start running and they chase after me. I have to be someone they want to follow.
I try.

Sometimes, we need to remind ourselves of the gifts, to get our attitudes right.  

Don't put off take care of the small things now.

Right before my eyes they're back to smiling and running and happy...
My example only works if I do the same.

 This Christmas is shaping up to be less about the presents as in I've not bought one single thing and its more about the here and now. The feasting and the fellowship with friends, Christmas parades, baking cookies, great movies and lots of time together. This year we want to buy books for them all.
 Good books wrapped with big bows that they can pass down to their children. Maybe a comfy blanket and a flashlight.    
A huge breakfast that lasts for at least a couple of hours as Scott reads
the Christmas story.

Simplicity is beautiful
I will not put off this hour or any hour to celebrate the daily living of my life and the lives of my children.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Puddles from the day

Posted from the archives

The street was lined with the puddles from the day. My mind taking in the beauty of umbrellas and the girls under their temporary covering. I'm not sure how to explain what I want to say. How much I enjoy their company and their sweetness. Being with my children makes everything better and rain won't stop this, it just adds to the back drop of us being together. We shopped and made memories and laughed and bought and then broke bread together.

We sampled and we held hands. We captured the magic of that rainy day together. Taylor whispering in my ear how very much she loves me and Channie's reminders of her thinking this was the best day ever (In case you've missed it Channie Mae thinks everyday is the best day ever). I can't help but to capture the whole afternoon with my camera lens. Seeing each day as the gift that it was meant to be. I capture moments and when the pictures are downloaded it takes me back and it makes the girls act all silly and say 'oh we had so much fun mom'. It keeps our memories alive and breathing. We all tend to get caught up and forget what we did yesterday. I don't want to forget. God's goodness and his mercy that He, the creator, allows me to breathe, much less parent, some of His finest creations.  

Willing into her memories the life lessons that I teach. Being there and sharing in her joy as she tastes a new kind of honey for the first time. Being there as the sheer excitement of walking in the rain overwhelms her. It captures her love of wet streets and the wind that threatens to take her umbrella away.  I'm able to capture her smile, her innocence of such things that seem to take her by surprise. It's just rain right? It's so much more to Channie Mae. It's all new. I look at our shopping adventure through her eyes. Every breeze or wet drop made her squeal with delight. Every puddle something to jump over. Every scent something to linger over. This little girl teaches me so much about life and loving. When I hear "Love like a child loves" (or something like that) I think of Channie. Her love is simple.....It's BIG......I  want to love like Channie

I'm able to capture with my lens one of my early Christmas presents. That little wicker basket is one of the gifts she bought me and gave it to me early. It now holds the books that I read to the little ones. I have it by my chair and the reminder of where it came from brings a smile on my face. Her love, her spirit, is so contagious. My friend, my daughter...the one who keeps me humble and the one who stands next to me in the trenches everyday. The one who lives simply. Who loves huge. The girl whom I've grown up with so to speak. The Lord has used her in my life in a mighty way. I know when I'm older, much older, I will stand by her. Lord willing, I will  be the friend that she needs as she starts her family. Don't think I don't know that I have to let her go one day. I will let her go when the Lord sends the right man into her life. Right now though I enjoy her. I love talking to her. I love seeing her nervous and sleepy. I love seeing her on Dr. Pepper. I love seeing her sipping tea and holding babies. I love seeing her get all excited over a nice knife. I love when she says, "I want to go hunting.. just once!" 

I don't know, all of my girls keep me snapping pictures and wondering what the Lord has in store for each and everyone of them. They're all so unique and who they are makes me different.

I would trade nothing I have for the time I get to spend with my Children. I love my friends but I would much rather be in the kitchen with Tay or playing blocks with the little girls, throwing the football with the boys or just curled up watching a movie with all of them. I often take walks across our land and I'll say, " So, Channie where are you going to build your house?" and she'll point and say, "right there mom" 100 steps from my back door..I let out a breath because I know her home will probably not be on this farm but a girl can dream can't she?  

I call her name and my lens catches the look of the day. Standing in the crowd of a candy shop she looks for me and listens for my voice and her eyes catch mine and her smile is a mixture of surprise and of knowing. Knowing that I would be capturing this moment. I'm kinda crazy like that.

 As we leave we all three share a small umbrella and they keep telling me to take it because they don't want me to get wet. Who am I to deserve such incredible daughters? I did get wet that day but only because I wanted to feel the rain and wanted to taste the day I spent shopping with my girls. A day that is captured.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Farm Moments

"hang in there. it is astonishing how short a time it can take for very wonderful things to happen."

Riding in the back of the truck with all the feed and my girls and dogs.
Talking to my pigs, giving our rabbits carrots, and sticking my hand deep inside her nesting box and feeling life. Playing with my cow and sitting on the tail gate talking to my oldest son as he talks about his life, his future, and his dreams. Heavy bags of feed being pulled up and over the bed of the truck. My laugh easy as he tells me details of his thoughts.
Her blond hair and bare feet run across this dirt and she pokes her head on the rabbit wire trying to get a peek at our newest additions, 15 baby rabbits. Life after the death is more joyful. She smiles again and falls in love again with uncertain things like baby rabbits and cows. She can't help herself. She is my daughter after all and she is just like me. We live to love. A busy day on the farm trying to take it all in and be astonished at the small beautiful animals and people who share this slice of heaven with me.

Monday, November 26, 2012

May my steps be steady

Teaching my children to stay the course is harder as they get older.

Walk on and don't be tempted by the things of this world; the people of this world. Keep your eyes fixed on the Lord's plan for your life, don't become so familiar with ease that you crave it. The valley, the hard times, is and will be some of the most life changing.

We memorize scripture a lot more lately because in my time of 20 years of mothering and homeschooling I am realizing that what my children need the most is scripture. As I see my oldest making adult decisions I see them going back to the word of God in their life. I used to fret and worry that one of them didn't get their math problems right, well now I know that getting relationships right is a lot more important. As they become adults you will realize that math they can get eventually but trying to teach humility and meekness is almost impossible if you wait. 

 If you have small ones in your home please understand your time. Really, your window is so small to teach those in your care. The clock is ticking and you have to so surround them with God and His word that everything they touch, smell, eat or drink is all because of the Lord's goodness to them. Teach them gratitude. So glad we taught this early with my older ones. I can't imagine trying to teach it now at 20;)

So often, when families have adults and little ones the little ones get left to themselves a lot because the parents are busy with counseling and getting their older ones to the next level that they take their eyes off the younger ones and their window of opportunity closes. We must stay on course. We must not think because they're small now that we have plenty of time. Keep on the road He has planned out for you. To raise up a generation of children that can pass down to their children the knowledge of Him. A hefty load of responsibility and for the mom of young adults some days I'm just wiped out but I can't be, I have little ones who need the instruction and training I gave the older ones. 

My eyes have to be steady on the future and I cannot grow weary.

Psalm 119 1-8
  You're blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. 2You're blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. 3 That's right - you don't go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set. 4 You, God, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it. 5 Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; 6 Then I'd never have any regrets in comparing my life with your counsel. 7 I thank you for speaking straight from your heart; I learn the pattern of your righteous ways. 8 I'm going to do what you tell me to do; don't ever walk off and leave me.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

7 ways to make your kids feel more loved.

Take them to the edge of the sea and tell them who made it.
Teach them how God loves details and these gifts are ours to enjoy.

Love their daddy.
Kiss him and adore him right in front of them.
They may seem embarrassed but truly
this makes their heart jump inside.

Cultivate love between brothers and sisters.
Let them work along side each other then have
fun along side each other.
Cheer for the same team, any team, but make it a part of who
you are as a family.
 (For best results bama works best ;) 

 Pick them up and twirl them around in your arms; body small.
Take it all in and remind them of God's goodness by allowing them to be in your family. They are a gift to you and to each other, remind them often. 

 Love on them a lot...
Even when they're older.
Be silly and make them laugh.We get so caught up
in being serious but there is a time when laughter is the best medicine.

 Don't let your touch seem hesitant or tense.
Don't let your hugs be few and far between.
(In fact stop reading and go hug them now).

Spontaneously chase them down the beach
and grab them up and tell them over and over
how much you love them.

They should not have to wonder.

Teach them to love

 Show them how to love.

 and they will love you in their own way in return
they're different than you are and they each show it differently.

 Take them out after walking on the beach to this little pub that sits directly in front of the ocean winds and share a feast with them.
Pack your table with food and drink
Don't look around at what people think
Don't worry about the noise they make
Bask for a moment in the creation of your God made family
and smile and breathe in the goodness of this moment.

 At the end of your dinner, bellies full and goodbyes said to the sea,
make sure you collect all the love letters that they wrote to you while
you were basking. 

Remember to watch for the unexpected, love when you don't feel like it
and run this race of parenthood until your nikes are worn out.  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Birthright

The farm is staying busy even though the cold has come in to the deep south.
The cold always surprises me for some reason. I know it's coming and yet when that first frosted morning arrives I'm always thinking, "wow, that was quick".
My body longing for the heat.  

We added a little girl named Willow to our farm. She is being raised with the cow and the pigs, chickens and rabbits and the kids. She is such a beautiful little gift and I love seeing her as she is preparing to stand guard over this farm. Work in progress mind you, but aren't we all?

 Rosebud is doing well. She is lonely most days since we lost Sammy and so we spend lots of time with her. She likes being next to the pigs so we stake her out and let her spend her hours soaking up the aroma of her brothers/sisters. We have finally felt the 'farm life is not easy' on a whole new level. Spending 7 hours out in the cold trying to save Sammy from bloat, the vet didn't give us much hope.

We kept fighting though and yet we still lost him. The next day we wanted to sell the farm and move into a nice comfortable home in suburbia. Its was hard...bodies ached from the hours of cold but we dragged through the day after and each day became brighter with the realization that our other animals needed us. So you just keep on..gurarded a little more, but keep on moving.

We work together as well as grieve together so when it's feed buying day everyone grabs a bag and takes it to the shed. I love seeing them work. They don't complain about the job. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I'm out there with them. Maybe it's because their whole life has been about this place. This time. Them together doing work. Doing what needs to be done and believe me, there is always some kind of work. I truly believe a common goal planted early in their mind is part of it. 

They really don't know any difference. You just get up and start working. If you complain it's really silly because everyone around you is working..We didn't always have this mindset. When the two oldest were young we watched a lot of tv and I found out that getting things done was easier if I just did it while they were asleep. I didn't expect them to do anything so when Taylor turned 5 and I was convinced I had ruined her we made some changes. We never looked back. We realized at that point that giving our children the easy life was going to make it harder on them in the real world.   

 I believe when we lost the farms and folks started moving into the city people forgot about work. They traded their cows in for cars and boats. They traded their tractors for bigger houses.They traded their work in for the life of ease, ripping from our hands the very thing that our country and nation was based
So many can't even get kids to take out the trash much less put in a 5-6 hour work day mucking out stalls, cutting wings, breading rabbits, keeping up a winter green house, hanging clothes out when your hands freeze from the dampness, making bread and trying your hand at soap, teaching little ones to read and older ones how to get along in this world. It all takes effort and time and seems to me most people have neither these days.   

I laugh because I've lost more than a cow in my lifetime.
I've learned that your world crashes hard and fast in a blink of an eye
and the busyness is not worth one minute of time unless you're around
the people you love. Nothing I could do outside of this house is more important than being focused and intentional with my mothering.
I pile books high around my bed and read to them and have them read to me.
I braid hair and pray for them as I feel their little frames relax at my touch.
I dress baby dolls
and make their favorite meals
play games
and watch a little 3 year old roll out dough every single night
at 5.30 for "her rolls". She slowly takes dough and rolls out about 30 little
dough balls. It relaxes her and she knows when it's time when she smells
food coming from the kitchen. 

I'm tired and just like you my time is valuable but I have seen what
time can do. Their legs grow long. The time for leaving short.
I press on 
 I take pictures to remember the time here.
I teach lessons
I teach them not to mind the work.
The work makes the rest better.

 I remember my birthright. I will not take it for granted nor will I sell it for a cup of soup. I will let it sink in to my very soul and remind my children of the responsibility of their birthrights. We were chosen to live when so many die. I will not grow weary and least I do, it won't be for long because I have too much to teach and too much to learn.


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