Monday, July 30, 2012

Joyful Rise

Awake my soul, and with the sun
Thy daily stage of duty run:
Shake off dull sloth and joyful rise
To pay thy morning sacrifice.

Rising early and seeing the beauty in my front yard. I am thankful for this days work.
 I have a full day of work ahead of me with all the children and cooking, cleaning,
canning, and teaching. My time being spent at home lately. More than ever before
I feel the need to just sit and enjoy the blessings of all these children and the animals.
What is the Lord trying to teach me?
 Not to complain about my work?
To be content in my home.
To do my duty.
To learn to love those that have joined our family recently.
He has changed everything about my life.  
At first I said, "I can't do all of this, Lord".
Really I couldn't do it all. I had to realize that only He could. He by slowly walking me through each day and sending just enough manna to get me through my days.
Crying tears and wondering if, while giving myself over and peeling back one more selfish layer
of "me", I could survive.  I have so many..selfish desires and habits.
Lord forgive me. 

Losing the me that I used to know and losing the life we had before and
God replacing the old life with a beautiful new life.
A fuller life with new people to spend my day with. I have learned a few things about
this old person I called me. All the answers I thought I knew, I knew nothing.
All the things that used to work, don't work anymore.
My whole train of thought is just making much of Jesus because believe me,
when I say I have made much of a mess when my thoughts are inward focused.
I sleep less, yet feel more rested.
I cook more food, but the budget has stayed the same.
I didn't have enough room in my van for 5 extras but God
provided me with a beautiful gray seat that was sitting in some new friends
basement. They didn't have any idea why they saved that seat.
 "It's been sitting down there for over a year." 
It just happened to fit our van and it was the very same color as our other
seats. Coincidence? I think not. I had prayed with my children for God
to provided us with a seat. He provided.    

 Living out my days being obedient to what the Lord has called our family to.
My duty
I have to be honest some days I feel like Noah must have felt.
"Look at that freaky man building an ark."

He saved his family though and I feel like work and responsibility will save our family.
 Not because we're anything special but because
The Lord said build and we're building.
The Lord said feed and we're feeding.
Lastly, the Lord said love and well there's a lot of love going on over here.
The duty has turned into a great privilege and I'm forever
thankful to share what I have with these He has given to me on loan.

"Yes, I want to be a Christian, but no, I don't want to be Your disciple, Lord. Not yet, anyway. It's a bit much to expect." 

"Yes, I'll be a disciple, but no, I certainly don't want to leave self behind."

"I'll leave self behind if You say so, Lord, but don't ask me to take up any crosses. I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable with that."

"Follow You, Lord? Well, yes, sure-but let me have a little input, won't You, about where we're going?"

Nothing could be further from the the spirit of the Gospel. The very reason Christ died "...was that men, while still in life, should cease to live for themselves, and should live for him who for their sake died and was raised to life."

(Elizabeth Elliot)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The recipe

 Our days are busy. Channie and I catch little moments in between chores to have a chat about whatever is on her mind at that moment. It could be about Kevin the rabbit or the three new pigs we recently moved on the farm. Who knows, but at that moment I sit and listen and instead of just knowing what I should do, I do it. Being the mama she needs. Sitting and listening.   

 Taylor has been canning and jarring anything and everything. Her hands constantly at the stove, her excitement evident as she hears a jar pop. Our lives needing to pop. We know what we're supposed to be doing but rarely do we do it. It's kind of like her old, "get ya married" rolls recipe. She knows it by heart and she doesn't need the faded out piece of paper it's written on but if all she ever did was recite that old recipe and tell me how good the rolls were I wouldn't be too impressed but....

 She makes those rolls and makes a believer out of us. She draws us out of the corners of our home together to sit and break beautiful bread and we believe her totally.
If all I ever do as a mother is know how and what I'm supposed to do but never do it then my children may never believe how much I love them. They may never see Christ in my home. We have to do more than memorize the recipe.  

The recipe is good but the rolls are better. As mothers we should not only know what our roles are but live out our roles so that others can smell and taste and know how good the recipe is. Now that will call people out and they will say, "that's good I want to try that". This motherhood thing is beautiful and it's sweet and we need to live our lives being a radiance. I'm not saying that some days are not hard. Some days everything is hard. Some days I struggle with
 motherhood but that's when I get camera in hand and head out and start snapping pictures of the gifts...It changes everything.

 Everyday we pick and can, working hard,  taking care of animals. Everyday we wonder if it could get hotter but it does and things still have to be done. I love the heat though and the working. 

 The working together. Hands in buckets, girls in trees and the helping in heat. Carrying the load, your own load, so it's not so unbearable for everyone else.. 

Holding heavy buckets

Climbing tall ladders

Making the load lighter for your sister instead of for yourself

Standing at the bottom while others go up.

Pinning clothes in sunshine 
so the smell will soak through and when they put on their shirts sunshine will
be with them all day.

Carrying heavy things even though you could say, "I can't"

I love seeing many hands put to the job. Brothers holding, and working together, knowing what the Lord says about work and doing it so that others can learn from the example you set. Not just a voice saying, "it's good to work, it feels good to sweat". It's the voice next to you saying, "Come on man just a little bit further and we'll have this job done".
We can't just be the recipe and know how to make good bread. We have to make the recipe and put it before others and say, "taste and see how good the Lord is".

As mothers we can know scripture.
We can know how good it is for us.
We can memorize and recite it but until we live it or offer it as a sacrifice to 
the Lord it's really just words and everyone around
us can ignore it but when you live it people come and
they want it.

Be radiant today, let God's words penetrate through you
so that others will praise your Father in heaven-Matthew 5:16 

Monday, July 23, 2012

So my dream won't die.

 The carrots come in and we pull up the rich dark earth with our bounty.
I'm so used to carrots being all nice and long and one size for the most part
but when you grow your own that's not the way they come up out of the earth.They come
up small and round, some big and long but they're all different. Grown from the same seed planted in the same dirt. My children working on this little farm of ours seeing the creation of God's handiwork and I love seeing their eyes light up at the wonder of animals and fresh produce.  

The girls busy helping work. It takes a lot to keep them on the task at hand and it takes me twice as long but I know that if I don't teach them to help they never will enjoy it as much later on.
So as I pull my food from the dirt, they wash and pick up. They work along side me and they're more work than the actual work itself, but they need the work. They need me to be along side them and help them. I don't send them to play by themselves or put them down for a nap. I tell them, "it's time to work put your boots on". They smile and coming willingly.

This country farm living they seem to like alright. They prance their way across these fields. They know this land. They know it's theirs as well as mine. They know where the ant hills are and they know where our clothes blow in the wind and soak up the suns heat. We get stools and make them stand tall as they practice hanging out clothes and learning to serve. Learning that the living has work to do.  

The living also has loving to do and with camera in hand I see the two at the bottom of the steps
in the early morning sun. Animals already been fed, clothes hung out, breakfast made and a little girl who is already tired. Needing encouragement to keep pulling through her tasks. She doesn't think she can....but we know different. We know we must teach her to love her life and the work that comes along with it. We each have it to be done and the little girl has to learn it.
So we pull her close and she works close to us so we can encourage.   

The cows need water

The chickens need food

Little boys need watching 

Honey needs picking up from Mr. Macky who keeps his bees on our property. The man in the funny suit who saves jars of honey for us every year.

I need to connect with my children. I need to be beside them so I can teach them and train them. They need to see the work. They need to be able to do the work or this farm and our dream dies when they grow up. When I'm put to dirt I want my dream of a small rural farm to still be running strong. I want them to understand that anything worth having will cost them.They will get dirty. They will get tired. But in the end this brief season I have with them to look into their eyes  and face and work beside them and with them, will be remembered for a life time.

summer 2012
blessings from the farm

Friday, July 20, 2012

What we're up to..

 Lots of reading..
 I love learning new things.
Our days are busy trying to learn new things and be productive.

We are cooking and canning and getting super excited about
trying new recipes. 
I love trying new spices.

I love bringing fresh flowers in from our garden.

I love using butterbeans as counters (for math) and to help in spelling for our first graders.

I love having my counter space taken up by little cooks.

I love pizza especially Taylor's homemade stuff...
its really really the real deal.

I love new aprons and the fact that its Friday and my husband whom I adore
is mine....all mine for the next 2.5 days.
I hope you have a blessed weekend.

Blessings from the farm,

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I invite you all to my house!

Note: There is PLENTY of land for tents, campers, etc.
If you need more information, just email or call me!
Blessings from the farm and hope to see you soon!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Do Not Eat The Bread of Idleness

by Sue Becker

 "Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain.  Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is near at hand. "Joel 2:1

There is a health care crisis in this land.  Liberals and conservatives alike agree on this fact.  The cause of the crisis is quite another issue.  Some blame lawyers, while others blame doctors, insurance companies, medical suppliers or the government.  While all of these have certainly played their part, the truth of the matter is that we are to blame.  We are a sick and unhealthy people. God's word in Matthew 9:35-38 certainly describes the state of our country today.  We are sick, but as we turn to doctors and medicine, weight loss clinics and diets we are often left "bewildered - harassed and distressed and dejected and helpless - like sheep without a shepherd.(v36)  
The God who created our bodies also caused the earth to bring forth vegetation and gave to man "every plant yielding seed and every tree with seed in its fruit" to have for food. (Gen 1:29)  After the flood His provisions for man included "every moving thing that lives" as well as the green vegetables and plants. (Gen 9:3).  I trust God completely in His provisions to know what foods will best nourish our bodies.  Man, however, has altered His provisions first for the sake of convenience and now for greed.
Look for a moment at the example of the children of Israel in the wilderness.  With nothing to eat, God lovingly provided them with manna from heaven.  It was to be gathered daily.  Some tried to gather tomorrow's portion today so that they would not have to gather tomorrow.  God says six days shall you work and one day shall you rest and so on every day but the Sabbath, God caused the manna that was gathered early to get worms in it.  I'm sure if some enterprising Israelite could have discovered a way to keep the manna from spoiling, to allow it to be stored for several days, he would have had a very marketable product, especially to those who were simply too lazy or too busy doing other things to get their food every day.

This is exactly what we see if we look more closely at the foods offered in the grocery store and how they got there.  Jesus prayed, "Give us this day our daily bread."  God designed the wheat kernel, as well as other grains to perfectly store the nutrients within.  Once broken open, as in milling, the nutrients immediately begin to oxidize.  Within about 72 hours 90% of over 30 nutrients are virtually gone.
Prior to the 1900s most flour was milled locally and the bread baked at home. Since the flour could not be stored, only enough grain was ground fresh each day to meet the needs of the community.  This meant that just about every family was "gathering" their manna daily.  However, in the 1920s new technology allowed enterprising millers to separate the wheat components.  By removing the germ, germ oil, and the bran the remaining white flour could be stored indefinitely.  This began to eliminate the need for local milling and people began to relinquish their own responsibility of preparing their bread daily.
Lucrative markets were also found for the nutritious "by-products" of this new milling process.  The bran and wheat germ were sold as high protein food supplements for cattle.  Local mills soon went out of business as the large roller mills produced huge volumes of long lasting white flour.
This appeared to be a great advance in technology.  In just a short time, however, cases of beriberi and pellagra began to drastically increase.  Both of these diseases are the result of vitamin B deficiencies and health officials traced the problem to the new white flour.  The new milling process strips the B vitamins as well as about 24 other nutrients from the wheat kernels.
Health officials urged mills to return to producing whole wheat flour again but they did not want to lose their very profitable market of selling the germ and bran as cattle feed.  Instead, millers chose to "enrich" the white flour by replacing 4 vitamins for the 25-30 that are removed.  This solved the problem of beriberi and pellagra; however, we are now plagued with many diseases that are directly related to our consumption of white flour (appendicitis, diverticular disease, hiatal hernia, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and more!).
Our willingness to be free of the responsibility of preparing our bread daily has now put the control of what we feed our families into the hands of huge food companies with one goal in mind - MONEY.  As we shop for our food we get to choose from what someone with only profit in mind is offering.

What can we do now? "... Thus saith the Lord of host: Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but you do not have enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe yourselves, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Thus saith the Lord of host: Consider your ways."  Haggai 1:5-7  We as women must consider our ways and turn our hearts back towards home.  We must be willing to reclaim the ground that we have relinquished to others.  There are actually many" holes in our bags" where we have lost control.  I wish to focus on one that I think is key.  I call it The Bread of Idleness.......
"She looketh well to the ways of her household and eateth not the bread of idleness." Proverbs 31:27
Upon first reading the verse I almost laughed.  Who could be idle with children, home-schooling, laundry, a husband and a home business?  The list could go on and I can honestly say I don't think there is ever an idle moment in our house - or is there?  A further study of this verse was truly enlightening and opened my heart to some new truths.
The words "looketh well" come from a Hebrew word meaning "to lean forward", "to peer into the distance" or "to observe, to wait".  "Ways" means "a walk, or a step" and "household" means "family" with its roots coming from a word meaning "to build".  "To build" called to mind a familiar verse from Proverbs.  "Every wise woman buildeth her house but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands."  Proverbs 14:1
This wise woman that builds her house does so by looking ahead to see what lasting effect today's activities may have on her future and the future of her family.  She ponders each step she must take in her walk with the Lord and in serving her family.  As she peers into the distance she is considering the future and outcome of her children.  She trains them accordingly.  She does not worry about tomorrow but certainly plans her steps as she observes and waits on the Lord's direction.
Considering the foolish woman of Proverbs 14 caused me to wonder what makes one foolish.  I know that God's word says that it is bound in the heart of a child.  Considering the behavior of my own children shed great light on the answer to this question.  Basically children's one desire is for the "pleasure of the moment".
All their decisions, actions or reactions, and thoughts are based on obtaining this "pleasure".  They can not really think about "tomorrow" or future consequences.  They want what they want and they want it now!
The foolish woman, for the pleasure of the moment, is tearing down her house with her own hands.  The wise woman of Proverbs 31 does not eat the bread of idleness but this foolish woman consumes it.  The word "idle" means to "lean idle, having no value, use, or significance".  The root of the word "idle" means "to burn or shine" either in the sense of "only apparent" or "burned out".   "Bread" is "food, especially grain for making it".  Another word for idleness is indolence.  Indolence means "disliking or avoiding work".
We can not afford to be indolent any longer.  We must carefully consider the activities in our lives.  Are they pleasures of the moment that can masquerade as any worthwhile cause?  We must honestly ask ourselves do we merely have the "appearance" of being very busy.  Are we "burned out" because much of what we do (or don't do) is for the pleasure of the moment (either mine or someone else's) and has no real value or significance?  Can we look at our day's accomplishments and say as God did "It is good"?  Are we tempted to work on the seventh day because we are not satisfied with our weeks' work?
Can we see that women have relinquished much of the homeward responsibilities and that the milling of grains and baking of bread was left to others because it freed them (and men) up to do other things.  These "other things", unfortunately have taken us more and more out of the home.  The food products in the stores are there because America wants fast and easy.  "We just don't have time to cook anymore."
I am here to tell you, however, that the food we eat is the "bread" of our own idleness.  For the pleasures of the moment we now have sickness in our land in giant proportions.  God has not sent these judgments on us, rather we have brought them on ourselves by altering His provisions designed to perfectly nourish our bodies.  Many of the foods we now eat for convenience are literally making us sick because they are devoid of the fiber and the nutrients that are essential to our health.  Yet, vital life-giving whole foods are available.
With the purchase of a grain mill and the baking of our own bread we began to discover many of these whole foods and their benefits.  We began to see many positive results - constipation relieved, warts disappeared and a considerable decrease in our cravings for sweets.  This led to our virtually eliminating white sugar from our home.  The use of our grain mill opened the door to unlimited possibilities.  It brought joy and creativity back to food preparation.  Now after 5 years we have seen tremendous health improvements.  We have not been to the doctor for an illness nor have any of us had to take antibiotics in more than 3 1/2 years.  With 7 children (ages 16 yrs -2 month), this is a blessing and testimony of God's perfect provision.  God has the answer to the health care crisis!
"And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." (John 6:35)  As Jesus is the very beginning and source of our spiritual life, we believe that bread -real bread - should be the foundation of sustaining our physical lives.
"Give us this day our daily bread" - If God is willing to provide, are you willing to "gather and prepare"?

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Farmer

The Farmer

"Each day I go into the fields
to see what is growing
and what remains to be done.
It is always the same thing: nothing
is growing, everything needs to be done.
Plow, harrow, disc, water, pray
till my bones ache and hands rub
blood-raw with honest labor—
all that grows is the slow
intransigent intensity of need.
I have sown my seed on soil
guaranteed by poverty to fail.
But I don’t complain—except
to passersby who ask me why
I work such barren earth.
They would not understand me
if I stooped to lift a rock
and hold it like a child, or laughed,
or told them it is their poverty
I labor to relieve. For them,
I complain. A farmer of dreams
knows how to pretend. A farmer of dreams
knows what it means to be patient.
Each day I go into the fields."

Sometimes, the work I do is guaranteed poverty. To the outside world we are strangers here. We are different and they believe we labor in vain over things that do not concern us like orphans or they whisper things like, "how" and "why?" I say, "Because it's worth it and I believe  we're called to it". Having a large family and and choosing to work until well past the sun is no different then the farmer neighbor, Mr. Green.
Everyday walking his rows and pulling weeds but no guarantees of a harvest. 
Except that we're walking the rows of raising up a bunch of crazy, delightful, funny, sometimes in a grouchy mood children. We pull weeds and walk until our feet hurt, praying over them, asking God for rain. Asking God to show us fruit in their lives. Some days the ground is so hard and packed that working it seems futile...but I do.
 Other days the ground is soft and rich, black and beautiful. The soil right for planting. Oh, those days I keep my eyes open to what God can do in a field like mine. I'm just a mere farmer mom digging dirt and tilling soil in my children's hearts.
 Like Mr. Green I walk the rows of my their heart and look for weeds and pull the nasty things before they over take my whole garden.
Farmers know that farming takes faith.
I know raising a child takes more faith.
God brings the rain and sometimes there's the drought.

This living together and working along side each other keeps us from the boredom that many people face today.  Children are bored, parents grow bored, teenagers are always bored.
Boredom is an epidemic in our world.

I remember, 
"Idle hands are the devils workshop"

Where I heard these words I don't remember but I know them to be true
for myself and my children.
So I provide work to keep hands from being idle.
Work to keep minds open to the sweet part of the day when work is done and our daily food
being put on the table, a feeling of freedom from boredom.

A day to rest also as we yard sale and look for things we need. We just happened to need that cute little armoire. It was her husband's great grandmothers.. a place to keep her clothes. It's lined with cedar but more than that it's lined with this woman who probably cherished this piece. Now it's in a yard overlooking the street with a sold sign on it because I couldn't refuse $30.00 for such a priceless memory and it's not even my great-grandmother. I brought it to my home and it now sits in my living room. It will require more work to get her looking good again but as I slide my hand along the inside of the cedar shelves I imagine I can smell the perfume of the great-grandmother...I will carry her armoire into the future and I will pass it down with great care. 

Grandchildren growing bored of old pieces passed down 
and getting new pieces. Can I just sigh here a moment?  

Working out the beauty in my home.
Looking past the things that don't matter
and truly living the life of a farmer mom.  

Thursday, July 5, 2012

I had a dream...

Things about girls....
 I had a dream that one day I would have this life. Long walks around a beautiful pasture, happy children who run after me and wrap arms hard around me. Laying in a king size bed that is so full that you actually wonder if it will stand under the weight. I dreamed of a home with a white picket fence and a swing on the front porch. I have dreamed of this man that I call my husband...but my memories don't go back so far as he's not in them. I seem to only remember my life with him... 22 years worth of memories. I never dreamed of having such a large family, but only because you can only dream so big. God had other plans.

She sat dating cards. The purpose is so her. You date index cards for every day of the year in 2012. Then every day you jot down something you did that day. Canned tomatoes, talked to Momo for an hour about jelly, took the kids swimming..etc And then you keep this as part of your life history and the next year, write out on the same day what you did in 2013. The handwriting telling, the card remembering, the memories cherished. Yep, so us.   

 I had a dream that one day we would put up our own food and eat grass fed meat and make homemade I write my daughter is making jelly. She has already made salsa and put up tomatoes. She is whizzing around me excited and bringing me spoonfuls of the delicious stuff. We are together and I dreamed of this too. A close relationship with my adult daughter.
Standing along side each other and her filling in the gap where I'm weak and she still willing to listen to me. Her random "I love ya's" ( and I say, "I love you too"). I had a dream and my dream came true<3.   

She froze most of this bread that she made with a friend and we will have it for winter. A Proverbs woman is always thinking ahead. I love that most of what she knows she didn't learn from me. I never grew up knowing this kind of stuff. So we've learned together. She's learned from older friends or her grandmother. She's not afraid to try something.  

Things about guys...
I dreamed of having a milk cow..

We need to find the balance of work/play with our guys. We want them to be able to stand with their father against his enemies in the city gates (ps. 127). We want them to be tough, not fragile.  We must prepare our sons to go into the world, face obstacles, work hard, and provide for a household with integrity. With integrity. Hmmmm.. we have to stop fighting their battles for them. We have to let them face the consequences of their mistakes.We (mothers) are in the mode of fixing things for our children...We need to stop when they get a certain age. We know when we fix it we feel good about it and think they will appreciate it, but in reality that's not real world stuff.  That's teaching our guys to be milksops, according to Nancy Wilson. It's hard work letting them find out that what they do or don't do has consequences. I want to speak up and say to my 17 year old, " I've tried that! It doesn't work." but I've learned to say almost nothing. It takes a lot of work to keep my mouth shut but I have learned if they succeed only if I tell them it doesn't mean anything, but if they succeed by trial and error they have truly succeeded. Take for instance...The picture above. This good looking guy came strutting in the kitchen this morning.
Jeans? check
Hat? Check
Boots? Check
Brand new church shirt? Check
Yeah, brand new. It's 100* outside..Everything in me wants to scream "are you kidding me!? go put shorts and a t-shirt on". But sometimes the battles aren't worth dying over and I hug him and say, "you look like a real cow hand" :) He says "Thanks, mom"
30 mins later he comes in and he is soaked through with sweat. Some lessons are just sweeter learned by experience.Our relationship is in tact.. It's ok if your guys sweat. It's ok if they work hard. It's ok. They will look back and say, "I had to walk a mile to school one way...."
Oh, wait a minute that was my grandmother. 
They will look back and see the good that comes out of work.

Learn something new that involves your children working....Don't let them read that little part up there^^^^^^ they may take my blog off of your computer:)

Blessings from the farm, where my dreams have become reality.


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